Review: Pyramid (Jack Howard #8) by David Gibbins

Source: NetGalley & Bookbridgrcover55131-medium
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle & Large paperback
Publish Date: 6th November 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 4th November 2014
Genre: Action Adventure / Thriller
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Pyramid for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knew the story of Ancient Egypt. Until now.

For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region. In the face of overwhelming danger, Jack Howard and his team of marine archaeologists have gathered pieces of a fantastic puzzle. But putting it together may cost them their lives.

Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 150-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.

As people fight and die for their rights aboveground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

I first came across the pure delight of David Gibbins’ work with words one month a few years ago when my book group read ‘The Tiger Warrior’; the 4th book in the Jack Howard series. I absolutely loved the wording, imagery and adventure that flowed into my mind from the words written simply on the page. The world of Jack Howard was and is something far out of my range of experience so being allowed to escape into the mind and life of such a character was pure escapism. Life however always seems to get in the way and although I borrowed and/or bought copies of other books in the series, it wasn’t until now, with the chance to read and review the latest offering and adventure that I have been able to pick up and read another of these treasures.

Pyramid, like the other Jack Howard series, is a standalone novel but with one long and rather complicated storyline seemingly going throughout the entire series. Pyramid closely follows the previous story in the series; Pharaoh, though as I did, you can read Pyramid without having read Pharaoh first. This story is set (as you would imagine) mainly around the pyramids of Egypt, although also moving around to the coast of Spain and into Israel. Egypt though is not a safe place to be in at this time and I must warn readers that things do get extremely hard to read at certain points. The country is, you see, at the point of there being a coup, with religious extremists set to take over the government and kill all those who are seen to be against what they stand for. The horror of these times is well and straightforwardly written, with many things that could have been hashed over for the more sensitive readers not missed out.

The story though isn’t all death, destruction and rioting. One quote on the front of the book likens Jack Howard and the series to a cross between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown. This is extremely accurate. Jack Howard is many things; a seriously talented diver, an archaeologist, a historian and so much more which you’ll find as you read the story. All this experience and knowledge is all thanks to the talent of the author who has experience is these very different areas himself and this really shines through in the writing. I was pleased in fact to be reading much of the time on a Kindle as it saved on the many times I needed to turn to a dictionary to find out what a word meant – having a built-in dictionary was perfect for this type of book! Some of the harder and more interesting words and phrases included ‘sepulchral gloom’ and ‘bellicose’. From the way in which the word was used you could guess at a meaning but having a definition there was fantastic.

The overwhelming genre of this book is action adventure. You could call it a thriller but an unconventional one if it is. There is no ‘bad guy’ to point to, just a country undergoing one of the worst points in living memory. Despite all this however, Jack Howard and his best friend Costas manage to make their way through a dive to discover the truth behind the biblical book of Exodus, follow the footsteps and clues left by an ancient Pharaoh; Akhenaten, and at the same time expounding a historical story or theory in incredible detail, often at the worst possible times. The relationship between Jack and Costas is fantastic though and hilarious at times to watch. All characters are well detailed, explained and you really get to know them during the course of the book and series. I honestly hope it doesn’t take me as long again to read another of this wonderful series.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

Review: Bite Mark by Lily Harlem

6496140_origSource: Lily Harlem via Brit Babes
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 12th September 2014 by Ellora’s Cave Twilight
Price: N/A
Date Read: 8th September 2014

Note: I received this review copy of Bite Mark for free from the author in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please also note that this book is an erotic threesome (containing MFM & MF) romance book and is not (in my opinion) suitable for under 18’s. Adults, please use your discretion to make your own decision.

 

 

 

 

Wondering where this review is? It will be re-posted to tie in with the release of book 2; Claw Mark, which I will also be reading and reviewing.

Watch out for it around Halloween!!

