Book Reviews

Book Review – The Hunted And Other Twisted Tales By Paul J Kearns.

The Hunted and other Twisted Tales is an anthology.

The titular story, The Hunted, tells of two young vampires caught in a mortal battle with an ancient werewolf. They will have to use all their abilities to try and outsmart an enemy who is far superior to them in every aspect.

Within the other pages of the book you will find six more short stories crossing genres of horror, action and dark fantasy. They have a running theme of supernatural transformation and supernatural beings beyond the realm human of human understanding.

With elements of gore and dark humour these stories are not intender for the faint of heart.

This is a book that has me divided because I actually enjoyed the stories, my favourite and one I highly recommend is In The Basement, but I have to be honest I hated the actual book itself. So, let’s take this one bit at a time.

The stories themselves are well crafted and had some interesting plot twists, I liked them enough to have a favourite, as mentioned previously, and I would highly recommend this as a book to read on kindle.

Here is where it gets tricky, and I feel bad. I like the cover, black, white, and read classic horror colours and fangs, of course, leave you in no doubt what you are about to get, I did remind me of Hammer House of Horror, and some people might think it looks a little dated and simple but for me it was okay.

The problems start when you open the book and are met by stark white sheets rather than cream (a mistake I made when I first published Disintegration. and one that I have to confess I am stuck with as Amazon does not allow you to change). This is something that is part of the learning curve, the next bit is a personal bugbear of mine, if you are going to publish an anthology or short story collection you need to put in a contents page. I know it is not a long book and I did read it in one session, but it is still something I would expect to see.

Now, the next thing is something that I was also guilty of when I first published but have since gone back and remedied, and that is that the text has not been justified, when you do the copy for Kindle it doesn’t matter their software does it for you, but once you put it into the print form you really should, it just looks so much better and more professional. And again you could say that does not matter but when you are competing against so many other books you have to present your work as best you can, which brings me to the final thing, the editing.

Throughout the book it is just too inconsistent, one paragraph is indented then the next half a dozen are not, speech seems to be indented the majority of the time. I am not going to say it stopped me wanting to read the book but several times when I had to put it down it made it hard to find my place again which annoyed me.

All the issues are so easy to fix (except the white paper he is stuck with that) he just needs to find to find someone to help him with the editing or proofreading just to point things out, something we all needed when beginning our writing journey. I really hope he does find someone to help him because he has real talent with the writing side of things, and that he is not too upset when he reads this.

Because of the issues I have to give this book 3.5 out of five stars if it was edited properly there would be an extra full star there, but please consider reading this on your kindle as I say the stories are actually good.

If you want to find out more about Paul you can find him here.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review Super Mum? By Stacey Broadbent

This is not my usual type of book but I picked it up at a signing after meeting the author.

Have you ever had to repaint an entire room because your daughter likes to draw on walls? Only to have her draw on the new paint within a matter of days?
I have.

Have you ever had to scrub another person’s bathroom because your other daughter didn’t quite make it in time, and thought the best idea was to smear it on the walls and toilet seat?
I have.

All I ever wanted was to be a mum.
Turns out, it’s not quite what I imagined it to be. I’m not that perfectly dressed, refined mother who’s always portrayed on TV.
No. That’s not me.
I make mistakes. My children aren’t perfect. In fact, they can be downright devilish at times.

And I have three of them. Three!

What the hell was I thinking?

This is a crazy story of the desire for child number four, even though hubby is not quite on the same page. I have two kids fifteen years apart so I cannot imagine the craziness three, and that is from someone who is the oldest of five kids, but I think it was easier when there were less demands from social media to be the perfect parent.

The author takes you through a few weeks in her life, the book cover is illustrated by her son so it truly is a family enterprise and is a fun easy read. I think anyone with kids will recognise elements in this book I know a few times I laughed out loud knowing I had been in a similar position.

It is a quick read but I still give it a five out of five stars for making me laugh.

If you want to find out more about her books you can find her here

Audiobook Reviews · Book Reviews

Book Review – The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza

 

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

I started reading this in print form but then swapped to listening to it on audiobook, and I have to say this book really lends itself to that format really well. I love that the main character in this book is a flawed female, she is not ‘strong’ she is human, she can be strong but she also is broken and vulnerable, that makes her more relatable than some of the strong female characters you often find in police procedurals.

