People like us by Deng Zichao review

It is quite a basic start to the novel, yet a hint of something under the layers of normalcy. The style of writing to start a chapter off is also fascinating, causing me to want to dig further.


It is quite difficult to like the character at first, hard to determine what part he is going to play exactly. The start doesn’t give anything away, so of course you want to keep on reading to find out what is going on.


The story seems to be about a man collecting antiques for his company, stumbling upon an impressive collection in a church. But unfortunately for him, acquiring these antiques is not going to be easy, nor legal.


It is quite interesting how the author writes as though the main character is speaking directly to the reader. Asking the reader rhetorical questions, kind of stating or assuming what the reader is thinking. A different approach for the author to use. And makes it more personal, easier to engage with the story and the character.


Along the way the character stays with Estrade, a man that helps him get what he wants, while Estrade may not be living in a home that is his, but ‘borrowing’ someone else’s. And a charming woman Louise who may not appear as she seems, and is in an unhappy marriage. An intriguing mix. Little hints in the start of each chapter of what the chapter contains are also useful.


Very clean and precise writing. Interesting and amusing characters.

It is quite an interesting portrayal of a man crossing a line. His rendezvous with unique characters creates a humorous plot. The broad spectrum of characters enhanced the novels appeal. Making it a delightful read.


The story developed more than what I expected, so expect the unexpected. Murder, intrigue and lust. A delicious mix to keep you guessing where is it going next.


A great ending, almost finishing in a taunting manner.


4/5 stars


A Man of Kiri Maru by Laura Sullivan review

A creative and intoxicating start to the short story; but considering it is a short story I did expect it to move a little faster than what it did. It was almost setting up with the characters as though it was going into a full length novel, a bit of a back story. Two characters meeting on this exotic island, with these unusual myths and happenings that surround this place.


I enjoyed reading about he legends of the island and the ancient people, a little far-fetched, but enjoyable all the same, almost humorous.


This young man coming onto Kiri Maru with expectations, stumbling into this beautiful native girl. Where is this romance going to lead?


It is a lovely narrative with descriptive wording, enchanting characters and places, and beautiful wildlife. An intoxicating place, an island away from modern life.


Quite a fascinating turn of events as one lustful night changes a man’s life forever. He could never have foreseen what was about to happen and the consequences thereafter.


The unique plot certainly kept me fascinated until the end. Quite an active imagination the author portrays.


A satisfying ending to a lovely tale.


3 ½ stars



To Hang a Crooked Number by Matthew Callan review

The author enables instant interest from the quotes at the beginning, and the appealing way the character is portrayed.

It appears the main character is part of some sort of organisation/society that stakes out and apprehends people. At the start it appears a routine ‘spot the man’, a job done by lowly workers, implying he did something wrong causing him to fall down the ladder.


I wasn’t sure exactly where it was heading. First the character seems to be contracted by an organization, then switching to a baseball player where competition is rife and a disappearing teammate stirs suspicion.


I kept on asking myself throughout the novel, where is it heading? There doesn’t seem to be a clear direction of where it is heading. So it does build interest because I wanted to see where it was going and what would happen next.


It certainly is a unique and different novel, nothing like I’ve read before. You are expecting some sort of spying, but the unusual people the Society recruits left me wondering why?

There are a lot of questions mulling over as I read, which of course made me want to keep on reading.


Tension builds as the main character feels that he is being watched. The disappearance of a teammate and unusual things happen make him question if they are doing the right thing.

The revelation that there is a mole only increases the feelings of being watched, followed, not knowing who to trust. Paranoia creeping in, the inexperienced baseball player out of his depth.


Half way through the book and still not sure what the society is completely about. It almost feels like a game, you think its one thing, but yet something is amiss. The recruitment of baseball players only adds to the confusion. The unusual nicknames of the characters make it feel like they carry more purpose.


There seems to be a conspiracy theory going on like no other. As more details are revealed, more is put at risk. The almost absurdity of it all is what makes it an amusing read.


The plot gradually thickens as the leads point to why a teammate and fellow person of the society disappears. Getting mixed up with something, involving people he shouldn’t. As they get closer to the truth, the freelancer journalist and the baseball player are put at risk. Wanting desperately to get out of this, but not knowing how.


You can’t skip a beat with this story as it keeps on developing. Short breaks in the story revealing how the character got to where he is. It might seem like a slow progression, but once you get into the heart of the story there is plenty to get involved in.


The novel does tend to fade off a bit in places. Although the plot does head to an interesting direction, it is a bit difficult to keep focused at times. I wanted to be able to relate to the characters, and although there was a back story to the main character, it was difficult to get a full sense of him.


It was a good build-up, but seemed to be quite a predictable conclusion. Unfortunately the ending didn’t really unveil anything new or unexpected. Although a satisfying read all round.


3 ½ stars



Dance with a Dead Princess by Deborah Hawkins review

The start had me. I was fascinated to see where this story was going to lead. And how these characters were intertwined with Diana, Princess of Wales.


The story becomes quite a fascinating read as Taylor, the female lawyer looking into Nicholas Carey (a duke) records to purchase land for a client. Her dislike turns to genuine care; but afraid her heart might be broken again.


Nicholas Carey is determined to find who is responsible for the death of Princess Diana. As Diana left proof of who is responsible for her death with someone she trusted, but was afraid to keep it in England in case it put other’s lives in danger.


The story takes another turn as Taylor reads the records of past dukes in the Carey family. Discovering a whole life back in the day of King Henry and the consequences that occur if a woman rejects him. Elizabeth had the eye of the king, but when her father and the king saw she was in love with someone else; an ancestor of Nicholas, they force her to marry someone else. But love prevails, and they thwart her husband and her father.


It is a sad love story, showing bitterness, jealousy and hatred. The history part is fascinating, and how the past influences the present. How rumours discredit someone without facts; a good moral there.

I found I could easily connect with the characters and their experiences. Loving someone when they don’t truly love you back would strike a nerve for many. It is easy to fall in love with the characters.


Excitement and tension build as a murder occurs, and Taylor must figure out what are lies and what are truths.


The conspiracy theories float around as more deaths occur; it is only a matter of time before the people come after Nicholas and Taylor.


As the theories unfold surrounding Diana’s death, secret societies and near death experiences; the story gets very exciting as the plot unfolds on many fronts, not just one. The plot and subplots connect to one another and increases the drama.


People may think the ideas are farfetched, but the author makes it believable, and deals very well with the idea that Princess Diana was murdered.


What I enjoyed most about this novel was the mixed genre – love story, conspiracy, mystery and thriller. What more could you want?


4/5 stars