Book Review: Roses in December

OMG Bookworms! I go to Ireland tomorrow. I am so freaking excited. I did a lot of reading this week to get my OWLS in for the Magical Readathon. So far I have completed Defense Against The Dark Arts and now having completed this book, I have completed Herbology. Speaking of this book, it is called Roses in December: Haunting and Macabre Tales by Matthew De Lacey Davidson.

The book Roses in December lying on a blanket

Synopsis: Roses in December is a short story collection which defies categorization. Some of the stories are haunting – others are deeply troubling.

A man receives a religious vision in his ordinary back garden; a nuclear physicist in Australia experiences a great surprise where he least expects it; a duct-tape salesman unsettles his faithful customer; Voltaire does not put his best foot forward; someone makes a grim discovery upon waking up in a prison; a psychiatrist does his best to treat a political extremist; a nineteenth-century photographer goes about his usual (and highly unusual) business; and a wealthy neighborhood in Montreal becomes the scene of an immense and avoidable tragedy.

This book was too short. I loved it and wish there was more of it to consume my time. It has over 20 short stories in it and they are all so different yet exciting. Some of them are super eerie and when you are finished you are like “heck yes, I love when they leave it with such an ominous tone”.

The last one is very sweet and I believe the author wrote it about someone very special to him. It is about life and how it moves on but we always stay connected to those that are close to us, be it family or not.

You will not get bored reading this book as each story is only 4-5 pages each and the book itself is only around 115 pages. I find that I am a big fan of short story collections and will continue to find more of these to read. Especially dark, thrilling ones.

If you like short stories then I suggest picking this one up.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format by the author to read and give our honest review.


Is anyone taking part in the Harry Potter Magical Readathon? Here is my video showing the books I chose to read for my OWLS! Let me know in the comments if you are participating.

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Author Interview: Kristin Ward

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They tell me the country looked different back then.

They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.

They say the world was green.

But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky.

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality.

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

Author Bio

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Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

Social Media Links

Kristin Ward Twitter: http://twitter.com/YA_Author

Kristin Ward Website: https://www.writingandmythreesons.com/

After the Green Withered purchase links:

https://www.amazon.com/After-Green-Withered-Kristin-Ward-ebook/dp/B07D2X7YSY

https://books2read.com/after-the-green-withered


Author Interview

1. What is your top read of 2019 so far?

I really enjoyed The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky. I love strong female characters and this was a different take on gender roles and what they mean for one young woman as she struggles to survive in a remote society. The main character, Omat, explores her strength and gender identity in a way that takes her on a journey of self-discovery as she comes face to face with who she is within her Inuit community. The world building, mythology, and clash of cultures create a rich story in a frozen landscape. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an unflinching look at what it means to survive in a hostile environment.

2. What is your favorite book friendship?

I’m going to go back in time for this one. As a teenager, I read and immediately fell in love with, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. The bonds of friendship among this group of greasers is powerful. They are a family, though not by blood, and defend one another at great personal cost. I especially loved the relationship Ponyboy and Johnny have as they are forced to leave their community and then return to face the repercussions of events that unfold before and during their exile. It is when the two of them are separated from society, that their friendship reaches new depths. They shed their bravado and really show who they are beneath the layer of stereotypical behavior that keeps them on the outside of ‘acceptable’ society. I admit to some serious tears as the story unfolds.

3. Most anticipated book release of 2019?

On the top of my list is the recent release, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Being a fan of Game of Thrones, I’m excited to delve into this story! The fact that there are dragons has nothing to do with it. Nope. Who needs dragons? Psh.

4. How many books are in your TBR Pile?

At the moment, I’ve got just over one hundred in my TBR pile and I’m often adding to it!

5. Who is your favorite author?

That’s a really tough question. I would say that the author whose titles take up the most space on my shelves is Stephen King. But that is not to say he is my favorite author out of all of the titles I’ve read. I’ve simply been reading his books for thirty years and he’s a prolific writer!

I don’t anchor myself to any one genre as I have a rather eclectic taste in books and am a classic re-reader of stories that I love. I’m a huge fan of young adult fiction and have many authors that I enjoy reading. I am always looking for my next dystopian read! I also love a good historical fiction or romance when the mood strikes. If it’s set in medieval Scotland, my interest is immediately piqued!

6. How did you start writing?

I would have to go back to middle school, 7thgrade to be precise. When my English teacher, whom I still keep in close contact with, likened my writing to Saki, the author of The Interlopers, I was hooked. That defining moment began my foray into mad scribblings of terrible poetry and story starters galore.

As an adult, I spent many years dabbling in writing and began a few book ideas that I have yet to complete, though I may not ever finish those as my interest waned. The inspiration for my first self-published novel came from research I conducted while writing a graduate course in environmental education. As I dug into the history of the earth and learned about various environmental shifts, a seedling of an idea took root. I began to wonder what the world would look like if drought ravaged the planet and water became the global currency. While this first book took about five years to write, family and career being the primary reason for the delay, I finally reached that pinnacle of achievement and published in May of 2018. The sequel was published in November, following a very strict deadline that I had set for myself after completing the first book.

7. Where is your favorite reading spot?

I love reading in bed while propped up with pillows! This makes paperbacks or my Kindle essential, as a hard back gets awfully heavy. During the daylight hours, I enjoy reading in my writing chair. It is an upholstered recliner that belonged to my grandmother. I will park myself in it for writing and reading stints with the wood stove pumping out heat in the winter or the windows letting in warm breezes in the summer.

8. How long have you been an author?

While I was officially published many years ago after writing curriculum for a zoo, I consider 2018 to be the start of my authorship. My journey has just begun and I have spent the last year learning more than I ever expected as I delved into what it means to be indie. The adventure has just begun and I have many stories to tell!

9. What do you like about reading?

Reading is a passion. When you open a book, you enter a world created from nothing more than words spun together in a way that never existed before. I believe writing is the true magic in the world. Writers are the magicians. Books take me on a journey and if I truly love them, I will visit again from time to time.

10. If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

The Adventures of Unicorn Geek-Girl


Here is my latest youtube video where I do the booktube newbie tag if you want to check it out!

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Book Review: Lure by Jeff Marschall

Hey bookworms. I went and read another book again. I have to stop sticking my nose in all these books. This one was call Lure by Jeff Marschall and it was my first medical thriller book.

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Synopsis: In the cold harsh winter of the Canadian Prairies a secret is about to be unearthed. Medical resident John Mueller finds himself serendipitously in possession of a professor’s coveted research. On the run, John evades enemies and authorities, unsure of who he can trust along the way. John must decode the professors past in order to understand the magnitude of what he has uncovered. While searching for explanations he ignites a new romance and rekindles an old one. But as John begins to realize the magnitude of his discovery, the ultimate decision of how to proceed with this knowledge is far from clear. As he struggles to predict the ramifications of the research, he will ultimately shoulder the responsibility of deciding whether its knowledge will benefit humanity or accelerate its path to destruction.

So this book did not keep me interested. I have quite a few things to say about it, to be honest. Let’s start with the fact that a lot of the characters were very one dimensional and did not have much going for them.

At points, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a medical thriller or a Harlequin novel. There were a couple sex scenes that were quite explicit and it seemed like very much what you would expect to see if you cracked open a heterosexual chauvinistic male brain and took a peek inside.

The thriller part lost me as well. It was more of a soap opera drama vibe that I got from the book. Not once was I really “thrilled”. I kept hoping for something to catch me off guard but it never came.

The ending was also quite disappointing. It was wrapped up very quickly in the last 2% of the book. It seemed like it was all condensed to just finish the book without any thought into if it was a good ending or not.

That being said, I did like that it was set in Saskatchewan as this is a part of Canada and I don’t believe it gets highlighted enough. I mean, there were other places that it was set in, not just Saskatchewan but it was cool to at least have some of it there. This may just be a Canadian pride thing but I love my country and I like when books are set in its beautiful landscape.

Overall, I can’t really say it was good. There were medical terms throughout and it was somewhat interesting but I am glad I am moving on to the next book. Maybe medical thrillers just aren’t my thing. But remember, this is just my opinion. Maybe someone else out there will really like this book. Who knows?

Book Rating: 2/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Highlight: Touch of Smoke

Welcome to the Touch of Smoke tour! This beauty is the latest offering from author, Karissa Laurel. If you like your romance mixed with the supernatural, then this book is for you!

In addition to an exclusive excerpt, you will also have the chance to win a signed paperback copy, and some sweet bookish swag! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

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Touch of Smoke

Publication Date: February 12th, 2019

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

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Excerpt

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Owen huffed and shook his head but fished in his pocket until he found a small key ring. He selected an old brass one that he jiggled into the bolt lock over the warehouse’s rusty door handle. “Would have told you to put on jeans and boots if I’d known you wanted to go inside.”

Glancing at my shredded jean shorts and low-cut Chuck Taylors, I thanked Jesus I’d recently boosted my tetanus shot. “Not asking for a grand tour. Show me what you can from the threshold.”

Owen shook his head again, but he shoved his shoulder against the heavy door. It squealed as it gave way, swinging open on rusted hinges. I pushed past him, stepping farther into the room, but stopped at the edge of the small illuminated square thrown by Dolly’s headlights. “Just give me the general idea.”

His boot steps echoed in the open space as he moved behind me. Taking my shoulders, he shifted me until I faced the warehouse’s rear, where the light failed to reach. “The back wall there”—he pointed, leaning over my shoulder—“will be where we’ll line up the distilling tanks.” He wrapped an arm around my waist and spun us around like partners in a slow dance. A warm thrill raced through me as his lips brushed my ear. “And over there will be the café.”

My pulse throbbed in my ears, my chest, my lips. It wouldn’t be enough, these limited touches, these coy games, this not-so-subtle flirtation. With Owen, my options were sink or swim, and no matter how much reason and logic urged me to do otherwise, I was sinking, utterly drowning in him. I stumbled back and fought for a breath to clear my head, but my heel connected with an obstacle hidden in the shadows. I lost my footing and squeaked a feeble protest as gravity waged war against my balance.

The moment I was certain I would hit the floor and smash my tailbone, Owen grabbed my arm and yanked. Still off balance but with the added element of momentum, I plowed into him, tackling him to the floor.

Or that was what should have happened.

Instead, the world jumped up and swirled around me in a blur of blue sparks and shadows, air roaring in my ears like a tornado. I blinked, and the impression of someone—or something—huge, dark, and beastly burned behind my eyelids. When the dizzy moment passed, I found myself back on my feet, upright, and firmly wrapped in Owen’s arms. His heat blazed against me, filling my head with his smoky scent until I felt drunk and woozy.

“What…?” I shook my head and cleared my throat, but the intoxicating sensation remained. “What just happened?”

“You stumbled. I caught you.”

“No.” I squirmed, and he dropped his arms, releasing me. A thousand minuscule candles seemed to flicker in his eyes, giving them an otherworldly aura. I inched back, my steps wobbly. “We were falling. We should have hit the floor.”

His lips twitched. “I’m quick on my feet, Rikki. Give me some credit.”

Squinting, I studied him, his wide stance and the set of his jaw, full of self-confidence. He rolled his broad shoulders and grinned, obviously enjoying my scrutiny. Again, his presence seemed larger than the mere height and width of his physical body. Like a cowl and cape, dense shadows draped over him, and they seemed tangible enough to touch. When I reached out to stroke them, Owen drew back.

The shadows fled.

I shivered.

With no better explanation than to assume an overdose of adrenaline and desire had colored my perception, I dismissed my concerns and shrugged, heading for the door. “You’re not quick on your feet. You’re The Flash on steroids.”

His laughter followed me into the parking lot, but it was callous and more than a little cold.

The drive to my house was quiet, the atmosphere between us thick. If humans had animal instincts, then the wild creature inside me was insisting the man sitting in the passenger seat was more predator than appearance suggested. Something about Owen had changed. He was a tiger, I was his mouse, and I should run before he swallowed me whole. When I caught him staring at me, the dark look on his face implied he might do that very thing, given the chance.

Now Available

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Google

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For your chance to win a signed copy of Touch of Smoke and some cool bookish swag, click the link below!

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About the Author

Karissa-and-Bonnie - Copy

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and superheroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. In the summer, she loves to be on the water, on the boat or in her kayak. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.

Karissa Laurel | Twitter | Instagram

Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Blog Tour Schedule

March 11th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

Where Dragons Reside (Excerpt) https://kernerangelina.live/

Crystal’s Book World (Excerpt) http://crystalsbookworld.wordpress.com

The Writer’s Alley (Review) https://www.jacobrundle.com

March 12th

The Most Sublime (Review) https://themostsublime.com

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

March 13th

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews (Excerpt) http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/

March 14th

Bobo’s Book Bank (Excerpt) http://bobosbookbank.com

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

March 15th

Misty’s Book Space (Excerpt) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

The Hufflepuff Nerdette (Review) https://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com/

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Author Interview: Shelby Eileen

What is new with my favorite bookworms? I was perusing Twitter, doing Twitter things when I came upon a post about another blogger that wanted to do guest posts and in general just connect with other bloggers. So I reached out to her and am glad I did because she is an amazing person and super nice. It is always great to make new blogging friends.

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Shelby Eileen is a queer Canadian writer in a perpetual state of stress concerning her unmapped future. Eileen studied at Brock University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She uses the knowledge and skills gained from her degree throughout her daily life, even if others hardly notice that she does so. One of her many dreams is to live alone in a little apartment with a cat and good writing energy. Her published works include; soft in the middle, sunfish, Sunshine, Sadness, and other Floridian Effects, and Goddess of The Hunt. In her free time, you can find her listening to audiobooks, crocheting, or sending pictures of corgis and Jake Gyllenhaal to her friends. The next thing she hopes to tackle after another poetry collection or two: romance novellas! Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @briseisbooks.

We conducted a Q&A with her as she is a budding author with her poetry collections and we wanted to learn more about her. Without further ado, here is our Q&A session!

Author Q&A

What is your top read of 2019 so far? 

Definitely, without a doubt, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty.

What is your favorite book friendship? 

Ginger and Daniel from 2 of my favorite romance books by Roan Parrish- Small Changeand In The Middle of Somewhere.

Most anticipated book release of 2019? 

Oof, there’s many, but The Fever Kingby Victoria Lee, I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver, and If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann.

How many books are in your TBR Pile? 

TOO MANY (definitely 100+).

Who is your favorite author? 

Madeline Miller. She writes my favorite Greek myth/historical fantasy books; The Song of Achilles and Circe.

How did you start writing? 

I’ve always taken advantage of writing classes if they were offered at school – in high school and university. I recently did a creative writing workshop, which was amazing and helped me get in touch with how fun and therapeutic writing is. I think what got me into writing in a more serious way was the drive to depict the under-represented parts of me; my queerness, my religion, and my fatness.

Where is your favorite reading spot? 

My bed.

How long have you been an author? 

I’ve been a published author since December 2017.

What do you like about reading? 

I love how much I learn through reading, the community that comes with it, and how sentimental and comforting certain books can be.

If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

Let’s Talk About Love (by Claire Kann) … I think I just read so much romance it kind of permeates my brain lol. Also, as a writer and a human, it’s so important to me to distinguish different types of love (romantic, platonic, familial, etc), and lift them all up as being equal and significant.

Great answers Shelby! This interview was an amazing success. I am always joyed to connect with book lovers of all ages, sizes, and sexual orientations. This book blog is about honesty in reviews and having an open dialogue with other bloggers/authors. I strongly encourage you to go follow Shelby on social media to stay up to date with her books that she is writing!

Shelby was nice enough to send me copies of her poetry books for a giveaway! So if you would like to enter, just click on the image below. We will be announcing 2 winners in 1 week. Good luck!

Surprise! Sale


There is a new book on the block that I am promoting. This one is called Justice Gone by Nick Lombardi. Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. You can get it here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1785358766/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

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Book Review: Intraterrestrial

Our external reviewer Sara sent over another review she is very excited about. She recently read Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley and had great things to say about it.

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Synopsis: Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months.

After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life.

Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

This novel is a little like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but for young adult readers. It’s a little intense, and if you dissected it enough you could finds all sorts of hidden meaning and perhaps even Biblical allusions to analyze.

This novel follows the journey of a young boy named Adam Helios (even his name warrants analysis!) who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. While in the coma, he is taken by aliens (or is he?) to help them defeat The Nothing Spot which is attacking their ship, The Consciousness. The only catch is, the entire experience is built by his imagination – the aliens only have bodies because that’s how he imagines them, he travels around the ship, which is actually the solar system, because that’s what his imagination creates, and so on. This book also follows the journey of Adam’s parents, who are waiting for him back on Earth, hoping he will recover, and are going through their own journey of discovery.

This book is very strange, no doubt about it. There are times when you have no idea what’s happening, or why, and it frequently gets gross and a bit scary. This book is also beautiful, as it is (perhaps) a metaphor for Adam trying to find himself as a person, through all the self-doubt and uncertainty that he feels as he is becoming an unpopular teenager. He must rescue several different aliens from The Nothing Spot, which endlessly tells him that he is meaningless, and no one cares about him, in order to heal The Consciousness – all while his body is attempting to heal from a traumatic brain injury.

There’s really a lot more to this book than you might think, especially as you consider how everything might tie together for Adam and his family and friends. This is a book about self-discovery, but it’s also a book about aliens, the solar system, and a bit of science.

Overall, I think this book is a win. I would recommend this to any young adult friend who likes things a little bit stranger than the typical coming of age theme prevalent in so many young adult novels.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Blog Tour: Knife’s Tell & Victorian Catsup

Explore the shadows of Victorian Era London and encounter a new Jack the Ripper tale like you’ve never read before in Daniel Dark’s Knife’s Tell & Victorian Catsup Blog Tour, taking place February 20-27!

Knife’s Tell contains a tantalizing blend of thriller, horror, erotic, and alt. history elements. As an added bonus, author Daniel Dark (a former Victorian chef) also has included the authentic Victorian Era recipes of the dishes that are featured in the story!

In addition to Knife’s Tell, this tour also highlights Victorian Catsup: Receipts of the Past, which features history and recipes for a wide variety of authentic, Victorian Era catsups. The book itself also has a great story behind its development, and it is attached to a wonderful cause!

About the author: Daniel Dark, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, grew up with homicide every day. Having a homicide detective as a father, he was able to learn about those that were brought to justice, and the ones that were not.

Spending many hours in Central police headquarters and in his grandfather’s hematology lab gave Daniel an unusual childhood and a love for science. Along with this, his great uncle owned the oldest book store in Nashville. His parents took him there regularly, where developed a love of reading and found out about history.

Daniel went on to become an Electrical Engineer and Industrial Maintenance Manager till NAFTA took away his job. A year later he went to culinary school and studied Victorian cooking, after which he opened a Victorian-style restaurant.

He became a heart attack and stroke survivor at fifty years old, where he used writing to rehabilitate his brain. The first book written by Daniel was on Victorian Catsup, which had over two hundred catsup recipes in it from the late 1700’s to 1910, with over sixty different flavors. Daniel used the book to start his 1876 Catsup company as Mr. Catsup.

Knife’s Tell represents his debut novel as an author.

Book Synopsis for Knife’s Tell:   In 1888 one of the most notorious serial killers in history plagued London’s East Side.

Knife’s Tell is not about those murders, but the life behind them. What would cause a normal person to slay in such a horrific way?

Daniel Dark has explored an alternative tale of a doctor lost in reality trying to correct his past. With the help of his personal servant, he searches the Chapel for answers about his connection to the man with the knife.

Where did he come from? And how is the doctor part of his plans for escaping the police at every turn?

Read Knife’s Tell to learn the story behind the blade that killed London

Book Synopsis for Victorian Catsup- Receipts from the Past: The book you now hold in your hands is nothing new, only forgotten by most.

It is, however, how Chef Daniel, the Victorian Chef, recovered many missing segments of his knowledge after having a stroke in 2012. At that time, he had a forty-seat restaurant where he was recreating dishes from the Victorian Era. He was also developing his signature catsups to serve with each receipt that he placed on the menu.

After the stroke, he was forced to give up on his dream for the time being and start the long journey of rehabilitation of both body and mind. When Chef Daniel was able to stand in front of a stove again, he went back to what he knew best, making small batch catsup that he took to local fairs and sold so that he could make more.

This book is a big part of what kept Chef Daniel going each day. Now he wants to share that with others by contributing ninety percent of his proceeds to the Blood Banks that kept him alive by furnishing over twenty units to him when he was in need.

Author Links:

Twitter: @1876Catsup

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

Guest Post: Creating Powerful Characters

I have been asked questions like this by several different people over the last few years.

My first response is that you find a weak character and then make them powerful, but it is not that easy. When you are writing the characters. whether it is a fluffy bunny named Peter, a young boy named Harry, or in my case Victorian serial killers. it pays to know as much about them as you can. I was lucky to learn this simple trick at one of the first conferences that I attended in two thousand sixteen from a seasoned author.

The trick is to interview them.

Ask them anything that you can possibly think of. Then write out a comprehensive description of them. If you find out you need more info on them, like what did they want to do when they grew up, and you did not ask them before, no problem!  Corner them and ask more questions.

Now you are thinking, ‘Are you not just asking yourself questions and answering them’? Believe me, you are not. Each and every character in your writing has its own personality, background, and things that it will not trust you with until you deserve to know it by writing the story the way they want it to be told. They want to know that you understand their challenges in life and are willing to help them through whatever crap is going on all the way to the end.

The other part that I would remind someone is not to forget the other characters that contribute to the overall story. This is, of course, in my mind the settings, which will influence the rest of the characters temperaments and give their story substance.

Good luck. and write the best stories of the decade.

Tour Schedule and Activities

2/20     The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn
https://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/

2/21     Breakeven Books
https://breakevenbooks.com

2/21     I Smell Sheep
http://www.ismellsheep.com/

2/22     Horror Tree
https://www.horrortree.com

2/23     Sheila’s Guests and Reviews
http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com

2/24     The Book Lover’s Boudoir
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com/

2/24     Books, Reviews, and More
http://bookworm1977.simplesite.com/435597726

2/25     Jazzy Book Reviews
https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/

2/26     MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape
http://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com

2/27     Honestly Austen
https://honestlyausten.wordpress.com/

2/27     Willow’s Thoughts and Book Obsessions       http://wssthoughtsandbookobsessions.blogspot.com/

Amazon Links for Knife’s Tell:

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/Knifes-Tell-Daniel-Dark/dp/1941706665/

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/Knifes-Tell-Daniel-Dark-ebook/dp/B075RMJ4BJ/

Barnes and Noble Link for Knife’s Tell: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/knifes-tell-daniel-dark/1127157436?ean=9781941706664

Amazon Links for Victorian Catsup:

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/Victorian-Catsup-Receipts-Daniel-Dark/dp/1948042479/

Kindle Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Victorian-Catsup-Receipts-Daniel-Dark-ebook/dp/B07DCFS2RL/

Barnes and Noble Link for Victorian Catsup: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/victorian-catsup-daniel-dark/1128827007?ean=9781948042475

GeekBuying.com

What it Takes to Write a Book

Discover a great new suspense thriller in Dan Jolley’s The Storm Blog Tour, taking place February 18-25!

An intense tale that explores murder, mystery, and race relations in a rural area of modern-day Georgia, The Storm delivers a captivating reading experience!

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About the author: Dan Jolley began writing professionally at age 19. Starting out in comic books, Dan has worked for major publishers such as DC (Firestorm), Marvel (Dr. Strange), Dark Horse (Aliens), and Image (G.I. Joe), and soon branched out into licensed-property novels (Star Trek), film novelizations (Iron Man), and original novels, including the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series Five Elements and the Urban Sci-Fi Gray Widow Trilogy.

Dan began writing for video games in 2007, and has contributed storylines, characters, and dialogue to titles such as Transformers: War for Cybertron, Prototype 2, and Dying Light, among others. Dan lives with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert felines in northwest Georgia, and enjoys connecting with readers via his website (www.danjolley.com) and on Twitter (@_DanJolley).

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Book Synopsis for The Storm:  

RED SPRINGS.

A tiny town in Georgia’s northwest corner — ninety-five percent white. Five percent black. Utterly unprepared for the devastating tornado that rips and smashes through it one dark August day.

SHERIFF ZANDRA SEAGRAVES already faced an uphill battle. Elected by a fluke, Red Springs’ first-ever black, female sheriff leads the recovery efforts, despite knowing how much the townspeople–and her own department–loathe her. But Zandra has no idea just how hellish things are about to get.

Because one of the relief workers stumbles across a ghastly secret: the tornado tore a long-abandoned house off its foundations, revealing a grisly, recently-used torture dungeon below it.

A monster has been dwelling in Red Springs. Undetected for years. Preying on the unsuspecting populace. His atrocities only brought to light because of the storm.

Now, amid the tornado’s wreckage and surrounded by people who want her gone, Zandra has to hunt this monster down before he disappears again.

And to do it, she’ll have to peel back all of Red Springs’ dark, corrupted layers. One vile secret at a time.

Author Links:

Twitter: @_DanJolley

Website:  www.danjolley.com

Guest Post: What it Takes to Write a Book by Dan Jolley

There’s a series of blog posts on my website, danjolley.com, called “How to Write the Way I Write,” which goes into the nuts and bolts of how I put a comic book script together.

I didn’t want to call it something like “How to Write Comic Books,” or “The Right Way to Write Comic Books,” because the path every writer takes from beginning to end of a project can be wildly different. I explain the way to write a script that’s worked very well for me, but I don’t have the necessary hubris to think my way has to be The Best Way™, and I don’t want to fall into the trap that so often afflicts creative writing teachers — which is that they tell you how to write the way they would write, if they wrote.

So. In this post, I’m going to talk about what it takes for *me* to write a book. If you find something useful in here, fantastic. If you reject everything I say and do it your own way, fantastic. You do you.

To boil it all down, the way I get a book written is to walk a fine line between personal leniency and personal discipline. Let’s get into the discipline first.

Every so often, a complete, finished idea falls out of the heavens and into my head and lives there until I’ve banged it all down on paper. I wish that happened a lot more often than it does. Usually, I get a scrap of an idea, a hint of a thought of something that might become a compelling character or an engaging story, and I need to develop it before I can do anything else with it. To facilitate that, I use the twelve steps of the Writer’s Journey, as outlined in the book, The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler. I’m not going to put those steps down here, in part because I think that might constitute a wee bit of copyright violation, but mainly because I want you to go buy a copy of the book. It’s immensely valuable.

Vogler took Joseph Campbell’s work in outlining the classical Hero’s Journey and refined it specifically for writers. The twelve steps are, essentially, common elements found in 99% of stories from every time period, in every culture, all over the planet. They’re common threads, common ideas that go into the makeup of every kind of story, whether it’s a far-flung sci-fi space opera or a quiet, personal story about a lonely widower learning to love again. The twelve steps just fit.

Now, this is not to say that they have to be adhered to slavishly. You can play around with them. Maybe you don’t have to hit every single one. Maybe you want to present them in a different order. Whatever. They’re a guideline, and it’s a guideline I use when I need to flesh out my puny scrap of an idea into something that can run for a hundred thousand words.

Once I have those twelve steps mapped out, I do a chapter-by-chapter outline. This usually looks like one or maybe two chunky paragraphs for each chapter in the novel. It doesn’t have to be super-polished; half the time, I’m the only one who’s going to see this thing. (You might need to spruce the outline up a bit, though, if you’re giving it to a publisher as part of a deal.)

When the outline’s finished, I set myself a realistic deadline (or, if I’ve already signed a deal to write this book, I make note of the deadline set by the publisher), and I figure out how many days I have to get all the chapters written, leaving myself time for a revise or two before it gets sent in. I can usually do a reasonable-sized chapter in a day, but it’s better if I leave two days, and I try really hard to keep weekends free. I’ve found through painful experience that it’s better for my mental health that way.

So you start writing. And that’s when the discipline has to kick in HARD. A friend of mine, comic book, and novel cover artist extraordinaire John Nadeau, once commented that “making comics equals ass in the chair.” He was right. You have to get the chapters done. Maybe it’s a pretty day and you’d rather take a walk. Maybe an awesome new video game just came out and you’d rather play it. Maybe your significant other got the day off work and you’d rather spend time with them.

Well, depending on where you are in relation to your deadline, that might just be too bad. You want to get your book finished? Then you have to FINISH YOUR BOOK. It can be exhausting. It can make you feel like you’re going a little crazy. It can make your family and friends irritated at you.

But here’s the thing: you’ll get better at it. Writing consistently is a lot like lifting weights. The more you do it, the more you’ll be able to do it.

Plus, you can train yourself to be creative on demand, like one of Pavlov’s dogs. The way you do that is that you establish certain conditions, or perform a certain ritual, every time you write. Maybe you wear a particular hat. Maybe you sit in a specific chair. Maybe you do twenty jumping-jacks beforehand, it doesn’t matter, as long as you do that one thing every time you write. Because if you do that, eventually your brain connects that ritual or those circumstances with the act of writing. And then, even if you don’t feel like getting your chapter done one day, you put on your writing hat and sit in your writing chair and your brain lights up and says, “Oh! Hey! It’s time to write!” And you’re off to the races.

All of this leads to my CARDINAL RULE #1 about getting a book written. This is super-discipline-oriented, and you just have to grit your teeth and do it. The rule is this:

Do not read what you have written until you’re done with the whole thing.

Do not go back and read the chapter you’ve just finished. Or the page. Or the paragraph. Don’t look at it. Scroll up. Put that sheet of paper away. Try to forget about it if you can. Because the creative part of the brain is different from the editing part, and you need to open the throttle on the creative part and just let it run wide-freaking-open until the work is finished. If you don’t, you run the very real risk of getting stuck in an “editing loop.” You think, “Oh, I can make that scene stronger,” or “Oh, I can make that line wittier,” or “Oh, I can find a better adjective,” and in your efforts to improve what you’ve done, you never get past that to the next page. You just keep going back, and going back, and going back, and the whole thing peters out and turns to dog poop.

You’d much rather have a finished manuscript than dog poop.

Now! On to the personal leniency part!

While you’re writing your outline if you find that your story is deviating from your twelve-step chart? It’s fine. If you like the new direction better, go with it. You’re not locked in.

Then, when you’re working from your outline and writing your chapters if you find that your manuscript is deviating from the outline you worked so hard on? It’s okay. Run with it. No one’s going to penalize you if, in the middle of a chapter, you suddenly realize a character is gay, or that a pivotal scene needs to take place in a parking lot instead of on a roof, or that someone’s mother is actually not dead.

I’m not saying throw your whole outline out the window. You still need the discipline to follow through with it. I’m saying you don’t have to be a stickler for all the details.

An outline is a bit like a road map, and the writing of the manuscript is you, in a car, taking a pre-planned, charted-out road trip. Yes, you’re using that map, and yes, you’ve got some great destinations and tourist attractions marked down that you know you want to visit. But if, along the way, you see a sign advertising “World’s Best Peanut Butter Milkshakes,” and you decide, “Hey, I would like a peanut butter milkshake,” and you veer off the road and get yourself a tasty frozen dessert? Great! Do it! Maybe while you’re there, you realize one of your characters has a ferocious peanut allergy. Maybe the person behind the counter turns out to have some information that’s valuable to you. Maybe you get a flat tire, and the sympathetic motorist who stops to offer help becomes someone important.

Let yourself explore. Just don’t forget where you’re going.

Okay, so, you’ve maintained your discipline, you’ve done a few side-quests along the way, and you’ve reached your destination. If you’re like me, you grow more and more excited the closer to the end you get, so that by the last few pages you’re hammering your fingers on the keyboard, and suddenly BANG! YOU’RE DONE!

You’re done with the first draft.

You may be in a sort of daze. You may sit there, staring at the screen, thinking, “What did I just write?” You may not remember half of what went into those chapters that you so studiously did not go back and look at. And now, when you flip to Page 1 and read everything again, you may discover that a lot of it verges on nonsensical gibberish.

Which brings us to CARDINAL RULE #2:

It’s okay to write a crap-tastic first draft.

Seriously. It’s fine. More than fine, it’s expected. Almost everyone’s first drafts are just freaking awful. My first drafts might be fit for lining birdcages if I’m feeling generous.

You know why it’s okay? Because now you’ve made The Great Switch. You’ve shifted gears from Creative to Editorial. Now you can go back and FIX IT ALL.

The task may look daunting at first, but don’t sweat it. Just take it one chapter at a time. You’ll probably find that there’s a lot more good stuff in there than bad, and you can either fix the bad stuff or just chuck it. That’s actually one of my favorite ways to edit a bad passage: highlight that whole stinky chunk and hit DELETE.

You can fix it. You can fix it all. Because now, after all those days and weeks and months of disciplined creativity, suddenly you’ve got a big-ass manuscript sitting there. The book exists! It’s real! Hot damn, YOU JUST WROTE A BOOK! And now you can dig into the bad parts and edit them until they’re the way you want them.

But you cannot, under any circumstances, ever, fix a blank page.

And that’s my secret. That’s what it takes for me to write a book.

Make sure my pages aren’t blank.


Tour Schedule and Activities

2/18    Jazzy Book Reviews    https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot. com/      

2/19    I Smell Sheep  http://www.ismellsheep.com/        

2/20    Breakeven Books       https://breakevenbooks.com   

2/21    Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com  

2/22    Jordan Hirsch http://jordanrhirsch.wordpress.com 

2/23    Sapphyria’s Books     https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ 

2/23    The Book Lover’s Boudoir     https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres s.com/     

2/24    Horror Tree    https://www.horrortree.com   

2/24    Willow’s Thoughts and Book Obsessions     http://wssthoughtsandbookobse ssions.blogspot.com/      

2/25    The Voluptuous Book Diva    http://www.thevoluptuousbookdiva.com


Amazon Links for The Storm

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Dan- Jolley/dp/1948042665/

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Dan-Jolley- ebook/dp/B07LC78379/

Barnes and Noble Link for The Storm: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-storm- dan-jolley/1130007043?ean=9781948042666

GeekBuying.com

Book Review: Wonder Woman Earth One

Hey bookworms! Over the past weekend, I went to a used bookstore and picked up a copy of Wonder Woman Earth One by Grant Morrison. It was a very quick ready and only cost me $9. How do you feel about used bookstores? I believe that we should support these amazing places that allow us to share our books with others who may not be able to afford new copies. Plus they are usually really fun to explore.

A graphic novel of Wonder Woman Earth One

Synopsis: For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life—Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law—staying separated from the world that wronged them.

Wonder Woman has made some amazing progress in becoming a present, modern superhero who is well known by all. She empowers females to be strong no matter who they are.

This graphic novel was good but a little slow. There was very little action in it and more play on justice and Wonder Woman’s rights to be who she chooses to be and live by the rules that she dictates. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good storyline. It just lacked that fun comic book vibe with the battles and team-ups.

It did have some funny characters though. There is one part where she saves a school bus of sorority sisters and they give her a makeover (essentially a lingerie suit that looks like her original suit).

I would still recommend this as a read for comic lovers as it is an origin story being part of the Earth One series. Just don’t get your hopes up for battles of glory or anything.

Book rating: 3/5

You can buy this graphic novel on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I bought this at a used book store with my own money and chose to read and review it.

Simultaneously modern and timeless, the Modern Romance collection sets the stage for an unforgettable evening. The soft colors, bold glitter, and chic gold foil accents create the perfect atmosphere to celebrate your love and new beginnings.

Book Highlight: How Far Would You Go To Catch A Serial Killer?

Glasgow Kiss Episode 1 eBook-final.jpgGlasgow Kiss Episode 1.
(Publication Date: February 7th, 2019)

Genre: Thriller/ Serial Killer

Author: C.S. Duffy

Haunted by the fact that he never got the chance to tell best friend Lorna that he loved her before
she was murdered, Ruari sets out to track down the man he saw her with the night before she was
murdered – the man police are certain was her killer.

Forensic psychologist Amy Kerr has been watching prominent Glasgow lawyer Alec McAvoy for
months, certain that he is the so-called Dancing Girls Killer who evaded capture in London five years
previously.

Now Ruari and Amy are closing in on the same man – but every step they take draws them deeper
into the killer’s web.

Instagram

“…completely addictive. Very fast paced with the short punchy time-stamped
chapters adding to the sense of a fast-moving investigation.”
– Joanne Baird, Portobello Book
Blog 

“…full of the Glasgow banter and humour laced with a good old-fashioned murder
mystery. Lots of twists and turns and little pools of red herrings kept me engrossed all the way
through.”
– Sharon Bairden, Chapterinmylife Blog 

Add to Goodreads

Now Available!

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon
UK

About the Author

CS Duffy

C.S. Duffy writes crime thrillers with a healthy dose of black humour. Her background is in film and
TV. She has several projects in development in Sweden and the UK and her other writing has
appeared in Elle Canada and The Guardian. She is the author of Life is
Swede,
a thriller that was originally written as a blog – leading several readers to contact
Swedish news agencies asking them why they hadn’t reported the murder that features in the blog.
She was selected as a Spotlight author at Bloody Scotland in 2018.

CS Duffy | Twitter | Instagram | “Author on
the Go” Instagram

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