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:

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: