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Reviews of what you should be reading next.

The Happiness Effect by Donna Freitas

happiness effect

Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. Social media has become the dominant force in young people’s lives, and each day seems to bring another shocking tale of private pictures getting into the wrong hands, or a lament that young people feel compelled to share their each and every thought with the entire world. Have smartphones and social media created a generation of self-obsessed egomaniacs?
Absolutely not, Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book. And, she says, these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing.
Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with–what they really want to talk about–is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online–not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship.
While much of the public’s attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them.

Thanks to NetGalley for this review copy!

Social media is all around us, whether we like it or not. No matter where you go, you will see people constantly checking their phones, taking selfies, or updating their Facebook status. I am one of those people who have spent a few minutes looking at my feed and thinking, “Everyone looks so happy – what am I doing wrong?”

I’m doing nothing wrong. I’m of a generation where I don’t feel pressure to put on a happy face to my peers. I don’t worry about what a potential employer might think of me, based on my social media output. For a change, I feel happy to not be a college student or a Millennial. The pressure (both internal and external) that this generation is under is immense. There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to truly “be yourself” – because the whole world is watching.

The author interviewed a wide sampling of college students around the United States and put together their thoughts in this thought provoking book. Most of the interviewees spoke of selecting the best moments to share on FB, while saving the gossip and melancholy thoughts for sites that encourage anonymous postings. I learned about a site called Yik Yak, where there are no identities, and no boundaries. I also learned that when some students took a self-imposed “holiday” from their cellphones, it was like a vacation. They spoke of truly being in the moment, rather than recording it for their wall.

There was a chapter on relationships, and how students felt about hookup sites like Tinder. In an interesting juxtaposition to this theory by Simon Sinek (click here for video), Freitas notes that college students are very capable of socializing and meeting people, having complete and meaningful conversations with each other, and being empathetic. When they are around their friends, they don’t become awkward and seek to lose themselves in technology; they interact and communicate like any other generation. Sinek, on the other hand, claims that Millennials and future generations will be unable to communicate face to face, due to their smartphone addiction.

For me, the best part of the book was the last 2 chapters, where the author fleshes out her theories and explains her thought process. I support her suggestions of wi-fi free zones, and professors requiring a basket for cellphone “parking” during classes. I also applauded the inclusion of different races and religions, providing needed diversity and showing the reader how circumstances were different from one person to another.

The interviews were informative, and sometimes shocking,  but at times they became repetitive and clogged the flow of information. Perhaps if she organized the book differently, it would have been a bit shorter. She did summarize each chapter at the end, while allowing the thoughts and quotes from each interviewee to illustrate her theories.

One thought that kept occurring to me was how happy I was to be older in today’s world, as I mentioned before. It’s a shame that technology has become such a big part in our lives; I can only hope the human race does not become lost.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up here.

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young

sucess

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.

If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it—impostors in their own lives and careers.
While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again.
An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt.
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are.

Have you ever felt that you didn’t deserve that job you have? Or the grades in school, or praise from peers? Do you feel as if there was a mistake somehow, and you are not as good as others say you are? You are not alone; you may be suffering from Impostor Syndrome.

Many high-achieving women feel as if they got something they didn’t deserve, and are waiting to be “found out”. I picked up this book because I was recently promoted, and still couldn’t believe that I was the “one in charge” – and was sure once I was in the job for a little while, I would be “found out” to be incompetent. At times I felt like a child playing at being grown up.

The author was plagued by similar thoughts – instead of faking it til she made it, she decided to do research into this emerging phenomenon. She came to realize that many things come together to cause this self doubt in women: being “feminine” means not being “bossy”, interacting with men on an uneven playing field causes women to shrink from conflict and quietly overcompensate, plus the emotional makeup of the female means constructive criticism sounds like denigration.

