Venetia86's Blog

Another fantastic book from Stewart Hennessey, a must read for all people who enjoy historical fiction as well as satire and comedy, beautifully written in an amusing style that has you turning the pages wanting to find out what happens next in the often dangerous adventures of Comrade Fox.

Comrade Fox: Low-living in Revolutionary Russia by Stewart Hennessey can be purchased for Amazon Kindle for 99p

Witty and satirical, it is wonderful to read something that is so well written that it can deal with history in such an accurate manner and yet bring it to life in such an entertaining way. It is something that captures the British sense of humour perfectly and should be read by those who enjoy great British Comedy.


Unlike many autobiographies, this book is not one that indulges the ego of its author. That is not due to any lack of successful endeavours; Hon K Lee is a man that has many accomplishments of which he could crow, instead it is a book that delves into the past of a man that leaves you feeling breathless before the end.

This book is not dry or dull as some autobiographies are; instead it is quite the opposite. The humble tone makes the book easy to read and the book description that comes with it, though it might seem like it is overselling what’s inside, the opposite is definitely true.

It isn’t a book about violence and the hard hitting brutality of the real world that you might expect from the memoirs of a former spy; yes it does have the feel of the latest top ten thriller by Ian Rankin or Clive Cussler, but the overall feel of the book is not one of aggression or self-adulation but instead one that looks at the struggles of human life, how people impact one another in positive ways as well as the negative, how you grow and change as your life progresses and that there is no end to what we learn in our lives.

This book keeps you gripped from beginning to end, has you wanting to read more with every passing word from the eloquent and descriptive way that Hon K Lee brings his life to the imagination of his readers with honesty and a deep wisdom that comes from seeing all aspects of this incredible man’s life in such a humble presentation.

Not only is this book incredible by any auto-biographical standard, it is even more impressive is an indie piece of fiction that anyone from any walk of life can learn from.

{September 30, 2014}   Book Review – Webs

Young Adult fiction is a genre that has become bogged down with vampires, werewolves, ridiculous romance stories that are weighed down with over complicated relationships, clichés and two-dimension characters.

This book by Lily Stuart is one that avoids these terrible pitfalls that so many others fall foul of to create a piece of YA fiction that is well written and a refreshing change to the literary genre. The title itself is one of many levels as the reader soon discovers in the opening chapters.

The book is written in the first person narrative and shows a great understanding of young adults, their interests and the way they speak. Running a youth group you soon get used to the way that teenagers talk and what they talk about and reading through this book you see that the author has a similar level of familiarity.

The other brilliant thing about this book is that the pseudonym that the author uses for this book is the name of the main character of the story. The narration is carried between the character of Lily and her attacker in the opening pages.

The book begins towards the end of the story and the rest of the book is made up of the classic film noir style that shows how the characters ended up in the predicament that the reader sees at the beginning of the book. This refreshing of a long established element of a stylish and sophisticated genre helps to also cement this book as one that stands out from all the others in the young adult genre.

This book is a great opening book for what looks to be an interesting Young Adult series if the author chooses to continue in this vein. This is a perfect book for anyone who is looking for a great book and refreshing take on Young Adult fiction.

{September 15, 2014}   Book Review – Pure Vision

When reading a book that is dealing with the thriller genre and has strong religious elements to it, it is very easy to start by making comparisons to other books such as the Da Vinci Code.

This book is one that deserves to be recognised in its own right as a great read for thriller fans, not just another book that can be likened to the writings of Dan Brown.

From the outset Birney manages to paint a vivid picture for the reader, which is almost cinematic in scope. The Temple of Vimala to the Riverside Church, the atmosphere of each location seeps off the pages as you read transporting you from your favourite reading corner to places half the world away (and slightly closer to home too).

The characterisation in Pure Vision is wonderfully done. These are not just cookie cutter characters that you would lift out of any thriller book and place in dangerous circumstances; they develop very nicely throughout the story with my favourite being Jarret Williamson.

One of the nicest touches in this book is the image of the fragment of the Jeremiah scroll that finds its way into the text, seeing it on the page brings the book to life even more than the descriptive talents of Birney do. The use of short phrases that are set apart from the rest of the text to describe action, such as Maggie searching on her computer “SEARCH: Propaganda Due” are also really effective devices that help to make the story more dynamic.

Even in places where other authors would see the tension and action decline as they have to wade through problem areas of plot, or revert to clichés in order to keep the pace of the book going, Birney doesn’t have to and the ebb and flow of the narrative is enough to bring you to the edge of your seat, let you relax ever so slightly before you are plunged back into white-knuckle moments.

The chapters are short too, making it easy to read on the train or during those times of the day when you only have a few minutes to spare in your busy day.

This book is a great read and will delight thriller fans whether they are Da Vinci Code fans or not.

{August 21, 2014}   Book Review – The Phantasist

The opening to this book is extremely deceptive, the second person narrative is reminiscent of the narration that you find in role playing games but it is only for the prologue that this unusual style of prose endures, so do not give up on this book straight away if you don’t enjoy the opening few pages.

This is one of the most interesting books I have read for a while. It is not a book that can be easily pigeonholed into a genre. It doesn’t even fit into the genre that it creates within its pages, that of “Phantasy”, it is not a fantasy book or an adventure or action tale to thrill you with drama, instead it is an exploration of writers, the writing process, the elements of fantasy that can be developed and taken much further as well as the slight element of mystery that is laid out in the opening pages in order to keep you reading on.

The change between second person narrative and first person narrative happens quite seamlessly and is very well explained and for those who write it is also an interesting take on what it is to be a writer that is overtaken by ideas and other worlds, so completely consumed by them that there is a need to come up for air and visit bookshops of all places.

The changing between the “Sinistria” tales and the narrative of the writers is well executed, though the names of each of the writers are reminiscent of aliases, it might be normal for one or two unusual names amongst a group of seven, but to have seven unusual names amongst them is the most unbelievable part of this book.

The book is separated into three parts – the first deals with the fragments of stories that are written by the writers in the group that have been exposed to the “Sinistria” world. Each of the fragments is very different, written to convey the writer strengths of those that of have penned them.

The brief interlude of Jagapye and Iskandar that comes at the start of the book and at the end of the first part is technically the second part of the book and provides the reader with a break in the narrative to collect their thoughts and prepared to enter the second part of the story. That follows the revelation of the strange corner of the bookshop that contains books that have not yet been written but shall be, much like in the book Flight of Dragons.

The third and final part of the book – part 2 – is again written differently from the other two sections. The third part of the book is an interview that is being done with the author of “Sinistria” and one of the key writers in the “phantasy” genre that is intercut with extracts from the “Sinistria” books; much like in the first part of the story. The extracts from the books are also related to the questions that the interviewer is asking.

On the whole this book is very well written but it is on the long side. It is not a book that can be read in one sitting because of this, despite it being easy to read. There are also moments when you find yourself flicking back through the story to check on what has been written before.

The best feature of this book is that it shows how and why collaboration on great tales in wide universes works so well if they are unified under the vision of one writer.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something original to read and not happy to merely sit and read books that are almost carbon copies of one another.

I was gripped from the opening page by this book. The writing style is flawless and engaging, delicately crafting the world and history to events around the characters with each sentence.  The opening few chapters establish each of the main characters backstories and interweave their lives in a very real and meaningful way for the reader. By the second chapter I couldn’t put the book down and was living and dying with the emotions of the characters, especially those of Dani Mueller. The plot is very well done; the twists and turns of it are not predictable and have the reader on the edge of their seat.

The legal aspects of the book are extremely well explained, especially when they come from the author’s experience. There is a display of knowledge about law and order that a lot of other books in this genre are lacking.

The use of both third person and first person narrative is superbly well done. The first person narrative is reserved for when following Dani Mueller and the third person narrative is used for the other characters – the CEO, Jason Scarsdale, Harris, Zarko etc.

The way the book is written allows the audience to solve the mystery elements of the story along with the characters of Harris and Scarsdale without holding back details.

The use of language is excellent, it is not too flowery and overcomplicated so it can be read and enjoyed by anyone whilst avoiding being overly simplistic.

This is an excellent example of crime fiction focusing on the effect that crime against children can have on people; it is extremely enjoyable and satisfying to read without feeling like it is a story that has to have a happy ending or is even leading to a completely neat and tidy finish.

At the very end of the digital version there is one slight annoyance – the formatting switches from normal type set to italics and part way through the italics there is another small section of normal type set.

On the whole I would recommend this book to anyone – whether they are interested in the crime genre or not – as an excellent work of fiction.

et cetera