Book Review – The Ghost Beside Me by Lee Hall

Book: The Ghost Beside Me (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Lee Hall

The Ghost Beside Me by [Hall, Lee]
Neville has carefully crafted his life to keep social interactions to a minimum. He works as an accounts clerk, leads an introverted life, boards in lodgings where he can very much keep to himself as he desires. His only friend Humphry Hardwick, is very much the opposite. Loud, brash, jolly, outgoing, and always asking if Neville has met that special lady yet. Hardwick is convinced a lady in his life is all Neville needs to turn from solitary loner who hides among numbers, into a social butterfly.

Neville keeps a diary of his wearisome and dreary life. Particularly as his new lodgings seem to become that little bit less wearisome, and certainly a little less dreary. He begins to question if his self enforced life of solitude has sent him on a downward spiral of insanity. Or is something more at play? Surely as a rational, sensible, by the books (literally) man he has to be imagining the odd occurrences, disruptions, and flitting sensations while he tries to sleep. As the disturbances begin to increase and his sanity is pushed to the brink, he has a glorious revelation. 

The Ghost Beside Me is a story that will resonate with most. At its forefront it is a ghost story and a love story. However, deeper than that, it is an examination of self, and how we see ourselves, and portray ourselves to others. How we choose to live in this world. How we choose to live our life, or merely be a passenger to it. The power of love, of connections with others and how self worth determines the life you live. A short read, but deep and powerful.

*I received a beta version of this book for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Open Evening by Lee Hall

Book: Open Evening (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Lee Hall

Open Evening (The Order of the Following Series) by [Hall, Lee]

You find yourself enthralled by the story before you even realise it, sucked right into crazy escapades, drama and suspense – a sure sign of a gripping read!

High school is killer. There are the jocks, the popular pretty girls, the class clown, the bully, the geeks, the total outcasts, where do you fit in? Luke Hartford spends each day skirting the fringes of the high school hierarchy. He just wants to get in, get class done and get by. Odd teachers, jerk classmates, the unattainable girl, and a really weird friend who seems determined to become his best friend, these are all things he can deal with. Then comes the school Open Evening. It sets off a strong sense of deja vu – or is it more than that? The Open Evening swiftly moves from being a regular mundane school event to be endured and suffered through, to a fight for life. We are introduced to a cast of characters, Luke, Buster, Twister. Then come the…..well, what are they exactly? Nothing you want to hang around and say hello to for sure. 

Once the action kicks off it continues until the very end. There are tantalising backstories teased at for some of the characters. There is more going on than we truly understand. But what we do see is our motley crew stepping up to the plate, and shaping up to become just the people needed to try to save the town. The big question is, can they? And can they survive becoming heros??

You find yourself enthralled by the story before you even realise it, sucked right into crazy escapades, into the drama and suspense, and almost casting around for a weapon for self-defense of your own, just in case you need it – a sure sign of a gripping read. Definitely one to add to the ‘to read’ list!

Disclaimer: I purchased this book myself and all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist

Book: Nocturnal Blood (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Villimey Mist

Nocturnal Blood takes a common vampire narrative and turns it on its head.

What do you expect when you read a vampire story? Blood, violence, sex, gore, some more blood for good measure? Mainstream film and tv would also lead us to expect dazzlingly attractive vampires, with equally attractive sidekicks. 

Well, Nocturnal Blood takes this common vampire narrative and turns it on its head. It introduces you to Leia. Pleasant, naive, polite, eager to please, and crippled with OCD – a mental health condition that leads to a teenage life of cruel and heartless bullying. We then meet Sophie. One of the more popular kids in school, she takes it upon herself to befriend Leia. Once Leia gets over her trust issues (is this a prank? Another stunt everyone is pulling on her? Another bully waiting for the right moment to pounce?) they become good friends. But then Sophie vanishes – well moves to Canada, so as good as vanishes! They keep writing letters to one another, but eventually, the letters stop. Leia tries to move on with her life, but some part of her always misses Sophie.

Then one evening walking home from the library Leia is attacked. It could have ended badly, very badly. Yet out of the shadows steps the long-missing Sophie – and instead, it ends brutally badly for Leia’s would-be attacker. Horrified at first, Leia soon reaches out to Sophie, and this sets off a chain of events. This results in a human/vampire road trip to find a place of refuge. Along the way, they find themselves, discover their true friendship, and discover more than they ever bargained for.

As a vampire tale goes this was quite a break from the norm. No love triangles, no angst at unrequited love, no dilemma at should the vampire turn the human. Instead, it brought the realness of being a teenager, struggling with mental health, abuse, bullying, and many more issues. A coming of age friendship story, where one of the friends happens to be a vampire. Where two young teenagers are discovering who they really are, and what lengths they will go to in order to protect one another, and what they have. There was plenty of blood and drama but rooted in a pretty solid back story. The writing was at times a little clunky, but one would put this down to the author not being a native English speaker. It didn’t distract from the story too much. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that left me looking for more!

