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  1. First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past The Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge, Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave after Dark, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, The Curse of Tenth Grave, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, (The thirteenth and final book is due to be released in January 2019) As you are all probably aware, I have an inclination towards fantasy/paranormal themed books, so when I was made aware of the Charley Davidson Series of books I knew I had to have a little look! This 12 book series (the final 13th book is due to be released in early 2019) has kept me occupied now for the past few months, yes I have lost sleep... a lot of sleep! This is due to the fact I have been thinking I’ll just see what happens next, only find I’ve done an all-nighter or close to it not going to bed before about 4/5am (something I wouldn’t recommend doing, but these books seemed to take over and I just had to read a bit more). The general premise of the series revolves around Charley Davidson a young girl who works as a private investigator and helps out the local police department and in particular her uncle who is a cop in that police department with her unique talents. She is a grim reaper, a portal to the afterlife, the dead come to her to cross over, or not as the case may be because if these people have died they give her information to find their killers before they cross – hence her rather spectacular record of solving homicides. Her family know she has unusual gifts but is unaware of the full extent of them. Her stepmother is afraid of her and as such has rejected her all her life which as a result has made her relationship with her sister strained but she is incredibly close to her father something which also seems to piss off her stepmother somewhat. She is an extremely likeable quirky character who makes you smile and sometimes laugh out loud with some of the things she says and does. As the books continue though we gradually find out that she is much more than what she appears to be. We learn that she remembers her own birth, her mother was her first customer, so to speak as her mother died during childbirth and crossed through her, she also remembers a dark forbidding figure standing over her after she was born, as she grew up this figure always seemed to appear when she was in danger, when she was abducted by a paedophile as a small child he appeared and severed the spine of the paedophile but not leaving a mark on him, and at other times during her childhood he appeared when she was in danger, she nicknamed this figure ‘Big Bad’ and it was the only thing she was truly ever afraid of, but seeing the spirits of the departed will do that to you. It is a complicated story with a core of well written, interesting characters, it has many layers and the revelations keep coming as the books continue, and the story unfolds and builds. Unlike many other long series of books, this one is consistently good and there isn’t a weak book in the series, yes some of the revelations are mind-blowingly incredulous but it is fantasy and this series more than lives up to that title.
  2. I have recently watched a film I had originally seen for the first time last year, it is a film which gained a large amount of notoriety due to the fact it's leading male character had his bit out on display in one scene. I am of course talking about Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Cary Mulligan. I am glad I watched it again as I saw things I missed the first time around (in the story). I think it is a very dark thought-provoking film which explores the human psyche and how people cope with their inner demons which have been created by their past experiences. For those who haven't seen it, the story focusses on two siblings a brother and sister which something unspeakable has happened to, the man played by Michael Fassbender uses sex as a coping mechanism and he lives his life in a controlled and ordered way with strict routine, when his sister played by Carey Mulligan arrives and descends on his carefully ordered world we quickly see that she is the polar opposite of him and she blows away his carefully constructed order and as a result his life starts to spiral out of control. It is never revealed what has happened to them but enough hints are dropped to allude to the fact it is something vile and terrible. This film shows how differently they cope with the same past, it is a detailed exploration into poor mental health and coping mechanisms which in this case are unhealthy and destructive and the effects that has on the two people concerned, namely they feel better for the for moment but afterwards feel the shame of what they have done, hence the name of the film. As I said this film gained notoriety due to the full frontal male nudity when Michael Fassbender's bits were shown n all their glory in one scene as he went for a pee I personally think that it was not necessary to the story and was probably only added for shock value which is sad as the story was strong enough without resorting to cheap tactics like that..
  3. I remember reading this a few years ago and enjoying it, although my memory of it now is quite hazy. I have just bought American Gods and that is going to be the next read I will say I have not been disappointed by a Neil Gaiman book yet, although I think my personal favourite has to be Neverwhere. In fact, I think I may have a Gaiman fest and have a re-read of the books I have along with my new purchase
  4. The Night Huntress Series of books is a set of seven novels and a novella detailing the story of Cat Crawfield a young girl who hunts vampires. She has been told all her life that vampires are evil and have no place in the world and need to be eradicated. The first twist in the story is that she herself is ‘half vampire’. She is unique, a rarer than rare phenomenon, after her father – a newly turned vampire allegedly raped and fed from her mother. Due to her heritage, she can pick out vampires who can blend in with humans and she lures them out and then kills them, this plan has been working well for her until she meets Bones, a wily, ruthless and strong vampire who she comes across, she is unable to kill him and they form an unlikely alliance as he isn’t so different from her, he is a Bounty Hunter who tracks down fellow vampires with a price on their heads and kills them. A grudging respect grows and eventually they fall in love, and he shows her that not all vampires are evil, but there are other aspects of this story which are unique and nothing like I have ever read before, for example, the top-secret government-funded military facility which knows about the existence of vampires and other supernatural creatures and has pretty much the same attitude as Cat’s mother towards vampires until Cat is manipulated and blackmailed into joining them and she gradually shows them another way. It is an original and refreshing take on the traditional vampire story and the usual rules don’t apply either, in these stories, Cat discovers that most of the rules surrounding vampires are myth, for example Vampires can go out in the daytime, but they are weaker in sunlight and prone to getting sunburnt, new vampires actually pass out at dawn until they acclimatise to their new status, in these stories vampires are not averse to garlic and can eat normally but generally choose not to as food is tasteless to them and they only do it to ‘blend in’ with humans. Vampires can enter your home without being invited and wooden stakes aren’t fatal. The only way to kill a vampire is decapitation or a silver stake to the heart – but which has to be twisted to be fatal, something which Cat uses to great effect to get information out of vampires, as they become very accommodating and docile with a silver blade pressed into their hearts and the slightest movement could finish them. There is also a hierarchy of vampires, which is explained, the older the vampire the bigger the aura, (a kind of manifestation of their powers which alerts other vampires of who they are dealing with) but a vampire can cloak their aura so they appear to be weaker and newer than they actually are. Also the older the vampire the more special powers they can acquire, for example, mind reading, flying, telekinesis etc. A Master Vampire is a vampire who has sired his own line and at the bottom of the heap are masterless vampires who have been turned and abandoned or whose sires have then died they are vulnerable to being abused by other vampires unless they are welcomed into the line of another master. I personally think it’s a cracking series, the characters have depth and layers and the vampires are portrayed as ruthless and manipulative and even the love story has an edge to it and many surprising moments not to mention a compelling storyline, there is a dry humour which runs through the stories and yet there are also some incredibly moving moments and of course a fair amount of blood, killing and gruesomeness. Each novel is a complete story but there are references to things which have happened previously and each book seems to start to set the scene for the next book to come so they could be read individually but to fully understand what is going on it is best to read them in order. From this series came a number of spin-off novellas and a spin-off series surrounding other supporting characters, which I have also read and I would strongly recommend that anyone who likes these stories to give them a go. The Full set of novels (in the reading order) are: HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE AT GRAVE’S END DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE ONE GRAVE AT A TIME UP FROM THE GRAVE and the novella I read is called HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, which (I think) fits into the timeline either before or after One Grave at a time
  5. Free to read Websites - good or bad?

    Oh, I'll take a look at that, these websites are different, you actually read the story from the website and don't download them (not that I would want to).
  6. I stumbled across a website called 8novels (I'm not putting the full website address as I can't actually remember it) where there was a collection of novels which had been uploaded on to the net to read for free, now to begin with - is this legal? Secondly, is this a good or a bad thing? I'm not sure where I stand on this, I have to say I had a quick look and it didn't look very promising, it was full of ads and that always makes me a little bit wary in case you click on something accidentally and activate some kind of virus. Then what it had on offer wasn't too brilliant, the first book on the 'hot series' list was Fifty Shades (say no more!) which kind of put me off, but I did a bit of digging and found there were a number of these sites out there which have pretty much the same variety of books on offer to read for free, but some had some reasonably decent titles on offer amongst the tat - all stuff which I have personally previously read but also stuff which I have also enjoyed. Has anyone else seen or used these sites?
  7. By the way, on the subject of free books does anyone else use 'Prime Reading'? I stumbled across it by accident only the other day so not sure how many titles are on there or the quality of the stuff they offer, but for a first dip in the water the first book I picked was off the scale, good.
