Book Review. Beyond Fate. Susan.V.Vaughn.  

His heart pounded as he made up the distance between them. He’d fought the urge to hold her in his arms all week. He no longer could.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Her question was lost as he pulled her against him, and covered her lips with his own. She sank desperately into his embrace for a moment, before pushing him back. “Russ, stop.”
“Why?” He grabbed one of her hands, and kissed the soft skin of her palm. She smiled, her face flushing red, her eyes flashing hazel.
“Because we are supposed to be friends, and we’re at work.” She glanced nervously around the deserted hallway.
“Nah, work’s over,” he said lightly, refusing to address the friendship statement. “It’s time for us.” He secured her hand in his, and led them toward the parking lot with single focus. “I’m taking you to dinner.”
“Wait! I have to grab my things from the music room.”
“No time for that.” He quickened his pace through the parking lot, determined to take her to dinner, not caring who witnessed his desperation. He’d waited all week for this opportunity.
“I guess you’re not giving me a choice then?” She sounded amused, not annoyed, a good sign.
“Now you get it.” He winked back at her. “I am your boss, after all.”
She sighed loudly in exasperation, and then began to giggle. It made him grin like a man who had never been happier in his life.

Genre Contemporary Romance 

Publisher Inkspell Publishing 

Blurb

Years of separation mean nothing when love is in the air…
Julia Diaz never wanted to fall for her friend’s older brother, especially at a college frat party. But, for some reason, her heart was stolen by Russell that night. Eight years after, she never forgot him. Now destiny has brought them together. Only this time Russell is no longer a boy. He’s a man who knows what he wants and will not be denied.
Russell Webb used to be optimistic, and fun loving until a family tragedy turned his world on its side. Putting all his focus on work, he picked himself back up, and managed to turn his grief into something resembling a life. When a woman from his past reappears, and gives him a glimpse of true happiness, he’ll do anything to secure her heart. Even face the darkness he has avoided for so long.  
My Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

                                                     Available at 

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Goodreads

About the Author 

Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk. Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings. When she wasn’t working on the next soul-crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.
It didn’t take long for this hairdresser by trade to turn her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories. Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.   
Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.

                                          Website Facebook Twitter 

The story of Beyond Fate, and what follows the event at the beginning of the book, hinges on a plot twist. Russ and Julia have a misunderstanding, and so ten years later, when they reunite, tensions are high, but their desire for each other is still there.

I was surprised how quickly the book became compelling, reading about Russ and Julia’s will they won’t they relationship. I liked Julia, but thought Russ was an idiot. 

My one fly in the ointment would be the repeated mention of Julia’s curves. I found her dancing skills more of an interest. The end of the school year show case was poorly executed as well. It was an important part of the book, but, as much of the book is, was dominated by Russ and Julia’s relationship. 

Ultimately I wanted to read Beyond Fate as it promised to be a romance story, and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Beyond Fate is a solid, and, at times, passionate, book. 

Book Review. A Derry Tale. John Doyle. 

​This begins in a macabre way and then extends into a more family type drama, with signs that this is set in the past, rather than the present or future.

The first chapter alone is a well written story and, as it details the tale of John, his siblings and parents, could stand alone. I like it tells us of the present moment and also of the moment when his mother dies. I feel this might have been unnecessary, as it gives the reader no incentive to carry on reading. The narrative jumping back and forth is something that often takes place and can be confusing.

This is a story of Catholics, Protestants, poverty, sexual abuse and even, briefly, a transgender person. I feel like I have read similar books to this. I am not sure if this is an autographical novel or not. I find it strange that the front cover is so at odds with the content. It’s misleading.

It feels more like a collection of short stories, some more entertaining than others and can be shocking, even distressing.

If you’re interested in history or Irish history, I would recommend you read this.

Available on Amazon.co.uk 

Book Review. Poems from a Family Man. John Marshall. 

Scottish poet and novelist, John Marshall, was born in Glasgow. He wrote his first poem when he was only 9. He is devoted to his family of five daughters. Despite having to manage a long-standing physical disability, he puts aside some time to write nearly every day. A selection of his observations and experiences are poignantly expressed in the poems in this book.

Genre : Poetry 

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Augur Press 

Goodreads 

Scottish writer John Marshall has an engaging writing voice. The poems in this collection rhyme. 

I like that the book has an introduction, and we learn about John Marshall’s likes, pets, family, and writing history. I also like the poetry. John Marshall writes about nature, his life, depression, living with a disability, loss, marriage, his children, and cooking. As a whole the poetry feels positive, and uplifting. Poems Life in Time, More ups, Less Downs, and Putting Things Right write particularly about finding the silver lining in certain circumstances.

John Marshall certainly has an inquiring mind, and asks a lot of questions in his poetry.

The poems Fifteen years Long, Life Being Born, Baby Peter, and Children are poems of a personal nature. Children uses humor, and asks

What about kids?

Are they a ball?

Or do they drive us right up the wall?

And with poem Cooking for Pleasure, with the lines My wife says I make the best madeira cake John Marshall seems the kind of man you would like to chat with over a cuppa, and a slice of that cake. 

Poems from a Family man is an assured debut from John Marshall. 

Book Review. The Bonding. Imogen Keeper. 

He must choose – her life – or his freedom.

Tam is brutal. Hard. Uncompromising. Resigned to a lifetime alone. Until he finds a woman frozen in space, suffering from a deadly disease. There’s only one way to save her – to Bond her to him for life with his mind, his body, and his serum.

She must choose – her people – or his love.

When her planet is invaded by alien slavers, Nissa launches into space in a cryo-pod in a desperate search for help. Tam may be her savior, but their future is not meant to be.

In a universe at war, Nissa and Tam battle their dangerous addiction and their own stubborn hearts. Their strange part-chemical, part-mystical Bonding brought them together – and just might be what tears them apart.

READER ADVISORY: Graphic sexual content and language. No fade to black here! Including one attempted attack on the heroine.

Genre : Sci Fi / Erotic / Romance 

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Free on KU 

Goodreads 

Author Website 

Tam meets the dying Nissa and, in order to save her, must give her a serum (i.e. his semen, hence the title The Bonding) The consequence of this bonding is that the two must not ever part, or the worst kind of physical pain will be inflicted on the pair. 

The book is set in space, Tam and Nissa are from two different planets and so, of course, mating is treated differently from us. There is a fair amount of sex between Tam and Nissa, but tenderness too. 

There were interesting parts to the book. Tam’s jealousy of Nissa’s father, that handing down of one’s ‘Little princess’ (Quite literally, as Nissa is a princess) And the nature of which Tam had to save Nissa, which was Stockholm Syndrome – ish. 

The pace of the book, on reflection, is slow, and the end dried out, but it was wrapped up neatly, and we leave Tam, and Nissa, in what is a happy ending. 

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, think of The Bonding as an x rated Doctor Who episode (And if you were watching the show when David Tennant was the Doctor, then you have already probably had some x rated thoughts…No? OK, just me then…)

This book made me fall in love with the Sci Fi genre all over again. 

Book Review. Luna One. Joshua Viola.

Forty years ago, Eddie was an astronaut poised to be one of the blessed few to walk on the Moon, but budget cuts and the shifting whims of politics denied him the only dream to bring meaning to his life.

Genre Sci-Fi

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Author Website
Goodreads


Eddie is an embittered old man, with a failed dream. He is antisocial, as shown in the conversation with Eleanor, at her surplus warehouse, and unpopular, as the taunts from the local kids show.

I like the cover, and back image, design (as well as the author picture) by Aaron Lovett.

This is a short story, with few characters, and is made up of three parts. One of which felt overwritten.

I didn’t get much depth from Luna One. I did have to read the story a second time. The time, and era, and place Luna One is set in confused me. There is very little of the story to comment on, as the parts seem quite disjointed. What the reader gets is an outline of a good story.  Eddie’s circumstances did feel run of the mill. (Do we really spend so little time with our family, and friends, when trying to achieve our dream?)

I do think the end of Luna One made up for the rest, with the interesting swap of dreams, and Eddie versus humanity. It gives you something to think about.

Sci Fi fans will want to read this one.

Book Review. At the Corner of Main and Crazy. Ashley Owens. 

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Genre Fiction

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Free on KU 

Goodreads 

 

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I must be the only person with a computer science degree, who worked as a grocery store cashier Not meeting potential.

I knew that woman’s anger wasn’t meant for me. But I’ll have her image burned in my mind for longer than I should
 Sensitive.

Tears of frustration welled up in my eyes at the fact I was drinking nasty swill to try and make it through something as simple as studying. Life didn’t need to be this hard Early college anxiety.

My afternoon had been planned out in my head, and now I was stuck With the loss of control, anxiety at the divert from routine.

‘You have nothing to worry about.’ He said ‘You’ve always had a good imagination, Foley.’ He smirked, looking at me as if this unique insight suddenly erased the problem. Other people’s reactions.


Would have only given me more time to worry
Anxiety trait.

Anxiety was a splinter I’d removed all by myself
Hope.

The music was there all day, dependable – something I could go back to, and focus on when my tension would increase
Anxiety self help technique.

Cutting out dairy, pork, beef, or chicken, and processed foods Hal’s alternative medicine. What are you supposed to eat then? I’m not buying it. Vodka? Vodka isn’t better for you than beer. It’s a poison. Has Foley lost her mind?

Does this sound like you, because I thought it sounded an awful lot like me.
At the Corner is a good book, as it holds up a mirror and shows you yourself.
The book takes you through Foley’s life as an adult with anxiety.
When she meets Russell she wants to rid herself of anxiety for him(although that wasn’t really the last straw)
Together they try to get Foley through various medications, and doctors. A frustrating cycle.

I loved reading about Foley.  

Book Review. Misfortunes of T-Funk – Book one. Barnaby Hazen.

MISFORTUNES OF T-FUNK A FUNNY, HONEST LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MUSICIANS
Author Barnaby Hazen highlights contemporary fiction with musical tracks embedded directly into the pages of his novel.
TAOS, N.M. — April 2017 — Misfortunes of T-Funk (Apr. 1, 2017) follows two musicians who refuse to quit. The contemporary fiction release from Barnaby Hazen also embeds his own musical tracks directly into the chapters of the novel to further immerse readers into the story.
Trying desperately to find an audience for their hard-edged “grunge” music, Theo and Judah are childhood friends who enroll in an unusual college called The University of Jazz and Music Technology. Attracted at first by the means within the school to professionally record their own original music, the two friends eagerly embark on what could be a lifelong journey – but the endeavor has an alternate effect.
It’s something the author knows all too well, as Hazen pulls directly from his personal experience in music. “I must admit,” said Hazen, “I’m having a lot more fun putting fictional characters through such hardship than I had on my own.”
The author’s decision to incorporate his original music into the chapters of Misfortunes of T-Funk is an excellent compliment to the story. Each of the four recordings are placed at significant moments in Theo and Judah’s story sometimes in direct relation, other times as an ironic side trail, but always intentionally to enhance the reader’s journey through the book.
Hazen’s storytelling style is influenced by Henry Miller, as well as Russian authors Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov – in particular, Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading. “It’s fearlessly, unapologetically ‘outside’ as we say in jazz,” said Hazen. “But the alienation, absurdism and disassociation rang a chord when I read it that triggered something in me – a realization about there being no rules when you have a voice and something to say.”


Hazen is an author, editor and musician, and regularly contributes to the education-based journal The Bud Hawthorne Revue  In 2015, he debuted a full-length collection of nine-strange tales on convenience store fiction in Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories.

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                                          Meet Barnaby Hazen

Barnaby Hazen is an author, editor and musician. Driven strongly by collaboration, it seems natural his first venture into writing began with a friend. Seven Eleven Stories periodical took shape in 2014 and just one year later, Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories  debuted with a full-length collection featuring nine strange tales on convenience store fiction.
In 2017, Misfortunes of T-Funk, the first in a series, pulls directly from Hazen’s own life in music. Having been a lifelong, dedicated listener, teacher and performer, his latest novel incorporates his self-recorded and produced musical tracks directly into the chapters of his new novel. Hazen’s music illuminates his main characters and further elaborates on the story, creating a unique and personal soundtrack for readers of the book.
Having spent years as an educator, Barnaby’s time as an elementary school music teacher particularly inspired him to become involved with The Bud Hawthorne Revue.  He writes and edits the publication, along with Mr. Hawthorne himself, and is eager to continue offering contributions to literary culture given his unique perspective on writing.
Hazen lives in Taos, New Mexico with his wife Sarah and their adorably troublesome pets.

Look out for a Q&A with Barnaby Hazen tomorrow.  


The opening of Misfortunes introduces us to two talented music students, Judah, and Theo. As well as these two there is Iris and Chase. The story switches from the different perspectives easily.

On their first day what follows is a night out, and waking in a bed that is unfamiliar. It captures the awkwardness of a one night stand perfectly, from Theo’s perspective. Out of Theo and Judah, Judah is the party animal, and surrounds himself with a group of girls that night. I liked the description of the girls. Barnaby Hazen writes the ordinariness well. I like the friendships that blossom, and as a whole Misfortunes writes relationships well. It reminded me in a way of A Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Theo seems to be the main protagonist. It is later on in the book we really go into Judah’s psyche. I felt the more human side of him. Letter Number Three is an excellent  piece of writing.

The book follows not only their relationships, and studies, but the music that is a large part of the bond between them, and the tracks they cut, and the band they form. I did feel by the final leg of the book I had read something similar to Misfortunes before, as Judah and Theo go on the road, and it gave a look into getting a band on tour, and all the costs involved.

The Misfortunes of T- Funk is a slow burner, but vastly enjoyable.