Category Archives: Book reviews

Alana Woods’ book reviews: VAMPIRE ADDICTIONS by Thea Atkinson

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Vampire addictions 355KB

I can go a long time between stories about vampires. I can also go a long time between stories with confronting sex.

But when I do read them I want them to be good, so I’m pleased I fell off the wagon and picked them up.

This is one such book. And to top off my luck it’s full of vampires AND sex. AND it’s told with a needle-point wit.

Told in the first person it’s the story of Jade, a young woman drawn into the world of vampires. Because we’re taken into her mind and heart we’re sucked (no pun intended) very quickly into the vortex of her fears and desires.

The pace never slackens; it’s top gear all the way. And dare I say I’m liking her choice of vampire mate!


vampire addictions book 2

This is book 2 in a series. I haven’t investigated to see how many there are in the series but right now, after finishing the second, I’m inclined to say that I’m happy to keep reading them.

Book 1 introduced us to Jade, a young woman recovering from a relationship that gave her trust and commitment issues. That’s not to say she’s steering clear of men completely—she’s just not going to give her love to any of them. That includes Magnus, a vampire she can’t get enough of physically.

Book 1 dripped sex. It was a good read, but book 2 is better. Why? First because there’s less sex—I’m not a huge fan of erotic literature. But overwhelmingly it’s because it gives us an increasingly complex storyline and characters. It also ramps up the action. The pace is as fast as the vampires are on their feet, and that’s apparently very fast!

The story is told in the first person from Jade’s point of view and this allows us to get right into her head, and into her heart. She’s a character worth following as she digs herself ever deeper into the murky underworld of vampires, witches and demons and, so far, is still alive!

Vampire addictions book 1 on Amazon

Vampire addictions book 2 on Amazon

Take this link to my interview with THEA ATKINSON

Alana Woods’ book reviews: LOOKING FOR LIONEL by Paul V Walters

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lionel cover

In the introduction to this book the author observes that writing short stories is no easy task. He’s a successful novelist who has for the first time, with this collection, tried his hand at another genre. In a novel the author has time to develop the story line and characters. In a short story there are several thousand words at most in which to tell the story. They are snapshots that, when told by a gifted storyteller, convey a nuanced lifetime in those few words.

Walters needn’t worry. Every one of these stories is a superbly nuanced snapshot.

They follow no theme and are bound, as he points out, only by their quirkiness.

And quirky they are! I found pleasure and poignancy in each. Being Australian I especially enjoyed the outback tales of Looking for Lionel and The kangaroo shooter because they reminded me of the times I spent as a youngster in such places.

I was sorry when I came to the end of the last little tale as they’d kept me entertained, but then there was the bonus of the essays and articles and these, let me tell you, are mostly tongue-in-the-cheek gold. I say mostly because Climate change is a serious piece and When the black dog growls has the capacity to break your heart while ultimately giving you hope.

Walters proves he is an adept raconteur on every level.


Take this link to my interview with Paul V Walters

Alana Woods’ book reviews: DEAD CHARMING by Ian Jackson

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Dead charming

This is the debut novel by English author Ian Jackson, and it’s a cracker of a contemporary psychological thriller.

If you’re a squeamish reader I give you warning now: there are some disturbing scenes that you may want to skim. You won’t lose the plot by doing so.

Set in Manchester UK it tells the story of newly-qualified criminal profiler Jenny Foster as she starts work with the Manchester Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad and is dropped in the deep end of a serial killer case on her first day.

Among other things it’s a story of degradation, torture, manipulation and deception.

Told from multiple points of view—the victims, the killer, Jenny—it takes you intimately into their lives and their minds.

The story is well told and doesn’t lose its way at any point. Jackson keeps the anticipation mounting as the police close in on their quarry and Jenny has to contend with problems at home while hoping her observations about the killer are accurate.

And then there’s the ending! I’m not going to spoil it by saying anything about it.

If you like taut psychological thrillers you might want to give this one a go.

DEAD CHARMING is available at Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith and all good book stores.
Go to Ian’s website and follow the buy links.

Take this link to my interview with IAN JACKSON

Alana Woods’ book reviews: ACCIDENTS OF BIRTH by Christina Carson

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Accidents of birth book 1 Accidents of birth book 2

Once in a very rare while a writer appears and knocks your socks off. Their prose transcends much of what you’ve read before. Their story touches you so deeply it settles to reside in your soul.

Much has been written over the years since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was published about how it stands tall among other wonderful works. If there is any fairness in creation ACCIDENTS OF BIRTH will come to be looked upon as its equal.

The beauty and pathos of Christina Carson’s story reaches out and wraps its tendrils around your heart. So too do her words.

Centred in the small town of Ellensburg, Mississippi, this story follows the lives of a number of its inhabitants, both white and black, focusing on two families, the white Sutton’s and the black Ware’s who served them.

The story begins in the 1960s and opens with a funeral. John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King are still alive. They won’t be at the end of book 2.

Except for chapter 1, book 1 is told in the first person by Imogene Ware, a woman with more love for the human race than anyone could fairly expect of her, given her situation in life. The narration of book 2 widens to take in the voices of several other main characters, so we get to see the viewpoints from both sides of the fence.

It’s an ugly story. The racism, the hatred, the belief in superiority and inferiority are without any redeeming features.

Yet the story is told beautifully, and it leaves you feeling not repulsed by the inhumanity portrayed but uplifted by the generosity of spirit shown by the Ware family to their oppressors and—can I get away with saying it again—the beauty of the prose and Christina Carson’s skill as a storyteller.

ACCIDENTS OF BIRTH on Amazon   US   |   UK  |   AUS

Take this link to my interview with Christina Carson