  8. This was not something I would normally read, I debated for a while because the subject of child abduction was part of the plot and I really don't like stories where children are harmed, yet I have long since been a fan of twisted serial killer thriller plots in the TV/film genre but again I have never been compelled to read about one... until now. Admittedly, I didn't actually buy it as it was a freebie from the 'Prime Reading' section of Amazon, which was probably the main reason why I even bothered to look at it, to begin with. I clicked on it and read the blurb and something in it triggered my interest enough to overcome my reservations, so I thought what the hell, as I began to read those same words filled my mind once more but not in the dismissive context of ‘there is nothing to lose’ that they originally had. This is an incredibly chilling and twisted yet compelling story, yes it is a more than a little far-fetched, as the stretching and sometimes breaking of police procedure was more than a little incredulous and at some points had me thinking ‘as if that would happen’, but I was willing to overlook that due to the fact the rest of the story was astonishingly good. Degrees of darkness is the perfect title as that is exactly what you get, you have the main protagonists, Frank – the retired police officer, divorced, jaded and with more than his fair share of emotional baggage and Larry – the twisted, disturbed and broken child abductor and serial killer whose wretched childhood made him what he is. But not only that, you have the supporting characters, some of whom only feature briefly but add their own degrees of darkness to the story, for example Colin Foster the cowardly, spineless, vindictive leech of a chief who doesn’t care who he treads on to make himself look good, he hasn’t got the ability to hold the position he has and has only achieved his rank due to taking the credit for the hard work of others, throwing colleagues under the bus and a good degree of brown nosing, and needless to say, he and Frank have history and Frank has his number. There is Violet, the equally broken and twisted sister of Larry, whose own warped experiences have left her with a very tenuous grip on sanity. But then there is also Arthur, the father of Frank’s ex-wife who has always hated him and doesn’t hesitate to tell him how much he despises him, and who Frank believes is more than instrumental in the breakup of his marriage and Frank’s own mother whose name isn’t mentioned and only spoken about but who clearly wasn’t maternally blessed and whose actions have left lasting scars on Frank. Even the characters that make up parts of the subplots have their own degrees of darkness for different reasons and the whole story comes together seamlessly. Without giving away the plot, Frank finds himself drawn into the case of catching the child abductor/serial killer when his own ex-wife and son are murdered by him and his daughter taken. Frank finds himself having to access the dark regions of his psyche to try and find his daughter before she is killed. When the full extent of the story becomes apparent it is truly shocking and it left me with lots of conflicting emotions, some of which I wasn’t expecting, for example one scene had me feeling a degree of sympathy for the serial killer. It was this that made me realise just how accurate the title is, it is shockingly dark but a truly compelling read and very cleverly written which helped me to overlook the more incredulous aspects of the accuracy of the frankly unbelievable police procedure and it had me hooked from the beginning and had me pulling an ‘all-nighter’ to finish reading it as I was totally unable to put it down, which for me doesn’t happen very often.
  9. This is a debut story by a new author and I read it as part of a reading challenge I did privately with Luna back in about 2016 (?) and one of the requirements was to read a brand new published book and I have recently re-read it and decided to post a review. In short, I was blown away by it. It is a brilliant story centring around the character Roy who is a severely dislikeable character with no redeeming features at all, scum of the earth is too good a term for him as to call him that would be an insult to scum - so you get my point how low he is. The book goes backwards and forwards through time to show his life and the cons he has undertaken throughout his life and the more you read about him the more heinous a character emerges. It’s hard to review the story without giving the plot away but he is basically a con man who has spent his life conning people out of their savings, and he is comfortable but can’t resist one final con and he meets Betty the object of his final scam. That is all I will say on the matter as to say any more will give the plot away. It really qualifies for that phrase 'a real page turner' I thought it really had that totally unputdownable quality to it, you just need to keep reading to see what happens next. As I already said it starts slowly and builds – It could be argued a little too slowly but for me, there was enough there to keep my interest. As I say the story jumps from the present time back to periods of Roy’s life where he has done some totally despicable things and the more you read the more you are just willing him to get his comeuppance. It is interesting to read the book as an observer seeing how he plans to rob this woman and you are privy to his plans all the way through, you want to scream at the woman don’t do it, especially as she seems so willing to be his final victim, a little too willing. Needless to say, there is a twist at the end but the full extent of it is very surprising even though you may think you know what is going to happen when the whole story unfolds it is quite the surprise. This was a highly intelligent book, the layers and depth to the story and characters were really impressive and even though none of the main characters were particularly likeable you still wanted to find out what happened to them at the end which is no easy feat for an author to achieve and I believe goes to show how strong the plot was. I loved this story and would recommend it highly.
  10. Are you ever too old to read books aimed at children and the young adult market? I think in recent times after the Harry Potter phenomenon that it has become more acceptable for adults to read books which are primarily aimed at children because so many adults became genuinely interested in the stories after buying them and reading them with their kids and by the end the line was very blurred as to whether or not these were children's stories. Having said that, if it was acceptable for adults to read books primarily aimed at children why did the publisher's go on to release 'adult covers' of the Harry Potter series? That was almost enforcing the view that there was something to be ashamed about if you bought and read a children's book and the fact you did, needed to be hidden. There are a number of books and authors who have written quality novels which happily straddle between children's and adult literature. Personally speaking, I don't differentiate or really notice what is considered an 'adult' book and what is a 'children's' book, if it's a good story which keeps me interested then that is all I am bothered about. There are some quality stories out there, I was a fan of the Harry Potter series and felt a sense of bereavement when the series came to an end, but off the top of my head I can name many books I have read which actually surprised me when I discovered they were aimed at the childrens and young adult market. For example: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo The Power of Five series by Anthony Horowitz His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman There are also a number of books which I read during my childhood which I will happily pick up and re-read now, not out of a sense of nostalgia but because they were really good stories, There is a Happy Land by Keith Waterhouse, The Ghost of Thomas Kemp by Penelope Lively and Carrie's War by Nina Bawdon are ones which spring to mind and are all on my bookshelf. So, having rambled on and said all that - Are you ever too old to read children's books?
  11. Currently Reading

    In the past few weeks, I have had somewhat of a 'readfest' devouring one book after another, mainly in the fantasy/supernatural genre as I have a long-held affection with anything to do with the supernatural. I have read the entire 'Night Huntress' series by Jeaniene Frost, which is a series of seven books and a novella about a girl - Cat, who hunts vampires and has been told all her life that vampires are evil and need to be destroyed, the first twist is - she is a half vampire, her father being a vampire who allegedly attacked and raped her mother. Whilst on one of her hunts she comes across Bones a wily and ruthless vampire who isn't so far removed from her, he is a Bounty hunter who tracks down fellow vampires and kills them for money, she tries to kill him and he captures her and they form an unlikely alliance which evolves from a grudging respect to love. I have also read a couple of spin-off novellas about a couple of the supporting characters and the spin-off four book series 'The Night Prince' Series about the most famous vampire of them all, Vladislav Basarab Dracul aka Vlad the Impaler or 'Tepesh' (meaning impaler), aka Dracula - only don't call him by that name or he is likely to kill you and how he meets Leila a human with extraordinary paranormal abilities after surviving being electrocuted by a downed power line, it is essentially a love story about how they meet and fall in love but there is also a good plot around that story. Also read recently: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price (which I finished yesterday), another supernatural story about a girl who is a witch who can raise shades, that is the essence of dead people, not the soul and not ghosts more like a memory and she uses these talents to help police with cases and Degrees of Darkness by Tony J Forder which is not a supernatural story but a mess with your mind psychological thriller about a serial killer. I have just started on the 'Charley Davidson series' by Darynda Jones the first book in what is a 13 book series (and the last book isn't released yet) is called 'First Grave on the Right' and is about a girl who is basically the grim reaper, dead people come to her as she is portal to cross over, however, this also means some of these souls who have died violently come to Charley to try and get justice for the way they have died and she works with her uncle who knows a little about what she can do and who is a cop to solve murders with this unique inside information.
  12. Why not post a review?

    I am never sure about posting reviews on books as I'm never sure whether or not my opinion is valid or whether what I have read warrants a review, I have a very eclectic taste will read practically anything once so I have convinced myself that some of the books I read wouldn't be of any interest to anyone other than me. There is also the fact this is such a huge site it can be a little intimidating to post a review, I have always looked for existing threads on books but on occasions have missed them, started a new one only to find later there was one there after all and I missed it and posted in the wrong place.
  13. Narrator or First Person?

    Some stories are not told in the past tense, I have read some books set in the present tense where you as the reader are discovering things at the same time as the person who is telling the story, I particularly like these (again if the author is good enough to pull it off).
  14. I have never yet found a decent freebie and I have read a few, I may have been unlucky but they are really really dire. The only time I have found a halfway decent story was when it was an opening book for a series so the idea was reel you in with a freebie to get you to buy the rest. But even that wasn't anything to rave about and so I didn't bother with the rest of the series. I have very eclectic tastes and will read almost anything but generally speaking the Amazon freebies are something to be avoided. I have also noticed that a lot of the classics are no longer free on amazon.
  15. I hate this!

    This is the first time I have been made aware of this, as the books I tend to browse don't have that sort of thing attached to them, but yes it seems unnecessary and I too would find it irritating and less likely to read it, another thing I find irritating is when I come across a book and click on it to read the blurb only to find a ton of quotes just saying much the same thing and also telling you that it is a great story for fans of other books, but very little or no actual story description, that immediately puts me off and I move on to something else.