Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Untitled Beauty by CE Wilson

June 6, 2019 - 9:22 pm No Comments

One of my missions is to read more of my books that I have had on my kindle for a while. Whilst this may be an endless task, I will slowly chip away at my reading list.

Untitled Beauty by CE Wilson

Published by Live and Love the Fantasy Publications on 13th October 2016

166 pages

You only have to turn on the TV, flick through magazines or even scroll through your social media, and you can see how obsessive some people are with their looks. Untitled Beauty is a story about Grace or more commonly known as Eleven, a young adult who has lived in a world that was controlled by their looks. The higher your score the better life you had.

Grace was rare in the middle of the look gauge, she was what they call a potential. She could get prettier if she had the right buyer.

As you follow Grace, you think her life could not get worse but as she lives with her new family, she is treated more like a pet and her only friend, Reese, a trainer seems to have alternative motives. But as more is known Reese, you can understand why is paying so much attention to Grace. The treatment of her “family” was barbaric and I did wonder whether she would have been better off living back in isolation.

Luckily for Grace, she is very strong-willed and even when she is humiliated or battered and bruised, she gritted her teeth and survived.   

The story is a fast-paced read as there was always something happening. The last third of the book was non stop and whilst it did not end on a cliff-hanger, it did leave me wanting to carry on with the series and as it is on kindle unlimited, I am looking forward to carrying on with Grace’s adventure. This is a dystopian book with a difference and it was a pleasant change to read a story which did not involve the ending of the world. This story is perfect for teenager or adults who are looking for a story that will make you think about how we view society      

An extract from Time of Lies by Douglas Board

June 5, 2019 - 4:24 am No Comments

So after yesterday’s extract of MBA, today I have an extract from Time of Lies by Douglas Board

Blurb: In 2020 the UK elects its own Donald Trump as Prime Minister – Bob Grant, uneducated Bermondsey geezer and self-made millionaire. The election slogan of Bob’s BG party is ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’.

Zack, a Guardian-reading out-of-work actor, can’t believe that his brother Bob has his finger on Britain’s nuclear trigger. Patrick Smath, the Eton-educated permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, practically wet himself at having to tell Bob Britain’s most closely-guarded secret for the last 25 years. In the closing pages of the novel, Patrick is lying naked on the playing fields of Eton. Angela Deil is a big cheese TV presenter/journalist. ACERBIC has been Britain’s most closely-guarded defence secret for 25 years. The black dots indicate the defence staff who were in on the secret and have died. Bob tells the story

Extract: Behind the naked buttocks a row of oak and birch, and a sycamore in a garden; behind the sycamore a house in shadow; behind the house exploding orchid petals of pink, with pistils of sunlight landing on Dutchman’s playing fields. Dutchman’s and Agar’s Plough alone comprise more than twenty of Eton’s playing fields. I shift on my collapsible golf stool and swig coffee from a flask. It’s just gone five thirty in the morning.

The man is naked, shivering on mown grass, his head face down towards the west. As the planet’s rotation propels him feet-first towards the sun, he sees between blades of grass the school he attended for six years. Rope from a ship’s chandler tethers his wrists and ankles to pegs. On his left buttock ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’ has been written in purple lipstick. The bleeding from his left earlobe, now augmented with a single diamanté ring, has stopped. An hour ago he writhed and pissed himself.

‘Your after-action police protection was a shocker,’ I comment. The police officers parked outside Patrick’s house hadn’t noticed a night-time drone skimming the tarmac to arrive underneath them, releasing a gas. ‘Still, sevoflurane isn’t the kind of vile shit you used on me. The binding and gagging had to be on the generous side but they’ll be up and about stopping black teenagers again in no time.’

‘Dawn. So what’s going to happen?’

‘Angela Deil, with a news camera.’

‘Spinning some cock and bull story about how you were drugged and hypnotised will be a waste of time. You may not have noticed but your current reputation stinks.’

‘Please think of your bodacious plot as the Yorkshire pudding in our meal: beside it is beef which has hung and matured in the dark for twenty-six years. Its incredible flavour is about to become a worldwide phenomenon. Don’t bite your lip so hard, Patrick, you’ve bled enough already.’

A column of ants climbs up Patrick’s right shoulder. A ping on my phone says Angela is maybe ten minutes away. A grasshopper tires of blades and lands on the curls of Patrick’s hair. Most grasshoppers are vegetarian, but to this one the column of its neopteran kin looks like lunch on the go.

‘So, the black dots in the ACERBIC room.’ I slop water from a plastic bottle over Patrick’s nose and lips. He sucks in what he can.

‘What about them?’

‘How young they were. I mean, some of the generals were well old when they were snapped, but they still haven’t kicked the bucket. They do say being a senior officer is like living in Switzerland; it’s particularly good for your health.’

‘The adjutant I knew died of a particularly aggressive cancer.’

‘Why did you have any youngsters in on the secret? Of course, it was far too inky work for all the gold braid pinned to that wall. But then being young and junior and all that, they’re not quite as trustworthy, are they, as the ruling class? No peerages or knighthoods to lose. Not quite enough skin in the game. They risk succumbing to the sweet smell of cash. So a risk, but one which you managed. You might call it cancer – I’ll call it a life-shortening dose of being junior.’

Purchase Links:

30% off with discount code BLOGTOURLIES

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Promotional Videos:

Author Bio

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.

Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.

As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @BoardWryter

An Extract from MBA by Douglas Board

June 4, 2019 - 5:17 am No Comments

Something different on my blog today, an extract from MBA by Douglas Board

Blurb: Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? ‘MBA’ – the abbreviation for a master’s degree in business administration – is a farce set at an English business school run by globe-trotting American professor William C Gyro. When Ben, a high-flying graduate of the college, is suddenly fired for no reason, Gyro asks him to rescue the very imminent, star-studded opening of a spectacular all-glass tower.

The culmination of a farce should be like an extravaganza of fireworks, with reader wondering, ‘Surely the writer can’t top this!’. And of course you try, as many times as you can. Frank is a professor at the school. Connie is an NHS executive who is studying part-time, and has been elected student governor. That has sucked her into the tower’s increasingly chaotic opening, and into falling romantically for Ben. But he has lied to her. Here, not far from Slough, with the tower opening under way, she flees the school for what she hopes is sanity.

Extract: The Slough train was due in eight minutes.

‘Nice evening,’ said the old man with the Union Jack but Connie ignored him, pacing the length of the platform and back. All men were the same and she was not in the mood to forgive any of them ‒ whether the tattooed youngsters in the pub, this barnacle on the railway bench, the fat cat, the slick misogynist, the weird scientist or, no better than any of them, the apprentice shitbag. The human race had been betrayed by its priapic half, and several of them had betrayed her personally. On another day she might have felt more kindly towards the pensioner but her bladder wasn’t having any of it. Whoever fixed the wanking hand to the lift had called it right.

She told herself again and again that all Ben needed to have done was own up to his role at Bakhtin on the Sunday afternoon of her birthday. What could have been easier? She would have shouted for a bit but forgiven him (she liked to think). Probably they would still have slept together, but without a lie growing like weeds in between all the words they said to each other. Without that lie, Frank would not have decided during Wednesday’s dinner to get Connie back to his house this afternoon. Without going back she wouldn’t have been confronted by his need of her car battery. Without giving up her car battery, she would have had no reason to feel the soft curds of fear welling up inside her which she was covering over with a hard blow-torch of anger.

Still, from what she remembered from Ben’s timetable, the tower was open by now and the Prime Minister’s announcement made. In a few minutes she would be on her way to Slough and could begin to calm down. Of all towns, Slough was the epitome of tedious normality, although the poet laureate Sir John Betjeman had wanted to obliterate it from the sky. Connie has fixed the horizon with eyes like red lasers, as if in a minute two smudges of smouldering ash four inches apart might appear on the celestial dome.

Which, a minute later, they did. Connie pinched herself. The approaching roar, horrendously loud, caught her by surprise. Standing a few feet from the man on the park bench, the vibrations in her bones turned her blood to ice. Two cigar tubes about six metres long with stubby wings flew overhead. She ducked.

Waving his Union Jack, the old man has spoken to her but she heard nothing. ‘What did you say?’

‘Tomahawks,’ he repeated matter-of-factly, waving his flag as if at a military exhibition. ‘Cruise missiles. Turbofan engines. 1,500 mile range. Nuclear capable.’

Connie remembered the mobile networks going down on 7/7 and the calls made from hell on 9/11, but reached for her phone anyway. She would leave a message for one of her brothers. She crouched behind the stone hut on the platform which housed engineering equipment; she knew it would not shelter her from the blast, but did it anyway. Out of sight she heard the whine of the missiles’ engines going up as they approached their target, the change in sound destroying any possibility, however remote, that the instruments of death were en route to somewhere far away.

Purchase Links:

30% off with discount code BLOGTOURMBA



Promotional Video –

Meet the author:

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.

Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.

As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @BoardWryter

Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland

June 3, 2019 - 5:02 am No Comments

I am on the blog tour for the 3rd in the murder/mystery series set in 1870s Chicago theatres.

Forms of Things Unknown

Recently returned to Chicago after a successful tour of Hamlet, Lillian Nolan is awakened in the dead of night by a strange voice. She is shocked to learn that well known and admired actress, Louise Hawthorne, has fallen to her death from the sixth floor of the Tremont House. Was it an accident? Did she jump or was she pushed? Louise’s former lover, and the main suspect, pleads with Lillian to uncover the truth and clear his name.

In the process of learning to trust her intuitive abilities, Lillian attempts to find balance between relying upon her gift and uncovering the truth in her own way. But the menace of death pursues her and soon her own life is at risk. When she finds herself in a trap from which she cannot escape, her only hope of survival is to call upon the metaphysical world.

Forms of Things Unknown is based on an actual event which occurred in June of 1876 in Chicago. It is the third standalone book in the Backstage Mystery Series.

Here is my review

Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland

Published 21st March 2019

204 pages

Being already familiar with this series, I was looking forward to carrying on reading the memoirs of Lillian Nolan. Following on from when she was introduced to her spirit guide, Lillian seemed a lot more confident in her life. She accepts that she has supernatural gifts and her roles in the theatre are becoming more prominent. Now back in Chicago, she has a main role at her friend’s theatre and she has stepped away from the protection of her grandma and is now living by herself.

After reading each book I liked Lillian even more and for someone so young in my eyes she achieved so much, with little help from family and friends. As you read these memoirs, she is a still a lot more of a modern thinker than most 1870’s woman, she does not need a man to support her and whilst she is still pressured to marry for means, she wanted to marry for love.

As with the others in the series, there is a death of a famous actor, but this story was slightly different as it did not happen in the theatre. Whilst the theatre still plays a major part, this story gave you a chance to spend time with Lillian outside of theatre and to see just how close she was with her family and friends. As Lillian had accepted her supernatural gift, there was a more supernatural feel to this story as Lillian honed her gifts to help solve the case. It was also interesting to read the historical events. At the end of the book there is a write up of the actual event that helped form this story. happening around 1876   

Whilst this states that this is the 3rd in a three-part series, I hope that more of Lillian memoirs are written. If you like a gentler murder series with a supernatural historical feel than this is the series for you.

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Want to know more about The Backstage Series:

Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.” 

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

Meet the Author:

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

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The Refuge by Jo Fenton

June 2, 2019 - 5:51 am 1 Comment

My time has come for my turn to let me share my thoughts on The Refuge, the 2nd in the Abbey Series written by Jo Fenton. Also, a reminder that the competition is still open to be in with a chance to win E-book copies of both The Brotherhood and The Refuge.     

The Refuge

Following the death of The Brotherhood’s charismatic but sinister leader, Dominic, Melissa and her husband Mark resolve to turn the Abbey into a refuge for victims of domestic abuse. But when Melissa’s long-lost sister, Jess, turns up at the Abbey, new complications arise.

The Abbey residents welcome the new arrival but find it hard to cope with the after-effects of her past. As Jess struggles to come to terms with what she’s been through, her sudden freedom brings unforeseen difficulties. The appearance of a stalker – who bears a striking resemblance to the man who kept her prisoner for nine years – leads to serious problems for Jess.

Meanwhile, Mark also finds that his past is coming back to haunt him. When a mother and daughter venture from the Abbey into the local town for a shopping trip, there are dreadful consequences.

A build-up of tension, a poorly baby and a well-planned trap lead Mel, Jess and their family into a terrifying situation.

Can Jess overcome the traumas of her past to rescue her sister? 

My thoughts

The Refuge by Jo Fenton

Published by Crooked Cats Press on 28th May 2019

247 pages

Now Dominic is dead and some of the wardens have done a runner, the residents of the Abbey are trying to move on with their lives. Mark and Melissa are trying to get used to parenthood, whilst bringing the Abbey into the 21st century, turning part of the building into a refuge and being reacquainted with Jessica, Melissa’s long-lost sister.

As you start this story, you get the feeling that everything is working out well, everyone is happy and the abbey is becoming the safe haven, it was meant to be. But as you read further, you can sense that something is not right. Threats of an outside source make the community more vulnerable, you can see that Mark is beginning to crack under the pressure of being helpless, especially when his friends are not safe. Melissa was still the caring strong person as she was in the Brotherhood, but the worry of her sick baby, resulted in her making some stupid mistakes, showing that she was not as confident as she made out to be. Although there were times that I felt that Melissa was not getting the support to run a refuge, it was good that she was still getting support from Inspector Greg Matthews.  

Whilst Melissa and Mark are still at the forefront of the story, other characters that were featured in the 1st book, all have major parts to play in the running of the Abbey and as we follow them round, we get to learn more of their backstory.

The author’s descriptive style, enables you to get fully involved in the story, the character’s emotions were important to the story and you knew straightaway just what the characters were feeling. As in book one, there are scenes than certain readers may find disturbing and as Melissa and Jessica’s relationship becomes stronger, you learn just what a horrific life Jessica had with her capture.

Sometimes sequels to a series are not as good as the first, but with The Refuge, it is as good or even better than The Brotherhood. If you enjoy psychological thrillers than pick up this series.

  Purchase Links:

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About the author

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Social Media Links – Website            



Giveaway to Win 3 x E-copies of The Brotherhood and The Refuge (Open Internationally)

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