fiction and other writing

Posts tagged ‘Book Review’

The Body in the Snow by Christoph Fischer – Book Review

the-body-in-the-snow
This is a beautifully written book, with well crafted characters. Beth, the lead police officer, investigates the murder of a young woman, who is found dead in the snow. Beth is not the perfect police officer, but in spite of her flaws, she is persistent in her aim to find the killer. Her friendship with Bebe, a singer and suspect, is not best practice, but from both sides it is rather endearing.
There are only three houses in the hamlet where the murder is committed and they are cut off by heavy falls of snow. Bebe, Dora and Ian and Christine have chosen to live in this isolated hamlet for various reasons.
The reader doesn’t have to deal with gory details of the murder. The key to this book is the puzzle of who was where, when and what could be the possible motive to kill the victim. Alongside the investigation is Bebe’s determination to arrange a comeback for her singing career, in spite of her inefficient manager.
I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it highly.

Book Review: Joshua’s Island by Patrick Hodges

Joshua's IslandJoshua’s Island by Patrick Hodges
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joshua Harper lives in a happy family with both parents and an older sister. Not the sort of child that would be a victim of bullies, you might think, but he is slightly small for his age and his parents are working long hours. Rhonda the most popular girl in the school takes a dislike to him as she likes to show her power to the rest of the school. She sets her little gang against Joshua and makes the whole school treat him as an outcast. To say the least the head of the school is ineffectual, if not grossly incompetent.
Like many children who are bullied, Joshua feels ashamed and doesn’t enlist the help of his parents. He just has to survive one more year and then he will move school. In science class Joshua is partnered with Eve, one of Rhonda’s group. She won’t talk to Joshua because of everything she’s heard about him, but eventually she realizes that they are all lies and that Joshua is being beaten up on a regular basis.
This is the story of Joshua, with Eve’s help, trying to reach safety within a school environment. It is beautifully written and I believe it should be in every secondary school library (suitable for children eleven and over).
It is written in the first person, which makes the events more immediate as you feel the emotions. It is also written in two points of view, so there is a chapter by Joshua and then one by Eve. This works well, because within each chapter the author sticks strictly to one point of view.
I recommend this book to everyone over the age of eleven. Joshua and Eve are thirteen and there are some excellent younger characters. Obviously this book is aimed at an audience of young people and not at my age group but even so I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

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Book Review: Not What You Thought? and other surprises by P.A. Ruddock

Not What You Thought? and other surprisesNot What You Thought? and other surprises by P. A. Ruddock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is worth buying because it is raising money for the Forget-Me-Not charity, which helps homeless ex-soldiers. It’s also worth buying as it’s very good value for money with thirty four stories. Some of the stories are short or even flash fiction but all are expertly crafted.
As well as Paul Ruddock’s excellent work there are contributions from five other writers: John M.W.Smith, Tom Benson, Matthew Williams, Lesley Hayes and Peter Nena. This adds a variety of style.
One of my favourite stories was ‘Cold Callers’. It was about a writer who wanted to get on with his work but people kept interrupting. Great storytelling. ‘The Spectre’ is a beautiful account I read some time ago on the author’s blog. It is a sensitive description of a natural phenomenon and I remembered it long after I read it. The variety in the book will keep you turning the page.
I won’t go through all the stories but they’re all worth reading. ‘The Car Clampers’ stood out for me as we’ve all met some of these unreasonable people and I didn’t expect the ending that was written for ‘Put to Death’. Photographic Memory I’ve read before but it was just as exciting this time round.
If you buy this book you’ll be helping a worthy cause and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the stories.

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Book Review: Blood Brothers – Escape to Creeporia by Dean C Moore

Blood Brothers: Escape to CreeporiaBlood Brothers: Escape to Creeporia by Dean C. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of Jared and Clay. Both are killing machines, trained since they were young boys They don’t know they are brothers until they are given the task to kill each other. Rydell, their father has decided they must die because their powers have become too advanced.
Gradually they realize they must join forces to fight their powerful father. They are joined by their wives and Clay’s children. All have their own magical powers and there are animals with special powers too.
I won’t give any more of the plot away, except to say that this book was written with gusto. There is so much action, including dragons fighting on both sides, you won’t be disappointed.
What I particularly liked about the book was that it was written with a dry sense of humour. It is so difficult to write a story that makes the reader laugh. This is not a funny story but the dialogue of Rydell and the brothers creased me up at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it.

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Book Review: Wacky Stories by John M W Smith

Wacky Stories with Twist Endings Vol 3Wacky Stories with Twist Endings Vol 3 by John M.W. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read the whole of this book in an evening and a very enjoyable evening it was too.
Each story leads you up the garden path, so you don’t see the end coming.
My favourite ones were, ‘Having a baby’ and ‘Give it a Whirl’. The first one because I really didn’t see the twist and the second one because we’ve all met that man.
The author has a strong voice so the stories are easy to read. There are some quirky style points, such as the mention of a filler cap being left off in ‘Shona’s Shyness’ and in the next one, ‘Give it a Whirl’. Indeed certain names cropped up in more than one story.
This is the third book in the series and I’ll certainly be reading more of them.

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Book Review: How Bridge McCoy Learned to Say I Love You by Robert K Swisher Jr

How Bridge McCoy Learned To Say I Love YouHow Bridge McCoy Learned To Say I Love You by Robert K. Swisher Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like straight, politically correct writing, then this is not the book for you.
The author uses his vivid imagination to portray a writer with an off-beat imagination. Bridge moves to Lost City after his wife leaves him. There he lives his life amongst artists and people who are a little different. Bridge McCoy and the other quirky characters grow to understand themselves better and find self acceptance.
This is a humorous book that will keep you engaged. It addresses many topics in an irreverent way, but with a gentleness that is enjoyable.
A strength of the book is the original style used by the author and his sharp witty dialogue. So if you’re looking for something a bit different, that will make you laugh, then try this book.

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Book Review: Bells On Her Toes by Diana J Febry

Bells On Her ToesBells On Her Toes by Diana J. Febry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a murder mystery set in the country in the context of horse racing. The atmosphere is believable and draws you in. D.C.I. Peter Hatherall and D.I. Fiona Williams are called to the scene of a body in a burned out barn. The murder is on the Earl’s estate and so they have to tread carefully.

Peter and Fiona are both well drawn characters, with sad back stories, hanging over them as they investigate.

There are many twists and turns to the plot, which I will not attempt to unravel here as that might spoil your read, suffice to say the author touches on a number of issues. These included corruption, countryside issues, depression, alcohol and drug related characters, fracking, eating disorders…

I could imagine this book being done as a Midsomer Murder on TV. Yes there are more bodies, but it’s not over gruesome.

There were a lot of characters to keep up with and some just seemed to pop their heads in and were gone, like Fiona’s friend, who has just become engaged.

The author has managed to keep on top of a complex tale, which is told in an engaging way. I’ll certainly be reading more of her work and can highly recommend this book.

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