Merry Christmas!

With the exception of a post scheduled for January 2nd, I’m out of here for the next two weeks.  A couple of days after New Year’s, you can find me geeking out with other fellow Gryffindors in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios – can’t wait!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


#IndieAuthor Friday: Daithi Kavanagh #crimethriller #suspense

Hope everyone has their shopping done and can sit back and enjoy this holiday weekend!  Today we have Daithi Kavanagh wrapping up this year’s Indie Author Friday feature.  His Tadhg Sullivan crime thriller series consists of three books, but they can also be read as stand alones.

Garda Detective Tadhg Sullivan leads a special unit that investigates politically motivated crime. A man known only as The Deerstalker is a cancer who has infected the Irish political system. 

Sullivan teams up with journalist Helen Carty, and together they try tracking down the mysterious killer. Carty adds to Sullivan’s problems, when he finds himself falling in love with her. And further complicating things, he starts losing trust in his partner, Detective Pat Carter, who appears to be on the side of the Garda Commissioner, who Sullivan is rapidly falling out with. 

Sullivan’s case is further thrown into confusion when a copycat killer, Tommy Walsh, is shot dead by the CIA. When the CIA discovers that they’ve killed the wrong person, the two agents involved–Simon, who has become disillusioned by his time stationed in the Middle East, and Joey, a psychopath who confuses zealotry with patriotism–are also in pursuit of The Deerstalker. 

Sullivan finds himself in a race against time, if he is to arrest The Deerstalker before the CIA take him out, and use his death as a pawn in a political game of chess. 

Who will win out in the end?

Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s life seems to be falling apart, since being shifted to Clare from Dublin after falling out with the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner. His partner (Journalist Helen Carty) has moved out, unable to live with his bouts of depression and periodic alcoholism. He finds himself once again alone in a world that doesn’t understand him.

Suddenly Sullivan is knocked out of his lethargy when a teenage girl goes missing not far from Ennis where he has been stationed. Sullivan is asked to lead the hunt by the local Superintendent and is catapulted into a world of unimaginable horror. He is confronted by Lord Charles Cromwell the leader of a sadistic cult (The Brotherhood) that derives its pleasures from the torture and murder of young women.

Sullivan’s investigation is once again hampered by political interference. As he fights his way through one bureaucratic obstacle after another he discovers that The Brotherhoods tentacles have not only reached into corridors of power in Ireland but, they are being protected by powerful politicians worldwide.

To cut through this protective ring of steel Sullivan finds himself having to engage with some strange bed fellows. Which included an ex CIA agent (Simon Horowitz) who had saved his partners life during his last investigation and an IRA leader (Rory O’Connor) who has recently been released from prison.

Will this strange combination be able to destroy The Brotherhood before their murderous reign takes another young life or will Lord Cromwell destroy Sullivan and everything he loves?

Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s break away from serious crime comes to an abrupt end when he is pushed into investigating the murder of a retired Christian Brother. A newly elected left wing government fear that the media will hold them personally responsible for what is believed to be a hate crime against the Catholic Church.

Ella Kavanagh, the new Minister for Justice, hopes that placing Sullivan in charge of the investigation will help to distance the government from any mud-slinging by the media. However, no one is prepared for the litany of abuse and corruption stretching back decades, which is about explode in all of their faces.

Can Sullivan save this fledgling government, or will the sins of the past remain buried, and so doing destroy the future of everyone concerned?

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

 I would say believe in what you are doing and do not give up no matter what.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

The characters I would be least likely to get on with would be the “powers that be” i.e. in all of my books Tadhg Sullivan has to deal with those in ‘authority’ for example Stuart Burns the Garda Commissioner who will do anything to stay at the top at the expense of others. Tadhg has an honest sense of what is just (I hope!) and I try to have that also.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Since I started writing The Gun I think my writing style has progressed and I have learnt so much with each book. I have also gained much more confidence in my writing ability and as a result have currently started a completely different book away from crime fiction.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Bloodline a series set in Florida about a dysfunctional ‘rich’ family with dark secrets which come back to haunt them. A great series.

How would your best friend describe you?

I think my best friend would describe me as reliable, loyal, down to earth, stubborn and determined.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

I play traditional music in the local hostelries of Wexford, not too unusual but I only started when I was forty! I was able to turn my music into a business and it has served me and my family well until a few years ago. I play now as a hobby with my two children.

Author Bio

Daithi Kavanagh lives in Trinity, County Wexford with his wife and two teenage children.

He has worked for several years as a musician.

In the last couple of years, after taking up adult education, he began writing.

He has completed three stand-alone crime thrillers in The Tadhg Sullivan Series – The Gun, The Brotherhood and The Crucifixion.

Social Media

Twitter link:
Author blog link:

Mass Hysteria by Michael Patrick Hicks #bookreviews #horror #thriller @MikeH5856

It came from space…

Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.

Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.

As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.

…and it is spreading.

Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.

To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail. –

Wow.  This was brutal, gory, shocking.  In all fairness, the author warned me it might be more than I was expecting – and admittedly it was.  But as a horror fan, I couldn’t look away.

