Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions by Louise West

Strange_Ideas__Death_Cover_for_Kindle Strange Ideas: Death Destiny and Decisions by Louise West

Published on May 18th, 2013 by the author

Buy this book at: Amazon

Disclaimer: The author provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Louise!



Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions- four brand new tales to creep you out and mess with your head, plus another chance to read the popular short story, Late: a ghostly tale.

A Flip of the Coin: Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? Jimmy didn’t, until a stranger appeared at his death-bed with a shocking proposal…

Stamp: Ben awakes from a one-night-stand with a hangover and an unusual souvenir. What does it mean? And what happened to the girl who gave it to him?

Rock God: Adored, idolised, worshipped. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, pop stars are treated like gods. But how far do their powers actually go?

Superstition: Laura knocks on wood, avoids black cats and never walks under ladders. Her husband calls her a freak. Maybe he’ll wish he had believed her…

Late: a ghostly tale: Long after the children have escaped for home, a lone schoolteacher is working late. But is she really alone? Is someone there that she can’t see? And, if so, what do they want?


Rating: 4 star



First a breakdown of how I arrived at my rating.  This book contains 5 short stories, the 4 stars is the average of how I felt about each story.  Individually I will discuss the stories here.

A Flip of the Coin: 4 stars.  This was a good story to begin with because it allowed you to dip your toes into this collection and get a feel for how things would proceed.  The story itself was very intriguing as well, which helped a lot.  It set the bar for the remaining stories in a good way.  It was very reminiscent to me of the “weighing of the heart” ceremony in ancient Egyptian religion.  They believed that when you died, you stood before Osiris and he weighed your heart against the weight of the “feather of truth”.  If your heart proved heavy then you did not go to salvation but if your weight proved light then you earned salvation in the afterlife.  This had the same idea behind it but with a more modern twist.  I really liked that.  The only place this story fell short was with the ending.  I appreciate that it’s a short story but I was hoping to not get left hanging quite that much.  But overall, I really liked it.

Stamp: 2 stars.  This story was something of a disappointment unfortunately.  It started off well and I was intrigued to see where it was going.  But once we were told about the stamps, my first thought went to “I bet it turns out like XYZ.”  Unfortunately I was right.  I was hoping there would be a twist in there someplace but it never came.  The story progressed (interestingly) in exactly the manner I thought it would from the beginning and ended the way I thought it would.  A good story but the predictability lowered the rating.

Rock God: 4 stars.  This little storyline was the most surprising for me.  I started off thinking that I wouldn’t really like it that much.  I suspected I knew where the story was going and I just wasn’t in love with the narrating character.  To be perfectly honest, she came across like a bit of a selfish bitch.  I didn’t really like her that much.  But then the story took a turn when things starting getting explained.  I found myself giving my book a sideways glance and thinking “No, you didn’t just do that did you?”.  The ending however is where this became so great.  I didn’t see it coming at all because I was so wrapped up in everything else that was going on.  Truly a great little piece.

Superstition: 5 stars.  This one was my absolute favorite of the entire collection.  It was interesting and intriguing but humorous too.  Usually when I find myself giggling in books like this isn’t because it’s so terrible but not so for this one.  I found the narrating character delightful and I was so amused by her that I forgot there was supposed to be something strange about this whole thing.  The story flowed so naturally and I just loved it.

Late: 1 star.  This last story just didn’t do it for me.  It started off alright and I was intrigued with what was going on but the novelty quickly wore off and I wanted something to happen.  And it did, but then went from exciting into rather mundane.  For some people this may be a great story, but it bored me after awhile.  I have to admit that I started to skim and considered going back to Superstition to read that again instead.



About the author:


Louise West is currently teaching and surviving in rural Lincolnshire, famed for its beautiful open sky and not much else. She dreams of rainy days and cups of tea. She and her faithful terriers love long walks on the beach, where they can bounce in the surf and she can paddle with her shoes on. She will only eat trifle if her Nan made it.

Sometimes she has Strange Ideas.

Sometimes she writes them down.




(Book website)

(Author website)

(Amazon UK)

(Amazon US)


Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

the restorerThe Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Published: April 19th, 2011 by MIRA

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Books A Million / Amazon / B&N



My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer–and to his other victims–lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.