*I received this book for free as part of the authors’ promotional giveaway, but would happily purchase more from her.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Riders on the Storm – Rob Blackwell

Book:Riders on the Storm (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Rob Blackwell

Could we take a moment for this stunning cover?!

 A book to define a genre!

There is little that Rob Blackwell writes that is not pure excellence and very unique. However when I heard sci-fi western I will admit to a brief raised eyebrow. I am not typically a reader of westerns. If you feel the same let me tell you – this book will convert you. It is a true page turner, I could not put it down until I was finished, and then immediately wanted more.

Set in the year 1883 in the Dakota Territory it is decidedly unsci-fi in many ways. Horses and six shooters are the standard fare. No space blasters, shiny silver space suits and hover cars here. Throw in bandits, stick-em-up bank heists and stagecoach robberies, and it is looking almost decidedly normal. Then comes the twist. The rolling storm clouds, that are squirming, alive with monsters. These are the Vipers and they are impossibly fast, can’t be killed with regular bullets and if they so much as scratch you, well say your goodbyes fast.

Early on in the story we meet Jules Castle – she is a thief, con artist, the daughter of an outlaw and raised among outlaws. She is the best of the best. Whip smart, ruthless and unbeatable with her gun, and with her sister by her side, nothing can stop her, except perhaps the Vipers. She is searching for clues to track down her father, who vanished mysteriously a few years before. However pursued by the U.S army, some of her father’s former posse and not to mention the Vipers how successful can she be?

This book evoked memories of Firefly, but dare I say it, even better?! More Jules Castle please!!

I received this book from the author for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – The Teleporter

Book: The Teleporter available on Amazon*

Author:  Lee Hall

The Teleporter by [Hall, Lee]

Kurt Wiseman is good at one thing – being a drunken layabout. He has a dead end job, no love life, few friends, a mess of an apartment, and in general, life is going nowhere for him. But he has his booze and he seems quite ok with that. Until one day in work he has to actually do some, you know, work. Then things take a turn for the weird. His job is for a mega rich American businessman, who may sound a tad familiar as you read. You may question is he reminding you of one person, or is the entire company a symbol of the corporate, money grabbing epidemic that is slowly destroying our world? But I digress…or do I? Kurt never gave his employers much thought until things got odd. Until a lady got involved. Until a freak accident suddenly turned his life completely upside down. Then it all changed. Kurt Wiseman becomes the epitome of an anti hero. Trying to come to terms with his new talents. Brushes with nakedness requiring an unconventional ‘superhero’ costume. Getting knocked down and not getting back up again. But then, what the hell, getting up again anyway.

In The Teleporter there is much of the world we live in, many reflections of ourselves and society and a much more realistic depiction of a hero becoming story than ever portrayed on the big screen. You will laugh (a lot), cringe, grimace, roll your eyes, and above all, find yourself rooting for the underdog – because after all aren’t we all the underdog?

This book was a free download on Amazon at the time of reviewing, but was not provided for review.

This review is also listed on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads .

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – The Policewoman

Book: The Policewoman available on Amazon.*

Author: Justin Roberts

This story is set some years in the future where narco-terrorism is the global enemy. Drug cartels operate anywhere and everywhere, with seemingly endless influence.  An Irish drug cartel has moved from terrorism, taking their militant training and applied it to controlling large drug manufacturing plants around the world, taking over any they want, and killing anyone who dares interfere with their plans.

Interpol is one such group who dares. They have pulled together a task force of the best of the best, from the UK police force, Gardai in Ireland, through to SAS and then Sarah – an Indonesian policewoman from an elite unit. She is smart, beautiful and extremely kick ass. The Interpol investigation starts out well. Then it gets gritty. There is lots of action, dark humour, gritty fights, tragedy, love, betrayal, and among this all the body counts are ever increasing.

I don’t often read books like this, and being totally honest, the beginning of the book almost put me off. It was slow, and a bit dragged out and I almost gave up. But having been asked to review it, I persevered and I am so glad I did. The book takes off, leaving you not wanting to put it down until the very end. That ending, what can I say. I thought I was gut punched at one part of the story, but I didn’t expect to get hit so hard again! It was a compelling read, that really stayed with me after finishing it. I was given this copy in return for feedback and review, but I can honestly say I recommend reading the book. Stick with the beginning, know it has a purpose, and you will be highly rewarded, and slightly traumatised, but in a good way!

I received this book from the author for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon and  Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Operation Hail Storm – Brett Arquette

Book: Operation Hail Storm, available on Amazon.*

Author: Brett Arquette

“We do science, not science fiction”. A very apt summation of what happens in this book, although some of the science done is so advanced and fantastic, it might seem like science fiction to us mere readers. Then you pause and wonder, is it really so advanced? Is there stuff like this happening? It is very thought provoking.

The book as a whole, is a book of revenge. A wealthy billionaire, Marshall Hail, has lost his family in a terrible way, sets out to kill all who may have been involved in their deaths. The way he goes about this is a fantastical combination of drones, nuclear war ships, rail guns, a staff of ‘kids’ that out excel the greatest minds of MIT – all combined with a passion for pure revenge. The United States government gets involved, but only gets in Hail’s way. He needs them for information, and they need to control him in some way, while maintaining plausible deniability. This is where the CIA agent comes in. She is also out for revenge, but wants to go about it in a slightly different way. There is good character development in this story, with some good humour, and emotion, but it there could have been more. But I am guessing we get to delve more into the characters in the next book in the series.

While the story is interesting I found it started off a little slow for my liking. I was almost skimming the first few chapters waiting for something to happen after the initial piece of action. I knew there was going to be more, there had to be, and was desperately wanting it to happen, but it took its time. When it did all finally start to happen then I was hooked. The details in the scenarios that took place gave them a vibrance and depth of reality, and really upped the tension and drama.  I enjoyed the action, but perhaps some of the characters were a little too stereotypical for my liking, such as the ‘female CIA agent’, and the ‘arrogant CIA man’ etc. I did like the nod to the President Of the United States though – so well done on that Mr. Arquette!

I received a request by the author to read the book and leave a honest review. I enjoyed the read and thank him for the copy – I will be looking out for the next in the series, that is a very good review from me!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review: The Certificate

Book: The Certificate*

Author: Priscilla Masters

Jane Ziegler is a district nurse. Her job is to help those most in need, the sick, the needy, the long term ill. On paper Jane sounds wonderful, going from the GP practice to home care cases to oversee patients. The problem is Jane has spent her whole life getting overlooked. By her family, her daughters barely send a Christmas card. An ex husband who at best tolerated her when they were married. Her colleagues barely notice when she is there or not. And her patients are difficult and abusive.

She passes the time thinking of ways to commit the perfect crime. Then one day it comes to her. Surely it can’t be that simple? She works up the courage and finds that maybe it is. Spurred on by her success she tries again. But then things start to fall apart….

I enjoyed this book, you build no sympathy whatsoever for Jane, unusual for a main character. She is a horrible person, and you don’t want her to succeed. However you keep reading as the suspense is built, will she commit the crime, will she evade suspicion, or capture? There were some great little unexpected twists in the story, that only served to deepen my dislike of Jane and want to see her fail. My only complaint is that the story ended too soon. But it was certainly a gripping and engrossing read!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review: Immortal

Book: Immortal – Curse of the Deathless: Volume 1 (The Immortal Chronicles)*

Author: Derek Edgington

Immortality is a gift – or so you would think. For Asher Hearst, it means in his job as a small time investigator it becomes his main talent, he can take a punch, or a stabbing, and get right back up. He wears his opponents down with his undying nature and his witty banter (or so he likes to think). So when he takes on a job that against all advice he should have simply walked away from, he is going to need all his ‘talents’.

The job brings him into a dalliance with the Inquisition, a jaunt into supernatural packed world of Tír na nÓg, a romance beyond any that he could have ever imagined and more enemies than you could shake a ever healing fist at. With every action seeming to make him more vengeful enemies, will there be a limit to his immortality?

When I started this book I initially thought it was slightly similar to some that I had read before, supernatural detective-esque. I almost dismissed it. Luckily I persisted, because I quickly found myself drawn into the action, and was kept surprised by the constant twists and turns of the story. It was gorey, it was funny, it was entertaining, it kept the pace up and most importantly, it left me hanging and wanting more at the end. This book is volume 1, and my biggest question is – when is volume 2 out?!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Booke Review – One Two Three

Book: One Two Three available on Amazon*

Author: Elodie Nowodazkij

Just last year, Natalya Pushkaya was living her dream. Attending the School of Performing Arts in New York, and determined to become a prima ballerina. Then she lost it all. Her father, her dreams of dancing on stage and she blames herself for it all. She is back home in her home town of New Jersy to recuperate, scared, badly injured with only a slim chance of recovering her dream, but endless determination. But life gets in her way. Her mother, once a prima ballerina, is now an alcoholic, and Natalya spends her time caring for her. But her mother has a terrible secret she has been keeping from her, that drives her even further to drink.

In the meantime Natalya is rebuilding friendships that she let slide when she had no time for anything but dance, and learning to let people in. Then along comes Antonio, charming, sexy, but with problems of his own. His problems come to light just when Natalya’s mothers devastating secret comes out, driving Natalya to drink herself. Can she learn to trust and let people help her before she destroys her life?

This book is not one I tend to gravitate towards. But I found that once I started reading it, I was drawn in. The characters were so real, hurt by life, with everything seeming to break, yet they fought to regain control. When they fell down they picked one another up, the strength of bonds forming forged even stronger by their life situations. Natalya’s struggle to try and keep plates spinning, keep her mother in her job, keep herself in school, cope with the loss of her father and keep on trying to get back to dancing is a heartbreaking one, and seeing her try to do it along even more so. I found myself almost cheering when she started reaching out to people, and when her love interest blossomed cheered even more. She needed love, stability and hope. Ballet previously gave her all of that, and watching her have to find it in other ways was poignant, but beautiful at the same time. A beautiful and moving read.

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on AmazonGoodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!