July 31

Holiday Reading 2017

I went on holiday with a few carefully selected books I had really wanted to read and a Kindle which I knew to be loaded with drama. I got through a decent number of books and didn’t entirely ignore my family so everyone was happy.

But then I got back from holiday and I found I had a wee change to my day job (ie a whole new gig for 3 months) and suddenly I am driving 3 or 4 hours per day and I will not have much time to write up comprehensive reviews for the holiday reads. 

The solution: A Holiday Roundup Post. I shall forsake my usual attempt to summarise the story and aim for brevity…this may get messy!

 

Echoes in Death – JD Robb

First up is the latest Eve Dallas thriller from JD Robb. I have been reading these stories for 6 or 7 years and there are over 50 books and novellas out there – this makes me very happy.  With so many books in the series I do tend to classify them as either A: Pivotal Story or B: Progressive Story.

The Pivotal books are the big impact tales which have huge implications for the ongoing continuity. The Progressive titles are the books which are fun to read and can generally be read out of sequence as they just move everyone along a little.  Echoes in Death is a Progressive read so one that you can pickup and enjoy – which is exactly what I was able to do.  I love these books and Echoes did not let me down.  Fun, thrills and characters I know better than some members of my own family – long may Eve and Roarke continue to kick ass.

 Order a copy here

 

Witness – Caroline Mitchell

As I was reading Witness I took to Twitter – mainly to give myself a little break from the words rushing past my eyes.  I had to share that Caroline Mitchell’s writing had totally freaked me out and made me uncomfortable and nervous as I sat reading in a dimly lit room somewhere in the wilds of The Netherlands.

Brilliant – you can’t ask for anything more from a book if you get so caught up in a story that you start to get apprehensive over what may (or may not) be in the room alongside you.  Checking over my shoulder every few minutes really slowed down my reading pace too!

A stalker drama with some very dark and unexpected twists – creepy is good.

 Order a copy here

 

Did You See Melody? – Sophie Hannah

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one and it didn’t grip me quite as much as some of the other books I read. What it IS, however, is a cleverly plotted drama with some larger than life characters but a lead character that I never really warmed to.

What Did You See Melody? Would be IDEAL for is a reading group.  There are elements of the story which I felt required total buy-in from the reader, without that buy-in it I can’t see it wowing everyone. I would love to see a book group discuss their thoughts on this book as I think it may be one which would spark debate.

Order a copy here 

 

Doctor Who: Plague City – Jonathan Morris

The Doctor (with his Capaldi face), Bill and Nardole. The trio find themselves in Edinburgh and they have broken curfew – imposed as a plague is laying waste to the city. As a Scottish type person I loved this story. As a Glasgow Scottish type person I liked that the plague was in Edinburgh 😊

Jonathan Morris has done a great job with the latest residents of the TARDIS. The story is well thought out and I wish the image of a doctor (not THE Doctor) in their plague masks could make the jump to a tv story.

Exactly what I want from a Doctor Who novel and Mr Morris always tells a good tale.

Order a copy here  

 

The Marriage Pact – Michelle Richmond

I have seen this getting a big push via online adverts.  It is another story which requires a big buy-in from the reader.  If you just go along with the assumption that the husband/wife lead characters are wholly embracing The Marriage Pact then this is a solid thriller which is ideal for a holiday read.  Again book groups on standby – not everyone is going to be happy with the concept that two successful professionals would accept The Pact without question and debate should ensue.

Some surprising twists and Michelle Richmond has some nasty ideas when it comes to ensuring her characters are compelled to obey their promises. 

Order a copy here 

 

 

 

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September 29

Festive In Death – JD Robb

Festive in Death
Festive in Death

Christmas came early when I found Festive In Death in the bookshop mid September. Having grudged the influx of Christmas books that seem to be appearing (far too early for my liking) I grabbed this particular title with not a qualm about the date.

Festive in Death is the 39th book in an ongoing series featuring New York cop Eve Dallas and her many time multi-millionaire husband, Roarke. Just dwell on that number one more time….book 39! The closest comparison I can find to an ongoing series that keeps on giving me such reading pleasure are the Amazing Spider-man comics.

Quick summary: JD Robb is the pseudonym of Nora Roberts. Robb/Roberts released the first book in the In Death series in 1995 (Naked in Death). This book introduced New York cop Lt Eve Dallas – stories are set around the year 2050 but the timeline progresses through the novels.

I would urge all new/potential readers not to be put off by the futuristic setting. These are fantastic crime novels, great police procedurals and for the long term reader provide a rich supporting cast that enhance the depth of the world that Robb has created. There are references to futuristic tech, fashion and transport but it never feels forced and you can accept the majority of the concepts without suspending too much belief.

Festive in Death is a proper ‘whodunnit’ with a killer revealed at the end of the book. Robb does like to vary the story style and will frequently reveal the murderer at the outset of a novel and let us watch Dallas close the net on the killer.

In this book, however, Dallas is asked to ‘stand’ for someone she does not like. A predator that took advantage of vulnerable women and abused their trust. But despite how he lived his life, solving the riddle of his death is with Dallas and she will get to the truth.

As the title suggests this tale plays out over the Holiday season, much of the focus is on Dallas, Roarke and their friends. The trade off for the cosy festive read is that Eve does not get exposed to the peril that arises in other stories and her investigation is methodical rather than dynamic. Not to say that this is not a good story, it just seems more aimed at the long term fan rather than attempting to draw in a new reader.

I suppose, however, that by book 39 Robb does not need to put her characters through the wringer every single outing and we can enjoy a character driven story. As a long term fan, who has read each book in the series more than once, I enjoyed Festive in Death for what it was: another great read from a master storyteller.

 

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June 12

Books in progress

Lots of reading going on over the last few days.  Taken to the Amazon Kindle sale to stock up on some of my old faves.  Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct stories are a great wee piece of escapism for me, however, they are short so I grudge paying £8 or so for a book I will read in a night.  This is why I nab as many as I can when they go on sale (ie now).

This week’s digital reads are JD Robb stories. I love the Eve Dallas books and as work has been a bit hectic this week I am re-visiting one or two of the Dallas stories I remember less well from the first read through.

In paperback I am reading FAN – kindly provided by Sophie from @ReviewedTheBook. This one is full on and I am reading it in bursts as I find it intense and not always in a good way.  Must check with Sophie if she found any empathy for the protagonist (I am feeling sorry for his fiancee more than him).

A full review of FAN will follow soon as this is a book everyone should see.

Finally – I was planning attending an author signing this week in Edinburgh but found out it had been cancelled late in the day.  Both the publisher and author offered me apologies on Twitter after I posted my disappointment. See – there ARE nice people on Twitter.