Sunday 4 December 2016

Book Review: Salby Evolution by Ian D Moore


Synopsis: One man holds the key to our future. One man holds the key to our extinction. The merciless Salby viral strain, sweeping across the country, spawns a new breed of predator. Simon Lloyd, borderline alcoholic, must vanquish the demons of his past and change his single-minded ways. Filled with resentment, he enters a world far removed from his own. He must choose to take a stand for the greater good or risk losing his estranged wife and children forever. Against overwhelming odds, unethical science and the prospect of eternal exile, the decisions he makes will shape the future of mankind.


This second story in the Salby trilogy is a true evolution. I really liked the first story, but Salby Evolution is a far better tale, that takes the reader from the outskirts of Russia to the North Yorkshire area where Salby (Selby) takes its name.

What sets Ian D Moore's zombie thriller apart from others for me is how well written it is. That may sound like a necessary element, but I have read books that had a good story and decent characters, but were sometimes lacking a structure in terms of the story itself. 

Here, the author takes another gamble with a first person narrative, before switching to third person. Throw in different timelines and, in the hands of a lesser writer, the result could have been a bit of a hot-potch.

I'm actually a fan of books that switch POVs, that challenge the reader to keep up with timelines. Any critics of this style are welcome to their opinion, but I like this style personally.

Fortunately, Salby Evolution picks up at the same pace as its predecessor, so while I enjoyed the action pieces, especially in the early scenes when Simon encounters his first zombie, I enjoyed the character emotions and their subsequent developments as real people. 

 "In the hands of a lesser writer, the result could have been a bit of a hot-potch."

This tale should appeal to readers of any age. For younger readers, they will enjoy the zombie encounters. It's suitably bloody but never over the top. For readers of the author's age (like myself), we can appreciate the issues of marriage and divorce elements that are presented quite brilliantly in this book.

Once that scene is set, and we understand the MC's motivations, some of the scenes are to be expected in how they play out, but that's part of the fun. It's also possible that readers can enjoy this one without reading Salby Damned (Book One) first, but I think you'd be missing out.

Overall, Salby Evolution is a fantastic rollercoaster of a tale. Expertly written, beautifully crafted, with a story that simply pulls you in. It's a book that despite a lot going in my life at the moment, I read it from start to finish within three days.

I will be around for the final installment. 

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Book Review: Confessions (New Beginnings, #4) by Michelle Lynn


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Hockey is unpredictable. Grant Mackenzie has lived and breathed the game for most of his life. It’s what he did, but it isn’t what he loved. Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you’ve almost thrown it all away. He’s about to face the hardest month of his career. He knows what he wants now, but it isn’t up to him anymore and the damage may have already been done. His secrets are unraveling, his season is over, and it’s now what happens off the ice that matters most. 

Abigail Stewart masks her anger with sass, sarcasm, and a host of bad decisions. It is anger born out of years of emotional abuse. She has a new life now, but it’s a life of hiding who she is and who she used to be. 

From the first time Grant and Abigail met, they knew there was something there. Now, forced to spend two weeks on an island with each other, it’s time to face their feelings, and in order to do that, they must first face their pasts. 


What a cool series this is. The beauty of New Beginnings as a series is that characters of old can make all new stories. Mack and Abigail take centre stage in Confessions, and as an ex ice-hockey player myself, I appreciate all the team talk, manager one-to-ones and yes, the phoning it in that Mack does as a player. I understand it, because I did the same on occasion.

 "this latest certainly a power play in the genre!"

These days I am no less competitive on the football field. But Confessions focuses squarely on the romance between our two primary leads. It's hard not to like Abigail...there's something very girl-next-door about her whilst realising how good she could be as a future wife.

Mack is reckless, restless and annoying at times. But this is not annoying for the reader - he's a real guy doing real things in a believable way.

A short read that is jam packed with drama, but it is never over the top. I have read all of the author's books and this latest release stands amongst her best, and is certainly a power play in the genre!

Monday 21 November 2016

Book Review: Pierson (Meager Boys Story, #1) by J Kahele



After his father's passing, Pierson Meager is left with much responsibility, undertaking the running of the family business and the fathering of his three younger brothers. For all the changes in his life, things are comfortable, uniform, and exactly how Pierson likes it—until an agreement with a stranger turns it upside down.

Susan Coyle is a driven woman, so when the position of Marketing CEO opens up at her company, she will do whatever it takes to land that job, even if it means cutting a deal with an absolute stranger. What Susan doesn’t realize is that this stranger will not only show her the real importance of life, but he will also unearth a tragic past she fought so hard to forget.


Pierson is arguably J Kahele's best written novel to date. The lives, loves and lows of Pierson unfold in her latest adult romance. What's especially pleasing to see here is a strong focus on story, not sensationalism. The cool erotic scenes are there aplenty, but it's arguable that the titular Pierson and 'woman of interest' Susan are the most rounded out characters here.

The dynamic between Pierson and his brothers is well done and anyone who has a brother (or is a brother) will understand how that relationship works. Again, Paxton, Phoenix and Preston all have their own ways about them, but Pierson is by far the most interesting.

"Few writers can write with such authority on mature relationships." 

Another huge step in the author's mature storytelling is in the relationship between Pierson and Susan. She is no weak willed woman, but neither is she an over the top facsimilie of annoying feminist heroines. Susan actually feels the kind of woman anyone could walk into but rarely do in real life.

I also liked the reintroduction of character's from the author's other stories, including some self-deprecating humour when talking about a character (Chain) 's name.

"Chain? What kind of name is that? What's next? Link?"

Loved that, along with the insightful thoughts on why Blu (another character) swears so much. Fans of Miss Kahele's works can have a lot of fun joining up the dots.

As to the primary story, wow - few writers can write with such authority on mature relationships. That's why I hope some male readers will take a punt and have a go at Pierson. It's important to behave like a gentleman in a relationship, guys. It's good to let the woman of your dreams really be the woman of your realities. Love is never boring, weak, or for the faint hearted, and in this electrifying tale in an all-new series, we get it all. Boy, do we.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Book Review: Little Big Boy by Max Power


Synopsis: Little Big Boy tells the often harrowing tale of a small boy, struggling to cope in an environment of violence and fear, in 1970’s Dublin. All he wants is to be a big boy, but that comes with a price. At home, he faces an increasingly violent father and at school, he encounters new threats from other boys and more menacingly, from one Christian Brother in particular. In the midst of his turmoil, the one person that stands up for him and keeps him safe is his mother. But a series of seemingly unconnected events, conjure up a storm of epic proportions, with this little boy in its path


Review: Two years ago I read a book that was to become my favourite book of 2014. That book was Darkly Wood by Max Power. Its mix of dark fairytale, myths and legends, stories within stories, along with an amazing narrative meant that I was thinking about it long after I had finished it, and I still think about it.

