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Archive for February, 2017

The Echo Man

The Echo Man

by Richard Montanari

Book Blast: February 9, 2017

on Tour March 20 – April 7, 2017

Synopsis:

The Echo Man by Richard Montanari

It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim’s forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.

As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia’s past in the most sinister of ways.

And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think…

Praise:

“This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari’s writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best.” -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl

“Richard Montanari’s The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man’s facial expression is described as “not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything,” we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business”. – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

For every light there is shadow. For every sound, silence. From the moment he got the call Detective Kevin Francis Byrne had a premonition this night would forever change his life, that he was headed to a place marked by a profound evil, leaving only darkness in its wake.

“You ready?”

Byrne glanced at Jimmy. Detective Jimmy Purify sat in the passenger seat of the bashed and battered department- issue Ford. He was just a few years older than Byrne, but something in the man’s eyes held deep wisdom, a hard- won experience that transcended time spent on the job and spoke instead of time earned. They’d known each other a long time, but this was their first full tour as partners.

“I’m ready,” Byrne said.

He wasn’t.

They got out of the car and walked to the front entrance of the sprawling, well- tended Chestnut Hill mansion. Here, in this exclusive section of the northwest part of the city, there was history at every turn, a neighborhood designed at a time when Philadelphia was second only to London as the largest English- speaking city in the world. The first officer on the scene, a rookie named Timothy Meehan, stood inside the foyer, cloistered by coats and hats and scarves perfumed with age, just beyond the reach of the cold autumn wind cutting across the grounds.

Byrne had been in Officer Meehan’s shoes a handful of years earlier and remembered well how he’d felt when detectives arrived, the tangle of envy and relief and admiration. Chances were slight that Meehan would one day do the job Byrne was about to do. It took a certain breed to stay in the trenches, especially in a city like Philly, and most uniformed cops, at least the smart ones, moved on.

Byrne signed the crime- scene log and stepped into the warmth of the atrium, taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells. He would never again enter this scene for the first time, never again breathe an air so red with violence. Looking into the kitchen, he saw a blood splattered killing room, scarlet murals on pebbled white tile, the torn flesh of the victim jigsawed on the floor.

While Jimmy called for the medical examiner and crime- scene unit, Byrne walked to the end of the entrance hall. The officer standing there was a veteran patrolman, a man of fifty, a man content to live without ambition. At that moment Byrne envied him. The cop nodded toward the room on the other side of the corridor.

And that was when Kevin Byrne heard the music.

She sat in a chair on the opposite side of the room. The walls were covered with a forest- green silk; the floor with an exquisite burgundy Persian. The furniture was sturdy, in the Queen Anne style. The air smelled of jasmine and leather.

Byrne knew the room had been cleared, but he scanned every inch of it anyway. In one corner stood an antique curio case with beveled glass doors, its shelves arrayed with small porcelain figurines. In another corner leaned a beautiful cello. Candlelight shimmered on its golden surface.

The woman was slender and elegant, in her late twenties. She had burnished russet hair down to her shoulders, eyes the color of soft copper. She wore a long black gown, sling- back heels, pearls. Her makeup was a bit garish— theatrical, some might say— but it flattered her delicate features, her lucent skin.

When Byrne stepped fully into the room the woman looked his way, as if she had been expecting him, as if he might be a guest for Thanksgiving dinner, some discomfited cousin just in from Allentown or Ashtabula. But he was neither. He was there to arrest her.

“Can you hear it?” the woman asked. Her voice was almost adolescent in its pitch and resonance.

Byrne glanced at the crystal CD case resting on a small wooden easel atop the expensive stereo component. Chopin: Nocturne in G Major. Then he looked more closely at the cello. There was fresh blood on the strings and fingerboard, as well as on the bow lying on the floor. Afterward, she had played.

The woman closed her eyes. “Listen,” she said. “The blue notes.”

Byrne listened. He has never forgotten the melody, the way it both lifted and shattered his heart.

Moments later the music stopped. Byrne waited for the last note to feather into silence. “I’m going to need you to stand up now, ma’am,” he said.

When the woman opened her eyes Byrne felt something flicker in his chest. In his time on the streets of Philadelphia he had met all types of people, from soulless drug dealers, to oily con men, to smash-and-grab artists, to hopped-up joyriding kids. But never before had he encountered anyone so detached from the crime they had just committed. In her light- brown eyes Byrne saw demons caper from shadow to shadow.

The woman rose, turned to the side, put her hands behind her back. Byrne took out his handcuffs, slipped them over her slender white wrists, and clicked them shut.

She turned to face him. They stood in silence now, just a few inches apart, strangers not only to each other, but to this grim pageant and all that was to come.

“I’m scared,” she said.

Byrne wanted to tell her that he understood. He wanted to say that we all have moments of rage, moments when the walls of sanity tremble and crack. He wanted to tell her that she would pay for her crime, probably for the rest of her life— perhaps even with her life— but that while she was in his care she would be treated with dignity and respect.

He did not say these things. “My name is Detective Kevin Byrne,” he said. “It’s going to be all right.” It was November 1, 1990. Nothing has been right since.

Excerpt from The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. Copyright © 2017 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Richard Montanari

Author Bio:

Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.

He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

February 9th BLAST Participants:


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Tour Participants:

Don’t forget to check out these stops next month when they’ll be featuring reviews, interviews & More giveaways!

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Harper Collins. There will be 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on February 6th and runs through February 16th, 2017.

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Stalked

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Stalked (The Profiler – 4) by Elizabeth Heiter

If you’re reading this, I’m already dead…

That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.

Secrets can be deadly…

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.

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 Elizabeth Heiter

Author’s Bio

ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and eight languages; they’ve also been shortlisted for the National Readers’ Choice, Daphne Du Maurier and Booksellers’ Best awards and won the RT Reviewers’ Choice award.

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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My Review

5 stars

Haley Cook is the perfect high school girl. Pretty, straight A’s, cheerleader, etc. But the last time anyone saw her was one month prior when her boyfriend Jordan dropped her off for cheerleading practice. But then her mother finds a notebook that the police missed. The first line reads, “If you are reading this, I’m already dead.” But who would want to hurt Haley?

Evelyn Baine, a FBI Profiler, is called in to investigate. It seems that there is more to Hailey’s life than you first see. It seems that everyone has some secret that they are trying to keep hidden. Then Evelyn’s partner, Kyle McKenzie, is working on the attack of a college student that will only talk to the FBI. It seems this is a human trafficking case that may be related to Hailey’s disappearance.

This is an action packed thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. Although everything seems perfect for Hailey, her life is far from it. How does her biological father fit in with her step father, how jealous is her best friend, does her college aged boyfriend have anything to do with this, how does a human trafficking case link in, and how is this going to affect Evelyn as she starts remembering her childhood friend disappearing?

There are so many twists and turns that you will be reading into the early hours of the night just to see what happens next. This is a great thriller and although it is the fourth book in the series you can read it as a stand-alone book.

I loved this story and I will definitely be purchasing the other three in the series. I can’t wait to see what I missed and for future books.

I received Stalked from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us by Sarah H. Elliston

 Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us
Author:  Sarah H. Elliston
Category:  Adult Non-fiction, 176 pages
Genre:  Self-help / Relationships
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  November 30, 2016
Content Rating:  G

The funny thing is that Sarah Elliston never realized she was “a difficult person,” — someone who harangued people until she got her way, threw snip fits and temper tantrums, talked over her bosses and pointed out what she thought were their misconceptions. In her family, where she felt bullied, the only way she knew how to get someone’s attention and approval was to voice her opinion—and loudly! Without standing her ground, how could she do what she thought was best for herself and everyone around her. She wasn’t intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!

Until a kind, but firm, boss woke her up! With great compassion, and strength, her boss pointed out that that her actions had consequences. That in being “difficult,” she was not only disrupting the office camaraderie and production, but impeding her own professional advancement.

That’s the beginning of Sarah’s transformation— when she started on the journey to leave behind the difficult person, and become the woman who teaches others how to deal with difficult people. Sam Elliston is now bringing forth her vital manual on how to awaken the challenging personality, and change both the relationship and the environment, with her new book Dealing with Difficult People; Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person.

Today, Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way—by experience – as well as through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work — Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.

The methods Elliston offers in her book end the trauma and the drama, and minimize the possibility of confrontation. She gives YOU, the reader, the ability to take a strong, positive, confident—yet compassionate–stance with the “difficult person”—whether that is a relative, coworker, friend, one of your children or anyone else for that matter.

Elliston demonstrates how to:

• Identify the ways to talk to a “difficult” person
• Incorporate true incentives to help people change
• Make real the consequences of the “difficult” person’s action
• Increase success through acceptance and belonging
• Avoid being triggered by the “difficult” person allowing you to neutralize those hot buttons and communicate without judgment

Elliston lays out a proven script for peacefully transforming the difficult person’s behavior and the environment. She gives you the tools for successfully initiating and engaging in a conversation with a difficult person that would lead to change.

Amazon     Goodreads

Author’s Bio

Sarah E. Elliston

Sarah (Sam) Elliston is an expert in the art of Dealing with Difficult People. She is a top workshop leader and a member of the faculty of the William Glasser Institute, which espouses “Reality Therapy” to foster behavioral change.

But her instructional career began long before she even became aware that she was herself a “difficult person,” traits that began in Lincoln MA, where she grew up. For more than 30 years she has been teaching and training, first as a high school teacher in Ohio and Cincinnati—and then as an administrator in the not-for-profit sector.

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Interview with: Sarah Elliston

Author of Lessons From a Difficult Person; How to Deal With People Like us

  1. It’s an unusual title –What does it mean?

I discovered that I was a difficult person in the middle of my life and I was surprised that I hadn’t been informed before. I realized that most articles and literature on difficult people are written as if the difficult person is the enemy and there are tricks one can do to get along with or avoid him or her.

As my title suggests, this book is designed to help someone who has a difficult person in his life examine the situation and follow some steps to having a conversation with the person. It involves moving from annoyance with the other to being in their corner and cheering them on as they consider changing.

  1. Who inspires you as a writer?

I suppose the writer I emulate is E. B. White who wrote Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little and coauthored Elements of Style with William Strunk.

Mr. White wrote in clear language with simple descriptions that were as crisp and lively as they were clear-cut. My training was to write as distinctly as possible while also being vibrant and pure.

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.”

“Elementary Principles of Composition”, The Elements of Style

The way of writing urges writers to eliminate unnecessary words. I find myself deleting the word “so” because it waters down the emotion (“so” glad to be here – being glad to be here is joyful enough) and growling at people who describe something as “very” unique. Unique is unique, there is nothing like it or it wouldn’t be unique. It does not need a modifier; a modifier insults the word and the reader (or listener).

I worked at diligently editing and restructuring my book so it would be as close to this as possible.

  1. What does it feel like to be difficult?

My experience was that it felt distanced from others and confusing, as if there was a message everybody else had and I didn’t get it. That led to a resentful and distrustful approach to others, especially those in leadership roles. It’s hard to feel close to another person when you’re considered difficult. I often felt as if I was walking through the paces of whatever role I was playing.

  1. Why should we make an effort to have a relationship with a difficult person when they already drive us crazy?

The simple response to this is because the difficult person isn’t happy being difficult, it is all they know how to do. Difficult people can be argumentative or clingy, they can be pushy or always quiet. They may not know how to be otherwise and if we don’t make an effort to have a relationship with them then not only are they missing out, we are missing out of having a real relationship with someone who, believe me, wants one but doesn’t know how to get it.

It is always a surprise to others when I suggest that difficult people really don’t know what they are doing that annoys others- they know that the others are annoyed but they don’t know why or if they have been told why, they don’t know what to do instead. Difficult behavior is a habit and it needs to be discussed and changed with the help of someone who is willing to take time and make an effort.

  1. Who do you think will benefit the most from this book?

My hope is that the difficult people will benefit if they have people in their lives who take the time to have conversations with them inviting and encouraging change. I hope the difficult people become less difficult and develop stronger relationships.

All of us need connection and a sense that of belonging with others. Difficult people don’t feel needed or connected enough or they would not be difficult. They wouldn’t need to annoy us in whatever way they do. They do what they do because it is a habit and it is all they know. Something about the result satisfies them or they wouldn’t keep doing but it isn’t really what they want.

We all crave to feel a part of something. It is a profound human need. For the people who have difficult people in their lives, I hope they benefit by getting to know themselves better and initiating a more fulfilling relationship with the difficult person.

And my passion is with the person who is annoying you to death. It is a habit and they are no happier about it than you are.

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Giveaway:

Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Lessons from a Difficult Person and a $10 Amazon gift card (open to USA & Canada)

Ends Feb 25

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Farm House

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Farm House by Steve Soderquist

Screams do not carry twenty miles to the next farm house…

Ten years ago, a little girl was supposedly murdered. Ten years ago, that little girl got away.

Now, after eight years of living on her own, feeding from garbage cans and doing what she must to survive and still remain anonymous, the lies told to her have led her—her sense of vengeance and retribution—back to the door-step of whom she considers to blame.

Those who stand in her way receive nothing of mercy as her relentless pursuit to extract revenge on those who robbed her of her life comes to a chilling close as nothing will stop her…and no one is to be spared.

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 Steve Soderquist

Author’s Bio

Steve Soderquist was quite a successful musician twenty-odd years ago and spent many years on the road. He was with numerous bands before finally settling down to a more regular life. However, the writing bug kept biting at him. Steve had started a book called, ‘Mind’s Eye’ when he was seventeen and it never left him. Even though the writing muscle had certainly atrophied, he was getting that tickle like you get in the back of your throat when a cold is coming on.

Publishing his first novella ‘One for the Road’ motivated him to propel. When ‘Farm House’ was complete and those blessed two words were put down, ‘THE END’ he knew he found his calling.

Following up with the science fiction thriller, ‘Seeds’ then co-writing the romance thriller ‘Rogue’ with author Laura Ranger, Steve finished the short children’s story ‘The Littlest Princess’ and is currently working on two more titles.

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My Review

5 stars

Crystal Ann Christina was an abused child that was left for dead by her father when she was eight. But she managed to survive doing whatever it takes. Her mother Karen wonders what happened to Crystal and decides to take in those from the streets that need a family. Then they start disappearing one by one. At the same time a serial killer is on the loose and the police are trying to stop them. It seems Karen may have more information than you initially see and that she is intentionally not sharing that information with the detectives. Will they be able to stop the serial killer?

I love a great serial killer story when penned properly and Soderquist does a fantastic job. A young girl has been betrayed in the ultimate way and does whatever she can to survive, you feel bad for her. Years later you see she has become a serial killer, it’s hard to hate someone when they have had such a tough start in life.

Personally I love stories with female serial killers, creepy right?! But women are generally over looked when you think of someone that is going to kill. But I have seen things that women do that put male serial killers to shame. And this book fits right into true life events.

If you like your thrillers bloody good, look no further. You will be adding Soderquist to your book shelves like me.

I received Farm House from Polished Pages Editing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Stack a Deck

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Stack a Deck (The Weir Chronicles – 4) by Sue Duff

Ian’s alliance with the rebels brings the wrath of the Pur army crashing down on them, but he is forced to abandon his new allies and travels to Earth’s alternate universe to rescue Rayne. As Ian combs the strange, desolate planet in search for her, he discovers the true story of the Weir and his connection to Earth’s imminent destruction.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Catch up on the series by reading Fade to BlackMasks and Mirrors and Sleight of Hand!

Love Audiobooks? You can also listen to Fade to Black through Audible.

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Want more? Join The Weir Chronicles Fan List for exciting news and updates on special events, giveaways and upcoming books in the series!

 Sue Duff

Author’s Bio

Sue has been writing since high school but never became serious about it until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black, was a finalist in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest. By day, she’s a dedicated speech-language therapist in an inner city school district to pay the bills but her life as a writer is her true passion and the creative outlet keeps her sane.

She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers. Her creativity extends into her garden and the culinary arts. She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen.

Connect with her through email at sueduffauthor@gmail.com or to get the latest news, updates on events or the scoop on future novels in The Weir Chronicles series, subscribe to her email list.

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My Review

5 stars

Ian has travelled to Threa to try and find Rayne. He learns the truth of the Heirs and what his role in this war. But he is bound and determined to find Rayne no matter what he faces in his trip around Threa. At the same time Jaered is trying to train Patrick, which is not progressing as he hoped. Patrick is more focused on finding Tara than learning about his power. And they all are hiding from both Aeros and Primary who are hunting everyone down and determined to destroy Earth.

This series just keeps getting better and better. Everyone is scattered and trying to lay low while worried about each other. Ian is so focused on getting Rayne that it is a shock learning the truth about the Heirs, Aeros, and his mother and aunt. He has a huge adventure as he treks across Threa and discovered new dangers from the world dying.

Then there is Patrick and Jaered. Patrick is so blinded by his love for Tara that he thinks finding her will be enough for her to be with him. He is completely distracted and Jaered is fighting an uphill battle trying to teach him. He does realize that real life training is going to be more effective but is having a hard time with his patience.

I love this series and can’t wait to see how it ends. Just when you think you might know what is around the corner you get one heck of a surprise and are completely thrown for a loop. I really love how it touches on my apocalyptic/dystopian stories as the characters dance on a razor blade to keep things from collapsing.

This is a great series and one that would appeal to those that enjoy young adult stories. Now I’m very excited for the last book in the series yet hesitant to leave this world.

I received Stack a Deck from Sami at Roger Charlie for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Praise for the Series

“A stunning debut with a thrilling mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Duff has a real hit on her hands.”

–Roxanne Kade, blogger at Therian

 

“I recommend this to anyone who loves a good Sci-fi esque, fantasy, dystopian, secret-war-going-on-behind-the-human’s-backs-and-right-under-their-noses sort of book.”

— Jaay V, blogger at Reckless Indulgence

 

“This is one series that I recommend to readers of fantasy and paranormal romances.  It just keeps getting better and better. Just when you think you might know what’s going on, there are new twists that get added in.”

— Jessica Bronder, blogger at J Bronder Book Reviews

What Readers Are Saying

What an explosive adventure! I am definitely hooked!”

“A riveting adventure from start to finish. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.”

“You may lose sleep. The action is fast paced and it’s refreshing to see a book in this genre with a male protagonist! I truly enjoyed his journey to self-discovery.”

“I love that Sue Duff does not dumb down her writing to make everything repetitious each time – she let’s you figure out the rules yourself while you read.  Her style of writing really suits the smart world-building, and I also fell so in love with the characters.”

“A magical tale filled with likeable characters.”

Q&A with Sue Duff

We’re now on book four in the Weir Chronicles. Can you tell us where readers will find Ian Black in Stack a Deck?

Ian has been forced to turn his back on the Pur Weir and align himself with the rebels to rescue Rayne.  When he travels to Earth’s alternate universe, he finds himself powerless and struggles to survive the dangerous planet while staying one step ahead of Aeros.

Since there may be some readers that haven’t yet read Fade to Black, Masks and Mirrors and Sleight of Hand, can you catch them up on what they’ve missed?

In Fade to Black, the main protagonist and “superhero” is Ian Black. Born the last of the Weir, all hope rests on him to save the planet, but he doesn’t inherit the powers as predicted. Tortured in a last ditch effort to bring his supposed powers to the surface, he escapes and hides among the humans as an illusionist – until a nosy college reporter uncovers his secret. Together, they discover a malevolent Weir who is sucking Earth’s energy and depleting its resources at an alarming rate.

The Weir are a race of magical beings who have served as caretakers of Earth for thousands of years and it is their connection to the planet that keeps what roams above in harmony with the energies that churn below. Unfortunately, they are becoming extinct and as a result, there is an intense rise of natural disasters across the globe. Desperate to save the earth and prevent the end of their race, the Weir turn to modern science to perpetuate themselves. But this philosophy separates their kind into two warring factions – the Pur and the Duach. To keep them from killing each other, and all but guaranteeing their extinction, a Curse is created by the Ancient counsel as a means of keeping them apart. Of course, as you could predict, the Weir soon discover it’s not wise to mess with Mother Nature!

A band of rebels, committed to stopping their mutual enemy, come on the scene in Masks and Mirrors, and give Ian reason to be suspicious as he struggles to uncover what ulterior motive they have for saving Earth.

In the third book, Sleight of Hand, Ian pursues answers in order to stop Earth’s natural disasters and eminent self-destruction, but the rebels have their own agenda and poison him.  Patrick and Rayne search for a cure and in so doing, Rayne ends up on Thrae, Earth’s alternate universe, while Patrick confronts the rebel leaders and learns the truth about the Weir.

What are your initial thoughts when thinking about your book(s)?

I write the way I like to read – short chapters that end with a cliffhanger so you can’t help but turn the page and read just ‘one more chapter.’ I’ve received feedback from individuals, who don’t typically read my genre, but end up loving my books. Others that aren’t big readers have finished my novels in one, two or three sittings!

What kind of research did you have to do for your book / series?

The fourth book was the most challenging of all, because I had to consider the worst future for Earth and ask the “what if” questions.  What if the ozone layer decayed? What if asteroids weren’t destroyed by the outer atmosphere and impacted the early regularly? What if the Earth’s core slowed its rotation and what affect that would have on the planet and to the gravitational pull on the moon? These facts are the basis for how Aeros affected Thrae, and since it ‘used to be’ the mirror image of Earth, I had to apply those results in this novel.

Do any pieces of the book come from personal experience?

When I was a teenager, we took a road trip up the California Coast and spent time in the redwood forests. I thought it was the most breathtaking place on Earth, which is why I have Ian living there in my stories.

What do you hope readers most get out of your book (or the series as a whole)?

Regardless of the naysayers,  believe in yourself and follow your own strengths and path in the world. Ian didn’t develop his powers as the prophecy predicted, and Rayne wasn’t the firstborn male Sar that her father desired. The fact that Ian turned to illusions in order to do what he couldn’t naturally (lack of powers in a magical world) is key to his character.  Tortured for what he had no control over, he discovered and nurtured something that he could control.

I also hope that my readers can accept that science can’t explain everything and embrace the wonders and mysteries in the universe. My favorite line from the first book is, “There will always be magic in the world, as long as we believe in what we don’t understand.”

You also released TICK TOCK, an anthology with six other Colorado authors this past year. How did that come together, and do you have anything planned for 2017?

Our first anthology, TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time, was nominated as Best Anthology of 2016 by UTOPIA Con in June, and we also won the silver medal for Best Anthology of 2016 and the gold medal for Best Book Cover through Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards in August! Our next anthology is based on short stories inspired by our favorite song.  In addition, we opened the second book up to submissions and received more than 45 from all over the world! After the marathon readings and critiques, we chose two that stood out above the rest and we’re excited to include them in the second anthology, releasing this spring.

So after working both solo and in tandem with other authors on a project, do you have a favorite method of writing?

There are pros to doing both!  I love my Wicked Ink team and we do so much to support each other.  It can be daunting to self-publish a novel, but with having a team, the burden can be shared by all – which makes it easier.  But…I also love writing on my own, because the final decisions and content are solely mine and I don’t feel so stressed by deadlines – albeit the ones I put on myself.  But truly, I have the best of both worlds!

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Goldsmith Jones

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Goldsmith Jones by Sam Taylor-Pye

San Francisco, 1863. Fourteen-year-old Goldsmith Jones is left stranded in crime-ridden, gangland territory. He finds himself living at The Shades, a home to local street kids.

While selling sexual favours downs the Dead Man’s Alley to survive, Jones is charmed by a seaman he knows as Sweet Virginia. Moving further away from the relative security that The Shades and his best friend, Raccoon, offered him, Jones is drawn ever closer to the manipulative Sweet Virginia.

When Raccoon falls gravely ill and is taken to convaless on the rural Rancheria, Jones is left under the controlling powers of the unscrupulous navvy.

Swindled and wrongly accused, he is unexpectedly rescued by the leader of the villanous Suarez Brothers, the charismatic Saul.

Faced with a choice between becoming Saul’s ‘little brother’ and saving Sweet Virginia’s life, Goldsmith Jones must embark on a dangerous journey which will change his young life forever.

Amazon     Amazon UK     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

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Author’s Bio

Sam Taylor-Pye grew up on the border between Washington state and British Columbia, Canada and currently lives in Kent in the UK. She received her BA from the Open University, and has an MA in Creative Writing. This is her first published novel.

Book

My Review

5 stars

The story takes place in San Francisco in 1863. Goldsmith Jones is 14 years old and has found himself an orphan on the streets. Another street kid finds Jones and takes him under his wing. There Jones learns that prostitution would be the easiest way for him to survive the streets. All the while Jones is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants from this world as he fights to stay alive with gangs and worse on the streets of San Francisco.

This is a brutal and harsh look into how kids were treated at the turn of the last century. They were taken advantage of, used, and then discarded like trash. The poor kid has to find any means to keep themselves alive. This book is quiet hard to read, but as you follow along with Jones you can’t help but hope that he will eventually be free of the abuse he suffers.

You can tell that the author has thoroughly researched San Francisco at the turn of the century and so much more. It is easy to get caught up in the tensions at the end of the civil war, the prejudices faced by many, and the double standards of those that act one way then claim to be another. As you read about Jones it is easy to get lost in this world. It’s brutal and dirty and just like watching it happen in real time.

If you are looking for a great story of San Francisco around the turn of the century and the hard lives that many lived, look no further. But just be aware, this is a very realistic look not to be taken lightly.

I received Goldsmith Jones from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Fixer: The Naked Man by Jill Amy Rosenblatt Book Tour

The Fixer: The Naked Man

by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

Feb 7th Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Fixer: The Naked Man by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

“Katerina—I need some help. Be a good girl and come over here and I’ll make it worth your while.”

It’s an offer NYC college student Katerina Mills should refuse. But how can she?

A desperate situation….

After ditching her cheating lover (and boss), she’s stuck in dead end temp jobs. Her dad just ditched her mom and his promise to pay Kat’s college tuition bill.

She has two weeks to come up with $14,000 or she’s out of her apartment, out of school, and out of luck.

A dangerous world….

Katerina falls into a job as a “fixer” for New York City’s wealthy and privileged men. They have problems they need “fixed,” quick and on the QT, and they’re willing to pay.

The rules are simple: collect the money, use your contacts, fix the problem.

Kat’s first job is easy: tail a shopaholic socialite wife. But who’s tailing Kat?

Kat’s second job is not so easy: steal a VHS tape hidden in an antique chest. She can’t do it alone. To be a thief, she needs a thief: handsome, reclusive Alexander Winter to be exact.

Kat soon learns the real rules for a fixer: there are no rules, there are no refunds. Get in. Get results. Get gone.

As every step brings her closer to her goal and closer to danger, there’s one rule left for Katerina Mills to learn: once you’re in, there’s no getting out.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Crime
Published by: Jill Amy Rosenblatt
Publication Date:July 2015
Number of Pages: 181
ISBN: 1515182819 (ISBN13: 9781515182818)
Series: Fixer – Katerina Mills Series
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Kobo 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

“Katrina, I need help.”

Katerina stumbled out of bed, her cell phone slipping from her hand.

“Damn it,” she muttered. Fumbling for the lamp, she snapped it on, blinking several times against the harsh light. She heard the low tone of the man’s voice, now coming from under the bed. Even from a distance he sounded frightened and hysterical.

“Katrina? Katrina?”

Bending over the side of the bed, her long chestnut hair cascading onto the floor, she groped for her phone. She grabbed it, bringing it to her ear.

“This is Katerina. Who is this?”

“Katr—, it’s Joe Lessing. I’m a friend of Phil’s. You remember me, right?”

Kat worked to match the voice to a face. After a moment, the film of sleep dropped away. Medium height. Built like a boxer. Strong jaw. Black hair with a widow’s peak.

“Yes, Mr. Lessing. How can I help you?”

She listened to Joe Lessing’s labored breathing at the other end of the phone; he sounded like he had just come in from a brisk jog. The clock radio read twelve-thirty. It was a little late for a run around the reservoir.

“I can’t find Phil. Do you know where he is?”

“No, I’m sorry, I don’t.”

“He’s not answering his cell phone.”

“Mr. Lessing, I don’t work for Mr. Castle anymore. Maybe his current assistant can help you—”

“Shit! Shit!” Lessing’s voice rose. “SHIT!”

“Mr. Lessing—”

“Listen, Katri—Katerina—I need some help. Be a good girl and come over here and I’ll make it worth your while. Okay?”

Katerina answered with silence. She had met Joe Lessing maybe three times when she worked for Philip. He never struck her as a crazed, rapist murderer…until now. Not a good idea, she thought. Whatever this is, I don’t need it.

“Look, this is on the level. I’m in some shit here and I need a little help. It’s worth a thousand dollars.”

That I do need. Desperately. “Okay…twenty minutes.”

“Make it ten. It’s a matter of life or death.”

“Which is it?”

“I’m not sure.” He gave his address and hung up.

Kat considered his comment and then threw on a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, and laced into a pair of ankle boots. She twisted her mass of hair into a sloppy braid. Stuffing some cash, ID, cellphone, and her trusty pepper spray in her pockets, she rushed out into the brisk New York City night. Against her better judgment, she took the subway. But, if there should be a police investigation, a cabbie, overeager to cooperate, would be a liability. In one of his many moments of ego and hubris, Philip had bragged about his golden rule of “fixing” people’s problems: get in, get out, get gone. Don’t linger. See everything but never be seen.

Keeping alert for drunkards, creepers, and other assorted predators lying in wait, she kept one hand in her pocket, her finger on the button of the palm-sized can of pepper spray.

She found Lessing’s building. She glanced up, the bite of the chilly October night air making her give a quick, involuntary shiver. She pushed the call box button.

“Who is it?” Lessing sounded apprehensive.

Who do you think it is? “Katerina.”

The buzzer rang. Kat slipped inside.

She found the apartment door ajar. She inched inside. A colorful Persian rug covered most of the foyer. Examining the bright pattern of red, blue, and black and finding no sign of blood, she relaxed. She took tentative steps inside, scanning the living room. Everything was neat and in order.

“Mr. Lessing?” she said.

“In here,” he called from the end of the hallway.

Kat hesitated. Move ahead or turn back? She crept down the narrow space lined with modern art consisting of colorful paint splatters. The door was open.

Kat peered inside and saw Joe Lessing, a man in his forties, his overdeveloped muscular build now turning fleshy and soft. He was naked, pacing, and breathing hard. His flaccid penis, dangling like an oversized rotini, bobbed and swayed with every step.

Katerina froze. Oh shit.

He turned to look at Kat; she saw the panic in his dark eyes.

“Thank God you’re here,” he said, turning to the bed. It was a massive four poster with a distressed wooden chest squatting at its foot. A Queen Anne style night stand on each side held a Tiffany lamp. But it was the unconscious, naked blonde woman lying on top of the rumpled covers that grabbed Kat’s attention.

“I called someone. She said she would try to get here but I can’t wait anymore.” He pointed at the bed. “Can you help me, please.”

Kat didn’t know what to say to him. When he had come to Philip’s office he was always calm and relaxed… and fully dressed. He liked perching on the edge of her desk and talking about his motorcycle, his house in the Hamptons, and his wife.

His wife.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he said in a shaky voice. “I don’t know but I have to do something. We have to do something.”

He returned to mindless pacing and the penis began dancing again. Kat moved to the bed. The woman had bottle blond hair, a too perfect nose, but her breasts were real, her waist a size zero. Kat leaned over and touched her cheek. Warm.

“I’m fucked, aren’t I?” he asked, wiping sweat off his brow. “Am I fucked?”

