This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Verjuice in the Kitchen by Adam Pittaway

51CCnpKTRaL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_
Verjuice is one of those special secrets of cooking. Having grown up in Adelaide, Australia I was blessed with regular visits to the Barossa Valley vineyards and first discovered Verjuice for sale at one of the many winery cellar doors. Since then I have worked on incorporating it into my cooking as much as possible. I use Verjuice in many different ways and have found that it works just as well in sweet desserts as in savoury foods. 

Featuring 20 recipes from entrée to dessert all using verjuice as the main ingredient
Review: Adam Pittaway has created a brilliant set of recipes here! They're easy to make, fun and delicious. This is a great one for cooks (and budding cooks) to try something a little unique :)

A Death In The Dales by Frances Brody

dales
A murder most foul
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe ...
A village of secrets
But it just so happens that Freda's nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
The case of a lifetime
As the present mysteries merge with the past's mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave.
It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn't the holiday Kate was expecting.
frances
Frances Brody is a pseudonym for Frances McNeil, author of four novels and winner of the Elizabeth Elgin Award for best new saga of the millennium for Somewhere Behind the Morning. Frances has written many stories and plays for BBC radio, and scripts for television. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Theatr Clwyd, with Jehad nominated for a Time Out Award. Frances lived in the USA for a time before studying at Ruskin College, Oxford, reading English Literature and History at York University, teaching English and History at Bradford College and tutoring writing courses for the Arvon Foundation. She lives in Leeds where she was born and grew up. Visit her at www.frances-brody.com
Review: Another amazing book from the author! The way she captures the nature of humans whilst caught up in a mystery is brilliant. Frances Brody writes crime novels with a difference, they aren't all about the gory details, they are about the lives affected and that makes them appeal to a much wider audience. I'd recommend any of her books - and particualrly this one - to crime fiction enthusiasts, and anyone wanting to try something new. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Reign of Iron by Angus Watson

51Mb3vPAFwL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
WARRIOR QUEENS AND ROMAN INVADERS DO BATTLE IN THE FINAL VOLUME OF THIS THRILLING EPIC FANTASY TRILOGY.

Caesar's soldiers have murdered, massacred and pillaged their way through Gaul and loom on the far side of the sea, ready to descend upon Britain - with them are an unstoppable legion of men twisted by dark magic. Somehow Queen Lowa must repel the invasion, although her best general is dead and her young druid powerless. She faces impossible odds, but when the alternative is death or slavery, a warrior queen will do whatever it takes to save her people.

EVERY EMPIRE HAS ITS DOWNFALL.


Angus Watson is an author and journalist living in London. He’s written hundreds of features for many newspapers including the TimesFinancial Times and the Telegraph, and the latter even sent him to look for Bigfoot. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, Angus came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for theTelegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain’s ancient paths for further articles.
Review: Oh my goodness. What an amazing end to such a wonderful series! I love the fact and fiction clash in these novels and this one certainly didn't disappoint. I really wish there was more to it, I could easily read 10 more books! The characters are badass and awesome, their powers and skills are amazing...I just love them! I can't say too much without spoiling at least one of the plot lines, but I will say this: READ THEM ALL!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Murder on Sea by Julie Wassmer

51XsnJ6EzVL._UY250_
Christmas in Whitstable. Lights shine bright in old Harbour Street. A Christmas tree stands in place outside St Alfred’s Church. Carol singers surround it. The party season begins. Christmas cards drop through letterboxes . . .
Pearl is busy with the festive season, planning a great family occasion with Dolly and son Charlie - but she’s overstretched herself by agreeing to cater a charity fundraising event at St Alfred’s. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate already…Christmas cards begin arriving around town, filled with poisonous messages. Several people approach Pearl about the cards and though she has little time to take on a new case, Pearl’s curiosity is piqued when she receives one too - commenting on her relationship with DCI Mike McGuire . . .
At the local Christmas party, Pearl and McGuire soon find themselves standing below some mistletoe, when a guest suddenly keels over. At first it’s assumed that local accountant Sue Taylor has simply drunk too much of Pearl’s excellent mulled wine but McGuire and another guest at the event, local GP Paul Masters, soon confirm Sue’s death.
Suspicions soon begin to mount - could it be that Martha, a cat lover who led a solitary life outside her work as church warden, was also a murderer and the sender of all those poison pen Christmas cards?
Julie Wassmer is a a professional televison drama writer, working on various series including ITV's London's Burning, C5's Family Affairs and BBC's Eastenders - which she worked on for 20 years. In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True.
Review: I loved this book! All the characters were well written, rounded and realistic too. Although the plot line deals with a gruesome murder and a lot of nastiness, it manages to have a humorous edge to it too. The mystery was detailed and difficult to solve - which makes the reveal all that more exciting! Highly recommended!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Accepting Submissions...

"So it's about time for a new anthology, don't you think?
This one is all about Halloween - submit your classic or modern horror stories for consideration before September 30th to lockdown@writeme.com
As always, there is no word count or structured theme - I want you to be as creative as you like. My most successful anthologies to date have been the most varied ones! I will also consider poetry and artwork, if this is where your talents or creativity lies :)
The point of these anthologies is all about promotion, so there is no payment for the stories, but all of the royalties go back into advertising the book (blog tours, paid advertising, that sort of thing) to help get all our names out there. Plus you'll be given the chance to interview for my blogs (WordpressTumblrBlogger) about your other work, which is extra personalised promotion just for you.
If you are still interested, please email your story as a word document, plus an author bio. If your story is accepted, you will be sent a standard contract to sign and a PDF copy of the book to check over before it goes live - which it will do so in time for Halloween.
Good luck and I'm looking forward to all of the wonderful stories that are about to head my way!
Samie :)"

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Slice Girls edited by Carmilla Voiez

51h7uKYhHBL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_
From tales of revenge and spurned lovers to vengeful ghosts and blood-thirsty misandrists. This unique collection of tales explores the violent potential of women. Turning old tropes on their heads we have male victims and female killers. This anthology of Feminazi Splatter Goth will uncover the darkness of the “fairer sex” and prove the age old maxim that – the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Short stories of horror and torture from indie authors around the globe including Jef Rouner, Carmilla Voiez and Timothy Black. 15 stories and 1 poem of murder and mayhem. 

The female of the species is more deadly than the male. 

Stories and Contributors: 
Jagged Jaws by Carmilla Voiez 
Click Bait by Jef Rouner 
Pretty Colors by Timothy Black 
Delicacy by Nickie Jamison 
Give us back our Torture Porn by James Park 
Father's Day by Shebat Legion 
Hold Me by Jason Dyer 
Safe Word by Mike Casto 
Blood and Donuts by Elisabeth Popolow 
Unheard Voices by Sandra Wiltjer 
Berlin-War by Enjay Taylor 
If I Ever Lay my Lingering Blue Eyes on You by Sergio “ente per ente” Palumbo 
Temptress of the Night by Samie Sands 
Drug Count by Joe DiCicco 
Blink of an Eye by Darren Wroblewski 
Can't Lose You by Stefy Janeva

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Devoted In Death by J.D. Robb

51vTlRt6oSL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_
Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.
 
When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .
Review: I love this book series! Eve Dallas is an awesome, strong minded woman who also had a vulnerable side which makes her that much more relatable. This particular case revolves around a 'Bonnie and Clyde' type who get a sexual thrill from murder and torture which is a different twist to the typical homicide cases. I love how each case brings with it it's own complications and intrigue. The author has a gripping way of writing that draws the reader in right away. I highly recommend this entire series!

Monday, 14 September 2015

#SeeMe Book Review Coming Soon...

9780751549980
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. At twenty-eight, he's focused only on walking in a straight line - getting his teaching degree and avoiding all the places and people that proved destructive in his past. The last thing he's looking for is a relationship. But when Maria Sanchez, a hardworking lawyer and daughter of Mexican immigrants, crosses his path one rainswept night in North Carolina, the foundations of his carefully structured life are completely upended.
Before the couple has a chance to envision what a life together might be, ominous reminders of events in Maria's past begin to surface. And as the threat of violence begins to shadow her every step, she and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways.
Will their respective demons destroy the tentative bonds they've forged, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?                               

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Bizarre Baby Name Book by K.A. Shaw

Join The Book Review Club HERE!
The Bizarre Baby Name Book by K.A. Shaw cover
Are you an expectant mother uncertain of what to name your new baby?
Unable to make a choice after reading thousands of names?
Hate the name your spouse or parents insist you must name your child?
The Bizarre Baby Name Book will help you keep your child from a lifetime of pain. After all, great parenting starts before a child is born.
Crazy baby names are the latest craze. Celebrities are leading the fad. But as your mother always warned, just because your friends want to jump off the bridge…
In The Bizarre Baby Name Book, author K. A. Shaw helps you avoid baby-naming disasters. Brutally honest and absolutely comedic, she provides a guiding light for choosing a great name for your child. She wrote The Bizarre Baby Name Book to help you choose wisely.

