Monday 28 September 2020



Title: Phoenix Burn
Series: From The Ashes
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 18th September 2020

BLURB from Goodreads
Six months ago I died. And I’ve been looking for my killer ever since.

I didn’t expect to survive death, but here I am and I’ve got questions—lots of them. Questions that lead me to a world I never knew existed in the shadows of the mundane. When I come face to face with a vampire who seems to have the answers I’m looking for, I find myself trapped in a game where I’m the pawn.

Someone is hunting me. No one is safe until I’m caught, but I refuse to be the prey. When the hunter becomes the hunted, they’ll learn I’m not as naïve as they think. That is, until the mastermind is revealed and nothing is ever the same again.

Will I be able to reclaim my old life? Or is the game just getting started …


I have read another series of books by this author and loved it, but that doesn’t mean I automatically read anything at all by an author I have read before. In fact, if I have read and loved a certain series by an author it can make me reluctant to try other series by that same author. Weird? I guess it is a bit! I view each cover and blurb on its own merit and then once I have read the book, do I give my 100% honest own opinion.

I’ll be totally honest it was this brilliantly striking cover that attracted my attention. Then I read the blurb and immediately wanted to read the book. I liked the sound of the main female character in the blurb, the way she isn’t going to hide, she is going to hunt the one who has made her his prey. The book begins with the main female character, Camila Cortez being shot . . . well I say shot, but she doesn’t die. The fact is Camila doesn’t really know how she didn’t die, she also doesn’t know who shot her or why, but she is determined to find out. Camila makes herself disappear and changes her appearance, rents a studio apartment and sets about finding out who tried to kill her. Camila dyes her hair and changes her name to Octavia Cruz.
Octavia has a private investigator researching the disappearance of her friend Camila Cortez. The private investigator has told her she needs to be at a seedy bar in a bad part of town to find the man that shot her. So of course, Octavia doesn’t do things by half measures and she gets a job working there as a shot girl. It’s there she meets the arrogant Mr Monroe and his friends in the VIP area, there’s instant dislike between them as he has her removed from serving the VIP area. However, it is Mr Monroe that comes to her aid later when a fight takes place. Octavia is on a dance podium and desperately trying to escape the fighting, she waits for an opportunity to attempt to escape until the point comes its move or possibly be right in the middle of the massacre the fight has turned into. Unfortunately for Octavia she ends up getting her stomach ripped open by some monster guy with claws! Octavia is aware of seeing Mr Monroe attack the monster guy, literally throwing him away from her and then feeling faint and being caught by Mr Monroe, who she really doesn’t have a very good opinion of! When Octavia awakens, she finds herself in the rather luxurious suite belonging to Mr Monroe from the bar who is extremely reluctant to allow her to go anywhere. As it is revealed in the blurb there are vampires in this book and I will also add other paranormal beings. Of course, Octavia discovers she is a type of paranormal being, she has now survived being shot at almost point, blank range, as well as being attacked and her stomach ripped open by a monster with claws all without dying! In fact, when she removes the dressing on her stomach it reveals not even the tiniest scratch!

The book is about finding out who is so determined to capture Octavia and why. Octavia has a lot of decisions to make and doesn’t know who to trust. Should she trust Tristan “Mr up himself from the VIP area” Monroe (though Octavia does describe him a little more bluntly than I have!), or Killian, “leader of the scary monsters” that were fighting in the club. Who can help her find out and eliminate the man determined to capture her? Who can protect her parents, brother and sister? There’s also the question of who on earth keeps sending her black dahlia’s and why? In fact, maybe more importantly how are they leaving them so close to her, without her ever seeing them?

I immediately adored the character of Camila/Octavia. I know it is like two sides of the same coin and though we don’t have a lot about Camila, she works hard, enjoys a night out with the girls, and she is in what seems like a stale relationship with Ben, they guy with the increasingly irritating habit of leaving unending amounts of toe nail clippings all over!

When Camila transforms herself into Octavia, she becomes her bolder, sassy, and takes no hassle from anyone. Octavia isn’t the only kick butt character in the book either, there’s Echo, the vampire that works at the local Police precinct. Echo is smart, has an even smarter mouth and yet has a soft side that makes you believe she cares deeply for those she considers part of her clan and family. Another tough cookie is Mikaela who quickly becomes a trusted friend to Octavia whilst she is with their group for a weekend. I really hope we see more of Mikaela in the future of this series.

