Friday, 24 May 2019

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my social media! I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
Another busy week ends and another one looms on the horizon! I've been very busy this week getting things done around the house, see my Chuckles Chuntering post for what I've been doing, and this next week will be pretty much more of the same to finish off some tasks inside the house. I'm toying with the idea of taking a week of rest from the blog the week after or at least some reduced activity to recharge my tired batteries! I'll make a decision on that at the end of next week though. It has been busy but I'm pleased with productivity! The weather has been a bit cold for painting though so no more action on that side of things. 
As I have had a good few productive weeks I decided to treat myself to a few paperback books as a wee reward! You do have to treat yourself sometimes, don't you! I've got a bit of reading done and some TV watching so that is pleasing. As I write this today, the political intrigue in the UK hits fever pitch as we await news on an upcoming leadership contest. Things like that are pretty exciting for a politics fan like me! It could be an interesting few weeks. Well I need something to fill the gap left by Game of Thrones! 

Chuckles Blogging World 
It has been a better blogging week where I have caught up on some book reviews and done a few fun posts about Game of Thrones. 
Book Reviews 
Suzanne Lazear-The Secret Life of Rockstars

Bobby Adair-Ebola K
JR Tate-Tornado Warning

Hunter Shea-Antarctic Ice Beasts

Chris Pike-Unexpected World
Regular Posts 
I went Around The Blogs looking for interesting posts to share with you, Cover Love looked at pretty white covers, Top Ten Tuesday was another Page to Screen topic and Books From The Backlog looked at The Line.
Chuckles Cover Love

Around The Blogs With Chuckles
Top Ten Tuesday

Books From The Backlog
Discussion Posts 
Chuckles Chuntering

Game of Thrones Season Eight Episodes 4-5
Book Challenges 
Tackling The TBR

Reading Challenge Update
Book Review Challenge Backlog

Special Posts
none this week
Films & TV 
I watched season two of Game of Thrones again for fun and enjoyed watching all the extras. I love those history and lores read by each character on the Blu Ray boxsets!
Book Tags/Blog Awards 
Game of Thrones Book Tag
Currently Reading/Up Next 
 I read two of last week's selections-Henry VIII's Last Love and The Last Bastion of The Living and liked them both. I'm starting The King is Dead and On Duty With The Queen and will continue with that today. I'm trying to get a few done on my Royal Challenge and that has worked nicely over the last week or so. I'm back on track with that. After The King Is Dead I'll be looking at these as my next three reads.

Reading Challenge Update

Why do all my reads have the same letters?  Gameland, Going Home and Graduation Day! Independent Study, Into the Darkness, Infestation and Into the Mist! Royal Marriages, Rebel, The Remaining, Redfall and Red Headed Stepchild!

A) A Dance With Dragons
B) Booked 4 Murder
C) The Chalk Man
D) The Devil's Fingers
E) Ebola K
F) The Farm
G) Gameland
I) Independent Study
J) Jack and Jill
L) The Last Bastion Of The Living
M) The Mage in Black
N) No God Is Safe
O) Operation Antarctica
P) Premonitions
Q) Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault
R) Red Headed Stepchild
S) Secret Lives Of Rockstars
T) The Testing
U) Unexpected World
V) Victoria & Abdul
W) The War Mage
Zombies, Run!

Welcome to my ebook challenge! This year I plan to get as many books off the ereader and the tbr and free up space for other things. 

Here is my starting list of those I really want to deal with. I'll add to the list through the year.

1) Bobby Akart-Axis of Evil (Lone Star #1) (DNF)
2) Bobby Akart-36 Hours (Blackout #1) (DNS)
3) Bobby Akart-The Loyal Nine (Boston Brahmin #1) (DNS)
4) WR Benton-Premonition of Death (Fall of America #1) (DNS)
5) Lee Murray-Into The Mist (read)
6) Lee Murray-Into The Sounds (DNS)
7) Donna Galanti-Joshua & The Lightning Road
8) Jeff VanderMeer-Annihilation
9) Meg Collett-Fear University
10) Alex Hughes-Clean (DNF)
11) Adam J Wright-Lost Soul (DNF)
12) Norman Christof-Destination Lost
13) Seth Skorkowsky-Damoren
14) Simone Pond-Exodus of Magic
15) Steve McHugh-Crimes Against Magic
16) Suzanne Lazerar-The Secret Life of Rock Stars (read)
17) Michael F Haspil-Graveyard Shift
18) Lisa Blackwood-Betrayal's Price (DNS)
19) Bobby Adair-Ebola K (read)
20) Ania Ahlborn-The Shuddering
21) Saul Tanpepper-Gameland (read)
22) Hunter Shea-The Devil's Fingers (read)

This year, I really need to get a pile of paperbacks off the tbr and bookshelf, and out to the charity shops! Every month I'll be trying to tackle a few that I'm not sure I'm going to like based on gut feelings, reading tastes or Goodreads reviews. On this list I'll indicate what I managed to read, what was DNFed and if any of them are keepers! I'll be adding to the list through the year and the challenge will end in December.

1) A American-Going Home (The Survivalist #1) (read-3 star)
2) Annie Berdel-Alpha Farm (Prepper Chick #1) (DNF)
3) Justin Somper-Allies & Assassins (Allies & Assassins #1)
4) Michael J Sullivan-The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1)
5) Candace Robinson-Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault (Glass Vault #1) (read)
6) Candace Robinson-The Bride of Glass (Glass Vault #2) (DNS)
7) Conn Iggulden-Darien (Empire of Salt #1)
8) RL King-Stone And A Hard Place
9) Stephen King-Revival
10) Joseph Nassise-Eyes To See
11) Joseph Nassise-By the Blood of Heroes
12) Boyd Craven-Breaking Point (read-2 star)
13) Mary Kubika-Every Last Lie
14) CJ Tudor-The Chalk Man (read-3.5 star)
15) DB Thorne-Troll
16) Seth C Adams-If You Go Down to the Woods
17) Belinda Bauer-Snap
18) Terry Brooks-Running With The Demon
19) Thomas E Sniegoski-The Demonists (DNF)

The idea is to read books with a royal theme ie Kings, Princesses, Queens, Dukes, Knights, Castles, Kingdoms, Quests etc. This challenge is hosted by Adriana Garcia over at .

Here are the books from my tbr that I hope to get read this year for the challenge. I've picked 15 to try and get Queen status but if I do well or DNF a few, more may be added!

1) David Baldwin-Henry VIII's Last Love (read)
2) Shrabani Basu-Victoria and Abdul (read)
3) Jane Bingham-The Tudors (read)
4) Lady Colin Campbell-The Royal Marriages (read)
5) Lady Colin Campbell-Diana in Private
6) Sharon Kay Penman-The Queen's Man (DNF)
7) Dinah Lampitt-Pour The Dark Wine
8) E Knight-My Lady Viper
9) Elizabeth Fremantle-Sisters of Treason
10) Katherine Longshore-Tarnish
11) Laurien Gardner-Plain Jane
12) Margaret Campbell Barnes-My Lady of Cleves
13) Diane Haeger-The Queen's Mistake
14) Judith Arnopp-Intractable Heart
15) Kate Emerson-The Pleasure Palace
16) Mike Ingram-Bosworth 1485 (read) 
17) Suzannah Lipscomb-The King Is Dead 
18) Dickie Arbiter-On Duty With The Queen (read)

I'm intending to catch up on quite a few series this year, starting with a few of the shorter series that have been lurking on my shelves for a while! If I can clear them it will help in the battle to reduce the never-ending tbr! 

The Plan is to start this year with a few series that I really must finish or catch up with. Once I've done them all I'll extend the challenge by adding more series on until I run out of days in the year. The challenge will run all year.


1-Dying Bites
2-Death Blows
3-Killing Rocks
4-Better Off Undead
5-Back From The Undead
6-Undead To The World

1-Red Headed Stepchild (read)
2-The Mage In Black (read)
3-Green Eyed Demon
4-Silver Tongued Devil
5-Blue Blooded Vamp
 -Violet Tendencies #2.5 (read)
 -Rusted Veins #5.5

1-Unclean Spirits
2-Darker Angels
3-Vicious Grace
4-Killing Rites
5-Graveyard Child 

1-Black Wings
2-Black Night
3-Black Howl
4-Black Lament
5-Black City
6-Black Heart
7-Black Spring 

1-Three Days to Dead
2-As Lie the Dead
3-Another Kind of Dead
4-Wrong Side of Dead
5-Requiem For the Dead
6-The Night Before Dead 

1-The Testing (read-5 star)
2-Independent Study (read-4 star)
3-Graduation Day (read-4 star)

This is my latest update. Over the last couple of weeks I've tried to concentrate a bit more on my Alphabet Challenge and have completed Z and L. I have 4 letters to complete and hope to have that done by the end of next month. I've also been catching up a bit with my Royal Challenge which is now back on track

Book Review Backlog Challenge

Having happily completed catching up on reviews for all the books I read last year I've decided to keep motivated by writing a list of everything I've read this year and have yet to review. Seeing the actual list to be done has really motivated me to get it done so hopefully that will continue right through the year!

