Thursday, 10 December 2015

Bricking It by Nick Spalding

As with Nick Spalding's other novels we have the "he said / she said" swapping forth of chapters.  I enjoy this method of getting both sides of the story.  This time, it's brother and sister Daniel and Hayley Daley who tell us of when their grandmother left them a dilapidated house in her will and they decide to do it up.  Obviously they haven't got a clue.

This is not an original story by any means, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  It was very lightweight and I'm sure more could have gone wrong.  Perhaps that was the beauty of it.  It didn't drag me down.  If I was watching it on screen, it would be in bright colours, rather than dingy greys. 

And who wouldn't want a pet Pat the Cow?

Piper by G. J. Reilly

Piper is the second book in the Jerrick series.

In the first book, Michael has been spirited away / rescued from the Grand Inquisitors to their enemy The Council.  It’s not clear which side is good and which is evil as neither are either.

We get a bit more about fairy tale history in this book, with Grimm being a librarian and what legend says is The Pied Piper of Hamlyn being the Piper of the title.

This is quite a long book and gets exciting in parts.  There’s also some rather nasty characters and death is always on the outskirts.  I found this to be a well-rounded story with some great characters.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Auto 2 by David Wailing

Whilst Auto 2 follows Auto, it is more of a linear story as opposed to Auto 1's individual stories only tying-in in retrospect.

Auto 2 follows the stories directly from the first book with the distinct chapters telling the story from different character's viewpoint.

Joanna has lost Greg but nobody knew they were seeing each other.  Her sister, Siobhan, has come to stay with her own problems.  But there's an even bigger problem on-line.

I love these stories set in the early 2020s.  Seeing the youngsters in work tapping on their social media makes me think of how things will be just 5-7 years down the line.  In fact whilst reading this book on my kindle, I had to leave the house to go fetch a curry and made sure I synced it on my phone so I could read it whilst waiting for my order.  Each little thing makes me wonder how historical the Auto series will become.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Journal of Reginald Perigar by David Haynes

This is a shortish story by the Master of Macabre David Haynes, but it's back in his smoggy London that he evokes so well.

Basil Jenkins is an old widower who likes to visit Jacques' Emporium to collect ever more exotic trinkets.  This time, Jacques has something a bit different for him.

Considering this book is about reading a book about chess, it is filled with creepy moments. I was drawn in from the off with wondering what was going to happen.

I love this author's works so much I refuse to read any synopses, so I rarely have any idea what's ahead.  To me, this makes the reading experience even more exciting, like Basil's anticipation as he returns home.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Mini Interview with Rosen Trevithick

This person has made me a junkie.  A chocolate junkie.  But now I cannot have any old stuff, it has to be hand-made with love and a bit of swearing.  And chocolate smeared everywhere, especially my cheeks from when I stick my face in the mixing bowl to make sure there's no waste.

So here's a few words from the dealer.

What’s Chocolate Making Adventures, and in what way is it about an adventure?

It’s a cookbook that teaches you how to make chocolate at home. By chocolate, I mean actual chocolate – the brown (or white) stuff. It’s not one of the many books where chocolate can only be made by buying some then melting it.
It’s an adventure in two senses. Firstly, developing the recipes was an adventure for me. I didn’t wake up one morning and think, “I know, I’ll type up my chocolate recipes and publish them”. I had to develop each one individually, trying out every kind of cocoa butter, sweetener and milk product until I was 100% happy with the results. Two forms of chocolate – milk and white – took months to perfect. It’s also an adventure in the sense that the book sets the reader on a journey with endless possibilities. Once you learn how to make chocolate, you will want to do it again and again, creating all kinds of variations.

You got members of the public to test recipes for you. Did that really make a difference?

Absolutely. No matter how hard you try and follow a recipe to the letter, when you’ve written it yourself, it’s impossible not to fill in any gaps. Invaluable recipes testers such as yourself drew attention to parts that needed tweaking and further information.
The recipe testing programme also threw up issues such as to only use full cream milk powder, which I would have never arrived at without people trying unexpected permutations.
Thank you so much for testing so many recipes, Joo. I really appreciate it.

How do you respond to allegations that your methods mirror those of a drug dealer?

Admittedly, there are some similarities between hooking vulnerable people onto addictive drugs, and sending out small samples of cocoa butter by post. Had I known so many would rush out and buy further cocoa butter by the sack load, I’d have bought shares.