Perhaps that’s why I took so long to read another Max Power title. What if it didn’t live up to Darkly Wood? What if it didn’t live up to my expectations?

But enough of the what ifs. They are not relevant and certainly not helpful.

Little Big Boy is a personal, heartfelt account of a young boy growing up in Ireland. I admit I was a little reticent to read it, as another personal account by Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes was on such a level that similarities between the two would have been unfair, but it’s not totally unavoidable either.

Through a first person narrative we see the Little Big Boy of the title go through various growing pains. We see his brother Eamonn doing various rounds with his brutish father. His mother is no wilting wallflower but it’s obvious she is far down the list of priorities of her husband. But I come from an Irish Catholic family, even though I am English born. I actually love and embrace my Irish heritage, whereas my other siblings, especially my brother was less endeared to Ireland. It irritated me a lot that they would act this way, but I am sure many Irish / English Catholic families have similar issues. 

"The author never flinches from hard details, but he laces the story with light to laugh out loud humour."

Little Big Boy has a lot of scenes where the boy is getting into fights a lot, especially at school. For me, this was more interesting than the home life stuff, because I too would fight with other boys and befriend (kind of) some of them later. Of course there were many occasions where a truce was never made and yet I look back now and think it was character building. One has to take a positive angle on things, even something as serious as bullying, because the alternative (killing yourself) is too horrid to think about.

I loved the scenes that included the gaelic language. It is beautiful to listen to, but on the page you can only guess at what it means, but the author never leaves us in doubt about that. Perhaps my favourite example of this was how a boy wanting to go to the toilet had to ask permission in the precise gaelic terminology, otherwise they would not be allowed to go. Now I like languages but will admit I am lazy at learning them…conversational Chinese and a working French is what I am best at, along with a very basic knowledge of Italian and French. My mother would sometimes use a gaelic term but not very often. But I saw some similarities with my own upbringing and the main characters, though I had ‘teachers’ at school, not Brothers or Nuns (my mum was taught by nuns, though she had a choice gaelic word for them).

Midway through the story, it takes a rather sinister turn. If you read it, you will know what I am on about. But it links masterfully with the last third of the book. It’s here that Little Big Boy truly strikes gold. The short chapters allow you to make progress through the book quickly without losing the plot. It’s like some of the chapters are stories all on their own, such as the time the boy is out with his father (who is in the pub) and he has to stay by the car until he comes back. I could relate to that – my own father stayed out until 3 or 4am most nights, and made up stories to my mum about where he had been. But she knew, of course she knew. 

The author never flinches from hard details, but he laces the story with light to laugh out loud humour.

So my recommendation is that you should definitely read this story if you like a story that jumps out at you on every page. It’s not fair to compare it to Darkly Wood as it is a very different story. However, it just shows the author’s talent, breadth and depth of writing ability, and bravery in committing such a tough upbringing to the page for us avid readers to consume.

It’s another winner from Max Power.

Thursday 3 November 2016

Book Review: The Return of the Pumpkins by Lacey Lane



Peter Smith is a patient at West Hills hospital. He has been there for nearly a decade. At the age of thirteen, his parents were brutally murdered and Peter was tortured to near death by his Halloween pumpkins. Killer pumpkins haunt his dreams and his doctor thinks he's delusional. Determined to turn his life around, he has eventually decided to join in with the Halloween festivities in the hospital and carves his first pumpkin. Will Peter survive the tenth anniversary of his parents' death? Or will his pumpkin be the death of him?


The original Revenge of the Pumpkins was the first I read by author Lacey Lane. It was a brief, entertaining and utterly brutal horror story that was the kind you might just like to hear on Halloween, but in truth the ending was so shocking that the memory lived with you long after the trick or treat had ended. It was a delight to see this new story - it is still novella length but much meatier than its predecessor.

We join Peter, the protagonist from book one (or antagonist, depending on which side you take) ten years after the events in story one. He's not been coping well. There's echoes of Danny from the Shining when it was revisited in Doctor Sleep, though it is not a direct comparison of the two. Revenge of the Pumpkins strength was also its slight weakness - being short and shocking was great, but left us wanting more, even though it was a complete story in itself. 'Return' allows the story and its characters to breathe a lot more, but the length carries along to another great climax.

The doctors in the psychiatric hospital do what they can to bring Peter to good health, but the nightmares of those slashing pumpkins terrorise him again and again. The interplay between the studious and almost pious Doctor Mitchell and the (un) wise cracking and roguish Doctor Tanner.

It is not as gory as its predecessor, which may disappoint some, but for me the gore factor and mild sexual content was well balanced and a good choice by the author (because most sequel rules infer more gore, more sex and so on).

Another pleasing factor is the balance between dialogue and narrative which is well done and doesn't really allow you to put the book down. Although told in third person it was easy to get into Peter's head, to see what he was going through, that the nightmares seemed like the true terror, not the vicious attacks he had been subjected to himself.

"There's echoes of Danny from the Shining."

People tend to slowly rebuild themselves in psychiatric wards. We are carried along Peter's journey, literally, as he recovers step by step, breath by breath. People may not be able to relate to Peter's situation as to why he is in the hospital in the first place, but they can relate to these things...fighting for breath....many of us have been there.

Some of the characters, like Nurse Giles, play a dual role of good cop / bad cop and again, it shows good character building even though our focus is distracted by the increasingly psychotic behaviour of Doctor Tanner. Peter's eyes cast over Sue, a light amongst the darkness. This is good for the reader too, as we hope these two might get together, as the worst of days are made better by the love of someone special.

Sue seems to play the role of a sex crazed nymph but it becomes clear that she likes Peter in lots of ways, and he is a little overawed that someone other than doctors is taking an interest in him. Sue initially hams up this role, but as she gets in deeper with Peter, the story shifts to whether or not they will ever be released from that hospital, or make their escape before the pumpkins make their eventual return.

The ending is shocking, clever and poignant. One hopes that this is not the end, but the beginning of an even better third slice of pumpkin.

Monday 10 October 2016

Book Review: Psychedelic Cure of a Narcissist by Katerina Sestakova Novotna

Psychedelic Cure of a Narcissist: Power of Kratom and Opiates by [Sestakova Novotna, Katerina]


Eric is a selfish man who likes to come back to his exes for sex and money, but he does not pursue them as hard as he pursues new girls. Miriam, a student of psychology, becomes an exception to his rules. Three years after their break-up, the woman he thought he knew all too well to be impressed with suddenly claims to be able to guide people into a magical 4D porn experience.

Eric is trying to earn his place in Miriam’s privileged circle, but the girl who purports to be a therapist like no other is remarkably unstable herself. Eric suspects that she may have a different agenda than to entertain him, but the promise of a new form of sexual bliss seems worth the risk. 

Does she want him back? Does she want to cure him? Does she want her revenge? It’s not clear what Miriam truly wants, but her wishes do not matter to Eric as long as he gets what he wants. But his own goals change, too, as the time goes on.

Miriam volunteers to be Eric’s guide in his psychedelic experience, but she also unintentionally becomes his teacher. He wants to learn to guide and fix others before he is fixed.


With wave after wave of social media sites, endless places to post photos and info about ourselves, I wonder if we aren’t all narcissists in some way. In Katerina Sestakova Novotna’s follow up to her 2014 debut novel, perhaps we are challenged to consider the possibility.

It is difficult to categorise Eric, our main narrator in Psychedelic Cure of a Narcissist, because he is not a hero in the traditional sense. He is not necessarily a victim either. But he is the narcissist of the title, whether he knows it or not.

Meeting women is not a problem for Eric, as three of them- Miriam, Magda and Monica feature heavily through this story and throughout. It’s fair to say that Eric does not treat them well, as psychology student Miriam points out the tale of Narcissus to a bemused and disinterested Eric.

He dismisses her position as psychobabble, but the author takes an honest approach through a first person narrative. Eric does at least admit the possibility that he is a narcissist.

It’s easy for him to dismiss blonde-haired, blue eyed Miriam. To him, she just seems like a piece of ass to use, abuse and discard. She’s rather too good at analysing him though, which he appears to dislike intensely. Meeting half Japanese-half Tahitian Magda means he moves on, but is never quite out of Miriam’s shadow.

He hurt her, so she intends to hurt him by refusing to get back with him. Miriam only considers Eric now in her position as a therapist. He is being led on a dance, but doesn’t appear to mind it so long as he can get what he wants from it.

His interest is piqued above petty and unsatisfying masturbation when Miriam introduces him to the idea of psychedelic substances. He is initially appalled, but the idea of being able to have sex with many women at the same time or that he could orgasm from different parts of his body fascinated him. Even when Miriam would talk about Eric’s gay friend Peter in ways that horrified him, his narcissistic personality kept going back for more.

Some men can cope with just one woman in their lives. Others need many to validate their own machismo. Eric appears to be the latter. As he says in one scene, he does not want to put himself in the hands of one woman; whilst at the same time acknowledging Miriam has rejected him and will only now see him as one of her guinea pigs.

As interesting as the Miriam—Eric dynamic is, it is the Eric – Magda coupling that takes the book into literally another universe. With the introduction of herbal wonder tea Kratom into the mix, a substance that is basically just crushed leaves or powder, Eric begins to depend on it, just like he depends on being sexually available for Miriam and controlling aspects of Magda. But I think the author raises another important point here - just what is it that we are addicted to, and why are some things banned, while others are not? Too much coffee can affect people in pretty much the same way.

"This book challenges us on many levels."

No. We are allowed to poison our bodies with cigarettes and alcohol because the government makes huge money out of it through taxes. The double standards are astonishing. However, kratom is not addictive unless the user cannot handle the high as well as the low. Indeed it has less negative effects than alcohol, the abuse of which is well known.

This book challenges us on many levels. What is acceptable in a relationship, what happens when fantasy crosses into reality, what happens when a harmless substance becomes either addictive or a tool with which to control others?

And this barely scratches the surface of this superlative work.

Enthralling as it is disturbing, one has to read this book. It is for adults only – but for some development of body did not go hand in hand with development of mind (some people just never really joined the two together, did they?) maybe some of them should read this too.

Book Review: Defective (The Institute, #3) by Kayla Howarth



Eighteen months has passed since the Institute was liberated. For Allira Daniels, she’s still trying to live with the consequences of her actions. The Defective are free, but are their lives truly any better? Attacks on Defectives are on the rise, and Allira has to wonder if she’s directly responsible.

Keeping busy to escape her guilt, Allira is trying to move on, but how can she when her past is always haunting her?


Defective hit the ground running where Resistance ended. The author's evolution as a writer since book one in this series is rather remarkable. With Allira ended up in a new world far away but also intricately related to the first two books. Allira is more grown up and I like this rounded development of her far better than the first two books. Maybe it does take a while to get things going, but boy does author Kayla Howarth throw in twist after twist, not to deliberately annoy the reader, but to enthrall right up until the end.

It was hard to predict the ending but suffice to say, this closing chapter on Allira's story appears to have wrapped things up beautifully.

"In recent times I have become a bit bored of kick-ass heroines. But Defective and The Institute series as a whole is so multi-faceted, we don't mind."

Drew and Jace remain cool, but I as a male reader was drawn to Nuka. The girl rocks and the story is all the better for her inclusion.

In recent times I have become a bit bored of kick-ass heroines. But Defective and The Institute series as a whole is so multi-faceted, we don't mind.

In summary, a terrific YA to MG level story. I'm a fan of the author's writing. And it is more like Hunger Games and Dawn of Rebellion than Divergent and I am thanking the stars for that.

Book Review: Zeeka's Ghost (Zeeka #4) by Brenda Mohammed



Swift. Silent, Ghostly
Zeeka’s ghost appears to Steven and he feels the ghost has evil intentions.
Coupled with that, Steven discovers that he and Mandy are the targets of unknown enemies and their lives are at stake.
Stephen must find a way to hunt down and apprehend these ruthless maniacs and save his beloved wife.
Is Zeeka’s ghost here to harm or help?
Zeeka’s Ghost is the fourth story in the series Revenge of Zeeka.


Zeeka's back. As if you could keep a good zombie down But he's more than the mad scientist/zombie fascinated persona of the earlier books, and in this fourth installment, the ghost of a demon haunts our eponymous hero Steven into near madness.

The thought that he hadn't quite seen off Zeeka haunts him, until the ghost of the title becomes more than just pangs of regret in his mind. The story centres more around Steven so returns to the original concept bore out in book one. This rounding of the story arc is interesting and a good way to handle it.

The other characters are there too, but they play a secondary role in Zeeka's Ghost.

"This rounding of the story arc is interesting and a good way to handle it."

Probably the best of the Zeeka stories to date, author Brenda Mohammed is to be congratulated on another take of zombies and now ghosts!

I think anyone could read this as the horror elements are PG-13 / Cert 12 rated. But more mature readers will pick up on regrets we have as we age and experience life.

A final word must go to the cover - it's excellent and captures the essence of the book brilliantly.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Book Review: Gates of Heaven by Pamita Rao


An empire ruled by evil and fear; a king obsessed with greed for greater power and desire to conquer other realms.
Alaira has just stood up against the tyranny and committed the most serious crime in the kingdom. If captured, she will face brutal punishment. With the King’s men on her back and his dark magic against her fate, she is on the run in a race against time.
With no place left to hide, her only hope is to escape through the Gates of Heaven, a mythical portal to other realms. But there is a problem. To reach the Gates of Heaven one must cross the enchanted forest and no one has ever survived it before.
Will Alaira find the Gates of Heaven? Will she be able to escape Creed or will she meet the dreaded fate of every criminal in Myrth?


It is so difficult for any writer of fantasy to come up with something new. I have read and am in the process of writing two reviews of debut novels by fantasy authors, and I needed the break inbetween to read other genres so as to review and critique them fairly.

New author Pamita Rao brings a freshness to a jaded genre with a detailed, interesting world of Myrth, which has its own qualms and quirks. In an early scene, a man is forced to drink the liquor he has brought for the king, and in doing proves - or otherwise - that it is not poisoned. It's done well as a scene, and there are numerous scenes like this throughout the book. It is extremely well written, with great characters in this detailed, magical world.

"It's such a pleasure to read a new author voice." 

I must give a special mention to the cover art, which is outstanding and really pulls you in.

Gates of Heaven is ultimately about young buck heroine Alaira coming of age. The evil Creed threatens the security and safety of the world, and it seems our young girl has her work cut out to defeat him. On her introduction, I wasn't sure if she was up for the task (the ultimate task, as it happens at the Gates of Heaven in the book's closing chapter).

The story works because you really are swept along at great speed. The story starts brightly and keeps up the pace throughout. It's such a pleasure to read a new author voice. And I look forward to reading more from this new and exciting author.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Book Review: Your Time is Now by Brenda Mohammed



In this Memoir, Your Time is Now - A Time to be born and a Time to Die, the author uses quotations and references that connect to events in her life and the lives of others.
It is written, based on powerful words spoken by King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes about times and seasons. "There is a time to be born and a time to die, and a time for every purpose under the Heaven."
The book is intended to help people understand their own lives and to realize that we are all here on earth for a purpose.
Poems and a section on A Brother's Wisdom are included.


Whilst Your Time is Now is a memoir with biblical undertones, I would like to split this review in two parts.

The story is about seizing the day, much like how Robin William's teacher wanted his class to do in Dead Poet's Society. I think we are all guilty to some extent about not seizing the day, seizing the moment. Then we reflect on such things and wonder why we weren't just a little bit braver. What would have been the worst thing that could have happened as a result of our actions? Whilst one book cannot hope to provide a satisfactory answer to such a question, it satisfies many of the author's search for meaning in her life. I am splitting my review not out of disrespect to the author's beliefs, it's just that my views are a little different and so I should be clear about that from the outset.

This is not the first memoir I have read by the author but it's probably the most interesting one - even though the others were extremely readable books in their own right. However, whilst there is some overlap, it still feels like a new read.

I especially enjoyed the part where Canadian missionaries approached the author's parents, seeking to adopt her. Canada is cold, more cold than the author's native Trinidad and Tobago, and it's clear she was happy not to be taken away. Her family is a large one and it is uplifting to read how much she loves her family.

Later elements talk about reaping what we sow. This is very true. As I have aged I think I have mellowed a lot - it's more likely I will say something nice and supportive rather than be snidey or cruel. There may be times to do that, but overall the message is 'look, life is short - be nice to each other'.

I don't know what would have been made of me if I had been there to experience the sermon on the mount. We all have complexities to ourselves, but without them, we would not be who we are. One hopes that if I do face that final judgement, I won't be considered a bad person, even though I am not fully into the beliefs referenced in this book. 

"The story is about seizing the day."

It's refreshing that one of the author's Directors commented on her being 'a Real Christian'. In England we are supposed to live in a Christian country, yet the display of crosses around our necks is considered controversial and possibly offensive. This is nonsensical to me. So long as no-one wishes to hurt me, I have no issue with them.

Perhaps my favourite line in the entire book is 'A highly evolved person is free from worry and depression and radiates calmness'. So true - and if only we could all live like that, impressing positive thoughts on those we interact with and yes, profess to love (even via blood or relationship status) the world would be a better place.

So forget the nonsense of a busy, noisy world. Most of the stuff we worry about is a waste of our time. We are better than that and should act accordingly.

Read this book and feel uplifted.

Book Review: Seven Days to Me (A One Week Romance, #1) by Tracey Pedersen



Two People. Two Stories. So Many Secrets...

Golding Mining is going from strength to strength under the dedicated management of Stephanie Golding. Too bad she dreams of returning to a life that has long since slipped through her fingers.

Brad Peters is living a life he's not quite sure he wants. He's doing it to make his dad proud. When he's roped in to seduce Stephanie he can suddenly see exactly what he wants...and it's right in front of him...

Can two people struggling to be true to themselves find a common ground just by spending a week together? Just how many secrets are too many for a relationship to survive?


I wish more contemporary romances were like this, then I might enjoy the genre a lot more than I do. I realise I am not the main target audience for this kind of story, so I will just give my honest opinion.

When Stephanie and Brad are pitched together, a man and a woman in a work environment suddenly find that sparks fly. Literally. It's not all plain sailing of course, and I loved the elements of drama and mystery that the author worked into the story. It is elevated by its well paced story, excellent narrative, and punchy dialogue. 

"This is a superior novel in a crowded genre."

Perhaps I wanted more from the dialogue. It was functional and worked well between the characters. I accept it was a seven day whirlwind, and so, in this context, deeper narrative is okay to omit as the feelings between the two speak volumes, which is how it should be between lovers.

'The planet had tilted on its axis.' Isn't this a beautiful and rather apt way to describe how we feel in matters of love - especially when this person can drive you crazy in more ways than one?

Add secondary characters such as Myrtle and Meredith who add so much to the story, you have the perfect pot boiler of a romance. Meredith may be an ice queen, but the author clearly had a lot of fun in her creation, and there is one such woman in every work environment. that makes the book engaging to read but also a realistic romance. I liked this a lot.

This is a superior novel in a crowded genre. Seek it out today.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Book Review: The Dramatic Dead by Bryan Nowak



The heart of the city is being gutted by a ritualistic serial killer and the police have hit a wall. Dirk, a private detective, is thrust into the maniac’s world by a mother’s desperate plea. A tragic mistake leads the killer toward his next victim: a girl with ties to the investigation. Now Dirk and his quirky team of problem solvers must race against the clock to find the killer before the next victim is claimed. 

A private investigator, his friend, a cop, and a specter named Victor are all that stand in the way of a madman and his next victim. 


The Dramatic Dead is as entertaining as author Bryan Nowak's debut novel (No Name) however I was initially disappointed that the book wasn't as scary as I hoped. At least, this was my initial view as I read the early chapters. The character of Victor and how he is drawn was the most controversial aspect for me. I wasn't sure I liked the take on it, but like most things you have to read the whole story in order to place the individual elements in an appropriate and fair context. If I didn't do that, I would not be being fair as a reviewer, and it is reviews that people will be reading, so I have to respect that.

"The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels."

The whole private investigator trope isn't new of course, but the author writes central character Dirk with a swagger and verve that keeps you reading. Indeed, from the male perspective I understood his feelings for a certain character (I won't include her name because of spoilers) but guys, we have all done this...practised saying 'I love you....' and find it easy to say when she wasn't there, but we'd freeze when she was! as the author quotes "She's the most spectacular creature on the planet, and I'd die for her."

Yes we would. We know we would.

Another thing is that the humour of the story shouldn't really work, but it does. Lines such as 'the living are so annoying!' Well who can argue with that?

Overall The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels - as a thriller, as a detective piece, a horror comedy fused with occasional dark horror that somehow, through the quality of the writing, manages to work. Another element takes us on the road to the afterlife. Now because we know practically nothing about that, we have to take the author's position on it. This is just his view, however, and again, it works because the story is so well constructed. It's a long read, but it never really feels like that. Bryan Nowak is a new author and one that I believe will make his mark very quickly. Snap both books up now!

Saturday 20 August 2016

Book Review: Where She Belongs by Liz Doran



Roisin has had enough. After the recession hit Spain, her husband, Javier, has fallen into an abyss of depression and is threatening to drag her down with him. In order to save them both, she leaves Spain and does something she has always dreamt of doing. To live by the sea. She wants to gain control of her life, make a new start and finally follow her dreams. 

With a mixture of sadness and anticipation, she moves back to Ireland, rents a house by the sea, and has a fortuitous meeting with Maggie who runs a craft boutique. 
At first everything runs smoothly. Maggie offers her a job and people are more than kind. Too good to be true? The last thing on her mind is another man. But then she meets Tom, the irresistible Irish man. When Javier follows her and tries to woo her back, confusion sets in. After perfect beginnings, where she meets some of the helpful and colourful characters who live there, things begin to get complicated. The first cracks appear on the façade. Why is her old neighbour, Mrs. Walsh, being threatened? What is she afraid of? And why are people suspicious of Maggie, her new friend and boutique owner? 


Where She Belongs is a slow burner of a debut novel from author Liz Doran. Many of the best authors in the world hail from Ireland, where this book is set. It follows the ups and downs of Roisin, who (in a paradoxically shift of pace in the early chapters) has her life literally turned upside down an decides she has had enough of Spanish beau Javier.

Reading this from the male point of view may actually garner interest in this book. You see, I felt Javier had been hard done by. He’s not the model husband, and he does something that is practically unforgivable, but as this happens early on in the story, we haven’t learned enough to form a strong opinion as to whether he is the bad guy or not.

Clearly Roisin acts at first with her heart and then her head. The time lapse is not that long, and soon enough Roisin has decided to get out from the relative comfort of her life and start over again.

I applaud the author for taking this decision. It’s a woman’s story written for women, but that shouldn’t prevent male readers from reading Where She Belongs. It would have been an interesting angle to see Roisin stay post-the-event but that would have taken the story on a whole different direction.

The pace is steady. There’s a lot of information in the story that from the male perspective is less interesting but I can understand why it is in there, as the book would fall under women’s fiction.

"The author does not give us a cop out ending."

Roisin’s journey through Ireland is strongly depicted and if you have never been to the country, the author makes you fall in love with the place. Everyone knows that one person’s paradise is another’s idea of hell, and despite the brave new world Roisin chooses to go after, not everything falls into place. That would be too easy, and the author does not give us a cop out ending.

That said, whilst Roisin began to find herself and a new meaning to her life, it was only a matter of time before Javier popped up again. He’s not a one-dimensional psycho dumped husband like Patrick Bergin in Sleeping With the Enemy, and again, I was grateful for how the character was drawn.

Where She Belongs is an interesting debut novel that demands the readers’ attention. In some ways it is a very easy read, at other times, it is heart wrenching and touching.

A strong debut from Liz Doran.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Book Review: Dreams (New Beginnings, #3) by Michelle Lynn



Moving on is the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do. 

Taylor Scott sees the world differently than she did a year ago. She’s no longer the love-sick teenager, quick to smile and full of joy. Now she’s the broken college student just trying to get through the day without letting her feelings overwhelm her. It isn’t until she meets Josh that pieces of herself she’d lost start falling back into place and she can finally see that it’s okay to be happy again. 

Josh Walker is a professional athlete whose always avoided distractions. His career is just getting started and he works harder than anyone else. Hockey is his life. It’s the only thing that makes sense to him. When a new coach joins the team, it’s his daughter that threatens to complicate everything. He wants to help her. Needs to help her. But when he needs her to do the same, he finds out what she’s really made of. 

No one ever told him that the hardest part of his hockey career wouldn’t have to do with hockey at all.


"What greater punishment is life when you've lost everything that made it worth living?"

- Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

What an extraordinary series this has turned out to be. Having read, nay, consumed author Michelle Lynn's superlative dystopian series Dawn of Rebellion, I was expecting a light, breezy enjoyable romance from her New Beginnings series.

Readers will get that, but what readers won't be prepared for is the standard of writing, which was always good but has evolved onto a whole other level here.

Characters from the earlier books take a more prominent role here, but each story in this series has been remarkably different and well, this one is the best of the three.

Perhaps it is because of the ice hockey references. As an ex-player myself, it gave me a different angle with which to approach the story.

While I have enjoyed the myriad of characters introduced in this series, I wanted the female characters to grow a little, perhaps show that they didn't even need a man in their life to become whole again after previous hurtful experiences. Anyone, man or woman, can relate to that.

It is in this aspect that the author scores highest for me. This is a real rollercoaster of a book. It plays with your emotions a lot. Some of the characters, like Taylor and Josh, were wonderfully drawn but infuriatingly flawed in parts (not in their creation, but in their behaviours) yet it makes it all the more believable as a romance.

"What an extraordinary series this has turned out to be."

The ice hockey references are well written in the story. The team players act in a beliveable manner (as does Coach Scott) and it made me think did I act like that in respect of other women when I was consumed by the sport.

I also liked the character play between Josh and Zak, the latter playing the role of saying the things that needed to be said. Again, great characterisation from the author.

Without giving too much away, but feeling I do have to mention this, one of the characters is suffering from a condition called ventricular tachycardia. I did not experience this as a hockey player, but through some poor choices, at the age of 35, I was hit hard with this condition. I am older now and it is more manageable, but wow....this book really spoke to me.

Anyway, whilst Dreams is possibly a book you could read as a standalone, it is a far better experience to familiarise yourself with the characters first as they appear in the earlier books.

A heart string puller of the highest order, this is simply yet another wonderful book from the pen of Michelle Lynn.

Book Review: Crafting With Lacey by Lacey Lane



Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to crafting success. Learn how to make candle holders, jewellery, childrens' play things, storage solutions, decorations for your house and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.


I honestly haven't made or crafted anything since leaving school. DIY at home doesn't count because those are jobs that need to be done, rather than those that are fun to do. I won a school competition for creating a Freddy Krueger glove with real knives no less. But author Lacey Lane brings her fun side out and this book is stuffed full of craft ideas that will keep you literally busy for years.

"Get off the internet, shut your phone down, and create something awesome."

People who love to make things will be instantly drawn to the amazing cover, but jump in and see a book that is full of detail and tells you explicitly how to make all kinds of things. I will attempt some, but I admit I am poor at these kinds of things!

Overall, a value for money book that brings the fun back. So get off the internet, shut your phone down, and create something awesome There is something for everyone here.

Book Review: My Life As A Banker by Brenda Mohammed



Fascinating, Intriguing, Inspiring, Positive, Heartwarming, and Motivational Memoir.
My Life as a Banker - A Life worth Living" is a banker's memoir, in which the author describes changes in the banking system, and changes in the bank's attitude to its employees throughout her working years, in a Trinidad bank with ties in the United Kingdom. 
It is the story of a pioneering female in a man's world. 
The book also reveals personal details about the author's life.
It is a Memoir worth reading.


For those of us who are not in the banking industry, and for me, especially living in a country where the capital is the financial hub of the country (perhaps the world) you might think a story called My Life As A Banker would be too dry to enjoy. 

Author Brenda Mohammed has written quite a few books across different genres. This book is a relatively quick read but readers can be taken along her life's journey as they turn the pages.

I found myself more interested in the 'Life Worth Living' elements of the book. I congratulate her hard work which allowed her to work in the banking industry and get promoted. But I was more interested in the personal side of things, for example how she met her husband (that's an excellent segment of the book) and also attaining her strict father's support for the marriage.

"An interesting and very readable memoir from one of the more creative authors out there."

The author's approach to writing this memoir is direct and therefore one imagines this is how she would speak in real life. But the tale is told with such verve and energy, it is an enjoyable book that people will find much to like.

The real life stories contained within are things we can all relate to. Things such as ending up in a great city like Toronto, but being sick at the time and told 'you shouldn't go out then'. But this is not the author's approach to life. If you have read her Travel Memoir With Pictures, you will understand what an accomplished traveller this lady is.

There's some surprisingly gory scenes in the book, tempered by some poignant sadness around certain family members, as well as the central theme of how the author made her living in the banking sector.

It's an interesting and very readable memoir from one of the more creative authors out there.

Friday 17 June 2016

Book Review: The Sirens of Falkeld by Julie Tuovi

The Sirens of Falkeld


Kade Finley, of the Scottish Isles, was raised on legends of the sea. His Gaffer, Toran Finley said, that beneath Muireall’s wind-swept cliffs, deep under the waves, there lived a legend as old as the Highlands themselves. Of Manannán Mac Lir, the sea god, and his beautiful sea maidens, the maighdean mhara, who swam the tides, luring sailors to their deaths.

But they’re not just legend. 

Kade saw one on his ninth birthday. On that day, a fierce storm swallowed half the island, and his da, Aidan Finley, was never seen again. 

It’s been nine years since Da disappeared, and Gaffer is dying. 

Desperate to save him, Kade decides to capture a maighdean mhara, of whom the stories say will grant one wish if caught. But Admiral Gilbert Owen, commander of the island’s WWII naval base, complicates things. In his quest for power, the Admiral has enraged the maidens, making it dangerous to be human in maighdean mhara infested waters.


When an author creates something out of pure fiction, it has to be written with authority. The characters have to be believable. Most of all, any preconceptions one might have had about the story have to be discarded right from the outset.

The Sirens of Falkeld is the debut novel of Julie Tuovi, but you wouldn't know it from the writing. Here is a story that has rather incredible world building. The author really has a talent for describing literally everything in the book. The titular Sirens, of course, are nothing like the Disney mermaids. It's a risk to describe them as Miss Tuovi has done in her story, but the payoff is wonderful because the main Siren, Cora, is no airhead waif. She's actually something to be respected, and yes - something to be feared.

The style of the book is interesting given its shifting perspective, chapter to chapter. Our hero, Kade, is threatened with death more times than seems fair by the shifty, arrogant and pompous Admiral near the start of the story. Kade's perspective is quite formulaic so we can relate to him easily. Initially, he is not an overly complex character. But as the story advanced and he interacts with Cora, we get a glimpse of the man in this youngish-boy. 

Cora seems too advanced, too wily, too clever and yes - too dangerous for Kade to interact with her.
But inbetween these wonderful character developments, we really are swept along by the author's engrossing story. Not once did I think 'this is a fluffy story about mermaids.' 

"It's the very best kind of story, a wonderful mix of myth and legend that will pull you down to the depths of the sea and demand that you read it to the very end."

However, I did find the book a challenging read at times. The first third of the book takes a little while to find its 'sea legs', but once it does, it rewards readers with action, danger, romance and thrills. 

This could be said of many a debut author's story, so it is no slight on the author, who has created an incredibly detailed and believable world. I like the authentic use of the Scottish language, it's well done and never grates. 

One thing I really loved and rounded off the book just perfectly was the author's notes. I know, some of you will skip that part but I urge you to read it. The author is honest in her influences for her story, which I could see early on in the book. Thankfully The Sirens of Falkeld grows into its own very deep rewarding story.

It's the very best kind of story, a wonderful mix of myth and legend that will pull you down to the depths of the sea and demand that you read it to the very end.

Sunday 5 June 2016

Book Review: Coping Mechanisms by Tracy Black



Coping Mechanisms demonstrates how adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can cope with stresses that occur in their everyday lives. Adult survivors can find life to be a bit more difficult, and feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or being frozen in time are not uncommon. The casual or innocent things which trigger flashbacks bring back painful and unwanted memories. A simple sound or a smell can trigger the brain and transport you to 'that time or 'that' place. A number of survivors have contributed by writing about their personal experiences and how they cope. They bravely share their stories and explain how motivational exercises and self-help have made their lives manageable. Coping Mechanisms examines the practical ways of coping and explains how you can implement them. Don't allow the demons from your past to haunt your future.


                    "In the future, when a woman's crying like that - she isn't having any fun."

Louise (Susan Sarandon), to a would-be rapist from Thelma and Louise (1991)

In the difficult world we often find ourselves in, the pull of fiction, to read something of fantasy, or something uplifting seems to be far more attractive than to read the subject matter in this book. Child sexual abuse is no laughing matter, and so any words I choose in writing this review has to be done correctly. This is not an easy task, but I think it's important people know my viewpoint, then, whether you are the kind of person who reads reviews and makes a judgement on a book, rather than read the book first and make your own judgement - then I had better get this right.

Over the years, what has been considered 'normal' in society has shifted. Perhaps it always has. But I believe 'normal' is whatever you are exposed to. For example, if you lived in a rural area, it would be normal to see the odd car pass by. But take that same person and put them in a built up area of a busy town or city, this person would see swathes of cars and people. To them, it would not be normal. It would not be what they were used to.

It wouldn't feel right, and they would want to scurry back home to the open fields.

This is a normal, healthy and completely understandable reaction.

In the UK in the 1960s it was still a criminal offence to be homosexual. Now in the recent years the UK Goverment passed the Same Sex Marriage Act.

For some of us, this won't be normal. For others, it won't be normal but they can accept it because it doesn't affect them. (I am neither for or against it, I am married to a woman and what others do have no bearing on our lives).

So what is normal anyway, and how can we cope with others sense of normality being forced on us? This is the question that raised its head when I was reading this book.

For the offenders in Coping Mechanisms, clearly their 'normal' differed from most people. They believed they had the right to perform sexual acts on others without their permission. They believed it was okay to force themselves as adults, onto children. They believed that because they were in a position of authority, that it was okay, it was their 'normal' to force themselves onto others.

I've read some of Tracy Black's other books on this subject and I have to say that this is perhaps the most revealing one. I could feel her sense of anger and betrayal when she tells us (in an early passage) that her search for books on this subject left her 'an emotional and mental wreck'.

You might think she is overreacting. But if you've never been a victim of sexual abuse, especially when you were a child, you cannot underplay just how angry she was feeling.

"So what is normal anyway, and how can we cope with others sense of normality being forced on us? This is the question that raised its head when I was reading this book."

That is not to say Coping Mechanisms is a depressing read. It's a thoroughly engrossing work that gives you Tracy's view, a leading psychotherapist's view, followed by the views of individuals who have contributed to this remarkable volume.

Who is this book for? Well, if you want to read a well written book with articulate prose and some never to be forgotten passages, read Coping Mechanisms. It is the very definition of a hard-hitting book, so newcomers to the author may find it a very uncomfortable read. The author doesn’t have to apologise for that and the reader in question should have the maturity to handle the contents.

The author takes us through a number of myths and busts them up for us. Quite right, sexual abuse is not something you ‘get over’….but you do learn to cope. That’s why this book is THE essential read for survivors of sexual abuse.

The section on triggers is particularly powerful. But there is something in the book that pretty much any reader can appreciate, even if they have not experienced such horrors. I also like the individual stories were kept in their raw, original state. I liked some writing style far less than others, but the fact is, it was kept raw and real - it's a far better book for it!

It may not be pretty, it will be far from easy, and survivors see many black clouds amongst the blue skies.

But there is a hope out there of a better life and it’s not trite or unrealistic to say that.

Monday 30 May 2016

Film Review: A Hologram for the King (2016)

Director: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury

I've been watching Tom Hanks in the cinema since 1988's Big, and it's fair to say he is one of the most dependable actors in the business. His films haven't always reached the heights of Forrest Gump or The Green Mile, but his presence has often lifted an average movie and made it great.

A Hologram for the King follows 2015's Bridge of Spies (yet to be reviewed by me but I will) along with another stellar performance in Captain Phillips

The film opens up with a bizarre sequence with Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) seeing his house, car and marriage literally going up in smoke, before some very quick editing cuts place him on a plane en route to Saudi Arabia.

Why is an American businessman going to the Kingdom? Given how difficult it is to get into the country in the first place (you have to be sponsored to enter the country - I know, because I was in Bahrain in 2000 and was told in no uncertain terms that crossing the border was a no-no). 

Well, Alan is on the Last Big Deal (TM) of a lifetime. He'd previously been in charge of a huge number of people and had to lay them off when Chinese imports undercut them in price. If he doesn't get this deal closed, and thus provide a Hologram for the King, his professional as well as his personal life will be broken, and he may never recover from it.

As well as a broken marriage and hastily run through divorce, Alan is paying for his daughter's college education, and the closing of the deal becomes more important. So we have a set up, a back story, a reason for why Alan is doing what he is doing.

The film switches between comedy and drama, but it's not easy done or easy to watch as a film lover. There's too many cliches thrown in such as Culture Shock (TM). What? Saudi Arabia doesn't have decent wi-fi in an area where an IT company is setting up a presentation?

