Book review: the death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Title: The death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Publication date: May 29th, 2018


On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.


Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.


Review: Well, I’ve seen this author around, wondered about all the talk surrounding her books. I was curious, but not enough to pick any of her books and see if they lived up to all the hype.

Then, a few days ago, I found this book available and I decided to give it a try.

Since the title wasn’t an intriguing one, I was just going to skim over the first few pages, just to see what it was all about. I know I could have read the synopsis for that, but I feel like synopsis almost always make me lose interest of the book and I was determined to give this one half a shot.

And what a surprise. I was hooked from the first paragraph.

I just wanted to know, and…. And… and… and the pages kept on turning. It was eleven pm when I started reading, and at ten pm the next day, I was reading the last page

I admit, some of the plot was – not predictable exactly, but not a surprise either. But the author managed to cast enough doubt on the pages that I just had to read one more chapter and see if I was right.

I had so many theories that in a way, I was right at the end, but the details the author weaved in … they were richly put together and the writing was pretty good. The characters felt real, though there were some instances I thought could have been done better.

But all in all, the book was pretty good and I gave it a four star rating. I’ll be picking up “In a dark, dark wood” also by this same author, because I heard it’s pretty good too.

I’ll let you know!

Did you read this book or any books by this author?


Book Promo – Heir of Ashes on sale for three weeks!

Sales, sales


Who doesn’t like a good book sale?

Well, it’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t done a book sale since the beginning of may, and that I should correct my mistake.

So, here I am. For the next three weeks, Heir of Ashes will be priced at $0.99 on Amazon, smashwords and every retail bookstore.

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp.

By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.

As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.

She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom






And don’t forget that the prequel, The Curse, can be downloaded for free via Smashwords here:


So it’s really two for the price of $0.99!



Now That I’m Older (from author E. Michael Helms)

I stumbled upon this post on author E. Michael Helms’s blog a few days ago and I’ve been chuckling over it ever since. So, instead of the post I had planned for today, I decided to share this funny post with you:

Note: this is from author E. Michael Helms’s blog:


As I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world,

I realized that at my age I don’t really give a rat’s butt anymore.

If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.

A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.

A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while

A tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.

And you tell me to exercise? I don’t think so.

Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked,

the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the

eyesight to tell the difference.

Now that I’m older here’s what I’ve discovered:

  1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
  2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
  3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
  4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
  5. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
  6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
  7. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.
  8. Some days, you’re the top dog; some days you’re the hydrant.
  9. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
  10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
  11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
  12. It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
  13. The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.
  14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.

(read the rest here:

Any funny insight you’d like to share? Let us here it!

Time, Reading, WP and Cheating Bloggers

It’s Monday today. It was Monday yesterday. I’m sure, if I ask someone what tomorrow is, the answer will be Monday.


I feel like I’m caught up in a Monday cycle.


I haven’t been posting much lately, caught up in a few things – reading, lazing, doing more revisions on Heir of Doom (the second installment in the Roxanne Fosch series), writing articles for Conscious Talk Magazine, taking care of my kids, you know, same old, same old.


And then there’s the wordpress issue. I’m a believer of the  ‘I follow back’ policy, which means I follow whoever follows me, like whoever likes my post, comment back on the post of whoever left a comment on a post of mine. But I’ve noticed that there are bloggers who will give you a follow, wait for you to follow back, then promptly unfollow you. So there I was, fool that I am, with over 3k+ blogs I follow according to my WP manager, most of whom don’t even know what my blog is about. I called them the cheating bloggers, because that’s what they’re doing, increasing their list of followers by deceiving bloggers into following them.

So for the past week or so, I’m cleaning up wp, unfollowing all the names I know I’ve been following for a while, leaving likes and comments and being completely ignored. I’ve managed to unfollow hundreds, and already my reader feels more uncluttered and manageable, though I still have hundreds to unfollow yet.


I’m not sure yet how I’ll be able to tell apart the cheating bloggers and the authentic ones – any ideas? – But I’m thinking about taking the time to unfollow the bloggers that ignore my presence every two or three months. It’ll be boring and I’d probably give up the second or third time around, so I’ll need to figure out some other solution soon. If you have any, I’m all ears.


As for the books I’ve read, here’s a list – I’ll be doing a mini, one sentence review of each soon (they aren’t in the order I read, by the way, just in the order I remembered):


Paper Princess – The Royals #1 – By Erin Watt

Broken Prince – The Royals #2 by Erin Watt

Twisted Palace – The Royals #3 by Erin Watt

Tower of Dawn – Throne of Glass #6 by Sarah J. Maas

Dragon’s Ground – Desert Cursed #2 by Shannon Mayer

Jinn’s Dominion – Desert Cursed #3 by Shannon Mayer

Rising Darkness – Game of Shadows by Thea Harrisson

Dark Queen – Jane Yellowrock #12 by Faith Hunter

The Rose and the Dagger – The Wrath and the Dawn #2 by Renee Ahdieh

An Amber in the Ashes – An Amber in the Ashes #1 by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night – An Amber in the Ashes #2 by Sabaa Tahir

A reaper at the Gates – An Amber in the Ashes #3 by Sabaa Tahir

Until Friday Night – The Field Party #1 by Abbi Glines

Under the Lights – The Field Party #2 by Abby Glines



Well, that’s it, my reading list for July. Note that at the beginning of the post I mentioned being lazy. I don’t usually read these many books, but, what can I say, I got into a crazed reading binge.

Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups Blog Tour

So it’s the second day of the Kalorama Road blog tour by E. Denise Billups and I’m super thrilled to be part of it.

Some of you may have seen my review a couple months back but for those who haven’t seen it yet or would like to read it again, there’s a partial review with a link back to the full post below.

So, let’s talk about the book.

book cover

Book blurb:


There something Allie can’t remember, hidden memories bordering consciousness that refuse to surface until one day someone, something, ignites horrifying images of a forgotten night.


A year after graduating from Emsworth University, a mysterious email appears asking Allie one single question. What happened at 1414 Kalorama Road? Allie has no memory of that night and has tried to recapture what happened when a classmate went missing at an off-campus party. Someone wants her to remember, and they’re getting closer and more insistent. Forgotten memories gradually start to surface with gruesome images and a revelation that could ruin the reputation of her esteemed alma mater, Emsworth University.


Sounds kind of spooky, huh? I admit, there were scenes in the book that gave me goosebumps.

I’m a fan of the fantastic, and anything paranormal for me is a must read, and E. Denise Billups didn’t let me down.

My review:

I made the mistake of picking up this book when I still had a couple articles to finish for the magazine. Luckily for me, I didn’t need that much sleep, and my kids are savvy enough to fend for themselves.

In short, Kalorama Road was a surprise. Although I liked the premises and the first quarter of the book well enough, I hadn’t expected it to suddenly grip me by the throat and keep me enthralled.

The suspense was… thrilling, for the lack of a better word. There was the possibility of a blooming romance, the unexpected touch of a supernatural manifestation and the mystery of a murder I just needed to see solved.

There were some spooky scenes, parts that had goosebumps breaking all over my body, and of course, the annoyance I felt every time…

Read the entire review here:


Are you a booktuber? Check out this book trailer for Kalorama Road:


About E. Denise Billups:

author profile


An author with a rare mixture of Southern and Northern charm, E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville Alabama and raised in New York City where she currently resides and works in finance. A burgeoning author of fiction, she’s published three suspense novels, Kalorama Road, Chasing Victory, By Chance, and two supernatural short stories, Rebound, and The Playground. An avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, she was greatly influenced by authors of that genre. When she’s not writing or reading, you can generally find her training for road races and marathons. She’s s a fitness fanatic who loves physical challenges of all types (running, biking, yoga, dance, and more) a discipline she uses to facilitate the creative writing process.


I had the pleasure of connecting with the author last year when I first started blogging. Later we both became part of the Conscious Talk Magazine team. Soon we were talking through e-mails, and we got to know each other better. She’s a kind and supportive friend, and an athlete extraordinaire…  I can practically feel her energy all the way here, on the other side of the world.  I feel like a lazy slug compared to her. Did I say I envy her?


Connect with E. Denise Billups:





Get your copy!





If you want to know more about the tour, follow the schedule here:

A writer’s worst nightmare

What’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

To develop a block in the middle of a book?

To see his creation getting all the negative reviews and none of the positive?

To not find any reader interested to read his work?

To see a long career reach an end when a new idea for a new book refuses to come?

They’re all a nightmare, yes, but they aren’t my worst. Not this time around, anyway.

I experienced my worst nightmare two nights ago.

I have two laptops. One, a very old one, the one I learned to use with the assistive software, aka screen, I use to read and write. It has functions that I like to use when I write that the new screen reader on the new laptop doesn’t have.

That old laptop is really old. Not just the model, but the programming as well. Now, you may think, just upgrade the program, and that would work for most everyone. Except I can’t upgrade the screen reader on it because it wasn’t the original download. And if I upgrade the rest of the programs, the screen reader will stop working.

I have another laptop with another kind of screen reader. It’s good, and it’s the newest version. But this new program doesn’t have all the features that that old program has. (And that old program is very expensive- while the new one can be downloaded for free)

Because the internet on that old laptop is very slow, when I need a file from it, I use a flash memory. Now, I’m really careful with my books, so I keep saving the file on to the memory drive, then copy pasting it to this laptop, then attaching it to e-mails that I send to myself.

But about a month ago, the flash memory I use disappeared.  So I got a new one, but the laptop refused to acknowledge it. Something about new drive and tech stuff I can’t understand. As I was already revising the second book in the Roxanne Fosch series, Heir of Doom, I continued revising, with my brother’s promise that he’d take a look at it.

And two nights ago, after I finished the revision and started running the spell check for the last time so I can finally get the book out to the betas… the laptop died on me.

I was desperate enough to have my brother looking at it in the middle of the night. Ok, it was eleven pm, but because the screen on that laptop was broken (I don’t need a screen, remember, I’m blind) he’d needed to add an external screen to see what was going on. But it turned out that the laptop not only wasn’t taking a new flash memory, it wasn’t accepting any external drives.

So I went to bed at two in the morning, and I tossed and turned and wondered if my brother would be able to get the file for me.
But in the morning, while I was checking my e-mail on my new laptop *hmmm, coughs* (three ears isn’t old, right) I found an e-mail from my brother. With my manuscript attached.

I almost cried with relief.

He had to take the old laptop apart and plug the hard disk to another computer, where he was able to extricate all the files I had on that old laptop.

So what’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

For me, it’s to finish a book and then not be able to get to it.

Kid logic – it makes sense

And when he looked, he discovered the moon

The other night my son ran up to his grandmother and told her there was a light chasing him around.
Naturally, she thought it was lightening bugs – because, what else?
But she obliged, and she went to check on it. Instead of searching around the bushes, my son pointed up to the sky.
‘See, it’s waiting for me still.’ He said.
My mom told him that the moon is everywhere, that it goes where everyone goes, chases everyone.
My son thought about it for a second then shook his head. ‘Nah uh, (insert cousin’s name here) ran to the back of the house and the moon didn’t go. It’s waiting for me so it can chase me’.

When All Else Fails, You Have to Dream – Guest Posting for Christy B.

I was invited to guest post on Christy birmingham’s blog a few weeks ago (some of you may know her as Christy B. from ‘When Women Inspire’) and at first I wasn’t sure about what to write. She’s a prolific writer with her own poem book out there, and she hosts all sorts of successful people, I was intimidated at first. I wanted it to be something impressive, something positive, and something big, and so I struggled to come up with something. And then, one night before I fell asleep, I told myself, why not write the truth, from the beginning?
And that’s what I did.
Thank you, Christy, for this opportunity.
Please join me in welcoming author Jina Bazzar here today. You may know her from Authors Inspirations, where she blogs about her experiences writing and editing a book as a woman who is blind. She created her blog to connect with other women who are undergoing the publishing journey and have disabilities. I remember when I first learned about Jina’s blindness and I was blown away by this as I recognized the big challenge to the writing process that must bring her. Jina is an inspiration, as you will see from her guest post below.
When All Else Fails, You Have to Dream – Guest Post by Jina Bazzar
When I first became blind over a decade ago, one thing I had in abundance was time. There was nothing really much I could do to entertain myself besides listen to loud music, bake, and sometimes listen to talk shows on TV.
In a world … Click here to read more:

This wordpress community – Join the tour for Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

So summer is here and how better than to spend your time blogging and socializing?

WordPress has an incredible community where people from all walks of life meet and connect. Many friendships have bloomed over this platform and leaked on to reality, and I bet most of you guys agree with this assessment.

One such friend I made is author E. Denise Billups, a talented writer who’s also part of the Conscious Talk Magazine team.

Some of you may have read my review of her latest book, Kalorama road (link below if this one doesn’t click) a suspenseful thriller released earlier this year. It was a great read, and no, my review was not biased.

The good news is that Kalorama road will be going on a tour, starting July 15th, and we’re looking for bloggers willing to host this amazing book on their blog.

Anyone interested in helping can choose any of the following:

  • Interview with the author
  • Review – also to be posted on Amazon and Goodreads (copies are limited)
  • A prepared package – blurb, cover display, about the author, links (post will be ready to be posted)
  • A combination of the bloggers choice between book excerpt, blurb, sample chapter, about author and cover display.


If you have any suggestions for the tour, feel free to leave a comment.


For anyone interested you can leave a comment below or contact me directly through e-mail at


About Kalorama road:

Cover of Kalorama Road

Book blurb:

There something Allie can’t remember, hidden memories bordering consciousness that refuse to surface until one day someone, something, ignites horrifying images of a forgotten night.


A year after graduating from Emsworth University, a mysterious email appears asking Allie one single question. What happened at 1414 Kalorama Road? Allie has no memory of that night and has tried to recapture what happened when a classmate went missing at an off-campus party. Someone wants her to remember, and they’re getting closer and more insistent. Forgotten memories gradually start to surface with gruesome images and a revelation that could ruin the reputation of her esteemed alma mater, Emsworth University.






Meet E. Denise Billups:


I’m a New Yorker since the age of nine. A work in progress, I’m forever changing to become the true me. I’ve spent many years in the Financial Services Industry, acquired all the credentials, MBA in Finance and several licenses, to boost my career. But a new consciousness is pushing through allowing me to trail other facets of my personality. We all have some inkling of our true selves when we are children. I did. I have the soul and mind of an artist. Professionally trained as a dancer, athletically gifted, I’ve never left that side of me, just channeled my talent to other areas.

Read more about Denise here:


Link for my review for Kalorama Road:


A Blog Tour – A special one


Before I start, let me explain why I think this one is special.

First, Born in a treacherous time  has a unique setup that fascinated me ever since I read about it a few months back.

Set 1.8 million years ago, the story is about early human survival during a time when animals were the dominant beings in the world, and nature and other species conspired to kill each other. Doesn’t it  make you wonder, what if I was born in that time? Well, it made me think, and I couldn’t fathom the time, the effort and resources the author, Jacqui Murray must have used to see this book through to fruition, and honestly, it just blows me.

Not only that, but I’ve admired Jacqui Murray’s style of writing ever since I started blogging a little over a year ago. She has a way with words that makes you want to keep reading, totally enthralled.


“If you like Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. It will bring that world to life in a way never seen before.” –Jacqui Murray

Cover of the book



Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when man was relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, his own people, and the next iteration of the species. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She may be their leader’s new mate but they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.


Kirkus Review:


“Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.

A well-executed tale of early man.”


Doesn’t it sound fascinating? Get a copy!



About Jacqui Murray:


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Wild seriesShe is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


Connect with Jacqui Murray:




Linked in:


Author page: