Book Review: The Ticket by Zaph Stone

Their very, very last thought was that this was probably for the best. The golden straw-colored dunes and the clear, deep blue sky faded away, and a once immaculate, untouched beauty was now forever stained with blood, lots and lots of blood.

It’s 1985, South Australia – a group of friends head off on a camping trip to the remote and beautiful Innes National Park. They’re planning on a weekend of surfing, drinking, drugs, and hijinks. It’s the eve of the state’s first million-dollar x-lotto draw, and one of the couples has a ticket. What could possibly go wrong? A lot is the answer, a lot –

I’d describe this, my second novel, as a tense, suspenseful, and ultimately horrific white knuckle thrill ride – but then again, I would say that. You be the judge – if you dare!

My Review

Several friends decide to go on a camping/surfing trip in 1985. Greg and Miranda have a van that will fit everyone…barely. The first 50 pages or so are spent getting to know the characters. There are nine main characters which is quite a few. I was mostly able to keep them straight, but it would have been easier if three of characters’ names didn’t all start with the same letter (Jamie, Jane, and Jackie).

When someone starts murdering the friends one by one, they don’t know if it’s a stranger who is doing it or one of them. Is it because of a winning lottery ticket that Greg and Miranda have? Or is that a coincidence? Most of them have had abusive pasts whether by family or bullies. Could that have something to do with it?

Shane, whose girlfriend is Jackie, has made some bad decisions, and some bikers are looking for him because he owes them money. He was planning on running, but the bikers have found him. Jamie, whose girlfriend is Jane, has made a bad move in the stock market and is suddenly broke. One of the bikers was sent to keep an eye on the campers. Even after someone is murdered, all Jackie can think about is the lottery ticket. So many possibilities for the reader to consider!

But occasionally, the story goes back in time to the future killer, telling their story. Because of these, I figured out who the killer was very early. I was hoping I was wrong and there would be a big twist at the end, but I was right. Despite that, once things get started, it’s impossible to put this book down. There’s so much going on and so much suspense!

The characters are young and most of them have no problem with doing drugs, so there were a couple of times that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open! I won’t go into it any further…no spoilers. I didn’t care for several of the characters, not because of their youth or the drugs but because they just weren’t good people. Greg and Miranda were a nice, normal couple. A couple of the others seemed decent as well.

There were also a few times that the intensity was broken but something hilarious such as when a tent collapses on a couple, and they can’t get out. Also, occasionally, the author’s writing tickled me. An example: “Liam didn’t like the look of this at all. I don’t like the look of this at all, he thought.” That wasn’t done often, just enough to make me giggle.

There is a lot of violence in books and movies these days, but there were a couple of things in this book that still make me anxious when I think about them.

The Ticket is absolutely a book I recommend. Even though it needs to be proofread, it’s still a great read.

About the Author

Zaph grew up in the UK and settled in Australia in the early 1980s. He has been writing professionally for a couple of years, and he sincerely hopes that you can join him on this adventure – it promises to be one hell of a ride.

Hit Zaph up on his website – https://zaphstonetheauthor.wixsite.com/website or socials under the tag zaphstonetheauthor. Thank you, and if you read my work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Book Review: The Silent Witness by Carolyn Arnold

Book: The Silent Witness
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Pub Day: Sept 24th 2021

It’s 4 a.m. when her mom shakes her awake. “Get up baby, we’re going to play hide and seek.” The little girl presses back into the dark space, holding her breath as she hears the shots ring out. She knows she’s next…

When the bodies of a local family are discovered on a quiet street in the small town of Dumfries, Virginia, Detective Amanda Steele takes charge of the case. Brett and Angela Parker were shot three times each, leaving no hope of survival, and their tidy suburban home has been ransacked. But there is no sign of their beloved six-year-old, Zoe.

Zoe is the same age as Amanda’s daughter was when she died, and Amanda can’t bear the thought of another little girl in danger. She’s organizing a search for the child, when she notices something strange about the ottoman at the foot of the Parkers’ bed. She opens it to find Zoe, mute and traumatized, but alive.

With Zoe completely uncommunicative, Amanda must find another way to untangle what destroyed this seemingly perfect family. It’s clear that the killer is searching for something the Parkers had, and until she has this monster behind bars, Amanda fears that he may return for Zoe. When she learns that Brett Parker cut short the family’s recent lakeside vacation, she wonders why. What happened at that lake house, and did it ultimately get them killed?

Amanda heads out to Lake Chesdin on the feeling it might be key to the case, and when she finds a cell phone in the murky waters next to the Parker cabin, she knows she’s made a breakthrough. But then terrible news reaches her from Dumfries; Zoe has been taken from her school playground.

Someone wants to silence the Parker family for good, can Amanda catch them before the little girl she’s desperate to protect pays the price?

A completely gripping and addictive crime thriller that will keep fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni entertained into the early hours.

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B09236T3JFsocial
Apple: http://ow.ly/xODf50EmlNI
Kobo: http://ow.ly/ZPy050EmlFW
Google: http://ow.ly/jl8S50EmlKE

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author through NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the third book in the Amanda Steele series and my favorite so far. When I read the first book, I wondered if I was going to like this series, but Amanda has become the strong woman I thought she could be. The deaths of her husband and daughter were a huge blow to her (of course) and the first book was mostly about her grief. She continues to mourn them, but she is learning to deal with the loss and starting to move on with her life.

When Amanda and her partner, Trent, are assigned to a double murder, they not only have a complicated case to solve, but Amanda ends up caring for the daughter of the couple murdered. The poor little girl, Zoe, witnessed the murder of her father, and she’s in danger. Since she quickly attached herself to Amanda and she needs to be safe, Amanda is ordered to care for her temporarily. Although Amanda wants to protect Zoe, she doesn’t know if she can handle it emotionally.

Silent Witness is my favorite Amanda Steele book so far. A lot of the story is about Zoe and Amanda but there is just as much story about the case which gets more and more complicated with several twists. I loved it! It is a book that is difficult to put down once you get into it. I can’t wait for the next Amanda Steele novel.

About the Author

Carolyn Arnold was born in a small Canadian town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower. As an international bestselling and award-winning author, she has several continuing fiction series, including her popular Detective Madison Knight series. She offers readers nearly three dozen published books in genres ranging from crime thrillers and hard-boiled mysteries to cozy mysteries and action adventures. She currently lives north of London, Ontario, with her husband and two beagles.

Social Media

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Website: https://carolynarnold.net/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/authorcarolynarnold/

New Release

Hailey Pittman suffers a violent and premature death. Her husband, Owen, discovers that Hailey was having an affair. Detective Sergeant Holly Jones thinks she knows what happened to Hailey. The Detective disagrees with those that say the circumstances of the death of Hailey were mysterious. Detective Sergeant Holly Jones, though, remains curious and wants to know much more about Owen. Secrets are uncovered but not only about Hailey. The mother of Owen and his brother have their own stories to tell.

After Owen throws the funeral ashes of Hailey over a stone circle in the Lake District, odd and disturbing events soon occur inside his home. An unexpected ally helps Owen face what or who is now inside his home and creating chaos. Before Owen can prevail and return to the stone circle for revelation, he or someone will have to decide just how much he needs to know about the past, his family and himself.

About the Author:

Jack Swift lives in Liverpool.  He teaches English Literature and English Language.  This is his third zombie novel.  His previous novels Undead Underneath and Cool Blood Walk are both published by Red Rattle Books.

Excerpt from the book:

“The head of his wife rested on her chest.  Some of her shoulder-length hair obscured her face.  Under her chin her neck looked crumpled.  Her mouth was open.  The side of her head rested against the rim of the bath.  Owen looked around.  Elsewhere in the bath there was blood but not much.  On the wall, mirror and inside the sink, which were to the right of the bath and close to the bathroom door, there was more blood.  Owen knelt down at the side of Hailey. 

His brother Rhys stood in the doorway of the bathroom and leaned against the doorframe.  Will stood behind Rhys and outside the bathroom.  The chin of Will rested on the shoulder of Rhys.  Will bit his lip and peeked in at what was happening.  In the doorway the faces of Rhys and Will touched.

‘You’d better call the ambulance,’ said Owen.

‘I’ll do that,’ said Will.

‘Call the police as well.’

‘The police?’

‘This looks like a crime scene.  I think she’s dead.’”

SLIPPED NOTES by Jack Swift is available from bookshops & online in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia and in paperback from Amazon at:

and in e-book format from Amazon at:

For info. about Red Rattle Books, see: http://www.redrattlebooks.co.uk

Press/Media Contact Details:

Howard Jackson
Managing Director
Red Rattle Books
E-mail: jacksonhoward09@googlemail.com

Book Review: Old Faces: Yet More Tales from Tipperary by Edward Forde Hickey

This fourth book in the series, portrays a closely-knit group of people living in the north Tipperary hills during the early 20th century – a community largely made up of small farmers, whose lives were far different from today. The book’s inspiration comes from writers such as Thomas Hardy and attempts to pass on to readers the lyrical and rich phrasings of Tipperary’s old hill folk and capture the spiritual wealth of an age that remained unchanged for several centuries.    

    Tales of . . .   

* brotherly love and hate.  

* a rogue’s return from across the sea and his efforts to reform. 

* an unexpected first-love at the harvest-time dance-in-the-fields. 

* persecution of two old saints at the hands of misguided youth.  

* sports-day activities for adults and children alike, following the arduous channelling of a new stream.  

* two adventurous toddlers, getting lost in the wilderness but saved by a witch.  

    ‘. . . lovers of literature will find themselves engrossed in the lives of a past hillside community.’ 

                                                                    Addison & Cole 

My Review

Old Faces isn’t the type of book I would normally read, but I really enjoyed it. As I read the story, I could “hear” the narration in an Irish brogue. Some of the names are ordinary, but many of the names are hilarious. In the first sentence is Molly-rattle-the-tea-and-sugar-bag. What a great introduction to some unique names and stories.

I liked all of the stories, but of course I had my favorites. It was interesting that some of the stories were tragic, others had happy endings, but there was humor in all of them, some more than others. I went through the Table of Contents so that I could pick out the story or stories I liked the least, but I honestly liked them all.

There was a lot of humour in the stories, but I laughed most when I read this:

“Goldshit sitting on a black stick under the hob above the blazing fire and then falling asleep and tumbling off his perch and landing in the hot ashes and then struggling with the blazing sods of turf in the fire and the Wild Witch of the West chasing him round the floor — this was something that would stay with them forever.”

I didn’t know that Tipperary is a real place! It’s about the size of the town I live in. I wish the people here were as interesting!

I have enjoyed all of the books about Tipperary and I hope there are more to come!

About the Author:

Edward Forde Hickey lives in Kent with his wife. They have three sons. During the years 1962 until 1998, he taught in inner city primary schools (laterally as a headteacher for 18 years). In early life, he was a pop star with Decca records (see ‘Eddie Hickey/Lady May’) and later sang with the Glenside Ceilidhe Band in The Galtymore Dancehall, Cricklewood (1965/1975).

Born of Irish parents during the Blitz of London, he spent his first five years of life nurtured and moulded by his grandmother in the foothills above Dolla, near Nenagh in County Tipperary. His grandmother is and always was his inspiration; she had a natural gift with words.

Edward has always been interested in folklore and the Irish past (its music, dance and literature). He was a champion Irish step-dancer. He taught and adjudicated it, even as far afield as in Australia, before dedicating himself to research into hillside communities in north Tipperary, from where he brought back tapes of original songs for The English Folk Dance and Song Society.

He keeps a small farm in the foothills of north Tipperary and visits it often.

The first three books in the series are entitled “Tales from Tipperarary”, “Reflections” and “From Time to Time”.

 

“Old Faces” by Edward Forde Hickey is currently available in paperback from Amazon at:

This book is also available to download in e-book format from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 0208 339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

Book Review: My Way to Keep Anger Away by Elizabeth Cole

Do you feel hopeless when you see your child with red cheeks and steam coming out of their ears? Do you need to help your child control big emotions? Look no more! This adorable children’s picture book will help you for sure!

Anger can affect kids of all ages — toddlers, preschoolers, and even older ones — and they behave unlike they usually do. You can’t prevent your child from getting angry, but you can teach them to deal with it in a healthy way.

This anger book for kids will take your child on an underwater adventure to a magical dreamland. Boys and girls will surely enjoy the story where sea animals share anger management tips.

This social emotional book for kids:

  • teaches children to deal with anger in a healthy way
  • offers children calming techniques and activities for anger management
  • contains beautiful illustrations and rhymes
  • suits perfectly for preschool kids ages 3-5, as well as older kids ages 6-10
  • includes extra calming technique and coloring page as a bonus.   

There are many emotion books for kids available. You might wonder what makes this one special. Hundreds of families have already read this adventurous kids’ book and are grateful for the useful tips it provides.

So, even if you have read some of the best children’s books about anger management, you should try this one too!

This anger book is a product of extensive experience working with children. It has been proven through practice that there are ways to calm down every explosive child. The only trick is to find the way that best suits your child!

Take your child on this magical adventure and discover various anger management techniques!

Amazon

My Review

I have read a couple of Elizabeth Cole’s books so I knew that My way to keep anger away would live up to its name and teach children how to deal with feelings of anger.

When Melissa’s brother breaks one of her toys, it’s the last straw, and her usual sweet demeanor suddenly changes. She’s so mad that she goes to bed. That night she dreams of being in the ocean and the different animals teach her ways to deal with her anger using techniques such as counting to ten, taking deep breaths, etc.

The story is told in rhymes and the illustrations are cute and colorful. It encourages children to use their imaginations as well as giving them anger management techniques that work.

About the Author

Being a mother of two kids Elizabeth Cole very well understands that childhood is a great period of life filled with a tremendous amount of different and often changing emotions. Since the time Elizabeth received her master’s degree in psychology from University of New Orleans in 2008, she fully devoted herself to the research of kids, understanding their needs as well as their true emotions. Her five years period of working as the school teacher very much improved Elizabeth’s knowledge and motivated her even stronger. Finally, all of her experience inspired Elizabeth to write a series of children’s books.

New Releases

The Most Dangerous Spy

Nancy Brown is an ordinary girl living in the industrial town of Orethorpe at the outbreak of the Second World War. Her life suddenly changes when she is told to report to the mysterious Megg House, and soon she finds herself caught up in a top-secret operation to find German spies operating in the town.

Seventy years later Arthur Lane is living in Orethorpe. By chance, he strikes up a friendship with an elderly man, Mr Smith. When a newspaper reporter turns up asking to interview Mr Smith about his role in the war, Arthur learns that Mr Smith has a deep secret. Can he discover what it is?

“The Most Dangerous Spy” switches between 1940, when a careless word can leave lives in peril, and 2010, when once-deadly knowledge – including the identity of ‘the most dangerous spy of all’ – can remain secret no longer.

About the Author:

Sharon Edwards works for the BBC. Her novel is aimed at 9-13 year-olds and is mainly set in the Second World War, although there is also a modern-day story that weaves through the novel. The two storylines come together at the end. The book is set in a Midlands industrial town in the UK where a young girl is recruited to help find German undercover agents in the town. She visits Bletchley Park as her intercepts end up there for decoding.

Excerpt from Book:

Nancy was staring at one man and then the other.  What did they want with her and how did he know about her German lessons? It was then that the tall, thin man spoke for the first time.

“The country is at War, Miss Brown; you know that, of course,” he said, his tone gentle. “What you may not know is that England could be invaded by Hitler’s forces.” He suddenly walked over towards her, reached out to a spare chair in the corner of the room and slammed it down on the floor close to hers. He sat down and leant forward. “Hitler is coming, that’s a fact, but we want to stop him,” he said. “It’s our duty to stop him. It’s my duty and it’s your duty to do whatever we can to aid our own side in keeping the Germans at bay, and you can help us. Do you understand?”

“We want you to listen,” the older man explained, taking over from his colleague. “You know how to listen and goodness knows there aren’t enough of you. Nothing to do with running into a line of bullets or trying to get yourself blown up. It’s absurdly simple. We just want you to listen.”

Nancy looked at the faces bearing down on her. After a few moments she blurted out: “Listen to what?”

The older man leant in even closer, their faces almost touching. “Why, the Germans, of course, German spies.”

 

“The Most Dangerous Spy” by Sharon Edwards is available in paperback from Amazon at:

You can also download the e-book version from:

 

Press/Media Contact Details:

Sharon Edwards
E-mail: sharon222edwards@btinternet.com

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The Morgana Chronicles: The Pen of Guinevere

The gates of hell open, and a thirteen-year-old girl is left in the graveyard. Who is she? What is she?

That is what she wants to know!

But all is not what is seems. Morgan is two people: a girl and a witch by the name of Morgana. She finds the land is very bright and colourful and does not wish to go back to hell – but the God of Purgatory wants her back.

Morgan has a job to do, and it means meeting witches, fairies, and other creatures in a world of magic and mayhem.

She wants love and wants to give it back, but it is all so muddled…

Excerpt from the book:

“As the baby girl slept, the Devil appeared.  Red hot skin with horns on his head, he carried a staff with a skull and fiery red eyes as an aid.  His appearance took Tanya aback as she stood at the doorway of the bedroom; when she looked at him, she felt as though he was burning a hole through her soul.

‘You are here,’ she whispered, glancing around the corridor to make sure no-one else was awake.

‘I am here for my prize,’ he growled deeply.

‘Take her,’ she replied coldly.  ‘I have all that I need.’ The Devil picked the child up, wrapped in her pink blanket, and left.

Tanya too a deep breath and went back to bad as if nothing had happened, then lay down and fell into a deep and restful sleep.

The next morning, she went to the nursery and screamed to find one empty Moses basket.

That scream led to many years of hope that one day, the little girl would come home, and her family would finally be whole again.  Because that morning, it broke apart…”

The Morgana Chronicles:  The Pen of Guinevere (Book 1)” by Morgan Harrison is available in paperback from Amazon UK at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell
Tel. 0208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com