Archive for April, 2019

Caught in a Web by Joseph Lewis

April 24, 2019 - 7:08 am No Comments

My turn on the blog tour for Caught in a Web, a gritty thriller from a new to me author Joseph Lewis.

Caught in a Web by Joseph Lewis

Published by Black Rose Writing on 3rd May 2018

341 pages

The Blurb : Caught in a Web

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson.  But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff

Here are my thoughts:

As you start this story, you soon realise that George is a gifted teenager. After tragically losing all his Navajo family, he now lived with Jeremy and his foster family.  Having a Navajo upbringing, George has some exceptional talents, one being adept with a blade which as you find out further in the story, has saved him and his foster family before.

Starting the story as yet another teenager dies of an overdose, the police are up against it to find out who is cutting and selling the drugs.  Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann are all well-respected police officers in the community and they use their friendships to help try and solve the case. Whilst they are investigating the deaths, Ricardo Fuentes and the MS-13 are put in the frame, but now the Police know that George’s life is in danger, it is a race to arrest Ricardo before he can accomplish his plan.

This started a bit slow mainly due to all the background and I did find it a bit confusing with the family dynamics. However, after a while, I soon grasped who was part of Jeremy’s family and their relationships with each other. The children and their close friends all had harrowing stories explaining how they ended up being fostered by Jeremy, it also explains why the family is so close. As you are following the investigation, more about George’s history is revealed and as he embraces his heritage and uses his talents, you can see him struggle with his upbringing and fighting to save his friends and family.

The pace quickens as the danger intensifies and you can see that the police are up against it and whilst you find out early on who was behind the drugs, the one behind the planning and their reasoning was unexpected. As for Ricardo’s even if the police did not want to involve the boys, their hands were tied as the boy’s lives were in danger.

There are some graphic scenes and some scenes that some readers will find disturbing, as the characters involved are children. However, if you are looking for a gritty thriller that will grab your attention then you can’t go wrong with this book.

Purchasing Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Meet the Author: 

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.

Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

Social Media: Twitter: http://@jrlewisauthor


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The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

April 23, 2019 - 8:24 am No Comments

My turn has come on The Pale Ones blog tour, written by a new to me author Bartholomew Bennett. Here are my thoughts…….

The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett

Published by Inkandescent on 17th October 2018

98 pages

One thing my daughter and I love doing together is going around charity shops, “rescuing” abandoned books. To buy a book that you have been looking for ages, opening it up, reading the dedication in the book, wondering why they gave it away. A train ticket falls out, Where had the previous owner travelled to? When did they read the book?   

As I was reading this story, I did feel sorry for the protagonist. I had a sense he led a lonely life and his only enjoyment was finding his next fortune. Written in 1st person POV, you follow the protagonist as he tries and makes a living selling secondhand books.  On one of his bargain hunts, he runs into Harris, a book dealer with a secret, who takes him on one of his buying trips around Yorkshire. Harris was a strange character, was he a supernatural or was he just eccentric. There were unanswered questions, but it made me fill in the gaps and make my own opinion on Harris. The journey round Yorkshire has you wondering what Harris is out to achieve.     

Even after the journey, his life was not a happy one, trying to rebuild his life after another tragic event hits him. The characters they meet on their journey, are the type you would bump into in your regular life and I can guarantee that you could walk into any charity shop in the country and bump into one the ladies serving you.

Whilst there are no graphic scenes, there is that hunch that something is going to happen, it’s the feeling that there is a presence in the shadows just loitering in your peripheral vision.

This is a book that I will re-read as I am sure that If I read it again, I will come up with completely different views on Harris and his reasons behind collecting unforgotten books. I am sure that other readers will come up with their own ideas of what the pale ones are. This will be a good book to read in a book club so everyone could share their own opinions.    

Bartholomew Bennett was born in Leicester to an American father and English mother. Since childhood he has been a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. He has a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia and is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group. He has had various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk, call-centre rep, decorator and handy-man. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling. Currently he lives in southeast London with his wife and two children. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…   

Inkandescent are committed to voices underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Their first publication Threads – a deftly weft and delightfully warped tapestry of poetry and photography – was funded by Arts Council England and long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize, of which their second publication, AutoFellatio – James Maker’s memoir remastered with new chapters and never-seen photographs – was the inaugural winner.

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

April 20, 2019 - 10:41 am No Comments

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

Published by Crossroad Press Macabre Ink on 19th May 2016

310 pages

One thing I enjoy is short stories, the chance to read a complete story whenever I can get the chance. With 17 different stories, I had plenty of choices. Before each short story, the author gives an insight into how the story was created and where they got their inspiration from. For this review I am going to mention my favourites.    

Opening up with Wedding Day: it’s a story about loss. As you read this, the main protagonist emotions are raw. You can sense just how much they are grieving as they reminisce. The ending was a fitting end

The Thirst: the story about a lone vampire trying to survive after a disaster has nearly wiped out their food supply. There was a sadness to this story, you are left wondering how the vampire will survive without human blood and what a lonely existence.

Clown Town: The longest of the short stories and the story connected to the cover. We follow Detective Bumbo and Inspector Garbo as they try and solve the murder of Angeletta Trivelino at the renowned night club Marceau’s. The story is a crime noir and as I was reading it, I was imagining it being played out on a black and white TV being narrated by a gravelly voiced actor. The little touches to this story added to the enjoyment, whether it was the style of the clown’s makeup or every now and again Garbo would squeeze his horn to emphasise an emotion. Running throughout the story was Bumbo’s love story and his own femme fatale. I would enjoy reading further stories involving Bumbo and Garbo.

Chirality: Hattie Caulfield was out on her daily treks across the mountains and comes across a missing child. This was an easy-going story as you follow Hattie. I loved the twist at the end.

The Politics of Dancing: As I have not read any of this author before, I had not come across Cleese. However, after reading this story, I do want to find out more about him. Working for MEST, he is like a clean-up/hit squad for the undead. A zombie terminator. A quick read with plenty of action.

I enjoyed this book and with its mixture of genres, it will appeal to more than horror fans. 

Strand of Faith (Choice and Consequences Book 1) by Rachel J Bonner

April 19, 2019 - 5:36 pm No Comments

Strand of Faith (Choice and Consequences Book 1) by Rachel J Bonner

Published by Isbin Books on 15th November 2018

239 pages

In preparation for the release of the 2nd in the series, I read Strand of Faith, the first book in the Choice and Consequences series.

Set in a world where some people have psychic gifts, a monastery is set up to help the young students to use their talents. Brother Prospero an exceptionally gifted monk, he had had difficulty controlling his powers, but now highly trained, he used his skills to help others. Leonie, an orphan hides in the monastery to try and control her abilities. But with the Abbot having strange dreams is Prospero and Leonie needed for greater things.

Brother Prospero had found a sanctuary, having struggled with his gifts when he was a young boy, it enabled him to help others, whether it was teaching them to control their powers or if they required medical attention. However, having Leonie close sees him grappling with his beliefs. There is not a lot known about Leonie and there are only snippets known about her life before she joined the monastery, but we know she had it hard.

Being the first in the series, we get introduced to the main characters and get an understanding of their world. With each chapter labelled with the character and written in 3rd person POV enables you to understand the characters, whether it’s following them as they do their duties, the emotional turmoil they have with each other or learning more about the background, you get involved with their story. Although Prospero and Leonie are the main characters, the other characters play a big part in telling the story.

Whilst this is a fantasy read, it has a historical feel to the book, because of the monastery setting I had Cadfael running through my mind. The romance elements play a big part in the story and I had to keep reminding myself that Prospero is only a few years older than Leonie, although I did feel sorry for him as he struggled with his beliefs and what he had to do for the best. I actually stayed up to finish this book as I wanted to know more about Leonie and I am glad that I do not have to wait too long to carry on her story and to see what her involvement is in the Abbot’s plans.

This is a perfect book for teenagers and adults and if you enjoy fantasy and romance, and want to start a new series than this is a good book to get.   

The Gaia Project (The Gaia Collection Book 2) by Claire Buss

April 17, 2019 - 9:42 pm No Comments

The Gaia Project (The Gaia Collection Book 2) by Claire Buss

Published on 10th October 2018

266 pages

Following on from Book 1, the coop is over and City 42 is being governed by Martha Hamble. To try and replenish their stocks, a scouting party goes to City 15, but when they find the city in ruins, they realise that the Corporation was trying to infiltrate the city. Knowing they are in danger the group plan their escape.

It was good to get back into the story and follow Kira, Jed, Martha, Ruth and their babies as they try and remain safe. As they try and rebuild the city, we learn more about each character and they all have an equal role to play in the story. Jed is slowly recovering from the loss of his best friend and whilst Kira was happy being a mom, she missed adult company. Martha was struggling to run City 42 and be a mom and Ruth was struggling to cope looking after her child.

Inserted throughout the story is media posts and messages, which help explain more of the trouble that the city is in and the corruption that is going on. I read this story in one day, as there was always something going on, whether they were all flying to find safety or discussing the plan of action. Due to the dangers that the group face, you are drawn into a thrilling read. As they investigate the other cities, you are introduced to some new characters, some are quite quirky and allow some comedy relief.

As this is story has a Sci-fi theme, there is a lot of technology mentioned and re-enforces how big brother was always watching. The detailed writing helps you easily imagine what type of world they live in. The story takes you on an adventure, which I did not want to end. This is a good addition to the series and whilst it did not end on a cliff-hanger and am curious to find out what happens next. If you like dystopian and Sci-fi, then pick up this series.