Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review: The Enclaves of Sylox, by T.R. Harris

syloxAmazon US

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I really wish I had the brains to write this series myself. So now the envy is out of the way, let me tell you about the book.

Sci-fi – clear by the cover – adventure and detective mystery all rolled into one. Virtually all my favorite genres blended together.

The plot moves along swiftly – perfect for this type of storyline. Twists and turns everywhere. Intrigue and funny looking aliens – thick on the ground. It would have been easy to make this into a heavy, action-laden book which exhausts the reader, but instead, we have an incredibly entertaining read full of quips and humor, fast-paced yet light enough to make you chuckle as you go.

The author’s voice is clean and balanced, clear of unnecessary flourishes. First person writing brings the reader closer to the action. Jason King is a human in an alien world, and a bachelor, and the way he expresses himself, his thought process, his likes and dislikes are so spot-on, you can’t help but like the guy from page one. Unlikely hero that he is, he still manages to save the day, and in the process stop disaster of universal proportions.

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. Loved the hints to the old human life, loved the biggest warehouse on Sylox where Jason shops, loved the camaraderie between him and Quint. Even the spaceship salesman was funny. The twist in the epilogue was just sweet icing on the cake.

This was the first book by T.R. Harris I’ve read, but it wont be the last. Seriously, you need to try it. Oh, the cherry on top – there is a complete bonus book included in the package: book one of The Human Chronicles Saga, The Fringe Worlds. Definitely worth it. Wholeheartedly recommend it.

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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Review: The DCI Jones Casebook: Ellis Flynn, by Kerry J Donovan

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A perfectly formed police procedural, nice and tight writing style with just enough detail to paint precise descriptions, and a relentless plot made this a book I just couldn’t put down.

As plots go, this is a winner right from the very beginning. It’s a race against time, the tension mounts, and just as you think it’s all over – the plot explodes. Everything just gets a hundred times worse. The time restraints get tighter, the tension is through the roof, there are twists everywhere, and even if you know or expect certain reactions from important, yet auxiliary players, all you can do is read on and scream at the pages, because no one will hear your shouts of ‘No!’, ‘Watch out!’ and ‘What a plonker!’

Brilliant book! Absolutely exceeded my expectations. It would have had five shiny stars even before I figured the DCI’s favourite tipple is also mine. I know there is another book in the series, and I’m getting it. Definitely worth the time and money. Highly recommended.


Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Review: We Walk Alone, by Mariah E. Wilson

WeWalkAlone230dpiAmazon US

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You know those times when you read the first lines of a book and it resonates so well with you, you feel it’s as if destiny threw it into your hands? This book and I were meant to meet, I know it!

So much emotion, and so easily connecting with me! My favorite has to be Not For Sale, or maybe This Wonderland of Life, or maybe Conversations in the Rain, the opening poem. I can’t make up my mind. I’m usually hesitant when picking up a poetry book, especially contemporary poetry, because I don’t feel I can always understand the poet’s message. There was no way I couldn’t understand these. I felt that connection right away, and I sat reading and re-reading them because there was just so much pleasure in reading those words and pausing on those pictures they sketched in my head over and over again.

I don’t want to waffle on forever. Click on the ‘look inside’ and read the first poem. Just read it. I guarantee you’ll feel the link, and you’ll want to read more. I loved this book. Five huge shiny stars from me.


Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Review: The Black Door, by Charlotte Howard

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This is not the first Charlotte Howard book I’ve read, and it certainly won’t be the last. Her writing has seasoned and matured to the point of very near perfection. The Black Door kept me engrossed from the beginning till the very end. I snacked on unhealthy foods while I was reading, because I simply could not bring myself to leave the story for as long as it took to make a sandwich. Oh, Ms. Howard, you are a wicked writer, and I love your books.

One thing that sets the author’s voice apart is the depth of her observations, the way she bares all, the lack of censorship. There is no way you could be ignoring her characters, because not only do you get to know them, you become them as they struggle to make it through life’s sneaky and often overwhelming challenges.

Everything about this novel is original. Don’t even think you can guess what’s through that keyhole. I will not give the plot away, not one bit, because I could never do it justice. There are so many aspects of this story that rang true with me, so many instances of ‘phew, I had a lucky escape when I was in her shoes’, and still, there was enough humour to lighten the mood and make it all a beautiful experience. “Adventurers Only,” says the cover. I took the leap of faith, and loved my journey. What are you waiting for?


award ella

For the depth of feeling, for originality, and for an outright beautiful experience, The Black Door wins for Charlotte Howard the Life Changing Read Award. Congratulations! It is very well deserved. Come and join my Awesome Authors Gallery.




My review of Seven Dirty Words, by Charlotte Howard.


Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Author Spotlight: Michele Gwynn

I am so excited today! I have so much to tell you about today’s guest, Michele Gwynn. Why didn’t I know she is so awesome before? Well, I know now. Have a look at some of the books she’s written (including the HOT HOT HOT new release Exposed: The Education of Sarah Brown), read some excerpts, blurbs, and my review of Harvest, the first book by Michele Gwynn I’ve read. Yes, I’ve got more. If you know me, that should tell you something.


Michele E. Gwynn is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. She writes for newspapers, magazines, and online websites like (under the categories of Film, Animal Rights, Healthy Food, and Sex and Relationships), Yahoo Voices, Alwayz Therro Magazine, and more. In addition, she also edits websites and books – recently editing the debut supernatural romance novel, Lone Wolf Rising, by Indie author Jami Brumfield, and her next novel in a new series, The Witch’s Vampire – Mystery Springs Unleashed. Prior to her career in writing, Ms. Gwynn worked in medical administration in a managerial capacity.

Ms. Gwynn recently published two books; one in the science fiction genre, Harvest, and one children’s fiction, The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer. She is publishing her first erotic crime novel in August 2014 – Exposed: The Education of Sarah Brown, is already working on her second sci-fi novel, and plans to continue “The Cat Who..” series with the intent on introducing common greetings and words of foreign languages with educational information about the history of other countries for children.

She resides in northeast San Antonio with her four felines who so graciously allow her to live in their home.

Amazon Author Page

Author web page



Amazon US

Book Description:  Human greed and gluttony can exist only so long before consequences catch up to actions. For Dave Forrester, the actions of every human living were about to be addressed in his home town of Farley, Oklahoma. A haunting memory from the past is about to become a nightmare. The people of Farley have disappeared without a trace leaving behind only bloody clothing and glimpses of strange lights in the sky. It’s up to Dave to figure out why, and how to save the few that survive….the harvest.


Chapter 1

July, 2010

Traveling home after a night out was not unusual for Dave Forrester.  It was a Saturday night like any other.  He’d hung out with his buddies at the local watering hole, and after a few games of pool, and a round or two of darts interspersed with beer and shots of Wild Turkey, he had clapped his buds on their arms, shaken hands, and promised to meet up again next week.  So far, the only thing out of the ordinary had been the cute redhead seated at the far end of the bar all night.  He kept sneaking looks at her, but Dave never quite got up the courage to approach her.  She was prettier than he was used to, and he struggled with a slight inferiority complex.

So when last call came around, he finished off his last Corona, told his best buddy, Red, he’d see him tomorrow sometime, glanced briefly at the pretty lady, (offering the customary tipping of his hat in her direction) before heading out the door to his Chevy truck.  Yep, nothing was new tonight but the same old, same old, and going home alone.  Dave sighed heavily, feeling incredibly lonely.  It had been a long time since he last was in a relationship; so long that he had forgotten how nice it felt to have a woman’s arms around his waist at night or how sweet the sound of feminine laughter could be.  He might not remember those things but he knew he missed them.

It had been three years since Sherry had dumped him after cheating on him with a married man twice her age.  He still didn’t understand how the hell that had happened, but the only thing Dave could figure out was the fellow was rich, and had more to offer financially than he did.  Sherry always did like gifts, and the stuffed bears, wildflowers and infrequent dinners out to the steakhouse with the all you can eat salad bar hadn’t satisfied her.  God knows he had tried.  Dave felt one lone tear begin in his left eye and he took a deep breath, sucking it up, refusing to allow any more tears to fall for that gal.  Dammit, men just don’t cry.  Sherry was just plain materialistic and love notes, hand holding and telling her he loved her hadn’t put designer clothes on her wonderfully sculpted body, hadn’t slid onto her fingers like diamond rings, and could never fly her to Monaco first class like all the other guy’s money had done.  Sherry had no heart and didn’t deserve his.

With that last thought Dave tried to concentrate on the road ahead of him as he headed off down the country lane that would lead to his old-fashioned farm house on three acres of land.  The house and land had come to him through his grandparents.  When his granddad died five years back, his grandma, Effie, had been all alone in the house, unable to handle the planting and harvesting of the wheat and hay.  Dave’s mom, Lynda, had subtly put the idea into her son’s head to move in with his grandmother, and help take care of things.  Grandma Effie hadn’t wanted to lose the home she’d shared with her husband, Ernest, for over thirty years.  Dave knew he’d end up with no choice in the matter, not that he minded much helping grandma out.  The only setback had been in giving up his bachelor pad apartment which helped put a crimp in his love life with Sherry.  She complained a lot whenever she and Dave had to go to her place to have sex, said a grown man ought to have his own place.  She never understood that sometimes a grown man also has obligations to others as well.  But that was in the past.  Grandma Effie had declined in her health nonetheless after Ernest Hardy’s death.  She just couldn’t seem to find a way to live her life without him, even with her grandson’s help.  She passed on a year and half later, leaving the house and all the land to Dave.  He’d been there ever since, making a go of farming.  It wasn’t much, but he found he loved the simple labor.  It was hard work, but he worked for himself, and what he made off the sale of the wheat and hay paid the bills.  For the most part, Dave was content.

There were no lights out this far along the roadside and one had to really pay attention to what was coming in order not to hit any wild animals running across the road.  It was dark, quiet, and mighty peaceful with the warm July wind whipping through the rolled down, driver’s side window. Dave drifted off into thought as he cruised along the 30mph stretch.  Another mile and he’d be home, alone with his television and empty bed.

Behind him, a light streaked across the starless sky like a small comet.  Dave noticed the flash in his rearview mirror.  It grew larger and seemed like it was headed right at the back of his truck.  The light continued to grow until it blinded Dave.  He tried to look in the mirror to see what the hell was going on.  For a split second, he thought a car load of kids had driven up behind him and had their high beams on.  But another split second later, the Chevy truck was fully enclosed in a blinding white light and Dave barely got the chance to mutter “What the..” before a shuddering explosion of sound, or was it an implosion, like millions of conversations at once robbed him of consciousness.

The truck slowed and rolled to a stop in a small ditch off the side of the lane, just a few hundred yards from Dave’s front lawn.  The light dimmed and then was gone.  Wisps of frost radiated off the truck and melted into the warm summer night air.  All sound seemed to stop.  The air was still, and Dave, unaware and unconscious, fell sideways in his seat belt, hanging suspended above the bench seat.  The car radio spit and sputtered to life, softly playing Hank Williams’ “I’m so lonesome I could die”.



This is a sci-fi short with strong influences from common UFO myths and witness accounts, with original, chilling points and just the right amount of gruesome thrown in. Well-written and very enjoyable, it drew me in and didn’t let me go until I’d reached the last page. Good descriptions and deep enough characters to empathize with, despite the little space to develop them in. I liked the style, loved the mix of concepts and enjoyed the storytelling pace. The ending was satisfying and infused with hope, but I certainly wished there was more to read.

All in all, a lovely, engaging read, suitable for all ages. I fully recommend it.




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Here’s a sneak peek of Book II in the Harvest Trilogy, Celluloss.

May 15, 1962

The screams were the loudest and most maniacal sounds Sergeant Trent Wilkins had ever heard.  Assigned to guard the doors to the 12th Air Training Command’s underground bunker located approximately two miles northwest of Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Wilkins had not been given any specifics nor had he asked.  He just followed orders, and his orders were to stand guard from 11 p.m. till 7 a.m. and let in only the three authorized personnel on his list.  With the steel doors closed, no one beyond the field could hear those screams; screams that sounded like something out of a nightmare, like they came from an animal, but no animal he’d ever encountered before.  The sounds assaulted his ears and scraped the inside of his skull as Doctor Andre Troyevsky and Colonel Louis Reed exited those steel doors and headed up the ramp towards the jeep parked in the center of what was otherwise a fallow field.

Cows lowed in the distance answering those screams that faded off as the doors automatically closed behind the departing men.  Wilkins was relieved when the lock clicked shut and he could no longer easily detect the other-worldly screeching. Other than the frightening noises from within, the job was easy.  He could smoke his cigarettes, piss in the field, and he was allowed one thirty-minute break to eat.  As long as no one went in that wasn’t on the list, and no one left who wasn’t on the list, his job was complete.  The list changed nightly with only a few variations in authorized military personnel, but the demands of the post stayed the same.  Wilkins had been on this detail for three months and not much had changed.  If he could finish out his military contract before his out-processing back into civilian life pulling this detail, his remaining time would be a cake walk.

He lit a Marlboro as the jeep pulled away and took a long drag.  Only Doctor Parker remained inside the bunker.  How he could stand those screams being so close to whatever was going on down there he didn’t know.  Ben Parker was in his fifties with silvery hair, what little he had, and wore a stern countenance.  On the few occasions he’d seen him, Parker had not acknowledged the Sergeant beyond flashing his I.D, and he always looked ten years older when he left in the morning.

Wilkins leaned up against the concrete frame built fifty feet into the ground that surrounded the ten-inch thick steel doors.  His cigarette burned down slowly between his fingers as he let his eyelids droop.  All the silence; crickets chirping, light breeze in the trees, and the cows out in the neighboring field created a tranquil state that lulled him into a light doze.  Troyevsky and Colonel Reed wouldn’t return this night.  Once someone left during a shift, they were finished so he wasn’t worried about being caught sleeping on duty.  Wilkins perfected the art of dozing while standing guard.  It was how he spent most nights.  This one was no different, until a loud banging from inside the steel doors jerked him to attention.

Muffled screams barely discernible through the ten inch thick steel mingled with the frantic pounding.  “Open the door!” Muffled but discernable, the words reached his ears.

Wilkins cocked his M-14 and aimed at the doors.  “Doctor Parker?  Are you okay, sir?”

“Open the door, soldier!  Open the door!”  More pounding and the sound of scraping assaulted his ears.

Wilkins felt increasingly uneasy and panicked, but tried to remain calm.  “Sir, you have to use your key, sir.  I don’t have a key to open this door.  I’m not authorized.  Use your key and open the door slowly.  I have my rifle aimed at the doors and won’t stand down until I’m assured you’re alright.”

Words gave way to unearthly screams.  The sound of fists pounding on the inside of the door gave way to a hideous scraping like fingernails on metal.  Then a loud bang that sounded like a body slamming into the right-hand door caused them both to shudder and actually shake the concrete jamb.  Silence.

“Doctor Parker?”  Sergeant Wilkins called.  No answer.  “Doc?  Doc?  Doc!”  Wilkins felt a sick sense of horror.  Something had happened to Doctor Parker and he couldn’t help him; couldn’t get inside the doors or leave his post to call for help. “Dammit!”

He paced back and forth never lowering his rifle from quick aim at the doors.  There was more than an hour left until daylight and the arrival of his relief and the next shift of authorized personnel.  He’d have to wait.  He had no choice.

“Doc!”  Wilkins kept calling for Parker until his voice went hoarse. Time crawled slowly by as he kept trying to elicit a response inside.  Sweat trickled into his eyes and his heart raced.   Finally, the horizon began to show the telltale signs of dawn and the rumble of a jeep moving closer alerted his ears.  He didn’t know how long he’d been standing facing the doors, pointing his rifle, calling the doctor’s name, but it felt like an eternity.

Tech Sergeant John J. Haus pulled up roughly twelve feet from the incline that led down to the bunker.  He left the keys in the ignition for Wilkins.  The guards relayed the military vehicle back and forth from the base so as to keep the field clear and inconspicuous to anyone who drove by during the day.  Between the overgrown brush and the entryway being built below ground level, the military presence on the land was undetectable.  The only giveaway was the fencing surrounding the acreage that had signs stating Leased Property of the U.S. Government:  Keep Out.

Haus grabbed his pack that contained his lunch and several canteens of water.  It got hot out in the field and a man could sweat off his body weight in the middle of May in Texas.  He slipped his arm through the strap of his M-14 and headed off down the ramp.  He immediately noticed Wilkins standing with his back to him and his rifle aimed at the doors.

“Wilkins!  What the hell are you doing?”  Haus stopped, dropped his pack and swung his rifle into position aiming towards the sergeant and those double doors.  His senses were on immediate alert.

“Sarge” a hoarse voice asked?  Wilkins looked over his shoulder and the haunted look in his eyes set off alarm bells in Haus’s head.

“What happened, Trent?  What’s going on?”  Haus kept his voice calm, waiting.

“Doctor Parker.  The doc, man.  He was screaming and banging on the door.  Kept shouting for me to open the door.  I tried to tell him I don’t have a key, but he kept screaming at me.”

“Where’s the Colonel and Troyevsky?”

“They left earlier.  Only the doc was inside.”  Wilkins turned back towards the doors.

“Did he come out?”  Haus continued to try and assess what happened.

“No.  He just stopped screaming,”

“How long ago?”

“Dunno, Sarge; maybe an hour ago; maybe a little more.”  Wilkins voice cracked.

Haus knew this was serious.  He’d have to inform the Colonel right away.  “Wilkins, stay on guard until I get back.  I have to go back to base and get help.  When the next shift comes, don’t let anyone in, you copy?”

“Copy, sir.”

Haus ran back and jumped into the jeep and sped like a bat out of hell back towards base.






Amazon US


Berlin, Germany

The temperature dropped as soon as the sun went down. Anthony de Luca walked around downtown trying to capture the nightlife of the city on camera. The images would be part of an article he’d been contracted to write for an online tour guide about Berlin. He was being paid for the job, compensated for his hotel and expenditures, and they promised to promote his guide books. He was famous for unearthing the unusual about any city he photographed along with the normal tourist sites. With that in mind, he found himself on a side of town that wasn’t quite the best. Still, it was all part of Berlin.

For fun, he’d photographed a few street walkers trying to lure in some business. They were pretty bold, approaching cars as they slowed down to ogle the local ‘talent’.

As he aimed and clicked the shutter, he noticed a distinguished looking man walking quickly out of a back alley with a young blonde man behind him. The blonde was walking fast and shouting at the man in the cap. He was speaking in rapid German so Anthony had no idea what he was saying, but he seemed pretty pissed.

The blonde reached out and grabbed the gentleman’s arm and tugged. That was when Anthony noticed the cane in the older man’s other hand. That cane came around and connected with the blonde’s head. Hard.

Shocked, Anthony aimed his camera again, and began shooting picture after picture. The older man continued to strike the younger one on the head, back, shoulders, and legs just outside the alley. Head bleeding, the blonde raised his arms to fend off the blows while trying to hit back. He wasn’t strong enough for the older man.

Two men came running, one black and the other white with dark hair, and chased off the older man. Anthony kept shooting.

As he half-walked, half-ran away, the older gentleman looked around him. His eyes landed on the man across the street with the camera. The slightly panicked looked changed to one of dark anger.

“Shit!” Anthony turned and ran back towards the city center. He didn’t wait around to see whether the older man would follow him. He knew he was younger and could outrun him.

The man did try and follow, but Anthony was soon swallowed up into the crowd, gone. The man stopped to catch his breath.

He wasn’t worried that the blond hustler would report him to police for not paying for play. He hadn’t intended not to pay him, but discovered too late that he’d left his wallet in his room on the bedside table. No other way to deal with that situation since the deed was done, but someone else might report him to police. Someone else with an expensive camera who was not a prostitute trying to protect himself. Someone who was most likely legitimate. Someone who now had his image on film committing a crime.

He’d have to leave Germany sooner than he planned. He’d have to leave that night; leave before he could set up a meeting with Mistress Elsa. He sighed.

He hailed a taxi. A quick trip back to his hotel had him packed and off to Tegel within the hour. He had no time to spare. If the man with the camera had reported him to the Polizei, his image would be on an all-points bulletin shortly, and he’d be unable to get out of the country and back home. He’d find another way to gain what he most wanted.


Guess what I’ll be reading next? ;)


Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts


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Review: Nightcrawler, by John Reinhard Dizon

NightcrawlerAmazon US

Amazon UK

Nightcrawler is a vigilante adventure set in New York. Just a word about the cover – while it fits the story quite well, it doesn’t do it justice. I loved the book. I hate the cover.

But it’s a 5-star story, so I want to tell you about it. Just ignore the picture.

Beware the skill and values of an intelligent woman. After a misspent youth, Bree buckles up and decides to take life seriously. Thus, the Nightcrawler is born. That’s all you’re getting from me in terms of plot. You really need to read this book. I blazed through it in one sitting and loved every minute.

A wide range of secondary threads weave around the main story line, each showcasing a different aspect of New York life. Brilliantly executed, this is a very engaging action thriller with enough humanity to make it enjoyable to a wide audience. Certainly a book I would recommend.



Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Book Reviews


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Review: Housework Harmony, by Andrew McAllister

hhAmazon US

Amazon UK

If ever you wanted proof of how sexy a man may look while doing the dishes, you’ve got it here.

All joking aside, I was surprised at how down-to-earth and honest a manner this subject could be discussed. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing one needs lessons for. How wrong I was!

This book showed me just how easy it was to fall into the trap of internalised emotion and unfounded assumption, the tiny grain of sands that can be the starting point of friction and discontent between spouses or partners.

In awe at what I’d just discovered, I read on, wondering what more could be said on the subject. There are ways to allay every concern, tips on asking for help without sounding like a slave driver, ways to look at the other person’s perspective that you probably haven’t thought of before, and different angles to every line of reasoning. And when you’re done with that, you still get a set of winning principles which can be applied to more than just this situation.

This book is more than just an essay in how to divide chores evenly, it is a lesson in how to be more attuned to the people around you, and ultimately to yourself, and also a lesson in communication. No one ever made much progress by avoiding interaction with the world outside themselves, and this book shows you the steps you need to take to get there. After all, we all want progress, we all want to be winners, and we all want fair, ethical treatment. Read this book, and encourage the others in your life to do the same. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

You don’t know you need to read this…until you do.

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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Book Reviews


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