So now onto the book boyfriend material characters! Really you are spoiled for choice with this book. In fact, I honestly couldn’t choose between the three main male characters at all. There’s cold (in more ways than one), serious, used to being in charge Tristan, who often comes across brusque and bossy and he is so used to people doing as he says without question. Though you can’t help liking him, he has a softer side under that outer shell which sometimes glints through when he is interacting with those close to him. Maverick is the easy going, affectionate, wears his heart on his sleeve, prankster who is totally loyal to Tristan, like a brother, he also treats Echo like a sister. Then finally, the last of the three main male characters is Killian, another strong, male leader, used to people doing as he says, yet he has a softer character, more playful and outwardly shows he cares, along with handling all the responsibilities he has as leader. I mean how could you possibly choose from those three great male lead characters, definitely all book boyfriend material.

There’s lots of action, some great humour, along with lots of supernatural politics, vampires against monsters with claws. Both Tristan and Killian seem insistent that their race is the one closest to what Octavia is. They both think she will be safer, learn to control her powers better that the other. When I look back at one of the notes, I made at around 35% of the way into the book, it kind of makes me laugh as I had put Wow! Vampires!, and Maverick......and is Killian really the bad one? I don't know which side I am on......or could Phoenix bring the Clan & the Pack together? And who, what and why was she shot?" I’ll be honest I still couldn’t choose a definitive “side” to be on at the end of the book. I’m hoping both supernatural leaders, Tristan & Killian will come together to help Octavia. There’s also some subtle, and some outright flirting going on in the book. There’s Octavia & Tristan, it is so clear they care for each other but Tristan comes across so cold at times, could that be because of his vampire race, or vampire age? Will he confess he has feelings for Octavia? Octavia & Maverick are like the great friends immediately, are they destined to be more than just friends though. I think there is also the strong possibility of a relationship between Killian & Octavia they have so many supernatural race similarities.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were Wow! What a journey, what an ending, what a cliff-hanger to end on!! Can't wait to read more as soon as I can. Even if Octavia escapes how will she live on with what she was made to do? Will the vampires & monster with claws unite in an attempt to help Octavia? If it comes down to a choice between Vampires/Tristan & his Clan or Monster with claws/Killian & his group would/could/how would Octavia choose?

To sum up my intention in this review was not to reveal too much and not go on and on about the book like I’d love to. I don’t want to spoil the book for new readers which is why I only revealed one supernatural race, vampires as they are mentioned in the blurb. The other races are revealed in time within the book as and when you need to know what they are. I thought I had it sussed out what Octavia was quite early in the book but I hadn’t though by the time what she is, was revealed it totally fits. If you love different supernatural beings you won’t be disappointed with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed, in fact, love, love, loved this book and am eagerly, somewhat impatiently looking forward to reading more of this trilogy.

Friday 25 September 2020





A new location brings new terror as Rose and Sam find themselves at the mercy of Barrett’s crew, the Sins.

Now separated from both Sam and Nolan, Rose is a caged animal, terrified but determined to find the people she cares about the most. But how much can one person take?

More than ever, Rose would give anything to be sat in a boring office back in England right now.

Sam’s secret is never safe; that’s a reality she’s learning to live with. Barrett has protected her up until now, yet surrounded by his so-called family, she wonders how long it will be before he turns on her… 

Sam longs for the days when her biggest problems were a failed relationship, too many carbs, and a sprained ankle.

Life has never been easy, not before the zombies and certainly not after. But even with the dead rising, it is the living that cause the most problems. It’s the humans that elicit the most fear, that make the apocalypse bloodier, that kill anyone necessary to survive.

Between humans, zombies, and the desire for brains,

the world’s getting darker by the hour.

And the two unlikely friends

need one another more than ever.

That doomed red-eye flight seems a lifetime ago


Seriously you need to start this epic zombie apocalypse thriller written by USA Today Bestselling Author Claire C. Riley and Victoria Cage Author Eli Constant.
You can check out my reviews of Red Eye Seasons 1 & 2 via my
A~Z Review Listings page and looking under either of the authors surnames!







Episode One – October 8th
Episode Two – October 22nd
Episode Three – November 12th
Episode Four – November 26th



“Ain’t she pretty,” Nathan said.

I kept my face blank staring at Rose. It wasn’t hard. I’d perfected my poker face when I was a kid, refusing to let my old man see how shit-scared he made me feel. “She’s not my type,” I said casually, standing up. I’d had to squat down to see who Nathan was holding like an animal in the small cage. “Can we get back to business now?”

Nathan looked at Rose for a second, mouth quirking. “Sure thing, brother.”

We’d talked business for a while, but the conversation had strayed back to Rose in the cage… and Sam.

“I’ll trade you this one”—he pointed at Rose—“for the bitch you’re playing house with. God knows the boys will pay more for a grown-ass woman with a body like that.”

“You’re relentless,” I muttered, dropping the papers I’d been looking at—photos and write-ups of all the new girls Nathan had acquired since last time I’d been around. We’d already gone over the important shit.

“You know me…when I see something I want.”

“You get a little fucking obsessed?” I shrugged, face neutral.

“Hey, if she won’t work on her back, then she can strip. I’d be satisfied with that. And I’ll still give you the Brit snatch in the cage.” Nathan walked over and kicked the metal bars firmly, the sound echoing loudly in the small room. Rose hunched further into a ball.

When he turned back to me, he was full-on grinning, a maniacal, hungry look in his eyes. I’d seen that look before, and it spelled nothing but trouble for Rose.

“Not interested.” I glanced at the door, making it obvious that the conversation was over. “If that’s all, I’ll be heading back to Stash’s.”

“Sure, sure, Barrett. That’s all.” His smile faltered a little. “All for now.”

Nathan, despite appearances, was a cruel, brutal man. If he set his eyes on something, he usually found a way to get it. That’s why I’d been so determined to talk to him about Sam before he saw her. Look how that had fucking worked out.

Well, to get to Sam, he’d have to go through me. Even a fucking psycho like him would think twice about pushing me.


Saturday 19 September 2020



Title: My Name Is Selma
Author: Selma Van De Perre
Publisher: Bantam Press, Random House UK, Transworld
Genre: Biographies, Memoir, History
Release Date: 17th September 2020

BLURB from Goodreads
Selma van de Perre was seventeen when World War Two began. Until then, being Jewish in the Netherlands had been of no consequence. But by 1941 this simple fact had become a matter of life or death. Several times, Selma avoided being rounded up by the Nazis. Then, in an act of defiance, she joined the Resistance movement, using the pseudonym Margareta van der Kuit. For two years 'Marga' risked it all. Using a fake ID, and passing as Aryan she travelled around the country delivering newsletters, sharing information, keeping up morale - doing, as she later explained, what 'had to be done'.

In July 1944 her luck ran out. She was transported to Ravensbrück women's concentration camp as a political prisoner. Unlike her parents and sister - who, she would later discover, died in other camps - she survived by using her alias, pretending to be someone else. It was only after the war ended that she was allowed to reclaim her identity and dared to say once again: My name is Selma.

Now, at ninety-eight, Selma remains a force of nature. Full of hope and courage, this is her story in her own words.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US (no link yet)
Amazon UK

I’ll be totally honest I feel drawn to books about the survivors of the Holocaust. I feel very strongly that their stories must be told and never ever forgotten, so when I saw this book and the picture of Selma, “the Ravensbrúck survivor” and “Jewish Resistance fighter” “today” at age 98 I felt compelled to read about her life as well as her many near deaths too.

I think the fact the cover image is Selma’s face makes it so powerful and almost irresistible, I know I would have to pick it up from a book store shelf to learn more about the remarkable woman who was a Jewish Resistance fighter who also managed to survive Ravensbruck too!

The book begins with Selma hiding hoping to evade capture. Sadly, she is found by an SS Guard and thrown into the last wagon. Selma doesn’t know any of the women she is in the wagon with. It turns out the women in the wagon are asocial, meaning they have done something the Germans do not like. It ends up being a bit of good luck for Selma as these women worked in the kitchen which means they have had access to food and have managed to smuggle more with them than those in the other wagons. When the women bicker about how to share or ration their food it is Selma that speaks up and ends up being chosen to take care of and distribute the food, in an attempt to make it last for their journey. It’s whilst on the long train journey that Selma writes a not to her best friend Gretchen, she tells her friend she is in a cattle wagon on her way to Ravensbruck or Sachsenhausen. She throws the note through a gap in the slats of the wagon hoping it reaches her friend but not knowing if it ever will.

The book then reverts to the past and gives some background about Selma and her parents and siblings. Selma’s father was an actor so they moved around a lot for his work. His work was also sporadic so Selma was used to life changing rapidly. When he was in work they could live, eat and dress well. However. when work was scarce they wore hand me down clothes, made do, and ate what their mother could get her hands on to cook for them. Maybe it is this type of life of having to adapt to her surroundings that helped Selma exist and survive Ravensbrusck. Though Selma and her family were Jewish, they weren’t regular attenders at their church. The most religious thing about Selma and possibly the only clue to her Jewish heritage was the fact she wore a Star of David necklace. Some would say lucky for Selma, she didn’t have the typical Jewish hair and looks so easily passed as a German.

Several times in the book, Selma refers to herself as lucky. As she works distributing messages and leaflets within the Jewish Resistance, she comes really close to being captured. Selma’s part of the resistance ends up being caught, yet once again she is not identified as Jewish and is put with political prisoners. Selma has many brushes with death, even when liberated from Ravensbruck, she narrowly misses being in one of the vehicles that is blown up when mistaken for a vehicle full of fleeing German Army personnel.

I don’t want to reveal everything about Selma’s life as you need to read it all in the words and order Selma chooses to divulge it in the book. It is her story to tell. You may think that when Selma is liberated from Ravensbruck her suffering is over, but it is far from finished. Selma may have been freed from Ravensbruck but she has no where to live, no money, just nothing.

Selma naturally revisits her old home and discovers the odd neighbour here and there that is still in the area. Selma is desperate to know what happened to her dear father and her mother and her younger sister Clara. Unfortunately, the reality is devastating. Selma still manages to pick herself up and get on with her life. Her two brothers fought and are both now in England.

This book tells how the war and Nazi regime progressed. First what could be considered small things were taken away from Jewish families, like not being allowed into the same cinema as others, not being allowed out. Then losing their businesses and property. All perhaps things the Jewish people could survive or cope with alone but the way things escalated because of one mans idea’s of perfection, that same man’s feelings of hate towards a race of people would be unbelievable, and you would think it a fictional story if you didn’t know that it is fact and the people in these books are real, their losses real, their suffering real. The more I read about the era, the more I learn, then look at the world around us and shockingly see similarities, the beginnings of possibilities of all these atrocities happening again.

I found it interesting to learn that the Red Cross visited different camps run by the Nazis, obviously only shown certain areas and healthy prisoners. Red Cross parcels were regularly sent to these concentration camps. However, in reality it was extremely rare for any of the parcel contents to ever make it to those in need. The guards were the ones that benefited from the Red Cross parcels not the prisoners existing in the horrendous conditions hidden from the visiting Red Cross. How could the truth be so easily hidden?

I also read the sad story of the Resistance member that revealed information in the hope it would save Selma and his other colleagues. Of course, the Nazis did not keep to their end of the deal, lives were lost and the Resistance member survived the war and ended up being labelled a collaborator, despite having suffered greatly himself.

Though I have read quite a few of these survivor stories there is always more to learn. I didn’t know Ravensbruck gave their prisoners numbers but did not tattoo them onto them as other camps did. I think I have read a lot about Auschwitz and not so much about the women only camp of Ravensbruck. I had also read about “The White Rose” but perhaps not so much about the Jewish Resistance. I know it is a very dark period of history but these stories must be told, these people must be remembered, then at least they did not die in vain.

Selma truly is an inspirational, remarkable woman, but through her words in the book she strikes me as someone who would shrug off an accolade or praise for what she did. Selma tells her story in a matter of fact way, how it all happened. Selma made and lost friends along the way. After the war she did her best to trace family and friends tracing what happened to them, visiting them if they too survived and mourning the ones that didn’t. I am honestly thankful to Selma for telling her story, so that younger generations can learn the truth and pass on her story into the future too. Selma doesn’t make out she is/was anything special, she just tells her story and that of those around her throughout her journey. As she says in the little introduction of the book she has shared her story as a tribute to all those who suffered and died. The ironic thing is all through her journey through the resistance and in Ravensbruck she was not identified as Jewish. She was arrested and held as a political prisoner, under an assumed name and false identity papers. Did being a political prisoner as opposed to being a Jewish prisoner save her life? Who knows, maybe it did. I imagine anytime those identity papers were called for, examined were extremely anxious times for Selma. She must have been continually on edge, and she states in the book she trusted no one with her true name and heritage. It wasn’t until everything was over that Selma reclaimed her real birth name in the hope it may help her trace her family and friends.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that it was an amazing account of a brave, courageous woman who survived the atrocities around her by living one day at a time. Trying her best to hold on to a shred of hope. Despite the odds she survives Ravensbruck. Her life story and those like her should be told, and retold, handed down the generations so they are never forgotten or repeated.

To sum up this book takes you through a whole range of emotions. From dread and being on the edge of your seat as Selma describe how she evades being almost caught on many occasions. There’s horror at the conditions she has to live in, anguish when she is so ill, it seems she will die in the camp, to elation when Ravensbruck is liberated, relief she isn’t in the wagon that is bombed yet at the same time despair for those poor women to have survived the war and a concentration camp to be bombed and killed during their liberation by those on their own side of the war. I say this about lots of the books I read about those that survived the Holocaust but Selma’s story is one of courage, bravery and yes as Selma herself says luck and it must be read, and talked about. It’s a message, memories of an horrendous time that should never be forgotten.