New Books: November 2016

new-books-november-2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, my current to-be-read is getting a little out of hand, so this month I have been good and kept my new acquisitions down to just these three review copies:

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

First, I was contacted by husband and wife publishing team about their debut, science-fiction novel, The Last Day of Captain Lincoln. Described as a ‘soft’ sci-fi focused on the characters and relationships rather than just the technology.

Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompraecem by Emilio Salgari

Next, I was contacted by Nico Lorenzutti about an English translation of the Italian classic, Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompraecem. A swashbuckling adventure and love story; it sounded right up my street.

The Sacrifice: Short Stories Volume 1 by Indrajit Garai

And finally, I was contacted by a close friend and muse of American writer Garai about his collection of short stories, The Sacrifice. I don’t read a great deal of general fiction, but I have enjoyed many a short story collection.

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got hold of recently?

New Read: Blood on the Bayou

blood-on-the-bayou

Sadly, Blood on the Bayou by D. J. Donaldson was sat gathering dust on my Kindle for far too long! Until the R.I.P reading event finally gave me the push I needed to pick it up and aren’t I pleased it did.

As Donaldson immediately drew me in and completely immersed me into the colourful and superstitious Deep South of America. For a gritty mystery in the famous French Quarter of New Orleans which, during a hot and humid Summer, has been shook by a string of brutal murders. Where the victims seem to have been viciously clawed and then bitten – these frenzied, bloody attacks eerily resemble a werewolf! However the chief medical examiner, Andy Broussard, is not to be fooled or scared by these supernatural tales and, together with criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn, sets out to discover the culprit…the real, human culprit.

This is a detailed, meticulous and graphic, although I felt it was never gratuitous, depiction of a murder investigation. Due to the fact that half the narration is told from medical examiner, Andy Broussard’s point-of-view. Skillfully, though I was never left feeling cold or isolated by his clinical technique as Broussard is a very likeable and multifaceted character, with his quirky love of lemon sweets and an enviable collections of classic T-birds. Plus he takes on an encouraging and supportive role for Kit, who is a young, educated woman in a male dominated world. The other half of the narration is told from Kit’s point-of-view, which made for an interesting but complimentary juxtaposition to Broussard’s.

What I really loved though was the setting, as I have always had a fascination with the deep south especially after watching the first series of HBO’s True Detective. And, I thought Donaldson really made me feel like I was there: feeling it’s hot, humid weather; meeting the colourful, eclectic people with their old traditions and superstitions; and travelling to the small town communities out in the crocodile infested wetlands. The only thing I was left to imagine was that they all spoke like Matthew McConaughey😉 . While there was less of a supernatural element than I expected, it was these just in a more subtle way – with the eerie resemblance of these brutal attacks with werewolves; the small town people’s folk tales of old and the links to Clinical Lycanthropy.

In conclusion, I found Blood on the Bayou to be a deeply engrossing mystery which I struggled to put down. I would certainly be interested in reading more from this series and author. Great read.

Thank you to the publicist for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any other mysteries from the Deep South?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI – #5

Re-Read: Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet

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After two dark fantasy reads, I decided to lighten up my reading for the R.I.P reading event with a cosy re-read of Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M C Beaton; the second book in the Agatha Raisin crime series.

Smart dressing, high-flying PR guru Agatha Raisin has taken early retirement and now lives in the quiet, picture-perfect Cotswold village of Carsely. Returning from a holiday, Agatha finds all the Carsely women in an uproar over the new, handsome vet Paul Bladen. So, Agatha is thrilled when Bladen asks her out for dinner, but behind the charm on their date there seems to be something cold and calculating. The next day, Bladen is found dead in Lord Pendlebury’s stables where it is believed he accidentally injected himself with a horse tranquilizer. However, after her unpleasant date, Agatha believes it very likely someone would have liked to bump him off!

Agatha isn’t an instantly likeable character, although she is very amusing! As  former boss of a highly successfully PR company, Agatha has become sharp, bossy, cajoling and completely work focused. Once in the quiet, picturesque village of Carsely Agatha has no idea what to do with herself! Hence, why she is so keen to launch herself into another amateur investigation – plus it gives her an excuse to spend time with her handsome neighbour James Lacey without scaring him off. I am not a huge fan of the retired general Lacy, but in this new investigation we also get to see the vicar’s lovely wife Mrs Bloxby and the funny Detective Constable Wong.

In this re-read, it was again a pleasure to return to the charming village of Carsely with it’s eclectic mix of inhabitants for another meddlesome, investigation with Agatha. I love a good murder mystery however I don’t always want all that gore and gritty realism, which is when a cosy crime like this (and other novels by M C Beaton) are perfect. As the weather cooled and nights drew in, it was lovely to curl up in a blanket, with a cup of tea and this book.

Overall, Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet was a quick, fun and comforting re-read, which lightened up my reading for the R.I.P reading event perfectly. I look forward to re-reading Agatha Raisin and the Potted Garden next.

Have you read this? Have you read any cosy crime recently?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI – 4/4

The Classics Club: The Sign of the Four

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After enjoying all the previous Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle in quite quick succession, I just had to hold out a little for this, The Sign of the Four, my last original Holmes tale to discover for the first time.

At the beginning of this tale, we find Holmes out of his mind on boredom and drugs, and Watson at the end of his tether with him. Both are overjoyed when the young, pretty Miss Mary Morstan arrives, with the case of her missing father and the exquisite pearls that have been mysteriously gifted to her each year since his disappearance. Now, she has received a letter requesting a secret meeting to discuss how she has been ‘wronged’ and she may bring two friends. So Mary asks if Holmes and Watson will be the two to accompany her – Holmes is roused by what he calls this simple, little mystery and jumps at the chance, only to find the plot thickens at every turn.

As with the previous mysteries, I was fascinated by the workings of Holmes’ mind and his eccentric behaviour, however it is his companion Dr Watson I am always most drawn to. With his down-to-earth narration which makes these stories more relatable for me and, I am sure, many other readers too. In this tale, I particularly liked Watson’s shy, tender behaviour towards their new, pretty client Miss Mary Morstan, and the budding romance that follows – while their courtship may seem a tad too fast for us modern readers, I did believe they had genuine feelings for each other.

This may have been the last Holmes’ mystery for me to read, however it is only Doyle’s second novel to feature his famous, private sleuth. While I have read these mysteries out of order, it has not affected my enjoyment of them at all. While I think the gothic and atmospheric, The Hound of the Baskervilles is still my favourite novel, this was a still an excellently mystery and a thoroughly enjoyable read. With it’s ever twisting and multiplying threads, in fact more crimes and deaths occur, as Holmes’ is still investigating the first crime. I also enjoyed the historical links back to India and the bloody Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Overall, I thought The Sign of the Four was another excellently crafted mystery, which was a perfect read for Autumn and the R.I.P XI reading event. Now I have no new, original Holmes tales to look forward to, I better get going on more of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books. Great read.

Have you read this? What is your favourite Sherlock Holmes story?

The Classics Club – 47/50
R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI – 3/4

Goodbye October, Hello November 2016

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Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? October brings Autumn to the UK and with it cooler weather, golden leaves and darker evenings. One of my favourite times of the year, where I am able to start wearing my comfy boots, cook hearty stews and soups, and snuggle up in a blanket with a good book.

During this month, I have been working hard with my new class at work and I had a lot of fun attending the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention at the NEC, but that still left me plenty of time for reading. Here’s what I managed to read:

Fiction: 5          Non-Fiction: 1

I started the month off, by finishing the amazing A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin; the fourth book in Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series. Staying with the dark fantasy theme, I next read Civil War by Mark Gelineau & Joe King; the second book in the crime noir thread to their epic Echo of the Ascended series. Then, I continued my R.I.P reading with the classic mystery, The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, off my Classics Club list, and the cosy mystery, Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M C Beaton. Finally, I squeezed in supernatural, crime fiction Blood on the Bayou by D J Donaldson. My full thoughts on the last three books still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions, I also read Christian non-fiction Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright – the second choice for my church’s book club, which made for an interesting discussion. My full thoughts on this book are still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: A Feast For Crows

That’s 6 books finished – much better than in September! Through out the month, I have also been dipping in and out of The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas and 90 Days Through the New Testament by Ron Rhodes. While I have also started reading  and Christian non-fiction Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

In November, I am looking forward to Bonfire Night, celebrating my mum’s and stepdad’s birthdays, and getting stuck into the Pathways to Ministry course, with a few other ladies from my church. Plus, more reading of course!

What did you do and read in October? Do you have any plans for November?

New Read: Civil Blood

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Earlier this year, I read and loved Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King; the 1st book in the crime noir thread to their epic fantasy series. At the beginning of October, I picked up the next book, Civil Blood, hoping it would help to pick up my reading for the R.I.P reading event.

Now that Daxton Ellis is the Justiciar of Lowside, the poor and dangerous underworld of the city, he finds his position with the streetwise Lowsider and former flame Alys switched. As Alys needs his help to clear her name, after the henchman of a powerful Lowside kingpin have been found brutally murdered and strung up for all to see, and the only eyewitness’ description of the perpetrator eerily matches Alys! So Dax and Ellis team up again to solve these bloody murders by unravelling the twisting clues to find the true culprit, but all the while they have their own agendas and secrets to keep.

In this new mystery, I continued to enjoy the love/hate, tension filled but also playful chemistry between Dax and Alys; I think it helps to lighten these darker fantasy tales. Dax and Alys originally met and dated during their time training in the academy, when they were young, naïve and idealistic. However, their relationship was abruptly ended by a heart-breaking betrayal. Now all grown up, they’ve come to believe that a true blood guy and a Lowside gal can never be. Although secretly I think Dax is still pretty idealistic, but he is also acutely aware of his station and responsibilities. Alys on the other hand has become hardened as she has learnt to survive in this dangerous underworld – a world that is still alien to Dax. I found Alys less likeable in this book.

In this crime noir thread to Gelineau’s & King’s Echo of the Ascended series, it has been interesting to see more of a different, darker and seedier side to the kingdom of Aedaron. With this and the previous book set in the dangerous, poverty-stricken underworld of the capital city rather than, in the previous books, out in the large, isolated march lands. I also love a murder mystery and this was a good one with a bloody trail; a deadly, secretive perpetrator and plenty of secrets, twists and turns. While the perpetrator is identified this almost opened up more questions and threads to follow, which I presume/hope will be picked up in the next book.

Overall, I thought Civil Blood was another quick read with an interesting mystery in a dark fantasy setting. I look forward to read more from Gelineau’s & King’s Echo of the Ascended series. Good read.

Thank you to the authors for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any other mystery for the R.I.P reading event?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI – 2/4

New Books: October 2016

new-books-october-2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, recently I have managed to keep myself away from those tempting book shops. However, a few lovely, new books have winged their way to be by different routes. Here are the goodies I have added to my Kindle:

Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

First, I was contacted by the author, John A. Heldt, about his new and fourth instalment to his American Journeys series. I have previously enjoyed his novel, The Mine, so I was happy to accept a review copy of his new novel.

The Lioness and the Spellspinners by Cheryl Mahoney

Recently, I hosted the wonderful author, Cheryl Mahoney, for a guest post on her use of fairy tale references in her new novel. Also, Cheryl kindly sent me a review copy of her new novel which I am super excited about reading.

The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

Then whilst having a mooch on Netgalley, I spotted Karen Maitland’s new historical fiction being offered to ‘read now’ – I had heard good things about it so I snapped a copy up.

Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen

The King’s Concubine by Anne O’Brien

Finally, I went on Amazon to find a copy of Life of the Beloved which is to be the third read for my church’s book club. Whilst there I spotted The King’s Concubine, an older historical novel, from my favourite historical author, Anne O’Brien, at a bargain price – how could I not snap up a copy?!

Do you fancy any of these? What new book purchases have you made recently?