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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards Scared to Death by Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Series: Cherringham #27
Published by Bastei Entertainment on October 1, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 158
Format: eBook
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When classic horror movie star Basil Coates becomes the victim of a series of scary pranks, the local police put it down to a crazed fan. Just pranks, after all ...

But with Halloween only days away, the spectre of murder suddenly visits the ghostly Coates mansion on the hill outside Cherringham - and Jack and Sarah find themselves caught in a mystery worthy of Basil’s spookiest roles ...

Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly - but with a spot of tea - it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick read for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

Scared to Death was my first visit to Cherringham, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. It’s a novella, as are most of this series and I really enjoyed it.

Sarah and Jack are well-known for solving local mysteries, so when someone is “playing pranks” on Basil Coates, an elderly man who was once the horror film star, his still enchanting wife, a former star herself, calls on the duo to find out what’s going on.

It’s a quick story, but self-contained. We get a good feel for who Sarah and Jack are, although I’m not sure if they’re just friends or if there’s a potential for more there. I’m hoping the former. The authors also do a good job at fully developing the secondary characters, the Coates househould. There are a couple plausible suspects and Sarah and Jack do a good job at following upon the clues. There was one choice Sarah made that I wish she hadn’t, but women amateur detectives seldom seem to have the best sense of self-preservation.

It’s a perfect Halloween read, spooky and fun.

About Matthew Costello

Matthew Costello was born in 1948 and writes novels and nonfictional works as author and coauthor. Some of his books have been adapted into film versions and he wrote for some TV channels like the BBC. He also scripts and designs videogames.

About Neil Richards

Neil Richards has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling. His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together. Cherringham, the crime fiction series set in the Cotswolds, is their first crime fiction as co-writers.

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The Dream Dragon by Kathryn England

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The Dream Dragon by Kathryn England The Dream Dragon by Kathryn England
Illustrator: Valeria Issa
Published by Xist Publishing on February 19, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Picture Book
Pages: 32
Format: eBook
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A dragon protects a child’s dreams from nightmares in this picture book perfect for bedtime. Bedtime stories inspires a series of dream protectors for a little boy. The dream dragon keeps the nightmares away and is joined by dinosaurs, pirates, super heroes and more in the quest to keep nighttime safe.

I should maybe quit reading kids books. I picked up The Dream Dragon because it looked cute and I try to keep an eye out for books my nieces/nephews would enjoy. And it was a fine book, I just felt a little sad for the dragon.

The dream dragon protects the boy’s dreams. He scares away the bad dreams, but he also pushes the good dreams to the edge, because he wants to be the dream the boy remembers. Then, a t-rex comes along and defeats the dragon. It is the new protector, but then comes along a superhero, then a pirate, and each, in turn, stars in the boy’s dreams.

I like how the book first shows than not all monsters are scary. It also connects what we read about or learn about in real life to our dreams, which I think can be helpful for kids. At least it was when Amber was little. Knowing why she dreamed about something scary sometimes made it a bit better.

I felt a little sorry for the dragon though. In the end, he does show up in the girl’s dream, though, so I guess it’s okay.

The illustrations are simple, but cute. They’re colorful, mostly darker shades – browns, greens, blues, dark oranges.

Overall, it’s a nice bedtime story.

WTF by Cathy Yardley

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WTF by Cathy Yardley WTF by Cathy Yardley
Series: Geek Actually #1.1
Published by Serial Box on June 7, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Episodic, Chic Lit, Geek
Pages: 69
Format: eBook
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Meet your new best girlfriends. Michelle is a hard-nosed Science Fiction editor who is used to things going her way; Taneesha is a talented video game programmer who is used to being the odd (wo)man out. Aditi is a fantasy writer on the verge of her big break; Christina is a rebel on the sidelines of Hollywood. And Elli is a fan – of anything and everything that keeps are from “proper adulting.” Together they are Rebel Scum (at least in their shared group chat), and best friends through thick and thin. They might live far apart but through the power of the internet and a shared love of all things geek, they are ready to face the world side by side.

This is the 1st episode in the first season of Geek Actually, a 13-episode serial from Serial Box Publishing. This episode was written by Cathy Yardley.

Michelle and Aditi have been friends for ages, but with Michelle as Aditi’s editor for her debut fantasy novel, their relationship is under a bit of strain. Aditi needs to blow off some steam—a hot Tinder date does the trick (and then some). Meanwhile, Taneesha and Elli are both having some job trouble.

Amber and I were talking yesterday about what makes me a geek – because I’m obviously a geek. Just the fact that I write book reviews for fun probably qualifies me, but add in our weekly board game night and the fact that we literally had a 45 minute discussion on monster types the other day and there’s little doubt. But I don’t have any geeky female friends like the women of Geek Actually. I do wish I had a group of friends like them.

In this episode, we meet all the women and learn a bit about where they’re at in their lives. We see their jobs, husbands and lovers. It’s fun and sexy but it also touches on some heavier topics  like body image and sexism. I love the diverse cast of characters and people who I have something in common with (not that I ever go out of my way to swing by a PokeStop).

I have read serial fiction before and it’s a format I enjoy. I like the short episodes that flow together. I’m looking forward to spending more time with these characters. After this introduction I like them but don’t care about them yet; I am interested to see where their stories go.

About Cathy Yardley

Cathy Yardley writes fantasy, chick lit and romance. She loves J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Marian Keyes, J.K. Rowling, and a slew of other authors.

She calls herself a geekgirl. She loves the San Diego Comic-con. She’s a bit Sherlockian, but hasn’t gone full Whovian yet.

She loves being an author. Loves writing. Loves promoting. Loves everything about it.

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