Archive for September, 2015



Spinner by Michael J. Bowler

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…

Michael J Bowler Author

Michael J. Bowler

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall Lead, Once Upon A Time In America, and Spinner.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He acted as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II.”

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently working on a sequel to Spinner.His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.

* Spinner won Honorable Mention in Young Adult Books of 2015 from the San Francisco Book Festival.

spinner bannerReview

5 stars

Alex is a foster kid that had been through ten foster homes. He is currently stuck in one with an abusive foster mother. The worst part is that he is a spinner, which means he has the ability to heal and his foster mother knows it. She forces Alex to heal the beatings that she hands out to the other kids.

School is not any better. Because he is in a wheelchair he is considered special needs and is put in the special needs class. That in itself leads to bullying and abuse from fellow students. But things get weird when his teacher is murdered and there is something wrong with the substitute teacher.

Things start getting exciting when an ancient evil is awakened and it is up to Alex and his friends to stop it. They are going to have lots of adventures and thrills before this is over. Alex is also going to learn more about his past and why everyone is after him.

This is a great story. Alex and his friends are not your typical heroes but they are the right people to prevent evil from taking over. I felt so bad for Alex, he is in such a crappy situation. I loved all the dummies. They knew what they had to do and no matter the challenges they kept fighting.

Spinner is a great young adult story that everyone will like. It’s a great story for those that face bullying and can encourage those that are not popular to embrace this. Spinner is a book for any age.

To purchase Spinner, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Michael J. Bowler’s website.

TourButtonI received this book for free from Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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On the Hillwilla Road


On the Hillwilla Road by Melanie Forde

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) In Hillwilla, Beatrice Desmond, a former Bostonian Ivy Leaguer, found herself in midlife on a llama farm in remote West Virginia. Clara Buckhalter, a troubled young girl, drew Beatrice out of her lonely existence. Now, Clara attends a different school at Beatrice’s urging, and finds herself involved with two new friends who are confusing and intimidating yet caring. Beatrice’s tantalizing friendship and romance with the dashing, wealthy, and extremely handsome Tanner Fordyce discover new and deeper connections—though they continue to spar and infuriate each other. And Beatrice’s farm—replete with temperamental llamas; Ralph, her loyal English setter; and the occasional wild critter—further serves as an oasis of refuge and healing. This sequel explores how such disparate individuals can grow to need and depend on one another, even as Beatrice finds herself confronted with a new, life-altering choice.

Beatrice has grown accustomed to Clara living with her, for the most part. She is very unsure of herself and constantly frets that she is not a good role model for Clara. Clara is now attending school at Marlboro Academy for Girls and is unsure of the new people around her that seem to have an air of money. If that was not enough to keep Clara uneasy then her family trouble are not going to help.

Clara’s mother is uprooted after her step-father is arrested. Then there is her father, Mike that has a new girlfriend and is ready to start a family. Clara’s other family members try to make her feel at home with Thanksgiving and Christmas but then there is a rift between them and Beatrice. That old blood is still having trouble accepting Beatrice even after she continually proves herself to them. But things are going to get tougher for both Beatrice and Clara, thankfully they have each others.

I loved Hillwilla, Beatrice, and Clara. I couldn’t wait to read On the Hillwilla Road. Beatrice is still considered and outsider and is trying to find ground without offending the locals. Clara is trying to find her way and is so confused. But she is a great kid and you can’t help but encourage her. I really like how Beatrice and Tanner are getting closer; I just wanted to slap both of them at times for being so dense and difficult.

This is a great story and follow up to Hillwilla. Make sure to check it out.

To purchase On the Hillwilla Road, or for more information on the series, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Melanie Forde’s website.

I received On the Hillwilla Road for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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HALO: Last Light


HALO: Last Light

It is 2553, and the three-decade long Covenant War that defined a generation has suddenly drawn to a close. Yet, in the remotest parts of human space, tensions remain that threaten to overflow into another full-scale conflict. Beneath the surface of the planet Gao lies a vast cavern system renowned for its therapeutic effects and rumored miraculous cures. But now Gao natives are turning up brutally murdered down there—violent acts that happen to coincide with the recent arrival of a UNSC research battalion protected by Spartan Blue Team, led by the renowned Spartan-II Fred-104.

Maverick detective Veta Lopis of the Gao Ministry of Protection is only trying to do her job as the Special Inspector assigned to catch a serial killer—one who is possibly hiding within the Spartan ranks—but she never anticipates the situation spiraling out of control into an all-out crisis. When Gao is revealed to harbor ancient Forerunner technology that could solidify the UNSC’s military supremacy for centuries to come, Insurrection loyalists within the planetary government will do anything—even align with a vicious faction of what remains of the Covenant—to ensure that never happens…

Troy Denning


Troy Denning is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost and Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Star by Star, as well as Waterdeep, Pages of Pain, Beyond the High Road, The Summoning, and many other novels. A former game designer and editor, he lives with his wife in Wisconsin.


Chapter 12

0832 hours, July 2, 2553 (military calendar)

Crime Scene Charlie, 104 meters belowground,

Montero Cave System,

Campos Wilderness District, Planet Gao, Cordoba System

Special Inspector Veta Lopis had been raised to hate and fear everything about the United Nations Space Command, from its sheer might and criminal war practices to the murderous thugs it called Spartans. So it was only natural to assume that the serial killer stalking the Montero Cave System might be one of the power-armored hulks riding through the darkness with her now. Certainly, the MO fit: the victims had all sustained injuries consistent with a large, mechanically enhanced attacker—injuries such as crushed bones and disjoined limbs, ruptured organs and collapsed skulls.

But good investigators did not let their personal bias influence their thinking. They gathered evidence and weighed facts, and they let the theory of the crime build itself.

So Veta would do what she always did. She would study the victims and establish a timeline for all eight murders, then check it against the known locations of everyone in her suspect pool. She would catalog the weaknesses and habits of the remaining subjects and use that knowledge to put pressure on the perpetrator. Most of all, she would be patient and persistent, and she would keep pushing until the killer revealed himself.

And if that killer turned out to be a towering Spartan in four hundred kilos of Mjolnir armor, Veta would do what she always did.

She would take him down.

The cavern floor began to descend more steeply, then the whine of the electric engines deepened as the rubber-tired Tunnel Weasel changed gears to keep from picking up speed. A moment later, the little tram entered a broad gallery illuminated by the platinum glow of work lamps. Like the rest of Montero Cave System, the gallery was hot, humid, and filled with mineral vapors, but its beautiful flowstone walls were bathed in a cold blue light that made them resemble frozen waterfalls.

As the Tunnel Weasel came to a stop, a trio of UNSC marines in black BDUs emerged from the shadows and approached. They exchanged salutes with a UNSC major seated next to Veta, then an older marine with bushy gray brows stepped forward to report.

“Area secure, Major.”

“Thank you, Sergeant.” The slender officer at Veta’s side was Ira Halal, a black-haired, blue-eyed major sent by the UNSC Judge Advocate General’s Corps to help investigate the murders. So far, he struck Veta as dedicated, intelligent, and reluctant to cooperate. “Any unexpected visitors?”

“Sir, none that we detected.” The sergeant glanced around the perimeter of the gallery, then added, “But the conditions down here wreak havoc with our motion sensors, and twenty-two pas- sages open into this gallery. We couldn’t watch them all every minute.”

Halal nodded. “Of course not,” he said. “It was a long shot, anyway. I don’t think this UNSUB is likely to return to the scene.”

The sergeant frowned. “UNSUB, sir?”

“Unknown Subject of Investigation,” Veta clarified. She stepped out of the passenger compartment. “And I want to check those passages, Major.”

Halal turned to her. “To what purpose?”

“To look for evidence, of course.” Veta paused, reminding herself to play nice, then added, “I like to be thorough.”

Halal did not quite roll his eyes. “Our resources are limited, Inspector Lopis—and so is our time. I suggest we focus on the crime scene and not waste our assets chasing phantoms.”

“I don’t chase phantoms, Major Halal.” Veta stepped close. “I catch killers. Quite a lot of them, actually.”

Halal held her gaze a moment, then smirked. “As you wish, Inspector. We’ll do this your way.”

He ordered the marines back to their posts, then turned toward the Tunnel Weasel, where Veta’s four-member field team was unloading equipment from the third car. On the side of the car, the image of a stylized tree fern sprouted from the letters MVC— the logo of the Montero Vitality Center, from which the UNSC had commandeered the tram.

Watching over Veta’s team were three Spartans in their famous Mjolnir armor. With their blocky helmets and titanium-alloy outer shells, the trio looked more like war robots than human beings— and from what Veta had read about their exploits in the public record, that might be close to the truth. There hadn’t been enough detail for her profiler to suggest how their personalities might have been impacted by such a steady diet of fierce combat, but Veta suspected it wouldn’t be good.

Halal fixed his gaze on the Spartan leader. “Lieutenant, have one of your Spartans secure the adjoining passages and report any evidence of observation—”

“Actually, my team will be inspecting the passages,” Veta interrupted. Whether Halal was trying to hide something or simply did not realize how often serial killers returned to the scene, she could not say. But either way, she was not about to trust any part of the investigation to him or the UNSC. “You’re welcome to send an observer, if you like.”

“Inspector Lopis, these caverns are under military control,” Halal said. “And Spartans are well-trained observers.”

“But they’re not homicide investigators,” Veta said. “And military control didn’t stop our killer from murdering at least eight people down here. Since those people happen to be Gao citizens and these caves happen to be located on Gao, their murders fall under the jurisdiction of the Gao Ministry of Protection—which makes this my investigation.”

Veta paused for emphasis, then continued, “As I said, Major, you’re welcome to send an observer.”

Halal sighed. “We’ll send a guard.” He did not even bother to look at Veta as he spoke. “The last thing I need is to lose someone from your team, too.”

“Too?” Veta asked. “Has the UNSC been losing people?” “That’s not what I meant,” Halal said quickly. “It’s just procedure, in case the UNSUB is trying to keep an eye on the investigation.”

“You just told the sergeant that you didn’t think our UNSUB was likely to return to the scene.”

Halal shrugged. “I could be wrong.” He turned away, as though intent on watching Veta’s team unload their gear. “As I said, it’s just procedure.”

Halal was lying, of course, and it seemed to Veta that he was worried about something even more dangerous than their UNSUB. But she could not imagine what that might be. The Montero Cave System was the most-visited natural wonder on Gao, a vast labyrinth of interconnected caverns spread beneath a thou- sand square kilometers of jungle. It had an untold number of access points, including thirty-eight major entrances operated by villages and private spas, and until the killings began, thousands of tourists had entered the caverns each month without encountering anything more hostile than a flight of irritated saurios.

It would have been easy to blame the UNSC and look no further, but the truth was that strange things had been happening in the Montero region for a while. Two and a half months ago, a rare temblor had shaken the entire region, leveling two villages and damaging several spas. Shortly afterward, tourists began to emerge from the caverns miraculously cured of lifelong ailments and terminal illnesses. The newsmongers quickly substantiated the claims, and sick people began to flood into the caves hoping for their own miracles.

Then, a month after the quake, a UNSC task force entered the Cordoba Star System and “requested” permission to conduct research in the caverns. The common assumption was that ONI— the UNSC’s notorious Office of Naval Intelligence—wanted to investigate the miracle cures. Gao’s anti-centralization government denied the request. The task force insisted, and after a tense negotiation, President Aponte reluctantly granted permission to land a small research team.

The “small” team turned into an entire battalion, which promptly occupied the region’s most elegant spa and declared the entire cave system off-limits to everyone else. Predictably, the order inflamed Gao’s fiercely independent citizens, and local guides began to sneak people into the caverns via hundreds of unmapped entrances. For a couple of weeks, the two sides pretended to ignore each other.

Then tourists began to go missing or turn up dead. Suspicion quickly fell on the UNSC, and sales-hungry newsmongers began to press for a harsh response. President Aponte had no choice. He instructed the Ministry of Protection to investigate, then publicly ordered the UNSC to cooperate. To everyone’s surprise, the UNSC commander responded by proposing a joint inquiry.

That had been two days ago. Now, here Veta was, inspecting the first of a long chain of compromised crime scenes with a counterpart who seemed to take her for some ditz who could be intimidated by an air of assumed authority.

Veta stepped into Halal’s line of sight. “Don’t hold back on me, Major,” she said. “It’s a mistake. A serious one.”

Halal finally turned back to her. “Mistake, Inspector?” he asked. “As I recall, I’ve granted every request you’ve made.”

“They’re not requests,” Veta said. “And if you expect me to believe this is some kind of research battalion, you’re a fool. The UNSC is fighting something down here. And you’re so afraid of it that you brought a squad of Spartans to protect us.”

The Spartan leader stepped over to join them. “Ma’am, the 717th Xeno-Materials Exploitation Battalion is a research battalion.” His voice was crisp and deep, even over his helmet speaker. “But even scientific units can find themselves in combat. There are always enemies.”

Veta turned and craned her neck to look up at the Spartan. Standing well over two meters tall in his Mjolnir armor, he was distinguishable from his two female subordinates by the color of his pale blue armor and slightly bulkier shape. It would be difficult to read his reactions beneath all that equipment, but if he wastrying to cover for the UNSC—or even just Halal—Veta wanted to know why.

“Let me see if I have this straight,” she said. “The 717th is just an innocent research battalion that’s under attack . . . by what? Cave monsters?” She shook her head. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that, Spartan . . . which one are you again?”

“Fred-104, ma’am. And I don’t particularly care what you believe.” He pointed toward her investigative team. “But it’s my job to protect your people, and I don’t want anyone killed on my watch. If you’ll point out who will be inspecting the passages, I’ll send an escort along to provide security.”

Veta stared up at him for a moment, trying to see through the glare on his faceplate so she could get a read on his expression, but it was no use. The reflective coating seemed designed to prevent anyone from seeing the human face inside a Spartan’s helmet.

After a moment, Veta waved her second-in-command over. “Senola, take a look into the passages around here. See if anyone has been keeping an eye on the crime scene.”

Senola glanced around the cavern perimeter. “Sure, boss.” A green-eyed matron with long blond hair tucked into the hood of her white coveralls, Senola Lurone was a Ministry of Protection veteran fifteen years Veta’s senior. “It might take a while.”

Veta shrugged. “It has to be done.” She let her gaze slide toward Fred. “And you’ll have an escort. Fred-104 here seems to think we could be attacked any moment.”

Senola held Veta’s eyes just long enough to confirm she had taken the hint, then asked, “Really?” She turned to the Spartan. “Who are you worried about, Fred? Maybe you think the Insurrection is starting up again?”

“That’s ridiculous,” Halal interjected. “Gao may have sided with the insurrectionists in the past, but the civil war is over— and no one is going to send a Spartan fireteam to stand garrison against a bunch of disobedient tourists.”

Veta had to give Halal credit. He had recognized Senola’s play and cut her off before she had a chance to put Fred off balance, and now Veta was left wondering whether the major had been trying to protect Fred or some other secret. Either way, it suggested Halal was here as much to manage the situation as he was to catch a killer, and that told her something about the UNSC’s worst fears.

It told her a lot.

Veta looked back to Senola. “Tell Cirilo to use spiders on this one, then go have a look at those passages. I’ll have the major show me around the crime scene.”

Senola confirmed the order with a nod, then Fred took her over to introduce her to the Spartan who would be escorting her.

“Your techs use spiders?” Halal asked, watching the pair depart.

“Trace evidence bots,” Veta explained. “They look like little spiders and crawl all over everything. By the time they’re finished, we’ll have a three-dimensional map of every fiber, skin cell, print, track, and speck of DNA in this place.”

“I see,” Halal said. “Very efficient.” “Not really.”

Veta wasn’t about to detail the technology’s weakness for anyone from the UNSC, but the spiders were expensive and slow. Each single-use pod cost more than her salary for a year, and a scene the size of this one could take a full week to process.

Fred returned and assumed a position behind Veta and Halal, and Halal led the way toward a pair of high-backed benches about twenty paces ahead.

“Any chance we have a vid or photos of the bodies in situ?” Veta asked.

Halal shook his head. “Sorry. I only arrived a few days ago myself. Prior to that, I’m afraid Battalion was treating civilian deaths as collateral damage.”

“Collateral to what? Nobody’s at war here.” Veta made a point of looking over her shoulder at Fred. “Are they, Fred?”

“If we were fighting a war here,” Fred said, “you’d know it.” “But you’re here for a reason,” Veta pressed. “As Major Halal said, they don’t send Spartans to stand garrison against tourists.” “I can’t comment on our mission.” Fred’s faceplate shifted toward Halal. “That would violate security directive Foxtrot Tango Angel 7012.”

“That’s understood,” Halal said. “But your mission does not involve hostilities against Gao civilians. You can confirm that much, Spartan.”

Fred remained silent for a moment, then finally dipped his helmet in acknowledgment. “Yes, sir, I can confirm that.”

“Thank you,” Halal said. They reached the benches and stopped, and he pointed. “The initial attack occurred here.”

Located directly opposite each other, the two benches faced a hissing steam vent—one of the thousands that permeated the Montero caverns. A pair of freestanding lamps lay shattered on the cavern floor. A third bench lay about three meters away, toppled onto its back and bent at the middle.

Veta ignored the scene and turned to Fred. “I’m sure you realize how convenient your security directive sounds.”

“Convenient, ma’am?” Fred cocked his helmet to the side. “In what way?”

“If you can’t tell me who you’re fighting, it’s hard to rule them out as the killer,” Veta said. “So I must assume that you’re keeping me in doubt to protect yourself. I have no choice.”

“Conclude what you want, ma’am,” Fred said. “But you’re misrepresenting what I said.”

“I don’t believe I am.”

“I didn’t say we were fighting anyone,” Fred said. “I said I couldn’t comment on our mission. There’s a difference.”

“The fact that civilian deaths were classified as collateral damage implies armed conflict,” Veta said. “The fact that you sent a Spartan along to guard Senola implies a threat. Stop playing semantics and give me a straight answer.”

Fred’s faceplate turned away from her. “I’m not at liberty to do that, Inspector.”

“Fred is very careful about security,” Halal said, stepping between Veta and the Spartan. “But I assure you, he’s not trying to protect himself or anyone else on Blue Team. Spartans don’t kill for fun, Inspector Lopis.”

Veta studied Halal for a moment, wondering if he realized his attempts to shield Fred only made the Spartan look more suspect, then said, “I’m sure you understand why I can’t simply take your word for that, Major.” She turned back to the benches and activated her handlamp, then began to inspect the area for signs of struggle. “I don’t see any blood here. Where exactly was the body found?”

Halal spoke to a tacpad strapped to his forearm. “Wendell?” “Ready to proceed, Major,” the tacpad replied.

The tinny voice belonged to the battalion’s artificial intelligence—or rather, the small aspect of Wendell’s consciousness installed in Halal’s tacpad. Veta did not have a full understanding of the capabilities and limits of UNSC AIs, but from what she had observed earlier, Wendell had a similar presence in nearly every piece of battalion equipment capable of hosting a software subroutine.

“Crime Scene Charlie is more expansive and complicated than the others we’ll be visiting,” Wendell began. “As you can see, the initial confrontation occurred here at the vent area itself, but the actual attack . . .”

Knowing she would have a chance to study Wendell’s report at length later, Veta shut the AI’s voice out of her thoughts and began to examine the scene on her own. The floor in this area of the cavern was primarily a concrete tram-path flanked by packed mud, but the benches had been bolted into a small paving-stone circle, which surrounded the natural steam vent. The legs of the missing bench had been snapped off at the bolts, suggesting it had been removed by a single quick, powerful jerk.

Veta crouched down and began to examine the stone pad. She still saw no sign of blood, but there were a couple of faint smears that suggested shoes spinning around. She turned away from the missing bench, then used her handlamp to follow a faint trail of footprints off the pad. The trail was easier to follow over the packed mud floor, and Veta could see that it had been made by two different pairs of shoes. The trail split twenty paces later, with the larger set of tracks turning down the length of the gallery and the smaller set continuing toward the wall.

Veta followed the second trail by the wall. In this area, the stalactites hung so low that many joined with stalagmites to create a cage of thin-waisted columns. In front of this cage lay a large circle of disturbed mud. There were no obvious bloodstains in the mud or on the formation itself. But several columns had been snapped off to punch a hole into the cage.

Veta shined her lamp through the gap and found a stony gray floor marked by eight pale scratch marks. She knew better than to jump to conclusions, but the suggestion was obvious: someone had been clawing at the ground as they were dragged back into the gallery. Scattered across the stone were a few dark dots that resembled blood spatter.

A crisp, speaker-modulated voice sounded behind Veta. “Something wrong, Inspector?”

“Yes,” Veta said. Though she hadn’t heard the Spartan coming up behind her, she managed to avoid drawing the sidearm that her hand was now grasping. “You might want to announce yourself before sneaking up on me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Fred-104 replied. If the Spartan noticed the hand on her pistol grip, it was impossible to tell—as usual, his expression remained hidden behind the faceplate of his helmet. He simply waved back toward the toppled bench, where Halal stood looking in their direction. “Wendell and the major are waiting to continue the briefing.”

“Of course they are.” Veta activated her headset, then pointed her handlamp upward and spoke into her throat mic. “Cirilo, do you see where I am?”

“Yeah, Veta, I see you.”

“I’m dropping a card. Take a casting of the print next to it.” Veta shined her lamp on the Spartan’s boots. “We’ll need it to identify which tracks belong to Fred-104.”

There was a short pause as Cirilo considered the instruction, then he said, “Got it.”

“Good.” Veta pulled a numbered evidence card from her cargo pants and placed it next to the Spartan’s boot. “Make sure the spiders give this area a careful sweep, the works.”

“You know it, mama.”

Veta deactivated her mic and started back toward Halal.

“Mama?” Fred asked, catching up to her. “You don’t look old enough to be his mother.”

Veta smiled. “As in ‘hot mama,’ ” she explained. “Cirilo can be a flirt.”

“I see.” Fred was silent for a moment, then asked, “And it doesn’t bother you?”

Veta shrugged. “He knows who the boss is.” It occurred to her that there was only one way Fred could have heard Cirilo’s side of the conversation. She glanced up at the Spartan, then tapped her ear. “You’re monitoring our network?”

“Wendell is patching in your signal,” Fred confirmed. “It’s for your own security, of course.”

“Your AI is very thoughtful,” Veta said. “I feel safer already.” Fred dipped his helmet. “Glad to hear it, ma’am.”

They reached the toppled bench and joined Halal, who was looking back toward the evidence card Veta had left standing on the cavern floor. “Find something over there?”

“Maybe,” Veta said. “We’ll know more after Cirilo and his people work their magic. If there’s anything to find, they will.”

“Inspector Lopis, may I suggest you reconsider the allocation of resources?” Wendell asked, speaking from the tacpad strapped to Halal’s arm. “The patrol found Charlie Victim on the opposite side of the gallery, exactly sixteen meters from the toppled bench. The evidence supports Sergeant Boyle’s notation quite clearly.”

“I’m sure it does,” Veta said. “But I’m looking for more than evidence of the murder. I’m looking for clues—and mistakes.”

“Mistakes?” Halal asked. “I thought I made it clear that these sites haven’t been processed as crime scenes. Until my arrival, Battalion wasn’t even classifying—”

“You misunderstand me, Major,” Veta said. “It’s not your mistakes I’m looking for. It’s the killer’s—and this is where we’ll find them.”

Available for Purchase September 15, 2015

Amazon     Barnes and Noble    Goodreads     Simon and Schuster

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Vampire Vic 2: Morbius Reborn

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Vampires walk among us. Appraising our houses, policing our neighborhoods, crossing our borders. We understand there will be biting and an occasional conversion. These are small sacrifices for the sexy thrill. We do worry about vampires popping up in positions of power. They are evolved, difficult to slay, not as sexy. A backlash grows; but are we far too late?

Victor Thetherson is nearly cured. The treatment buries the charisma and confidence that only vampirism seems able to resurrect, and snuffs his rekindled love affair with ex-wife Barbara. Victor can’t trust himself as a vampire and doesn’t want to live with himself otherwise.

Eugene Foreman dispenses wisdom on his Sage Slayer site, offs vamps when convenient, and romances Victor and Barbara’s daughter, Amberly. His sensei, the Civil War Soldier, begs Eugene to slay Victor before he realizes his deadly inheritance.

Victor versus Eugene, round two in an ancient war. With Morbius Reborn, our time at the top of the food chain is coming to an end.


Harris Gray combines the writing talents of duo Allan Harris and Jason Gray. Together, they have written three novels, two screenplays, a Christmas play and a collection of stories from Jason’s younger days. An early version of their novel Java Man was a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers contest. Allan is a former guest columnist for The Denver Post and Jason owns Crowfoot Valley Coffee and Crowbar, land of rumor and embellishment.

Their collaboration began in Jason’s coffee shop. Allan wrote and eavesdropped as Jason entertained his customers. One day, Allan found a little yellow notepad waiting for him, crammed to the margins with Jason’s exploits. Allan typed them, touched them up, and called it good; but Jason had other ideas. As their tales converged and became inseparable, Harris Gray emerged. While the two couldn’t be more different in how they think and write, Harris says, “There is something wonderful and incredibly cohesive when we create a story together.” In Gray’s words, “We’re something less than Sybil and more than Siamese twins.

Q&A with Harris Gray

Can you describe Vampire Vic in 10 words or less?

Jekyll & Hyde, if Robert Louis Stevenson went bigger, and funnier. Or, Nick Hornby doing Carrie.

How did you go about creating Vic, and making him so relatable to readers in all walks of life?

Sometimes when we’re together we drink beer. It’s okay, it’s a write-off. So we were writing it off one afternoon and marveling at the Twilight craze and wondering, “How do we cash in on that?” On the spot (beer #2), we dreamed up a world of handsome, chivalrous vampire dudes and sultry vampire slayer babes having steamy yet wholesome relations that send a mixed but overall positive message to today’s teenagers.

By beer #3, we realized we don’t know handsome, chivalrous or sultry. And that teenagers generally mock us. “Write what you know” blurred into write what you are, and by the end of beer #4, we had created a balding, overweight accounting manager vampire who gets queasy at the sight of blood.

Vampire Vic2: Morbius Reborn continues the story of Vic Thetherson and his very interesting

circumstances. For those who haven’t read book one yet, can you catch them up?

In Book One, Victor Thetherson is a fat, balding, accounting manager vampire. Too polite to bite, Victor drinks expired blood bank blood and gets walked on, at home by his ex-wife and at the office by his slacking staff. Then he bites his admin, Nikki.

To his relief, Nikki does not turn. Better yet, she begins to arrange ‘dates’ for Victor – a sort of Renfield meets eHarmony – where he is able to get a fresh supply of blood without permanently harming his victims. He transforms, kicking ass at work, intriguing his ex-wife Barbara, and becoming the man he always knew he could be.

Readers also meet young Eugene the Vampire Slayer. To get to Victor, Eugene woos daughter Amberly. His slaying attempts are spectacular failures. A mysterious Civil War Soldier promises to teach Eugene how to destroy Victor.

In eastern Europe, Victor discovers that his unique form of vampirism comes with a heavy burden. Victor is willing to pay this price for the rewards he has gained through his transformation…but then a vampire attack on his family brings home the monstrousness of his curse. Devastated, Victor commits to a cure offered by his buddy Tripp and his fellow scientists at the Longevity Labs.

Why will fans of Vampire Vic want to come back for more in Morbius Reborn? What do

you think will most surprise them about the second book in the trilogy?

In Morbius Reborn, the stakes are raised. Ha ha! That is such a terrible vampire joke! And nothing like the humor in the book. But it’s true. Like the rest of the world, you have been lulled into complacency, accepting that vampires are simply an entertaining diversion. But now they are popping up in positions of power. And they are evolved and nearly impossible to slay—no stake through the heart for these vamps. Each has a unique, hidden Achilles heel.

Meanwhile, Victor and Barbara’s relationship grows ever more tumultuous as Victor struggles with his curse. Eugene cashes in on his slayer fame and falls in love with their daughter Amberly. As the vampire menace grows, it becomes clear that Victor and Eugene haven’t simply crossed paths; the ancient origins of Victor’s curse and Eugene’s talent for slaying have put them on a collision course, with Amberly at the intersection.

You mentioned Eugene is cashing in on his slayer fame. Can you tell us a bit more about Slayer Investments?

That’s Eugene the Vampire Slayer’s money-making gambit. We entreat you to steer clear of that site, it is a gateway to pyramid schemes that would make Ponzi blush. A total money trap. Unless you get in near the top.

You’ve been a writing duo for over 10 years. Writing a book alone is quite the feat. Can you tell us how you manage to accomplish this as a team?

Usually over beer (and always after a lot of caffeine), we find the tale we want to tell, and then each of us dives in and starts writing chapters. We’ll exchange those chapters, and then realize the story is not exactly the way each of us envisioned.

That is a very creative process. We’ll edit each other’s chapters and hand them back, and write new chapters inspired by what the other guy has written. We’ll read the edits to our chapters and throw wall-shaking fits. How dare he change my poetic pearls of wisdom!?! Then we’ll calm down and realize, Wait a second, that guy is onto something! With each write, swap, edit and wail, the characters grow and their stories become more entertaining.

One half of Harris Gray owns a coffee shop – Crowfoot Valley Coffee. Do you ever troll upon

unsuspecting customers for character influence – and if so, do any of them know about it?

We steal Jason’s customers’ lives all the time. We want them to see themselves in our books. Although this can occasionally be mentally damaging for them. When a customer charges into the coffee shop and says, “Tell me I’m not so-and-so,” we’ll deny on each of our mothers’ good reputations that there is any resemblance whatsoever. If that fails, we will each blame the other guy, and his mother if necessary. That’s the beauty of being a writing duo.

We know this is a trilogy – so what’s next for Vic, Eugene, and the rest of your characters in the third and final chapter?

The final chapter of the VV trilogy puts 17-year-old Amberly at the confluence of good and evil, and forces Vic and Eugene into a slaying partnership. This is Batman and Robin, if they wanted to kill each other and neither could agree who gets to be Batman.

Victor continues to seek his best self. We joked earlier, but this is why Vic is relatable. He yearns to be his wife’s hero. Vampirism seems to be the answer; but how do you tell opportunity from temptation? And does taking that shortcut ever become a necessity?

In Morbius Reborn, readers begin to see the world through Barbara’s and Amberly’s eyes. This continues in the third book. Barbara yearns to be passionately in love with Victor, and to protect Amberly. She sees a time coming when she is going to have to choose. In the middle of the escalating human-vampire conflict, Amberly suddenly finds her place in the world, and seizes the opportunity to make a difference.

VVIII is all about choices. And bloodsucking and slaying, 16th century Romania, furries, imprecise drone strikes and that famous scene in the apple barrel. We have an entertaining ending planned for everyone.


Vic is almost done with his treatments. He doesn’t want to be the vampire that he was. Unfortunately all the things he had going for him as a vampire are now disappearing. But since he didn’t trust himself as a vampire, Vic is willing to deal with this. Sadly, Eugene is back and doesn’t care that Vic is trying to stop being a vampire.

Eugene is back. While still giving sage advice and killing vampires, he is encouraged by his mentor to stop Vic before Vic realizes that power that he has inherited. Let’s see how that is going to work while he is still seeing Amberly. Let’s hope Vic can win round two with Eugene and stop being the vampire he is afraid of.

You can’t help feeling for the poor guy. But he is still having trouble being a vampire and trying to do what he can to stop. Sadly everything that he had is now gone since that part of him is gone. All of the altercations with Eugene just make this book.

I loved Vampire Vic and couldn’t wait to see what Vic gets himself into in this book. You can’t help but cheer for Vic and laugh at everything that goes wrong for the poor guy. Make sure to check out Vampire Vic 1 & 2.

To purchase Vampire Vic 2: Morbius Reborn, or for more information on this series, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Harris Gray’s website.

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

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Something Wiccan

Something Wiccan (Out of the Dark – 2) by James Drummond

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) The Good, The Bad, and The Undead

“It’s sometimes hard to know who to be the most afraid of!!” – Kindle Review

After discovering a family secret in the attic, fifteen-year-old Natalie Sherwood also begins to discover some unsettling things about herself. As she starts experimenting with her new-found abilities, she accidentally summons beings who strive to kill her and steal her magical powers.

After saving his hometown from a pack of savage werewolves, Toby Hoffman is recruited by an elite group of international hunters to help confront supernatural creatures across the globe. Saving Natalie from the beings she’s brought to her hometown will be his first mission.

James Drummond

James is the author of the Out of the Dark series. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Angela and two cats named Tim and Ruby. During the day James is a Senior Instructional Designer for an e-learing development company. Wojtek Batko designs the covers for James’ books.
My Review
We find Toby trying to work through what happened in The One You Feed and saving his town from werewolves. He knows he is a good guy but he is getting eaten up by grief from what happened. But he is invited to join an international group of paranormal hunters. After some training, he is returned to a town close to his home town to help out.

Natalie stumbles upon a book of incantations and starts wondering how this can be related to her mother. After messing around with it, she learns that magic comes easy and she starts seeing how she can use it to help her and others. Unfortunately this is going to attract the bad guys that want her and her abilities. Toby is sent in to help Natalie survive the battle over her abilities.

I really liked The Ones You Feed and loved Something Wiccan. Although it is the second book in the series, you will not have any trouble following along if you read this by itself. Toby really wants to protect others and be the good guy even after how everything played out in The Ones You Feed.

I really like how Toby and Natalie are both teenagers and how they can be short sighted and selfish at times. The story really flows as you can see them growing up throughout the story. This is a great series and I cannot wait for other books.

To purchase Something Wiccan, or for more information on this series, make sure to check out Amazon and Goodreads

Reading Addiction

I received Something Wiccan for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Voyagers: Project Alpha


Voyagers: Project Alpha (Book 1) by D.J. MacHale

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Earth is about to go dark. Without a new power source, life as we know it will be toast. A global competition is under way to determine who will join the secret mission that might just save us all. Project Alpha is a contest of physical challenges, mental puzzles, and political alliances. The battle is fierce, and only four kids will make the cut. The Voyagers will journey to the far reaches of space, collecting unique elements and facing unbelievable dangers. The future of our planet is in the hands of four kids. Sure, they’ll be the best in the world . . . but can they save the world?

Earth is about to run out of power resulting in an 8 hour mandatory nightly blackout. But there has is a possible solution in outer space. There is a mission being put together to have four kids get ingredients to create a power source to save the world. You will meet eight kids with different backgrounds that are going to compete with each other with numerous puzzles and mysteries. The top four will be selected for the mission which ends up having them travel to six different planets gathering things for the mission. But the four kids that don’t make it are not forgotten. There is a secret organization that wants to get the items for themselves. It is a race against time and each other as they try to save the world.

I really liked this book. There is a great story that keeps you engaged with a good story and puzzles for the kids to compete with. I really liked how although four kids were chosen the other four are still in the story. This book reminds me of the 39 Clue Series. The book is full of puzzles that the kids have to solve but you can also log onto the website or the app and solve your own puzzles. I think this is a great way to keep your kids interested in the series and keep them on there toes with the challenges. Mind you I liked the puzzles myself.

I really like how this is going to be a six book series, since the kids will have to visit six planets to get all the components. But the full series will be released in a year. I love when books like this are released sooner which keep them from slipping the mind once one book is finished. Each book will be written by a different author. I think this is a great way to introduce authors that may have been unknown previously.

Over all I loved the story and how the series is lined up for release. I cannot wait to get my hands on book two.

To purchase Voyagers: Project Alpha, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and D.J MacHale’s website.

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

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Left in the Dark


Left in the Dark (Mind Benders – 2) by Lynn Tincher

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Detective Paige Aldridge’s adventures continue as she learns more about her developing powers and deepens her relationship with her partner and her sister. Can she regain control of her own mind before the powers that threaten to tear her apart claim her sanity?

Paige is on the hunt for a missing boy. She keeps trying to find him in the Collective Conscious but she cannot sense him. She is afraid that Sherman did something to her abilities and she is afraid that Sean is not alive.

Junna is having bad dreams about another Reader names Randy and a girl, Hannah that has a lot of evil power in her. Paige and Junna decided to go find Randy to help him. But Hannah has a lot more than they were expecting to find and it’s going to test all of their abilities. As Paige fights to use her abilities Junna is temped by evil. Will they be able to save Hannah?

This series just keeps getting better. Poor Paige is so broken from the loss of her family and the abuse of Sherman. She is trying to connect to the Collective Conscious and just keeps having trouble. And poor Junna, it’s such a find line between good and evil.

I can’t sit down and just read a couple pages. It is so easy to get sucked into the book. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I can’t wait to see what happens to Paige and Junna next.

To purchase Left in the Dark, or for more information on the Mind Bending series, make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads.

I received a copy of Left in the Dark from White Handed PR for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Description

After over 4 years, Olena comes rocketing back into Claire’s life, changing everything for the worse. Picking up the shattered pieces, Claire is not sure who to believe. Is Olena who she says she is, or is she a killer to stay away from? Leaning on her new boyfriend Steven for support, Claire is faced with the choice on who to trust: a friend she barley knows, or a history lesson she barely remembers. Together, the three will begin a journey that will take Claire from the safety of her home to the last place she thought she would ever be: The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. With the wreckage of rector four looming behind her, Claire will have to see Olena’s plan through until the end if she wants any chance of making it out alive.

About Dana Burkey

I graduated college from Youngstown State University in 2009 with a degree in theater and a minor in creative writing. I am currently living in Washington State in a little cabin in the woods with my cat Cato. I work full time at a kids camp, and spend my free time doing community theater and adventuring in nature! I am an avid geocacher, and love watching reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, and Big Brother! I am currently working on my next project that includes a few YA romances and a YA dystopian series!

Interview with Dana Burkey

  1.     Where do you get your ideas?

For the most part I get my ideas from everyday things. Reading a book, watching a movie, having a conversation with someone, or even just watching the world around me gives me ideas all the times. I have always been creative, and my parents always encouraged creativity when I was growing up, so my brain works well to create new ideas and characters and stories based on little things. Even when I am not trying to find an idea for a story, I can often come up with something from almost out of nowhere and put it to good use. Often when I write down the ideas they do not go anywhere in the end, but sometimes they turn out to be stories that I love and get to share with readers.

  1.     Is there a particular author or book that influenced you in any way?

One author that made a big impact on me was Rick Riordan. In college I minored in creative writing, and often was told by my classmates that what I was writing was “childish” and “juvenile.” It was really hard to hear at the time, and by the time I graduated college in 2009 I did not have a big desire to write at all. But then, while working as an intern at a kids camp, a camper gave me a copy of the Percy Jackson series to barrow. I read it super fast and loved everything about it. It was then that I started to read over books similar to that series, and then started to hear people talking about the idea of “young adult” books. YA was taking over the book world all of a sudden, and I was suddenly feeling like I knew where I stood as an author. Even before I knew the term, I had been writing YA books. Reading Riordan’s books, and understanding the genre of YA, I got a fresh love of writing! It was the inspiration and confidence booster I needed to get back to writing, and lead to me self publishing my first story just over a year ago.

  1.     Can you tell us about your upcoming books?

Write now I am working on a few projects. I have a YA contemporary romance that is almost finished but sitting on the sidelines while I worked on some other things this summer. I also have a few chapters of a YA romance set in Hollywood that I am thinking about working on this year as a part of NaNoWriMo. And, as if that is not enough, I have an outline doing for a YA zombie novel/series that lead to me recently releasing a short story called I Will Survive. The next few months are sure to be busy, but once completed I have some fun new projects to share with my readers!

  1.     Is anything in your book based on a real life experience or purely all imagination?

Most of the events in my book Locket Full of Secrets are imagination. Some of the characters were based off of people I know, or things I went through, but at the same time the whole book revolves around the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown. This was a historical event that I have been long fascinated with, so when I began writing about the events I was able to draw on my knowledge of history and also research more about the tragic events to add color to my story.

  1.    What was your favorite part to write?

I loved writing the ending! When I read a book, I always want to know what happens a few days or weeks or even years after the story ends. So, with this book, I chose to give my readers a peek of the future for the main characters. I actually had to write it three times before it ended up how it is in the book. First it was too sappy, then too harsh, and then finally how I knew it needed to be all along. When I finally had it finished and was re-reading it, I had tears in my eyes, knowing that I had finally gotten it right.

  1.     How did you come up with the title?

Locket Full of Secrets was such a long journey to write that I don’t actually know when I came up with the title. In a way, it describes so much of the book, so it was a natural fit. Hopefully when readers see the title it makes them interested to know what the secret is hiding in the locket.

  1.     Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Hopefully! I have a few projects that I am working on, one of which is only about 5 chapters from being finished. Now that school is starting in my area and my job is back to more normal hours, I am hoping that I will having time to finish the book and get it to reader soon. It is called Babysitting Charlie and is a YA contemporary romance.

  1.     What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Since I started releasing my work to readers, the hardest moment was my first 1-star review. It had me almost in tears as I read the not so kind words someone took the time to write. Since then, I have tried to remind myself that not everyone has to love what I write for it to be good. It also helps that I recently got a 5-star review that came with the statement “After reading this book, it has made my top five favorite books!”  I was shocked when I read the words written about Locket Full of Secrets. It was for sure an amazing moment for me, and helped me to keep things in perspective. Not everyone out there will always love what I write, but it is worth it to keep writing and share my work with the world for the people that truly love the character and world I have created.

  1.     Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

Keep writing, and don’t be afraid to fail! Even if you don’t write the best story in the world, if you love writing then keep doing it and share it with others. It can be scary to think about weather or not people will like what story you choose to write, but sharing your creative can also be the most rewarding thing ever when you truly love it.

  1.   Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thanks so much for your support in my writing! Thank you to each person who has read my stories and entered into the worlds I have created. It is thanks to the readers who have enjoyed my work so far that keeps me going and writing more. I look forward to sharing even more with you in the future!

Big Screen Favorites of Dana Burkey

When people read my books, they describe them with the words “cute,” “adorable,” and “sweet.” And I love it! When I write stories, I want romance in them that people love, that teens long for, but that are also still believable. I hope that readers will get a break from their normal day to day while diving into the world I create for each of my books. One thing, however, that will NEVER be called “cute” or “adorable,” is my taste in movies!

From a young age, my whole family watched action movies and science fiction movies that were not quite what my friends were watching. I can remember watching movies like Terminator, Contact, Demolition Man, Total Recall, and Alien at a time when my friends were still not allowed to see anything with a rating higher than PG-13. So, from a young age, I gravitated towards movies with fight scenes, car chases, explosions, and lead characters that uttered epic one liners.

Through the years I also watched some chick-flicks, and even have some pretty sappy movies in my vast DVD collection. Some of them just relate to a time or a place in my life so perfectly that I cannot help but enjoy them. But, when push comes to shove I go to action and epic movies to keep me entertained! Not sure if those kinds of movies are the right ones for you? Why not check out 5 of my favorites, and then see if you don’t also love the movies I watch the most.


When I first heard about this movie I was both excited and also nervous. The plot line is one I have seen many times before. Aliens come to earth, people try to fight back. But, the thing that made it really intriguing for me was that the people trying to fight those aliens, were Marines! Now, my parents are both former Marines, possibly part of where my love of action movies come from. As I began watching this movie I was quickly drawn in by an amazing and epic story! It reminded me an updated Independence Day, which is also one of my favorites. What made the whole thing even better, however, was the fact that the movie was shot to look like a camera was with the Marines, giving us an almost documentary angle to watch each scene from. The characters were well thought out and believable, and the aliens were so well designed and created. Since first seeing this movie back in the summer of 2012, I have watched it easily 50+ times! I watch it every few months, sometimes more than once in a week! And, with actors like Will Rothhar and Aaron Eckhart staring in this flick, it is hard to not fall in love with everything about this battle filled movie!


One thing that really bugs me about movies is when it’s clearly an action movie that guys will love to watch, but then for some reason they throw in a romance story. It sometimes honestly feels like it is just there so girls that get drug to the movie with their boyfriends will be happy. So, when I saw The Eagle, I was so excited! First of all, it is a movie starring Jamie Bell! Some people might see Channing Tatum as the star in this movie, but since he is not my favorite actor, this movie is all about Jamie for me! Well, this movie is set in ancient Rome, and the two leads are heading out of the protection of the Roman Empire to recover a missing eagle that will bring honor to all of Rome. It is an epic quest kind of a movie, and not only is there no love line thrown in just because, there is actually not a single line in the movie spoken by a woman! Now, some girls might get mad at this, but considering when it was in history, I think it was a good choice to keep the movie focused on what it needed to be focused on, and to play up all of the action instead of making side trips to have two actors kiss and whatever. All in all, it was a great movie that has a noble plot, awesome battles, and Jamie Bell! What more could you ask for?


When it comes to girl power, no one comes close to Mila Jojovitch in this movie franchise! The first time I saw the first movie in this series, I was shocked and it was crazy to see such a crazy action movie come from a video game! If I had not known that fact ahead of time, I never would have guessed that the plot was formed from a game people play on their game systems. Each movie proved to be a new and insane journey for the character Alice as she tried to defeat the men behind the T-virus, while also trying to defeat the actual virus as well. I have seen each of the movies over and over again, my favorite being the first, third, and fourth. But, with the next and last movie coming soon, who knows what my favorite will be after that! What I do know, however, is that Mila is tough and fierce the whole movie, and never needs to rely on a guy to save her. She is tough enough to take everything head on and come out on top thanks to her amazing skills!


The first time I saw this movie I was 9 years old. My parents were out for the night at the Marine Corps Ball, so my sister was given two gifts for us to open once we were done with our chores. Upon finishing cleaning my room, I found out that the gifts were two VHS tapes. The first was Nightmare Before Christmas, and the second was Jurassic Park! We watched JP first in case it gave me nightmares to watch right before bed, and honestly…I was pretty scared for some of it! I enjoyed the movie and all, but it was a lot to take in for a little kid! But, I watched it again and again, as we did with movies in my house growing up. I fell in love with the movie, and loved the rumors around my school that they were actually cloning dinosaurs in real life as well. The moment that helped to solidify this movie as one of my favorites, however, was at a fall orchestra concert a few years after the movie came out. Sitting in the audience, I gasped along with my fellow classmates as the high school orchestra on stage began playing the theme song to the movie. It was like hearing the soundtrack while not watching the movie made me love it even more. To this day even hearing the music gives me chills! I even set it as my ring tone, so even if I don’t like who is calling, hearing the music and thinking of the life changing movie puts me in a good mood!


The newest movie to make my list, this one started the second I saw the preview! Watching it on TV, I knew right away I wanted to see the movie. But, knowing the trend in Hollywood, I checked online to see if the movie was a book first. Thankfully I checked, since I found out that the movie was based off of the book All You Need Is Kill. I rushed onto Amazon and bought the book right away. After completely loving the book I was excited to see the movie opening weekend. I knew I was going to like the movie, but in the end I actually liked the movie even more than the book! Every scene was more amazing than the last, and the added back story and spin on things the screenwriter chose had me falling in love with every second! When the movie came out on DVD I bought it right away, and have watched it easily a dozen times since! In fact…I might need to watch the movie right now. It’s been at least a month since I last put it on, so I am due to watch it for sure!

Well, now that you know about the movies I love to watch, and watch, and watch, and watch again and again, I hope you will enjoy the “cute” and “adorable” books I write. And when you are done with my books and want a change of pace, head onto Netflix or even search out an actual DVD and spend some time relaxing to one of my favorite action movies!



Locket Full of Secrets Excerpt (End of Chapter 5)

“Night, sweetheart,” dad added before giving me a kiss on the forehead.

As they turned out the light and left my room I found myself suddenly more awake. The dark reminded me of the bathroom just before I saw the body, and that thought got my heart racing once again.

Walking to the window I opened it to allow for some of the spring air to fill my room. It was cold out, but it felt good after being inside for so long. Hearing a metal scraping sound behind me I turned to face my vanity. Moving closer, it became clear what was making the noise. The necklace Olena had given me was swinging where it hung, tapping into the mirror.

It had been a full year since I last saw Olena. My birthday had come and gone, followed by summer and even Christmas. I knew it was time I accepted the fact that I would probably never see her again.

Pulling the wrapped gift box from the top drawer of my dresser I could feel tears pricking my eyes. Despite my promise to open it when I saw her again, I had waited enough.

Ripping the paper off, I tossed it onto the ground, revealing a flat square box. As I took off the lid, a handwritten card from Olena greeted me instantly.

“In case I do not see you again, I wanted you to have this. You are my true best friend, and you will be missed. Do svidanija, Olena.”

Wiping my face with the back of my hand I pulled the card aside to reveal a necklace I knew well. Nestled in the small box was the silver pendant Olena always wore. It was a gift from her aunt and uncle; a locket that never opened. That did not matter though, as the design on its front more than made up for it.

I ran my thumb over the intricate tree design with light pink amethyst stones making up its delicate leaves. Since we shared the same birthday, February 23rd, it was not just my birthstone but Olena’s as well. With shaking hands I undid the clasp and put it around my neck, then looked at my reflection in the mirror.

Staring at the necklace resting atop my sweater I suddenly felt certain I would see Olena again soon. This necklace was too important for her to give me and then disappear from my life forever. Picking up the wrapper and reading the Russian birthday greeting once again, I felt a smile pull at my lips. This present gave me hope. This small amount of silver and stone was a sign from Olena she would always be my friend, no matter what. It was a sign of hope she would come back one day, and proof that our friendship meant something to her.

Pulling the necklace from its perch I held it in my hand, my thumb rubbing over the tree design the same way I had done so many times before. Tears sprang up in my eyes as I turned and threw the necklace at the wall. As it tumbled to the ground I heard it making contact with the floor grate, before falling into the heating duct. It would likely be stuck there, out of reach, until I unscrewed the grate to find it. My tears blurred my vision as I stumbled back to bed, unable to stop their flow. Crawling under my covers I hugged my new teddy bear tight as my body was wracked with sobs. Pressing my face into my pillow to mask the sounds, I cried until my body was too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

For more information on Locket Full of Secrets, or to purchase the book, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Dana Burkey’s website.

Giveaway for Two Signed Copies of Locket Full of Secrets

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I would like to thank Sophia Tallon for including me on this tour. Please make sure to check out her blog.

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Onyx Webb Tour

Andrea Waltz and Richard FentonOnyx Webb by Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton:

Publisher: Courage Crafters Inc. (March 17, 2015)
Category: Paranormal Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Thriller
Tour Date: August & September, 2015
ISBN: 978-0990751816
Available in: Print & ebook, 264 Pages

The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times. The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series.

Written like a book version of a supernatural soap opera, each character’s story moves forward with most every episode. It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself.

Praise for Onyx Webb by Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton:

“There isn’t a page that doesn’t hold our attention.“-Grady Harp, Amazon Reviewer Hall of Fame

“There’s only one problem with the book Onyx Webb – it was over too soon. When I finished the last word, I was ready for the next book, but it’s not out yet – bummer for me and all the other readers who enjoyed this story!
The authors’ writing style is descriptive and visual, which makes the story flow well, and the characters are interesting and well developed. The author does a good job of capturing the essence of each time period so that the reader knows where and more importantly when the characters are living. The story so far covers the 1900s, 1970s and 2000s, so there are marked differences in most aspects of the characters’ lives. Even with the different years represented it’s not confusing for the reader, possibly because each character is so distinct, which lets the reader identify character with time period.
While this is billed as a ghost story, it’s more than that since the characters are so interesting, and I think this will appeal to a wider reading audience than just ghost story lovers or mystery lovers.
I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment to this compelling story.”- Robin Surface, Amazon Reviewer

“I loved this book! Couldn’t put it down. Great writing and totally believable characters. The story lines move along so well and in some form or fashion begin to tie into each other. I am anxiously awaiting the next book.”-Alicia, Goodreads Reviewer

“Wow! That’s an understatement, though. Onyx Webb is one of those books that you just don’t want to put down because it grabs you from the beginning and keeps you wanting more. Not only do you get one story, you get three! And they are all told in different times, like the 1900s, 1970s, and in the current, 2000s. So you get three different points of view, and at first you’re thinking “What does this have to do with that?” But then you see it, and it’s like, WHOA! Of the three different story lines, they all connect in some way, and it’s pretty cool to see how it does.
This is such a good book!! You just have to read it. It’s really cool how authors Waltz and Fenton bring all of the story lines that span over time, together to all fit.
I highly recommend this book! And it’s just Book 1, so I’m really hoping Book 2 is already in the works because I am anxious to see what happens next!!”-Ella Marie, Reading Is a Way Of Life

Amazing! This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!“-Melanie, Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews

About Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton:Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz are best known as the authors of the #1 Amazon Sales & Selling book, Go for No! They are professional speakers who travel internationally speaking to audiences about how to overcome fear of failure and rejection. Although they have written several business books over the last fifteen years, Onyx Webb is their first fictional series.

They are married and manage to write to together while staying happily married, a fact they are very proud of. Richard and Andrea live in Central Florida along with their cat, Courage.

My Review

This story takes place in three time periods. Onyx Webb is on her way to the World’s Fair with her father. She catches the eye of the wrong person. Juniper is a piano prodigy in 1980 that is getting ready to go on the Johnny Carson show. Then there is Koda Mulvaney a rich, playboy that is going to have his trust fund cut off and made to work with the rest of the people in his fathers business. Mixed in with the three main stories are different characters that interact with them and their struggles. Onyx also narrates from the sidelines since this is a journal for her.

This is an interesting story. I liked how you could follow the different people and just knew that there was more to the story. Onyx keeps adding hints that make it feel like it is linked together. I liked all of the characters; they were descriptive and kept me wanting to find out more about them. I admit that I liked Onyx the best so I loved her story and narrations more than Juniper and Koda’s stories.

I will warn you, this books bounces all over the place, sometimes with only a couple pages of a story then off to someone else. This was a touch confusing when I would start a chapter, finally figure out who and what it was about, and then off to someone else. But this is not in chronological order. Each person bounces around in their own time periods. This was confusing and did take me a little bit to figure out.

Over all I did like this story. I see that this is going to be a series and I’m curious to see where it goes from there. This is not a traditional book plot but I have to say that I did like it. It’s probably not going to be for everyone but Onyx Webb: Book 1 is something that I say you should try. You never know, you may find your next favorite book and authors.

I received this book for free from Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Website: www.OnyxWebb.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OnyxWebbSeries
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/Onyxwebb
Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/OnyxWebbSeries
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5835138.Andrea_Waltz

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Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton


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Reflections of Infinity Book 1
Epic Fantasy
Date Published: February 2015

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Amid the power struggle for the throne of a vast Empire, mortals and newly born magical gods come into contact for the first time on the Known Worlds. Meanwhile a young boy is swept along with a fierce group of warriors on their expedition to a only recently discovered Wild World where otherworldly dangers and treasures await!
Chapter 1
Deep in the heart of a colossal blue giant star
Something stirred suddenly in the rotating light and fire of the stars core. A little girl clothed in dense layers of blue light, wearing a gleaming white locket around her neck, sat up, slowly coming awake, her eyes popping open to reveal the same blue light that rotated around her; burning in her eyes. She looked around at the star’s heart blazing all around her curiously for a moment before yawning and exploding off into space in a blue blur looking for someplace to play.
The tiny toddler lifted her little fingers out in front of her as she streaked through the void, grasping the liquid fabric of space and time and pushing it out ahead of her, warping it until it formed a tunnel stretching away around her: allowing her to travel across thousands of stars in moments.
Planet Kalemia
Northern Continent
     Pillus tried his best not to drop the heavy buckets of water, the wooden rod holding them digging into his shoulders, his back burning painfully as he trudged up the steep hill towards his master’s estate dominating the skyline on the hill top above. “I’ll be WHIPPED if I don’t get back on time!” He thought to himself in anxiety, stumbling distractedly, both buckets sliding to the right tipping his slight form over to plop down on his backside.
      He sat there beginning to cry, watching helplessly as the water from the buckets ran down the hill, thinking: “great, now I’m gonna get the worst lashing by my master that I’ve gotten in all fourteen sunstrokes of my life!” He wiped his running nose with the back of his thin bony arm as he hugged his knees to himself sitting where he had fallen in the dirt feeling like giving up completely.
        Then, suddenly he saw beautiful blue light reflecting in the tiny pools of water left in the buckets, frozen in mid sniffle in shock as he stared at it; his eyes widening as he spun around to stare at the late afternoon sky. There, plummeting through the cloudy sky was a streaking ball of liquid sapphire blue fire, lighting up the clouds sporadically as it blazed toward the ground. Pillus rose to his feet, absently dusting off the burlap rags the noble kids made him wear as he started running down the hill; his dark violet eyes locked on it; the water he was supposed to be fetching for his master completely forgotten.
     There was a small plume of blue fire as the fireball slammed into the ground, half a league a way, near where he remembered the ice rapids to be. Taking a deep gulping breath of air in preparation, he broke into a loping run; his growing excitement giving him an intense adrenaline rush as his short brown hair whipped around wildly in the wind.  He concentrated on nothing but the rhythmic sound of his gasping breaths as he forced his burning legs to keep churning, feeling exhilaration for the first time in his meek and dreary life.
     The hundred span high Kalemian vines streaked by, looming overhead in a thick interwoven canopy, leaving glaringly bright shafts of yellowish white sunlight streaming down through sporadic gaps as he pressed on; beginning to feel his heart pounding in his temples as his body screamed at him to stop and regain his breath. He checked his position, using the towering glacial mountains to his left as a landmark, all locked in ice even in the height of summer. Suddenly he stumbled over a rock as out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of an orb of pulsating white light off to his right.
    Slamming into the ground with a high pitched shriek, he sat up moaning spitting out a mouthful of dirt, his dark purple colored eyes locking on the orb immediately. He jumped to his feet his wounds forgotten in growing excitement as he ran over, stumbling up to stand over it; the light beginning to fade: revealing a beautiful pearly white locket.
     It lit up the ground around, giving off its own soft white glow, just barely visible in the diminishing daylight within the thorn patch that it lay in. He reached in excitedly cursing in pain and anger as one of the thorny vines whipped out and wrapped around his arm, tightening viciously.
    He screamed in pain as he tried to rip his arm back, the thorns sinking deeper into his arm, staring at the locket, appearing blurred through his tears; his brow furrowing in determination. Shrieking in growing agony he reached down as quickly as he could and snatched up the locket with his other hand, jerking it back in fear as more thorns reached for it. He gasped in surprise as the vines surrounding the arm holding the locket pulled away as if injured; the locket suddenly beginning to glow more intensely in his clutched fist: turning his hand a warm red color.
     He stared wide eyed down at the luminescent piece of jewelry, holding it up to his other arm and watching in amazement as the thorns uncoiled, slithering away leaving him staring down at it, completely oblivious as blood pumped from his arm through the gaping holes covering it. He reached up and placed the locket around his neck, swaying dizzily from loss of blood; leaving bloody hand marks on the pristine chain as he ran his fingers over the casing for a moment before carefully opening it. His gaze became glassy as if only half awake as the swirling bluish white light within reflected in his eyes. Completely forgotten was the streaking ball of blue fire which had brought him to the vine forest in the first place as he stared down mesmerized, the soft white light coming from the locket growing stronger as unnoticed to him; the wounds covering his arm slowly healed closed.
     Tikus pulled tight his bow, the muscles under his tan skin tightening as he glanced over at his watching eight sunstroke old son to make sure he was looking, and then retraining his aim at the forest stag grazing on small, thorn less bright red flowering vines covering the forest floor; the foamy white ice rapids: swollen with snow melt blocking its escape. Just as he released the arrow, a ball of blue fire roared past deafeningly overhead, throwing off his shot as he lowered his bow and looked skyward: reaching down to pat his son, Piccus on the head as he felt the child clutching his leg in fear.
     He shaded his yellow colored eyes with his hand as the ball of fire slammed to the ground fifty spans away in a large ground shaking explosion, sending a plume of blue fire expanding up into the air. “Piccus, stay here my boy.” He yelled over his shoulder as he broke into a run towards it, overwhelming curiosity filling his mind. He swore in frustration as he heard Piccus following behind him, turning and glaring at him suddenly; stopping him in his tracks, the child’s green eyes going wide with fear; before continuing on through the huge interlacing vines stretching away on all sides.
     He stumbled suddenly into a large clearing of devastation created by the explosion, looking around in amazement at the scorched remains of giant vines all around and then he caught sight of something at the center of the blast crater. There within the large crater at the center of the blast zone was a small girl, barely out of infancy, staring curiously up at him, somehow wearing blue light as if it was clothing: her eyes filled with swirling light of the same shade.
     “What are you?” He whispered in awe as his wide yellow eyes glanced around at the leveled forest then back at the mysterious child. She cocked her little head to the side in confusion for a moment before giggling, saying: “you talk funny! My name is Taisa, what’s yours?” Tikus just stared down at her dumbly, his jaw hanging open in disbelief as little Piccus ran up beside him, his brown hair fluttering in the breeze; looking up asking: “what is it father?” 
     “I don’t know son.” He whispered, slowly pulling Piccus behind him as the little girl looked down at her herself frowning in puzzlement before looking up at them asking with a pout: “have you seen my locket?”
     Pillus stumbled back up the hill towards his sleeping cot in the slave quarters, scarcely taking his eyes off the luminescent pearly surface of the locket, the last rosy light of dusk lighting the sky turning his pasty skin a deep red shade. At the last possible moment, he saw his master rounding the corner of the quarters; hurriedly taking off the locket and shoving it in the folds of his burlap rags. He squeaked in fright, running towards his cot as his master spotted him reaching for his whip with an angry scowl adorning his wrinkled aging face.
     He cringed, cowering deeper in his hiding spot in a crawl space behind the wall that he had concealed with a large pale of hay as his master’s booming voice resounded through the paper thin old wooden walls beyond: “you miserable whelp, come out here or I’ll have you fed to the wild hounds!” He covered his mouth, tying his hardest not to make a sound, his eyes clinched shut in anticipation as he listened to the vicious old man lash out in frustration, cursing as he smashed what little tables and clay plates his slaves had before stomping off into the night leaving Pillus alone in the quarters: all of the other slaves having already left for meal time.
     He lay in the pile of straw he had strewn in the hiding place absently scratching at the maddeningly itchy folds of his burlap rags as he pulled the locket forth, placing it around his neck once again; the itching ceasing instantly. He gently ran his fingers across the pearly white casing, shimmers of rainbow colored light trailing his caress as if it was reacting to his touch. Suddenly the thought popped into his drowsy mind: “I’m going to run away tomorrow. I’d rather die in the wilderness than live as a slave.” He smiled at that, hoping that his parents would be proud of him in the Realm of the Dead; curling up into a comfortable position and staring down at the fiercely beautiful locket until he nodded off to sleep.


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