Category Archives: Uncategorized


An enjoyable introduction to Kristen Martin’s YA Dystopian trilogy.

The Alpha DriveThe Alpha Drive by Kristen Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Alpha drive is a solid debut novel from Kristen Martin. I enjoyed the fast paced action scenes, and the Matrix inspired plot.
Alpha drive would appeal to adult or older teen readers wanting a quick sci-fi / dystopian read, as well as YA readers who’d enjoy a contemporary novel with a twist.
According to the author, Alpha Drive started life as a NA contemporary novel, which was then rewritten as a YA Dystopian. This novel does seem to straddle a line between the two.
The main characters fit more in the NA age group. The setting seems to be a college/ uni, rather than a boarding school. Emery drives a car, has a long term relationship with her boyfriend, and drinks alcohol in a club.
The writing style and plot is clunky in places, but the story kept my interest with its Matrix inspired theme.
I enjoyed this book for what it is-a quick, fun read. I will be reading the rest of this trilogy to see how the story develops.

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I’m looking forward to reading more of Kristen Martin‘s books. I will finish The Alpha Drive trilogy as it should be a fun sci-fi fix. I am thinking that her dark fantasy Shadow Crown series will be more suited to my taste.

Kristen has a YouTube channel, which I watch for her useful writing advice and vlogs.
I also enjoy listening to her podcast That Smart Hustle while doing my morning workout. Kristen’s upbeat, motivational, common sense thoughts on life and writing are a great way to start the day.




Here’s a look at the debut music video from Munro. Filmed, edited and directed by band member and YouTuber Jake Monro.

This song ‘Social Deconstruct’  with Jake’s clean vocals, and a haunting quality to the music, is more subdued and melodic than their previous album MonochRomantic, but equally as good.

Growling vocals and aggressive guitars kick in about two thirds of the way through, contrasting against the almost melancholic undertones. The imagery of the video interplays well with the music, from swooping skyscapes and tree tops, to the dark shadowed forest below.

I’m interested to find out if this is a change of direction for them, or just them exploring new territory.

Book Review-A Dozen Monsters-Angel Wedge

Another beautifully strange and original short story collection from Angel Wedge.
A Dozen Monsters: Vampires, Zombies, and the Monsters who hunt themA Dozen Monsters: Vampires, Zombies, and the Monsters who hunt them by Angel Wedge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here are some spooky tales for a quick dose of horror.
Written from the monster’s point of view, these stories are not just fun and frightening, but also have a thought provoking twist.
Sometimes there are things more terrifying than any vampire, werewolf or zombie…
I’d recommend this short story collection to those like myself who find themselves rooting for the monster.

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I’m looking forward to reading to reading his latest short story collection  A Bored God.


If you’re a fan of horror, fantasy, or sci-fi, it’s worth having a browse of Angel’s many books. I’ve reviewed a few of the short story collections, and the odd novel too.

Book Review-After Hope: 4 Stories from Hope City-Angel Wedge

2 Books Reviewed-Sandpaper Kiss & Whispersmiths-both by Angel Wedge


Book Review- Eve: The Awakening-Jenna Moreci

Eve: The AwakeningEve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
Eve the Awakening is kick-ass story.
The shocking opening scene was everything I had expected and hoped for. The reader is immediately thrown into the story and rooting for the main character Eve as she is put through the greatest possible childhood trauma which changes her life forever.
I was disappointed when this turned out to be a dream sequence, which was then followed by the cliché ‘character looks in mirror and we get a description of her looks’ scene. This seemed to go against everything the author Jenna Moreci tells us in her Youtube writing advice videos. I was skeptical but read on, already hooked by the story and wanting to find out how Eve progresses.
I am so glad I kept reading. Eve’s recurring dreams turn out to be a major part of the plot, and realistically show her PTSD after the life changing event. I enjoyed this book immensely. There is near non-stop action, a lovable bunch of characters, terrifying aliens, angry mobs, romance, deception and intrigue.
(view spoiler)

I rooted for Eve as she navigated student life, trying to find a friend she can trust, while surrounded by privileged brats, and near everyone is prejudiced against her kind. While Eve is still finding her feet, she is plunged almost immediately into jeopardy from terrifying aliens

The back-story is well written, revealed throughout the course of the story. Giving small clues into Eve’s past which help make her character believable and give the story depth.

While in some places the chain of events seem too convenient, and the conversation with the main villain Fairon at the climax felt forced, the storytelling is so compelling I was able to suspend disbelief. The pacing is perfect, with just enough of a lull between the action and shocking twists for the reader to catch their breath. The finale builds to an epic climax, with each cliffhanger seeming to lead to even more kick-ass action. The ending rounds the book off well, while setting up the possibility of a sequel. (hide spoiler)]

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The (Slightly Not Sober ) Beer Blog


Here are my notes from a beer festival I attended back last summer. Apologies to all involved. Tasting reviews are my opinion only.

Some of this might have made perfect sense at the time.


I get off the train along with my youngest sibling, and walk through the city centre towards the picturesque riverbank which is the location of the beer festival. A straggle of ale-filled people are already exiting the white tented venue with a  glaze of contentment on their ruddy cheeked faces.

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At some point we meet up with my sibling’s friend. Spotting them through the crowds by the bright yellow jacket they are wearing -despite the warm weather.

We walk into another area, where a band are playing a swing version of 4-non-blondes’ ‘What’s up?It’s not a bad tune.

Apparently we should go to Scotland to brew our own ale. Sounds like a great idea. (?)

We leave my sibling’s friend to chat up some ladies. Not sure what their boyfriends stood next to them were saying!

So to the most notable ales:

Cream Tea Deconstructed-it was strange. Fruit cake and tea.

I am not a fruit beer-no ‘I’m a vegetable, but tastes like fruit beer’. Very strange, made from beetroot. My sibling commented ‘it’s actually poisonous!’

Bitter Invention of Satan-okay. 8.6% abv. Strong taste of alcohol!

Gravediggers Ale-meh!

Brexit-a bit fizzy

Old Crow Porter– 🙂

Note:Sobriety  going south from here.

Red Spider-pale and fizzy

Four Go Wild in the Fens-Oh My Gods. Bloody awful! Had to stop myself spitting this one out.


The rest were okay. We did not find anything outstanding, or particularly nice. Often brews we expected to be rich and complex  were weak, and mediocre.


On the train awaiting debarkation (is this a word-in a dictionary?) to our home town.

Okay, I think this started at the Falcon (pub). Is this one of those clever, stupid, clichéd novels that start at the end, then has a clearer  twist at the end? No!

On train back, suitably pickled. Might get some coherent thoughts day after  imbibing fermented grain and hops  products.

Post festival house party, we have mini ale testing which proves more palatable.

Antwerpen-yummy, rich, chocolaty and very strong-8%

Wychwood-Arrowaine-a nice mild, light chocolaty brew


I am feeling rather queasy now.

So, was 2017 just a bad year for dark ale, or had we left it too late and all of the good chewable ales had sold out? I have attended on the last day in previous years and still found some decent brews, and a couple of the best ales I have ever tasted. A memorably delicious Hunter S Thompson inspired ale tasted like alcoholic sweet dark soy sauce with hints of coffee.


There was more, but photos, & my drunken text messages to myself & my other half  were on my now deceased old phone, so now lost. Perhaps for the best!


Book Review Forgotten Things-Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

I loved that this story is set in early 1980s, with many references to my own childhood. Geeking-out on books about unexplained Mysteries, wandering through woods, listening to my Dad’s tales, & hunting ghosts in abandoned buildings. Yes, we did pretend to be Ghost Busters!
Forgotten ThingsForgotten Things by Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt as if I was pixie-led into this book. The reader, along with the main character Adam, is lead into the woodland world of the fae. The writing is lyrical, as full of life as the woods, and captures the sense of magic and wonder, and also the danger and mystery.
Through young Adam’s eyes we see, feel, taste, smell and hear the woods, and glimpse the creatures which inhabit them. The voice of each character is distinct, yet filtered through the young boy’s perspective. We see them as he does, but also the reality from the older Adam recalling events. Narrative from his older self foregrounds more sinister events to come. This novel was both enchanting, and disturbing with a macabre twist.
The first person past tense is descriptive. Through young Adam’s eyes we see, feel, taste, smell and hear the woods, and glimpse the creatures which inhabit them. Reading the first half of this book is an immersive experience, rather like a path-working into the woods. Then, as events unravel, we are pulled back into the real (or rather the ‘mundane’) world to see the repercussions of when our human world and the Faery’s realm collide.
While the ending perfectly rounds off the story,with Adam understandably changed by his experiences, it left me with a sense of melancholy.
Like faeries, this story is filled with magic and wonder, but also has a darker side.

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I’m looking forward to reading more of Stephen Mullany-Westwoods books. I already have the short story collection Unforgotten Tales, and I’m lucky to have won a signed copy of his latest book Paradise Shift . I’ll probably read them while listening to some of his music, for an immersive experience.

He  has a cool YouTube channel with videos on nature, writing, retro toys, and dark fantasy movies.

BOOK REVIEW-SciFan™ Magazine February 2017- R.M. Mulder

A great mix of the sci-fi/ fantasy genre. And there’s a preview of a TheSecretKing story  by Dawn Chapman.

SciFan™ Magazine February 2017: A Science Fantasy Digital EditorialSciFan™ Magazine February 2017: A Science Fantasy Digital Editorial by R.M. Mulder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something for every sci-fi & fantasy fan. An eclectic mix of short stories, teasers & serials from sci-fi on an alien planet, high fantasy, steam punk, to supernatural detective noir. I look forward to reading the other issues.

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