*REVIEW* ~ The Vodka Trail, by AA Abbott

#crime #thriller

Book Blurb

Orphaned and destitute as a teenager, Kat has made a new life for herself in London. Now she’s determined to reclaim her father’s vodka business in the former Soviet Union.

Birmingham businessman Marty wants to stop her. That alone isn’t why Kat hates him – she blames him for her parents’ deaths. But when she’s taken hostage by freedom fighters, only Marty can help her survive.

My Review

~ Slick and Entertaining  ***** (5 stars) ~

The Vodka Trail is a slick and entertaining crime thriller, with believable characters and plenty of plot twists, taking place in Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union. It is the second book in the Trail series (the first being the Bride’s Trail), but can easily be read as a standalone, for although it does feature some characters from the first novel, it contains a brand new plot.

Kat travels to the former Soviet Union to reclaim her family’s vodka business. At the same time Marty, a Birmingham businessman,  also finds himself there on what is to turn out to be an ill-fated business trip. The two protaganists have a history going way back, to when Kat was a child, and they are both as stunned as each other when they discover that they are both held captive by freedom fighters. They know that their situation is precarious and that they will be lucky to escape with their lives. Kat in particular finds that she has to rely on Marty to maintain her sanity and recognises that the man she blames for so many past events in her life may be the one man who could save her life.

As Kat and Marty spend time in captivity together they are compelled to confront events which took place in the past, little realising how much of the past and present have collided in their current predicament. Their situation also impacts on family and friends in the UK and it is an anxious time as they await their, fate hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst.

The read is a realistic and harrowing portrayal of kidnapping and of the contrasting lives of those who live in the former Soviet Union and the UK. Not only was I on pins to see if Kat and Marty would survive their ordeal, but also how they would endure their close proximity given their animosity towards each other. Scenes expertly pan from their desperate situation to the lives and motivations of their captors and friends and family (including Kat’s fiancé) in the UK. Their existence is far removed from the shenanigans of some characters and the contrast makes for an entertaining read. I enjoyed both the two main characters as well as the insight into the political situation which has prompted their kidnapping.

The author has a gift for scene setting and I particularly liked her descriptions of Birmingham and London’s business community and those of the former Soviet Union, which I found very insightful. I particularly enjoyed the complex relationship between Kat and Marty and how this develops throughout the novel.

A super crime thriller, which is a thoroughly entertaining read.

PLEASE NOTE: The book is available in e-book and paperback. The author has published this series in a dyslexia free format. See the author’s blog post Fun, Fast Thrillers and Dyslexia Friendly Too

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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Twitter as @AAAbbottStories



*DOUBLE REVIEW* ~ The General’s Daughter and Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash books 1 and 2), by Heather Knight

#postapocalyptic #romance #darkromance #erotic, #romanticsuspense

Adult/18+ Read

Must read series for dark romance fans!

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of dark romance. I also love post-apocalyptic novels, so when I came across the Snow and Ash series by Heather Knight I was positively salivating. I pre-ordered the first book, The General’s Daughter and read it in one sitting, after which I downloaded book #2, Stolen Melody and feasted on that too. After a difficult week with one thing and another, escaping into the harsh, brutal world the author paints, complete with alpha males, mind blowing sex and suspenseful plots was just the tonic I needed! I will be downloading book #3 in the series, The Other Brother, as soon as it is available.

Each book pairs a swoonworthy anti-hero with a heroine who is broken/damaged. The sex scenes sometimes push the boundaries of consent –  remember it’s a dark romance. The author paints an excellent picture of the post-apocalyptic world which remains after the Yellowstone volcano goes off, destroying much of civilisation and the population and leaving the world in a perpetual winter. Only the strong and/or the very fortunate survive. Women are very much a commodity, controlled by various militaristic male led factions, who vie for control and survival, whilst out in the wilderness many have turned to cannibalism…

My Reviews

The General’s Daughter (Snow and Ash #1)

HKEighteen year-old Ilsa’s father, General Balenchuk, is one of the few men with balls enough to build a tiny island of civilization after a global catastrophe sends humanity to near extinction. He runs Bluefield Mountain with an iron fist, and he’s even more controlling when it comes to his daughter. Ilsa’s been dead inside for years—that is, until the person who hates her most takes her hostage.

When twenty-two year-old Talon Heinesman kidnaps Ilsa Balenchuk, it’s not just because the leader of a rival territory ordered him to capture the general’s daughter. Four years ago, her selfishness set into motion a series of events that resulted in his mother’s and sister’s murders. He’s buried his rage for four years, and now it’s time to mete out the punishment she deserves.

Their story sets Ilsa and Talon on a steamy, turbulent path full of danger, incendiary passion, and a bond so deep it could kill.

This romantic suspense novel contains dark, mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

My Review ~  Five deliciously dark stars *****

The General’s Daughter, an extremely hot and sexy read, is a tale of revenge and redemption but also absolution.  In it Isla, the daughter of a brutal General,  is kidnapped by a man working for a rival leader. Her kidnapper is none other than Talon, a man whose family she unwittingly destroyed. Talon is hungry for revenge  and jumped at the chance to get his hands on this selfish and spoiled woman. Yet can he hand her over to his boss before he has exacted his revenge? Indeed, does he want to? Would he rather see her suffer at his hands rather than those of another?

Isla’s captivity is brutal and she despairs of surviving it. As she gets to know Talon their relationship develops and they learn much about their respective roles that led to their shared tragic past and its repercussions. There are a number of hightly charged scenes. It becomes clear that Isla is not the woman Talon believed her to be yet nevertheless she was responsible for the deaths of those he held dear. Over time Talon, a man who both despises and desires her, becomes Isla’s only hope for survival.

Isla and Talon are fantastic characters. Both have tragic backstories and have contributed to each others pain. Can they forgive each other and even themselves before it is too late? Their relationship is both sizzling and conflicted and I loved it! Talon struggles to fight his attraction to his captive, a woman whom he should despise. Whilst his words are often cruel, his actions are not always so and Isla comes to depend on him for her survival.

Isla has had led an awful past, controlled by a father she hates and recognises that she is in a situation where she may not survive. I enjoyed how the author developed her character and how she stepped  up to the challenge of facing both Talon and her demons. She is a strong woman but even I doubted how she would withstand the events that came her way as the plot developed. Is her future wth Talon, a man who despises her? Is she better off with her controlling father? Will Talon hand her over to his boss, which would herald her death or has he something else entirely planned for her? Either way she appears to be screwed. The stakes are high and the sex is hot!

A recommended read for dark romance fans!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash #2)

The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a HK1volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole persona of Melody was a corporate fabrication, and Imogen would like to forget that part of her past.

Ex-felon Axel Diehl is scouting ahead for a well-organized gang when he spots his fantasy girl. There’s no mistaking the small scar on her hand, those full lips, or that kick-ass figure. It’s too good to be true, and when the gang takes control of Sadie’s Bend he publicly claims Melody for his own.

Can sweet Imogen become the sexy Melody of Axel’s dreams? Can Axel give his poster girl the love she craves? Or will the violence of this new, post-apocalyptic world tear them apart?

This dark romance novel contains mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

My Review ~ Fast paced and sizzling! ~ Five stars *****

I loved both the premise and the execution of Stolen Melody. It has a very different plot and feel to The General’s Daughter in that it contains more characters and further explores the landscape and society of the post apocalyptic world in which it is set. It pairs an ex-felon Axel with Imogen, a young woman who, prior to the apocalypse, was a young music star at the top of her career. As Melody she was the proverbial wet dream, with her raunchy stage show and persona, an image that was far from the truth of Imogen the girl. Imogen’s refuge in a restrictive small town religious community comes to an abrupt end when she is claimed by Axel, who recognises her, the girl from his fantasies.

Axel’s character is dark and alpha to the core, taking what he wants and defending it to the hilt.  He starts off as a violent, controlling and unlikable character, but we soon find out that he had an appalling childhood, learning that to survive he must be stronger, tougher and meaner than the rest. Melody is a prize that he will not share and he is intent on enjoying her and not afraid of punishing her if she transgresses.  Indeed, he is a very bad boy and once again the plot contains some dubious consent and some hot scenes!  Obsessed with the image he lusted after he is surprised when the real woman reveals herself. How can the couple possibly find any common ground?

Imogen is at first terrified of Axel, yet she realises that he is her only protection against others who covet her. She also lives in fear of her old identity becoming common knowledge. Surprised and afraid of the emotions that Axel’s rough love stirs up in her, should she escape if given the chance or should she stay? Also how can they survive the violence that is closing in around them as different leaders vie for dominance?

