Book reviews, Chinese Fiction, Contemporary fiction, Short story

Two Lives: Tales of Life, Love & Crime by A Yi – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Seven stories, seven whispers into the ears of life: A Yi’s unexpected twists of crime burst from the everyday, with glimpses of romance distorted by the weaknesses of human motive. A Yi employs his forensic skills to offer a series of portraits of modern life, both uniquely Chinese, and universal in their themes.

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MY REVIEW 

Two Lives is a collection of 7 short stories, a mix of tales about life, death and the character of people.

I feel there is a real sense of place in these stories and a definite quirk to them. There’s a man who walks away from home,  missing for many years, only to return but not tell the woman where he’s been, a tale an anti-aging process that’s pure science fiction to tales of violence, rape and suicide. All dealing with the human psyche in all its glory, good, bad and indifferent.

At times this is not an easy read, but it’s always compelling, to watch these lives as a bystander. I found the general feeling of disdain for women uncomfortable at times and causes a visceral reaction….which is the point I think.

Two Lives may not be to everyone’s taste but it’s well written, unique and original. Disturbing and challenging at times, but definitely unforgettable.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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A Yi (author) is a celebrated Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-in- chief of Chutzpah, an avant garde literary magazine. He is the author of several collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future. A Perfect Crime, his first book in English was published by Oneworld in 2015. He is noted for his unsentimental worldview, and challenging literary style.

 

Alex Woodend (Translator) is a writer/translator whose fascination with Spanish and Chinese began at Franklin & Marshall College. He continued his studies at Columbia University where he wrote his Masters on early post-Mao literature. Translator of The Captain Riley Adventures , Murder in Dragon City, and other works, he currently lives in New York.

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Mystery, Short story

Five Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes by Maurice Barkley – Book Review

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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of five new stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

I am a big fan of Conan-Doyle’s Creation and found these stories by Maurice Barkley capture the essence of the Sherlock Holmes original tales.

The atmosphere and characters are truly spot on and the tales of mystery are well plotted and engaging. They also have some unique and refreshing tweaks too, all of which make this collection thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Maurice Barkley lives with his wife Marie in a suburb of Rochester, New York. Retired from a career as a commercial artist and builder of tree houses, he is WRITING and busy reinforcing the stereotype of a pesky househusband. Favorite relaxation is throwing peanuts to squirrels, blue jays, cardinals and chipmunks from his porch. Once he built a doll hair-making machine using an old sewing machine. It worked, but his wife got tired of making Raggedy Ann dolls, so it sits in the garage.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/ADVENTURES-SHERLOCK-HOLMES-Maurice-Barkley-ebook/dp/B079YX6KD2/ref=sr_1_5 keywords=maurice+barkley&qid=1576672024&sr=8-5

 

@MauriceBarkley 

Book reviews, Horror, Science fiction, Short story

Crazy-Ass Stories for Crazy-Ass People by Andy Rausch – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

This quirky collection of short stories (and one novella) by Andy Rausch contains something for readers of every stripe. Rausch touches on a variety of genres, including horror, comedy, crime, and even Western, but every story features his unique, offbeat wit, superb writing, and razor-sharp dialogue, all delivered from a decidedly off-kilter perspective. 

His work has been praised by the likes of Cape Fear screenwriter Wesley Strick and Fort Apache the Bronx author Heywood Gould. Author Peter Leonard once compared his writing style to that of his father, Elmore Leonard. Storylines include a naive little boy mistaking a burglar for Santa Claus, bumbling white supremacists attempting to resurrect the dead body of Adolf Hitler, a man who develops an unexplainable craving for the taste of human flesh, a would-be author summoning the spirit of dead novelist Charles Bukowski to assist him writing, a showdown between legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and a deadly serial killer on the dusty streets of Tombstone, and many more. 

So ask yourself: are you a little bit crazy, and if so, are you up to the task of reading these twenty-two wild and crazy tales of darkness, wackiness, and outright debauchery?

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MY REVIEW 

This is a diverse collection of short stories, dark and certainly quirky.

Each of these tales are unique, set in different locations such as cities, in space and even the sea.

There is comedy, crime and horror with a dark wit and a certain warped skew to each story. Decidedly Crazy-Ass and such great fun.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to read Crazy-Ass Stories for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Andy Rausch is an American film journalist, author, screenwriter, film producer, and actor.

He is the author of several novels and novellas including Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin. He also wrote the screenplay for Dahmer versus Gacy and is the author of some twenty non-fiction books on popular culture.

 Books: Riding Shotgun, Bloody Sheets, A Time for Violence, Layla’s Score

 You can usually find Andy on Twitter @writerrausch1, and he maintains a blog at https://authorandyrausch.wordpress.com/ 

Book reviews, Novella, Science fiction, Short story

Helene by Karl Drinkwater – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. 

They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Helene

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MY REVIEW 

Helene is an AI Socialisation Specialist, she’s working to help understand the AI VIRAUHX or Via to be successful and complete, to help shape a personality, to give a sense of right and wrong. As they talk Via considers Helene a friend….they start to banter a little and Via’s lame attempts at jokes are funny…..like a toddler just learning.

Helene breaks protocol and lets Via fly (it is a ship after all) and this is noticed by the senior powers that be…….and not in a good way.

Helene is betrayed, Via is silenced and now has limited responses….but then Opal arrives!

I love this novella, it gives a little insight into how Clarissa was ‘born’ and how Opal comes into the story. This will then lead to the events in Lost Solace….and I shudder at the thought of that (in a good way I might add). A quick but but intriguing read….I’m looking forward to the next in the Lost Solace series. 

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Author Bio 

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Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

 

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

 

Social Media Links –

 

https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/

https://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

 

Book reviews, Horror, Short story

Disturbing Works Volume 2 by Jon Richter – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 John Richter’s Disturbing Works Volume II

Another compendium of delightfully macabre stories by Jon Richter, author of Deadly Burial and Never Rest. Jon’s first short fiction collection was described as ‘Black Mirror meets Tales Of The Unexpected’, and here he brings you another chilling assortment of twisted tales encompassing killer creatures, terrifying technology, and scientific experiments gone horribly wrong… These dark fables are perfect for anyone who likes their reads short, shocking, and laced with a dash of black humour.

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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of 10 deliciously dark short stories.

There’s a mix of the grotesque, creepy and monstrous tales each with a marvellous twist and some really dark humour, which really appealed to me. That giggle of fear and the unexpected.

Dark, disturbing and thoroughly entertaining. Brilliant.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Author bio:

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Jon Richter writes dark fiction, including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, and his two collections of short horror fiction, volumes one and two of Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works.

Jon lives in Elephant & Castle and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story. He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you more macabre tales in the very near future, including his upcoming cyberpunk noir thriller, London 2039: Auxiliary. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the greatest works of dark fiction, available wherever you get your podcast fix.

If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.

His website haunts the internet at http://www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.

 

 

Book reviews, Cosy mystery, Short story, Thriller

A Christmas Crime by Tara Lyons – Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A Christmas Crime 

From the bestselling author of The Paramedic’s Daughter and The DI Hamilton Series, comes a criminally festive delight to thrill you on a cold winter’s night. 

With snow falling in a quaint Surrey Village, it’s the perfect setting for Holly and Christopher’s dream Christmas wedding. But instead of enjoying mince pies and mistletoe, their happiness is threatened by old secrets and someone harbouring a grudge. When the truth is finally revealed, can the couple enjoy the festivities with their family, or is their marriage doomed from the start?

This short story is the perfect mystery to keep you guessing this holiday season, so why not enjoy it with a glass of mulled wine while sat next to a roaring fire.

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MY REVIEW 

Holly and Christopher are getting married on Christmas Eve, they are excited and everything is ready. But, they each receive a message ‘I’m warning you, don’t do it’ and neither tell the other……just who has a secret?

I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling the story. 

This may be a short story, but my there’s a lot packed in. A few surprises along the way and more than one crime, make this a perfect Christmas thriller. Incredibly entertaining. 

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this for free.  This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. She studied English Literature at Brunel University and was Assistant Editor at an in-house magazine for 8 years, 

In the Shadows is the author’s solo debut novel self-published in March 2016. Bloodhound Books later re-published it, and the rest of The DI Hamilton series followed suit. Tara is now working on standalone novels, the first of which will be published in May 2019.

When she’s not writing, Tara is kept busy by her two young children.