Friday, 30 August 2013

Murder by Moonlight by Vincent Zandri #PI #Mystery

It's back to reviews this week on bookaholics. This time I'm bringing you a cracker of a PI Murder Mystery. There are plenty of bodies and enough blood and gore to keep the most ardent of crime fans happy.

Dick Moonlight is a private eye, with a dodgy past and a bullet lodged in his brain. One which came from a gun where the trigger was pulled by his own hand. Despite this he still makes a living as a detective. In this latest case he is asked to clear a young man who is on death row for killing his father and leaving his mother close to death. The mother believes her son to be innocent and calls on Dick Moonlight for help. Moonlight is a tortured character who has medical problems due to that stubbornly placed bullet. Despite this I found him to be loveable and I just wanted to take care of him. This may be the nurse in me coming out, however, the fact remains he is a very real character. In this book Vincent Zandri has gathered an eclectic group of characters and weaved them together to develop an entertaining story. Some of the characters are truly maniacal.

Zandri has an earthy way of writing which supports the nature of the storyline in every way. There are twists and turns aplenty and I did not guess the ending. Once the perpetrator was revealed I could see the clues were staring me in the face. They are scattered throughout the book and yet done in such a skilful way that does not give the game away.

The only thing I would say about this book is that it pulls no punches when describing the murders. If you are of a nervous disposition or like more gentle crimes then this is probably not the book for you.

This is a well written and entertaining PI Mystery which I would highly recommend. This is the first of Zandri's books I have read. It certainly won't be the last.

That's it for another week. It's the weekend so why not grab this book and start reading. For my US readers I am only allowed to post paperbacks for the US but it is also available in ebook and is much cheaper. See you all again soon on bookaholics.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Writing and Editing - the exciting life of a crime writer

A side step for bookaholics this week as I give you one of my periodic updates on where I am and what I am doing as a writer. 

As a writer I am also a reader (as you know)  and I have been doing a lot of reading recently. As previous blogs suggest this has been an eclectic mix but mainly murder mysteries and thrillers. This has very firmly steeped me in the world of murder. It's probably best not to mess with me as I know many ways of trying to bump you off. The only flaw in my logic here is that the murderer always seems to get caught. On second thoughts maybe you're safe.

The Abbey Book - Angus Archives

I am going to be even more deeply diving into all things murder this evening when I visit the Angus Archives. The secretary of my local writing group has arranged for us to spend the evening delving into the archives. I am of course going to be looking at murder cases both ancient and modern. This should give me plenty ammunition for further books. As I love reading, writing and local history, I am really looking forward to this visit. 

It is the Edinburgh eBook Festival this week and I have been dropping in there periodically to read the blogs. particularly Interesting has been Chris Longmuir's blogs as Crime Writer in Residence. Throughout the festival she has reviewed a number of books in different crime genre's and these have been a fascinating glimpse in to crime writing. 

I am also undertaking a life writing workshop at the festival, which has been excellent. Kathleen Jones (no relative) has been taking participants through different ways in which to write your life story. This has been useful to help me develop different styles of writing. There is a writing exercise every second day and then feedback is given the next day. It is a trifle nerve wracking as snippets of what has been written, with comments, are posted the next day. However, Kathleen has been very kind and I have learnt a lot.

Most of my time recently has seen me, head down at the computer, editing my first novel. This has been hard work but enjoyable. I love words and thinking about how to use them more effectively has been challenging but worthwhile. 

That's it from bookaholics this week and, for the first time, not a book review in sight. However, that will be remedied next time on bookaholics. Until then, pick up a book and get reading. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Submerged by Dani Pettrey - Romantic Suspense

When I started the Bookaholics blog I said I was an eclectic reader and promised a variety of reviews. This has certainly been the case and, to keep things fresh, this week I am bringing you a romantic suspense.

Now for an admission, it has been some time since I have a read a romantic suspense novel. However, yesterday I grabbed this one from the shelf and I am jolly glad I did. This is the first book in the Alaskan Courage Series and already I am looking forward to reading the next one. I am more a mystery person than the romance part but I have to admit both parts of the story had me hooked, They blended well and the romance part did not overwhelm the mystery as can often happen. Bailey Craig has returned to Alaska in order to deal with her deceased Aunt's estate. Having left there in disgrace many years before she is not ready to return or give the rumour mills anything to talk about. However, rather than slipping in quietly and leaving, she finds herself knee deep in solving several murders which have happened since she arrived. Cole McKenna is still in love with Bailey and wants to protect her at all costs. Together they face a large number of obstacles, both to solving the mystery, and to finding love.

Bailey is a well written character with a large degree of vulnerability. This makes her seem more real, and will strike a chord in many readers. Cole is described well and I found myself drawn to him. All the other characters are well developed but there is enough left out about them that they could be the main characters in future books. This made me want to read the next book immediately as soon as I had finished this one. Alaska is vividly described, so much so, I could actually picture myself in the setting.

This is a Christian book so there are Christian themes running trough the book. However, this is well integrated and does not over power the story. I believe this book could be enjoyed by Christians and Non Christians alike.

Submerged has a well developed plot and there are enough twists and turns to keep you both reading and guessing. This reader certainly did not want to put it down. I would highly recommend it.

That's it from bookaholics. I think I am going to treat myself to book 2 in the series and see what happens next. In the words from a well known movie "I will be Back." Until then, keep reading.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Resurrect by David E. Stevens - Top Notch Apocalyptic Thriller

Yet again I am stepping completely out of my comfort zone with regards to my reading. All through this book I couldn't make up my mind what genre this book belonged to, but I still couldn't put it down. 
In reality I am struggling with what to say about this book, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because it was so good. And so different. I also don't want to give the game away. 

From the back of the book, Josh Logan "dies" in a plane crash. Dead to everyone he know's that is. In his new life he has to infiltrate military agencies and deal with a possible catastrophic disaster. The book is well written and Josh's feelings well handled. The reader is swept along in a whistle stop ride, never knowing what will happen next. There is a lot of science in this book but it is well handled and explained so that the reader is not left puzzled. is this book science Fiction? is it Government Agencies gone mad? Is it spiritual? You will need to read it and make up your own mind. This is not a cop out on my part but an attempt not to ruin the plot.

This is the first in a trilogy and my only disappointment is that of August 2013 book two is not available. I will be looking for it as I cannot wait to know what happens next. This is a great book which I would highly recommend. 

That's it for this week my Bookaholic friends. I'm off to find another book to read so tune in next time to find out what it is. Until then find a good book and keep reading

Monday, 12 August 2013

Mystery Crossed with Horror - A great combination

Yet again I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to reading a book and as you will find out from my review I am very thankful I did.

Todays offering is the most unusual crime book I have ever read and yet I really enjoyed it. It is a PI Mystery crossed with a zombie horror. Zombie horror books are definitely not my cup of Rosie Lee, as regular readers of this blog will know, but this book manages to blend both in a highly entertaining way. The main focus is on the mystery. There is a killer wandering around Florida who is cutting off the tops of people's skulls, scooping out the brains, and gluing back the skull. In comes disgraced PI Nicholas Colt who is in Florida on a quite unrelated matter. Needless to say the two cases cross and, before you can say Zombie, Nick is knee deep in trouble, with a healthy dose of blood, guts and gore thrown in.

The characters in this book are larger than life but still highly believable. I love Nick and was rooting for him all the way. It's a shame he's married really. (Get a grip Wendy, he's a fictional character). This is the second in a series but it can be read as a standalone. There is enough of a back story included that you get a good idea of what went on in book one. However, if you did want to read both books then read book one first. You pretty much know what happens in book one after reading this one. The back story is good in that it enlightens the reader without becoming boring.

There are a surprising amount of twists and turns in this book and this kept me reading. It rattles along at a fair pace and never slows down. This is not a book for the faint hearted as there are some moments of quite graphic violence. There is also one instance of sex but this fits in well and is there for a very good reason. It completely adds to the story.

The ending when it came took me completely by surprise as I hadn't guessed the identity of the killer at all. An excellent book which I would highly recommend.

For my US readers if you click on the link it will take you to the paperback as I am not allowed to link US kindle books. From there you can click on the kindle version which is much cheaper.

That's it from Bookahoics today. Remember, even in the event of a zombie apocalypse, keep calm and keep reading.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Thrills, Spills and Murder Most Foul

Today in Bookaholics I am bringing you two books rather than my usual one. I enjoyed them both equally and couldn't make up my mind which to choose to blog about first so you are getting a double portion.

Deliver us from Evil by David Baldacci

It has been some time since I have read a Baldacci Book and I had forgotten just how good he can be. Shaw is back in this book and this time is hunting down Evan Waller who has links to Islamic Terrorism. He is selling them nuclear warheads so Shaw has been tasked with taking him out. However, all is never easy in Shaw's world. There is another group after Waller for completely different reasons and they are equally intent on bringing him down. There are two stories running through this book but Baldacci weaves them together like the master story teller he is. The two groups come up against each other and this causes increasing tension. There is something for everyone in this book and it keeps you guessing throughout. The ending is tense and explosive and keeps you guessing. The characters in this book are expertly drawn and each of them seems real. So much so that by the end of the book I felt like I knew them.

Although this is the second book in a series, it can be read as a standalone. There is just enough of the backstory included that it informs, without turning off those who have read the first book. This is a first class, fast paced thriller and I would highly recommend it as I would all David Baldacci's books.

Ripper Hunter: Abberline and the Whitechapel Murders

My second offering is as good as the first but in a completely different way. Books about Jack the Ripper are as easily found as whore's in a brothel. However, this one is lifted out of the humdrum by looking at things from a different perspective.

This is a biography of Detective Inspector Frederick Abberline who was in charge of the ripper investigation. The book doesn't just focus on the Ripper investigation but gives a full accounting of Abberline's life and work. Not only is this a biography but also an interesting snapshot of life in London in the 1800's. The book is full of interesting facts which kept me reading. Despite Abberline having tried to keep his life private the author has done a good job of unearthing facts about him. He then draws these together into one very interesting read.

The author has a nice writing style which prevents this book from being stuffy and means it is easy to read. If you would like to see the Ripper murders from a different perspective then I am sure you would enjoy this book. Just remember the Ripper murders are not the whole focus of the book.

As a note to my US readers. I have provided links to the paperbacks of these books. However, they are available in kindle version at a much cheaper price. As I am in the UK I cannot post Amazon US Kindle books.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. See you very soon on Bookaholics. So, until then, find a good book and keep reading.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Business of Being Social by Michelle Carvill and David Taylor

I use a lot of different social media sites regularly and would consider myself to be particularly au fait with their use. However, this book has taught me a lot of important information that I didn't know. I sat down with the idea of flicking through it and getting a general idea of what it was all about. I then found several hours later that I had read it cover to cover. There is so much advice, and so many tips, in this book I am finding it difficult to know where to start with reviewing it.

It starts with a general overview of social media and social media marketing. I found the section on the demographics of the use of different sites particularly enlightening. This includes the age groups of the people who use these sites which surprised me ins most cases. It then goes on to an in depth exploration of four of these sites - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube.

The book takes you through the basics of these and then proceeds to more in depth use of the sites and how they can be used effectively in business marketing. The authors use a number of case studies to illustrate the points which they are making. They also point you towards businesses which have used these sites in innovative ways. I particularly liked the section on how to set up an effective Facebook Page and how to manage it to drive traffic and provide interesting content to your fans. The section on YouTube marketing was also enlightening.

Sections of the book include:
  • The use of social media 
  • Effective blogging
  • The importance of interesting content 
  • Twitter 
  • Facebook 
  • YouTube 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Listening and analysis 
There is a real focus on listening and analysis and engaging with your customers in meaningful ways. A number of case sties demonstrate ways in which this has been done well by companies. This serves to maintain a real human feel to the book. The whole emphasis is on reaching the cutover as a person rather than merely selling.

The book also discusses a number of other social networking sites albeit briefly. These are Google+, Tumblr, MySpace, Twitter, Foursquare and Flickr.

All in all this has to be one of the best social media books I have ever read, if not the best. As a writer I am also a small business and this has certainly given me numerous ideas and ways in which I can use social media to not only my, but also my readers, advantage. If you buy only one book on Social Media for Business then this should be the one.

Other blog posts which cover social media are:
Social Media Just for Writers

The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer

Are we Influential

Links to the paperback versions of the book are on the right hand side of this blog. This is a departure from my usual ebook links but I feel this is a book which should be kept by your side and used over and over. It lends itself to print rather than ebook. However, the links will take you to the amazon page and you can click on ebook if you would prefer it in this medium. Bookaholics will be back soon with another great review. Until then, as always, keep on reading.

Friday, 2 August 2013

It Happens in the Dark by Carol O'Connell #murdermystery #Suspense

I know I usually start with the links to buy the book but I am now placing the proper Amazon links on the side of the blog. This should make it easier and clearer.

I love being a writer of murder mysteries. It means I can read books in this genre and it is classed as research. What the heck, reading any book can be classed as research for a writer. So I have been topping up my reading addiction with the latest Carol O'Connell book.

I love Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory Books and this one is as good as, if not better than, all the rest. Kathy Mallory is a detective with no feelings and a myriad of inner demons. These are so deep seated it makes your average inner demon look all pink and fluffy in comparison. This makes Mallory a complex character. I have to admit that she grows on you throughout the series and she shows flashes of being almost human in this one. There are a number of strands to the book, but the author skilfully weaves then into one tense whole. The action mainly takes place in a theatre which one would think would limit the drama. However, this is not the case. The lives of the actors and their characters are so interspersed it is difficult to tell fact from fantasy. This makes for interesting reading and so many twists and turns it made me feel dizzy. The theatre itself also provides a sinister backdrop to the story. Mallory is no ordinary cop and the normal rules of investigation do not seem to apply to her. She breaks the rules at any given moment and will do whatever it takes to solve the case. I think this adds a certain something to the whole proceedings as you never know what she is going to do next.

Would I recommend this book? Yes definitely. However, it may be worth reading some of the previous books in the series in order to get the full measure of mallory's character.

This book will not be released until 06 August 2013. It is well worth setting the date and downloading as this book is one of the most gripping in a long time.

I was given a copy of this book by the Publishers for review purposes. I was not expected to provide a positive review and this review is fair based on my reading and enjoyment of the book.

I am now off to do some more writing and then to settle down with another great murder mystery. See you back here soon for another review.