Hills & Valleys

Book Review


Hills and Valleys

Book 3 of The Ambeth Chronicles

I love this third book in the series; it provides some much-needed reckoning of events and the emotional trauma we were left with at the end of No Quarter in addition to providing knowledge to Alma’s family background and involvement with Ambeth.

With the dark reaching out to entrap Alma, the struggles the light face trying to protect her, and the call of Ambeth itself through mysterious magic, Alma can no longer run away or hide from her fate.

Despite not having any real action, Hills and Valleys is intense and without doubt the best in the series so far. I love the way, Jones skilfully weaves in the background knowledge through the use of flashbacks. I also love the way she can change our feelings towards certain dark characters bringing a sense of hope to a most dire situation.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

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All my reviews are sincere, honest reviews of books I’ve actually read. I don’t review books I cannot finish.

Please feel free to share, and thank you for reading.

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Smorgasbord Autumn Reading – Animal Tales and Caboodle & The Whole Kit by Kevin Cooper

Sally did a write-up on me in anticipation of my new release which was due today, but the new release has unfortunately been postponed a week or so and I only just found out. Thanks Sally, much appreciated all the same!🙂

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Autumn Reading

Today’s Autumn Reading is Animal Tales by Kevin Cooper.  It is also an opportunity to welcome his latest book Caboodle & The Whole Kit which is due to be released today.

Animal Tales is a lovely collection of short stories and poetry about cats, dogs, birds, and even a mouse wins admiration.

Most of these tales were inspired by real life events. Proceeds from Animal Tales are donated to the RSPCA.

Being a cat lover along with my dear OH [we can’t really have dogs where we live except for service ones] I couldn’t resist downloading this book via KINDLE Unlimited.

If you’re an animal lover, and even if you’re not, this wonderful collection of poems and short stories by Kevin Cooper has to make you smile, lift your spirits…

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The Bad News… Update.

I just learned from my publisher that my release for Caboodle & The Whole Kit which was due today has been postponed for a week or so due to unforeseen circumstances. I had queried why I didn’t have any links sent to me yet and was told that she sent me an email explaining this a short while back… Didn’t get it, but hey, it happens.

Thought I’d better let you guys know since I know some of you have been expecting it… Sorry folks! I’ll let you know when I’m sure of everything. Meanwhile here’s the blurb again along with my silly little trailer:


Caboodle is filled with relaxing episodes of life, family, love & romance, faith, and even the odd, inadvertent run-ins with some quite unsavoury characters.

The wonderful collection of short stories, poetry, and songs has been grouped together to bring a variety of tales, some of which are based upon true events, people can easily relate to.

The whole kit is designed to ignite a mixture of emotions to bring smile, laughter, and moisture to the eyes.

There is something for everyone in Caboodle & The Whole Kit!

Check out the book trailer below: 



Author Kevin Cooper

Chris did me the kindness of updating my profile, and just in time for my upcoming new release which will be available tomorrow… Thanks Chris!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


Kevin Cooper was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, England in 1963, moved to the USA in 1985 where he first studied to get a GED in Kentucky, obtained a scholarship and went on to study at Western KY University for two years.

He transferred some of his credits to Asbury College and obtained a BA in Psychology in 1991.

After finishing at Asbury College, he studied at Asbury Theological Seminary for a year before moving to Arizona and enrolled at Grand Canyon University.

In 1998 he obtained an M.Ed from Grand Canyon University where he was also awarded a Graduate Fellowship.

Kevin was a substitute teacher for several high school districts in and around Phoenix for over six years before becoming a Manager for The Hertz Corporation in 1999-2004.

During this time he also became a lecturer of General Studies at the Metropolitan College of Court Reporting.

In 2004 Kevin returned to…

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Blog Tour: Author, Robert Kimbrell #RRBC

The following selections are from Rhythm of My Heart, a short collection of darker poetry written by Annie Scarlotte:


Just once I want to feel that I can give myself completely

without fear

and breathe someone else into my soul.

Just one time I want to see true passion

and let my eyes cry from the ecstasy of it.

I just need one moment to be me,

one point in my finite existence to feel accepted,

one place I can breathe and feel worthy of the air

and share myself with no clanging of chains.


Why can’t it be

that way for me?

They seem to share

so easily.

They give and take without regard

displaying beauty and harmony.

For me this is so hard.

To get so close,

I must shed the paranoia.

I must use the desire to feel

And not dream,

see and not envision…

My inability to arrive,

is it only an illusion?



My cup nears empty

and my soul grows cold.

Fonder my love cannot get

your absence sears my soul.

I sit in silence

waiting on your call

with constant trembling

and aches inside.

