Saturday, January 07, 2017

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz: interesting but unsatisfying thriller

Sherlock Holmes is dead. 
Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind.
Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction, Chase must hunt down this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace. 
The game is afoot . . .


My review:

Having loved the first book in this series, The House of Silk (well worth a read if you've not done so already), I was really looking forward to this follow up and read the whole story very quickly as a result. It's not entirely what I expected - yes, the description is fabulous and you do really feel as if you're walking through Victorian London with all the sights, sounds and smells that entails. The plot is also first-rate.

However, neither Holmes nor Watson appear in the novel until the very end (via a curious short story addendum) and there is therefore a great sense of frustration. The level of violence is also more than is necessary to my mind and I didn't need to have such detailed descriptions of it. The ultimate twist is good, but not what I hoped for and the end is ultimately very unsatisfying indeed. If there's a third book, then we do really need to have Holmes and Watson in it! Please?...

Anne Brooke Books

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft: psychological page-turner

Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them. Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her?

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her baby and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts. Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory. 

My review:

A good page-turning read and I very much liked the main character, Simone. However, as other reviews have said, there are so many books like this now that the 'female in jeopardy' novel is probably rather old-fashioned. Also, I worked out the twist a third of the way through so the ending was no surprise, and on a really picky note, I don't think you can draw blood from trying to stab someone with car keys but I'm not prepared to put this to the test, LOL!

However, still a good quick read and I will probably try this author again.

Anne Brooke Books

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Amazon Paperback Bonanza!

All my Kindle ebooks are now available as paperbacks at Amazon at very good prices - the link is this one and is also as below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0034PAO0Y

This is the range of books you can find on Amazon in paperback (as well as Kindle versions):

London thrillers (A Dangerous Man, Maloney's Law and The Bones of Summer)

Romantic fiction (Pink Champagne and Apple Juice, The Old Bags' Sex Club, How To Marry Your Husband)

Crime fiction (Thorn in The Flesh, The Gangster's Wife)

Literary fiction (The Apple Picker's Daughter)

Fantasy fiction (The Gifting, Hallsfoot's Battle, The Executioner's Cane - AKA The Gathandrian Trilogy - and The Taming of The Hawk)

Gay fiction (The Hit List, The Dangerous Delaneys and Me, The Beginning of Knowledge, The Paranormal Detection Agency, Where You Hurt The Most, and a host of others)

Religious fiction (The Prayer Seeker)

Short story collections (Dancing with Lions, The Singing Road)

Prayer book (Dear God It's All Gone Horribly Wrong)

Poetry collections (A Stranger's Table, Salt and Gold)

Non-fiction (A Year in The Allotment, Tales from The Typeface)

Children's fiction (The Origami Nun, Queen of the Fluffy Pens - both under my pseudonym, Lori Olding)

Happy browsing!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy Site
Biblical Fiction Site
Lori Olding


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holding by Graham Norton: old-fashioned charm in a page-turning read

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke - a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
My review:

A well written and interesting debut novel from Graham Norton. The characters are well portrayed and very sympathetic, and the small village setting is beautifully described. There's an old-fashioned feel about it - particularly in the way that setting tends to be described before we get to the character in each chapter - but that itself has charm and doesn't negate the page-turning quality of the story. The ending was very satisfying indeed.

Anne Brooke Books

Monday, December 26, 2016

Clariel by Garth Nix: one for the children

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all.

My review:

This is the first (and I think only) book by Garth Nix that I've read, or will read. It came across very much as a children's fantasy book and not really that engaging for adults. That's absolutely fine of course, but I wish I'd known this before I started. The beginning is very slow so it was a relief to get to the middle where the plot started to kick in.

Then a lot of things (murder! journeys! danger!) happen all at once which is great, but then it got a bit out of hand and there was way too much happening by the end so I lost interest and started skipping. It was odd because I started off really liking Clariel, but when she began to actually do something, I couldn't work out her reasoning so found her rather facile. Oh, and I hated the pesky cat. We really didn't need it - a bit of a 'MacGuffin". So, all in all, an okay read for the young, but not for me.

Anne Brooke Books

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: a poetic and powerful story

The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
Now eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel from author Vanessa Diffenbaugh, about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.

My review:

This is a powerful and poetic story about a young woman trying to find her place in life. Victoria's relationship with flowers is a fabulous metaphor for how she sees the world and the people in it. The exquisite prose and the sympathetic main character drive the story along and the time-shift scenes between then and now are superbly done. The only reason it didn't get 5 stars was because I thought the ending was too weak and it was too obvious that a lesson was being learnt - whereas I'd have preferred the character's fantastic voice to remain as gripping as it had been up until the final chapter. Still, a great novel and I shall look out for more from this author.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser: Worst Heroine Ever Alert!

Blurb: It’s Zoe and Jack’s first wedding anniversary party. They’ve got an announcement! They’re getting divorced…
Marriage isn’t for everyone – something that Zoe and Jack discovered only after they’d walked down the aisle. Bad timing, huh? So now they’re stuck together in their once harmonious marital home, neither one of them willing to move out of their lovely house.
With Zoe’s three sisters always wanting a say, and Jack’s best friend trying his best to fix things between them, misunderstandings arise. Tempers flare. ‘Accidents’ happen…
Zoe and Jack are going to be lucky if they’re still alive when the twelve months are up. But maybe things aren’t quite as final as they seem?
Review: This book could have had a lot going for it, but unfortunately the main character Zoe was very poorly written and simply came across as being very immature and selfish. Not to mention thoroughly annoying. I actually had no idea why her new husband Jack was with her - he could do a lot better.

Indeed this is one of the mysteries of this shaky romance - Zoe is surrounded by an absolute bevy of totally charming friends and family who are very generous, kind and patient with her rank stupidity and downright cruelty. I would much rather the main character could have been someone - anyone! - else.

That said, the premise of a newly wedded couple opting for divorce is an interesting one, but poorly executed here. Such a shame.

Anne Brooke Books