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Beneath The Wax – Available Now

It is with great excitement that I present to you my first “solo” published novella, Beneath The Wax. A big thank you to Nicky from Chasing Dreams Publishing who believed in me and pushed me to complete this work. And many thanks to quite a number of people, some of whom may never see this post, but were integral to sustaining me while I was writing. Thank you all.


Buy Beneath The Wax on Amazon button

1723: Constantine Bourgeois is a man of many secrets. Artisan by day, killer by night, he turns his victims into wax figures for his shop.

2045: Richard Baines works for the renowned Anthony Garfield Historical Museum. His mundane existence is a stark counterpoint to his fascination with serial killers and science fiction.

Constantine’s nightmares drive him to undertake a journey to uncover a long-forgotten secret. Richard’s research uncovers a company secret and the mystery of Madame Bourgeois.

Two men, two timelines, and truths that will only be revealed when they look Beneath the Wax…


Wednesday Book Review: The Lilies of Dawn

The Lillies of Dawn_Full

Title: The Lilies of Dawn

Author: Vanessa Fogg

Publisher:  Annorlunda Books

Book procurement: Won the book in a competition run by Vicky of BooksandStrips.

Release Date: July 26, 2016.


There is a lake of marvels. A lake of water lilies that glow with the color of dawn. For generations Kai’s people have harvested these lilies, dependent upon them for the precious medicines they provide.

But now a flock of enchanted cranes has come to steal and poison the harvest. The lilies are dying. Kai’s people are in peril. A mysterious young man from the city thinks he might have a solution. Kai must work with him to solve the mystery of the cranes, and it will take all her courage, love, strength, and wisdom to do what she must to save both the lilies and her people. The Lilies of Dawn is a lushly written, lyrical fairy tale of love, duty, family, and one young woman’s coming of age.


Ah what a wonderfully sweet and fantastically written book. It’s too short though! I could have done with a couple more pages, but for what it was and it’s purpose, it was the perfect length.

It’s the story of Kai, who is the daughter of the Priestess of the Dawn Mother. A deity who’s beautiful lilies bloom at dawn and give an elixir that cures ills. However, mysterious sunlit cranes sweep in out of nowhere to steal the precious nectar and poison the flowers. Shamans, Priests and monks seek to rid the village of the birds but none succeed – until a mysterious young man appears with a possible solution.

I was pleasantly surprised with the story. A solid plot that combines real life with mysticism. There were a few things I predicted, but it wasn’t a disappointing experience – and there were few where I thought I knew where it was going and it didn’t. Like the ending! Although in hindsight I should have seen that coming haha.

The words flow beautifully along, strung almost poetically from the perspective of Kai. We get to understand her persona, learn about life and how everything has been building towards the climatic end.

Outside of my scope, especially considering it’s horror week on the blog. A recommended read.

Rating: A sweet 4 out of 5.


Vanessa Fogg dreams of dragons, selkies, and gritty cyberpunk futures from her home in western Michigan. She is a lapsed scientist and now works as a freelance medical writer. Her short stories have appeared in a number of science fiction and fantasy magazines, as well as in a few non-genre outlets. She is fueled by green tea.

Purchase Links: Amazon | GumRoad | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Goodreads: Vanessa Fogg

Author Website:

Wednesday Book Review: Sticky Fingers

Stick Fingers - JT Lawrence

Title: Sticky Fingers

Author: JT Lawrence

Genre: Short stories

Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Available on Amazon from the 28 July 2016.


Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT Lawrence include:

‘Escape’ — a story about about a suicidal baby who knows he was born into the wrong life, and has to get creative to take measures correct the mistake, much to his mother’s horror.

The Itch’ — a story about an intense, uncontrollable, unexplainable itch that lands the protagonist in a mental institution.

‘Bridge Gate’ — In this poignant and charming short story, a daughter yearns to connect with her absent father through the letters they exchange. She’s not put off by his pedantic corrections of her writing, despite the slow reveal that he is less than perfect himself.

‘The Unsuspecting Gold-digger’ — a woman gradually poisons her husband so that she doesn’t have to break his heart.


As a short story writer myself, I’ve got a soft spot for anthologies. There’s something unique and expectant in short stories that novels (unless they are sequels) do not have in their endings. You know you should expect some sort of cliff hanger and JT. Lawrence, in her short stories, executes it perfectly often enough.

I think to review each story would be a bit much, so instead I’ll pick out ones that stood out for me:

Escape: This suicidal-baby short just left me traumatized. Initially I was confused by the concern of the parents; the father thinks the baby is attempting to end their life and the mother thinks he’s exaggerating. And then both agree the child has a death wish. Perhaps some clarity? Other than that, the descriptions were vivid and clear. A clever use of words, and a prompting of the question that I’m sure many have asked: how aware/cognitive are babies really?

The Itch: Eeeuuwww. I think that’s a sufficient review? No? Okay… well imagine having an itch so intense it causes you to burrow through your skull? I think my only issue is that I still don’t know what caused the itch. And I’m starting to feel an itch in my head too…

Something Borrowed: I did not see that coming. Not one bit. Such a beautiful beginning. And then I saw that one point thrown in offhandedly. But nothing is random in short stories. It’s the wriggling worm and you’re the unsuspecting fish.

Pigeon Pair: Have you watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? I find pigeons far more sinister. I got the creeps reading this.I’m convinced you will be too.

The Little Pink Book: One of my favourites. Because I honestly did not see that end coming. And so casual and sweet and unassuming. Midwife fears. Another great example of good writing.

Travelling Slacks: Fantastically written although I would never go so far with a “customer”. This short is written as the communication between a reviewer and the hotel where the person stayed. It’s funny. It’s incredulous. It’s just that good.

In terms of writing, JT Lawrence is spot on with most of her stories. I enjoyed reading through all of them; some just to figure out how they end and other’s because the writing was just that compelling. I did, however, find myself wondering if all the characters were the same as they bore the same sort of characteristics often. There was even a story where I was convinced the character was female (as most of them are) and was surprised when he wasn’t. And I’m still trying to figure out what “Off the Hinge” was all about. There was a good change up in perspective with stories like Bridge Gate (which doesn’t sound like a B&B at all haha), Travelling Slacks, and Pigeon Pair. Yet, whenever the stories were based in South Africa, I didn’t get a sense of “South Africa” in them. They still felt very “Western”.

The stories in the anthology have themes that I wouldn’t personally relate to, but that make for compelling stories nonetheless: weddings, children, marriage, infidelity (marriage and religious), child birth. At the end of it, the stories played on fears that I didn’t even think I had.

In overall this is great selection of short stories, and JT Lawrence is a fantastic writer. She draws you in, builds up the tension, and then leaves you dangling over the edge only to find the edge doesn’t exist after all. And the little covers for each story are gorgeous.

Rating: An enjoyable 4 out of 5

Book Review: The Dream Engine

The Drean Engine

Title: The Dream Engine

Author: Leah Karloff

Genre: Fantasy

Book procurement: Author gave me a copy for an honest review

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

Time is a circle. Time is a loop.

Kara Swatch lives in a world manipulated by unseen forces. Always in the shadows, hidden just beyond the line of fire. These time travellers set events in motion and guide them through to their sordid ends, but never spare a thought for the lives trapped in the chaos.

It’s all too large and far-reaching for Kara to understand – what she sees are the assassinations and the vanishings and the cryptic messages written in the sky, all pointing to the secrets in her dreams. To the time travellers.

But curiosity killed the cat. The more she uncovers about Lucem and the Sognate, who guard against curiosity with an iron fist, the more she begins to notice constants. They seem to run through the world like a needle and thread, emerging over and over and over again.

And they have their own stories to tell.


I received this copy from Leah Karloff in exchange for an honest review. This is her debut novel and I must say off the bat that I was wonderfully surprised by it. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

The first chapter threw me off completely during the first three quarters of the book. I was trying to piece it together somewhere somehow but was coming up blank even as a particular character popped up a few times. As the story unraveled, it all came together like a puzzle missing pieces that you keep finding. As the world becomes clearer, I had to fight the urge to “ooooh” and “aaah” and tap people incessantly to ask them if they saw it coming, because clearly I didn’t. And then that first chapter was like a hammer to the chest. I loved it.

The story is told well, a pace that starts off slow and builds its way to the end. I experienced the world as the characters experienced the world, as I too tried to make sense of this world called Lucem. World building was top notch, from the city to the world to the well written history that runs through the little things in this novel. It made me realise how much I take for granted in life. How many books can make me say that? Very few.
At times I was unsure about the main character Kara Swatch. Most of the story is told from her perspective, switching to other characters to give a bit more insight as to what was happening outside of her knowledge. She seemed to become a different character, almost inconsistent in her moods and actions. Perhaps a little more insight into her thought process might have helped clear this up, but it doesn’t take away too much from the story. The other characters remain true to themselves and altogether they make a colourful cast.

There were a few mistakes here and there in the form of a misspelled word but they are few and far apart and don’t take away the beauty of the story. Well done to Leah Karloff for a great book.

Rating:  An invigorating 4 out of 5

“Leah Karloff is a 17 year old student from Shrewsbury, in the UK. She has qualifications in Sociology, Psychology, and Classics, and hopes to become a teacher. Her favourite interests, besides reading, are spending time with her dogs and sipping overpriced instant-tea. Leah’s first novel, The Dream Engine, was inspired by the works of Philip Pullman, Veronica Roth and H.P Lovecraft. She can also burp the alphabet.”

You can find her book on:




You can also visit her blog: Spindlewald

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