Gloryhill
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: Gloryhill Author: Vanessa Hawkins Publisher:  Friesen Press Book procurement: Received a copy from author for an honest review. Release Date: Feb 24, 2016. Synopsis: In a festering town like Gloryhill, where the sewage overflows into the streets and the dirty, disease-ridden underworld claws its way to the surface, the existence of vampires is a thinly veiled secret. The most oozing, decomposed of them all, Pachuco, spends his nights hunting prey and pretty human girls to suck down below the surface. It’s only when Charlotte, a beautiful, sensual vampire deputy, seeks his help in solving a mystery that he directs his attention to matters outside of blood, cigarettes, and female attentions. Charlotte, on the other hand, forty years after being bitten and transformed into the monster that she now sees herself as, is desperately trying to hold onto any shred of her humanity while relentlessly pursuing a killer who threatens the delicate place that vampires hold in a human-driven world. While the case is pulling her deeper into the belly of the rotting, putrid vampire world, she engages Pachuco to seek out her human former lover and fiance. In a world that values sex above love, blood above loyalty, and death above all, will…

He Counts Their Tears
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: He Counts Their Tears Author: Mary Ann D’Alto Publisher:  Dog Ear Publishing Book procurement: Received a copy from author for an honest review. Release Date: Sep 17, 2015. Synopsis: A handsome, successful, charming man. Healer. Miracle maker. Aaron Stein is all those things. Behind the benevolent façade, however, hides a monster: a destroyer of souls who lusts after power and control. Aaron plays his ruse again and again with unsuspecting women who genuinely believe that they have met their new “best friend”, their “soul mate”. Covert hypnosis, edgy trysts, psychological warfare – they’re all part of the sick game he plays “to have all the power” …until his secret life is threatened by a series of events he never sees coming. Will his devoted cousin, Constance, succeed in protecting him, just as she has throughout his entire life? And what exactly is it that she does to protect him? Is she a murderer, or is she simply devoted to him? Are they merely cousins (possibly, once, long ago, lovers), or are they partners in crime? Did Aaron learn his evil ways from her, or was he born a psychopath? In the end, these answers will make no difference in the lives of the…

The War Between
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: The War Between Author: Jennifer Withers Publisher:  Jennifer Withers Genre: Fantasy Book procurement: Received a copy from author for an honest review. Release Date: April 13, 2016. Synopsis: A human war over dwindling resources has all but destroyed the world. In a country once known as South Africa, two cities struggle to survive. Toria is believed to contain the final generation of humans, while Jozenburg is inhabited by beings created and born in a laboratory, gifted with abilities both strange and terrifying. The two species have known peace for many years, but with their respective cities surrounding the remaining resources, tensions are rising. The two leaders of Jozenburg are twin siblings Syra and Draiken, and with their first successful conversion of a human to a superhuman, Draiken sets a plan in motion that will bring his kind, and the humans, to the brink of war. The arrival of Dominico in Jozenburg, a girl with unique and dangerous abilities, and a human commander claiming to have saved her life, Syra is forced to reconsider her views of not only herself, but of the beings she considered her enemies. Review: I haven’t read many science-fiction novels based in South Africa. The War Between is the interweaving story of survival…

Plain Dealing
Book Review / September 1, 2016

Title: Plain Dealing Author: Ian Patrick Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Genre: Crime Book procurement: Received a copy from author for an honest review. Release Date: August 4, 2015. Synopsis: After midnight on a moonlit beach six policemen led by a top detective execute four criminals who have perpetrated the most heinous rape, mutilation and murder of a young woman. The police are unaware that there is a witness to the executions. The action that follows is set against dubious tactical, ethical and sometimes criminal choices faced by the central characters. The reader is left with a stark image of moral ambiguity as the police struggle to maintain courageous and precarious control of the crime that engulfs them, and the work of ‘plain dealing’ cops comes under scrutiny. The third book in The Ryder Quartet takes the reader on an emotional and action-packed journey through the choices made by police in their day-to-day confrontation with rampant and brutal crime in contemporary South Africa. Review: In a discussion with a couple of fellow South Africans about books that deal with our country, a unanimous decision was reached that those types of books make us uncomfortable. As much as the story is fictitious, it doesn’t demean the message…

Author Spotlight: Xane J. Fisher
Author Spotlight / August 2, 2016

Originally from the Salt Lake City area, Xane Fisher has spent most of his life living out of a backpack or suitcase. Along his travels, he has been blessed with an amazing family, a college education, and the opportunity to see the world from the skyscrapers of Abu-Dhabi to the third world markets of Angola. From a young age, he has felt compelled to write and share experiences through a pen or keyboard. He is currently living in southwest Germany, serving in the United States Air Force with his wife Autumn and their son Judah. He hopes to have his first novel completed soon. Website: https://poetryforpeopleihate.com Twitter: @XaneFisher Facebook: Facebook profile Blog: https://poetryforpeopleihate.com Book Review BoyzNite Law school wonder student Ian Peters chronicles his first night home for the summer in Piedmont, Washington. What starts with a pleasant drive up the Pacific Northwest Coast leads him into a night of self discovery, contemplative self-assessment, and ultimately the question of what kind of man does he want to be? Along the way, he reconnects with friends, family, and an old flame who changes his world forever. What started as a typical night of partying quickly becomes BoyzNite.        …

Author Spotlight: J.T. Lawrence
Author Spotlight / August 2, 2016

JT Lawrence is an author, playwright and bookdealer based in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. She is the mother of two small boys and lives in a house with a red front door. She has written various plays for SAFM including ‘The Shelter’, ‘Unspilling the Milk’, ‘Every Breath You Take’, and serials, the most recent being the crime drama ‘Jigsaw’. Her short story collection ‘Sticky Fingers’ was broadcast in the last quarter of 2015, and will be available as a paperback and ebook in 2016. Her first novel, ‘The Memory of Water’ (2011), is about a writer who would do anything for a story. Her 2015 offering, ‘Why You Were Taken’, is a pre-dystopian sci-fi thriller starring a synaesthete, and takes place is a futuristic Jo’burg burdened by infertility and a water crisis. It was optioned by the national broadcaster, SABC, for a radio adaption. She is currently working on her new novel, ‘Grey Magic’, slated for December 2016, about an eccentric modern-day witch, accused of murder, who must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom — and find her way back to magic. Website: Pulpbooks Amazon: J.T. Lawrence Twitter: @pulpbooks Facebook: facebook.com/JanitaTLawrence Instagram: pulp_junkie   Book Review Sticky Fingers Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT…

BoyzNite
Book Review / August 1, 2016

Title: Boyznite Author: Xane J. Fisher Publisher: Royal James Publishing Genre: Short story Book procurement: Received a copy from Royal James Publishing as part of their Blog Tour. See end of review for purchase links. Release Date: August 1, 2016. Synopsis: Law school wonder student Ian Peters chronicles his first night home for the summer in Piedmont, Washington. What starts with a pleasant drive up the Pacific Northwest Coast leads him into a night of self discovery, contemplative self-assessment, and ultimately the question of what kind of man does he want to be? Along the way, he reconnects with friends, family, and an old flame who changes his world forever. What started as a typical night of partying quickly becomes BoyzNite. Review: What can I say. Boyznite is a beautifully written fist to the chest, a short story about the realities that occur in the world and how sometimes, we are just out of our depth. One can only wonder how the rest of the story plays out. I myself feel compelled to do something about it, but perhaps that’s just the immature schoolboy in me. The story follows Ian Peters and his nostalgic trip back home from law school. Along with his brother and…

Sticky Fingers
Book Review / July 20, 2016

Title: Sticky Fingers Author: JT Lawrence Genre: Short stories Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Available on Amazon from the 28 July 2016. Synopsis: Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT Lawrence include: ‘Escape’ — a story about about a suicidal baby who knows he was born into the wrong life, and has to get creative to take measures correct the mistake, much to his mother’s horror. ‘The Itch’ — a story about an intense, uncontrollable, unexplainable itch that lands the protagonist in a mental institution. ‘Bridge Gate’ — In this poignant and charming short story, a daughter yearns to connect with her absent father through the letters they exchange. She’s not put off by his pedantic corrections of her writing, despite the slow reveal that he is less than perfect himself. ‘The Unsuspecting Gold-digger’ — a woman gradually poisons her husband so that she doesn’t have to break his heart. Review: As a short story writer myself, I’ve got a soft spot for anthologies. There’s something unique and expectant in short stories that novels (unless they are sequels) do not have in their endings. You know you should expect some sort of…

Author Spotlight: Angela Meadon
Author Spotlight / July 1, 2016

Angela started writing stories when she was 8 years old. Her first story was about Indiana Jones and she wrote it on pages she tore out of her school books. She has come a long way since those early days. She invents her own heroes now, but she tries to keep the sense of passion and wonder that infused her early forays into the craft. When she’s not herding her three children through the garden of their Johannesburg home, Angela surrounds herself with words in all their glorious forms. She is the submissions editor for an online magazine, the lead technical writer for a fast-growing software company, a dedicated author and a voracious reader. She tends to write darker stories, and enjoys experimenting with genre. Horror and fantasy will always be her first loves (yes, she can have two), but she also enjoys science fiction and thrillers. Strong Medicine Book Review  Erin du Toit’s 9-year old daughter has been kidnapped by Johannesburg’s most powerful witchdoctor. Can Erin save her child before she’s chopped up for muthi? Erin’s first instinct is to go to the police, but the South African Police Force is paralyzed by corruption and overwhelmed by hundreds of…

Author Spotlight: Warren Hately
Author Spotlight / July 1, 2016

Warren Hately lives with his children in Margaret River, Western Australia, where he works as a journalist and sub-editor. Previously, he has been a freelance travel writer, photographer and academic. He holds a doctorate in English and Comparative Literature for his dissertation The Discourse of Conflict, which reworked post-Foucauldian semiotics to examine the predominance of language-like models in the resolution of conflict (with the case study of the 1981 prison conflict in Northern Ireland). Warren also has an English with First Class Honours in post-structuralist theory and cultural studies specialising in the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault. Twitter: @wereviking Amazon: Warren Hately Website: zephyr.warrenhately.com Zephyr I Book Review Zephyr is an ongoing series that has been favorably compared to Alan Moore’s Watchmen and similar classics. Like the comic books to which it owes a debt, Zephyr is episodic with an open narrative. It is written for grown-ups. It’s 2013 on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The place is Atlantic City: a sweeping longitudinal metropolis rebuilt following widespread devastation in 1984. Superhumans are not only real, they’re human. All too human, as Nietzsche would say. Zephyr is an alt.superhero adventure influenced by postliterary writing and Sturgeon’s law. The…