Category Archives: Short Stories

Fifth Columnist by Frank Westworth – Review

Title – Fifth Columnist: A JJ Stoner short story (The Stoner Series Book 5)
Author – Frank Westworth
Genre – Thriller
Publication – Sept 2016
Pages – 50 Pages
My Rating – 4/5 Stars


An action-packed quick thriller featuring covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades and blunt instruments to discreetly solve problems for the UK government. In Fifth Columnist, a bent copper is compromising national security but none of the evidence will stand up in court. That’s exactly why men like Stoner operate in the shadows, ready to terminate the target once an identity is confirmed…

Fifth Columnist is a quick thriller, an hour’s intrigue and entertainment. It features characters from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series. You don’t need to have read any of the other stories in the series: you can start right here if you like.

As well as a complete, stand-alone short story, Fifth Columnist includes an excerpt from The Redemption Of Charm (to be published in March 2017).
Please note that FIFITH COLUMNIST is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit scenes of a sexual and/or violent nature.


I actually read  Fifth Columnist last year not long after it was released but I’ve been waiting to review it until I had the time to read it again as part of The Stoner Stories collection. Look out for that review soon :).

Fifth columnist is the fifth tale in the JJ Stoner short stories. The author has also wrote two full length novels that feature some of the characters but I’ve not had a chance to read them yet and can confirm it didn’t affect how much I enjoyed or understood these short stories.

Once again Frank Westworth has given us a super short, informative and intriguing tale.

What Frank does well for me is that he gives you just enough information to follow the action but not enough so to give you the full picture. For me this works perfectly. As someone who is yet to read the full length novels it hooks me in.. makes me want to know more about the characters. I can quite imagine also that if I had read the longer novels then these shorts would build nicely onto the series.

Focusing on Fifth columnist itself I have to say I enjoyed it..there’s quite a build up with this one then BANG.. twist..and I was left rereading the page so I could fully take in what had just happened..It was the wow moment I was looking for at just the right time.

I enjoy short stories like this, it’s a great way to see how an author writes before committing to larger works.

Overall this is another great short from Frank which builds nicely onto the foundations set in the previous shorts. I highly recommend you read the shorts as a collection as I feel you get more from it that way. I’ll certainly be making time to fit more of Frank’s work into my reading schedule this year.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.
If you want to know more about The Stoner Stories collection my review will be posted next week but in the meantime you can find out more on Goodreads or Amazon.

Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka – Review

Title – Environmentally Friendly
Author – Elias Zanbaka
Genre –  Short Stories – Fiction
Length –   21 Pages
Publication – March 2016
My Rating – 3/5 Stars


Out of seven billion people, one man has declared war on Mother Nature and plans to bring it to its knees.

Out of all the criminals in Los Angeles, he’s the number one target being hunted by the LAPD tonight.

And out of the entire LAPD, one officer is hell-bent on helping him complete his mission.


Frantic is the word I’d use to best describe this short tale as you are thrust into the action from the first page.

What I really enjoyed about this tale was how detailed of an image you were given as a reader. At times I did feel a little lost as it is a fast paced tale but this detail made it an interesting read

The plot itself was very original.. I’ve never read anything like it and I liked the idea one officer alone is trying to bring this man down the right way when the rest would most likely shot first and ask questions later.. it certainly raises questions on what your viewpoint is on things like this.

Did the book work? For me yes..yes it did. I did however feel I would have preferred a slightly longer tale so everything wasn’t so fast paced.. did this take anything away from the tale for me? it didn’t

If you fancy a short read that will leave you contemplating mental health, police procedures & moral standpoints then give this one a go. Certainly not the usual book you’d pick up and that’s definitely not a bad thing.

My thanks to the author for allowing me to read/review your work

To find out more head to Goodreads, or

And Baby Makes Two by Debra Benson

Title – And Baby Makes Two (Endless Affair, #2)
Author – Debra Benson
Genre –  Short Stories/Romance
Length –    70 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


Melvin’s life fell apart as his wife’s rationality seemed to deteriorate. She left him, taking her son with her, but then a phone call out of the blue drew him back into Andrea’s life. The revelation that the child he’d watched grow in her belly was in fact his son pushed the clouds darkening his heart away, letting a small spark of hope for a future began to build. But first he had to win Andrea’s heart.


