How to forget your (Boy)friend by Kathleen Kitson

How to Forget Your (Boy)friend: Ivy Stratton & The Time Machine Book 1

This new trend of publishing through the Novella form has me fascinated, its not new, after all Charles Dickens published his stories through weekly installments.  So I’m thrilled to be following the new series Ivy Stratton and the Time machine.  I’ve already reviewed the prequel – see below.

We now get to see how Ivy deals with a Time Machine and its implications. It’s all nicely tied up, I didn’t spot a timey loophole!  It works as a great story in itself, all those different connotations of what ifs, and yet I wonder where this is all going, I didn’t spot any real hints, I was too busy enjoying it!

The only thing is, I almost wish there wasn’t a prequel that I had read, as I was already familiar with the characters, so well depicted in the prequel that I was a little impatient with the beginning.  How will Kathleen cope with this in the next episode, personally, I’d like to see just a quick opener then straight back into the narrative (impatient again!).  After all, Mr D just carried straight on……….…athleen-kitson/


The Guadeloupe Guillotine by Larry Jeram-Croft

The Guadeloupe Guillotine

Having greatly enjoyed Jacaranda, I was always hoping for a follow up. Especially as Larry does the wibblywobblytimeywimey thing so well, and it all matches up, no gaping holes in continuity. I wanted to know if Charles and Melissa coped in his time with no knock on effects, and its fascinating how it works out! The rest of the story is as usual, gripping, exciting, really funny in parts, and you wont get the ending!

The Father Christmas Confessions by Emily Ann Benedict

The Father Christmas Confessions: A Christmas Comedy

I’ve saved loads of books about Christmas and have had a dip into a few.  There seems a general lack of inspiration in the worst, usually a single woman who meets and falls in love with the love of her life on Christmas eve, oh and shedloads of snow.  These guys, I bin.  Come on writers, know your market, check out the competition!

This was a recent freebie and seemed an interesting surmise in this one and so it proved, with a rescue at the beginning and then the meeting of  Virginia and Jeremy.  Plenty of snow, but an interesting tilt on the truth of Father Christmas.  Possible but not strictly Biblical, but what ho!  The tale itself runs well as the two begin with mutual dislike, which leads to the obvious. But I liked the idea of the season being a miracle, of a Santa who gives gifts of healing and joy, not a well wrapped box!  As a Christian book, maybe it could have chipped a bit into the miracle of the birth of Christ, but maybe it was treading carefully for a conservative USA market.

Still for uniqueness, a good plot, and enjoyable read, it’s my second Christmas book this year. There were a few typos too – writers check the Kindle version out before you publish – get someone else to check it too!

Not a Fan. By Kyle Idleman

Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

I don’t think this has really got to the Uk from the USA yet, but in Europe the film is available in German and English, plus a work book in German as shown above.  The first book goes the deepest and the film is an example of the life of a man who decides he no longer wants to be a fan of Jesus, not a follower.

Mainly directed at the USA, this series is a challenge both to those who are fans, and those who already consider themselves followers. The fans I think are typified by the wishywashy shallow Christianity offered by Preachers such as Joel Osteen, hugely popular as it doesn’t give you the full picture, just the happy,complacent highlights.  Enough slanging! For these folks, this is a real below the belt tackle on their belief.

For those who consider themselves followers, this is just as relevant, it takes you through just where you are, maybe you follow Jesus in some areas, others in others such as work, the doors are firmly shut.  You never ever stop learning about Jesus, there’s always a surprise, and a going deeper within.  Its like working with horses, you think its all sussed then you meet a new one and you have to start all over again! I was saddened that someone in our Housegroup thought that they were such an experienced Christian, who daily sacrificed themselves that they had no more to learn and wouldn’t contemplate even going through the book with us.  Maybe they knew there was areas they hadn’t addressed and it was a way of dodging it.   I’ve enjoyed the challenges and revelations  from this, and recommend it for any group, shame the workbook isn’t in English!

Ice Diaries by Lexi Revellian

Ice Diaries

I’m as sucker for end of world/man alone stories, let alone anything that has lots of snow – see many previous posts!  So I was chuffed to bits to be sent Lexi‘s latest book, having loved her earlier ‘Replica’. This is even better!

We find a cold, snow  filled London where only the tallest buildings stick out of the snow, and we meet a small community which has survived all this plus a worldwide pandemic which has killed most of the world’s population. Tori, who has dealt and adapted to these circumstances  is surviving with her small group of friends and dealing with life and the loss of her boyfriend.  I loved the details of how they had organised their lives but of course it all couldn’t last. The explosion of  injured Morgan into their midst, (who I actually think must be the sexiest of the heroes I’ve read this year) changes everything.  You get nothing from his point of view, but along with Tori, you  come to understand him through the action.

The book then becomes a real survival challenge as Mike and his small band of cronies arrive in hot pursuit of Morgan and it all hots up into a superbly paced and dramatic adventure with plenty of snow, action and tension.  I don’t want to say too much, I but didn’t want to put it down!  There is a wonderful picture of the community who has used turbines and even is growing vegetables seemingly to have got it all together but at the cost of being organised into rules and regulations by a strong leader. Is this  better  or the simpler but not sustainable life where Tori lives? The powerkite was never used, nice red herring.

I’d like to read a sequel to this…………

Some other books, Lexi’s and my favourite snow and end of the world themes!…by-alex-thomas/

December’s Book of the Month; Bad@Being Bad by Mark Barber

Bad At Being Bad

This book has three themes which could easily make it fall apart but it doesn’t. Its held together with tight prose and so many laughs that I giggled through most of the book! Workshy, laddish, lazy Steve is made to apply for a job at World Domination Ltd.   Haven’t you ever wondered how the loyal henchmen in the Bond films are recruited?  Now you’ll find out.  Steve is the typical non hero of what I’d called Stag lit but now know is Lad lit.  He bumbles his way through the whole plot, and just as he gets some power, he is fortunately thwarted.

The second thread is the actions of the World powers and their armed forces who are on to Dr.Won. How will Steve feature in their intervention? More incompetence or a Bondish ending with the girl?

What had me laughing out loud is the concept that a multi national, evil, terrorist, secret organisation needs not only Health and Safety, but needs to get Third party accredited for insurance.  I will not mention the laddish acronym, but this puts SMERSH and SPECTRE to shame.  The main baddy Dr Won Doin is as crazy as any in a Bond movie but he doesn’t have a cat…….The main part of the plot revolves  around the now loyal henchmen Steve being so inept that he gets sent as a secretary to the H&S Inspector., which is hugely funny (imagine a group of baddies having to do team building games?) until someone gets topped in an appraisal. It then all gets a bit darker and violent.

What I also found most amusing are the observations made by the narrative voice, the third thread.  It steps in with sharp, humorous, cynical comments about people, England and life, one of may favourites is the carpet in the pub;

‘Steve’s mind begins to wander, and he finds himself thinking that if the carpet wasn’t pinned down, it would probably get up and walk out the door, only to be found weeks later outside the tube station with a can of Tennants Super, singing, ‘Show me the way to go home’, while swearing incoherently at passers by’

The comments are so well observed, they could be a book in themselves. Surprisingly he refrains from direct comment about the World powers involved.

As Lad lit, this has laddishness (see chapter 36), an incompetent hero, a bond baddie, loyal henchmen, and real Bondish tekky helicopter/gun/blowing up of stuff.  Loads of humour, well written, its great and should be cashing in on the James Bond 50 years anniversary!

It was great to be sent this book to review.