Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Believed written and first performed in England around 1598. BBC Radio Shakespeare audiobook production published in 2001.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the audiobook download of this production from Audible via
Buy the CD audiobook via Alibris
Buy the CD audiobook from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen

How I got this book:
Bought from Audible

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard. In Much Ado, the clarity of radio allows the wonderful verbal sparring between Beatrice and Benedick to sparkle as high comedy and melodrama mix magically in a combination of prose and verse. Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.

As a result of my Othello and New Boy reviews, I was contacted by author Hollie Moat with an offer of a review copy of her novel, Other People's Business, based upon Much Ado About Nothing. Of course, I was glad to use this as an opportunity to revisit my BBC audiobook of the original play as a memory refresher!

A talented cast that includes David Tennant, Samantha Spiro, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emilia Fox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Haig and Maxine Peake bring Much Ado About Nothing vibrantly to life in this BBC Radio audiobook. The cast are obviously having great fun and their enjoyment comes across particularly in the wickedly sharp verbal sparring scenes between Beatrice and Benedick, when each is hiding to eavesdrop, and when the Constable is mangling his word choices. The play itself is entertaining although the plot gets quite silly in the latter stages! Not knowing the play thoroughly, I couldn't always immediately tell exactly who was speaking, but this didn't affect my understanding of the narrative as character identifies became clear as each scene progressed. Perhaps pure audio isn't quite as satisfying as seeing Shakespeare performed on stage, but I felt the format allowed me to concentrate more on the words spoken and to appreciate the Bard's wonderful turns of phrase.

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Books by William Shakespeare / Plays / Books from England

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Nest In The Bones by Antonio Di Benedetto

Nest In The Bones by Antonio Di Benedetto
Individual stories written in Spanish from the 1950s to the 1970s. Published in this collection in America by Archipelago Books today, the 23rd May 2017. English language translation by Martina Broner.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from
Buy the CD audiobook via Alibris
Buy the CD audiobook from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Philosophically engaged and darkly moving, the twenty stories in Nest in the Bones span three decades from Antonio di Benedetto's wildly various career. From his youth in Argentina to his exile in Spain after enduring imprisonment and torture under the military dictatorship during the so-called "dirty war" to his return in the 1980s, Benedetto's kinetic stories move effortlessly between genres, examining civilization's subtle but violent imprint on human consciousness. A late-twentieth century master of the short form and revered by his contemporaries, Nest in the Bones is the first comprehensive volume of Benedetto's stories available in English.

Generally I find I have quite an affinity to South American fiction because I love its mystical elements. In Nest In The Bones however I was frequently completely baffled as to what was going on. I love Di Benedetto's prose. He employs beautiful metaphors and turns of phrase which bring particularly the Argentine scenes vividly to life. My problem though was that a significant proportion of the twenty short stories in this collection felt like middles of stories rather than the full tale. I appreciated the scene as I was reading, but on finishing had no real idea of the point of what I had read! The selected stories are representative of Di Benedetto's work over three decades and I did find those later in the book much easier than the earliest examples. I don't know if that is due to differences in his writing or that I was getting more accustomed to the style. All in all, this was an interesting collection and I enjoyed the insights into Argentine and Spanish life, but I didn't think I got as much from reading the book as I had hoped to.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Antonio Di Benedetto / Plays / Books from Argentina

Monday, 22 May 2017

Waves Of Murder by C S McDonald + Giveaway

Book Details:

Book Title: Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery
Author: C.S. McDonald
​Category: YA Fiction, 190 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: McWriter Books
Release date: April 11, 2017
Tour dates: May 15 to 26, 2017
Content Rating: G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone--adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens too!)

Book Description:

School’s out for the summer!

Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author, Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle--three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead—beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer get away on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

Buy the Book: 

Meet the Author: 

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters, and has found that so many adults love them too.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


May 15 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 15 - Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama - book spotlight / giveaway
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Enter the Giveaway!
Ends June 3

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Books by C S McDonald / Mysteries / Books from America

Sunday, 21 May 2017

ReejecttIIon: a Number Two by Daniel Clausen and Harry Whitewolf

ReejecttIIon: a Number Two by Daniel Clausen and Harry Whitewolf

Self published in February 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'By reading ReejecttIIon, it’s likely you’ll discover: colorful short stories, funny flash fiction, hilarious cartoons, riveting reviews, wondrous anagrams and other assorted skits and titbits of under-achieving literary genius.
If you’re lucky, you might come across sci-fi tales about the privatization of words, horror stories about hair and ruminations on indie writing. It’s also possible that you’ll find commentary on the hazards of greedy literary agents and stories about washed up movie directors who receive financial backing from space aliens.'

Daniel Clausen's second ReejecttIIon compilation was written in a transatlantic collaboration with Harry Whitewolf resulting in an even more eclectic mix of work than its predecessor. The two books are connected in title, but otherwise are essentially separate. You could happily read the second without having read the first and, indeed, that might even help! ReejecttIIon - a Number Two includes short stories, book reviews and cartoons that are inventive, funny and thought-provoking although I admit I did find their appeal rather hit and miss.