This is book 2 in the Endless Affair series. You can see my review of the first book here

The story follows on from the last book and we see the strain on Melvin and Andrea increase now that a baby is on the way.

Again I felt the author did well to pack so much into a short story.. it’s 70 pages but in that short space you’ve given the perspective from both sides and it honestly left you feeling that even though the relationship started as an affair that these two need each other

Melvin has to deal with the consequences of his affair also in this book. I won’t spoil it but I think this was handled really well.

This isn’t the nice fairy-tale story , it’s real.. this could happen to anyone but it does give you a more balanced perspective which is hard to do as in these situations blame will always be attributed one way or another.

The other thing I really liked is it showed Andrea coming to terms with having a baby.. it’s not easy.. you never truly know what the baby needs until it arrives.. no amount of preparation helps, trust me, I know 🙂

For me this tale is a true reflection of life, people fall in and out of love and people don’t always start out to hurt people but inevitably someone will have their life torn to bits.. I’m a big believer in love but I also know that you have to work at it and things don’t always go as you’d want or expect.

To find out more head to Goodreads, or

I Can I Will – Debra Benson – Review

Title –  I Can I Will
Author – Debra Benson
Genre –  Short Stories/Romance
Length –    52 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


Andrea’s life fell apart when she was laid off from a good paying job, but she found comfort in church, and then in the gentle arms of the Reverend. That would have been the perfect solution if he wasn’t already married to her best friend, one thing led to another and things just happened. What happens when two people in need of love find each other? Can Andrea and Melvin find their way past sin and salvage their personal lives, as well as their standing with God?


At 52 pages this book is short but like me you’ll be surprised how much has been crammed in.

One of the biggest issues you can have is leaving the reader feeling deflated like they haven’t got their monies worth from a short story.. well not this stories.

The author managed to weave what felt to me as a complete story in so few pages and actually had me feeling for the characters.  When each new character is introduced the author gives you a little insight but as the story progresses you get to see things from their point of view and things aren’t as clear cut as they might appear.

I think the story has done well to highlight what can happen in relationships; as much as we love someone everyone has the human need to feel loved. Romance is not a genre I tend to enjoy but this was a real treat

For me the way the author wrote this book was brilliant, with the story moving from one person’s perspective to another. This give the book a great feel and I constantly changed my views on the characters with every turn of a page

If you enjoy a good short story this is perfect, it didn’t feel lacking in anything. The pace of the story was perfect, the writing style made it all flow nicely and my biggest love in any story. Character development was there in abundance.

If you’ve not read a short story before then give this one a go! I doubt you’ll be disappointed

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read and review the book

To find out more head to Goodreads, Smashwords, or

Tales of Ancient Rome by S.J.A. Turney – Review

Title – Tales of Ancient Rome
Author – S.J.A. Turney
Genre –  Historical Fiction/Short Stories
Length –  99 Pages
Publication –  Nov 2011
My Rating –  5/5 Stars


A collection of bite-size stories of varying styles all based in the world of ancient Rome. 12 tales of the ancient world, plus a bonus tale to finish.

The second edition contains two new tales not told in the 1st. Laugh, cry and shudder at:

Hold The Wall – Hadrian’s wall in the last days of the western empire
Vigil – A comedic tale of firefighting in Rome
*NEW* Rudis – A champion gladiator fights his last fight
*NEW* The Discovery – A Roman trader makes a surprising find in distant China
The man who bought an Empire – The lowest point of Imperial succession
Trackside seats – A slave helps his blind master at the circus
How to run a latifundium – A cautionary tale of estate management
A Reading – What does the future hold in Judea?
Exploratores – Trajan’s scouts on the trail of Dacian warriors
With a pinch of salt – A comedic tale of food in Claudius’ Rome
The Palmyrene Prince – Rome’s eastern border tells grim tales
Temple Trouble – A tale of the early days of Fronto (of the Marius’ Mules series)
Bonus tale: Aftermath in the Ludus – A fun finish.


Yes I’m late to the party on this one I know…

As a reader I promise myself to go back and read all the books an author has wrote if I enjoy their work. It’s not always easy to fit all these wonderful tales in though..This however was perfect. I’ve been meaning to read more of Simon’s work and this was a easy read to stick in between other reads

It’s a collect of short stories which show off the author’s skills. It’s perfect if like me you want a quick read or this would also suit anyone as a great introduction to the author if you’ve not read his work previously

Some short stories leave me deflated, not bored but sort of wondering what I got out of reading them.. not this one. On numerous occasions I found myself grinning, especially when I read the sentence “oh dear, I think I shat myself” . This really was a selection of well written shorts which at times were very humorous which I think is a hard thing to do in such short tales.

My favourites were Temple Trouble & The Discovery

The book is currently free so why not grab a copy like I did.. you’ve got nothing to lose but lots to gain 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads, or

Everyone Dies at the End by Riley Westbrook – Review

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Title – Everyone Dies at the End
Author – Riley Westbrook
Genre – Horror
Length – 87 Pages
Publication – March 2015
My Rating – 4/5 Stars


Who knew the zombie apocalypse would be caused by something we all know is deadly…but that is also all around us? Two stories intersect as the world delves into chaos – Earl, a drugged out heroin addict constantly in search of his next fix, and a family struggling with the dramas of everyday life, get no reprieve during this zombie outbreak. Can any of them survive the deadliest game of all – survival against undead, each other, and the world around them?


Okay.. I’m a big fan of zombies I won’t lie.. and I’ve always enjoyed books that centre around an apocalypse. The idea of humans needing to survive without things we class as essential today is fascinating to me.

This book was good.. if a little strange. The idea of mushrooms growing out of people’s heads was weird but interesting and the idea of how this apocalypse was quite good.

Two things didn’t work so well for me, one was how quick it was decided it was a zombie apocalypse… since this is only a short work I guess you can let that one slide a bit plus everything ties up at the end of the story.

Next was the use of drugs in the tale.. it was just too much for me.

I’ve given it a four star rating… I think that proves the things I wasn’t so keen on didn’t stop my enjoying the tale and its well worth the quick read

The book itself was well written so I’d definitely like to see what else the author comes up with

To read more reviews head to Goodreads.

Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil by Steven A. McKay – Review


Title – Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre –  Historical Fiction/Short Stories
Length –  70 Pages
Publication –  13th November 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


Holly and ivy decorate the houses while voices are raised in song, but the Christmas cheer is tempered by terror this festive season, as demons haunt a small English village.

Strange thefts; cloven hoof-prints in the snow; a house burned to the ground.

Something evil stalks the icy streets of Brandesburton and former mercenary Tuck must find out what, before it’s too late.

As he sets out to solve the mystery the friar prays his faith will protect him. His faith AND his great quarterstaff, for he knows full well – the Devil makes no deals…

This brand new novella from the best-selling author of the Forest Lord series will delight and entertain historical fiction fans looking to escape the madness of Christmas shopping for a little while. Grab a mince pie, warm some mulled wine, and join Friar Tuck on this snowy adventure!

“…a heart warming tale, wrapping the deep meaning of Christmas in amongst

a clever little mystery…” Parmenion Book Reviews

Includes a foreword by Phil Rose, the legendary Friar Tuck from TV’s Robin of Sherwood.


What a perfectly wonderful Christmas tale. I was very lucky to have the chance to read an advance copy and i can say for certain when this book is released you are in for a treat!

This tale focuses on one of my favourite characters Friar Tuck and some devilish events that have been occurring. As you can imaging the good Friar isn’t go to sit back and let things happen.

I never like to spoil a story by saying too much in my reviews but if you’ve read Steven’s previous books you won’t be disappointed. McKay manages give us a Christmas tale with his own style of writing infused within it so there’s a perfect mix of violence and kindness to warm the heart.

I highly recommend reading this during the festive period as it would fit in perfectly. My advice is grab a bottle of wine or a few beers and sit by the fire and read this from start to finish.

Personally it was good to see Steven writing about the Friar again and i hope we see a few more short tales coming from the author soon. So far both Novella’s McKay has wrote have been great and he’s managed to fit so much into so few pages that you are left wanting more but fulfilled at the same time.

Most certainly i will be reading this again on Christmas Eve once the kids are in bed, it’s a lovely story to get you in the mood for festive period

To pre-order head to Amazon