Category Archives: Books


Audiobook Review: Dying For A Duke by Emma V. Leech, narrated by Gerard Marzilli

I don’t write as many reviews as I probably should, so it’s nice to get into it once in a while. You can find this book on Audible.

Disclaimer: this audiobook was received for free in exchange for an honest review

Benedict Rutland, the Earl of Rothay, is disciplined, determined, and has successfully rebuilt his family fortune – with no help from his rather more generous mother (Lucilla) . Life is shipshape, and his betrothed a perfectly sensible match, Miss Theodora Pinchbeck

Then Miss Phoebe Skeffington-Fox arrives, beautiful, mouthy, and showing excellent taste in her expensive acquisitions. As the beloved stepdaughter of a recently deceased uncle, she has been taken in by Benedict’s mother and brings discomfort and chaos in her wake by daring to have a personality.

But worse even than that, suddenly, nothing can be quite what it was as death’s claws begin to grip the family, and Benedict and Phoebe find themselves at the pointy end of accusing fingers. Continue reading

Troy Blackford: “Critical Incident” and “Emerging Pattern” – book review

Troy Blackford’s “Critical Incident” and “Emerging Pattern” are the first two in the “Critical Incident” trilogy. Having read them one after the other, it seemed to make sense to review them together too.

Critical Incident
It picks up right away with an intriguing hook, which pretty successfully made me not want to put it down until I knew what was happening! Blackford writes very simply, almost deceptively so, as he drags you in to soemthing which starts off at a high pace and just keeps going. Despite that I reached a point where I guessed what was going on and who the big bad was, I didn’t enjoy the read any less.
As for the end, well it leaves you in no doubt the the next one is going to be bigger, faster and more in depth.
A short read, but a good one.

Emergent Pattern
As expected, this one is bigger right from the start. More in-depth characterisation, a much more ambitious setup and execution. Even though, if you’ve read the first book, you know who is doing this and why – exactly what they’re doing and hope to accomplish, and how they plan to do it, is wide open. Blackford manages to keep thigns hidden quite well, until it’s time to reveal them.
Another good read, and again, I expect the next one to be even bigger than this one!

JK Rowling – The Casual Vacancy

If you haven’t read it: *(minor) SPOILER WARNING*

It’s not like there aren’t a million reviews about this book either already or on the way, so I’ll leave them to do the main task, but I wanted to make a couple of points that hit me.

Firstly, Rowling is aware that the simply act of writing something that isn’t a Potter book is going to result in all sorts of backlash no matter how good Vacancy actually is. Reading the book without spending the whole time comparing it to the Potter world isn’t actually that hard, so I did that, and then considered the progression angle.

I have to say, Rowling has matured a lot as a writer. She’s confident, and she can tell a story that’s complicated and intricately connected. More than that: she can confront and deal with difficult issues without pulling any punches or copping out.

In Vacancy, we go from the idyllic town where a politician has unexpectedly died, and delve into the day to day, not world-ending, but coming to a slow boil under the surface.

Rowling managed to write through self-harm, rape, abuse, drug use, conflict, sexuality, and more, in a way that was real and touching, and kept the characters human all the way. Having been affected by some of those things, I have no shame in saying I teared up a couple of times when relating to what was going on – and if that’s not a mark of a good writer, I don’t know what is!

Perfect? Of course not, but anyone who tries to tell you any writer is perfect or has written something without fault is not reading very closely. Good? Definitely. Don’t expect obvious conflict, or fast-paced action, but do expect a well written story, carefully thought out and pieced together.

Anyway: I, for one, will be looking forward to the next book.