Afraid of the Light – An Anthology of Crime Fiction #anthology #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share a review of another of my #20booksofsummer, tomorrow see’s the final review of the 20th book 🙂

However, today I am delighted to share Afraid of the Light – An Anthology of Crime Fiction with a Forward by Alex North. Let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.

A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.

Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.


CONTRIBUTORS
Are you Listening? – Adam Southward
Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft
Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan
Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman
Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow
To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg
Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy
Shadow – Kate Simants


All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.

Samaritans is a charity working across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling or with life’s challenges. When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit http://www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Buy your copy HERE 🙂

My Review…

I have recently finished an excellent crime thriller book that has left me with a bit of a book hangover. I knew I wanted to read a book but couldn’t seem to find anything that felt right. I came across this Crime Anthology that I bought a while ago and thought this may be just the thing, and indeed it was.

Fourteen Authors bring 14 short stories that have a darkness to them. Whether it is an outwardly criminal action or something far more sinister this anthology has a good mix. There were some of the stories that I really did like and had me on edge, while others were more thought-provoking.
I had initially intended only reading a couple of stories but sat and read each one, so this book definitely helped me with my book hangover.

I did like the various different styles of the authors and also how they created very different stories with a dark theme to them.

It is a great way of discovering new authors as well as seeing favourites. A good mix of styles and stories that crime readers, as well as general fiction readers who like their books a little on the dark side, will like. I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories and I would definitely recommend this book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

When Stars Will Shine: Helping Our Heroes, One Page At A Time #WhenStarsWillShine @emmamitchellfpr #Bookreview

I am so delighted and honoured to share my thoughts on When Stars Will Shine. This book is very special for many reasons, the main one however is that every penny from the sale goes to helping our troops. Every part of this book from the stories to the final edited product has been done on a voluntary basis. I thank you all for your hard work in creating a fabulous read.

Before I get carried away with how amazing this book is let me show you what it is all about…

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!
 

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

So when you hear people say ” There is something for everyone” this is where I go “Oh OK!” but I have to say… This collection of stories REALLY DOES “have something for everyone!”!

This is an amazing book, and I admit that I really enjoyed every single one of them, though there are some that really did stand-out for me.

I did expect to see some stories that would be about troops and war, as well as some with a Christmas theme, and yes there were several that did indeed cover these topics. But also there were some that didn’t. Each author has their own style and their own story to tell.

This book is fabulous for introducing several authors who I had not read as well as including some that I already know and who’s books I have enjoyed. This actually makes this book very special for the less obvious reason of discovering new authors.

I sat and read the first story in the book and by the end of it I was in tears. Rob Ashman shared a story called Frederick Snellgrove, Private 23208, a short story that really did pack a punch. I will admit here and now this is my favourite story of the whole collection, so much so that once I had finished and had wiped my tears away, I immediately read it again. Yes, even though I knew how it ended I still cried.

I made a brief note for every story and I will share them with you…

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg is a powerful and beautifully written story and had such an unexpected ending. Fabulous story.

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff Oh Wow! This story was a mind twister and was excellent, what a cracking ending.

Believe by Mark Brownless Oh the lies parents tell their children about Father Christmas, this is a a dark twisted read and is fabulously devious and made me very glad I my fire was in!

What Can Possibly Go Wrong by Lucy Coleman I gradually warmed to the main character in this story and by the time I read the last sentence I had a smirk on my face. Poor chap!

Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell an amazing read that blew me away, great twist.

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson was a little different from the other stories I had read to this point. This was a detective style story and was a dark twisted read. Fabulous!

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton oh this was heartwarming story and an absolutely lovely short story.

Free Time by Stewart Giles Wow this was a hard hitting and emotional read. This gives such a different aspect of the phrase “free time”!

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake starting in 1915, this is a story that mixes fact with fiction. An emotional read to say the least and very poignant a slightly longer story than some, and it made an impact.

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen Oooh what a sneaky story this one was, a mini thriller that was fabulous.

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane another thriller of a different kind, it was very atmospheric and a great read.

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp fabulous descriptions and a story of family and loss, an emotional read that I loved.

