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Archive for December, 2016

Death and Donuts

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Death and Donuts (Frankie and Josh Mystery – 3) by Stan Schatt

Hollywood stars! Politicians! Betrayal! Murder! And a by-the-book cop just trying to do her job in the middle of it all.

To solve the murder of a movie star just weeks before the Academy Awards, Detective Frankie Ryan has to navigate through a web of Hollywood secrets and political landmines, not to mention the “old boys club” in her own police department. The presence of a new designer drug and the deaths it is tallying up threaten to hinder her investigation and leave her without a suspect—and maybe out of a job. Even with the aid of psychic reporter Josh Harrell, there is more confusion around every corner. Trusted friends will turn on her, leaving her unsure who to believe and who might be in on the murder and conspiracy.

Can Frankie discover the killer before it is too late?

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Stan Schatt

Author’s Bio

Stan Schatt has written forty books on a wide variety of topics including science fiction, mysteries, a chapter book for children, a YA novel, biographies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and books on technology and career changing. His love for teaching is reflected in outstanding teaching awards he received from the University of Southern California and DeVry Institute of Technology.

Rather than having one career, Schatt has had several. He has worked as an autopsy assistant, an English professor, a software trainer, a law enforcement administrator, a market research executive, and a sales manager. He spent the last two decades as a technology analyst or ‘futurist” trying to figure out what future technologies will be successful.

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Book

My Review

5 stars

Detective Frankie Ryan has been assigned to the death of Rex Gordon, actor. The question is if he died of natural causes. With the help of psychic reporter, Josh, Frankie is on the hunt for a new drug called Ruby Red. But this is not going to be an easy search since both Frankie and Josh has to drudge through the mire of Hollywood. There is a killer on the prowl and Frankie and Josh have just put themselves in his sights. Will they find the killer before they end up his net victim?

Hollywood is never easy to navigate but when you have a killer targeting famous people it becomes even worse. All the dirty deals and agendas make finding the truth that much harder. Thankfully Frankie has Josh to help her out since it’s not just the killer that she has to watch out for. There are those in the police that are trying to stop her too.

This is a great thriller with a touch of psychic interaction. I felt for Frankie has she is fighting for a place in a Man’s World and fighting with her own issues. I eagerly read trying to figure out the why of the story and was pleased with the ending. I will be checking out other books in this series.

I received Death and Donuts from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Appointment with ISIL

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Appointment with ISIL by Joe Giordano

On Sale May 18, 20174

Appointment with ISIL is a literary thriller. This time, Anthony’s libido threatens his life. Anthony Provati flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov’s mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme. ISIL’s targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?

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Author’s Bio

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane, have lived in Brazil, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than eighty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Monarch Review, decomP, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015.

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My Review

5 stars

Anthony Provati is an art dealer with family connections in the mob. Through a series of events, Anthony is ordered by Russion mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov to break into The Fisk and steal three Vermeer paintings worth billions of dollars. But there is more to the story than Gorgon’s sexy mistress and a simple theft of artwork. There is a substantial amount of money that is going to fund the ISIL. Anthony is in a race against time to stop ISIL.

This is a fast paced thriller that will keep your attention hooked. Anthony has a lusty libido and that gets him up to his neck in trouble. But he is bound and determined to stop more deaths from ISIL. If that doesn’t get you interested in the story, the first chapter will have you in tears.

If you like fast action with a great story, look no further. I strongly recommend reading Appointment with ISIL.

I received Appointment with ISIL from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Feliz Navidead

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Feliz Navidead (A Santa Fe Café Mystery – 3) by Ann Myers

Holly, jolly, and downright deadly—the third Santa Fe Café mystery unwraps surprises both naughty and nice . . . It’s the most picturesque time of theyear in Santa Fe, and Chef Rita Lafitte of Tres Amigas Café hopes the twinkling lights and tasty holiday treats will charm her visiting mom. Rita is also planning fun activities, such as watching her teenage daughter, Celia, perform in an outdoor Christmas play.

What she doesn’t plan for is murder.

Rita discovers a dead actor during the premier performance but vows to keep clear of the case. Sleuthing would upset her mom. Besides, there’s already a prime suspect, caught red-handed in his bloodied Santa suit. However, when the accused Santa’s wife begs for assistance—and points out that Celia and other performers could be in danger—Rita can’t say no. With the help of her elderly boss, Flori, and her coterie of rogue knitters, Rita strives to salvage her mother’s vacation, unmask a murderer, and stop this festive season from turning even more fatal.

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Author’s Bio

Ann Myers lives in Colorado with her husband and extra-large housecat, but like her main character, Rita, they all feel most at home in Santa Fe.