The hits for me ranged from the social media satire I've Never Heard The Like to science fiction Show And Tell. I loved the creepy atmosphere of Your Relationship With Edward Grey and the B-movie inspired Science Fiction Theater Presents. Fred's Dreads is a fun idea and I wondered how much of this story might have been autobiographical. For me, the most timely stories considering the current General Election campaigning are The New World and especially Word Tax, both of which I think everyone should be forced to read before they are allowed into a voting booth!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Daniel Clausen and Harry Whitewolf / Short stories / Books from America and England

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Accommodation Offered by Anna Livia

Accommodation Offered by Anna Livia
First published in the UK by The Women's Press in March 1985.

I registered my copy of this book at BookCrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from /

How I got this book:
Bought at a Torquay charity shop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When her lover leaves her, Polly, with some trepidation, advertises two vacant rooms in her house. The two women who move in seem sympathetic: bus conductor Kim, and awkward, gangling Sadie, a wanderer haunted by memories of her African childhood. But in spite of their shared experience as lesbians, differences begin to emerge. Fortunately the household is watched over by the Liberty Boddesses of Hortus, prepared to risk divine censure if they can help straighten things out.

I loved the humour in this Irish story of friendship set in 1980s London. The Liberty Boddesses are great fun and their scenes are reminiscent of the way ancient Greek gods and goddesses would influence the lives of mortals on earth. The central story is that of Polly, Kim and Sadie who find themselves sharing a house. That the trio are lesbians is an important aspect of the book, but I liked that Livia doesn't only define their lives by their sexuality. Instead Accommodation Offered explores themes of race, gender and mental health. It is a multi-layered novel which can just be read lightly as a humorous story of friendship, albeit one with dark edges. Or it can be more deeply thought-provoking asking questions about the assumption of a white-male-dominated society. Livia writes vibrantly of ordinary 1980s London describing squats and condemned houses, buses that still had conductors and streets that were still communities. Most of all though, this is a novel of women coming to terms with their present situations and their pasts, and discovering how not to lose all hope.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Anna Livia / Women's fiction / Books from Ireland

Friday, 19 May 2017

Sovereignty by Anjenique Hughes + Giveaway

Sovereignty by Anjenique Hughes
First published in America by Morgan James Publishing in July 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via iRead Book Tours

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I used to think I knew all the answers; now I no longer even know the questions – Goro

Under the totalitarian reign of the 23rd century’s world government, the Sovereign Regime, control is made possible by the identity chip implanted in every human being, recording everything that is seen, done, and experienced. No more bank accounts. No more smart phones. No more secrets.

When Goro inadvertently overhears an exchange of sensitive information, causing him to confront the truth about his world and prompting him to choose his true loyalties, his dream of revolution kicks into high gear. Goro doesn’t know he has covert intel in his possession both the SR and the resistance movement are desperate to acquire. Determined to bring down the world government, he and his closest friends gain access to the key to ultimately deciding who has sovereignty. But who will get to Goro first: the resistance or the Sovereign Regime?

Sovereignty is set in a 23rd Century city that used to be Los Angeles and is now the place from where a dictatorial leader named Davio controls all the people left on the planet. Hughes mentions a global war that more than halved the present-day population levels and Goro's society consists of the second and third generations since that genocide. Much has changed socially and perhaps the most different aspect of life is a small computer chip in everyone's wrist, similar to the way dogs are microchipped now, but with these futuristic chips having a far larger capacity to track and record their wearer's actions and behaviour. We learn that some people are resistant to the idea of the chips and others are inured and I would have been interested to learn more about the psychological effects of living under such a degree of observation.

Our main protagonist, Goro, is an immature and incredibly self-centered young man who comes of age during the course of the novel. I admit I did struggle with the book primarily because of his abrasive attitudes to everyone around him. He spends most of his time either shouting or sulking and is always convinced of his own righteousness despite all evidence to the contrary! It's a wonder Goro keeps any friends at all, but fortunately for him the ones he does have turn out to be fiercely loyal. Sovereignty is militaristic science fiction with an emphasis on the training undergone by the recruits in the expectation of their world-changing battle to come. Hughes describes their underground accomodation and life in detail so we get a good idea of what it will take to overcome the despised Regime.

The novel is told mostly from Goro's first-person perspective with brief chapters glimpsing other aspects Hughes' imagined world. I could imagine the story translating easily to a movie version and there were nods to similarly genred films which are fun to spot. The story had too much machismo and posturing for my tastes, but if you enjoy reading military action stories then give Sovereignty a try.

