Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Book Review: Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Infused with Carrie Fisher’s trademark incisive wit and on the heels of Wishful Drinking’s instant New York Times bestselling success, Shockaholic takes readers on another rollicking ride into her crazy life.

There is no shortage of people flocking to hear what Princess Leia has to say. Her previous hardcover, Wishful Drinking, was an instant New York Times bestseller and Carrie was featured everywhere on broadcast media and received rave reviews from coast to coast, including People (4 stars; one of their top 10 books of the year), Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, and scores of others.

Told with the same intimate style, brutal honesty, and uproarious wisdom that placed Wishful Drinking on the New York Times bestseller list for months, Shockaholic is the juicy account of Carrie Fisher’s life, focusing more on the Star Wars years and dishing about the various Hollywood relationships she’s formed since she was chosen to play Princess Leia at only nineteen years old. Fisher delves into the gritty details that made the movie—and herself—such a phenomenal success, admitting, “It isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

My Review:
I have to say that I was looking forward to reading these three memoirs by Carrie Fisher as they are given very good reviews and are said to be very funny. I must admit that I was actually disappointed in what I read in this book.

The book starts with an honest discussion of her electric shock treatment to treat her mental health issues. To be honest, I knew she had issues connected to drink and drugs through the years but I didn't know that she actually has mental health disorders or how bad things had got for her. She leads into discussion of how she went into a downward spiral after the death of close friend Greg Stevens, She talks frankly about the ECT treatment, what she recalls of how they administer it and the effects afterwards. I was surprised to hear that ECT made her depression better for a period of time, but it did cause her to lose some short term memory and have struggles with her vocabulary. That was interesting and a bit scary.

The worst section deals in depth with a date she had with Democratic Senator Chris Dodd while having dinner with Ted Kennedy and his date. The topics at dinner seemed to be all sex related with Kennedy quizzing Carrie on her sexual practices and quite frankly being an obnoxious git as far as I was concerned. Carrie answers all his questions frankly rather than choosing to ignore him which is what he deserved. This whole section was not interesting or amusing to me in any way and I failed to see the point in including it in the book. I didn't care what the answers to these questions were or that she was proving that Kennedy couldn't embarrass her. 

There was an interesting part where Carrie talks about her dentist being Evan Chandler, father of Jordy, accusers of Michael Jackson. She was disturbed by Evan bragging about how attractive his boy was and how much time he spent with Michael at his ranch.  Carrie talks about Michael and makes it very clear that she believed he was innocent of the charges. I did find this small part interesting. The other topic she covers is her contempt for stepfather Harry Karl and she goes into gross detail of all of his revolting habits. She talks briefly about her relationship with Elizabeth Taylor who broke up her parents and how she was reconsiled with her father Eddie Fisher. 

Basically the book just covers a few topics in depth and is not the full memoir I was expecting. There is no cohesion either in subject matter or in establishing a timeline, and massive chunks of her life are not really covered. It jumps about all over the place and is somewhat rambling in nature. I don't really like the way it is presented and the lack of structure. It is certainly frank and honest, but I didn't really find the humour in the material that I was waiting for. It wasn't what I was expecting and I didn't really enjoy it the way I had hoped I would. I completed it because it was short.

Read January 2018
2 stars

Book Review: Kitty Goes To Washington by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville #2)

Celebrity werewolf and late-night radio host Kitty Norville prefers to be heard and not seen. So when she's invited to testify at a Senate hearing on behalf of supernaturals, and her face gets plastered on national TV, she inherits a new set of friends, and enemies, including the vampire mistress of the city; an ├╝ber-hot Brazilian were-jaguar; and a Bible-thumping senator who wants to expose Kitty as a monster. Kitty quickly learns that in this city of dirty politicians and backstabbing pundits, everyone's itching for a fight.

My Review: 
After being expelled from the city by her Pack, Kitty takes her popular radio show on the road to difference cities over six weeks-until her lawyer Ben calls to tell her that she has been called to appear at a Senate Hearing into the supernatural. As a werewolf Kitty will be the star attraction. She and Ben don't trust the man leading the hearings as he has shown his contempt to Kitty when appearing on her show but she is interested in hearing what scientist Paul Flemming has to say about his research on paranormal creatures. Kitty tries to find out more about Flemming's work while dealing with the local Master Vampire and the shifter population who are very different from her previous Pack.

I enjoyed the start of the book where Kitty is doing her radio show and has managed to get Dr Flemming on as a guest. He reluctantly answers her questions but she knows he is hiding things from her, especially when he leaves without taking any questions from the public. She is determined to use her time in the city to find out more about his work and discover the reasons behind the Senate hearings. Kitty is very surprised when religious fanatic Elijah Smith is also called to give evidence and she notices that something about him tries to reach out and control her wolf, which alarms her. She teams up with Ben and paranormal reporter Roger to find out where Elijah is, what his power is and where the missing vampires and werewolves are.

On her arrival in the city, Kitty is stopped by the police on the orders of Master Vampire Alette, who offers her hospitality and protection while she is in DC. Kitty doesn't fully trust her or sidekick Leo but has little choice but to stay with the vampires after being told that the local shifters are dangerous. After a chance meeting with Luis the were-jaguar, Kitty sees that the Pack has no leader but operates as a community with a local club as their safe retreat. She is intrigued by their set up compared to her own Pack and is fascinated by Luis and his life. I did find the club and its residents interesting but I didn't really feel the chemistry that we are told they had. However the romance is background in the story and doesn't take away from the main plot. 

I liked Alette and her almost mother-daughter vibe with Kitty, an interesting dynamic for a vampire and werewolf. I also found the DC version of the Pack to be interesting. I very much enjoyed her new friendship with Ben and Alette, both characters I hope we see more of in the series. I really liked the Elijah storyline and finding out who and what he is and the secret of the camp and the followers there. This was one of my favourite parts to the book. Kitty of course manages to land herself in a bit of trouble just after this, leading to a really good ending for the book. The final third really does pick up speed as it goes along.

My one complaint was that the Senate hearings weren't very interesting. Kitty spends each day there, listening to scientific and moral evidence around vampires and werewolves but it didn't really add much of interest to the overall story-in fact these parts were a bit slow. Kitty's adventures outside the Senate were a lot more interesting. I liked the book but I just feel there is something lacking in the books to make them higher starred reads but I can't put my finger on what it is. I like Kitty, her friends, the radio show and her adventures though and I am going to keep reading the series, at least for now.

Read January 2018.
3.5 stars.

Can't Wait Wednesday-Gordon Brown

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at to spotlight and discuss books we're excited about but haven't read, which may not even be released yet. 

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.   

As former Prime Minister and our longest-serving Chancellor, Gordon Brown has been a guiding force for Britain and the world over three decades. This is his candid, poignant and deeply relevant story.

In describing his upbringing in Scotland as the son of a minister, the near loss of his eyesight as a student and the death of his daughter within days of her birth, he shares the passionately held principles that have shaped and driven him, reminding us that politics can and should be a calling to serve. Reflecting on the personal and ideological tensions within Labour and its achievements – the minimum wage, tax credits, Bank of England independence and the refinancing of the National Health Service – he describes how to meet the challenge of pursuing a radical agenda within a credible party of government. He explains how as Chancellor he equipped Britain for a globalised economy while swimming against the neoliberal tide and shows what more must be done to halt rising inequality. In his behind-the-scenes account of the financial crisis and his leading role in saving the world economy from collapse, he addresses the question of who was to blame for the crash and why its causes and consequences still beset us.

From the invasion of Iraq to the tragedy of Afghanistan, from the coalition negotiations of 2010 to the referendums on Scottish independence and Europe, Gordon Brown draws on his unique experiences to explain Britain’s current fractured condition. And by showing us what progressive politics has achieved in recent decades, he inspires us with a vision of what it might yet achieve today.

I do like political memoirs and I'm very keen to get Gordon Brown's side of the story, especially the deals and fallouts with Tony Blair. This is already out in hardback but I'm waiting for the paperback!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Chuckles Retro Reads-Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville #1)

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station - and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

My Review: 
Kitty Norville is a werewolf and a night DJ at a radio station. On a night when she is bored, she starts talking about whether the supernatural Bat Boy exists and suddenly she has an ever increasing audience, some interested in the supernatural and others claiming to be supernatural creatures. However, while her boss is delighted with the viewing figures, her local Pack and the Master Vampire are not happy about the exposure of their world. Someone has hired a bounty hunter to kill Kitty and with the added problems of a rogue werewolf on the loose, and fanatics trying to 'cure' vampires and werewolves, Kitty needs to work out who she can trust.

I liked Kitty. She is a submissive wolf, turned against her will by Zan as she flees from her rapist in the woods, and used by pack leader Carl whenever it suits him. Her best friend is fellow Pack werewolf TJ, who tries to look after her, and she has friends at the station. She is lonely and often unhappy but the sudden success of the show gives her confidence and she slowly starts to see herself as more than a Pack doormat, leading to an interesting confrontation when Zan tries to claim her. She has a healthy fear of Carl and his mate Meg, as well as terror of the local vampires led by Arturo.

As the show gains popularity, Kitty gives out advice to vampires and werewolves with nobody to turn to, those who have problems with their Pack or Master and those struggling with life after being turned. Arturo tells her to quit the show as does Carl until Kitty splits the extra money with him, but she is aware that this is a dangerous move. Kitty has been careful to hide her own identity but when werewolf bounty hunter Cormac calls into her show to say he is at the building and is going to kill her, she is outed live on air and her listeners are riveted as she tries to stay alive until help reaches her.

I liked the added element of the actual radio show, where there are calls to Kitty from all kinds of people with varied opinions on these paranormal topics. I liked this as it was different from what you usually get in urban fantasy werewolf books. Yes we see some Pack politics and how the hierarchy works but the main focus is on Kitty trying to have a human life. The side stories are also interesting. There is the rogue werewolf who is killing women around town and Kitty tries to persuade Cormac to look for him instead of killing her. She also needs to find out who ordered the hit on her. The other story is a religious fanatic who claims to cure werewolves and vampires but their worried families never see them again when they go to see Elijah Smith at his travelling camp. All of these stories collide giving plenty of interesting action throughout the book.

There are also good characters. Kitty's friend TJ is like a brother to her, trying to look after her when Pack law allows him to. He also believes she needs to stop doing the show as her added confidence is making her less submissive which is upsetting the relationships within the Pack and causing Kitty to upset her Pack leaders. The complex issues of Pack are nicely covered but I do admit I liked that the emphasis was more on the human side of things and not a wolfie sexathon!

I like the characters and the amount of action and emotion through the book. I am continuing with the series and I hope that it keeps up this standard.

Read January 2018
4 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday-Bookish Goals

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week we're looking at Bookish Goals which is a nice easy one to start the new regime with!

1) Reduce the TBR
I'm not even going there. Over 800 books I own waiting to be read and I need to put a big hole in that this year!

2) Catch up on more series
I've got about 20 listed that I want to complete/catch up on this year and I really do need to make progress on this.

3) Buy fewer books
*laughs hysterically*

4) Read more samples
I've downloaded a pile ready to start the new year with so that'll be no problem!

5) Find more like minded bloggers
I need to find other fans of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones who love horror, apocalypse, zombies, prepping topics!

6) Blog ahead
I intend to remain 4 weeks ahead on my regular posts to give me space for a few breaks during the year from the computer!

7) Keep up with my challenges
I have a new book journal for my challenge lists so I can refer to it even when I'm away from the computer. It should help remind me of all my plans and encourage me to keep up!

8) Read every day
Even if I only fit in 30 minutes some days, I'm determined to get more reading time!

9) Be selective in my reading
I'll be studying reviews and using samples to buy only the stuff I'm reasonably sure I'll like.

10) Don't get stressed 
Remember that reading is meant to be fun!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Chuckles Retro Reads-Master Of None by Sonya Bateman (Gavyn Donatti #1)


Gavyn Donatti is the world's unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he's lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor's thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.

Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of "Ian"—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn't interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life's purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.

At first Donatti's too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price. . . .

My Review:
Gavyn Donatti is a hapless and unlucky thief who has just managed to lose the item he was hired to steal-and Local thug Trevor decides to teach him a lesson. His life is saved by Ian, a djinn who must stay and protect Gavyn-and he thinks that Gavyn is a complete waste of time. Gavyn ropes his ex-partner/ex-lover Jazz in to help them, endangering her and her son Cyrus. Trevor's evil plans go beyond torturing Gavyn and the world might depend on Gavyn and his team saving the day.

This was a really good urban fantasy adventure with action, humour and a series of great characters. In short it had pretty much everything I look for in this genre. The plot is not distracted with a big romance story for once (yea!) though Gavyn and Jazz do have history. The story concentrates on what is happening to them now and how they might have a second chance together if they all survive. The plot is fast paced and I loved that we had djinn, which you don't see as much of in these books. There is magic used by the characters but I like the fact that each spell drains the user so it is not just always using magic to save the day. They have to use it sparingly and engage their brains instead. And don't ask Ian for three wishes!

Gavyn is such a useless criminal that I instantly liked him. He doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut, leading to some amusing exchanges with Trevor and Ian. Jazz is smart, capable and feisty, but vulnerable when it comes to her son. She is a great female character. Ian is just brilliant-grumpy, intolerant, impatient and not enjoying the assignment. There is a lot of amusing snark between Gavyn and Ian as their relationship gradually develops trust. The addition of Lark, who has a real grudge against Gavyn over a botched job, just added to the fun in this book. I even liked Trevor the bad guy who had his moments. Finally we had Quaid the bounty hunter who wants to arrest Gavyn and always seems to show up at the most unfortunate times! I can't say that there was a character that I didn't enjoy in this book.

As I said the plot was very fast paced throughout, as poor Gavyn lurches from one disaster to the next! It is part road trip, part magical adventure and part gritty urban fantasy which when you add in the frequent humour and excellent characters, makes a pretty compelling read. There are bad plans, getting captured, interesting escapes, silly situations and magical moments. It has pretty much everything.

My one disappointment is that there only seems to be two full length novels and one short story, when I want to read so much more about Gavyn, Ian and the gang! I really hope the author is able to maybe self publish a third book as has been rumoured. Fingers crossed!

5 stars. 

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out. 

This Week!

1) Book Review/Discussion-The Complete Morgaine by C.J. Cherryh
Greg reviews and opens a discussion on this work. 

2) Book Review-It by Stephen King
Carole reviews my all-time favourite book! 

3) Book Review-A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin 
AJ goes to Westeros... 

4) Survive Being Stranded In Your Car in Freezing Temperatures 
The Ready Nutrition people give you tips that could save your life 

5) DIY Homemade Lotion Bars 
Want to take control over what leeches through your skin? 

6) Book Review-Blood Sisters by Jane Corry 
Barb takes a look at a thriller. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Prepping With Chuckles #2 The Bug Out Bag

If you read apocalypse books that feature preppers or have contact with preppers you might hear the term Bug Out Bag, also known as Emergency Bag, 72 Hour Bag or other similar term. To put it in simple terms, a Bug Out Bag is a rucksack or similar easily carried bag that is ready packed with emergency supplies that you can grab if you need to exit your home or car quickly. My dad and I have BOBs in the car so if we are stuck somewhere, we can grab the bags and head off home without messing about. Chances are we could be home safe before anyone around us works out something is wrong! This post is meant to be a guide, not a full list and I have prepared links to prepper sites for further reading. This post is based on what are in my BOBs.

What kind of bag should I use? 
If you are a person who enjoys hiking and camping, you are likely to have something suitable already. For obvious reasons, waterproof is better, and you want a bag that you can put plenty into without straps rubbing your neck or it killing your back! You might have to carry this a fair distance if you are trying to get home or trying to get away from home so it must be comfortable. The bags my dad and I have, have padded straps and fasten across waist and chest, which takes the weight off my shoulders and makes it more comfortable to carry. If you don't have one, a good outdoors shop will have a range that you can look at and try.

There are ready filled Bug Out Bags for sale online. Should I use them? 
In my personal opinion, no don't buy these. They can be very expensive and are quite often filled with things you don't want, don't need and wouldn't use. It's more time consuming to get your own bag put together but it is worth it to have what YOU need and want in your bag instead of a lot of expensive cheap rubbish.