The novel reveals more of the post apocalyptic world, a world of violence, cannibals, and survival of the fittest. It also introduces us to the hero of The Other Brother, book #3, whose story I am very eager to read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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**REVIEW** ~ The Men of the Border Lands Collection, Volume 1 (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting), by Marla Monroe

Erotic Post-Apocalyptic/Futuristic Romance

Adult/18+ read

Erotic Futuristic Ménage à Trois Romance, M/F/M, HEA

Men of the Borderlands

Book Blurb

(This collection includes three books from the Men of the Border Lands series, nearly 110k words total). MFM, erotic romance.

In Belonging to Them, while escaping slavery in the Border Lands, Heather hides in a trailer belonging to brothers Brandon and Bolton. They take her to their farm and prove they won’t harm her. Bolton quickly falls in love, but Brandon pulls away. After a wolf attack almost takes her from them, Brandon must realize he could lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

In A Home with Them, fed up with the reluctant men who have cared for her for five years, Jessie takes matters into her own hands. Wyatt and Kent worry that their kind of love isn’t what Jessie needs, but a tough life out in the Border Lands and a kidnapping show the men that Jessie belongs with them.

In Their Border Lands Temptress, after the year of catastrophes, Ronnie jumps at an offer of protection from a lifelong friend. When the safety becomes abuse, she runs. Brice and Garrett know she needs a man to protect her, and they are hell-bent to help her. When danger shows up at their door, Ronnie must decide if she’s ready for them to be more than lovers or if she’s too scared to let them into her heart.

The Border Lands are a dangerous place, but love and passion are often the keys to surviving.

** A Siren Erotic Romance

My Review 5* (FIVE STARS)

Sweet and Sizzling Ménage Collection

I found the erotic tales in this ménage collection sweet, sizzling and satisfying! Each novella is set in the Border Lands, at a time when the world as we know it has ceased to exist and where women are in short supply. As a consequence of the general lawlessness that pervades society and their scarcity, women are regarded as chattels by many and some are kept as slaves. All men are not bad however, and I’m pleased to say that the heroes in this collection are the good guys! I thoroughly enjoyed each romance and also learning about the futuristic society the  tales are set in. The collection certainly illustrates the pleasures to be had by having two men available to bring the heroine to the heights of ecstasy!

Each tale takes a different take on the dynamics of a mfm ménage before their HEA is reached. Highly recommended if you are looking to indulge in some fun erotic reads!

Belonging to Them #1

In Belonging to Them, Heather, escaping captivity, takes refuge with brothers Brandon and Bolton. The brothers are ripped and handsome and I loved it that they were both committed to gaining her trust and putting her at ease. Whereas Bolton makes no secret that he cares deeply for Heather and wants a loving relationship with her, Brandon appears surly and increasingly standoffish, refusing to acknowledge he cares and believing that Heather prefers his brother above him. I really felt for him as he has his reasons for acting in that way. Heather loves both brothers but will a schism develops between Heather and Bolton and Brandon on the other side?  It takes nearly losing Heather before the stubborn Brandon realises his mistake, but will she forgive him? This story was the first I had read by the author and I loved the scorching and intense love-making scenes, which leave nothing to the imagination!

A Home with Them #2

In At Home with Them, we meet Jessie, rescued by Wyatt and Kent, when she was a teenager. The men have acted as her protectors for so long but Jessie wants a lot more! The brothers begin to see her as a woman and are committed to protecting her, taking her out of the city where they fear she will be threatened by other men, to the Border Lands. Kent, the younger brother is certain that he wants to commit to Jessie, but Wyatt is afraid that his feelings for her are little more than lust and is reticent. He also believes that Jessie does not deserve to be shared. However, Jessie is certain that she wants both men and goes all out to seduce them both. I waited with bated breath to see whether the stubborn Wyatt would succumb to her advances! Once again here are some tantalizing and scorching scenes between the two heroes and their heroine which I really enjoyed.

Their Border Lands Temptress #3

In Their Border Lands Temptress Ronnie, who has been successfully living on her own since escaping from an abusive relationship, finds that she needs their help and protection when she is involved in an accident. I really felt for Ronnie as she is initially skittish and distrustful around the men due to her abusive past and I loved how sensitive the men were to her fears. Both Brice and Garrett are attracted to her and know that without protection no matter how independent Ronnie is, she is vulnerable to being taken by men who only want to possess her body. There is a lot of tension in this tale as Ronnie has to give her trust and Brice and Garrett, long time friends, have to decide if they are willing to settle down before danger threatens Ronnie and it is too late.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*PROMO POST with Author Bio & Excerpt* The Seventeen Commandments of Jimmy September by S. R. Wilsher


For those readers who love a contemporary crime suspense thriller adventure, we are excited to introduce you to THE SEVENTEEN COMMANDMENTS OF JIMMY SEPTEMBER by S.R. Wilsher. The reader’s discretion is advised and an 18yr+ reader is strongly recommended.

17 commandments Jimmy September JS Cover - CopyTitle: The Seventeen Commandments of Jimmy September

Author: S.R. Wilsher

Release Date: December 2013

Genre: Thriller suspense/crime, contemporary, adventure

Length: 264 pages


Warlord, ‘General’ Jimmy September believes he is a great soldier and teacher, destined to lead his people to a better future. In order to fund an upcoming war, he kidnaps five multi-national aid workers from a refugee camp in West Africa.

When the governments of the nationals involved refuse to pay a ransom, Mark Samuel, finance director and father to one of the hostages, misappropriates three million sterling of company funds to secure his son’s release.

As he battles his way through a hostile environment and unhelpful officialdom, struggling to hold on to the money long enough to save his son, Mark Samuel discovers a reason to succeed more important than securing his own future.


He noticed them the moment they stepped into the carriage. It wasn’t the clothes they wore, nor their age or skin colour, or even that they were noisy that drew his eye and kept it on them. It was the way they moved and the places where their hungry, agitated eyes settled.

It was early in the morning for the commuters clinging to the roof rails pretending not to notice the young men pushing past, late in the night for the edgy and chemically restless lads. Their voices were raised, their language coarse and threatening as they barged and glared. The uneven switching between laughter and abuse, unpredictable and irrational, created a palpable fear in the carriage.

The lead one was lean and rangy, stood in a way that made his teenage frame appear bigger, and with it was the sardonic half grin of a boy who thought of himself as more hunter than prey.

The first one was tugged back on his sleeve by the second youth, then the slightest of nods. The other two youths hung back by the doors. They were unsettled and twitchy, brought mildly to heel by the knowledge that they were still vulnerable to the rule of law.

The first two regarded their victim for the smallest of moments before stopping and separating. They positioned themselves either side of someone out of sight of the watching man.

Across the aisle of the bucketing carriage was a free length of rail, so he stepped across to see more clearly.

She was a young girl, no more than twenty with long brown hair tied back in a ponytail. Her clothes were clean, smart and new and on her lap was a large soft leather bag. She wore earphones connected to a mobile phone that preoccupied her.

He recognised their intention because he had nearly been like them; could pinpoint the day it had changed for him. The grazed knuckles and the terror he had put into someone else’s eyes had hollowed out his stomach and dumped from him the anger he had been toting for years.

That had been twenty-eight years ago and Mark Samuel was now forty-five. The boy he had once been had faded in his memory. Ruth always liked to claim she had saved him, but he’d already changed paths by the time he met her. She wouldn’t even have looked at his old self.

He wondered when it might happen and what he could do about it if it did: whether he was prepared to do anything when it did.

He did not consider himself a brave man, not in the same way that he had felt indestructible when he was their age. Yet he would have choked on the label of coward. If he’d been forced to choose one word to describe himself, and through his life he had tried many for size, he had reluctantly come to realise that there was only one that fitted properly now. He had become a careful man.

He had a careful job in a careful part of the world and had enjoyed a careful marriage that he had always imagined would take him through to a careful old age. Or he had at least until nine months ago when he and Ruth had agreed, with very little heat from his side, that they had gone as far as they were likely to ever go in their marriage and they had arranged their own careful divorce. He hadn’t wanted it, but neither had he worked very hard to avoid it.

The girl had put her mobile back into her bag and was looking at the underground map pasted to the curved roof. Was she preparing to get off? She didn’t seem aware she was being watched. Or she was behaving like everyone else in the carriage and pretending the young men didn’t exist.

The next stop came and the iconic roundels flashed by the windows as the train slowed rapidly. She looked at the signs, the youths looked at her and he looked at all of them.

Mark considered what he could do. He regretted the loss of youth, the certainty and the recklessness with which he would have once intervened. Now they wore the shield of invincibility, while experience had given him the frayed cloak of self-doubt. His middle-aged self was unlikely to come off best in a fight with four fit young men.

Now, he feared, he would most likely only have been able to prevent something happening to the girl if it had required an explanation of managing change in large organisations, or accounting in multi-nationals.

Yet it wasn’t enough for him to stand there and pretend he hadn’t seen. Too much to perhaps challenge them, enough maybe to lodge misgiving. They would act not think, and he too needed to do the same, to behave without too much thought because he could easily persuade himself to do nothing.

The girl didn’t stir as the train stopped. The restless youths swung between disinterest in her and over acknowledgment of each other. The woman who had been sat next to the girl rose from her seat. Mark knew that if he was going to do anything, it had to be before the girl got off the train, before the youths could get hold of her.

He stepped along the aisle, feeling self-conscious as he pushed himself into the centre of an event he had only been a spectator to moments before. He sat beside the girl. She did not look at him.

He had no words in his head to use. Each sentence he thought of would only scare her. The moment he told her what was happening she would react. She would look at the men, she would flee the train, or she would not believe him. He had no way of knowing how that might change things. There were too many variables for him to control, too many ways in which the situation might deteriorate.

She sensed his gaze and glanced at him. He tried his best fatherly expression and smiled at her. The look she threw back at him was short and unforgiving. She didn’t want him to invade her bubble.

Mark smiled again and pointed at her bag. He leaned away unthreateningly. The gesture made her reluctantly reach up and pull out one of her earphones.

It’s my daughter’s birthday soon, I thought I might get her a bag, I wondered where you got yours.”

Covent Garden,” she said unhelpfully. She had taken him from one pigeonhole and put him into another equally as unflattering, and her reply was terse as she looked away quickly.


He sat back in his seat and looked directly at the lead youth. He knew he had some advantages. As a careful man he was also unexcitable, rarely betraying his emotions. He knew how to convince someone he was more than he was. In more than one negotiation his ability to look someone in the eye and not cave in had worked in his favour.

He might be middle aged, and his joints might ache every morning and the man who could once run a hundred metres in well under eleven seconds may have perished but he knew that, despite his heightened awareness of his own vulnerability, on the outside he looked something else.

He thought of his daughter, the girl who had so valiantly claimed on his behalf that the running to fat was still muscle and had announced that the implacable version of his face that frightened her friends made her feel safe. She had only been half-joking and he had only been half-offended. He knew he looked stern even when he did not feel it.

So he stared back long enough to create uncertainty in the young men. He could see that they were wondering how this affected things. He looked at each in turn, for too long. In a bar it might have begun a fight, but he wanted them to know he had connected them, that he had recognised the reason for their sudden downturn in activity.

The first youth flexed his arms and shook his legs. It was a loosening, threatening gesture meant to convince Mark that he was in trouble.

Instead, Mark smiled and he saw the consternation on the opposing face. It was brinkmanship, no more no less. He hoped it was enough.

The train slowed for the next station. The girl stood and moved to the doors without looking anywhere but ahead, turned her back innocently on the scene. Mark stood with her. It was not his stop but he followed her anyway.

He passed within inches of the first youth. He was taller and wider than the youngster but he had dropped the smile, now was not the time for goading.

He saw the question on the face of one of the others waiting to be answered by the lead youth. They were unsure where this was going to go.

He watched for any sign of movement and, as he passed, he switched his gaze to their reflections in the blackened windows.

The youths watched him go and stayed on the train.

Mark sat on the platform and waited to resume his ride to work. He knew that what he had done was futile. He would not be there for the next victim they chose. Still, he felt he had been the best white knight a careful man could be.

Author bio:

wilsher 17 commandmentsThe Seventeen Commandments of Jimmy September is my third book and was intended as a departure from what had gone before as I still searched for my own style and voice. After years of struggling with my two earlier stories, with rewrite after rewrite as I tried to interest agents, self-publishing allowed me to get them out of my system and move on.

With that departure I found that I actually liked trying different genres. So much so that book four, finished and resting, is different again. Not necessarily a good idea as it makes marketing problematic and confusing for buyers. But then, the beauty of self-publishing is the first person you can please is yourself. Also, I’ve never been very good at working out who I’m writing for anyway, vaguely imagining a reader not unlike myself, which is probably a very small demographic.

Jimmy September was intended as a pure adventure story, very much like the kind of tales that started me writing in the first place, and written in a much shorter space of time than the first two. This has allowed me to be more productive and, apart from those mentioned above, I am also working on a series of books for teens.

On a personal note, I am married with two children and live a few minutes’ walk from the beach in Dorset, England. The bulk of my career was in Sales Management, but this was cut short by the recession and compounded by the need for a kidney transplant. I now work as a Data Manager in Clinical Research. I’ve been writing all my adult life with my career and my writing each suffering as a result of the other. It’s only recently that I’ve stopped pretending about a salaried career.



e.mail: info@srwilsher.com

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