Saturday, 28 November 2015

REVIEW: The Betrayal - Family Wars, Glasgow-style

The Coyles and The McClellands – two feuding families intoxicated by power and fueled by revenge. The hatred for each other have sparked bloody encounters that leave a trail of dead bodies, injured relatives, missing family members, and an incarcerated scion.

Though the Coyles appear to have a united front, the dysfunctional family dynamics tell otherwise. It’s reminiscent of The Sopranos and The Corleones, but a little less charming and more muscle and grit. The McClellands, on the other hand, may appear to be the weaker of the two, but they are much more cunning and devious, setting the wheels of revenge in motion like clockwork.

The Betrayal is a compelling read, especially if you’re into crime family saga where characters have combustible personalities. The overlapping story arcs make for a fascinating read. There’s always the thrill of not knowing full well where the story is heading, then everything ties up nicely (and convincingly) in the end.  ★★★ 4/5

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Books I thought I reviewed but did not...

Because memory fails. 

Situation rectified.

SAFE by Kate Hanney

This is a “please-sit-down-let’s-talk-about-this” kind of book.

It’s something that you’d want to discuss with people who’ve read it. Or perhaps beg people to read it just so you can talk about it.

Danny Watson is a fascinating character. Tough. Hardened by life. A kid forced to become an adult because of circumstances.  What could possibly go wrong, yeah?

Just. About. Everything.

This a gritty portrayal of a life on the fringe. It’s a very dangerous place (and situation) to be in and author Kate Hanney takes the reader to that dark place. It deals with hard issues that no young adult should ever deal with.

This is a brilliant book with a “controversial” ending.  ★★★ 5/5 

GARDEN by Jane Yates

It takes an utterly imaginative mind to come up with a story that puts together elements of steampunk, sci-fi and fantasy and not overwhelm the reader (‘til their heads explode). Inspired by the classic “The Secret Garden”, the author re-imagines a futuristic (parallel) world with bio-domes, robot nannies and robotic animals.

This is a personal journey of Aberdeen, who was transplanted to Earth after her parents were murdered. Together with new friends, Aberdeen stumbles upon a riddle that triggers the adventure of a lifetime.

The author’s excitement and enthusiasm resonate in her writing, which makes this an absolutely delightful read. ★★★ 5/5 

The third book in any trilogy always seems to carry many burdens: the burden to provide a proper close to a series; the burden to save the series from a terrible sequel (Book 2s usually suck don’t they?); and the burden to deliver a memorable conclusion.

The Wexkia series does not suffer from a terrible book 2. In fact, it’s a great sequel. But with great Book 2 comes great expectations for Book 3.

Nell is thrown into this complex situation where she has to make a decision, act quickly, and stay alive. Failing to do so will wipe out an entire alien race. And the Universe will fall into the hands of people who shouldn’t be controlling such vast intergalactic real estate.

Reading this gives an adrenaline rush because you become involved in a wild adventure and hope that your fave characters don’t die in the process (Pls. don't be George R.R. Martin).

Justice did not have to worry about the burdens mentioned above, because it delivers an explosive conclusion to the series. ★★★ 5/5 


Tuesday, 3 November 2015


DEAD EYED by Matt Brolly

A serial killer from the past appears to have resurfaced after an 18-year hiatus. Such premise presents questions upon questions that even DCI Michael Lambert could not answer. If this guy was a weapon, he’d be a standard issue. Nothing special; just your ordinary detective chief inspector preoccupied by painful memories of his daughter’s death. And trying desperately to keep it together.

But when the case unravels bit by bit, so does Lambert. And this is where the story pulls you in.

In oculis animus habitat.

The trademark engraving that the “Souljacker” leaves on the victims’ chests tells of a gruesome yet skilful killing. It’s so horrific, it’s not human.

This is a cleverly plotted crime thriller with storytelling flair that makes you feel a bit of involvement in the investigation. Did the Souljacker re-emerge or there’s a copycat on the loose?  Will the real Souljacker please stand up?

It triggers speculations and guesses, but the writer is always ahead of the game. So, this I say to you: Guess again.   ★★★ 4/5

**Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.