Alan meets his team, who have been stuck in a tent in the middle of the desert somewhere. They don't have wi-fi for their particular needs. It's a weak signal at best, and no, they don't have food either. In another scene and appearance of Culture Shock (TM), Alan is unable to get the secretary to be helpful. She abruptly informs him that his contact will not be meeting him, so the things his team needs cannot be provided that day. She does it with a smile at least, but it's too typical of many supposed cultural shocks that foreigners are not used to, because of course it works differently in the home country.

Okay, I could understand the difficulties of a foreign company setting up shop in a place like Saudi Arabia. 
There would be teething problems. But what does his team actually do when Hanks is not on screen?

Meanwhile, in his hotel he is unable to procure any beer. Fair enough, that's the country's rule. However, his contact, when he eventually meets him, is able to to provide a cool beer. What message are we being sent here? The same message about the World Cup 2022 in Qatar? That rules and traditions can be bent or discarded altogether where money is involved?

Even though the film had a bizarre, disjointed start, I thought it would settle down. It doesn't. And even when you think something is going to happen, such as the meeting of Chicago and ELO loving local taxi driver Yousef (played earnestly by Alexander Black) and he forewarns Alan that his car is under threat of being wired. When Alan merely thinks that means it will be stolen, he is told 'No, wired means someone has attached a bomb to the car.'

I didn't know whether to laugh at that line, or be scared for our main character. And that's the film's biggest problem - it never draws you in. You feel very much like a hologram, actually. I felt completely hollowed at this point, because nothing of note was happening.

The farce - albeit a moderately acceptable one, of the King maybe arriving today, next week, but 'hopefully not months' wears thin quickly. I started to believe that the King actually was toying with his American 'friends' and planned to go off to Yemen or something. At least then they could pack up and go home, which at this point I wanted to.

(It was at that point that my OH, Katie, provided the highlight of the evening by mishandling her popcorn (because we know how tricky that can be) and spilling it everywhere. We were in Gold Class at the cinema which means that only a handful of seats are there compared to a much larger auditorium. I like the free popcorn and reclining electric seats too. But if I did an eye-roll in the darkness, Katie didn't see it. But I did chuckle.)

Maybe I was missing something, but a few seats up from Katie, another viewer seemed to be having the time of his life, and was laughing at most of the scenes.

That would be fine but A Hologram for the King never makes its case to us, so we are as much in the dark as to the type of story they are trying to present. This is a big disappointment, to put it mildly.

The other company crew that are based there seem like caricatures too. Hanne, a lady of Danish origins, is there purely to get Alan into bed. This plays into another Overplayed European Cliche (TM) that Danish women are 'easy' and will throw themselves at any man. The film never makes it clear if Hanne hasn't had sex in a long time or not. She takes Alan to a Europop Drugs Party (TM) and though she probably could have any man she wanted...I'm guessing she picks Alan for the sole reason that she hasn't. Yet.

She whispers to him 'Let's make a mistake.' Cue more eye-rolling from me. Attention single boys - if you want an easy lay, go to Denmark. Or find the nearest Danish girl you can. It's that easy.

I really started to hate the film at this point. There is simply no reason for a man in Alan's fragile state - emotional financial, personal and professional - to simply fool around with this woman. She throws herself at him for no reason at all.

Other things like this are littered throughout the movie.

Yousef picks up a cousin and he takes a turn in the road leading to Mecca, a place in which non-Muslims are not allowed. Even when the car drives through a packed street with police and other Saudi locals, they never catch on that there is a white male in the car. Not that Alan bothers to cover his head and face. The argument over taking the road to Mecca, because according to Yousef, he always drives that way.

Maybe the Saudi force really are that stupid. But I don't think so. Here's an American movie giving two fingers to another culture that politically, it allies itself with, but culturally (and on a basic respect level) it is wide of the mark.

Yousef even casually points out the place where executions happen, to which Alan exclaims "In Public?". I mean, come on....don't insult the viewer. People who know anything about Saudi Arabia is that it is one of those countries that carry out public executions. I don't even know if half the material that ended up in this film is in David Eggers 2012 book of the same name. Apparently Tom Hanks read the book and tweeted to the author about it. Is that how films get made today?

Nothing happens! The drive -  through, to and beyond Mecca should have had some kind of payoff...I don't know...Alan is captured by the Saudi forces and stoned to death. Yousef's car actually blows up. His cousin starts talking in English. I don't know....just give us something....anything!

The Next Big Joke (TM) is played on another of Yousef's cousins when Alan tells him he is working freelance with the CIA, which he is not, but that doesn't matter. It would have been better plot-wise, perhaps, but this film lacks one.

By far the worst movie of Tom Hanks' career, it joins You've Got Mail and Bonfire of the Vanities as his 'never to be watched again' trilogy.

Yousef curtly tells Alan that 'it's like telling someone in the airport that you have a bomb'. True. Not funny. Not appropriate at all.

Then there's the scene with the wolf. I think 'Aha! Something is going to happen'....then it doesn't.

The third act sees Alan falling for his doctor, played by Indian-English actress Sarita Choudhury. Earlier in the film she helps him with the lump on his back, which could be cancerous, so that have to deal with it. Again, this should have elicited an emotional response from me, but frankly, we don't care about Alan. The character is weak, and Tom Hanks does not look comfortable in the skin of this person, who is at hollow and soulless as the Hologram in the title.

Choudhury plays up to yet another cliche of Scowling Foreign Woman (TM). She's professional and a good doctor. But the ropey romance scenes - dragged from the corpse of Hanks other calamity of the 2000s, You've Got Mail, do not work. Again, there is no reason for the good doctor to fall for Hanks' character.

The email sequences are badly handled, and are even more toe-curlingly awful than anything You've Got Mail had got to offer (and that film had nothing to offer).

Maybe it's me. And readers of this who loved the film may think I should just go back to watching The Hunger Games and Star Wars.

Maybe I will. At least then I will be entertained.

A Hologram for the King tries to be an intellectual comedy drama, but it fails on practically every level.

Should you see it? Only if you are a Tom Hanks completest and / or a fan of Egger's novels. And stop with the redundant imagery please. When Hanks says that the lump on his back is like spiders trying to break out, I thought, no....I know what was in that lump... a plot!!

Sadly the director decided to discard it, just like Hanks does with his own sickening self surgery.

By far the worst movie of Tom Hanks career, it joins You've Got Mail and Bonfire of the Vanities as his 'never to be watched again' trilogy.

In summary: You've Got Meh. Watch it and expect nothing, then you might just be entertained.

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