Book Review – CUTE EMERGENCY: Bad Day? The Doctor Is In. by Tony Heally

Cute Emergency

Puppies in sunglasses. Sleeping kittens. A hedgehog in a teacup.

If the thought of animals in adorable situations makes you feel just a little bit happier, then Cute Emergency is the book for you. Based on the popular Twitter feed, it is the antidote to all of life’s little annoyances. Not even the coldest curmudgeon could stay frazzled when faced with the heart-melting animals and witty captions contained in these pages. So fulfill your recommended daily allowance of cuteness and let furry creatures come to your rescue!

Published: October 6, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

Feeling grumpy? Overwhelmed? Irritated? Take a break, grab this book, and you’ll find yourself smiling whether you want to or not.

This book reminds me of a child’s picture book, as far as size and paper quality. The pages are thick, so they don’t tear easily. The cover is sturdy, like a hard paperback or a soft hardcover.

Each page throughout is an excellent quality, full-color photograph, with the caption placed somewhere over the photo. The majority of photos are dogs and cats, but there are also monkeys, rabbits, pandas, and a variety of other animals.

This book definitely has a major cute factor. Some of the photos and captions had me giggling. All of them gave me a reason to smile.

This is a perfect book to have on a shelf for those moments when you need a distraction. It also makes a perfect gift for friends and relatives, especially the grumpy ones.

*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, via Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review.*


Thanks for reading. :)

One Touch Could End It All – ELI’S COMING – #99cents Sale!

Eli's Coming Banner

He is an empath.
But that isn’t the ability that makes him so dangerous…


Eli’s dark legacy holds murder as his rite of passage. They say his ability is a gift. He calls it a curse. A life of violence and heartache leaves him with nothing left to fight for.

Or so he thinks.

Amanda steals his heart, but love makes him vulnerable. He must give her up or accept who he is and fight.

Will he risk stepping into the darkness that could consume him?

99 cent sale through Friday, October 9th!

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble



When Eli and Luc arrived, three of their fellow members were already seated at the conference table, which was, as always, headed by Tristan. Eli walked past them, to the back of the room, where he sat on one of the armchairs. Tristan watched him. Though the council leader said nothing, Eli felt the relief. That was only one of many emotions flooding him. He felt them all, emotions not belonging to him but his just the same. When he was a child, he often didn’t know the difference between his feelings and someone else’s. He hadn’t understood the panoply of emotions swirling in a vortex around him. At times, he felt as if the frenzied energy would break him apart.

Now, for the most part, he was able to separate himself from the emotional energy fields of the people around him. He only ran into trouble in two situations: He struggled with control when his energy was wrapped with someone else’s, or, in layman’s terms, when he loved someone. And he was often overwhelmed when surrounded by other Yati. The word translated to sorcerer, and referred to Timucuan descendants like himself. Their energy was far more powerful than the average person’s, and he had a difficult time deflecting it.

One touch could end it all.


Thanks for reading. :)


#FridayReads – CONSEQUENCE by Steve Masover – New Release!

Friday Reads

He’s playing a dangerous game…


Consequence_SteveMasover_CoverSan Francisco activist Christopher Kalman has little to show for years spent organizing non-violent marches, speak-outs, blockades, and shutdowns for social and environmental justice. When a shadowy eco-saboteur proposes an attack on genetically engineered agriculture, Christopher is ripe to be drawn into a more dangerous game. His certainty that humankind stands on the brink of ecological ruin drives Christopher to reckless acts and rash alliances, pitting grave personal risk against conscientious passion.

Published: September 29, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

Behind the Scenes with Steve Masover:

As Consequence begins, Chris Kalman engages in anonymous internet chat with Chagall, a self-proclaimed saboteur.  Chagall is trying to recruit Chris into a plan to stage “spectacular political theater” in opposition to environmental damage caused by genetic engineering. Chris, who lives in a household of San Francisco activists along with the teenage boy they co-parent, is skeptical. Despite Chagall’s assurances, he worries that the saboteur’s sketchily outlined plan might violate nonviolent principles to which he and his housecomrades are committed.

At the start of Chapter Three, excerpted below, Chris’s longtime friend Brendan unexpectedly returns to San Francisco. Brendan thought the truck he drove into Mexico early in the previous year was packed with medical supplies and radio equipment he had agreed to smuggle into the southern state of Chiapas, for the revolutionary Zapatista communities there. But when federal police pulled him over in Oaxaca he was imprisoned for gunrunning.

Brendan is bitter and haunted that he still doesn’t know who set him up on a weapons charge. His ordeal serves as a warning and a brake as Chris edges deeper into secret collaboration with Chagall. Consequence explores both the allure and the peril in taking responsibility for fixing what’s wrong in the world. “Still,” as Chris insists, “you have to find the border between standing up for what’s right, versus acts that are dictatorial or violent. Or worse.


Excerpt – from Chapter Three of  CONSEQUENCE by Steve Masover

Sprawled against the trunk of a budding sycamore, Brendan James watched the Triangle’s front porch through half-shut eyes. He was scrawny as a speed freak, gritty as Duboce Avenue used to be before the neighborhood gentrified. Mothers with toddlers, hipsters with iPods, even the occasional gutter punk stepped around him gingerly, hugging the inside edge of the sidewalk. No one answered the collective’s doorbell when he’d rung, maybe a half hour before. He didn’t mind. He wouldn’t say prison had been an enriching experience, but Tlaxitlán sure as hell taught him to wait.

After a while longer, Jonah turned the corner, sun glinting over his long blond hair. He’d grown it out just like his mom’s, Brendan thought. And he was taller by a foot since Brendan last passed through San Francisco. Approaching home, Jonah scowled at nothing in the manner of coddled norteamericanos who have little to scowl about, and scuffed clear of Brendan’s legs. Didn’t even look up.

Brendan cleared his throat as the kid fumbled for a key. Jonah stopped. Turned. Looked like he was deciding whether the sun-scorched man outside his gate posed an actual threat. Crusty denim and muddy boots. Reddish stubble blurring bony features. Hair cut to bristle.

“Where the hell’ve you been, kid?”

He watched recognition dawn as he stood and let himself grin. Joy, incredulity, and cool battled for ascendancy in Jonah’s face. The boy stood paralyzed, hand hanging slack in his pocket.

Brendan did the math. Thirteen years old. “How ’bout you open the gate, Jonah Rayle?” He stepped forward to wrap Allison’s son in a bear hug. “I gotta take a wicked piss.”

Jonah laughed. “Nobody said you were coming. Nobody even told me they let you out of … Mexico. Does Chris know?”

Brendan shrugged and turned to his beat up motorbike, parked by the driveway. He unbuckled a pair of saddlebags.

“That’s all?”

“You know me,” Brendan said. “He who travels light—”

“—travels far.” Jonah held the metal gate open, then let it clang shut behind them.

Brendan winced at the sound of steel on steel, of the latch snicking into place. He forced his breath steady. The kid hadn’t meant to startle him.

He stood aside as Jonah unlocked the inner door, at the bottom of the Triangle’s steep staircase.


Thanks for reading. :)

#BookReview – LOCKDOWN ON RIKERS by Mary E. Buser – Nonfiction

Lockdown on Rikers

Mary Buser began her career at Rikers Island as a social work intern, brimming with ideas and eager to help incarcerated women find a better path. Her reassignment to a men’s jail coincided with the dawn of the city’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, a flood of unprecedented arrests, and the biggest jailhouse build-up in New York City history.

Committed to the possibility of growth for the scarred and tattooed masses who filed into her session booth, Buser was suddenly faced with black eyes, punched-out teeth, and frantic whispers of beatings by officers. Recognizing the greater danger of pointing a finger at one’s captors, Buser attempted to help them, while also keeping them as well as herself, safe. Following her promotion to assistant chief, she was transferred to different jails, working in the Mental Health Center, and finally, at Rikers’s notorious “jail within jail,” the dreaded solitary confinement unit, where she saw horrors she’d never imagined. Finally, it became too much to bear, forcing Buser to flee Rikers and never look back – until now.

Lockdown on Rikers shines a light into the deepest and most horrific recesses of the criminal justice system, and shows how far it has really drifted from the ideals we espouse.

Published: September 29, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

“A society can be judged by the condition of its jails.”

I’m torn on how to review this book. I’ll start with what I liked: The author shares some extraordinary stories and anecdotes of life behind prison walls. For readers unfamiliar with the truth of our prison system, many of these stories will be shocking. Even those hardcore readers who believe people in prison need to be punished, as opposed to rehabilitated, can’t possibly read this and not be horrified. But there is also humor to lighten the mood, as well as some moments of hope to raise the spirits.

Once again, I didn’t understand how a nonviolent drug sale could draw the same sentence as murder.

Now the not so good stuff (for me): I felt the book lacked a thread of continuity. This reads a bit like journal entries, with stories from each workday blended in with rants about the frustration of bureaucracy. We go from one thing to the next, a steady stream of stories without much insight. I would have liked more focus, or some way of connecting everything with specific discussion points.

So, this is the War on Drugs – up close and personal, the side that no one ever sees: a newly sentenced human life coming apart.

My other problem comes with the writing style, which felt, at times, oddly removed, particularly for a memoir. The author tells us that certain things upset her regarding inmates’ treatment, but I never felt it. I never saw a real reaction. Instead, as with many people unhappy with their jobs or their lives, the author plods along and tries to block out the things that upset her. And when it finally all becomes too much, she resigns. I just didn’t feel the outrage from the author that I was feeling as a reader.

Solitary confinement induces the bleakest depression, plunging despair, and terrifying hallucination. The Mental Health Department looms large in these units, doling out antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mountains of sleeping pills. If these inmates didn’t have mental health issues before they entered solitary, they do now.

This memoir ends in the year 2000, when the author left her job. I have an advanced review copy, which ends rather abruptly. I understand that the published book will have an epilogue. I think that will be an important aspect, but of course I can’t comment on the quality of that epilogue.

Solitary confinement was far worse than I’d ever imagined. Behind so many of these doors were blood-smeared cells, makeshift nooses, and agonized shell-shocked faces. The degree of suffering was staggering, and I didn’t know how I could possibly adjust to this.

I do commend the author for writing this book. That alone earns extra points from me. We simply cannot call ourselves a civilized society, while behind prison walls we’re tossing the poor into isolation cells (Supermax) for years at a time. And, yes, it’s always the poor. You will not see a wealthy person in Supermax, and that is not because wealthy people don’t break the law. We need more people like Mary Buser to speak up so that, maybe, enough of us will get too angry to sit back in silence.

*I received an ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*


Thanks for reading. :)

#FridayReads – Trippin’ Through Space with A. Lightbourne

Friday Reads

A space adventure like no other…

Space Trippers

About the Book Interview with A. Lightbourne

Tell us about your main character.

Valesque is a Scientific Engineer that just wants to mind her own business. She initially wanted to make up with her people for abandoning tradition by choosing her own career, but having miserably failed that, and ended up on their most wanted list, she now just wants to live a quiet life and do what she loves. Unfortunately for her, that never goes quite as planned when ex-clients become megalomaniacs intent on enslaving the universe and you are the only one standing in their way.

Just Passing Through Which is your favorite minor character and why?

That would be Nahni, Valesque’s digitized Grandmother. She is introduced in book 2, but doesn’t play a big part until book 3. She is a bit off her rocker and it takes all of Valesque’s limited patience to deal with her antics. You never know what she will be up to next, but it is sure to be something beneficial to herself in some way.

One of your characters is going on a shopping spree. Where does he/she go and what does he/she buy?

This would be Tim. He has been dying to find ‘Gorgeous’, AKA Valesque, better clothes. His first stop would definitely be a swim shop to get her a sexier swimsuit. That over-concealing one-piece is just not cutting it.

Your character is at a bookstore. Which section is he/she shopping in? What book is in his/her hand right now?

Valesque feels she is in need of some support to get her through working with these new ‘friends’, as they like to call themselves. ‘How to deal with stupid people and not kill them’, seems to be just the ticket.

A Frosty Farewell I’m inviting your main character to dinner. What should I make?

Meat is a good idea, if you don’t want to trigger her hunting mode…..and you don’t want to trigger her hunting mode. Some very rare meat. Crisp on the outside, raw on the inside. Go light on the carbs, her body cannot tolerate them well.

Your main character is planning a vacation. Where is he/she going?

Anywhere the others can’t follow her to. Perhaps somewhere on the dark fringes of known space, with a high-security lab where she can work in peace… if Nahni would just shut up.

Were you surprised by the behavior of any of your characters or the direction of your plot at any point while writing?

Sometimes they like to steer conversations where I never intended them to go. Mostly Tim does this, he insists on being in conversations he wasn’t scripted in if he is anywhere in ear shot….and he has very good hearing.

Also when I first started writing Space Trippers I never thought Tim would have the slightest chance with Valesque. But things about him have been revealed and his personality is not what it seemed at first. And Sanic, poor sad Sanic, I am disappointed in him. He showed a weakness of character in book 5 that took away a few of his points and gave them to Tim. This does not mean however that Tim will get her in the end…. that remains to be seen.

Will Work How did you come up with the title?

The title of the series is based on an important invention of Valesque’s: The Space Tripper. She had intended it to be a peace offering to her people, to get them to forget about that whole casting her out of society thing. But, of course, it didn’t work out. So when it ended up getting stolen she was almost happy, after all she was the only one who knew how to use the space warp device, right?

Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one?

Space Trippers is a Fun, Light, Humorous series. I find it fun to write, and I hope others find it fun to read!

Space Trippers has a serious underlying plot, but each book is one episode or stop on their adventure and they can be quite humorous as the main characters get to know one another and learn to get along.

Readers comment on how vivid my writing is. Some say it reads like a script, others say they could picture it as a movie. I try to be detailed without being overly wordy, and I like to give everyone’s point of view so you get the whole story.

My Husband likes to tell people to picture it as an animated movie. Because then you can imagine thought bubbles over people’s heads and get the humor better.

I highly encourage people to try my Free Sample Chapters before they buy my books. You can read them on my website or any ebook retailer should have a sample to try.

Don't Even Ask


Purchase Links:

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble


Thanks for reading. :)

#BookReview – THE BLENDER GIRL SMOOTHIES by Tess Masters

Blender Girl

A beautiful collection of vegan smoothies from powerhouse blogger The Blender Girl, featuring photographs, flavor boosters, and nutritional add-ons for every recipe.

The Blender Girl takes smoothies to the next level in this comprehensive guide, helping you blast your way to good health and blended bliss. These 100 creative and delicious recipes are designed to fit your every need, whether you want to detox, lose a few pounds, get energized, or guard against seasonal colds. Each smoothie has three optional boosters (like chia seeds, ginger, coconut oil, or wheat grass) that allow you to ramp up flavor, nutrient value, or both. Featuring gorgeous photography throughout, a smoothie pantry that demystifies unusual ingredients, icons to identify smoothies that fit your particular dietary needs, and strategies for achieving smoothie success, this accessible handbook makes it fun and easy to find your perfect blend.

Published: June 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

This is such a cool book! To start with, the book itself is pretty to look at and easy to navigate through.

As for the recipes, each one gives simple instructions, along with optional boosters for nutrition, weight loss, etc. There are beautiful quality color photos to go with each recipe. And nutritional information for each smoothie is listed at the bottom of the page.

Some of these recipes immediately sound yummy, while others not so much. But even those taste surprisingly good! This book has a whole lot of smoothie recipes, and I haven’t even tried half yet, but I’m enjoying each experience.

*I was provided with a free copy by the publisher, via Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review.*


Thanks for reading. :)

#BookReview: GO DOWN HARD by Craig Faustus Buck

Go Down Hard

Sex, Thugs, and Rock-n-Roll

The wild, daring, sexy and outrageously original crime novel from Anthony Award and Macavity Award nominee Craig Faustus Buck.

Nob Brown is a divorced, disillusioned thirty-something ex-cop turned bottom-feeding tabloid writer. His best friend and occasional lover, Gloria Lopes, is an LAPD detective who needs an Excel spreadsheet to chart her sex life. When Gloria slips Nob the confidential file on the unsolved twenty-year-old murder of a legendary rock-and-roll goddess, Nob hopes to solve the crime and propel himself out of the tabloids and into a lucrative book deal. But he pokes into the wrong holes and unearths rotting secrets that give rise to fresh corpses. As the cold case comes to a fast boil, Nob is forced to battle for his own survival.

Published: May 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK


My Review:

This book has a lot of glowing reviews. I’m going to step outside the norm; I didn’t love it. For the most part, I didn’t even like it.

The genre is marketed as a “noir mystery”, but it’s more like whodunit crime fiction. The attempt at noir mainly comes through as sarcastic humor and juvenile sex references. This is only an observation meant for those serious readers looking for a true noir experience. Genre isn’t an important factor for me when I read, though it does create expectations.

At the station, a cop might absently pick up the wrong set of cuffs from time to time, but Gloria doesn’t have to worry about hers since they’re powder-coated hot pink.

With any fiction book, I’m always drawn to characters first. These characters, for me, are stereotypical and one-dimensional. The story is told in first person, from Nob’s perspective. He’s a cop-turned-writer who acts like an inexperienced PI. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to his professional training. I didn’t like him. He’s sarcastic, all the time, and rarely has a serious or honest conversation.

I’m stunned. He calls his own granddaughter a sick bitch? Mental problems? Lies? The interview is veering wildly off course.

Then there’s Gloria, his best friend with benefits. She’s an unprofessional homicide detective, who is brash and apparently can’t keep her clothes on around Nob. I think the author intended her to be bold and independent, but she comes off instead as childish, impetuous, and needy. She’s always grabbing at his crotch and making inappropriate comments in public, which feel more like she’s trying to lay claim to property than her being a free sexual spirit. This is accented by the fact that, despite claims of her not being monogamous and wanting new sex partners all the time, Nob is the only man she’s falling all over.

“Are you trying to turn me on?” she asks. “Because I’ll spank you right here in public.”

We also have Nob’s assistant, Melody, who has a small and annoying part. I can only assume the author intended for her to be quirky. I thought she was ridiculous. Throughout the book, she’d randomly drop into a split or stick her foot up behind her ear, in the midst of a conversation, just because she could. She behaved like an eight-year-old.

Melody lifts her leg straight up and touches her ankle to her ear. She’s wearing a short plaid skirt that falls immodestly onto her shoulder revealing her black leotard crotch, but it doesn’t faze her. She stretches like that for a few seconds, then rests the heel of her Capezio jazz shoe on my brick mantel. She holds that pose as she talks.

And, finally, I have to mention the cast of bad guys. They were all thoroughly interchangeable, like stock characters picked off a shelf. Each had all the expected bad guy traits – nothing more and nothing less.

Big Ugly Guy glares at me, but we both know he’s not going to do anything. Bigger Ugly Guy reaches out and pushes my arms up to frisk me. I stand as if crucified, waiting for the minor humiliation to end. The Ugly Twins separate and I walk through the mountain pass.

Now on to the plot. From my perspective, it’s kind of a tangled mess. I have to give the author credit for his attempt in tackling a serious topic. But the sarcastic, childish nature of the characters took away from any real meaning behind the content.

I was also bugged by some inconsistencies. For instance, early in the story Nob mentions that Lana named her two daughters after classic movie stars. Then, later in the story when a clue pops up having to do with classic movies, Nob states that he never saw Lana as the “classic movie type”. Also, at one point in the story he digs out his gun for protection, commenting that he rarely carries one because they make him uncomfortable. He was a cop! I likely noticed this stuff more because I was already irritated by all the sarcasm, brashness, and unprofessional behavior.

“I never saw Lana as the classic movie type,” I say.

I wish I could be as enthusiastic about this book as the majority of readers. I was excited to read a book combining rock ‘n’ roll with the noir genre, but it just didn’t work for me.


Thanks for reading. :)

#FridayReads – An Unforgettable Werewolf – DARK ECHOES by Jaime McDougall

Friday Reads

Running on instinct…

Dark_Echoes LONE WOLF

Lily Peterson is a wolf who hunts alone. Haunted by the attack that left her best friend permanently human, she will do whatever it takes to catch her prey.


Jason North is one of the Neuri, a pack of werewolves with special abilities. He knows he’s never met Lily before, but his instincts tell him he has. He’ll keep her close until he figures out why.


A war that has played out across lifetimes threatens to consume Echo Falls. Friends become enemies, and old enemies become allies. Lily fights against memories that aren’t hers, forced toward a fate she doesn’t believe in.

Fate is about to learn that Lily doesn’t like being told what to do.

Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords


Behind the Scene with Jaime McDougall:

When I was thinking about what scene to pick from Dark Echoes, I struggled a lot more with the decision than I thought I would. There are many scenes I like and many that I see as important. I also thought about an excerpt with a lot of action in it. However, when I thought about the scenes that were important to Lily as the main character rather than to me as an author, I decided on this one.

This excerpt comes from about halfway through the book. Lily doesn’t have a good understanding of what she’s doing or why she’s doing it. She is running on pure instinct most of the time. At this exact point, she is preparing to fight the leader of the Neuri who, by everything she knows about werewolf history, is the strongest werewolf alive.

This scene, right before the battle, came as a surprise to me. It emerged naturally rather than through any plotting on my part. After I wrote it, however, it made complete sense to keep it in. Lily is very much a lone wolf in many ways, but she’s still a wolf – and a human. Meaning that she has always been prepared to stand and fight alone but, when things became increasingly intense, she still craved the reassurance and love of her family.

Especially the love and reassurance from her big sister.


Excerpt from Dark Echoes: An Echo Falls Novel


Lily ran.

She moved through the trees as fast as her legs would carry her. Her paws barely sank into the unblemished snow. Every muscle fired as she dodged between boulders, snowbanks and trees. She slowed her sprint to a trot as she needed, but she kept moving. Always moving.

She’d run like this only once before: days after the attack. When she’d wanted to escape her human thoughts for a very different reason.

The snow and ice made an already risky run dangerous. A slip of focus could easily mean a broken bone or worse. Save facing another werewolf, she couldn’t think of a better way to prepare to fight Karyn.

Somehow she didn’t think Jason would be up for sparring.

One slip. One slip, and Karyn will have my throat.

Not that she needed reminding. The same thought had been running through her mind since she’d driven away from Karyn’s cabin. She’d hidden her bag of clothes in various places and ran every day since. Thoughts of leaving her fresh scent in pack territory didn’t matter. She skirted the lines, but she did what she had to do to prepare.

Even as a werewolf, she couldn’t afford to underestimate Karyn. But she also knew she couldn’t afford to lose.

On the eve of the full moon, her last run, she stood barefoot at the back of her parents’ house. The rough material of the welcome mat stabbed into her cold feet. She pressed her hand to the door, thinking about what she might find inside. Her parents, of course. Charlotte and Adam, who were still trying to find a house to buy. All together. All without her.

The door opened, making her jump. Charlotte stood there, her body in shadow against the light from inside the house. She opened her mouth to speak. Charlotte looked at her, down at her bare feet and back at her face again.

“How did you know I was here?” she asked.

Charlotte pulled her in for a hug. “I’m your sister.”

Twenty minutes later, the pair huddled together in Charlotte’s old bedroom, each holding a mug of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Many winter nights of their childhood had been spent the same way. They’d shared secrets, worries and dreams all within the safety of a warm blanket.

How easily they slipped back into old habits.

She sipped at her hot chocolate, the rich, smooth taste worth scalding her tongue.

“I didn’t think you’d ever come by for this,” Charlotte said. She opened the bedside drawer and took out a folded piece of paper. She handed it to Lily, who unfolded it and found a list of things like television show DVD sets and woodcarving tools.

“Christmas list.”

Charlotte nodded. “You wanted ideas for Dad.”


“That’s not why you showed up here, is it?”

She didn’t say anything, but she didn’t need to. Charlotte put her mug aside and put her arm around Lily’s shoulders. Lily leaned against her sister, her muscles fully relaxing for the first time that day.

“Do you want to tell me about it?”


Charlotte jerked in response, and she winced.

“Sorry. I want to, but you’d have to keep it a secret, and I don’t want to put that on you.”

“Okay,” Charlotte said and sighed. “But you can’t punch all your problems away. Sometimes you need help.”

“Help punching things?”

“You know that’s not what I meant.”

They both laughed.


About Jaime McDougall

Jaime McDougall is a chocolate-addicted paranormal romance author living in country Australia. She likes kidnapping her husband and naming her pets after science fiction authors.

When she is not writing or thinking about writing, she is baking all kinds of sweet concoctions. It’s been said that she makes the best brownies in Bendigo, but she couldn’t possibly comment.

She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles, Painted Words 2012, and Painted Words 2013. She has also published the paranormal romance novels Echo Falls, Fading Echoes, and Dark Echoes as well as the So You Want non-fiction series for authors.


Thanks for reading.

#BookReview – PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter – Riveting Thriller

Pretty Girls

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Published: September 29, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. – Carl Jung

My Review:

Torturous, agonizing… and so damn good!

For me, plots are important but characters are vital. So let’s start there: Characters. The two narrators are estranged sisters who come back together in the worst imaginable circumstances. These are ordinary women but they are not ordinary characters. They are damaged and strong and funny and flawed. They are not created simply to move the story forward. Their personalities bring multiple dimensions to the story, showing us the family dynamics and all that went into who they became.

Lydia took a deep breath as she prepared to sing the Hokey-Pokey of her life story, where she put the truth in, pulled a lie out, added an embellishment and shook it all about.

Now let’s talk about the plot. I have a simple word for that: Riveting. We start out with a slow boil, and the tension builds, the pace increases, all leading us to an intense, shattering conclusion. The last quarter of the book almost killed me. I kept putting it down because I couldn’t take it, then I’d pick it back up because I couldn’t wait. I saw it playing out, felt it under my skin.

“Optimism is a sliver of glass in your heart.”

This is not a book for squeamish readers. The details left me needing sunlight and dog hugs. The author brings us right to the brink with the characters. The experience is both shattering and profound.

He had given weight to her life, tied her down to the world when her natural inclination had always been to float above everything as if it were happening to someone else.

If you haven’t read anything by Karin Slaughter, read this one. Then read everything else she’s written.


Thanks for reading. :)

Blog Tour – THE END IS NOW by Connnor Titus – Excerpt + Giveaway!



Title: In The Foothills of Mt. Empyreal: The End is Now
Author: Crystal Connor, writing as Connor Titus
Published: August 6th, 2014
Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy
Content Warning: Adult content and violence
Recommended Age: 17+


The-End-is-Now-Cover The Order of The Sentinels.
The Order of The Learned.
The Order of The Writs.
The Order of the Cloth.

Trapped and isolated, the residents of Fates Keep come to realize that they are not alone…

In a world with two realities the imaginations of author’s Crystal Connor and Lori Titus are unleashed upon the unsuspecting people living in the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal and the fate of all the world hangs in the balance.

One town. One catastrophe. One story told two different ways. What started in the foothills of Mt. Empyreal could be the end of us all.

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Excerpt from The End is Now by Connor Titus:

When deception and lies ascended to paradise, all silver-tongued and golden haired, Emerson was already dead, Jerrod was on earth, Jason was on patrol, and William, the youngest of the Celestials, was on duty.

Rythy was chained to her cell with irons of fire; the bars of her chamber had been fortified with the blessings from God himself and her wings had been clipped. She was fed, but only given enough to eat to sustain life … not strengthen it.

Regardless, William was terrified of her.

And more so of late as she no longer yanked her chains while hurling protest and insults. Instead, she sat, like a cat with her tail wrapped around her feet.

He liked it better when she acted like a caged animal.

William hadn’t seen Emerson or Jerrod for days, but was just as relieved when he looked up from the logbook and saw Dianna.

Looking into her golden face was like being roused from some terrible dream. “Boy, I am sure glad to see you; did you come to audit the log?”

He turned the book so that she could see it. There was only one problem, the officer he was speaking to was not Dianna.

“Oh, William, I almost forgot,” Dianna started as she rounded the corner and came face to face with her…self.

Rythy started laughing, and with impeachable timing and flawless execution, all hell broke loose in heaven.


About the Author:

Crystal-Connor Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen.

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Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

Grand Prize (INT):

• Signed Copy of The End is Now
• Signed Copy of The Guardians of Man
• Signed Copy of The Darkness
• Free Code for the audiobook …And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

First Prize (US):

• Signed Copy of The End is Now
• Signed Copy of The Guardians of Man
• Free Code for the audiobook …And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

Second Prize (US):

• Signed Copy of The End is Now
• Free Code for the audiobook …And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

Third Prize (INT):

• Free Code for the audiobook …And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

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