#Throwback Thursday: Our Review for The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias #Literature & Fiction #Horror


A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain, Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.
As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?


Our Review

The opening chapter left me breathless and totally hooked, from the sheer amount of background detail and the introduction of the catalyst character, whose very existence led to the creation of this book.

After hearing that her long lost mother had become a nun and committed suicide, Siobhan, her eldest daughter, goes to the convent to learn the truth.

What exactly was her mother’s secret? Why did an ordinary mother decide to abandon her family and become a nun?

After a riveting opening, we are taken several steps back, almost losing the rhythm of the story. Then Siobhan starts to read her mother’s journal.

What happens to her mother was extremely hard to read, so emotionally charged was the graphic description. Left severely abused and paralysed, the mother’s ordeal is over, but her recovery will take a long time.

Suspicion eats away at her; could someone she knows have been responsible?

The story continues, possibly too graphic and round about then I began to wonder if a mother would really write such things in a letter to her daughter.

Just when I was beginning to wonder about the plot, the story moved on. She had fulfilled the pact she made with the devil, so what would happen now?

We are not destined to find out just yet, and the last section of the book was beginning to read more like a documentary, far too many facts and figures. And just how many of them are true?

Right at the end, I realised this was only the beginning; there would be another part of this story, probably far more exciting than this one…

Although this was a riveting read, the format of the kindle copy I bought was faulty, with annoying font changes here and there. This was not the reason I only gave it a 4* review however, that was because the cliff-hanger almost had me screaming!`



#Flights of Fancy…

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Tommy Flynn

There are many tall tales told in Rosemead Village.

My grandfather lived there all his life and after he died, I read in his journals about the mystery of Tommy Flynn and his surfboard.

I remember seeing the surfboard above the bar in the village pub, but few villagers would speak to me about Tommy or the return. The twelve-year-old boy who made his own surfboard, promising to ride the high wave one day. Spending all day at the beach, watching the older boys, learning whatever he could.

After falling off his board more times than he could count, he finally managed to ride the 30-foot wall of water. When the wave collapsed, it took Tommy’s body. They searched for hours but he was never found, but his board made it back to shore. Every year since, the board vanishes, only to turn up on the beach and be put back above the bar.

On the anniversary of his death, the villagers gathered at the beach to wait for his return. They say you can see Tommy riding the wave when the light is just right, but no one has ever taken a photograph of this. People say it couldn’t be done, that Tommy wouldn’t want it.

I intended to try. I followed the villagers to the beach, no camera, just my phone, as I didn’t want to upset anyone. Come midday when the high wave arrived, I could almost make out the shape of a young boy riding the wave. I kept taking pictures, hoping I would get something.

The wave died, but the people stood still as if waiting for something.

Then I saw it, Tommy’s board, slowly making its way back to shore.

Checking my phone, I found one shot where I could almost see the figure of Tommy Flynn, hands in the air as he rode the wave…


The People’s Wharf

Sun in Gemini

There’s a warship next door… It may be something I ate… but, no, I look again and it’s still there…

There were only two bottles of beer in our lovely complementary fridge last, night, on our arrival in Sydney, and I managed, in my sleep deprived state, to spill a third of the contents of one of them on the carpet…. I did my best to mop it, using a dampened hand-towel from the bathroom.

So, it can’t be the beer, and we’ve had the first proper sleep in what feels like a week of travel; so the warship is real and needs integrating into my ‘now’.

Philosophically, I don’t take every such visual symbol at its face value, but a bloody great warship is quite a challenge….

So, I should explain, assuming you have persevered this far…

The warship is on a quay in a place whose name has…

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#GenreMashup Week #BookReview number 3: Christmas in Switzerland by Melinda Huber #Romance

Barb Taub

It’s not the destination…it’s the journey.

As promised in my genre mashup post here (and just in time to kick off the holiday season), Melinda Huber has released Christmas in Switzerland, a Christmas-themed addition to her Lakeside Hotel contemporary romance series.

“Whoa, there…” I can hear your protests now. “You said this week was all about genre mashups. How does that include a straight-up romance?” 

The answer is simple. Because there is really only ONE requirement for a romance novel (a happily ever after or HEA), romances by definition are mashups with any other genre. It’s not to be confused with a love story (where one or more lovers often dies, resulting in much blubbering, snot, and soggy tissue production). If one of the lovers dies in a romance novel, it’s probably because it’s mashed with a paranormal and come sundown, the lover will rise more sexy than ever…

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Info Regarding Amazon Associates

Stevie Turner

I’ve discovered another way of increasing clicks on products linking to Amazon Associates, and therefore possibly augmenting any payment.

Instead of just plonking the code for a banner on website pages, this post explains how to use text URLs on blogs, which usually receive more clicks.

If I want to advertise a product such as my memoir, I would use the shortened Amazon URL of the book (cut off just before ‘ref’) and then add ?tag= and lastly add my associate ID stevieturner-21.  Simple isn’t it!

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Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Charles Yallowitz

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

Conversations with ColleenThe October Edition (1)

Hello everyone! This week I’m happy to bring you a fantasy author I’ve known for a few years now. I asked him to pick three or five questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from Charles and his characters when writing fantasy.

Please meet my guest, Charles:

Author Photo

Author, Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State.

When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day.

Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his…

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#WednesdayWriters ~ Nine Lives ~ Chapter 24 #MysteryThriller #Fiction


Kate has welcomed death from an early age. With no family to speak of and a brother she hates, she waits for death to take her away.

It speaks to her. Teases her, yet will not come for her.

Death takes those around her, making her desire for it greater than ever.

She wonders how much longer it will take for her time to run out…

Chapter Twenty-four

On the way home, Kate picked up some lamb chops and some white wine for her lunch with Sam, inwardly still trying not to be angry with Michael. Who did he think he was? Regardless of the fact him turning up was something she had dreamed of for years, he still had the cheek of the devil.

There was an ambulance outside Janet’s house and Kate’s heartbeat accelerated as she walked towards it, wondering who it was for. As she drew closer, she saw Janet’s door was open and as she watched, a paramedic in a reflective yellow striped jacket was wheeling Janet out of her house in a wheelchair. She appeared to be asleep, her face pale and peaceful. What had happened?

She approached the ambulance. ‘Hello, how is Mrs Goldman? I’m her neighbour.’

The paramedic stopped for a second and looked at her. ‘The old dear took a tumble and we’re just taking her in to be checked over.’

‘How did she tumble, she has no stairs?’ Kate asked.

‘She must have been up on a chair, there was one overturned when we turned up.’  He grinned at her and climbed into the back of the ambulance. ‘She’ll be fine, see if she’s not.’

Kate had the strangest feeling Janet wouldn’t be ‘fine’.  She was far too old to be taking a tumble.

She decided to spend the rest of the day in her studio after she had something to eat and if Janet wasn’t home by tomorrow morning, she would go and see how she was.

The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing the next canvas. This one was going to be a night scene, with the moonlight like a pathway across the water. That was the plan anyway, and that sometimes changed as her paintbrush often had a mind of its own.

As the afternoon faded into early evening, Kate found herself thinking about Michael a little more fondly than she had that morning. She had almost seemed rude, hadn’t she?  God knows what he made of it.

She was in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil when there was a knock at the front door. Who could have that be, she thought, wondering if it was something to do with Janet.

Kate’s heart was in her mouth as she opened the door to find Michael standing there with a small bunch of carnations clutched to his chest. She almost choked, and her first instinct was to slam the door, but for some strange reason, she couldn’t.

‘I’ve come to apologise, Kate. I shouldn’t have carried on as though nothing was wrong between us. No wonder you had nothing to say. Please let me in, so we can start again and talk properly.’

She glared at him. ‘How do you know where I live?’

‘I felt so bad after you left, I had to find you so I could apologise in person. I had no way of knowing if you would turn up tomorrow.’

‘But how did you know where I live?’

He had the grace to look sheepish. ‘I looked you up on the electoral roll. Lucky you still use your old name, or I would never have found you.’

Kate still hesitated, unsure whether to let him in or not. This was her private space; did she want him touching everything?

She already knew she would let him in, the effect he had on her was the same as ever, regardless of the history between them. ‘You had better come in then,’ she said, standing aside so he could pass. ‘And don’t think I have forgiven you because I haven’t.’

He turned and offered her the flowers. ‘They’re not a peace offering Kate; I just thought you would like them.’

She tried to accept them gracefully, knowing she would prefer to wrap them around his neck, and made her way to the kitchen to put them in water.

He stood in the doorway watching her, and it all seemed the most natural thing in the world as if he had done exactly that dozens of times before.

It suddenly occurred to her just how much she resented him showing up on her doorstep.

‘Nice place you have here, Kate. Been here long?’

Why did she automatically think he already knew the answer to that?

‘Not long ‘, she said, non-committedly. ‘And I will soon be moving on, anyway’.

He smiled, and there was just a hint of nervousness in his smile. Was it possible he was a little unsure of his reception?

He nodded at the back door. ‘What happened to the cat?’

The hair on the back of her neck twitched and it was all she could do not to march up to him and slap his face hard. ‘Why assume something happened to my cat? He could be sleeping in another room.’

His smile vanished, and she could see he was trying to think of a suitable answer. Whatever he said, she wouldn’t believe a word.  It was as if he knew what had happened to Dylan, and how could he, unless… The possibilities that presented themselves didn’t bear thinking about, and she knew something was wrong. Nobody would say a thing like that by chance.

‘Come on Michael, say something to convince me you meant nothing sinister.’

‘I don’t know why I said that, Kate. The way you’re carrying on, something did happen to the cat. What was it?

The cheek of the man took her breath away, which was just as well for she had no intention of telling him anything.

‘It doesn’t matter, come and sit down and tell me the real reason you showed up here tonight.’

He followed her out of the kitchen and paused outside her studio. ‘Can I have a look?’

The door was open, so he already had a good look in her opinion. She leaned past him and closed the door. ‘I would rather you didn’t if you don’t mind,’ she said, not caring she came across as more than a little angry.

He looked surprised, but what did he expect? Had he forgotten how badly he had let her down, not to mention walking out on the child they had made together?

Her temper finally snapped and she turned on him angrily. ‘Don’t bother getting comfortable, Michael. I want you to leave, now.’


‘No buts, did you think I would fall into your arms again? You must be more stupid than I thought.  Please, just go.’

For a moment, he managed to look sad, but if that was supposed to mean anything to her, he was badly mistaken. Although a small part of her still loved him, a bigger part resented him for turning up like this, assuming she would forgive and forget.  She hadn’t been able to do it then and certainly wasn’t about to do it now.

Kate went to open the front door, desperate to get him out of her flat.  Just as well I’m leaving, she thought, as knowing he knew where to find her was annoying her a lot more than she thought it would.

‘Can’t we just talk about this, Kate,’ he said, trying to look sheepish.

She came up to him and shoved him not too gently towards the door. ‘Go away Michael, I don’t want you here.’

As he walked away, she waited for him to turn around, to appeal to her one more time. He didn’t, he kept on walking and for a split second it was all so sad she felt like crying.

He didn’t appear to have come by car. If he had, it must be parked somewhere else. Why would he do that?

As Kate stood on the doorstep, she noticed there were no lights showing at Janet’s house. Did that mean she was still in the hospital?  She would have to ring them in the morning and find out what was going on.

She didn’t feel in the least like painting, and went to the studio and stared at the canvas. She should work on it a bit more, after all, Sam was coming for lunch tomorrow and the more progress she could see, the better. It might help to get all thoughts of Michael out of her head, so she would have no trouble sleeping tonight.

She tried to empty her mind of him as she spent the next few hours pushing paint onto the canvas, and one question kept rattling around in her head. Why had he assumed something happened to her cat?  It might have just been a coincidence; after all, there was a cat flap in the back door. It could have been for the previous tenant’s cat. It was almost as if he knew something bad had happened, but how could he have done?

She decided to call it a night when her arm was so stiff she could hardly hold the paintbrush. Canvas number three was almost finished and Kate liked the way this one was turning out. Probably because it was such a peaceful, serene scene, it had gone a long way to soothing the savage beast Michael had awakened with his impromptu visit…

What does Michael want?

Did he kill her cat?


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves for Christmas #thriller – Desperation Rules the Day by Colin Guest

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Very pleased to share the latest book by Colin Guest – Desperation Rules the Day

About the book

Nathan, the captain of a ship, finds himself in serious trouble. Unless he can pay his gambling debts, he is liable to lose his fingers. Given this, when offered a large sum of money to accept two containers on his ship, Nathan is only too willing to agree. He later finds he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. To his shock and horror, he finds himself the unwilling accomplice in a terrorist plot targeting America. After the authorities learn of this, Nathan makes a failed bid to escape a possible death prison sentence. As a result, he takes his own life. On the American President hearing about the failed attempt, he wants answers on who was behind the plot.

Head over and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J5S1FBR

And on Amazon…

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