Book Review: The Playground- E. Denise Billups 5* #amreading #newrelease #shortstories

The Playground

I just love short stories as much as I love full length page turning novels. This is a new release this week, and  another one not to fall asleep on. I bought my copy and read it within an hour!  The short story (for me personally) was enjoyable for so many reasons. It’s a great introduction to this author’s writing if you’ve not read any of her books before, this is my first read. I will read more. I hear on the grapevine, there’s a suspense novel coming our way this summer too. Keep an eye out on Meet The Author. So, let’s get into the review.

The Plot:

Readers are taken back in time within a place called Willow’s Grove. The town has a dark history and a lot of folk tales about what happened years ago, at an old church that was burned down. We start off in this time period with the POV of  a woman who was forced to do what she had to do for survival. She had two daughters, the death of her husband left them stranded. She winds up in Willow’s Grove. Fast forward to the present day we learn about the tales the townspeople believe happened the night the church burned down *spoiler alert* I won’t give this away.

In the present day a group of friends are on a mission to prove that ghosts are not real, the folk tales are not real.  They set out on the anniversary of the fire, and one of the main character’s birthdays to prove just that.

Once they arrive at the church, this is where the mystery, suspense and supernatural starts. The author very cleverly takes you on a journey via the spirit of the man the town fear. This is where the story for me got very interesting,  the mood changed within the story the man or spirit was a slave… we learn this when he changes form to who he was at the time of death.

We then learn the REAL truth what happened that night, all those years ago during a very important part of history. We walk through the POV of the woman who had to do what she had to do as a mother, and we learn through the spirit the group of friends meet.  *spoiler alert* I’m not going to give away how the  spirit  is linked to one of the females in the group, her girlfriend, as well as  the woman and little girls who died. But it ties in well.  The reason they are all linked is down to one thing history. They say ” the truth will set you free” that’s exactly what happens when this group of friends make a bold move, an important secret is revealed and the townspeople are firmly put in their place with their made up folk law and tales.

I’m giving The Playground five stars as the story hit home with me, it also was very interesting to read.  I love how the author tied in paranormal and supernatural themes to produce what you could call a historical piece of fiction also it has almost two themes. I experienced an element of suspense and the classic ” oh wow okay, I never saw that coming”. Every writer loves it when a reader does that so  well done!!  I finished the last page and felt like this could really be a full novel you and it could be so interesting. I would like to read more of this! In addition, the author has done something very difficult to do- mix present day story telling with historical events. To take a reader through different time frames consistently with a good flow (short story or full blown novel) is a massive challenge  to write  whether it’s a few thousand or a hundred thousand words.The author has done this job well. So to me leaving with all these feelings and reading a well written story can only deserve 5* I could not fault it at all. very enjoyable!

Grab a copy it’s .99 on Amazon.

Connect with Denise here while we wait out the release date for the suspense novel coming our way in the summer:

Denise’s Author site.







Book Review: The Homecoming 5 Stars by Tammy Tate.


This book is like some kind of wave. For me personally, just when I thought the dust settled some drama came knocking! For a paranormal romance there are parts that are really thrilling and suspenseful, and I never saw the ending coming. I could not predict what might happen.

Sydney is half human and half shifter, she moves over to her aunt’s  from Oklahoma to prepare for her first shift, in hope that she does not die during the experience as the force is powerful with the change.  She’s  only half shifter as her father is human,  her late mother was a full shifter. Before she arrived she had a few dreams about a certain man who she could not place. She drew a picture of him to remember him, for some reason she is drawn to him.

Once she arrives  at her aunt’s in the shifter community off the main land, almost instantly she crosses the mystery man’s path. Enter Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome himself – Kyle. Kyle knew she was on her way, as a full shifter he could sense it and smell her. He imprinted her ( bonded with her) , so in a way they were bonded before they even met and destined to be mates, hence the dreams Sydney had.

Mr. Tall Dark and handsome has a lot on his hands when his potential mate Sydney arrives. Seems like women in the shifter community are swooning. He has a mate pre -organised for him, Emily, and another female on his case Mona.  *conflict alert* I won’t spoil it and say why Mona has an interest.

Sydney survives her shift, and now she’s public enemy #1 for Emily, Kyle’s mate organised by “the elders” and Mona we’ll call her “the bunny boiler” after Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome. Sydney survives three attempts to kill her, * conflict alert* I won’t spoil it.  This drama leads Sydney, Kyle, Kyle’s best friend Beau, and Emily Kyle’s organised mate  to Canada, across the boarder to find Justin Kyle’s twin brother. *I won’t spoil it * Once they arrive that’s when the wave picks up again and the pace is fast. What I liked about this part of the story was, the element of real life the author crafted cleverly. They are shifters leaving their off land home to enter “our” human world, driving cars, getting on planes etc. To see all this play out as a non- human was great. It really worked well in the story.

The sex scenes and heat levels are pretty steamy too!

The Homecoming is a trilogy I think, but there is certainly part #2. I hear on the grapevine it will land in June. Lap up The Homecoming and sit tight for part #2. When it’s on pre-order I’ll grab mine!

Overall, what I will say is The Homecoming for me was an enjoyable experience to read, and I liked the story line. The turns and anticipation did have me up late at night. It was a book I found hard to put down. The romance was there with a complex love triangle – a modern one too, I could see the drama happening in real life within humans. The swooning over Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome was there, he fought for his woman. And he was not the arrogant alpha- male type that needs a woman to calm him. Our main man is really cool, with a fun side but takes charge. His best friend made me smile a real likeable character. The world created in this shifter and vampire paranormal romance really pulled me in.

I have read other stories by this author before, what I will say is her style is fast paced, modern not dated, and very engaging. Her stories do tend to highlight diversity, I have read stories in other settings non paranormal where native people would  normally be found, she did not ignore that she wrote from the native’s POV, with accents and all.

I will for sure be reading The Homecoming part #2. Thank you Tammy Tate for creating this wonderful world to escape to! Five well deserved stars.