All posts for the month March, 2016

Above The Cut – O.N. Stefan

Published March 28, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

Olga SiegalO.N. Stefan is the pen name of an Australian writer of murder and thriller mysteries. I had realized when spotlighting her interview at Paul and Paula’s Place  she did not have much in the way of personal information listed on her bio on Amazon or anywhere else, so I am happy she told me when asked, where she lives.

I have both her Mystery novels on my kindle and decided to start with her older story. If you are intimidated easily,  I recommend not reading after the lights are dimmed or you’re alone.  Stefan starts out with a calm and measured layer of mystery, much like Christie which led me to believe Ill have this solved before too long.  Shortly after that smugness settled in, Stefan shook my complaisance and took me on a fast paced run, one step ahead of a killer.  Her conclusion reminded me of Susan R. Sloan’s books. You’re sure you know, you think you know, but you better wait for that last sentence.  Pick up The Deadly Caress at your local Amazon link

deadly caress


Above The Cut – Lela Markham

Published March 21, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

Lela Markham

Lela Markham, the pen name of a native Alaskan has four published books under her Amazon profile. Her new release is Mirklin Wood, the second book in her Daermad Cycle.  I have yet to read this book as I want to read The Willow Branch, the first book in this series.  And, from the looks of it, she is not done with this series by a long shot.  I did have a small peek into the Daermad Cycle and it is lush, full of fantasy and Celtic lore, but a world all Lela’s own.  The two books are shy of one thousand pages, so grab bothMirklin Wood  before the 3rd in her series,  Fount of Dreams is scheduled (2017) to  hit the Amazon shelves.  







Now for something that is also set  in this world, but a wee bit closer to our present times.  Most of us are familiar with The Terminator series of post war America. There is a myriad of Zombie stories.  In today’s papers we see pictures of worn torn areas across the world, and most of us have seen the footage of the Twin Towers that imploded on  that infamous September 11th in 2001.  

life as we knew it

The story in Life As We Knew It  while set in Kansas and the impact on a small town named Emmaus in the aftermath of attacks in all major cities,  is a study on society’s mores and the divisions. It is the pulling together for survival when looking to government help that does not  occur.  

This story like her other series is written in multiple points of view which gives the reader an insight to the characters and moves the bonding quickly and tightly.  

I know Markham is working on the sequel in The Transformation Project of which Life As We Knew It is Book 1.  I am avidly awaiting Book 2, hoping she has a long timeline for the Transformation Project series too.          


Lela Markham’s interview at Paul and Paula’s Place

Amazon author page  

Lela’s site/blog  


Her blog is always informative or entertaining.                This week she is  talking about free speech.

“For freedom of speech to exist, we all have to allow room for speech we abhor, recognizing that there are others who likely abhor our speech. The curtailment of speech creates an absence of political debate with far-reaching destructive consequences.” – Lela Markham  (Facebook page)



Above The Cut – Angelika Rust

Published March 13, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

angelika rust 2Angelika Rust is one of the individuals involved in the Cake & Quill Publishing arm of the Cake & Quill Writers for Charity.  I not only  recommend picking up the Cake & Quill collections, two so far, each for different charities, but also check out the stories by the authors in each collection.  Not every story submitted to these collections made the cut.


I loved her stories in Hearts & Other Dead Things so much,  I picked up one of her individual stories,You Used to Hurry used to hurry home         This story is not your ordinary love story but one that is twisty turny funny and with an ending that is the most unexpected of all.  A short story to have you going to her page, and grabbing another!

Interview with Angelika Rust at Paul and Paula’s Place

Angelika’s blog/site link



Hearts & Other Dead Things – a Review

Published March 13, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

I was fortunate in that I Beta read several of the stories from this book, Hearts & Other Dead Things, and bought the eBook edition so I was able to get all the others – this is a must read book in my opinion.  In it are stories by established and by new writers, all with a great grasp of grabbing the reader and keeping them until the last page is turned or clicked in my case.  That, in it’s self,51ddLlBwdIL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ is worthy of 5 Stars.  I never give in-depth reviews, but do want to connect you with another blogger, Suzanna Burke who does a credible job of touching on each story within Hearts & Other Dead Things  at her blog, Soooz Says Stuff.  To Start you off ~

My Review of “Hearts and other Dead Things.”

When an eclectic group of writers, give of their valuable time, and their clearly remarkable talents, to work together to write a book, specifically intended to cover difficult topics;  then, donate all proceeds from the sale of that book to a Charity Set up to help victims of horrendous violence; together with those other helpless souls caught up in the sex-trafficking that is becoming all too familiar on the headlines of papers everywhere, then the very least I can do as a reader is review it.


Romantic’s anonymous. A story by Bradley Darewood/ Cat Nicolaou


So, what happens when you meet up with your ex in a therapy Group Called ‘Romantics Anonymous?  Initially I thought, oh- okay, interesting concept and frankly expected something comedic. Don’t get me wrong, some of the dialogue and self-analysis is laugh out loud, and nod in agreement, funny! But this author has cleverly combined the humor with some in depth insights into the needs that drive the individuals concerned, and in consequence, their reactions to what they would normally consider aberrant behavior. I love a story that causes me to reflect, and when you throw in damned funny dialogue…well for me that’s one hell of a good way to start an Anthology. Look forward to reading more by authors Bradley Darewood. And Cat Nicolau.


A very clever poem by J Cassidy


This also comes under this heading. It is short, and delightfully bittersweet.


Hambre De Las Calaveras. (The Hungry Skulls) A story by Charlotte Stirling


As I have long considered my visits to Singapore utterly memorable, and have in fact stayed at Raffles both before and after 1990, the setting for this had me riveted from the start.


It touched on some of the Expatriate’s behavior and expectations, with a clever hand. Revealing much in but a few apt and marvelous descriptions.


The cruelty which is handed down to the maid Dumadora …is devastatingly, and blindingly accurate in its brutality. The vengeance when it comes is both unexpected and very welcome. Bravo! I look forward again, to reading more.


A Poem. By S.A Sheilds.


This book has layers within it. They peel back like a Spanish onion. The poetry is stunning. This one ‘untitled’ by S.A Sheilds, is both gutsy and revealing. It hit me hard. The pain expressed is I believe universal for anyone insecure enough to stay in a dreadful relationship because it’s all that they know.


Girl of my Dreams – A Saga of Failure by Adam Oster


Boarding school can be hell, insecurity can be worse. First love (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) whilst in Boarding school, and being insecure…phew! The stuff of nightmares for folks caught up in that particular feeding frenzy. Again, I find myself drawn to the characters depicted in this one. At times, in fact they are all too painfully real.


Sure I laughed, and the measure of author Adam Oster’s talent is that I wanted to cry for his misplaced in time hero as well. It is irrelevant what the reader’s own experience of First Love…or lust maybe, therein lay the beauty of this story. For it hits that wonderful empathy button that many, but not all, humans possess. Still smiling.


 Rain. A story by Angelika Rust.


One of my favorite all time singer/songwriters is Melissa Etheridge. One of her songs has the lyric “I had rust on my dreams, and rust on my love.” This very brief and sadly compelling moment reminds me of that. It touches that chord. It pulls me back to that pain. This anthology has some seriously gifted writers. Author Angelika Rust, is yet another to add to my growing list.

Check out the rest of her review at Soooz Says Stuff and then pick up a copy of this book Print or eBook – the money generated from the sales all go to HOME,  a charity in Singapore, working against sex trafficking, and for the rights of the domestic and migrant workers.

Cake & Quill – Hearts & Other Dead Things

Published March 6, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

In the next couple of months, I will be featuring, among other reviews, links to Charity Collection Groups and their publications.  Many of the publishers  are writers in their own right and all the authors that will be featured have a heart for humanity, animal welfare, and the environment.  Cat Nicolaou, my last featured writer on Paul and Paula’s Place and her reviews on here at our Books site has a co-authored story entitled, Romantic Anonymous.  This one is a comedic look at dating and significant others and leads out the collection that are as diversely noir as are the writers  you will get to meet over the course of time.  Hearts & Other Dead Things is the second book in their charity collection.  I will be back this coming week to share another bloggers reviews and the charity picked to receive the proceeds.

Have a look at the trailer and click on the link to buy, knowing it will be going to help women in need.


Above The Cut – Cat Nicolaou

Published March 4, 2016 by paulandpaulasbooks

Earlier this week I reopened my doors to author interviews and Cat Nicolaou was my first guest of 2016.  Her interview can be found here at Paul and Paula’s Place    cat nicolaou


When Time Comes is a debut romance novel in the Harlequin tradition of length and substance.  Usually a first time out even with big publishers can leave the reader wanting more, but Ms. Nicolaou has the earmarks of a seasoned writer and storyteller.

This author has wonderful timing, understanding of emotions, and while the premise could have been cliche with hero worshiping, the humanness brought to the characterizations gave a bonding to the reader as well as the characters.

I look forward to more from this new time comes cat nicolaou












For her second book, Life Love and Death, Ms. Nicolaou decided to walk on the dark side of life and love and yes, death. It is a surprise from the pen of a happy ever after storyteller, but it has made me a fan anticipating whatever this new author will be presenting.

Cat Nicolaou links:


BlogLife Love and Deat cat nicolaou