Ugly Beautiful by Sean-Paul Thomas ~ 2013

One for Sorrow ...

Author: Sean-Paul Thomas
Publisher: Paul Thomas publishing; 3 edition (December 22, 2013)
Publication: December 22, 2013
Pages: 146
Language: English
Jacket design: Andrew Cairns
Author photographer: A friend

"This book was provided by Sean-Paul Thomas in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

4 Stars

Sean-Paul Thomas & Benjamin
Jason Broughton, son of one of the meanest gangsters in Auld Reekie town and a thug himself, brought us a chapter in his low-life that was a helluva ride.

Jason and his partner, Gary, opens this tale in Glasgow's Easterhouse with getting business done. Five men, graphically met their doom in a garage and with the men's briefcase in hand, which was filled with wads of cash and a couple of small bags of various drugs and pills, Jason and Gary sped off into the night.

After dropping Gary off, Jason dials an acquaintance, Brad McDermont. He is the son of Jason's father's best friend Ned. Asks a favor ~

'... in Edinburgh earlier than expected with ... you know ... the package.'  ... 'Can I drop this package off at your place on the way home? Then you can pass it on to my dad first in the morning.'

Sure thing.

Brad has an agenda that has been cultivating for some time. Ned went to prison for a murder Jason's father, Tommy, actually committed. Tommy told Ned that he would take care of Brad 'like his own son' until Ned got out. Way before Jason was even a twinkle in his eye.

Tommy always wanted Jason to take over his sleazy empire, but, after some rebellion on Jason's part, Jason took off into the army and traveled the world. Tommy turned to Brad as the heir.

Jason returned and that brought an uneasiness to Brad and that's probably putting it lightly.

'Why don't I swing by your place to pick up the package instead?', Brad asks.  Sounds perfect to Jason.

Jason gets home and here is where this tale takes flight. Comes home and finds his pregnant wife in bed with another man - his father.  An ocean of red was all an eye could see after Jason emptied his gun into them. After realizing it was all said and done he tried to take his own life - there were no more bullets left in the gun. Image flash - a remote cottage in the countryside.

Traveling to the Scottish hillsides with the briefcase sitting in the passenger seat, he passes a gorgeous hitchhiker. No relations for quite the while and horny as all get-out, Mmm - no, he'll stop thinking with his dick and get to his destination. A cottage that had belonged to his Uncle in a time almost forgotten.

Running from his recent crimes and reflecting and reminiscing on his past tragic life, Jason started thinking of the future. Wanting the finer and simpler things life could offer.

The next morning Jason jogged along a dirt track leading away from the cottage and notices a woman lying stretched out at the bottom of the hill. Groaning and drifting in and out of consciousness, the woman was carried back to his cottage. The Hitchhiker.

Not knowing her own name, Jason names her Haley. Haley's enigmatic character was well written throughout this harrowing tale. This gorgeous woman and Jason will take you on a ride.

Even though this tale takes off from the beginning with great writing to keep you flippin' pages, from here till the end of the read you'll want to have no distractions. The tale is a great story. Full of graphic descriptions that are so graphic, it will sate any personal psychological morbid need a Reader has to quench their thirst of the dense macabre.

The pace is rushed and slow and ... anticipatory - in the right places.

The character development was pretty damn good. You just might want to start 'rooting' for Jason and hope things go well for him. Same with Haley. Then, he is a murderer so you might not want to. The hitchhiker Haley? ... well -

As I had mentioned, some of the scenes were so graphic and described so well - hell, you could smell blood, feel excruciating pain, actually see the freezer's contents, and while your squirming around reading this tale you better go and take a minute and check to see if your front door is locked. (Check the back door too) Very graphic folks, very graphic. When Jason's partner, Gary, arrives on the scene ... wow.

Jason wants to help Haley to get away from all this hell in the worst way, 'cause he's falling for her and, no spoiler here, he does. Oh he helps her alright.

The setting in the North Western coast of the Scottish highlands played very nice for this book. Mr. Thomas wrote of the surroundings beautifully and I must say did a beautiful job incorporating them with the characters demeanor during certain events and emotions through the story. A good way of putting the reader in the midst.

Many reviews went out describing run-on sentences and misspelled words and hence, low ratings.
My rating was due to the ending. Had nothing to do with an editorial look at the tale. Seemed to me the author had better things to do and left the reader guessing on what happened to some of the characters.

Okay folks, here's how this story ends without giving it ~ Jason and Haley have a lovely departure from each other and now Jason sees the bad guys arriving; to end everything? 

The two thugs looking for the money - did they get Big Mac's or Burger King?
The Weasel - Brad happy with him? Not?
Brad - Kingpin now? Or?
Jason - um ... ? Talk himself out of his situation, once he got to his destination? Did he?

Man, 5 Star writing until ....

All in all, Ugly Beautiful is an utterly riveting dynamite read folks. A drama filled with psychological twists and turns and wow ... what a perfectly sick and graphic tale of a gangster wanting to go clean and a multi-personality serial killer wanting to be free from the hell. It really is a good read ....

I still recommend reading this quick tale, maybe as a Reader you could come to your own sick and morbid conclusion. I did.

No. I am not going to tell you how my ending ends. Get the book, read the book - comment. I'll reciprocate.

Love the jacket design - you?

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Here's where you can get your fingers on Ugly Beautiful:

  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $2.99 ~ Paperback $7.99 USD

About the author:

Born to Irish and Scottish parents, Sean spent most of his childhood and teenage years growing up on the move in the likes of Cyprus, Germany, Wales and England as an army brat. With a keen interest in both reading and writing he was diagnosed with the travel and writing bugs very early in life.

Now, writing, reading and traveling are his main passions, but he also loves outdoor sports too from Rugby and Hiking to Tennis and Boxing.

His main inspiration for writing today come from living in such a beautiful, Gothic and hauntingly inspiring city such as Edinburgh. This charming wee town has given Sean so much amazing inspiration to write the more time he spends there.

So far he has two published works of fiction - The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances and Cafe Independence. And four self published novels: Sarah Smiles, Alone, Ugly/beautiful, & Lust for Life

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Visit Sean-Paul Thomas at

One for Sorrow

 One for sorrow,
 Two for joy,
 Three for a girl,
 Four for a boy,
 Five for silver,
 Six for gold,
 Seven for a secret,
 Never to be told.
 Eight for a wish,
 Nine for a kiss,
 Ten for a bird,
 You must not miss.

A common modern version - Of course there are considerable variations in the lyrics used here.

One for Sorrow is a traditional children's nursery rhyme about magpies. According to an old superstition, the number of magpies one sees determines if one will have bad luck or not

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Son of Caleb: Lottery series Book 2 by Kimberly Shursen ~ 2015

Oh God ... she'd given birth to a monster.

Author: Kimberly Shursen
Publication: April 1, 2015
Pages: 342
Language: English
Jacket design: Kimberly Shursen
Author photographer: her son Anthony Damrow

Reviewed for Kimberly Shursen because I dug her novel Lottery

5 Stars

Kimberly Shursen

With an eagerness not known to mankind, this explosive second book in Kimberly Shursen's Lottery series left me craving for the third and final book, Caleb's Lot,  which is currently available and getting rave reviews.

This on-going tale of Caleb O'Toole's legacy and the hell he puts anyone who would give a rat's ass about him, through a devastating life they thought they would only see on the news -

Welcome Sammy, on the behalf of all of us psychological thriller readers, you are truly following in your father's footsteps.

Sammy Masterson, a 6 year-old sociopath straight from one of a mother's worst nightmares brings to us Readers, an enjoyment of a superb thrill.

Please fasten your seat-belt folks, this second book of Kimberly Shursen's Lottery series exceeds all expectations I had from what I took away from Lottery.

Son Of Caleb opens with Sammy's father, Caleb O'Toole, on an agenda reclaiming what he lost 6 years ago - his family.  Leaving a string of murders behind him, he staged his own death and fled to Mexico.  Living in the comfort of a lifestyle only available to those of us who has had the pleasure of winning the lottery under a dead man's name to boot, has come to the realization he wants his family back with no strings attached.

Jack Weber, the poor soul who had the unfortunate luck of not being able to cash in that lucky lottery ticket due to a dire inebriated event (calamity?) sits in Caleb's Citation Mustang jet en route to San Fransisco. Asks Caleb how in the world is he going to get his family back?

Caleb's ex-wife Ling and their children - now you can imagine after a bit of time you move on with your lives.  After all, daddy's gone. Ling with hers, Ahna, even Sammy does, and like all kids, coming up with imaginary friends and all. You know how kids are.

Arriving in San Fran, Caleb gets his rental and heads straight to the bar of the hotel he is staying at, the Ritz-Carlton in Nob Hill, and swoops bartender Zoe off her feet as Nick Malone. Becoming a main character, Zoe and Nick meld into twists and turn of events that rush the flow of the story into a thirst for the end. No doubt/propaganda/etc./etc. there, this is a really good read.  Zoe turns into a great character for me with her agenda's and purpose.

After Caleb learns Ling did move on and her husband, Tige, is now in the picture revenge pumps as he listens to himself and he hears alright.  Hell, Weber said, "Karma bites".

Infiltrating the school system and befriending Sammy as Nick Malone, hell, Caleb had the inside scoop of the household he wants to reclaim. And he learns of Teddy. And Sammy learns it's okay to have imaginary friends. (Best to talk in private, you won't get bothered as much.)  Mondays were Nick's scheduled time to volunteer according to school calendar and hence their days to meet. And concoct.

After worming himself into volunteering at Sammy's school is where the tale took off for me. Seemed like Nick was lining all his ducks up with nothing or no one being able to stop him.  Kimberly Shursen exercises her ability to tell a tale with all the right content a psychological read should possess.

The sub-plots start to explode, the new characters are defined, the tension of the unexpected the characters feel radiate off the pages. The suspense is palpable and absolutely rich for my tastes.  Yeah, this is where Son Of Caleb took off for me and was pleased when I noticed I still had plenty of pages to read.

Some of those scenes were descriptive to the point where I really felt among it all.  In Hawaii I could picture the scenes quite well.  Describing Sammy in tow throughout the airports were very enjoyable as a reader and clearly I could sense the cars scenes with Caleb and, where he might be growing a conscience or ?, huh.  We'll see.

Sammy reminded me of Damien from The Omen. This kid's gonna get what he wants and he's learning to hone his skills. Especially with approval from Nick assuring it is good to have friends.  Kimberly draws Sammy's character in this book as a child in need.  Love he has; even from Ahna.  But, boy this boy will get you worried for others.  Evilicious character.

And Zoe's agenda's ... Oh hell no. 

Caleb's Lot has to be on point to finish this horrific trilogy.

The story moves with energy and as you come close to finishing, Kimberly wraps things up nicely with anticipatory ending chapters alluding to a fantastic read in Caleb's Lot.

If Caleb's Lot is anything like Son Of Caleb, this trilogy rocks.  Kimberly Shursen's writing has become an enjoyment one should indulge in and curiosity has definitely inhabited itself in me to read her other novels: Itsy Bitsy Spider and Hush. Those gotta be good reads.

You could read this as a stand-alone, Kimberly does a great job filling in the back-story in the beginning of this read but why? it's a trilogy - start with Lottery and fill in the back-story with color.

Here's where you can get your fingers on Son of Caleb: Lottery series: Book 2:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $4.99 ~ Paperback $14.50 USD

About the author ~

Kimberly Shursen
Thriller/mystery writer, Kimberly Shursen, began making up stories in grade school. Growing up in a small town in Iowa with a population of 2,000, imagination not only became her entertainment, but a passion.

After graduating from a private college with a BA in education, Shursen began writing a musical. Five years later she presented the music, book, and lyrics to private investors. The play premiered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and later opened in Sweden.