Rating: 2 star



Every time I pick up a book lately my only thought is “Please God don’t let this suck!  All I seem to do is leave bad reviews!”  I had such high hopes that this might be the one to break the streak.  First, it has an orgasm worthy cover.  I could stare at this cover for hours and not even blink once, it’s just that gorgeous.  The synopsis just about made me faint in ecstasy.  It sounds EXACTLY up my alley!  This book excited me, it intrigued me, and ultimately it disappointed me.

My biggest sticking point with this book was that Amelia is SO DAMN BORING!  You can’t even call her a Mary Sue because she manages to screw up everything she does and doesn’t have anyone falling at her feet and begging her to be theirs.  Amelia is supposed to ignore the ghosts…why?  Well we get a vague answer about haunted people being drained of life force but honestly it’s never entirely explained how people become haunted because most haunted people can’t even see the ghosts.  So, *headscratch* try and figure that one out!  Then Amelia has the most boring job on the face of the earth.  She spends hours cleaning tombstones with brushes and doing….other restoration thingys that never get explained.  As if this wasn’t boring enough, she is asked to assist on a murder investigation and then does NOTHING.  No, I literally meant nothing.  She stands around and eavesdrops on other people and then asks a few stupid questions and then stands around some more.  Then, for the cherry on top, let’s throw in her obsession with Devlin.  It’s actually really creepy.  She turns into a complete stalker.  She tracks down information about his dead wife and child behind his back for fuck’s sake!!  I just can’t even begin to describe how much of a line crossing that was.

The murder mystery of this book couldn’t even hope to overcome how boring everything else was.  Frankly, I don’t even remember how it got resolved because I was very nearly in a coma by then.  I couldn’t even get enough passion about this to one star it and tear it apart.  I give it two stars because the cover still rocks, the rest is useless.  If you need a cure for insomnia, give it a shot!

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

unholy ghosts Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Published May 25th 2010 by Del Rey

Cover and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N/ AmazonBook Depository / Books A Million




The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.


Rating: 4 star



Anyone who has spent time in the online book reading community knows the name of Stacia Kane.  Normally her name is synonymous with a kickass author who just…well kicks ass!  At least that is what led me to buy this book.  I appreciated my interactions with her as a reader and so wanted to show some support.  Yet, still, I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to like this book for much of the first half.

Chess is awesome, let’s just say that right off the bat.  I loved her.  But then, if you read my other reviews you’ll see that I have a penchant for some seriously fucked up characters.  So that might explain my affection for her.  She is not a nice character.  She’s high most of her waking hours and something of a bitch for the remaining hours.  And that is exactly why I liked her so much.  She was gritty and real and I wanted to hear her backstory. And whoa, what a backstory it was.  No wonder she was high all the time, I would have been too.

The world was an interesting one too.  But I have to admit that I wasn’t overly pleased with the world building and felt like a lot was simply assumed.  I really hate it when an author assumes that I know what the hell they’re talking about, and Kane did that to a certain extent in this book.  But it wasn’t overly so, and so I could overlook it and enjoy the world building that we did get.  I liked the story that got Chess involved in the whole case and liked the pacing for how it unfolded.  My biggest complaint about this world was the slang.  It grated on my nerves and took me quite awhile to become accustomed to.  Eventually I found that it didn’t bother me so much, but at first I was ready to pull my hair out.  Along those same lines was my issue with the character’s names.  I can’t be all that terrified of a mobster drug dealer named Bump.  It makes me snort giggle just saying it.

But then there was Terrible.  Yes, that’s a name too….remember what I said about the names?  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like him all that much but by the end *sigh*.   He’s a cutie and I was rooting for him in the love interest department.  A giant teddy bear who could also probably decapitate someone barehanded if he wished.  So attractive.

Oh, and the bad guy!  I admit, it surprised me.  I figured out the red herring pretty easily, or at least I prayed that it was a red herring and turned out to be accurate.  But I just didn’t suspect the real culprit. It never really crossed my mind and then when it happened I was dumbfounded.

I enjoyed this book a lot but it took awhile for me to get into it.  Once I hit the halfway point I was completely invested but before that it wasn’t looking too good.  I would suggest this book to fans of the genre, but people who are not Urban Fantasy fans might give up before the good parts.  For me, I will be reading the next one for sure.