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin a wonderful heartwarming story that had a surprise tucked up it’s sleeve. Get the tissues for this one.

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore Wow! What to say about this one! Brilliantly written and a fabulous story.

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen Very different to the other stories, but at the same time it did have some similarities. Very moving and poignant.

Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne This is a wonderful story about life, living and family and a wonderful read.

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli Oh I did enjoy this. There is a line that starts the third paragraph “Count your blessings,” it is a line that is very poignant for this story.

Time For A Barbecue by Carmen Radtke Oh I did feel for poor James, but I also did smirk as things became clear in the story.

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees A story of pressure, from family, work and your own expectations that was very moving.

Inside Out by KA Richardson a story that has an important message about PTSD, a great story that shows someone struggling and has a hidden strength not to fall further. Amazing read.

Penance by Jane Risdon Oh I didn’t expect that! Great story.

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg A helping hand has consequences, this story was wonderful.

Family time by Graham Smith Oh what a wonderful finale. This was one that surprised me and left me as I started this collection… yep in tears!

This was a fabulous collection of stories. I was so surprised at the range of different styles. I have discovered new authors and some of the stories I would love to know more about. I was going to try and pick out just a few that I really liked, but in all honesty I liked them all.

When Stars Will Shine is a fabulous collection of short stories that I would Highly Recommend indeed.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Hellbound Anthology by David McCaffrey @daveymac1975 @BOTBSPublicity #MakeoverCoverReveal

CoverReveal

Today I am delighted to be taking part in a makeover cover reveal for the Hellbound Trilogy by David McCaffrey as part of the Blog Tour with Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity. I must get around to reading my copies of these books, I have bought them all and now need to find the time to read…

Let’s see what the books are all about first…

Hellbound:

Between Heaven and Hell lies the soul of a killer.

Award-winning author, David McCaffrey, brings you a serial killer like no other.

Obadiah Stark aka The Tally Man, is executed at ADX Absolom, his death sentence watched by the world’s media, victim relatives and one investigative reporter, Joe O Connell.
Penning an account of Stark’s personal history and subsequent crimes in the hope of determining what makes the sociopathic mind tick, Joe discovers inconsistencies which cause him to investigate Stark’s execution.
While this is happening in the real world, Stark awakens to an afterlife where he has a wife and daughter bound to his childhood hometown. Following his natural predatory instinct, Obadiah proceeds to torment the town, committing multiple murders before being gunned down by the police. He awakens to find that everything has reset, with no one recalling his murderous spree.
A reality where he is forced to submit to emotions he has never experienced before… and with them, a poisonous dose of morality.


In Extremis:

  1. Whitechapel. Think you know the story? You don’t know Jack…
    James Maybrick had secured his legacy as the most infamous serial killer of all time…his diary would one day shock the world.

    Thomas Quinn wants revenge…his actions will give birth to an organisation of unspeakable power.

    Together, they unwittingly set in motion a plan that will one day lead to the serial killer, Obadiah Stark.

    Stark became The Tally Man.

    They were The Brethren.

    Maybrick is known to history by another name…


Nameless:

‘There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men
long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.’
Ernest Hemingway

One serial killer terrified the world. Imagine what an army of them could do…

A cult member is arrested at the scene of a brutal murder. She will only speak to former crime reporter, Joe O’Connell.

Joe’s obsession with Obadiah Stark a.k.a The Tally Man cost him everything.

He is about to learn that Stark’s message did not end with his death.

They believe in what The Tally Man stood for.

They believe in what The Tally Man did.

But he was one, and they are many.

Once they have you, they will never let you go…


About the Author:

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David McCaffrey was born in Middlesbrough, raised in West Sussex and now lives in Redcar. He worked in the NHS for many years, his last position being Lead Nurse in Infection

Prevention and Control at James Cook University Hospital.

He started writing following the birth of his first son and in 2010 was accepted onto the writing coach programme run by Steve Alten, international bestselling author of Meg and The Mayan Prophecy. Hellbound was the result and the rest, as they say, is history (cliche, cliche).