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My Review

4 stars

Rita Lafitte’s mother is visiting Santa Fe for Christmas and Rita is trying to make this the best visit ever. Mind you Christmas is a little different in the desert with no snow and devils. But there is a bunch of great food that should make up for it. That is until an actor in the Christmas pageant that Rita’s daughter Celia plays a devil in, is discovered dead. It seems that some Native American artifacts are being returned to their tribes and someone doesn’t want this to happen. Rita tries her best to let the police investigate the murder but when it is suggested that others in the pageant might be a target, Rita steps up with Flori and plan on solving this mystery.

This is a great cozy mystery and my first book in the Sante Fe Café Mystery series. This is a great story that kept me engaged with lots of red herrings. I had my idea of who the killer was and I was completely wrong.

Along with the wonderful story you have an interesting cast. Rita is a nice person and I loved following the romance with Jake Strong. But I have to say that Flori’s knitting group with their knitting graffiti stole the show. Plus the recipes for some of the wonderful dishes were included. BONUS!!!

I really enjoyed this story; it is one that I will be adding to my keep shelf. I will be definitely be checking out the other books in this series along with other books from Ann Myers.

I received Feliz Navidead from Partners in Crime Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Dragonward

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The Dragonward (The Godsfall Trilogy – 1) by Michael Meyerhofer

Three years after the War of the Lotus, alliances have already begun to unravel. As Rowen Locke struggles to maintain peace, troubling news reaches him from every corner. Persecution of the Shel’ai has reignited in the south, spurred on by a fanatical priest. To the north, the Isle Knights are withering under the leadership of mad Crovis Ammerhel. Old friends fight each other when not drowning their sorrows in taverns.

A new threat emerges from across the sea, dispatched by the same exiled Dragonkin who have been plotting their revenge for centuries. Rowen and his companions soon realize that the target is the Dragonward itself: their one and only defense against an evil so vast even Knightswrath could not vanquish it.

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Michael  Meyerhofer

Author’s Bio

Michael Meyerhofer is a fantasy author and contemporary poet who believes those two genres genuinely can get along. To illustrate this, after publishing several award-winning poetry books, his debut fantasy novel, Wytchfire (Book I in the Dragonkin Trilogy), was published by Red Adept Publishing, and went on to win the Whirling Prize and a Readers Choice nomination from Big Al’s Books and Pals. The sequels, Knightswrath and Kingsteel, are out now. He also has another fantasy series called the Godsfall Trilogy, which is forthcoming. His prose and poetry has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Strange Horizons, Planet Magazine, and other journals.

He received his BA from the University of Iowa and his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. An avid weightlifter, medieval weapons collector, and unabashed history nerd, he currently lives, teaches, and inhabits various coffee shops around Fresno, CA.

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My Review

4 stars

Rowen Locke has struggled to keep the peace between all races since the end of the War of the Lotus 3 years earlier. But people are quick to forget how magic, the Shel’ai, and others brought peace, it is easier to remember the old hatreds. Then there is a new Shel’ai called Algol that has plans to bring down this world. Algol has partnered with Crovis Ammerhel and is planning on bringing down the Dragonward and return the dragonkin to this world. But Rowen Locke, Maddoc, Igrid, and others are going to do whatever they can to keep that from happening.

Rowen is doing his best to protect those that he loves, even though everyone else seems to be against him. But he is loyal and determined, even if he is arrested, falsely imprisoned, beaten, and threatened to be executed.  I loved Igrid, she is strong and determined and won’t quit no matter what. You can tell that she loves Rowen deeply although I think she was going to kill him. Algol is a powerful She’ai and has his own history but he is willing to do whatever it takes to bring back Nekiel.

If you like epic fantasy stories you have a read this one. This is an amazing story with lots of action, death, and a serious bad guy that has plans to destroy everything. What more could you want? If you like audiobooks, make sure to check out the Audible copy. The narration was amazing and helped draw me into the story.

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I received The Dragonward from Sage’s Reading Room for free and I also purchased a copy of The Dragonward from Audible. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Relentless

Relentless by Nancy J Alexander

Relentless (Elisabeth Reinhardt – 1) by Nancy Alexander

“The little girl lay under the hay stack scarcely breathing. Sweat poured down her face and dripped into her eyes; her heart pounded through her thin chest. Tiny flecks of hay clung to her wet skin, making her itch. She squeezed her nose tightly afraid she’d sneeze. Eyes clamped shut, she lay there. Flies buzzed around her, crawling on her. She didn’t move. She didn’t know how long she’d been there in the loft. She didn’t care how long she stayed. She couldn’t move. Not yet.”

Nearly a lifetime after a childhood filled with misery and abuse, Gina, now a successful doctor, finds herself thrown back into a terrifying world where her nightmares become far more than just a dream. With the help of an unconventional therapist with secrets of her own, the hunt is on and Gina fights for her life in this harrowing tale of cat and mouse.

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Nancy J Alexander

Author’s Bio

Love of the mystery/thriller genre combines with psychotherapy training and experience to produce an emotionally supercharged dramatic novel. Nancy Alexander has devoted much of her professional life to helping survivors of childhood trauma; their distress has been ingrained and works to create characters who give voice to their plight. To analyze the evil minds that prey on others and the intricacies of law enforcers who pursue them seemed a natural interlacing of professional, literary and creative interests.

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Book

My Review

4 stars

Gina is a successful doctor in Chicago but she is haunted by dreams of someone hunting her down. Gina great up on a family farm that was very secluded from modern day and had a troubled cousin that came to live with her family, Jake. She changes her name to try to stay away from him but he is obsessed with her. Jake and his two partners in crime are on the run from the police as they look for another victim that looks like Reggie Lee to have some fun with while they still look for Reggie Lee. Although Gina is trying to stay hidden, her high profile surgery is going to throw her right into the limelight and into the killer’s hands.

This story goes a roundabout way to learn about Gina’s past as she is remembering in her dreams. Thankfully Elisabeth Reinhardt is her therapist and can help her work through the memories and help her prepare for the potential attack from Jake. I really liked Elisabeth. She has her own history that makes are a tough gal to mess with along with a great connection for a network of people that can help.

I liked the story and how Gina was always on the run until she started doing things to get her ready like self-defense classes, shooting classes, security systems and such. I love when a character prepares to fight back instead of just cowering and hoping for help. Gina is a great strong character and I really enjoyed watching her with her surgeries and found it hard to learn of her past abuse.

The one thing that did get to me was the story seemed to drag and drag. I think that a good chunk of the story could have been taken out and made everything flow better. Nancy did a good job of narrating the story. It was easy to understand the different characters.

Overall I liked the story. It was a little slow in the beginning and I kind of forced myself to keep reading. I am interesting in reading the next book to see what happens with Elisabeth next.

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I received Relentless from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this story.

Guest Post by Nancy J. Alexander

My writing is uniquely characterized by two major themes.

One is my intense interest in the human mind, our collective and individual psychology that makes us who we are, dressmakers or computer nerds, laborers or executives, singers or serial killers. More than fascinating, mysterious plots, the complexity of my characters, their psychology and their interactions is the driving energy behind my novels. As a child, I had keen intuition; I seemed to know what people meant but didn’t say, what people felt but didn’t express; the answers lay in my power of observation. As a keen observer and absorbing listener, I gravitated to psychiatric work, where I found my place.

Years of experience as a therapist, combine with my imagination and my love of the genre, motivating me to write what I know best, how culture, economics, genetics and family dynamics affects a the developing personality. This is the fertile soil nourishing my plots driven by rich, complex characters.

Another consistent theme influencing my work is a lifelong commitment to social justice. I believe we are all responsible for creating the world in which we live. I believe our society guarantees freedom from oppression or persecution and ensures equal opportunities, regardless of variations in skin tone, language, customs, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or belief systems. I am a strong defender of the underdog, of those who subsist on the outskirts of our society, outside of the normative structures, those who need protection or assistance, access to education or healthcare. We live in a fragile world; people across the globe are fighting historic battles for survival, survival of their ways of life, their belief systems, and their very lives. Hatred abounds, spreading like a gasoline fire across the land.

In my way, I am fighting for understanding, awareness, insight and commonality between our very diverse world populations. In my way, I am asking people to reach for their better selves; to find a different way to be.

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Giveaway:

Prizes:

Win a signed copy of RELENTLESS by Nancy J Alexander / 2 winners will also get a $15 Amazon gift card (open to USA & CAN) 5 winners total

Ends Jan 7

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The Empty Room

Mystery / Romance
Date Published: July 23, 2016
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Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that Dean and Elizabeth hoped would fulfill their dreams, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was trapped under a blanket of fog. The first neighbor they meet in town dashes those dreams when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, and the town. When they discover what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.
A gripping psychological mystery, The Empty Room takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.
Excerpt

 

A knock pounded loudly on the door for a second time and Elizabeth involuntarily let out a small shriek. She frantically put her hand over her mouth, but the sound had already escaped and there was little doubt that Mrs. Jacobs had heard.
“Well.” Dean sighed, as he stood up from the crouched position he’d been holding beside the window. “Now we answer the door because you apparently have Tourette’s.”
As Elizabeth slowly stood up beside him, a third round of loud pounding ensued. Elizabeth jumped at the sudden noise and hit her head against Dean’s lower lip. His head jolted back from the force and he winced.
“Oh my God.” She leapt forward toward him. “Are you OK?”
Dean reached up his hand and clenched his jaw, pulling it from left to right. He pointed toward the door. “Great, first I get physically abused, now I’m going to get emotionally abused. And I still have no underwear.”
He finally came to the door and put his hand on the doorknob. He looked back at Elizabeth. “Just for the record, you are the worst covert ops partner ever.” With a specific intent in mind, he quickly turned the doorknob and ripped open the door as fast as he could. A startled Mrs. Jacobs stumbled backwards.
“You almost scared me to death,” she asserted, quickly brushing her dress to remove the imaginary wrinkles that had not formed from the unexpected greeting.
He stepped outside and grabbed Elizabeth by the wrist to pull her out of the house with him. “Well, follow-through has always been my problem. Look, we were just headed out the door and into town so we’re going to have to finish this later.” He reached for the doorknob and slammed the door behind him.
But Mrs. Jacobs did not move. Other than the slight falter when he opened the door, she held her stance and stared at the closed door. Dean had a feeling it was not the first or the last time she had ever had a door closed in her face. With their backs to the old woman, the couple took several steps toward the edge of the porch.
“You live next door, right? We’ll stop by. Oh, the fun we’ll have.” Still holding on to Elizabeth’s wrist, he pulled her past Mrs. Jacobs and down the steps.
“Where are we going?” Elizabeth whispered.
Mrs. Jacobs turned to face them. Her hands clasped in a folded position in front of her.
“We’re going to see if we can find out what happened in that room, what happened in that house. Someone here knows. Everyone in this town can’t be as bad as Mrs. HaWiggins back there,” he whispered back.
 About the Author
Sarah J. Clemens is the author of the debut mystery novel, The Empty Room. She started writing The Empty Room in 2008 and formed her own imprint in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing. She started out her professional career working as a news assistant for her local newspaper before finding a passion for the law and pursued an education in criminal justice. In addition to writing fiction, she is also a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Human Services. Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She has the same sarcastic sense of humor as the characters in her books, and she has an unparalleled love for animals.
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Unity

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Unity (Book Three, The Todor Trilogy)
By Jenna Newell Hiott
Genre: Fantasy, Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction

This dramatic final chapter of the Todor Trilogy picks up right where Disintegration left off, with Numa, Gemynd, and Soman standing high above a realm on the verge of splintering. The Peace Council has failed, Golath is dead, and the people in Tolnick would already be fighting without Gemynd’s mind control. Despite their differences, the trio must find a way to use their magical powers together if there is any hope of moving forward.

Again and again, the childhood bonds of the three are tested. As the new leader of the Iturtians, Gemynd must face his past. Soman struggles with watching the woman he loves devote herself to marriage with his old friend. Numa meets an unexpected family member who will change everything she’s known. Peace among the three of them—and among the land’s warring races—must be established if Numa’s vision of the future is to come true. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of her biggest obstacle, which could defeat her in the end.

In Unity, the gritty culmination of a compelling saga, Hiott has delivered an enchanting metaphysical masterpiece. Defining good and bad proves tricky, and even the Deis couldn’t have predicted what’s coming next.

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Author’s Bio

Author, healer, all-around kook, Jenna Newell Hiott boasts of having a limitless imagination, unless it’s naptime. While many of us had an imaginary friend as children, Jenna had an entire imaginary family—complete with a second set of parents andthree siblings—all of whom lived in a make-believe world of Jenna’s own creation. One could say she’s been writing fantasy fiction since she was old enough to use words. And she never outgrew it. Out of this hyperactive imagination, and a life steeped in metaphysics, Jenna created the land of Todor: a world of magic, intrigue, and power plays.

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My Review

5 Stars

Numa, Gemynd, and Soman are barely keeping the peace. Everything is balanced on war and looks like war is going to be the ultimate course. Numa is going to learn something that is going to turn her whole world upside down. With all that they have gone through before, their bonds will be further tested. Will they finally achieve peace in the land of Todor?

I love how Unity wraps everything up. I have come to care about Numa, Gemynd, and Soman so much that I continually cheer for them and hope everything works out. They are still tested and have to learn to unite their powers. But, just like fine steel, without that fire you cannot truly know the strength of their bonds.

The best thing about this series is how Todor is one land clearly divided yet there is the chance to lead to peace and unity through the joining of people. It’s a great message for the story and for the world today.

If you are looking for a great, epic fantasy story look no further. This is an amazing series from a wonderful author. I cannot wait to see what Jenna comes up with next.

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I received Unity from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Giveaway

The author is hosting a $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway during her tour!

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