Friday Face-Off – 26th June 2020

Friday Face-Off – 26th June 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 windows: “A house without books is like a room without windows.” For this week’s theme I’ve chosen A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window.

And the winner is… COVER B!

Simple and effective, with a slight hint of mystery. It’s as simple as that 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 featuring tentacles: “The sea brought you.  The sea shall have you back.”

Flow by Clare Littlemore

Flow by Clare Littlemore

A world in tatters. A society where rebellion is not tolerated. A girl desperate to discover the truth. 

Sixteen year old Quin lives in The Beck, a saviour society. Her community has risen from the ruins of a land shattered by Mother Nature. But Beck law is tough. Quin knows that the rules must be followed in order to sustain life in a place where flood waters constantly threaten existence. A single violation could land her in Clearance. 

But some laws are harder to follow than others. And as Quin discovers the horrifying truth, she knows she cannot stay silent forever.

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

Flow is a dystopian novel set in a world affected seemingly by the climate. The Beck is a settlement with strict rules governing society. Rules are necessary to ensure the safety and security of the citizens. Everything is governed – live stock, food production, even the birth of future citizens. A vast wall surrounds The Beck protecting it from the flood waters that frequently threaten the community.

Flow by Clare Littlemore

Following Quinn, we learn about the difficulties of life in The Beck. Though it might be a sanctuary, life is difficult. Every member of the community must show they are contributing to society or be sent to Clearance. Everybody must follow the rules or risk being sent to Clearance. Everyone that serves no purpose is sent to Clearance and is never heard from again. Once a year citizens take part in a test, psychological evaluation and physical test that could see them promoted or moved to different sectors within the community. Quin finds herself leaving the Agricultural Sector to start a new chapter as part of Patrol – the division of citizens tasked with policing The Beck. But during the few short days she spends training with patrol it becomes clear that not everything in The Beck is quite as it seems.

Overall I enjoyed the dystopian world of The Beck with its draconian rules and dark mysteries. That said I did struggle with the core of the story only really coming to light right at the end of the book. I felt the story was progressing to a big reveal that came very late. That frustration, in large part, was of my own making, not entirely realising the book was the first in a series. With that in mind, I would really like to see now where things go for Quin and her compatriots as I did for the most part enjoy the story. All in all, Flow ticked the boxes for a dystopian novel – bleak world, little hope, rebellious elements – to make an enjoyable read.

My rating:

Friday Face-Off – 19th June 2020

Friday Face-Off – 19th June 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 time: “time waits for no man.” This week I’ve selected the H.G. Wells classic The Time Machine.

And the winner is… COVER J!

There were a couple this week that caught my eye including covers A, B, H and I. But given my love for steampunk, J beath them over the line.

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 windows: “A house without books is like a room without windows.”

Friday Face-Off – 12th June 2020

Friday Face-Off – 12th June 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 a cage or prison: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” For this theme I’ve picked Curtis Dawkins’ The Graybar Hotel.

And the winner is… IT’S A DRAW!

Covers A and C clinch it for me this week. In both, the prison bars look hand drawn which for some reason really caught my eye. Both covers are really simplistic but at the same time they drew me in. It’s definitely an interesting sounding book, one to add to my list.

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 depicting time: “time waits for no man.”

The Secret Sign of the Lizard People by Kevin E. Buckley

The Secret Sign of the Lizard People by Kevin E. Buckley

THEY ARE RIGHT HERE AMONG US…HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

When partners in crime-reduction Jerry “Leafy” Green and Bill “Beefy” Goodness — two of the LAPD’s most skilled homicide detectives — investigate the bizarre killing of a fashion model at the Hollywood Sign it soon becomes clear that this murder is part of a much larger conspiracy that threatens not only the people of America, but the entire population of the planet. As the case progresses, they recruit the help of a Jesus-lookalike ufologist, a streetwise Goth graffiti artist, a world-renowned geneticist, a super-nerd cyber investigator, and a fire-and-brimstone inner city reverend. The detectives and their motley crew of improvised freedom fighters must work quickly to take down the tainted global elite and avert the merciless enslavement of humanity that looms large on the horizon.

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

This book is an incredible romp of Hollywood proportions. It’s ludicrous and laugh out loud funny. At its core The Secret Sign of the Lizard People is a buddy cop style story with plenty of to and fro between the two leading men – Jerry “Leafy” Green and Bill “Beafy” Goodness. They make a formidable team that work well and complement each other. They know how to get a job done, but they equally know how to press one anothers’ buttons.

When a glamour shoot goes wrong atop the Hollywood sign, Leafy and Beefy find themselves wrapped up in a riddle. Model N. Emma Johnson seemingly has no enemies, so who would wan’t to kill her? The investigation points to a case of wrong place wrong time when footage shows a seemingly homeless man on the run.

The buddy cop vibe made this into a fun, easy read with the casual relationship between the pair. They dive into the investigation, working to unravel each thread of the mystery. From a random attempt on the life of a homeless man, the attack becomes an effort to silence an eminant expert in his chosen scientific field. A wild conspiracy theory becomes a reality nobody could ever imagine as the case becomes ever stranger with every turn.

The Secret Sign of the Lizard People has been one of my favourite reads this year to date, if not my absolute favourite. It’s mysterious, it’s well written without the endgame being obvious before Buckley reveals the true plot and it is genuinely funny at times. A well written crime novel littered with puns and groan aloud humour, I’d love to see more of Leafy and Beefy in the future.

My rating:

Friday Face-Off – 5th June 2020

Friday Face-Off – 5th June 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 flight: “The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” This week I’ve gone with Prelude to Space by Arthur C. Clarke.

And the winner is… COVER B!

In the week I sat transfixed to the TV watching the Falcon 9 launch, it felt only fitting to look for a cover with a spaceship. I have always been fascinated by space flight. Cover B just speaks to me, it screams of the era of the space shuttle.

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 cage or prison: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

Friday Face-Off – 29th May 2020

Friday Face-Off – 29th May 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 a silhouette: “As we drifted away from the Tower Bridge, I saw a single silhouette standing against the bright lamplight.” This week’s book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

And the winner is… COVER D!

I love the simplicity of this cover. The monochrome cover. The little flashes of red. The design work all nodding to a circus theme. This is a cover that would catch my eye on a shelf in a bookshop.

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 depicting flight: “The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

Sanctuary of Lies by Chad Bishop

Sanctuary of Lies by Chad Bishop

There are 4.7 billion searchable sites make up 10% of the web, the other 90% is dedicated to the “Dark web”. Within that environment there is a thriving economy where everything is for sale: Sex, Armies and Code for hire. Well-known companies buy and sell for governments and NGO’s (non-governmental organizations). They appear as a benign legal boutique companies and consultants, but their true purpose is to be the middlemen/cyber lynchpin for these illicit goods and services.​

ISABELLA NUNEZ owns a computer firm in Brooklyn with her lover JACOB COSTA. Accepting her infertility they have a blue nose pit bull called Justice as their “child” and live simple lives as techy nerds. Isabella’s idyllic life is shattered when several days after her lover’s ex-wife, SIMONE JOHNS, reported death, Simone sends Jacob an email to come save their child, he didn’t know they had.

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

The opening of Sanctuary of Lies had me hooked. An act of terrorism with the potential to shut down the skies of the world. I had high hopes for an action packed cyber thriller from that part onwards. Sadly that’s not what I got. I struggled to keep going as the story limped from one thing to the next. The moments of tension were all too predictable, not nearly as tense as they should have been.

From that explosive opening, we hear little more about that subject. It seems to have been all but forgotten, or at least mentioned in different contexts. I struggled to invest myself in the characters. There was little to like or loathe about any of them – the good guys or the bad. They felt somewhat flat and insipid.

I struggled to engage with the plot. For all the tension ramped up at the beginning of the book, the story didn’t deliver. It seemed to meander all over too much. The tense moments weren’t as tense as they should be. Nothing occurred with the sense of urgency the situations merited. The worst part for me came at the end. The only real reference back to the climactic opening was a castaway one liner. It felt a real shame given the potential the book had in the opening.

My rating:

Friday Face-Off – 22nd May 2020

Friday Face-Off – 22nd May 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.

Things look a little different today! I am playing around with the new WordPress editor, and trying something different for the layout of the covers. Let me know if you prefer this to the old layout that showed one cover under the previous.

This week’s Friday Face-Off theme is a cover featuring a cabin: “It is good to know that out there, in a forest in the world, there is a cabin where something is possible…”. For this theme I’ve gone with Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

And the winner is… COVER E!

Another classic I’ve not read but am very aware of. Cover E is really quite powerful. It really encapsulates the time period for me, and the life experienced by those in slavery.

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 silhouette: “As we drifted away from the Tower Bridge, I saw a single silhouette standing against the bright lamplight.”

To Kill a Shocking Bard by Paul Mathews

To Kill a Shocking Bard by Paul Mathews

When Upper Goosing’s premier poet, Percy Bishe, expires after scoffing a jumbo cream horn in the Tourist Trap café, foul puff-pastry play is immediately suspected. However, there’s a not-so-sweet surprise in store for Detective Inspector Clinton Trump, when his newly promoted deputy, Sergeant Dinkel, is handed the case and Clinton is left on the side-lines like a piece of stale shortbread. Will our detective genius manage to muscle his way into the investigation? Is Sergeant Dinkel up to the task of tracking down the bard’s killer? And will the murderer get his just deserts? Find out, in this final, lip-smacking Clinton Trump Detective Genius adventure!

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author.

To Kill a Shocking Bard brings the Clinton Trump detective trilogy to a close in spectacular style. Local poet Percy Bishe dies in mysterious circumstances, chowing down on his last ever jumbo cream horn during a poetry night in the Tourist Trap Cafe. Fingers are pointed in every direction. Is the baker guilty? The proprietress of the cafe losing customers whenever the poetry group meets? Was it rival poet Byron Lourdes? Or could the culprit be any one of a number of possible suspects with the slightest of reasons to kill him off?To Kill a Shocking Bard Paul MathewsSergeant Dinkel takes charge of the heinous murder much to the disgust of Detective Inspector Clinton Trump, Sout East England’s greatest investigator. While Dinkel heads out to investigate Upper Goosing’s latest murder, the bumbling detective stumbles his way through his own efforts to grab the glory all for himself. As the two cases converge through mishap and fluke another deadly situation befalls the investigative partners.

The third and final book in the trilogy rounds things off nicely. It’s full of comedic events and black humour as per the first two books in the series. The bumbling investigators and the outrages twists make this an entertaining read. There are plenty of little references to Paul Mathews’ We Have Lost series of books, and to himself, always in a humorous and self deprecating manner.

Though vastly different to the We Have Lost series, the Clinton Trump trilogy have been entertaining, silly, dark and enjoyable in equal measure. With Mathews moving on to a new series with new characters, I look forward to seeing what he produces next.

 

My rating:
goodread