Shelly has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams
Vampire novels are my favourite, so I jumped at the chance to read Something Wicked when I spotted it on Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team list.
The story begins with a murder – always a great hook! The body of Lord Christopher Penrith is discovered by his butler, drained of blood. We meet Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith, who is tasked with solving the case.
In my mind, Galbraith was a cross between Columbo and Horatio Caine. He gives off the tortured detective vibe. His investigations lead to the dance hall, La Cieguita. Before he can get too deep into the case, Galbraith comes up against Section S, a counter-terrorism department. Enter John Pole, a 500 year old policeman who shares an interesting hidden world with Detective Galbraith.
Trying to solve a murder using modern policing isn’t going to work. Galbraith needs to rethink how he deals with the various suspects and additional killing and how on earth he hopes to close a case like this.
Something Wicked is well written with plenty of atmosphere. For me, it was a bit too deep into police procedure over vampire action. I had hoped for blood and gore, but instead, there was a hefty amount of ‘crime novel intermingled with historical fiction and politics’.
It was a good novel for anyone dipping their toe into urban fantasy, but my personal tastes meant it didn’t quite work for me. I like my vampire novels to have a bit more bite!
A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood
A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together
Shelley has been reading The Starfolk Arcana by Martha Dunlop
What a beautiful, mystical, and engaging novel!
The story follows Beth and Jonan, who are fated to be together. There are also a host of other characters who play important secondary roles in the development of the story and who add a deeper dimension and understanding to the lives of the main characters. Beth has hidden her psychic abilities incredibly well, but everything changes when she is drawn to the man with the violet eyes in such a way that confuses and frightens her.
When a ‘celeb’ begins to spread fear throughout the town by tapping into everyone’s fear of the spirit world, Beth and Jonan become targets. It’s up to them to stop her before she destroys everything. Jonan also has the task of helping Beth understand her destiny after he has spent many lifetimes searching for her. The link between the characters and the Starfolk Tarot pack was a lovely touch.
The author creates a rich world full of intrigue, well-rounded characters, and plenty of reference to spirituality and the psychic realm. If you’re a fan of this style of urban fantasy fiction, you’ll adore this book.
I loved all the characters and could connect easily with them. Beth is the strong, independent woman who guards herself against harm and who most of us girls can deeply relate to. Jonan is a careful hero, and Amelia is the bad element you love to hate! The author knows how to build relationships between the reader and the characters as you are fully invested within the first few chapters.
I look forward to seeing how the rest of the trilogy plays out.
I highly recommend it.
They’ve spent lifetimes being pulled apart. This time, they’re ready to fight.
After years of hiding her psychic abilities, Beth meets Jonan – the man with the violet eyes – and starts to feel like she belongs for the first time. Jonan has waited lifetimes to be with the woman who haunts his dreams. Drawn together by deeply buried memories from before birth, they try to make sense of a soul connection that opens windows into both their histories and their destiny.
But when a woman from Jonan’s past starts weaponising their emotions and stirring up hate, distrust and a fear of the supernatural, Beth and Jonan find themselves targeted in a wave of suspicion.
Only they can see what she is doing. But can they hold out against her bombardment and be true to who they really are, or will they allow The Fear to tear them apart?
Shelley has been reading SINNER by Blakely Chorpenning
I’m a sucker for a vampire story (no pun intended!), so when I spotted Sinner on the RBRT list I jumped at the chance to read it.
The book blurb assures us that the main character, Alice, is a vampire without a sire, but the books begins with her journey toward becoming a member of the undead. Wow! I can’t remember any other vampire book I’ve read going into such fabulous detail about the transition from human to vamp. It’s well written – I almost wrote well researched before remembering this is fiction, yes it’s that good!! You are pulled along the path of fear and terror as Alice throws up her internal organs and struggles to understand what’s happening.
Aside from the transformation, we all know to be developing there’s a dark menace that haunts our mc. Alice can’t be left in the dark, something is lurking in the darkness, and this pulls the reader between two distinct threats.
We get introduced to the first group of vampires who help Alice as much as she will allow. A quirky bunch of vampires with stories of their own. I liked them all, and was Team Gesick for most of the novel! Swiftly we’re torn from the sanctuary of this small group to the turmoil, excitement, and terror of Wolf and her group of less than orthodox vampires.
I didn’t like Wolf (Team Gesick all the way here), but Chorpenning has written a complex character which allows you to hate her yet still feel drawn to the dark side. You can understand why Alice is attracted to her world.
There are references to drugs and overdosing, cutting, addiction, and anxiety, but it’s beautifully done and managed. I like books and authors that don’t shy away from the tough topics, especially when writing for a young adult audience.
Sinner finishes off in a neat and tidy way while leaving a couple of threads for more stories in the series. Who is Pope, what hold does he have over the vampires? Will Alice do what she promised? These were a few of my unanswered questions (possibly to be answered in book 2), but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
I read and reviewed Sinner on behalf of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT
“The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” ~Oscar Wilde
SINNER IS A GRITTY, CAMPY RIDE THROUGH THE HEART OF OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DARKNESS.
Alice’s life is spiralling out of control. After an accident leads to a tainted blood transfusion, Alice descends into the supernatural world of vampires, addicted to blood, destined to sin. Only, that’s her second largest problem. The first might kill her for real.
With no sire or formal keeper, Alice is among the feral vampires, marked by white eyes and the ability to live without drinking blood, unless the cravings prevail. Caught between old rivals, Alice doesn’t know what she wants to be, a sinner or a saint. Wolf, an enigmatic firecracker, has the power to make Alice embrace her troubles as strengths, no matter if she is wicked or kind. But Gesick cools Alice’s anxiety, accepting the paranormal activity surrounding her presence.
Will Alice choose Wolf, a woman with little standing in her way, or Gesick, a man who knows a little something about temptation?
Shelley has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair
What a beautiful book! Historical romance is not my preferred genre to read but I’m committed to stepping out of my reading rut and was hooked in by the blurb and promise of faery castles and misty locks. I was swept up by Isobell’s story and the flow of the prose.
The plot was well developed and follows Isobell’s story as she sails to Scotland to escape a wicked man. We’re introduced to a colourful cast of characters from the motherly cook, Bessie Thom, to the charismatic Thomas Manteith whose combined actions lull you into a false sense of contentment. As I was reading about the joyous developments for Isobell there was this undercurrent that told me something was about to change.
The twist at the end was brutal, graphic, and yes, I shed a tear or two. I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of the witchcraft trials, and to see how easy it was for lives to be changed forever is quite sobering. Fabulously descriptive, The Mermaid and The Bear was a delight to read. There were moments when I felt like I’d stepped into an episode of Outlander, which is no bad thing. The Scottish phrases adding to the beauty of the story.
I may have found a new favourite genre!
Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.
She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.
She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.
Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…
Until the past catches up with her.
Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.
At last, a short story that grips you in that warm and darkly fuzzy place. I love my horror stories to have an element of the supernatural and Doggem delivered.
After dutifully completing the doggy diary (or Edward the Bear in our case!) every year with my three kids, it gave me a deliciously skewed idea of why teachers force these stuffed creatures upon us every weekend and holiday – I took the bear but always refused the hamster!
A fabulous story and an easy read. Shall definitely be reading more from this author.
DOGGEM is a spooky little tale about toy dogs and dark doings. A gently disturbing horror story. But beware, this charming cocktail of witchcraft, imagined folklore and paranormal fantasy might just bewitch you.
Not easy to pin down genre. Without doubt it has a certain heart-breaking beauty to it. Maybe it’s a modern fairytale. A scary one, flavoured with a dash of the occult, written for an adult audience. After all, fairy tales feature the supernatural and have a magical aspect to them.
They often have old cottages and eerie, unnerving woodland settings.
Wickedly enchanting women and innocent children.
Ancient evil and everyday greed.
Doggem is a short story, one in a series of sinister tales from the Dead Boxes Archive.
The Dead Boxes?
Some objects are frightening things, and the Dead Boxes definitely fall into that category.
They can be easily overlooked. Ordinary on the surface. At first glance anyway. A mobile phone, a piece of art …a child’s plaything.
Take a closer look. You’ll see something unique.
You could very easily have one and not know it.
They hold miracle and mystery. Horror and salvation.
None are the same. Except in one regard.
You don’t need one.
You might think you do, but you really don’t.
Shelley has been reading After The Battle by Matthew Moss
The cover is a great hook for any fan of young adult occult fiction, and the book blurb certainly draws you in for a closer inspection.
After the Last Battle kicks off with a promising Prologue where the author shares the backstory around the Angel and Demon war using Archangel Michael as his muse. I enjoyed this section and could connect to the energy between good and evil.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t then relate to the main characters and found them to be quite stiff and wooden. The dialogue was stilted, and I struggled to keep up with the flow.
There was far too much telling over showing for me.
A promising start with great potential but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
In a post-apocalyptic world, where the Hordes of Hell reign supreme, the only thing anyone could ask for is peace and quiet. Having lived his entire life in a secluded village, Telarious has had exactly that, yet for him it was misery. Bored of his monotonous life as a hunter, Telarious looked for any chance of conflict, so that he might prove himself to be more.
When a band of demons tear through his village in search of an angel in hiding, one of the last of the nearly extinct species, his wish is granted tenfold. This one act reveals Telarious’s hidden potential and sends him and his new angelic counterpart into a neighboring colony, where the struggle for power rages on. In over their heads, the two must learn to work together and with new, powerful allies to defeat the demons that have claimed Earth as their own.
Shelley has been reading One Life To Be You by Juliana Tabares
Despite the relatively spiritual title, I found the opening part of One Life to Be You to be very corporate, which makes perfect sense when you realise the author is referring to your job, and how you fit into a specific category within a firm.
Working for myself I struggled to identify with this section as I had already achieved the ‘dream’ of getting out of the 9-5 rat race, but if you are working in a company and job that doesn’t fill you with joy or purpose, then the exercises and identifications will be insightful.
The middle and end parts of One Life to Be You resonated with my personal development and holistic background, and I found myself connecting more with the text.
There are exercises dotted throughout the book that the author encourages you to complete to enable you to get the most out of the topic. I’m a sucker for a non-fiction book with relatable exercises, so I had a go a quite a few and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
As a regular meditator, I enjoyed doing the mini-meditations and taking the time to sit and concentrate on my breathing for a few moments is always welcome.
The author uses her own experiences and skills as a coach to help the reader identify their triggers and step out of their comfort zone. I could fully associate with this section as it’s a topic that comes up a lot in my self-work. Doing the same old job and same old routines keep us safe and small. Learning to understand who you are, what you want out of life, and to build the confidence to make the relevant changes can bring about incredible opportunities for us. Juliana uses her book and the accompanying exercises to push you out of your comfort zone and to think differently.
An interesting and insightful read which would appeal to anyone looking to find new meaning in their career, searching for a more balanced life, or finds personal development an enjoyable topic.
It would have benefitted from a final proof-read in parts, but on the whole, this was a good book with lots of positive energy.
How many more years of your life are you going to waste in a job that gives you more unhappiness than joy?
You were told that joining a big corporation or a recognised firm is all we needed to be successful in life, so you fought for it. When you first joined the firm you were very happy, full of dreams and expectations. But after months or even years, you live in constant anxiety and monotony. You haven’t taken any actions because you are afraid of putting at risk your life and your family’s future. Moreover, looking for a better job seems hopeless when you are over a certain age; starting your own business sounds impossible with all the responsibilities you already have, and you’re told going back to school to change your career is just unreasonable.
However sometimes, especially if you are not enjoying life, it’s worth it to stop and reconsider the price you are paying for giving up your true self. In ONE LIFE TO BE YOU, Juliana Tabares will share with you a different perspective on life to help you move forward. After 12 years consulting multinational corporations in the United States, Latin America and Europe, and after several years of personal growth and transformation, she discovered the keys to act and recover your life. In this book, you will join the author on a journey to:
Decode the corporate world.