How can I convince you

what you see is real?

Only holding you will mend my spirit-

Only loving you gives me life.




Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00043]Book Blurb:

Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.


Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie’s predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.


Vigilante Annie is born.


Amazon Link:





author-picAuthor Bio:

An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.


Twitter:  @VAAuthor

Website:  www.VigilanteAnnie.com




The Power of Six

Book Review


This is another great collection of very well written short stories by Rossis that are written to both tantalize and entertain us.
Rossis loves to test our senses… particularly of what is real and what isn’t. He’s not afraid to venture into the unknown and drag us along with him. As with his Pearseus books, there are a lot of theories, and philosophies brought into question.

I couldn’t make my mind up if I liked this as much as Honest Fibs or not… I think maybe my expectations from the title were raised a little. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but then I’m not completely sure what that was either. Oh well!

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All my reviews are sincere, honest reviews of books I’ve actually read. I never review a book I cannot finish.

Please feel free to share, and thank you for reading.




The Bone Wall

Book Review


This futuristic/dystopian tale is presented to us in the first-person pov from the perspective of two very different, if not truly opposite personas: Rimma who is angry and bent upon revenge for the death of her father and against all who oversaw the destruction of heaven, and her twin sister, Angel who hopes against hope for a better world of peace, love and harmony.

Rimma not only vows to kill all the biters, (those responsible for the destruction of heaven) but forces Angel to vow that she will allow Rimma to bear all the burdens and consequences so she can protect her. The only thing stronger than Rimma’s burning desire for revenge is her love for Angel and all that she stands for… In a world bent upon self-destruction, Angel must survive at all costs.

The story is deeply thought-provoking, extremely well written and constructed; It’s not the kind of story you want to read quickly and get it over with but rather, one you want to savour. There are countless raw emotions and events to draw you ever deeper, and never a dull moment passes in this action-packed epic fantasy/sci-fi tale.

The Bone Wall is a truly exceptional work which brings out the best in D. Wallace Peach… Without doubt my favourite to date and one of the easiest five-stars I’ve ever given. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

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All my reviews are sincere, honest reviews of books I’ve actually read. I never review a book I cannot finish.

Please feel free to share, and thank you for reading.



KAI Special… Awarding Winning Author, Cynthia Reyes!

Kev’s Author Interviews Presents…

A KAI Special with Award Winning Author:


Cynthia Reyes!

Earlier, I asked Cynthia to tell us a bit about herself:
CR: I was born and raised in the countryside of Jamaica. Came to Canada on 2 weeks’ notice and truly grew up here. It’s where I became a strong and caring daughter, wife and mother.
I’m thankful for my partnership with my husband and close relatives in raising our two strong, gifted and kind daughters.
I’m also grateful for a successful career in television and in project consulting. I was an executive producer, leader and trainer at Canada’s largest television network, and have worked as a consultant on large projects.

Kev: Welcome to this special edition of KAI, Cynthia. Tell us a little about your book and how did you come up with the title?
51COr80Z3tL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_CR: Thank you, Kev.
The title? There are several clues in the book, and I’ll share the two most obvious ones:
Our Victorian farmhouse and furnishings are, unlike some Victorian homes, unpretentious. The measurements are “true”, the building materials and construction are solid.
This house is also where I faced some hard truths — and some consoling truths — during the decade after a car accident damaged my life and that of my family.
Kev: Which Genre(s) do you have it listed under?
CR: Memoir; Literary Non-Fiction
Kev: Could you provide us a bit more detail about your book?
CR: For a book that reveals hard truths, An Honest House is surprisingly comforting, joyful and downright hilarious at times.
I’m dealing with PTSD, mental confusion, great pain, nightmares, and depression. But I find beauty in the garden, wisdom in my growing relationship with the house, my family, friends, neighbours, church community and God. And laughter – I learn to laugh again.
The book is full of fascinating characters; some you meet in hilarious situations, most in acts of love and courage that are helping to pull me through the terrible times.
Kev: What parts of your book are you most proud of and why?
CR: The parts that immerse the reader in PTSD episodes. Why? Because in order to do that, I had to re-immerse myself in those experiences and that was truly terrifying. I walked away from the manuscript 3 times and vowed I’d never return. Took me nearly 3 years, but I finally got it done.
Kev: Provide a teaser/short passage from your book.
CR: This is how the book opens:
“Ambercroft Farm,” the sign out front said.
Hamlin was on a first-name basis with the grand old farmhouse right from the start, calling it Ambercroft. For years, I didn’t call it anything at all.
The tall, two-storey Victorian house on the northern edge of Toronto seemed sealed off from the rest of the neighbourhood. Within a solid wooden fence and gates, massive maples waved big leafy arms. Pines and dense blue-green spruces soared. A cedar hedge ran the length of the property on one side.
This was a private place, sure of its personality and power.


