Review | Woodhill Wood | David Harris Wilson

I enjoyed reading Tales of Johan and I Know You Will Find Me by David Harris Wilson and as he so kindly agreed to undertake an interview for Indie Bookworm last week, I thought I would read another novel written by him.

Woodhill Wood is a strange story of adolescent confusion, serial killings and an ever present woodland landscape that seems to dominate the neighbourhood. The main character is Matt Duff who has an alter ego in the form of Gurde and an increasingly unravelling family life. This is primarily his story and it takes some getting into; at first the juxtaposition of Matt and Gurde is confusing but eventually when you get into the character, the rest of the story falls into place.

Matt / Gurde's  parents are selfish and obnoxious and some of the best writing in the book is when they are sniping at each other and rowing. Woodhill Wood feels sinister and oppressive and there is a pervading sense of unease throughout the novel in relation to it; however it is the serial killer who brings the novel to a rather abrupt conclusion leaving the reader puzzling over who exactly did what to whom and why and whether or not Matt needs some serious psychiatric help.

Overall I enjoyed reading this novel although I preferred Mr Wilson's other novels. I have already got Whole Lotta Love by this author on my Kindle waiting to be read and am looking out for his next novel when it is published as well.

Review | Fleet Air Arm Memories 1939 - 1946: Tales of the Brummagen Bastard | R.S Pyne and N.H Mills

I came across Fleet Air Arm Memories 1939 - 1946: Tales of the Brummagem Bastard when I was checking out the "Meet the Authors" threads on the Amazon discussion pages. Author R.S Pyne has taken his / her grandfather's diary, notes, correspondence, citations and other documents to create this very interesting annotated memoire of the life of a young, war-time recruit in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. 

Grandfather is Norman H. Mills whose voice comes through strongly throughout this book. His memories of his experiences in just about every campaign of WW2 are quite amazing. The details are personal and give fascinating insights into the every day life of the service personnel of the era. The annotations cover a variety of topics and purposes and contain an interesting mix of explanations and technical details with some useful references to other sources for those who want to find out more.

This is the first non-fiction book I have downloaded onto my Kindle and I shall be looking out for more of this type of memoire / reminiscence material. I am interested in this topic because I am working on a project to publish an annotated WW2 diary myself although the content is very different to the Tales of the Brummagem Bastard. I have started a blog about the project at http://www.tinned-variety.blogspot.com

If you like memoires and reading about the lives of ordinary people in an historical context, Tales of the Brummagem Bastard is well worth a look. The family archive apparently contains a lot of photographic material which isn't included but will be part of a subsequent publication. If it proves to be anything like the written material it will be fascinating.  

Interview | David Harris Wilson | Author of Tales of Johan

I really enjoyed reading Tales of Johan and wrote a review of it several weeks ago. I am delighted that author David Harris Wilson has agreed to an interview for Indie Bookworm:

Why did you write “Tales of Johan”?

“Tales of Johan” is set primarily in a remote village on the West Coast of Scotland. Inverdaig is fictitious, but based on a mix of two real villages. My parents took me to the area where the book is set every year as I was growing up, and I have continued to visit almost every year since, to work or to relax. It always struck me as a beautiful and magical place – somewhere like no other. But also a place that was beginning to lose its special identity, with the increasing growth in holiday homes, incomers that could afford to move there as a lifestyle choice, and increasing tourism driving a more money focused culture. I had already written three novels, and wondered why I had never come across one that I enjoyed set in that part of the world. I loved the early Marquez books, and wanted to see if I could tell a story, using real superstitions and folk tales, that had the same magical feel. And writing about Scotland is always fun!"

What kind of reader would enjoy “Tales of Johan”?

“I honestly think this book is for everyone and anyone. It has been read by a range of ages, from teens to elderly, of both sexes, and everyone seems to get something out of it.”

How did you develop your characters?

“I always think about the end of the book before I start, knowing the key people in the last scene and what they are thinking, and then work back to start their arc in a different place. But Johan, who sprang on to the page fully formed, and then was rather difficult to control, was an exception.”

Why did you decide to publish “Tales of Johan” yourself?

“I came very close to getting my first novel published with a major London firm. That would have been life-changing twenty years ago, but they decided my work wasn’t commercial enough. Over the following years I got many letters from publishers through my agent praising my books, but saying they were hard to categorize and therefore hard to sell. Times were always hard for publishers. So, I came to accept that fact and using Amazon was just a chance to see if others around the world actually wanted to read them.”

Are you working on any new writing at the moment?


“Of course. Next one is set in Laos on “the Plain of Jars”; a landscape scattered with thousands of mysterious huge stone urns. It is also the most bombed area of the world ever, where it is still impossible to access many areas as the ground is littered with buried shells and cluster-bombs. My characters have found themselves in the middle of that area at the moment, and are having an interesting time!"

Follow the link to David's author page on Amazon for links to Tales of Johan and all his other books.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Harris-Wilson/e/B00732WH6S/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Review | Tollesbury Time Forever | Stuart Ayris

I rather missed the party with Tollesbury Time Forever as it was published at the start of the year and was hugely successful. It has 74 predominantly five star customer reviews on Amazon and I read somewhere that it was in the semi-finals of the best Amazon book of 2012 (or something like that). I downloaded the novel several weeks ago after I'd read the other two novels that Stuart Ayris has published on Amazon, both of which I thought were excellent.

Tollesbury Time Forever is an intriguing, challenging, clever and beautifully written novel. It is based on the assertion made by the author that he was a psychiatric nurse who went with the police into the house of one of his patients because the man, Simon Anthony had disappeared along with his wife and son. The walls were covered in thousands of words written in tiny handwriting and he (the author) has transcribed the words and slightly added to them to tell Simon's story. Right from the start this works and gives the opening and all that comes thereafter a strong sense of authenticity. For most of the novel we are, through the transcribed words, in Simon's head and sharing his world as he sees it. Because Simon has complicated mental health issues for which he needs medication, Simon's world is not an easy one to understand; yet at times his world is the one that seems straightforward and it is the "real" world that is too complex.

I think it is difficult to write about the sort of issues that are explored in this novel but here it is done with sensitivity and insight. The novel is easy to read but it is dealing with complex and challenging ideas. I finished reading the book several days ago and am still thinking about it - particularly the ending. I will probably read it again quite soon.

Even though it is dealing with serious matters, the novel tells a good tale and you read through it quickly because you get involved with Simon and the other characters and you want to know what is going to happen next and how the dilemmas are going to be resolved. The FRUGALITY of the trilogy's title is a big part of the novel and it is the introduction to this that is the turning point for Simon - or is it the turning point for the reader? FRUGALITY embodies an interesting, meaningful and relevant philosophy and the narrative around it's exploration is almost simplistic yet it promotes big, overarching ideas.

At times the writing style becomes musical with overtones of Beatles lyrics and allusions; sometimes it reads like nursery rhymes; at other times there is a musical rhythm in the language. In places the style is poetical and some segments really are poetry. I loved reading this book although it made me want to cry in places (but I didn't because it stops short of being soppy). Stuart Ayris has recently published a book of poems Bighugs, Love and Beer and even though I don't usually read poetry, I have downloaded it because I liked the poetry so much in this novel.

It doesn't matter if you read this novel and The Bird That Nobody Sees (the second book in the FRUGALITY trilogy) out of order. However, if you haven't read either I would read Tollesbury Time Forever first because then you get FRUGALITY explained fully rather than the potted version that is in The Bird That Nobody Sees. I thought both novels were really good and well worth reading. I am looking forward to reading the third novel in the trilogy and hope it appears soon.

Since I started writing this review, I have read the poems in Bighugs, Love and Beer. I don't usually read contemporary poetry but I enjoyed most of these because they rhyme - and I do like rhymes. Some are funny, some quirky, some romantic (ish), some child-like, some serious. There is good word-play in some and overall, I enjoyed reading the collection.  

Interview | Kristine Cayne | Author of Deadly Obsession and Deadly Addiction

I have read, enjoyed and reviewed both novels in Kristine Cayne's Deadly Vices series and I am delighted that she has agreed to an author interview for Indie Bookworm.

Why did you write Deadly Addiction?

I grew up in an area that was home to several Iroquois tribes. However, other than a field trip to one of the reserves in 7th grade, I knew very little about them. What I did know came mainly from the media and was obviously very biased.

The year 2000 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Oka Crisis. This was a time of great conflict between the Canadian government—both the military and the Quebec Provincial Police (SQ)—and the native populations around Montreal. The violent clash resulted in a long siege of two of the reserves as well as the death of an SQ corporal.

I began doing some research online about this crisis and tried to see it from both sides. The more I learned, the more I knew there was a story to be told--what if a member of one of these tribes fell in love with an SQ officer? What opposition would they face today? Modern day natives face many pressures from outside their tribes as well as from within. I also touch on these in my book.


What kind of reader would enjoy Deadly Addiction?

Deadly Addiction is first and foremost a romance. So romance readers should enjoy it. But it is also a story of intrigue and suspense. Mainstream fiction readers who enjoy a good romantic thriller and like to read about unusual characters in unique settings will enjoy Deadly Addiction.


How did you develop your characters?

The character of Rémi appears in Deadly Obsession, book one of the Deadly Vices series. He is the hero’s loyal and dependable friend. I wanted Rémi and Alyssa, the heroine, to have law enforcement in common, but widely differing approaches. Rémi is methodical, does things by the book. We see this even in Deadly Obsession. Alyssa, on the other hand, is the maverick cop. She’s impulsive and quick to judge. Neither approach is all right or all wrong, and this comes out in the story. They complement each other well.


Why did you decide to publish Deadly Addiction yourself?

I spent about six months shopping my first book, Deadly Obsession around, only to be told that movie heroes in books didn’t sell, that romantic suspense was dead or dying and that publishers were only buying the big names in that genre. At the same time, self-publishing was on the rise. After doing extensive research on it, I decided—why not? I felt my story was unique, well-written, and well edited. I hired a cover artist and a professional formatter and uploaded my books. From that point on, I stopped trying to get an agent or a publisher.


Are you working on any new writing at the moment?

Yes, I’m working on book three in the Deadly Vices series, Deadly Deception. This is Kaden’s story, and most of it will take place in Afghanistan. Yes, I do love research. LOL.

I’m also working on a very sexy new series featuring a team of rescue firefighters. A novelette that kicks off the series will be published in the Romance in the Rain anthology next month. The first book in the series, Under His Command, should be out by the end of the year.

Thankyou so much Kristine. I am sure I speak for all your fans when I say we are looking forward to reading Deadly Deception..... and Good Luck with the new series.

http://www.kristinecayne.blogspot.com

Deadly Obsession bookpage on amazon UK

Deadly Addiction bookpage on amazonUK

Review | Deadly Addiction | Kristine Cayne

I read Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne several months ago and enjoyed reading it. A second novel is Deadly Addiction and I thought it was even better than Deadly Obsession. The two novels are linked because peripheral characters in one become central characters in the other and vice versa.

Once again this is a romantic love story and a suspense thriller where a series of obstacles come in the way of true love; but what makes this a really interesting novel is the setting and context for the story. I will hold up my hands and say I know very little about the true history of the native peoples of North America apart from the stereotypes promoted in the films of my childhood and I know probably even less about the real life, contemporary issues affecting those peoples today. I felt that what I was reading was either the authentic experience of the author or very well researched and by the end of the novel I was much more aware of what life must be like on the "rez" and the attitudes and experiences of the inhabitants. In addition there is an interesting exploration of mixed-race, dual heritage issues which I thought was sensitively handled and developed.

The writing style is accessible and straightforward and the novel is well presented. The plot is well constructed and moves along with good pace to a dramatic and nail-biting conclusion. The characters are full and engaging and the author has made both of the protagonists into people you are concerned about and want to know how they will resolve their difficulties and how their relationship will turn out. The supporting cast is various and each is well developed too. There are some sexy, sizzling scenes in the book but the writer doesn't stray into erotica and uses the steamy aspects of the emerging relationship between the main characters to drive the plot forward.

It took me the best part of a week to read this novel because my reading time was somewhat curtailed but in normal circumstances it would have been read in a couple of sessions because this is one of those novels you can't put down. A really good read and I am definitely looking out for another novel by this author.