Book Review – Amie: An African Adventure

LucindaEClarkeI’ve had this book on my kindle for quite some time now, but what with one thing and another I only recently got round to actually reading it. I really shouldn’t have left it so long as it turned out to be a truly beautiful and enjoyable read. Lucinda E. Clarke’s writing is another discovery via Fb and other social media, along with some wonderful reviews and recommendations from fellow writers and bloggers. As well as Amie: An African Adventure, Lucinda E. Clarke has written three more books, links to which are provided following my review. But first, a little about the author herself…

Born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds, matured and finished off in Liverpool. Her family were not wildly enthusiastic about following her grandfather into Fleet Street (unfeminine, unreliable and dangerous), so she was packed off to dockland Liverpool to get teaching qualifications (safe, respectable and pensionable).

Lucinda returned south extremely good at self-defence. She married and went crofting in Scotland, a disaster so she says, and bred dogs among other things, less of a disaster. She moved to Kenya with her 3 week old daughter, was abandoned in the bush, then on to Libya, surviving riots, public hangings, an imprisoned husband and eventual deportation. She moved to Botswana – still teaching – and opened and ran a horse riding school with a ‘How to…’ book in hand.

She immigrated to South Africa and taught for four years, but since 1984, she wrote freelance full time, for major corporations, UNESCO, UNICEF and the SABC for both radio and television. Moving into television production in 1986, she has received over 20 awards, specializing in the fields of education, documentaries, municipal and government.

She has also worked on radio in both Libya and South Africa, had a newspaper column, and was commissioned to write two educational text books. In 1996 she set up her own video production company, and retired to Spain in 2008. Well that was the plan…

 

Further links to Lucinda E. Clarke’s writing can be found at:

https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com/

Lucinda E. Clarke’s Amazon Author page:

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Amie: An African Adventure 

By Lucinda E. Clarke

(Available from Amazon in eBook format)

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Amie1My biggest regret about this book is that it had to end at some point, as all books do. It tells the story of young couple’s move to Africa for the husband’s career, particularly that of the wife, Amie. It starts off sedately enough, detailing their preparations and Amie’s initial fears and nervousness about leaving behind everyone she knows and loves and her way of life back in England, charmingly detailing many of the fears any of us might have at such a prospect. After their arrival in Africa, things seem to be working out for Amie as she adapts to and begins to enjoy a very different way of life. Now although I say it starts ‘sedately,’ right from the start the author has already hooked the reader with a harrowing and well-placed preface of things to come, and the reader knows that this is to be no ordinary foreign posting, that danger and adventure are sure to follow their initial settling in.

As the story develops, the author introduces the reader to the real Africa and its way of life for the majority. Yes, Amie lives the comparatively comfortable and indeed luxurious life of an ex patriot, shielded from much of the hardship, but she sees it all around her, and against advice goes out of her way to help as best she can. Within the story, with some truly beautiful writing and turns of phrase, the author  manages to convey a real sense of being in Amie’s shoes, providing the reader a glimpse and real insight into the everyday life and comings and goings of the native population, of the poverty and corruption, and of course the dangers. We also learn though not to judge the culture and ways of the African people in relation to European ways of doing things. Amid the vivid descriptions of Africa, the ex-patriot community, and the local culture, the reader experiences the growing unrest of a volatile society, the dilemmas Amie has to face and deal with, and the sudden and explosive upheaval of an entire country. How she copes with everything around her is a story in itself, and perfectly complements the story of her African adventure.

Quite apart from the story itself, which was thrilling to say the least, I also admired and enjoyed the way Amie adapted and grew as a person, watching her confidence and self-reliance grow a little more every day. We see the transformation of someone initially afraid of travelling much beyond her home town and who probably thought that a package holiday to Spain was the extent of travelling abroad, into a resourceful and determined young woman more than capable of surviving the dangers of wildest Africa. What I would also say here though is that, while there is an element of memoir to the writing, this is still mainly an action and adventure filled tale, and one that won’t disappoint those who like to see the adrenalin flowing in their reading, combining an imaginative and descriptive narrative with just the right degree and tone of dialogue to drive the story forward. If I had but one tiny criticism it would be the cover, which if I’m honest, didn’t quite grab me or in my opinion, reflect or do justice to the story within. Other than that, I’m delighted to say the author is currently writing a much anticipated sequel to this wonderful book.

Further titles by Lucinda E. Clarke: click on thumbnails for Amazon links

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A Cherished Memory & a picture from the past …

This blog post was born out of an idea by Damyanti to host the Cherished Blogfest, an opportunity to discover and CHERISHED1
connect with many of our fellow bloggers. I was happy to agree to co-hosting the project, along with Dan Antion, Peter Nena, and Sharukh Bamboat. The remit was to write a 500 word post about some cherished object or possession we each had. It was hard trying to decide just what to choose, as I’m sure it was for most of us, but in the end I chose something that had a family significance rather than exclusively personal to me.

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We all have things we cherish, be it a car we’ve put our heart and soul into restoring and preserving, a piece of jewellery we may have been given by a loved one long, long ago, or perhaps even a keepsake or photo we carry around in our wallet or purse that brings a smile and a happy memory every time we see it. My cherished object though is a drawing – not a valuable piece of art or some daring exploration of pushing the artistic boundaries, but a simple small crayon drawn picture that my son brought home from school over twenty five years ago. It’s of me, my late wife, our son Liam, and of all things, some alien monsters he’d seen in a picture book. It has pride of place just beneath one of my treasured photographs, and is rarely removed from its spot except for the odd dusting or in this instance, to be photographed for my Cherished Blogfest post.

Why does this particular drawing hold such a place in my heart and memories? Well, I think any parent will have half an idea already. I mean, what parent doesn’t possess some treasured item of their children’s childhood, but for me, whenever I glance at this picture it brings back a memory of the day and circumstances when I first saw it. I’d just moved into a new and freshly decorated flat. The front-room was wall-papered but with a waist high white area along the bottom. But to Liam, that shiny white painted area represented an enormous canvas for him to practice his drawing skills on. When I returned home from work I could his see his colourful efforts reaching all the way along from the living room door, stretching behind the sofa that was a foot or so away from the wall, right as far as the glass patio doors. Needless to say I wasn’t amused…

BLOGPIC1“Oh he didn’t mean, he was just playing,” Liam’s grandma said when she saw the less than happy look on my face. “He didn’t know it was naughty to draw on the walls, I’ll have a quiet word later.”

“Didn’t know? So why is he peeking out from behind the sofa with that cheeky grin on his face?” I replied, unconvinced by her defence of the little lad’s artistry, turning my head back in Liam’s direction whose little smiling face was still half peering out from his hiding place. His gran ignored my question, choosing instead to change the subject:

“Oh before I forget, he brought a drawing home for you, it’s on the kitchen table.”

Liam’s smile had grown even bigger and he was nodding his head at the mention of his drawing. I don’t why but my initial anger just disappeared. It was probably the first bit of real mischief and naughtiness he’d gotten into since the death of his mum a year earlier, and for some reason I couldn’t help but give a silent chuckle. Liam still remembered her. My son’s picture was a welcome and timely reminder that life goes on…

Book Review – The Third Servant

mikeBI rarely use such reviewing clichés as blew me away, but such words would not have been out of place in the following review. Michael Billington is another member from my Fb Indie Author Support & Discussion group, and the author of several highly acclaimed books, of which details and links appear following my review of The Third Servant.

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The quality of the author’s writing comes as no surprise given his extensive journalistic background, having investigated and reported on stories from all around the world, and indeed the quality of his own prolific book reviews.

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Michael Billington spent nearly a half century as a reporter covering stories around the world and across the United States including Operation Desert Storm, the Rwandan Civil War, hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Katrina and Rita as well as the Love Canal environmental disaster and the 9/11 airline crash near Shanksville, Pa. During his career he earned more than 40 awards including the Brotherhood Medal of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for an undercover investigation of white-power extremists and the Southern Journalism Award for Investigative Reporting for a series he co-authored exposing police abuses of Florida’s Contraband Forfeiture Act. He also received several awards for a lengthy series on infant mortality in Delaware. An Army veteran who spent two tours in Vietnam, his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. In addition, he was twice decorated by the Vietnamese government. Given his background, it’s not surprising that he writes in a wide variety of genres from Steampunk to mystery and even historical fiction.

A percentage of the author’s royalties are regularly donated to the Home Of The Brave Veteran’s charity in Delaware in the US, details of which can be found at their website below:

http://homeofthebravefdn.org/

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Further links to Michael Billington and his writing can be found at:

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Michael Billington’s Amazon Author page:

www.twitter/com.Billington_Book

Michael Billington’s Goodread Blog:

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The Third Servant  

By Michael Billington

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 (Available in eBook & paperback from Amazon)

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thirdsevantThis is a story based on and then reinterpreted and expanded from a simple parable taken from the book of Matthew in the New Testament of the bible. Without going into the meaning of the parable, this is a clever idea for a story, speculating on what might have happened to a servant following his dismissal having displeased his Master, much like what might have happened to Heathcliff in the missing years whilst he was away from Wuthering Heights. The principal character, the servant Ezra, does not immediately engender the reader’s sympathy, and would appear to deserve all his initial misfortunes, having made no effort to increase his Master’s wealth when given the opportunity, and his less than honourable actions flowing his dismissal from his Master’s house. What follows is a series of adventures that takes Ezra across much of the known world of the time: from his Judean homeland as far as India and Afghanistan, and then back through the Roman Empire on his return, where the story comes full circle. Interwoven in this series of adventures we meet a wide and varied cast of esoteric characters ranging from reformed warriors, female gladiators, foreign emperors and kings, and the highest of Roman nobility along with poor to name but a few. Several of these adventures highlight the harshness and apparent barbarity of the times but what also shines through are the many moments of justice, kindness, nobility, honour and courage that were also prevalent, giving much of the book a heart-warming and feel-good factor to it. Another aspect I enjoyed as much as the story itself was not just watching the story unfold as it were, but also watching the growth and maturing of Ezra as a man as he seeks to discover what purpose God has decreed for him; but this isn’t just the story of a man with some god given mission and path to follow – Ezra might well indeed have some greater purpose to his life but he is no empty vassel for it, often having to rely on his judgement and courage to fulfil any such plan.

Throughout the book the author demonstrates a good knowledge and understanding of the period in which the story takes place, namely during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius and in and around the years surrounding the death of Jesus, with just the right balance of intelligent speculative poetic license to drive the story forward. The narrative and dialogue have a certain biblical formality to them that pays homage to the original text of the parable but nonetheless works very well, giving the story added authenticity and a real sense of the time in which events take place, but not so much so that the reader feels they’re reading an historical account or history of the times. It’s hard to pin down this book into any one genre, combining as it does, action, adventure, political intrigue, religion, and a host of elements, but what I can say, it is one of the most well written and highly original ideas for a story I’ve read in a very long time, and one that engrossed me from start to finish.

Further titles by Michael Billington: Click on thumbnails for Amazon links:

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Larry Flynn – Book Review

 

maxblogpicLarry Flynn by Max Power is another title that came to my attention via facebook, twitter, and the growing number of positive reviews it has quickly accumulated. Having already enjoyed and reviewed Darkly Wood by Max Power I had no hesitation in adding this new one to my reading list.

Max Power has written several books including Darkly Wood, Bad Blood, and Little Big Boy. Originally from Dublin he currently resides in Maynooth in Kildare Ireland with his family, and following the huge success of Darkly Wood, is currently working on its sequel.

As well as being an author, Max Power is a prolific book reviewer, blogger, and regular contributor to a number of Indie Author Support Fb groups, Goodreads, and other assorted social media, and is fast establishing himself as major name in Indie publishing.

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Further information on Max Power and links to his writing can be found at:

http://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com/

Max Power’s Amazon Author page:

www.facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

www.twitter.com/maxpowerbooks1

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Larry Flynn

By Max Power

(Available in eBook and paperback from Amazon)

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Larry Flynn isn’t your usual doddering old fella but one harbouring a hidden past filled with tragedy, drama, and secrets of epic proportions. He certainly isn’t a nice old man; in fact he comes across as a thoroughly dislikeable and heartless bitter old man without a single redeeming virtue to his name – whether this is due to circumstances, the fact that he’s slowly dying and knows it or simply his nature is for the reader to discover and decide for themselves, but what they will also discover along the way is a cleverly constructed story that starts off in a sedate but intriguing way, hinting at a horrific progression.

Quite early on the author makes it clear that Larry Flynn has a hidden and sinister agenda, and one in which a pretty young girl plays a major part, giving rise to all sorts of gory speculation, but as anyone who has read any of Max Power’s books before will know, it’s never wise to jump to any obvious conclusions. Set in Dublin, much of the narrative and dialogue pays homage to the locality, utilising some of the local dialect to give a real feel for the characters and place, but keeping the balance just right so as not to distract or confuse any readers not familiar with the Irish accent or terminology. The dialogue is authentic, switching effortlessly between the characters to give each their own distinctive voice, bringing each of them to life with every word, thought and action. There are some lengthy narratives at times, but expertly interwoven into the dialogue and action sequences, providing the framework for the unfolding story.

In its simplest terms, this is a story of one old man’s obsessional need for revenge, and he’s prepared to go to any lengths to get it. When a young girl provides the opportunity for Larry to put his plans into action, things quickly escalate beyond his control, que the arrival of host of other characters he hadn’t allowed for: a ruthless Dublin crime boss, some nasty associates of the crime boss even more objectionable than Larry Flynn himself, a couple of equally ruthless US security special forces, and the US ambassador. What emerges is a story spanning the past seventy years; a conspiracy involving the Catholic Church, a soldier who knows too much, a shady high ranking Nazi, the smuggling of a Nazi fortune, and the Fuhrer himself – these may sound like the typical ingredients of a thriller but without giving too much away, those elements really are just the surface of this intriguing story of political ambition, murder, rape, kidnap, and a determination to safeguard a terrible secret. Another fine piece of writing from Max Power.

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Further titles by Max Power: click on thumbnails for Amazon links –

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Goin Postal – Book Review

rhodapicAnother prolific book reviewer and facebook group activist in her own right, it gives me great pleasure to present my first review of one of her books, Goin Postal & The Creek by Rhoda D’Etorre…

Rhoda D’Ettore was born in Woodbury, New Jersey, into a family of 5 siblings–which has provided her with plenty of comical material. She began working at the United States Postal Service at 25 years old, and over the past 15 years has accumulated many humorous stories about situations that the public never gets to know about. Her first eBook, “Goin’ Postal: True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker” was so popular that readers requested it in paperback. Recently, she published the humorous “Goin’ Postal” in paperback along with another story entitled, “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. Combining these two into one book may seem strange, as one is humorous and the other is a heart wrenching historical fiction, however, doing so proves to the reader Rhoda D’Ettore’s versatility. 

Rhoda D’Ettore received her degree in Human & Social Services while working at USPS, has travelled extensively, and loves history. Over the years she has volunteered for several community service organizations, including fostering abused and neglected dogs for a Dalmatian rescue.

Further links to Rhoda D’Etorre’s wring can be found at:

Rhoda D’Etorre’s Amazon Author page:

https://bobandval.wordpress.com/

http://www.rhodadettore.com/

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Goin Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore

(Available as an eBook, paperback, and as an audio book from Amazon)

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RhodapostalI first decided to read this book out of curiosity of the cover and the two different titles listed there, probably not the best of reasons I know but what a little gem it turned out to be. Here you get two very different stories for the price of one, the first being a series of side splitting snapshots and anecdotes of the author’s time working in the US postal service, and in the second story, The Creek, the reader is treated to a delightful family and local history of stories from in and around a creek in New Jersey dating back to the American civil war to the present.

In Goin Postal, the author takes us through the trials and tribulations of being a temporary and then permanent worker in the postal service; it’s not so much a story in the conventional sense but more a collection of memories and hilarious anecdotes loosely linked via an amazing array of characters in the form of her fellow workers. Her colleagues are every bit as varied and funny as the anecdotes themselves, ranging from traumatised Vietnam war veterans, a mad forklift driver chasing the white devils, a big hearted bisexual supervisor, and a Russian history buff, not to mention Aunt Gertrude and a bigoted Nigerian. Despite the racial and cultural diversity reflecting the huge melting part of immigrants that made America the country it is today, for the most part they all get along as one giant though often somewhat dysfunctional family. The author’s time with the postal service starts with the time consuming FBI checks for her employment, but once passing them she finds herself immersed in a truly mad and chaotic workplace, filled with its very own sub cultures including betting on who will be the next person to go on a shooting spree, or ‘goin postal’ as it might be called, dodgy dvd and arms sales, and a host of other ‘have to be there’ to be believed scenarios. The characters and language are as colourful as you can imagine, reflecting the working class diversity and backgrounds of the postal workers. The day to day humdrum of the work is punctuated with numerous pranks and hilarity, not to mention the bizarre situations that arise from the many strange things people try to send through the post, a severed head being among them, but despite the seeming madness of the workplace, in the true tradition of the Pony Express, underpinning the chaos is the workers’ determination that the post will go out no matter what, even amid the security and horror of 9/11. The writing is sharp and witty, and in a style that perfectly complements of the comedy of what the author is describing, and for anyone who has worked in a menial shift environment will certainly be able to identify with much of the humour, and probably recognise similar characters from their own work places.

In The Creek the writing and subject matter takes a surprisingly more poignant direction; the reader initially encounters what at first impression comes across as a truly heart-warming and delightful tale of love and romance set against the backdrop of the civil war, only to have that perception completely turned its head. The reader is then transported through a succession of stories carrying on from the first, taking the reader through the depression of the 30s, prohibition, two world wars, and the civil rights struggle, to almost the present day, covering love and romance, murder, bigotry, the Black Panther movement, and even ghostly apparitions. Although the stories through the decades take very different turns, they retain the creek as a sort of anchor connecting them all, and eventually conclude in such a way as to tie them all together really well. As I’ve said, the writing and content in the Creek is somewhat different, but still retains an entertaining story telling style throughout. Goin Postal and the Creek might seem like an odd combination at first but they subtly complement one another; whereas as in the former in its portrayal of the incredible diversity the author has presented a snapshot of American society as a whole, so too in the latter, she has presented the reader with an entertaining portrayal of how America has evolved to what it is today.

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 More titles from Rhoda D’Ettore: click on thumbnails for Amazon links:

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Interview with Sylva Fae – contributor to charity anthology “You’re Not Alone”

echoesofthepen:

Christoph Fischer’s superb interview with Sylva Fae, one of the contributors to the Indie Author Anthology ‘You’re Not Alone,’ in aid of the cancer charity Macmillan Nurses…

Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:

Youre Not Alone 3d inamge (1)Today I’m welcoming Sylva Fae whom I’ve met through our work for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. This interview is part of a series of blog posts to introduce my colleagues in this endeavour. The anthology is available for pre-order and will be released on July 11. Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.

You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links: http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnthhttp://bookshow.me/B00Y5RCOOE

You’ll find the Facebook page here: 

https://www.facebook.com/yourenotalone2015

And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton

https://macmillan.tributefunds.com/pamela-mary-winto

IMG_20141216_220836Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

I am a mum of three small girls and loving it. I love being outdoors in the…

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Join in the “Cherished” blogfest for 2015…

Blogging for me has opened up a world of writing opportunities, not to mention the joy of making many new writing friends around the world; the “Cherished” blogfest referred to in the title is the brainchild of my fellow blog friend Damyanti, and is a great opportunity to expand your blogging network of friends so please join me and my fellow co-host bloggers: Damyanti Ghosh, Sharukh Bamboat, Dan Antion, Peter Nena.

For anyone new to blogging or not familiar to what a blogfest is, it’s really very simple, well it would have to be for an old codger like me to be taking part – all that’s required is that you write a blog post on a particular date on a particular topic – See below for more details:

The Cherished Blogfest Badge...

The Cherished Blogfest Badge…

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The Cherished” Blogfest

 

For the Cherished Blogfest, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to 500 words, and join us on the 24th, 25th, & 26th of July 2015 in sharing memories, emotions, information.

Place the badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media.

Above all, join us in making new connections, and renewing old ones. Sign up in the Cherished Linky List, which would open in a new window.

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Some of my fellow co-host bloggers who are already taking part:

Sharukh Bamboat – Sharukh writes a truly fascinating and illuminating travel blog featuring the many different and wonderful attractions of the indian sub-continent. He compliments his writing with some of the most beautiful and stunning photographs you could imagine, along with a host of other multi-media.

Damyanti Ghosh – An established freelance writer/journalist. She is an experienced and well known and established blogger based in Singapore, and the autghor of a book of short stories, The A to Z Stories of Life and Death.

Dan Antion – Dan is a multi-talented blogger that writes about all sorts of things, many of which often centre around his hobbies and life beyond writing and work, such as making things, personal experiences, and often, technical/engineering/science based posts, but all with an endearing and humorous style and perspective along with soime fascination pictures and illustrations to breath added life into his posts.

Peter Nena – Peter is one of the best and most talented short story horror writers I’ve read. His stories are as original as any I’ve read, and definitely not for the squeamish. One of his stories is also featured in my own debut short story anthlogy.

 

The Cherished Blogfest Badge designed by Dan Antion and the very talented Cheryl KP.

Sign Up in the CHERISHED Linky List below. (It will open in a new window for signup)

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Interview with author Tom Benson – contributor to charity anthology “You’re Not Alone”

echoesofthepen:

One of the best author interviews I’ve read on wordpress, or elsewhere for that matter. My compliments to both Christopher and Tom for this…

Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:

Youre Not Alone 3d inamge (1)Today I’m welcoming Tom Benson whom I’ve met through our work for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. 

This interview is part of a series of blog posts to introduce my colleagues in this endeavour. The anthology is available for pre-order and will be released on July 11. 

Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.

You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links:
http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnth
http://bookshow.me/B00Y5RCOOE

You’ll find the Facebook page here: 

https://www.facebook.com/yourenotalone2015

And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton

https://macmillan.tributefunds.com/pamela-mary-winton

Amsterdam Calling - the cover 260714“Amsterdam Calling” by Tom Benson is a beautiful novel. Part romance, part mystery thriller the book has both lighter and deeper tones. Dan, a British journalist, is on…

View original 2,265 more words

The Final Box – Book Review

Matthew1Matthew Williams’ The Final Box is the third anthology of short stories I’ve read and reviewed from this author.

Such was my admiration for his short stories, I was delighted to be allowed to include two of them as guest contributions in my own debut anthology of short stories… Not What You Thought? and other surprises

 

Matthew Williams is a new and aspiring young writer who has been writing ever since he can remember. Like myself, he is a great fan of ‘twist in the tale’ stories, and tries to include them in his own writing. In his spare time he is working on a number new writing projects, including a new children’s book, and a Young Adult (YA) novel.

Further links to Matthew Williams and his writing can be found at: 

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Matthew Williams’ Amazon Author page:

www.twitter.com/williamsmatthe5

Author Matthew Williams Fb group:

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The Final Box

By Matthew williams

(Available from Amazon Kindle)

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mw1This is the third of this author’s short story anthologies I’ve read and reviewed, and once again I’ve not been disappointed in my expectations. Not every story worked for me in quite the same way as in the two previous anthologies but having said that, one of the things that impressed me here was seeing the way the author has taken his stories in different directions rather than relying on a tried and trusted formula in serving more of the same; whereas all of the author’s previous stories were humorously light-hearted with a definite twist at the end, some of the ones here are more abstract and open ended. A couple of the stories did leave me wondering at the end, but never was I failed to be entertained. As always though, I found I had finished the book all too quickly, and especially given the more abstract tone here, felt a longer collection would have been in order. Having said that, every story was well written and equally well crafted, and anyone who has read the author’s previous works will I think see a certain maturing in his writing, and a willingness to venture into new territory. Matthew Williams is a writer who is equally adept at making the reader laugh as he is at pulling the heart strings, and as I’ve seen here, getting the reader thinking, and I enjoyed the new direction he has taken in this latest anthology.

Another very entertaining collection, and one I would highly recommend to flash fiction fans as well as those of the more traditional short story.

Matthew Williams’ previous short story anthologies – click on thumbnails for details:

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* Two stories by Matthew Williams also featured in my own debut anthology:

Not What you Thought

Nanoman – Book Review

deancrokeNanoman by Dean C. Moore is so I’m informed, part of the sub-genre of Science-Fiction, known as Cyberpunk or Steampunk; until recently I had never even heard of such a genre but after having read this book I’m pleased to say I know a little more about it.

Dean C. Moore is an indie author averaging about three titles a year through his own label, Mark Freeman Enterprises.  Although he writes across a wide variety of genres, a particular tone of comedy drama unites them all, similar to the one used in franchises such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Transformers, Lethal Weapon, Red, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man, and The Expendables. Analogies among TV series would include Bones, Castle, and Supernatural. He is also a prolific blooger and book reviewer himself.

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Further links to Dean C. Moore’s writing can be found at the following:

www.deancmoore.com

Dean C. Moore’s Amazon author page:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeanCMoore

Dean C. Moore’s Goodreads profile:

https://twitter.com/DeanCMoore

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Nanoman

By Dean C. Moore

(Available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon)

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dean1I really can’t praise this book highly enough; as a lifelong fan of science fiction, and having read some of the all-time greats – Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke to name but two – I’m not easily pleased when it comes to this genre but here we have a rollercoaster blend of hard sci-fi, almost non-stop action, plots and conspiracy, all interwoven with absolutely loads of fun and humour. It would be impossible to describe entirely the mix of characters, but suffice to say it includes power and wealth hungry businessmen all hell bent on world domination, cyber/human hybrids, regular robots (if there is such a thing), shape-shifting nano- technology super-humans, and a host of others, including a lovely female robot with a deadly inferiority complex; anyone expecting an Asimov style of robots will be pleasantly taken by surprise, as the ones here most certainly do not obey the three laws of robotics!

The book starts off quite conventionally, with one of the robots chatting away with various humans, demonstrating its abilities. The reader quickly gathers that there are hidden agendas lurking, but it does take quite a while for the wider picture to emerge. This is quite a substantial read, and it does require the reader’s full attention to keep up with what’s going on. If I had but one criticism I would have liked the action between Mike and Jane, and their pursuers toned tone just a tad, as I did think that even for a Science fiction novel, that I had to suspend my disbelief just a bit too much, though this opinion might well be due to my being more used to more conventional or traditional science fiction.

In a nutshell, what we have are a number of evil corporations, all hoping their particular robot/hybrids will become the dominant product in their bids to dominate the world as humans upgrade to cyber enhanced robot bodies. Alongside this there’s also a rival corporation with an entirely different agenda that would rather have everyone uploaded to something akin to a blissful Matrix type world. Thankfully there are two heroes in the shape of Mike and Jane, the former an ex super soldier, now even more enhanced thanks to some very strange nanonite implants, and alongside him, Jane, a brilliant scientist, also enhanced with said nanonites. You can’t helped but be gripped as you follow their journey as they’re hunted by an assorted collection of robots and regular soldiers, all seeking to destroy them; how they deal with this, and the romantic interaction between Mike and Jane will have the reader in stitches at times. I think it prudent to mention at this point that there is some highly comical sex scenes and mildly sexual content, but all within the humorous context of the book. Another example of the book’s humour is clearly illustrated when a military killer robot is trying to destroy another whilst at the same time force feeding donuts into a woman’s mouth, when he notices a another woman writing up a book review on goodreads, and quite casually recommends a book by none other than the author, Dean C. Moore, and later on, yet another robot saying how he must stock up on Dean C. Moore’s eBook steampunk for a coming journey – priceless!

All in all, an exciting action filled book, lots of speculative technology and some more familiar sci-fi themes, all combined with some subtle, and often, not so subtle humour – a great read.

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Some further books by Dean C. Moore… click on thumbnails for details…

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