Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

I set this up to share my love of the written word mostly, but also about me as a person and my adventures (or lack there of).  I am an author, my first book was indie published but then I was picked up by a publisher and am currently waiting for my re launch in June! I have always loved to read and a dear friend of mine who is also an author encouraged me to use my crazy imagination to create my only stories. Its been an experience! So I will share with you my journey of independent publishing, my work and also the books I love to read. Don’t worry I don’t put spoilers in my reviews.

You are now probably thinking , great we know what you do, but who exactly are you? 

That’s a fair question, so here is a bit about me. My name is Alana, I am 32 years old. I am a stay at home mother with two beautiful boys, aged 4 and  2. I love to cook and watch scifi and fantasy TV/ movies with my husband. I am a serious geek. ( I have an Ewok backpack, that I  use)  I really like to go walking and  as I live near a beach that just adds to the appeal to get outside.

 

 

Reading is my real passion, I mean I read a LOT! So I thought why not use my love of reading to review some great new authors, some old favorites and just go with it. I then was asked if I offered interviews and I said … yeah I do! ( I totally didn’t and may have had a mild freak out) So there you have it; that’s me and what I do. Not too exciting but I love it and I hope you get some enjoyment from this site.

REVIEW: ACQUIRING AUGUST. BY ERIN LEE. TWIST ME ANTHOLOGY. SHORT STORY.

12 authors bring you 12 original short stories of when good boys want to meet you, and bad boys want blood. Voices need to be heard, and secrets stay buried only so long. Feel the whip of a dominatrix, and become a dark princess. Where lessons of internet dating are learned the hard way. Where you should never fall for the enemy, and till death do you really part. Take a walk in the sand, and watch love burn like wildfire with cataclysmic effects. 

Twist Me: A Dark Romance Anthology of love, lust, desires, murder, mystery and more. 

*All proceeds benefit the ASPCA*

Review foreword.

This review is a little different. It is a of one short story in an anthology. The Story I am reviewing today is  Acquiring August By Erin Lee.  I would like to add that I will be reviewing all the shorts within this book.  

Erin’s short is about Gina and August. Gina is a dominatrix who suffered as a disillusioned Submissive in her early twenties. Then decided to turn Domme.

August has Step Daddy issues and Is fixated with is last Dom Goddess.  The two meet when Gina posts an Advertisement on Craigslist for a new Sub. 

I usually dislike books with a BDSM theme. After reading Fifty Shades I was thoroughly put off.  This book however, is for a good cause and with the stories all be short I thought why the heck not.

The theme still leaves me cold. but I did enjoy the short. This is due to the way it was presented. This is not a book that makes you want to go and  ‘experiment’ with the other half.  Gina is unhinged for a start. she has suffered at the hands of a Dominant and through the years has been trying to find her ‘fit’ on the other side of the whip.

August, seems to want to be submissive but has a love hate relationship with his last Dom, Goddess. It was a perfect match for all the wrong reasons. the story progresses quickly which I expected from a short. I liked that there were time hops to both Gina and August’s pasts.  I had one literal jaw dropping moment and if you have read Erin’s other works you will pick up on it too when you read this.

In conclusion. It’s not my thing. The story held its own and I did love that Gina isn’t some young girl; that was a nice touch. What really held me was that regardless of theme Erin always makes it her own and the ending is fantastic.

4.5 STARS

Amazon link  Twist Me

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: THING FIFTEEN. BY ERIN LEE

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My name is Beverly. I’m more than a Thing.

Every town has its legends. I would know, I am one of them. I am the girl they tell campfire stories about. The “well-liked librarian” who was going places until she was kidnapped and eaten by the Ice Cream Man. I am the warning parents tell their children about, the woman whose remains were never found…

There’s so much more to my story than how I died. 

My name is Beverly Watkins. I was twenty-seven years old the day I perished at the hands of a serial killer. For more than a year, Master Jimmie kept me in his favorite freezer and took me out for weekly playdates. I was the cherry on top of his twisted ice cream sundae; the Thing he called Fifteen.

It’s only the beginning to my story. You see, justice is haunting. And tonight, I’m in the mood for it. I’m here to set the record straight, to make sure all the facts are tied up in perfect yellow bows like the ones they tied around trees for me. I won’t rest until I’ve told my own story, my way. Which reminds me: I have a visit to make.

Care to join me?

 

This is book three in the Diary of a Serial Killer series. I have read them all now and I have to say it has been one of the most compelling series I have ever read.  I might have said this in other reviews of the previous books Just Things and Jimmie’s Icecream. But this is my first serial killer focused horror collection. I usually read the paranormal stuff which I love. these books have become some well loved favorites in an very short space of time.

Thing Fifteen picks up where Jimmie’s Icecream left off. Jimmie Putman is in jail and is now being haunted by his ‘cherry on top’; Thing Fifteen: aka Beverly Watkins.  She makes his life hell.

We also learn more about Thing Fifteen and how  she recalls her time with Master Jimmie. We meet Florel again and see how she has developed since the last book.  Thing Fifteen wants to make Jimmie pay for everything he has done. She goes as far as to find Momma.

Its a chilling read. the way the reader is taken through the past and also the present is fascinating if a little unnerving. There is something about Jimmie. Even locked away and harmless that makes me skin crawl. Thing Fifteen is a strong woman and I love that she has her own book.

The most terrifying character in the series for me is Momma. she is all kinds of messed up and Jimmie is scared to death of her.  The idea of the ‘Things’ and other characters mentioned in the book living in this sort of half way house to heaven was such an unexpected twist. I really loved that element as it gave them there own space and made it easier to picture them in my minds eye.

Overall It is a great series and I felt that by the end of the book I really knew Beverly and a lot more about Jimmie as well. Some of the descriptions are a bit icky but it wouldn’t be a horror without them so be brave people it is worth it.

5 STARS

Amazon links

Thing Fifteen

Jimmie’s Icecream

Just Things

*This book can be read as a stand alone*

Other books in the series

REVIEW: ALTERS. BY ERIN LEE

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Meet Lola Murray—and the seven other personalities who live in her head…

A patient at the Rosewood Hospital for Mental Wellness, Lola struggles to cope with Dissociative Identity Disorder—or alters as she calls her many egos.

Their names are Maria, Tim, Clare, Zoe, Frog, Rabbit, and Samantha—all ranging in age, gender, and with wildly different personalities. But with five women and two men battling to live their lives through Lola, it’s only a matter of time before someone wins…

Therapy sessions threaten the survival of the group…

With the help of Lola’s therapist, she’s able to better understand the many personalities living in her head. They are like life-long friends, and their presence is all Lola has ever known. Without them, she’d be in this big world all by herself, and that is even more paralyzing than the alternative her doctor has suggested—merge all seven personalities into one, dominant Lola.

Fifty-one years is long enough…

With release from the hospital coming up fast, Lola’s alters scramble to prevent being erased. But after fifty-one years of hosting their lives while struggling for her own—when will it be her turn to live? Lola has to consider life outside of the institution. Friends, a job, and maybe even romance—how will she function with so many people making choices for her?

As her first act of independence, Lola must decide. Will she live the rest of her life as herself, or as Lola, party of eight?

 

I LOVED this book.

I read it in 7 hours its about 70,000 words. That is how much I loved it. The story of Lola and her 7 alters was highly interesting and so immersive at times I actually felt sorry for them. It is I thought quite funny in places. It’s like being with a group of kids all fighting for attention; all moaning about each other and their lives.

The book is written so that every personality gets to ‘talk’ and that was a tad hard to get my head around for the first couple of chapters but once the situation became clear (and my grey cells caught up) I was hooked.

Each Alter has its own quirks and its own flaws. There are some unanswered questions which are killing me. But in know this is book 1 in a 3 part series, so I will have to hang on for book two. Because this is a continuing story the ending will make you want the next book.  By the end of the book I felt like I had always known Lola and wanted her to succeed and be free.

The author is brilliant at writing books that feel real. I think this is due to her day job. ( Read her bio at the bottom of this review to find out more.) Which I find hold my attention from start to finish with ease.

Book 2 cannot come fast enough!

5 STARS

Amazon Link  Alters

 

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REVIEW: SWEET VISIONS. BY ZIZI COLE

Three months after Lex and Jake were attacked by a psycho, Mia Capone is trying to get her life back to some semblance of normality. However, her visions are plaguing her, becoming stronger and more intense. She has a vision that puts her on the radar of a killer. A vicious psychopath, who will crush her new found normality.

Cole Evans had tried to keep his distance from Mia, until being reunited with her three months ago. He feels inexplicably drawn to her but tries to keep a wide berth, happy to hang in the shadows. However, a case throws Cole and Mia together again, plunging them both into a dark chaotic world. Her visions have put her in harm’s way, bringing dark forces to bear that could destroy them both. 

Will Cole be able to protect Mia? Will they stop the killer before he strikes again?

Sweet Visions is book two of the DAMNED series.

I first discovered Zizi Cole a few months back when I read and reviewed her debut novel Sweet Nightmares. Book one of the DAMNED series. I was so taken with the first book that I was really looking forward to the second.
The story follows Mia Capone from book one and her ability to see visions of events and or people. It picks up a few months after the attack on her cousin Lex and her sweetheart Jake. Mia is trying to forget about the horrific events and go back to being the owner of the town diner.
But as much as she tries to convince herself and others. The visions haven’t gone away. In fact they are getting more frequent. Feeling tired and stressed out the last thing she wants to keep dealing with is Cole propping up the counter everyday and watching her like some lab experiment.
Cole is going through his own hell of sorts. Past events have shaken him and his feelings for Mia are all tangled up in his sense of propriety, attraction and the fact that she annoys the pants off him.
choice is soon taken away from the two when evil returns to town and this time its after Mia.
I am not going to give too much away you will have to go read it.
The book moves at a good pace with plenty to keep you interested. The visions are described well and I still think Cole is the best character in the series.  It is a good follow up to book one and I really enjoyed it.  Ms. Cole has her own style and it is consistent in both books.  Book one is still my favorite in this series so far. But this title holds its own.
If you enjoy mystery, paranormal with romance thrown in then this series is for you.
4.5 Stars.
For more about the author and her books click here Zizi Cole
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REVIEW: GREENER. BY ERIN LEE

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We all do it.

It’s part of what makes us human. There are names for it – jealousy, envy, and sometimes even greed. We daydream about what someone else has. We convince ourselves that things would be better if we were someone else altogether…The grass is always greener, we believe. Or is it?

For Caroline, being left alone would be everything. She’s had enough of doctors and nurses telling her how to live because of a mistake she made as a kid. The idea of another shrink makes her cringe. Yet, she doesn’t have a choice. Not if she wants to keep living on the outside.

For Nora, being seen would mean the world. It’s been years since she’s had a hot shower without sneaking around but no one notices. No one cares to ask. It’s her job to smile, pretend everything is great and ask them about their days instead.

And for Dennis, the ability not to care at all would solve his difficulties. If only he could stop worrying about what people thought of him. To live authentically would make things so much easier. He could finally close the door to his past.

Three people with entirely different problems and one thing in common: They are trapped with a need to escape. Ironic, when Escape, Colorado is exactly the place tourists expect to find their own escapes. But then, the tourists are human too…

The grass is always greener.
Or, is it? 

You all may have noticed. I am an Erin Lee fan girl. And proud of it!  After reading When I’m Dead. ( scroll down to read my review) I picked up greener. It has a happy cover and the blurb sounded interesting so, I loaded the kindle and entered the worlds of  three very different people. All with the same problem really. They all believed that everyone else had it better.

I know I have had that thought a few times in my life. This book really cheered me up. The tree leads who each have their own narrative which I love. Nora I could really relate to. she looks okay on the outside and does her job, but behind closed doors she is far from okay. Her interactions with Caroline are really honest and they made me smile even more after you learn a bit more about the two of them.

Then there is Dennis, I love Dennis. He just wants to get on but his fear of rejection is holding him back. The trio are a real mix of imperfect people who just want to love and be loved. Just like you and I.  That’s What makes this such a heart warming book. The fact that they are normal flawed people who are really trying their best to get on in life.

By the end of the book I was goofy smiling and really wished there was more book left. It is a feel good book that everyone can relate to and I think the Grass is only ever greener when you take care of it.

Awesome book.

Five Stars.

Amazon link. Greener. By Erin Lee

 

REVIEW: RED HOT REUNION. BY BETH HALE

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When their entire relationship is a lie, how can their love be real? 

Hope Mathison’s ten-year high school reunion is approaching, and she’s dying to show everyone she’s no longer the poor, overweight girl from the trailer park. She’s not only lost the weight that made her so self-conscious for years but even started her own successful business as a software developer. 

Hope’s plan to show her former bullies that she’s overcome the adversity of her home life and the hell they caused her for four long years has one little snag: she’s still single. Her best friend, Marion, has a solution though. Hope will attend a hot-fireman auction and buy herself a date for the reunion. But Hope never expected the hottest fireman at the auction to be Flynn Eaves, a former high school classmate. 

Surprisingly, Flynn not only agrees to pretend to be her boyfriend for the reunion, but asks for a favor in return—that she pretend to be his girlfriend for his cousin’s wedding. As they create a fake relationship to fool old classmates and family members, they discover a real attraction brewing, one he wants to pursue, but the insecurities of Hope’s past might just cost her the one thing she’s always wanted most: to be loved for who she is, even if, at heart, she’ll always be that overweight girl from the trailer park. 

But can she trust Flynn when their relationship was built on a lie? Or will the insecurities of her past tear them apart?

 

This it the second short in this universe that I have read by Beth Hale. I usually don’t read erotica; BUT. When Beth tells me she has a new book out I go and find it!

I really enjoyed this book. The fact that it is about Hope, she is successful and gorgeous yet she doesn’t see it. The fact that bullies targeted her really didn’t help. I really felt for her as I have been a victim of bullying in the past. When her best friend convinces her to attend the high school reunion I was over the moon. this book really made me feel for Hope and I was willing her on the whole way through.

Enter Flynn. He is Hot. and I am not just talking about the fact he is a fire fighter. you have to read the description of him to understand. He is more than just sexy, he has a sweet side too.

It isn’t the perfect love story in the sense that Hope is on a mission it seemed to sabotage her happiness. But Flynn sticks by her and it makes for a really believable if somewhat steamy love story.

I cannot stress enough how much i loath Brittany and her gang of friends. I was so pleased to find that Karma really does come back to bite her.

A Fab fun book with a love story that makes you swoon.  I wish it had been longer!

Amazon Link

Red Hot Reunion

Five Stars

 

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REVIEW: WHEN I’M DEAD. BY ERIN LEE

 

 

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Violet Hoffman is a planner. She’s had more than enough time—especially on holidays—to think this through. There’s really no point in turning back. Now, armed with a plan, Violet only needs to pull the trigger. She runs through her list of essentials: Motel room, check. Bottle of pills, check. Razor blades, check. Knife, yup. Purpose, check. Voice ready to be heard. Got it. Revenge, coming right up.

Violet is ready. After all, she decides, everyone is born for a reason. For most of her life, she’s been different. Since she was nine years old, she’s carried a secret that made it impossible for her to be normal. For a decade, she’s been torn between loyalties and healing. But now, finally an adult, Violet can let it all out. And it isn’t going to be pretty. But then again, being ‘pretty’ and ‘special’ really aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

When I’m Dead is the story of an eighteen-year-old abuse victim alienated by her family. Ignored by a faulty system and shuffled from placement to placement, Violet is finally old enough to be heard. Sometimes, the best messages are given without words. And Violet’s always been a person of action. Where will Violet’s plan and actions take her? Will she finally get her message across? What will they think of her, when she’s dead? Will they even notice?

 

This book broke me. The story of violet resonated so deeply with me I cried through most of it. The book is written from the victims point of view and It is in my opinion, a stark and honest account.

It still amazes me with every book I read by Ms Lee, how well she captures the subject matter. Although this title confronts a painful and not often talked about subject the author manages to gently take you down this path. Is it a happy book? No. Is it an important one?YES.
It is a very well thought out, well written story that needs to be read.
Another amazing read by an author who takes subjects most of us dare not go near and brings them into the light.

I wish I could say more. It really has made me quite emotional.

Five Stars

Amazon Link.   When I’m Dead

At the time of review this title was available on Kindle Unlimited.

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REVIEW: INFERNO. BY YOLANDA OLSON.

 

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 haven’t fallen down in days. 

That may not seem like much, but my God, it’s such an accomplishment. Being made to stand and kneel repeatedly while he performs his rituals is exhausting and I’m pretty sure that the welts on the bottom of my feet are ready to pop. 

My knees. They’re bruised, covered in dry blood and cuts; but I won’t fall down. I can’t fall down; that means he wins again and I get put down in the oubliette.

Being in the dark never scared me, being alone was something I used to cherish until he took me. 

I just want to find the light now. I want to find the warm place that he tells me so much about; the place where he says all of this pain will make sense. 

I won’t fall down again.

I can’t.

Not before I find my peace in the light. I have to do it soon because I’m not sure how much more I can take. 

Miserere mei sunt.

 

 

I don’t really know where to start. This book is all things. It hurts but there is hope. It’s painfully sad, but there is moments of joy. Pater is my worst nightmare. Ms. Olson really evokes true fear of what awaits you on the next page.

It is just an amazing read. I cried ugly tears through Some of it. this was my first time experiencing Ms. Olson’s work and I was not disappointed. She transports you into the dark work she has created.

It’s called Inferno for a reason. You WILL get burned. But it is so worth it.

Five Stars .

 

Amazon link

Inferno

At the time of this review Inferno was not available on KU.

Author central page.

Yolanda Olson

REVIEW: JIMMIE’S ICE CREAM

 

 

Six months is a long time in the life of a serial killer with active cravings. Jimmie Putnam has made a lot of changes. Now, with his own ice cream shop, hiding bodies is easier than ever before. With sixteen kills under his belt, Jimmie is cocky. And the cravings are only getting worse:

Have you ever just been in the mood for ice cream?
You can’t really say why that craving comes on.
But you can’t sleep, even at 2 a.m. until you get it.
So you put your sneakers on . . .

Killing’s like that, for me.
Today, I’m in the mood for black raspberry.
Come, take a tour, of Jimmie’s Ice Cream shop…

Twenty years is a long time to wait for justice. And when you’re so close that you can taste it, you want to serve yourself. Special Agent Florel Ross has made a vow. She has one year, or until Jimmie Putnam is about to kill again before she will confront him—or report him—herself. Now, with his own ice cream shop, watching him will be easier than ever before. With nothing to lose and obsession steering her, Florel is fearless. She takes the sort of risks her twin sister would be proud of. And the danger is only getting worse.

Have you ever been in the mood for revenge?
You can’t really say why that hunger comes on.
But you can’t sleep, even at 2 a.m. until you get it.
So you put your holster on . . .

Come, take a tour, of Jimmie’s Ice Cream Shop:
It’s due for inspection…

I couldn’t wait for this book. I read ‘Just Things’ and loved it. Erin has managed to seamlessly take us back into the damaged mind of Jimmie Putman. Reading about his exploits and the plan stupidity of Detective Florel. Seriously! I was screaming at the book. Reading back over Jimmie’s catalog of kills was fantastically gruesome. The way Erins’ writing is so stark and haunting that you forget it is a work of fiction. although there could be a real Jimmie out there. lets not dwell on that too much!
The parallels between killer and detective are startling and in a lot of was quite sad. I think this book has so many layers of understanding. it is more than just a serial killer thriller.
I couldn’t put this book down even though at points it was kinda ‘ this is gross i don’t want to read but I HAVE to know’ moments.
I am hooked on this series and even though I now have a deep fear of freezers and ice cream shops I will be reading the next book.

 

AMAZON LINK. Jimmie’s Ice Cream

 

Also in this series

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AMAZON REVIEW: JUST THINGS. BY ERIN LEE

REVIEW: NO SHAME, BY ERIN LEE

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Jayne has hidden behind a disfiguring facial birthmark. Nothing has helped to overcome a scar she cannot hide from. Tortured by peers, and even in her adult life, Jayne has finally accepted the hand she’s been dealt. She’s vowed never to let anyone under her skin again. Trust is for the foolish.
Until Larry.
Larry has lived the life most people would dream of. A football star who spends his free time at the gym, people view him as perfect. But Larry, diagnosed with a debilitating disease, knows better. He will not accept a future of relying on others and pledges to do something about it while he still can. He refuses to be fooled by “friends.”
Until Jayne.
Bonded by fear of the future, Larry and Jayne have nothing to lose. They agree to teach lessons to people who have, or will, hurt them. Together, they promise to help karma stamp its justice. The rules will be simple: No regret. No excuses. No shame.

I am never disappointed, when I read a book by Erin Lee. This book has to be one of my favorites. It’s the story of two people, Larry and Jayne and it is so moving and  so relevant. As I was reading about their experiences, I was able to put that against my own life and realized that this happens EVERY DAY! Hidden illness and ‘difference’ from the ‘norm’ are shunned or ridiculed. The way this book is written is so real that by the end of it I really felt like I knew Larry and Jayne.

I really loved that book is written in dual PoV and that the reader experiences flash backs and fast-forwards. I am a sucker for books that contain these. It makes for a really exciting read. I love getting information about the characters and this style of writing makes me feel as though I am getting more than I expected.

Even though this is a short read it is so full of emotion and detail that I didn’t feel it lost anything at all. This author seems to be able to tap into the really important topics that society just isn’t ready, or is unwilling to deal with.

Another amazing read.

5 STARS

Amazon link

No Shame