Monday, March 27, 2017

Around the World in 80 Tales (GUEST POST)


by Dave Tomlinson

80 Stories, 25 Countries, 5 Continents, One Heck of a Ride!

Travel is an amazing experience and I’ve spent years of my life living out of my backpack. I’ve explored well-beaten tourist trails and to far corners beyond them.  Each journey is an adventure and each adventure gives with a story to tell.  So one day I decided that yes, I would write 80 of my best Travel Stories.

After leaving me speechless, travel then turned me into a storyteller!


TRUTHFUL: When you read a travel story, you want it to be genuine. You don’t want to read some fictional account of something that never happened written by someone who’s never been there! All my stories are completely true and related exactly as they happened. Nothing in my book has been contrived or exaggerated.

CONCISE: Each of my stories has been intentionally edited to 500 words.  The result is that the book develops a rhythm and you can enjoy each adventure without any unnecessary diction.

VIBRANT: Unlike many other travel books, Around the World in 80 Tales is packed with colour photos.  Nearly all the photos are my own or taken on my camera and have explanatory captions.

INFORMATIVE: You also want a travel story to be entertaining.  And it would be also nice if you could learn about different places too.  Around the World in 80 Tales provides exactly that, page after page!  Aside from relating my personal experiences, I’ve also included numerous relevant facts and historical information.

DIVERSE: My stories have been rearranged from the original order they were written in.  This was done to create a fascinating journey through a diverse range of travel situations and activities.  As the pages turn, you’ll be taken on adventures such as snorkelling in Malaysia to hiking in Nepal and camel riding in Morocco.  Enjoy the ride!

-  An informative and friendly introduction
-  80 entertaining stories of real travel experiences
-  World map images showing story locations
-  Colour photos and captions relating to every story
-  Acknowledgements of those who contributed to the book

I’ve found that travel is a kaleidoscope of people, places, events, history, culture, food and fun. Through the pages of my book, I’ll bring it all to life for you.  The stories are fascinating, inspiring, amusing and amazing.  Some are even a little crazy but collectively they are an insight into the unique adventures of travelling the world on a budget.

There are currently 17 reviews on Amazon Kindle rating Around the World in 80 Tales 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Around the World in 80 Tales was published on Amazon and Step Ahead Travel on 16 August 2016.


Around the World in 80 Tales sells for $2.99 through:
Step Ahead Travel -
Amazon Kindle -

Author Information:
Amazon -
Step Ahead Travel -

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reaper's Claim & Reaper's Rival Spotlight

Recently released and already highly rated...

(Satan's Sons MC Romance Series Book 1)

by Simone Elise

In my motorcycle club I’ve earned the name ‘Reaper’ and now I have my claim on Abby Harrison.

I didn’t know what love was, but I knew what want was, and I wanted Abby. When I walked out of the club and saw her I was stone cold sober. She was quietly beautiful and unlike any other woman I’d had before. But she was the daughter of the president of Satan’s Sons MC and completely out of my reach.

Everyone knew The Reaper and how he got his name, so I never expected him to be my salvation when my sister's drunk boyfriend wanted to lay hands on me. I thought my innocence would be lost in that alley, until he showed up and saved me. I know being with Reaper will lead to trouble, but I don’t know if I have the strength to stay away.

Being together might be dangerous, but outlaws are meant to break the rules.

Don't have Kindle Unlimited? Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Today, March 22, 2017 the sequel has been released!

(Satan's Sons MC Romance Series Book 2)

But I suggest not reading the Amazon description until you read Book 1 (it contains spoilers).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Guest Post - HistFic Author Malcolm Colley


The author was born in South Africa in 1942 and spent his teens of the 1950’s on a small farm just outside Naboomspruit in the Northern Province of South Africa, during which time he came to love the sounds, smells and sights of the bush. He did his basic training with 1st Special Service Battalion in Bloemfontein and has happy memories of army life in the bush. He also spent twenty-five years training in the martial arts.

During his work in a steel mill and underground in a diamond mine, he yearned to be back in the bush.


By 1902 the British war against South Africa, the so called “Boer War” was over. Paul Kruger, attempted to negotiate a deal with Holland and Germany for arms and ammunition in exchange for gold. The arms and ammunition reached the port of Lorenco Marques but the gold, sent by Kruger, went missing.

Into this chaos of the aftermath of the war, with men, woman and children trying to make it back to the farms, Gideon Barron, an Irishman born in South Africa is accused of helping to steal the gold. Wounded, he escapes but is followed and hunted by his fellow Boers for treason.


The disappearance of Kruger’s gold has always intrigued me. There are many stories, myths and legends about the whereabouts of this treasure. In this work of fiction adventure, I have put forward one possibility. I grew up in this area amongst these people whose stories to their grandchildren in the lamplight around the kitchen table, tell of the gold that may have changed the course of the war, told with the bitterness against the English.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Upcoming Sci-Fi Release + FREE BOOK!

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Edgy Sci-Fi Dystopian Love Story
by the very talented D. L. Orton.
I'll be reading it, will you?

If someone took everything you live for, how far would you go to get it back?


When offered a one-way trip to the past, Iz sacrifices everything for a chance to change her dystopian future—and see her murdered lover one last time. 

After a perilous journey through a black hole, she wakes up on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded—but twenty years younger! With only hours to live, she must convince an enraptured but skeptical twenty-something guy to fix their future relationship and thereby save the planet (no one is quite sure why.)

But it's easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that's a heartbreaker, save the world or not.

Across the infinite expanse of space and time, love endures...

(Unfortunately, it’s not going to be enough.)

FALL INTO THIS EDGY, action-packed, darkly comedic, dystopian love story, and be prepared to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely no ditzes.)

When a faulty time machine deposits Diego in a towering evergreen, he knows he's in the wrong place—but has no idea he's in the wrong time. Naked and shivering in the chilly mountain air, he attempts to climb down, but slips, whacks his head on a branch, and falls into oblivion.

He wakes up inside a darkened room, crippled and disheartened, and must come to grips with the realization that he is marooned in a bleak alternate future. In this universe, what remains of the human race is trapped inside a handful of aging biodomes. With his mission failed, his world destroyed, and the one woman he loves, dead, he can find no reason to go on living.

But Lani, the emotionally scarred doctor who finds him, refuses to let him die, and as Diego heals, their relationship becomes... complicated. He struggles to let go of the past but is unable to get Isabel out of his head—or his heart. Just when it seems he may be able to find some measure of happiness in a world teetering on the edge of extinction...

Another note arrives from the future: Isabel is alive—but not for long…

To be released in just 1 month... 

From award-winning author D. L. ORTON comes book three in the Between Two Evils series...


Shannon fights to stay alive inside a rogue biodome and discovers something totally unexpected... Peter. Lani is forced into the role of the reluctant heroine but rediscovers her street-kid mojo and sets out to find everything she's lost. Diego receives another dirty sock (and a note) from the poorly aimed fireball express: "The window between universes is closing." If Diego has any hope of getting back to Iz, he must get to the Magic Kingdom and power up the time machine before it's too late.

What could possibly go wrong?

If you have Kindle Unlimited you can get this whole series for free. If you don't have Kindle Unlimited you can get a free trial here:  Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Claimed (REVIEW) #ShortReadsSaturdays


An Uncommon World Prequel



Welcome to another Short Reads Saturdays! These are the Saturdays I am lucky enough to put all of my busy aside and read a good short book! Today, I read this little freebie prequel that you can find here.

Author: Alisha Klapheke
Category: YA Fantasy, Prequel to a series
Suitable for: teens+
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Nook/epub copy
Pages: 24

Description:  A short teaser for a YA fantasy series with a lot of potential. In this prequel we get a glimpse into the situation our protagonists are in. Kinneret is trying to get her and her sister out of debt so that they can advance in society and she can be with the man she loves. She is a skilled sailor and witch that uses forbidden salt magic to help her.

In Short: This series seems like it would appeal to fans of YA fantasy who enjoy nautical themed stories with magic and romance mixed in. I think this story shows a lot of potential for the series. 

Pros: By the end of the story I was very interested in seeing more. The main character, Kinneret proved to be a strong and likable character. I would like to see her story continue and see her accomplish all of her goals. There are a lot of promising features to this story. I would like to learn more about the myths and magic of this world including what exactly are Salt Wraiths and what role do they play. I would like to see the characters earn the removal of their bells, that symbolize their low-caste. I see a lot of potential for exciting conflicts in this storyline. Although short, this book was well written and edited.

