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October 2021

Books - A Perfect Travel Companion

Books are an integral part of many business and leisure trips, and now that more than a few of us have an e-reader such as the Kindle, we can travel with as many books as we like, without worrying about the weight.

The Kindle has also opened our world to an entire army of new authors, people we may never have stumbled across previously. But whether the decision be based on more attractive pricing compared to the regular authors we read, or simply the great reviews you get on and such like, these new authors are proving themselves to be more than capable than the famous names that used to adorn our bookshelves.

Some of the books below are serious books, others comedy, some fiction and non-fiction.

My favourite four series / authors at the moment? Conrad Jones has managed to knock Robert White's Rick Fuller series and Mark Dawson's John Milton Series of the shared top spot, with Chris Carter's Robert Hunter series now in fourth place. I had never even heard of Conrad Jones until recently, but his books were in a very reasonably priced set and so I decided to give them a try. WOW, oh wow. What a roller coaster of twists, turns and an awful lot of graphic violence it has been since then. These books certainly are not for the faint of heart, but they deliver punches like Mike Tyson in the prime of his career. Since I started reading Conrad Jones' books, I have gone through every series, every book he has written and I am very impressed. The fact that they are mostly based in North Wales (one of the most beautiful places in the world) with bits in Liverpool, Manchester and Southport, just make them even more enjoyable for me and I find myself Googling about the villages in North Wales and attractions that he writes about in his books. Totally addicted to Conrad's books now, and hope I get the opportunity to do a video interview with him in the future. Brilliant!

Do also check out the first of our HD video interviews with famous authors: Jake Needham.

If you use Amazon for your e-books, then you may have wondered whether subscribing to Kindle Unlimited is a good idea, or not. It is a great service and if you spend more than 7.99 per month on books, then you may even be able to save some money. However, there are a few things that I do not like about the service: 1) Kindle does not tell you whether you have read the book before, like it does if you buy it; 2) If you make highlight text or make a note in a book, you lose it when you return the book to Kindle Unlimited (which you have to do as you can only have 10 at a time). This is the biggest problem for me, as I want to keep those highlights to read occasionally; 3) Some authors are not in Kindle Unlimited at all and others only have some of their books in Kindle Unlimited so sometimes you still have to buy a book if you want it.

If you have any suggestions on books that you have read and would like us to review, please contact us with details.

The Books

Currently reading: Conrad Jones - ALL of them!

Waiting to be read: Dirty by Robert White, Soul Fuel: A Daily Devotional by Bear Grylls, America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilisation by Graham Hancock, Breaking Bones by Robert White, I Know Everything by Matthew Farrell, Vietnam: An Epic History of a Divisive War by Sir Max Hastings, entire Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo, Watching the Bodies - Jake Boulder Book 1 by Graham Smith, The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow, The Man with No Face by Peter May, and many, many, many more.

As Stephen Leather had heavily discounted a lot of books I went on a bit of a binge and read The Runner - a really great book full of adrenaline packed action that will leave you wanting him to create a new series, Short Range - the 16th Spider Shepherd Thriller and it doesn't disappoint, and two of his Jack Nightingale collection of short stories. Already looking forward to more Spider and who knows, perhaps some Sally Page...

The Birdwatcher was the first book by William Shaw that I have read and I bought it as reviewers on Amazon UK suggest reading this book before you start the DS Alexandra Cupidi series. Problem I have now, is I do not really like Cupidi, I much preferred the main character of this book, Sergeant William South but he does not seem to have his own series. I will try another of the Cupidi books to see if she becomes any more likeable, but otherwise I won't continue which is a pity as William Shaw is a terrific writer and I thoroughly enjoyed The Birdwatcher. His books are also quite expensive so best to look out for any that may be on promotion.

Looking at my to read list it seems I have quite a few of Mark Edwards' books still to get through. Recently finished The House Guest which was an enjoyable few days of entertainment with quite a few unexpected twists and turns.

If you enjoy MI5 / SIS books with a bit of UK-based police work thrown in, then read Motive. It is a BRILLIANT book by Alan McDermott. Very cleverly written, with plenty of twists and turns, Motive certainly eats away at the amount of sleep you will get as it is so hard to put down. It is almost as if the story the book contains has drawn you in and you find yourself on a treadmill you can't stop and don't want to get off. I am not going to tell you anything about the story, just get the book, you won't regret it.

Having read all of the Tom Gray series, and enjoyed them thoroughly, I was uncertain whether to read the latest book, the prequel - I like books to move forward, not backwards. I needn't have worried, Gray Genesis: A Tom Gray Prequel by Alan McDermott is just as good as the books that follow, or precede it depending on how you look at it, and it was interesting to see how Tom Gray became what he is in the series. Another great read from Alan.

Life... With No Breaks by Nick Spalding is Nick's first book and unlike the book's title, I did take a break - a permanent one in this case. I like some of Nick's work and you can clearly see how he has made improvements to his writing style from this book to his more recent titles. Those improvements were VERY much needed, as I could not get into this book at all as there was just too much rambling nonsense. I will take a break from Nick for a while, but please do not let this put you off his recent books, they are very much worth reading.

Mad Love by Nick Spalding is a very funny book that had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. There were other moments, however, when I wanted to reach into the pages and slap Adam and the author Nick, as the storyline became increasingly unbelievable and extremely frustrating. Without giving too much away, I hope, from the bad back to the big Oli moment - about 20/25% of the book - should be completely rewritten. Don't get me wrong, it is not poorly written, Nick is a great writer and there are plenty of funny bits, the problem is that It is just too unbelievable and as such grates. That said, I managed to persevere through those pages and make it to the end, and I am glad I did. Fun, but annoying read.

Having read the first four books in Rob Sinclair's James Ryker series I was very pleased to see that The White Scorpion, the fifth book, had recently been released. The book takes place mostly in Africa, it is fast paced and full of action, with even the hint of a potential romance thrown in for good measure. An enjoyable read, and looking forward to book number six.

There is a very simple reason that Mark Dawson's John Milton series is my favourite - the books are great, full of action, likeable characters and terrific stories. The Man Who Never Was, the 16th book in the series, does not disappoint and just leaves you yearning for more - which, according to Mark Dawson, will be in Autumn when he publishes Killa City - John Milton's 17th book. Can't wait.

If you look on Amazon, A Litter of Bones: A Scottish Crime Thriller (DCI Logan Crime Thrillers Book 1) by JD Kirk has got excellent reviews, 1042 at the time of writing this - 79% of which are 5 stars. I personally wouldn't give it 5 stars, and would probably go for 3 or 4. The book is well written, the story line is ok and the characters are ok too. And sadly, that's just it, it is all a bit bland, lacking the spice that makes you buy the next book in the series. Perhaps I have read too many books of a similar genre recently, and while authors do tend to improve after the first book in the series, I think I will move on.

Unrest (Detective Sergeant Striker Book 1) and Six (Detective Sergeant Striker Book 2) by Robert White. I read these two books because of how much I enjoyed Robert White's Rick Fuller series. Both of the Detective Sergeant Striker books are entertaining, humourous in parts, and it was nice to see some familiar names from the Rick Fuller series make brief appearances. That said, I did not enjoy the Striker books anywhere near as much as the Rick Fuller series, and I hope Robert White concentrates more on that series rather than trying to keep Striker alive.

Down Among the Dead by Damien Boyd is the 10th book in the hugely popular and extremely enjoyable DI Nick Dixon series, and it is another great read. If you have read the other books in this series then you will not be disappointed. I have never been to Somerset but I do like how this particular book features some of the area's history. Thoroughly enjoyed it and am already looking forward to book number 11.

The Rick Fuller series (all six books) by Robert White. It took me a little while to get used to Robert's style of writing but once I did, this series instantly became one of my all time favourites and I cannot wait for more. Full of action, good humour and camaraderie the book follows the battles that ex-SAS man Rick Fuller and Des Cogan take on to earn a living and right some wrongs. The books are written through the eyes of the three main characters which is very different from the normal third-person narrative we are all so used to, but I absolutely loved them. The books are not very long, but I do not think I have ever read six books in a series so quickly. LOVE THEM!

I do enjoy reading Nick Spalding's books, they are very well written, easy to read and fun. I recently finished Dry Hard and Logging Off by Nick and enjoyed them both. Dry Hard is about a family struggling with alcoholism and learning how social media can help, whilst Logging Off is about taking time off from the internet, the benefits and problems that that causes. Both a lot of fun and certainly worth getting if you want some light entertainment.

Typical! I question whether Stephen Leather has ever written a bad book in one of my recent reviews below, and the next book I read by him is the worst of his I have ever read. Not only does Penalties have more unbelievable and ridiculous scenes in it than any reader should be subject to, the football game goes on and on, and on, and I found myself eventually skipping past all those pages. I have loved most of Stephen Leather's books, so I can only imagine it was one of his first earlier books - or he did not write it. If I was him, I would delete it from Amazon as anyone who reads that is unlikely to read anything else by him unless they already know how good his other books are. What a shocker!

I have not read a Jake Needham book for a while, so was pleased to see that The Girl in the Window was in Kindle Unlimited and downloaded it. The book is very enjoyable and as it is set in Singapore it was nice to read more of DI Samuel Tay's adventures there. Certainly, a pleasant read with some nice twists and turns to keep you entertained. However, as an ex-smoker of about 40 strong cigarettes per day, I do not like the constant smoking. It is excessive, and as Jake seems to almost be promoting the enjoyment factor of said habit, I can only wonder whether it is brand placement. As someone who fought for many, many years to give up smoking, I never ever want to fall under its spell again and prefer my books to be as smoke-free as possible. Hopefully Samuel Tay will give up soon.

The House in the Woods by Mark Dawson. I am a very big fan of Mark Dawson's books, especially the John Milton series - which is my favourite, so I was a little apprehensive when he launched a new series of a very different genre - Atticus. Based in England, The House in the Woods is a regular detective / court room / mystery adventure with Atticus as the amiable ex-Sergeant Detective now private investigator, and his dog Bandit. The book is very enjoyable, although a little obvious. I am looking forward to the second in the series as that will be a better indication of what to expect. Having said that, I do hope that writing Atticus is not eating up time that could be used to write more John Milton books, that would be a pity.

A God Almighty Scandal by Gilles Curtis. I have enjoyed all Gilles Curtis' books thus far, they are silly and fun to read - a pleasant distraction, but did not finish this one as there are certain elements that I simply did not enjoy reading about.

Moving Targets by Stephen Leather, Rogue Warrior by Stephen Leather, Plausible Deniability by Stephen Leather. Does Stephen Leather write any bad books? If he does, perhaps he shreds them before they make it to press! These were the first of Stephen's 'novellas' that I have read as they were only recently added to Kindle Unlimited. Terrific reads as always and I hope he adds more books to Kindle Unlimited.

