Posted in audio, book review, fiction, FYI, TBR, Uncategorized

TBR Love and Giveaway!

This TBR Love is part audio with my new podcast—Way I See It: eBooks For Travelers. In the fourth episode, I discuss the some of the books in the Dead In The Water Mystery and Thriller Giveaway.

Don’t forget to check out the fantastic giveaways on Prolific Works, including my own Situation No Win sample of the first five chapters. My eBook is also discounted at most retailers until early May 2021 😀

Why eBooks For Travelers? Whether on the move or in armchairs, ebooks are lighter by far and—I believe more eco-friendly!

Giveaways!

22 March to 5 April 2021: Romance in every subgenre.

23 March to 6 April 2021: Actions and thrills, long and short reads.

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Featured in the podcast e-Books For Travelers episode

Kick Back by Phil Savage

An Alex Munday book Volume 1

Alex Munday, ex football star, now struggling for credibility as a journalist and PR troubleshooter.

The seedier side of football and organised crime from match fixing and gambling to money laundering to illegal contracts with players, and even international gang wars.

Bloodbath in Rio by Gus Heyerdahl

A Tor Medina Thriller Novella

Set in the Morros of Rio, Tor’s family is massacred and he immediately seeks revenge. Helped by a neighbour and Tor’s girlfriend, Morena. This fast-paced story covers just a few days of this turning point in Tor’s life.

Don’t Let Her Go by JG Alva

Standalone novella

Jamie Richards and his wife are out shopping with their daughter, Amy, in Bristol, UK. When Amy is abducted at knife point, both parents go to extreme lengths to get her back.

Special Mention

Listen to the fourth episode of eBooks For Travelers for free on:

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-leenna/id1543528432

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3fopB0TyRMlSyAJJswBj2g

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=593149

iHeart Radio https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-way-i-see-it-writerstarot-74971298/

Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/show/2050802

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1543528432

Podchaser: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-1567868

Have and awesome week!

Posted in audio, book review, fiction, FYI, podcast, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, TBR, Uncategorized

TBR Love February 2021 With Giveaway!

This TBR Love is part audio with my new podcast—Way I See It: eBooks For Travelers.

In the third episode and to celebrate the month of love, I discuss the historical romance A Love That Never Tires, Book 5 of the Spotless series and a special mention of a story I love that’s finally in print.

Don’t forget to check out the fantastic giveaways on Prolific Works, including my own Unsettled and Settle Down Now Part 1. Download both in this giveaway before 2 March 2021:-D

Click on image to find your next read.

Why eBooks For Travelers? Whether on the move or in armchairs, ebooks are lighter by far and—I believe—more eco-friendly!

As usual, I’ll be concentrating primarily on indie-published eBooks plus on a special mention for YA fans.

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Featured in the podcast e-Books For Travelers episode

Edwardian romance with
modern-minded characters.

More crazy fun in Spotless Series
Book 5

Read my interview with Camilla Monk (with small spoilers) over on my other blog. https://leennanaidoo.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/interview-with-camilla-monk-author-of-the-spotless-series/

Special Mention:

We Are The Fire by Sam Taylor

A YA fantasy with dark elements.

Read my review of We Are The Fire

Listen to the third episode of eBooks For Travelers for free on:

Apple
Spotify
Stitcher
iHeart Radio
Deezer
Overcast
Podchaser

Also Highly Recommended

Novels

The Grifter’s Daughter by Duane Lindsey

Dani Logan is keen follow in her legendary dad’s footsteps. He’s an ageing conman who’s known by those in the know for his long cons—elaborately set up scams requiring a team with specialized skills and a big pay out. She’s also hiding from her fiancé, Nick, in a strange game that she hopes will end in a commitment. But that’s not what the story is about.
Dani soon grows bored of the small town she’s chosen as her hideaway. She hatches up a long-con involving valuable books and calls on her father’s old team to help pull it off in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. With so many little details to see to, and having to win the team’s loyalty, Dani has her fun and work cut out for her.
This was a fun and engaging read that’s hard to put down. A great read for lovers or heists and intricate hustlers.

Mad Maggie And The Ancients by Rod Raglin

This was a very interesting and satisfying read—one my mum enjoyed immensely, too.

