Tag Archives: short stories

Anno 2020 by James Morcan – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Anno 2020 by James Morcan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Anno 2020 by James Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

Eleven individuals around the world must communicate remotely with each other while separated during the coronavirus lockdowns of Anno MMXX (Year 2020).

I’ve read several books which James Morcan has written jointly with his father Lance, so I was very interested to see what his first solo title would be like.

This fictional book is set during the Coronavirus multiple lockdowns of 2020 with the characters using various forms of digital technology to communicate, such as video chat or podcast. Some of the chapters focus on individuals but most are between a pair of characters and the story swaps around between them all.

All the characters are in different parts of the world, some where they live and some who were far from home when lockdown was enforced, like 19 year old Emma in Wuhan. They all have complicated issues in their lives, which the author cleverly draws out.

Even though it is one novel, the book has a feel of short stories as we keep alternating back and forth between the scenes. And although you see the connection between each pair, you do start wondering where it is all leading. But it follows a very clever path through to the conclusion.

Anno 2020 is available on Amazon in Kindle format. A great topical read that we can all relate to.


And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a kindle copy of Anno 2020 to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
Plus you don’t even need to own a kindle to read this, as you can download the kindle app free to your phone or tablet.comper friendly badge

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

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Shared to The Monthly Book Blogger Link-Up with Lovely Audiobooks

Mr. 100% by Lance Morcan – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Mr. 100% by Lance Morcan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Mr 100% by Lance Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

New York defense lawyer Madison Harley only takes on clients he believes innocent. He’s known as ‘Mr. 100%’ because he has never lost a case, and consequently he is Public Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the NYPD, the District Attorney’s Office and the media.

The bad press has taken a toll on his personal life. His wife has moved out, taking their two young sons with her and instigating divorce proceedings. When his latest client confides that he is guilty of the horrific rape-murder he’s accused of, a depressed and guilt-wracked Harley hires a contract killer to terminate him after the jury delivers a Not Guilty verdict.

It’s 1987 and groundbreaking developments in the field of forensic science sees DNA profiling used for the first time in criminal investigations in America. The release of DNA test results causes Harley to rescind his order to carry out the hit on his client. Unfortunately for him, the killer doesn’t change direction once a ‘kill’ order has been placed.

The nightmare scenario that follows sees Mr. 100% negotiating with the Mafia for his client’s life, his own life and the lives of his estranged family, stalking a contract killer and acting as a minder for a client who it appears really is innocent and who is oblivious to the mayhem unfolding around him.

Throughout it all, Harley is sustained by the affections of a new woman in his life – a prosecutor with the DA’s Office no less.

This is a short story of just 85 pages, so I read it very quickly. I am surprised at how much of the story has been revealed in the blurb, so there is not too much more that I can add.

The story set in 1987 begins 2 days after Harley, a defence lawyer successfully achieved a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict for the rape and murder charges against his client Hughes. Harley currently only represents clients that he believes innocent so was shocked when Hughes then thanked him for helping him get away with the perfect crime. So devastated that he was contemplating suicide.

But then he comes up with a better idea. Why not right a wrong by hiring a contract killer to take out Hughes. The blurb already reveals some of what follows and I’m certainly not going to give away more.

A good short story. Mr. 100% is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format and the story also features in Lance’s 5 Short Story Gems compendium which I mentioned in my review of Once Were Brothers.

I’ve now read 8 of Lance’s titles, but my favourite remains Silent Fear which he wrote jointly with his son James.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a kindle copy of Mr 100% to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
Plus you don’t even need to own a kindle to read this, as you can download the kindle app free to your phone or tablet.comper friendly badge

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Shared to The Monthly Book Blogger Link-Up with Lovely Audiobooks

A Gladiator’s Love by Lance Morcan – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book A Gladiator’s Love by Lance Morcan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

A Gladiator's Love by Lance Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

In this action-romance short story, dashing Greek gladiator Leonidas promises his true love he’ll buy her freedom if he wins his own in the Colosseum of Ancient Rome. First he must defeat an opponent he knows he cannot kill.

The year is 83AD and it’s nine years since Roman soldiers killed a young Leonidas’s family in their farmhouse outside Athens and consigned him to the life of a gladiator at Ludus Magnus, one of the biggest and best ludi gladiatori, or gladiator schools, in Rome. Since then, he remains undefeated after twenty-five fights and has risen to the top of the gladiator rankings.

The Greek gladiator craves freedom. The one good thing in his life is Fatuma, an Ethiopian beauty who is a gladiatrix, or female gladiator, and who has stolen his heart. They share fleeting but precious hours together after dark in Leonidas’s cell – a concession occasionally granted to the gladiators by their Roman masters.

The outcome of Leonidas’s next fight will decide both their futures for he’ll be fighting Gaius, another undefeated gladiator who held the Greek to a bloody draw when they met in the arena previously. At stake will be the rudis, the small wooden sword given to gladiators who are granted their freedom.

This is a short story of just 43 pages, so I read it very quickly.

The story begins with a flashback nightmare to when Greek Leonidas was enslaved and the rest of his family killed 9 years previously. He was kept alive to be sold as a gladiator and he has been climbing the rankings ever since due to his great fighting skill. In 2 months time, he will be pitted in a fight to the death against Gaius, where the winner will be granted freedom, so long as he wins tomorrow’s fight against Philo.

Meanwhile as tradition dictates on the night before a fight, he has been allowed to sleep with someone. Of course, as always, he has chosen Ethiopian Fatuma, a female gladiatrix, whom he is in love with. If he wins his freedom, he plans to earn lots of money, to buy Fatuma’s freedom too.

But how will it all play out? As the story unfolded I did guess one of the twists, but not the ending.

This is the second short story of Lance’s that I have read, the first being The Last Tasmanian Tiger and in my opinion they would both be better suited to being part of an anthology rather than a book on its own. Still a good read though.

A Gladiator’s Love is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format. An enjoyable short story. Lance is a very versatile author as this is quite a different genre to the brilliant Silent Fear full-length novel that I absolutely loved, which Lance wrote with his son James, plus they write non-fiction and novellas too.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a kindle copy of A Gladiator’s Love to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
Plus you don’t even need to own a kindle to read this, as you can download the kindle app free to your phone or tablet.comper friendly badge

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read With Me

Shared to The Monthly Book Blogger Link-Up with Lovely Audiobooks

The Last Tasmanian Tiger by Lance Morcan – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Last Tasmanian Tiger by Lance Morcan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Last Tasmanian Tiger by Lance Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

Charlie Truganini can’t believe his eyes when on a trip into Tasmania’s wilderness he sees a Tasmanian tiger – a carnivorous marsupial considered by most Australians to be extinct.

Charlie has a number of claims to fame – one of those being he’s a direct descendant of one Truganini, the woman considered to be the last full-blooded Aboriginal Tasmanian and whose name he inherited. A close second to that is he’s the great-grandson of one Dingo Truganini, the tracker who helped capture the last known Thylacine cynocephalus – an animal better known as the Tasmanian tiger.

It’s his admiration for his great-grandfather’s exploits that explains why Charlie has devoted his life to searching for the Tassie tiger, as he refers to it, or the thylacine, as scientific types insist on calling it, to determine one way or the other whether it still exists. He has always suspected it does despite having never sighted it nor even stumbled across its spoor in all his travels.

When Charlie sees a Tasmanian tiger with his own eyes, he realises he doesn’t want his tiger meeting the same fate as the last one. And so he makes a decision. A decision that will have life-and-death consequences.

This is a short story of just 36 pages, so I read it very quickly.

Charlie Truganini, aged 48, a Tasmanian Aborigine tracker is trekking through the bush on behalf of the Southwest Wilderness Native Animal Protection Society (SWNAPS) to check and resite their cameras. It is a role he loves, as he hopes one day to discover a Tasmanian Tiger, an animal believed to be extinct for many decades.

But today is different. He actually discovers and photographs a Tasmanian Tiger. Now what should he do? Tell everyone or keep quiet? Zoos, scientists, conservationists, hunters, media? Does he make the right decision?

I enjoyed this story. It brought back memories of when I did a project on marsupials in junior school and made me think about the ongoing situation with the koalas and bush fires. But for such a short story, it did feel as if it should be part of an anthology rather than a book on its own. Although under current circumstances, one short story was probably all my attention span could cope with, so it was the ideal read for me just now.

The Last Tasmanian Tiger is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format. An enjoyable short story. Lance is a very versatile author as this is quite a different genre to the brilliant Silent Fear novel that I absolutely loved, which Lance wrote with his son James, plus they write non-fiction and novellas too.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

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12 Days of Clink Street Christmas – Red Scarf by John Hickling

I have received an exclusive special Christmas short story Red Scarf written by John Hickling, to share with you. Earlier this year, I read Champagne & Lemonade, a collection of his short stories, which I enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this. And I have to say, it certainly lived up to expectation. So I hope you like it too.

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas

Red Scarf

The snow was thick and blissful on 23rd of December. The beautiful white streets of this normally dirty City were bursting with life, people of all ages and race shopped for xmas presents for their loved ones. Christmas trees, decorations and lights were strewn all over, making the streets look like a delightfully pretty xmas scene painting. Unfortunately, not everything was perfect, as beggar’s, the unfortunates were dotted around the City. Shivering, wrapped up in anything they could get their hands on, to try and keep warm.

A couple of streets away were a married couple, both in their late forties, they were wrapped up in thick long coats and wore matching red scarves. They battled their way through the deep snow with bags full of xmas presents. Turning into a dark alleyway back to their parked car, there were a couple of beggars tucked up in old sleeping bags.

“Spare any change? Please” Croaked an elderly scruffy looking man. The man in the red scarf rummaged through his pockets and passed the beggar a couple of quid.

“Bless ya” mumbled the beggar. The couple smiled and carried on their walk. Further on, from nowhere, two men jumped out on the couple knocking the woman to the snow covered ground. Her husband fought back but was overpowered, one of the attackers pulled out a knife, the red scarfed man looked death in the eye, when a scruffy boy, hit the attacker with a traffic cone. The other assailant pushed the boy to the ground and grabbing what they could they ran away. The red scarfed man gingerly got to his feet. The boy jumped up and fled.

“Wait” yelled the man, then rushed to his aid his semi-conscious Wife.

The couple, whose names were Alan and Mandy, were drinking coffee in the police station. Mandy still had a groggy head which was not helped by ‘I wish It could be Christmas every day’ blaring out the radio. Alan who suffers from OCD was getting very irritated by the scruffy, leaning to the left Xmas tree.

The investigating officer read over the statement. Two men, both dark hair, one with a scruffy beard, 35 to 45 in age, both in black clothing. A boy in jeans, black ripped jacket, blue peaked woolly hat, 16 to 17 in age. Some bottles of wine, a games console and perfumes were taken. It was established that the couple had never seen the boy before or noticed where he came from.

“Transport has arrived to take you both home Sir. We will be in touch with any information”

“Thank you officer, will you please promise to search for the boy? He shouldn’t be on the streets, not just at Christmas, but at all” said the weak smiling woman, squeezing Alans hand.

“We will madam. Please go home and get some rest. The couple bid farewell and merry Christmas and left.

At the couple’s home, Mandy was in tears clutching a photograph of her, her husband and their daughter who had been swept of a pier on a daytrip to the coast over a year ago. They were all wearing matching red scarves, gloves and hats, that were Christmas presents, she was 13 at the time. Her body was never recovered.

“I do hope the boy is alright Alan” murmured Mandy. Alan held her tight.

The snow was now swirling down, it was very dark and cold. The boy, who was below a brick archway under a bridge, had managed to get a fire going and was munching on a sandwich he had bought from his begging takings. He bedded down in his smelly sleeping bag.

In an old abandoned warehouse, the two robbers were sat around an old oil drum that housed a fire. The robber with the beard was rubbing his head.

“I tell ya, that boy, he could blow on us if the coppers find him, we must find him first” The other robber nodded has he looked through the stolen bags.

Christmas Eve and Alan had just got off the phone from the police who had informed him that so far they had neither found the robbers or the boy. It was 630pm. Alan and Mandy were concerned for the boy’s safety. Alan felt it was his duty to at least look for him, after all he had saved his life. Alan wrapped his red scarf around his neck, donned his thick coat, hat and gloves.

“I must at least try Mandy I just hope to god those two scumbags are not after him” His wife hugged him. But that is what was happening, the two robbers had been searching for the boy.

Later, Alan asked a beggar, who he had given a fiver and a sandwich, if he knew of a young boy of his description. The beggar had told him to try the bridge brick archways, there are a few young uns that go there.

The boy was really feeling the cold, he hadn’t eaten since the sandwich and shivering he desperately tried to light a fire, when he thought he heard a noise. He looked around but couldn’t see anything, so attempted to light his fire.

“Well, well” yelled the bearded robber who was stood a few metres in front of the boy, the boy started to run but the other robber jumped on him. Both robbers had clubs and dragged the boy into the archway, the robber without the beard was about to whack the boy when he himself groaned and fell to the floor. Alan had hit him over the head with a stick, the bearded robber grabbed the boy, facing Alan

“Let the boy go” Alan shouted. The bearded robber laughed then pulled out a gun, the boy kicked the robbers leg and Alan threw the stick at his face, the gun dropped.

“Run” roared Alan, grabbing the boy. The robber grabbed his gun and gave chase. Alan and the boy struggled up a snow covered banking. The boy slipped and banged his head. Alan dragged the dazed boy to the top but the robber was right behind and fired a shot in the air. Alan and the boy stood with hands raised. The robber grinned

“Who’s first” he pressed the trigger but it jammed. Alan lunged at him pushing him down the bank, he and the boy ran.

At the police station, which was full of the usual xmas drunks, the two robbers were in custody, Alan and the scared boy were in a room, Mandy was also there. The police had constantly tried to quiz the boy who was looking more frightened by the second.

“Stop it” Said Mandy passing the boy a sandwich, the boy whose face was so dirty and bruised tucked in.

“We would like to thank you for helping us yesterday. We only want to help you. What is your name honey?” smiled Mandy, her husband and the police nodded. The confused looking boy, shrugged and mumbled.

“I am not sure; I can’t remember” tears welled up his eyes.

“Are you hurt? You did get a bang on the head when we slid down the banking” Prompted Alan. The boy held his dirty face in his hands and shrugged.

The officer was just about to go into another volley full of questioning, when Mandy pulled them all aside.

“Look the boy is hurt, confused and very scared, you will only frighten him more with the constant questions. Let me and Alan take him home, give him a nice meal, a bath and a bed, then I am sure he will come around” Alan smiled as he and his wife held hands. The police whispered among themselves for a couple of minutes, before agreeing with Mandy. Everyone was happy, even Mandy smiled at ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ on the radio.

Back at the couple’s house Alan had hung up their coats, red scarfs and hats, while Mandy put on the kettle. The boy stood near the fire looking confused.

“Please don’t be scared, I will make you something nice to eat. First I will run the bath” smiled Mandy. The boy smiled back.

“Let me hang up your coat” Alan said, gesturing for the boy to take of his dirty ripped jacket. The boy looked around at all the decorations then back at Alan and Mandy, smiling he proceeded to take of his woolly peaked hat and coat. The couple stood opened mouthed at the scruffy, thin looking blonde haired girl, with a red scarf around her neck.


About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing July 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com or find John on Facebook or Twitter.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling


I’m participating in the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas blogival. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of festive reading tastes.

12 days of Clink Street Christmas blogtour

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Disclosure. This post contains an exclusive short story I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Robert Hood by John Hickling

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Champagne & Lemonade” by John Hickling to review. This is a collection of short stories, which is published today.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling

Here is the book blurb.

Champagne & Lemonade is a delightful collection of eclectic short stories, taking readers on a journey to different times and places, meeting a sparkling cast of well-drawn characters. 
Nibble the fish is desperate to escape his boring old pond.
A new breed of super hero has been born and his name is Bob Cheesecake.
Dumpton Hospital’s staff have a somewhat unconventional approach to looking after their patients.
Robert Hood is on a mission to save modern England.
And just who is the vampire terrorising the neighbourhood from his home at 113A Greenstone Street?
From the quixotic to the poignant, John A. D. Hickling’s wild and whimsical tales fizz with fun and are sure to entertain almost everyone!

I’ve read the other stories but my review focuses on the story of Robert Hood. I’m going to start by naming some of the other characters – John Prince the Prime Minister, Ian Sheriff the MP of Nottingham and his niece Marion, Robert’s mates Adam Dale and Bill Scarlett, big guy Donald Little and vicar Frank Tuck. Have you guessed yet? Yes it is a modern story set in 2015 based on the classic Robin Hood.

John Prince has abolished the benefits system and locked up the Royal Family. No one could stand up to Prince and those that tried quickly disappeared. If you didn’t join his army, you soon became homeless, while the rich got richer. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yes, Robert Hood, an ex-Marine living in Nottingham, who cared about his fellow men.

I found this a refreshing take on a classic and really enjoyed it. Even though a short story, all the characters were well developed.


Here’s a very short extract from Robert Hood to tempt you.

Modern life was in danger of being cast back to the dark ages under the corrupt leadership of the Prime Minister John Prince.

With his job gone and the dire situation England was in he found himself wondering where his destiny would now lie. He didn’t realize that soon England’s destiny would be in his hands. This man was Robert Hood.


About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing July 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com or find John on Facebook.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.