Chocolate Making Adventures: Create Your Own Chocolate by Rosen Trevithick

I was told this is one of the only books to show you how to easily make your own chocolate from raw ingredients.  I didn't really believe it, but on having a look online, it's true, there is very little information on actually making your own chocolate.  There's plenty of books and websites on how to melt chocolate to make new shapes but that's not this book's main selling point.

The book starts out with info on chocolate, then has the main recipes on how to make dark, milk and white chocolate basics.  

I volunteered and got involved with a facebook group to test out the recipes.  I am normally someone who avoids spending too much time in the kitchen, but I soon got addicted.  The ver first time I tried following the first recipe I didn't have a clue and didn't have half the proper tools for the job.  I had no idea whether I was doing things correctly as I didn't know how the ingredients would react.  Then I had to do it again and again and again as I wanted to get better.  My colleagues like my new hobby as there I make far too much chocolate for me to eat.  They always asked what liqueur I used, but it's just honey.

There are also recipes for the insides.  My particular favourites are peppermint creams and the clotted cream mousse.  Sometimes I'll make my own chocolate for the outside and sometimes I'll melt a cooking chocolate to make things easier.  None of the recipes have loads of ingredients.  They are really simple.  I do advise on reading the recipe thoroughly beforehand, especially whether to use teaspoons or tablespoons.  One recipe said up to 6 teaspoons of honey.  I used 4 tablespoons!!!

There is a lot more info and help in the book such as troubleshooting, alternatives to recipes, what ingredients and moulds to use.

As a whole book, this one seems to cover everything you need to know about making chocolate (and a note on how to best enjoy chocolate)  Be warned, it's addictive.  I am awaiting more moulds so I can make even more chocolates.
Here are some photos of my creations.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Complex by Toby Zara

From reading the sample, I was hooked and wanted to read more.
This is a great little story introducing us to the character of Abigail who has no family and joins the space army.  She has special talents so immediately gets transported to a special unit.

Whilst this is aimed at young teens, I thought the premise was good and liked the technology in this sci-fi-lite story.  

This is a shortish book for me, but I presume plenty long enough to keep a teenager interested without boring them.

I look forward to finding more out about Abigail.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Hunted by Tim Arnot

This is the second in the Felicity (Flick) Carter series of books, set in a post-apocalypse England where there's no technology, and martial rule keeps most people in order.

Even though she's very young, Flick has been using alcohol to drown her sorrows about losing her home, her family and her friends.  She's kicked out of her village and ends up becoming a trainee in the Kingsmen.  A lot of this book is her during her enforced training.  I wasn't too interested in this bit, 

We also follow Shea as he loses friends too.  In the background we have the mystery man who is following Flick and killing anyone who gets in his way.  We also have more of Princess Jessica/Lieutenant Dixon, who I think is my favourite character.

I am enjoying this world that the author has fleshed out.  It might be England, but it's a very different one to now.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Where The Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge

The title of this story can be read in more than one way.  Oliva's father-in-law tells her what seems to be a confession, but since he has Alzheimers Disease, is what he's saying true or just his mind getting muddled.  As Olivia tries to investigate based on just an off-hand comment, she starts to wonder who in her family is telling the truth.

This is a great story that's hard to put in a genre, it's not a psychological thriller, it's not a police procedural and it's not really a murder mystery, although it seems there might have been a murder and there's certainly mystery around it.  It's more about Olivia and her convictions and about family and about lies.  Should you tell them?   Should you keep secrets?

I enjoyed reading this although I did want to knock the characters' heads together at times.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Cage by David Haynes

I started reading this story without a clue of the plot.  All I know is that I love this author's stories.

This one starts with a murder in a hotel room.  But who did it?  Was it really the husband who was caught "red handed"?

Ted is hired to investigate this and sets off in a snowstorm to the hotel.  There's just him and the twins who run the place staying in the hotel.  Or is there?  

This started off more of a mystery, but as it progressed and the snow penned the people in, the story got more and more claustrophobic and ever so creepy.  The noise the cages made was horrific in my imagination.  This is not a story to read late at night.  There are many layers to this story, even though it's not a mammoth read.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  This author's mind is a bit warped.  Which is good for us readers.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Closer to Death in a Garden by Cecilia Peartree

Number 10 in the ongoing adventures of our faithful Pitkirtly gang has a bit of a mouthful for a title.  It does become obvious what it refers to early on, so it didn't bother me for much.

As usual there's a murder, as usual Amarylis is in the middle of it.  As usual Christopher doesn't want to be in the middle of it.  And there are alpacas about.

I always start reading these books expecting them to be five star reads and, for me, they never fail to live up to what I expect.

What's to say - the gang are all here, doing what they usually do.  They get in the way of the police, they kind of solve the mystery.  The joy of reading these stories for me is the familiarity of the characters and somehow, each mystery seems to be fresh and new.

Another top Pitkirtly read indeed.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Bad and Badder by Ray Kingfisher

Bad and Badder is a collection of 5 short stories with the theme of badness.  They are all different and, in my opinion, all great self-contained stories.

Each of these stories had me getting more and more gripped as I read on with little twists to keep me on my toes.

I think my favourite was the last one, Crow Ridge, as it was more other-worldly.  More of a macabre gothic tale.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Demon Road by Derek Landy

This, apparently is the first in a new series from Derek Landy.  I enjoyed the first of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, but this one is aimed for a bit older audience.

When Amber becomes 16, she realises why her parents haven't really been bothered with her for all her life.  Until now, when she becomes interesting to them and their friends.  And so starts a mad road trip across America with her new found minder, Milo, and Glen the annoying side-kick, trying to stay one step ahead of her parents.

Following the "Demon Road" Amber and the gang meet all sorts of unsavoury characters and usually have to fight it out.

This is quite a violent story and I don't think Amber has as many good one-liners as Stephanie in the Skulduggery Pleasant series.  It was a good read, however and I did enjoy it.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor

No Time Like the Past is Jodi Taylor's 5th book in the St Mary's series.  This time Max and the team are in a "quieter" period of this history.  Well, quiet by St Mary's standards.

Max tries to take it easy, but history doesn't like that.  The team go back to their roots of rescuing artifacts that are about to be removed from existence, but things never go to plan.

I found this book to be more educational with the history they visit.  That's the good thing about these stories, I learn lots as well as enjoying the journeys.

I really enjoyed the open day scenes.  I'd love to have visited to see the race.

Again, another great story and since there's lots of history that's happened, there's lots for the team to visit.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Hybrid by Vanessa Wester

This is a book of two very different halves.  The first half is Caitlin's story.  She starts at college and meets a guy Steven.  They start off as friends, but it soon develops.

But Steven has a past he doesn't know about.  And when Steven finds out about it, it's too late for him and Caitlin.  The second half of the book is him finding out what he really is.

I enjoyed this story, although it seemed like two separate stories.  Southampton was a long long way from the Brazilian rainforest.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Power Games by Victoria Fox

I'm on holidays and fancied a bit of a bonkbuster, so I started this one.  As it happens, this is not a bonkbuster, it's a story of survival.

Seven "celebrities" who are rich and shallow get invited to a charity appearance.  Whilst travelling there, their plane explodes.

The first part of the book is the shallow lives of these people.  We find out what their public faces are.  The second part is after the crash and how they cope with themselves.

This is a blockbuster-sized book and I found myself addicted to it.

Godsquad by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Having adored both Clovenhoof and Pigeonwings I thought I might miss Jeremy.  As it happens I didn't.  The "Godsquad" were almost as good as Jeremy.

A prayer has come in from Simon.  Simon doesn't seem to have a soul, so Joan of Arc, Saint Christoper and Francis of Assisi have been sent back to earth to track down Mary Mother of Jesus and then find Simon.  Mary has gone AWOL in Europe and Simon seems to be counting down to the Apocalypse, so it's a bit urgent that Joan and friends find them.

This story was a road trip with a difference. The cast are out of time and out of this world too.  They meet up with people who help them and those that hinder them, although they certainly hinder themselves with ease.

I love this author(s) writing.  It's fast-paced, funny and irreverent.  A joy to read indeed.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor

This is the fourth story in the St Mary's Chronicles and has to advance the story from the catastrophic ending of book 3.  I'm not sure if I'm 100% for the way they did it, but that's how it starts and this one is the most action packed of all the books.