Take a reputed witch who’s treated for schizophrenia, add in British Colombian First People’s spirituality and settings, and mix in a clash between developers and the local community and you have a very unusual and intriguing background for a romance.
The romance is slow with two very mismatched individuals who grow significantly by the end. The paranormal aspects are handled in a low-key and believable way—magic realism done very well. All in all a very satisfying read despite what the cover may say.

Recommended

Novel

Musk Rain by Terri Branson

A more traditional romance (larger than life alpha male meets feisty and overwhelmed woman) set in Oklahoma. A few points makes this a good, unusual read: cross-cultural marriages and family secrets, Native American religious and divination practices, and the strange and tense situation Phoebe finds herself in after the death of her husband.
With numerous twists and turns in a solid plot, this read will satisfy telenovela fans, romance reading fans, and those looking for a story full of local color.

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TBR Love and Giveaway!

This TBR Love is part audio with my new podcast—Way I See It: eBooks For Travelers. In the fourth episode, I discuss the some of the books in the Dead In The Water Mystery and Thriller Giveaway. Don’t forget to check out the fantastic giveaways on Prolific Works, including my own Situation No Win sample […]

Podcasting on Buzzsprout: Three Months Later, is it Worth it?

On the morning of my first upload, I created the podcast channel complete with branded artwork, filled in the deets with the descriptions, categories etc., then went to the big green upload button and marvelled at how quickly my audio loaded. It was all done in less than 10 minutes. That was the Friday. I scheduled my first episode for that Saturday morning—less than 24 hours.

Tarotscopes March to April 2021

An interesting two months! In addition to your Romance Angel card, I’ve added my Time Machine Cards–just for fun😀 As we leave the confusion and frustration of Mercury’s Retrograde, there’s a bit more progress, though on fronts you may not be aware of, or had neglected for some time. We’re also setting, or preparing to […]

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, TBR, Uncategorized

Book Review: We Are The Fire by Sam Taylor

Book Review: We Are The Fire
Author: Sam Taylor
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: novel
Series: Standalone

I received an Advance Reader copy from my writing friend. Full disclosure: I was a beta-reader for various versions of this story, but not the final one in print. My last reading of this beta was closer to the Flint, Flare, Flame version that won the YARWA Rosemary Award for Speculative Fiction in 2018. Also, I don’t often read YA these days, and love Sam Taylor’s writing.

Sam has some awesome pre-order goodies for readers who buy We Are The Fire and those that put in a request at their local library (Global offer). See below for how to get your mitts on all the goodies.

print cover We Are The Fire By Sam Taylor
Available from 16 February 2021

In brief

We Are The Fire is an a tense story of love, endurance, revolution, identity, and maturing. Oksana and Pran are Tuliikobrets, stolen children from other regions forced into becoming fire-controlling soldiers for the Vesimaan emperor, a fate they share with hordes of other children. Together with their closest friends, Yalku and Anu, Pran and Oksana dream of leaving the slavery and inhumanity of the fort controlled by ruthless Commanders, to return to their homelands or finding their own path. Pran proposes a revolution, and while he knows the cost of freedom will be high, he can’t guess just how high a price of love, friendship and suffering they will all pay.

The Whole story

Seven long years ago, Pran and Oksana arrived at the fort of the Tuliikobrets from different regions of conquered lands. From the start, they depended on each to get through the brutality and pain inflicted by their training and transformation into fierce fire-wielding soldiers for the power-hungry emperor. Now, they’re in love, and Pran is determined to break the bondage of Tuliis while also giving Oksana her dream of returning home. When the emperor’s new ambitious plans put intolerable pressure on the alchemist Rootare and the Commanders, the whole fort suffers. With Pran and Oksana’s sudden promotion to Hellions, Pran uses his new role to seed a revolt while Oksana is blackmailed into working with the creepy Rootare to produce even stronger serums. Pulled ever further apart, and faced with betrayal and the heart-breaking deaths of those they love, Oksana and Pran come to realize that victory may only be the start of a more hazardous and dark path to freedom.

