Roly Poly Monster & Roly Poly Monster goes to the Zoo – Children’s Book Reviews

I first discovered this author and her books when she joined my indieauthorreview exchange Fb group. Charity Tober has been writing and creating stories for as long as she can remember. She published her first children’s picture book Roly-Poly Monster in 2013 and followed up with Roly-Poly Monster Goes to the Zoo in 2014.

She collaborated on both books with her husband and illustrator Andrew Tober. She based the personality of Roly-Poly Monster after her young son and how he views the world with a sense of wonder and excitement, seeing the fun in every situation. Charity Tober, along with her husband and son, currently resides in Lake Mary, Florida.

Check out the Roly-Poly Monster website at http://www.rolypolymonster.com

“Like” the Roly-Poly Monster Facebook page to get the latest updates: http://www.facebook.com/rolypolymonster

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Roly Poly Monster, by Charity Tober

(Available from Amazon in both print and eBook formats)

charity1A charming little book for young children. I read this with my 4 year old grandson, and a fun time was had by all. The dialogue and vocabulary is deliberately kept simple for the younger end of the children’s market but the nature of the writing makes it easy for the reader to improvise and expand on depending on the level of development and vocabulary of the child they’re reading to. Much of the story is interspaced with some some clever and fun rhyming. This isn’t a demanding story or one that will overstretch the younger child’s attention span, but one that will still no doubt thoroughly entertain – a delightful account of a fun day out at the park that any young child will immediately relate to, an absolutely perfect bedtime story for any toddler or young child. The illustrations are also very good, and again, perfectly catered to the younger child. With this is in mind, this is one of those occasions when if reading to a youngster on some sort of electronic device, I’d recommend a tablet of some sort as opposed to a regular Kindle in order to best appreciate the colourful and vibrant illustrations. This is a story that can be read and re-read many times should the reader should the reader want to improvise and add their own input each time. A truly delightful children’s book!

Roly Poly Monster Goes To The Zoo, by Charity Tober
(Available from Amazon in both print and eBook formats)

charity2Just like the author’s previous book, Roly Poly Monster, this is another charming little book for young children, and one that again enthralled my 4 year old grandson. Again, nice simple and appropriate dialogue for a young child. The fun style of writing and rhyming particularly amused my grandson:

“Something fun to do… Going to the zoo…”

Once again the reader is treated to another fun day out that any youngster will immediately relate to, this time a fun trip to the zoo to see all the exciting animals. This is a story that will ignite a child’s imagination with its bright and vibrant illustrations, talk of ice cream and picnics and having fun, not to mention Roly Poly Monster, the fun and friendly monster star of the story. Another great addition to what I hope will be an ongoing series of such books.

Darkly Wood – Book Review

This was another recommendation from friend and fellow blogger and author, Lesley Hayes. Darkly Wood, by Max Power is definitely one of those books I can see going on to do extremely well in the future, just as I’m sure his latest new book, Larry Flynn, will also be a success. Without a doubt this is one of my top picks for 2014.

As well being an author, Max Power is a prolific contributor to the Indie Author Review Exchange Fb group. Further information on Max Power and links to his writing can be found at his blog:

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http://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com/

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Darkly Wood

By Max Power (available in eBook format from Amazon)

 

MP1This is a book that embodies horror, romance, and the paranormal in a way I’ve rarely seen. With a good opening narrative, right from the start the author conjures up an atmospheric sense of creepiness and the macabre reminiscent of a latter day Edgar Allan Poe or Dennis Wheatley, so much so that one can almost imagine Christopher Lee or Vincent Price playing the part of one of the characters, particularly that of Lord Terrance Darkly.

Initially we learn of the mystery and horror of Darkly Wood by way of the central character, Daisy May Coppertop, reading through a copy of a book of tales about Darkly Wood – a book within a book so to speak but at that point that’s all they are, just stories, but certainly nothing to be alarmed about, at least not yet.

What starts off as Daisy and Benjamin, intrigued by the apparent sight of strange looking boy in the distance, taking a seemingly innocent and pleasant walk along the edge of a nearby woodland soon turns into a a dark and fear filled battle not just to escape its clutches but simply to survive. Faced with ever increasing danger and a sense of time running out for them, the bond between Daisy, and Benjamin, her new found friend from the local village, grows into something much more than simple friendship or first love.

The writing technique is both clever and imaginative, using descriptive narrative to set the tone and atmosphere early on, using the opportunity to inform the reader of many nuggets of information that come into play later in the book, gradually introducing just the right balance of dialogue and action. The numerous but short chapters make for a very readable style of writing, and by way of the different tales of the book within the book, the author keeps the story alive and fresh throughout. In books such as this the author often requires the reader’s implicit consent to suspend their disbelief, but here the reader is left in no doubt whatsoever as to the mystery and horror of the wood; in one of the chapters the author cleverly demonstrates the ‘other worldliness’ of the wood when in one particular tale, someone trying to find their way out of the wood tries using their field craft skills to escape only to find all the laws of nature and physics don’t seem to apply in the heart of Darkly Wood. As the story progresses the seemingly unrelated tales of the wood draw closer to form an intricate pattern; surprises and shocks keep the reader entranced, drawing you in just as Daisy and Benjamin are drawn further and further into Darkly Wood. Filled with twists and turns and and new revelations at every juncture, an amazing and diverse array of characters, and a conclusion as eerie and unexpected as any pone could imagine, this is definitely one of my favourite reads of 2014.

 

Link to Max Power’s latest book:

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Authors helping authors…

As some of you may have noticed that apart from my recent review of a short story, I’ve been somewhat quiet on the reviewing and blogging front. Without going into specifics, some health concerns have diverted my attention elsewhere over the past few months but am happy to say I’ll now be returning more of my attention and efforts to one of my enjoyable pastimes, namely that of writing and reviewing.

Book reviews, particularly for the Indie and self-published author are the lifeblood of such writers, but for the relatively unknown or debut author, such reviews can be frustratingly elusive. As we all know, there are already numerous review exchange groups on Fb, many of which list their numbers in the thousands, but with such numbers posts are often consigned to history as minutes later endless more requests and posts are made before they can be responded to.

I know many authors who are only too happy to read and review other’s work, and with this in mind I’ve recently created a second WordPress blog, http://www.indieauthorreviewexchange.com and an accompanying Fb group of the same name. Where I hope to be more effective than some of the other online equivalents, is by deliberately keeping the two smaller in membership, and with the accompanying wordpress blog there will be no reason for book links to be lost amid a plethora of subsequent Fb posts, enabling members to browse at their leisure other member’s books listed on the different ‘Genre’ Pages on the Wp site and if they wish, they can contact them via the accompanying Fb group.

I will still continue to post book reviews and the occasional short story, articles, and other miscellaneous posts and reblogs here on echoesofthepen, but I’ve quoted below from the About page my other new blog some further explanation as to why I’ve created these additional sites… I hope some of you will find them useful…

 

I’ve created the Indie Author Review Exchange WordPress site and its sister Facebook group of the same name (see links at bottom of page) to promote mutual support among independent writers and authors by way of reading and providing honest and informative reviews of each other’s books. It’s all too easy to assume that a great book will be widely read and reviewed on it’s merits alone, but unfortunately, being a good writer doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with being a good marketeer, promoter, or publicist, and for that reason, I believe a lot of very good books aren’t getting the attention and readership they deserve. My hope is that as the number of members grows, that each member will read and review other members’ books, as well as passing on recommendations for other independently published books they may have read.

If as a member of the accompanying Fb group, you feel your book doesn’t fit into any of the genres listed, please email me with a suggestion for a new category for it to be included in (email listed in pinned post in Fb group). Likewise to other authors who blog on wordpress and elsewhere, feel free to take a look at our Fb group to see if you’d be interested in joining for inclusion on this site too.

In addition, there will be links and reblogs of many other Wp bloggers, book reviewers, and shortlyn in the near future, a Resources for Writers page (listed under Categories on right hand side) with links to various other sites, blogs, and posts that might be of use to aspiring writers and authors, and secondly, another page with links to various publishing sites that may prove useful…

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Book Reviews

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/exchangereviews/

Reviewexchange

WordPress: http://www.indieauthorreviewexchange.com

The Room – Short Story Review

This isn’t one of my normal book reviews as such, being a review of a single short story instead. One good thing about about Amazon is that it allows authors to upload and publish individual short stories that for practical reasons would not be viable via the more traditional or mainstream publishers. The Room by John Brunton is an excellent little short horror story I discovered when he joined my Fb book review group. John Brunton doesn’t have a blog site (yet), but I’m sure he’s a writer we’ll be hearing more of in the future…  

 

The Room, By John Brunton 

(Available for download via Amazon)

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This is a short story that might well appeal to fans of both the more traditional horror genre as well as those who like their horror dosed with a fair degree of psychology and mind games – think ‘Stephen King meets the Twilight Zone’ and you’ll be pretty close to what kind of story this is.

As the author rightly points out, there is some strong content here in terms of what is happening and the language, but it’s all within and essential to the context of the story. In a short story such as this, it’s difficult to say a lot without giving too much away and possibly spoiling it so I’ll keep it brief: What we have is a man, Paul, who finds himself in some strange room, plagued by whispering voices and the sight of a bloodied dead woman, and those same voices urging him to harm himself too. Right from the start the story poses questions to the reader, drawing them in as to why and how he came to be there, whether any of it is actually real. The author creates a good sense of urgency, fear, and grief in the early part of the story, and as the story moves on, skilfully portrays the changes in the Paul’s perception of what‘s happening most effectively.

There are some good transitions in the story, and overall the writing is very professional. Just a couple of minor points on that though – there are a couple of times, particularly early on, where there’s some repetition of words and phrases, and I would have preferred a more consistent and traditional approach to how the dialogue was presented, but apart from that, the storyline and its conclusion was first rate. For entertainment value it would definitely warrant a 5* rating but as I said, a couple of stylistic preferences didn’t quite work for me hence the 4* rating instead. But would I buy/read anything else by this author? Absolutely!

 

 

 

 

Kevin Boy to Man – Book Review

Unlike many other writers whom I’ve discovered via blogging and Twitter, the author of this particular book was an unexpected discovery when she asked to join my book review Facebook group. I must admit to having had some initial misgivings when I first started reading this book, but having put them aside, this proved to be one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this past year. Further links to the author and her work can be found at:

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http://authorspage.wix.com/finklemeyer

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Kevin Boy to Man, by E. Finklemeyer

(Available in eBook formats via Amazon and Smashwords)

kevin2Superficially this book might well be described as a Coming of Age or Rites of Passage story, but to do so would fall far short of doing it justice. The story initially centres around Kevin, a lonely but in many ways very typical teenager or young man, and his desire to engage with the opposite sex, make friends, and find his place in the world. The reader’s first impressions of Kevin are somewhat tainted to say the least, portrayed as he is as a sex starved fantasizing teenage version of a dirty old man, totally devoid of any redeeming characteristics, trolling the internet for mucky pics to further fuel his fantasies and act them out in a way typical of a horny young man or teenage boy in the privacy of his own bedroom. And so too his home and family: a mother who seems over protective and patronising of him, a bed ridden indifferent father, and no real friends to speak of other than his ‘Aunt’ Violet, a woman more than old enough to be his mother with whom he seems to enjoy an unhealthy interest and relationship with, again furthering the reader’s dislike of him; such are his efforts in this and other endeavours that it would be very easy to lose all sympathy whatsoever for him, but as the book progresses so too does the reader’s perception and understanding of him.

The language is colourful and explicit from the start, but in an honest and matter of fact way rather than gratuitous or intended to shock. The same can largely be said of the sex scenes too, and whilst the later do not leave too much to the imagination, they’re more likely to make the reader laugh out loud than become aroused in any way, as is their intention. I wasn’t overly keen on the block paragraph style of presentation, a format which I find better suited to the flash fiction and short story format. I must admit too that I found the first fifteen to twenty per cent of the book hard going, portraying Kevin, his life and his family in as bleak and sordid a way as is possible to imagine, but from this bleakness emerges a story of such joy and comic humour, and at times tragic loss and sadness it was impossible for me not to completely forgive any initial short comings

Out of Kevin’s solitary sordid fantasies and activities, what emerges is the story of a young man who comes to realise there’s a lot more to life than tending to the needs of what’s between his legs; where once he was sad and lonely he eventually finds himself surrounded by the best and truest friends he could ever hope for – as strange, funny, and unlikely a collection of individuals one might ever hope to meet. The adventures Kevin and his new found friends get up to really have to be read to be believed – think old people’s home meets juvenile detention centre with a healthy helping of geek, sex, and eventually love thrown in and you start to get the idea – any comparisons with Tom Sharpe would not be undeserved!

A word of warning though, try to avoid reading in this in public places such as trains or bus – switching between stifling laughter and then trying to hide the fact you’re welling up with tears and a lump in your throat can be quite embarrassing…

For sheer unadulterated joyous and uplifting entertainment, a thoroughly well deserved five star recommendation!

The Tiny Tyrannosaurs – Children’s Book Review

It’s been many years since I had cause to read a children’s book now that my son is a grown man with a son of his own, my adorable little four year old grandson, Patrick. With him in mind I’m now paying more attention to such books, and it is with great pleasure I now present my review of a book I enjoyed many hours of fun and laughter in sharing with him, but first, a little about the author, Penny Luker…

Penny Luker is the author of ‘The Mermaid’ a book of short stories, ‘Nature’s Gold’ a poetry anthology and two other children’s books, among others. She also writes for the e-zine ‘All Things Girl,’ http://www.allthingsgirl.com.

Further links to her writing can be found at:

http://www.pennyluker.wordpress.com
http://www.penspoems.wordpress.com

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The Tiny Tyrannosaurus, by Penny Luker
(Available in eBook and print formats from Amazon)

penny2 A truly delightful collection of bite sized stories that will amuse and delight children in, I would say, the four to ten year old age bracket. The stories span a year in the life of young Isaac, from the day he receives a small tiny talking tyrannosaurus for his birthday. With the promise of one magic wish a day, a touching bond forms between them as they enjoy a variety of little adventures together, until such time for their parting and the magic to end. Each story is gentle, simple, and easy for young children to relate to, yet sufficiently entertaining to hold the attention of the slightly older child, say seven to ten or eleven, reading them on their own.

These stories would make excellent bedtime tales for younger readers, with parents or grandparents maybe explaining any words or ideas that four or five year olds might not immediately get, and perhaps adding their own input, thus making these stories as much fun for those reading them as they are for their audience. Mixed in with the stories, there are morals and snippets of good advice for children, that perhaps they’ll be more likely to take heed of if coming from a magical talking dinosaur than from a grown up.

A lovely little collection of stories, as the giggles and smiles from my own grandson confirmed when I was reading them to him.

Links to further works by Penny Luker:

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Not Like Other People – Book Review

LesleyHayes1This is the second of Lesley Hayes’ books I’ve read,  having already reviewed ‘A Field Beyond Time’.  I first discovered this author’s books by way of Twitter (who says Twitter doesn’t work?), and after some initial chat, emails, and taking a look at her blog I added ‘A Filed Beyond Time’ to my read & review list. This is however the first short story collection of hers that I have read and reviewed.. again, it won’t be the last….

Lesley Hayes has been writing ever since she was a child. Since then she has been published in several woman’s and literary magazines, read her stories on BBC radio, and in 1986 had her first novel, ‘Keeping Secrets,’ published. In addition to that and ‘A Field Beyond Time,’ Lesley Hayes is the author of several more successful and well received novels. Further information and links to her writing can be found at:  

http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk

http://blog.lesleyhayes.co.uk

https://twitter.com/hayes_lesley

 

 

Not Like Other People, By Lesley Hayes

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

LesleyHayes1A truly fascinating and poignant anthology of ten short character driven stories that centre on the lives, loves, and emotions of its characters; just as in real life, not every character here is one we sympathise with, and nor does every story end with a ‘happy ever after’ conclusion – stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, occasionally heart warming, but which never fail to captivate the reader’s full attention.

In addition to the stories, there is an informative preface outlining the author’s approach to writing these tales, and how they differ from writing from that of a novel, giving the reader a real insight into them right from the start.

Although each story is entirely different in its theme, scenarios, and characters, the writing style remains consistent, characterised by crisp sharp sentences and dialogue, with just the right balance of description and dialogue to drive each story forward and keep the reader intrigued and entertained throughout. What was especially impressive about the dialogue was that despite there being ten different stories, and many more characters to contend with, each character still possessed their own unique voice, personality and attributes, and the imagery and descriptive prose of each never fell into any sort of predictable pattern.

Many of the stories don’t follow the usual short story format of a clever plot-line followed by the customary twist in the tale ending, instead concentrating on the subtle interactions between the characters, and whereas many short stories rely on the reader’s imagination to ponder on the ‘before and after’ of the story, here the reader is treated to brief yet fascinating self-contained interludes of the character’s lives, which allow you to really enjoy and immerse yourself ‘in the moment’ so to speak. Yes, each story ends in such a way as to either enlighten or surprise the reader, but the endings are mostly of the more subtle or gentle ‘aha’ moment.

Anyone who likes their reading to challenge their perceptions as well as entertaining them will not be disappointed: Intelligent and well written, highly entertaining and thought provoking, I cannot recommend this anthology more highly!

 

Other Short Story collections by Lesley Hayes:

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The Alexandria Project – Book Review

This is an author I came across by way of reading his own excellent review of a book I had previously reviewed, ‘Johnny Nothing’ by Ian Probert.

Andrew Updegrove is a prolific blogger, primarily writing about the self-publishing industry and related topics, providing an excellent resource for any aspiring writer. As well as being a prolific blogger and writer, Andrew Updegrove has a successful background in law, business, and cyber security, making him eminently qualified to write this excellent book.’

 

Further links and contact details for Andrew Updegrove are:

http://updegrove.wordpress.com/

email: andrew.updegrove@gesmer.com

https://twitter.com/Adversego

https://www.facebook.com/frank.adversego

The Alexandria Project, by Andrew Updegrove  

AlexandriaTom Sharpe meets Michael Crichton… What we have here is a real rollercoaster of a thriller, combining home grown and international cyber terrorism, the threat of nuclear war and destruction, and not to mention, some of the funniest and satirical writing it’s been my pleasure to read in a very long time.

It begins with an excellent prologue, detailing the cyber theft of national security files from a highly secure Govt. Dept. thus providing the reader with an early glimpse of the wider picture. What follows is the gripping story of an emerging threat to national and international cyber security, and the frantic efforts of both the CIA, the FBI, and one man in particular, Frank Adversego Jr, a brilliant IT security expert and innovator, to track down and counter the threat and to avert catastrophic consequences that no one could have imagined at the start, culminating in a genuinely nail biting finish.

Interspaced amid the storyline are some fascinating insights into the world of I.T and the net, written in such a way as to be informative and entertaining, yet never requiring the reader to have anything but the most basic understanding of the net to follow and enjoy the story. There are some truly funny and yet very pertinent accounts of the original dot com bubble, venture capital, and the sheer absurdity and madness of the early days of the net and the overnight millionaires it created; mentions of Netscape et al give the explanations real credibility. The author uses these examples to lampoon much of the internet, using such phrases as “spear phishing venture capitalists,” and gives an account of “virtual kittens” that really has to be read to enjoy its sheer absurdity. There are many other examples too of the author’s humour, such as when the principal character, Frank, describes one of his neighbours as looking like the North Korean president… but with hair curlers. One of the funniest satirical examples is when the cyber security breaches are said to be undermining the very foundations of culture and society, namely when the computer systems of American Idol, the Home shopping channel, and Disney World are compromised. Running alongside the cyber investigations, across the ocean, events are rapidly unfolding to instigate a violent change of leadership in North Korea whilst dragging America into a war of literal self-destruction.

There are some very clever twists too, mainly concerning a number of the characters who turn out to be not quite they seem; even Lily, the overweight corgi that Frank has to look after, plays its part in the grand scheme of things!

With just the right balance of dialogue, action, flashback, and explanation, the author develops both the storyline and the characters with equal interest and believability: Frank Adversego, the middle aged I.T expert, whose geeky talents and early promise somehow never reached their full potential, his daughter, the confident and self assured Marla, loyal to her dad, but despairing of his faults at times, and his Boss, Frank Marchand, equally despairing of Frank’s failure at times to live up to his potential, yet ultimately confident in his ability to  do his job, and of course the mysterious retired FBI agent and the enigmatic, wait for it… Yoda!

A funny, satirical, pacey thriller combining the murky world of the cyber terrorist with that of the political machinations of high office, tyrannical military dictatorships, and the threat of nuclear war. A cracking good read that will have you laughing and biting your nails in anticipation in equal measure.

Available from Amazon in eBook format, and from several other outlets in both eBook and print formats.. See the author’s blog for details.

 

A Field Beyond Time – Book Review

This is the first of Lesley Hayes’s novels I’ve read, although it won’t be the last, having already added ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ to my TBR/Review list.  I first discovered this author’s books by way of Twitter (who says Twitter doesn’t work?), and after some initial chat, emails, and taking a look at her blog I added ‘A Filed Beyond Time’ to my read & review list.

Lesley Hayes has been writing ever since she was a child. Since then she has been published in several woman’s and literary magazines, read her stories on BBC radio, and in 1986 had her first novel, ‘Keeping Secrets,’ published. In addition to that and ‘A Field Beyond Time,’ Lesley Hayes is the author of several more successful and well received novels. Further information and links to her writing can be found at:  

http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk

http://blog.lesleyhayes.co.uk

A Field Beyond Time, By Lesley Hayes

(Available from Amazon in eBook format for Kindle).

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This is a book that is as much character driven as it is about plot and storyline, although in this case, the one skilfully reinforces the other. What follows is an enthralling story, spanning more than three decades across as many continents, from the outward respectability of suburban America and academic Oxford, to the drugs and cults of the hippie trail retreats of India.

It starts off with the death of the mother of one of the central characters, Mira, an American artist and photographer. Mira is coming to terms with her mother’s deathbed revelations, and the cold remoteness of their relationship whilst she was alive. The story then switches to Daniel, a psychotherapist living in Oxford in the UK, and his younger wife, Callie. Daniel is troubled by recurring nightmares that relate to his travels as a young man in India, as well as worrying about the growing stagnation of his marriage; Callie too worries about her marriage, her regrets, and about getting older among other things. Secrets abound on all sides, each only knowing their side and part of the wider story.

Initially it feels as though you’re reading two completely different stories in parallel, effortlessly switching between the two, but with little or no clue as to how these seemingly unconnected stories of Mira and the troubled English couple will tie in with one another, and it is quite some time before they suddenly do collide in dramatic and unforeseen circumstances. Throughout this book, the author leaves several hints and clues as to the truth of what’s going on, whilst leaving the characters totally at odds with one another: conflict, deceit, confusion, and misconceptions are in abundance for much of the time, so much so that even with the benefit of insight into all the character’s minds, the reader is still kept guessing almost to the end, just what the overall truth is.

Much of the story is told by way of memories and reflections of the past, but sufficiently grounded in the context of the story so as not to be a ‘stream of consciousness,’ as in say, Mrs Dalloway, though the structure of writing and literary style certainly echoes that of Virginia Wolf’s classic novel; there are several scenes of self-reflection and analysis that cleverly develop character, revealing links between the past and present, giving the reader a real sense of how the characters became the people they are rather than some two dimensional snapshot image taken at a single instant in time. Quite unusually, the author occasionally switches from third to first person narratives for some of the different chapters and characters, but still achieves good and clear transitions and story progression.

Although this is not the sort of book I would normally read, it is without doubt one of the best I’ve read this year; the quality of writing and depth of characterisation, aligned with intelligent and convincing dialogue, and above all, a truly fascinating and intriguing story, kept me interested and entertained throughout. It’s not a book that can easily be skimmed through, demanding instead the reader’s full and undivided attention, but that attention is well rewarded by a remarkable story, and characters that will stay in the reader’s mind long after they’ve finished reading. A literary gem!

 

Links to further works by Lesley Hayes:

 

The Oscar Dossier                  

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Without a Safety Net

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The Drowned Phoenician Sailor

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Not Like Other People

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Smoke & Mirrors: and other stories – Book Review

 

FREE on Kindle Today!

Tom Benson’s latest book, and being a huge short story fan, one I had been looking forward to. Regular readers of my blog will already know that I’ve read and reviewed several of Tom’s previous works. Just to reiterate though, Tom Benson is a prolific writer and author of two previous novels and five poetry anthologies. As well as being a very talented writer and author, he is also one of the most helpful bloggers you could ever hope to meet as even a cursory glance at his blog will amply demonstrate.

Further information and links to Tom Benson’s writing can be found at:

http://tombensoncreative.com/

http://www.tom-benson.co.uk/

 

Smoke & Mirrors: and other stories, by Tom Benson

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

 

smoke and mirrorsThoroughly enjoyed this twelve story novella length anthology. There is a great variety of stories in that the reader never feels that sense of repetitiveness that can be quite common in many short story anthologies, with stories here ranging from the classic honey trap, revenge and retribution, tasteful erotica, to that of survival and just a touch of sentimentality. Having said that, there is a running theme of what I would call ‘rough justice’, of evil people getting their just desserts, and things turning out well for the good guys.

Some of the stories conclude with the popular ‘twist in the tale’, and indeed, the twists here are real good ones, whilst others simply end with a satisfying conclusion that really enhances the reader’s enjoyment.

One of the things I most liked about this collection is that the author clearly knows what he’s writing about with regard to military detail in some of the stories, and had clearly done his homework in others, thus giving each story a real sense of authenticity; since these are proper short stories rather than what I would call elongated flash fiction, the author manages not only good story lines, but also strong and well developed characters that complement the action perfectly.

All in all, a great collection of short stories that readers who like their stories well written, authentic, and with a fair bit of grit and impact to them, will enjoy immensely… FREE on Kindle today (25/05/2014)

 

Further links to other books by Tom Benson: animalsTBPanamaTBLoveTB

BeyondTBMMTBChillsTB

humourTB

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