What food should I put in my bag?
This is of course going to be dependant on what you like to eat. You're looking for light to carry, high energy food that will give you the strength to get to where you are going. MREs are good for this purpose (Meals Ready To Eat) but would have to be eaten cold if you don't carry a cooking source with you. I have got things like peanut butter satchets, beef jerky, peanuts, cereal bars, fruit, nougat bars, boiled sweets, specially designed survival cakes and biscuits. These all came from ration packs that I bought on Amazon along with self heating main meals. My dad and I looked at the big pile and seperated it into a pile each, which are sealed in waterproof zip bags and in our BOBs. He traded his peanut butter option for my maple syrup bun! The exact ones I bought are no longer there but these are similar with much the same stuff, to give you a look at what I'm talking about. Look up this on Amazon: New Military Day Ration Pack

What about water?
Water is the biggest problem as it is heavy to carry. I have two 500ml bottles of water in each of our bags and spare in the car to carry if we have a long walk. With the weight of the bags I could not physically carry any more. If your plan to get from your home or get back to your home includes passing shops still open or a reliable water source you can buy or refill your bottles and use a water filter and water purification tablets with the water you gather. If not or the water looks really bad you might have to make do with what you can carry. I do suggest water purification tablets in case you end up with a very long walk home, and a Lifestraw. You can drink straight from ANY water source in the wild with Lifestraw and it filters out 99.9% of bacteria. With this you can also carry light collapsable water containers instead of hoofing heavy bottled water.   

What other supplies do I need?
This is where each prepper disagrees! If you are a hardcore prepper you will have more items for a range of various things, giving you the ability to hunt, fish and build fires, ready for an extended stay in the woods so to speak. I'm going to say the things I think you NEED to have, based on a 24 hour-36 hour hike home, then others things can be added if you want them. The items I'm talking about are good for everyday situations as well as bugging out. In the UK weapons are strictly controlled so I can't just stroll around with a gun or machete! Sometimes you need to improvise!

-comprehensive first aid kit
I bought a good large one in Aldi a couple of years ago and then added more things into it like micropore, additional plasters and wound dressings, an agent that clots the blood, good scissors, antiseptic wipes, lip balm, knee and elbow supports etc. Think of every injury you can think of dealing with if you might be a distance away from medical help.

This is necessary for every eventuality from changing a wheel in the dark, signalling an emergency vehicle for help, finding your way safely out a building without power or finding your supplies at the bottom of a bag without unpacking everything! I would put one in BOB and carry one in your everyday handbag or purse, or leave it in your car. LED headlamps are also handy to have as these are hands free but can be pricey. I got one free in a mountain climbing magazine which was handy!

A very strong rope that can be used for tying, towing, securing, constructing. You could tie up someone threatening you, use it between trees to help construct a makeshift shelter, use as boot laces or to repair and carry a damaged BOB. Make sure you have a sharp knife to cut it. I use this around the garden too. Buy Wild Elk on Amazon from a range of colours.

-mylar blanket
You see people at the end of marathons being wrapped in what looks like silver foil blankets right? Well these are a must for a survival bag. They are designed to fold up into the size of your hand and trap body heat to keep you warm in a cold car or out in the elements. They are also so light you won't know you are carrying them and will fit easily into BOB. You can get these pretty cheap online but check for a decent company. I got mine for £1.50 each and £3 for the tent version which folds up to palm size. 

-mirror for signalling
-waterproof matches and lighters
-extra socks (cold feet are a killer)
-garbage bags (to sit on or wear-use stuffed with leaves)
-rain ponchos
-insect repellent (all hail the Scottish midge!)
-salt/sugar/pepper/milk/cream sachets and chocolate/high sugar sweets
-energy gels/mint cake (sugar rush!)
-extra batteries (don't want your torch to go out!)
-spray perfume (spray any would be attacker in the eyes if pepper spray is illegal like it is in the UK!)
-hand sanitizer/alcohol wipes
-Potassium Iodine pills (Radiation protection, yes I do have a pile!)
-Collins Gem Food For Free (great cheap pocket guide to foraging for safe food to eat)
-SAS Survival handbook (cheap pocket sized book telling you how to survive any scenario)

-get them a BOB of their own to carry their supplies! 