Maybe I’m unnaturally twisted, but scenes involving adult human deaths don’t really bother me – make them as grisly as you like.  Same with The Walking Dead. But.  Involve animals or children, and I’m inclined to skim through those parts.  Considering pets and wildlife are rabid and attacking – I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.  You’ve been warned.

I’ve read several other books by this author, and he has a knack for creating kick-ass female characters.  They play the hand they’re dealt, and play it so very well.  No curling into the fetal position and accepting their fate.

Because of the graphic nature of this book, I’d only recommend it to die-hard horror fans.  And for those die-hard fans – you’re in for a treat.

I received a copy of this book from the author.

Hinting at Shadows by Sarah Brentyn #bookreview #anthologies #microfiction #TuesdayBookBlog

No One Escapes Life Unscathed 

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.

A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.

Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less. –

I’m dumbfounded at how much this author conveys and the emotions she evokes with so few words – it’s such a gift.  She takes the reader through dark valleys that twist and turn, journeys through more light-hearted moments, and even touches on humor occasionally.  I laughed out loud at replacing chocolate with carob, a Spinal Tap reference, and a dragon talking about coconut cakes.  With many of these, I was left wanting more and they could easily be built on and expanded into full length short stories or even novels.

This is a quick read, but take time to savor this collection and fully appreciate the poignant writing.



Thoughts on: Teri Polen, Sarah

A wonderful dreary Monday morning surprise! Drop by Rebecca Howie’s blog to read her thoughts on Sarah. Rebecca’s new book, A Woman Scorned, released earlier this month.



Minor spoilers ahead.

It’s almost Christmas, and I’m almost finished my A-Z reviews, and since there’s been a ton of indie books appearing on my Instagram feed for the #dectheshelves challenge, I decided to start reading more of them, and I started with Sarah by Teri Polen.

Horror stories aren’t my thing, so I was out of my comfort zone with this one.

Sarah by [Polen, Teri]
Title : Sarah

Author: Teri Polen

Published: 2016

Genres: Teen & Young Adult, Horror

Buy from:Amazon

Blurb : Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been…

View original post 446 more words

#IndieAuthor Friday: Trel W. Sidoruk #99cents #mystery #suspense

Happy Friday!  Today’s indie author is Trel W. Sidoruk.  Read about his cross-country adventure with his family and his simple plan for world peace that involves cookies (sounds good to me).  Do some holiday shopping at Amazon where Trel has The Alien Club on sale this weekend for $0.99!

Hell on Earth is a phrase that has been used to describe everything from war to gridlock. Now it will be used to literally describe Hell on Earth. The Bronx can be hard and hot, especially when you’ve decided to screw the mob in the middle of the summer. Professor Dunlop is a loser’s loser, posting a winless record over the past decade, both personally and professionally. He’s got one shot at the title, but as with most boxers with a glass jaw relying on a puncher’s chance, he’s no more likely to succeed than a snowball in Hell. The Mob wants him, but the Devil owns him. Nothing left to lose, including his soul, Dunlop goes to the mats on the very people that coined the term. All Hell breaks loose, even before, Hell breaks loose…

A truly mesmerizing journey created by a series of tragic and fanciful events that are thrust into motion by seemingly mundane issues that grip and alter the trajectory of an innocent youth. The Alien Club follows the path forged by a ten-year-old boy, blindly clawing his way through the confusing, frightening and utterly fascinating life afforded him via a magical neighborhood situated in suburbia USA, during the summer of 1979. The book tackles real world issues affecting today’s youth, i.e. peer pressure, child abuse, drugs, family dynamics, even your first love.  A handbook for a first time explorer, The Alien Club presents the naked truths, pitfalls and opportunities that present a young soul’s journey into the beyond.  Read as an adult, reminiscing and/or rehashing your youth, or read with your child as a guide to facilitate a meaningful dialogue.  A worthwhile tale!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Be the journey.  Don’t be the kid that continually asks, “Are we there yet?”  Look out the windows and roll them down whenever possible.  Let the wind blow through your hair while you still have it.

The process of writing The Alien Club was a moment in time I will never forget.  I had started writing the book more than 25 years ago and picked it and discarded more times than I care to recall.  Fast forward to three years ago – We sold everything in New York (Wasn’t much…) and decided to travel the country for a year to find a new home.  My wife was able to home school all three children, due her being an English teacher prior to them entering the world, and of course, an amazing, loving mother. (3 separate curriculums, spanning 7 years in age… You think writing a book is hard?  WOW!)

Outside of affording them an education neither of us could have dreamed of giving them, I was able to finish the book (and take it to another level entirely).  My oldest daughter, Isabella Rose, became the Assistant Editor on the book.  Sharing our love of books and my youth during such a magical, finite moment in our relationship was an unexpected vision quest.  The intimate environment that only a 12 X 33 foot tin tube can afford a family, made the story I was writing, tangible.

I could see it every day.  The interactions between the children, their spellbinding imaginations and unfiltered desire to know the truth of everything.  I began to take inspiration from everything around me.  I relived my childhood through them, and then in turn poured those unfiltered feelings and memories into the story.  I began meaningful dialogues with my parents and sister, which was a major feat, considering they were all in Heaven.  Before writing the book, I would have thought that to be madness.  It wasn’t… It was therapeutic.  Writing was therapy… Until that happened, I didn’t know the true power of the pen.  The journey was epic.  Allowing myself to be fully immersed within the journey was the secret to finding my way home.  Remember young writer – When you’re on the open road, make sure to open the windows and stick your head out like a dog!

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Being that I wrote the book with my Daughter, and developed the story into an important piece of literature (I believe so at least), it was extremely gratifying to have a father contact me with a heartfelt thank you.  He had begun reading the story and at about a third of the way through, realized the book was a perfect opportunity to bond with his 12-year-old son.  He used the book to open a dialogue about certain influences and self-evident truths that would greatly impact his life.  They read the book together over several nights, and on a rainy weekend when the family had gone up state.

When we spoke over the phone, I could feel his throat tighten as he remarked on how well their relationship was going ever since reading the story together.  How he felt more comfortable sharing tales of his youth, both happy and sad with his son, and how his son in turn had opened up to him.

Though similar scenarios via email and online reviews have happened several times since, this particular phone call will go down as one of the most memorable moments of my entire life.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love leaving reality and getting inside the story.  I do not write a story, I witness it.  I am merely taking dictation, hoping to type as fast the characters talk.  I love following them… Seeing where and what they’ll do next.  Watching them, while being strangely vested in them, allows me to enjoy their success or failure in a uniquely intimate, but yet sterile way.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Neiman Marcus Bars a.k.a. Vacuum Cleaner Cookies

My mom changed up the recipe back in the day and renamed them Vacuum Cleaner Cookies, because they would literally be sucked off the pan, before they were even cool enough to be put on a plate to serve.  Sooooo good.  My wife made them (Still does from time to time), but my oldest daughter makes them at least once a month, and the smell reminds me of LaRue Drive and a loving kitchen… If the world leaders got together tomorrow and were forced to smell warm butter, cream cheese and vanilla cake mix, there would be a chance at world peace.  Make a batch today and start loving life to its fullest!

Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

I don’t want to sound like an expert on this, because in reality, I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, but…  my last book, Hitman from Hell, did force me to workout extensive fight scenes between characters (There’s also a massive battle in The Alien Club).  As with all my stories, I allow the characters to fight for themselves.  What does that mean?  I do not predetermine the winner, even if it means a character I want to win, dies.  How do I do this – Similar in fashion to how I did it as a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons (a board game from the 70’s & 80’s).   I layout each characters’ physical and mental attributes, as well as if they have the element of surprise and/or weapons.  I then take those parameters and play a chess game – move, counter move – until one is standing and the other is not.

A huge element to Spiderman VS Batman would be the element of surprise.  And being that both Super Heroes have heightened senses (Spiderman literally has Spidey Sense), getting the jump on the other would be the most difficult aspect of the battle for either to accomplish.

In the end, I think Batman would win.  Batman is far more intelligent and ruthless.  In addition, if he had the proper time to prepare for the battle, he would have more than enough Spiderman specific weapons and countermeasures created to thwart Spider Man’s webs.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Karsa Orlong – He is the ultimate man.  I have over the years (I’m much better since my mid-life crisis) been unhappy my physical attributes… Low self-esteem, coupled with an active imagination has left me second guessing myself on questions no one asked.  Karsa is a warrior, philosopher, dreamer, lover, leader, etc… Basically everything I want to be.  If you read some of the books he’s in, you’ll know he’s done some terrible things (so I will put an asterisk next to my selection, for I would like to omit those horrific acts of debauchery to my story), but maybe in the end, those moments define his character and journey just as much as the good he did.  Such is life in fantasy adventure…

Author Bio

Trel W. Sidoruk is first and foremost a family man.  Having been blessed with a beautiful life that started in Brooklyn, NY in 1973, his life has been a series of very fortunate and extremely unfortunate events.

Since leaving Brooklyn at the ripe old age of 18 months, Trel has lived in an old whaling town along the north shore of Long Island, a beach community in southern California, a ghetto in Boston, and an alfalfa farm in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana.

Forged by the lessons learned wherever he roamed, Trel is now a business consultant (Project Manager) for international business & trade.  An avid outdoorsman, Trel enjoys the simple pleasures of nature.

A writer, painter, cook, and stonemason, Trel is best at creating things that people will enjoy for years to come.

Social Media

Buy Links


The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert #bookreview #YA #fairytales

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong. –

Not really being a fan of the more light-hearted fairy tales, I found this book description very appealing.  I came to the rapid conclusion that The Hazel Wood is wildly creative, and fans of dark fairy tales will adore it.  Writers in particular will enjoy the plot and character creation aspects mentioned.

With its heightened sense of mystery, ominous cast of characters, and detailed descriptions, this book enthralled me.  Twists, surprises, wonder – it’s all here.  Some readers may not enjoy the pop culture references, but I did.  Alice is well-read, and it seemed right for her character.

Hinterland is both magical and threatening, and it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole with this book.   The Hazel Wood is scheduled for publication January 30th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.