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lucypireel

Lucy Pireel's All That's Written

All that is written has my attention. I love books, reading and writing them as well as promoting authors and their work.

Review The Beholder: A Maddie Richards Mystery by David Bishop

The Beholder - David      Bishop

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a truly good, surprising police detective, murder story, and with a female heroine too! 

This novel has twists, hints, and solutions that surprise at every turn, and I mean in a very good way. The characters are alive and breathing, easy to relate to, and the baddy …. Well, he’s the biggest surprise, I won’t say anymore about him, but you won’t see that one coming until it is too late, and I guess that will be the case in real life too. 

It freaked me out how detailed this author describes a scene and makes you think it’s a recap of a true story. The research done by Mr. Bishop must have taken a huge amount of time and effort and I don’t mean watching a lot of episodes of police flicks on telly. He’s giving his readers an insight in police matters that feels real and can only come from talking to insiders. Even the details that give us a peek at the mind of the baddy feel ‘right’ if you can say that when talking about heinous crimes and the workings of the criminal mind.

The way he misleads the reader into believing the wrong person is the real killer is superb. I mean, every time you think they’re closing in on the killer and it doesn’t really fit, you never once get the idea it’s contrived. Not before the heroine realises who the killer is, the reader finds out and that is a very nerve-racking few pages to read. Great! 

And then how it all ends, of course the killer come to justice. (How I will not divulge, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but I can tell you it’s a great way to end this book.)

Then there’s the love angle. Throughout the story the man character, Maddie, struggles with issues in her life besides the case. Not much different from what would be the case in real life, because police-officers have a life besides their job and the case at hand. She struggles with that and even though it doesn’t come to a final resolution, I felt things would work out fine for Maddie at the end of the book. A few loose ends, but nothing that detract from this being a great read, because the case is solved and the loose ends are left in a way that you know they will be solved even if we’re not there to read about them.

Review Carniepunk: Parlourtricks by Jennifer Estep

Carniepunk: Parlor Tricks - Jennifer Estep

This short story had all it needs. A full story arc, fully fleshed out characters, and a scene setting to draw you right in from the start to hold you until the final full stop. If this is how this author writes I would certainly want to read more by her.
My gripe with the rest of this book is that it's only teasers/excerpts in this book. To read the full stories you'd have to buy { Carniepunk Paperback } Caine, Rachel ( Author ) Jul-23-2013 Paperback, of which I thought I had. An omission on my part because I failed to read the description properly and just downloaded this book on the recommendation of a friend. She was right, because I loved the story by Jennifer Estep, but had I known the rest was mere excerpts I wouldn't have gotten this one, but gone for the full version of Carniepunk, because the excerpts of the other stories make me think I would love those too.

The Guest by Karen Dales

The Guest - Karen Dales

This short captured me from the start with the scene setting and the way this author knows how to make me almost hear the monks chant. She expertly builds up and foreshadows what is bound to come, but then still surprises with the how and the who.

I loved how she made the Guest real and gave him an unexpected dept. All the other characters, even the ones who have a minor part in the whole, are not just cardboard figures but real and alive. And like I mentioned above the scenes are properly set without becoming an info dump, but rather is very much picture painting.

Yes, a very pleasurable read I would suggest to everyone who likes reading a snippet of buddhist life presented very different from what you would expect. 

Review Her Older Man by Lorraine Sears

Her Older Man - Lorraine Sears

A nice story, but instead of beginning at the start of it the author opted for a short info dump to begin with to bring us up to speed and then rolled out the story. An opportunity missed to turn a nice story into a great story.

I liked the romantic notion and could feel for the main characters, although I must admit the whole swooning over the man and how fantastic he looks was a bit much. However, that might just be me not being the man admiring type of person and having not much patience for women who fall to pieces when their love life isn’t what they wanted it to be.

But having said all that I must admit I liked the read, my only gripe is that it doesn’t start at the beginning.

Review Winter Promises by A.C. James

Winter Promises: An Ever After Christmas Erotica Story - A.C.  James

This short story was although highly erotic, never really satisfying in a way that tickled the reader in me. It had more a feeling of being a chapter from a book than that of a short. There was no real beginning, nor a real end. 

So if you want to read an erotic scene with no real substance this is the—I hesitate to call this a book—thing to reach for. If you expect a well rounded story with a proper arc and characters that have substance look somewhere else.

However, I have to be honest, I did like it. It might not be a literary masterpiece, and have a title that has nothing to do with the content, but it was a nice read never-the-less. 

Review Portals by Maer Wilson

Portals (Book 2 of The Thulukan Chronicles) - Maer Wilson

I love a good paranormal story, and this has all the right ingredients and then some.

I must admit there were some things that could be seen as distracting. There’s a lot of dimple flashing going on, as well as quit a few repetitions as well as lengthy descriptions, but somehow they didn’t diminish my reading pleasure. In fact at more than one time I found myself enjoying the fact that there’s a lot of openly affection between the characters. Which brings us to discussing those characters. Let me tell you there’s nothing wrong with them. They are fully developed, have the ability to make you root for them and even … 

Well, want to yell at them. The main character often has a quirky way of expressing herself, which could be distracting if it wasn’t done in a way that makes it endearing instead. 

What I mean is, that this author has the ability to make you believe these fictional characters in a paranormal novel are real, feeling persons. With lives that matter, encountering events that touch their lives in a very real way.

I love the twists and surprises that are foreshadowed as they should be, but still managed to surprise. 

The way the author has build the worlds, yes worlds, is exactly how it should be done. Enough description to allow you to imagine them and yet leaves enough to that imagination.

To make a long story short, this novel is a keeper. Even though it is the second book in a series and I have not read the first, I could follow the whole and not once missed anything, nor did the author go out of her way to explain things which happened in the first book. It is done in a way that allows to read this book as a stand-alone, which I love! I’m not a fan of serialised novels, but I will most certainly read the first book just because I loved this one so much.

Review Turning by Melinda Chapman

Turning - Melinda Chapman

This 54 pages novella has a very nice story premise, but at times reminded me of I am Legend and World War Z. I guess it’s hard to write a zombie flick that is new and exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it and couldn’t find too much fault in it. Here and there a bit tell instead of show and a bit of an info dump, but not that much that it completely drowned out the story. There were a few inconsistencies and the semi-open end with explanation by the author I could have done without too. But, if you are looking for a quick and easy zombie read, and you’re not too demanding, this is the right choice.

Review Yucatan Dead by DV Berkom

Yucatan Dead: A Kate Jones Thriller (Kate Jones Thriller Series) - D.V. Berkom

This very witty, and skilful written chick-lit, crime, romance novel had me hooked from the start. It not only shows a woman on the run, but one that knows how to capture the reader and pull her (me) into her world where her adventures are very real.

 

This author knows how to use words to create real-life situations, even the ones most of us will never experience. Situations that make us hold our breath, sigh in relief and laugh at the characters as they are very human. 

 

The protagonist has her dark side, as the antagonists have their good sides, although one of them is very easy to dislike. It only shows that DV Berkom is a true artist, she knows how to create characters that make us want to know about their life and adventures. Yes, most believable characters that hold the attention and make us root for them. 

 

None of the dialogue is at any point contrived, it has the right amount of serious, humour, and normal foot-in-it awkwardness. 

The scenery, and narration, is used to show us what our imagination fills in with details. What I mean is that the author gives us enough detail to set the scene, but never goes overboard in descriptions. A perfect balance between description to show, and room for the reader’s imagination.

 

I read this book as if watching an action movie with a great, female lead. There’s a love interest, action, a touch of sadness and lots of joy, even with all the things the main character encounters.

 

All in all a great read!

Review The Crimson and The Frost by James Coletti

The Crimson and the Frost - John         Williams, James Colletti, Kip Ayers

I don not like gooey Christmas stories, and I’m glad to say this is everything but that! Right from the first sentence it grabbed me, hook, line, and sinker. I read it twice with great joy, and have no remarks on it other than it made me laugh, hold my breath in anxiety, and sigh in relief. This book has humour, suspense, moments that instil a sense of urgency, and moments that allow for a breather. All paced expertly, and obviously written by a very skilled author.

The dialogue is great, very realistic and age appropriate. The child talks like how a kid would, while the adults behave accordingly too. The elves? Ha, wonderful, and exactly how I would imagine elves to be. And Santa? Well, he was a surprise, a very welcome one too. 

All the scenes were set properly, while still leaving enough to the imagination of the reader. The characters are all fully developed, and have a growth in them one would expect in a story with this message.

I won’t give away the plot, but if you have a child that’s a bit spoiled, or selfish, read this Christmas story with them and have fun with it. The spirit of Christmas is in this book, and it is wrapped up in a very pleasant way.

Fall Into Love by Serena Akeroyd

Fall Into Love - Serena Akeroyd

Let me start by saying I love a well written piece of ChickLit/erotica. However, the author of this piece tried to achieve this by writing in first person POV. A POV which is difficult enough without a main character that spends the most part of it whining about stuff. If you then throw in the fact that the mc goes around repeating herself and telling us how she feels all the time, it makes for a tiresome read.

Like I said, the main character tells us a lot, where the author could have taken me into her head and make me experience the story through her eyes. Instead there’s filter upon filter, and then there’s the overly long sentences. I would almost say run-on sentences counterbalanced by fragmented sentences, neither a thing that makes for an easy read. To distract even more from the story, there’s numerous inconsistencies and holes, which the author when she probably realised them tried to plug, instead of going back and fix them where they are created. (I hate spoilers, but let me give one example.) When they finally have their bodily encounter, nowhere there’s a mention of applying a condom, yet when finished “his condom is filled with his cum.” I mean, you have to put one on to be able to fill it with your cum, right?

Especially in chicklit/erotica I want the emotions and sexual tension bursting off the pages and experience them with the characters, but in this case it was a case of “yeah, yeah, I know, said and repeated, move on please.” But when she finally moves on, it’s not very tantalising, but rather …. Well, told in a way that didn’t allow for me to be there with the characters. Looking in from the outside isn’t a thing I like when reading chicklit/erotica.

And to make things even worse it all ends in “To be Continued.” There is no end to this book! If there’s anything I hate it is struggling through 49 pages of whining to discover that if I want to know what happens to the girl I have to spend another £2.35 (to buy book two and three) to find out. Why not put it all in one book I wonder?

Maybe I’m an odd ball, or too nit-picky, because this book has a few reviews from people who seem to disagree with me, but seeing as this is my opinion, I would not recommend it, and say it needs work to become what it could have been. 

 

Sheeple by Austin Charles

Sheeple - Austin Charles

I looked forward reading this book, but I when started reading I soon was glad it is only 86 pages. I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be erotic, humour, or horror. Or if it was meant as a spoof.

The horror was B-movie worthy. So bad it was funny, but I’m not sure that was what the author had in mind when writing it. There are a few very well worded, and described gory scenes, but one in particular is diminished by the fact that it’s followed by an inconsistency. 

The erotic elements were very well done I must say, which made me think that this should really be classified as erotica. Then there were the inconsistencies, holes, facts gotten wrong, and continuity issues. At one point the mc left another character in his office (the most northern corner of the house) and the next day she’s supposed to be in the basement, or the mc has sex with another in the house and  another, present in the house, doesn’t even suspect it? 

Then at the end there is an oversight so big that it distracted from what could have been a bit unreal, but good ending. Plus it has all the cliche used in Hollywood horror; car doesn’t start, characters go towards to danger instead of running away, etc.

 

Overall? If I hadn’t been asked to read for review I wouldn’t have finished this book.

Full Marks by Neal James

Full Marks - Neal James

 This is a crime novel and a very good police investigation story. I loved the way the author shows us a couple of murder investigations by using them in an internal affairs inquiry concerning the main character. But it’s not only police work, there’s human interest thrown in the mix, we get to feel for the characters as their lives, loves, and other personal affairs are shown as backdrop to the police work.

The author uses detailed knowledge on a multitude of topics, and incorporates them into the story in a way that gives the whole a ‘real’ feel. But every now and then he does misses the mark a bit. For example when he mentions going to Belgium and visiting Roermond. Which is a city in The Netherlands, close to the Belgium and German border but still a Dutch city. Another thing that tripped me up was the mentioning of Dick Whittington as if everyone is supposed to know who that is. I don’t and I had to google the man to understand the referral to him. Then there was the meerschaum. The what? That’s exactly what I mean, how is the non pipe smoking reader to know that a meerschaum is a pipe? The thing is a crucial instrument to show a character’s mannerism, but only after a few times being mentioned as the meerschaum, the author remembers it might be handy to convey that it is a pipe. 

