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Today I would like to post an article written by author DJ Donaldson.

Outbreak… Breakdown

A Forensic/Medical Author’s Take on Ebola and the CDC

My book, Louisiana Fever, involves the spread of a bleeding disease known as Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever. This is a real disease that, like its close relative, Ebola, is caused by an infectious virus. And having researched this thoroughly (and having come from a forensic/health background) I feel compelled to weigh in on the Ebola outbreak.

When I was plotting Louisiana Fever, I figured I ought to have a character in the book that was once an infectious disease specialist at the CDC. It seemed like a logical idea because the CDC is this country’s unquestioned champion against virulent organisms, an organization staffed with experts that know every nuance of tropical viruses and how they can be controlled.

To make sure my writing about the CDC would have an authentic ring to it, I asked the public relations office of the CDC if I might be given a tour of the place. “Sorry,” I was told. “We don’t give tours.” Considering how many dangerous viruses are stored in the various labs there, that seemed like a good policy, even to me. So there would be no tour. But then I heard from someone in my department at the U. of Tennessee Medical Center that one of our former graduate students now worked at the CDC. I began to wonder if this connection might work to my advantage.

And it certainly did. The former student was now a virology section chief. A SECTION CHIEF…. Holy cow! This could be my way in. But would the man be generous by nature and sympathetic to writers? He proved to be both of those.

On the day of my visit, I reported to the security office as instructed. There, I had to wait until my host came to escort me into the bowels of the place… no wandering around on my own with a visitor’s badge. That day I saw the hot zone in action and spoke with experts in many fields of virology, even spent some time with the world expert on porcine retroviruses. At the end of my visit—including all the cumbersome clinical protocols I had to engage in both before and during said visit—I not only left feeling more educated, but actually more safe and secure that no tropical virus would ever be a threat to this country… not with the meticulous, detail-oriented, security conscious, microbe fighters at the CDC watching out for us.

So, it’s with much regret and… yes, even a little fear, that I witnessed the head of the CDC recently assuring us that the Ebola virus is very difficult to transmit and that we know exactly how to control it. Instead of (what looked like) his clumsy attempts to soothe an ignorant and paranoid public, the CDC head should have given a blunt assessment, educated everyone like adults, and encouraged them to exercise precaution. Then, seemingly in answer, two nurses who cared for the index patient from Liberia become Ebola positive. And the CDC clears one of those nurses to take a commercial airline flight, even though she was in the early stages of Ebola infection…depressing. From a medical professional standpoint, this was practically criminal negligence. At present, the disease is not transmitted by air (“airborne”), but any scientist worth his/her salt cannot account for mutations the virus may undergo.  This is why the job of the CDC is to contain harmful microbes, issue protocols to protect the public against them and ultimately eradicate them… period.  It is not to be PR professionals for television cameras and fostering carelessness.

I’m still convinced that the combined knowledge and brainpower of the CDC staff will be a major impediment to any virus taking over this country. But Ebola probably has some tricks we haven’t seen yet. That means we may lose a few more battles before we can declare that this particular threat is behind us.

Meanwhile, how is development of that Ebola vaccine coming?

Author

D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center—where he taught and published dozens of papers on wound-healing and other health issues. He is the author of Louisiana Fever, one of the seven in the Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn series of forensic mystery thrillers.

For more information on DJ Donaldson or to purchase Louisiana Fever be sure to check out his website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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Fairyland (Songs of Magic – 4) by JL Bryan

5 stars

 

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Jason and Erin’s urgent mission takes them deep into the colorful and deadly wilds of Faerie, full of bizarre and rude creatures, and past the glittering volcanic islands of the Southward Sea.

In man-world, Mitch and Dred try to prepare for a live concert in front of millions of viewers while half their band is missing. The record company is furious with them, and so are a certain violet-haired fairy and her banshee wolf friend, who finally catch up with them in Los Angeles.

In Faerie, Queen Mab and the leprechaun Aonghus Mac Lobhar enter into a secret agreement over a new kind of magic that will change fairyland forever…

 

There is a ton of stuff going on. The story starts with the Rioting Zebras going to have a fundraiser but things are starting off bad when half the band is missing. Mitch/Mick and Dred are trying to do the concert while Jason and Erin return to Chippewa Falls to try and find Jason’s missing sister Katie. They then have to travel to Fairy to find her.

 

At the same time Liandan and Aiode are still navigating the human world trying to find the stolen instruments but are getting closer to finding them. They are still trying to figure out the different things they run across but they do catch up to the kids.

This series just keeps getting better and better. I love how Jason and Erin are starting to get closer with their relationship. Mitch/Mick is driving me up the wall with his attitude. I hope to heck he gets knocked off his high horse soon. I adore Aiode and how she reacts to everything she comes across. It’s like watching a kid in a candy store. Plus there are a ton of things happening and some secrets revealed.

I can’t wait to see what happens in Fairyvision. This is a great series that will appeal to any age.

I received this book from the author, a long time ago, for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Fairyland, the Songs of Magic Series, or JL Bryan make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and the website.

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Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency – 2) by Iain Reading

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost is the exciting second installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This second book in the series continues the adventures of Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot who has decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make an epic flight around the entire world. After flying across North America Kitty’s journey takes her down south to Florida where she plans to get a bit of rest and relaxation before continuing on with the rest of her long and grueling flight. As Kitty explores the strange and magical water world of the Florida Keys her knack for getting herself into precarious situations sweeps her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime involving mysterious lights, ancient shipwrecks, razor-toothed barracudas and even a sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself. This exhilarating story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept across the landscape and history of the Florida Keys all the way from Key West to the strange and remarkable world of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas.

Kitty is going to continue on her around the world flight, just like Amelia Earhart. But when she gets to the Florida Keys she decides to take a little vacation and recover from her trip. But while there, her curiosity leads her on an adventure full of sunken treasure and Ernest Hemingway. It seems the more she learns the more likely she is going to find herself in trouble.

I love the Kitty Hawk stories. It’s almost like a modern day Nancy Drew. Kitty is so smart and strong that she is a great character for anyone. The writing is so vivid that I could picture myself lying on the beach staring at the stars too. I love all the history that goes into her adventures and the extra reading section at the end of the story for those that are curious about different things in the book.

All I can say is Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost is a great story. You will get sucked in and will rush to finish the book just to find out what is going on. These books are great for anyone.

I received this book from the authors publisher in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost or others in this series make sure to check out Amazon or Goodreads.

Twinkle Tour

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Twinkle by S.J. Parkinson

5 stars

 

(Excerpt from Goodreads) The richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.

The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.

A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.

 

This story starts out with a lot of military action and Sir Marcus Brandon wanting to create a world fireworks show for the new year. After the fireworks and people start going blind the story starts flowing. There is a race to find the cure for the blindness, the world countries grinding to a halt, and the military getting their hands into everything. But why did everyone go blind, what was the purpose, and can the people be cured.

 

I really like this story. There is so much detail and information that I felt like I was right there with the characters. I liked how everything fell and the reason why. I loved the whole firework idea. There is a lot of military jargon since this book is basically about a world take over, but I have to say that there are notes throughout the book the help guide you along with the story. Realistically I doubt the cure, but I can see how you have to keep the story flowing, it’s even mentioned in the book.

 

This book takes you on a roller coaster of a ride. There are scary possibilities and some hard, realistic events. But in the end it’s well worth it. Don’t let the title and the cover make you think this is just some fluffy fantasy. This is one kick butt book that you have to read.

 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information or to purchase Twinkle make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

The Secret Side of Empty

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The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant.

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Monserrat Thalia, MT is a senior in high school. Things are going well for her. She has great friends, a first boyfriend, and things seem to be going well for her. But she has a secret that she can’t tell anyone. She is an undocumented immigrant from Argentina. This means getting her drivers license, past port, or even going to college don’t look to be in her future. But that’s just the beginning. Things just seem to keep getting worse and piling up around her.

I loved this book. It talks about a touchy subject, illegal immigration. And with all the events in the news recently, this book came out at the perfect time. Usually when you talk about illegal immigration everyone seems to jump up and scream go home, we don’t want you here, you are a drain on society. But there is more to it than just that aspect and this book brings the other side to the light. And for being such a major topic you would think that there would be more books that talk about immigration.

MT is a great kid but she has all this pressure on her and no one to turn to. Along with the normal teenage stuff here she has her family and being undocumented. I got sucked in to the book and wrapped up with MT’s life. When she finally opens up, I was crying right along with her.

This is a must read for anyone, it’s one that should be required reading. Go, get this book, you will not be disappointed.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information about The Secret Side of Empty be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Fade to Black

Fade to Black

Earth’s destruction hinges on a young illusionist in new book

Urban fantasy and science fiction meet in Sue Duff’s premier novel of five-book series

 LITTLETON, Co.–When a young illusionist, foreseen to bring about Earth’s salvation, fails to develop those prophesied powers, he’ll do what he must to escape his cruel guardians and stop the world from falling to a mysterious enemy. Sue Duff’s premier novel, Fade to Black, winds a tale of self-resilience and wonder at the world on a backdrop of urban fantasy and science fiction. In Fade to Black, Ian Black is guarded by the Weir, a race of magical beings who struggle to prevent the planet from self-destructing during a time that natural disasters are on the rise in frequency and intensity. In a desperate move, the Weir elders torture Ian to force his powers to arrive, prompting Ian to abandon his people to hide among humans. He soon uncovers, along with curious college student Rayne Bevan, a mysterious enemy behind the Weir’s raging civil war and Ian races to stop the lethal saboteur before launching Armageddon.

My Review:

The Weir are a race of people that have been protecting the world. But a split in the people have some using their abilities/magic for personal gain and letting the world destroy itself, the Duach, and other half still fighting to keep the world whole, the Pur. This civil war is coming to a head with a prophecy about a young Weir having all the powers of the Earth.

Enter Ian, a magician that is trying to help keep the Earth going and save those humans that he has visions about. One of those humans is Rayne, he saves her from an assault but ends up learning that she is a reporter intent on finding out his secrets. Rayne gets Ian exposed to the Duach. Ian struggles to keep Rayne and his friends safe and find the traitor sabotaging everything.

I liked this book. There is a great story and really good characters. I admit that I was a little lost until somewhere between 1/3 and ½ of the book until you find out who the Weir are. After that the story took off with lots of action. I couldn’t help but like Ian. But I admit that I liked Patrick the best. He has such snark and although he is looked at as just a human he is such a great part of the story.

This is a great story and start to a series. I think if you like the fantasy/science fiction genera you will really like this. Now I can’t wait to read book 2.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Author:

Sue_DuffSue Duff

As a fan of both fantasy and sci-fi, Duff blended the two genres into a story where even the magical beings needed help from science. She relied on astrophysics as a basis to the Weir’s powers, but also hopes readers accept that science can’t explain everything.

“I’m a natural sciences nerd, which comes in handy when I research everything,” Duff said, but, “Embrace the wonders and mysteries in the universe.”

Fade to Black is the first installment in The Weir Chronicles, a planned five-book mainstream speculative fiction series. It was a finalist in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest through Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in 2011.

When not saving the world one page at a time, Duff works as a speech therapist. She enjoys taking her octogenarian dachshund for strolls and stretching her creative juices in the kitchen. A Colorado transplant, she savors the incredible seasons, but appreciates that Mother Nature spares her from shoveling the driveway, too often.

For more information on Fade to Black, make sure to check out the following sites.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Website     Facebook     Twitter

Bonus:

“Between October 21st and November 9th, purchase Fade to Black, Book One: The Weir Chronicles ebook for just 99 cents! This special offer will be available during the novel’s blog tour dates, so pick up your copy before the completion of the tour. As a bonus, sign up for the author’s email list on her website and be automatically entered into a drawing for an autographed hardback copy of the novel! The winner will be randomly selected from the email list on November 15th!”

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Sleeping with the Crawfish (Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn Mystery – 6) by Don Donaldson

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) When a fresh cadaver is delivered to his lab, forensic pathologist Andy Broussard discovers that the deceased is a convict supposedly serving time in the Louisiana state prison — and prison officials claim that the man is still in his cell. Broussard enlists the help of his former colleague Kit Franklyn to discover the truth behind the bizarre turn of events. Kit travels up to the prison to photograph and fingerprint the convict. However, upon her arrival the prison officials claim that the convict in question died during the night and was cremated immediately. Meanwhile, Broussard follows another lead and finds himself drawn into a sinister murder plot. Now, in order to survive, Broussard must quickly determine how these events are connected.

Kit is having a hard time after her kidnapping (Louisiana Fever). She thinks she is a total failure and has quit police work to help out in an art gallery. Andy misses Kit dearly but can’t figure out how to tell her how he feels. When a dead body appears on his table that is supposed to be in the Louisiana state prison, Andy sends Kit to take fingerprints.

When Kit arrives in this small town, things seem amiss. She learns that the prisoner died the night before and that they all ready cremated the body. But things take a turn for the worse when, on her way home, Kit’s car mysteriously won’t start, then she is run off the road and nearly killed.

When the governor steps comes to tell Andy and Kit that they are concerned about a medical research facility but the prison, Kit volunteers to go under cover to try to find out what is really going on. But people are still suspicious and she finds herself in another brush with death.

So, you know that I am a huge fan of Don Donaldson’s books. You get sucked in and can’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what is going to happen next. My heart broke for Kit, she is still suffering from the kidnapping and so unsure of herself. But I also wanted to kick Andy in the butt for being so difficult.

This was a great mystery. I knew something was up and thought I knew, but I was completely wrong. There are some good plot twists and lots of chances for Kit to get herself in trouble. This is series that you HAVE to read. You won’t be sorry.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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