Friday Face-Off – 7th August 2020

Friday Face-Off – 7th August 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover that depicts action. For this theme I’ve gone with Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.

And the winner is… COVER C!

I love the colour of this cover. That and the shafts of light streaming down from the cupola above are really eye catching.

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’s theme is a cover featuring glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

Friday Face-Off – 31st July 2020

Friday Face-Off – 31st July 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover that is mostly white. This week I am turning to Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus.

And the winner is… COVER E!

The sun in the sky above the pyramid, their is something captivating about this vista for me. An easy winner this week.

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’s theme is a cover that depicts action.

Friday Face-Off – 24th July 2020

Friday Face-Off – 24th July 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover that is framed – maybe it features a picture frame, or maybe a murder mystery? Who knows! The book for this week’s theme is Framed by Frank Boyce Cottrell.

And the winner is… COVER D!

I love the cartoonish vibe on this cover. It also seems to nod to two types of framed – the picture type, and the crime related type.

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’s theme is a cover that is mostly white.

Cranberry Lane by Lauren Lee

Cranberry Lane by Lauren Lee

Circumstance brought them together, fate will bond them forever.

Wayne Jacobs, a dedicated family man, makes his living murdering cheating spouses, out-of-control gamblers, and common wrongdoers. He’s a hitman with a perfect record—one he intends to keep.

Serenity Harris, a vivacious nineteen-year-old, deals drugs in between her shifts at the local record store. She’s a rebellious outcast with pink hair and an unforgettable attitude.

What do they have in common besides a life of crime? Both Wayne and Serenity grew up in the slums of Cranberry Lane.

When their paths randomly cross at a local dive bar, the attraction is instant. The couple’s lives quickly become intertwined, infatuation blinding them to the dangers lurking in the shadows.

Unexpectedly, Wayne and Serenity find themselves in over their heads with entities far more dangerous than could be imagined.

With their lives at stake, can they beat the odds? Or, will they succumb to the hand they were dealt and die, only to be known as former residents of Cranberry Lane?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exhange for an honest review.

Cranberry Lane is not a place of hopes and dreams. People on the lane don’t expect to make a success of themselves, but do what they have to just to get by. It’s a place that many wouldn’t know existed, or if they did, they’d do their level best to avoid it at all costs. Those who cannot escape, much like Serenity do what they can to get by. A street smart girl, she’ll push drugs all night long to make as much money as she can in a desperate bid to break free. Some managed to escape, like Wayne. As soon as he was old enough he fled Cranberry Lane with guardianship for his younger brother Sammy, escaping alcoholic parents. Though he finds he cannot truly leave, Cranberry Lane draws him back through his role as a hitman.

Cranberry Lane by Lauren Lee

The novel follows these two protagonists as they attempt to navigate their lives and put more distance between themselves and Cranberry Lane until a fateful moment sees their paths cross irreversibly. The two find their paths intertwined taking them down a dangerous and deadly route in their respective bids to make a life beyond the dark street.

Cranberry Lane is written in a style I don’t see too often. The narrative follows Wayne and Serenity with alternating chapters moving between the two. I enjoyed the way we get to unravel the two storylines in parallel and then how they weave together, delivering a brilliant whole from the two strands. We get to live their respective ups and downs, trials and tribulations thanks to this brilliant style.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cranberry Lane. I found it to be wonderfully paced and easy to read. The core characters were vibrant and interesting, the locations dark and grimy. Even throughout the happier moments there was a dark atmosphere lingering throughout the book. I’d love to discover further crime thrillers with the inherent vibe that Lauren Lee has injected throughout.

My rating:

Friday Face-Off – 17th July 2020

Friday Face-Off – 17th July 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover depicting something being held. For this theme I have gone with the classic Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

And the winner is… COVER G!

Cover G had to win this for me. I read this book for my GCSE English course in school and fell in love with the story. That was only reinforced when I also watched the movie adaptation starring Gary Sinese and John Malkovich. This was the cover I had back in school, and is the one that always reminds me of this wonderful book.

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’s theme is a cover that is framed – maybe it features a picture frame, or maybe a murder mystery? Who knows!

Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie by Janelle Soong

Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie by Janelle Soong

What does a pharmacist really do? How much pill-counting is involved? Can I have a glass of wine with these antibiotics?”

Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie is a collection of funny (and 100% true) anecdotes from Pharmacy school and musings on the healthcare sector. From Viagra lovers to paracetamol hagglers, Janelle tells all in this labour of love inspired by her personal encounters. Delve deep into the colourful – and at times, mystifying – world of Pharmacy.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exhange for an honest review.

Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie makes for a bit of a departure from the usual sort of books I read. I’ve read plenty of short story anthologies, but as opposed to offering short stories, this offers a series of anecdotes. Anecdotes about the inner workings of what it is to be a pharmacist, about what goes into becoming a pharmacist, and some of the amusing and occasionally bizarre encounters out in the world of work.

Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie by Janelle Soong

Some anecdotes are educational, offering an insight into the world of being a pharmacist. Others about the process of pharmaceutical manufacture, and others offer an insight into the training that goes into becoming a pharmacist. Any technical jargon is defined, and industry specific elements are explained in a simplified way that even an outsider can understand and find informative.