It almost sounds like a given that being successful and a woman means you are in for a lot of self doubt. The author is aware of this, and offers many uplifting thoughts along the way. She takes every excuse that you have, every reason that cements your failure, and cancels them out with infallible stories and truths that help banish the deadly Impostor. Her tone is never judgemental, but encouraging.

Some of her anecdotes are eye opening. There was one comparing two managers who were given a project; one they knew nothing about. One shrunk back and said they couldn’t do it, the other got through it by convincing everyone that they had the background to handle the project. The difference? The first one was a woman, the second, a man. How many times have we heard a man bluster his way through things, and if he fails, he just laughs it off and tries again? Why can’t a woman do this?

The author encourages you to change your mindset by replacing crippling thoughts with positive ones, and offers activities at the end of every chapter to show you that no, you are not a fake. Her style is easy to read while getting her point across in a powerful way. I felt as if I had an older sister who put her arm around me and gave me a push in the right direction!

This is not a book you can skim through; I think it would work best by digesting the chapters slowly while doing a good deal of self reflection. Years of a certain thought pattern doesn’t go away easily, and the author acknowledges this. Everything takes practice. Thanks to this book, banishing the Impostor Syndrome is something I do every day!

Want your own copy? You can pick it up here.

 

Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett

Scared

A serial killer murdering for kicks. A detective seeking revenge.
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong. But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession. When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.
With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life. For the killer, the game has only just begun…
Scared to Death is a gripping fast paced crime thriller from author Rachel Amphlett, in a new series introducing Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…

 

Thanks to the author for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review!

I loved this book! Chapter one was crazy intense, with plenty of action to set the tone of the story. Kay Hunter is a determined, capable woman with some job conflict in her past. The kidnapper is a sociopath on a mission, full of devious ways to murder his victims.

Amphlett knows how to grab the reader’s attention by using strong character development and by keeping the plot moving. There are never too many people clogging up the pages; I really struggle with books that require a scorecard to keep track of characters. I also love that she believes in a strong female lead. Hunter knows what she wants and she trusts her intuition, no matter how much others may think it incorrect.

Setting the crimes in an abandoned building warmed my heart.  What creepier place could you find to make a victim consider her own death? I’m an urban explorer and could visualize the locations easily. What an excellent idea to use these places as a focus point for drama!

SCARED TO DEATH is a win on so many levels; I truly have nothing bad to say about this book. This is the type of story that you sit down to read and suddenly regret not having cleared your calendar prior to starting. The plots twists keep you guessing; even when the real kidnapper is identified, it’s never a guarantee that he will be captured.

Equal parts of suspense, humor, drama and action make this book one of the best ones I’ve read this year so far. The ending leaves the door wide open for the next book in the series to be awaited eagerly – I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens. I also have a theory about who caused the gun to go missing in her previous case – but I’ll keep that to myself and see what happens.

You definitely need to get your own copy – you can pick it up here.

 

Call Me Daddy by Kelly Stone Gamble

call-me

Cass Adams comes from a long line of crazy, and she fears passing that on to her unborn child. Also, she’s run over Roland and Clay’s surprise half brother Britt, landing him in the hospital. With her inner demons coming out to haunt her, she doesn’t know if she should keep the baby.
Clay Adams has his own decisions to make. His half brother shows up to tell him their father, Freddy, is still alive but needs a liver transplant. When Freddy blew out of town thirty-five years ago, secrets were buried. But it’s time for them to be dug up, because only then can Clay hope to lay the past to rest.

Call Me Daddy is a story of family, the secrets they keep, and to what lengths someone would go to protect them.
This sequel to They Call Me Crazy can be read as a standalone novel.

Thanks to the author for gifting me this book for review!

Cass Adams has run over a man in the street while driving home one night.  Little does she know that the accident will set things into motion that could destroy her family and everything she knows to be true about them.

Cass is still crazy, but a bit more grounded. Clay still turns to his worms for comfort, and Cass’ sister Lola is surprisingly big-hearted. Lots of great character exposition here; this is one of my favorite aspects of the book. We read about Roland’s family, learn about new additions to it (both welcome and unwelcome), and find out Cass is pregnant. Her ruminations on whether she would be a good mom or not are very touching and down to earth. She wants to do the right thing but she’s not sure if she has it in her. As a matter of fact, most of the characters want to do the same – there’s a theme here in CALL ME DADDY.

Each person has something that they need to do, and they all struggle with the decision. Events from the past are explained, and we get to learn more about evil dead husband Roland. Clay’s father, Freddie, is evil also – I hated him from the beginning. Fantastic work on the author’s part to create such a heinous and dislikable man! I was truly on the edge of my seat towards the end of the book to see what Lola and Clay were going to do about his “need”. Plus, I was prepared to start yelling at these fictional characters if they made the “wrong” decision.

Kelly Stone Gamble is an accomplished writer, blending dark humor, family drama, and oddball situations together in a way that is smooth and fascinating. It’s quite easy to become invested in the plot from the first few pages, and you will remain hooked until the end. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with Cass Adams, and I hope to see more of her soon.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up here.

 

MoonDust: Falling From Grace by Ton Inktail

moon-dust

Imogene never planned to become a lunar commando. Not before her ex broke her heart and left her jobless. Now she’d better learn fast.

Descended from animal-human hybrids built for war, combat should be in the young caribou’s genes. While Imogene is determined to master the moon’s harsh battlefield, war clouds are brewing on the planet below, and once the storm breaks no training can ever be enough.

A soldier’s first duty is to her country, but when black and white fade to dusty gray, the lines between friend and foe blur. As everything Imogene ever believed in crumbles, she must decide if some orders should never be obeyed.

 

Thanks to the author for gifting me this book in exchange for a review!

Part of the fun of being a reviewer is that I get exposure to books I never would have thought existed. MOONDUST is one of those books. The genre is called “Fuzzy Science Fiction” and deals with sentient, English speaking animals as main characters.

The main character is a transgenic caribou named Imogene, who finishes one stint in the military and re-enlists because she feels out of place at home. Imogene is extremely well developed and easy to become invested in. If it were not for the author’s noting of an ear flick, or a tapping hoof, I would have considered these characters fully human. I do wonder, however, if that is all you need to do for fuzzy fiction: switch one appendage for another and make mention of the species when the character first appears. In any case, I did enjoy reading about caribou and pandas, leopards and Labradors all playing together nicely. Well, almost. There is some rivalry between Imogene and another female due to the fact they are both crushing on the same guy, and there are some ethnic slurs pointed at the panda because his race is part of the creatures waging the war that is being fought.

The plot is extreme scifi/military fiction, which made things drag a bit for me. There is a lot of action and we see the characters being put in scary situations on the Moon, where they are fighting their battles. Animals get hurt, they die, the wonder at the futility of war just like humans do.

For anyone who loves military action, they will get a lot of enjoyment from MOONDUST. The science fiction is well written – I especially liked the scenes on the rocket as they were getting sent up to the Moon. Imogene’s thoughts and fears are those of Everyman and I could easily identify with them. As she was strapped in, preparing for takeoff, making nervous chatter with the soldier next to her – it all made sense to me, regardless of the fact that she was a fuzzy warrior.

The writing is smooth, with no awkwardness or loose ends. There are many plot twists and at times I wished the pace would have been quicker; but then again the author captures military life accurately with the alternating boredom and panic.

This was a fun departure for me, with the best part reading how these animals express themselves, with a wrinkle of a muzzle or a flick of a whisker. Excellent details that brought my senses back to the anthropomorphic characters!

Do the bad guys win? How many of Imogene’s crew perishes in battle? Is this a series? As usual, no spoilers here. Read it yourself – you can pick up your copy here.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

happiness

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential.

 

I was told about this book at a management seminar; almost immediately I ordered it from Amazon.

The author’s writing is clear and often self deprecatingly funny. He uses relevant stories to illustrate his points, and offers reasons that explain the “why” of why being happy makes things better.

Before I read this book, I was personally aware of a phenomenon in my own life: since changing jobs I was a lot happier, and things always seemed to go my way in that new job. This book seemed to be about my own life changes! We all have that mindset that “once I get this job, I’ll be happy”, and for me, it was the reverse. My job made me happy, and I had that spill over in the rest of my life. There were promotions, responsibilities, knowledge, and success for me. Was this all due to my happiness? Or was it my hard work that did it?

In any case; THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE should be required reading for anyone wondering how they can make their life better. Imagine a world where everyone was smiling at each other – Achor tells a story of how people became more engaged with each other as they took a moment to smile at and acknowledge their co-workers. This is similar to the management adage that the boss sets the tone of the office; if the boss comes in and is happy, the office is happy and more productive. This makes perfect sense and I’m quite sure this would work almost everywhere.

One of the great things about this book is that each chapter is a separate point. It’s easy to reach a chapter and then go out in the world to practice the tenets he puts forth. As  you get further into the book you will want to search your own life for signs of happiness, and then create more of it in your personal circle. It’s not a sappy self help book; it’s an encouraging way to look inward and understand the workings of your mind in such a way to truly make a change for the better.

Don’t have time to read? (Horrors!) You can also catch some TED talks with Shawn Achor – he is super personable and makes relevant points in an entertaining and thoughtful way.

You can pick up your copy here.

Dearly Ransomed Soul by April Taylor

dearly

Georgia Pattison, an early-music soprano with a nose for a mystery made her first appearance in the introductory novella Whistles After Dark. Now she is in action again in the first full-length mystery, Dearly Ransomed Soul.
Georgia finds herself in Worcester as a last-minute substitute soloist in the prestigious Three Choirs Festival. She also finds the body of Ariana Staithes, murdered in the cathedral immediately after her superlative performance as the Angel in Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.
The method of murder speaks of deep hatred, but who would want this fantastic emerging talent dead? A lot of people as it turns out. And not just the musical ones. Her estranged husband? Her rival? A jealous wife? One of her blackmail victims? Is there anyone this woman has not alienated?
Superintendent Hamilton knows nothing of the musical world, but she does know this murder was planned and, Georgia, being a latecomer, is innocent. Hamilton is also desperate. The festival is world-renowned and she is in the spotlight and under pressure.

Against every regulation, she persuades Georgia to help her. For Georgia, the investigation starts as something of a crossword puzzle game, but soon she finds herself floundering in a mesh of confusion with suspects at every turn as the mystery deepens and her position becomes fraught with danger. Can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

 

Many thanks to Publishing Push for this review copy!

The world of murder mysteries can get a bit weary as the same-old continues. Not so in this unique story! The backdrop of choir singers makes it a fun and educational read.

The plot seems simple enough – a drama loving diva is murdered immediately after giving the best performance of her life. Almost everyone surrounding her has a motive, making the case rather difficult for the local police. Our heroine, Georgia Pattison, is willing to help out any way she can, like an operatic Nancy Drew. That is where the fun begins! Many characters provide red herrings galore, while the author gets to show off her considerable knowledge of choir singers and music. Georgia is no shrinking violet, and takes to her role like a duck to water (soprano to a solo?).

The descriptions of Worcester cathedral and musical terms force you to slow down and truly enjoy the writing. The author is keen to display the surroundings, along with Georgia’s inner monologues in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Definitely not the same-old here!

Best of all, Georgia is not one to hold back, either in word or deed. She plunges into the fray wholeheartedly, disregarding any danger she may encounter along the way. Other gifts for the reader are the many composers and songs noted as the book progresses. There are links provided in the e-book (quite thoughtful) so the reader can listen and learn to the songs mentioned. I thought this was an impressive way to make the experience multi-dimensional; as you listen to the music the story comes alive.

Brava! to the author for giving us a great start to this brand new series. You can pick up your copy here.

Splintrod by D. Gordon Tyson

splintrod

A young Betsey Stratfork is enjoying her childhood when she is involved in a tragic auto accident that destroys her legs. Despite her handicap and the lack of compassion from the driver, she excels in school and earns her medical degree. She pursues a career in a new field of medicine known as bone manipulation. Now, as Dr. Stratfork, she develops groundbreaking devices and procedures that improve the lives of many patients. In the course of her life, living in constant pain, she is subjected to repeated instances of discrimination. Learning of a life-threatening event, she snaps. In her anger-fueled psychosis, she turns to the dark-side and uses her SplintRod invention to inflict horrific pain and suffering.

 

 

Thanks to Word Slinger Publicity for offering this book in exchange for a review!

SPLINTROD is a wildly uneven but gripping tale about a doctor who loses her mind and seeks revenge on those who have wronged her. I alternately felt sorry for, then despised Dr Wilfork for her actions. Towards the end of the story I decided that my dominant emotion was pity, as long as I didn’t think too hard about the victims.

The fact that this is the author’s first book is evident: the writing style is a bit rough around the edges, he spends just a tad too much time describing the many characters, and some of the transitions between scenes are awkward. Some of the characters are one dimensional, and even Dr Wilfork could have been fleshed out a bit more.

The storyline and action is edge-of-your-seat wonderful, however. Once you get past the unpolished writing style, the drama grabs you and keeps you reading, because you just don’t know what is going to happen next. Medical thrillers are the best, because you know you will encounter depraved people and intense procedures, plus lots of blood. The creation of the Splintrod device is devilish genius – and the perfect way for the good doctor to torture and maim the innocent. The author’s descriptions of how the machine is misused are cringeworthy and totally believable.

The plot brings up an interesting moral point – was the revenge proper? Were the victims selected correctly? Some may say no, that the actual perpetrators of pain upon Dr Wilfork should have been the ones feeling the pain. However, there is mental pain and physical pain; both kinds are visited upon the innocent and the guilty alike.

The author’s strength lies in his ability to manipulate the reader’s emotions. As I mentioned before, I would vacillate between disgust and vicarious pleasure as the victims were tortured. There was disgust because of the maiming and killing that occurred. However, the victims were also portrayed to be arrogant and self-centered, with some of their actions bearing that out. At times it became easy to despise them and all that they stood for. But strip all that away, and at the end they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

With the proper editing, SPLINTROD could be a five star book. The author has a great capacity for plot development; he just needs to smooth out the bumps in the road. I did enjoy this book, and I’d love to know what you think about it. You can pick up your copy here.

Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever by Caleb Pirtle III

friday-nights

The dream of college football propels Casey Clinton into the best and worst times of his life. On Friday nights in Avalon, Alabama, football reigns supreme. Quarterback Casey Clinton’s magic arm drives recruiters and his opponents wild. Girls worship him. A preacher’s wife seduces him. Life can’t be any better. But when slick college football recruiters offer the small-town high school player the chance for fame and glory, it’s no longer a game. It’s business. And it’s brutal. Lavish promises of money, women, and a spot at the top of the football world take Casey into a violent world he could never imagine. Temptation is great. His life spirals out of control. His world crumbles out from under him. Football is no longer a sport. It’s a fight for survival in a game where everyone but Casey knows how to play.

Many thanks to All Reviews Matter for gifting me this book for review!

Many things make this book a winner.

The first is the authentic Southern atmosphere that pervades every word and scene of FRIDAY NIGHTS. You can hear the drawl in the voices, and sense the underlying desperation of the players as they worship the only god they know – football.

Second is the multi layered character development – of Casey, Chelsea, Lucas, and the attitudes and actions of the rest of the townspeople. The pressure that is put on these confused teenagers is immense, and is echoed all over the South on any given Friday. The author knows this, and uses it to his advantage to create a deeply moving story that uses contrasting backgrounds to spin the plot forward.

These characters could have been easily written as a stereotype – but Pirtle makes them so much more. He makes them earnest and believable, easy to root for and to hate. Some characters, like Lucas, force you to vacillate between emotions: sadness because of his upbringing, scorn because of how he treats others.

Third is the fascinating backdrop of the cutthroat world of college football. Reading about Casey getting call after call from colleges promising him everything while denigrating other schools in the same breath made me realize just how much manipulation is done in the name of a winning season.

The author’s writing style is clean, yet raw – no extra words or filler here, just emotion, suffering and hope. It didn’t take me long to become immersed in the microcosm of Avalon, Alabama.

Especially cringe-worthy is the scene where Casey meets the great Alabama coach Frank Hatchett at the airport, thinking he is always at the forefront of Hatchett’s mind. The coach’s asides to his traveling companions show just how far from the truth his (and other coaches’) machinations can be. I felt truly naïve after reading this – and will never be able to watch college football again without thinking of this book.

Think of this as a companion to the classic movie ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, and likewise the classic novel FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Life can be excruciating when you see only one chance to make your life matter – and the choices you make in order for that to happen can be unforgiving.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable – you can grab your copy here.

Tales of Greed, Scandal & Mayhem from Colin Goodwin

dont-get-mad

Don’t Get Mad Get Even

“Really enjoyed this book. If you like the ‘Agatha Raisin’ series by M. C Beaton then you’ll love this series too. Can’t wait for the next one.” – Wendy Taylor 5/5 on Amazon
As the cricket season starts, so do the shenanigans…

Life is tranquil in the quintessentially English village of Throttle – until the local cricket team receives a devilish demand.

When industrialist and landowner Sir Alfred Bullock is laid up, his devious son Roland, devises a get-rich-quick scheme. He gives an ultimatum to the cricket club: win a trophy by the end of the season or we take back the ground you play on and sell it for development.

In a desperate attempt to win games and hold on to the pitch, the club enlists the help of a professional whose skills – to the delight of the local ladies – extend far beyond the cricket Field.

Roland, together with an unscrupulous estate agent and two dodgy builders, hatches malicious plans to ensure the team loses its games. Meanwhile, village residents whose houses are devalued by being on the perimeter of the pitch take matters into their own hands to ‘fix’ the club’s failure…

Greed, scandal, tragedy and farce ensue as the cricket club fights for survival against increasingly dangerous sabotage…

Click here to purchase!

 

when-in-holeWhen in a Hole, Stop Digging

An ordinary day in a sleepy village deteriorates into chaos.

Livid boat owner Albert vows revenge after a humiliating event, and shocked residents of a brand new housing estate mysteriously find fish in the plumbing.

A heartless double murderer on the loose and a gun-toting farmer send shivers through the town of Throttle as two amateur sleuths try to make sense of it all.

Meanwhile a pair of sixties throwback detectives attempt to piece it all together, but in reality make matters worse.

The local free press needs a story fast, but the novice reporters get a shock as they enter a world far beyond their capability.

Finally, one resident, pushed to the edge by a marital issue, sinks to a new low.

The mayhem continues…..

Click here to purchase!

Author bio

Colin Goodwin enjoyed a successful career as a welding and fabrication engineer, working in the aircraft industry and welder training for the oil industry.  For the past twenty years he worked in further education, where he also taught stained glass window making.

In the late 80’s he built and fitted out a 40 foot steel narrow-boat, but sold it because it was not fast enough.  He maintains an active lifestyle and has completed London marathons and Great North Runs.  Both Colin and his wife now prefer to go on long distance cycling holidays. Retired 6 years ago, Colin continues to indulge his creative side by repairing anything mechanical, motorbikes (Harley Davidson, BSA, Royal Enfield), cars (1951 Ford Anglia) and model steam engines. The books are available through Amazon, all good book shops and from under the counter at The Hardware Store, in Padiham. The last in the trilogy ‘A Likely Story’ is currently nearing completion.

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