Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.
The first book is by Dan Antion with his second novel. I can highly recommend you read the first book in the series and then follow up with The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2
About the book
Zach Amstead has kept his ability to participate in lucid dreams a secret for over fifty years However, in the high-tech world of the 21st century, he has been discovered by an FBI Special Agent who has a corrupt agenda and who is willing to employ illegal tactics while working toward his goal.
Thomas Slocum gives Zach a choice – cooperate in an illegal operation or be treated as a terrorist. Slocum’s plan puts Zach on a collision course with organized crime leaders, a corrupt politician and brings innocent people into dangerous situations. Worse, the FBI process which allowed Slocum to uncover Zach’s abilities threatens to expose the abilities of his best friend, Billy.
One of the reviews for the book
I was born and raised near Pittsburgh. Spent half of my life there before adulthood so rudely intervened. So when I see a book set even some of the time in Western Pennsylvania, I’m interested. For that reason, I read Knuckleheads when it came out. The location drew me to the work, but the writing and storytelling sold me on it. i couldn’t wait for the sequel. And I’m delighted to say it was every bit as good as the first.
Zach and Billy are back. Zach’s powers have been discovered by someone who wants to take advantage of them, and he finds himself having to make one difficult choice after another to protect himself and the people he loves. In a tale where some members of law enforcement are as corrupt as criminals (if not more so), choosing which is the least of all evils is difficult for our hero. Watching how he and his supporting cast manipulate the system and navigate the dangerous situations they find themselves in kept me flipping pages faster and faster to see how it all played out.
I really enjoyed Billy’s return. He’s such a fascinating character. The development of Zach’s daughter has me especially intrigued. And while I miss Zach’s dad (very much), I love that his brother Mike kind of fills that role in his absence. To avoid spoilers, I will simply say two secondary characters and two tertiary characters really grew on me by the end, and I hope to see them in the next installment, which I can’t wait for.
As an aside, if you’ll forgive this slight tangent, the food sounds amazing. I’d love the recipes for the pork chops, the pie, and the mushrooms.
You don’t have to read these stories in order, but you’ll probably get more out of the second if you do. There are callbacks and characters that enrich the series, making the reading experience more enjoyable if they’re read in order. But I promise, each book stands on its own. In any event, I highly recommend this book and series and can’t wait for the next one.
Also by Dan Antion
Head over to find out more about Daniel Antion and buy the books: Amazon US – And:Amazon CA – And:Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – Blog: Dan Antion – Facebook: D. Antion – Twitter:@DAntion – Instagram:Dan Antion – Bookbub:Dan Antion – LinkedIn:Dan Antion – Youtube: Dan Antion
The next book is recently published biography by Sue. Bavey – a collection of stories, both fact and fiction and poetry written by her father – Daydreams and Narcoleptic Nightmares: Memoirs and Poems by John Cornelius Rogers. I have read and enjoyed the biography of her grandfather Lucky Jack and can recommend both books
About the book
Imaginary snakes, Ouija board experiments, World War II and Nursing Home Sex Scandals.
John Cornelius Rogers, a narcoleptic war veteran, experienced emotions so strong they made him collapse. You would, too, if you discovered sex scandals in nursing homes, saw snakes come out of the wall while you were eating dinner, and uncovered a murder using a makeshift ouija board. Join John in the journey through his prose and poetry, silly and sad…
15% of the profits from sales of this book will be donated to the charity Narcolepsy UK.
“So enjoyed it including the poetry. A 5* from me.” – Judith Benson
“Rogers writes in a very engaging manner, witty, thoughtful and taut. I laughed out loud in several places, very keen eye for the absurd!” – Sally Beety
One of the reviews for the book
Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares is the second memoir from Sue Bavey about her family.
Now we all think that our families are interesting in some way, but Sue Bavey’s really is. Her grandfather lived through three separate centuries and her father was equally interesting.
I have to say that I found this book quite poignant in its own way, primarily I think because some of the anecdotes that are being told are something I recognise and are within my lifetime.
The memoirs that are contained in the book tell about life in World War Two right up to the late eighties.
I have to say that I have loved reading these memoirs and they provide an insight into the social history of the UK from the point of view of the people that have lived it. Often within regular history books, everything seems far removed. However, with this memoir there is a feeling of reality rather than it happening to ‘someone else’ and coupled with the fact that a lot of the experiences that are described within the pages resemble the experiences that I had whilst growing up. There was so much that I recognised through my own childhood.
Whilst there are stories from the recent past, there are also moments of poignancy, particularly when Mr Rodgers was a inspector for the council. Again, whilst these things may seem incredible, there are things in there that I personally recognise and understand how it can happen.
Not only that, there are descriptions of a person that go through the everyday trials and tribulations of someone who experiences difficulties associated with Narcolepsy. Often portrayed with an element of comedy, this book illustrates that it is anything but, and the everyday struggles that someone has with the condition can be quite difficult. Especially when you are experiencing hallucinations.
Now we need to get on to the poetry. Now as a normal rule of thumb, I generally stay away from poetry and tend to leave the enjoyment of this medium to others, however I did enjoy this aspect of the book. Admittedly not as much as the anecdotal stuff, but again, it was made easier to enjoy coming from someone who I can relate more to.
I found Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares an often funny and poignant series of anecdotes and poems that capture the everyday life of one John Cornelius Rodgers. I loved reading about events that encapsulated both world wide events such as the Second World War, to the microcosm of family life.
Also by S. Bavey
The last book today is the latest release by Alex Craigie– a must read for all of us on social media – The Bubble Reputation
About the book
If you want to destroy someone’s reputation, social media provides the perfect tool.
Emmie Hobson, children’s author and TV presenter, is riding high on a wave of popularity when an unscrupulous newspaper editor, desperate for a scoop, brings Emmie’s world crashing down.
Social media picks up the baton and a terrifying backlash of hate and abuse is unleashed. Threats are made and there are those, inflamed by the rhetoric, prepared to take the law into their own hands.
One of the reviews for the book
I’ve read previous books by Alex Craigie and thoroughly enjoyed them all, The Bubble Reputation is no exception. This is a story with a chilling message, but it’s not overtly didactic; as usual with this author’s work, this is a steady unveiling of the plot; the revelation of how evil social media can become when driven with the intent of ruining someone’s life.
The character of the protagonist, Emmie Hobson, is well rounded and it’s easy to emphasise with her. And when her optimism and confidence, the enjoyment in her life, is gradually reduced to despair and uncertainty, it’s heartbreaking. This is a book where the reader can see what is happening and wonder how far her jealous antagonist will go, and what Emma can do to stop the malice.
And with a cast of realistic and credible minor characters, some of whom are spreading the spite and others who seem incapable of stopping it, it becomes frustratingly impossible to see who will finally win in this struggle.
The dialogue carries every character’s personality, leaving no doubt who is speaking. But, sometimes, that spoken dialogue becomes unreliable, and leaves the reader to question the words when they don’t match the inner dialogue and actions of of a particular character. The narrative is often the only disclosure of the reasons behind the actions. It’s a clever ploy by the author.
And, as I’ve said in the past, Alex Craigie has a talent for writing descriptions which give a great sense of place. So it is with The Bubble Reputation. But, equally fascinating for me, is the way she has brought the world of social media to life with all the possibility of the inherently manipulative and dangerous behaviour within it. Social media becomes a character in its own right and intrinsically carries the warning that is the main theme threaded throughout the story.
Above all else,The Bubble Reputation is well written, with strong narrative, convincing characters and a plot that progressively moves onwards, taking the reader with it towards an accomplished ending. I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is looking for a slow-burning psychological drama.
Also by Alex Craigie
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.