Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: West of Paradise by Marcy Hatch

Not too long ago, I read Marcy Hatch's latest book, West of Paradise and for some time I've been meaning to post my review.  This time-traveler book hooked me from the start and was a great book to add to my summer reading collection.

From the author:  When Jack McCabe gets the opportunity to go back in time, he jumps; it’s the adventure he always dreamed of - until he meets a beautiful but deadly train robber. Katherine Kennedy can't believe an ignorant bounty hunter has mistaken her for a criminal – until she sees the picture, which looks exactly like her. Neither of them imagines how the past has a way of catching up with the present. Set in the old west, this is a tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder.

My thoughts:  For those that aren't aware, I'm a huge fan of historical romance as well as paranormal books.  Marcy's West of Paradise has both and what a fantastic read!  I haven't read a good time travel book in a long while, so I was do.  Have you ever wanted to trade your current life for one in the past?  Our two main characters, Katherine Kennedy and Jack McCabe decide to do this and like any good story, they have no idea what awaits them.  Both Jack and Katherine have their own reasons for traveling time and essentially it's to escape their current realities and responsibilities.  Jack manages to find his own path in the past in the Old West.  As the story unfolds, he's created quite a life as a bounty hunter and in his mind he's content until he meets the confounding Katherine Kennedy.  Like Jack, Katherine longs to escape into the past, but when she arrives, her life spins wildly out of control from a case of mistaken identity.  Can you imagine be mistaken for an infamous murderess and thief?  And worse, having one of the best bounty hunters on your tail?  As much as Jack wants to capture the elusive, Alanna McLeod, Katherine halts much of his progress.   Katherine is pretty amazing, but does she have what it takes to survive the Old West?   This story takes you on a wild ride filled with bank robbers, murder, deadly family ties and of course romance.  If you're looking for time traveling romance adventure with taste of the Old West, then you'll definitely want to check out Marcy Hatch's West of Paradise.  I really enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Get your copy via Amazon today!

You can follow Marcy on her blog, or on Twitter.  Also, you can find Marcy and West of Paradise on Goodreads.

Happy reading.  Have a great week!

Mina Burrows

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Summer Blend: IWSG, NetFlix, & Fred

It's July everyone!  Can't believe how much 2015 has disappeared.  TGIF, though.  Since I've missed too many Fridays this year, I decided to do a quick Friday post featuring a few topics such as, IWSG, NetFlix, & last but not least....Fred.

Insecure Writers Support Group


Although I missed Insecure Writers Support Group this month, I wanted to post a brief comment on my insecurity status. It's been a few months since I posted with IWSG and there are no excuses other than work and taking care of my family. That said, my biggest insecurity surrounds my inability to manage my time better. This month, I've managed to get back on track though. I'm back into writing and of course editing. I found this clever image online on precisely how I feel about editing. Other than that, I'm still plugging along.

What about you? What type of insecurities do you have plaguing you this month?  

So true!


What's Hot on Netflix - Sense8


From IMDB, the Netflix original series Sense8 is about "a group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world's order."

After binge-watching this series, I have to say this brief description above doesn't do the show justice. In the Sense 8 world, there are a group of individuals who are connected mentally and have the ability to communicate with each other despite being located in various countries all over the world. It's amazing how these eight individuals can get into trouble and what's cool is these eight can physically support each other when dire circumstances arise. Have a problem with a drug dealer or gangster? No problem. When you're a part of the Sense 8, just call upon the group's ninja master to step into your body and kick some ass. Yeah, it has some intense action like that, and it's endless in this series. If you get a chance, don't hesitate to watch it!

On a side note, this series has graphic nudity and content and is definitely a Rated R series.  Not for the kiddos, folks.



Fridays with Fred - Birthday Boy


Last weekend Fred turned 16.  I thought it was 17, but then double-checked and realized, he's only 16.  And for those that don't know, he's an Independence baby too since his birthday is on July 4th.  Last weekend, Fred, my loyal friend, celebrated another year of greatness.  He's getting up there and at times moves slow.  Other times, he's limber and still likes to jump and frolic with his two-year old friend, Spike.  Some days he can hang, others not so much.  Anyway, it's been too long since I posted about Fred.  For those interested, he's still kicking!  Happy Birthday, Fred!



Stay tuned on Monday when I post about a review on another book I read from fellow author friend, Marcy Hatch and her latest novel, West of Paradise.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  See you next week!

Mina Burrows

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford

Get your e-copy on amazon now here! 
Last month, author and friend, Nick Wilford, released his contemporary speculative fiction book, A Change of Mind and Other Stories. This book was a wonderful read, and I'm so glad I had a chance read it and brag about it. It consists of consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece--four of which were previously published in Writer's Muse Magazine

At just around 100 pages, this book is a great choice for a quick and intriguing summer read. In the first story, A Change of Mind, we meet Reuben. He works in an office where he's bullied at every turn and can't even get a date let alone summon the courage to ask a girl out.  It makes you ache to read about his sad state because I swear in life we all have a sullen side to ourselves.

Anyway, Ruben decides to meet with a quasi-brain surgeon to help him rewire some brain parts in a bizarre cutting-edge procedure. Now, how many times have you thought about changing something about yourself or the way you think? Too often, huh? Well, Reuben can't stand himself any longer and decides to undergo the procedure. What he gets is mind blowing change. I won't tell you what happened, but it's suspenseful and reminded me of a modern version of The Twilight Zone Show. Remember how strange those episodes were? Or what about Steven King's Quitters, Inc. about the smoker who tried to quit? After finishing the novella and the other stores, I was left with twilight zone vibe and that's a great feeling for someone like me who truly enjoys those classic stories. Wilford is a fantastic writer who knows how to draw in a reader!

If you're a fan of dark, short stories with an edge, than you'll enjoy A Change of Mind and Other Stories. Get your e-copy on amazon now here!   Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter or Goodreads.

Sounds like a good one to pick up for the summer, huh? Yup, it sure is!

Mina Burrows

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest!

It's the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather Gardner. For this blogfest, we're posting about about a movie, television show, book, or all three that falls into any of these categories.

Okay, I've decided to pick a movie, television show and book the comes to mind when I think of each category.

Blood, Boobs & Carnage: I immediately thought of Tarantino's "The Bride" played by Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill series. Does that include all three or what? Yup!  

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Then I thought about Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. For a video game character, turned movie blockbuster, she epitomizes blood, boobs and carnage, huh? You know it!


The Walking Dead has all three as well, but mostly blood and carnage. When I mention carnage because it can get bloody as hell. Last season had some of the worst death and destruction caused by many of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse including the living and the dead. For those that aren't familiar, this past season dealt with zombies, cannibals, isolated societies and Carol. Carol, was my choice for blood and carnage because she is just BAD ASS!


Those are my picks! Man that was fun. Did you participate in the challenge? If not, see the links here and take a gander!


Have a great week!

Mina Burrows

Friday, May 8, 2015

2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflections

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I'm posting my A-Z Challenge reflections a bit behind schedule.  I didn't want to miss the chance though.  The idea of the post is to reflect about your the overall challenge and discuss what you liked and didn't like.  Overall I enjoyed writing about the penny dreadfuls of the Victorian era.  (Hey, if you missed any of my posts, please click here.)  I learned a ton about the literature in the 1800's and however bad the writing was considered back then, there were many wonderful and iconic pieces of literature created.  And some like The Demon Barber and more have stood the test of time.  Interestingly, the cheap printing methods opened up the lit flood gates to the masses, providing mid to lower classes access to exciting, affordable stories.  When you think about the vast majority of changes the publishing industry has endured over the last few years with the surge of e-publishing, the comparisons between then and now are eerily similar.  

My dislikes for this year's A-Z challenge really came down the time management.  I would have preferred to spend more time visiting and reading my author/blogger friends than writing all the content.  I know that sounds utterly ridiculous, but I think next year I may create another challenge or team that visits the blogs and then highlights the best content every week.  This way I can participate in the process, but spend more time visiting and supporting others, especially folks that are new to the challenge.


Lastly, I want to say a special shout out to the late great Tina Downey at Life is Good. We miss you Tina! God bless!

Those are my thoughts for this year!  I've been participating since the beginning and I'm proud I finished it, but WOW was it tough!  What about you?  Did you have any thoughts on how you'll take on next year's challenge?

Mina Burrows

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A-Z: Y is for The Yorkshire Witch and Z is for Edward Zane Carroll Judson

I'm posting for the letter Y and Z for the A-Z Challenge.  For the letter Y, I'm featuring Mary Bateman, the Yorkshire Witch and for the letter Z, Edward Zane Carroll Judson a.k.a. Ned Buntline.

"Mary Bateman, the Yorkshire Witch"



The penny dreadful, Mary Bateman the Yorkshire Witch, was written by Thomas Peckett Prest in 1840.  Under the direction of Edward Loyd, Prest endeavored to write bloody tales, often creating storylines from news headlines.  Mary Bateman (1768 – 20 March 1809) was an English con artist who would steal and pretend she had supernatural powers to deceive her marks.  She befriended a husband and wife ( William and Rebecca Perigo) who believed in her abilities.  They paid her a substantial amount of money for her magical potions, spells and such.  Rebecca eventually died eating pudding laced with poison.  Her husband grew suspicious and contacted authorities which led to Mary's arrest.  Mary denied any wrongdoing, but the authorities found poison and other incriminating items in her belongings.  She was sentenced to death by hanging in March 1809.  Afterwards, "her body was put on public display with strips of her skin being sold as magic charm to ward off evil spirits."  Ack!.  That's just gross.  You can read more information about Mary here.  Anyway, there are no known copies of the penny dreadful, Prest created based on that original story which is really too bad.  I suspect with his talent for flair and romance, there might have been a riveting read on our hands.



"Edward Zane Carroll Judson"


Since there is little on penny dreadfuls that begin with the letter Z, I focused on an author from the U.S. who wrote serials.  Edward Zane Carroll Judson was an American, using the pen name Ned Buntline, who wrote serials such as The King of the Sea. A tale of the fearless and free and The Virgin Bride. A romance and more.   Ned had a seasoned background in the Navy and military and later roamed the Wild West with the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill.  This author led an amazing life to say the least.  He produced Wild West shows with Buffalo Bill and  Texas Jack Omohundro and even claimed he nicknamed "Buffalo Bill" for the hero of his serial novel Buffalo Bill, the King of the Border Men, published in the New York Weekly" in 1869. "Ned Buntline was an American publisher, journalist, writer, and publicist."  I was able to find most of my information about Edward Zane Carroll Judson here, but this image of him hanging with Buffalo Bill is perhaps my favorite.




Not too bad for Y & Z.   Anyway, that's a wrap!  I'm off this weekend to spend time reading the blog posts of other folks since I've been remiss this last week.  Enjoy your weekend!

Mina Burrows




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A-Z: X is for eXtra Penny Dreadfuls

The letter for today for the A-Z Challenge is the letter X.  Well, this one as you can imagine is a difficult letter to source.  In order to make the most of this challenge for my readers, I decided to source more penny dreadfuls and post where everyone could find them free.  I'm using the letter X for eXtra penny dreadfuls.  Please enjoy these exceptional serials


George W. M. Reynolds' The Mysteries of London




Overview: George W. M. Reynolds' The Mysteries of London is a sprawling tableau, seeking to depict life as Reynolds saw it in mid-Victorian London and expose what he viewed as gross injustice toward the poor. He wide range of tales included a clergyman as the main character and hump-backed dwarves, harridans and grave-robbers [who] groped past against a background of workhouses, jails, execution yards, thieves' kitchens and cemeteries.


Get your Free copy here via Gutenberg.






William Harrison Ainsworth's The Lancashire Witches


The serial which was later published as a novel is based on the true story of the Pendle witches, who were executed in 1612 for causing harm by witchcraft. It is considered one of the major English novels on witchcraft.

Get your Free copy here via Manybooks.net.

William Harrison Ainsworth's Jack Sheppard




Overview: A celebrated thief is the un-worthy hero of this early dramatic romance.

Get your #Free copy of Jack Sheppard via ManyBooks.net.










William Harrison Ainsworth's Auriol: The Elixir of Life 


Overview:  On the night of the 1st of March, 1800, and at a late hour, a man, wrapped in a large horseman's cloak, and of strange and sinister appearance, entered an old deserted house in the neighbourhood of Stepney-green. He was tall, carried himself very erect, and seemed in the full vigour of early manhood; but his features had a worn and ghastly look, as if bearing the stamp of long-indulged and frightful excesses, while his dark gleaming eyes gave him an expression almost diabolical.

Get your #Free copy via Amazon.






Mary Elizabeth Braddon 's Lady Audley's Secret



Lady Audley's Secret was first published as a serial in the mid 1800's.  Here is an overview of the story.  Lady Audley's Secret (1862) was one of the most widely read novels in the Victorian period. It exemplifies "sensation fiction" in featuring a beautiful criminal heroine, an amateur detective, blackmail, arson, violence, and plenty of suspenseful action. To its contemporary readers, it also offered the thrill of uncovering blackmail and criminal violence within the homes of the upper class. The novel makes trenchant critiques of Victorian gender roles and social stereotypes, and it creates significant sympathy for the heroine, despite her criminal acts, as she suffers from the injustices of the "marriage market" and rebels against them. 

Get your #Free copy via Amazon here.





Have you had a change to read any of these?  I haven't, but I can promise there are a few here I'll be adding to my TBR pile.

Have a fantastic day!

Mina Burrows