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The Gnome King

Joined 1 year, 3 months ago

Book reviewer and blogger, also drinker of beer and whiskey. My blog: Only read paper books Looking for a new home since Goodreads turned into Evil Corp

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The Gnome King's books

Currently Reading (View all 5)

Forgery (Paperback, 2022, Charco Press) 5 stars

A failing artist turned forger, an architectural masterpiece hidden behind high walls, an impish vagabond, …

A proper good art thriller

4 stars

A literary art thriller, crammed full of action, art and mystery, but what makes this book really special is the characters. They have been crafted with such care and like one of those renaissance paintings you get drawn in and see much more than what is on the surface. I really liked how everybody has their own agenda but are playing their cards close to their chest giving nothing away and making you guess something new every other page.

Our main character is José, an artist down on his luck, about to lose everything but luck throws one more job his way, a forgery of a sixteenth painting and his client is the suspiciously excitable Horacio, he is up to his neck in dodgy doings, and you can sense an underling threat of violence. My favourite character was Horacio's mother she felt like she was straight out of a painting …

Our Struggle (Paperback, 2022, Influx Press) 4 stars

Paul, ex-tube driver and drinking partner of legendary Union leader Bob Crowe turns up at …

Riveting exploration of 1980's student unions

4 stars

I went into this book not knowing what to expect, I wasn’t even sure if it was fiction or non-fiction…having finished the book I’m still not 100% sure of the answer to that question as it all feels so real, maybe it is some kind of Anti-Meta-fiction? There was one constant feeling I had whilst reading this, music, whilst there are some bands and songs are mentioned that is not the theme of the book, the idea of music I got was from the structure, it comes across as some kind of punk/jazz infusion, you would be happy and chill like listening to a piece of Jazz until quite unexpectedly you realise that the mood has changed and that punk rage suddenly kicks off, you really do feel the anger of the characters. Very impressive writing skill here.

The book follows an unknown narrator as he witnesses the life of …

Necropolis (Paperback, 2014, Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) 5 stars

New cover so time for a second reading

5 stars

I can’t believe it was 8 yeas ago that I first read this book and I still haven’t partaken in the art of wolfing…pretty sure I can somehow blame the author for that…just give me a bit of time. This book is still great fun, Dyson is still one of my favourite characters and Celine Dion’s music is still a blight on those with ears. The stand-out thing for me this time was Dyson’s wit, his ability to have the right thing to say, no matter on how tense the situation. The secondary characters are fantastic, they each have plenty of baggage that they bring to the story…mostly to annoy Dyson…what I do want to see is a spin-off with Sunita, I’m sure she is leading a secret life too. This edition has been tidied up a bit and what you are left with as a very slick piece of …

Autodidacts (2022, Whiskey Tit) 5 stars

Love me a creepy lighthouse!

5 stars

This was an interesting book, the structure is twisted, it is like an escaped madman has found the book, ripped it into pieces and stuck it back together in a random manner…somehow it works, this unique flow pulls you in and doesn’t let go until it is done. The characters have had the same work done to them, it’s hard to tell who is who, each character seems to have multiple personalities. The conversation is disjointed, there is a character who doesn’t fit in but still manipulates the story, characters disappear with no explanation and there is one hell of a creepy lighthouse. On their own these things could be considered faults but put them together and you’ve got a poetic masterpiece, there is nothing out there like this and nothing that will mess with your emotions this much. The cover is epic, it informs you the sort of madness …

Accidental Detectorist (2022, Octopus Publishing Group) 5 stars

My Zen book of the year

5 stars

You’re gonna see this a lot in the reviews of this book…I am a massive fan of the TV series The Detectorists and that is the reason I decided to give this book a go…well that and the awesome cover. The thing I loved about the series was how easy it was to get lost in the show, the rambling through fields, being at peace in a chaotic world, friendly banter and the way a find can spark your imagination…I got all of that from this wonderful book. There is a real Zen to detecting whether in the field, watching or reading you can find yourself at peace, even if nothing gets found.

The book starts off with Richardson laughing at the weird folk wondering around fields with an electronic stick comparing them with train spotters after a bit of research he decides to give it a go and see …

Moroccan Trilogy (Paperback, 2021, Eland Publishing Limited) 4 stars

From 1917–19, the Tharaud brothers immersed themselves in Morocco while observing the determined imposition of …

Interesting insight into Morocco

4 stars

This is a very interesting read, two brothers spending time in Morocco before the area became touristy, when there was a mistrust of the French and their modernising ideas. At times it also feels like a love story, the brothers writing (of which it is impossible to tell there are two separate writers) comes across at first as rather imperialist, at one point they say Morocco is lucky the French are there to help instead of somebody else wanting to take advantage, to defending the country and almost becoming one with it’s people.

The brothers immerse themselves in the culture really well, they understood (and followed) the rules, the laws and how the people act with each other, because of this you could see they earned a certain amount of trust, getting invited to places and events that outsiders previously wouldn’t have witnessed. It is these experiences that shape the …

On the Scent (2022, Elliott & Thompson, Limited) 5 stars

Review of 'On the Scent' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

One of the most interesting books I have ever read! I went into this book being like a normal person and taking smell for granted, it’s always been there and done it’s job, recognising food that has gone off, detecting smoke when in danger and getting me in trouble as being the victim of “whoever smelt it, dealt it”. Whilst my hearing is a bit rubbish and my eyesight is awful, I have never really lost my ability to smell, the odd moment during a cold but usually too ill to care about that. This book has really opened my eyes (and nose) to what people are going through when they can no longer smell, they lose part of the world around them and until COVID came along are never taken seriously…and when the smells come back it always isn’t good news, for some they get one smell and often …

After Sundown (2020, Flame Tree Press) 4 stars

Review of 'After Sundown' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I don’t read much horror, so of the 20 authors included in this book I had read none and only heard of a few. There are 16 well known authors and 4 that haven’t made it to the big time yet…I was unable to tell the difference, the quality of story telling was high from each author. The range of stories was varied, a well selected mix was picked by Morris, you have sci-fi, gothic, modern take on horror, post-apocalyptic and good old fashioned ghost stories. I got into some more than others, the others weren’t weak, it’s just with a collection like this you are always gonna have your favourites. Here are the ones I liked best.

Starting off at the end BRANCH LINE by Paul Finch, a proper good old fashioned ghost story with a scary lady in a wedding dress. The intensity builds up nicely to a …

Cold Fish Soup (2022, Saraband / Contraband) 5 stars

Cold Fish Soup is a memoir in essays about life and death in a crumbling, …

Review of 'Cold Fish Soup' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I do like it when somebody sets out to write a book and they lose all control to the book itself, Farrer is commissioned to write about a small Seaside town that is slowly losing it’s battle with the sea and ends up writing a love story about said town, after baring his soul to the reader. The book starts off quite dark, on the edge of a cliff, battling with his insecurities and looking for a reason to not give up…up steps Withernsea, it’s people and an awesome old dog called Millie.

Farrer shares with us the state of his mental health, he takes us through his life trying to understand how he is like he is and all the events that have shaped the man he is. He also shares with us his family, including his adorable mum, the conversations they have are so funny, I was guffawing …