Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines Publication Date : June 3rd 2019 Genre : Mystery Pages : 119
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Beware, beware, the beast of Lozère! Who lurks in your dreams, and knows how to scare You will freeze at the sight of strange dancing at night And the dead, in their coffins, still stare.
A menacing wolf is terrorizing the village of Lozère. A beautiful young girl has lost her family and her best friend to this nightmare when Sparrow shows up with his characteristic curiosity. But all is not as it seems in this cold mountain village, where the beasts are like men and the men are like beasts.
Sparrow came to Lozère to tell stories, but he stayed for the stories Lozère told him…
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to author for review copy. ***
Episodic Sleep Disorders was unusual mystery that revolved around Sparrow, a storyteller, trying to uncover the mysteries of Lozère village and its people. It was interesting blend of folk tales and scientific elements set in fictional village filled with imagination and allusions.
Episodic Sleep Disorders started with Sparrow, traveler and storyteller, meeting Reynard at his campsite. Sparrow wanted to visit Lozère next but his new companion hinted there’s something dark about this village and it gives nightmare. When Sparrow visited Lozère, he knew Reynard was telling the truth. Lozère had a feel of ghost town, no sounds, no activities shrouded in eerie silence and he witness an unusual events at graveyard that picked his interest. He wanted to know story of this village and its people, to uncover what happened here. The more he knew the more darkness he discovered that might endanger his life. I was curious to know why people were having hallucination, what was the story of wolf was and how Sparrow would save himself and the village from twisted scheme of perpetrator.
Writing was easy to follow, vivid, and gripping. Story was written in episodes instead of chapters that told the story within story and each ended with cliffhanger that made me keep flipping pages. I liked the switch between Sparrow’s visit to Lozère, story about it and his retelling and conversations with Reynard. There was some interesting myths and scientific details- Anomic Aphasia, taphophobia and phytology and Zymology- incorporated with mystery.
Suspense of villager’s behavior, unseen beast was interesting. I couldn’t figure it out until its revelation. Climax was both tense and entertaining. I was impressed by Sparrow’s smart trick and clever escape. End was shocking and also open to interpretation for reader using their imagination.
Why 4 stars-
My only complaint was it was bit confusing at some points.
Episodic Sleep Disorders was quick, intriguing, dark mystery with vivid description and eerie setting. I recommend this book to fans of short stories.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about the book and review, if you have read it already or are you going to add it to TBR. Do you like to read short stories? Which is your favorite short story?
If you enjoy my posts and blog, please consider supporting me.
Sign up to receive emails whenever I write new post-
Hello Readers! Today I’m excited to welcome Sherryl D. Hancock, author of WeHo Series to celebrate release of 16th book in series, Darkness Past, on Books Teacup and Reviews to talk about Stumbling blocks to writing a long series. The series is packed with strong, kick-ass women who deal with real issues and overcome a lot of adversity. Check out this interesting guest post and more about book in this post.
Stumbling blocks to writing a long series:
Writing a long series means never having to say goodbye!
As a writer you fall in love with the characters in your books, and writing interconnected series means you don’t have to stop seeing your characters. When I wrote my first book in what was to become the WeHo series, When Love Wins, I had no intention of writing a series. My character Tyler Hancock was inspired by my wife and her time spent in the United States Air Force. She was negatively affected by the military’s stance on gays in the military (they weren’t allowed!). At that point I just wanted to get that story out there. My second book, When Angels Fall, didn’t have the same characters. It was only when I began visualizing my third, Break in the Storm, that I saw a way to bring back Devin and Skyler from When Angels Fall. Even then, I didn’t really plan a “series.”
One year out of high school, before WeHo ever came about, I accidentally began writing my first series of books. The very first book I wrote from beginning to end was called Building Empires, which turned out to be the first and second book of my MidKnight Blue series. Building Empires was so long I had to split it into two books, when I finally got published many years later! That’s when I fell in love with the main character Midnight Chevalier; I didn’t even know I liked women then! In Midnight I had a strong female character, a woman who took no crap from anyone, and who was tough enough to hold her own against anyone! I found that after writing about her exploits, I didn’t want her story to end! I wanted her to grow, change, live and love! I wanted other characters in the book to grow up, and become their own people.
When I began writing WeHo number four, Turning Tables, I saw how I could bring characters from my other series, MidKnight Blue, into my WeHo universe. Even bringing a supernatural element to the books, using a character I’d previously developed who has the gift of premonitions. I think that’s when the idea of writing a series starring recurring characters and centering them all in West Hollywood (WeHo), California really took hold. Thus, the WeHo series was born!
By the time I started the third Midnight Chevalier story, I realized that I needed to add characters who’d grown up in the previous two books. So I started adding new characters, while developing the ones I already had. Giving them love lives, letting them change and grow as people. As it turned out, the characters changed me too. As I explored the options for their lives, what they could do, how they could find love, I realized what was truly missing in my life: REAL LOVE! Right around the time I started to write the story about Kana Sorbinno meeting the love of her life, a woman, was about the same time I discovered my preference for women. As I explored the gay lifestyle for my characters, I learned more about myself.
It took me another ten years to finally end my marriage to a man, and live the life I’d wanted for so long. That’s when I met my soul mate, and a few years later, finally decided to write a lesbian romance! And we all know what that led to!
Now, you’re probably wondering… I thought she said this was about the stumbling blocks to writing a long series… Well, yes, there are stumbling blocks and that is MANAGING so many characters and trying to keep track of their stories. There are over forty women in the series! With more to come! It’s not always easy to wrangle so many personalities, habits, backgrounds, jobs, cars, and music preferences (if you read the WeHo series you’ll see I’m all about the music and the cars!). It only becomes worse when your publisher moves to audio books! Then the poor narrator has to come up with different intonations for each character.
How do I keep track of all of them? Well, I have a book, and that book has notes from the books, from research on the books. The book also has a list of characters by name, age, the vehicles they drive. I know that probably seems silly if you haven’t read the series, but the cars are featured heavily in many of the “group” scenes! I even have pictures in this book. The pictures are of women that inspire the characters, shots of the cars they drive, random things like an article for an apartment rental in New York, or a picture of the Colonel’s Insignia for Kai Temple in Quid Pro Quo, or a picture of a tattoo one of the characters has. The pictures can be anything I need or want to remember about the character.
The music is a whole other arena! I have so much music downloaded from what the various characters listen to. I have playlists for certain characters, or at the very least a playlist of a type of music. I have a classic rock playlist for when I need to get into the head of Jericho Tehrani (from Turning Tables) when she’s driving her Dodge Challenger Hellcat down the road. I also have a house music playlist for getting into the mind of Memphis McQueen (In Plain Sight)! Music is very important to me and can stir up so many emotions and memories. Many people who have read my series have told me how they discovered Breaking Benjamin, or Linkin Park because they read the names of the songs in the book and downloaded it. I love sharing my passion for music with my readers!
The most important thing about writing a long series, is enjoying the feeling when another book is ready to come out and people are anticipating it! I love seeing the excitement of my readers when I post that a new book in the WeHo series is coming out! It fuels my need to write, even if it means adding another name to the growing list in my book! I am starting a new series, about fire fighters working for Cal Fire here in California…maybe I won’t use the same characters over and over again, but maybe you’ll see characters you know too!
Darkness Past (WeHo series #16) by Sherryl D. Hancock Publication Date: June 22, 2020 Publisher: Vulpine Press Genre: LGBT romance
Sierra Youngblood’s life is in danger. After being threatened and stalked by an old client, Kashena Marshal is assigned as her protection. But Kashena isn’t just any security officer, she’s an old flame that Sierra could never forget.
After years apart they soon discover they still share a spark, despite Sierra now being married to a man with a son. Eventually, she realizes she can’t live without Kashena and chooses to leave her husband. But when Jason turns violent, Kashena is forced to protect Sierra once more.
As the dust starts to settle, could there be yet more Darkness in the Past?
Sherryl D. Hancock lives in Sacramento, California, and has been writing since she was a teenager. Sherryl’s bestselling WeHo series deals with a number of important topics, such as abuse and problems with mental health. Sherryl’s books are filled with strong, inspiring women in the hope of helping and inspiring others.
You can find her latest book, Darkness Past, here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this guest post and if you have read any book in this series or are you going to add it to TBR.
If you enjoy my posts and blog, please consider supporting me.
Sign up to receive emails whenever I write new post-
Hello Readers! Today I’m pleased to share guest post from Tara Gilboy, as a part of blog tour for Rewritten. Rewritten is Middle Grade Fantasy, second book in Unwritten series. If you missed my review on this book, check it out➡ HERE ⬅.
Guest Post: Where Do Good Story Ideas Come From?
One of the most common questions writers get asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” Often when I hear this question I freeze, because I’m not sure I have a good answer to it. I get ideas for stories all the time; I believe one of the requirements of being an author is to remain forever curious about the world. Or perhaps writers are all a bit prone to anxiety. One of my professors in graduate school remarked that she thought ideas often come from a writer’s neuroticism. We are always imagining the worst that could happen in any given situation, and then rather than letting our worries develop into severe phobias, we write stories about them.
Recently, I was hiking on a mountain trail near my house, and as the sun started to set, I began imagining all the things that might jump out of the trees just beyond the next ridge. Axe murderers? A bigfoot creature? (Local legends call this creature a ‘zoobie.’) Ghosts? My mind started wandering about what would happen if something did leap out from behind a rock, and suddenly I was making up a story in my head about campers who stumble on a cell phone while hiking a trail, and on the phone is video footage of what happened to its owner…
So ideas are all around us all the time. Getting good ideas for stories is another thing entirely. Most of the ideas I come up with are terrible, as my writing friends can attest. (Well, who wouldn’t want to read a story about a mountain-dwelling zoobie?)
The idea for Rewritten evolved from a variety of factors. When I finished Unwritten (for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a middle grade fantasy about a girl named Gracie who is a character from an unpublished fairy tale, whose parents took her out of the story, and into the real world, as a baby, to save her life), I knew if I wrote a sequel, Gracie would need to go into another story world, but I wasn’t sure what this story world would be. Would she go back to Bondoff, the fairy tale land of her birth? Somewhere else?
As I was struggling with these ideas and working on some other writing projects, I was also performing improv and taking classes at a San Diego comedy theater. A couple of the classes I took were on longform improv. One of the things we talked about was how to perform an improvised full-length play in a particular genre. It could be science fiction, Shakespeare, horror, film noire, musical…. You get the idea. As an exercise in class, we sat down and listed “tropes” for every genre, things that are common to each. For example, in Shakespeare, there are a lot of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, metaphors, love stories, etc. In film noire, there is usually rampant sexism, chain-smoking detectives, and dialogue that uses words like “dame” and “ace.” These lists got me thinking a lot about what genre might provide the highest stakes for Gracie, and it wasn’t long before I zeroed in on gothic horror, which also happens to be one of my favorite genres to read.
I spent a lot of time reading classics like Dracula and Frankenstein and making lists of tropes and clichés. I knew I needed a setting that was very contained, claustrophobic even. I imagined an old manor house, which I named Blackwood Hall. I wanted a creature that haunted the night. I listed spooky imagery like cemeteries, dark woods, shadowy hallways. Even then, though, the book hadn’t taken shape: I was stuck. I kept starting and stopping: even though I knew where Gracie’s journey would take her, I hadn’t figured out yet what that journey meant for her. In other words, I hadn’t figured out what Gracie’s goal was.
It wasn’t until I started delving deep into Gracie’s character, figuring out what her emotional wounds were that she needed to resolve, and thinking carefully about what she wanted (which ended up being about grappling with the events of Unwritten and who she was) that I was able to complete the novel. It was only then that I understood what impact traveling into the world of Blackwood Hall would have on Gracie.
And that brings me back to my point about what makes a good story idea. In order to have an idea that is sufficient to create a whole story, you have to know what your main character wants. This is the through line that will sustain your novel and hold all the events together, so that it feels like a cohesive story. Every time I’ve started a novel that floundered (I’ve written A LOT of partial novels that I abandoned halfway through), it’s because my protagonist didn’t have a strong enough goal. Ideas are all around us, and if you keep your eyes open and your curiosity sharp, you will find them. Once you’ve found your idea, think carefully about what that idea means for the main character. If you’re writing about time-traveling opera singers from outer space, or a town built of cotton candy, or a family of misunderstood mountain monsters, make sure you know what that journey means for your characters. That’s how you turn a random idea into a story readers won’t be able to put down.
Rewritten (Unwritten #2) by Tara Gilboy Expected publication Date: April 7th 2020 Publisher: North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
“After learning the truth about her own fairy tale, twelve-year-old Gracie wants nothing more than to move past the terrible things author Gertrude Winters wrote about her and begin a new chapter in the real world. If only things were going as planned. On the run from the evil Queen Cassandra, the characters from Gracie’s story have all been forced to start over, but some of them cannot forget Gracie’s checkered past.
Even worse, Gracie discovers that as long as Cassandra has her magical book, the Vademecum, Gracie’s story is still being written and none of the characters are safe, including her mom and dad. In a desperate attempt to set things right, Gracie finds herself transported into another one of Gertrude’s stories—but this one is a horror story. Can Gracie face her destiny and the wild beast roaming the night, to rewrite her own story?”
Hello Readers! Today I delighted to share my review of No Signal by Jem Tugwell for blog tour. Many thanks to Raquel Elias at Serpentine Books for tour invite and review copy.
No Signal (iMe, #2) by Jem Tugwell Publications Date : June 4th 2020 Publisher : Serpentine Books Genre : Science-Fictions / Thriller / Dystopia Pages : 384 Stars : ★★★★★
In a breathtaking follow-up novel to ‘Proximity’, Serge says it’s the ultimate Augmented Reality game. He’s chosen his Ten carefully – the reckless, driven and strong. He tests them. Ten become Four.
DI Clive Lussac wants to fight the system that controls everything, but he’s ill and losing the people closest to him. In the middle of eco- protests, he’s lost four tourists.
As Clive’s world unravels, he and his partners DC Ava Miller and DS Zoe Jordan race to find the tourists and the true reason behind the game. It may already be too late.
A CONTROLLED POPULATION The UK has embedded technology – iMe. It knows where you are… all the time. It controls what you eat. It has eradicated crime and made everyone healthy.
A DEVASTATED WORLD The world is on the brink. The Government talks but doesn’t act. It thinks it’s safe.
TIME FOR CHANGE Who will ignite it? Who has the determination to see it through? What will be sacrificed for the cause?
*** Note : Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy of this book as a part of blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. ***
No Signal was another mind blowing book in iMe series. It was about advances and drawbacks of technologies, government control and its impact on common people, political games, eco-socialism, terrorism, greed, fame, and power.
Writing was engaging, easy to follow and captivating. The world, like previous book, was impressive. In this book more pros and cons of iMe were explored which was broadened by inclusion of environmental conditions, terrorism, politics, gaming, and power. No Signal was multiple third person perspective, set in UK.
It started a year after the end of Proximity with villain dropping parcels in UK and selecting final participants for Forbidden Island, an AR game, but the real motive was sinister. That instantly made me curious to know what was in the parcel and why participants were sent to play in UK. At the same time things were same even worst with Clive. He was back to working at PCU, Zoe joined cybercrime department, health was spiraling down because of excess indulgence of chocolates, and his relationship with Sophia was on verge of breaking. Life was pretty dull and depressive with no real work until four tourist lost their signal. Now these four tourist were final four participant of the game. And so began the chase. I was curious to know how Clive and Ava will capture them, what their purpose was, and if the participant will reach their end destination and what will happen after that.
This was a bit different from first book. In Proximity culprit was unknown and tension was there from beginning till end, we know all moves of culprit and waiting to see when and how Clive and his department will capture the culprit. Here we know the organizer but not the mastermind of the game and we don’t know what they have planned until main twist at 60% of the book. Until then we are introduced to all participants and organizer, selection process, how participants reached UK, got rid of their iTourist band, and how they were doing in their game, Clive and his new partner Ava trying to figure out how to find them and capture them, and get at the bottom of this game.
Clive was amazing throughout the book. I felt for this man. It was really hard survive as anti-iMe in the iMe lover system and his addiction and craving for chocolates and alcohol didn’t help him much. Now his diabetes was back to stop all the cheat food he was having and sent Winter from health and well-being department back to breathing on his neck. I liked the way he tried to change to keep his relationship. I could see why he couldn’t keep trying. Problems at work, views of politicians, and then depression after climax pushed him beyond limits but still I didn’t approve what he did at the end.
Ava was lovely and brilliant. She was just 23, a small package full of strength, energy, and determination. She made Clive proud, solved half the case even before Clive could think. I loved this girl and along with Clive, I started to care for her.
Zoe took back seat in this book, popping here and there when required until that big twist. When the case went to her department she and Clive formed team once again. I loved seeing her back in action.
I loved scenes describing the arguments and views on government control with iMe, New Modelist church and its vision of peace and contentment, eco-socialism and its followers, control rebellions, pros and cons of diversity, cyber threats and terrorism in world. More importantly I liked the way drawbacks of technology and its impact was represented. This world solved most of the problem but couldn’t keep the earth safe, couldn’t treat patients with genetic defect, couldn’t see the impact on mental health and understand emotional conflicts and now all those protests and political game was leading humanity back to where it all started, going back in time of primitives. It was ironical.
Climax was sad and heartbreaking, tense and infuriating. I hated all politicians for using what happened to their advantage, was shocked at hearing their thoughts about change, angry at Clive’s boss, Lance, for messing things, not believing Clive, and then taking all credits. I liked Bhatt in first book but I didn’t in this because she didn’t support Clive enough. No wonder Clive’s depression went beyond his control. End was shocking with what Clive did but also made me smile and say ‘about time’. I want next book in this series. I hope author is not thinking to end it here.
Overall, No signal was brilliant, thought provoking, and impressive sci-fi thriller with realistic characters and intimidating world. For fans of dystopia and sci-fi, just grab this book. But read this in order.
Jem Tugwell Author Profile:
Jem Tugwell is a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University. NO SIGNAL is the second book in the iMe series and follows his thrilling debut novel PROXIMITY.
Jem is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. In a past life, Jem had a successful career in technology and investment management, and he lives in Surrey with his wife and dog. He has two great children. Outside of his family and writing, Jem’s loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.
Proximity (iMe #1) by Jem Tugwell Publication Date : June 6th 2019 Publisher : Serpentine Books Genre : Science-Fictions / Thriller / Dystopia Pages : 352 Stars : ★★★★★
iMe NOTICE – TO ALL NEW ADULTS Your compulsory iMe implant will be performed by your fourteenth birthday when you become an adult.
Your iMe will track and save your location to keep you safe and remove crime. It’s integrated health monitoring diagnoses issues early to provide you with the best possible care. Combined with iMe’s tailored diet and fitness programs – you are always at your best. Your consumption is optimal, your waste is negligible – better for you, better for the environment.
iMe – enabling a better you.
In the world of iMe, you can’t get away with anything. Least of all murder. DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime.
Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable.
With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…
*** Note : Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. ***
Proximity, first book in iMe series, was thrilling dystopia, science-fiction thriller that revolved around iMe technology and detective inspector and his partner trying to solve missing person case. It was about power, technology control vs liberty, freedom vs safety and security, and impact of technology on life and world.
Writing was compelling that hooked me from the beginning. It was fast paced that instantly put me on those empty desks of PCU (proximity control unit) office along with DI Clive Lussac and his young partner Zoe Jordan with their age gap and world that relied on iMe technology. Proximity was first person narrative from Clive, Zoe and Thief’s POV. Thief’s perspective was most interesting and chilling. They should be titled psycho than Thief but I guess psycho kidnapped people so maybe we can go along with it.
I wouldn’t say much about plot or how it started as that synopsis did great job with it. I was curious how Clive and Zoe were going to solve the case as they needed to change methods and not everything from old world was working. Thief was not leaving any evidence behind and soon one missing person turned to two, later a murder case and it was obvious Thief was not going to stop there unless they both do something real fast.
Side characters, suspects and villain were amazing. I enjoyed reading what they thought about technology, how they were related to victims, and why Thief picked particular victims. They added bits of information about world along with their story. Both Clive and Zoe were my favorite characters.
Clive was old school, grumpy inspector who regretted bringing iMe in police department that caused job loss of many of his colleague. He hated this new technology that couldn’t give him his comfort food and drinks. No policing was needed with iMe as it could monitor everything and so criminal that made zero crime world possible which meant his job was now boring, no use of brain, no thrill of chasing criminals, no solving cases. His wife left him because of his lack of change with technology and grumpy, depressing nature.
Zoe was young, iMe generation, who loved conveniences of technology with safety, security, and healthy life. She couldn’t understand why Clive hated iME or why he wouldn’t live healthy and why less work, stress and more relaxing time with nobody dying or no crime was problem for him. She didn’t like him or working with his grumpy, moody nature until the case.
I loved this duo. They both had contrasting nature and opinion yet when case required them to work together without relying on technology, they both came over their differences and started caring for each other like partners of old days. Zoe was smart and fast. She learned to interview and interrogate suspects, how to find clues when there was no physical evidence. As she worked with Clive, she started enjoying the thrill of finding culprit, her faith in iMe and technology shattered and understood why Clive kept complaining about it. I enjoyed the way Clive’s mind worked and got out of tricky situation.
Setting of near future UK with compulsory iMe chip in body allowed government to monitor everything you do including your health with food and drink intake. Drones for all work, no phone required, machines and home securities, even fridge, restaurants and bars were synched with technology that delivered food and drink as per your health statistics and allowances… iMe signals, how it worked and its data…. it all made the world both fascinating and intimidating. I loved the way pros and cons of iMe was described here through characters’ situation. How this world too had corruption, those who had money and power could get away or find a way to cheat iME.
I loved the convenience iMe provided but when it comes to food and system- both safety, policing, and health, I agreed with Clive. I wouldn’t give up my freedom for health and security. It was too controlling and suffocating. I laughed and also felt relatable with that man attacking fridge with axe situation (I could picture myself in his place doing the same thing). The most epic one which made me laugh- car speed. Clive and Zoe were reaching at location to catch culprit, guess what their car speed was… 20 mph. 😳 They had to apply for chase mode and it took 5-10 minute to run authorization and that too wasn’t helpful much. 😂
Twist and turns were amazing. I couldn’t guess who the next victim was or who was Thief until climax which was at 85% of the book. Climax was tense and nail-biting. I couldn’t tell how they were going to stop Thief from playing last game or if it will be too late to save victims until last chapter. End was perfect.
Overall, Proximity was clever, thought-provoking and riveting techno thriller with brilliant world building. I highly recommend this to fans of dystopia and sci-fi books.