Cons: Because of the short nature of this book it lacked character descriptions. I jumped in without knowing anything about this story so as I read the first several pages I wasn't sure what the main character looked like or their gender. The character you get the best/only physical description of is the love interest of the narrating character. I was a little disappointed in the use of magic in this book just because I thought it was too brief and lacking wonder. The spell started out nice and rhymed a little and then lost its flow for me. The magic itself wasn't descriptive, I assume the spell worked but didn't see it work. This teaser was a little too mysterious for me at times.

Parent's Guide: This short story was clean.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Books of 2017

New Books of 2017
Check out these new books that have been released as of Jan. 2017.

Click on the book covers to find it on Amazon.

Historical Fiction:

The wedding between the Princess Marguerite de Valois and Henri King of Navarre was intended to be a celebration that would at last bring peace to the warring Catholics and Huguenots in France.

Instead, it was a precursor for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

By the time the bloodshed had abated, none was seen as guiltier of creating the horrors of that night than the Queen Mother - Catherine de Medici.

Seventeen years later, as Catherine’s life hangs in the balance, the mob threatens to drag her body through the streets.

To them she is no longer Queen Mother, merely the second Jezebel in history to be thrown to the dogs.

Excerpt and more info here

Dark Fiction:

Rayna escaped the bordello as a teenager. She meets a Buddhist monk that helps her to learn that life is worth living again. She learns different languages and several studies of martial arts. Rayna also has a secret. Without warning, time will stop moving. Only Rayna is allowed to move in this frozen world. She can not control it, but uses it to her advantage to seek revenge on those that have hurt her.

Weird Western:

An enchanted blade. An evil old man. An ancient spirit behind a mask. The Weird West just gets weirder.

Orville and Jimmy are a pair of hucksters, struggling to scrape together enough coin for a square meal. While Orville angles for the big score, Jimmy hopes to make an honest buck for a day's work. When an old man calling himself Marzby asks for help with a supernatural pest, Orville smells opportunity. Jimmy smells danger.

In two shakes of a lamb's tail, Marzby imprisons Orville and only Jimmy can save him from a gruesome death. The price for Orville's life? Jimmy must retrieve an enchanted knife from inside Skull Hill and put it in Marzby's hands in three days time. With the blade in reach, Jimmy runs head on into more trouble: a shapeshifting opossum, a larger than average coyote and an ancient spirit determined to keep the blade where it is. Maybe the evil Marzby shouldn't have the blade, but without it, how is Jimmy going to rescue Orville?

The Black Blade is a weird western novel in Jeff Chapman's Huckster Tales series, mixing horror, fantasy, and comedy in an Old West setting. Climb up in the wagon and follow Orville and Jimmy as they once again plunge over their heads into supernatural trouble.

Paranormal YA Mystery:

From tragedy came power. And from mishandled power came mystery.

After moving into a new gated community with her family, Natalie is ready to begin a peaceful year at Emerson High. A year complete with boy troubles, school dances, new friends... everything an average girl could expect.

Then she starts receiving notes warning her not to go to school November first. Notes in her day planner, on a piece of homework, on a homecoming ticket... The more notes she receives the more details she uncovers, and the clearer it becomes: words like peaceful and average are about the worst ones anyone could use to describe the year she’s about to have. Crazy? Maybe. Violent? Definitely. Heart-wrenching, mind-blowing, life-changing?

Well, that remains to be seen. All Natalie knows from the start is that she shouldn’t go to school on November first. And maybe you shouldn’t either.

Ashes to Ashes is a Paranormal Young Adult Mystery packed full of realistic fantasy and powerful twists. Fans of Paper Towns and Before I Fall will feel right at home with this gritty novel, the first in a planned series.

Military Thriller:


A biotechnology conference in Prague is the target of a terrorist attack, and in its aftermath a renowned geneticist lay dying. His last act is to inject a man he has never before met with an experimental substance--artificial DNA that has been encoded with the details of a plot to unleash mass terror on the United States.

Enter OUTCAST (Operational Undertaking To Counteract Active Stateside Threats)--six ex-operatives from six of America’s most powerful organizations. Each has been unceremoniously released by their respective former employer for alleged misdoings that leave their pride wounded but their essential skill-sets untouched. After uniting over their shared bond of dismissal from the nation’s most elite outfits, the disgruntled spooks realize they can work together like never before to take down threats to their beloved country, a country that branded them as outcasts but needs them now more than ever.

As international authorities hunt for the fugitive whose blood carries some of the most sensitive intelligence data on the planet, they get close enough to learn his identity, but the truth rocks the White House to its core. The most wanted individual in the world is none other than OUTCAST leader, Tanner Wilson. One of the only people capable of stopping the looming threat to millions of innocent Americans, Wilson is placed on the terror watchlist, and once again, OUTCAST is hell-bent on showing America that their way isn't the best way--it's the only way.

Watchlist is Book 5 in the OUTCAST Ops series. They can be read in any order. Game of Drones is Book 1. The Poseidon Initiative is Book 2. African Firestorm is Book 3. Red Ice is book 4.

What 2017 book are you most looking forward to, or what is the best book you have read so far this year (even if it wasn't from 2017)? 

One book that I read this year that I particularly loved was the murder mystery, Dizzy in Durango by D.R. Ransdell: 

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Last Star & Other Stories (REVIEW)


The Last Star

& Other Stories

Tales of Love, Loss and Laughter


Author: DL Orton
Category: Multi-genre Essays and Short Story Collection, Sci-Fi, Romance, Personal Narratives, Anthology
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Paperback copy provided by the author in return for my honest review.
Pages: 152

Description: This is an anthology of short stories, essays and personal narratives. They vary in genre and elicit different emotions. This is a unique collection that's full of passion.

I will give a brief description of each short:

The Last Star
A ride that takes you to the very end of the universe and beyond. You are guided by a pair of ageless beings that contemplate what will happen next, while the last star dies. I think this story will appeal to fans of time travel genres and Doctor Who and the like.

Just Friends
A story of long-time best friends now college age who are struggling to get up the courage to confess the way they really feel about each other. Was spending spring break alone together a mistake or exactly what they needed?

I don't know how to describe this story without spoiling the experience of reading it. I'll just say it was a cute and fun story and it thought it was nice that it had an Afterword that promotes eco-friendly attitudes and actions, while also giving background on the story.

My Kingdom for a Double Espresso
A new couple argues after sexual rejection. A passionate, romantic short story. I wasn't very interested in their fight, but the story did have a cute ending.

Down in Flames
The most heart breaking story of the bunch. It overlays two tragedies, 911 and a couple experiencing a miscarriage. This deeply personal narrative may be gruesome and difficult for some readers and comforting to others to know they are not alone.

This is a story I never would have sought out but I found it so enjoyable. It is an amusing tale of an older woman who is relentlessly flirted with by a young, attractive man. It has the emotional ride of a rom-com (in a good way). One of my favorite stories, highly entertaining!

The Idiot's Guide to Writing Workshops
As someone who has never participated in writing workshops this one went over my head a little but I did find it comical too.

The Devil and a Hard Place
An explicit erotic short story. A complicated romance.

In Short: This diverse collection of shorts will appeal to a range of audiences and you may love all of them or only some of them. I thought this book was a fun quick read that evoked many different emotions and proved to be quite entertaining. It is also the kind of book that is perfect for times when you are busy or traveling and only have time to read a short story or two at a time.

Overall, this book is an intense, emotional and some times sensual ride.

Pros: This book is very, very well written! It is easy to get swept into the stories. I would definitely read more by this author after reading this. Different readers will have different favorites out of this collection. I liked "Willing" because I found it very amusing reading their flirty and embarrassing text messages. The writing was so good I felt the anxiety of the protagonist after she accidentally sends a message with a little more spice than she was truly brave enough to say. The story goes on a roller coaster and I really cheered her on while also empathizing with her insecurities. I really liked too that the ending of "Willing" was just left up to your imagination and not graphic. I also loved the story "The Last Star" the scientific theories were intelligently written in an approachable manner. The characters in The Last Star were very intriguing too. I wish it had been longer. All of the stories had well written characters and dialogue. I thought "Phoenix" was a really cute and sweet story and very cleverly and deceptively written. Some of the stories had Afterwords where the author shares her personal experiences 

Cons: The variety of themes and genres in this book may not all be well received by all readers and the adult themes limit the book's audience. I would have liked more back story and descriptions of the characters in "The Last Star". I would have liked some more detail to the settings of the stories at times.

