Following on from my last edition of The Quill Pen Recommends, take a look at these three titles and make some room on your kindle device this Christmas.
Here’s my review of Amie – An African Adventure:
This book caught my eye having seen several good reviews. It was moved up my extensive TBR for reading and it has taken me some time to get around to it, that said, I’m so glad that I did.
From the first few pages, the author sets the scene, the significance of which doesn’t become relevant until much later on in the book. The story hinges around a seemingly stable region of Africa and the need for a desalination plant to be built. Our heroine, a mere secretary of sorts to the film industry that she longs to be included in, finds herself whisked to the foreign land as the wife of the newly delegated project manager in the form of her husband Jonathan. While we don’t get to really connect with Jonathan’s personality on a great level, it is clear to see that he is very career driven. Aimie on the other hand, comes across as a woman with some concerns and much deeper thought than just opportunity and proves to be extremely resilient and resourceful in the remainder of the book – I instantly warmed to her character. From the outset, the attention to the scenic detail given by the author is nothing short of brilliant. So easy was it to read such scenes of open plains and majestic, sweeping landscapes that if I were to close my eyes, an image would appear – exactly what a reader wants in a book of this nature.
There were many times throughout this tale of corruption, volatile governments and destitute peoples where I found myself feeling guilty at the luxuries I have, effectively taking for granted the most basic of provisions such as clean, running water, or a shop yards away that sells everything I need to live for months, let alone one day. The ability of the writer to induce such sentiments in any reader is quite simply a brilliant talent.
I’m not going to go into too much detail with regards to the storyline and plot, I think it is well worth a read to find out what happens in this engaging, often suspenseful and thrilling novel though I was a little dismayed at what appeared to be a rushed twist to the end – that could have been perhaps expanded a little further. That is my only real point to pick up on mind you. This book is edited to an extremely high standard, and that alone requires a great deal of concentration and hard work for both editor and author, it is to be applauded here. The story itself has given me many happy hours of entertainment, casting me far away from the confines of my reading position, out into the open wilds of Africa and filling me with a real sense of the peoples, customs and often barbaric lack of respect for human life, very well written indeed.
It is because of the quality of this story, the fact that it kept me so engaged despite often long gaps between reads, that I have chosen to give it the full 5 stars. I would recommend this to anyone needing a captivating read..
Here’s number two of my favourite recommended reads this year. Try this. Here’s my review of this work.
I read this while holidaying in Tenerife and taking some much needed rest. Having recently finished a pretty long novel by another author, I fancied something evocative, something to change the scenes in my mind and take me someplace else – this short story did that effortlessly. Not having read a crime drama before, I went into this tale with an open mind to find myself pleasantly surprised by the portrayal of our lead character, Sam (Samantha), who finds herself on a ‘working holiday’ awaiting an interview for a position within her chosen profession. Sam is a police officer, dealing with the fallout of crime affecting children, who finds herself unable to resist the temptation to solve a case involving a series of brutal street robberies while clearly amazed at the difference in cultural styles in Austin as opposed to her home state of Vermont. The reader gets a real sense of the child characters and the close-knit bonds they have – a necessity it seems for survival. Buzz, Cherise, Simone, and the others are sort of a band of brothers and sisters who look out for eachother and yet form an alliance with Sam for the greater good.
One of the things I loved about this short story was the author’s effortless ability to portray the scenery and feeling of the surroundings to the reader. The mental imagery of the carnival atmosphere and surrounding scenery is such that images are vivid and clear, an atmosphere of joy masks the darker, more sinister underworld activities of organised crime set in a place, to the unknowing, of equal amounts of celebration and deviance.
A nice touch was the added brother/sister communications embedded within the tale, reinforcing that sense of underlying bonds throughout the story – even between the adult elements. In closing, this is a beautifully written piece, brilliantly constructed and I find myself wanting to know more about Samantha and exactly what she does. I’ll be picking up the next in the series from Adan – of that, I have no doubt. 5* well earned.
The final of my three for this post, Henchmen – Eric Lahti. Hang on tight, you’re in for one hell of an explosive ride…..
Here’s my review of this work:
There has never been a story – so far as I can remember – where the commanding presence of a 7ft blonde with a VERY thick skin (armour plated in fact) steals the show quite so well as one of the lead characters, Eve does in this book. The further into it you get, the more it becomes perfectly normal that the said blonde should launch fully grown men into the lower stratosphere of simply demolish heavily armoured doors with seemingly little effort. Combine that with the other characters in the instantly likeable rogue Steven, through who’s eyes the story is narrated brilliantly, adding to that Frank, the most unlikely of gay men it would seem from the first off, and yet perfectly depicted as timed goes on. You have to feel a twist in the gut when Jean, his lover, is taken.
Jess is the live wire I kinda hoped would break the unwritten electricity buffer that pulses between herself and Steven – I still have hope in the sequel that those two will get it on, they would be well suited. I digress. The story begins with action, it continues with action and it comes to a frankly gripping end with yes, you guessed it – action. I was glued to the tale of this motley, often rough around the edges assembly of miscreants, crooks and hackers who appear to have been moulded into what they are now by their own loyalty to a country, not a government, that they are patriots of. The exception being the really mystifying Eve, who, aside from conjuring up some fantastic mental images upon occasion, seems to be not of this world (in the sense of the world in the story) and continues to the last to be somewhat of an enigmatic mystery.
The characters become more and more likeable, in their own inimitable ways, as the story progresses and I found myself willing the writing to keep appearing as I swished away the imaginary pages of the kindle. When it finally ended, the last few pages of the book were none the less fantastic than the first few and the only saving grace of my trauma of reaching the end was that Eric actually had the good grace to give me a snippet of the sequel… I bought the sequel there and then.
In closing, if you’re a fan of the slightly off left of centre, imaginative and extremely creative thriller/adventure as I am, you’ll be hooked by page three to this twisting maelstrom of colourful characters plots and sub-plots. While the lead ‘team’ are technically the bad guys breaking the law, the underlying story is one to which we can all relate… are those in power REALLY doing the right thing and more to the point, what if? Eric earned himself another devoted fan of his work today. Arise is some way down my list of books to get to, only because I like to give every author a fighting chance and review in turn. Personally, I can’t wait to get to it.
This is Kick Ass good, easily scooped a 5* and then some, from me.
Stay tuned for more of my top picks from 2015 as I continually read and review other authors works to bring you, the reader, some of the best books your money can buy.
QP signing off… for now.