Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.
In February 2019 I was delighted to review the first book (and the following books) in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney
About Academic Curveball
When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.
Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.
Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.
In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.
My review for Academic Curveball
An intelligent and well written whodunnit with strong characters and enough twists and turns to keep you intrigued to the end.
It is great to read a mystery that does not telegraph its intentions. So many lead you by the hand, with obvious clues that have you identifying the culprit early on in the story. A bit like television dramas whose suspect has to be the one famous name in the cast!. James Cudney does an excellent job in keeping the suspense going until the end of the book and in creating characters that are flawed but also believable.
Kellan Ayrwick leads the cast and is ably supported by his fiesty grandmother who is a loving meddler. Being a small town everybody knows everyone else’s secrets or think they do and this adds missteps in the investigation of the initial murder. Kellan Ayrwick is a modern Miss Marple, insinuating himself annoyingly into the mysterious events as far as the sheriff is concerned, putting him at loggerheads with both her and his father who is trying to avoid any further scandal to the college.
His family and the other main characters have secrets that are wheedled out over the course of the story and add more surprises. Kellan also revisits unresolved issues from his years growing up in the town with his best friend and the girl he left behind.
The ending is not predictable and that is a mark of a very good mystery. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Also by James J. Cudney
The second view is from January 2018 Lindisfarne: Project Renova Book Two by Terry Tyler. I had read and reviewed the first book, Tipping Point, at the beginning of December, and enjoyed so much, wanted to read the sequel as soon as possible. I have since read following books and can highly recommend.About Lindisfarne
‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there any more.’
Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community.
New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.
Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?
Lindisfarne is Book 2 in the Project Renova series, sequel to Tipping Point (Book 1).
Book 3 is a collection of stand-alone short stories, entitled Patient Zero, which features back and side-stories from minor characters. The next full-length novel in the series, UK2, is due in late spring/early summer 2018.
My review for Lindisfarne.
Having read book one of The Renova Project, Tipping Point, I was already familiar with the group of travellers who are on their way to seek a sanctuary where they can rebuild their lives.
Lindisfarne has an ancient history of spiritual enclaves and violence from Viking raiders which has left its mark on the landscape. From a small resident population cut off from the mainland by the incoming tides at certain times of the day, it has now found itself a refuge for those seeking a new and peaceful life. Unfortunately, the island’s past is not so easily dismissed. One side of the island is managed by a committee of well-meaning residents led by Marcus, intent on growing crops and creating a commune approach to their predicament. On the other side of the Island are the bikers, who have infiltrated the community and laid claim to the pub, offering nothing to the ongoing efforts.
When Vicki, Lottie, Heath, Jax and the rest of the group arrive they find that Vicki’s former boyfriend Dex is beginning to insert himself into the role of Viking Earl of the Island. Including claiming the much coveted castle for himself, hoping to be joined Vicki, despite his previous transgressions and current domestic situation. Alliances are made as groups form to become scavengers on the mainland, develop the island’s natural resources, and others plot to gain control.
What could possibly go wrong? If the existing situation was not challenging enough, add in a psychotic biker leader intent on revenge, mainland gangs determined to use whatever means to take what little the community has, love affairs, murder and the future threat of a secret building project in the south west of England.
The tension throughout the book is maintained with some interesting twists and surprises. The story flowed well from the first book; drawing you into a world where socially accepted behaviour, breaks down as people struggle to survive. It is a very dangerous world where humanity is slipping away.
I am not sure how I would cope in this stark, but I believe realistic post-apocalyptic world, created by Terry Tyler. The characters are believable and you become invested in survival for most of them, but rather wish for a righteous end for others! By the time I had finished the book, I found myself in tune with the language which does pepper the dialogue. I am sure that I would have been using “F” word quite frequently too.
I am looking forward to finding out how the central characters that have survived book two, will manage as the governmental forces begin to exert control in other parts of the country, and the search for a safe haven continues.
I recommend that you read Tipping Point first before reading Lindisfarne, as it does set up the story and the characters extremely well. You might like me, begin to think about what you might do under similar circumstances following such a catastrophic event.
A thrilling adventure which will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the reviews and will be taking some books away with you.. Thanks Sally.