28 July 2011

Promo - The Story of Solomon Bear by Phillip Laird

"A girl and her teddy bear share a promise to keep love alive in a home where it’s been all but forgotten. When they are forced apart one day, Solomon Bear is determined to find her at any cost!

In the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit and The Little Prince comes Solomon Bear. At once a children's romance and a fable about rediscovering innocence and unconditional love, this sentimental tale has the capacity to transcend genre and age boundaries. For while a taste for porridge, marmalade, or honey might make a bear more human, Solomon would remind us: it is love that brings us all to life."

A story for both the young and the young at heart, would your teddy bear try to find you? It has gained 5-star reviews so promises to be a great read.

The Story of Solomon Bear is available from Amazon UK for £2.82, from Amazon US for $4.55, from Barnes and Noble for $3.95 and from Smashwords for $3.95. 

26 July 2011

Tomes of the Soul featured on Simon-Royle.com

Recently I was interviewed by author and blogger Simon Royle to discuss my views on reviewing and e-books in general.

The IndieView can be viewed over at simon-royle.com.

25 July 2011

Review: Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry

When patients who received an experimental drug, the only cure for a deadly infection, start falling ill weeks after treatment, a team of doctors at the Southwestern hospital must find out how the drug is causing these illnesses. But there are those who do not want the truth discovered and will stop at nothing to ensure the experimental drug goes to market.

The plot of Lethal Remedy is enjoyable but unremarkable, with no major twists and turns that make a good thriller, instead the plot is quite transparent and really as a reader you are following the diagnostic and treatment process, rather than figuring out a gripping puzzle. Mabry has missed many opportunities to build suspense in the plot and the result is that there is no sense of urgency or danger, even at major plot events where these feelings should be in evidence; this is perhaps due to the focus on the mundane details. The ending of the book is also a let down, with a quick, unsatisfying ending that is wrapped up all too neatly in the epilogue, with a unbelievable ‘tell all’ moment from the main antagonist.

On the other hand, Mabry characterises well, and as such the reader can empathise with the characters and they are, in the main, believable. There are several sub-plots involving the characters that develop during the story, but these tend not to be fully explored or concluded, such as the cause of Sara’s nightmares, which promise more than they ever deliver, and leave a reader feeling let down.

As with Mabry’s Diagnosis Death, there is a very strong Christian theme throughout which at times is jarring, more so than in Diagnosis Death. I personally would have preferred the characters to take more responsibility for their decisions rather than leaving it up to God and whilst I understand that Mabry is a Christian writer, I feel the novel would have worked better with the religious theme still intact but downplayed. Elsewhere in the plot there are references to Christian ideals, including in the naming of the killer bacteria as Staph luciferus, which I thought was a nice touch. Also like Diagnosis Death there is a romantic sub-plot that is included, although this time it was much less of a distraction, but again made it a more cozy novel than in traditional thrillers.

Overall an enjoyable but disappointing outing for Mabry. The lack of suspense meant that whilst the book had a thriller plot, it just didn’t read like a thriller, although it was no less gripping. The book is saved by excellent and believable characterisation. The detail in the novel makes it a must read for medical thriller fans, although they may be disappointed at the lack of suspense. In addition the discussion questions at the end of book are a nice touch for reading groups, particularly those of a Christian nature.

Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry is due for release on the 30st October and is currently available from Amazon UK to pre-order for £8.09 in paperback form; it is also available from Amazon US for $11.19. Readers can also pre-order from Barnes and Noble and WH Smith. It is very likely that Lethal Remedy, like Mabry’s other offerings, will be made available on Kindle as well but if you would like to ensure this please let the publisher know, either through Amazon or directly via their website

Note: The previous books in the series were released under the name Richard Mabry, but this one is under the name Richard L. Mabry, which can lead to issues when searching for the book online.

[An ARC was provided by Abingdon Press]

18 July 2011

Review: Long Gone by Alafair Burke

Alice Humphrey, fiercely independent daughter of a movie tycoon, gets her dream job after months of searching. It all seems too good to be true, well, that’s because it is. When her manager is found dead in the gallery, in the midst of accusations of child pornography, Alice suddenly finds her life turned up side down and discovers years of deceit has led to her being the police’s number one suspect in her bosses death.

Alafair Burke’s latest offering starts slowly, and it did take me a while to get into it, especially with the constant switching between characters during the first short chapters. However, it soon gets going and it becomes a gripping read. What really sets this book apart is that it doesn’t go for the ‘easy’ plot option, instead an idea is dangled in front of the reader then snatched away; the plot turns are unexpected which makes the novel even more suspenseful.

Overall a fantastic thriller, with many twists and turns, and a very surprising ended.

Long Gone will be released on the 21st July (28th July for the e-book version) and will be available from Amazon UK for £4.49 and from Barnes and Noble for $11.99.

[A review copy was provided by Avon]

16 July 2011

Free e-book - You've gone too far this time, sir! by Danny Brent

Have you ever woken up in the sultry heat of the morning, your hair and beard teeming with maggots, and then had potatoes picked out of your ears?

Have you ever felt the cold barrel of a semi automatic gun against your forehead?

When Danny Bent cycled 15,000 kilometres from the UK to India to raise money for ActionAid, it was a decision that took twenty years and one minute. For twenty years he had wanted to do something to raise money for charity. The one minute was when as their teacher he was put on the spot by his pupils and declared that the means was by bike, and he was going to India.

What he had signed up for was slogging along roads with trucks bearing down on him, unable to see and choking in the smog; shooting down treacherous descents with 100 foot drops, shaking with cold and too numb to brake; muscle burn and saddle sores; delirium and food poisoning; thirst and malnutrition; foul and insanitary conditions; life-threatening crises; obstructive border guards, crazed dogs and inquisitive passers-by.

'You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!' is a real and compelling blow-by-blow account of Danny's trip across Europe, the former Soviet Republics, Russia, China, Pakistan and India.

And what people he met! They are the true delight of this book, mostly charming, sometimes reckless, occasionally threatening, always unpredictable, and forever inviting Danny to be up for the challenge of entertaining them, in one instance by dancing in front of a packed stadium, in another by eating sheep's brains in a local night market.

Danny turns the wheels, you turn the pages. The pace is relentless. The story is both heart-stopping and heart-warming. The arrival is breakdown-and-cry emotional. And there's loads of fun and wonderment along the way too. 

The book is available free from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

11 July 2011

Review: Go the F**K to Sleep by Adam Mansback

Go the F**K to Sleep is the nightly routine that many parents go through, as such I am surprised that this is the first time someone has turned it into satire in this way. The book, designed to mimic a children's story book, is the internal dialogue of an exhausted farther who's daughter just won't sleep.

The book had me in stitches from page one, although most of the humour seemed from the 'naughtyness' of the liberal swearing throughout, this is not a high-brow satirical piece but is nevertheless a great read. I especially liked the ending, which happened to my own parents more than once over the years. The illustrations however are generally unappealing and the use of several different children in the illustrations instead of just one is confusing and unnecessary. Amusing as it may be, it is not a work of literary genius with lines such as "How come you can do all this other great s*!t, But you can’t lie the f*@k down and sleep?"

Overall, it is an amusing story, which all parents will be able to relate to, and would make a great little gift for new parents. Obviously this is not a children's book and should probably be kept away from little readers due to the language.

Go the F**K to Sleep is available from Amazon UK for £4.54 and from Amazon US for $7.35. There is also a free audio book version available from Audible, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

[An ARC copy was provided by Open Road Media]

9 July 2011

Free e-book - Painted in a Corner by Autumn Dickinson

Bianca Barrett returns to her hometown after graduating college to find herself feeling trapped and haunted by her past. An old flame burns brighter and the girl who considered herself reserved throws caution to the wind, along with her inhibitions. Strong love, new friendships, lies, betrayal, and revenge turn Bianca's world upside down. Will love be enough in the end? 

Painted in a Corner is available FREE from Smashwords by entering code JP34V at the checkout. 

7 July 2011

Free audio book - Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansback

For a limited time Audible is offering Adam Mansback's satirical bed-time story Go the F**k to Sleep for free! It is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson who's reading adds to the already humorous story.

Download it here.

6 July 2011

Free e-book - Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand

Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out. But when he's the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he's given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he's transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlight--the disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist's teen daughter.

With the help of a youth pastor with a guilty conscience who navigates the world of church and faith, March is determined to find the missing girls while proving he's still one of Houston's best detectives.

Get this 5-star rated mystery from Amazon UK for FREE (R.R.P. - £8.99)! Also available free from Amazon UK

3 July 2011

Review: Diagnosis Death by Richard Mabry M.D.

Diagnosis Death is written by Richard Mabry, a qualified doctor who specialises in ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), and has practiced in several major hospitals in Texas. Since retiring he has turned his hand to medical thrillers, and as a medical thriller fanatic, I had to take a look at this, the third book in his Prescription for Trouble series.

From Amazon
Dr Elena Gardner is a physician in fear, after the death of her husband on ICU a series of phone calls accuses her of performing a mercy killing. When the deaths continue, and Dr Gardner cannot remember where she was when the deaths occurred, rumours start to spread. Is Dr Gardner killing patients or is someone trying to set her up?

Slow to start, the pace picks up quickly and the story is beautifully crafted to ensure that there is suspense at every turn, and a ever-present sense of danger and disaster. This makes it a page-turner, and means that it is very easy to read, despite at times an odd-writing style and over-zealous medical exposition. The medical exposition, whilst at times a bit much, is as well-researched and believable as you would expect given Mabry’s medical background. Mabry also avoids the common mistake in many who-dunits of making the plot to easy to guess, and as such it keeps you guessing right till the end.

There was a very strong Christian theme running throughout the book, as well as a romantic sub-plot. The latter makes this a more cozy/happy thriller than most, and whilst the former does not detract from the reading experience for me, it could put off some readers, and should be considered. The story would have worked just as well without the Christian element, but I do understand that the author is staying true to his own beliefs.

Being the third book in the series, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to follow the plot without reading the previous two instalments, thankfully this wasn’t the case and Diagnosis Death works perfectly as a stand-alone novel. The reason why the real killer was committing the crimes was not adequately explained, and this left me feeling slightly frustrated at the end. As I have yet to read the other books in the series I do not know if the motive was implied in the previous novel.

Overall an exciting read, with dollops of suspense, and a creative and intriguing plot. It is a bit frustrating that the killer’s motives are not more satisfactorily explained, and for some hardened genre fans the romance may be a bit much. The Christian theme is strong but does not distract the reader from the plot. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Mabry in the future.

Diagnosis Death is available from Amazon UK for £7.86 and from Amazon US for $12.76.

[An review copy was provided by Abingdon Press]
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