Saturday, 30 November 2013

Lost Wife Saw Barracuda by John Kean

As a lapsed scuba diver who did my first dives in Sharm, I was drawn to this book.  There are a lot of “me, me, me” books about at the moment, some of which are good and some are just somebody’s diary that should be kept hidden away.  This one, however, was a delight to read.

The over-riding arc of this book is the author’s tale of teaching a group of students to dive.  In between he tells various stories, both funny and very serious.   He tells of his life living and working in Sharm and also some occurrences such as the bombing of Sharm in 2008 with him being on the scene at the time.

I was reading this on holiday and I hadn’t dived for 5 years and was a bit nervous about going back in, but it actually made me want to go diving again, so we had a refresher lesson and a nice dive.  Having read some of the skills he teaches and how the students coped with them actually helped me a little.

I found this a very enjoyable read.  Would it appeal to anyone who hasn't been diving?  I'm not sure, but I'd say probably as there are many tales about human character and less about the fish.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Off The KUF Volume 1

This is the first of 3 volumes of short stories, drabbles and novellas from the KUForum's authors.
I am a big fan of many of the authors who hang out there, so I knew I'd like this book.  I was wrong, I loved it.

From the start with Lynda Wilcox's story 'Intelligence Test' to 'The Last Story' I was enthralled throughout.

I'll just mention some of my favourites.

The first one 'Intelligence Test' is a great opener.  Malcolm is up for a job which is on offer at the Foreigh Office.  The test seems way too hard in a simplistic way.  Who will get the job and what is the job anyway?

The very next story is by David Haynes and of course is one of his trademark creepy, macabre stories - a bit of a ghost story.

'Blackberry Crumble' by Cecilia Peartree is a longer "short" and I really enjoyed that one.  It is always great to read a new Auto story from David Wailing.

Rosen Trevithick has 2 parallel stories in this collection.  One is a Troll version and it is interesting to read them together.

'The Last Story' by H.K. Abell was intriguing and interesting and as it progressed it made me wonder about the sanity of the author.  The ending is well weird, but I think I liked it.  I thought it was an interesting way to finish off this collection

Of the 30 stories in this collection there was only one I didn't like, which is not bad going for such a large collection.

There are highs, there are lows, there are scares, there are laughs and there's the origin story of The Imp.  Oh and Trolls.

There are definitely some new authors here for me to go and investigate.

Last Christmas by Talli Roland

As with any Talli Roland story, you know what you will get and with this I wasn’t disappointed.  Lucy’s previous Christmas was her worst ever when she proposed to her boyfriend in Paris only for him to dump her.  She’s had a miserable year and is persuaded to have the best Christmas party ever this year.

I did find this a bit short for my liking, but that’s because I love reading Talli Roland’s work.  The story itself was very well written and extremely enjoyable.  Definitely a “sit down, start it, oh, I’ve finished it, where did the time go” book.

In saying that the story is a bit short for me, it didn’t lack any detail or story.  The characters were great.