Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Dusty Pages Review: Perils in Paris

It’s 1911, and the young detectives of TAYLOR & ROSE are turning their talents to ESPIONAGE.
On a case for the mysterious SECRET SERVICE BUREAU, the daring MISS SOPHIE TAYLOR and MISS LILIAN ROSE must leave London for the boulevards and grand hotels of Paris.
But DANGER lurks beneath the bright lights of the city - and INTRIGUE and MURDER lie in store. As aeroplanes soar in the skies overhead, our heroines will need to put all their spy skills to the test to face the PERIL that awaits them...
I followed Katherine Woodfine's series The Sinclair Mysteries where these characters were first introduced - chasing the Wiley Baron and trying to protect the department store in which they worked. Now with the Baron gone, they have become part detective part spy as they try to thwart the deeds of the society that he belonged to - the Franternis Draconm.

The story was as well written as ever but I found it lacking a little. It doesn't have the same feeling as the Sinclair Mysteries, not that it should be considered a bad thing, but its hardly Taylor & Rose investigating if they are half a world a part of different cases. Also it had been a while since I had read the Midnight Peacock and I lost track of some of the characters, unable to remember how they had come into the story. Also the narration spent a lot of time from Anna's point of view, a new character in this book who is unlikely to appear again in the future.

I also didn't like that the book ended with a cliff hanger. Now, I don't mind some un-answered questions, that lead teasingly into another book but the end of Peril's in Paris you were left unsure of one of our heroines fates! I mean, its a tactful way to ensure sales of the next installment but it doesn't have leave me wondering how it might upset the younger age readers it is intended for.

I give it

Monday, 25 March 2019

Meet a Writer Monday Presents...

...Sharon Farber

1. Tell me about your book, Choosing to be a Medium: Experience & Share the Healing Wonder of Spirit Communication, and where you got your inspiration for it?

I’m one of the rare professional mediums who didn’t go through life seeing dead people. I became fascinated by mediumship and chose to develop abilities I didn’t know it was possible to acquire. I wrote the book to support and encourage readers with a similar interest, and to inform everyone else that they too can enter the fascinating world of mediumship. The book shares my journey, gives step-by-step instructions on how to become a medium, addresses fears and challenges, and explains the intricacies of being a professional medium.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what was it?

I learned that writing a book is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life (including giving birth twice), except for raising children. I learned that it takes a village to bring the book to completion and why my editor called my finished manuscript a “first draft.”

3. What are the top three books in you TBR pile?

I’m currently listening to Barbara Kingsolver’s newest novel, Unsheltered. It’s read by the author. (Swoon.) Next, I’ll listen to Jodi Picoult’s new book, Spark of Light. It has mixed reviews, but one of her lesser books would still be better than most! I’m waiting for Diana Gabaldon to finish Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone, the ninth book in her Outlander Series. Can’t wait!

4. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?


5. Which do you use more often, dictionary or thesaurus?

There are still dictionaries?

6. In what ways do you hold yourself back?

I don’t. My family members sometimes wish I would.

7. Would you rather explore a new planet, or the deepest parts of the ocean? Why?

I’d rather explore a new planet because it’s a complete unknown with infinite possibility and surprise. In comparison, the ocean is a known entity.

8. What makes you cry?

Almost anything, including people being nice, books, and seeing someone else cry.

9. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

I write spiritual nonfiction, because I have a message to share. The decision to write a book came early in my mediumship development and was not logical, rational, or my idea. Writing a book was a surprise.

10. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Absolutely! “Don’t judge a book by its cover” might be a good suggestion when observing people but does not apply to actual books.

11. What part of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?

I’m done writing my first book, so it’s all about marketing, mediumship, and the rest of life. For now.

12. What do you find are the most effective ways of marketing your book?

I’ll find out soon. Choosing to be a Medium was just published on March 8! Check back with me in 6 months.

13. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I don’t have reviews yet. I’m writing this on January 19 and the book isn’t out. I’m excited and nervous as they’ll be appearing any moment. I’ll probably cry when I read my first bad review.

14. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

I’m a massage therapist, healer, artist, and medium. My passion is mediumship; connecting people with their deceased loved ones, teaching classes, leading a mediumship development circle, and leading mediumship development retreats. I wrote the book to teach people about mediumship, so it’s all part of the same intention.

15. Is there anything I’ve left out that you’d like to talk about?

If you’re interested in spirit communication (talking to deceased loved ones) but believe you “have to be born that way” to do it, think again! This is an exciting skill that can be learned, which is the message of my book.


Experience the wonder of spirit communication first hand—even if you don’t think you were born a medium. Sharon Farber shares her amazing story of becoming a medium through study, not birthright, and she reveals how you can become one, too.

This easy-to-use, empowering book provides everything needed to lay your foundation for connecting with loved ones in spirit. Build your skills through practical techniques and hands-on exercises. Explore the different types of mediumship, what it is and isn’t, and its roots in Spiritualism. Learn how to gather information from those you connect with in spirit and how to overcome common fears and challenges. Featuring insights from Q & A sessions with various mediums, along with many ways to enhance your abilities—including setting intention, raising your vibration, trance work, meditation, and grounding—Choosing to Be a Medium demonstrates that almost anyone can connect with spirits on the other side.

About Sharon

Sharon Farber graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1983 with a BA in Sociology. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist, healer, award winning artist, medium, teacher, author, and the owner of Dragonfly Healing Arts LLC in Pine Meadow, CT. Sharon gives mediumship readings and demonstrations, facilitates a mediumship development circle, teaches mediumship classes, and leads mediumship development retreats.

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Dusty Pages Review: Moon Over Soho

I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first.
No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.
And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.

I love listening to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith talk. He reads these stories so well that you get lost in the world and the words in a wonderful way. They say the second book in a series rarely lives up to the first but this is one of the rare ones. I was totally captured by the story and it didn't even matter that I know nothing about Jazz.

I was glad to see the character from the first book Lesley May back but its heartbreaking watching her deal with the tragedy that befell her in the first book. I liked the character and think she and the main character Peter work well together, bouncing off each other. I am particularily keen on the character of Thomas Nightingale - Peter's boss. I want to know more about him, though you get the odd snippet here and there, he's an interesting mystery.

I think I am pretty much addicted to this series, having already started listening to the third installment. I'll try to space the next review out with something else. lol.

I give it

Monday, 18 March 2019


I want to take a minute to talk about piracy. Not our lovable scamp Captain Jack Sparrow though. I want to talk about e-book piracy.

There have been lots of articles floating around recently about pirated e-book sites with large catalogues of authors books - mostly about getting them taken down. But much like with the Hydra in ancient Greece, once one site is gone, two more seem to pop up to take its place.

Why is e-book piracy wrong?

I've heard a lot of arguments from both sides. People who think that writers are being elitist by "denying their books" to those who are avid readers but can't afford to buy books. What I find most lacking in such arguments is that in order to read an e-book they must have bought a computer, a tablet, or an e-reader of some sort - which most would still consider a luxury item as they are not cheap to buy - but they can't afford to pay for an e-book.

Considering most e-books are less than the price of a take out cup of coffee in some places, I don't see how they can justify it. And before anyone says "but coffee is essential to me" it's exactly the same argument stated by those that support piracy, and I bet they don't tell their local Barista they won't pay for their coffee!

But authors are rich and it doesn't hurt anyone...

Wrong. Not all authors are J. K Rowling or Stephen King. Some authors do not make millions for each book - and most of the big names made their money because they got sales! This is especially true for Indie authors who are relying solely on royalties from sales to be paid. A self publishing indie author also must take on all the overheads themselves and are less inclined to keep publishing if they cannot break even. It is a job (like any other), so e-book piracy is threatening the incomes for themselves and their families in some cases. Could you imagine if you went into your job every day, worked hard for months on a project, only to be told that you won't be paid for that because the consumer thinks they are entitled to it and shouldn't have to pay?

This is the argument for people who download or distribute copies of books online. An author puts months, sometimes years of work into a book - longer if they have to do all the formatting, editing, and marketing themselves. Book piracy means there are less chances for new authors to make it into the main stream. It means it's less likely for the same author to get a second book deal because there weren't enough sales of the first one - due to pirate copies.

It's only the famous authors that get pirated so that's alright...

Err, no. I was reading an article in which the owner of one pirate book site said they could get any book they wanted in less that 30 minutes. I also read that they take requests. Indie authors deal with the "free book" phenomenon - many cases where a reader has contacted them requesting that their book should be free because they've never heard of them (but ironically still want to read the book because it looks or sounds good). The author has a right to be paid, and to say no. All that reader then has to do is request it from a pirate site.

I don't see it as any different then the following scenario. You see a necklace at a craft fair that you really want. You ask the maker of that necklace (who is just trying to make a living) to give it to you for nothing because they aren't Tiffany or Cartier. They politely say no. So you go to a known crook and get them to steal it for you.

It's no different then getting a second hand book...

Again wrong. Whether you get it from a Second Hand Book Store or a Charity shop you still have to pay for the book. Yes, from this second hand sale the author does not receive any money, true, but the charity does. This means the book was not free.

However, that said, someone would have had to have bought that book brand new at some stage. That will be when the author received their money from the sale.This means still the book was not free.

I remember as a kid, watching those anti-piracy adverts for movies and I think it can and should be applied to the book industry.

You wouldn't steal someones purse

You wouldn't steal someones phone

You wouldn't steal a book from a bookstore

So, why would you download it off the web illegally?

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Dusty Pages Review: Rivers of London

My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden ... and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

I was recommended this book by a family member who told me that if I liked the Dresden Files that I would probably like this. They were right. I was immediately drawn into the story and it did have a Dresden like quality to it with the male lead working against magical forces and messing up along the way, learning new things and having very male reactions to the women he finds himself spending time with.

I got it on audiobook so that I could listen to it while at my day job and found myself unsatisfied with only managing to get two hours of listening time fitted in a day. It was a really good story, with characters that I liked and will be looking to get the next in the series to find out what happens next to Peter.

The narrator (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) has a very nice voice, that was familiar in an odd way though I'm pretty sure I've not heard it before. It suited the character and gave him a level of authenticity I think would have been lacking if I had read it in print. He also endeavored to make different voice for different characters which makes for a really great narration.

I give it

Monday, 11 March 2019

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... A. J. Lee

1. Tell me about your book, Till Death Do Us Part: A Zombie Survival Reverse Harem, and where you got your inspiration for it?

Certainly! Till Death Do Us Part is a book that combines my love of romance (specifically reverse harem) with my love of paranormal (specifically zombies) and throws in a dash of suspense to complete the package!

The book's story follows Esperanza, the last living woman on earth following a viral outbreak that only affected females! With all women turned to zombies, surviving men have taken to living out what's left of human existence, and most of them have become rotten and barbaric. After being kidnapped by and escaping from just such a crazed psychopath named Frankie, Esperanza encounters four men who seem to be decent human beings. Together, they must survive convicts, cultists, zombies, and the elements by working together, and hopefully along the way, four men and a woman can find love in a world filled with despair.

When I first started writing novels, I started writing science fiction and fantasy. After publishing a few books (under a different name than this one,) I received an opportunity to work with a wonderful, more established author of romance novels. She allowed me to write a kindle worlds novel set in her world, and I learned a lot from her about writing romance. From there, I just happened upon the RH community, fell in love with it, and wrote my first book.

2. What are the top three books in you TBR pile?

1) Lightning Strikes by Ripley Proserpina 2) Origins by Lyla Oweds 3) The Sightless by Ellabee Andrews

3. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

Truthfully, I learn a lot from each book I write. Every time I publish a new novel, I learn a little bit more about the writing craft and about myself as a writer. I learn about the emotions I'm burying, because like many writers, I use it as a way to express myself since I don't do that well through other avenues.

In addition to that, I almost always learn a ton of fun and random things! In this case, one of the favorite things I learned involved pharmaceutical categorization! See, in this novel, there is a drug that was introduced to try and combat the virus. When looking up a name for the drug, I learned that drugs are named based on certain aspects. For example, a drug meant to combat a virus would end with -vir, and so in the story, I named this drug “necronovir.”

4. Have you ever danced in the rain?

Funny story, I was born and raised on the Florida panhandle. Not only have I danced in the rain, but I've also danced in hurricanes in my younger, more stupid days! Let me tell you, that turns from really fun to really scary and back again in seconds, hahaha!

5. If you could have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

It would absolutely be a Pittsburgh style, rare steak with a giant side salad and a fresh baked potato.

6. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?

I recently took a four day vacation into the mountains, and that was the longest I've gone without writing for a long time, to be sure! It's the one that sticks most in my mind. I went out to get away from everything and relax, and while I certainly did relax, I was definitely ready to get back to the writing cave once I returned.

7. What’s your favourite knock knock joke?

I don't have a favorite knock-knock joke, really. I'm more of a dad-joke guy, and my favorite dad-joke is the dad-joke-ception-dad-joke... which is:

Q: When does a joke become a dad-joke?

A: When the punchline becomes... apparent.


8. Mountains or the beach?

Oh man, this question hits home. I grew up in Florida near the beaches, but in all my thirty years living there, I only went to the beach a handful of times. I just never felt a strong pull to it, though I was surrounded by people who -live,- and I mean -live- for beach season. I always thought it was silly until I moved out to Colorado and saw the mountains. They call to me in the way I suspect the beach calls to beach people. So, the short answer? MOUNTAINS!

9. What was your most defining moment in life?

As someone who is 33 years old, I hope I have some more defining moments coming up, but there is one that I feel I can share.

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but life got in the way. I had to work, had to pay bills, and my dream fell to the wayside as a result. I worked for an armored truck company for five years. Then, when I was 25 years old, I went in for a routine DOT physical check-up and was told that I was in immediate danger of cardiac arrest. It was so bad that the physicians recommended I drop everything and let them call me an ambulance to the emergency room right away. I drove myself, but during the drive, I sobbed, I prayed, I cursed at myself for neglecting my health, but through it all one of the loudest things in my mind was that I'd never written and published a novel, even though it'd been my dream for as long as I could remember.

As you can see, I'm still alive, but that moment truly changed my life. In addition to spurring me to take my writing career more seriously, I also used it as an excuse to dive heavily into physical fitness. You might even say it's my second great passion in life, and I only mention it because if I hadn't gotten into shape and made those changes, I might not be here today answering these questions about the books that I've published!

10. What feels like love to you?

Patience, kindness, a feeling of connection stronger and more intimate than you can explain with words, but also a mental commitment to accept someone for all they are and all that means. It is equal parts emotional and mental for me.

11. In what ways do you hold yourself back?

I've suffered from self-esteem issues stemming from my weight since I was a kid. It's affected me a lot more than I realized growing up, and it's only now as I'm unpacking it all as an adult that I realize how it played a role in my life. Because of it, I find marketing my books to be very difficult (as I'm sure most introverted writers who are like me would say, too). I feel as though what I have to say is irrelevant, or even worse, sometimes I will convince myself that promoting myself or my book is simply annoying to others.

I fight that voice, though, and I've been fighting it harder and harder recently. I want to get better at being more outspoken and confident in myself and what I've accomplished. Besides, at the very least I need to make that part of my brain understand that it doesn't matter how many books I write if no one knows they exist!

12. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

I'm not -entirely- sure. I think there are many things that motivate me. For one, I simply love the craft. I love the power that words have and the way they can evoke emotions. My love of the craft and of telling stories motivates me to write, but what motivates me to -succeed- at writing is that very few people in my life have ever believed in me. I want to make those few people proud and prove the rest of them wrong.

13. How would you survive a Zombie apocalypse?

Oh, see, I have to pick this as my last question, because it's so relevant to my book! In the case of a zombie apocalypse, I would grab as many supplies as I could and begin heading north or higher up into the Colorado mountains. Without a way to regulate body temperature, I would be counting on the zombies becoming frigid little undead popsicles if they tried to find me in sub-zero temperatures! And since I love the snow and cold anyway, it's a win-win for me!


It's been five years since the world's entire female population mysteriously changed into shambling, flesh-eating undead. For Esperanza Costales, that means coping with the loss of her mother, surviving in the Tennessee wilderness with her father and brother, and wondering whether or not she's the last living woman on Earth.

Esperanza and her family have adapted and learned to count their blessings, but when a group of escaped convicts led by a crazed psychopath named Frankie stumble upon their camp and kidnap her and her father, her new life is thrown into chaos. By taking advantage of a late-night zombie attack, she barely escapes captivity and flees into the forest, alone.

Injured, frightened, and separated from her family, Esperanza nearly loses hope until she encounters a group of four men. Jason, Derek, Roland, and Joseph have survived the world's end by putting aside old feelings and embracing their harsh new reality, but their routine is shattered when Esperanza enters their lives and brings into question everything they thought they knew about the Apocalypse.

As Esperanza and the men learn more about one another and themselves, will they be able to form a bond strong enough to survive attacks by the undead and pursuit by Frankie's gang? Will Esperanza ever see her family again? And in a world full of zombies and psychos, will a woman and four men be able to find love through despair?

About A J

A.J. Lee is a pseudonym. Under this name, he writes romance (particularly reverse harem romance). A.J. was born in the little town of Milton, Florida and attended Milton Highschool and Pensacola State College where he graduated with an Associate's Degree with honors. While working for an armored truck company, A.J. wrote and published his first book; at 30, he moved to Wesminster, Colorado where he lives and writes in an apartment with a wonderful view of the mountains.

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