What I Loved About This Story

Pran and Oksana, naturally, but also their friends Anu, Yalku and, eventually, Sepp. Sam Taylor vividly brings to life the cold environment, desperate emotions of the enslaved kids, and the regimental and brutal life no-one ever chose. Despite the dark scenes, this story is primarily one of hope and resilience, and love. Both Oksana and Pran are asked to make difficult decisions and face the consequences with responsibility that commands respect. Rootare is despicable yet not one-dimensional, while the camaraderie of the Tuliis despite their cultural differences is encouraging. The plot is strong, believable, and with an ending that shows a much wiser Pran and a very empowered Oksana. I love the way Sam Taylor weaves current alchemical knowledge with Vesimaan lore and materials to create the serums, and I adore the little details that allude to widely different cultures and how similar they can be.

What I Thought Could Be Better

So, having been familiar with older drafts of the story that featured more of Anu and Yalku, I missed some deleted scenes at the beginning. I felt the first part of the story was racing along at the expense of my favorite characters and their relationships until I got about a third of the way through and began appreciating this story as it’s now told. Then I could see it’s a more satisfying story overall. If you’ve read We Are The Fire as Flint, Flare, Flame you may feel the same 🙂 But you won’t be disappointed with the final story.

So what did I learn from this whole experience?

As a writer, revising your story endless times does often make it stronger. As a reader, I learned a bit more about alchemy, and to appreciate the freedom I had as a child to be a child. Though set in a fictional world, child labour/slavery and soldiers are still a reality many innocents face.
I also learned that bread and cinnamon go well together 😀 And that I’d never want to be a human dragon. It just gets you burnt!

Rating: 5/5
I Recommend to: alchemy lovers, DWJ fans who prefer her darker fantasies for older YA, X-Men fanatics, and bored Harry Potter fans.

Pre-Order We Are The Fire

Get awesome pre-order goodies by placing your order or requesting your local library get a loan copy. Go to https://www.samtaylorwrites.com/library-request-giveaway

River Bend Bookshop (signed copies, character art print, map, and bookmark): https://www.riverbendbookshop.com/SamTaylor

Edged in Starlight (sprayed edges, signed bookplate, bookmark) https://www.etsy.com/listing/938036492/pre-order-we-are-the-fire

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Fire-Sam-Taylor/dp/1250241421

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-are-the-fire-sam-taylor/1136522293

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, TBR, Uncategorized

eBook For Travelers 2–The Americas

This TBR Love is part audio with my new podcast—Way I See It: eBooks For Traveler. In the second episode I discuss three books from series I’m currently enjoying, including more about Native Bones mentioned in my December TBR post as well books by Iris Chacon.

Why eBooks For Travelers? Whether on the move or in armchairs, ebooks are lighter by far and—I believe—more eco-friendly!

As usual, I’ll be concentrating primarily on indie-published eBooks.

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Series featured in the podcast e-Books For Travelers 2 (episode 11 of podcast)

Finding Miranda and Lou’s Tattoos by Iris Chacon
Minokee Mysteries 1, Lou’s Tattoo’s standalone novella

Read more about Finding Miranda in my previous mention of this fun story.

Native Bones by Mark Reps
Zeb Hanks Mysteries 5

Read a more concise recommendation of Native Bones in my previous mention of this engrossing story.

Thunderbird by Susan Slater
Ben Pecos Mysteries Book 3

Read my recommendation of The Pumpkin Seed Massacre, Book 1 of the series, in one of my first TBR posts!

Listen to the second episode of eBooks For Travelers for free. I discuss this book and my reading of the first three books in this series.

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-leenna/id1543528432
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3fopB0TyRMlSyAJJswBj2g
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=593149
iHeart Radio https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-way-i-see-it-writerstarot-74971298/
Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/show/2050802
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1543528432
Podchaser: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-1567868

Also Recommended

Novels


Death Valley Mysteries by Melissa M Garcia
Stranger and Next Of Kin

Stranger (Book 1) was an unusual, atmospheric read for me. The characters were revealed gradually and the animosity and empathy between detective Stellar and ex-convict Alex was intriguing. The plot twists and turns in an engrossing way, while the ending was both satisfying and memorable. I highly recommend Stranger.

So, I was excited to read Next Of Kin a few months later. The story works well, even as a standalone, the crimes are horrific, and the mystery engaging. However, as the story unfolds and draws closer to the reveal of the killer or killers, the plot unravels. This might be partly because the story starts to set up the next book and then continues to do so until the last word. In doing so, I think it weakens the initial plot significantly. Nevertheless, most of the characters are still interesting and Stellar’s moral dilemmas grow even more conflicting. I would have liked to have seen more character development in Alex this time, like when she meets Stellar’s mother. Perhaps, Garcia intended exploring Alex’s character growth more in the next book. I don’t recommend this book as highly as Stranger, but it’s still worth a read if Stellar, Alex and the town appeal to you.

Novella

The Absolver by Gavin Reese
(a Prequel to the Saint Michael Thriller series)
This an almost stereotypical missionary tale set in a poverty-stricken parish in Colombia. Despite the moral questions and usual depictions of the Roman Catholic church and themes of faith vs justice and the refusal to listen to the ever more disenfranchised, this is a good, well written crime read.

The plot holds together well with intelligence and, by the end, doesn’t leave you with a feeling a loss of faith in humanity. The characters were strong, especially our anti-hero priest, as was the setting that doesn’t flinch in showing the realities of surviving in such neighborhoods. A very good short read, in my opinion.

Happy reading! Let me know what’s on your TBR or what you recommend for readers interested in the Native Americas.

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Posted in audio, book review, fiction, FYI, TBR

Highly Recommended For Your Holiday Reading

A bumper post to make up for one I missed. I intended posting about some of these in November and didn’t!
This TBR Love is part audio with my new podcast—Way I See It. In the first episode featuring eBooks For Travelers, I discuss three books from series I’m currently enjoying. And as it’s a vacation time for most, I’m adding a few more recommendations that I meant to tell you about, too.

Why eBooks For Travelers? Whether on the move or in armchairs, ebooks are lighter by far and—I believe—more eco-friendly!

As usual, I’ll be concentrating primarily on indie-published eBooks. I explain more in this audio clip.

Scroll down for links to the full episode.

Free this December at most eBook stores


and is also available on Overdrive and Scribd, too. Enjoy!

Little Known,
Highly Recommended

Series: Featured in the podcast e-Books For Travelers episode

Risk Analysis by David Collins-Rivera (available on Amazon)
Book 3 of the Stardrifter series

Spotless Box Set by Camilla Monk (available on most eBook vendors including Apple Books).
Previously featured here, and soon to be featured again once I’ve gotten my hands on the last book of the series 😀

Cal Rogan Mystery Series by Robert P French (available on Apple Books and Amazon).
Also in print.

Listen to the full Ebooks For Travelers episode for free on:
Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-leenna/id1543528432
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3fopB0TyRMlSyAJJswBj2g
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=593149
Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/show/2050802
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1543528432
Podchaser: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/way-i-see-it-writerstarot-with-1567868

Also Highly Recommended:

Novel
Shrouded (science fiction romance)
Frances Pauli
I confess, I was more intrigued by the cover than by the blurb as alien-themed romances aren’t really my thing. To my pleasant surprise, the story engaged me from Chapter 2. The Shrouded are an interesting culture contrasted against the morally corrupted world. I loved the whole idea of The Shroud and the navigation system. The plot-twists were at times predictable and at others very surprising and satisfying. The romance is well handled and believable. So, if you’re looking for a classic feel romance set on a mysterious, isolated planet with no superhuman powers—just a wise crystal—I highly recommend this read 🙂

Novel
Scratch Deeper (crime thriller)
Chris Simms
This police procedural set mostly in Manchester, England, is fill of surprising twists and candor. The tension is expertly manipulated so it’s maintained to the end. Relationships also grew and changed in interesting ways and most characters are well drawn and engaging. The terrorist plot and attitudes of those in charge of the officers investigating is, sadly, all too believable. Iona Khan makes for a wonderfully tenacious investigator, one you know who—with the aid of her friend, Jim—will continue scratching deeper until they unearth the truth and perpetrators. A highly satisfying read.

