#BlogTour #Review Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rararesources

Raving about Rhys HIGH RES (1)

Title: Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland

Date Published: 23rd May 2013

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romantic Comedy


Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can’t believe she’s finally landed herself a decent boyfriend – older man Tony – who’s lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony’s exactly what she’s always dreamed of… or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn’t constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise.

When the new gardener, Mikey, discovers her in a rather compromising position at work, Callie knows that her days at Bay View Care Home could be numbered. Can she trust him not to tell Denise? If she’s issued with her marching orders, who’ll look out for her favourite client, Ruby, whose grandson, Rhys, seems to constantly let her down? What does Ruby know about Tony? And what is Denise hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, is there anyone left who Callie can trust?

Purchase on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raving-About-Rhys-Jessica-Redland-ebook/dp/B01N6T85B0/

Raving About Rhys Full Banner


Callie is happy with her life. She works as a carer at Bayview Nursing Home which she loves apart from one thing, her boss, Denise or as she calls her The She-Devil. She also thinks she’s found her perfect man in Tony who at forty five is old enough to be her dad. At almost a year together he’s last longer than all of her other relationships. But the cracks in her relationship start to show when a resident called Ruby says she knows Tony from somewhere and she is caught in a comprising position by the hunky new gardener Mikey. What is Tony hiding?

So I’ve decided to dip my toe back into a bit of romantic comedy, to have little break from all the murder and bloodshed I’ve been reading lately.

I read this lovely novella in just one day, I didn’t want to stop (happily there are three subsequent books, one of which I will be reading soon, Searching for Steven).

From the cover I was kind of expecting a bit of light-hearted fluff but this story goes so much deeper than that! The characters are complex and flawed, with a compelling story line, all set against the backdrop of a seaside town makes this the perfect summer read.

I liked Callie, she’s such a big hearted and caring person, she even tries to help her horrible boss Denise when she starts acting strangely. But I kept wishing for her to have a bit more confidence in herself!

Elderly resident Ruby I have to say is my favourite character. She funny, sweet and bit racy at time with her stories from the old days.

Yes, the story line may have been a little predictable but the author makes it her own and I am really looking forward to reading her next novel Searching for Steven.

Rating: 4/5

Author Bio –

Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her_DSF1336-2 business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JessicaRedland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Website and blog: www.jessicaredland.com

Bedtime Book Review: Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick #BookReview #Classic #SciFi

I have problems getting to sleep (like most of us) and I spotted a post on Instagram a week or so ago about putting all my electronic devices away (including my kindle) and picking up a good old book at bedtime to help you sleep.  I have to be honest I don’t think it’s helped me sleep any better but it gave me an idea for a blog post.  So here’s the first of my Bedtime Book Reviews: 

Title: Electric Dreams by Philip K Dick.

Publisher: Gollancz

Date Published: 14th September 2017

Genre: Sci-fi, Short story anthology



From tales of a wife who suspects her husband may no longer be the same man after a trip to deep space, to a government agent seeking the source behind a recent wave of illegal, telepathy-inhibiting ‘hoods’, these stories investigate what it means to be human in a changing world.

These ten stories inspired the ten episodes of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the hit TV series from Channel 4 and Sony Pictures Television. Each story also has an exclusive introduction by the writers who adapted it for the series, including Ronald D. Moore, Matthew Graham, Jessica Mecklenburg, Tony Grisoni and Jack Thorne.


So before the TV series Electric Dreams was broadcast I’d never really heard of Philip K Dick (seriously every time I type that name I giggle, yes I’m like a five year old) but having enjoyed a couple of episodes of the show I thought I’d read the original stories. That was about six months ago and I have finally got round to reading them.

The stories in this collection are, Exhibit Piece, The Commuter, The Impossible Planet, The Hanging Stranger, Sales Pitch, The Father Ting, The Hood Maker, Foster, You’re Dead, Human Is and Autofac.

There is so much crammed into these short stories, aliens, telepaths, dystopian futures, space travel, body snatchers I could go on!

Like with most collections there were a few standouts. My favourites were The Hanging Stranger, Sales Pitch and Human Is.

The Hanging Stranger is about a man called Ed Loyce who after spending the morning in his basement, goes to work to find a strange man hanging in the town square. Nobody notices but him. He feels like he’s going mad, is it real or is there something more sinister at work? This for me had the best ending in the entire book and out of the stories which had the theme of is this real or am I losing my mind, it just captured my imagination.

Sales Pitch is about a world gone mad from advertising (sometimes it feels like that now, doesn’t it?), you can’t go anywhere without adverts or sales bots haunting your every move. When Ed Morris (another Ed, I know) comes home he wants to escape until a robot turns up and refuses to leave, so he takes it with him to the planet Proxima in a bid to escape it all.

Then there’s Human Is, about Jill who’s husband suddenly changes, from a cold hearted bully to the husband she’s always wanted after a trip to deep space. Again even though this is science fiction, this one is a real character based story that would appeal to anyone. I mean how often have we thought you wouldn’t mind changing your other half?

These stories were written back in the 1950’s, in the shadow of the Cold War, so there were a few outdated stereotypes and language but the stories so original and unique that will appeal to most modern readers. I can also so see why so many of his stories get adapted into films, the majority of them have ambiguous or open ending just begging someone to finish or expand the stories.

Also I could have done without the introductions on each story but that’s personal preference rather than anything else.

Overall a must for Science fiction fans and lovers of dystopian fiction.

Rating: 4/5

About The Author:

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer, whosePhilipDick published works mainly belong to the genre of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, sociological and political themes in novels with plots dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. In his later works, Dick’s thematic focus tended to reflect his personal interest in metaphysics and theology.

He often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS. Later in life, he wrote non-fiction on philosophy, theology, the nature of reality, and science. This material was published posthumously as The Exegesis.

The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a novel about a celebrity who awakens one day to find that he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. “”I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,”” Dick wrote of these stories. “”In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.””

In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, eleven popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, The Adjustment Bureau and Impostor. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

Up next on Bedtime Book Reviews (whenever I finish it that is) : Evil Games by Angela Marsons.

#BlogTour #Review Beneath The Whispers by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author

Title: Beneath The Whispers by Jim Ody

Publisher: Crazy Ink

Date Published: 8th March 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller.

Genevieve Deboise is too good for Scott Dean. He’s always known that. It isn’t a shock to learn she is cheating on him.

What is a surprise is bumping into his childhood sweetheart in the woods where he’d planned to take solace in his heartbreak and bruised ego.
But running into Mary-Ann Jennings isn’t exactly the fairy tale it might seem.

Instead, his first love needs his help finding a USB stick that has fallen into the wrong hands. Now in the cellar of Genevieve’s new lover, Scotty must confront his feelings for both women in order to retrieve the missing USB stick.

On a quest to confront his past and locate Mary-Ann’s property, he journeys through the whispers that have always surrounded him.

Love will make you do crazy things.

But is it enough to get beneath the whispers?



Scott is wallowing in self pity after he found out his girlfriend was cheating on him, drinking and watching John Cusack movies to try and numb the pain. A chance encounter with his first love Mary-Ann, brings up a lot of buried memories. She asks him to retrieve a USB stick, which has fallen into the hands of Guy, the man who his girlfriend cheated on him with.

Can he do it?

This is a quick read at just nineteen chapters perfect for a long commute or if you’ve got a long wait ahead of you.

In the beginning there is quite a bit of backstory, so it starts a little slowly but after the first few chapters you get to nitty-gritty of the story.

There was an interesting cast of characters too. I have a little soft spot for Freddie, who is sex obsessed thirteen year old with a very weird relationship with his step-mother. Although as the mother of a teenage boy, I am glad my son is nothing like him!

I didn’t much like Scott. I found him incredibly self centred and a little annoying to me but he was so realistic. As it was written in the first person I felt like he was talking to me throughout the story.

I have to be honest while the ending made sense and I did enjoy it, it left me with a few unanswered questions. Also I felt like some of the more minor characters, e.g. his ex-girlfriend Genevieve, could have done with a little bit more fleshing out but of course that’s just my opinion.

Rating: 3/5

Author Bio:

Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age ofAuthor Photo (2) eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art.

For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.

He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels released through Zombie Cupcake Press and has also contributed to several anthologies. Coming soon is his psychological/mystery ‘Beneath The Whispers’ released by Crazy Ink. He also has short stories appearing in the following anthologies ‘War Paint’, ‘Crazy Fools’, ‘AWOL A.I.’ and ‘The End?’

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Author Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JimOdyAuthor

Jim Ody’s Spooky Circus Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1372500609494122/

Amazon Author Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Ody/e/B019A6AMSY/

Email: jim.ody@hotmail.co.uk

Twitter: @Jim_Ody_Author

Instagram: @jimodyauthor

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jimodyauthor/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6IWwZ24CeMH_qtlS2o7TCA

#Review The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night by Jen Campbell @TwoRoadsBooks

Title: The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night by Jen Campbell

Publisher: Two Roads Publishing

Date Published: 2nd November 2017

Genre: Short Story.


These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That’s why I bought her heart online.’

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

‘I’m fascinated by storytelling, and particularly fairy tales. How humans have always tried to explain things that they can’t possibly understand with, sometimes outrageous, stories’ Jen Campbell

From the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book.


I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

When I saw this book I loved the unusual name coupled with the gorgeous cover, and I thought to myself I have to read this. It turned out to be a really eclectic series of stories. Each one different, each one unique. There’s fantasy, sci-fi, even a story concerning abuse and grief. One of them is even written in script format.

The overall theme is fairy tales, some have actually been included in the stories themselves, changed slightly. One in particular I remember is a retelling of Rapunzel where she’s half human, half plant.

I especially enjoyed two of the stories. Animals, set in a world where you can buy love in the form of an animal heart (it’s a little gruesome) and Aunt Libby’s Coffin Hotel, about a young girl called Ankaa who lives with her Aunt Libby, a bit of a con artist, who sells an overnight death experience but comes face-to-face with real supernatural phenomenon.

The only thing I felt was some of the stories didn’t seem finished or there was more story to tell.

Overall not a light-hearted read but each story is poignant and thought provoking.

Rating: 3/5

Author Bio:

Jen Campbell is an award winning poet and short story writer. Her debut short story collection, ‘The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night,’ is published by Two Roads (November 2017) and her first children’s book ‘Franklin’s Flying Bookshop’ is published by Thames & Hudson (September 2017).

Jen is also the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series, and The Bookshop Book. Her poetry pamphlet The Hungry Ghost Festival is published by The Rialto, and her collection in progress, the girl aquarium, won an Eric Gregory Award in 2016.

Jen worked as a bookseller for ten years and now runs a Youtube channel, where she talks about all things books. She is currently a judge for this year’s Somerset Maugham Award. She grew up in the north east of England and now lives in London.

#ShortStory Bedside Confession by L.J. Cassidy #amwriting #writer #writerslife

So one of my resolutions for 2018 was to write a short story or piece of flash fiction for my blog each month, and here’s the first.  I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think!

I nodded absently, adding the odd ‘mm I suppose,’ as my dad rambled on. I don’t know when he decided that every bowel movement, or lack thereof, deserved an in depth discussion but I suppose there wasn’t anything much else to talk about. At eighty-three his body seemed to be giving up on itself, and now he was confined to living in a nursing home where the only sources of entertainment were reading or staring mindlessly at the TV. Well, unless he overheard one the care staff dishing some salacious gossip, but that had gotten less frequent of late, now his hearing was as he described it ‘like having his ears stuffed with itchy cotton wool’.

Today was especially bad. After the simple task of getting out his chair had caused him to take a tumble two days ago, he’d confined to his bed to rest, which mean he didn’t even have the company of his fellow residents to break the monotony of his day.

His bedroom wasn’t much bigger than your average bedsit. A wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a single bed and a chair had been crammed into the tiny space. It was making me claustrophobic sitting next to his bed.

I remember as a child thinking how tall and indestructible he seemed now he looked so small and shrunken tucked up under his duvet cover. 

My eyes hovered over the bruise just above his eyebrow, covered most of his wrinkled forehead was turning from purple to a yellowish green, which was a good sign but the cut running the length of his forehead that I was more worried about. It had turned an ominous shade of black.

This was the man who used to make bad jokes, always telling me and my sister tall stories of when he was a pirate or a spy or some other such nonsense that kept us enraptured…

Kerry?” said dad, his weak voice breaking through my thoughts.

Yes, dad?” I replied.

You’ve got that look.”

What look?”

That worried look.”

I don’t mean to,” I sighed. “It’s just…how did you fall again?”

It was my dad’s turn to sigh. “I told you. I got up to go the loo and my legs decided they didn’t want to do that and I fell. Hit my head on old Bertie’s chair.”

Nobody pushed you?”

No, this is a good place this, no abuse here.”

Okay, then,” I replied, not entirely convinced.

Your mum was always a worrier when she were alive. I was a couple of hours late home one night, she called the police, the coastguard and she was trying to get hold of the army when I walked in.”