With master's degrees in education, special education, and counseling, Anjenique "Jen" Hughes is a high school English and math teacher who loves teaching and mentoring young people. She enjoys traveling and has worked with youth on five continents. Saying she is "young at heart" is an understatement; she is fluent in sarcasm, breaks eardrums with her teacher voice (students have complained when they were within earshot), and cracks sarcastic jokes with the best of her students. Her work with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse youth has inspired her to write books that appeal to a broad variety of students seeking stories of bravery, perseverance, loyalty, and success.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


May 15 - Elsie's Audiobook Digest - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 15 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
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May 16 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview
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May 31 - Books for Books - book spotlight
June 1   - Reading Authors - review / giveaway
June 2   - Haddie's Haven - review / giveaway
June 2   - Sharing Stories - review / giveaway
June 2   - Teresa Edmond-Sargeant - review / guest post

And now it's giveaway time!

To celebrate the Sovereignty Tour, iRead Book Tours are hosting a giveaway where six winners will win either a copy of the book or a $20 gift card. Sorry - this giveaway is US only.

Here's the giveaway widget:

Good luck! 

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Anjenique Hughes / Science fiction / Books from America

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Guest Review: Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy
First self-published in the UK on the 26th January 2014. Republished by Bloodhound Books in May 2017.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from /
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Guest review by Tin Larrick
Tin Larrick is one of my favourite indie crime writers and you can read my reviews of his books here. Take James Ellroy, Colin Bateman, Graham Hurley, Joseph Wambaugh, Michael Connelly and Ed McBain, chuck them in a blender, add vodka, tomato juice and some neon twists and you will find yourself through the looking-glass with former cop and Sussex maniac Tin Larrick. Authentic police procedurals, dark and snaky plots, seaside noir, troubled-but-colourful cast members and a medium-rare underbelly, Larrick's stories stay rooted in the mind long after closing time.
I am eagerly looking forward to Tin's new novel, Blues With Ice, which is due out mid-July.

Tin's rating: 5 of 5 stars

“David Booker returns to Romney Marsh on the south coast of England for a holiday. He is expecting to spend time helping his aunt and uncle pack up the stock of their second-hand bookshop in preparation for a happy retirement. He arrives in Dymchurch on a miserable April night to find his relatives missing without word or clue regarding their whereabouts. As events unravel, the outlook of the local police pushes Booker to search for his own answers to the questions surrounding his family’s disappearance. To unravel the mystery he will have to put himself in danger. Will Booker find the answers he needs and make it out alive?

Tin says: BAD SONS represents the first in a third distinct series by the getting-to-be-prolific Oliver Tidy, and is another corker of a story. The first in the Booker & Cash series sees Mr Tidy taking yet another new direction in the crime genre, this time down the oft-trodden path of private investigation.

This is not a world of dingy offices, reluctant trilby-clad gumshoes and chocolate-flavoured birds of prey, however. Chief protagonist David Booker arrives home in Dymchurch to help his aunt and uncle close up their bookstore business - only to find said relatives have vanished. Booker, motivated by the need for answers he can't get from a slipshod police investigation, goes out on his own. The story snowballs from there, with buried secrets, curmudgeonly-and-possibly-crooked police inspectors and high-tide homicides aplenty.

The story itself is tight, pacy and packed with suspense. It follows a fairly linear structure - no red herrings or deus ex machina here - but the perhaps-expected last minute moustache-twirling twist of lemon is jettisoned in favour of the titular theme, and the end result is far more effective.

There are several elements that make this book stand out. First of all, the character of David Booker. Leaving a life of chaotic loose ends behind in Istanbul, he arrives in Kent in something of a fug of displacement. This is compounded when he finds the temporary rug he was hoping his aunt and uncle might provide has been pulled out from under him before he has even arrived. Thus, when we meet him, his equilibrium is already at zero, and rushes quickly into breathless negative numbers. This creates a strange, almost surreal instability about him, like returning home with extreme jetlag, or what it might feel like to come home after a long stretch inside. We never quite find out what normality looks like for him, and we are with him as he seeks answers in the name of justice.

Secondly, the `Booker & Cash story' subtitle on the cover brought to mind half-formed notions of partnerships akin to Holmes/Watson, Tubbs/Crockett, Kenzie/Gennaro or (possibly) the Lone Ranger and Tonto. So when one discovers that Cash is a cop while Booker is a victim/witness/suspect/reluctant private investigator, it injects a romantic/sexual tension that positively simmers throughout. On the back of this is Cash herself, who is well-drawn and intriguing but whose motives and ambitions remain nicely ambiguous.

Finally, the physical setting. If you've ever been to Dymchurch, Hythe, Dungeness and the wider expanses of Romney Marsh, then you'll recognise the atmospheric bleakness as painted by the author. If you haven't, then this is as good a place to start as any before deciding if you want to visit. Couple that with the real sense of history and local knowledge in the book and you have a real depth to the setting that complements the story nicely.

BAD SONS is a gem. It has believable characters whose strengths and weaknesses are - sometimes reluctantly - brought to the surface when Fate lays events and obstacles before them; it has an intelligent and well-crafted story that excites without being sensational or gimmicky; it has an atmosphere you can almost taste and the title itself is weaved cleverly throughout as an undercurrent that gives the work a real depth. The future of the Booker & Cash partnership is wide open, and I am really looking forward to their next outing in whatever form it takes.

Thank you Tin!

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Oliver Tidy / Crime fiction / Books from England