Though psychological thrillers are his raison d’etre, David is also an activist for bullying and harassment in the NHS. His book, ‘Do No Harm: Bullying and Harassment in the NHS’

went to Number One in the Nursing and White Collar Crime categories of Amazon Kindle charts in November 2018 and was the Number One bestselling book in the U.S Amazon

Kindle charts for more than three weeks in the Issues, Trends and Roles category. David is a proud supporter and donator to the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation which tackles

bullying across the board, from schools to the workplace. He had the honour of being invited to speak at the Standup Foundation’s Inaugural Conference in November 2018.

Half of all profits from ‘Do No Harm’ go to the Ben Cohen Foundation.

David lives with his wife Kelly, has a Jakey, a Liam (a.k.a Gruffy) and a Cole (a.k.a Baby Moo Man) They also have an Obi… who’s the dog.

He decided to go back and revisit his first three titles in the Hellbound Anthology for many reasons; the main ones being to correct mistakes in there from the first time around, to expand upon the storylines where original ideas were edited out (nothing major, but small sections that he always loved) and to completely redesign the covers to make them look more like the series they were always intended to be.

Whether he has accomplished any of the above, he shall willingly leave up to you, dear readers.

Links: Twitter


Now for to share the new makeover cover for this amazing sounding trilogy…

HellShadow 3Name

#BlogTour : Nothing Is As It Was : @saintlywriter : #ClimateFiction @RetreatWest : #RandomThingsTours : #BookReview

Climate Change Cover

Today I have an anthology “Nothing Is As It Was” is a book of short stories from a diverse range of authors. This book is available to purchase from Amazon UK in eBook and also paperback format. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot and also Retreat West Books for my copy.

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and flash fictions on the theme of climate change from established and emerging authors who all care about our planet.

A schoolboy inspired by a conservation hero to do his bit; a mother trying to save her family and her farm from drought; a world that doesn’t get dark anymore; and a city that lives in a tower slowly being taken over by the sea.

These stories and many more make up a poignant collection that is sometimes bleak, sometimes lighthearted, but always hopeful that we can make a change.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS: Contributors include:

  • Cath Barton – winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella 2017 https://cathbarton.com/about/ 
  •  
  • Rose McGinty – author of Electric Souk https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/indie-debuts-electric-souk/ 
  • Susmita Bhattacharya – author of The Normal State of Mind
  •  
  • Weibo Grobler – twice shortlisted for his Flash Fiction and Poetry for the Fish Publishing Prize he has also had various stories published in Molotov Lit, National Flash Fiction Day, Reflex Fiction, Horror Scribes and more

My Thoughts:

I have not really read much in fiction about climate change so I was very curious when Anne Cater got in touch regarding a review spot for this book. I tend to shy away from anthologies and I really shouldn’t as the ones I have read have been really enjoyable reads.

This book is a mix of short flash fiction stories from a variety of authors.  The underlying message is one of the change in our climate.  The authors have taken this basis and have created a very impressive range of stories.

The different perspectives and writing styles are a real treat that give so many different angles and provoke different thoughts. Some are very current with mentions of plastic pollution, endangered animals, weather and sea levels. Others have a slightly different approach but still with their feet set firmly within the climate theme.

I was planning on reading a couple of stories over several nights….. yeah right me and planning… I got caught up in this book and read in one sitting. I think what rally made this book for me was the diverse styles from the authors as well as the stories.  I found them to be really addictive, concise and to the point at the same time being really well written and addictive reading. They are not preaching for change but highlighting things that have happened or is happening in the world around us.

It would be a misconception to think this could be a sombre read given the subject, but the truth is that it is far from it. Yes there are sombre and thought-provoking undertones but the authors have done a cracking job of keeping the message they are relating and also to be appealing and uplifting to the reader.

Would I recommend this book? Oh most definitely. I think it would appeal to a great many readers as there will something for all within the pages.

About:  Retreat West Books

Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.

Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources.

Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.

Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.

Follow the tour and thoughts of other Book Bloggers

Nothing Is As it Was Blog Tour poster - Copy


As I was writing up my review for this book I had the news on in the background. The feature was for Authors4Oceans and how authors, illustrators and publishers are making a contribution to help in the recovery of our oceans. I am doing my bit by using reusable cups, recycling, composting, and trying to limit my plastic use. If we all try then we can make a difference xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing. 

#BookReview: Hardened Hearts : #anthology with @tbraun_author

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts for “Hardened Hearts” a book of 17 short stories with a foreward by James Newman and the book is edited by Eddie Generous.  My thanks to Theresa Braun for asking me to read a copy of this book. It is available in paperback and also eBook and can be purchased from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US 

Synopsis:

17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.

My thoughts:

I am going to give a brief few lines about each story.

40 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MONSTER LOVER – Gwendolyn Kiste: The loner of the group is dragged along to a party.  She accepts a drink from a man she knows is married, she knows she shouldn’t. There are lots of things she shouldn’t do but does. The man is likened to that of a wolf, he is the hunter, she the prey.
IT BREAKS MY HEART TO WATCH YOU ROT – Somer CanonL: Love does not last forever.  It lasts until the last breath.
WHAT IS LOVE? – Calvin Demmer: He is a lightening bird, a rare creature that feeds on blood.  He is controlled by witch doctors and can take human form.
HEIRLOOM – Theresa Braun: Rachel has an antique mirror, an heirloom. She is with a client when the mirror moves, this plus the strange dreams she has been having and also the unsettling client gives a dark and unsettling read.
THE RECLUSE – John Boden: He is besotted with his co-worker Emily.  He thought she was “the one”.

DOG TIRED – Eddie Generous: Prince and Cassandra are driving, desperate to stay awake.  They cannot allow themselves to fall asleep.  There are beast in the shadows, they carry an infection.
THE PINK BALLOON – Tom Deady: Grace wants to go to the fair, Dad has been busy, is tired and grumpy.  Mum takes her instead.  Walking around is unsettling for mum, be better if her husband was with her.  Grace sees a balloon seller, clowns and stalls.  He should have gone with them.
IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO – J.L. Knight: He still has her breath, it has been captured in the balloons she blew up.

CONSUMED – Madhvi RamaniHe is a married lawn mower sales man, she is recently divorced.  They meet at conferences, trade shows and have elicit meetings.  He is in over his head, out of his depth and then there are the lies.

BURNING SAMANTHA – Scott Hallam: She is Samantha, not Sam.  Ready to attend the Spring Dance with Andrew.  This is a night of change, missed and now lost opportunities.
CLASS OF 2000 – Robert Dean: Didn’t plan on murder today.  Didn’t mean to murder Alex at all.  But he was a bully and a low life, pushed things too far.
LEARNING TO LOVE – Jennifer Williams: Falling in love too fast and too often leaves scars.  Love hurts.
BROTHERS – Leo X. Robertson: Growing up is part of life.  There are mistakes and regrets.  Going over old memories, visiting diaries exploring the past.  This is the longest story, it is diary entries from a group of teenagers, who they are and what they did.
PORCELAIN SKIN – Laura Blackwell: Ruth is sent a music box, it belonged to an old friend who died 13 years ago.  She still misses her.
THE HEART OF THE ORCHARD – Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: When Melissa father dies the farm has to be sold.  It goes to neighbours and Melissa is able to live in their guest house.  She still grows peaches when an old man comes to her with some advice to improve them.
MEETING THE PARENTS – Sarah L. Johnson: She is trying to describe her boyfriend in a letter to her parents.  It is better if they know some things before they actually meet him.
MATCHMAKER – Meg Elison: Getting over a break up is never easy, especially when you ex can be seen on a dating app with a new hairstyle and smiling.

Back to My Thoughts:

These stories are a really good mix.  There are supernatural, modern, occult, folktale-ish, modern and creepy but all have elements of love in them in all it’s various guises.

This is a great book for dipping in and out of, pick a story, read it, maybe read another….or get completely engrossed and read in pretty much one sitting, it wasn’t the plan !

They range from a couple of pages in length to several, but they all make their point and are interesting and intriguing.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like the dark side of love, short stories with twists and thorns.

Many thanks to Theresa Braun, one of the authors, for sending a copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and unbiased.

Many thanks for reading my  post, give it a share if you liked it.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx