Sunday, 29 January 2012

Video Vixen by Elaine Raco Chase

This is the story of Vikki Kirkland who plays Vixen Mallory on top rated daytime soap Always Tomorrow. Daniel Falkner is the investigative journalist sent to do an in depth article on the show. He discovers that Vixen Mallory is far more of an enigma than he first realised and falls in love along the way.

This was another fantastic story by this author. This will be the third or fourth book of hers that I have read and they just keep getting better. Vikki tries to keep Daniel at arms length by vamping it up as Vixen, she won't allow him to get close because of a secret in her past. All this does is intrigue him and strengthens the chase! What she didn't anticipate was falling in love with him. This was a lovely well written love story. The teasing back and forths between Vikki/Vixen and Daniel had me yelling 'Get on with it!'. But the slow build up made the final get together all the more poignant and believable. This seems to be the authors style, slow build up and a heartstopping finale. I love it!

If you like this author, this is a must. If you haven't read any before - give it a go, you will be richly rewarded.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Stroganov by Ty Hutchinson

This is book two of the Darby Stansfield thrillers and while there is some mention to book one, it is by no means necessary to read it. This works as a standalone book quite well. Having said that, you would be missing a treat but that's in another review! This time around Darby is rescuing kidnapped Russian ministers daughters, fleeing from hired assassins, working with the Russian Mafia and still trying to kickstart his lovelife.

This was fantastic and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Chop Suey wasn't a fluke. It was fast paced with short, punchy chapters that dragged me under and held me there breathless until the conclusion of the book. Along for the ride again were Tav - Darby's long suffering best friend and Harold - Darby's uber-nemesis bent on getting him fired from work. This time Darby is selling to the Russian Mafia and that lands him in a whole new bunch of trouble! As usual he is searching for the perfect girl but again it all goes wrong. All this to a backdrop of simultaneous action and humour.

This is a must read if you have read Chop Suey and a highly recommended if you haven't. A fast paced funny thriller - can't wait for book three!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Just a Nice Guy by Phil Torcivia

This is essentially a collection of a years worth of blog posts on love, sex and dating. They follow the authors trial and tribulations of trying to kick start his love life but with the dreaded S-E-X always getting in the way.

This was very funny. The author pokes fun at the dating game whilst laying bare his own shortcomings. He tells us what goes on in both women and mens heads and lets us in on the secrets of what we REALLY mean when we say something. I enjoyed this. I laughed out loud in places and had great fun with my partner doing the little quizzes. Although sex was mentioned, it was all in context. The dating game has never made me laugh so much!

I recommend this as a great giggle and an insight into how men and women think.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review.

The Other Side of Dead by Ian Woodhead

This is an anthology of 7 of Ian's short stories. They have been rewritten, dusted up and tweaked in some places. Each one deals with a different aspect of death and whether there is anything in the beyond.

I enjoyed these tales. Having read them before it was nice to see that they had been tweaked. Bits had been added to some, and others were just smartened up. I loved them all but Rotating Meat and Very Dead Dolls have to be my favourite for the sheer malevolence of them! Delicious fun.

I recommend these as a way to pass time on the bus or a train journey. Oh, but don't read them at night on your own!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Darkness Falls by Allan Leverone

This is the story of Tyler Beckman. He is returning to his childhood home 18 years after the horrific slaughter of his family to try and rekindle his writing career. He rents out the house own by the man who massacred his family in an effort to exorcise his demons. But is there more to the house than meets the eye?

This is an exceptionally well crafted old fashioned horror story. It is a twist on the original haunted house tale. Tyler goes back to his childhood home of Darkness Falls to write his book and get some closure on the death of his family. His pain at that loss was really poignant. He meets up with his ex high school love and they try to rekindle things, as he descends into a sort of madness it all goes downhill. I was taken on a wild ride from page one and dropped a gibbering wreck at the end. This is the second book I have read from this author and it certainly didn't disappoint.

I totally recommend this if you like an old fashioned horror story that plays on the psychological scare rather than out and out gore.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Special Delivery by Elaine Raco Chase

This is the story of Roxanne who is the successful boss of a greetings-gram company. As a result of one of her staff breaking an ankle, she finds herself filling in and delivering a belly-gram to the Vice President of a prestigious bank. Due to a blizzard she finds herself stuck in the bank with only him for company all over New Years...........

This was a super little romance with just a wee bit of heat thrown in. I loved the slow burn of the relationship between Roxanne and Bram. The bickering and sparring back and forth made me laugh out loud in places. Then Roxanne's succumbing to her feelings in the end was just wonderful. It was all told very skillfully by the author. The characters were solid and believable and the pace of the story was just right.

In short a great love story, set in the dead of winter, to warm the cockles of any readers heart!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Pefect Plan by Ty Hutchinson

This is a short story about The Robber and The Babe who concoct the perfect plan to rob a bank to feed their habits. It all goes a bit wrong and they end up having to take hostages. But does someone else have a hidden agenda?

This is a very clever short story. It starts off innocently(!) enough with a sort of routine bank job. Then things start to unravel.... Good characters, good lead in and then a sock in the chops of a twist ending that I defy anyone to see coming!

A very good thriller short to fill a lunchtime or a long journey.

Chop Suey by Ty Hutchinson

This is the story of Darby Stansfield - a man on commission at a telecom company. He hasn't been bringing in much custom lately so he is given six months to shape up or ship out. He hits on the perfect idea for bringing in those big sales, sell to organised crime gangs, namely the Triads. It all goes well until he meets and falls in love with an Inspector in the Hong Kong police who is investigating the Triad gangs, falls foul of a serial killer and winds up in the middle of a gang war.

This was fantastic! I cannot sing its praises loud enough. How on earth Ty managed to pull off humour, Triads and a serial killer all in the same story I have no idea, but it worked. Darby is the loveable hero bumbling from one disaster to the next but somehow surviving by the skin of his teeth each time. He drags his best friend Tav into his schemes and somewhat reluctantly Tav goes along with them - despite knowing how it will usually pan out! The story was told from two different view points, first person and third person but never once was I confused. It felt rather like I was watching events unfold that Darby wasn't aware of and more than once I wanted to slap him! The story itself belted along and had me from page one and didn't put me down until the climactic ending.

A great funny, laugh out loud thriller with a serious side. Read it, you won't regret it. I am looking forward to more of the authors work now.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

To Sleep Gently - Trent Zelazny

This is the story of Jack. A basically good guy who got put away for 5 years after an armed robbery. He bides his time in jail, reading and deciding on going straight. On coming out however Fate has other ideas. He is put in the path of an old friend who persuades him to do one last job. He agrees, and via a love triangle and meeting up with an old school friend the job begins....

This started off very slowly, almost to the point of me giving up but being the tenacious type of person I am, I stuck with it. I am glad I did because about a third of the way through it grew wings and flew along. The development of Sandra and Jacks relationship was quite sweet, with them keep meeting by chance and then losing touch again. His regret at having to do the job, since he met her was tangible. The meeting with Carla, and her interference in his relationship with Sandra, and regret because his heart was with Sandra was real. Once the job starts that was when everything started to go a bit awry. The action from that point on was unrelenting and I found it really hard to put the book down. The ending was explosive and very exciting!

A good thriller that I recommend for readers who like a slow build up and an explosive ending!

This review was originally written for the TBR Pile.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Bloodrush by Bryan Smith

This is the story of David. He wakes up to a scene of slaughter. Body parts and blood are everywhere. his girlfriend and her family have been massacred and he has no recollection of how he got there or what happened.... Slowly things come back to him and he realizes he has become a ferocious killer, a vampire. How did he get to this place in his life?

If you have read Bryan Smith before then this story will come as no surprise. If you like your horror on the dark side and unrelenting and you haven't read any of his books before you are in for a treat. This is vintage Mr Smith, lots of shock, thrills, gore and blood. I could not put the book down and read it in a couple of hours. From the moment David woke up to the slaughter, to the end paragraph I was hooked. His transformation from mild mannered man to vampire and the changes that came with it were stark and gutwrenchingly described. The ending seemed to be left open for more?

In short this is a must, for Bryan Smith fans and fans of graphic horror alike.

The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff

This is the story of Anna. She begins to dream about a Columbine type disaster at her High School. Before too long she realizes that others in her school are having the same dream. She also realizes she can influence the dreams. If she can influence the dreams can she stop the disaster from happening?

This is billed as a YA story but I enjoyed it despite the fact that I am far older than that! I loved the idea of lucid dreaming and the paranormal spin on the whole thing. Anna was a strong heroine, suddenly finding herself having to deal with far more than the usual teenage angst. It can't be easy having the fate of so many people on your shoulders! Her supporting cast were believable and real. The story had a good pace to it, never flagging. The twist at the end blew me away. It wasd a clever way to end the story and I certainly never saw it coming!

A great paranormal thriller for young adults and upwards. I urge you to give it a try.

I received a complimentary of this book in order to review.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Purr by Elizabeth Black

This is a reworking of the Puss in Boots legend. Muca is 'Puss in Boots'. She is a magical cat that can transform into a sexy redhead dressed in nothing but thigh high boots. She promises some villagers that her master (a poor cobbler who she pretends is the Marquis of Carabas) will save them from a terrible Ogre.

This was certainly a very naughty take on the Puss in Boots legend. Muca makes many promises around the village and then goes to the local hostelry where she transforms into a woman. Once there she meets a nursing mother (who she had seen on the road earlier) and her lover. From there it gets very hot and steamy! The story was quite faithful to the legend up until the sex scenes, which were tastefully done and quite hot.

Another nice little short from this author, I am hoping to read more from her!

Feral Heat by Elizabeth Black

This is the story of Amelia, who, bullied by her ex-husband and denied child support and maintenance, decides to take in a lodger. This comes in the form of Grant, a workmate. With Grant comes his lover Sam. Amelia starts to fall for Grant, and he and Sam show just how loving they can be, but they have a terrible secret.........

This is the first time I have read a m/m - menage story and it certainly opened my eyes. There was plenty of action, steamy action at that! Amelia's blossoming relationship with the two boys was tender and the sex was hot. There is definitely something for everyone, m/m, menage, bondage, and lots more besides! And if that wasn't enough to keep readers interested, once the secret is revealed the steaminess gets ramped up another level.

A nice erotic short that should appeal to all tastes. I shall be looking out for more of this authors works.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Nightmare by Stephen Leather

This is the story of Jack Nightingale, a private detective haunted by events that happened two years ago when he was still a policeman. As a police negotiator he was called out to try and stop a nine year old from jumping off a balcony. She was being abused by her father and her mother knew but did nothing to stop it. She jumped and now two years later he thinks she is trying to contact him from the beyond....

This is the third Jack Nightingale story, and it follows on from the first two. I think you would need to read the first two as this relies heavily on events from previous stories. That being said this was a very cleverly written paranormal thriller. There were elements of devil worship, black magic and spiritualism all set to the backdrop of Jack trying to solve a murder. I loved this, it has to be said. It was fast paced and hard to put down. The characters were well rounded and totally believable. The author had clearly done his homework with regards to the Satanism aspects of the story and it showed. There were a few twists and turns on the way to a good ending.

All in all a very good thriller that I urge readers to try along with Nightfall and Midnight, books one and two in a very taut and thrilling trilogy.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone

This is the story of an ordinary man (Bill) foiling the latest kidnapping attempt by the 'I-90 Killer'. That simple heroic act set in motion a chain of events that no one could have foreseen. Now Bill is the victim – his daughter has been kidnapped by the I-90 Killer. He will stop at nothing to get her back, even going over the FBI Agent (Angie) assigned to the case.

This was utterly amazing! It grabbed me by the scruff of the neck from the beginning and would not let go until the very end. The action was unrelenting and took my breath away in places. I identified with Bill, being a parent myself, I would have done exactly the same in his position and not thought twice about it. The story rocketed along and at about the halfway point started to take a very sinister direction, which then set the reader up for the shocking and climactic ending. There were a few twists and turns on the way to that ending – one of which was totally unexpected. In short this is a clever and suspenseful thriller and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

This review was originally written for the TBR Pile.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Fezariu's Epiphany by David Brown

This is the story of Fezariu, a young man born to a prostitute - who believes his mother died when he was 12. When his beloved stepfather is killed, he finds out that his mother is still alive and working in a famous brothel. After her rejection of him he goes and joins the Merelax Mercenaries. He rises through the ranks until he takes an assignment that brings him back to his old home town. There he takes stock of his life and finds out the truth about why his mother rejected him. on learning this he decides to exact a terrible revenge.

I started this with a little trepidation as I am not a gigantic fan of fantasy novels. I am so glad I did though - I was sucked in straight away. It wasn't overly 'fantastical' but there were enough different races and worlds, all beautifully described, to keep me interested. I had no trouble picturing any of the descriptions. Poor Fezariu has seen so much sadness in his short life that he thinks a mercenary life is best for him as he cannot get close to anyone there. he does however become friends with three other recruits. The story is told mostly from Fezariu's point of view but occasionally changes as the story dictates, for example at his birth and in his letters to his stepsister. This was a good idea as it kept the story fresh. The ending was fantastic, and I had a tear in my eye.

I have nothing but praise for this, and I hope the author has more to come.