The Time Police are after Max and she and Leon try to keep one step ahead of them as they jump across time, sometimes they are only half a step ahead.

The main adventure is set in Pompeii and, as usual, nothing goes to plan.  This all builds up to the final fight, which may well be the final fight of all.

I really enjoy this series.  As the books go on the characters develop.  Max is not the young newcomer from the first book anymore. The supporting cast are well rounded and bring more to the story with their St Mary's quirks.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Eye of Dominion by David Staniforth

This is the sequel to Alloria, the tale of Alloria finding out she is the first wizard's daughter.  They think they have vanquished the villain in the first book, but it seems his spirit is still alive.  Alloria has join her father Ymarid, and their protectors Bane and Nathan and venture back into the labyrinths to visit other worlds to save their world.

This story is about Yrion, Alloria's brother who is jealous that she has returned.  Yrion is under the influence of Glebester, one of the most gross characters I've ever read.  I really disliked reading about his "seepages" to say the least.  His hold over Yrion was very powerful

I enjoyed this story, even though its intended audience is the teen YA market.  It had enough grown up intelligence without talking down to the younger audience.

Gray Retribution by Alan McDermott

Tom Gray has settled down with his wife and child and is just running the company now.  He sends people out to train up foreign armies, but tries to keep out of trouble himself.  Until the day he visits his wife's uncle's shop and gets into a bit of a fracas with a local thug.

Two stories then unfold.  The thug wanting revenge and an uprising in Africa.  Tom is torn between the two, but needs to help his men as they are seemingly overwhelmed.

With this series of books I seem to really like the odd numbers and aren't fussed on the even numbers.  This being book number 4 didn't do much for me.  His team in Africa didn't appear to be in too much peril, even being outnumbered 10 to 1.  I'm not saying I didn't enjoy this - the writing is good - but the subject matter didn't interest me as much as books 1 and 3.

Sword of Damocles by Andrew Barrett

Eddie Collins the SOCO guy is back.  This time he's investigating a murder that might just go back a long way.

I do like a good murder death kill story and since the author works as a crime scene examiner I feel that the story has "bones" so to speak.

The story was a bit slow to start, but it got going soon enough.  It was a good chunk of a book due to the twists and turns and many extra clues.

Eddie's personal life is going to the dogs again and there's a case that's annoying him.  Something is not quite right and so he needs to go back in time to solve it.

I enjoy reading this author's stories as they keep you interested all the way.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Stranger in the Shed by Nicola Palmer

Nicola Palmer writes children's books.  I like reading Nicola Palmer's stories.  I'm not a (young) child.

Again, this is a fab story from this author.  There's an underlying story about bullying, but it's more about friendship.  Is smelly Angus real or imaginary?  Is Angus' world real or imaginary?  Does it matter to Rory when he's ignored by just about everyone else?

Even though this is aimed at 10 year olds, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Global Domination for Beginners by Will Once

We get James Bond's side of the story, The Saint's, Bourne's, Austin Powers' too.  But what about the bad guy?  What's his story?  Where did he get his inspiration from?  Why hollowed out volcanoes, why henchmen, why lairs?

Well, you don't have to wonder any more.  Read this book and you'll soon know how a power-crazed megalomaniac thinks.

Number One tells his life story to a spy he's caught and, literally being a captive audience, he has to listen.

This is a really funny story.  Things really aren't easy if you want to take over the world.  You can't imagine the minutiae that has to be taken care of.  Especially when nobody takes you seriously.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vegas, Lies and Murder by Sibel Hodge.

Vegas, Lies and Murder is the fifth book in the Amber Fox series.  This time Amber and her fiance Brad are off to Las Vegas to get married.  Amber's parents are joining them, along with her sister and Amber and Brad's friends and co-workers Hacker and Tia.

Obviously, being the chaos magnet that she is, Amber's holiday starts off bad and just gets worse.  Instead of getting married, they find themselves mixed up in a potential murder and having to go under cover in a gentleman's club.

I like this series of books.  Amber is a great character, although sometimes I get worn out with the trouble she seems to always get into.  I like how her relationships mature with each book.

This is a quick and easy and fast paced read and I thoroughly enjoyed it as expected.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Sleep TIght by Rachel Abbott

Sleep Tight is the 3rd in the DCI Tom Douglas series, however Tom's life plays a secondary part in this and it's not important that you need to have read the others.

Olivia's gone missing, but does her husband know more than he's telling?

This story weaves from suggesting one thing to another and makes you believe one thing, then twists it to the opposite.  I was totally gripped.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Wizard's Brew by Chris I. Naylor

I like a bit of silly and this was certainly a bit of silly.
An inexperienced wizard is employed to cast a spell to help the fishermen catch lots of fish, instead the spell wakes up a nasty demon who has been trapped for a very long time under the sea.  The demon's form is a massive slug that eliminates anything it slimes over.

With the freedom fighter rabbits, the wizard and his dwarf friend banished from Camelot and the inhabitants of Redbrush Hall, this is a great cast of characters.  The nasty shape-shifting slugs need to be beaten, but none of the heroes are aware that there is any enemy.

My favourite characters were the rabbits and I loved their "rebel names".  And this book has my favourite line ever in it.  If you've read it, it's the "sym" bit.

So yes, this book is silly and a bit childish at times, but I found it wonderfully fun to read.  I came across it by accident, I think the cover is a bit rubbish, but I totally recommend giving it a go and I'm going to read the next ones.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Time Hunters and The Lost City by Carl Ashmore

The Lost City is the fifth and final installment in the wonderful Time Hunters series.  Becky, her brother Joe and Uncle Percy, the time traveller, are off to find El Dorado, the fabled Lost City.

This book starts off with a massive bang.  Emmerson Drake, their evil enemy blows up not only the Houses of Parliament, but just about every other major seat of power.  The story then ramps up as the family set off to find the last of the Eden Relics.

This may be a children's book, but I know of so many (alleged) grown-ups who love this series.  It has great depth, lots of action, humour and love.  What's not to like.

I'm a bit sad that this is the end.  The first Time Hunter story was the first kindle book I paid for and I feel I've been on this journey with the Mellors.  I'd like to think there'll be more stories set in this world.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Death in a Cold Spring by Cecilia Peartree

This is the ninth in the Pitkirtly series and is probably my favourite so far.

Amaryllis has put herself forward for being a councillor, but has this dulled her senses?  Christopher has loads to do at the Cultural Centre, but what's this art exhibition he doesn't really know about?  When Christopher and Amaryllis find something nasty at the Centre, they try to go their typical opposite ways, Christopher doesn't want to know, but Amaryllis needs to stick her nose in.

As with the previous 8 stories,  there's a crime in the community and the locals do their best to "help", although the police wouldn't call it that.  Keith is the only policeman around and he's struggling to keep up.

In each episode we get more info on a supporting character and this time it's Keith.  I enjoyed finding more about Keith in this story, now that Charlie is the pub landlord.  I particularly liked the dogs' stories.  They seemed to have a more starring role.

This story is best enjoyed having read the previous ones, but I think this stands on it's own.  You don't really need to know the cast's history, it just makes it seem that they are your friends.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

The third in the Chronicles of St Mary's series gets even darker.  Whilst these books are mostly light and witty and exciting, people do die and often not in a nice way.

This time, the team visits Troy to see if the wooden horse story is true.  They have to hang around and live there for a while.  This is no Star Trek, though.  They don't have communicators and universal translators, so they have to keep mostly to themselves.

I really enjoy this series of books. I think the concept is a great one and the execution very enjoyable.  So what if there are a few deus ex machinas along the way?

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Losing It by Elizabeth Armstrong

I found it hard to pigeon hole this book into a genre.  On the surface it's a paranormal/supernatural story, but only a little bit.  It starts reading a bit chick-litty, but it's more than that.  There's a bit of violence with the police involved, but it's more of a mystery.  But, for me, overall it was a satisfying story, with possibly a set-up for future stories.

Kate has just moved to London, she's lost her beloved husband in a car accident and is seeing pixies and mice in kilts among other things.  What is real and what is not?

I'm not one for paranormal fantasies, but as this was more about the mystery, I rather enjoyed it.  The supernatural elements were mostly on the edge of the story and sometimes added the comedic element.

Love ... Among the Stars by Nick Spalding

I didn't fancy the third in this series but jumped straight to the fourth as this storyline looked more my thing.  As with the others in this series, the story is told by both Jamie (on his blog) and Laura (in her diary) with the chapters going back and forth.

It seems that tJamie and Laura have been publishing the previous books themselves (we don't need Nick any more haha) and they have just published book number 3, so we follow them as they go through publishing and promoting it.  As ever, things never run smoothly.

My favourite bit was where they were invited to the film premier.  As it happened, things didn't really go as badly as they expected it to.  I also like the recurring character - you'll know who it is when you read it.

This was a very easy book to read.  Yes, it can be crude at times, but I found this to be quite a romantic story.  Jamie and Laura really love each other.  I didn't find it "laugh out loud" but did find it sweet and humerous.

Wordsmith by Nick Spalding

Max Bloom is back and this time he's had a year to hone his powers and he's the most powerful wordsmith in the land, but certainly not the greatest. He's still a teenager (in lurve) and is still immature.

This is a cracking romp and I flew through the story.

I'm unsure of the lower end of the target audience of this as there is some very minor swearing (such as bloody hell) which would make me reluctant to recommend it to my 10 year old nephew, even though I think he'd love the action and adventure. I certainly enjoyed it, the pace was high and it was very exciting.

Gray Redemption by Alan McDermott

Now my review for Book 2 in this series stated I wasn't as impressed with it as I was with the fantastic first book, so I'm glad to say that Tom's back.  But this one is more the search for Tom, rather than about Tom himself.  So did I like it?  Yes, more than book 2.  This time the good guys and the bad guys are after Tom, some of them not even knowing who they are after.

Ii was a bit muddled at the start as to who some of the characters were as it's a long time since I'd read the first two books, but it didn't really matter as the story and the action got going and I was along for the ride.  I did enjoy the Andrew Harvey character and I've since found out he's hopefully getting his own adventures, which is great.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Broken City by D.D. Chant

In the future, life has fallen apart and it's bad out on the streets.  There's no electricity and the people that are left in the city live in their own clans in compounds or apartment blocks.  Deeta is a teenager and has never been outside her block.  Other members of the block go out, but it's dangerous out there.  One day, everyone has to leave and Deeta's life changes.

I enjoyed this YA dystopian story more than I thought I would.  I wanted to know what Deeta would do as she finds out what life can be outside of her safe world.  There's a bit of romance going on and inter-clan violence and politics and some bits I thought were a bit unrealistic, but, on the whole, this was a good book.

Fifteen Days of Summer by Becky Perkins

This is the story of 15 days in 12-year-old Gerald's post-war summer holidays when he finds a caterpillar and forms a bond with it.

I found this to be a lovely gentle story set in a time that doesn't exist any more.  I'm not of the age to remember these times, but I've heard stories of my mother's childhood running around without a care in the world, out from dusk 'til dawn.  Gerald has a close-knit family, but he doesn't quite fit in with his older siblings.  They have to share not just rooms, but beds when the extended family comes to stay, so he has to find someone he trusts to help care for Gerald as he doesn't want to tell anyone about his new friend.

I think this story is aimed for children, however, I love reading books for any age and this was enjoyable from a grown-up's perspective.  Whenever I put it down I was wondering what would happen to Douglas the caterpillar next.

Even though this is Gerald's story, his family's stories were just as enjoyable and it all came together in the end.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Wanted by Tim Arnot

I'd ignored this book for some time as "post apocalypse dystopian books are not my thing", but once I started reading it, it was a normal story of survival and teenage angst.  Flick meets Shea and even though she's young, sparks fly.  But is that because Shea has been shot down whilst in a flying machine ...  that surely doesn't exist in this post-technological world where old cars are pulled by horses?

Whilst this story is set in times where technology doesn't exist anymore, it's still a story that seems very true in that type of era.  It's now a hard life where every day is a struggle.

I took a chance on this and I'm glad I did as I enjoyed this.  It is obviously the first book in a series, but it was satisfactorily resolved and I don't need to read the next, but I'm sure I'll be tempted to sooner rather than later.

The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan

Adnan, a bookshop owner in Baghdad finds an old book in his store and starts reading it.  But once he's started, he just can't stop, as it's the story of Ali - the Gardener of Baghdad who disappeared back in the 50s.

I really enjoyed this gentle story.  The book is paced as Adnan reads it. It is a love story across class and religion back in the times when it really did make a difference.

We are taken on a journey through hard times but where love tries to conquer all.  This was an enjoyable read indeed.