Book Review – Backstage by Harmony Kent

August 3, 2020

This erotic romance encompasses most of the elements of the recent “Me Too” scandals when actresses have come forward to describe events in which they have been sexually abused by powerful men in the entertainment industry.  The characters in the book are well described, particularly the perpetrator and his female accomplice.  The sex scenes are graphically depicted and fit well within the narrative.  Some readers may be put off by the explicit content, which I found did not detract from the story itself.  Although described as a romance the novel is more of a thriller and the plot kept me turning the pages right to the end.

Keith Jahans

Published by Harmony Kent Author Servicesandals,
in paperback and as an ebook


Book Review – Frankly, My Dear by Don Manssenzio

July 16, 2020

I have a particular fondness for private detective novels, particularly those set in the USA and this one proved to be no exception.  The detectives involved here are clearly a close knit family.  All seemed to be involved in this story to some extent, including the detective’s dog, but the chief protagonists are the private detective, Frank Rozzani and his lawyer partner, Jonesy.

The plot is a twist on the normal narrative for this type of story, in that the detectives are asked to represent a man who has been accused of abusing his girlfriend.  All the characters are believable, especially the villains.  Rossani and Jonesey are accomplished jazz musicians and a little of the action revolves around their music and the club where they play.  I am not familiar with the music titles or the work of the artists referred to in the novel but the author is clearly a Jazz aficionado.

The pace is fast moving with a number of twists and turns which is a prerequisite of the genre.  I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Keith Jahans

Published DSM Publications as
an ebook, paperback and audiobook


Book Review – Rosé’s Bent Stem by Nomita Khanna

June 29, 2020

This thriller took me a while to get use to the author’s writing style but once I did I found the story fascinating.  Nomita Khanna gets into the mind of a psychopath and narrates in the first person.  Thus much of the expressions used are disjointed and sometimes weird.  It is a valiant attempt to seek out what motivates a disturbed individual and I feel the writer succeeds in that attempt.  Like me readers might not at first fully understand what is going on here but if they stick with it they are in for a fascinating treat.

Keith Jahans

Independently published and available as an ebook and paperback


Book Review – The Power of Love by Phyllis J Burton

June 4, 2020

Here are some heart warming stories which are very readable.  They are just right for downloading to a Kindle or smart phone to grab a quick read during a spare moment.  The author has a knack for holding one’s attention to the end of each short narrative which leaves the reader with the feeling of a time well spent.  I recommend this work to anyone who enjoys short fiction.

Keith Jahans

Available from Amazon Media
as an ebook and paperback


Book Review – Bongo Fury Novella Collection: Novella Collection and Soundtrack by Simon Maltman

March 13, 2020

The hard hitting dialogue may not be to everyone’s taste and it took me a while to get use to it.  I have no idea how authentic the language used is typical of the underclass in Northern Island, but because of my sketchy knowledge of the recent history of the province during the ‘Troubles’, I found it believable.  The plot had a number of exciting twists and turns which held my interest.

The book is titled as a collection of novellas.  I searched Amazon and discovered that each had been published separately; but judging by the way the stories are intertwined, this collection can be regarded as a short novel in its own right.  Just over half way through the book the author introduces a short story read to a small audience by a friend of the protagonist.  The story does not fit into the rest of the narrative and I presume is included to show that the author can write in a more genteel style.  The font changes to italics for this narrative and then slips back to the original font for the main plot.

The inclusion of the short story may be a marketing ploy as is the inclusion of a link to a music download described as a soundtrack.  It is not really, but it is a sample of the author’s own music.  I downloaded my copy and my initial listening found it interesting but not remarkable.  However, I do think it is the kind of music I might come to like on repeated playings so I will stick with it.

Keith Jahans

Available as a papeback and ebook


Book Review – Short but Tall Stories by Brian Bold

February 25, 2020

Short stories are difficult to write.  There must be very few characters, they should be believable and every word should count.  Brian Bold has mastered the art of Flash Fiction and there are some gems here, which live up to the collection’s title.  This is ideal for anyone wishing to dip in and out of for a quick read.

Keith Jahans

Published by Lulu.com
in kindle and ebook formats


Book Review – Graham Taylor: In His Own Words

January 2, 2020

I bought this book from sports journalist Lionel Birnie (who helped Graham Taylor in writing his story) when he gave an inspiring talk at a Watford Writers meeting in March 2018.  I reported this on my blog at the time (see https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2018/03) but such is the length of my reading list it is only now that I have managed to read the book in its entirety.

I have not read many books by sports celebrities because I feel that most seem to be written to enhance the subjects’ own, often shallow, personalities.  But this story is clearly an exception as Taylor was a giant among his contemporary football managers.  As one who has competed at a very amateur level and watched many more, sporting outcome is often dependent on luck.  In general good luck and bad luck will balance itself out and class will shine through.  But the history of international English football has shown that this has rarely been the case.  During his time managing the English football team, Taylor suffered more than his fair share of bad luck and in this book he shows that he accepted this along with the mistakes he made.  But what is extremely unfair was the way he was vilified by the media for England’s failure to qualify for two major sporting competitions and the cruel insults by caricature that were depicted on the front pages of many popular newspapers.

This account also shows what an exceptional club manager he was.  In taking Watford Football Club from obscurity under the Chairmanship of Pop singer Elton John he proved how good he was at man management.  He discovered two major football stars in John Barnes (while at Watford) and David Platt (while managing Aston Villa) and these two went on to have successful international careers and excelled at other major football clubs.  Anyone who has worked with people at all levels will understand the skills needed to be successful and by reading his book will see that Taylor had those in abundance.  It is a tragedy that he died so young as he clearly had so much more to offer in life and to football.  Football is not just a sport; it is the heart of many British communities.  I have been living in Watford for only a few years but I can see clearly how he was much loved by the town.  Taylor’s own words are well worth the read.

Keith Jahans

Graham Taylor In His Own Words: The autobiography
is published by Peloton Publishing Ltd and is available in hardback and as an ebook


Book Review – Duilleog by Donald D Allan

November 25, 2019

A well told tale which kept me reading right to the end.  By “the end” here I mean the end of the first book in a series as there is clearly more to read in future volumes.  I am not sure that the structure, particularly the changing points of view, really works but it is such a fascinating tale this is just a minor point.

The story starts in the first person with Will who has been living in the wild and has special healing powers.  He survives a murderous attack and discovers a gold coin which enhances his powers enabling him to help the people of a nearby village survive a disease.  In doing so he realises that there is more about his past than he first thought so he begins a journey to the country’s capital to find out more.

The narrative shifts to the third person to describe events surrounding a civil war which occurred in the capital.  Here there is more telling about what happened rather than showing the events themselves.  Some fascinating villains emerge and they look like they will play an important part later in the story.

The end of this part of the narrative shifts back to Will and is again told in the first person.  The story is ambitious in its scope.  I personally would be happier if it was condensed into one book but there are fans of the genre who like this form of saga, which has a flavour of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings about it, and I am sure that such readers would love this story and want to read on.

Keith Jahans

Published by the author and
available as an ebook or paperback


Book Review – 17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive by Angie Mangino

October 12, 2019

This short account seems to be aimed primarily at the people who inhabit this part of Staten Island in the USA, but I found it a fascinating read which means that it has a much wider reach.  My knowledge of the history of this area is sketchy at best as it barely touches on the accounts of British colonial history I was taught in English schools.  I am therefore grateful to this book for extending my knowledge in this area.  It is obviously well researched as is evident from the extensive bibliography.

Some facts were repeated more often than was needed and a little more detail, some photographs and perhaps a map would strengthen the writing.  But that said I was very impressed by the writer’s style.  The book looks like it was first composed as a blog and the author has indicated that there are more books/blogs to follow.  But it has more potential than that and I suspect that if the author wrote another book as a more in depth study (Check out my review of Tim Hannigan’s Brief History of Indonesia) then I for one would buy it.

Keith Jahans

Available on Amazon as an Ebook


Book Review – Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand

September 23, 2019

I heard about this book from the author when I visited the Bath Literary Festival in March 2015 and listened to her speak.  I was so intrigued by the subject of her talk that I bought a copy.  Once I started reading I was fascinated by Sophia and her story.  I meant to loan it to my 90 year old mother, who was a fan of Ms Anand’s and her presentation of ‘Any Answers’ on BBC radio, as I felt she would enjoy it.  But it is a long book and I knew with the other reading and writing projects on the go it would take me some time to finish it so I bought another copy especially for mum.  Sadly she never got round to reading it and passed away earlier this year aged 94.  Now I have at last finished reading the book and found it a very enjoyable read.

The author has obviously put a great deal of time and effort into researching her subject.  It traces the ancestry of Sofia, from her father Maharajah Duleep Singh through her life with her siblings in the court of Queen Victoria, her activities as a suffragette, her support for the freedoms sought by the peoples of her native India and two world wars.  She was a rebel for her time and ran foul of the British establishment, particularly during the period she was an active suffragette when she challenged them to imprison her for her protests but were too frightened to do so.  Because of this the details of her life were buried by the authorities.  But because of this book they have now been uncovered.  This makes the writing of Sofia’s story a remarkable achievement of which the author can be proud.

It is an extremely worthwhile read and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the political struggles endured by women in the twentieth century.

Keith Jahans

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
in hard cover, paperback and as an ebook and audiobook.


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