Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel: Official Trailer

It's been a long time since I put together a book trailer.

I decided that I'd try my hand at it again.

So here you go, everyone: I present to you, the official trailer for Memoirs of a Guardian Angel! Please watch it below on YouTube, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

If you're interested in buying the book, click here to see the official page on my website.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Dark Whispers by Joanne Macgregor: Book Review

Wow. That's about all I can say, so soon after reading this book.

Okay, I'm kidding. I can probably manage a bit more.

This story was perfect. The pacing was incredible, and it had so much depth. The characters were beautifully written, real people, not cardboard cutouts, and every emotion, from joy to intense pain, came through.

The range of emotions *I* went through while reading this was also truly spectacular. I felt disgust, shame, pity, happiness, and sadness. Sometimes several at the same time.

It's not often that I gush over a book like this, and it's CERTAINLY not often I write a five-star review; a quick glance at my "read" shelf on Goodreads will be enough to tell you that. But in this case, I can say with absolute confidence, if you enjoy crime stories, medical stories, or psychological stories, Dark Whispers is truly a must read!

(My rating: 5 / 5 stars)

About the Book

Between the anaesthesia and the awakening, are the dark whispers…

When a patient in hypnosis describes an experience of mental torture and physical mutilation at the hands of a doctor, psychologist Megan Wright decides to investigate. Determined to find out the truth and stop the abuse, but bound to silence by the ethics of confidentiality, Megan will need to confront the dark mind of a dangerously disturbed man in a deadly battle of wits and wills.

This clever and gripping psychological thriller, with its unexpected twists and unnerving climax will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train), Sophie Hannah and Nicci French.

Click here to pick up a copy of this book from your favourite retailer.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Are You Feeling Lucky? Memoirs of a Guardian Angel Paperback Now Available

The long-awaited paperback edition of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel is now live, and you can get 50% off the price for the next six weeks or so.

Click here, or on the cover image below, to buy it from Lulu:

I haven't proofed it yet, so one of two things will happen: if it's right, you'll have gotten a fantastic deal. If it isn't, and I have to upload a new version, you'll have gotten yourself a very limited edition collectors' item! ;-)

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the blurb:

Do you believe in Guardian Angels?

Have you thanked your Guardian Angel today?

I never did... now I wish I had.

Now I understand the hard work and difficult situations they face every day. That car that veered off course, the knife that slipped or even the close call when you nearly tumbled from a tree. 

It wasn't good luck that saved you, it was me.

My name is Adam and I'm a guardian angel. 

I loved this book - fantastic premise and great execution. - Christine Bernard, author of the paranormal thriller, Will

I woke up super early one morning to finish it so I wouldn’t be tempted to read it at work. Well done. - Angelique Pacheco

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Discworld Day 2018: We Had a Blast!

And now for something completely different. My wife and I went to Discworld Day this past Saturday. It was so much fun--more fun than I thought it would be, to be honest--and what a fantastic way to honour the late Sir Terry Pratchett!

There were plenty of people in costume... but just as many who weren't. What was really nice, for me, was that there was no judgement either way. Everyone was just there to have a good time.

And look who we spotted, sauntering around the grounds on his mighty steed. Yep, the one and only anthropomorphic personification of Death himself.

And here, the famous Octavo.

We finished off the afternoon under the Sapient Pearwood Tree, listening to "Sir Terry" himself reading some of our old favourites. What a privilege.

If you've never been to something like this (we hadn't), I can highly recommend it. It's not nearly as "geeky" as you've been led to believe, and it's a great day out.

There's a Medieval Fayre at the same venue in September, and I feel pretty sure we'll be attending. We're well and truly hooked, now!

If you'd like to see more photos from the event, you can check the full album out on my Facebook Page.

LifeGames Corporation by Michael Smorenburg (Book Review)

When I first skimmed the first few lines of this book's blurb on Amazon, I knew it would be a book I'd enjoy.

It seemed like a real fast-paced techno-thriller about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.

Well, it is that. Kind of. But it's so much more. The angles about hypnosis and the inner workings of the human psyche were totally unexpected, but thoroughly satisfying.

Pacing-wise, it wasn't as fast as I would've expected, but it wasn't lacking either. It was, at times, meandering and brooding, and the writing was quite literary. A nice change, I thought.

I also really enjoyed all the South Africanisms--this isn't an author who likes to pretend he's an American. As a native of this beautiful country, it made me feel at home.

And now for the not-so-good news: I think the editing let this book down. Not the usual typos, missing words, or errant punctuation that I often see, but misspellings of homophones. "Break" instead of "brake", or "loose" instead of "lose"... stuff like that. It makes you think that this book was originally dictated and transcribed by computer software.

Then there was a minor plot inconsistency, but it was at an important stage in the book, which made me remember. A character picks up a fully-loaded revolver, and later relays, "There's one in the chamber."

Erm. It's a revolver.

Nonetheless, this was a fantastic, engrossing story, and I highly recommend it to anyone who's a fan of science fiction, thrillers, or medical stories (since the medical facts in it seem quite well researched).

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

Da Vinci Code—meets Paranormal Activity—meets The Matrix.

Ad-agency boss Catherine Kaplan is a danger junkie. Bold and brave, she’s cornered the juiciest prize in the global arena, a LifeGames Corporation contract. But now it’s time to pay the price—a dare to cross the forbidden line. There’s a deal sweetener of course—give a little… and enjoy some intriguing secrets.

Click here to find out where you can pick up a copy.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Do You Prefer Series or Standalone Books?

I mentioned in one of the reading groups I belong to a few weeks ago that I was trying an experiment: I was going to resist adding any books to my Goodreads TBR shelf if they were part of a series.

I had no idea how difficult that goal would be.

The thing is, I very seldom read series. Your series-starter has to be very good indeed to convince me to add the next one to my TBR. And, because I have so many books on that TBR already, it may be over a year before I read that next one... and if it's not good enough to make me immediately remember what happened in the previous one, you can bet I won't be adding the one after that.

I've spoken before about how I pick books to read: unless I'm specifically looking forward to a particular book, I generate a random number from one to the total number of books on my TBR (which currently stands at a little over 700). Then, I scroll to the book at that number and decide then and there. If I still want to read it, I'll buy it and start. If not--because my tastes might have changed since adding it--I'll delete it.

The thing is, with so many books on that list, and the fact that it's growing every day, I can't really justify committing to a series.

With a few exceptions (like A Song of Ice and Fire), when I crack open a new book, I want to be sucked into a whole new world, with new characters I've never met before.

I guess a nice compromise would be a collection of loosely connected standalone books, which happen to feature the same characters or setting, but which can be read in any order. And, where it doesn't matter if it's been weeks or years since I read the last one.

Over to you, dear reader. Do you have a particular preference? Can you get absorbed into a good series, or is it standalones for you? Do you actively hate one or the other?

I'd love to read your comments!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

How Many Brands of Milk? (A Free Flash Fiction Story by Graham Downs)

So here I stand, staring at the shelf. Why are there so many different brands of milk?

I promised my wife I’d pick up a bottle. I can’t let her down. It’s my first time shopping alone, and I want to prove that I can do it.

Let’s see. I know the milk we use as a yellow label. Well, that narrows it down to about five bottles. What picture does it have on it? My mind’s gone blank.

Maybe I should give her a call.

No, I tell myself. You can do this.

Surely a WhatsApp couldn’t hurt?

Snap out of it, Joe! This really isn’t that difficult.

I reach out my hand and curl my fingers around a bottle that I think could be the right one. And then pull away just as quickly.

Somebody screams.

I pull myself out of my reverie and look around. A man with a balaclava rushes towards me, brandishing a rifle.

“On the ground! Everybody on the ground, now!” he insists, as he bounds closer to me. Along his path, people are collapsing, their foreheads pressed into the floor. Some are weeping, some are snivelling. Still others are stoically silent.

I fall to my knees, but keep my head held high. I want to see what he does.

When he reaches me, the butt of his rifle slams into my face. I hear a crunch, and sharp pain rushes into my sinus cavity. A red haze engulfs my vision, and I taste blood rushing into my mouth.

The man screams down at me. “What part of ‘On the ground’ do you not understand? Moron!”

“Okay, man. Take it easy. I don’t want any trouble.” I manage to slur the words out, but my nose is throbbing now. He kicks me in the ribs as I lie prone on the floor, and I flatten my stomach.

“Much better,” says the man.

A few moments of silence pass. I’m afraid to look, in case the man is still there. After some time, a plastic bottle of milk crashes down next to my face, popping the cap off and causing the contents to explode all over me.

“Damn!” says the man. “How many different brands of milk are there, anyway?”