•Defeat the fear of starting over.
•Deal with stress and anxiety.
•Discover your real purpose and passion.
•Define an action plan and make it a reality.
You only have three choices when you feel stuck and unhappy in your career: accept the situation, change it or leave it. This book will help you make that choice.
Shelley has been reading Lucky Star by Holly Curtis
Lucky Star was like a trip down memory lane for me. Born in the 70s, I experienced my teenage years around the same time as the main character, Ben Somerset. I’d like to think we could have been friends.
Curtis moulds likeable characters with realistic ‘teen’ dialogue for the time, and the attention to detail is excellent; I’d almost forgotten about one pound notes!
The story was a bit slow for me, but I did like the 80s references. Being a parent of three teenagers, I’m not sure they’d ‘get’ this novel as there are so many retro references that would go over their head. I’m fairly sure they think I’m making it up when I say we didn’t have mobile phones! The author’s target audience is a young adult market, but I think this would appeal to their parents and grandparents rather than the intended readers.
I received a copy of Lucky Star through Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.
Teenager Ben Somerset has three great loves in his life: Sherlock Holmes, designer clothes and a certain song by Madonna. And then Susie appears.
Set in England in 1984 Lucky Star tells of Ben’s introduction to the world of shoplifting, music, politics, love and heartbreak.
Shelley has been reading Notes Of A Naive Traveler by Jennifer S Alderson
Category: Memoir/Travel Guide
My Rating: 4 Star
Travelling is something I love to do and would enjoy doing more often if time and funds allowed. When I spotted Notes of a Naïve Traveler by Jennifer Alderson on the RBRT review list,I knew it was the book for me.
I love how this story is told in a diary/email format as it brings the adventure to life. Alderson throws herself into her travels embracing the cultures, highs and lows of family life, and opportunities presented to her by the Nepali people before moving on to Thailand. She spends Christmas and New Year away from her family but doesn’t deny herself the occasional present.
There is plenty of humour as Alderson’s bubbly personality shines through. She writes in such a way that you feel connected to her and her journey.
While going to Durbar Square – I never made it – a young Nepali named Khamel started chatting me up while I was freaking out over a miniature stupa covered in the most ornate ceramic tile mosaic. He ended up being my guide for the day and took me to places I never would have been or understood.
I’m sitting in a pub that The Book (Lonely Planet Thailand) recommends, sipping whiskey and coke, staring at a gigantic Christmas tree, and listening to US and Radiohead. A frail Thai man selling Santa Claus hats with flashing battery-operated balls dangling off them walks up and down the street in front of me, displaying his wares and a toothless grin to all potential customers.
Part memoir and part travel guide, Notes of a Naïve Traveler, includes all the necessary ingredients for anyone hoping to visit Nepal or Thailand. The inclusion of photographs helps the reader to engage with what Alderson is experiencing.
Thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to more from this author.
“I never thought I would have reason to say to someone, ‘Sorry I’m late, it took longer to dismember the goat than originally planned.'”
I was twenty-six years old, worked at a well-paid job, rented a fantastic apartment, and enjoyed a large circle of friends. I had everything, except I didn’t. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing out on the experience of living.
Part guidebook on culture and travel, part journey of self-discovery, this travelogue takes you on a backpacking adventure through Nepal and Thailand and provides a firsthand account of one volunteer’s experience teaching in a Nepali school and living with a devout Brahmin family.
Trek with me through the bamboo forests and terraced mountaintops of eastern Nepal, take a wild river-rafting ride in class IV waters, go on an elephant ride and encounter a charging rhinoceros on jungle walks in Chitwan National Park, sea-kayak the surreal waters of Krabi, and snorkel in the Gulf of Thailand. Join me on some of the scariest bus rides you could imagine, explore beautiful and intriguing temples, experience religious rituals unknown to most Westerners, and visit mind-blowing places not mentioned in your typical travel guides.
Notes of a Naive Traveler is a must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand. I hope it inspires you to see these amazing countries for yourself.
Related subjects include: travel, adventure, memoirs, non-fiction, backpacking, volunteering, travelogue, travel writing, solo travel, culture, journals, cultural heritage, cultural travel, Asia, Nepal, Thailand.
Hi! I worked as a journalist and website developer in Seattle, Washington before trading my financial security for a backpack. After traveling extensively around Asia and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. There I earned degrees in art history and museum studies. Home is now Amsterdam, where I live with my Dutch husband and young son.
My travels and experiences color and inform my internationally-oriented fiction. Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery is a travel fiction adventure through Nepal and Thailand. The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery is a suspenseful ‘whodunit?’ which transports readers to wartime and present day Amsterdam.
Both novels are part of an on-going yet stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover, Zelda Richardson. The third installment, another art-related travel thriller (working title: Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery) will be released in the January 2018.
My travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand, is now available as paperback and eBook. A must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand.
Shelley has been reading Savage Isle by Beverley Scherberger
My Rating: 3 Stars
As a child, I remember watching Planet of the Apes starring Charlton Heston and being totally hooked on the principle of monkeys being intelligent enough to rule and fight. In recent years the new Planet of the Apes franchise packs a punch with full on action and adventure which cemented my love for this genre. When I saw the cover for Beverley Scherberger’s Savage Isle I didn’t hesitate to find out more.
The blurb suggests a fast-paced read with plenty of thrills and horror, and the opening chapters don’t disappoint. I instantly connected to Laralee and felt her terror when the monkeys she was working with became the stuff of nightmares. The author opens with a graphic hook and then builds the tension so you can’t possibly put the book down.
Unfortunately, for me, the fabulous spark at the start of the book fizzled out once the scientists were shipwrecked. I was expecting the team to be picked off one at a time by the mutant monkeys. I had expectations of a do or die nature where we saw the survivors grow into their new roles and fight back against their own creations. Instead, the storyline follows the survivors pairing off, building houses, and having babies. We are rushed through years of ‘nothing’ until the characters I’d connected with at the start die and the story follows their offspring with more pairing off, building houses, and having babies. The savage monkeys who had been the hook for me appeared a handful of times and the lovely Orangutan’s we meet at the start are never heard from again. I was hoping they would pop up as a strong family unit to save the day.
I kept reading in the hope that the fantastic build-up and thrills would return but I was disappointed. Not what I was expecting from such a gripping blurb and cover.
I received a copy of Savage Isle via Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.
Carl and Laralee and their team of scientists are hired by the Spanish government to develop a highly secret, revolutionary serum. Their goal—to create an army of carnivorous monkeys that would give Spain an indisputable advantage over its enemies. They succeed beyond their wildest dreams. However, greatly increased intelligence is an unexpected side effect that causes serious complications. The beasts are thinking, reasoning, and increasingly dangerous.
After one death and several serious attacks on workers, the scientific team is relieved to learn their request to move the facility to a larger island with more security and built-in safeguards is approved.
While awaiting news of a moving date, additional experiments with orangutans prove successful as well. James and Julie, the most advanced, skilled, and lovable of the facility’s apes, have mated. Will they produce the amazingly intelligent offspring the team expects?
During the facility’s relocation, a terrible storm wreaks havoc with their plans and the new island turns out to be anything but a safe haven. Carl and Laralee, Doc Gustav and Teresa, and the rest of the team battle for survival against their own nightmarish creations.
I was introduced to writing in the sixth grade when my English teacher told the class we’d be learning how to write short stories. I remember thinking, “Write a short story? I’m just a kid!” But I loved the experience and knew I wanted to keep on doing it.
Attending Miami University of Ohio at age 40 gave me the unique perspective of being older than most of the students and many of my professors. Not interested in who was dating who or what sorority was doing what, I concentrated on my studies and graduated summa cum laude.
After penning over 200 published non-fiction articles for various magazines and newspapers, I tried my hand at fiction and am now hooked. It’s what I enjoy reading and have found I enjoy writing it, too.