Eden, Shursen's second full-blown musical was also produced by investors, catching rave reviews.

Knowing her passion had always been to be an author, Ms. Shursen left her position as a marketing director to pursue a full-time career in writing. She has yet to regret the decision.

Shursen's debut novel, political thriller ITSY BITSY SPIDER, was voted one of the top two thrillers of 2013. Legal thriller HUSH was published in January of 2014 and a top pick for Underground Book Reviews.

Kimberly Shursen's psychological thriller series follows the lives of a family caught in the web of a malevolent mental illness that spans over four decades and two generations. LOTTERY, SON OF CALEB, CALEB'S LOT, are available  ~  Amazon


Visit Kimberly Shursen

"The absolutely best part of being a writer is meeting interesting people I would never have met if they had not taken a chance on a new writer and picked up my book. I will always and forever be grateful."  ~  Kimberly Shursen

Reviews  for

~    Kimberly Shursen   ~
Itsy Bitsy Spider



Son of Caleb

Caleb's Lot


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Memphis Hoodoo Murders by Kathryn Rogers ~ 2015

"Murder by Hoodoo - it could happen to you!"

Author: Kathryn Rogers
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group (August 15, 2015)
Publication: August 15, 2015
Pages: 360
Language: English
Jacket design: Renee Reedy
Author photographer: her husband

"This book was provided by Kelsey McBride in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

5 Stars

Kathryn Rogers
Memphis Hoodoo Murders grabs you with it's spell and won't let you go until the last page. This fast paced read will keep you flipping pages, a thriller filled with characters you'll love and hate and at times you'll wish you have some magic of your own to help out Addie.

Addie Marie Jackson, has been witnessing her family under constant threat of being killed her entire life and now they are after her. And her Grandma's ring.

They keep getting bothered by this local gang called the Skullbangerz but the police have been bewitched to do nothing about it. When the gang wants her Grandmothers ring, Grandma pretends to Addie that she has no idea what they are talking about.

This enigmatic secret kept by Addie's Grandparents is the main subject of Memphis Hoodoo Murders. And,what a secret it is.

And if this isn't enough, this plump little 20 year old firecracker has her future frighteningly undecided because of her innate ability to dream of future events - events that do come true, though, she cannot change the outcome no matter how hard she tries.

The story is filled with characters all developing quite expertly throughout this novel. Kathryn Rogers has her own innate ability to have her characters grow with the flow of her story-telling. Excellent character growth. From all the characters in this read - Gavin, Chris, "The Man", Jaydon Swisher, the police, - just to name a few - my favorite character is Addie's friend, Keisha. Reason being, she kept Addie from going off the deep end as she questioned Addie's sanity gently as possible.

Hoodoo Helen is another one of my favorite's. What a great character she had become. The scene's surrounding Hoodoo Helen are picture perfect for the reader. And her house was detailed so you could actually 'see' what was going on.

This tale is told in the first-person and Addie shows you what her unpredictable daily life is like in Memphis living with her Grandparents and their secret.

What kept me hanging on every page was the pace Kathryn Rogers had set. The pace of the story matched the character development along with the twists on the plot and with an ending that was quite satisfying, hell, I loved it!

I invite you to check out the secret Pop and Grandma possess. The read is very enjoyable folks.

How do you Hoodoo? - Memphis Hoodoo Murders by Kathryn Rogers - that's how.

Recommend for your personal library is a yes!

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Here's where you can get your fingers on Memphis Hoodoo Murders:

  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $5.95 ~ Paperback $19.95 USD

About the author:

Book signing with fellow readers

Kathryn Anderson Rogers is a Memphis native with an affinity for local BBQ and blues rock-n-roll. As a licensed therapist, she holds her Masters in Counseling and Psychology, and as a licensed educator, she holds her Bachelors in Education. Her experience providing counseling services to the community prepared her to expound upon the psychological issues her characters wrestle with in her stories. She currently lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, playful preschooler, and rambunctious Labrador Retrievers.

Connect with Kathryn Rogers - 

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