Short Story: Halloween Feast

Halloween Pumpkin Basket PNG Clip Art Image | Gallery Yopriceville -  High-Quality Images and Transparent PNG Free Clipart

The child walks along holding her trick or treat basket. She is dressed as a witch. Her basket is currently empty. She hears a shout in the distance.

‘Scram! Get out of here!’

She looks across to see an old lady chasing a group of cats and dogs way from her door. The old lady’s house is decorated with lots of Halloween decorations and the young girl decides that the old lady will probably be kinder to children. So when the old lady goes back inside, she goes to knock on the door. Soon the old lady answers.

‘Trick or treat.’, the young girl says.

The old lady smiles warmly and then looks sad as she looks in the child’s empty basket. Before the little girl knows it her basket is filled up with a huge variety of candies and chocolates. She thanks the old lady and continues to several more houses where her basket becomes heavy with overflowing candy, chocolates and toffee apples. With her basket now too heavy to carry she decides to call a halt to her trick or treating experience.

She steps behind a wall and places her basket down. She changes back into her true self: a black cat called Fluffy. She meows to alert the other cats and the dogs of the neighbourhood and soon they have gathered around. Thanks to Fluffy’s magical powers, the stray cats and dogs of the neighbourhood had a wonderful Halloween feast.

My Book Elm View Mansion & Other Halloween Stories Is Now Available!

Elm View Mansion & Other Halloween Stories by [Lisa Reynolds]

Hi everyone! 🙂

My new book Elm View Mansion & Other Halloween Stories is now available on Amazon and Payhip.

Elm View Mansion & Other Halloween Stories is a collection of six Halloween stories.

Contents:

Elm View Mansion
Sexy Vampires
Halloween Dad
Missing Them
The Local Witch
Halloween Hook-Up

Happy Halloween to you all & if you choose to purchase thank you. I loved putting this collection together and met so many new and amazing characters. 🙂

To purchase Elm View Mansion & Other Halloween Stories go to:

https://payhip.com/b/f8nH

Pulse By Tricia Rayburn Review!

Pulse

 

Pulse (2012) by Tricia Rayburn is the second book in the author’s Siren series.

 

Set in the fictional town of Winter Harbor, the story follows the main character Vanessa Sands who is a Siren. Sirens are women with the power to put men under a magical spell. But some Sirens have been using their powers for bad and men are dying. This compounds Vanessa’s fears about being a Siren. She is also worried that her boyfriend Simon is only in love with her because she is a Siren and when she meets another guy Parker she wonders if his interest is due to her powers too. She has found out that her mother is not her biological mother and that her father got a Siren pregnant who is her birth mother. She is also worried that her father is now having yet another affair behind her mother’s back. This all comes at a time when she is grieving for her sister Justine who was killed by Sirens. Supported by her friend Paige, she must try to survive and save those she cares about from the powerful and evil-minded Sirens coming her way.

I did like the book but I didn’t love it. The ending seemed far-fetched. Endings are very difficult in books and it can be a real shame if a story works apart from it’s ending. However in this case, there was a bit of an issue in the middle too. The same things were been rehashed over and over again and it caused the book to drag on a bit with space that could have had a new scene, new angle, just a new something in it. That’s the flaws. But on the up side, it had a good plot and the start was very promising and parts of the middle too. It’s written well for the most part and there was much in it like grief and accepting who you are which was written great and which worked very well. I haven’t read the first book and maybe that’s why I didn’t love it. Maybe it would be better to read after the first one. 

An enjoyable, light read for the most part though.

 

To purchase Pulse by Tricia Rayburn go to:

 

For more about Tricia Rayburn and her work go to:

http://www.triciarayburn.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/456208.Tricia_Rayburn

 

 

Body of Evidence By Patricia Cornwell Review!

 

Body of Evidence,Patricia Cornwell- 0751505129 9780751505122 | eBay

 

Body of Evidence (1991) by Patricia Cornwell is the second book in the Kay Scarpetta series.


Set in the 90s, the second book’s plot revolves around the murder of author Beryl Madison in her Key West home. Beryl had been harrassed with threatening phone calls and messages prior to her untimely death and it appears that she let the killer/s into her home as the buglar alarm has been deactivated. The only clues left seem to be two letters Beryl wrote to someone called M and the fact that her newest unpublished book, her memoirs, is nowhere to be found.

As the story continues, the reader is dragged into the murkier side of the writing world. She meets Beryl’s mentor Cary Harper and his sister Sterling Harper who quickly become suspects and does some investigating with Beryl’s biggest fan in the nursing home who had also invited her to do a writing talk. Add into this a twisty lawyer and a returning former lover Mark James and Miss Scarpetta has a lot on her plate indeed!  

The book has plenty of twists and turns and defintitely keeps you turning the pages. I was hooked on the changes in events and how Cornwell introduced new herrings very well. The conclusion though is questionable and without giving too much away, I’m not sure it’s particularly realistic considering Beryl was living in fear. The ending of a mystery is extremely difficult to write. I totally understand that. But it didn’t work for me.   

Prior to reading this book, I had only read one other book from this series The Scarpetta Factor. While I liked the character of Kay in that book, I didn’t adore her like some other protagonists. It was more really because I didn’t get to know her in the previous book. In this book however I did mainly through her reactions to and thoughts about that homphobic twat of a partner of hers Pete Marino. Cornwell managed to kill two birds with one stone here by both highlighting the ugliness of homophobia and showing that Kay had a bit of something to her. It definitely helped me warm to her a lot. 

 

Great read.

 

To purchase Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell go to:

 

For more information on Patricia Cornwell and her work go to:

http://www.patriciacornwell.com/

Lone Wolf By Jodi Picoult Review!

Lone Wolf

 

Lone Wolf (2012) by Jodi Picoult is the story of the Warren family following an unexpected car crash.    

 

Luke Warren is in a vegetative state following a car crash after going to drive his seventeen year old daughter Cara home. Cara is also in the hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening. Cara’s mother and father are divorced and her mother Georgie has since remarried a lawyer called Joe who she has a twin son and daughter with. Luke and Warren have a son together too and Edward, who is twenty-four, has been living away in Thailand for a good few years. He returns home following his father’s accident. With the four of them back together again, things soon spiral out of control over differences in opinion about whether Luke’s machine should be turned off. Cara is only seventeen and Edward has been away for a while. Working on his father’s wishes from a document he gave him at fifteen, Edward believes his father wants to die and proceeds to pull the machine out himself in very Hollywood style. Cara is devastated when she comes in and witnesses him doing it but the medical staff manage to get Luke hooked up to the machine right again. Edward is arrested for assault after accidentally bumping off a nurse in his haste to pull the plug. That charge soon becomes a murder charge after a shifty lawyer manages to convince a hurt and fearful Cara to testify that her brother wanted to kill his father. Malice is the sticking point and Cara lies that Edward was vicious in his wording after pulling the plug. Thankfully after Edward has spent a few days in jail, Joe manages to get the charges thrown out.

Luke and Cara are very close. Following her parents’ divorce, Cara chose to live with her father. Luke loves hanging out among wolves and is a bit of celebrity for his work with wolves. So Cara helped him a lot with the wolves before the crash. She resents her brother walking out on the family and she is determined to keep her father alive. She is also living with guilt as well as pain as we discover later in the story. 

I don’t want to ruin the story but I need to make this point because it was annoying me for half the book and it would be wrong not to mention it because of that. Initially we are led to believe that Edward left because his father and he had an argument after he came out to his father that he was gay. There’s a bit more to that but I won’t spoil the story. I liked that Picoult wrote the various opinions into the story because you do get all sorts of opinions about someone doing that. But by the end, I felt the message was that Edward was in the wrong to walk out. It is a difficult situation to find yourself in and that was kind of dismissed by the end that he was impulsive, immature and stereotypes such as that. Considering that being in a situation like that where you are made feel unequal can often play havoc with your wellbeing or mental health, people are the best judges of what they can take or not and where they feel more comfortable to live their life. Normalising those kinds of responses I don’t find healthy. And if I didn’t put that in the review, I would be bypassing something that subjectively as a reader was something that made me quite uncomfortable personally. There was certainly moments Edward was impulsive but I wouldn’t find him so in that situation.

In saying that, this book does deal with important issues and does so brilliantly. The issue of the right to life/right to die is very emotionally written. You can very much understand that they are both coming from good places but different places and that in both their hearts, they want their father to wake up. I liked the way the wolves were a huge feature in the book and Luke’s passion to help them was gorgeous. It showed how people should treat animals and don’t always. 

My favourite three characters were Edward, Joe and Georgie. I just found the three of them the nicest and I would look forward to their chapters as the chapters are told from different characters’ points of view.

It’s an interesting read and has a lot of twists and turns you aren’t expecting in it. It’s put together well.

A really good book. 

 

To purchase Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult go to:

 

And for more about Jodi Picoult and her work go to:

https://www.jodipicoult.com/

The Thirty-Nine Steps By John Buchan Review!

Thursday Quotables - The 39 Steps - The Old Shelter

 

 

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) by John Buchan is a wonderful suspense/adventure story. There has been a few film adaptations of this novel in 1935, 1959 and 1978. I haven’t seen any of the film versions but my Mum and sister seen the 1935 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock and loved it. I’m watching that version later on tonight.

The book is told from the point of view of Richard Hannay. He has recently came back to London after being in Rhodesia. Then enter Franklin P. Scudder, a spy, who has inside information about a plot to murder the Greek Premier Constantine Karolides and to disrupt Europe. Scudder informs Hannay that he has made out he is dead and how he is on a mission to find German spies the Black Stone. Hannay lets Scudder hide out in his flat but soon Scudder is killed and Hannay becomes suspect number one. He goes on the run and begins investigating what he has heard from Scudder. He ends up on the run in his native Scotland. In Galloway. What lies ahead is a fight for survival that is engrossing all the way through.

I very much enjoyed the book. It is written very well and the character of Hannay is an interesting narrator. There is parts like the milkman agreeing to give his outfit to him without asking too many questions which doesn’t seem totally plausible but I let those things go and went with the flow. Because little things like that aside, this is amazing. The plot is very straightforward but was quite new at the time of Buchan writing this book. I felt bad for Hannay with everything he was going through because after all, his meeting with Scudder was really quite by chance and then his whole life was turned momentarily upside down. But also there is a certain adventure side to the whole thing too. He is meeting all these people, seeing all these places in Galloway and experiencing so much life: good, bad, in-between and indifferent. And from the safety of your own home, you get to go on this adventure with him without fearing being bombed or the like. The mystery in this story is excellent, well thought through, great twists and turns.

 

An amazing read.

 

To read your free copy of The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan go to:

https://www.planetebook.com/the-thirty-nine-steps/

 

And for more about John Buchan and his work go to:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/05/beyond-the-thirty-nine-steps-a-life-of-john-buchan-ursula

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/2lWTsMM9FyLFMSTgCtrl91k/john-buchan

 

 

 

Warm Bodies By Isaac Marion Review!

Warm Bodies (The Warm Bodies Series) by [Isaac Marion]

 

Warm Bodies (2010) by Isaac Marion is the first in the author’s Warm Bodies series.

Many people might know this story from the 2013 film of the same name which I haven’t seen but would like to. This book began from a short story called I Am a Zombie Filled with Love which gives you a slight idea from the title of possibly what a lot of the message of the full-length book is.

We meet the protagonist R who is a zombie and is not sure when he died or what his name in life was previously. All the days since his death have been long and monotonous. He is married and is a father with a female zombie who also has a male lover and is very open about it. Oh, and he is killing people to survive on the regular. But then things change when he meets Julie who is a non-zombie and finds himself unable to kill her but he does kill her boyfriend Perry and share his brains with his friend M. He brings her to his world and doesn’t tell her that he was the one to murder Perry. Gradually he and Julie become friends before eventually falling for each other.

But they have some obstacles along the way to happy-ever-after together like R’s secret, the Boneys attacking them, Perry being constantly in R’s mind after he ate his brains, Julie’s and Julie’s friend Nora’s everyday flippant prejudice of zombies and Julie’s father’s dispproval of their relationship because R is a Zombie. He is a hard man to please even without him being as he didn’t originally take to Perry either. 

The book has many elements to it. There is elements of romance, horror and drama. But the biggest part is the very strong messages coming through of identity, what it means to be human, prejudice and people coming together and understanding each other despite their differences and the idea that the power to change is within us all if we want to change badly enough. There is also the message of remaining yourself through Perry’s story. He changed to fit Julie’s father’s ideal image of him and he was never happy again after that.  

Great storytelling. 

 

To purchase Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion go to:

 

And for more about Isaac Marion and his work go to:

http://www.isaacmarion.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1302285.Isaac_Marion

 

Maura’s Game By Martina Cole Review!

Maura's Game (Maura Ryan, #2) by Martina Cole

 

Maura’s Game (2002) by Martina Cole is the follow-up to her novel Dangerous Lady.

Both books follow the story of the protagonist, the notorious gangster Maura Ryan. I haven’t read the first book but in this book, we meet Maura at a stage in her life where she has left behind her past in crime and has settled down with her boyfriend Terry. But she’s not going to remain in loved-up bliss for long. Foes from Maura’s past life come back to haunt her when they murder Terry and soon Maura finds herself back in the crime business with the Ryan family especially her brothers. The author manages to give us enough background from the previous book to ensure that this can be read as a standalone. We realise that Maura had once been pregnant with Terry’s child but fearing what the neighbours would think, her mother forced her to have an unsafe abortion which left her unable to give birth again.

I can’t say that I like Maura. Some of the things she does in this book are downright awful. But Cole did manage to write a very complex character in her because there is moments where you sort of do feel like you could like her if she wasn’t so involved in organizing murders. She has a gentle and generous side. She did look after her niece Carla and her nephew Joey very well and always stands up against Carla and her mother when they get homophobic about Joey. But then I remember who she is and the bigger picture and I can’t like her but I can certainly see her good qualities. It was quite difficult to find a member of the family to like in fairness and yet you still wanted to know what happened them even if you weren’t terribly worried what did. I did like Joey’s personality for a bit because he seemed fun and away from the vicious criminal underworld but then he showed his true colours more near the end and family friend Abdul seemed nice until he also showed his true colours. My favourite character was Sheila who was married to Maura’s brother Lee. She really just wanted to keep her children safe and didn’t want Lee or by consequence their children and her mixed up in it and I one million per cent agreed with her. She had a great personality. On one side she had a softer, kinder side but she was strong and tough when she needed to be and Lee certainly hadn’t married a doormat. I found her cool.

This book deals with a lot of issues from Cole’s signature style of tackling family dynamics in the criminal underworld as well as homophobia, racism and sexism. Her books are heavy and draining but also very realistic of life and that is always a breath of fresh air. She writes very honestly and that can be really scary to do. I love the way she tackles topics and issues head on. Also the dialogue is so spot-on and the characters are very developed.

 

Excellent.   

 

To purchase Maura’s Game by Martina Cole go to:

 

And for more information about Martina Cole and her work go to:

https://martinacole.co.uk/

The Solitaire Mystery By Jostein Gaarder Review!

Image result for the solitaire mystery

 

The Solitaire Mystery (1990, published in English in 1996) by Jostein Gaarder is a wonderfully crafted fantasy novel.

 

Written by the best-selling author of Sophie’s World and winner of the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature in 1990, this book follows two stories which may or may not be linked in some way. The first story within a story is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy Hans-Thomas. He and his father are on the road trying to find Hans-Thomas’ mother who left many years before. Hans-Thomas meets a man at a petrol station who gives him a magnifying glass and tells him that “You’ll need it!”. As the journey progresses, Hans-Thomas meets a baker at a cafe where he and his father stop off to eat. The baker gives Hans-Thomas a sticky bun to eat on the journey. Inside the bun Hans-Thomas finds a small book with writing that is difficult to read so he uses the magnifying glass to make it out. After this the story moves between Hans-Thomas’ story with his father and the story which the sticky bun book tells as Hans-Thomas reads it. The sticky bun book tells a tale of an old baker who had a grandfather who gave him a liquid to try called Rainbow Fizz, a drink he found out about when he was shipwrecked in his younger years. On the island where he was shipwrecked there lived an elderly sailor Frode and 53 more people whose names were the 52 playing cards and the joker. As the story unfolds, the connections between Hans-Thomas’ life and the story in the sticky bun book begin to merge more and more together. The mystery element to the story is very cool.

It is a fascinating book which has much in it about family dynamics and the search for something meaningful in your life. There is also great and authentic dialogue in this book and it’s wonderfully philosophical in many parts. Though this book’s target audience is YA, it is a book that people of any age will enjoy. There is some beautifully put together writing in it, at times poetic but always accessible. It is a wonderful book which crosses many genres from fantasy to drama to mystery and does so in a very cohesive fashion. The book is translated brilliantly too from Norwegian to English by Sarah Jane Hails.

 

A brilliant book.

 

To purchase The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder go to:

 

And for more about Jostein Gaarder and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1388082.Jostein_Gaarder

 

 

Bones Never Lie By Kathy Reichs Review!

Bones Never Lie : Kathy Reichs : 9780099558071

 

Bones Never Lie (2014) by Kathy Reichs is the seventeeth book in the author’s Temperance Brennan series and a very engrossing read.

The plot follows Dr. Temperance Brennan as she investigates the cold and newer cases of young girls who have been killed and kidnapped. The cases bring her back into battle with a woman called Anique Pomerleau who was involved in the murders and kidnaps but who Brennan has never caught and subsequently never got justice for the victims or some form of closure for their families. This understandably haunts Brennan. She is tasked with enlisting former police detective and former lover Andrew Ryan but he is reluctant to return while he recovers from grief over his daughter’s death. 

This book is incredibly well-written. It has a plot which keeps you reading and it plays into stereotypes and tosses them on their head. Brennan is a great character and her cat is a dote. The research is also amazing. A lot of research and experience has went into so much of this book and it shows. Very accurate. My favourite character in the book is her mother. She suffers from mental illness and I love the way Reichs writes her character. She doesn’t write her in a stereotypical sense of a person with mental illness. She writes her as a fun-loving woman with so much personality and an internet savvy way. I loved reading all the parts she was in and I loved her relationship with her daughter. The reveal was great and it leaves a lot of questions which is always a good way to end a book. Why did they do it? How could they do it? And while many questions are answered, many are still left which is often true of life and makes for an intriguing as well as infuriating ending. 

This book is refreshing and it raises a lot of issues in a very seamless way. It is simply great writing.

Excellent read.

 

To purchase Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs go to:

 

And to learn more about Kathy Reichs and her work go to:

https://kathyreichs.com/