Sunday, 12 November 2017

Always Golden by Gina Dickerson


From Goodreads

Being a princess is both a blessing and a curse…

Growing up in a castle, Oriana was accustomed to the security of living within its walls…until the day an evil tore through the fortifications and shattered her perfect world.

Wanted by a ruler known as “The Collector” Oriana now has a battle on her hands to escape his clutches. With The Collector’s best tracker hot on her heels, Oriana is forced to fight for her freedom while trying to work out why she is so desirable to The Collector.

One problem is that Oriana didn’t expect her heart and head to also be at war. Will she do what’s right for the kingdom, or is she at risk of losing not only the realm but also her heart?

Oriana is about to discover life as a princess is most definitely not always golden…

'Always Golden' is a dark retelling of the French fairy tale, 'The Story of Pretty Goldilocks'.

My thoughts

Thanks to the Author via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 4 star or 8/10. I enjoyed this rather dark retelling of an original French fairy tale, known as The Story of Pretty Goldilocks.

Oriana is the central lead character, she is a princess with a mane of long golden hair. Her hair is her crowning glory. She has had all the privileges that someone of noble birth is born into, all that is about to change as someone has her in his sights.

As The Collector tries his best to get his hands on Oriana, the story takes us on a journey of adventure and magical happenings the outcome of which, you will have to read this for yourself to find out.

Well written I found this an enjoyable yet dark tale which kept me guessing and engrossed from start to finish.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Monk: Captured by Temptation (A Tales of Freya short story) by Sarah Dahl


From Goodreads

Captured monk Alistair is taken to a Viking farm as a slave. In the dead of night, he is disturbed by his new masters’ carnal reunion. The monk turns to fervent prayer, but soon he is interrupted by his alluring pagan mistress: Runa challenges him to break his vows …

Adult-content. All characters are over 18.      

My thoughts

My thanks to the Author via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this very short story in exchange for an honest review. I gave this a 3 stars or 6/10.

Whilst, this is set in Viking times it's quite a contemporary erotic read. The erotic passages are neither too graphic nor gratuitous and help to  move the story along. This is the final short story in the Tales of Freya series (for now). All the stories can currently be read as standalone reads.

To see whether Alistair the Monk succumbs to the temptations of the flesh, then you'll have to read this short story for yourself.

Aglow: A Christmas Fable by Bruce Ashkenas


From Amazon

Aglow is the story of twelve year old, Adam, a Jewish boy, who likes to visit his gramps in The Bronx. His best friend there is Rafe, a Catholic. The difference doesn't matter to the boys, even after they get involved in the biggest miracle to hit the Tri-State area in years. Over the course of a Thanksgiving weekend they help cause and then react to an event which uplifts the neighborhood and the city. Rafe has faith that what they did was right, Adam has faith in Rafe, and they both have faith in the best cleaning product ever made.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Author via TBConFB for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this seasonal themed read a 3.5 stars or 7/10. The story would be a great read for older children, but is also ideal as a short story read for Adults to read alone. It crosses many generations to be fair.

I enjoyed the story that centres around Adam, a young Jewish boy and his best friend Rafe, a young Catholic boy.

They set in motion something that turns into a miracle of sorts, that has far reaching repercussions that neither of them could have believed would happen in their neighbourhood.

Well written this is a lovely tale that was a joy to read.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Current: A Battle of Seduction (Tales of Freya) by Sarah Dahl


From Goodreads

Marked from the latest battle, Aldaith wants to recover by a stream. But instead of finding solitude, he stumbles on the fearless shield maiden Nyssa. The fierce beauty invites Aldaith into the water to engage in a very different kind of battle -- one for which his training leaves him unprepared.     

My thoughts

This is currently a freebie via Amazon and I was more than happy to give a 3 stars or 6/10.

This is the first in a series of short stories, that can be read as standalone reads. However, Aldaith and Nyssa are to return in another short story.

Due to this being a short story, we don't always get enough character development. The attraction between the battle scarred Aldaith and Nyssa soon developed into a sexual one and the two soon become one.

The erotic part is neither too graphic or gratuitous and helps to move the story on. I look forward to reading more in due course.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Dinner at the Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers

From Amazon

Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising.

With time out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

My thoughts

I was given a copy of this to read in exchange for an honest review from the Author via The Book Club on Facebook (one of the best kept secret Book Clubs on Facebook ~ lol).

I gave this a 4 star or 8/10.

This is a genre that I've not read much of before as it's a story that centres around relationships between men. It's a modern style rom-com between men, it also delivers more than that too.
Dan's life is turned upside down when he's fired from his job. Instead of looking for something straight away, he decides to take some time and reflect on his life. At the age of 39, he's single and looking for ... whatever he can get it would seem.

He's a serial dater and user of an online dating website, he's happy to hook up with more than one person at once. He's looking for Mr Right and sadly, he's been wallowing in the shadow of an ex. As memories of the ex come to the front and he appears to be everywhere that Dan is, he has to learn to step out of the shadow and move on, as one never knows when the next love of our life will appear.

Only fate knows this and only fate can set in motion the cogs that need to turn in order for Dan to meet his next love.

Well written, this is a quirky contemporary read. Hugely recommendable this is a great story to escape into.

The Power by Naomi Alderman


From Goodreads

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

My thoughts

I gave this a 3 stars or 6/10.

One of my favourite genres is Dystopian themed stories. I'd heard several good things about this story, so reserved a copy from my local Library.

The premise was an interesting one and in a role reversal women are given a Power that sees them being the dominant sex. In society at the moment men seem to be the dominant sex and have no power as such to wield, it's just the way it's always been. In The Power women are given the ability to channel electricity, which they can use to their own advantage either for the good or the bad.

I have to admit that I got around half way through the story and lost interest in it. It took me a while to go back to it, once I did I read larger chunks and finished it within a couple of days. If I'm honest I think the story was a little on the long side and could easily have been told in less pages.

I enjoyed the writing style and the premise, the execution of the story could have been marginally better. I found it a thought provoking read and feel that it would make a great reading group read.

Due to the nature of some of the story, I feel that it should come with a warning of taboo subject matter.

Friday, 13 October 2017

An American Cage by Ted Galdi


From Goodreads

Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit.

An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn't who he seems.

The second novel by Amazon #1 bestselling author and multi-award winner Ted Galdi, this psychological thriller is packed with suspense, twists, and grit, all while having heart. The story follows its young male protagonist on a journey of self-discovery and redemption as he weaves through a rocky landscape of family issues, guilt, betrayal, and questions about the nature of good and evil.

Along the way, he encounters an eclectic supporting cast, including a renowned psychology professor, a car thief, a young female hitchhiker, the leader of a biker gang, and a small-town Texas policeman with big ambitions.

Featuring vivid descriptions of East Texas's Piney Woods, Austin, and El Paso, a cinematic unfolding of action, and a examination of existential philosophical concepts, An American Cage would be a pleasing read for fans of literary thrillers as well as commercial thrillers.

The book has echoes of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, in addition to the crime fiction of upmarket writers like Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos.    

My thoughts

My thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

I did give this 3 stars or 6/10 initially, after some thought I've changed my rating to 2.5 stars or 5/10.

I so wanted to enjoy this story more than I did. I struggled with it and found that it didn't really keep my attention, at times I found it a chore to pick up. I definitely found the second half better than the first, as I found the pace of the story picked up.

The story centres around three escaped convicts and what happens to them following their escape. Whilst, on the run we find out a lot about them and our attitude towards some of them may change as the story progresses. It just goes to show that you can't believe all the people all of the time.

Whilst, the story isn't an all out and out action one, I found this to be an asset as it gave us a more character driven story and I felt that in the second half we certainly found out quite a lot about certain characters. This helped us to understand certain things better.

Will I read other stories by Ted Galdi? Yes I will, in order to see how he develops as a writer.