Review: Whipped by Sabrina York

Source: NetGalley22838382
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 19th August 2014 by Three Twenty-One, LLC as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology.
Price: N/A
Date Read: 18th August 2014

 

Note: I received this review copy of Whipped by Sabrina York for free through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please note if you’re looking for this on Amazon: Whipped is published for a limited time as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology but it will later (apparently) be published as a novella.

 

Whipped is a relatively short story at around 50 pages but I certainly enjoyed it!

Mourning the loss of his best friend (to marriage, not death) alpha male Dane takes solace in the arms of a hooker for a night while in Las Vegas for the bachelor party and wedding of said best friend. Unfortunately, the ‘hooker’ is actually his best friends sister, Tina. The morning after, with no knowledge of who the mystery woman really was, Dane is shocked to see her cosy-ing up to the bride and even more disturbed to find out he’s broken the bro code (a few times!) with his best friend’s sister – a massive no-no if ever there was one. Unfortunately feelings start to come into the matter and Tina and Dane find themselves unable to stay away from one another or stave off the jealousy when they see the other speaking to someone else when they’re apart. Will Dane give in and confess his attraction – and maybe even love –  for the out-of-reach sister of his best friend since childhood?

Overall this was a decent short story and the genres that fit it best are, I believe, contemporary fiction and mild erotica. I found the characters to be well written and introduced and their personalities really came through the authors writing. I would have loved a longer story with more in it but for the length it was good. As an enjoyable but quick read, I can imagine that this would be a great addition to an anthology.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥ – I liked it

 

Review: Good Wood (Carved Hearts #1) by L.G. Pace III & Michelle Pace

Source: Author – Michelle Pace via Facebookgood wood
Format: Ebook – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 21st July 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 10th August 2014

Note: I received this review copy of Good Wood (Carved Hearts #1) by L.G. Pace & Michelle Pace for free from the authors in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

 

When I first answered an ad for reviewing ARC copies of Good Wood I didn’t have much of a clue what the book was all about. I didn’t have a clue about genre or length etc, I was just drawn in by the gorgeous cover. I was then unfortunately overwhelmed with life which is why it’s taken me such a disgustingly long amount of time to read and review this book. My apologies to the authors.

I’m told by Amazon it’s 262 pages long although I can’t be sure as my Kindle version didn’t contain page numbers – I would guess that is an accurate number. It didn’t fully twig in my mind until the end that it wasn’t written by one person but a writing duo. The flow of the books was perfect and I saw no gaps or errors in that. The only error being a few extra or missing letters every now and again which didn’t take away anything during reading. I would say that Good Wood is a Contemporary Romance book but one that was much cleaner than many I’ve read. Sexual activity was mentioned but mainly hinted at activities/positions and wasn’t (to me) overt. This did not at all detract from the book but actually made it rather enjoyable in its differences.

Good Wood starts with the view point of Joe. Joe is a wood worker, living with his very pregnant wife Jess. Jess goes out one night however and is involved in a car accident. In the hospital as the health or his wife deteriorates further, Joe is forced to make difficult decisions regarding the life of his wife and unborn child. Fast-forward 3 years and Joe has changed completely. He trawls tourist bars looking for an easy lay, someone to spend a night with and nothing more. Names mean nothing and the woman is lucky if he remembers during the act, let alone afterwards. At the building site where he is at that time working, a new food truck comes along, owned, worked and manned by the younger sister of his two best friends; Molly. For years Molly had a massive crush on Joe but after moving away and eloping has come home, fleeing from her ex-husband and has no knowledge of Joe’s marriage and the outcome of that. Joe not recognising Molly isn’t the best way to a good first impression either. Molly and Joe are both flawed characters with secrets and massive problems which threaten to keep them apart. Are they able to accept and move on from their painful pasts and make a new life together?

It didn’t take me long at all to get into this book – a few pages and I was hooked. At one point I looked up and discovered I was 89% through and it was suddenly 11pm having last looked at a clock around 5pm! I did end up reading this book in a single day as I just didn’t want to put it down. I found the characters to be well thought-out and written. I may not have agreed with everything they did but I found myself understanding why they ended up the way they were. There was a lot of growth for the characters, they learnt and moved forwards and I loved the interaction between Joe and Molly and their friends and family. Along with all this came excitement too in the form of vengeful ex-husbands, misunderstandings and family rifts. So real and well written! The language used in the book was very descriptive; fantastic with a wood worker and a chef! The descriptions of food from Molly the chef did end up making me feel rather ravenous at times – rather a few kitchen raids did end up happening. I would have loved to see some of the work done by Joe as he begins to carve and make wooden things again, my mind was only so good at picturing some of the objects.

Overall though a great read and one that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it

Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

21443281 Source: Goodreads First Reads
Format: Paperback ARC
Publish date: 28th August 2014 by Penguin
Price: N/A
Date Read: 24th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam for free through Goodreads First Reads. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

I was delighted to receive this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House through the post as it was one which greatly appealed to me. I was shocked to discover on it’s arrival that it is an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), so I am not allowed to post any quotes from it – much as I may wish. At a little over 500 pages, this paperback book is rather thick but surprisingly lightweight with reasonably sized but not overly large text. I especially enjoyed the floppiness of the pages – it was a joy not to have to wrestle to open a book! The cover is somewhat sedate and rather dignified but striking – I adore it.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is a story set in two different time periods. The scene is set in the seaside town of Helmstone, a place with sharp cliffs, holidaymakers, day-trippers, a fairground and a hotel – among other things. Chapter one begins the story in 1965 with the main character of that period Rosie Churchill. She is a young woman in her late teens and run away from home and sixth form to rent a bed in the rundown yet still beautiful Castaway House in Helmstone. Castaway House though has its secrets. Rosie is soon set on discovering who the mysterious ‘R.C’ is; a drawing of a man with the initials ‘R.C.’ is found wedged behind some skirting boards, a mysterious message is discovered carved and inked into the frame of a window and whispers of trouble years ago come to Rosie’s ears.

In 1924, a young and somewhat naïve nineteen year old Robert Carver makes his way to Helmstone to stay with his wealthier, older and more exciting cousin Alec at his beautiful home, Castaway House. He arrives to find that Alec has married, walking straight into the lives of a damaged, un-loving couple with far-reaching secrets. Little does Robert know that his summer at Castaway House will change his life and the lives of all he comes in contact with.

At 500+ pages, The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House rather intimidated me upon first glance. Once I started reading however I was hooked. The story is written in the first person, from the viewpoint of either Robert or Rosie depending on which year the chapter was set in. I think the span of time covered in both 1924 and 1965 was only a few months; the summer of 1924 and sometime from September in 1965 although there were links between the two. The story was brought to life by the author’s words. The characters were wonderfully flawed and exquisitely human. No one was perfect and each had characteristics and traits and got into situations that you could easily understand, feel and relate to.

This book was very much set in the UK – Helmstone sounded  to me like the seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England. There were also many mentions of the 1st and 2nd world wars. In 1924 and 1965, both would still be very near memory to the population. Many would have lost parents, bothers, cousins, uncles or sweethearts in the fighting. There would still be reminders, especially on the coast – shops previously used as lookout posts and maybe a pier destroyed so it couldn’t be used to land enemy planes.

The story of Castaway House and its inhabitants in both 1924 and 1965 were linked wonderfully, with little tendrils of knowledge and hits at answers – and even more questions – coming throughout the story. The way the author intertwined the characters throughout the book and between 1924 and 1965 was magnificently done and I am completely in awe. I was kept guessing throughout the majority of the book until the full story was told and the characters truly unveiled. I will admit to making a few guesses which ended up evenly split between right and wrong!

The mystery of Castaway House and its inhabitants was one which touched many lives. I was completely enchanted and thrilled with the story and characters and didn’t want to finish reading. Unfortunately I had to in order to find out what had really happened.

This book is one I will keep going back to and will loudly praise to all who will listen. Why? Because it’s bl**dy brilliant.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