Recommended

Novel
Native Bones (crime, small town mystery)
Mark Reps
This murder mystery, set in a small town in Arizona, USA, is the fifth in a series. I haven’t read any others in this series, but found it a satisfying standalone. Though my early guess as to who the killed was proved right, the characters and the quirks of this small county and Reservation proved addictive. The plot is well structured and pieces of superstition, belief, traditions and inter-cultural interactions make for a good weekend read. However, there were times when the repetition of some information proved a little annoying. Nevertheless, crime lovers and small town mystery lovers, as well as the modern Western readers, will want to give this story a look-see.

Novella
Come On, Steal The Noise (Holiday, crime, humor)
Adam Maxwell
One of those quirky, fun reads, this makes for a different holiday read. Set in a country hotel in England over the festive weekend, Zoe needs to retrieve a cassette from a hacker for her employer. Her colourful gran, and her repressed sister are her cover which makes for some hilarious moments. Very, very British in its humour and look at festivities (yes, Slade is mentioned) this story is a great, light-hearted fill-in before and during the holiday period. Particularly, if you’re snowed in, or stuck with family dramas.

Have you read any of these books yet? What did you think?
That’s all for this month. Happy reading!

PS. Subscribe to my Patreon and get the box set
Route Of Love
for free 😀

#ebooks #indie #spotless #CalRogan #riskanalysis #sciencefiction #comedy #romance #series #mystery #noir #mystery #crme #thriller #policeprocedural #holidayreads #TBR

Posted in design, fiction, FYI, Tips and Hacks, video

I’ve Made My First Book Video Promo!

So, I’ve been working on getting out my first box-set of stories out before the end of 2020. With the technical bugs that had to be sorted out on the epub, I had some time to finally mess around on Blender and get a video on the book out!

It’s my first video in forever (the last I edited video was on iMovie back in the early 2000s) so it was a steep learning curve.

Thanks to the tutorials by Ducky 3D and Blender, it wasn’t too difficult (just time consuming) to get back into the vid-ed seat 😀

I created the map visuals on GIMP and am so chuffed that both programs work so harmoniously together without crashing my system! Interesting fact, I also created the 3D box image on GIMP. More about that in another post.

Next stop, animation!
But only when I have the time:-(

Check out the video (and the book just published today) and let me know what you think. Is it too long? Would you watch it to the end?

Thanks, and happy creating!

Leenna

PS. Routes To Love will be at a special price with $2 off from mid December 2020 to early February 2021.

Available only in eBook from selected e-stores and libraries, including Googleplay Books and Overdrive.
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Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, TBR, Uncategorized

The Secret Lives Of Senior Readers

For virtual librarians:
Ebook recommendations from my mum
for your older relatives and readers

My mum’s always surprising me. Just the other day, she mentioned she loves reading on her new tablet (her 70th Birthday gift from my Wee Bruv and Kleinsus) and that she now much prefers eBooks to print.

In fact, since the lockdown and mum’s inability to access print from the libraries every week or two, she’s been reading three to four books plus a novella or two every week—yep! Much more than I currently read. So, I thought I’d share some of my mum’s most recommended reads with you in case you’ve also become someone’s virtual librarian. Scroll further for the highly recommended if you’re in a rush as I thought I’d tell you a bit more about my mum and her reading habits first. Or, if you prefer: The Secret Lives Of Senior Readers.

NB: This post contains some affiliate links that keep us eBooks.

First: the technical stuff

Mum’s on android, so I downloaded Lithium from the GooglePlay store for her. She’s had no complaints. I’ve set the background to the one that looks like parchment or a standard paperback page, kept the font as standard black and made the font slightly larger than usual. She uses the grid view with the recently opened showing first. Sometimes, she forgets to scroll down when looking for a new book to read, but that’s okay.
She began reading eBooks on her phone a few years ago, but between the battery drain and having to hold the powerbank while she read sometimes, it wasn’t ideal. Enter Wee Bruv and Kleinsus with the tablet for her birthday. Mum’s in love with her tablet and the fact that she doesn’t need to recharge it so often even though she reads for at least four hours on most days. Also, she can read during loadshedding and not disturb Dad as much, too. Her tablet has Lithium with the same settings and what excited her a lot was the larger page area. We also set the screen brightness to about 40-45% so she doesn’t burn out her retinas and avoids eye-strain. Plus, this saves the battery, too.

