robbie cheadle

Book Review: Death Among Us by Stephen Bentley (editor of the anthology)

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Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short StoriesDeath Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories by Stephen Bentley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favorite book genre is mysteries. With so many wonderful authors and series, it’s often difficult to decide what to read next, especially when you’re looking to expand your horizons with something new. That’s often why I’ll turn to an anthology of short stories, as collections allow you to sample a dozen or so writers who hold a vast array of experiences and styles. This month, I took a chance on one called ‘Death Among Us,’ published in July of 2019 and edited by Stephen Bentley. In this fantastic collection, readers are exposed to ~10 authors who have each contributed 3 stories. What’s even better is that the three stories are generally connected to one another, so it’s almost like reading a mini novella several times over.

Prior to each author’s stories, there’s a lively and informative intro about what readers are getting themselves into. The writer will tell us if the stories are connected by the same character or a similar murder plot, a continuation of the previous tale but with a twist, or something even more dastardly and thrilling. I enjoyed this aspect of the anthology, as often in these types of books, each author only has a single story. With three, we get a better feel for their voice, style, and tone. The collection kicks off with the award-winning editor’s ‘The Rose Slayer’ stories, where homicide cops trace a killer who leaves behind a calling card. It spoke to me for many reasons, but to watch the transition from the first to the second and the last story, I felt like I could understand the motivation and operating procedures / boundaries of the heroes (and possibly the serial killer too!).

Another favorite is Robbie Cheadle, an author who’s participated in another short story collection that I’ve read as well as written many children’s books with her sons. What a vastly different style across her entire inventory of books and stories… to kick off with, in ‘Justice is Never Served,’ we have a woman who murders babies! Then there are the chimney sweeping killers (not what you’re thinking either!)… Cheadle delivers just the right amount of gore and thrills without going over the top, as the topic could be quite difficult to swallow. The best parts of her three stories are how they are all based on some sort of true story… which makes the tale even more horrific. She’s definitely cultivated her talents in these three tales, and I hope to see a full-length horror novel from her one day.

In addition to these two clever authors, I found many new writers I plan to follow. All of the stories were strong, none left me bored or confused. It’s a vibrant collection of twisty horrors, delicious death plots, and witty dialog among killers, cops, and victims. There are even a few lines of paranormal / fantasy / science-fiction being crossed, enough to make us afraid to enter a dark room in the future. Between those chills, and the crazy over-arching theme of what happens to both good and bad children in this book, it’s a prime candidate for anyone who wants to be frightened or read about something over-the-top, devilish, and evil.

If you’re up for a seasonal read, I’d recommend buying now and reading an author every few days in the month of October. Death and Halloween go so well together, and this is definitely one to keep in mind for pushing the envelope with creativity, complexity, and dark drama. That ‘side serving of revenge’ we often hear about… is the prime motivating factor in so many of these stories… and who doesn’t like to see someone get their just desserts?

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Dark Visions by Dan Alatorre (with Robbie Cheadle and others)

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Dark Visions: an anthology of 34 horror stories from 27 authors: Volume 2 (The Box Under The Bed)Dark Visions: an anthology of 34 horror stories from 27 authors: Volume 2 by Dan Alatorre (Author), Allison Maruska (Author), Jenifer Ruff (Author), Adele Marie Park (Author),

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today launched an anthology of ~30 horror stories from multiple authors in a collection called Dark Visions, the second in the Box Under the Bed volume. Although it was edited / Arranged by Dan Alatorre, I was given a heads up by a blogger who I follow named Robbie Cheadle. Robbie and her son write children’s books for the Sir Chocolate series, which I’ve read and reviewed, as well as promoted on my blog — they are fantastic and deserve a lot of praise and attention. When Robbie mentioned she’d written a few darker stories, I jumped on it. I knew she’d written other works, but I wasn’t familiar with them. Now I am as she has two in this wonderful collection. As I skimmed the table of contents, I found 4 other authors who blog that I’ve followed over the last year. How fun is that!

I read all of the stories / poems. They range from 2 pages to about 20 pages, and the entire collection is probably around the 250 page mark. From light spooky stories to much darker, its range is strong and inviting. Nothing is so scary that you’ll run in fear, but there’s a lot beyond subtle to find tantalizing. I do like this type of fiction, so it was a good fit for me. There’s also hardly any gore (none I can actually remember, but taste in this subject can be subjective and personal). It’s more about pushing the envelope with the air of mystery, the hint of suspense, and the suggestion of something very bad or impacting occurring.

I won’t point out any favorites since there’s a lot to cover, but I will highlight Robbie’s pieces because I do think she deserves the attention. The first is called “The Haunting of William Cheadle” which makes you wonder… which family member is she trying to spook? An early line: ‘it’s sticky, like blood.’ There’s a housekeeper I pictured as a certain character from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca who keeps someone in line. It’s all covered in a fine dose of murky and sinister fog… which makes for a very eerie and cool story. The other, The Willow Tree, my favorite kind, involves a doctor… something found in a bag… the tree… and a lot more I can’t tell you! But it’s enough to make you want to read more from Cheadle in this genre.

So… if you’re looking for a few traditional and some non-traditional spooky stories, an opportunity to sample different writers and styles, or a collection of short works to read throughout the next few weeks when the nights get shorts and darker, the ghosts come out to haunt us, and the season turns rather chilly, you’ve found a great place to start!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Children’s Readathon – Authors Who Blog (Week 4) – Links to Reviews

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Our fourth week focused on authors who write and blog about children’s books. A few dozen people are participating this month by reading and sharing reviews on many childhood favorites that were selected in a previous poll. Below are all the links I collected; they’ll take you to the original blogger’s review. For these books, we read them from 8/25 to 8/30 and posted our reviews by 8/31. The permanent page for all the reviews is located here.

Please email or message me if you’re participating or posting a review so I can add you to the list below of blogs to watch. You can add in anything into your post besides a review, e.g. giveaways, author profiles, background material, educational ideas, etc. Have fun with it!

Thank you to everyone participating all throughout August. It was so much fun!

This Week’s Participating Books / Blogs

  • Robbie Cheadle (Sir Chocolate Series)
  • Maxine Sylvester (Ronaldo Series)

Prior Week’s Participating Books / Blogs

Children's Books Readathon - August 2018

Background / Guidelines

Welcome to the Children’s Books Readathon held in August 2018. Join in the fun to read between 8 and 12 books in August 2018 and share your reviews with the group. Don’t worry about the count of books, as (1) you can read only the ones you want and (2) some are less than 25 pages! See below for the 4 categories across the month as well as all the guidelines for how to participate.

Children's Books Readathon - August 2018

  • Overview
  • VOTE in the POLL (July 6th thru 13th, 2018)
  • Winning Books & Date to Read By
    • Picture Books – Read 8/4 to 8/9, Post Review on 8/10
      • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
      • Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
      • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    • Award Winners – Read 8/11 to 8/16, Post Review on 8/17
      • Winnie the Pooh #1 by A. A. Milne
      • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
      • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
    • Young Adult – Read 8/18 to 8/23, Post Review on 8/24
      • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
      • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Authors Who Blog – Read 8/25 to 8/30, Post Review on 8/31
      • Maxine Sylvester (Ronaldo Series)
      • Robbie Cheadle (Sir Chocolate Series)

Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves by Robbie Cheadle

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I’m in absolute awe thinking about the creativity within the Cheadle family. Their culinary and literary talents are fantastic. In one of their newer books, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbookRobbie Cheadle and her children take us on an extraordinary journey to the sugar crystal caves which are in danger of melting. Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet save the day showing us how much they love the world they live in. I need to try one of these recipes in the fall… all the creations look delectable. The stories are adorable. It’s the perfect way to bond with children on a lovely weekend where you stay in to have fun! Come check out all the fun with this book on the Children’s Book Readathon on my blog this week. Thanks!

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For more great creations from Robbie, check out past posts:

Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie Cheadle

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Biscuit Art Sailing Boats

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Fondant Art

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Children’s Readathon – Authors Who Blog Books (Week 4)

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Our fourth week focuses on children’s authors who also blog. A few dozen people are participating this month by reading and sharing reviews on many childhood favorites that were selected in a previous poll. Read from 8/25 to 8/30 and post your review on or before 8/31. Please email or message me if you’re participating or posting a review so I can add you to the list below of blogs to watch. You can add in anything into your post besides a review, e.g. giveaways, author profiles, background material, educational ideas, etc. Have fun with it!

Participating Books / Blogs

  • Robbie Cheadle’s “Sir Chocolate” Series
    • This Is My Truth Now*
  • Maxine Sylvester’s “Ronaldo” Series
    • This Is My Truth Now*

Where to find the reviews and links to posts: AUTHORS WHO BLOG

Children's Books Readathon - August 2018

Background / Guidelines

Welcome to the Children’s Books Readathon held in August 2018. Join in the fun to read between 8 and 12 books in August 2018 and share your reviews with the group. Don’t worry about the count of books, as (1) you can read only the ones you want and (2) some are less than 25 pages! See below for the 4 categories across the month as well as all the guidelines for how to participate.

Children's Books Readathon - August 2018

  • Overview
  • VOTE in the POLL (July 6th thru 13th, 2018)
  • Winning Books & Date to Read By
    • Picture Books – Read 8/4 to 8/9, Post Review on 8/10
      • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
      • Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
      • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    • Award Winners – Read 8/11 to 8/16, Post Review on 8/17
      • Winnie the Pooh #1 by A. A. Milne
      • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
      • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
    • Young Adult – Read 8/18 to 8/23, Post Review on 8/24
      • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
      • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Authors Who Blog – Read 8/25 to 8/30, Post Review on 8/31
      • Maxine Sylvester (Ronaldo Series)
      • Robbie Cheadle (Sir Chocolate Series)

Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie Cheadle

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What an adorable concept for a children’s book series involving imagination, cooking, and art. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Sir Chocolate’ series, you’ve got some catching up to do. The debut book, Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries, written by Robbie Cheadle (and her children), is a perfect addition for any family or home. And what’s even more special is this author won a poll on my blog for the Children’s Book Readathon I’m hosting in August 2018. Robbie’s books are being highlighted the week of 8/25 thru 8/31. All month long she’s shared recipes, new short stories, and tons of fun! I’m sharing a review of the first book in the series this week as a preview for anyone who might still want to participate in the last week when we read one of her newer books.

In this wonderful story, we meet Sir Chocolate and his home, Chocolate Land. When some friends run into trouble, they learn how to work with a possible enemy and turn the concerns into a new friendship. What a great lesson for kids! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Don’t read on an empty stomach — have some candy and chocolate nearby! This really sets the stage for several other books that show us the adventures and foods involved in creating this wonderful village and setting. I’m in awe of the author’s talent and creativity, but inspired how it’s a family affair. Kudos to the Cheadles!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Biscuit Art Sailing Boats

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I’m hosting a children’s book readathon in the month of August 2018. We’re reading 2 or 3 books each week ranging from children’s pictures to young adult novels, including a few award winners and authors who blog. We’re currently in our third week reading 2 young adult books: Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. To learn more, check out the main page at the Children’s Book Readathon.

Throughout the month, we’ve highlighted books from Robbie Cheadle, a wonderful and talented author who has at least a dozen extraordinary books she co-writes and co-designs with her children. Check out previous posts on her author spotlight and latest short story. Today, we’re in for a special treat as Robbie shares with us some baking tips… and knowing how amazing all the dessert photos look from her blog and books, this is one we’re all gonna want to read and learn. BISCUIT ART! SAIL BOATS! HOW FUN!

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(a preview of the book cover we’re reading in two weeks!)

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(Biscuit Art from Robbie!)

I discovered during my days as a Sunday School teacher, that small children love biscuit art. It is easier to co-ordinate in a classroom than a baking activity as no baking is required. I started making up all sorts of different designs for fun objects that children could make with their parents at home or at school under the guidance of a teacher.

One of Michael and my favourite designs is this sailing boat which is made from finger and wafer biscuits.

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I find that royal icing works best for making biscuit art as it dries up hard quite quickly. You can find my recipe video to make royal icing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYuknMJYNCI&feature=youtu.be. I spoon a few scoops of royal icing into a sealable plastic sandwich bag. When I am ready to use the icing, I nip a small bit off one of the corners of the plastic bag and it works very well as an icing bag. A few children can share one bag of icing.

To make this fun sailing ship you need the following: 1 finger biscuit, 1 wafer biscuit, 1 square Licorice Allsorts broken apart, 4 Smarties and a small quantity of royal icing.

To make the boat, cut the wafer biscuit in half from one corner to the opposite corner. Trim one of the halves to make it shorter as per the picture. These will be the sails. Squirt a thin line of royal icing along the long edge of the larger sail. Attach the smaller sail to the larger one (straight sides together). Cut one of the coloured square pieces of the Licorice Allsort in half and then attach it to the larger sail just above where the smaller sail ends. Let this harden for a few minutes.

Squirt a thin line of royal icing along the bottom of the joined sails and attach them to the finger biscuit boat. Hold it in place for 10 to 20 seconds until it is firmly stuck. Attach the Smarties as decorations.

Michael made a wonderful sailing boat [better than mine]. He had a great idea of using a jelly baby for a sailor. This is his creation:

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Michael also added a rudder [How will you steer it otherwise, Mom? – how indeed [grin!]

 

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So who’s gonna be the first to make one and share it with everyone on the blog???

 

About Me
I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS.  My second novel, Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/FatherFigure.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.