Friday Face-Off – 18th August 2017

Friday Face-Off – 18th August 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring food: “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”

I’ve gone for one of my favourite foods for this theme – chocolate. More precisely, Joanne Harris’ Chocolat.

Cover A:

food1

Cover B:

food2

Cover C:

food3

Cover D:

food4

Cover E:

food5

Cover F:

food6

Cover G:

food7

And the winner is… A DRAW!

Covers A and F are my winners this week! I liked their simplicity. There is colour in the background, though somewhat subtle, and although there are things going on around the covers, the focus in both is that nest with the trio of shiny gold-wrapped chocolate eggs.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring an insect: “If I be waspish, best beware my sting.”

Friday Face-Off – 11th August 2017

Friday Face-Off – 11th August 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a soldier: “No soldier outlives a thousand chances.”

This week I found Jaroslav Hasek’s The Good Soldier.

Cover A:

soldier1

Cover B:

soldier2

Cover C:

soldier3

Cover D:

soldier4

Cover E:

soldier5

Cover F:

soldier6

Cover G:

soldier7

Cover H:

soldier8

Cover I:

soldier9

And the winner is… COVER B!

Most of these covers are very reminiscent of the First and Second World War propaganda material that sprang up all over Europe, which drew me to them all. But B possessed a little something else for me. For some reason it reminded me of old cartoons I vaguely remember such as Mr Benn!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring food: “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”

Red Sun Over Mexico by H. Paul Doucette

Red Sun Over Mexico by H. Paul Doucette

Spring 1942 Washington, DC. The country is recovering from the shock of Pearl Harbour. Everywhere, everyone is ramping up for the coming conflict. Sergeant Paul Jarvis, newly married and returned from his last assignment in Panama, has been informed that he and the rest of CIC has been assigned to California where they will be working with the Office of Naval Intelligence. Intelligence has reported that the Japanese are settings up radio posts and possibly submarine bases in the Gulf of California. They have also indicated that they are doing this with support from a splinter faction opposed to the government and with strong anti-American leanings. It is rumoured that these operations are being run by a Tokeitei agent. Jarvis believes this might be Haito Toshi who led the attacks in Panama. Jarvis and a young ONI agent are ordered to Mexico with orders to capture Toshi…if possible. Problem is, Jarvis still remembers the dead naked body of a young American woman on a bed.

As a fan of history, both ancient and modern, H. Paul Doucette’s Red Sun Over Mexico spoke to me. I have ready plenty of fiction based in and around the Second World War. Most of this has been centred around Europe and the UK, and on occasion the United States. I was interested to read something from the American side of the war, more so with it being set in Central America, rather than the Pacific theatre or Europe.
redsun
I will confess to entering into this book with slight trepidation. Too often fiction lives up to a bit of a stereotype when written from the perspective – the idea that the war only began with Pearl Harbour and was almost singlehandedly won by American support and intervention. Would this follow that trope? In a word, no. This story begins in the time following Pearl Harbour about the race for dominance between the American and Japanese in Mexico.

With crucial supply lines, shipping routes and Pacific footholds to be gained in Mexico, the Japanese are seeking to set up shop on the Pacific Coast where they can monitor and attack American shipping and disrupt their operations. Meanwhile, an American intelligence agent is dispatched to help units on the ground to disrupt their plans. Agent Paul Jarvis is also out to catch to catch Japanese agent Haito Toshi, a dangerous man that he has tangled with in a previous encounter out in Panama.

Red Sun Over Mexico offers an enjoyable mix of historic events, action, and investigative frustration. The story moves at a good enough pace to keep the book going, without feeling overburdened with unnecessary action or violence. Overall, this was a fun, wartime tale showing a different side of the action.

My rating:
goodread

Friday Face-Off – 4th August 2017

Friday Face-Off – 4th August 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring fire: “From the ashes a fire will be woken.”

This week I have looked to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.

Cover A:

fire1

Cover B:

fire5

Cover C:

fire4

Cover D:

fire3

Cover E:

fire2

And the winner is… COVER A!

Much as I like a dragon as much as the next fantasy genre fan, A offered something different. It’s not an obvious depiction of fire. I like the simplicity of this cover, the blue flames and the simple nature of the goblet.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a soldier: “No soldier outlives a thousand chances.”

Friday Face-Off – 28th July 2017

Friday Face-Off – 28th July 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a knife: “The kindest use a knife, because the dead so soon grow cold.”

For this theme I have gone for Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.

Cover A:

knife1

Cover B:

knife2

Cover C:

knife3

Cover D:

knife4

Cover E:

knife5

Cover F:

knife6

Cover G:

knife7

And the winner is… COVER C!

Cover C is a nice, simple cover. The predominantly monochrome feel with the vivid red is visually striking and eye catching. Covers D, F and G get a special mention as well.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring fire: “From the ashes a fire will be woken.”

Friday Face-Off – 21st July 2017

Friday Face-Off – 21st July 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a robot: “Man is a robot with defects.”

For this theme I have gone for I, Robot from the father of the laws of robotics himself, Isaac Asimov.

Cover A:

robot1

Cover B:

robot2

Cover C:

robot3

Cover D:

robot4

Cover E:

robot5

Cover F:

robot6

Cover G:

robot7

Cover H:

robot8

Cover I:

robot9

Cover J:

robot10

And the winner is… A DRAW! Covers A and J spoke to me straight away. They stood out to me as they had a vibe that harked back to the glory days of science fiction.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a knife: “The kindest use a knife, because the dead so soon grow cold.”

Dying to Live by Michael Stanley

Dying to Live by Michael Stanley

A Bushman is discovered dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Although the man looks old enough to have died of natural causes, the police suspect foul play, and the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. Pathologist Ian MacGregor confirms the cause of death as a broken neck, but is greatly puzzled by the man’s physiology. Although he’s obviously very old, his internal organs look remarkably young. He calls in Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu. When the Bushman’s corpse is stolen from the morgue, suddenly the case takes on a new dimension.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a stop on the blog tour for Dying to Live. This is the sixth book in a series featuring leading man Assistant Superintendent David Bengu in the Botswana police force. I’ll confess I was a little mixed going into this book for a couple of reasons: first, with the entire book being set in such a different country, I was worried it may be heavy on references that might be missed or difficult to follow if you aren’t aware of the cultures. Secondly, the book is part of a series, and I was worried I would miss things with this being the first book in the series that I have read.
35098371I needn’t have worried thought. The cultural references were used sparingly, and to good effect, but not so much so that the book was difficult to follow. And equally, it didn’t matter that it is part of a series – Dying to Live worked perfectly well as a stand alone read. I felt the lead characters were introduced in such a way that the reader gets to know them even though the series is established by this point.

This is a well-crafted mystery novel, with a number of threads to the the story. This sometimes can be a negative, when a book has too many mysteries to be unravelled – that can lead to a contrived story. Dying to Live, however, ties all the threads together as the book develops leading to the finale, which is not obvious.
A number of possible protagonists are put forward for a range of crimes – the murder of a famous witch doctor, the murder of a bushman and subsequent theft of his corpse and the mystery of the Chinese girl whose body was transported from Botswana, who didn’t exist. But any and all could very easily be the guilty party. This is something I love in a mystery book – the ability to read the book without entirely being certain as to “whodunit” until towards the end.

Dying to Live is a brilliantly written mystery, with an exotic location that I felt I got to know things to the descriptive writing. The characters are colourful and described well enough that the book works as a stand alone even though it is part way into the series. The mystery is well-assembled with just enough twists and turns to keep the story entertaining, all adding together to make an enjoyable read.

My rating:
goodread