Review of The Library by Carmen De Sousa

The Library: Where Life Checks OutThe Library: Where Life Checks Out by Carmen DeSousa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This mainly follows the story of Mark Waters a homicide detective. When investigating a case he comes across a beautiful young barmaid who is suspect in a murder case. Months later the couple are together, with a baby on the way, a baby that isn’t Mark’s. Alongside Marks troubled social life he is called in to investigate a new murder in a local library. Mark’s new in-laws could be caught up in the case and with difficult decisions ahead Mark’s investigation takes some interesting turns.

The story had an interesting premise and with a touch of paranormal involved I was looking forward to this read and it didn’t disappoint. It is a light-hearted cosy thriller that is easy to read and flows quite naturally. I did feel the characters could be explored/ explained a little more as there was gaps in their personalities with quite a lot of characters for the novel length but I am hoping that is because the author is creating a series and looking to grow the characters.

The authors writing style is quite slow making this story ideal for lazy afternoon reads. Although there are a few action based scenes, it is mostly a book about the investigation and waiting for the clues to drop, with enough twists to keep the reader guessing.

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Review of Return (Matt Turner – Book 3) by Michael Siemsen

Return (Matt Turner, #3)Return by Michael Siemsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I downloaded this book straight away after reading Matty, the short story which drew me back into the Matt saga. This is a GOOD read. I loved the first of the Matt Turner stories, the second was a little bit disappointing as the story seems disjointed a little in places. However this story really flew for me and I couldn’t help wanting to know what happened next. Siemsens writing is really back on top form.

The story revolves around Matt and his ability to pick an artefact and read its story. This time the plot is neat and tight and with the artefact being treasures of a long lost library what’s not to love? I love that Matt’s story has evolved in this book too, he is finding himself and getting control of his abilities instead of fearing them. I love that some old characters show up in this novel and that Siemsen has given them stronger roles in this novel.

This is a fast paced story getting to the action quickly, it drops loads of amazing little details and clues along the historical storyline that make this book well believable, in a bizarre way. The settings are immense particularly Alexandria. The ending was great, I felt so thrilled for Matt and still want to know what will happen to him next, although I suspect the author was wrapping the plot up there.

This series really is an odd blend, it is definitely not historical fiction and it’s not paranormal or even sci-fi, but an intriguing blend. An action filled trilogy that is an unusual read. These books would appeal to fans of Elly Griffiths, Phil Rickman, Barbara Erskine or Michael Schmicker type novels.

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Review of The Opal (Matt Turner book 2) – here
Review of The Dig (Matt Turner book 1) – here

Review of Matty (A Matt Turner Short Story) by Michael Siemsen

Matty: A Matt Turner Series ShortMatty: A Matt Turner Series Short by Michael Siemsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky to get this during a free amazon promotion! As it’s only a short (really short) story make sure you don’t pay too much for it, if you do decide to buy it.

That being said, this is a GOOD read. I loved the first of the Matt Turner stories, the second was a little bit disappointing as the story seems disjointed a little in places. This little story hits the nail on the head, with Siemsen’s writing back on top form.

The story revolves mostly around Matt and his dad, and gives the first insight of his dads’ conflict over whether to use Matt’s abilities or not. But when it involves a missing little girl who could be in a life threatening situation he decides it’s a risk worth taking.

This is a fast paced story getting to the action quickly. By going back to Matt’s childhood and home we can see his character better, the softer worried side of his mum, the tougher action based cop that is his dad and how they blend into Matt’s personality.

So yes, this is a short story and not 100% the authors usual style but I like this about it, if the author had drawn it out into a longer story or worse a novel it would have just been a page filling exercise. This is real storyline, short, simple and sweet.

Note – If you are going to read the Matt Turner series read this before the RETURN as it makes that stories plotline even stronger.

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Review of The Opal (Matt Turner book 2) – here
Review of The Dig (Matt Turner book 1) – here

Review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It will be very few that pick up this book without knowing what it is about, but for those that do, this story picks up from where the shining has left off. Danny Torrence has grown up and leads a troubled adult life. His “gift” haunts him and he has turned to drink to numb it. Eventually Danny now Dan, decides he needs to start over, he changes towns, quits the drink and takes up a job in a nursing home using his shine to help others move on. But in the calm a new evil lurks in the form of a group of travellers that feed off of those with the shine. Dan meets (or rather is shined by) a young girl Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that brings Dan out of his slump. Can he keep Abra safe?
I think this novel is a great addition to the King collection. Danny has matured and advanced a lot of the book and although his story is now more thriller than horror in many aspects, this book manages to live up to its reputation – not an easy job. The plot is strong and interesting with a diverse cast of characters. The novel is easy to read and I think most people will get through it quickly.
Overall, I found this novel an exciting read from a writer that I adore. His writing style has changed and developed over the years and this isn’t the “read-with-the-lights-on-horror” anymore. Instead, this is a well thought out book with all the character flaws and complications unfolding into a fun and diverse story.

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Review of The Lazarus Prophecy by F.G.Cottham – 5 Stars

The Lazarus ProphecyThe Lazarus Prophecy by F.G. Cottam

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story mostly follows Jane Sullivan, a woman who has worked her way up through the metropolitan police ranks and now heads a police investigation in the murders of several women. When the killer moves from unknown prostitutes to public figures Jane’s investigation takes a serious step up, now in the public eye herself everyone watches her wondering where the investigation will go. Jane brings into her confidence Jacob prior a theologian who tries to translate the mysterious clues left behind by the killer. With links to a mystical religious priory and the Ripper cases, this novel has a lot going for it.
I think this novel with its theological twists would be enjoyed by Dan Brown fans. The writer had a great format that drew readers in quickly to the characters small triumph’s in what was otherwise a difficult time. Despite including the Ripper case and the religious orders secrets, the story still felt very fresh and original.
The main characters were well cast and I think the reader certainly felt part of their emotional journey. I enjoyed the multiple viewpoint story-telling.
I also loved the variety of settings in this novel ranging from the French Pyrenees, the poorest quarters of London, and the wealthier homes as the killer steps up his game. All are explained emotively through the characters. The Iconic London rivers and parks are also woven into the story expertly.
Overall I found this novel an exciting and fast-paced read from a writer that I have overlooked in the past.

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Review of The Opal (Matt Turner Series Book 2) by Michael Siemsen – 4 stars

The Opal (Matt Turner, #2)The Opal by Michael Siemsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel picks up almost immediately after The Dig (book 1)left off. Matt is in a holiday resort with his girlfriend Trudi, when the archaeologist who learned of Matt’s ability in the first book shows up and kidnaps him. Forcing him to read “The Opal” Matt is thrown into the world of the Vikings and here the book is at its strongest, diving in and out of the sci-fi historical fiction idea that caught my attention in the first book.
As others have mentioned on Amazon reviews this book Siemsen made this book a lot more Action Movie/thriller based than the first novel and I do think that put me off a little, that being said the historical aspect for me was still really intriguing and still gave me that urge to turn the page and find out what will happen next.
Siemsen also went a lot more creative with the settings in this book as it featured a lot of globe-trotting and I think that meant a lot of detail in each area that the reader was having to learn, his first novel was a lot more focussed in one areas surroundings, this again had a positive and negative affect on me. I like an author to be creative with settings but think this had a bit too much chopping and changing of locations, making it feel a little laboured in places.
The characters in this book are excellent and if I am honest one of the main reasons I came back for more. I like how Matt grows in this book and the insights we get into his childhood. A great development of this character.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, it has a great storyline and interesting mix of characters. It was not as strong as book 1 in the series, but was still a great book and highly recommended. I have already bought the next one from this great author.

4 stars

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Review of The Dig (Matt Turner 1) by Michael Siemsen – Five Stars

The Dig (Matt Turner, #1)The Dig by Michael Siemsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. A slight stray from the usual archaeology/historical fiction genre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The description was unusual and after reading a few chapters I soon found out why. This is an eclectic mix of historical fiction and fantasy with an intriguing dual timeline that has a fast action-filled pace.
The story is told from a multi-character perspective with Matt Turner taking the role of main character. The plot is based around Matt’s unusual ability that he wants to keep a secret. This ability has also caused him a great heartache in his life and this unfolds throughout the novel. Matt uses his ability to find out the history of an artefact, a journey that leaves Matt, the historians and the reader eager to know what happened next.
An action filled drama that is an unusual read. This would appeal to fans of Elly Griffiths, Phil Rickman, Barbara Erskine or Michael Schmicker type novels.

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Review of “The House of Susan Lulham” by Phil Rickman

The House of Susan Lulham (Kindle Single)The House of Susan Lulham by Phil Rickman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many writers believe the best thing for an author to do is “write what they know”, Phil Rickman proves this is not always the best advice! His Merrily Watkins character is so believable, that even after finishing his novels it is easy to picture her in her daughters’ old jacket, crucifix necklace carefully hidden, cigarette in her hands, neurotically worrying over the right thing to do.
The House of Susan Lulham was originally written as a short story for Oxfam anthology Oxcrimes, then extended into a novella, this is a variation for the Merrily Watkins series which are usually much longer novels. Although the story worked very well and has a strong plot to it, as a fan of the series I missed the interaction with the other characters (lol, Janie, Annie, Bliss etc).
This tale also appears as a little bit more of a traditional horror, with the whole odd house which has once had a tragic death within it scenario. Enter the female deliverance officer (exorcist), and a few dodgy neighbours and the story line is takes off. However there was something that just seemed lacking.
Perhaps it was just the lack of the other characters and their complicated storylines that usually run parallel to Merrily’s storyline. Don’t get me wrong this was a good book and a great read, and I always look forward to the latest Merrily Watkins novels coming out! I am looking forward to the next book with full cast and crew.

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Review of “The Forgotten Manuscript and the Unknown Crime” by Sarah Rayne

The Forgotten Manuscript and The Unknown Crime. Two short stories.The Forgotten Manuscript and The Unknown Crime. Two short stories. by Sarah Rayne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I originally finished this novella I was unimpressed. A long-time fan of Sarah Rayne I prefer her darker more sinister novels such as “A Dark Dividing” and would normally rank her as an equivalent novelist to the likes of James Herbert for her skill in manipulating horror. Her writing style is very heavy, atmospheric and brooding and her use of protagonists which are flawed but very human and sincere keep the reader… well… reading; turning that page and feeling the characters emotional journey. This novella was different.
However a few days after reading this book I was describing it to a friend and realised if I hadn’t been expecting a “classic” Sarah Rayne novel, this was actually pretty good. The storyline merged past and present easily, and although we didn’t learn a lot about the main character as a novella we probably didn’t need to, and the double-deception based storyline did keep me guessing.
So if you are looking for a traditional Sarah Rayne horror – this isn’t it, but if you are looking for an intriguing novella with a duplicitous storyline, this is a good read.

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Review of “The Armada Boy” (Wesley Peterson Series book 2) by Kate Ellis

The Armada Boy (Wesley Peterson, #2)The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second novel in the Wesley Peterson series really showcases the authors writing ability. The storyline is intriguing and fast paced particularly in the opening chapters hooking the reader and the level of mystery is maintained throughout.
The story combines multiple storylines and multiple character viewpoints effortlessly. The modern mystery of a pensioner (and was survivor) death provides the whole rural police team the opportunity to investigate their own theories of the murder. This allows Ellis to subtly weave in each characters strengths and weaknesses.
The locations are very descriptive and these play a focal point in the story; small town syndrome mixed with British coastal town and the characters that appear in these areas.
This book is excellent as a standalone, although as part of the series it is excellent to be able to see how the characters are growing and changing. As this novel is based on the second world war, and this year is the 70th Anniversary of the end of the war, this would make a great year to read this novel and relate to the characters brought to life.
Definitely worth five stars.

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