Down the pub, were you?” I smiled. I knew most of his stories and they always seemed to involve the pub in some way, shape or form.

I noticed him shift uncomfortably under his duvet cover.

Don’t tell me you cheating on mum?”

Your mum was the love of my life, I would have never done that,” he snorted indignantly. “It’s just well…it’s not something I’ve ever told anyone before.

Oh, go on,” I replied, “it can’t be that bad.”

He looked at me for a long moment, his bloodshot eyes staring me down.

Alright then,” he said eventually. “It happened when you were small, seventy four I think, the autumn or was it the winter…”

I could see him getting agitated, so I placed a hand on his arm. “It’s okay dad, the date doesn’t matter, just carry on.”

Anyhow, we were living in this lovely street, well, it was lovely apart from this one little sod. Matthew Carter.”

I nodded, wondering where this trip of nostalgia was heading.

I mean real scum of the earth. Couldn’t hold down a job, too bone idle. Beat his wife up, she was young too. Little slip of a thing. Always drunk and having fights with strangers in the street. I broke one up once, which was a mistake because that set me firmly within his sights.”

What happened?”

He started by shouting abuse in the street. He and a mate jumped me on the way home from work once too. Luck for me I could defend myself, him and his mate ran away with their tails between their legs, I can tell you. He didn’t like that. A week later he put a brick through our window, missed your sister Sue by an inch, she was only a baby at the time too.”

Didn’t you call the police?”

Could do anything, unless they had proof and nobody would testify against him.”

That’s terrible.”

Aye. Then I found out he’d been dealing drugs…selling them to kids too..” he said trying stifle a yawn.

Maybe you should have a rest dad, tell me the rest of the story later.”

No, no,” he replied. “I need to get this out. Anyway I followed him one day, determined to get proof, photographic proof, so I could take it to the police. He went down an alleyway and this girl came up to him, she must have been about fifteen at the most. She had that emaciated look that druggies have. She was obviously trying to buy something from him, I heard him say that she didn’t have enough. She begged him for the stuff. He replied saying that there were other ways to pay for things.”

As the kids say, eww.”

Exactly. But she was made of stronger stuff that girl, she refused but Matthew decided to not take no for an answer. She stand a chance against him.”

I gasped. “Did he…?”

I didn’t give him the chance. There was an old tire iron someone had dumped, picked it up and hit him, again and again and again until there wasn’t much left of his head.”

I could feel my mouth drop open. Did my dad just confess to murder?

What about the girl?”

Bolted,” replied my dad, his voice fading a little. “Never saw her again. I kept waiting for the knock on the door from the police….”

His head drooped forwards. I quickly leapt forward to check his pulse. It was still beating steadily.

He emitted a small snore.

I sat back down heavily, accidentally knocking into his bedside table sending some things flying.

Automatically I picked them up placing them back on the table.

My dad’s a murderer? I can’t believe it. What should I do?

I picked the last item up. A book. The cover caught my eye. It was of a man holding a tire iron. I checked the back. It had a strangely familiar synopsis. It was pretty much the same story my dad had told me.

I couldn’t believe it, he’d just told me the plot line of the book he was reading. He’d been having me on this whole time, just like when I was a kid.

I bent over his bed and kissed him on the forehead.

You got me dad,” I whispered.

I swear he smiled in his sleep.

#Review The Sherlock Effect by Raymond Kay Lyon @ThistleBooks

Title: The Sherlock Effect by Raymond Kay Lyon

Publisher: Thistle Publishing.

Date Published: 25th January 2018 (ebook available now)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Short story collection.


Christopher Sherlock Webster always blamed his Holmes-obsessed father for burdening him with an embarrassing middle name. He spent his school days desperately trying to live it down.

But after his old man prematurely dies, Christopher finds that he has somehow inherited the very same obsession…

Teaming up with Mo Rennie, a marketing-conscious pal, he starts up an agency called Baskerville’s, which specialises in the application of rigorous Holmesian method.

Here are five bizarre adventures from the files – a sumptuous feast upon which the gastronome of crime may gorge.

– A young beautician is stalked by a haunting stranger through the narrow streets of Cambridge. Yet he possesses love letters from the girl, ostensibly in her handwriting. How come?

– A science journalist disappears while investigating UFO sightings in Wiltshire. But is the explanation earthly or supernatural?

– When a pornographer receives death threats online he arranges protection 24/7. Will it work?