OK some of these items are expensive and if you are prepping on a tight budget you might trim down the items or find cheaper alternatives. My one piece of advice is not to scrimp on the water purification. A Lifestraw will last you years and water is the most important thing on your list. You'll notice I haven't included cooking sources-my BOB does not have one as all my food can be eaten cold, and I could not carry any more weight. Ideally you would maybe want to have one if you can. I have not included things like sleeping bags and dry towel, which you can attatch onto your BOB or extra clothes for warmth which we keep in the car and would change into if required before we set off.

Do you have a BOB? What do you have in it? Where do you keep it?

Chuckles Cover Love #59

If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all.

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.  

Yes it's Simone Pond again but I do love her covers! Purple is one of my favourite cover colours so I really like these covers!

Chuckles Goes Sampling

Seeing Kermit surrounded and almost buried in leaves kind of reminds me of my relationship with books. I'm pretty much buried in them too! I have no more space in my house for the books I buy and piles are sitting on the floor which isn't good and I can't read them quick enough because I keep buying!!! I've battled to reduce the tbr without success this year but now Kermit and I are embarking on a new plan to reduce the book buying and give me a chance to reduce the tbr at last. The Plan? Download samples and read them and only go on to buy those I liked instead of grabbing everything!

Here is what I read last week! 

1) David A Simpson-Zombie Road 
It starts with a survivor of the zombie outbreak telling his story which we then see in flashback form. It takes place at a truck stop with a few tourist interest things to draw in a few visitors to the area. A virus is breaking out and news coverage shows the bloody violence, which alarms the truckers who are anxious to know if their destinations are caught up in the trouble. Two bikers decide to leave the truck stop but are quickly attacked by zombie children and try to flee back to the truck stop for help.

I'm not quite sure about this one. The sample spends a lot of time on the history of the town, the stories of our MCs, introducing the truckers...all decent background information to give the characters depth and I appreciate the reasons for doing that. There just isn't much background to the virus itself, just reports of it in major towns and cities. I'd have liked a bit more. In saying that, I liked the first zombie attack which is left unresolved as the sample stops, and I like the idea of a ruralish truck stop with a range of people there as a location for zombies. I think I'd say I'm intrigued by this one and might check it out at some point.

2) Jack Hamlyn-Necrophobia 
Ricki and Steve hear the screaming outside and a few people in the street go to investigate. It is Steve who finds a neighbour dead and a zombie feeding on her. A zombie who had died and was buried days ago. As he looks towards the graveyard he sees more of the dead shambling their way. By the time he gets back onto his street it is a battleground, with the postman being eaten and others fleeing in terror as Steve and Jimmy try to kill whatever they can. They retreat into their homes where Steve tells Ricki and son Paul to prepare their supplies in the more secure basement, while Steve ventures out to check on a friend-who is already dead.

Again I'm not totally sure about this one. It is a serious zombie novel that starts with the first attack and everyone knows that it is zombies they are dealing with. I liked the return to the traditional zombie novel where the dead rise from their graves to attack the living. It is descriptive on things you need to know, and attempts to develop a few characters from the start. I think I could really like Jimmy. There is nothing at all wrong with it but I still find myself hesitant about definitely getting this one and I'm not really sure why!

3) Victoria Thompson-City of Lies 
Elizabeth and her brother Jake are watching their next mark Thornton and waiting for a chance to chat to him and scam him out of his money. Introductions are made and the trap is sprung with their inside man introducing them to stocks which gives them a small win. The three of them then lure Thornton into the big scam but everything seems to go wrong with the plan.

I'll be honest here-I never really expected to like this as I'm not a fan of books in a setting where a woman is expected to be a lady and men tell them what to do. To be fair to the book, that is not what is happening as Elizabeth plays that part of the dim lady for the scams but is more headstrong and independent than would be expected of her. I just found that despite good writing and a great cover, it turned out to be as I feared-just not my thing. I think if you like this kind of read though ie historical mysteries, you might just like this one.