Tag Archives: highly recommended

Reviewing books by Joel Shepherd and Jonathan P. Brazee

I write reviews in the hope that others will discover new authors and new worlds into which they can escape. Military anything has never been my cup of tea, but over the last few years, I’ve discovered a number of authors who have made me change my mind about the genre: Elliot Kay, Chris James, D.Wallace Peach, and now Joel Shepherd and Jonathan P. Brazee.

I’m still a long way from being a military enthusiast, but a damn good story is a damn good story, no matter what genre it occupies.

The two books I’m reviewing today both fall into the ‘military’ category, and both feature a female protagonist, but otherwise they are quite different. Sasha, by Australian author Joel Shepherd, is what I would call a ‘military fantasy’ in that it is very low tech with cavalry charges and swords rather than guns and tanks etc. Fire Ant, on the other hand, is ‘military scifi’ with lots of space battles. I enjoyed them both, and I think you might too. 🙂

First up is my review of Sasha:

I came to Sasha from the author’s Spiral Wars science fiction series because science fiction is my passion, but…in Sasha I’ve found a story even /better/. And a world so rich with detail that it feels real.

One of the reasons the world building is so amazingly good is because, like Dune, it contains everything – politics, multiple cultures, religions, belief systems, and…languages. Not just a few silly words made up to make you feel as if the language is real, but enough detail to make it obvious that the author /created/ a language for the story.

Do any of these details hit you over the head, slowing down the story and boring the pants off those who only want to read about the battles?

No. Shepherd has woven the world building in to the action so you absorb it much like you would absorb the world building in a movie – naturally, a bit at a time.

That same mastery of story is evident in how the author builds the characters. They all have a past. They all have quirks. They all have virtues and faults, but again, discovering the characters is part of the story.

I am more impressed than I can say. More importantly, I LOVE this story, and I’m about to buy more of it.
Cannot recommend Sasha more highly.

The next review is of Fire Ant:

I didn’t know what to expect from Fire Ant, especially when I realised that the main character was a female…a female written by a male. Would she end up being a man disguised as a woman, as so many of these kinds of ‘kick arse’ characters are?

I’m pleased to report that the author, Jonathon P. Brazee, has created a female character who is kick arse but in a genuinely female way.

The story is pretty much a coming of age tale in space, but deep enough to make it enjoyable even for oldies long past that age. 🙂

I love it when I discover new authors. It’s like finding buried treasure!

Have a great weekend everyone,

cheers
Meeks


Right to Kill, by John Barlow

I just submitted a review of ‘Right to Kill’ on amazon.com. Simply put, I loved it. Read on for the full review:

I’ve been a fan of John Barlow since first reading ‘Hope Road’ quite a few years ago. So when I was asked to write a review of his latest story, I knew it would be good, I just never expected it to be /this/ good.

Like all three books in the Hope Road series, the characters in ‘Right to Kill’ all feel as if you’ve known them, or people like them, for ages. Some you would never include on your Christmas list, but others feel so real you want to hug them, laugh with them, cry with them.

The main character, Detective Sergeant Joe Romano feels utterly real too. He’s smart and principled, a /good/ man, but he’s also a little bit broken and a little bit lost. The pillars of his life have shifted and he’s treading water, going through the motions in the hope that he’ll rediscover some meaning to life.

When Craig Shaw is found burnt to a crisp in his Mum’s old Corolla, it’s Joe Romano’s colleagues in the Leeds police force who seem to be going through the motions. Why? Because Craig Shaw is a drug dealer and general low life, and the world is probably better off without him.

But does anyone really deserve to die?

As far as Joe Romano is concerned, the answer is no and he sets out to prove it.

How Joe proves it will keep you reading long past the point when you know you should turn out the light and go to sleep. I know it had that effect on me, and I can honestly say I did not see the ending coming. And yet, Barlow told this story so well that there was a huge sense of ‘oh, of course!’ once the identity of the killer is revealed.

That fulfilling sense of resolution is why I call this story the perfect thriller. We learn as Joe learns, clue by clue. We may not be as smart as Joe in putting the pieces of the jigsaw together, but once he does, we know it’s right. It could be no other way.

Telling enough but not telling too much is a tightrope without a safety net. Walking that tightrope is damn hard, but John Barlow makes it seem effortless.

This is a story I would recommend to anyone. I wish I could give it a 6 out of 5.

The link to ‘Right to Kill’ on amazon.com is below:

Have a great weekend everyone!

cheers
Meeks


The Ferryman & the Sea Witch – a review

I just submitted this review on Amazon:

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by [D. Wallace Peach]

The Merrow are creatures of the sea – sirens or mermaids if you will – but like humans, they like making bargains. Unlike humans, they believe in keeping them.

At the start of the story, it seems as if the Sea Witch, the ruler of the Merrow, is the villain of the piece. She struck a bargain with the Ferryman, and the two countries on either side of the ocean trench that is home to the Merrow. According to that bargain, she will allow the Ferryman to sail his ship across the trench safely, but only if he sacrifices a human life before each crossing.

Monstrous and cruel. There is no other way of looking at that bargain, yet the machinations of the two rulers on either side of the trench are just as monstrous and cruel. But they only keep their promises under duress. And they test the boundaries to see how much they can get away with.

Honestly, by the climax of the story you can’t help wondering who are the real monsters – the merrow or the humans.

Cast against this dark background are three and a half very likeable characters – Callum the Ferryman, Daylin his estranged wife, Airlee their daughter, and Grier, a bit of a rogue who kind of steals your heart even though he’s only the half character. I can’t say more without giving the story away, but I can say that it is extremely well written, fast paced yet quite beautiful, and the characters literally jump off the page at you.

From start to finish, ‘The Ferryman and the Sea Witch’ is a compelling read that will stay with you long after The End. A fantasy for the thinking woman, or man. Very highly recommended.

I’m sure no one will be surprised when I say I gave The Ferryman 5/5 stars. If you love rich, finely woven fantasy then you really must give the Ferryman a read. I promise you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ferryman-Sea-Witch-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B095J5X8DW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Ferryman+and+the+Sea+Witch&qid=1624100413&sr=8-1

Oh, and in case anyone wonders, I provide the entire link so you can be sure of where you’re being sent before you get there. I know I’m paranoid, but with billions of passwords hacked recently, you really can’t be too careful.

Have a wonderful weekend,

-hugs-
Meeks


Laughter Lines by Sue Vincent

I just left a 5 star review for Laughter Lines: Life at the Tail End by Sue Vincent. And I still haven’t stopped smiling. The review should be up on amazon.com in a day or two, but this is what I said:

I have never been a poetry person, but there’s something about Sue Vincents poems that really strikes a chord. They’re earthy, and funny, and poignant, and paint word pictures of things we’re all familiar with. Who has not dunked a biscuit [cookie] in coffee only to have it break and fall in the cup? Such a small, every day thing, and yet Vincent makes it laugh-out-loud funny.

And then there are the poems about the author’s dog, Ani. Those ones are particularly hilarious because Ani is like every dog I have ever known and loved – affectionate, intelligent, voracious, and just a little bit cunning.

But not all of the poems are funny. Some, like the one about Valentine’s Day, speak to the meaning of love. It’s a gentle reminder that we give and receive love every day of the year, in small heartfelt ways that cost nothing and mean everything.

And that, to me, is the essence of Sue Vincent’s poetry. It’s gentle, self-deprecating and utterly human. I would recommend Laughter Lines: Life from the Tail End to everyone, even those, like me, who don’t like poetry!

What I forgot to mention in the review is how satisfying it is to read poems that rhyme! My Dad used to spout poetry [in Hungarian] when I was a kid, and every poem had a distinct rhythm to it that was both mesmerising and easy on the ear. I guess I like that kind of poetry more than I thought!

To get a taste of Vincents verses, click on the Look Inside pic below:

lol – and no, that isn’t Ani monstering someone. I think she’s actually singing…or something. 🙂

Seriously, this book is wonderful. It will make you laugh, it will lift you up, and it will touch your heart.

cheers
Meeks


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