Welcome!

I love reading! Well, I suppose you worked that out from the title of this site, didn’t you?

I read flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novels, full-length books and am quite fond of book series too.

I also read most genres, though there are some I am more likely to read than others, but hey, I will give pretty much anything a go!  You never know when you are about to uncover a hidden gem.  Unless you read it, you don’t know if you will love it…and that is part of the magic of books.

I like to do what I can to support indie authors (I’m one myself), so if you would like me to review your book / story, just get in touch:-)

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or review requests, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Have a great day!

To learn more about me, read my about page.  To see what I’ve already reviewed, visit the A-Z review index.

Book Review: Excavation by James Rollins

excavation by james rollins front coverWhen archaeologist Professor Henry Conklin leads a team of students on a dig in the heart of the South American jungle, he believes he has found the evidence he needs to substantiate a theory he has spent many years working on.  But what they have uncovered is far beyond anything they could have expected.

However, what they have stumbled across by chance, others have been searching for for centuries and they will stop at nothing until they get it.  Archaeology has never been more amazing…or dangerous.

As the story takes us on an exploration of a subterranean Incan ruin, we quickly discover that all is not as it seems, both above and below ground.  Whatever they have discovered down there in the dark, there are those who have and will kill to possess it.  What can be so valuable?  More importantly, what lurks in the shadows?

If you like your thrillers and mysteries packed with action and with a hint of the extraordinary, this book might be for you.

I found that the first few chapters of the book were a little slow to get going as the foundations were laid for the rest of the story.  However, the pace quickly picked up after that, and barely relented as twists and turns (many of which were unexpected) were revealed one after the other.

The characters were diverse and engaging, especially the students.  The descriptions of the places and people encountered were detailed and vivid, and the storyline certainly captured the imagination.

This is the second time I have read this book (the first was a while ago and I had forgotten the plot), and I would read it again.  A recommended read.

Book Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

glass houses front coverGlass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Claire Danvers is a super smart sixteen year old.  Having already finished High School she is set to achieve great things.  She is clever enough to make it in the big, well-respected universities, but her parents naturally worry about her age.  And so they decide that they are not going to allow her to attend university a long way from home, but instead send her to Texas Prairie University, only a 100 miles from where they live.  They believe they are doing the right thing for her, the thing that will keep her safe.

However, TPU is in Morganville, a town like no other.  A town run by vampires, not that you would notice, unless you were really looking hard.  As if that isn’t bad enough, Claire with her super intellect is seen as nothing more than a freak who makes everyone else around her look bad.  When she clashes with some of the girls in her dorm, it appears Claire is anything but safe.

It quickly becomes apparent that if Claire wants to live long enough to be able to transfer out to a better university, she is going to need some where new to live.  Oh, and some friends to watch her back.  When she finds a listing for the Glass House in the housing section of the paper, she hopes her prayers have been answered.  But have they?  Is anything in Morganville what it seems?

This book surprised me.  I expected to like it – I enjoy vampire and paranormal fiction.  And yet I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did.  (As of writing this review, I am about to finish book six in the series.  I have read them one after another, as if they are some giant volume, separated into individual books for ease.  Six books in just over a week…that’s how much I like this series!)

The pace of the story is good and the book itself is well-written.  The characters are engaging, and the main ones, Claire, Eve, Michael and Shane are likeable.  It’s not hard to feel for Claire as the story goes on – she has a lot going on in her little world.  But to keep the story moving forward, it is clear that everyone in Morganville has their own story, and it is through this that the history of the town and how it operates unfolds.

The book does capture the imagination and draws you in from the very beginning, and although a town run by vampires sounds like it might not work, Rachel Caine does a great job of making the storyline believable.  The cliffhanger ending sets up the next book nicely.

If you enjoy vampire novels, you will probably enjoy this, but be warned it is aimed at teenagers / young adults.  Adult themes are kept to a minimum, and gore levels are also low.

I will be posting the review of the second book in the Morganville Vampires series, Dead Girls’ Dance, soon.  I am reading much faster than I’m reviewing at the moment:-)

Oh, and this is my 200th post!  Woohoo!

Book Review: Death of a Cad by M.C Beaton

death of a cad by mc beaton front coverDeath of a Cad is the second book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series by M.C Beaton.

Captain Peter Bartlett is by general consensus, a cad.  Not many people have a good word to say about him – quite the opposite.  Except, he seems to have a way with the ladies.

So when Priscilla Halburton-Smythe returns from London, bringing her fiance, the famous playwright, Henry Withering, home to Lochdubh, her family throw a party and invite a number of people to stay at Tommel Castle.  Only Captain Peter Bartlett turns up murdered…

Can Hamish Macbeth solve the case when it seems nearly everyone at the party detested the man and had a motive to kill?

I love this cosy mystery series.  Hamish Macbeth is a fabulous character and the books are just so easy to read.  Effortless, indeed!

The Highland setting is well-described and the story’s unfolding is easy to visualise.  Lochdubh is the perfect location for a gentle, humourous piece of cosy crime fiction.

M.C. Beaton has a great way of portraying her characters; not too heavy on the detail but provides enough for the reader to get to know them.  This helps when the cast is as vast as the one we see in Death of a Cad.

This is simply a wonderful instalment in a great series.  Death of a Cad is an entertaining read, one that I would recommend to all fans of cosy mysteries.  I can’t wait to read book three in the series, Death of an Outsider.

Short Story Review: Death in the Dawntime by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

This historical whodunnit is set around 35,000 BC, amongst the ancient aboriginal peoples of Australia.

When Grabtake is impossibly murdered in a sealed cave, the young Nightwish is desperate to prove himself.  With the help of Tinglesweet, a girl the same age as Nightwish, they go about trying to solve this murder mystery, analysing the evidence and working systematically through possible theories.

But uncovering a murderer is dangerous.  If they have killed once, what’s to stop them killing again?

I loved this short story.  The language used captivated me from the start and brought to life this locked room mystery set in prehistory.  As I read it I had to pay careful attention to the words to ensure that I didn’t miss anything, but this only heightened my enjoyment of it.

The names of the characters, for example, Nightwish, Rainspeak and Toegone, not only had me concentrating on the language and words, but also on their meaning.

A great short story, one that I’m sure I will return to again.

This short story was found in The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives, ed Mike Ashley.

Book Review: Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

Ophelia Browne, who runs The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, has a rare gift.  She can feel memories attached to objects and has spent her life collecting and caring for these special items.  But she is nearly ninety and has no one to pass this responsibility on to.

Annie Cross’s boyfriend has left her.  Fleeing Philadelphia, if only for a day or two, she turns up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, and instantly, Ophelia thinks she has found the right person to share her gift.

Over the coming weeks, the two grow close.  At first, Annie is sceptical of the old woman’s story of memories attaching themselves to objects, but she quickly realises she is right.

But has Ophelia done the right thing in sharing her secret?  When Annie stumbles across a memory filled with violence and danger, Ophelia is left to wonder if things have gone too far…

I was looking for something different to read when I stumbled across this book.  From its description it sounded intriguing but I did wonder whether it was the type of book I would enjoy.  Any way, after a short deliberation I decided to give it a go and I’m pleased I did.

Memory House is a moving, emotional read, one that I was drawn into almost instantly.  Both Annie Cross and Ophelia Browne are interesting characters whose stories are engaging.  It has a very gentle, easy to read narrative that sweeps you along with the story.

It was such a unique read with an unusual storyline, meaning that I didn’t know what to expect at any point of the book.  I couldn’t guess how it would end or even what would be revealed in the following chapter.  This kept the story fresh and my interest piqued.

My only criticism is that I felt it ended too abruptly for my liking, hence my rating of 4/5 over at Goodreads.

A gem of a read.  I was hooked from beginning to end.

Short Story Review: The Squire’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

Set between 1769 and 1775, The Squire’s Story tells the tale of a new arrival to the Derbyshire town of Barford.  This gentleman’s name is Mr Robinson Higgins and he quickly takes up residency is the grandest home in the area, The White House.  Where his money has come from, none know, but every few months he disappears.  He claims to travel down south to go and collect his rents, but he always goes alone.

On the outside, Mr Higgins is everything a popular man is expected to be.  He is a good rider, can tell good stories and plays jokes on those who he knows he can get away with.  Everyone seems to like.  He even ends up marrying Squire Hearn’s only daughter.

But there is always one who refuses to be deceived.  The elderly Miss Pratt suspects him.  Of what, she’s not sure, but unlike the others in Barford, she has a feeling that the face Mr Higgins wears for the county is not his real one.  But just what is his story?

The Squire’s Story was an interesting, quick read.  Although the answer to who or what Mr Higgins is isn’t answered until the end of the story, clues to his character are to be found throughout.

Even though the tale covers six years, I found it to be a little slow moving for my liking.  That being said, it was the characters that moved the story along, doing their bit to reveal the real Mr Higgins.