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Book Review: Unsavory Delicacies by Russell Brooks

8 Jun

For fans of Barry Eisler and Robert Ludlum. A three-course story collection with a side-order of revenge.

Crème Brûlée

Rogue operative, Monique Beauvais, cons a software genius into selling her a coveted technology that would allow its user to control CIA drones while they’re in flight. And she will go as far as killing him in public in order to have it.

To the Last Bite

A renowned food critic–whose scathing reviews have closed down restaurants–gets a savoury surprise.

Shashlyk and Morezhenoe

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, leads a team against one of Russia’s most powerful crime families. He discovers secrets, but not one that he was expecting to find.

Three stories with three consequences. All containing three Unsavory Delicacies.

***Caution*** Readers are strongly advised NOT to eat while reading To The Last Bite.

Available on Amazon


My Review

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

Unsavory Delicacies contains three short stories. The first, Crème Brûlée, was good. It was predictable in the way that there could be several ways that came to my mind how it could turn out and one of those ways was correct.

To the Last Bite was my favorite of the three stories. It was a bit of a shocker and I liked the surprise.

I didn’t really understand the point of Shashlyk and Morezhenoe. Fox is a CIA operative and he and his men hone in on a Russian crime family. The CIA has the upper hand but this seems more like a prequel or epilogue than a story that stands on its own.

I definitely recommend the first two stories in Unsavory Delicacies


About the Author

Russell Brooks is the author of the thrillers, Pandora’s Succession, Unsavory Delicacies, Chill Run, and The Demeter Code.

Russell has been compared to a young Robert Ludlum in the way that he wrote Pandora’s Succession and Unsavory Delicacies.

After having read an excerpt of Chill Run, here’s what one British reader had to say:

“If you like Elmore Leonard, you will love ‘Chill Run’. Its snappy dialogue evokes ‘Rum Punch’ (filmed as Jackie Brown) and ‘Get Shorty’, and the plot carries the same tonal qualities of the Donald E Westlake thriller ‘The Hunter’ (filmed as Payback). As ever with Brooks, you can expect meticulous plotting and surprising twists. And, as with ‘Pandora’s Succession’ and ‘Unsavory Delicacies,’ the end will have you going straight back to the beginning to ride the rollercoaster again.” –

Russell is also former Indiana Hoosier Track Champion and Canadian Track Team member in the 100 and 200 metres. He has written several essays on his blog The Big Picture, one of which was published in the online Op-Ed section of the National Post in early 2009. He has also produced his own poetry/novel-themed show, The Russell Show, on YouTube. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.




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Book Review: Eating Robots and Other Stories by Stephen Oram

4 May


The future is bright…or is it?

Step into a high-tech vision of the future with the author of Quantum Confessions and Fluence, Stephen Oram.

Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, teleempathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, Eating Robots explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.


Goodreads  Amazon India  Amazon US
A universal booklinker link that detects which country you’re in and links to Eating Robots


My Review

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

There’s not one or two words I can think of that would describe these stories. I’d read one and think that it was interesting and then the next one would leave me with my mouth hanging open. Some of these stories will really make you think. For example, exactly how far is too far when it comes to technology?

Although I found some of the stories to be entertaining fiction, most of them are more a social commentary on where we are headed with today’s technology. In fact, at the end of the book, there are comments by several experts about some of the stories and how close we really are to some of these things happening. Perhaps we should use this book as more of a warning as to where we are headed rather than just as entertainment.

That being said, I did like this book and I have to buy a copy for my son. He will love and dissect it and show me things in it that I missed.


About the Author

Stephen Oram writes thought provoking stories that mix science fiction with social comment, mainly in a recognisable near-future. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures’, once described as the ‘Glastonbury of cyberculture’. He has collaborated with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that create debate about potential futures, most recently with the Human Brain Project and Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of the Bristol Literature Festival.

As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

He has two published novels – Quantum Confessions and Fluence – and several shorter pieces.


Find Stephen Oram on:







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Book Review: Three Modern Shorts: The Park Stories by K. Kris Loomis

30 Mar

No time for novels? Try these Single Sit Stories!
What happens when a distraught teen and a whacky old woman meet in the park? How about a couple that weaves tales about spies and incurable diseases? Or when a father and daughter are presented with the opportunity to get to know one another better under unusual circumstances?
In these three modern short stories, author K. Kris Loomis offers us glimpses of universally shared moments in everyday relationships and life. They are humorous, thought-provoking, and written to be read in one sitting.


Available on Amazon.


My Review

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

These are short stories about different people meeting at a park bench, whether by accident or on purpose. “Lovely Horns” is about desperation, kindness, and hope. “Friday Afternoon” is about avoidance. “The King Stomper” is cute but is about communication, or the lack of. 

If you’re looking for something to read in one sitting, I recommend Three Modern Shorts: The Park Stories. They’re short but well written and intriguing. I’m hoping to read more of this author’s short stories.


About the Author

K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright.





The purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Short Story Review: Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka

30 Oct


Out of seven billion people, one man has declared war on Mother Nature and plans to bring it to its knees.

Out of all the criminals in Los Angeles, he’s the number one target being hunted by the LAPD tonight.

And out of the entire LAPD, one officer is hell-bent on helping him complete his mission.


My Review

I got this story from Amazon when it was available for free.

Environmentally Friendly is very short but intense. A man has escaped from a psychiatric hospital and is waging war on Mother Nature with a flame thrower and a chainsaw. The LAPD, of course, wants to stop him but one officer wants to protect him as well by helping him to complete his perceived mission.

Even though this story is short, I really liked it. It is suspenseful and even has a twist. If you’re looking for a quick but good read, I recommend Environmentally Friendly.


Available on Amazon.

Short Story Review: Mortal Veil by Vanessa Fewings

23 Jul

29069128Title: Mortal Veil (Stone Masters Vampire #2.5)

Author: Vanessa Fewings

Genre: Paranormal, Short Stories

Publication Date: January 1, 2011


About the Book

(from Goodreads)

With no recollection of the last three years of his life, Zach Harris finds himself stumbling back down the rabbit hole when his new friend Feebs takes him searching for answers. The only clues: a mysterious bank deposit of a half-million pounds and Zach’s branded-black tattoo of a raven. Their quest for the truth will lead them to the seediest parts of London, and Zach will have to face the unspeakable truth of a past better off forgotten.
A short story from V.M.K. Fewings’ beloved Stone Master’s series, “Mortal Veil” features familiar characters in the always-sexy Belshazzar’s night club, favorite hangout of England’s most wicked vampires. Fewings brings vampire fiction back to its Anne Rice roots with dark deeds and delicious monsters. Fans eagerly awaiting Fewings’ new release Dominon will love this return to the world of nightwalkers, and new readers will get their first taste of this thrilling series that gives vampires back the dangerous allure they’ve held on readers since Dracula first hit shelves.

Available on Amazon.


My Review

I received a free ecopy of this short story for an honest review.

I ran across this short story on my TBR list and didn’t understand why I hadn’t read it already since it’s only 26 pages. I figured out later that it’s book #2.5 in the Stone Masters Vampire Series. It actually stands on its own as a short story, though.

The main character, Zach, has lost the last 3 years of his life. He has no memory of where he’s been or what he was doing. His new friend, “Feebs,” decides to help him try to figure it out.

What they find is a shock (to them and me). This was a good short read. Now I’m definitely going to have to read the rest of this series!


About the Author

1507905Vanessa Fewings is the bestselling romance author of the highly acclaimed Enthrall Sessions.

Vanessa is also the author of The Stone Masters Vampire Series. Prior to publishing, Vanessa worked as a registered nurse and midwife. She holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived in Germany, Hong Kong, and Cyprus.

Born and raised in England, Vanessa now proudly calls herself an American and resides in California with her husband.


Instagram: @vanessafewings

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

13 Jan


Book Review: An Ancient Gift and Other Stories by Jeanne Grunert

31 Aug

22435248Title: An Ancient Gift and Other Stories

Author: Jeanne Grunert

Publication Date: June 2014

Book Description (from Goodreads):

An Ancient Gift and Other Stories is a collection of three “light” horror stories. These tales of the paranormal are akin to old-fashioned campfire stories – stories that offer a sense of the uncanny without the gore.
“The Glove” offers the chilling tale of a woman recounting how her grandfather’s prejudices – and gift for sorcery – terrorized a neighborhood boy. Is her son at risk, too? “Friday Night Visitor” features the old trope of a deal with the devil. But unlike fiddle contests of old, Rita, our heroine, must guess a riddle to unveil the identity of the visitor and save the guy she loves.
“An Ancient Gift”, the title tale, offers glimpse at a reluctant psychic. Anna and her sister Amy are charged with clearing out her grandmother’s house for the real estate agents when they uncover an unusually wrapped package in her father’s childhood closet, a deck of antique tarot cards. Did their father have the ancient gift of divination, and does one of the sisters have it, too?


I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

This book contains 3 short stories that are creepy. I like the cover choice because it kind of gives me the willies.

All of the stories are well written and kept my interest although this is a  very quick read. The title story, “An Ancient Gift,” is spooky and has a good ending. “The Glove” was about typical kids in a creepy situation and the ending was scary. My favorite was “Friday Night Visitor” which was a tension filled story but I liked the ending.

I definitely recommend An Ancient Gift and Other Stories. It’s a quick read but all of the stories keep your interest.

About the Author

jeanne_nov2012Jeanne Grunert is an award-winning author, blogger, content marketing, entrepreneur, teacher, gardener, cat rescuer, and Cadbury chocolate aficionado.  She’s the president of Seven Oaks Consulting, a marketing writing and writing services firm in Virginia, and of EquinArt Creations, a model horse hobby company.

Review: Archangel by Andrea Barrett

8 Aug


Layout 1Title: Archangel

Author:  Andrea Barrett

Genre:  Short Stories

Publisher:  W.W. Norton

Publication Date:  August  2013

Description: Winner of the National Book Award for her collection of stories Ship Fever, Andrea Barrett has become one of our most admired and beloved writers. In this magnificent new book, she unfolds five pivotal moments in the lives of her characters and in the history of knowledge.

During the summer of 1908, twelve-year-old Constantine Boyd is witness to an explosion of home-spun investigation—from experiments with cave-dwelling fish without eyes to scientifically bred crops to motorized bicycles and the flight of an early aeroplane. In 1920, a popular science writer and young widow tries, immediately after the bloodbath of the First World War, to explain the new theory of relativity to an audience (herself included) desperate to believe in an “ether of space” housing spirits of the dead. Half a century earlier, in 1873, a famous biologist struggles to maintain his sense of the hierarchies of nature as Darwin’s new theory of evolution threatens to make him ridiculous in the eyes of a precocious student. The twentieth-century realms of science and war collide in the last two stories, as developments in genetics and X-ray technology that had once held so much promise fail to protect humans—among them, a young American soldier, Constantine Boyd, sent to Archangel, Russia, in 1919—from the failures of governments and from the brutality of war.

In these brilliant fictions rich with fact, Barrett explores the thrill and sense of loss that come with scientific progress and the personal passions and impersonal politics that shape all human knowledge.

Review by Judy G.:

I received an ARC of Archangel at a book conference. It is about scientific experiments and inventions and the people involved in them. It shows their passion and personal loss and the hardships they endured.

The five stories take place in the span of the two World Wars and the characters and places are intertwined.

Archangel is well written and gives you a look behind the scenes of the scientific discoveries. I found it interesting and recommend it, especially if you’re interested in personal history. It can be ordered from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Marty is an organism

26 Jul

Marty is an organism. An organism is defined to be an individual chosen to carry on the activities of life by means of a body consisting of parts performing a function, or cooperating in an activity with separate functions, but all mutually dependent; or in short, a living being. When this organism was born, his life was simple. He was left to his own devices, received the occasional swat from nearby siblings, many smaller than he, though these did leave some terrible scars. He cried and cried until it appeared that he had covered himself with tears in an attempt to drown himself. Eventually, these tears dried and his skin could be seen clearly again, a nice rough brown. Marty has matured into a very big organism and therefore moves very slowly, but with a very determined stride he makes his way onward. Marty is so focused on this journey that he doesn’t notice the parasites and fungus that grow on his skin, he is much more worried about his journey. We find him at a certain point in his journey where he has first noticed a growing irritation on his back side. However this is not a parasite or some fungus, but a virus. And as many other viruses, this will spread quickly.


The sun strikes the top of the mountain as the trees gently dance with the wind. The sound of rushing water is heard and disturbed with the cupping of a hairy hand. A creature of some kind has come forth from the edge of a forest, being followed by several others who appear to travel in a similar fashion. These barren bipeds approach their brother and observe silently. As this “drinker” continues slaking his thirst, he glances at his family; his gaze slows as his eyes find the female he is infatuated with. These creatures, their bodies blanketed with matted, stiff hair, lay on the ground, resting from the journey to this sacred waterway. As the majority of this peaceful family rest, a male and the “drinker’s” love wander off. The “drinker,” no longer parched, follows these two, keeping his distance as to not be seen. Back to the woods they travel, male chasing female, until finally they rest in a meadow, tired from their games. The sun, now falling down the side of the mountain, shines on these two, the wind increases, bringing with it several dark clouds, and this pair mate. As they enjoy their minute of ecstasy, rain trickles down from the heavens. The “drinker” sees this and, for the first time in history, a creature feels true jealousy and anger. He grabs a rock, rushes to the meadow, and as he howls with the wind, the rock falls on this pair’s heads. The “drinker” screams in misery, wondering a thought which might be translated as, “why?” He lays in the rain, next to his dead lover and weeps, his fur matted with her blood. He will want more of these intense feelings, and he will find them. The “drinker” has become the first man.

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