1) George RR Martin-A Dance With Dragons part 2 (reviewed Feb 19)
2) Saul Tanpepper-Gameland (reviewed Feb 19)
3) Lady Colin Campbell-The Royal Marriages (reviewed March 2019)
4) Joelle Charbonneau-The Testing (reviewed March 2019)
5) Joelle Charbonneau-Independent Study (reviewed March 2019)
6) Joelle Charbonneau-Graduation Day (reviewed March 2019)
7) A American-Going Home (reviewed March 2019)
8) CJ Tudor-The Chalk Man (reviewed March 2019)
9) Diana Anderson-Premonitions (reviewed March 2019)
10) Lee Murray-Into The Mist (reviewed March 2019)
11) Jay J Falconer-Redfall (reviewed March 2019)
12) Christopher Coleman-They Came With The Snow (reviewed Feb 19)
13) Chris Lowry-Flyover Zombie (reviewed March 2019)
14) MV Stott-66 (reviewed March 2019)
15) Edward Chilvers-Curse of the Forever Rain (reviewed Feb 19)
16) Cheryl L Cholley-Survivalist By Circumstance (reviewed Feb 19)
17) Kealan Patrick Burke-Jack and Jill (reviewed Feb 19)
18) Doug Kelly-Into The Darkness (reviewed March 2019)
19) DJ Molles-The Remaining (reviewed April 2019)
20) Bobby Akart-The Loyal Nine (reviewed Feb 19)
21) Bobby Akart-Axis of Evil (reviewed Feb 19)
22) Annie Berdel-Alpha Farm (reviewed Feb 19)
23) Catt Dahman-George's Terms (reviewed March 2019)
24) Adam J Wright-Lost Soul (reviewed Feb 19)
25) Alex Hughes-Clean (reviewed March 2019)

1) Jaye Wells-Red Headed Stepchild (reviewed March 2019)
2) Jaye Wells-The Mage in Black (reviewed March 2019)
3) Jaye Wells-Violet Tendencies (reviewed March 2019)
4) Hunter Shea-The Devil's Fingers (reviewed March 2019)
5) Candace Robinson-Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault (reviewed April 2019)
6) SM Wilson-The Extinction Trials: Rebel (reviewed April 2019)
7) JC Eaton-Booked 4 Murder (reviewed April 2019)
8) Greig Beck-Primordia (reviewed April 2019)
9) Sharon Penman-The Queen's Man (reviewed March 2019)
10) Greig Beck-Primordia 2 (reviewed May 2019)
11) Bruno Miller-Breakdown (reviewed March 2019)
12) Ryan Casey-Into The Dark (reviewed March 2019)
13) Ryan Casey-Blackout (reviewed March 2019)
14) Mildred Abbott-Cruel Candy (reviewed May 2019)
15) Amy Cross-The Dog (reviewed March 2019)

1) William Meikle-Infestation (reviewed April 2019)
2) William Meikle-Operation Antarctica (reviewed April 2019)
3) Matt Shaw-Voyage To Hell (reviewed March 2019)
4) Brad Harmer-Barnes-Tempest Outpost (reviewed April 2019)
5) Thomas E Sniegoski-The Demonists (reviewed March 2019)
6) Suzanne Lazear-The Secret lives of Rockstars (reviewed May 2019)
7) Bobby Adair-Ebola K (reviewed May 2019)
8) JR Tate-Tornado Warning (reviewed May 2019)
9) Hunter Shea-Antarctic Ice Beasts (reviewed May 2019)
10) Chris Pike-Unexpected World (reviewed May 2019)
11) Jane Bingham-The Tudors (reviewed April 2019)
12) Various-Become An American Ninja Warrior (reviewed April 2019)

1) Jules Verne-20000 Leagues Under The Sea (reviewed April 2019)
2) Jason Fox-Battle Scars 
3) Orlando A Sanchez-The War Mage (reviewed April 2019)
4) Orlando A Sanchez-No God Is Safe (reviewed April 2019)
5) Matthew Reilly-Roger Ascham and the King's Lost Girl (reviewed April 2019)
6) David McMullen Sullivan-Moorehead Manor (reviewed April 2019)
7) Eric S Brown-The Squad (reviewed April 2019)
8) William H Weber-Defiance
9) Kate Morris-The McClane Apocalypse 
10) GR Carter-Fortress Farm
11) Grace Hamilton-Dark Retreat
12) Courtney Konstantin-Prepared 

1) Harley Tate-Darkness Begins
2) Arthur T Bradley-Anarchy Rising
3) Boyd Craven-Breaking Point
4) Boyd Craven-Flirting With Death 
5) Shrabani Basu-Victoria & Abdul
6) John W Vance-The Defiant
7) Johnathan Davis-900 Miles
8) Mike Ingram-Bosworth 1485
9) Naomi Alderman-Zombies, Run!
10) David Baldwin-Henry VIII's Last Love 
11) Nicholas Woode Smith-Cape Zero
12) Nick Lancaster-Pandemia
13) Rhiannon Frater-The Last Bastion of the Living 
14) Dickie Arbiter-On Duty With The Queen 

I have now completed all my reviews for the books I read in March, which is great! I'm now working this weekend and into next week on the April reviews and a a mini reviews post which will be another big step! 

Chuckles Chuntering

It has been another pretty busy week at the Book Cave but I have managed to be a bit more organised than last week. I had another dentist appointment and I'm delighted to report that two out of my three front teeth have now been fixed so I'm less likely to frighten children now! Hopefully my next appointment in a month's time will fix the third front tooth and I'll feel able to start smiling in public again! My dentist is happy with the way things are going and I'm pleased that I'm continuing to face my fears and get these teeth fixed at last. I'm also pleased that this work in the garden has led to me losing an inch or two from the fat parts!

Things are busy around the house with us gutting the place to discover what goes straight to the rubbish dump and what we can donate to the charity shop. It amazes me how much stuff can be hidden away in cupboards and corners that we just don't need to keep. It's good to see it leaving the house and gradually things are getting tidied. My dad hopes to get the gate painted next week if the weather is good and plans to do that himself. I'm on a different and not much fun duty!

My task is, I'm trying to get a pile of newspapers dealt with. For those who don't know, since 1994 I have been doing scrapbooks of all the big events in news, pop culture and sport. It means going through every newspaper to rip out articles of interest and storing them, and at a later date fitting all the news and cartoons and stuff into the scrapbooks-it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle trying to get everything to fit and look nice and the whole process is time consuming. I let it slide for a while (a year!!!) so now I have a huge pile of papers to check through and get to the dump! Once I get them all cut I then get back to sticking the stuff in the scrapbooks. It can take weeks to get each month stuck into the scrapbook and is it a really frustrating task. The last thing I stuck into my scrapbook was the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics! Hey, only seven years behind!!! *groans*

I finished my rewatch of Game of Thrones season two and I am fitting in some reading, which is always good. I also managed to get a few book reviews written so I have now reviewed everything I read in January, February and March, which I'm really happy with and done a few Game of Thrones related posts this week too. I did treat myself to a few books this week just as a little pat on the back treat for Chuckles for a fully productive week!

What are you guys up to at the moment? Anything fun or productive?

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Book Review: Unexpected World by Chris Pike

Author Chris Pike's debut novel is a gritty and compelling survival tale about human courage and steadfast determination to live, to endure, and to persevere against all odds.

Assistant District Attorney Dillon Stockdale is on the phone with his daughter when an EMP obliterates the entire electrical grid of the United States. Anything relying on a computer is fried, including the plane his daughter is on. Gripped with the terrifying realization the plane has crash-landed somewhere in the expansive and dangerous landscape of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin, Dillon sets out to rescue her before it’s too late.

A harrowing survival story with non-stop, pulse-pounding action, Unexpected World is a story of good vs. evil, of a complex narrative of fight or flight, and mind-bending choices resulting in profound consequences. Dillon Stockdale is determined, he’s well-equipped, and nothing will stop him. Or will it? 

My Review: 
Dillon is a deputy DA who thinks he is on the verge of a big win and calls his daughter, who is on a plane to share his excitement. As they talk an EMP hits, causing her plane to crash and another plane to crash into the building that he is in. With his rival defence council Holly, he is able to escape her veangeful client and get out of the building alive. Dillon has to get home first so he can gather the supplies that he will need to set out on the dangerous journey to get Cassie, knowing her flight went down in the swamps.

The first thing that attracted me to the series was the gorgeous set of covers. I mean who can resist a colourful cover for an apocalypse book that also features a faithful hound! The down side to a dog on the cover of course is the fear for the fate of the dog, something that I always get nervous about. I also like these dangerous journeys after the apocalypse type stories where we see the gradual breakdown of society and how our heroes cope with the new world that they are living in. The book begins with a bang as the EMP hits and the planes begin to crash. Dillon has to travel 5 miles with the injured Holly to get to his house where faithful hound Buster awaits his return and then the next stop is to be Holly's house, from where Dillon will set out to find his daughter.

I was disappointed that the book pretty much skipped out the usually interesting part of the dangerous journey home. We get nothing about Dillon's trek to his home at all and we don't get a great amount of detail on the actual trip to find Cassie. We get a couple of encounters with a helpful man and a hungry alligator but not much else. Most of the focus is on the time spent at Holly's house and the start of a steriotypical apocalypse love story beginning between them. I found the focus on their attraction somewhat annoying when it was there instead of good apocalypse moments. If that wasn't bad enough, Cassie has decided to love the guy who was sitting beside her on the plane like a lovely little Twilight moment, and of course he happens to be the long lost son of wonderfully convenient! Gah!

Holly was really annoying to me. She is the steriotype female character who doesn't quite believe how bad things are going to get and she questions every decision that Dillon makes. It left me wanting her to just shut up. I got really mad at her when she just decides to go and look at the jewellery of Dillon's dead wife and start trying it on and when she is almost caught by Dillon, decides to keep wearing it for the journey. Listen lady lawyer, that is called stealing and you should never be doing that in these circumstances! There is also the fact that Dillon pandering to her delays his trip to get his daughter when that should've been his first priority. And of course Holly never bothers to mention the fact that she has a bad infection that requires medical treatment so again Dillon when he finally finds out has to detour for medicine before looking for Cassie. Jeez, Holly is a pain.

It was a bit of a silly plot at times. Holly doesn't know who her son is and it is just so convenient that he has hooked up with Dillon's daughter so there could be cozy double dating in their future. Yeuch. Holly's psycho client Cole just happens to be the daddy who has blackmailed her into representing him as he knows where their son is and if she wins the case he'll tell her. Of course Cole then decides to take over the town where Holly is living and naturally only Dillon is willing to take a stand. It is just too farfetched even for an apocalypse book for me and every bit of plot seems to centre on the irritating Life Of Holly and not on the more interesting parts of the apocalypse that we aren't seeing!

It was more angst that apocalypse tension and I felt that it was just lacking the tension and excitement that I expect in this genre, and that was really disappointing. The plot was slow and didn't greatly excite me and the characters weren't greatly exciting. It was decent enough to read once but I don't have any interest in reading any more in the series as there are better apocalypse series out there.

Read March 2019
3 stars.

Book Review: Antarctic Ice Beasts by Hunter Shea

The South Pole in winter is one of the deadliest places on Earth. The seven person crew of the US Freedom Base lives alone in months of utter darkness with no hope of help or rescue. A freak storm batters the walls and threatens to expose them to the deadly cold. All they can do is wait…and pray.

The ground quakes. An alien screech rips through the night. There’s something, or someone, lurking outside. Fists bang on the walls. Each tiny crack in the base spells death by hypothermia.

Untold horrors have come to Freedom Base…and they want in! 

My Review: 
The first thing that catches the attention is certainly the cover, and while I waited to receive my paperback copy, I wondered what the monster was. With those teeth anything was possible but the height made it look like a Sasquatch sized beast and that is what it turned out to be. Can I say how excited I was at the thought of a Yeti attack on an Antarctic base? I am a big fan of Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Skunk them what you will, but anything with one of these beasts is something I want to read. I also love the isolation and danger of this kind of location for horror and creature feature books so I couldn't wait to get stuck into it.

At the US Freedom Base, a bad storm has even the seasoned vets on edge and it is only going to get worse in the coming hours. A bigger storm that could damage the base is on the way and Dallas fears that the base will not stand up to the onslaught. There are also strange and unsettling noises coming through the storm which concerns Jeanne but she is relieved that there is no damage to the base so far. When Dallas sees a hairless naked monster outside in the storm, nobody believes him until they see the evidence for themselves on the base cameras. A quick trip outside confirms that a pack of these Yeti creatures are outside the base. What is going to happen if they decide to attack? The answer is not long in coming...

The book starts off really well for me, setting the scene at the lonely and isolated base in the middle of a series of violent storms. The way each member of the team deals with the scary storms relentlessly attacking the base allows the reader to have sympathy for their situation and get to know the various men and women. I liked the way it showed just how dangerous an environment they were all working in and that disaster could hit at any time. I don't know about you but doing repairs out in the cold during a storm is not my idea of a fun job! The introduction of the Yeti creatures was also fun. It starts with one creature looking in the window and then our team have a close encounter with a pack of them outside that has them fleeing indoors to barricade the flimsy base to the best of their abilities and gather their makeshift weapons. The attack is not long in coming and I was enjoying reading about it.

It is when the team go back outside to approach the beasts and see what they want that it all went a bit pear shaped for me. The whole story just goes really weird at this point. The team and the beasts all just stand around in the snow for a while staring at each other with nothing happening. It was a bit strange! Then they attack, stop and stand around again, start attacking and then stop, taking prisoners this time. When the journey to where they are going is completed, the whole plot is full of weird things and hallucinations and alien demon things. I was left wondering what was actually meant to be going on. It really confused me. It went from a straight enjoyable creature feature for the first half into something that made little sense to me, was confusing and frustrating and had no satisfying ending of any kind. I just don't get it. It is like the recent Stephen King books where you are enjoying a good plot and then BAM it descends into weirdness that spoils it all. That is what I found with this one. It started out so well but for me it became very disappointing.

Read March 2019.
2.5 stars.

Book Review: Tornado Warning By JR Tate

In the blink of an eye, the small Texas town of Harper Springs is flattened by the worst tornadic system to ever hit the area. Homes are demolished, trees are uprooted, and people are left for dead.

Taking cover in a cellar with his son, Ryan Gibson narrowly escapes the storm and gets separated from his wife. He hopes that help will come fast – his child is severely injured and the crippling weather pattern rages on, making them pawns in Mother Nature’s game.

Weeks pass with no sign of another human being. Tornadoes continue to hammer away at the already ravished land. Ryan wonders why they have been forgotten. Basic survival skills set in – their food rations get smaller, their water intake less, and their limited resources will soon be gone. With his son’s fading health and his wife still missing, he will have to make a decision soon – leave their shelter and risk death, or stay patient and hold out hope that a rescue team is on the way. A harsh truth will soon be revealed – the tranquil way of life in Harper Springs will never be the same.

My Review:
A dangerous weather pattern is threatening the town of Harper Springs in Texas and everyone is on alert. Ryan has been storm spotting for the local fire department and has a narrow escape from a deadly twister but when the next one hits, his wife is not at home, his father is miles away and he has to try and take care of his son until help arrives. However when help does not come, looters are appearing and supplies are running out, Ryan is faced with the prospect of trying to get to the town with no idea of what state it is in or what dangers he might find on the road.

Natural disasters have always fascinated and scared me in equal measures. I love watching things like Storm Chasers and I almost went on a storm chasing holiday in the US but chickened out at the last minute. Part of me wishes that I had gone now. I can never resist wild weather programmes on TV so I was interested as soon as I saw this trilogy of bad weather novels. They are also quickish reads which is ideal for a night of entertainment. I bought the series based on reading a sample couple of chapters free on Amazon and liking the look of the story and it didn't disappoint.

Ryan is a normal guy who fixes cars for a living and does his storm chaser for the local fire department whenever there are reports of bad weather coming in. During this particular period, the weather has been threatening Harper Springs and the nearby towns where his family and his wife's family live, causing damage everywhere. Ryan himself has a scary encounter with a tornado that he barely escapes from and they hope that the worst is over. However when Cecilia nips out for something she forgot for dinner, the tornado hits the town dead on. Ryan and his son Ty barely make it to the storm shelter and with no idea where his wife is, Ryan is stuck, trying to look after Ty and hoping for rescue. With only potential looters in the area and no sign of help, Ryan knows that he needs to look for help and find out what happened to Cecilia. 

The lack of law enforcement coming from the town means that isolated homes like Ryan's are a prime target for looters who want to take supplies from any survivors for themselves. Two nasty individuals are doing the rounds, killing or enslaving survivors they find and Ryan fears that they might harm his son if they can't get help soon. Ryan's father Darryl has his own problems as he sets out to find his son and grandson, dodging the same looters and hoping that no more storms are going to hit the area while he is travelling. Ryan's dilemma is over Ty who is not well enough to travel but cannot be left alone, despite Ryan needing to find help for both of them, and for his wife.  

This was an enjoyable survival story with characters that you do care about. Ryan is just a normal guy who needs to think on his feet in the aftermath of a disaster. He is not a super prepper but the extra supplies he gathered for storm season could be the difference between life and death for him and his son after the tornado hits. He is also a bit shocked by the appearance of the looters so soon after the disaster but is determined to protect his son at all costs. I also liked following Darryl on his adventure as he tries to find the rest of his family. Overall I liked the book and hope to read the rest of the trilogy soon.  

Read March 2019.
4 stars. 

Books From The Backlog-The Line

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf.  You might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks. Go to Carole's blog and add your blog post link in to join in the fun! Hosted by Carole at

This seems like a fun feature and I have been planning to take part since Carole launched this so at last, here we go! I have a TON of unread books to choose from in various genres and I'm looking forward to sharing some of them with everybody. 

A strange October heat wave rages across the streets of Chicago, and inside Seitz's Deil, 30 customers sweat it out while waiting to order lunch. But things heat up even more when a man enters the deli, locks them all inside, and sets himself on fire. His final words are a warning; "You have 3 hours." Soon, all hell breaks loose and 6 high school students must work together to stay alive and find a way to escape the deli. If they do, they'll discover a city destroyed and a clock that is still ticking, leading them down streets choked with unspeakable horrors toward a final showdown high above the ruined city of Chicago.

I'm not really sure what to expect from this apocalypse read but it does sound pretty different from other books in this genre. It has been sitting on my TBR for quite a while, since May 2016 and I really need to get this on my priority list and get it looked at soon.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Book Review: Ebola K by Bobby Adair

In 1989 the Ebola virus mutated to into an airborne strain that infected humans for the first time on American soil in Reston, Virginia. Through belated containment efforts and luck, nobody died. Now, in the remote East African village of Kapchorwa, the Ebola virus has mutated into another airborne strain without losing any of its deadly potency.

In this thriller, terrorists stumble across this new, fully lethal strain and while the world fearfully watches the growing epidemic in West Africa as Sierra Leone goes into country-wide lockdown, only a few Americans are aware of Ebola K and the danger it poses—to be the deadliest pandemic in the history of mankind.

Can they do anything to protect themselves from this killer disease? Can they stop the terrorists?

My Review: 
Austin and Rashid are in Uganda where Austin is teaching street kids who otherwise would not get an education of any kind. There is an Ebola outbreak in nearby Sierra Leone which they are trying not to think about and they are alarmed when the car driver mentions rumours of Ebola in their area area. Six days later the boys return to their community and find it like a ghost town, the hospital overrun with infected people. Now Austin and Rashid are faced with the very real prospect of becoming infected from a strain that could be airborne. At their homes, relatives of both boys are concerned at the danger that their relatives are in and Rashid's brother Najid sets out on a rescue mission but he also wants revenge on the western nations who will let all the people there die and only try to protect their own countries.

In Pakistan, a group of young men have been recruited to train as jihadis, abandoning their western lives to become deadly instruments of evil. Najid decides to use his influence to buy these young men for his revenge mission, taking them to the Ebola hotspot to get them infected before planning to send them home on aircraft to the western world to infect their own countries. The jihadists have no idea what their mission is going to be, told instead that photographs are being taken of their aid work so they can more easily pass inspection at immigration when they return home but a few are having second thoughts about what they got mixed up in.

I so much wanted to love this book as anything about Ebola is interesting and the terrorism plot with an airborne strain sounded like exactly my kind of read. The plot itself is ok and the way the story is written is fine but I really didn't like most of the characters which made it hard to really get into the book. First there was the spoiled brat who decides to leave the west to become a jihadi. I am never going to like this character but it seems we are meant to have some kind of sympathy for him when he begins to have doubts about what he is involved in? Sorry mate, too late, you are scum! You were ready to attack innocent people for your cause so I look forward to your death in agony buster. Austin's sister Olivia is supposed to be smart if she is working for the NSA but she comes across as a dopey bimbo who is flirting with a sleazy expert while they discuss Ebola. That whole section was just weird. As for the annoying step mum Heidi who is constantly pestering the officials to look for Austin, hang up on her and block her calls from getting through instead of pandering to the annoying woman and then complaining about her!!! Don't even get me started on Najid and his stupid revenge mission.

Austin is the clean cut all American hero who is selflessly helping the poor Africans on his charity break abroad-a bit of a cliche but I guess I found him ok. The most interesting member of his family is his father Paul, who has been anxiously watching the outbreak news and trying to get in touch with his son. Paul fears for an outbreak in the US because of the danger of international travel spreading the disease, so he takes measures to start prepping for the worst. I did at least find his behaviour a bit more realistic than most of the other cast. I did also quite like Rashid. I really felt sorry for the poor people in the community that nobody seemed to care about and were just left to die horrible deaths, along with the heroic staff who gave their lives to try and help them in the hospital. I felt worse for them than a couple of random Americans wandering constantly into trouble to be honest. Why return to   the community after being warned of an outbreak there! I'd be off to the nearest medical place to get checked out!

I did feel at times that the plot was wandering about all over the place. Najid was moaning about no help going to the poor Africans from the west but when the medical teams try to get to the town to help, Najid just has them all killed. Yes that is really going to help the people. I notice that he wasn't trying to give any treatment to the people of the town, just to his brother, so what does that say about him and his stupid morality stance? I found sections of the book frustrating like that and the plot did drag in a few places. The female characters as usual were dumb and annoying, which really drives me mad in these apocalypse books. It got to the stage where I just lost interest incertain plotlines though I did finish the book. I won't be reading on with the rest of the series though.

Read March 2019.
2/2.5 stars?

Book Review: The Secret Life of Rockstars by Suzanne Lazear

Saving the world, one tour stop at a time.

Eighteen-year-old Bitsy Butler has never quite fit in, not with the dragons who raised her, the druid who took her in, or even with the non-human members of the cirque noir punk band she thinks of as family. Her chance to prove she can make it on her own comes with her band's first big solo tour. It’s all going according to plan when an angel walks into a bar and demands help with his demon problem.

If she doesn't step up, a magical war will break out, threatening Arizona and all those who call it home. With the help of a human, a sexy dragon, and the members of her band, Bitsy must stop an angry mob of chaos demons before the band leaves for their next tour stop. It’s nice to be needed, but Bitsy has no idea how to defeat the demons and she just might get herself killed trying. But then, at least one problem would be solved...

Fitting in doesn’t matter if you’re dead.

My Review: 
Bitsy joins her friends onstage for a new tour of their cirque noir punk band who are in Reno when a half ogre tries to kill Jules after the gig, forcing Bitsy to risk punishment to save her friend, as she has a compulsion to help people who ask for help. Jake is an angel who knows about the compulsion and forces her to help him but he wants her to destroy the chaos demons that are destroying the city that is next on her tour stop. The trouble is, Bitsy has no idea how to do what he asks and manages to get herself into trouble by trying... 

I liked Bitsy as a character and her compulsion to help people was interesting along with her non human attributes that come to the fore as the plot moves along. She is easy to like and root for and I shared her frustration over her not knowing how to do what Jake asks her to do. I felt sympathy for her with Jake landing a task like this on her instead of dealing with it himself, and the fact that he was a nightmare to deal with. She is told that she is a Guardian, who must help others but it doesn't explain to her how she is meant to find and stop the chaos demons when the band rolls into town, or what being a Guardian means. Jake is pretty annoying in that he is very little help to her when she admits she doesn't know what to do. I'm never a fan of angel characters in urban fantasy as most seem to be total asshats!

Bitsy is able to seek help from Phil of the Brotherhood, a secret society that try to keep the supernatural community hidden from prying human eyes. She also has to accept help from Eric, who is part of a magical race that once kept Bitsy in a compound and subjected her to terrible abuses. Trying to trust him is going to prove nearly impossible for her and could threaten the mission. We are also introduced to members of her band Aidan, Matt and Jules, who are not exactly human either, and the slimy band manager Danvers, who was a fun character. My big disappointment is that we don't meet the party animal Irish band that are continually talked about-The Orphan Paddies, as they sound like a lot of fun! Maybe they turn up in a later book? I'd love to see them! 

I felt that the story was interesting enough to keep me reading it to see what happened. I liked the characters and the various skills that they all had. The story itself was interesting and who doesn't love a bit of chaos demon action? I liked the band and the scenes with them as well at Bitsy's attempts to save the city. Where it fell a little flat for me was the actual ending which seemed a bit too easy and lacklustre. Bitsy seemed to accidently do the right things rather be part of a cunning plan or be something she was meaning to do, which renders her a bit useless at times.

The mission is left incomplete at the end of the book and I assume it continues in book two, something that might annoy readers who want each story completed within each book. The one character I really disliked was Jake but he didn't affect my opinion of the book one way or the other. It was a bit all over the place at times as Bitsy seemed to have no clue what she was doing so it lacked a little plot cohesion at times but it was still overall a decent read. I'm not sure if I'll read on with the series though-that will be a decision for a later day.

Read March 2019.
3 stars.