Tuesday 26 February 2019

And Your Favourite Book of All Time is....

In December, I opened up nominations for your favourite book of all time. In January, the shortlist was out.

Well now, dear readers, the wait is finally over. I can officially announce that you have spoken, and your absolute favourite book of all time is....

That Hideous Strength

by C.S. Lewis

The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity.
The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic dreams about a decapitated scientist, Alcasan. As Mark is drawn inextricably into the sinister organisation, he discovers the truth of his wife’s dreams when he meets the literal head of Alcasan which is being kept alive by infusions of blood.
Jane seeks help concerning her dreams at a community called St Anne’s, where she meets their leader – Dr Ransom (the main character of the previous two titles in the trilogy). The story ends in a final spectacular scene at the N.I.C.E. headquarters where Merlin appears to confront the powers of Hell.
I must say, I've never heard of this book before, much less the series. But with a whopping 26 488 ratings on Goodreads, it can't be all bad. The series is officially going on my to-read shelf!

If you'd like to find out where you can get yourself a copy, click here.

Well, I think this initiative went well. How about you?

I'll see you in December for the next instalment.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Mind Games by B.B. Griffith (Book Review)

This is another great psychological mystery/thriller, featuring the guy who's fast becoming my favourite fictional psychologist, Dr Gordon Pope.

I enjoyed the story, and it's a fine continuation of the series, but in my opinion, it's just not as good as The Sleepwalkers. It just seemed very slow. It dragged along and I skimmed a lot, and stuff only really started happening around the 50% mark.

Like the first book, the editing was flawless, and I'll say again that what I like about this series is that the book can be read completely as a standalone. You need to know very little about what happened last time, and what little you do need to know is explained to you, when you need to know it.

What's more, I don't think you'd miss out on anything at all if you happened to read this book first, and then moved on to Book One afterwards.

I hope Mr Griffith writes more Gordon Pope, and just so I don't miss it, I even signed up for his New Release Mailing List. I never sign up for other authors' mailing lists!

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

A deadly game of hide and seek with an imaginary friend. 
A wealthy family with secrets they'll do anything to protect. 
Another day on the job for Gordon Pope.

When Sophie West was a child she used to play hide and seek with her imaginary friend Mo. Now she's thirteen and Mo's games are getting more and more dangerous. She knows he's make-believe, but somehow he seems more real every day.

Sophie's mom, Dianne, doesn't know where to turn for help. Someone is starting fires in their exclusive Baltimore neighborhood, and she's terrified it might be Sophie. Desperate, she calls the only person she can think of that might be able to help.

Gordon Pope is still trying to get his fledgling child psychiatry practice off the ground. When he answers Dianne's call, he thinks he's simply taking on another troubled young patient. What he doesn't realize is that he's about to find out just how deadly Mo's games really are.

To find out where you can get your hands on a copy, click the cover image above.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Want to win a R500 Loot voucher?

I'm so excited! On Sunday, 10 March, I'll be hosting an online "Hang out with the author" session on The Secret Book Club Facebook group.

Not only that, but I've secured a sponsor.

That's right - I'll be giving away a R500 Loot voucher on the day, to use for whatever you want from their amazing range of books, electronics, games, and other goodies.

If you want to know how you can win, you'll just have to attend the event on the day. :-)

Just click the picture above to visit the group. If you're not already a member, click "Join Group" and answer their questions. Wait for your request to be approved.

Once approved, go back to the group, and click on Events. Scroll down to my "Hang out with the author" event, and click "Going".

Then, be on Facebook on the day!

Not in South Africa?

If you're not in South Africa, or you'd much rather buy e-books, fear not! I'll also be giving away a gift voucher for the e-book store of your choice, as well as digital copies of my books. I know you don't want to miss this.

But listen here: do it now, right? So it goes in your calendar, and you don't forget. Follow the instructions above and join the event.

Hope to see you there! And pop me a comment in the form below, to let me know if you're going. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday 16 February 2019

You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron (Book Review)

This is truly a Hallmark Channel drama. To be honest, it was a bit different than I expected too; I thought there'd be at least some paranormal stuff going on. But no, it's just a straight, run-of-the-mill mystery drama).

Not that that's a bad thing. I mean, I enjoyed it. It was a good story. There were only a couple of things that gave me pause.

In the first place, the title didn't really make sense to me (other than the fact that every time I picked up the book to read, the song started playing in my head). There's only one reference to the song in the whole book, and it's very much an aside. I thought it could've been emphasised a bit more.

Secondly, the ending. About two-thirds of the way in, I thought I had it figured out. I hoped I was wrong, though, because I thought if I was right, it would be pretty weak. Unfortunately, I was right, and it just didn't make sense. I just didn't buy the culprit being who they turned out to be, based on what I'd learnt about them and their character for the rest of the book. Unless they're schizophrenic or something. But the book gave no indication that they were.

There were other plot twists, though, which I didn't see coming, and which I really enjoyed.