Kev: When you wrote this work, did you write off-the-cuff or use some kind of formula like an outline?
CR: The fact that I’m following the timeline of my life over a period of 3 years (with some flashbacks) perhaps makes it easier to plot the journey of the story than if this were a work of fiction.
Almost all the raw material came from my journals, letters and notebooks. Some of my journal entries became blog posts, which means they were already transformed into a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Some became magazine stories (short memoirs).
So I look at all the journal entries, blog posts and magazine stories from that 3-year period and create a book outline with a beginning, middle and end. Then I start writing to create that first draft.
I suppose I do think in stories, because even when the journal entries are just a series of bullet-points, I can see the story those bullet points are trying to tell. And almost every chapter of my books tells a story that helps develop the overall story.
In subsequent drafts, I work at the language. I want readers to experience everything I experience, so I use vivid, emotive, simple language. (I avoid what I call ‘the big expensive words”.) I also use the five senses to describe settings in particular.
Sometimes, I leave my desk and actually go to look at the face of a daffodil in the garden, or the wood floor or harvest table in my house, just to see the way the light falls on it. I’ll make notes. Then I’ll come back and add it to the manuscript.
Kev: What challenges did this particular work pose for you?
CR: Writing is a pain – literally. My body hurts. Trying to cross-reference material and keep track of details gives me enormous headaches – a result of the head injury.
Writing about PTSD, mental confusion, not being able to do the things I used to – that’s emotional pain. But writing for me has also been an instrument of grace. So I dread the pain of doing it, but I hope that – Deo volente — I will be able to keep doing it.
Kev: What methods are you using to promote this work?
CR: Probably not enough!
My Blog, Facebook, News releases to libraries, book clubs, organizations, etc., etc. Word-of-mouth via readers of the first book (A Good Home); friends; an Ad in the magazine I write for; stories in newspapers, etc.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
CR: Read a lot. Write a lot. Always carry a notebook with you. Daily life is a fountain of ideas, as are special events. I even make notes at funerals, but please don’t tell anyone that!
Finally, you need someone to read your work, but be careful who you share your first work with; most people don’t really know how to critique a book and may unintentionally discourage you.
Kev: Your book recently won, The Diamond Book Award for 2016. What was your experience like, and how much does this mean to you?
a2e59a0b-f779-418f-906c-301ad2d14b7aCR: It means a lot. I know that the standards for this award are high, and I respect the founder of it, so that all adds up to a big deal to me.
I won awards for my network TV programs, my work in journalism, and as a trainer and program developer in the television industry. I also won awards for community service. But it never occurred to me that I’d win an award for work done after the accident, because I lost my career, skills and confidence.
It’s still amazing to me that people like my books and read them over and over. So it’s ten times more incredible that one of my books has won an award, especially the book that caused me such pain. The Diamond Book Award is a huge boost.
Thank you, Kevin.

Here’s the Link to Cynthia’s celebration post for The Diamond Book Awards:

2016 Diamond Book Awards Winner

Here’s the link to Cynthia’s Blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

And finally, the links to Cynthia’s book: AmazonCA/AmazonUS/AmazonUK

Let’s hear it for Cynthia Reyes, everyone!


Blog Tour: Author, A.M. Manay. #RRBC

“The Parent Problem” by A.M. Manay

ammanayheadshot3Those of us who write Children’s, Young Adult, or New Adult fiction are acutely familiar with what I call “The Parent Problem.” How do you get the parents out of the picture enough for your youthful protagonist to get him- or herself into mortal peril? Obviously, if your parents are paying any attention, they are not going to allow you to go fight Wizard Hitler or whatever, at least not until your homework is done. Here are ten tried-and-true (tongue-in-cheek) ways to throw those pesky parents and/or guardians overboard. Many successful stories employ more than one method for an extra helping of angst.
1) Actually throw them overboard. See Frozen.
2) Death by murder. See Harry Potter, Bambi, The Lion King, Star Wars: A New Hope.
3) Death by ill-tempered wild animal. See Tarzan.
4) Parent or Guardian Incompetence/Neglect/Abuse/Absence due to vacation, work schedule, or the Blitz. See Twilight, Home Alone, The Chronicles of Narnia, Up, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spy Kids, and all those TV shows about rich kids wandering around unsupervised.
5) The Combo Package: one dead parent, one problematic parent. See Finding Nemo, Hunger Games, Snow White, or my own She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1).
6) Boarding School/College/Dystopian Future Training Facility. Apparently, boarding school is an exciting place where no one pays attention to the kids once class gets out, because they get up to some serious shenanigans. See Harry Potter, Divergent, Ender’s Game, and any book with the word “Academy” in the name. In loco parentis, my Aunt Fanny.
7) Run, run, run away: have the kids run away from home. See Peter Pan, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Pinnoccio.
8) The ill-fated three hour tour: have the kids get kidnapped/shipwrecked/otherwise involuntarily removed from the normal world. See Lord of the Flies, Maze Runner, Hunger Games.
9) Accidentally turn a parent into a bear. See Brave. Admittedly, this one is of limited usefulness.
10) Turn a parent into an evil cyborg bent on galactic domination. See Star Wars. Again, this one is perhaps a touch too specific to be widely applicable.
What are your craziest ideas for how to get rid of pesky parents in Chapter 1?

About A.M. and Her Writing

she-lights-face-primaryWhat inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by the diversity of the world around me, here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also find inspiration in such different places as comic book movies, English history, historical fiction, and scifi.
What do you love most about writing?
I love getting to know and create the characters, and I get a lot of satisfaction from crafting a clever or memorable turn of phrase.
What’s the most challenging part?
It’s difficult to find the time and space to truly focus.
How do you craft your story & characters?
I do a lot of daydreaming before I start writing. For me, the characters come first, and the adventure follows. I do like to brainstorm before I get too far into a long project.
How much research is involved?
I do research locations a fair amount. Otherwise, since I write fantasy, I get to make up a lot of stuff on the fly. I have to put more effort into maintaining continuity than into actual research.
How long did it take from idea to finished book?
It takes me about a year, usually.
Do you have any writing rituals or habits?
I love to write at coffee shops. It is much easier for me to focus there than at home.
Who influences you the most?
My son probably influences me in most areas of my life, in that I want him to be proud of me, and I want to create a better world for him.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
I love fantasy. Magic powers are just fun.
Which character you’ve created is your favorite? Why?
Probably Luka, my villain, is my favorite to write. He’s gleefully bad, quite funny, and makes no apologies about who and what he is. It’s kind of freeing, in a way, to explore a character is that confident in himself and who just doesn’t give a flip. Villains are a blast.
The one I love the most in my heart, however, is probably November. She just never gives up on anyone or anything.
Do any of your life experiences worm their way into your books?
I think it has to. Would I write in an Indian character if I hadn’t married into an Indian family? Would I write in multiracial characters if my son weren’t biracial? Maybe not. And certainly my choice of settings is heavily influenced by the places where I have lived, worked, and spent time. My church for the last 10 years, for example, features prominently in my second novel.
How do you like to connect with readers?
I love tweets and Facebook shoutouts. I’ve gotten such kind messages from readers. They always make me day.
What do you hope readers take away from your books?
I hope they carry the characters with them, and that they think about the value of diversity in their own lives.
Who helps you with the critique and editing process?
My husband is a saint. He is my first reader, and he marks mistakes and asks questions. I have a great corps of beta readers as well, who help me immensely, as well as a proofreader.
Do you ever hate something you’ve written?
Definitely. I tend to have some false starts during every book. I hope no one ever gives me the Tolkien treatment and tries to salvage a book out of my discarded messes.
How do you overcome any nagging self-doubt that inevitably creeps in?
That can definitely be a challenge. Sometimes I’ll reread a good review, or a message from a reader eager for the next installment. Or I just sit down and write. That always makes me feel better.
Do you read all reviews?
Why are reviews important?
You can’t tell if you’re achieving what you set out to communicate without feedback, both positive and negative. Besides, it’s fun to get good ones!
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I would encourage them to be brave, keep writing, and let others read your work.
What can you tell us about what we’ll see from you next?
I’m working hard on the third and theoretically final installment in the November Snow series. After that, I have an epic fantasy series in the planning stages.

Author Links for A.M. Manay

Website: www.ammanay.net
Blog: http://ammanaywrites.blogspot.com/
email: author@ammanay.net
Facebook: facebook.com/ammanaywrites
Twitter: @ammanay
Instagram: instagram.com/a.m.manay
Fan email list November’s News: http://eepurl.com/bzCa9r


Book Trailer for Caboodle & The Whole Kit

Time’s running away with us folks… October 25th will soon be here, so I thought if only proper to get on with a few things for my upcoming release: Caboodle & The Whole Kit.

Here’s my trailer on Vimeo to wet your appetite… Enjoy!

You can learn even more about Caboodle here: Caboodle & The Whole Kit

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