Mixed in with the informative and educational are the downright absurd. Anecdotes of the more ridiculous moments encountered by a pharmacist in training. They add to the insight of what it is to be a pharmacist, while also colouring the book with humour. The brevity of the stories make for a quick and entertaining read for anyone curious about some of the inner workings of the world of pharmacy.

My rating:

The Storm Hag by Adalind Hargrave

The Storm Hag by Adalind Hargrave

It has been almost a year since Anna moved to Chicago to stay with Blake, a medicine man and warlock who is not only her half-brother but also the key to saving her mother’s soul.

Blake has been diligent in volunteering work for her around the city, but extremely evasive when it comes to meeting with his own part of the deal. So far, Anna has had little leverage with her brother, but things change when Blake sets on his own quest.

Anna delivers a message to a patron of the bar Moonshine, Aidan Bishop. Though ordinary looking, Bishop is another of the supernatural beings that inhabit the city, a scryer capable of discovering even the best hidden objects.

Alas, she can’t help it but to create a ruckus. Because Anna is a hag – a creature with immense untapped power and some serious anger management issues.

But she is not the only magic and supernatural being in the city, and most don’t appreciate being observed too closely.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exhange for an honest review.

Though this book has been updated by Adalind Hargrave and retitled The Storm Hag, I read its earlier form, Into the Darker Half. From the very beginning I really enjoyed this book. It follows Anna, a young hag – not entirely dissimilar to a witch – learning to deal with her powers. She lives with her half-brother, the warlock and healer Blake. The story takes Anna on a journey through the dark, grimy underbelly of Chicago, heading to locales not known to those not looking for them. Working for Blake, things twist and turn and come close to unravelling catastrophically for the young hag, and for the city at large.

The Storm Hag by Adalind Hargrave

The Storm Hag is a gritty, dark urban fantasy filled with menace and a distinct lack of hope. It’s a genre I have only dabbled with following my long sojourns into the fantasy realm of the incredible Discworld series, but if this is anything to go by, it’s a genre I want to delve into deeper. The location felt dark and grim, not too different from the dark, mean streets seen in the recent Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix. It felt like there was a threat at every turn, waiting to strike.

Aside from the well-crafted locations, the characters that Adalind Hargrave has created are vibrant. I found myself feeling for Anna and her struggles, really disliking Blake and his aloofness. Even the side characters felt lively and well created. There were plenty of people to like and loath, to root for and against throughout this book. My only complaint is it was over as soon as it was. I want to learn more of Anna and her life managing the powers she has thrust upon her in life. Into the Darker Half delivered a dark story in an even dark location that made for fantastic reading.

My rating:

Friday Face-Off – 10th July 2020

Friday Face-Off – 10th July 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover featuring tunnel: “At the end of every light, is a tunnel of darkness.” For this week’s theme I’ve gone with A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! by Harry Harrison.

And the winner is… COVER B!

This week was a tougher choice again – I love all of the retro sci-fi covers and would be hard pressed to pick amongst those. Cover B snatched it this week though. I think the monochromatic simplicity caught my eye, with all of the steam era sketches all around it.

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’s theme is a cover showing something holding something. Nice and cryptic!

Friday Face-Off – 3rd July 2020

Friday Face-Off – 3rd July 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover featuring tentacles: “The sea brought you.  The sea shall have you back.” This week I’ve picked China Mieville’s Kraken.

And the winner is… COVER I!

This week was a tough contest for me. There were a number of covers that could have won it for me, all for different reasons. Cover I stole it for me though. The ominous silhouette of the Kraken looming over the city skyline is all kinds of creepy!

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’s theme is a cover featuring a tunnel: “At the end of every light, is a tunnel of darkness.”

A Role to Kill For by H. Paul Doucette

A Role to Kill For by H. Paul Doucette

When the mutilated body of a young man is found in an alley in the early hours of a winter’s day, events would be set in motion that would lead Matt Murphy into the world of a young woman’s twisted desire to find a love that could never be had and the betrayal of a father. As the bodies pile up, he is drawn into the delusional mind of a serial killer who is obsessed with young, handsome actors working the Off Broadway circuit of the Village. Why these men? And, why the mutilations? As Murphy delves further into the case, he knows he is moving closer to a confrontation: a confrontation that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exhange for an honest review.

A Role to Kill For is another journey into historic fiction with H. Paul Doucette. This time out we head to the seedy side of 1960s New York. A series of grisly murders of young men in the trendy, free and easy Village part of town. Only one thing seems to connect the victims – they are all actors or script writers with a love of the performing arts.

A Role to Kill For by H. Paul Doucette

Private Investigator Matt Murphy is hired by the family of one of the victims to find out who killed him and why. He embarks on a case through the clubs and bars and neon lights and questionable substances of the beatnik hangouts of The Village. He works with his contacts in the NYPD and leverages less than scrupulous informants for help.

The case is an eye opener into a world Murph would never have imagined existed if he wasn’t used to seeing the worst of society. As the case unravels he uncovers dirty family secrets and illicit dealings with influence all the way to senior officials. Murph learns some distrubing things about those involved.

I’ve read a few books now by H. Paul Doucette and have to say this is probably my very favourite so far. Murph is a brilliant character and his relationships both personal and professional with characters such as his girlfriend Jane and his childhood friend and NYPD detective Abe Goldman are well crafted. Incidental characters such as hustler Crazy Pete and Gabriel the bar owner make for a brilliant, easy read. I would love to see more from Matt Murphy.

My rating: