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The Mean

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The Mean by John Arthur Long

Told with elements of heart-rending pathos, nerve-wracking tension and scenes of disarming humor, THE MEAN is a riveting novel of school days that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships and the threat of violence that has recently become such an integral part of our lives.

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Author’s Bio

9/26/17 VOICE ARTS AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED: AUDIOBOOK NARRATION – John Arthur Long, Best Voiceover Nomination, AUTHOR PERFORMANCE: THE MEAN and AUDIOBOOK NARRATION – John Arthur Long, Best Voiceover Nomination / MYSTERY: THE MEAN

John Arthur Long’s latest novel, THE MEAN, is told with elements of heart-rending pathos, nerve-wracking tension and scenes of disarming humor. THE MEAN is a riveting novel of school days that looks at the nature of true learning, the best and worst in public education, the drama of human relationships and the threat of violence that has recently become such an integral part of our lives. In addition to the Kindle edition, THE MEAN is also available in print and on audio both as an audio download or Hardcover CD from Blackstone Audio, featuring Long as the narrator of the novel.

John’s previous hard hitting work of fiction was THE HARVARD MAN: He is brilliant, possessing intelligence most would classify as genius, and he has always believed he was destined for Harvard University. However, there is a flaw. He is also mentally unstable, a psychopath with violent tendencies. Harvard has rejected his application! Now, he is determined to exact revenge in sweeping strokes of violence that will display his brilliance and bring America’s most prestigious university to its academic knees. THE HARVARD MAN. If he can’t have Harvard, no one can!

John Arthur Long’s first published novel, THE SIGN OF THE GUARDIAN, was released in two separate editions and optioned twice for motion picture production for which Mr. Long co-authored the screenplay. THE SIGN OF THE GUARDIAN is now available as a Kindle book. EVE OF REGRESSION, Long’s second novel about the search for the grave of the first woman, has been translated into several different languages and distributed worldwide as a bestseller and was recently re-issued as a Kindle book titled THE GATES OF EDEN. Long is also the co-author of a children’s book, THE TOOTH FAIRY LEGEND, which was based on his original family musical for which he co-wrote the book and music that Liz Smith called “delicious,” in her column about its New York premiere which had sold out audiences. More information about the Tooth Fairy can be found at http://www.toothfairylegend.com. An illustrated version of THE TOOTH FAIRY LEGEND is available as a Kindle book.

Along with his fiction writing successes, Mr. Long has been active in theater, having directed many dramas and musicals. Most recently he was nominated for Best Director for an Off Broadway revival production of WAIT UNTIL DARK at the Chain Theatre in LIC. He is also co-author of CONSPIRACY, a musical of the Chicago Eight Trial, and the modern tragedy, THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF THE MOBLED QUEEN.

John Arthur Long also works as a voiceover professional, performing audio voiceovers for websites both in the United States and Europe as well performing voiceovers for commercials and audio books.

All of John Arthur Long’s professional writing is available in digital form through Vellum Publishing, Inc. at www.newkindlebooks.com.

My Review

5 stars

Enter a high school and you will find all kinds of craziness. This story revolves around different events that can be found in almost any high school. You have a teacher discovering feces in a drawer because one student thinks it is hilarious to leave these little nuggets around the school. You have a young girl that is rebelling by dressing and acting promiscuous and finds herself with a stalker.

But it is not limited to just the students. A teacher is using Tibetan Balls to calm his class and is facing protests that this is not how to teach. Of course there are the interwork relationships and political hoops for the staff to jump through. And if that was not enough of a mess, a suspected terrorist has planned on releasing a nerve gas on this school.

This book had a little bit of everything in it. I was not expecting this book to go where it did. Yes, I remember some of the drama from high school so I was prepared for some of it. But I have to admit when I was reading about a student hiding feces around the school I was wondering what I was getting into. On my worst day in high school we never had anything like that.

This story reminds me of a daytime soap opera and one top of that you have a terrorist threat. You will reach all of the emotions as you go through this story. I really enjoyed it and recommend everyone check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised.

I received The Mean from Sherri Rosen Publicity for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Mercury’s Son

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Mercury’s Son by Luke ET Hindmarsh

Valko can see the last moments of a victim’s life.

It comes at a price – a scrap of flesh cut from his brain and replaced with an implant. Bound to a drug that lets him use his insight but brings with it the pain of synthetic emotion, he’s at war with himself.

Now a killer has found a way to hide from him and two people are dead. Someone wants to keep their secrets buried. The trail leads out into the wasteland where death flies on the wind as nanotech dust.

Manipulated and betrayed, Valko must get to the truth before his time runs out.

If he only knew who to trust maybe he’d have a chance, but a man with an artificial soul can’t even trust himself…

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 Luke E.T. Hindmarsh

Author’s Bio

Author of Mercury’s Son–a dystopian and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, described by one reader as “bursting with invention and ideas”–and the soon to be released 3:33–written past the witching hour and filled with enough creepiness that I had to turn the light on to rush across the landing to bed most nights I wrote it.

You can find Mercury’s Son on Amazon at the links above. Look out for a sample from 3.33 in the near future. But be warned! You might find yourself swept away to a future where you cannot trust yourself… or in sudden need of a night light! Before I gave up the real world for the darkness of the future and the graveyard chill of suspense, I worked as a Criminal Barrister in London for ten years. That doesn’t qualify me for making a good coffee, but it does mean that I saw the dirty, grimy and sometimes downright nasty side of humanity on a daily basis–and believe it or not, I have done an ‘axe murderer’ trial! Luckily, I love the human race, so while you’ll see the taint of my time as a lawyer, there’s hope in the pages I write too. I have a brighter side–my two young children who inspire me to stop writing on a daily basis to spend time playing the fool for them and my wife who tolerates the madness of my working life. Which is to say, she only tells me to stop talking about writing once an hour. I also teach Shinseido Karate, which is a traditional Okinawan system derived from Shorin Ryu Karate. Shinseido followed the tradition of taking its name from the senior teacher of the system–my dear friend and mentor Shinsei-sensei. The joys of this system are that it’s been tested in the real world–in the streets and in a ward for the extremely violent, criminally insane. So when I write action–which happens when it’s called for–, you can be sure it comes from my own experience and knowledge helped by the candid accounts of fellow instructors and students and given gritty realism from the sheer number of stabbings, shootings and punch-ups I dealt with in my previous career. Finally, when I’m back on this planet and my pulse isn’t racing with fear–I rock out on the guitar and burn off some nervous energy weight training or riding my motorcycle.

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My Review

5 Stars

The Earth has been destroyed and civilizations are living in small, over crowded cities while the Earth repairs itself. The Temple of the Wounded Mother is the religion that has risen to try and save the world. The believers hate humanity and kill numerous people yearly to try to help the Earth heal faster. Valko Gangleri is a Moderator in this world. He has an implant that lets him read minds and is basically a judge, jury, and executioner unless he is on the drugs that opens his empathy.

Valko is sent to investigate the death of a scientist and finds something strange, someone is hiding information from him which should be impossible. Valko starts to dig deeper and starts uncovering some unspoken truths. It’s easy enough to create truths as it is to create lies. It’s also very easy to brainwash people, create mind control, and have clones mucking everything up.

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, Mercury’s Son fits into this genre. Although Valko is struggling with his emotions and trying to determine truth from lies, he is supposed to look into the death of a scientist and another person. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much happening in this world. Religious cults, mass slaughter, government control, a ruined and desecrated Earth.

This is a very involved yet not over whelming story. I was kept guessing at who the killer was and why until the very end. I loved how dark and dirty this world is, the description if moving. If you like the dirty, futuristic thrillers I think you need to check this one out.

I received Mercury’s Son from Sage’s Reading Room for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Crows of Beara

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The Crows of Beara

By Julie Christine Johnson

Genre: Fiction, Climate Fiction, Eco-Lit, Women’s Fiction

 Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.

Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.

Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice–a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.

Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

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About the Author

Julie’s short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss; and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.

Named a “standout debut” by the Library Journal, “Very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review and declared “Delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life went into a second printing three days after its February 2, 2016 release.

A finalist for The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, judged by PEN/Faulkner author and Man Booker Award nominee Karen Joy Fowler, Julie’s second novel The Crows of Beara was acquired by Ashland Creek Press and will take flight on September 15, 2017.

A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state. 

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EXCERPT

It took him longer than he anticipated to find a space near the gallery’s back loading door and to bring the last of his pieces inside, but when Daniel walked into the gallery, Annie was standing transfixed in front of the sculpture he’d titled Grian/Gealach—Sunrise/Sunset—her hand reaching for the delicate spheres of metal. She withdrew her hand before touching the piece, though her body leaned in still.

“Go on. It’s all right,” he said over her shoulder, removing a pair of stained and torn leather work gloves.

She seemed not to register him. Then she turned and nodded at the gloves he clutched in one hand. “Do you work here?”

“I’m delivering pieces for the installation.” He waved around the exhibit space. “We’ve set up just a few so far, but they give you an idea.”

“Is the artist a friend of yours?”

“Some days, yes. Some days I really can’t stand the sight of the bastard. But mostly we get along.” He winked and motioned her toward the sculpture. “Really, it’s meant for all the senses, not just visual. Go on.”

She drew the tip of her finger down one large round of metal. It blazed like firelight, catching the dipping sun, but the metal was cool. “It’s beautiful.”

“I like for people to handle these pieces—I want them to feel the texture and temperature of the materials.” Annie turned in surprise, but Daniel pretended not to notice. “Fingerprints leave marks and oil—that’s a good thing, at least for my work. People change my art as much as I hope it changes them.”

“I didn’t know you were an artist.”

“I do the guiding to keep a steady income coming in, but this is meant to be my day job.”

Giant parcels wrapped in quilted moving blankets leaned against the walls; only one other piece had been unwrapped, a protective cover draped over the corners. It was a tall, narrow triptych of patinated metal with a background of aquamarine. Gracing the foreground was a long hawthorn stem of leaves and berries that shimmered and waved in a silhouette of red and gold.

“This is copper,” she said in wonder. “You work with copper.”

“Copper mostly. Some bronze, chrome. I’m just starting in with glass—studying with an artist out of a cooperative here in Kenmare.”

“But, Daniel. Copper.”

“Recycled copper. I use discarded materials, from building sites mostly. Ironic, right? I don’t want the mine in my backyard, but I’m willing to exploit it nonetheless—is that what you’re thinking? I’m not so naive as to think we shouldn’t have mining.”

He pulled the cover away from the sculpture’s sharp edges and let it drop to the floor. The hawthorn was in a cow pasture where he often sat, watching for the Red-billed Chough that foraged for seeds in the manure. “But in my own way, maybe I can show that the earth’s resources aren’t ours for the taking wherever, whenever we want. Art is a way to connect people with their environment without polarizing, without politicizing. It can be used to that purpose, but it belongs to everyone. I want my art to show nature as a cultural artifact. I made a very deliberate decision to use what’s already been taken from the earth—what had been stripped from Beara’s earth more than a century ago. Maybe that is my political statement.”

At that moment, hearing the words in his own voice, speaking his heart out loud, Daniel made his decision. But it was something he needed to sit with, to form more fully on his own. And he couldn’t forget, no matter how enchanting this woman was, who she was, why their paths had crossed.

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Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

His book Yellow Hair was awarded Book of the Year by Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 by Colleen’s Book Reviews.

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Author’s Bio

Andrew Joyce

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.

Website

Guest Post

Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Well, I mean … I write books in between marketing my books, which is what I’m doing here today. I’m down on bended knee, asking you to check out my new offering. If nothing else, it’s a good buy—700 pages of genius prose. And if you buy the print copy, it will make a dandy door-stop once you’ve finished reading it. My stuff ain’t half bad. I’ve won a few awards for my writing and obtained best-seller status on Amazon a couple of times … blah … blah … blah.

Anyway, the blurb is below, and somewhere on this page I’m sure there’s a link to Amazon so you can read the first few stories and see if my writing might be your cup of tea, so to speak.

Thank you for your time.

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

His book Yellow Hair was awarded Book of the Year by Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 by Colleen’s Book Reviews.

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Excerpt

What you are about to read is a true story. It’s from my book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, a collection of short stories that are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. My hitching adventures are true. The Danny narratives are also true, but written from a perspective different from mine. The fiction stories are a jumble of genres.

There are a whole lotta stories in the book—700 pages worth. Enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future.

Here’s one of my hitching adventures. By the way, in the hitching tales, I use my real name, Billy Doyle—Andrew Joyce being my pen name.

John, Kris, and Me

It was 1968; I was eighteen-years-old, and I was hitchhiking from Miami to New York. I had gotten off the beaten track, so to speak. I should have stayed on US 301 (this was before the Interstate Highway System), but instead found myself just south of Memphis, hoping to catch a ride into Nashville by noon and then catch a long haul out of that city.

It was early morning. The traffic was light, and I wasn’t having much luck when, suddenly, a black Mustang screeched to a halt, and the guy driving leaned over and said through the open passenger-side window, “I’m headin’ to Nashville, that do you any good?”

Of course I said, “Yes,” and jumped in.

As he’s accelerating, he’s looking straight ahead, not saying anything, which is kinda strange but not unusual when you’re hitching. So I said nothing and stared out the windshield at the fast approaching skyline of Memphis. Then it hit me. I know this guy; I should have tumbled from the voice.

At that time in my life, I was not into different types of music; I liked rock n’ roll. Since then my taste in music has matured to encompass all types. But even though this guy wasn’t a rocker, I knew him and his music. A couple of his songs had crossed over and were played on the top forty stations.

The driver was intent on what he was doing, but I think he caught me looking at him out of the corner of his eye. I noticed he had a firm grip on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white. After a few minutes, he turned to me, saying, “Howdy, my name’s John.” At the same time, he raised his right hand from the wheel and stuck it out in my direction.

We shook hands, and I said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cash. My name is Billy.”

Once John and I shook hands, he became more talkative. Hell, he became downright verbose. He told me about his hitchhiking adventures and asked me about mine. We were three hours out of Nashville and I don’t think there was another quiet moment for the whole three hours. We talked about life, women, and we even got into a metaphysical discussion. He told me about his army days and the time he was arrested in Texas. Just to keep even, I told him stuff that had happened to me while on the road. We didn’t talk about his music or anything like that. I’d been around enough to know that coming off as a gushing fan would have been a major turn-off for him. And besides, at the time, I was not a fan, gushing or otherwise. But by the time we hit Nashville, I was becoming a fan … of the man if not his music.

As we neared Nashville, he told me he’d just gotten married a few months back and was dying to see his wife. “I’ve been gone two days and it feels like two years,” he informed me. Then he said, “It’s about dinner time; why not stop in and get something to eat and then hit the road. June’s a great cook.”

Dinner is what country folk call lunch.

I accepted his kind offer, and we got off the highway and headed for his home, which was only a few blocks away. When we got to his house and as we were pulling into the driveway, he said, “Looks like June is out somewhere, but don’t worry, we’ll rustle somethin’ up.”

I told him not to bother, that I could cadge a meal down the line. He looked at me, shook his head, and in that deep voice, he asked me if I had any money. Of course, I didn’t and I told him so. He told me that he’d been on the road and hungry, and that if I didn’t get my butt in the house pronto, he’d drag me inside.

So in we went, and we walked right back to the kitchen. John told me to sit at the table as he opened the refrigerator and looked around for a moment before saying, “Ah ha! It’s still here.” And he pulled out a platter with a ham on it. I mean a real ham, bone and all! He also came up with a jar of mustard and a hunk of cheese. As he started to slice the ham, he told me where the bread and plates were kept and asked me to get them.

When the sandwiches were made—two of them—he asked me if I’d like a beer.

“Yes, please.”

So there I am, sitting in the kitchen of a man I’d met only a few hours before, and I’ve got two thick ham and cheese sandwiches and a can of beer in front of me. Not a bad score and the day was still young!

I asked him if he was going to eat, and he said beer would do him fine.

We’re sittin’ at the kitchen table, shooting the shit, when the doorbell rings. John gets up, but before he leaves, he takes a long swig of beer. “Be right back,” he says. A few minutes later, he comes back into the kitchen with this guy.

“Billy, I want you to meet a friend of mine. This here is Kris.”

I had my mouth filled with ham sandwich, so I mumbled a hello. He waved and smiled, “Glad to meet ya, Billy.”

John asked Kris, “How about a sandwich and a beer?”

“Just a beer, please. It’s my lunch hour, and I’ve got to get back to work. But I have a new song I’d like you to hear and see what you think of it.”

By now, I’d eaten my two sandwiches, and I had nothing to add to the conversation, so I figured I’d just finish my beer and get the hell out of there. But before I could say my thanks and hit the road, John leaves the room and returns a moment later with a guitar.

Prior to my going any further, I’ve got to lay the scene out for you. We’re sitting at a round kitchen table. To my left is John and directly opposite me is this guy, Kris Kristofferson (before he was famous). John and I were hitting our beers and watching Kris tune the guitar. Then he picked at the strings and started to sing. I don’t remember what the song was. I wasn’t really paying attention. In my mind, I was rehearsing my good-bye speech to John.

When Kris was done, we all three sat there looking at one another. I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t my opinion Kris sought. Kris didn’t say anything because he was waiting for John to say something, which he finally did.

“It’s not bad. But I don’t know if it’s for me.”

I’ve got to hand it to Kris; he smiled broadly and said, “That’s okay. I just wanted you to hear it and get your thoughts.” Then he lifted his beer and said, “Prosit.” That was my cue to leave. I stood and told John I had to hit the road. He said he’d drive me back to the highway, but I told him not to bother, he had company, and besides, it was only a few blocks away. Kris said if I could wait a few minutes, he’d drop me off at the highway on his way back to work. I declined his offer. I didn’t want to wait around. I had a full stomach and New York City was calling to me. I said my good-byes and walked out the front door, retrieved my case from the Mustang and headed off for further adventures.

Just one last thing: When I got to New York and opened my case, there was Benjamin Franklin staring up at me from on top of my clothes. John must have put the C-note in there when he went to let Kris in.

The Halfling

The Halfling
by Melissa H. North
Genre: Fantasy
“There are three things I know are
certain in my life. Firstly, I am a cursed halfling—part faerie,
part human. Another thing I know is I hate faeries. They are
deceitful, evil, and conniving.
The third thing I know—and it is
a certainty—nothing is guaranteed in this life, including your
sanity, your family, and your world as you know it.” –
Eliana
Eliana finds herself propelled into a world she longs
to stay away from; a world where nothing is what it seems. In a race
against minds, she must master her magic and fight an unimaginable
darkness, stretching throughout the realm of Grandelione. The same
darkness that cursed her mother and, now, her half-brother is laying
dormant in her too.
It grows stronger with each passing day.
Left with two options, she must choose to fight and bring
peace back to Grandelione or plunge into a world of darkness and
murder.
Can she learn to harness her magic and bring
peace back to Grandelione and her family?
Or will the
darkness within consume her?
Pursued by her brothers from the Faerie
realm of Grandelione, Eliana Ariarose flees through the streets of
New York City.
Her brothers are sworn enemies, with
the youngest, Caelian, having battled to earn his title of Crown
Prince from Aemon – a royal who vows bloodshed in order to have his
claim to the throne restored.
As Eliana flees, she makes startling
discoveries about herself and her real identity, as well as the truth
about her upbringing.
Eliana meets many beings from the
Faerie world. Some would die to keep her safe, while others would
happily steal her immense and unusual powers, right before destroying
her heart and soul.
Writing has always
been a hobby and cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion into
a fulfilling career as an Author has been one of my greatest dreams.
I write because creating something that didn’t exist before is as
close to magic as I’ll ever get. All you need is imagination.
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the
influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I
love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the
research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth
writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in
preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting
them to modern themes and trends.
 My Review
5 stars

Eliana is a Halfling, part faerie and part human. She has a lot of issues that she has faced growing up but she is a strong woman and able to stand on her own. She personally hates anything faerie but she has a darkness in her, she is cursed. It is up to her to fight the growing evil in the realm of Grandelione. She is the only one that can save the world or let it fall into darkness.

I really enjoyed this story. I love Eliana’s strength, she even turns the roles around and saves others. There is a lot of action and Elina has to be quick on her feet if she is going to save Grandelione and herself. I love all the creatures that she meets. It’s hard to know on meeting who can help her and who would steal her strange powers and kill her in a heartbeat.

This is a fresh young adult fantasy story that will appeal to all ages. It’s easy to get into and hard to put down. Of course the ending is a shocker and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book.

I received The Halfling from Silver Dagger Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

The Church of the Holy Child

by Patricia Hale

on Tour August 15 – October 15, 2017

Synopsis:

The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale

A woman with a history of domestic abuse is missing. Her sister hires private investigators Cole and Callahan.

When the woman is found dead, her husband is charged but when a second body appears showing the same wounds, questions arise and what looked like a slam-dunk becomes anyone’s guess. The case goes to John Stark, a veteran cop and close friend of Griff Cole.

The bodies are piling up, and one person knows where the killer is. Father Francis, a priest at The Church of the Holy Child, listens to the killer’s disturbed account of each murder and wrestles with the vows that bind him to secrecy.

The case takes an unexpected and personal turn when Cole’s ex-wife goes missing and a connection to his past points to the killer.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: Intrigue Publishing LLC
Publication Date: August 15th 2017
Number of Pages: 259
ISBN: 1940758599 (ISBN13: 9781940758596)
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Read an excerpt:

Inside the wooden confessional there’s a man who talks to God. At least that’s what my mother told me the last time we were here. But a month has passed since she disappeared so today I’ve come to the church alone. I no longer believe that she’s coming back for me like she said. Instead, I’ve become her stand-in for the beatings my father dishes out. That’s what he calls it, dishing out a beating, like he’s slapping a mound of mashed potato on my plate. He swaggers through the door ready for a cold one after coming off his seven to three shift, tosses his gun and shield on our kitchen table and reaches into the refrigerator for a Budweiser. I cringe in the corner and make myself small, waiting to hear what kind of day he’s had and whether or not I’ll be his relief. More often than not, his eyes search me out. “’C’mere asshole,” he says, popping the aluminum top, “I’m gonna dish out a beating.” If anyone can help me, it has to be this guy who talks to God. I open the door of the confessional with my good arm and step inside.

Twenty-three years later

ONE

His breath was warm on my neck, his lips hot and dry. His tongue searched the delicate skin below my ear. Heart quickening, back arching, I rose to meet him.

The phone on the nightstand vibrated.

“Shit,” Griff whispered, peeling away from me, our clammy skin reluctant to let go. He swung his feet over the edge of the bed and flashed me his bad-boy, half-smile. “Cole,” he said into the phone.

At times like this, cell phones rate right alongside other necessary evils like cod liver oil and flu shots. I leaned against his back and caressed his stomach, damp dunes of sculpted muscle. Not bad for a guy north of forty. Griff still measured himself against the hotshots in the field. But in my book he had nothing to worry about; I’d take the stable, wise, worn-in model over a wet behind the ear, swagger every time.

He pried my fingers from his skin and walked toward the bathroom still grunting into the phone.

I slipped into my bathrobe and headed for the kitchen. I have my morning priorities and since the first one was interrupted by Griff’s phone, coffee comes in a close second.

Twenty minutes later he joined me dressed in his usual attire, jeans, boots, tee shirt and sport jacket. Coming up behind me, he nuzzled my neck as I poured Breakfast Blend into a travel mug. Coffee splashed onto the counter top.

“Gotta run,” he said taking the cup from my hand.

“What’s up?”

“Not sure yet. That was John. He said he could use a hand.

“Sobering up?

Griff flinched like I’d landed one to his gut.

“Sorry,” I said. “Cheap shot.”

“Woman found dead early this morning.”

“When’s he going to admit that he can’t run the department with a pint of scotch sloshing around in his gut?”

“The job’s all he’s got left, makes it hard to let go.”

“I’m just saying that he shouldn’t be head of CID. Not now. I’m surprised Haggerty has put up with it this long.”

“There’s a lot going down at the precinct. Internal Affairs is having a field day after that meth bust.

They’ve got so many guys on leave right now that a bottle of Dewar’s in John’s desk is the least of Haggerty’s problems.”

“I just don’t want you to get sucked into CID.”

He slipped his hands inside my robe and nuzzled my neck. “No chance of that. Nobody on the force feels like this.”

I pushed him away halfheartedly.

I’ll call you when I know what’s going on.”

The door closed behind him.

I sank onto a kitchen chair and flipped open the People magazine lying on the table. Griff and I had just finished an investigation for an heiress in the diamond industry whose sticky handed husband had resorted to blackmailing her brother as a way around their pre-nup. The ink on her twenty-thousand-dollar check made out to Cole & Co. was still wet. And being that I was the & Co. part of the check, I’d earned a leisurely morning.

The phone rang just as I was getting to the interview with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell on the secrets of a long-term relationship. Caller ID told me it was Katie Nightingale, our go-to girl at the office. Katie kept track of everything from appointments to finances to take-out menus.

I lifted the phone and hit ‘answer’.

“Britt?” Katie spoke before I had a chance, never a good sign.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Missing woman.”

“Since when?”

“Last night.”

“What makes her missing? It hasn’t even been twenty-four hours.”

“The woman who called said her sister was leaving an abusive husband and was supposed to let her know when she was safe by ringing the phone once at seven-thirty. The call never came. Now she can’t get hold of her. She said her sister carries your card in her wallet.”

“What’s her name?”

“The woman who called is Beth Jones. Her sister is Shirley Trudeau.”

I nodded into the phone. I can’t remember every woman I encounter, but Shirley’s name rang a bell. Since giving up my position as a Family Law attorney with Hughes and Sandown, I’d been offering free legal aid for women who needed advice but couldn’t afford it. Mostly I worked with wives trying to extricate themselves from abusive marriages. Given the reason I’d abandoned my law career, it was the least I could do. Shirley hadn’t been living at the women’s shelter, but she’d spent enough time there to have Sandra, the shelter’s director, hook her up with me.

“And Beth thinks Shirley’s husband found her?”

“That’s what it sounded like once she’d calmed down enough to form actual words.”

“I’m on my way.”

I set the phone down, making a mental note to call Sandra. She’d upgraded from a caseworker in Connecticut to Director in Portland, Maine a few months ago. I’d stopped by her office to introduce myself when she started and left my business cards. Our paths didn’t cross that often but we respected each other’s work and always took a few minutes to chat. I knew she’d been on the swim team in college and that she could bench-press her weight. We were close in age and like minded when it came to the politics of non-profits. No doubt Beth Jones had called her too.

After a shower and a quick clean up of last night’s wine glasses, Chinese takeout containers and clothes that we’d left strewn around the living room, I locked the apartment door and began my fifteen-minute trek to our office on Middle Street. I savored my walk through the Old Port, the name given to Portland, Maine’s waterfront. The summer heat that a month ago had my shirt stuck tight against my back was a thing of the past and the snow and ice that would make walking an athletic event had not yet arrived. The cool, crisp air was like a shot of espresso. As long as I didn’t let my mind wander to what nature had in store, I could enjoy the rush.

I hit “contacts” on my phone and scanned the names for Sandra’s.

“Sandra, it’s Britt,” I said when she answered. “I wish this was a social call, but it’s not. Shirley Trudeau is missing.

“I know. Her sister called this morning. I’m on my way in now. How did you find out?”

“Her sister hired us to find her. “Was someone helping her leave?”

“She had a caseworker, but I wasn’t in on the plan. I’ll know more once I get to my office and talk to the person she was working with.”

“Okay if I call you later?”

“I don’t know how much I’ll be able to tell you. You know the rules. If she was on her way…”

I stopped mid-stride and lowered the phone from my ear. Sandra’s voice slipped away. That dead body that Griff went to look at… my gut said, Shirley Trudeau.

***

Excerpt from The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale. Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Hale. Reproduced with permission from Patricia Hale. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Patricia Hale

Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs.

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My Review

5 stars

Private investigators Britt Callahan and Griff Cole get a call from a woman saying that her sister was going to leave her abusive husband and has not been heard of. When her body is discovered it seems like a cut and dry case with the husband as the killer. But other bodies are being discovered. The common denominator is they were all abused. Could all of these boyfriends and husbands be killing their wives? Individually, maybe, but when examined all together it is clear that a serial killer is stalking these women.

As the police struggle to find the killer, you also meet Father Francis who is in confession with the serial killer as the killer walks him through every step of the murder. He is torn between keeping the confession secret per the dictations of the church or telling the police and stopping further murders.

This is an amazing story. A woman is killed and the signs point to her abusive husband. Then another and another. Each look individually to the husband or boyfriend but when compared to each other are similar. All of the women a local women’s abuse shelter and it is looking like someone at the shelter might be tipping off the killer. But the case takes a turn, several of them, from there.

Then there is Father Francis. He is torn because he wants to tell the police that the killer comes to confession and admits the details of the murders. But he can lose his title if he goes against the church who beliefs are that confessions are private and never to be shared. I felt for him as he was fighting to stop further killings yet be bound to the church.

This is a great mystery/thriller. There are lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.

I was completely thrown by the killer and was kept on my toes through the whole book. This is a great thriller/mystery thriller that will please any thriller lover.

I received The Church of the Holy Child from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Fairy Ring

35169604

Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle (Fairy Ring – 1) by Jacque Stevens

Fourteen-year-old Livy’s best friends just happen to be fairies.

With them, she defeats snow monsters and discovers lost treasure, running wild through her apartment complex. Game after endless game. That’s how it works with fairies. They might be illusions, but they helped her cope when her father walked out, leaving her to care for her drug-addicted mother alone.

Then Child Protective Services swoops in, sending Livy to live with her father, but that doesn’t stop the fairies from tagging along. The illusions that helped her in the past now cause nothing but trouble—preluding fires in chemistry and sword fights in gym. It isn’t any wonder her stepmother thinks she’s crazy, maybe even on drugs like her mother. Forced into therapy, Livy tries to conform to her new life. But when the military precision of her stepmother’s household becomes too much, she crosses the fairy ring to a dream world where her imagination can run free again.

Her scars transfer from one world to the other. So does a death. With her family ready to have her committed, Livy must unravel the truth behind her so-called schizophrenic delusions before they take another life—hers.

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Jacque Stevens 

Author’s Bio

Jacque Stevens wrote her first book as stress relief activity during nursing school that was never meant to be shown to anyone. It had elves and it was beautiful. Then her mother showed it to a published author in a critique group. They killed it with their red pens and send those poor elves back to the forest crying.

But out of the ashes appeared a djinni and even more elves. As a fulltime nurse working mostly in mental health, she continued writing similar book in the shadows until the people at Future House decided enough was enough. It was time for one of those books to be published.

Jacque lives in Utah, so yes, she has a huge extended family and occasionally eats green jello, but does not yet own a minivan.

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My Review

5 stars

When Livy is young, she starts interacting with fairies, which helps her deal with her parents. Later on, after her parents have divorced, her mother decides to pull Livy out of school to homeschool her. Sadly, her mother spends more time drunk than taking care of Livy. But Livy has her fairy friends for company. That is until Child Protective Services are called in and Livy is taken to her father’s home.

Her step-mother Renee worries about Livy and is afraid that she is on drugs like her mother and tries to shape her into an adult. Livy doesn’t want to have any of this and escapes to Fairy Land which makes others think she has mental problems. Is she really imaging all of this or is there some reality to this?

This was an interesting story. I felt bad for Livy, she has grown up in such a rough/horrible way. Her only escape is her fairy friends that keep playing with her when she is taken to her father’s new family. Although they care for Livy, she is having a hard time adjusting and keeps escaping to the Fairy Land. But is she really escaping or is she having serious mental problems?

It was hard reading about Livy at times, I felt so bad for her and hoped things would turn out for the best. I liked how everything came together at the end. This is a great story and one worth reading.

I received Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle from eBooks for Review for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.