Friday, June 29, 2018

Featuring on Friday - Chris Ward

This week I am featuring Chris Ward.

I was introduced to Chris through a read and review site. He had written several books in other genres and wanted to try his hand at a mystery. He sent out two chapters a week for those that signed up to read his latest creation. It was a work in progress so we had to wait until the next week for the next installment. He is really good at cliff hangers so it was hard to wait. It turned out great! I have since read a book in another genre that Chris wrote and really liked it also. (I will post about it soon).
Talk about something for everyone...

About Chris:

"Chris Ward is a native of Cornwall, England, but currently lives and works in Nagano, Japan. He is the author of The Tube Riders Trilogy, The Man Who Built the World and Head of Words, as well as numerous short stories and collections.

He spends his time snowboarding, writing, playing guitar in his rock band, Steampunk Unicorn (www.reverbnation/steampunkunicorn), and generally having too much to say about just about everything."

His most recent series, which introduced me to Chris, is the Slim Hardy Mystery series. Book one is The Man by the Sea and written under the pen name of Jack Benton. It is described as a psychological thriller. I have read this book and really liked it. I wrote about it in a previous post. Chris is currently working on Book Two in the Series, The Clockmaker's Secret. 


"John "Slim" Hardy, heavy drinker and disgraced soldier turned bumbling private detective, is hired to investigate Ted Douglas, an investment banker who slips out of work every Friday to visit a desolate cove on the Lancashire coast. There, he walks to the shore, opens an old book, and begins to read aloud.

His wife thinks he's having an affair.

Slim thinks he's insane.

The truth is more incredible than either could imagine.

The Man by the Sea is the sensational debut novel by Jack Benton, a classic story of love, betrayal, murder, and intrigue." 

The Tube Riders - Dystopian Science Fiction four book series

"Beneath the dark streets of London they played a dangerous game with trains. Now it is their only chance for survival... Britain in 2075 is a dangerous place. A man known only as the Governor rules the country with an iron hand, but within the towering perimeter walls of London Greater Urban Area anarchy spreads unchecked through the streets. In the abandoned London Underground station of St. Cannerwells, a group of misfits calling themselves the Tube Riders seek to forget the chaos by playing a dangerous game with trains." All five star reviews!"

Benjamin Forrest: Endifinium Series. Three book series, YA

Benjamin Forrest and the School at the End of the World (Endinfinium Book 1) by [Ward, Chris]

School at the End of the World, Bay of Paper Dragons, and Lost City of the Ghouls.
From Book One: 

"At the end of everything ... there is a new beginning.

Benjamin Forrest wakes up on a strange beach. Two suns shine in the sky, and a couple of miles out from the shore, the sea drops off the edge of the world.

Where is he? How did he get here? And most importantly, how can he get home?

As he begins to encounter the unusual characters of Endinfinium, he finds himself at the centre of a battle for a secret world, one in which he will play a decisive role …"

Tokyo Lost Series - three book series.

The Tokyo Lost Series (3 Book Series) by  Chris Ward

"At first Miyu can't stand Jack, the spoiled delinquent from Britain sent to college in Japan to keep him out of trouble.

Then her ailing father dies, leaving behind a mystery which turns everything she knew about herself on her head.

Pushed into an uneasy alliance with Jack, together they travel from the seedy underbelly of Tokyo to the rice fields of Nagano, searching for the truth about Miyu’s mother, who abandoned her sixteen years before."

Tales of Crow - 4 book series also set in Japan

Tales of Crow (4 Book Series) by  Chris Ward

From Book One: 
"For Jun Matsumoto, a school trip to the remote study camp of British Heights is hardly his idea of a good time. Akane Yamaguchi, the love of his life, hates him, and he’s rooming with Ogiwara, the school bully.

Things get even worse when most of the students become violently sick, and Jun and a handful of survivors are left cut off from civilization as the snow closes in. Soon the power has gone off, and a strange, birdlike creature begins terrorizing the guests.

As the students group together with the other remaining guests, suddenly their understanding of danger turns on its head.

There are creatures out in the woods, and they’re hungry for human flesh…

They Came Out After Dark is the first in Chris Ward's Tales of Crow series, an exciting blend of horror, fantasy and dystopian science-fiction with a heavy dash of black humour."

Chris has also written some standalones and short stories. Whew!

Here is his website. He has a readers group and you can sign up to read and review for him. I really enjoy his newsletters and his books. He likes to receive questions and feedback.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Deep End by Julie Mulhern

Step back...

I thought I had posted about this really good book, when I came back from break. But I see I did not.
So let me catch up. I did tell you about Julie last week though.

The Deep End is Book One in The Country Club murders.

Several things attracted me to this series. First, it takes place in the 70's when I was a teenager and graduated from high school. (I won't mention which end of the 70's). The title The Deep End caught my attention because a) We didn't have our own pool b) We didn't belong to a country club c) We went swimming in neighborhood pools d) I never went in the "deep end" because I could barely swim e) When you are a teenager, you really aren't there to swim are you? f) Country clubs and swimming pools were something we dreamed of. g) Reviews said it was funny.


"Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?"

What I liked: I loved this book and looking forward to reading more in the series. As I grew up in the 70's, I love the references to food, drinks, clothing, and general culture of the 70's. The commercials from that time are mentioned, Mr. Coffee, the cars, the clothes, etc. Ellison is a very likeable character. You are quickly are on her side. The relationship between she and her mother is testy and very much a part of who Ellison is. 

I love how each chapter ends with a statement  such as "I've never seen anymore look more worried", "He planned to follow me", "I didn't care about that anymore...A huge mistake". You think an issue has been resolved, and then the last line is like those . You can't help but keep reading. 

The writing is very good, easy to follow, fast paced and a well developed mystery. I did laugh out loud a few times with the situations that Ellison got into. 

Good summer read!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Shadow Away by Joan K. Lacy

I did read books during my "blog break".

The most recent one I read was a read and review book I received.

A Shadow Away (Alex Cort Adventures Book 1) by Joan K. Lacy


Here's what it's about.

"When British archaeologist Andrew Seaton discovers a jewel-encrusted golden statue, he realizes he may have uncovered the key to the lost city of El Dorado. The statue disappears before he can verify his findings, and Andrew must rely on private detective Alex Cort to recover the prized artifact.

The two men find themselves caught up in a dangerous race against a corrupt colleague and a ruthless art thief who will stop at nothing to claim the statue for themselves.

As each new clue leads them up the Amazon River and deeper into the jungle, they soon discover things are not quite what they appear. When all seems lost, the mystical powers of a beautiful woman guide them out of danger and ultimately to the ruins of an ancient city, where Andrew must right the wrongs he committed in a past life and Alex discovers a secret of his own.

Fans of magical realism authors like Madeleine L’Engle's A Wrinkle in Time; Lisa Tuttle's The Silver Bough; or Sonya Deanna Terry's Epiphany, will love the world of Alex Cort's first adventure. If you're a fan of A Wrinkle in Time, Indiana Jones, and a quest like the Lord of the Rings, the race to the finish will have you clamoring for more."

My thoughts: As the description says, fans of A Wrinkle in Time (me) and Indiana Jones (also me) will like this first in a series book. Alex and Andrew make a great team in finding the missing golden statue of The City of El Dorado. There are great descriptions of the Amazon; trees, rivers, and critters. Also interesting mentions of the different cultures and "superstitions". Throw in another dimension, magic, and maybe reincarnation, bad guys, near misses and you have a really exciting story.

There was a time when I thought about "being an archaeologist". I enjoy stories about interesting finds and movies where people go on "digs" and find really cool stuff. I realized pretty early in my fantasy that there is a lot of sifting of dirt and not finding anything so I dropped that idea. I also like stories and movies with magic and sci fi thrown into the mystery. I enjoyed this first in a series. I like how it ended with Alex being called to investigate a problem with another artifact. It leads you right into Book Two - All Under Heaven. While Book One takes place in the Amazon, Book Two takes place in China. It looks like it is yet to be released and several more books are planned with each taking place in a different country. Looks like an interesting series.

I received a free copy and voluntarily provided a review.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Masterpiece alert - Endeavor Season 5

Image result for picture of endeavour and morse

Hey all of you Endeavor fans! Series 5 starts 6/24/18 on PBS 8 p.m. central standard time with six episodes going through July. Of course, what is on everyone's mind, is what's going to happen with Thursday's daughter Joan and why can't she and Endeavor get together already.

If you don't know the background of the show, here is a quick synopsis from Wiki.

"Endeavour is a British television detective drama series. It is a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse and, like that series, is set primarily in Oxford. Shaun Evans portrays the young Endeavour Morse beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID. The series is produced for ITV as a Mammoth Screen[1] and Masterpiece co-production for ITV Studios. After a pilot episode in 2012, the first series was broadcast in 2013, and four more series have followed. A fifth series with six episodes set in 1968 began on 4 February 2018 and finished on 11 March 2018[2]. A sixth series was later announced, set to air in 2019. Set in the mid to late 1960s in Oxford, England, the series centres on the early career of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) after he has left Lonsdale College of Oxford University late in his third year without taking a degree, spent a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk, and then joined the Carshall-Newtown Police."

That's it. Just a quick heads up. It snuck up on me so thought you might want to know too.
It's so hot here that all I can think to do is read mysteries and watch mysteries.