If you like an old-fashioned mystery-drama, with a feel-good emphasis on the nuclear family, I still think this would be a good book for you.

About the Book

An addictive novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight, about three generations of women haunted by a little girl’s disappearance, and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to the truth . . .

Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey.

Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the doll came home.

It is the first clue in a decades-old mystery that is about to turn into something far more sinister—endangering Lis and the lives of her mother and daughter as well. Someone knows the truth about what happened all those years ago, and is desperate to keep it hidden.

Click the cover to find out where you can get a copy.

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Want a Free Romance for Valentine's Week?

So, since it is the month of LUURVE, and Thursday is the day of LUURVE, how about a free copy of my (somewhat) romantic story, Heritage of Deceit?

Here's the deal: the first 10 people to follow the instructions below and use the coupon code get a free copy.

Ain't I nice? :-)

You'd better hurry, though. Those ten copies will probably go fast!

Oh, and ff you've already read it, why not use this offer to gift it to a friend, so they can enjoy it, too? :-)

Here's How to Get Your Copy

  1. Click the image above to visit the book's page at Smashwords.
  2. Click Buy Now or Give as a Gift, as appropriate.
  3. If you don't have an account, you'll be prompted to create one (it's free).
  4. When asked for the coupon code, enter AR89Y, and click Apply Coupon. The price will be reduced from $0.99 to $0.00.
  5. If this is a gift, enter the e-mail address and name of the person you're gifting it to.
  6. Click Checkout. You will not be asked for payment information unless you've also added other books to your basket.

You're welcome, and enjoy the book!

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Alternatives to Kindle Unlimited

Many readers swear by Kindle Unlimited, and on the surface, it's a great deal, if you can get it.

For those who don't know, you pay Amazon a monthly fee (of $9.99, at the time of this writing), and you get to read as many books as you want from their selection.

But the service isn't without its pitfalls and disadvantages. Did you know, for example, that Kindle Unlimited isn't available in many countries around the world? And the list of countries where it is available is quite limited: unless you happen to be in the United States, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, or Australia, you're out of luck. That's a significant portion of the planet left out in the cold.

Secondly, not all books available on Amazon are available to read on Kindle Unlimited. That's because, in order to make a book available to the program, Amazon requires authors to sign an agreement promising to not sell their books anywhere else. No Kobo, no Smashwords, no Google Play Books... not even their own website! As you can imagine, many authors simply aren't prepared to cut out all those non-Amazon shoppers. Not to mention libraries (which are also not allowed); if you live in a country where Amazon's not available, or you can't afford to buy your books, sorry. That's the price we pay, to make our books available in Kindle Unlimited.

And Kindle Unlimited isn't the cheapest service offering unlimited reading, either.

See below for three other great subscription reading services, cheaper and with a wider selection.

Remember, because of the exclusivity clause, you're not going to find any books on these platforms, which are also available on Kindle Unlimited. So if you'd very much like to not be a part of locking a significant portion of the world's population out of great books, you might want to consider going with one of these services instead.


This is my favourite of the three. They launched their unlimited reading service way back in October 2013, so their offering actually predates Kindle Unlimited by almost a year (the latter having only launched in July 2014).

The service costs $8.99, and they offer a 1-month free trial. But if you use this affiliate link to sign up, they'll give you two months free instead.

You might also be interested to note that all of my books are available there, so once you've signed up, search for Graham Downs and start reading! :-)



I've only recently been exposed to 24Symbols, and don't know that much about them, to be honest. They also cost $8.99 per month, but I'm unsure whether they offer a free trial. They claim to have over 1 million books in their catalogue, though, and you can browse and search their entire library without signing in.



This is the most confusing offering I've found, and I know very little about them. They seem to be a bit of a "new kid" (although I stand to be corrected) and offer various plans for not just books, but movies and TV shows too. Their unlimited ebooks plan is only $1.50 per month, though, which is by far the cheapest of the four offerings!

They may be worth a look.


So what about you? Do you already subscribe to one of these services, or maybe one I haven't mentioned here?

Or are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber who's now considering switching? Or maybe, after reading this, you've decided to sign up for Kindle Unlimited?

I'd love to engage with you. Please pop me a comment in the box below, and let's get this conversation started.

Monday 4 February 2019

Sabbath Wine by Barbara Krasnoff (Book Review)

This is a pretty good story. In the beginning, I remember thinking that it's decent, but nowhere near good enough to justify its position as a Nebula Award finalist. At one point, a character is reading a newspaper, and a bit further down, someone interrupts him, and the narrative says he doesn't take his eyes off his book. That's a simple error, easily caught by a proofread.

But like all good short stories, there's a twist at the end. And, while I think a lot of the book up to that point had been somewhat predictable, that twist made all the difference for me. Wow, what an ending!

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

“My name’s Malka Hirsch,” the girl said. “I’m nine.”
“I’m David Richards,” the boy said. “I’m almost thirteen.... and I am dead.”

You can read this book online for free. Click the cover.