Sunday, 13 October 2019

True Crime Week: Lizzie Borden

Happy Halloween Readers,

I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our final serial killer is Lizzie Borden, tell me honestly do you think she did it?

As with the other serial killers I have mentioned this week, I am still missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research. No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

You must have heard the rhyme?
Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

 The popularity of the poem is a testament to the public's fascination with the 1893 murder trial of Lizzie Borden. Lizzie was an American woman suspected of murdering her stepmother and father in 1892; her trial became a national sensation in the United States. The source of that fascination might be brutal nature of the crime given that Lizzie was female and young and also the fact the jury's acquitted Lizzie despite the evidence that most historians find compelling.

Let us rewind a little. Before their murders, Andrew and Abby had been living in the humble, Greek-Revival house on Second Street with Andrew’s grown daughters Emma and Lizzie as well as their maid, Bridget Sullivan. Lizzie was popular and engaged in charitable work. Her father, by contrast, was supposedly stubborn and ungenerous as well as exceptionally wealthy and apparently, Lizzie and her elder sister Emma were at odds with him and their stepmother, often over financial matters.

On a Thursday morning, August 4, 1892, Mr Borden left home to conduct his business, leaving in the house, Emma was out of town, staying with friends, on that fateful day, leaving only Lizzie and the maid at home when the murders were committed.

On his return, Mr Borden settled on a couch for a nap. About 11:15 AM, Lizzie discovered her father dead and upstairs his wife’s body was found. Two key facts seemed to rule out a stranger if I’m honest. Firstly, the front door and basement door was locked and secondly, even if the killer had found a way inside, the hour and a half interval between the murders seems odd.

Police found a hatchet in the basement though free of blood was missing most of its handle. Lizzie was arrested on August 11th a grand jury began hearing evidence on November 7th and indicted her on December 2nd.

 It was found that Lizzie had tried to purchase a poison on August 3rd, and a few days later she was alleged to have burned a dress in a stove. Bridget, who had also been suspected was reportedly seen leaving the house carrying an unexamined parcel the same night.

Lizzie was arrested and tried for both murders in June 1893 but was acquitted, given the evidence. She was nonetheless ostracized thereafter
People refused to sit near her at church. And children, probably daring each other to tempt the murderess, would ring her doorbell in the middle of the night and pelt her house with gravel and eggs.

Good on Lizzie though despite all this she stayed in Fall River, Massachusetts, until her death in 1927. 



True Crime Week: John Wayne Gacy

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our first serial killer of the day is John Wayne Gacy also known as Pogo the clown. Obviously, a clown had to work its way in here what’s Halloween without a killer clown.  As with the other serial killers I have mentioned this week, I am still missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research. No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

To many people, John Wayne Gacy was a friendly man who loved to entertain young children by dressing up as Pogo the clown. He was also considered by most to be a pillar of the community.

John was the son of Danish and Polish parents; John and his siblings grew up with an alcoholic father who would beat the children and their mother. John suffered further hostility at school as he was unable to play with other children due to a heart condition.

Despite the abuse, John admired his father and constantly sought his approval. In return, his father would hurl insults at him, telling him he was stupid and acted like a girl (Actual quote sorry). John later realised he was attracted to men, and experienced confusion over his sexuality throughout his life. When John was 7 years old, he was molested repeatedly by a friend of the family. However, John never said anything as he feared his father would find him at fault and as a result would be severely punished.

The first warning signs about John later behaviour showed in 1964 when he was found guilty of sodomizing two young boys. John was arrested and spent 18 months in prison. By the time he was released, John was divorced and decided to move to Chicago for a fresh start.

John worked as a fast-food chain manager before becoming a self-made building contractor and Democratic precinct captain in the Chicago suburbs in the 1970s. John volunteered as the Democratic Precinct Captain in his area. During this time, he threw elaborate block parties and built a solid reputation in his community. and was respected and admired by friends, neighbours, and police officers.

During July 1975, a teenager who worked for John disappeared. His parent’s pleaded with Chicago police officers to investigate John, but they never did. This would not be the last time worried parents asked officials to review John as a suspect, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.

Finally, On December 13, 1978, a search warrant on John’s home was granted. While investigators searched his home and cars, John was at the police station giving an oral and written statement about his activities. When John learned that his house had been searched, he went into a fit of anger well so would you if that’s where you hid 26 bodies under the crawl space and three others elsewhere on his property, 

Eight days into the investigation the lead detective went to the victim’s home to bring his parents up to date. During the conversation, a receipt was mentioned. The same receipt was found in the evidence collected during the search of John's house. Further forensic tests were performed and proved John had been lying.

Those closest to John were interviewed by detectives on multiple occasions and John realised it was just a matter of time before the extent of his crimes would be exposed. John began to buckle under the pressure, and his behaviour turned bizarre. But what finally led to his arrest that day was a drug deal that was performed in full view of the surveillance team.

While in police custody, John was informed that a second search warrant of his home had been issued. Some of John’s employees admitted that John had paid them to go down into the crawl space to dig trenches. Which lead the investigators to the bodies during the search of his house.

John was executed by lethal injection on May 9, 1994.


Saturday, 12 October 2019

True Crime Week: Aileen Wuornos

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our second serial killer of the day is also the first woman I am looking at and it is….. Aileen Wuornos. Aileen is the third of the serial killers I am looking at that made an appearance on American Horror Story her appearance was in Season 5 (Hotel). As with the other serial killers I have mentioned this week, I am still missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research . No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

This post is more about Aileen’s life than her murders. I know there is no excuse for Aileen’s actions however her childhood was traumatic. Aileen’s childhood offers a compelling explanation for why she turned to prostitution and violence later in life. Wuornos's mother, Diane Wuornos, was only 15 or 16 when she gave birth to her, and her father was only a couple years older.

Diane abandoned Wuornos and her brother, Keith when Wuornos was only 4 years old. Aileen’s father was a psychopath and child molester who was incarcerated at the time of her birth; he eventually committed suicide. Aileen found prostitution early in life, trading sexual favours at school for cigarettes and other treats at age 11.

Diane abandoned Aileen and her older brother Keith, leaving them to be raised by their grandparents. Yet Wuornos’s grandmother was alleged to be an alcoholic and her grandfather a terrifying, violent force. While Aileen has claimed that she was sexually abused by her grandfather, who also allegedly beat her. In 1971, Aileen gave birth and put the baby up for adoption. By her early teens, Aileen had spent time at a home for unwed mothers and then dropped out of school and turned to prostitution.

In 1974 Wuornos was imprisoned for driving while intoxicated and for firing a gun from a moving vehicle. By the late 1980s she was a drifter and between 1989–90, Aileen was posing as a hitchhiking prostitute, to snare her victims.

In 1986 Wuornos met Tyria Moore at a bar in Daytona Beach, Florida, and they began an intense romantic relationship that ended just before Wuornos’ final arrest in 1991.  Together, Aileen and Tyria Moore sold stolen items at Florida pawnshops. During the investigations, Volusia County police discovered items belonging to one of the victims at a local pawn shop, with a receipt showing Aileen’s thumbprint. Police then managed to trace other stolen items to Wuornos and they traced other items from Mallory's car to people or pawnshops Wuornos had contacted.

 By 1990 Tyria had become suspicious of Aileen’s activities and had moved in with her family in Pennsylvania.  When Aileen was arrested on an outstanding warrant in Florida, police tracked Moore down and used her to elicit a confession from Wuornos.

It didn’t take long for Tyria to flip on Aileen. In the days immediately following her arrest, Tyria was back in Florida, staying at a motel the police had rented for her. There, she made calls to Aileen in an attempt to elicit a confession that could be used against her.

Tyria acted up a storm, pretending to be frightened that the police would pin all of the blame for the murders on her.  She’d beg Aileen to go over the story with her again, to get their stories straight. After four days of repeated phone calls, Aileen confessed to several of the murders. Authorities now had what they needed to arrest Aileen Wuornos for murder.

Tyria got full immunity. However, Tyria and Aileen often talked by phone, and Aileen knew in general terms that her lover had turned as a witness for the state.

She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders and was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.


True Crime Week: Jeffrey Dahmer

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our first serial killer of the day is Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster. Jeffrey is the second of the serial killers I am looking at that made an appearance on American Horror Story his appearance was in Season 5 (Hotel). As with Peter Sutcliffe, I am missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research (I wouldn’t recommend it). No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

Let's get some facts out the way first
  • He was a necrophiliac
  • He was cannibal
  • He mutilated the bodies
  • He kept souvenirs from the bodies
  • Killed 17 males between 1978 and 1991
  • He took photos of his victims

Jeffrey had a normal childhood compared to most serial (wait till the second post of the day Aileen Wuornos) however, as he got older, he became withdrawn and began showing little to no interest in hobbies or social interaction and instead preferred to examining animal carcasses and roadkill and started heavily drinking for entertainment.

If you want a good film to watch about his life before he became the renowned serial killer I would recommend “My Friend Dahmer”.  Jeffrey‘s drinking continued through high school but did not stop him from graduating in 1978 and shockingly it was just three weeks later that the 18-year-old committed his first murder. In 1979, Dahmer enlisted in the Army, but his drinking continued and he was discharged in 1981.
Jeffrey was careful to select his victims he picked people on the fringes of society, such as travellers or borderline criminals, making their disappearances less noticeable and reducing the likelihood of his capture. Even today the circumstances of Jeffrey’s crimes are the subject of controversy. People claim that the fact that Dahmer managed to hide under the radar for so long showed police discrimination against homosexual or members of racial minorities as they attached a low priority to the investigation for the victim’s disappearance

Random fact his 13th victim 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone escaped nude and disoriented from Jeffrey’s clutches. When police arrived on the scene there were paramedics, two women who were standing close to the confused boy, and Jeffrey. Jeffrey told police that Konerak was his 19-year-old lover who was drunk, confused and the two had a lover’s tiff. The police escorted Jeffrey and the boy back to Dahmer's apartment!!!! Within hours, Jeffrey killed him!!!!

Jeffrey was charged with 17 murder charges, which was later reduced to 15. He pleaded not guilty due to insanity. The jury deliberated for five hours and returned a verdict of guilty on 15 counts of murder. Jeffrey was sentenced to 15 life sentences. In February 1992, Jeffrey arrived at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin. 

On November 28, 1994, Christopher Scarver beat Jeffrey within an inch of his life with a metal bar and beat another inmate to death with the same metal pole. Jeffrey was found still alive but died on the way to the hospital from severe head trauma.

L x


Friday, 11 October 2019

True Crime Week: Richard Ramirez

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden. No copyright infringement was intended with use of this photo it is for educational purposes. 

The second post today we are looking at Richard Ramirez who was also known as the Night Stalker. Richard is the first of the serial killers I am looking at that made an appearance on American Horror Story his first appearance was in Season 5 Hotel. As with Peter Sutcliffe, I am missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research.
Let's get some facts out the way first
  • He was a Satanist
  • Killed at least 14 people
  • Attempted to kill five more
  • While incarcerated, Richard married one of his supporters, 41-year-old Doreen Lioy, in 1996

to say Richard had a rough childhood would be an understatement. To escape his violent father, Richard began to hang out with his older cousin, Miguel, a decorated Vietnam veteran. Richard was heavily influenced by Miguel and. Miguel told Richard about the torture and mutilation he had inflicted on several Vietnamese women, corroborating these stories with photographic evidence. At age 13, Richard witnessed the same cousin murder his wife. Witnessing the shooting turned Richard from a scared, abused young boy into an LSD user and developing an interest in Satanism, which he practised throughout his life.

Richard was arrested for the first time in 1977, at aged 17 for marijuana possession. He soon moved to California, progressing to cocaine addiction and burglary, and cultivating an interest in Satanism. Theft turned to violence with Richard's first known murder on June 28, 1984; the victim was 79-year-old Jennie Vincow, who killed during a burglary in her own home. What followed was a spree of brutal murders, rapes and robberies, leaving dozens of victims in its wake.

For 14 months, Richard travelled all over California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, murdering and robbing. His victims were both male and female, ranging in age from 22 to 80. The one thing all of the crime scenes had in common was evidence that a Satanic ritual of some kind had occurred.

Random fact I always confuse with Richard Ramirez is that is the house was locked he wouldn’t enter, turns out that wasn’t the case. The serial killer I am thinking of is Richard Chase would try to enter homes at random, but would always leave if the door was locked.

Richard was captured on August 31 1985, after he was badly beaten by East L.A. residents while attempting two carjackings. Richard was formally sentenced to death in the gas chamber on November 7, 1989, and was sent to San Quentin Prison in California to spend the remainder of his days. Ramirez died from B-cell lymphoma at age 53 on June 7, 2013.

L x

True Crime Week: Ted Bundy

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Just a quick little note from me before we jump in. I watched the Extremely Wicked film starring Zac Efron, with my friend and bless her at the end she said he wasn’t that bad. After a quick discussion, I filled her in on the details the film missed. I’m not too sure if she still had a high school musical crush or something else, I don’t know. I suppose it’s a good thing but I honestly don’t get the whole he’s handsome thing! Same with Charles Manson (too short sorry not sorry). No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes. 
 Ted had a slightly messed up childhood his sister was actually his mother and I’ve read that he could possibly be the result of incest I don’t know how solid these claims are of if they are a deformation. Even without the confirmation of incest it must have been life changing to find out your sister is your mother but that doesn’t give you the right to kill people.

I’m not going to go into details but for people who think he isn’t that bad here’s some quick points
He was a necrophiliac
He mutilated the bodies
He visited the bodies multiple times

In my opinion, Ted is the complete embodiment of a narcissist he thought he was Gods gift and used his charm and good looks to take advantage of 36 innocent women whose kindness was ultimately their downfall.  Ted confessed to 36 however the exact number of women Ted killed will never be known. Ted had a type he went for attractive students with long dark hair, he would usually approach his victims presenting himself as hurt and needing help. One of Ted's techniques for luring his victims into a false sense of security by putting either his arm or leg into a cast or using crutches.

Ted escaped police custody twice the first time, Ted acted as his own lawyer in the case during a trip to the courthouse library, he jumped out a window and made his first escape. He was captured eight days later. The second time he climbed out of a hole he made in the ceiling of his cell, having dropped more than 30 pounds to fit through the small opening. The Authorities noticed 15 hours later, giving him a big head start on the police.

I know it doesn’t undo all the horrible thing he did but a little random fact Ted helped catch Gary Ridgway aka the Green River Killer

Ted was executed in Florida’s electric chair in 1989.

Little side note I’ve watched too many Ted Bundy documentaries and have used the following sources to fact check.



Monday, 7 October 2019

True Crime Week: Peter Sutcliffe

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Peter is the only British Serial killer I will be looking at the rest are all American. Peter was dubbed the "Yorkshire Ripper" by the press because he killed prostitutes and he mutilated his victims as Jack the Ripper had done before him. No copyright infringement is intended the photo is for educational purposes.   

Peter had a  typical childhood, aside from some minor hiccups. Peter was a loner and he left school aged fifteen and had a series of menial jobs one that is always pointed out is that he was a gravedigger on two separate occasions in his youth.

Peter carried out his first attack on a woman on July 5, 1975. Throughout his murdering spree, Peter murdered 13 women and viciously attacked seven other victims who managed  to survive his violent assaults, leaving them with long-lasting psychological, mental, and physical scars. Many of the people Peter assaulted and killed had been involved in prostitution, and he felt as though he was doing some sort of public service by viciously beating and stabbing sex workers.

From 1979 until Peter's arrest, British police searched more than 20,000 homes with a task force comprised of around 250,000 people to catch the Ripper. Peter was able to get away with killing for several different reasons, including a disturbed man who contacted police, claiming to be the person responsible for the murders. This took attention and valuable resources away from where they were needed.

The man, who was eventually dubbed "Wearside Jack," sent two letters to the authorities and another to a newspaper, as well as a tape, convincing the police he was the person who had committed the killings. Using the information collected from the letters and the tape, officers focused on tracking down a man with a Wearside accent, causing them to eliminate any suspects who didn't have a Northeast accent.

On Jan. 2, 1981, two police officers approached Peter. The check by a probationary constable revealed his car had false number plates and Peter was arrested and transferred to Dewsbury Police Station. 

At Dewsbury, Peter was questioned in relation to the Yorkshire Ripper case as he matched the known physical characteristics. The next day police returned to the scene of the arrest and discovered a knife, hammer and rope Peter had discarded when he briefly slipped away from the police after telling them he was "bursting for a pee". After two days of interrogation, Peter finally confessed that he was the Yorkshire Ripper and spent the next day describing his many crimes in detail.

Peter was found guilty on all 13 counts and seven accounts of attempted murder and given 20 concurrent life sentences. Peter spent approximately 30 years at Broadmoor hospital after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1984. Broadmoor is the toughest psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane in England. Sutcliffe is reported to have been transferred from Broadmoor to Frankland Prison (High Security) in Durham in 2016.

L x


Saturday, 5 October 2019

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie Anderson

Happy Halloween Readers,
Thank you, Jamie and Quirk Book for sending me a copy of Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie Anderson
for free in exchange for an honest review.

I know this book isn’t technically witchy but I feeling all the female empowerment vibes from this week and thought Monster She Wrote would fit perfectly. When I was lucky enough to be invited to the MCM blogger brunch by Jamie and this was one of the books I highlighted and set a reminder on my phone for the release date.  I also love the cover and the illustrations inside; I honestly love the green going through the book.

Lisa and Melanie want us to know that there are tons of great Gothic/horror/ terror-filled books out there that have all written by fantastic female writers. This is a unique collection of female authors, who have written unconventional stories, and their most prominent works and masterpieces are listed under special categories such as ghost stories, haunted homes, vampires, horror and speculative fiction.

The book is more of a reference guide to acknowledge the hundreds of women authors working in the horror and speculative fiction genres. Lisa and Melanie give a further reading list for those who are interested in diving deeper into the author and authors who are similar. At times the sheer number of books that Lisa and Melanie cross-reference is slightly perplexing but you can’t be mad as it is an outstanding declaration of pride in the history of female authors in a commonly miss assumed male-dominated genres.

Divided into six categories, the authors take us from the 17th century (the founding mothers) up to the 21st century (the new Gothic). This is done fantastically and this was a real joy to read. This book is well detailed and gives a background on each of the authors that are covered. Well researched and given plot details on some of their most famous work. This book did a wonderful job of showcasing the women of horror themselves, It was great to read their life journey and how it shaped the way they write.

The introductions of each group of writers are informative and occasionally amusing, and I like how the book's authors explore the future of the genres as well as break down the notion that these types of stories are solely the territory of male writers. When some of these tales were written female authors wrote under a pseudonym or were expected to create romantic love stories and the delightfully horrific examples in this book display that women can be just as intense and unconventional when it comes to suspense and horror, ghost stories, gore, and murder, violence, and paranormal activities.

This book is a reminder that we should never forget these brave women who push the boundaries of society and dance beautifully around gender roles.

Stay Spooky

L x

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery by Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Sherrilyn Kenyon

Happy Halloween Readers,

Thank you, Sarah, and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery by Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Sherrilyn Kenyon for free in exchange for an honest review.

Today we start the creepy journey to Halloween who else is really excited? Like last year I will be doing a table of content so people can find posts they want quicker. I’ve got so many Spooktacular plans I can't wait for you to see them.

So what book did I pick, I picked Hex Life an anthology of witchy tales. This was such a great book of short stories about witches and witchcraft from some amazing authors. Hex Life is a great collection, and the stories themselves are as diverse as the voices represented within.

 I love a good anthology when it’s done right and this book didn’t let me down. The different authors here give us a wonderful range of tales from contemporary urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic witch burnings, historical dramas, noir, slow-burn horror, and revenge. I just think witches are great because they encompass such a wide range of what it means to have magic and this anthology manages to capture that range.

the stories are also from a variety of time periods and are written by authors with vastly different styles but arranged in such a way that the transitions are seamless. This anthology takes the classic tropes of tales of witchcraft and infuses them with a fresh, feminist perspective and present-day concerns even if they're set in the past. Whatever your preferred mode of magic, odds are you’ll find something to satisfy your witchy needs. 

Both the authors and their witches are from a variety of ethnicities and cultures, which provides a fascinating insight into witchcraft and folk practices in fiction. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. It’s always good to see strong women at the forefront, in both the table of contents and in the narratives themselves, and Hex Life wins big in both regards.

I honestly loved this anthology and I love witches so this was an easy win for me and I think it will be a good read for anyone who enjoys stories of magic and a great start to get into the Halloween mood. 

Stay spooky,
L x

Halloween 2019 Table of content

Week One
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness 
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror andSpeculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie Anderson (Gifted)

True Crime Week
Peter Sutcliffe 
Ted Bundy
Richard Ramirez 
Aileen Wuornos 
John Wayne Gacy
Lizzie Borden

Dark Fantasy Week
Relics by Tim Lebbon 

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Dragonslayer by Duncan Hamilton

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Jamie and Tor for sending me an ARC of Dragonslayer by Duncan Hamilton for free in exchange for an honest review.

Today is the final day of dragon week I have looked at Dragon Mythology,  Paul Cude’s Bentwhistle series (Gifted) (A Threat from the Past, A Chilling Revelation, A Twisted Prophecy and Earth's Custodians) and Turning Darkness into light by Marie Brennan (Gifted).

I will be honest I was a little torn about this book. On the one hand, I loved it and the characters but for me, the story lacked a bit of background information. However, I do not know if this is down to me being spoiled lately with vast extensive world-building.  I also had an issue with some unanswered questions as to why things happen and at times the logical implications of men and magic were simply set aside. While the background was lacking the amount of depth in every character that you meet is wonderful and well developed and thought out and you can understand their actions even if you don’t agree with what they do or say.

I loved Guillot (Gill), a tarnished knight, a laid-back Hero you can’t help but like the more you get to know him. Gill was previously the best knight and a great swordsman and champion of the king.  When the book starts he's been away from the capital for about 5 years and has become a drunk and let himself go. This points at a slight problem, he's entirely human, as we begin to see glimpses of the man he once was and the man he could become, he grows on you, you can't help it. A dragon has been woken up, despite dragons no one seeing a dragon for centuries. Gill must pull himself together to face this foe. However, he's out of shape and just drinking away his money. Gill is called to meet the new king and help with a new threat in the land. Along the way, he has to determine who is his friend are and is he just fighting a dragon or is there more to this than anyone thought possible.

On the way to the capital city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. The whole "she's a witch, burn her!" trope was handled nicely, with Gill calling out the villagers and shaming them for their deeds. Gill believes she is innocent…but Solène soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. I had so much love for Solene, she is strong, capable and there is so much potential in her you know she is going to grow into her powers. You might expect that almost being burnt alive to have some impact on Solène, but nope she shrugs it off by demanding a place on Gill quest.

My favourite character by far was Alpheratz the Dragon his point of view was what kept me coming back for more. Duncan humanises dragons, gives them memories and purpose and emotion and flips our sympathies from cheering on the deaths of monsters to mourning the loss of these magnificent beasts. Getting to know Alpheratz and his true motivations was perfect and you really are in for a roller coaster ride.

This book is honestly wonderful for its characters, I think it will be one I have to reread again and update my review. Happy reading

L x

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Turning Darkness into light by Marie Brennan

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of Turning Darkness into light by Marie Brennan for free in exchange for an honest review. This is the second to last book for dragon week and then we are onto all things spooky who is ready for Halloween? 

How cute is this book I mean look at the baby dragons.

Let me first say I was very impressed with the way Brennan was able to convey so much information in epistolary format. Marie has managed to expand upon the world of Memoirs of Lady Trent and more, and it’s safe to say fans of the series will be very happy with this novel.

This is a character-driven novel with a writing style similar to the Lady Trent series, but with a new and epistolary approach to the story. The book is told in a variety of styles, the contemporary, many letters and some newspaper articles. I enjoyed the variety of different storytelling styles. Little side note Turning Darkness into Light is a standalone and can be read without any reading the Lady Trent series.

Audrey is the primary narrator, and the bulk of the novel is told via her diary entries. However, in addition to that, we see sneak peeks into other characters and the world at large through the epistolary style.  Audrey’s point of view is occasionally interposed by Kudshayn as the story builds and builds around this translation of tablets to a great crescendo, involving a variety of characters and criminal activity.

You may be asking who is this Audrey I've mentioned well she is Lady Trent's granddaughter. Audrey is an interesting character that felt true to her age and place in the world. Audrey is a young but an accomplished academic, however, she has the burden of famous relatives that she feels the need to live up to. Despite that manages to be her own person, with her own interests and desires. Audrey was likeable, she took risks and she knew that she needed help. That help came in the shape of Kudshayn, Kudshayn is wonderful and a gift to us readers she provided new insight into his people’s history, culture, and way of life, down to the unique ways Draconeans communicate.

This book has a slight feminist tone throughout and the main protagonist, Audrey is commissioned to study and translate some rare tablets recently found. From this book alone I can tell that Marie has a beautiful talent writing distinct, fascinating, smart and yet humanly imperfect characters. As Audrey starts to translate the ancient tablets from a long-lost Draconean civilisation in a place where anti-Draconean feeling seems to be on the rise, and treachery could be lurking on every corner.

One of the main highlights was the as the draconic mythology and the story of the Four who hatched from a single shell. I was smiling to myself so much through this book I loved where the story went, how Audrey grew and handled everything. Also, I enjoyed the ending of the book and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me appreciate the building blocks sprinkled in earlier in the story.  Marie makes a really good point about how prejudice isn't something only extremists engage, and the subtle, non-violent kind is just as dangerous as the unsubtle the two are tied together and one can't exist without the other.

L x

Friday, 27 September 2019

Earth's Custodians by Paul Cude

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Paul, for getting in contact with me and gifting me an eBook copy of Earth's Custodians in exchange for a review. This is the fourth book in the series you can find my review of book 1 (A Threatfrom the Past), Book 2 (A Chilling Revelation) and book 3 (A Twisted Prophecy). I’ve kept this review spoiler-free as I don’t want to ruin the book.

I loved jumping straight back into Paul’s world where we live side by side with Dragons. Paul's writing once again had me captivated and immersed from the beginning. I honestly have so much love for Paul's characters and felt like I was joining friends on this journey. Regardless of already reading three books in the series, I love that there is still more to learn about Paul's world and with each detail being revealed I love it a little more. The story flows effortlessly from scene to scene, I adore this page-turner that took my hand an told me to run on a spellbinding journey.

The world is on the brink of destruction as dark and malicious forces threaten to consume it. Peter has been captured, and The King is trapped behind enemy lines. Everything hinges on a chilling rescue attempt, deep in Antarctica. It was so easy to lose myself in Pauls writing that the scary bits honestly made me shiver and hairs on the back of my neck stick up and, in the bits, when the dragons are successful it made me hop with excitement. This book was jaw-dropping I felt a little anxious as we followed the dragon friends on their separate quests, to save the planet with surprises galore, heartache, mystery, magic and mayhem, this is another book by Paul that I could not stop reading it.

I honestly have a lot of love for this series and I think it’s purely down to Pauls writing style as he takes world-building to another level which makes his work such a pleasure to read and he paints such a vivid picture of his truly magical world its easy to picture. I can't recommend this series enough.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

A Twisted Prophecy by Paul Cude

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Paul, for getting in contact with me and gifting me an eBook copy of A Twisted Prophecy in exchange for a review. This is the third book in the series you can find my review of book 1 (A Threat from the Past) and book 2 (A Chilling Revelation) on the links.  

I loved jumping straight back into Paul’s world where we live side by side with Dragons. In a world where dragons are part of a society and dragons are living underground in a parallel world to humans. Despite already reading two books in the series I still learnt a little more about Pauls world and I love it a little more.

I loved this series I think it’s purely down to Paul's writing style and he takes world-building to another level everything is a little more creative, complex and extravagant, much like many dragon’s lives. Once again, the blending of human and dragon worlds is perfect and extremely detailed. The setting is truly magical, imaginative and great fun. Can I just have a little side note here - I had a daydream while reading this series and a random thought: have I ever met a dragon? I may have met one of Paul’s dragons and I would never know. That is your laurenism for the day.

In a twisted prophecy, all the elements come together beautifully from the first two books. this is honestly the moment you've been waiting for Reprehensible plots are revealed, an considerable treasure is in the balance, and many lives at stake combine to create the crowning moment of this amazing series. Yet again Paul has created a tale with an intriguing plot that is thought-provoking and complex, troubling and language that will make you shudder for its honesty, clarity, and confidence. The tension, the subplots, the'll forget you're reading and begin to cheer the fearless heroes onward in the fight of their lives.

Pauls writing once again had me captivated and had me immersed from the beginning. I honestly have so much love for the characters and felt like I was again on this journey with them. The story flows effortlessly from scene to scene, I adore the attention-grabbing moments in this page-turner that took me once again on a spellbinding journey
L x

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

A Chilling Revelation by Paul Cude

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Paul, for getting in contact with me and gifting me an eBook copy of A Chilling Revelation in exchange for a review. This is the second book in the series check out my review of A Threat from the Past here. 
This book picks up right after a fight between Mason and Peter. We are reunited with Peter Bentwhistle, who is doing his best to fall back into his normal routine with his friends who welcome him back after his near-death experience. Peter is currently stuck in human form due to an injury from a previous adventure. Whether he wants a normal life or not, things will never be the same and the kings guard him that he is different, that there will always be a threat out there and he needs to keep vigilant. We meet an old foe, drawn in, the dangerous but deadly plot is formed against the Dragon Kind, an old foe, The Naga. With dark forces at work, we can only imagine what is up next for Peter and his Friends.

The book is told between the perspectives of Peter and Flash, flicking between them in alternative chapters. It follows Peter’s return, his growing affection for a human and his attempts to put the past behind him. While we get to meet Flash, a Crimson Guard investigating the recent troubles in Antarctica who also works for the king. There Flash discovers a bigger plot, worldwide danger and Peter and friends are soon pulled in. I really liked Flash, I found him to be an interesting character who helped liven up the scenes he was in. As both tales beautifully collide for a captivating ending and perfect set up for the next book, as Peter and his friends are drawn into worldwide danger and bigger plot than any could conceive.

I loved jumping straight back into Paul’s world where we live side by side with Dragons. The world where dragons are part of a society of dragons living underground in a parallel world to humans. There is a king and his council and dragons who can take on human form. Once again the blending of human and dragon worlds is perfect and extremely detailed. The setting is truly magical, imaginative and great fun.

The adventure begins with a mission in Antarctica and includes a complex terrorist plot. Just like the first book in the series, there’s an abundance of well thought out scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story. This book is full of interesting characters, suspenseful action and great humour. There is action, adventure and also young love.

L x

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Paul, for getting in contact with me and gifting me an eBook copy of A Threat from the Past in exchange for a review. 

Paul Cude puts a whole new slant on dragons living among us. Paul has reinvented our world where humans exist on the surface but beneath that surface live dragons in vast caverns connected by tunnels that lead to the surface. The blending of the human and dragon worlds is perfect and extremely detailed. You can find out not only how it came to exist, but also how the dragons can travel so fast and what's their favourite sport.

Paul’s dragons are highly developed and can travel at incredible speeds, can alter their shape and become humanoid in appearance.  Another thing that I liked about this book is that it explored the different opinions of dragons on humans. While some work for humans, some look down on humans and will never take their human forms.

I was completely engrossed with how “normal” they are as they move among humans while in human form and yet, have their world where they can look like dragons. These dragons are not enemies of humans but are here to protect them, a tradition that goes a long way back into their past. The history of these two worlds combined is so lovingly displayed and we the reader are told in detail about the world and communities of dragons, their habitat, tunnels under the sea and much more which I found very enjoyable.

But everything is about to change when a devious dragon plots to destroy this beautiful relationship and only Peter Bentwhistle and his young friends Richie and Tank can see what's going on. Ancient magic, best friends, ominous enemies and more add to the fantasy and intrigue. Each of the characters also gets their own story. Peter, as the main hero, is especially well developed, but don’t worry Paul doesn’t forget about the others. You will get insight into their lives, work, free time. You'll see exactly how they fit into the story and how they influence it.

 The characters are well fleshed out and the action descriptions are richly embellished, especially the dragons' underworld which is breath-taking. The sense of friendship and loyalty shared between Peter Bentwhistle and his best friends is a joy to follow and Peter is so “average” that he makes the perfect unlikely hero as he follows a dark and twisted mystery that reeks of evil. These three brave dragons must stop the threat from the past to save our present.

 The story had every element a good story should have. An exciting plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. Most of the story, however, is set in the present day and not in the distant past. Myths and legends in the dragon world their good and bad members, their habits, their sports and their views on the human world add flesh to the action part of the story.

Paul has given us all a realistic and relatable modern hero in Peter while creating a fantasy that is family-friendly. 

L x

Monday, 23 September 2019

Dragon Mythology

Hello Readers,

Today we are kicking off dragon week with, first off who doesn’t love Dragons!! Secondly, who doesn’t like dragon books!! Today however I am going to be looking into the mythology of dragons with a little count down of my favourite dragons.

Dragons and their tales are known in many cultures, from the Americas to Europe, and from India to China. Like many other mythological creatures, dragons are perceived in different ways by different cultures around the world. In early cultures, the dragons were often seen as mighty serpents and beasts that were either extremely generous or fearsome and difficult to kill. Dragons are sometimes said to be able to breathe and spit fire or poison as well as many other elements. Dragons were thought of as being useful and protective, other times harmful and dangerous.

Eastern cultures often saw dragons as a knowledgeable deity that had power over storms and water. However, western cultures had a very different perspective. They often saw dragons as evil beasts that revelled in killing and chaos. Some dragons were even embodied to the point that they could speak and felt emotions, while others were merely feral beasts.

Dragons have a long and rich history in many forms and continue to exists in modern culture through books, films and television shows. Dragons are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing, typically, feathered or scaly bodies. Some dragons have wings; others don't. Some dragons can speak or breathe fire; others can't. Some are only a few feet long; others span miles. Dragons are sometimes portrayed as having large, yellow or red eyes, a feature that is the origin of the word for "dragon" in many cultures. Many dragons are depicted as living in dark and dangerous places that were often perilous for men in ancient times. While others live under the ocean, while others can only be found in caves and inside mountains.

Dragons are known to guard hordes of treasure, other myths still surround the creature. One such myth is that dragon’s blood held special properties that gave anyone with access, for example, a person was to dip a sword or knife into dragon blood and stab someone with it, their wound would never heal. It is also thought that dragon blood gives a person the ability to see into the future.

Dragons have been portrayed in numerous works of literature, originally most of these representations of dragons where negative. Writers, such as J.R.R. Tolkien kept this view of dragons with his character Smaug, a greedy dragon who is brought down by his own pride in The Hobbit. However, in modern times writers started to shift away from this view and Dragons have been portrayed as friends of children.
My favourite Dragons

L x

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Travel – Cayo Guillermo, Cuba (Zap-it Gifted, Ad)

Hello Readers,
Welcome back to travel Tuesday, I have been lucky enough to visit different parts of Cuba but Cayo Guillermo has my heart. The places I am going to be mentioning are Egypt, Spain, Tunisia and Cuba. I do have one more thing to add I need to add a gifted and ad for the end of the post where I mention ZAP-IT and I don’t earn any money from the links included.

Cayo Guillermo is they stereotypical vision you get when you think of Cuba or The Caribbean perfectly clear sea, white beaches, starfish, beautiful birds, rum and cigars. I am part of a hotel page on facebook and somethings I would like to clear up from the questions I see on there.

Cuba is still under embargo; Cuba is recovering from a food shortage and the star rating is Cuban rated and please do your research before you go!!! You cannot go over the top clubbing in Cayo Guillermo aits attached to Cuba by a causeway. Also let’s not forget Hurricane Irma pretty much destroyed most of Cayo Guillermo, to the people moaning about their holiday being cancelled there is a special place in the afterlife for you!  
Most of the above usually gets me in trouble when I visit, my last visit I ended up on the same flight and hotel as a “Karen” she had stayed at an Iberostar in Tenerife and expect the same luxuries and I have never heard someone moan so much in a tropical paradise. Once more for the people at the back in Cayo Guillermo is attached to Cuba by a causeway and is stunning and peaceful.

I honestly love Cuba it is honestly the only Caribbean island I feel safe enough to walk around alone and off the hotel complex. I love the Cuban people and they are honestly so friendly and welcoming it’s unbelievable. There is very little to do outside of the hotels other than the other hotels, Dolphinarium, Pilar Beach. I don’t mind walking and usually go for walks down the beach or to the causeway bridge or Dolphinarium keep your eyes peeled on the way to the causeway and Dolphinarium you should be able to see the beautiful flocks of Pink Flamingos. There is also excursions to Havana, Crocodile farm, Catamaran trips, speed boats and deep-sea fishing off the top of my head.
If you find yourself in Cayo Guillermo, you must visit the stunning, Playa Pilar beach. It’s true white sand and crystal-clear water paradise and if you visit on a full moon the huge starfish are close to shore. If you get the chance you must visit Moron, in my opinion, the best way to view Moron is by private tour each time I have gone with Juan Carlos and I couldn’t recommend the trip enough.

Juan took Mother Goose and I to the nearby crocodile farm, Laguna de Leche and the best Piña Colada, Quick stop for sugar cane and we went on to Moron. I still love how pretty and bright the buildings are in Cuba and they still take my breath away each time I go I always pause and take in the moment and just enjoy the sights.

One thing that I have a love-hate relationship within Cuba is that every single bug that bites will find me. I have tried everything from sprays, bands, new bands, plugs and patches I have come to the conclusion I’m just going to get bitten anyway; however, I moved my focus to getting rid of the pesky itch.

Cubans recommend putting Rum on to stop it, sorry but nope and creams I’ve used in the past made me itch more. So, before my last trip, I was looking for something new and came across Zap-it after reading some reviews I thought I would order two. Imagine my surprise when I saw Zap-it put a request out for bloggers and here, we are a miniature review on a travel post. I'm unlucky when I get bitten as they swell and after the first couple of uses, I noticed the bites treated with the Zap-it didn’t swell and the itching was almost non-existent.

Here’s a little science scratching a mosquito bite may bring short-lived relief but it also increases the histamine levels in the area causing swelling and the slight risk of damaging the skin’s surface and making it itch more.

Zap-It! is available from Asda and Superdrug, and is also available online from Amazon

L x

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Sarah, and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of Strange Ink by Gary Kemble for free in exchange for an honest review.

Before we get into my review, we are going to take a minute to appreciate how stunning this book is that simple black and white with a pop of colour on the cover is magnificent and black sprayed edges, I mean it could be more beautiful if it tried. The second book called Dark Ink will be published October 8th 2019
Just the concept of this book fascinated me poor Harry Hendrick wakes up to find a strange symbol tattooed on his neck. Harry thinks he had the tattoo done while drunk, but soon more tattoos appear along with violent nightmares. I’ve binge-watched enough tattoo fixers to know this can happen but the twist of having the tattoo linked to violent nightmare and more sent shivers up my spine.

Fed-up journalist Harry Hendrick was once a rising star, but his career was derailed and is now circling the drain in Brisbane. He’s meandering through life, a shell of his former self, until he goes to a friend's stags’ night and wakes the next morning with a hangover with a strange symbol tattooed on his neck. Harry has no recollection of getting the tattoo, his mate Dave can’t remember anything about them going for a tattoo, even photographs taken on the stag night reveal nothing and the local tattoo parlour denying any knowledge of tattooing Harry. It seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

However, this tattoo isn’t just a normal drunken tattoo. Harry has a nightmare, waking in fright and wondering where he is and this nightmare has just caused sweating a waking up oh no it is accompanied by another grisly new tattoo.  The tattoo depicts a scene from the nightmare this is followed by more tattoos and violent visions that seem to be tied to the war in Afghanistan that are becoming more vivid

Harry begins to realise that each new nightmare a tragic story is being told through the ink, through the images that the tattoos depict upon his skin. Harry suspects the nightmares and tattoos maybe someone else’s distressing memories. It is up to Harry to uncover the truth behind the tattoos and what happened to the person that they originally belonged to. Harry must solve the mystery they present before a depraved villain becomes prime minister.

The novel’s gritty realism and effectively conveys the discomfort of new ink, the uncomfortable heat of the Queensland summer, and the horrors of war and murder. As Harry digs deeper the story strands that at first appear to be disparate pieces all come together. Biker gangs, drugs, corruption, greed, the horrors of war, the water tower, politics and the presidential candidate all have their part to play in the dark narrative.

This is a wonderfully written book with an original premise could have easily gone wrong, but Gary handles it with such care and gives us a believable world and characters. This remarkable book is captivating from the beginning and is hard to put down. I couldn’t stop reading because stuff kept happening on nearly every page but not giving too much away. The pace is honestly remarkable it is fast yet not a single detail is lost. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little different.


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Travel – Pamplona, Spain

Hello Readers,
Today we're carrying on from last Tuesday and posting another travel post, I am still being original and calling it Travel Tuesday. The places I am going to be mentioning are Egypt, Spain, Tunisia and Cuba. 

I not going to be talking about the more touristy places in Spain, I am going to be talking about Pamplona this hidden gem is all the way up in the north of Spain. Pamplona will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first solo trip I took. You’ve probably heard of it in a negative light as its where San Fermin festival takes place or the running of the bulls. I visited in September long after the bull run had happened, I also think that was a brilliant time to visit as it wasn’t to warm or too cold, I think during my two-week trip I had rain for one day.
I did, however, get a map from the tourist centre that mapped out the bull run and walked the route from start to finish. The size of the bull ring at Pamplona was a stunning sight despite not agreeing with the event. On the outside of the ring, they have signs promoting how the money raised helps the old people who have been forgotten and orphans. I am so sorry but it is going to take a little more than that to make me agree with you.  

One thing I will say it’s a little difficult to get to Pamplona directly. I had to fly to Bilboa and catch a bus to Pamplona it only too an hour and a half so it wasn’t too bad. Pamplona is also on the pilgrimage route called Camino de Santiago (The way of Saint James). However, despite the added travel time the city is very easy to navigate turn right enough times and you’ll end up right where you started.

Almost every place of interest can be found within the well-preserved medieval city walls and is within walking distance from the Plaza del Castillo (Castle Square). Inside, the walls you have the old citadel and Vuelta del Castillo Park. Also in walking distance is the La Catedral de Santa María la Real de Pamplona and the Church of Saint Lawrence. The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real is stunning, to the left of the building is a small shaded courtyard that is the perfect spot to read.

Pamplona is stunning by foot the stone-paved streets of the Old Town wind their way through the historic heart of the city, between medieval churches, palaces and, of course, plenty of bars and restaurants. The Taconera Gardens are the oldest and beautiful park in Pamplona at the time of my visit I wasn’t aware of the age of the site. This beautiful park combines trees and flowers with a wide range of sculptures and has a miniature zoo in the moat of the walls that contain deer, ducks, pheasants, swans and peacocks. Below is the Portal de Francia. 
If you get the chance when you visit you need to visit the indoor markets in Pamplona, they are such a wonderful and brightly coloured experience. The sight can almost overwhelming, the sight, smells and sounds are a barrage on the senses. Fresh vegetables meat and fish are wonderfully displayed, you can smell fresh herbs and meats cooking away as well as hear the sounds of deals being made.  

The food in Pamplona is scrumptious and they are very generous with portion sizes the picture below is a salad that I’m pretty sure only cost me 5 euros which is around £4.53 or $5.57. There are plenty of places with wonderful menu’s but it would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of the set dinner menus that offer fantastic value for money for three courses and a bottle of wine.

Pamplona is worth a visit for a week or a long weekend away. You can explore so much on foot which is wonderful and you’ll find lovely hidden gems where you can sit and read or take a minute to watch the world go by.  

L x