Monthly Archives: December 2014

The greatest gift is the passion for reading. (inc Competition)


On Monday 1 December Quercus launched their Christmas campaign, The greatest gift is the passion for reading.

They are inviting as many readers, bloggers, Book Tubers and bookshops to share their passion for books during December using the hashtag #GreatestGift. We want to hear why you think books are the greatest books to give.

Everyday in the lead up to Christmas they have invited some brilliant bloggers and Book Tubers (and me) sharing blog posts and videos on why they think books are the greatest gift to give. Do keep an eye on their twitter feeds and websites as they will also be giving away a fantastic bundle of books on the day of their message.  See below for the full #GreatestGift line up.

Quercus Books

Monday 1 DecemberReader Dad

Tuesday 2 DecemberBook Addict Shaun

Wednesday 3 DecemberLiz Loves Books

Thursday 4 DecemberChick Lit Pad

Friday 5 DecemberBumbling Bibliophile

Monday 8 DecemberRaven Crime Reads

Tuesday 9 DecemberFantasy Faction

Wednesday 10 DecemberWondorous Reads

Thursday 11 DecemberThe Mile Long Bookshelf

Friday 12 DecemberDestiny Lover

Monday 15 DecemberParmenion Books

Tuesday 16 DecemberNovelicious

Wednesday 17 DecemberCivilian Reader

hursday 18 DecemberLove of a Good Book

Friday 19 DecemberFranny and Perks

So join all of us in sharing  and tweet why you think books are the #GreatestGift to give to @QuercusBooks

So for me: why do I read? what is it that makes me think books are the #GreatestGift?

I’d love to say I have been a reader since I was little, but that’s not the case, I was always busy running, playing football and avoiding the fact that books didn’t feel right. I don’t suppose I understood at the time why books bored me, until one day I realised that sometimes I look at a sentence and see words incorrectly, and then I read them again and they makes sense, this becomes then, when becomes while.. simple things that throw the meaning of a line, only as a kid I didn’t reread, it just didn’t make sense so I got bored with it. Then one day I was stuck at home, I became a single parent, I could not go out and TV was generally 4 channels of bilge. So I tried the library, a world of other worlds and times, thousands of mini time machines.

I remembered the few books and stories I did enjoy as a kid. The escapism of places like Narnia and the Hobbit, stuck in with only a baby for company I needed that escapism again. I started many books and finished few until I found the things that struck that chord, that made me immerse myself in reading. Next came the man who gave me a true passion for reading, David Gemmell, not just a great writer, but as nice and decent a person as I have ever met, from his books I learned something that has stayed with me ever since. I learned the true value of books, I learned that I, myself, I don’t just read a book, because that would not be enough, any book that only allows me to read it doesn’t rate with me, it’s why I’m careful about the books I read and review.

For me a book is a portal to another time, another place, it’s where I fly with dragons, march with legions, fight the good fight, travel though-out time and space and across dimensions into alternate worlds and time periods, wielding magic, swords and living anything from an ordinary to an extraordinary life. Every book needs to be total immersion. No film can give you this gift, because no film is powered by the human imagination, backed by the words and research of great writers.

So you may find my site full of books that say you must read them, but that’s because I have lived those books, and the books I cannot be consumed by don’t get reviewed by me. (a writer pours months of blood sweat and tears into a novel, so just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, it’s just taste). This is also one of the major reasons why I love to support as many debut writers as I can, to find the new Gemmell’s, to help as much as I can get those great books read by as many people as possible.

I hope you enjoy the reviews on my blog, and I hope you find some of the passion for the books that I have.

 So competition time:

I’m making this easy: Just tweet / comment with why “The greatest gift is the passion for reading” #GreatestGift

share your reason or what led to your love of books, I will draw names at random to win the below titles

Prize 1: Traitor’s Blade, Sebastien De Castell
Prize 2: Tom Pollock Series  1) Glass Republic 2) Citys Son 3)Lady of the Street
Prize 3: Churchill’s Secret Warriors by Damien Lewis
I look forward to hearing your comments.

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Paul Fraser Collard: Rogue (Review)

Paul Fraser Collard's picture

Paul Fraser Collard

UK (1973 – )
Paul’s love of military history started at an early age. A childhood spent watching films like Waterloo and Zulu whilst reading Sharpe, Flashman and the occasional Commando comic, gave him a desire to know more of the men who fought in the great wars of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. At school, Paul was determined to become an officer in the British army and he succeeded in wining an Army Scholarship. However, Paul chose to give up his boyhood ambition and instead went into the finance industry. Paul stills works in the City, and lives with his wife and three children in Kent.


Buy the e-Book

Book Description

As pot boy at his mother’s infamous London gin palace, Jack Lark is no stranger to trouble.

Between dog fights and street scuffles, if he’s not being set upon, he’s starting a brawl himself. But when an unlikely ally draws him from the dark alleys of the East End into the bright lights of a masked ball, he gets a glimpse of another life. That life, once seen, is impossible to forget.

Jack will do anything to outwit, outsmart and escape the cruelty in his own home. He is determined to get out, but what price will he be forced to pay for his freedom?


Short stories are always a tricky beast, how long should it be? is it a prequel? a side story and can you make a complete tale?

Rogue is 80 pages and that’s plenty for this tale, its a prequel, which for any fan or newbie to the Jack Lark story is great news, a chance to learn some of the background, the drivers for Jack, his personality and how he comes to blend so well with the officer class.

As ever the story is told with Paul Collards fast engaging pace, showing a rich vivid tapestry of the rookeries, Whitechapel London, the blend of poor society against the opulence of the privileged class.

I stayed up until midnight to start this short story (amazon wifi’d to my kindle at 00:01) and before my eyes gave out i have finished half the story, i woke up in the early hours with the kindle still in the covers. exhaustion was the only thing to stop this being a single sitting read. and for £1.99 its a bargain. In fact my only single gripe is why why why do we have to wait until June 2015 for part 2 *sob*

For those that have never read a Jack Lark book, please use this as an excuse to start, Paul Collard is a major new talent, who writes with a clear fast paced tight prose. His imagination and attention to historical detail clearly put him among the top in his field, Many have said his is the new sharpe, but that is a tired comparison now, used for too many authors. Suffices to say he has the skill and talent that Cornwell displayed, and that rocketed him to stardom.

I cannot wait for January 29th and Devils Assassin




Jack Lark
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
Rogue (2014)
Recruit (2015)
The Scarlet ThiefThe Maharajah's GeneralThe Devil's AssassinRogue

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Paul Fraser Collard

Pierce Brown Golden Son (Review)

Pierce Brown's picture

Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Book Description

Buy the Books from Amazon UK

Buy a signed copy from the USA


Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games in this, the second in an extraordinary trilogy from an incredible new voice.

‘I’m still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.’

Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind’s last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.

In RED RISING, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It’s a journey that will take him further than he’s ever been before – but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.


When i started reading the first book in this series it was because i had been told by some very reliable people “Its amazing”, the reason i needed convincing was due to the fact that i simply never ever read space books, i love to watch SCIFI but i cannot read it.

It takes something very rare to capture me and make me break that rule and i expected to ditch Red Rising after a couple of chapters, only to find myself utterly absorbed in this heroic tale of flawed human beings in a deeply flawed society. Red Rising was a total triumph, and yet still a Young Adult novel and held back slightly.

Golden Son doesn’t, it pushes every boundary, friendships are made and lost, alliances or created and broken, worlds and the whole of human society is in flux, all because Darrow has been raised, carved into Gold to cause waves, to put the whole of the current status quo into question, to challenge the rule of gold, to save the other colours of humanity, to save mankind/ society from its own entropy, from the evil arrogance and entitlement that has become the golds lot in life, bred for war, bred to be the cream of society, both physically and mentally.

I really don’t want to delve into the plot too much because i don’t want to spoil anything for anyone else, but know that there is so much covered, Darrow must face the sovereign the leader of the Golds, he must confront his former friend Cassius and his family, he will meet Are’s and find out who his real friends are and who will betray him. This book astounded me, when i finished it last night i was utterly elated, deflated, battered exhausted and full of longing for book 3… its simply a brilliant book, written by such a talented writer.

As its Dec 2014 i have no issue saying that not only will this make my Top 10 for 2014 this will be joining one other title as joint book of the year for Parmenion Books in 2014, my top 10 to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

I cannot recommend this book/ series highly enough




Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2014)
2. Golden Son (2015)
Red RisingGolden Son


Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Dystopian, Fantasy, Pierce Brown, Thrillers, Young Adult