Apart from these little slip-ups this is a way of showing the life and adventures of a policeman and how things work behind the scenes of the force. I enjoyed the alternating of present time internal affairs investigation, case-notes, and past actual case investigations.

Would I recommend it? If you like watching CSI, inspector Morse, and the likes, you’ll love reading this book.

Haven of Dante by Leonardo Ramirez

Haven of Dante: The Staff of Moshe - Leonardo Ramirez

A great fantasy novel, just a bit too religious for me.

 

After having read this fantasy novel I must say I was pleasantly surprised and annoyed at the same time.

 

Why? Well, the fantasy elements were very well done by this author which made it a great read, but there are some hiccups in names (mixed up at some scenes. Haven becomes Sol, Soledad becomes another name, all of that threw me out of the story). And then there are other continuity issues that were solved by ‘miracles’.

 

I guess that’s where my annoyance comes in play, because the miracles and explanations of certain things lean heavily on biblical references and, as you all might know, I don’t ‘do’ religion, and rarely ever read or enjoy books that are very much based on faith.

 

So, however great the fantasy elements are in Haven of Dante, because of the prominent religious elements this book isn’t one I’d read again.

September Ends - Hunter S. Jones

Have you ever read a book you had to put down, because it affected you too much? Have you ever really felt the story touching something deep within you? Has a book ever made you cry, actually cry, I mean sobbing tears, and a band around your heart wrenching inner pain cry?

This book had that effect on me. I had to wait a few days after finishing September Ends for the fifth time in two weeks because every time I thought about the book I cried and was at a loss for words. I still can’t seem to find the right words to convey how good this book is. How real, how … basal. It’s more than fiction, poetry, or prose, or even literature.

This book is me, it’s you, it is your friend, your enemy. It is humanity shown through words.

 

Right, enough with the excitement. The cold hard facts? Plot, rock solid with well foreshadowed events, and a proper arc. Characters, fully fleshed out with an emotional growth that is utterly real. Scene setting, well researched and realistic. Dialogue, realistic with a natural flow. Sentence structure, very fitted to the part of the book it is used.

There were a few typos, and by a few I mean I found two, but only during the last reading my eyes spotted those.

 

So there you have it. This is a book that either turns me into a sobbing, highly emotional blob of a woman, or a removed, analytic, fact scooper. Would I recommend it? Shoot! Yes!I would even say like Venice it’s something you must have ‘seen’ before you die. 

Aymaran Shadow by Hemanth Gorur

Aymaran Shadow (Eternal Visitation) - Hemanth Gorur

After reading this novel I sat with my laptop on my knees, staring at my notes, contemplating just how to go about reviewing this book. I can tell the author has really tried to write a great novel, but I’m sad to say the often funny choice of words, wonky sentence structure, and simile that were not quite right, distracted from the story rather than captivate me. It is quite obvious English isn’t this author’s first language, mine might not be perfect either, but in a published book I would not have expected this abundance of errors.


My other gripe with this novel is that the plot takes for ever to move along and often actions are bogged down by overly descriptive narration—use of brand names, very flowery language, use of filters, filler words, and tell where show would have been more engaging—or interrupted by to be honest unbelievable dialogue. Also the most obvious things are drawn out for ever, while mysterious things are zooming past.
After the first chapter I was ready to call it quits, since there was nothing in there to get me rooting for the characters since none of them had names other than the captain, the hairy one, the woman, and other descriptive terms rather than names to connect me as the reader with the character. Without names connected to the characters, the resurfacing of them later was hard to ‘get’.

 

However I had to finish his novel to be able to write a well funded review. So, I struggled through all 131 pages (on my ereader this was the longest 131 pages novel I ever read) to be able to tell you that the end was as unsatisfying as the start.

 

(I received a review copy from the author)

A Great Short! Dante's Day Off by S.L. Wallace

Dante's Day Off - S.L. Wallace

This short fell in my lap by pure coincidence, and since it’s only 16 pages on my ereader I just had to dig in. Read it in no time, with great pleasure and with being very annoyed by Dante! Which is a good thing, because it meant the characters were, even in such a short time, well developed. The story captivated me and had a twist and a punch at the end I hadn’t seen coming.

The author shows great insight in human nature and our driving forces. I would certainly read more of S.L. Wallace.

(I haven't received any compensation for this review)