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A bit of a disappointment for a fantasy novel as part of a trilogy

Geomancer - Ian Irvine

 

I was hoping for better than this. This is the first part of a trilogy which takes place in a world relying on "fields" and crystals to fight against monsters (the lyrinx). Tiann, an artisan, is the main character and she gets involved in all sorts of intrigue, along with other major characters, Nish and Irisis. It's over 600 pages of fighting, lust, jealousy, mystical forces, monsters and betrayal. The characters are certainly well-fleshed-out and the story is quite intriguing but it's long, complicated with too much description and a little too much horror for my liking.

Stephanie Plum havoc again, working for Ranger - hectic and fun

Finger Lickin' Fifteen  - Janet Evanovich

 

 

Not very different from all other Stephanie Plum novels, this one has her working for Ranger as he has business problems. There’s also Lula in a lot of trouble. The book has a lot of fires and destroyed cars and, to be honest, it’s surprising that there’s not more bodies and bloodshed. It’s lightweight and entertaining stuff.

Highly enjoyable urban fantasy

Sixty-One Nails - Mike Shevdon

 

Niall, the central character, finds himself embroiled in a Fee conflict and meets all sorts of supernatural characters, both good and nasty. The whole story takes place mainly in London as Niall discovers much about himself. Each chapter ends on a bit of a cliffhanger which enables the reader to get really involved in the plot. The characters are generally well-developed and I can recommend the book to all lovers of fantasy - there are other volumes after this but it is self-contained.

A family "saga" from the Spanish Civil War to post-Pinochet Chile - well-written stuff

A Long Petal of the Sea - Isabel Allende

This novel by Isabel Allende, based on a true story and true events, tells us about Victor, a medical student in Republican Spain of the 1930s, as he lives through - and survives - the Spanish Civil War, exile to Chile, the Pinochet regime, more exile and eventual return to his homeland. Along the way, we encounter members of his family, friends and political opponents as well as the poet, Pablo Neruda. His life is a life of adventure, degradation and love. Characters are interesting and well-developed and the whole story, although inevitably depressing in places, is important and engrossing. Recommended, especially to admirers of Isabel Allende. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Silly but fun supernatural thriller from Janet Evanovich

Wicked Appetite - Janet Evanovich

 

 

 Lizzie bakes cupcakes in Salem and gets involved in a search for components of a supernatural stone with Diesel who has interesting abilities. Like the Stephanie Plum books, there’s a lot of sexual tension, descriptions of clothes, humour and generally a light touch. It’s a quick and easy read - it took me one day. Relatively fun, fans of the author will probably enjoy it although I prefer the Plum books.

Stephanie Plum wrecks more stuff while getting involved in criminal activities

Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich

 

 

Another Stephanie Plum novel sees her usual unintentional wrecking of cars, buildings etc.. as she gets involved in all sorts of unlawful shenanigans, along with the usual assortment of characters: Moretti, Ranger, Lula, Grandma Mazur and so on. It’s light-hearted stuff and an easy read, fitting in with the Stephanie Plum mythology.

Linwood Barclay thriller about Zack Walker - quite fun and reasonably interesting

Bad Guys - Linwood Barclay

 

 

Zack Walker is a writer/journalist getting involved with a private detective in observing high-end clothing thefts. However he becomes entangled in a web of other crimes and events which bring his family in and which he eventually helps to resolve. The characters are well-defined and drive the book and Zack comes over as slightly less annoying than he did in the first book in the series. It's quite entertaining, engaging and worth a look if you want a light thriller.

Dated and wordy fantasy novel from the ‘70s - hard work

Lord Foul's Bane - Stephen R. Donaldson

 

 

This first part of the Thomas Covenant trilogy is tough going. Our main character, Thomas, suffers from leprosy in our world in the 1970s. He is transported to a fantasy world of magic and unusual creatures where he is revered as a possible saviour in a struggle against Lord Foul. Over 500 pages long, the novel takes us on two long journeys, greatly embellished and wordy. It’s not an easy read and I’m not convinced that it’s worth reading the next two volumes as it’s not particularly engaging.

Fairly ordinary cosy crime tale set in the 1950s

Dover One: A Mystery - Joyce Porter This detective novel deals with the disappearance of a young lady from an estate in the 1950s. Inspector Dover and his sergeant investigate and solve the crime, discovering all sorts of skullduggery amongst the residents. The characters are a bit stereotypical and the plot moves along slowly but comfortably. The general effect is of a reasonable detective story but it’s nothing special. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The final volume and it’s quite entertaining- and tragic

Chew Volume 12 - John Layman

With a definitive finality to it, this comic series’ final volume has all the main characters and a fair amount of plot, moving along at a decent pace and proving to be entertaining. The artwork is relatively basic and colourful. I’m no great fan of this series but I enjoyed this book.

Reasonably good police procedural about murder and interesting relationships

Gently With the Ladies - Alan Hunter

This is the third Gently that I’ve read and the best so far (not difficult). George Gently investigates a murder when the prime suspect comes to see him, proclaiming his innocence. As the title indicates, nearly all the main characters are women and none of them are particularly trustworthy. The story is short and quite engaging but the plot is slightly more convoluted than necessary.

Very satisfying last part to this four-part fantasy series

The Broken Isles - Mark Charan Newton

 

 

This fantasy novel brings this series to a close as Brynd, Eir, Rika, Randur, Artemisia , Fulcrom and Lan find themselves fighting for survival in a variety of ways in Villiren and thereabouts. The plot thickens considerably as new interesting characters are introduced, all with an important part to play. There's plenty of action, a high body count, betrayal and a fair amount of plot twists to enthral the reader. I enjoyed this a lot but it does not stand alone so it's worth the three other volumes of the series beforehand.

Kung-fu Chinese fantasy novel - not for everyone

A Hero Born - Anna Holmwood, Jin Yong

 

 

This is the first of twelve volumes in this fantasy Kung Fu series by a celebrated Chinese author, Jin Yong.  This novel centres around two sons of martial art heroes and their fate. Guo encounters a variety of martial art experts and the text is full of fights and Kung fu moves. There’s some historical context but the whole experience is long and not particularly engaging, unless you’re a fan of that sort of thing. The fact that I found this easy to put down says a lot. I completed it, hoping for a bit more inspiration but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Norwegian noir detective novel - interesting and complicated

The Cabin - Jorn Lier Horst

 

 

Wisting is a highly placed police officer, asked to investigate the disappearance of a young man several years earlier as well as the discovery of several cardboard boxes at the cabin of a recently deceased politician as both take place in the same vicinity. He gradually gathers together a team of investigators and together the truth eventually comes out. The main protagonists are not particularly developed much and the plot centres around their work and enquiries. It lacks emotional involvement until the denouement but works well as a police procedural with a political slant. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Another great action-packed adventure thriller about Lori Anderson.

Deep Dirty Truth - Steph Broadribb

 

 

Following on from the first two thrillers about this bounty hunter, her daughter and JT, this novel has the now-becoming usual action-filled plot about the Miami Mob, betrayal, a hefty body count and a lot more besides. Again Lori doesn’t know who to trust but extricates herself from danger situations but not without difficulties. It’s a “fun” yarn and enjoyable but it’s probably worth reading the first two books beforehand. Recommended to anyone who enjoys an involved thrill ride. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Brunetti takes on corruption and murder - another successful novel.

Beastly Things - Donna Leon

 

Inspector Brunetti, Venice's finest, has another murder to solve and this one involves the meat-processing industry. The usual characters appear and there's a lot of talk about the worsening conditions in Venice due to modernisation and tourism. Like other Brunetti novels, this one is an easy read and enjoyable in many ways, especially if you know Venice.