30 Apr 2018

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Book Review / Darling Girls by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Fang Meets Fang

The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is hellbent on destroying them all.

Published:     16th April 2018
Publisher:  Glass Apple Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: 
The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book 1
Source:  Review Copy


Well this was a shocker for me!   I was really in the mood for picking up a vampire book as it has been so long.  This is the start of a new series and a very very interesting start!  I am not sure whether the vampires of Candle Bay and the vampires of Crimson Cove are featured on other series by these two authors but certainly going into this story it did feel like there was a lot of history that I was missing, but that might just be me.

What I enjoyed the most was all the various characters in this vampire world and watching them mix together and see how they react.  On the other side, there is a particular character I will not mention that is dead set against going after the vampires that I disliked with a passion and although rather disgusted by some things that happen to him was glad that it did!  

Continue reading Book Review / Darling Girls by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

27 Apr 2018

Author Interview / Ruth O'Neill

Some secrets never leave us alone...

Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right?

After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart.

Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.

Befriended is an exciting, contemporary thriller that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. This book will toy with your emotions time and time again – and keep you coming back for more.


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Erin Kelly as I love the way she writes suspense thrillers.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
My typical working day is arriving at The City Academy Bristol at 8am preparing for the students I support.

I have always enjoyed helping others and I’m very committed to my job as a Teaching Assistant for literacy, where I support young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.

I write most nights 7-9pm sat in the dining room with the TV on as a background noise.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
I find writing dialogue very complex and struggle with this quite often.

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I began writing in 2011 and my first book Sunshine & Tears was published in 2015. Sunshine & Tears was a sort of therapy for me as I wrote about the events that happened in my life twenty years ago.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
In Befriended the character Indiana Manors isn’t a nice person so I thought she must have a darkness to her to behave in the way she does. This led to her suffering from a mental disorder and the lengths she would go to to hurt people. I researched mental health disorders and was surprised at how many people actually suffer from mental health disorders in the UK.
As I’m a big fan of thrillers I built the story around a surprising twist that would keep readers guessing.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I spend most of my time working and writing now so I only read when I’m on holiday. I just spent Easter in Tenerife and read The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and write about what you love.

Continue reading Author Interview / Ruth O'Neill

24 Apr 2018


Book Review / All the Hidden PIeces by Jillian Thomadsen

One September morning, Greta Carpenter gets a phone call that will upend her life. Within minutes, she and her family hastily pack up their belongings and abandon their home.

Where did the family go and why?

Det. Roberta Hobbs has been assigned to uncover the family’s whereabouts. Hobbs is a confident, intelligent police veteran. However, each passing day brings her closer to her unresolved past. When Hobbs digs deeper into the mystery, all leads point to her own longtime ex-boyfriend – a former drug dealer turned philanthropist named Steven Vance -- as the primary suspect.

This riveting dual-timeline suspense novel takes us back to 2004 -- the year Greta Carpenter first realizes something is wrong with her young son, John. Over the course of his childhood, John’s learning disabilities become apparent. Greta’s unfaltering advocacy on his behalf puts her at odds with the school system and strains her relationship with her husband Griffin.

Eventually Greta and Griffin’s marriage falls apart, and during the divorce trial, Greta reveals that she was a teenage runaway, and a local entrepreneur named Steven Vance rescued her from the streets. Vance is certainly a man of many shades – a local celebrity for his philanthropy, a reformed criminal, a cunning CEO who sits atop a questionable mini-empire, a benevolent former father figure to Greta and a lying, evasive former companion to Hobbs.

It seems that only Vance has the power to make people disappear in this small town and he emerges as the most obvious suspect…but Hobbs remains uncertain of his role. While her colleagues question whether she can truly be impartial, Hobbs realizes she has a reason to suspect them as well. Nothing is obvious in this thriller…except that Hobbs must race to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

Published:     21st April 2018
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Author


What an interesting read and certainly kept me on my toes wanting to find out what on earth was going on!   You have Greta Carptenter who after receiving a mysterious call ups and disappears with her family.   You then have Det Hobbs who is investigating this disappearance but her investigation gets more complicated when one of the suspects is an ex of hers.