The overall story line is good, and plays with the idea that if you have enough money you can get away with anything, the characters are well written, as are the descriptive passages, you can visualise the scenes set for you.

Because I did listen to it on audio book I do have to also comment on the fact that the narrator nailed it, I completely loved her voice and the way she told the story.

I am so far behind and writing these reviews he has written a full series and is onto a second crime thriller series, and I am going to be honest I was unsure what to expect from this book when I first read it when it came out. I have read and loved Robert’s Romcom series following the exploits Coco Pinchard but I think it may be fair to say that he has now found his true genre.

I give this an outstanding 5 out of five stars and highly recommend checking this series out.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Plan By Whitney Dineen

Bead shop owner Amelia Frothingham has been keeping a secret from everyone she knows.

She pretends to be the ultimate care-free bohemian chick, but the truth is, she’s the world’s biggest control freak. Much to the delight of her Southern family, Amelia’s life appears to be smooth sailing. That is, until bad boy rockstar Huck Wiley mysteriously blows into town like a spring tornado.

Like every other woman under eighty with a pulse, Amelia’s intrigued. So when Huck starts showing up in her shop with flirtation in mind, she finds herself getting sucked into the rock god vortex. But her previous attempts at long-distance love have always ended on a sour note, so Amelia has vowed never to repeat the experience.

What Amelia doesn’t know is that Huck has a secret of his own, and he has no intention of returning to Los Angeles before he’s good and ready.

Will Huck stay in town, scattering the beads Amelia has finally gotten sorted? Or will he head back to his glamorous life and take her last chance at spontaneity and love along with him?

Find out in this deliciously funny romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!

I grabbed this book as a freebie via bookbub and I sort of wish I had come across it another way. The book is the third in the series and, although it can be read as a standalone, the fact is, once you have read it there is not a lot of point in going back to read the others. As they are all interconnected around one family so by starting at book three you know the outcomes of book one and two, but I will confess to going on and reading book four, and I will be reviewing that at a later date.

I loved the characters and even though it is set in a small town the author manages to ensure there is a real diversity both amongst the local and those who are introduced in this story. This is a clean romance so for those who like things dark and steamy, you should probably give it a miss. but overall an enjoyable story.

I give this four out of five stars, partly for annoying me by giving book three away free instead of book one but also I would have just liked a little bit more interaction between some of the characters.

Book Reviews

Book Review – Hunter’s Claim (The Alliance Book 1) By S.E. Smith

Jesse Sampson and her two younger sisters have lived a hard life on the streets of Seattle, Washington for the past several years.

Four years before, the Earth received its first visitors from space causing mass fear.

Alone in a world gone mad with just her sisters, she has learned to use the darkness and the remains of the city to survive and keep what was left of her family alive. She has seen the savage side of human nature and finds they are not much different from the aliens who conquered Earth.

The Trivators have taken control of Earth to prevent the humans from destroying it in their fear.

A world of warriors, they are sent out by the Alliance of Star Systems to seek out new worlds. Their mission is first contact. They are to establish communications with the leaders of the new worlds they find and bring them into the Alliance.

Any resistance is to be quickly subdued to prevent unnecessary death of the inhabitants of the new worlds they find. Their payment comes from the success of their mission.

Hunter is what he is called. A hunter, one of the elite clans of the Trivators who seek out those who resist. His abilities to track, capture and eliminate those who try to harm any warrior is renowned.

He finds the tables turned when he becomes the one captured by a group of ruthless humans. Hunter is shocked when a strange human female risks her life to help him escape only to disappear into the ruins of the city.

He now has a new mission, finding the female who saved his life. He is determined to find her before she is damaged by others of her kind.

What he finds is a reward beyond comprehension to a Trivator warrior, a family.

Can he convince Jesse that he can give her and her younger sisters a better life on his world? Or will fear keep her from accepting what he has to offer?

I have really mixed feeling on this book, on the one hand the writing is brilliant and the characters the author has created are engaging and you do find your self pulling for them but, on the other hand I do have a couple of issues with this.

I think the biggest problem I have is the time line of the story, it seems to be that Jesse and her sisters decide to completely trust these aliens far too quickly, I would like to have seem some sort of allusion to a passing of time where they had resisted and protested a little bit more. I do understand wanting to keep the book to a reasonable length but I would have much preferred it to have been split into two books, on the voyage to a new land where the relationship’s between Earthlings and aliens is built up over more time with greater mental and physical conflict, and the second bit starting with their arrival at the new world and a lot more description of the adjustments to arriving in this incredible new place.

However, I have to judge it based on how it is, so I am going to give it a four out of 5 stars, I did enjoy it I just wanted more.

You can get the book here…

Hunter’s Claim: Science Fiction Romance (The Alliance Book 1) eBook: Smith, S.E.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

And find out more about the author here…

SE Smith | Facebook

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Rightful Owner by Hemmie Martin

When a murder occurs in an exclusive swingers’ club, DI Wednesday and DS Lennox find themselves immersed in a murky world of sex and secrets. It doesn’t take long for the members to turn on one another, and for their clandestine affairs to come crashing into their everyday lives. As Wednesday experiences the pressures of work and caring for her mother’s mental illness, and Lennox’s ex-wife has him worrying about the sustainability of his role as a father, their case brings about questions of personal freedom and they begin to wonder if we are all, in fact, owned in one way or another.

This is the second book in this series and I really enjoyed it, each case is different from the last and this one takes the reader behind the curtains of the rich and privileged. The plot takes the detectives into a world where the rich believe they are above the law and that they have the right to do as the please.

This is contrasted with the mundane issues faced by the detectives in their personal lives, how to balance work and home, while maintaining a clear head in order to solve the crimes.

I recommend this book and hope that there will be more to come in the future, I give this five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

You can get the book here…

Rightful Owner eBook: Martin, Hemmie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

And if you want to interact with Hemmie you can find her on FB here…

 Hemmie Martin Author Page | Facebook

 

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Living a lie, Part One By M.L. Kacy

Because I have so many book reviews to get done I am going to do a second one on a Tuesday until I catch up…

 

In your early adult years, you think that you know it all. Well that’s how I was looking back on my life. Nearly nineteen-years later, it’s true what they say, you always learn by your mistakes, mistakes make you into a stronger person. Boy, did I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it did. There are only four things that I would never regret, my four beautiful children. They were, and still are, my saving grace, my redemption of sorts. When the darkness became too much, thoughts of them would pull me into the light.

This is my story, it’s not a story that is all sweetness and light. It’s a story of love, regret, devastation, darkness and maybe a little redemption.

So here we are, I shall start from the beginning.
Part One

***Disclaimer- Some of the content in this book can cause triggers for some. Also, contains profanity, erotic scenes and only suitable for readers 18+***

This book is biographical of an extraordinary woman who has overcome so much in her life. Reading this as just a reader you cannot help but fell so much empathy for the main ‘character’ Rhea, I don’t want to say too much but she goes through events which are so traumatic and it is so well written that you do feel her pain and empathise with her.

For me reading this as someone who actually knows the author it adds another level of heartbreak and you want to run over to her and give her a big hug. The only issue I have is that I only bought part one, I strongly recommend buying the newer versions with part one and two together.

I give this a heart wrenching five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – So You WantTo Own An Art Gallery By Lee Benson

I picked this up at a book signing after talking to the author…

An art gallery is serious business…isn’t it? Not when it involves manic artists and predatory female staff it isn’t.
“The funniest and sexiest of debut novels”

This is a collection of anecdotes rather than short stories, taken from the authors time running an art gallery, in person Lee Benson is charming and witty, something you do get a glance of in his book but I have always promised to be totally honest in these reviews and this book does have a few issues.

The first one being the subject matter, if you have never been a part of the art world you may find some of the characters unbelievable, let me just tell you having attended art college after school for just over a year, these people really do exist,. I am aware every walk of life has its own colourful characters, but there is something about the art world which allows them full rein to express their personality in all its multicoloured facets.

The second issue is that the book is a collection of anecdotes rather than stories, so although occasionally you get a brief set up or a concluding comment you are not going to get to know what happened to the people you meet long term, they appear and are gone again if the fluttering of a few pages.

There is a part of me that wishes the author had written a fictional story about an art gallery owner, weaving a few of these tales together then throughout a storyline that gives us a deeper insight to some of the characters and then he could have told the other tales as was to engage the audience.

Does this mean the book is bad? No, it just means I believe it cold have been so much more, a view, which like art, is subjective., if you want a book you can pick up read a page and drop again then this would work, it is interesting and amusing but it needs more context especially for the non art world people.

I will round this up for Goodreads/Amazon but I am giving this 3.5 stars out of five, I just hope the author forgives me when I next run across him at a signing.

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Yorkshire Ripper The Secret Murders By Chris Clark And Tim Tate

 

In 1981, Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, was convicted of thirteen murders and seven attempted murders. All his proven victims were women: most were prostitutes.

Astonishingly, however, this is not the whole truth. There is a still-secret story of how Sutcliffe’s terrible reign of terror claimed at least twenty-two more lives and left five other victims with terrible injuries. These crimes – attacks on men as well as women – took place all over England, not just in his known killing fields of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Police and prosecution authorities have long known that Sutcliffe’s reign of terror was far longer and far more widespread than the public has been led to believe. But the evidence has been locked away in the files and archives, ensuring that these murders and attempted murders remain unsolved today.

As a result, the families of at least twenty-two murdered women have been cheated of their right to know how and why their loved ones died: the pain of living with that may diminish over time, but it never fades away completely. Five other victims survived his attacks: their plight, too, has never been officially acknowledged.

Worse still, police blunders and subsequent suppression of evidence ensured that three entirely innocent men were imprisoned for murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper. They each lost the best parts of their adult lives, locked up and forgotten in stinking cells for more than two decades.

This book, by a former police Intelligence Officer, is the story not just of those long-cold killings, of the forgotten families and of three terrible miscarriages of justice. It also uncovers Peter Sutcliffe’s real motive for murder – and reveals how he manipulated police, prosecutors and psychiatrists to ensure that he serves his sentence in the comfort of a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison cell.

This book was really interesting and if true crime is your thing you should give it a read. The crimes that Peter Sutcliffe were charged with are well discussed and have been written about frequently but this book looks at the geography of his life and the number of similar crimes committed in areas he had links with at times he was likely to be there. Some fit his known pattern, others are slightly different, but all share elements of his modus operandi.

Even before reading this I did wonder how many other victims there were out there, either people who were killed or those who had a near misses. I do understand from a practical point of view why there is nothing to be gained and that it would be expensive to investigate every crime that took place in every area he lived or visited, but you can’t help wondering if there are women out there who never got justice.

I give this book 5 out of five stars.

1. Monday · Book Reviews

Book Review – Behind Closed Doors By Karen J. Mossman

For transparency I received this book as a prize for being selected as the best story in the Dandelion Anthology’s Love Ever After which I am part of, it in no way has affected my review or influenced the final rating I give it…

We begin as always with the blurb taken from Goodreads.

Kerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.

When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.

Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.

A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.

I was born in 71 so although my teenage years were spent in the 80’s there are many things that were not that different, Although there was no abuse in my house, I can certainly relate to a time where dad held all the family finances and mum received an amount of cash each week to pay the bills and take care of the house. I remember the cheesecloth tops, and my dad telling me I was not leaving the house when he judged a skirt to be too short, the reality for my generation as well as the previous ones was that it was normal for a parent to give you a backhander or a clip round the ear, that parents demanded respect and the phrase ‘living under my roof’ was one every teenager heard at some point,

Luckily Kerry finds a knight in shining armour, not a trope I normally like but I fully appreciate in this time it was almost impossible for a female to escape an abuse patriarchal figure alone. I was fully immersed in this book and read it in one sitting, however there were two small niggles.

First, was Howard, he is introduced as Kerry’s boring boyfriend, a complete contrast to the sexy hero Tommy, but within  few days of their break up he is suddenly at a house party thrown by friends of Tommy, it just jarred slightly because if he had been the party type Kerry might never have looked at Tommy (well okay she might still have had a sneaky peek but she wouldn’t have dumped Howard and flirted). The second was the Irish Issue, it is brought up that they are on opposite sides of the religious divide, yet neither set of parent raises this issue, and as Catholics I would certainly have expected Tommy’s parents to at least talk about it even if the were not practising Catholics, especially when he moves to join her in Ireland and proposes, this is the 70’s after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, so even if neither parent cared about their different religions they would certainly have been scared for them.

All that being said, these were not niggles that I thought about until after I finished the book, and let me say, it should have a warning on the front, telling you to grab the tissues befoer you start reading, because you are going to need them.

So the final rating is a blubbering five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars