Friday Face-Off – 24th April 2020

Friday Face-Off – 24th April 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 features armour: “Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.” This week I have picked The Red Knight by Miles Cameron.

Cover A:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 1

Cover B:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 2

Cover C:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 3

Cover D:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 4

Cover E:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 5

Cover F:

The Red Knight Miles Cameron 6

And the winner is… COVER D!

Honestly, any one of these could have won it for me this week. I really liked them all. D edges it though. The composition is fantastic. The metalic heavy looking gauntlet grasping that large sword, the rich red cloak billowing, and the red splashes of blood on the metalwork. Eye catching, and intriguing. I love 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 that features a cat: “I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?” Death thought about it. CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.”

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

When a teenage girl witnesses a carjacking gone bad, she is marked for death by a crime boss with no apparent motive. A black lawyer and a white enforcer with an unlikely history forge an uneasy alliance to protect the girl from a hit man with an agenda of his own.

After they find out that the crime boss is the father of the black teenage carjacker, Paul Elliott – lawyer and close friend of the witness’s family – begins counseling them.

As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

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

The Last Straw sees the return of hitman-for-hire Rico. He finds himself caught up in a mess he hoped to avoid. When asked to carry out a hit, he refuses. Somewhere deep down he has a moral compass, that firmly stops him from taking up a hit on a child. Even less so an innocent child whose only wrongdoing was to have witnessed a carjacking that ended in murder. Events conspire to throw a figure from his past into the mix making for a perfect storm Rico would much prefer to have avoided.
The Last Straw Ed DuncanPicking up where Pigeon-Blood Red finished, Ed Duncan transports the reader back into the murky criminal underworld, this time in Chicago. Rico cannot help but wade into the fray and uncover the mysteries that link the seemingly unconnected threads together. 

Duncan manages to thread multiple story lines together masterfully. The energy and pace is present throughout. Rico gains layers of depth throughout the course of this second book, making him a more enjoyable and engaging character. Though bringing back additional characters from the first book, they did not feel to have been shoehorned in.

I found The Last Straw to be a fast paced novel with plenty to keep the reader engaged. Ed Duncan hides very little from the reader in terms of plotline, but the way the book is written grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pulled me along for a ride filled with twists. With a third outing to come for Rico, I look forward to seeing what scrapes he finds himself in.

 

My rating:
goodread

Friday Face-Off – 17th April 2020

Friday Face-Off – 17th April 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 out of focus – double vision or all a blur. For this, I have gone with Mark Edwards’ Follow You Home.

Cover A:

Follow You Home 1

Cover B:

Follow You Home 2

Cover C:

Follow You Home 3

Cover D:

Follow You Home 4

Cover E:

Follow You Home 5

Cover F:

Follow You Home 6

Cover G:

Follow You Home 7

And the winner is… COVER C!

The chipped, peeling paint on the door and that ominous red glow cast a very unnerving atmosphere. It intrigues me greatly. Special mention to cover A – the mist that enshrouds the lone figure brings an imposing atmosphere to 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 that features armour: “Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

Friday Face-Off – 10th April 2020

Friday Face-Off – 10th April 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 moody and atmospheric. For this theme I have gone with The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker.

Cover A:

The Sixth Wicked Child 1

Cover B:

The Sixth Wicked Child 2

Cover C:

The Sixth Wicked Child 3

Cover D:

The Sixth Wicked Child 4

Cover E:

The Sixth Wicked Child 5

And the winner is… COVER A!

This book and the two that preceded it in the 4MK Trilogy were a fantastic series of books filled with twists and turns and mystery. Cover A is so moody and filled with atmosphere. It exudes the darkness that flows through the series.

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 out of focus – double vision or all a blur.

The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee

The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done this time, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

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

I’ve known Richard Dee now for some time now having reviewed all of his current Andorra Pett cozy-crime sci-fi novels. I’ve yet to try his steampunk novels but they are firmly on my radar. We spoke recently about an upcoming space-based novel, something very different from the Andorra Pett series, and so I came to read an early draft of The Hitman and the Thief.
THM^0TTProfessional “problem solver” and hitman Dan Jones is tasked with the biggest job he could imagine – carrying out a hit for crime boss Fliss Bauer. A hit on one her biggest rivals. It also represented a chance to prove he still had what it took to occupy such a critical role in the Bauer industry. Dan planned the hit as meticulously as ever. He knew all his options – his entries and exits, where to stash a gun, how to get around the premises. But a chance encounter with a small time thief threw a spanner in the works, leading to the ultimate failure of the mission.

In a last ditch opportunity, Dan must now work with this thief, a person he has no desire to work with, in a bit to finally take down their mark. Can the two work together and make a success of the job? And more importantly is his new partner trustworthy? I found this to be a really great read. I found myself rooting for Dan all the way through. He seemed a genuine character, trying to do the best job he can. Dee has crafted a narrative littered with plot twists making for a page turning story with a dark mystery at its core.

While it had its light moments, this was a decidedly different direction when compared with his cozy space mystery series. The sci-fi elements were well done without overriding the narrative thread. The Hitman and the Thief made for a page turning read, that I couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to pick up where I left off. Not too often do I have the chance to read a book that I am actively looking for the next spare moment to dip back into. This is definitely a book to keep an eye out for, when it is due to release later this year.

My rating:
goodread

Friday Face-Off – 3rd April 2020

Friday Face-Off – 3rd April 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.

April brings with it April Fool’s Day and this week’s Friday Face-Off theme – a trick of the eye, or something that isn’t as it seems. For this theme I’ve picked Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

Cover A:

Smoke and Mirrors 1

Cover B:

Smoke and Mirrors 2

Cover C:

Smoke and Mirrors 3

Cover D:

Smoke and Mirrors 4

Cover E:

Smoke and Mirrors 5

Cover F:

Smoke and Mirrors 6

Cover G:

Smoke and Mirrors 7

 

And the winner is… COVER D!

Smoke and mirrors – illusion or trick of the eye boiled down into a simple phrase, so that made this book an easy choice. Cover D is a nice, simple cover yet really effectively conveys the concept of smoke and mirrors. Cover E is a close second – I love the design and style of this one.

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 moody, atmospheric cover.

Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift

Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift

Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. She falls in with the eclectic expat community as a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge.

Here she meets Gabriela, a bartender who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family. But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris.

Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns, as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.

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

Paris Adrift is an interesting story following the excitement Hallie experiences in her break from university while she stays in Paris. She finds herself working at well-known bar, Millies, right next to the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Here she meets an interesting mix of bar staff from all over the world as she enjoys all Clichy, and Paris has to offer. A series of strange happenings pose the idea that there may be more to the bar and its staff than meets the eye.
Paris AdriftA meeting with a bizarre woman enlightens her to the prospect of time travel through something called an anomaly, something only Hallie will be able to travel through. Focussing on a given date or time will send her forward or back throughout the turbulent history of the French city. In her travels, she sees many things, meets a host of characters and alters the path of the city forever.

The time travel plays an integral role in the narrative, something clearly set out in the opening stages of the book. This all ties together the need for Hallie to find her anomaly and travel through it. Unfortunately I found this element of the narrative a bit disjointed. It seemed so important yet little to no reference to it is made as the book goes on. And worse still, at the conclusion there is no return to the original purpose to clarify fully whether things had been a success.

That said, the time travelling elements were really well written. The locales at different times in history felt really well written, filled with life and energy. The characters in these parts of the story are fantastic and vibrant. It’s these parts of the book that for me rescued it.

My rating:
okaybook