– A pop diva’s boyfriend is kidnapped twice by animal rights extremists. Should the ransom be paid again?

– Everything in the garden seems rosy when a millionaire widower meets Miss Perfect through a dating agency. But the lady soon starts to behave oddly. Should the wedding plans be shelved?Review:

Now I know I have so many other books to review before this one but when I saw this on Goodreads and the fact it was available on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it.

I am a complete and utter Sherlock Holmes fan girl. I have been since I was four or five and watched Jeremy Brett in the ITV adaptations with my mum (I later read the books too), so a character who’s obsessed with Sherlock Holmes was right up my alley.

They story starts with a brief history of how Christopher Sherlock Webster was saddled with his unusual middle name by his father and how he and Morris Rennie end up setting up Baskerville’s private detective agency.

It’s followed by five short stories written in a similar style to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes but they are written by through Christopher or Sherl (Morris’s nickname for him) point of view rather than his Watson Morris Rennie.

Fur Trade – Famous singer Vicki Vine’s boyfriend is kidnapped by extremist animal rights activists, twice, after she was pictured posing in fur.

The Warminster Assignment – A star journalist goes missing after investigating UFO sightings

The Persistent Admirer – A young woman is being stalked by someone who claims to be in love with her.

Gardeners Questions – Millionaire and gardening enthusiast George Beaumaris asks the duo to investigate his fiancée after she starts acting strangely.

The Balcony Scene – Kevin Tripp, managing director of X.E media (an adult entertainment business) receives a death threat from someone called the Mad Monk, he asks the detective pair to provide him with 24 hr protection but will it stop the Monk?

I absolutely loved this book. Would I have liked it as much if it hadn’t been Sherlock themed? The answer is probably yes. Each story is so different with humour infused throughout and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I found out it was originally published in 1997 and there has been an attempt to modernise it a little bit but there’s still a bit of old style language like Ghetto-blaster or video recorder. Also I did figure out most of the endings but it was still an immensely enjoyable read.

I really hope the author has more of these stories to be published!

Overall a perfect book for Sherlock fans and people who love a cozy mystery.

Rating: 5/5

Author Bio:

Raymond Kay Lyon won several literary prizes at the Cambridge Grammar School. He went on to create a theory of time, based on its complete non-existence, which gained him an unconditional offer to study Philosophy at University College London.
After being signed by several record labels as a singer/songwriter in his twenties he finally abandoned music to write The Sherlock Effect, having lived for a year on Baker Street to give himself inspiration.
A keen Ufologist, Raymond appeared on television in the 1970s, while still at school, commenting on the flood of UFO reports in the Cambridge area, and outlining the theory that the Bible had extraterrestrial origins.

#BlogTour #Excerpt #Review Follow The Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner @shanannigans81 @KernerAngelina

Author Name:Angelina Kerner

Book Title:Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella

Date Published: December 15, 2017

Genre:Chick-lit, contemporary romance

Publisher:KDP Select


At 28, it’s bad to be single. After four years of relationship struggles, Cat is ready to try anything.

That’s when her friend tells her about her class’ Dear Santa letters. One little boy asked for a new mommy, and she suggests Cat meets the kid’s dad, just to see where things go. Cat figures it can’t hurt…until she meets a stranger in the midst of a car accident. The man is handsome with a sad look in his eyes. He still wears a wedding band and she’s not sure his heart’s available, even if he makes her heart race. But, maybe he’s a widower? Cat wonders if she should resign herself to being an old maid, or whether she could possibly be the answer to a little boy’s Christmas wish, unless there’s a third option – a future with the stranger.
Add to Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36555250-follow-the-snowflakes-a-christmas-novella

Follow the Snowflakes front cover



December 17th, 2017

Dear Diary,

When I eventually return to read my entries in my old age, I’ll always remember just how miserable I was in December of 2017. I should have had a diary when I was a teen; then it would have been funny to re-read what I went through back then. When I was in high school, I didn’t have many friends. In fact, my mother introduced me to a girl on the day of orientation. Here’s the story:

Mom parked her car, and we got out. She began looking for all the gathered students outside of the gymnasium. I knew no one at the high school and Mom knew that too. It was mainly because I finished middle school in a different district and at that moment, I was not happy about the move. I gazed at the students and my Mom. She had that glint in her eyes that said a plan was forming and I could do nothing to stop it. After a minute, she motioned me to follow her and I did, just like the good girl that I was. We walked up to two girls. One had long brown hair and was wearing a loose shirt and long skirt, while the other had short blonde hair, glasses and wore a tiger t-shirt with jeans. Mom told them how it would be nice for them to take little old me into their friendship. They said ‘sure,’ and she just left me there.

You see Diary? Nowthose are memories. Memories of dating an engaged guy at 28, is not as good as that one, huh?

If you’re wondering, I couldn’t really make friends with the long skirt. She and I were too different. She was very opinionated, and I couldn’t hold a conversation without being confused. The glasses girl and I stayed friends until the first year of college. We grew apart after she moved away. I did hear from her once. She congratulated me on my degree. It was random. She sounded happy, and she met her life partner. I was happy for her, but that conversation didn’t rekindle the friendship that lasted for five years.  

Now, I am off to work. Yes, I’m working today, although it’s a Sunday. There are branches open on Sundays; I am talking about the ones inside the grocery stores. My friend, Jessica, who’s a manager at one, called me to cover for her today because she has a cold. I couldn’t say no, so I need to go. Oh, and she told me to buy her crew breakfast! At least, we’re only open until 2 pm today.

PS: Buy those groceries TONIGHT, or you’ll be eating Chinese noodles, and not the take-out ones.


So the story opens with Cat finding out her perfect man turns out to be married to another woman. She doesn’t want to go to her parents alone so her best friend shows her a letter from a boy in her class who wants a new mum for Christmas and suggests she meets the dad and see how it goes. Cat is reluctant especially when she meets a handsome stranger after witnessing his car crash.

This is a short feel good Christmas story. The main character Cat is a very sweet and I really wanted her to find the man of her dreams.

Cat also has a few interesting traditions, like celebrating Yule or the winter solstice as it’s otherwise known, which is a Pagan holiday. I know I’m not a regular reader of Christmas stories but this is probably a little unusual but I found it quite fun.

I have to be honest, it could have done with a bit more editing (there’s a few typos in there). I found the diary excepts a little redundant as it was just pretty much repeating what had just happened in the chapter. Also there was a lot of telling the reader what was happening instead of describing the scene which made it feel a little rushed in places.

Overall a light and fluffy read perfect for getting you into the Christmas spirit.

Rating: 3/5

Author Bio:

ANGELINA KERNER is a self-published author of paranormal and light-hearted romance. She’sAngelina Kerner the wife of a photographer/physicist, and the mother of a cute little toddler, but she’s also been a dancer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a geographer, a dreamer, and an adventurer. She does her best writing while being bothered by her cats, taking care of her son, in dressing rooms while waiting for family to try on clothing, and at home in sunny California. Angelina loves to play goddess-dragon matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where young goddesses have lovable flaws, the Fates plan to dethrone, the universe is endless and untamed, and dragons roam free! She also loves to write carefree romance where one can finish reading with a smile.

Author Links:






Pre-order Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07733X13J?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/follow-the-snowflakes

Book Trailer Link: https://youtu.be/9I9tcpMrg4s

Blog Tour Organised By:

RR Book Tours Button (2)

Link: http://rrbooktours.com


I have the sweetest Giveaway for the tour – pictured here – & open worldwide.Giveaway

Included is a Wine bottle Christmas tree, chocolates, Rudolph hot chocolate with Snowflake marshmallows, a Christmas tree ornament and a signed copy of Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted.

While you read, you can enjoy chocolate!

Angelina XO”

Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f22/?

#BlogTour #BookReview Devil’s Kitchen/Brass In Pocket by Stephen Puleston. @stephenpuleston @Books_n_all

I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw for inviting me and this Blog Tour for Brass In Pocket.  I have also included my review of the prequel novella Devil’s Kitchen.

devils kitchen

Title: Inspector Drake #0.5 Devil’s Kitchen by Stephen Puleston

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

****Currently free on Kindle****


A tragic accident?
When two bodies are found sprawled at the bottom of the Devil’s Kitchen in the mountains of Snowdonia, it’s believed the man found dead killed his wife and then committed a suicide. But something doesn’t feel right to DI Ian Drake and his gut instinct has never let him down before.

Or murder on a mountain?
Drake suspects at least one of the deaths could be suspicious, but who would kill such an ordinary couple and why? This might be Drake’s first murder inquiry, but his years as a detective have taught him one thing – every murder has a motive, and every killer leaves a trace.


The story opens with Ian Drake, newly promoted to Detective Inspector and he’s keen to prove himself when the call comes in about two bodies being found in the Cwn Idwal valley in the middle of Snowdonia, otherwise known as the Devil’s Kitchen.

It looks like a simple murder suicide but Drake is unsure. With the help of DS Caren Waits he wants to find out what really happened.

This is a good short story, it’s only eleven chapters long, and a nice introduction to the characters of DI Drake and DS Waits.

DI Drake seems a little OCD and serious which nicely complements DS Waits who’s a bit more laid back and messy.

I haven’t read many stories set in Wales, especially crime fiction and I’m interested in seeing where this series is headed. The review for the first full length novel in the series, Brass In Pocket is up next!

I read it in one sitting and I think it’s ideal for a commute or if you’ve got a bit of spare time.

Rating: 3/5

Brass in Pocket cover

Title: Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake #1 by Stephen Puleston

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


It is the middle of the night…The road is deserted…A killer is waiting…

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.

The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?

Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.

Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.

Inspector Drake

Detective Ian Drake is an inspector in the Wales Police Service and is based in the northern division headquarters near Colwyn Bay on the coast. North Wales is a large area that stretches from the coast to the border with England. It is an area rich in history and great scenery.

Book 0.5: The Devils Kitchen (a prequel novella)

Book 1: Brass in Pocket

Book 2: Worse than Dead

Book 3: Against the Tide

Book 4: Dead on your Feet

Book 5: March 2018


The book opens with the death of two dodgy policemen on an isolated road. The killer leaves a number four at the crime scene then sends a message to the baffled police in the form of song lyrics. A second murder occurs with the same M.O. and it’s up to Inspector Drake and his team to stop the killer before they strike again.

This is book is set in the picturesque setting of north Wales like Devil’s Kitchen. Inspector Drake is a man on the edge. He’s ambitious and he’s been given one of the biggest cases of his life yet suffering from mental health problems,.i.e. obsessive compulsive disorder. The author conveys OCD very well and shows how when their stress levels raise they find comfort in their routines (in Drakes case, it’s making sure his desk is tidy and orderly and doing his daily sudoku puzzle). I know people who suffer from the condition and this is very accurate. He’s not particularly likeable but that is balanced out by his DS, Caren Waits.

I also liked the chapters written from the prospective of the killer with little glimpses inside their mind, (if you are a regular reader of my reviews you probably know it’s one of my favourite things in crime novels).

I have to be honest after reading the prequel novella first which seemed very well put together, I was a little disappointed by the editing of this book. I think it could have done with a little more revising, as sometimes I thought that I’d missed something or some information was left out.

The book was it was named after a song Brass In Pocket by the Pretenders (I’ve vaguely heard of the band myself but not the song) and the killer taunts them with lyrics from that and other songs but the song lyrics don’t actually appear in the book. I feel if the author couldn’t get permission to use the lyrics, then maybe he could have used something else.

Also it has the tired old trope of Scousers (that a nickname for people from the Liverpool area to any international readers) being either thugs or incompetent which as a person who was born and bred in Liverpool and does not have a violent bone in my body I find exceptionally annoying. I’m also not denying that there are violent thugs floating around my city but if there were as many as there are in crime books/tv shows we’d be overrun with them which is not the case.

Rating: 2.5/5

Author Bio:

I write mysteries and thrillers.

I have published the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Drake based in North Wales andAuthor photo also the first in a series with Inspector John Marco based in Cardiff. The first Drake mystery is called BRASS IN POCKET and the second WORSE THAN DEAD. The third, AGAINST THE TIDE and the fourth, DEAD ON YOUR FEET.

Before turning to crime fiction I had written three other unpublished novels and you can read about my writing and about Wales, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, on my website http://www.stephenpuleston.co.uk/

I was brought up on the Isle of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast and went to school in Holyhead. After a degree in Theology from London University I decided to train as a lawyer and returned to work in the practice run by my father on Anglesey. For many years I worked as a lawyer in a small practice representing clients in the criminal courts and doing divorce work all of which has given me valuable raw material for my novels.

I still live and work in North Wales where the Inspector Drake novels are set. 


Website: http://www.stephenpuleston.co.uk/

twitter @stephenpuleston

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/17G6iIA

#Review Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka #ShortStory #Thriller

Title: Environmental Friendly by Elias Zanbaka

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Short Story.


Out of seven billion people, one man has declared war on Mother Nature and plans to bring it to its knees.

Out of all the criminals in Los Angeles, he’s the number one target being hunted by the LAPD tonight.

And out of the entire LAPD, one officer is hell-bent on helping him complete his mission.


I received a copy of this via the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a super short story, focusing on the story of police Sergeant Schaefer as he battles with Sergeant Major Alan Bushell, an army veteran who thinks he’s still at war, but this time with nature itself.

The author drops you right into the action without any real background information which was good but I found a little disconcerting. It took me a page or two to grasp what was going on.

I liked the character of Sergeant Schaefer, he’s a good guy who uses his mind rather than violence. It would be interesting if the author could do a full length novel as I’d like to read more about him.

Unfortunately the storyline was a little far fetched mainly because if mental patient in America was welding a flame thrower, a gun, machete and a chainsaw, the police would probably shoot first and ask questions later rather than help them.

Another issue I had is we never really find out why, completely anyway, Sergeant Major Bushell was taking on nature. It would have been nice to get inside his head a little bit.

This story is ideal if you’ve got a spare bit of time and fancy an action packed bit of escapism.

Rating: 3/5

Author bio:

Elias Zanbaka is an author from Sydney, Australia, and has always had a great passion for both teaching and storytelling. Like a lot of people, he grew up on a lot of exciting and engaging stories as if they were another major food group that couldn’t be skipped. This would eventually manifest itself as a love for both devouring and telling the most exciting and entertaining stories as he could.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15072132.Elias_Zanbaka

The eBook is currently available on Amazon for free here:https://www.amazon.com/Environmentally-Friendly-Elias-Zanbaka-ebook/dp/B01CMK5YA6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509752453&sr=8-1&keywords=zanbaka

#BookReview Manipulated Lives by @HALeuschel

Title: Manipulated Lives by Helene Leuschel

Genre: Literary & General Fiction, Novellas, Suspense

Audience: Adults

Three words to describe the book: Psychological, manipulation, narcissism

Publisher: Self-published

Page count: 274

Publication Date: 8th June 2016


Five stories – Five Lives.

Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?
Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.
In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.



I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by the author herself.

Manipulated Lives is a collection of five short stories, Tess and tattoos, The spell, Runaway girl, The narcissist and My perfect child, all based around the theme of manipulation.

Tess And Tattoos is about eighty two year old, Tess, the survivor of domestic abuse who meets the kind hearted Sandra who forge an unlikely friendship which helps Tess come to terms with her past.

The Spell is about Sophie who befriend a young boy named Leo and enters into a relationship with his father. She is happy to spend time with Leo and sees him like her own son. Their happiness is short lived as a woman begins stalking them on behalf of Leo’s mother.

Runaway Girl is about fifteen year old Holly, who wants freedom from her alcoholic mother and out of the small flat that she shares with her family. But she catches the eye of Luke, the hottest boy in school with a bad reputation. She’s never really had a boyfriend before and is soon caught in Luke’s web.

The Narcissist is about a life long con artist who can’t see the error of his ways even though he’s now dying.

My Perfect Child is about Lisa who thinks she has the perfect son whom she spoils with attention and constantly makes excuses for. As the story progresses she realises that he has been manipulating her and everyone around him.

The Spell was by far my favourite and well worth buying this book for. It had a very psychological thriller feel to it. It really drew me into Sophie’s world, sharing her fears and feeling her protectiveness over Leo.

But I have to be honest the other stories didn’t quite live up to The Spell. I felt there was a lot of telling the reader what was happening rather than showing. Like for instance in Tess and Tattoos we’re told about the awkward guilt filled telephone calls that Tess has with her son, who lives in Australia. I felt it would have been better maybe to have shown one these calls within the dialogue. Also at times, especially in The Runaway Girl, the dialogue was little awkward too.

But overall I think Helene did an amazing job handling such a sensitive subject as manipulation/abuse and I can tell there was a lot of painstaking research was done on this subject throughout the stories.

These stories won’t be to everyone’s taste, and I even found it a little hard myself sometimes to read, but I’d recommend you give them a try.

Rating: 3/5

Author bio:

Photo - Helene editedHelene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism and Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.

She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

For more about Helene Leuschel check out the links below:

Website: www.heleneleuschel.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/HALeuschel

Facebook: www.facebook/HALeuschel
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Manipulated-Lives-H-Leuschel/dp/1534708979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478786755&sr=8-1&keywords=manipulated+lives



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