 
Author bio: K. Alex Shaw is a freelance writer, published author, and songwriter. She graduated with a B.S. Marketing Honors from DePaul University, where she also attended law school, and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. Her latest project is nonfiction informing expectant parents what not to name their baby, which will be released July 7, 2015.
 
 
                                                          Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Tumblr

Review: I thought this book was brilliant! The author is very witty and I really enjoyed her unusual take on the baby name book. I found myself laughing much more than I thought I would. I would highly recommend this for an expectant mother - most of the books you get given are very serious and boring - this would be great for lightening the mood.  
Check out The Book Review Club website to enter the competition to win a paperback copy of this book!

Lockdown Sample

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ink by Glenn Benest and Dale Pitman

art1
His studio has become his refuge and his prison—a place of boundless imagination and isolation. Brian Archer, creator of a series of successful graphic novels about a vengeful supernatural being called “The Highwayman,” has become a recluse after the adoration of a female fan turned to rage and violence. 

But all that changes when he meets a renowned and beautiful illustrator, A.J. Hart, who carries emotional scars of her own. Their work together is fueled by the unrequited passion they share and a mysterious bottle of black ink that arrives one day at Brian’s doorstep. 

The impossibly dark liquid has mystical properties, making their characters appear so real they eventually come to life, reigning terror on those who mean them harm and if not stopped—threatens to unleash an apocalypse on all mankind. Brian must break free of his self-imposed exile and solve the mystery that allowed these terrible creatures into the world.
Review: Oh my goodness this book was unlike anything I've ever read before! Brian is a unique character, a loner who writes horror graphic novels, when unbeknownst to him, his designs start to come to life. This book combines the romance story of Brian and AJ with a complex paranormal twist. There are elements of fear, violence and distress. It's an exciting, fast paced read and it's simply amazing!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Girl In The Road by Monica Byrne

18297954
A debut that Neil Gaiman calls “Glorious. . . . So sharp, so focused and so human.” The Girl in the Road describes a future that is culturally lush and emotionally wrenching.
Monica Byrne bursts on to the literary scene with an extraordinary vision of the future.  In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys—each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.
When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India.  As she plots her exit, she learns of the Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run.  This is her salvation.  Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.
Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home.  She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture.  But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected—romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.
As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama’s fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.
Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is an artistic feat of the first order: vividly imagined, artfully told, and profoundly moving.
"I'm a writer, playwright, and traveler based in Durham, NC.
When I was fourteen, I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. When I was twenty-four, I realized I wanted to be a writer.
Thank God. I would have made a terrible astronaut."
Review: The Girl In The Road is a powerful book that leaves you thinking long after you have gotten past the last page. Monica Byrne has created 2 very distinct characters with individualised voices, making the plot easier to follow. Some dark, uncomfortable topics are covered, but that's exactly what makes this debut stand out from the crowd. I really enjoyed the complex, in depth journey and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a strong, unique read. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan

22026106
Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Gilly Macmillan grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied History of Art at Bristol University and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she's worked as a part-time lecturer in A Level Photography and a full-time mum. Gilly lives in Bristol with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.
Review: Burnt Paper Sky is a heart pounding thriller that centres around every parents worst nightmare - losing a child. I was terrified reading this book, petrified of what the conclusion might be - the author has a brilliant way of dragging you in until you can't put the book down. Each person within the pages of the plot is wrapped up in their own grief, anger and whirlwind of emotion. I don't want to give anything away, so all I'll say is read the book. It's amazing!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Moment Of Letting Go by J.A. Redmerski

22875439
You can follow the rules or you can follow your heart...

THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO


Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she'd always craved--until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he's convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can't deny the deep connection he feels. But there's a reason Luke doesn't do long-term. He can't promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be.
J. A. Redmerski, New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries. 

JessicaRedmerski.com
@JRedmerski
Facebook.com/J.A.Redmerski
Review: Wow, what an amazing story! The Moment of Letting Go is a bittersweet romantic story, told from 2 different perspectives. Sienna has spent her entire life working towards a set of strict rules and goals. Luke's entire existence is shrouded in tragedy. The tow of the together pull the other one from their unhappy lives and how each other how freedom can really look. J.A. Redmerski has created realistic, loveable characters that drive the rollercoaster of a plot well, right up until the awesome conclusion. Highly recommended!