This books has a lot of really great twists and turns.  The ending was ok.  With all the build up and suspense, I was expecting something a bit more explosive than what happened but that said I certainly hadn't guessed what was going to happen at the end and to me that is always a great ending...

Continue reading Book Review / All the Hidden PIeces by Jillian Thomadsen

19 Apr 2018


Book Review / The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.

Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.

Published:     17th June 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


This was a really interesting read for me.  I am going to start by saying that I have not read Daphne Du Maurier's book, so I really can't do a comparison between the two.  Honestly, this is not one of those books that I would normally pick up but the description intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a go.  Right from the beginning I knew that the main character Betty was a character that I didn't particularly like very much and wouldn't like for most of the book, but that's ok.   I don't think I was meant to.  We follow Betty who is a very bitter character who is obviously either suffering from mental illness or most definately on her way to this.  For me, the best part of this book was following Betty as she travels on this downward spiral of mental illness.  Not that I wish anyone to suffer but I found it interesting to see what choices she would make.  Also, having the point of view of the story being Betty's point of view, it really explores more of her and her state of mind more than if the story was in another point of view.

A truly disturbing read but one that I would highly recommend. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

16 Apr 2018


Series Review / The Babysitters Club Specials by Ann M Martin

Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, Claudia and Dawn are the luckiest baby-sitters in the world. This summer they're going on the greatest trip ever: a plane ride to Florida, a boat trip around the Bahamas, and then three days of fun - in Disney World!

Of course they have a million adventures. Claudia gets notes from a mysterious "Secret Admirer." Kristy, Mary Anne, and Stacey make some unusual new friends. Dawn has her first real romance. And they still have time for what they like best of all - baby-sitting.

Published:     1990s
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Babysitter Club Specials, Books 1 to 15

Source:  Owned


What a trip down memory lane!  Back in the 1990s when I was a young teenager The Babysitters Club was one of those series that I was completely hooked on.  In fact, I think this is probably the first series I ever picked up.  Although I didn't read the entire series (as there are more than 200ish books in the series) I certainly picked up and read whatever I could get my hands on from the library.  I didn't really want to read all 200 plus books in this series but saw that the Specials collection is about 15 books, so I thought I would pick those up instead.  I have had the physical books with me for a while now, having rediscovered they were still available to buy.

There are some books that you can forget the plot and characters of and there are some that just stay with you.  The Babysitter Club plot and characters have definately stayed with me for a very long time.  What I liked about these specials was the fact that at the start of each book it gave a brief reminder of what the Babysitters Club was and who the main characters are in the club.  That helped certainly in the first book to bring me back into this work and reintroduce myself to the characters.  It was also good to have this in each of the specials as these specials were written at periodic points in the series and not one straight after the other where in between specials a lot has happened with the characters, each special book does a great job of catching you up what what has happened.

Despite the fact that each of the specials kind of have the same plot (trouble occurs and Babysitters Club saves the day in one way or another) I really enjoyed rediscovering this work and the characters that I loved when I was younger.

If you ever get hit by the 'I need to read something from my past' bug, just do it.  You will never know what you will rediscover.

Continue reading Series Review / The Babysitters Club Specials by Ann M Martin

13 Apr 2018

Author Interview / Joshua Banker

Career grifter and perennial loser Cal Reeger is a dead man. He owes a lot of money to crimelord Jaefor, and the only thing he owns are his pair of revolvers. Not even the jacket on his back belongs to him. To repay this debt, he must infiltrate the Archaeology Guild's site at Natx Hollow.

As Cal schemes to steal the find of a lifetime from the aeons-old site, the ruin's true nature is revealed. Within a cryogenic coffin belowground sleeps Centurion Prae Ganvelt, a member of the first civilization, the original race of humans who flourished millions of years ago.