Parent's Guide: Some of the stories contain sexual content. This book is for adults.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited.
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Saturday, March 11, 2017

To Trust a Wolf (REVIEW) #ShortReadsSaturdays


To Trust a Wolf

Unnatural Alliances Book 1

Author: Danielle Hardgrave
Category: Short, Supernatural, Romance, Werewolves
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle copy provided by the author or publisher in return for an honest review.
Pages: 76

Description: Helen is an archivist for a museum and is planning a fundraising gala featuring a collection of Viking relics that have recently been discovered in an unusual location. These relics attract the attention of a mysterious and wealthy man, Rune, who shows as much interest in Helen as the artifacts. When things go wrong at the gala Helen is caught in the middle of a supernatural battle, unsure of who she can trust.   

In Short: This is a fun, quick read that is perfect for when you need a supernatural romance fix. This short romance novelette is the first in a series about a conflict between vampires and werewolves with a human woman, whose knowledge of ancient artifacts brings her right into the action.

Pros: This is a well written story with an intriguing plot that includes mysterious artifacts and characters. The ending didn't leave me on a cliff hanger but did make me curious to see what happens next, now that the powerful relic has found new hands. I liked the characters and dialogue but at first I had a hard time getting into Helen's character. To me, she came across very stuck up when comparing her accomplishments to that of her secretary's. I wanted to tell her to get over herself, but eventually her character developed, became interesting and sympathetic. As the story progressed I saw what a hard worker she was and how stressed out it made her. I was very happy for her in the end and I really did love the conclusion of this book. 

Cons: The supernatural themes could have been more pronounced for me. Even Helen didn't seem interested in the fact that vampires or werewolves were real. Besides their interest in the artifact there were no other conflicts created by the supernatural elements of this story. That being said, I do imagine those aspects could be explored more in the sequel as the action continues. Due to the short length of the story the romance develops quickly, a tad unnaturally and lacking suspense. I think to really appreciate the love story I'll need to read more of the series and watch their love grow.

Parent's Guide: Rated for adults, swearing, violence, sex.

In effort to find more time for reading in my currently very busy schedule I had an idea to read a short story, novella or novelette on Saturdays. I'll occasionally review short books on Saturdays and I hope you'll join me in discussing great short reads!

This book is $0.99 on Amazon or free with Kindle Unlimited.
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Nickerbacher (REVIEW)


Author: Terry John Barto
Category: Children's Early Chapter Book
Suitable for: All ages, ideal for 7-10
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle version supplied by the author in return for my honest review. 
Pages: 51

Description: Nickerbacher is a dragon that dreams of going to La La Land to become a comedian, but a dragon has never been a comedian before! He is expected to do dragonly things and stay with Princess Gwendolyn guarding her in her tower from any silly Princes that might come and try to save her. Even though princess Gwendolyn doesn't like La La Land or what it stands for, she puts aside those feelings to devise a plan to get her dear friend Nickerbacher there so he can live out his dream of auditioning for The Late Knight Show.

In Short: This is a great book for kids that is both entertaining and full of positive messages. It teaches the value of friendship, and using hard work to accomplish your dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. It also battles discrimination and negative stereotypes. The heroes have to overcome many obstacles and others telling them that "dragons can't be comedians" before they can reach their goal and get Nickerbacher on stage at The Late Knight Show.

Pros: This book appeals to both adults and children with modern cultural references woven into a fairy tale featuring a Dragon and a Princess. Adults will catch a lot of the parodies and satires hidden in the story that may go over kids heads but there is plenty of humor for the kids too. The story is easy to follow and fun. There is even a surprising amount of character development. Prince Happenstance really comes around and changes his outlook by the middle of the book, becoming a great ally to his former enemy. I loved the part where Nickerbacher had his first audition with Johnny Kingston. During this audition he wasn't at all funny, but his friends managed to convince Johnny to give him another chance and instead of being upset about how it went Nickerbacher gets a coach to help him improve his act for next time. In the end he proved anyone can be anything they want.

Cons: I do like the art, but something about the size and rough edges of the black and white drawings could make it a little hard for children see clearly. I wish Nickerbacher's final show had been longer, maybe 1 or 2 more jokes. For me, it just warmed up and then was over.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial