Monday 19 April 2021

ALPHA : VULTURE - Marc Jaytin


ALPHA : VULTURE is a very different kind of crime novel. Told from the killer's perspective, whose name we don't discover until the end of the book, this is a brutal tale about a serial killer, unlike anything I've read before.

For a relatively short book it defnitely packs one hell of a punch! I read it in one sitting and it blew me away.

Our killer had a troubled and violent childhood (don't they all?) but instead of making him aggresive, it gave him a different view of the world around him. He's not concerned with what's right or wrong and he's certainly not worried if you, the reader, agree with him or not - he's already killed 13 people and he's planning on killing 13 more!

Despite the fact that he has a plan, as is the way with life, things don't always turn out as expected. Add in the fact that he's also dealing with his own mental health and you've got a very unique protagonist on your hands. He wants to have a purpose for living, to be happy both inside and out, but being true to himself is hard and he's continually searching for what he wants from his life.

This is a very clever book that is sprinkled with humour and derisive observations about the world we live in today, as well as the dark insights into the mind of someone with a mental illness. It's very graphic in parts and that's what makes this scary, after all life isn't all butterflies and rainbows for everyone is it? 

If you're looking for a crime novel that's a little different, I would thoroughly recommend ALPHA :  VULTURE and it's currently only 99p to download (Or free on KDP)so why not give it a try? It's a three part series and I'm waiting with bated breath for books two and three!

Sunday 18 April 2021

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Joanna Cates


It's a new day on The Hippo and I'm delighted to be handing over to another wonderful Indie Author to help them spread the book love!

Today's guest host is debut novelist Joanna Cates and her book, Love is Crystal Clear, is already getting fabulous reviews, so let me tell you about that first.



Henrietta Green is a 50-year-old single woman, and a divorcee of fifteen years, is always looking for a new hobby, but never love. She finished with all that nonsense years ago.

Danny Brown has just moved back from Portugal with his life in pieces after discovering his marriage was a sham. Can this fresh start help put his life back together?

When Henri and Danny bump into each other on a night out, sparks fly, but can they risk getting their hearts broken again?

Cupid's Helpers think they can!

Join Henri, Danny, and friends on a journey of self-discovery, facing emotional challenges, discovering hidden pleasure, and falling in love ...possibly.

I think this sounds like a delightful read, perfect for reading in the garden with a glass of fizz now that the better weather is on it's way and the cover is purple so it immediately caught my eye! 😍

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Before I hand over the reins to Joanna I'd like to introduce her to you all.

Photo courtesy of Joanna Cates

Joanna Cates is married to a patient and kind man and is a mum to four children. She has a vivid imagination and is a born romantic. Although Joanna spent her working life as an accountant, she’s always felt far too creative for mere numbers—for which she blames her beloved mother, who introduced Joanna to Catherine Cookson and Stephen King at an early age.

Joanna loves photography, travelling, reading, health & fitness, and socialising with her friends & vodka. Easily distracted, Joanna visualises many of her tall tales while doing the housework.

Two years ago, Joanna decided that she wanted to write a book, oh and also to have a new wardrobe. She’s still waiting for the wardrobe.

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                                  What inspired me to write my book…

I suppose you could say that my 50th birthday year inspired me to write my book. You see, unbeknown to me, I was going through the menopause and changes in my body and mental health were affecting my wellbeing, and I dreaded the thought of turning 50.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic year, and I chose to celebrate it by going on several vacations throughout the year for a total of 50 nights. I had some amazing trips, ranging from a family vacation in France, Las Vegas with friends, a romantic getaway to Florence with my husband, a trip to Cyprus with my sister and a mother and daughter trip to Venice, Italy. The finale was a trip to Perth, Australia to stay with my best friend from school. I flew out on my own and as it was a long flight, I had it in my mind to start to write a book about my life, which could be passed on to my children and future grandchildren. After a few chapters, I realised that I wasn’t that interesting, and although I’d had plenty of adventures whilst growing up, these were not the sort of stories I could share with my four children.

Since the age of 17, I’ve worked in accountancy and when I got married and had kids, I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home.  To socialise outside of my home environment, I arranged nights out with friends, joined a gym and took up photography. I never sat still and always had a project on the go. Quite often I would joke that I kept busy to escape from reality.

Photo found on Google

Fast forward to 2020… When the UK first went into lockdown, I suddenly had time on my hands to reflect on my life, behaviour patterns and things I could change for the future. Through journaling, I confronted demons and came to the realisation that perhaps my husband and I were on different paths and we weren’t meant to have a happy ever after. We were best friends, but I resented his love of golf, and passion for watching sports on television and not having shared hobbies with myself. I felt lonely and the menopause was playing havoc with my libido and at times I just wanted to run away.

One day during the summer, I came to the realisation that I had time on my hands to write a book, and so I put down my pencil and journal notebook and picked up my laptop. This decision has changed my life…


As the characters came to life, I was able to put a little bit of my existence into the story and my imagination spilled onto paper. I’ve always loved reading, especially romance fiction, and I was drawn to this genre. I chose to write about characters in my age group, or what I like to now refer to as the fabulous forties and fifties. They also faced challenges in their own lives, such as Henrietta, going through the menopause, and Maggie who felt invisible in her own marriage. By the end of the story, my characters had learned that communication and friendships were two of the most important factors in their lives, and as for the romance…

What about my happy ever after?  Well, I no longer want to run away and escape from reality and my husband? Oh boy do I fancy him again… we are like newlyweds. 


What a wonderful and inspirational post Joanna and I'm so pleased to hear that you got your happy ending - I wonder if the characters in your book were lucky enough to get theirs too!

You can find out more about Joanna, her book and connect with her using the links below:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

I'd like to say a big thank you to Joanna for taking over today and writing such an interesting post. I wish you lots of success with Love is Crystal Clear and I hope that you don't have too much longer to wait for your new wardrobe! 😉