Next: where mum gets her books

Short answer, me! This is where I turn into the virtual librarian. To be fair, I’ve had practice since years ago when I used to finish work early on Friday and rush over to our local library to grab an armful of books in 30mins or less. It’s kind of like the same process, only this time it’s all digital and I have one or two steps more.

I usually download books from Smashwords and some other sites that offer free and introductory reads (like Prolific), and sometimes I buy an eBook from an author we enjoyed, as long as it’s available for download as an epub. This isn’t ideal, but mum talks to more readers of her age who are more likely to seek out the print and library versions of the authors she recommends, and once mum loves a book, she loves a book. Besides, we can’t afford to buy all the books we’d like to read.
Mum doesn’t read online so that’s another reason to download the books. Truth be told, mum gets overwhelmed and bored by scrolling through the endless covers and blurbs, sorting through the menus and submenus to find her genres and braving the other hazards of finding books that appeal to her in an online store or library. I don’t mind digging for gems for mum as it’s research and often good reading for me, too! Once I’ve downloaded and run a virus-scan (you can never be too careful), I transfer the eBooks to mum’s device.

Mum’s genres

Mystery, crime, adventure, thriller, romantic suspense and family drama. Sometimes she’ll read a horror (not very often), has long since passed the erotic romance phase, and likes a good humorous story especially if it involves pets and quirky characters. We’re talking about someone who grew up reading Agatha Christie and the classics, got stuck in historical dramas in the ’70s, spent the ’80s and ’90s reading Jackie Collins and Virginia Andrews, fought us for Terry Pratchetts and Alan Dean Fosters while reading Jack Reacher novels and Dick Francis from the word go. Mum’s always moved with the times as long as the stories are good. Now she’s bingeing on eBooks. She doesn’t usually read badly formatted or poorly written books, deleting them quickly. I’ve gotta say I’m really proud of mum’s reading habits 😀

Mum’s recommendations
for 2020

Highly Recommended

Author: Wes Snowden
Mum’s most recent bingeing has been the very enjoyable Wes Snowden. We just ‘discovered’ him this year, and she’s already talking to Big Sis (a big Dick Francis fan) about this author. I’ve read one of his books so far and got so engrossed in it that I stayed up half the night to complete the story.
I believe Wes Snowden’s books are also available in print, so you may want to ask your librarian for them.
One Last Move: This is the story I’ve read, the one that had me up half the night. The characters are warm and quirky, yet relatable. The main character is honest and his predicament not one you often find in a print. This is a gentle suspense with a hint of thriller and romance. All in all, an excellent read by mum’s and my standards.
Other books by Snowden mum’s read:
Snowfall In Venice: a novella
White Swan Wishes: Mum enjoyed this one immensely. She loved the humour. When I have a day or two to spare, I’ll read this next.

Author: Camilla Monk
The Spotless Series: I got the box-set for my birthday after thoroughly enjoying Spotless (the first book) as freebie and vowed to read the rest as soon as I could afford it. Mum and I read the series almost simultaneously, so not much work got done over those few days. We had convos around: Which book are you on now? When does March come in again? Did you reach that bit where Island finds out about the bad guy?
Spotless the series has all the elements mum loves: mystery, adventure, action, romance, quirky characters, humour…
Mum’s itching to read Book 5 as much as I am. Maybe for Christmas…

Author: Cecilia Peartree
Death At The Happiness Club: This one mum recommends to senior citizens looking for an enjoyable mystery. It’s part of a series so I’ll keep an eye out for more.

Author: Lizzy Lewis
Cake And Calamity: An easy mystery read that’s worth the time, says mum.

Author: Peggy Webb
The Rules Of Engagement: Another book recommended by mum to other seniors. I believe it’s a romance mystery.

Author: Iris Chacon
Finding Miranda: I read this first and told mum she should read it next. She did. It wasn’t her usual reading, but the quirky, characters and unusual plot and general humor also won her over. I highly recommend this, and mum would recommend it to those who enjoy Carl Hiaasen with less sweary words.

Graham Wilson
This Aussie author was the first that mum read on her screen—one who got her bingeing his thriller/crime series. I haven’t read his stories yet, but they pretty much have mum glued to her screen. She tried recommending him to one of her senior friends who’s still stuck on print and was sad she couldn’t share another good author with a fellow reader of taste.

Recommended

Eric Douglas
Cayman Cowboys: Mum particularly enjoyed the setting and the scuba-diving adventure aspects. I did try reading this and found it a little too slow at the beginning for me, so some patience required in getting to the heart of the story for this one, perhaps.

Sally Berneathy
Death By Chocolate:Mum and I both enjoyed the twists and turns in this mystery. Perfect for a long-weekend or Sunday read.

Connie Shelton
Sweet Masterpiece: Another solid mystery/crime/foodie story that had both of us hooked. An added bonus for me was the focus on art.

And that’s all we have for you, folks! Happy reading to you and the senior members in your family!

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, Reviews of Smashwords eBooks, TBR

TBR Love: September 2019

Just the one review, and some very exciting news about Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores!

Some Very Exciting News!

Want access to positive and thought-provoking speculative fiction? Not to mention exclusive tarot reads no-one else gets…and a free personal reading for that particular question that’s been bugging you.
I have your solution from $2 a month! 😀

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Spotelss by Camilla Monk from Smashwords.com

Spotless (Series #1) (romance, suspense, humor, action)
Camilla MonkA woman named Island (I know, I know) is kidnapped by a hitman with a serious (and I mean serious!) OCD problem. They’re both strangely weird people, who form a strange, but satisfying bond under various intense and upsetting circumstances involving interesting locations, bullets, blood, and various psychos.

Imagine the movie series The Transporter meets Meg Cabot’s romances meets some really great characterisation and plotting…without holes, or its slip showing at embarrassing places, or resorting to predictability or illogical plot-contortions just to keep one cinematic scene intact… I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s fun. It’s brilliant. It’s not for those who love plots-by-numbers types. I can’t wait to read the next one! But I have to. Because work.

Quest for the wholly pale 0 calories
Posted in book review, fiction, FYI, TBR

Freebies, a Sale, and 1 Very Highly Recommended

Here we are in mid-season (Summer/Winter) 2019! There are freebies for your vacations, holidays or those longer-than-usual waits for your cuppa or joe with tourists inundating your usual hangout.

With Quest For The Wholly Pale almost ready to hit your favourite bookstores, I’ve had less than usual time to read for pleasure, so just one extremely highly recommended book by Silke Stein for you. If you read nothing else on the beach this month, I suggest you read this amazing book. But first, about those freebies…

Give-aways

featured image Summer of Love giveaway
A large selection just for you. Books are changing over this long-running give-away so, so visit it more than once.

Love in all it’s forms. E-books and short stories of all lengths. Perfect for the beach or that long journey!
Summer of Love
30th May, 2019 to 1st September, 2019


Romance and Women’s Fiction for all folks.

I Do Romance Group Giveaway
16th June, 2019 to 15th July, 2019
With only 2 weeks left in this give-away grab your romance quick!

featured image Clean Science Fiction Reads
PG-13 rated eBooks to safely recommend to friends, family and maybe even your students*!
Clean Science Fiction Reads
15th June, 2019 to 31st July, 2019
From dystopian to comedic, mystery to epic, find your next science-fiction writer here.
*Ensure each book is suitable for your students by evaluating it first.

Star-crossed, destined, at crossed purposes, those misunderstandings are sure to draw your attention.

Star-Crossed: Mix-Matched Parings of Colleagues, Family, Friends, Lovers or Others – All Genres
1st July, 2019 to 31st July, 2019
Misfit meets social butterfly, rich girl and poor (or is he) guy, frenemies and your work nemesis. They’re all pairing off in unexpected ways.

Smashwords
Summer/Winter Sale
is on!

1 July-31 July 2019
Books from 25%-100% off!
There’s something to expand everyone’s TBR!
https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1/any/any

Little Known, Highly Recommended

Foam On The Crest of Waves (mystery, family drama)
Silke Stein
This wonderfully written story kept me enthralled, unable to figure out the mystery till almost the very end. Told from different viewpoints, the slow unfolding of the mystery touches on more than just the family tragedy, small town life, coming of age, and environmental issues. It also beautifully evokes the wonders of nature, art, and second chances. Never truly predictable, this story was a joy to read.
I downloaded this story in a ProlificWorks giveaway.

Hope to have more great recommends for you next month, and more on Quest, too!
Meanwhile, have a great summer/winter!

Posted in book review, fiction, FYI

Book Review: Rob Rogers Fights A Unicorn + Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth

Author: S Shane Thomas
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: novella+novel
Series: Anki Legacies: Rob Rogers Hollow Earth Urban Myth Series

I received Advance Reader copies from my writing pal. I took the highly unusual decision to review both books simultaneously because, as far as I can tell, the one is a parallel universe telling of one part of the main story.

In brief:

Cover for Rob Rogers Fights A unicorn by S Shane ThomasRob Rogers Fights A Unicorn is a fun, short romp of a very pulpy nature. To me, it seemed like an X-Files episode (one of those strange, humorous episodes, with a bit of cryptozoology) mashed up with a less likely early episode of Grimm. We have the travelling salesman, the alien overlord (maybe, maybe not), the super-secret terrifying conspiracy group, and a Scully twin (I think). While not everyone’s cup of tea, it will tickle many funny-bones.

Cover for Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth by S Shane ThomasRob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth expands the fun, and tells the whole story of Rob’s gourmet runs: the reason for them, who exactly Shen is, who Agent Fuchs is, and how Pokemon Go can totally set you up for a tumble and hike through Hollow Earth. However, I found the beginning a little confusing at first, as the story did not pick up from the end of Book 0 (Fights A Unicorn), but overlaps some aspects of that memorable night in Book 0. Still, once my parallel universe reasoning came into play, I found it a very enjoyable story.

The Whole story:

Rob Rogers Fights A Unicorn is a great introduction to the Rob Rogers series, and a way to get to know Rob’s backstory if you’ve already read A Paleolithic Fable, as I have done. It covers the first meeting of Shen and Rob, and introduces us to Agent Fuchs and her modus operandi. It also tells an unlikely equine love story.

Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth endeared me to Rob. He’s such a good family man, and opinionated, but in a nice, guy-next door way. It was interesting to see Thomas’ take on how such a normal (non-superhero) guy deals with some very strange and dangerous situations. It beautifully illustrates the old saying: ‘Be careful what you wish for.’
For the most part, I enjoyed the humour, and the interaction between the characters. I also loved the callbacks to
A Paleolithic Fable with a Yuwa and his tribe.
I must also confess that while I was slow in reading the first few chapters, the further I got into it, the more and more engrossed I got. Considering I was reading chapters between long-haul flights, and then spent precious catching-up-to-writing time reading this story is a testament to my interest in seeing if the evil guys were going to get their just profiteroles, and how Rob would survive his first UFO flight.

What I loved about this story:

Rob Rogers Fights A Unicorn: I loved the whole warped X-Files episode feel to it, and I must admit, I didn’t see the equine twist coming. The modern, mundane setting is familiar and the supernatural elements fit in seamlessly. I confess to having a soft spot for Shen and his snarkiness too.

Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth: The food and regional delicacies! I also enjoyed Thomas’ characterization, in particular Rob’s internal conflict. I also enjoyed Shen’s greater depth, and surprising ‘dudeness’. The action was well written and believable, too. Rob is often out of his depth, and there’s no sudden unbelievable spin to make up for his human limitations, which makes him very easy to relate to.

What I thought could be better:

Rob Rogers Fights A Unicorn: At times, it can read like a guys-own story, which I thought distracted from the main action going on, but it fits in the old-timey pulpy-feel very well, I thought. I also thought the beginning was a little too long and would have preferred the action to arrive sooner.

Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth: Again, I thought the action took too long to begin. Also, if you’ve read Fights A Unicorn first, the overlap in the first few chapters seems contrary and confusing, and it took me a while to adjust.

So what did I learn from this whole experience?

Rob Rogers Fights A Unicorn: Unicorns, and tartan shirts, are not to be messed with. Too much alcohol leads to wild chases through forests (okay, maybe sometimes).

Rob Rogers Finds Hollow Earth: Where to find those regional delicacies, of course! And, as a non-Pokemon player, Pokemon speak.

Rating: 4/5

I Recommend to: Old-timey Pulp Fiction magazine aficionados, DC/Marvel lovers seeking a new universe, foodies with a taste for the fantastic, X-Files and the lighter side of Grimm fans.