Still looking for a way out of his debt and with a mercenary hot on his tail, Cal joins the awakened warrior Prae and archaeologist Peter Mathester to investigate the fate of Prae's kind. Within the mysterious, ancient compound of Ala’ydin, they learn that progenitor scientist, Erudatta, altered the cycle of dormancy for Prae's people. What they still must discover are his reasons for doing so.

The Fifth Era of Man examines the dangers of unearned achievements and the desperation that drives those who are prey to their own bad decisions.

Amazon Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6TFX6Z/
Print - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1983515027/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38923457-the-fifth-era-of-man


“On the prowl tonight?” Prae offered a barbed inquiry without even looking at Cal.

He made a clicking noise with his tongue as he fashioned a gun from one hand and pointed it playfully at Prae. Without saying anything else, he slipped away and back into the crowd; his attention was drawn by a brunette on the other side of the room that appeared to be a few too many drinks along.

“Prowl?” Oebe inquired as she looked back and forth between Prae and Peter.

“Uh, he’s looking—”

“Sorry, I wasn’t certain if such terminology was reintroduced.” In the poor light, it was hard to tell if Prae was blushing. “It means… to look for a dance partner,” Prae offered, hoping to end the subject.

“Yeah, dance. The one with no pants,” Peter commented under his breath. He scratched at his scalp as he looked from Oebe’s inquisitive gaze.

“I don’t understand.”

Before Peter could fashion a response, Prae held out a hand, asking him to hold off. “I say let Reeger explain this to her. It’s his fault we’re in this situation.”

Author Interview:

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

Neil Gaiman, because I love the aesthetic of his writing. From his days on Sandman all the way up to Anansi Boys, there's a distinct flavor to his prose that just clicks for me. It's both creative and grounded as he delves into an array of mythologies. Gaiman is the kind of author whose brain I just want to pick, purely as a learning experience. 

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

My day job is as graphic designer in a corporate setting, so I'm up early every day with a pot of coffee and a computer. Because I write whenever the inspiration strikes, I tend to leave a document open just so that I can scribble down small chunks as they come to me. I've been known to have something come to mind while I'm doing the most mundane of things - taking a shower, going for a walk, or even just listening to music.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Finding the balance--making sure that I describe the scenes as I see them in my head without overwriting. I never want to bog the reader down with needlessly-dense narrative for the sake of painting a word-picture. I've regularly written out hundreds, if not thousands, of words to frame a single moment. Only when I take a step back can I see the need to trim things down for the sake of narrative flow.

4.  When and why did you first start writing?

I was always creative; as a teenager, I painted, I drew, and I wrote. When I was younger, I didn't quite have the tools to create a compelling story that was ready to share. After some time lived and experience gained, I started producing works with the complexity and depth I needed in order to put my work out for a wider audience. It wasn't until later in life that I felt I had the proper understanding of how to tell a story.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

They say inspiration comes in many forms. For The Fifth Era of Man, I had two distinct concepts that I wanted to explore: How would a person who lived for millions of years deal with the world as it changed without them? What kind of impact does long-term and short-term memory have on emotional growth and expression? The exploration of both these themes allowed me to lay down groundwork for a what ultimately became a by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure story.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

Harry Potter. I was in my mid-20s to 30s when they came out, so I'd never read the Harry Potter books before. I'm currently binging the entire series and am now on Order of the Phoenix. It's interesting for me to see how the books were trimmed and reformed for the sake of making viable screenplays, including how characters were changed to make them more palatable. When not visiting the Wizarding World, I like classic sci-fi, especially the work of Philip K. Dick.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Get into the habit of doing something every day. Even if you only put a couple of hundred words down--that you may rewrite or discard at a later date--the daily activity does wonders. I've known a number of people who just couldn't find the impetus, but if you're already in the habit, it becomes easier to move through your stories. For me, it created a voracious appetite to create, even if the the current work won't see the light of day anytime soon. There are passages  I've written that I might not explore for years to come.

Genre: Science-fiction, cyberpunk, noir
Continue reading Author Interview / Joshua Banker