No Further (Gabriel Wolfe series) by Andy Maslen, Torpedo (Gabriel Wolfe series) by Andy Maslen, Three Kingdoms (Gabriel Wolfe series) by Andy Maslen, and Ivory Nation (Gabriel Wolfe series) by Any Maslen. Somewhere along the line, the numbering of Andy's Gabriel Wolfe series seems to have been mixed up. For example, Ivory Nation is listed on Amazon UK as book 11 in the series, but further down on the same page it is listed as book 10. Regardless of that, any of the totally unbelievable, annoying and sometimes unconnected moments of the first few books in the series have been ironed out, and I am now thoroughly enjoying this series and look forward to the next one.

I absolutely love Mark Dawson's John Milton series and was very excited to finally get my hands on his latest book, Bright Lights. The book is everything you want from a John Milton adventure, clever, fast paced, thought provoking and plenty of action. It is a great book that will leave you wanting more of the same.

The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson is the second Patterson book I have read recently, and it did not disappoint. I used to read all Patterson's books when they came out, but something stopped me from reading them for a while and I am glad that I have started enjoying his books again. Another great read.

You know that feeling when you start reading a book and have this gut instinct that it's going to be great, and you're going to have to devour the entire series? Yes, that's how I felt after reading a few pages of Cold Granite (Logan McRae, Book 1) by Stuart MacBride, and I have no doubt that I will read the rest of the series as soon as they are on promotion. Set in Scotland there is a lot to like about Stuart's style of writing, he does not over complicate things, many of the characters are likeable, and you can tell he has a great sense of humour as you'll often find yourself chuckling during parts of the book. Great read if you enjoy detective books. Can't wait to read the next one, but as the price jumped from 2.99 this morning to 5.49 tonight, it won't be until it comes back down again!

My thoughts after reading Battle Scars: A Story of War and All That Follows by Jason Fox are very mixed and I am going to let them settle before i write a brief review. Do check back please,

Before I bought my first Kindle in 2011, I was a very big fan of Harlan Coben and had read most of his books up to that point. Since then however I have not bought many, as I find his e-books to be a little pricey for my liking and only buy them when they are on promotion. Reading Run Away, after I had bought it in the Amazon Daily Deals, reminded me of what a great writer he is, and what I have been missing. The book is fast paced and covers all sorts of issues such as fatherhood, families, drugs, adolescence and much more. Was a great read and I sincerely hope that Harlan adds more of his recent books to the Amazon Daily Deals so I can once again read more of his work.

I doubt Strangeways: A Prison Officer's Story by Neil Samworth will win any prizes for the quality of writing, but it is a fascinating account of Neil's experiences working in two different prisons in England. I have read a few prison-related books before, but they tended to be the 'locked up abroad' variety of the inmate's experiences. This is very different as it gives you an unique insight into the life of a Prison Officer, his fears, thoughts, ideas and demons. I certainly learned a few things from this book so am pleased that I read it.

I started reading Made in Scotland by Billy Connelly (Sir William Connelly, CBE) and have enjoyed the first quarter of the book, but decided to put it on hold for a while to read something else. I am sure it won't be too long before I pick it up again.

Cross Justice is the first book by James Patterson I have read in a long, long time. Many moons ago, before even the Kindle was invented, I used to read all James Patterson's books and loved each and every one. Then his style changed and the chapters suddenly became just a few short pages long. Sometimes just two or three pages would make up a chapter. That's when I stopped reading his books. I am glad to say that Cross Justice does not have those short chapters that I dislike so much and was an enjoyable read with a nice twist at the end that brought a tear to my eye. The book is a mix between a courtroom drama and a detective book and is set in a small town in mid-America. I am not sure it did enough for me to start reading all James' books again, but I certainly enjoyed this one.

One problem of always shopping in the Daily Deals at Amazon, is that if you do buy an entire series which is on promotion and then do not really enjoy it, you have of course wasted money. I tried to enjoy Slow Horses, the first book in Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb Thriller series, but had to drag myself through the first third of the book which was incredibly slow, and then, even after things had improved slightly, still did not really enjoy it. There are too many characters, and while the storyline was a potentially interesting one, I did not really connect with any of them. I have bought all the books in this series, and even though I did try and start the second book, I have decided to put it down and read something else. I may come back to it, but doubt it.

I am surprised that there are so many negative reviews for Then I Met You by Matt Dunn on as I did enjoy it. Granted, it is not as good another of his books - Home - which was terrific, but it was still a nice lighthearted read about two people trying to move on and find love. Good buy if you like romantic comedy and it is on promotion.

I am a very big fan of Mark Dawson's John Milton series, but I was not impressed - read annoyed, that he decided to rewrite some of the Beatrix Rose novels and put sell them "Previously published as". As a fan of Mark's work I of course want to read all his books, but I do not want to read variations of his early books, or see characters that I thought were dead come back to life again. Having said that I did buy Tempest a Beatrix Rose Thriller, because it was 0.99 and was not listed "Previously published as". While I did enjoy the book, it still grates me that I am reading about Beatrix Rose and not her daughter Isabella. I hope this is not a trend he is going to continue as there's really no need when his John Milton and Isabelle Rose books seem to be doing so well. It would not be the first time that I have stopped reading an author. I stopped reading James Patterson when each of his chapters became three pages long, and I gave up on Lee Child's Jack Reacher quite a while ago when I thought they lacked the substance of earlier books. Hopefully Mark will concentrate on John Milton and Isabella Rose and leave Beatrix to rest in peace.

Home is the best book I have read by Matt Dunn thus far. It is a heart wrenching, tear provoking, laugh out loud book that highlights the importance of family, home and being content. Home is about a young man who returns to the small seaside town in England where he was born, after living in London for 18 years. His father is terminally ill with cancer and only has a few weeks left to live, his ex-girlfriend married the school bully, and Josh has a holiday in Sri Lanka planned with his current love. Despite this being a fun, and often humourous, book to read, I doubt many people will be able to get through it all without at least one tear being shed. Thoroughly enjoyed Home by Matt Dunn and highly recommend it.

There is no doubt that Andy Maslen is a very good writer and I enjoyed the first seven books in his Gabriel Wolfe series and will most likely read the rest when they are on promotion. However, I did not connect with the main character as much as I did with those in other series such as John Milton, Nick Dixon, Tom Grey, Spider Shepherd, Robert Hunter etc., there is just something missing. Whether this is because of a lack of spice, the depth of character, or something else entirely, I do not know. The books, especially the first four, also had a very annoying tendency to have at least one moment which will make you consider putting it down completely, a moment so far fetched or disconnected to the series of events that you are reading about, they make no sense at all and you may find yourself groaning in frustration. Oh, and HK$900,000 has never been 30,000, it is about 90,000, depending on the exchange rate which normally fluctuates between 9 and 12 HK$ to the GBP. Still, they are an enjoyable read, and Andy manages to connect each book in the series without too much repetition, something which often happens with other authors. I do look forward to reading the next books in the series.

I absolutely loved reading Kitchen Confidential by the late, and much loved, Anthony Bourdain. I learned a lot from this book - some useful tips for my kitchen, and some useful things to remember as a consumer who enjoys going to restaurants. It's a very enjoyable book, it's just sad that he left us all so early and won't be able to write any more.

I may have mentioned this before, but there are very few, if any, books by Stephen Leather that I have not enjoyed. Though I have not read any of his short stories, I have read almost all his other books. The Bag Carrier is another excellent read and moves at such a pace that you will find it hard to put down. Taking place for the most part in London, the book covers a number of issues that affect the UK at the moment. Another terrific read by Stephen Leather.

The Face of Evil - The True Story of the Serial Killer Robert Black by Chris Clark and Robert Giles. It only takes a few seconds to grab someone. That is what I learned from this book, and something I will keep in mind when I am with the younger members of my family and close friends. This book, while very interesting and disgusting (due to the type of person Black is), is too repetitive in parts, and probably slightly too long. When the author admits towards the ends that some of the following chapter they've already covered in previous chapters then you know you're in for a hard time. The book also raises questions about assumptions and assumed guilt based on very flimsy circumstantial evidence, which I am not comfortable with at all.

Dumped Actually by Nick Spalding is not the first of Nick's books that I have read, he tends to do a lot of promotions which is great and encourages me to buy more and more! His books are lighthearted, humourous reading that make a great interlude between all the blood and action that make up the books I normally read. Dumped Actually is very enjoyable, and as most people have been dumped at least once in their lifetime, it is easy to relate to. I especially liked this book as Nick is a writer at an online magazine which I found interesting. It has also reminded me that I have always wanted to jump out of a plane. With a parachute, I should add, though I am sure a few of my acquaintances would rather I forget that particular piece of equipment when I do give it a go!

I have read every single book by Giles Curtis, despite the fact that he never seems to discount them! Mind you, at just 1.99 a book it shouldn't break the bank. His latest book, Sin and Seduction in St Petersburg, is just as silly and fun to read as all the others. These are great books to fit between the heavier, action-filled thrillers that I love to read. Great fun!

It took a long time for Beyond the Point by Damien Boyd to go on promotion in Amazon's Daily Deals but eventually it did and I snapped it up. It is the 9th book in the DI Nick Dixon series and I enjoyed this one just as much as the others. I like the fact that the books are set in the south of England and that there is little repetition. While you do not have to, I do recommend that you read this series in order.

The Robert Hunter series by Chris Carter is NOT for the faint of heart, as it is seriously gruesome (really, really gruesome) in parts, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Seems that Chris has also affected the other books I read now, as when their author describes a scene, I think to myself - that's nothing compared to what Robert Hunter has seen! I read the entire series - all eight books - one after the other, and I am missing them already. I can only hope that Chris puts pen to paper again soon as I love the action, blood, phsycology and the chase. The fact that Robert Hunter is also a big fan of Scotch Whisky is also a plus, and I have found myself googling a few of the single malts that he enjoys in the book. It is also interesting to learn more about Los Angeles, somewhere I have not yet visited, and have a small list of a few bars that I certainly want to try when I do! NOT for the faint of heart, but a very enjoyable series.

I am a very big fan of Stephen Leather's books, and the latest book of his that I read - Tall Order - did not disappoint. I like how he uses current events around the world to give his stories more bite. It is the 15th Spider Shepherd thriller so if you have read the previous fourteen than you have no excuse not to read this one as it is just as good, if not better than the others. Another great read from Stephen.

I follow Amazon's Daily Deals almost religiously, and when an entire series by Craig Robertson was featured I snapped them all up. I was a little concerned about reading the first book in the series - Random - as it is written from the killer's perspective, rather than the detective's, but I needn't have worried and enjoyed it thoroughly. After Random I read the entire series in order: Snapshot, Cold Grave, Witness the Dead, In Place of Death and Murderabilia, finishing with his latest book, which is not part of the series, The Photographer. I enjoyed them all thoroughly and have learned a lot about Scotland and even a few Scottish words. About half way through the series one of the characters really got on my nerves as I felt he/she was just too aggressive, but I struggled on and thankfully things improved in subsequent books. Will definitely be buying more of Craig Robertson's books.

Change in plan! Previously I used to write mini reviews of the books I had read and clump them together per author, but as I now try and read as much of an entire series by one author as I can in one go, and then go back to it as the next books in the series are discounted, I decided to simply write about each book as I read them and keep the most recent at the top. So from now on I won't be updating the below mini-reviews of authors, in the hope that everything above should be much more up to date.

If you have enjoyed Lee Child's Jack Reacher series then you are almost guaranteed to love the John Milton series by Mark Dawson, especially if you are British. Do read all the books in the series in order, so as you fully understand the characters and storyline. Personally, I find the John Milton series far more realistic and enjoyable to read than Lee Child's Jack Reacher, especially the more recent Reacher novels. Mark Dawson's work has so impressed, me that after finishing the entire John Milton series (one book after another - yes all twelve, and I can't wait for more), I immediately read all his books in the Soho Noir series, and then moved straight onto the Beatrix Rose books and have loved them all. The only books of Dawson's I do not read are the novellas as I do not like this recent short story trend on amazon. Until recently, I had not even heard of Mark Dawson, but now I am totally addicted to his work, especially the John Milton series. Great stuff.

Read Will Patching's three Doc Powers / DI Carver thriller books - Mutilated, Remorseless and Gas Lighting and thoroughly enjoyed them. While the books, which are best bought together rather than separately, won't be to everyone's taste as they can be quite gruesome at times, the characters are real and interesting, and the story lines have plenty to keep readers entertained. An interesting insight into the mind of psychopaths! Will's very first book, The Hack, is mainly based on Koh Samui in Thailand and is another excellent read that I highly recommend.

Enjoyed the first eight books in the Joe Hunter series by Matt Hilton. Another ex-special ops character fighting to do good. Much lighter reading than the previous books by Jack Randall, though they are nonetheless enjoyable. There's plenty of action, but by book 7 I started to get a little bored with them, and wished there was a little more substance to the stories. Not only that, but the books have jumped dramatically in price to almost 5 each. That's a lot compared to the 0.99 I spent during a recent promotion, and will wait until they come down in price before reading the rest of the series.

Finished the entire Jack Randall series, written by Randall Wood. While these are action / special ops / detective thriller books, I really enjoyed how they cover some very hot and extremely current topics, raising some very important if not controversial questions in a relatively in-depth manner. Very enjoyable and books which make you think, which is always a plus.

Just finished James Barrington's excellent Agent Paul Richter series - all six books of them. If you enjoy action, travel, special ops and spy thrillers etc. then you should definitely give this series a try as they are very hard to put down once you begin. Agent Paul Richter is an ex-Royal Navy pilot who has been recruited by one of those mysterious agencies that the SIS can never officially acknowledge. He is much more than a maverick, but he gets the job done even if he does quite often resort to rather unorthodox manners. Many of the books in the series raise a lot of interesting yet extremely disturbing questions. Topics like eugenics (mentions Singapore), biological warfare and the origins of the AIDS virus, suitcase bombs, remote viewing and plenty of other things. The sixth book is especially interesting (from a travel industry perspective) as a lot of it takes place in Dubai and features two of Jumeirah Group's most famous hotels - the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the iconic Burj Al Arab. Am definitely looking forward to many more great reads from this author.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading all Andrew Peterson's Nathan McBride series, though I do wish he had put all the series into one download rather than sell each book separately (even when sold as a collection). If you enjoy action packed, special forces-style, thrillers then you will really enjoy these books. Look forward to more.

Again, if you like spy / action thrillers then look no further than Tim Stevens. I first read his Joe Venn series, then moved straight onto his John Purkiss (the Ratcatcher) series, and then also thoroughly enjoyed his Martin Calvary Trilogy. His books are very well written with some clever twists and plenty of action. Do buy his box sets as they save you a little money and make it easier to read the entire series. Very enjoyable, and hard to put down. Looking forward to his future work.

I had never heard of Conrad Jones until recently and started with The Child Taker and Slow Burn before reading the entire Detective Alec Ramsay series and then moving straight on to his Hunting Angels Diaries. He is another of these new authors that you would not normally get to read as an expat living overseas, but thanks to Kindle we have access, and how very grateful I am that we do. His kindle books are not the cheapest, and his set collections don't seem to save you much money either, but once you have read a few of his books you can expect to be addicted. His books are violent in places, and cover some rather gruesome but real issues, but they are excellent reads. The only negative to his books is that he can be very, very repetitive in places, especially when describing characters which if you read the series in order you already not. Frankly, it is enough to almost make you want to stop reading, and Conrad would do well to read some series written by other authors (such as Tim Stevens outlined above) who do not have the same problem. And ironically, as this is a travel news website, if it were not for Conrad Jones I doubt I would be planning to visit Barmouth in Wales on my next visit to England! Google it, the beach looks amazing!

Ed James. His Scotland-based Scott Cullen series of crime thrillers / police procedurals are excellent. Not only are they a great read, but you will also find yourself learning a little Scottish as well! For example, "Back of three" does not mean just before 3 o'clock as you may assume, it actually means just gone 3 o'clock, such as ten past or the like. That's Scottish. Do read the books in order, as while it is not absolutely necessary, that is how you will get the best out of them. Definitely an author to watch as once you have read the first I would be very surprised if you don't read them all!

Oliver Tidy. At the end of his first book Oliver writes, "Not being a professional in any respect of the book creation business...". Well, I heartily disagree. After reading his first book - Rope Enough, I could not stop myself from devouring all of the Romney and Marsh series. Having finished them, I went on to read the six books in the fast-paced Acer Sansom series. Those two series are very different, the Romney and Marsh being an English police detective series and Acer Sansom being more of a special forces / action series. Both are very enjoyable. Unfortunately though, I did not enjoy his third series at all. The two books in the Booker & Cash Series, Bad Sons and He Made Me, are extremely slow compared to the Acer Saansom series, and not written in the same way. While bits were OK, it is almost as if Oliver was trying too hard with those two books, and they completely lost the speed and action of his previous two series. I have every confidence that Oliver could become one of the top crime/thriller writers in England, I just hope that future series are more like the first two than the third one.

Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain by George Mahood. I absolutely loved this fun journey of two young men cycling from one end of the country to the other - LEJOG (Land's End to John O'Groats) as it is known - without spending a single penny. And with over 780 five stars on and over 155 four stars, it is obviously a big hit with many others too. You do not need to be into cycling to enjoy this book, just the sense of humour, generousity encountered and spirit of adventure make it a very worthwhile read. I liked it so much, I immediately bought his next book, Every Day is a Holiday, but I could not really get into it in the same way. I will try again, but it definitely did not have the same impact that his book about his LEJOG journey did.

Stephen Edger - Remember his name, because he is an immense talent when it comes to writing books that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and will be responsible for more than a few sleepless nights when you just cannot put the book down. Started with Trespass - which at the time of writing is a free book on Amazon Kindle, and just finished the amazing book Integration. The latter was so good that instead of moving on to the next author I just had to order the next in the series, Redemption which was also terrific and then Snatched. Keep it up Stephen!

Simon Toyne - Absolutely loved his three books - Sanctus, The Key and The Tower (to be read in that order). You will find yourself googling parts of the stories to discover whether they are truly fictional or not! Best religious thriller I have read since the first Dan Brown books came out.

The David Raker Collection (Books 1-4) - by Tim Weaver. Tim Weaver is an author to keep a very close eye on. He has the story-writing ability to be one of the very best. His books are not the cheapest on the Kindle, though the trilogy of the first three David Raker books does help you to save a little of your hard earned money, so get that rather than buy them individually. The books are terrific with all the twists and turns, and solid characters you want from a thriller. Having said that, there is one particular moment towards the end of the second book when you will be tempted to try and reach out of the pages and slap the author, but thankfully he (and David Raker) seems to have learned from his mistake quite early on in the third book. Don't let that put you off though, these books are of the highest quality and are some of the best I have read in a long time. Already looking forward to the fifth book in the series for more from Tim Weaver!

Soldier I - The Story of an SAS Hero - by Michael Kennedy and Pete Winner. If you are interested in Special Forces, and in particular the SAS then this is a terrific book, one of the best I have ever read. It even gives you detailed insights into SAS selection. This book is non-fiction and details historical events such as the Battle of Murbat, the Iranian Embassy siege in London and much, much more. Very interesting and educating read.

Sniper / Gunnery Sergeant Kyle Swanson Series by Gunnery Sergeant Jack Coughlin (and at times Donald A. Davis). At the time of writing this mini-review there are six books in the highly entertaining series, with the seventh expected some time in H1 2014. At first, the books were released and promoted as the Sniper Series and it was a little confusing what happened to books 1 and 4. It now seems that this has changed slightly to the Gunnery Sergeant Kyle Swanson Series. As there are a few references to past events featured in earlier books, I would recommend you to read them in the correct order: Kill Zone (1), Dead Shot (2), Clean Kill (3), Act of Treason (4), Running the Maze (5) and the sixth book - Time to Kill. If you enjoy special ops action books then you will most likely love these. They are very enjoyable, informative and easy to read and we are already looking forward to next books in the series.

Stephen Leather - Has Stephen ever written a bad book?! If he has, we have not yet come across it. Stephen is one of our favourite authors, and over the years just seems to get better, and better. He has fully embraced the digital age, and now not only publishes his regular full length books, but also often comes out with short stories that cost just 0.77. Private Dancer should be a must read for any single guy planning to visit Thailand for the first time, and the rest of his books - while of a completely different topic - are all just as entertaining.

Michael Connelly - we are very big fans of most of Michael Connelly's books. The kindle version of his books can be expensive though, so watch out for promotions or read something else until the one you wants becomes cheaper.

The Big Mango, The Ambassador's Wife, Laundry Man and a World of Trouble ALL by Jake Needham - As far as we know, Jake has only written two books we have not yet read - The Umbrella Man and Killing Plato - and they are very much on our "to do" list. It is always enjoyable to read an author that not only has a skill for writing, but also has a true knowledge and understanding of the cities you know and love so much. Jake knows his stuff when it comes to Thailand, Singapore and to some extent Hong Kong. If those cities interest you, and you are looking for a thriller / detective story based in this part of the world then look no further. Jake Needham's books are always an enjoyable and informative read, with an often quite daring take on things to spice up the story a little.

Tom Gray Series by Alan McDermott - Six good books which offer readers a little espionage, terrorism and of course some action from the SAS! While the books may not be up to the level of writing or suspense that authors like Tim Stevens or James Barrington achieve, they are still a good distraction and an enjoyable read.

Second Life, A Very Unchristian Retreat, It's All About Danny, Looking Bloody Good Old Boy, The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler, The Badger and Blondie's Beaver, The Hedonist's Apprentice, Newton's Balls, Faecal Money - A Very Lucrative Cr*p, and Hell, Hull and Epiphanies ALL by Giles Curtis. If you enjoy English humour, want a book that will crack you up and make you desperate for the next to come out, then you really should read some of the books by Giles Curtis. All the books, except for Second Life, are connected in some small way, and it does help if you read them in order. Start with A Very Unchristian Retreat then read It's All About Danny before reading Looking Bloody Good, Old Boy, then The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler. Having said that, it would not matter if you did read them in a different order, but there are some little jokes you will miss out on if you do. I cannot recommend these books highly enough, and my only surprise is that they do not have more stars and positive reviews on Amazon. Update: While I really enjoyed his first five books (Second Life, A Very Unchristian Retreat, It's All About Danny, Looking Bloody Good Old Boy, The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler) I felt the following three (The Badger and Blondie's Beaver, The Hedonist's Apprentice and Newton's Balls) were not as fun, nor as enjoyable. I still read them, but was losing faith and was close to removing Giles from my must read list. Thankfully though, Giles seems to have got his funny bone back in the ninth and tenth books (Faecal Money - A Very Lucrative Cr*p and Hell, Hull and Epiphanies), and I am pleased to report that they are just as good as his first five. Let's hope that continues!

Barmy Army, The Crew, Top Dog, Billy's Log, and Wings of a Sparrow ALL by Dougie Brimson - I first started reading Dougie Brimson to learn more about football hooliganism in England. Started on Barmy Army before moving to The Crew and then Top Dog. The more I read Dougie Brimson's books the more I like them. Granted in Wings of a Sparrow there is a ton of spelling and grammatical errors, especially in the second half, but the storyline was fun and fascinating, as was Top Dog, The Crew, Barmy Army and even the diary style Billy's Log. Most definitely aimed at a male audience, especially those that enjoy football, these books are well thought out and very entertaining to read. I look forward to reading more from Dougie Brimson.

Bite: The most gripping thriller you will ever read by Nick Louth. No, it's not. Could not even get half way, and won't be trying to go any farther.

Blowback by Michael Forwell with Lee Bullman - Another drug smuggling-related book! This one focuses on huge quantities of marijuana and takes place primarily in Thailand and Singapore. The book is extremely entertaining and hard to put down. It is quite mind blowing just how these guys made their living, and avoided capture in doing so. It is much more than just a book about smuggling, Blowback has heart and as such is a moving story.

Life and Laughing: My Story by Michael McIntyre - Today Michael McIntyre is one of the most famous and successful stand up comedians in the world. But how did he get there, what challenges and obstacles did he overcome? This book is not only an excellent insight into the lives of one of the most popular entertainers on the planet, but this rivals any self-motivational business book you have ever read. An amazing story, an amazing journey and most of all an amazing man and book. Read it!

Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin - VisitScotland should buy Ian Rankin a nice bottle of good single malt, or two, because every time I read one of the Detective Rebus books it makes me want to visit the glorious country of Scotland! I have read most of Ian Rankin's work, and admire him greatly as an author, despite charging too much for the electronic version of his new books. This latest book in the Detective Rebus series will not disappoint, although to be honest I did find the ending a little soft and not quite what I had expected. Still, Ian Rankin is one of the best authors around and if you can buy the kindle version of his books at a price you are comfortable with then even better!

Blood, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls - You probably know of Bear from the TV hit series Wild Man, and if those programs impressed you then you will love his book. It does take a little while to get going, but once it does then you learn what motivates Bear, and how he has accomplished many of the amazing things he has. Not only an enjoyable book to read but also a great motivational book as well. Highly recommended.

Marching Powder by Rusty Young - This is the real-life account of Thomas McFadden, a black Englishman and cocaine trafficker, who was caught in Bolivia trying to smuggle cocaine out of the country. The book concentrates on the weird, yet intriguing, way life works at San Pedro prison in the heart of La Paz. The prison, which at one stage allowed tourists to visit and even stay over night, made it into Lonely Planet as one of the most bizarre tourist destinations in the world. A very interesting, entertaining, and eye-opening read.

Snowing in Bali by Kathryn Bonella - Bali is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, millions flock there to enjoy the sun, sand and surf, or just to unwind in luxurious villas spread out among the rice paddies, or nestled up against a favourite beach. This book opens your eyes to an entirely new Bali, a world that many know little, or nothing, about. A fascinating read into the life of drug traffickers that made Bali their home, selling narcotics to make themselves rich despite knowing full well the dangers and risks they were taking.

Hotel K by Kathryn Bonella - This book is an amazing insight into life as a prisoner of Kerobokan Jail, Bali's notorious prison. You will learn how the prison works, and how all those prisoners cope - or don't - with the situation they find themselves in. Kerobokan Jail is home to nationalities from around the world, including many that have made headlines around the world.

Much OLDER Book Reviews

The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity by Daniel Reid - An absolute must have for anyone interested in health, losing weight, and living life to the most. A book, which if read with an open mind, can open a thousand or more doors  which can help lead you in a happier and healthier life.

Uri Geller Magician or Mystic - by Jonathan Margolis - Uri Geller is regarded by some as the most talented magician to have ever lived, by others not as a magician at all but as a human with very unusual paranormal mystic powers and by others as a fraud allowing people to believe one thing while using trickery. This book excellently written by J. Margolis investigates Uri Geller's entire life and offers us an intriguing insight into this amazing mans life and powers. Excellent read if you are interested in magic and or paranormal mystic powers.

Hardship Posting Volume 2 - by Stuart Lloyd - This, the second volume of the popular Hardship posting reviewed below, starts off on a negative note, with the author informing us, that no, for love, nor money we cannot have the telephone numbers of the two girls on the front. Very disappointing and something they should improve on in volume 3. Having said that the book is an excellent read full of stories from present or past expats and their funny experiences within Asia. Some of the stories make you want to hit that particular author over the head with a very heavy hammer but the majority will make you laugh with an understanding of fellow expats. As you can not buy this from Amazon please go to your local bookshop. By the way if you click on the cover you will see a really large version of the cover open in a new window. At least we know what you want !!!

The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver - WOW. We can highly recommend all of Jeffery Deaver's books for anyone interested in good story lines, and some amazing twists that keep you guessing until the very end. The Blue Nowhere is no exception but is one of if not his best. Based on the internet and the frightening ability of computer wizards this book will leave you quite amazed and you will never be able to look at your computer in quite the same way. Excellent buy.

Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh - is not a new book, but is outrageously funny, and a great read for anyone looking to have a great time between the pages. The story line is great, and while unbelievable will keep you amused for hours. Great read if you want a good laugh.

Undercurrents by Frances Fyfield - What a beautifully written and well molded book. This is the first Frances Fyfield that we have read but will most definitely not be the last. The characters are excellently portrayed, the plot intriguing and with a couple of surprises along the way it is difficult to put down. The use of the English language also stands out and Frances Fyfield has done an excellent job using her extensive language skills to write this magnificent book. Excellent.

Roses Are Red - by James Patterson - As with all James Patterson's books this is another superb read. One of his Alex Cross novels Roses are Red is exciting all the way through. The end however is an enormous surprise and a bit of a let down as it is completely unexpected, it also has for some unknown reason over 100 chapters ! Great buy though.

Losing My Virginity - by Sir Richard Branson - An incredible read, and a true insight into one of the greatest British entrepreneurs of all time. Can be a little too honest in places, but the passion that can be found in the writing and the real look at the world of business, is outstanding. We can't wait for the sequel!

Girlfriend 44 - by - Mark Barrowcliffe - Comedy is a difficult thing to put on paper and even more so into a book, Mark Barrowcliffe achieved this with side cracking results. A must read, for anyone, and a unique journey into the male mind. Excellent.

Mayan Prophecies - by Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell - a timeless masterpiece that looks into the hidden lives and meanings of the Mayan people and culture. This deep book, will open your eyes to far more than you would ever imagine possible. Although very heavy in places, the book is an excellent read. Edgar Cayce on Atlantis - A very interesting, but short book on the works of Edgar Cayce, a well known American psychic and his comments on the existence and cross existence of Atlantis - the hidden continent.

The Tutankhamun Prophecies - by Maurice Cotterell - Oh boy, this book, similar in style to the Mayan Prophecies, goes even further into the principles of the intelligence of the Egyptian people, the sun, the Mayans and into the tomb of Tuntankhamun. The book is definitely a must buy. As not only does it dwell into the past, but also brings in factors that we see in every day life today. We only advise you to buy this book if you can read it, with an entirely open mind. Amazing.

Hardship Posting - by Stuart Lloyd - Living in Asia ? Thinking of moving out there ? Have lived life as an expat ? Yes ! Then read this book, it will crack you up and make you realise that you are not as demented as you possibly once believed. Great fun, about the strange lives that expats lead.

The Orion Mystery by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert - A very complicated book in places that looks at the star system and how the Egyptians used it thousands of years ago. Very interesting read.

Culture Shock Thailand - by Robert and Nanthapa Cooper - from the well known Culture Shock series of books, this is definitely as very good read if you are planning to come to Thailand whether it be just for a holiday or to live.

The Empty Chair - by Jeffery Deaver - what a great read, all of Deaver's books are great and this is no exception, it keeps turning with mystery, intrigue, information, and is so captivating you will not want to put it down. Excellent read as are all JD's books.

The Bombmaker - by Stephen Leather - Once again, Stephen Leather has managed to turn out a book that has you turning the pages with great admiration, and excitement, but leaves you wondering when his next book will come out. This book talks with a frighteningly good authority on the subject of bomb making, so let's just hope that all the facts are not too accurate! The book is great, fun and fast paced although there are not as many twists and turns as in his other books this is definitely a great buy.

Pearl - by Frank Delaney - An excellent book written with a beautiful use of the English language. Touching on the issues of post world war crime, and football hooliganism, the book manages to keep you turning the pages, wanting more. There are sufficient twists and turns to keep you reading this, without putting it down. Described by the Daily Telegraph as "something exceptional and utterly gripping".

Private Dancer by Stephen Leather - One of Stephen Leather's first books, and it became so hugely popular as a free .pdf download that Stephen eventually published it properly and started to make some well deserved money from it. Private Dancer is a must read for any guy visiting Thailand (or other parts of south east Asia), especially if they are going to visit some of the more notorious nightlife areas of the country/region. Extremely well written, highly entertaining and frighteningly accurate. An absolute cracker.

Books, Kindle

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