“She has a pulse,” Kat said.

“Thank Christ,” Lessing said.

“Have you tried waking her?”

“Of course I did! Nothing works!”

“What happened?”

Joe scratched his head like he was trying to work out a difficult math problem. “We were going at it and it was good—shit, it was great—and then she collapsed. Look, we have to get her the hell out of here.”

“When is your wife due, Mr. Lessing?”

Joe gave a short, guilty laugh. “She’s taking a night flight from LAX. She’ll be here soon.”

“What’s soon?”

Lessing’s eyes met hers. “Less than two hours.”

Shit.

“Your —friend needs medical care.”

“I can’t take her to the hospital. No one can know about this. Her husband would be very upset.”

And your wife. “I understand.”

“Please, you work for Phil—or you worked for him—whatever. You know people. You can work this out for me, right? You have to make this—” he said, pointing in the general direction of the bed, “go away.”

Kat mentally tried to construct what Philip, the attorney who considered his oath a suggestion rather than a requirement, would do.

“Just a minute,” she said, and pulled out her cell phone. She listened to the ringing on the other end of the line. Finally, there was a click.

“Yeah,” the voice said. A chorus of coughing and gurgling noises followed.

Kat waited for him to finish. “Doc, it’s Kat,” she said when it was quiet. “I need a favor.”

“I don’t get out of bed for less than a thousand,” the raspy voice said, followed by a deep drawing sound for air.

She held the phone away from her ear. “It’s going to cost a thousand.”

“For both of you?”

“No.”

“Will he take Travelers Checques?”

“No.”

“Will you take Travelers Checques?”

“No.”

“They’re American Express,” Lessing said.

“I don’t care.”

Lessing resumed shuffling. Kat averted her eyes so that the penis was dancing in her peripheral vision. A miniature Slinky. She was tired of looking at it.

“Mr. Lessing?”

“Yeah?”

“Put your pants on…please.”

He looked down at himself and then swiped his pants up off the floor.

Kat got back on the phone. “You need to get out of bed.”

“If this needs a cleaner, it’s your problem.”

Kat glanced over at the unconscious woman. “I don’t think so.” She recited the address and hung up. Good God, I hope not.

Author Bio:

Jill Amy RosenblattJill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse, published by Kensington Press. She has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Burlington College.

“The Fixer” mystery/suspense series is Jill’s first adventure in self-publishing. The Fixer: The Naked Man (Katerina Mills, Book 1) is available in e-book and paperback formats. The second book in the series, The Fixer: The Killing Kind, released on November 28, 2016. She is currently at work on the third book of the series, The Fixer: The Last Romanov (when she’s not watching NY Rangers hockey).

She lives on Long Island.

Catch Up with Jill Amy Rosenblatt on her Website 🔗, her Twitter 🔗, & her Facebook 🔗.

Book Blast Participants:


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Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jill Amy Rosenblatt. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Fixer: The Naked Man by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. The giveaway begins on February 6th and runs through February 13th, 2017.

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COVER RE-REVEAL

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Title: Dear Dixie (A Legacy Falls Romance

Author: J.L. Baldwin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer: T.E. Black Designs

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✨ Add to Goodreads ✨

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31067484-dear-dixie

✨ Blurb ✨

After the sudden death of her parents, Dixie believed the worst was behind her and she could move on with her life. She was wrong. When two military men arrive to inform her brother Charlie and been killed in action, her world once again turns on it’s axis. He had not only been her brother, but he had been her best friend, confidant, and sidekick. Their bond was unbreakable…except in death. A chasm in her heart was opened and she doesn’t think anything can fill it.

To help mend her broken heart, her therapist suggests Dixie volunteer to write letters to wounded veterans. She isn’t sure what to expect, but when she receives a random reply, things begin to change.

When Charlie’s best friend and wounded vet, Zane Carson, agreed to participate in a new program, he doesn’t think much of it, believing it best to keep his expectations low. Unbeknownst to him, he receives a letter from his best friend’s little sister…the sister he has always secretly longed for. Zane hid his feelings for Dixie, afraid of what Charlie would do or say if he found out.

A simple letter was the power to open the door to a million new opportunities. But will Zane let those opportunities to pass him by, or will be grab hold with both hands?

One written letter.

Two broken souls.

An adventure neither were prepared for.

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kgTwMU

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2krY7hw

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2h9HZwD

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2hE3M0j

More about the Book

legacy-falls

This book is part of a series of books all set in the fictional town of Legacy Falls. Each one is a different story with different characters, but all of which are standalones.

Each had a chance to pick a charity to donate part of their proceeds to. 50% of the proceeds of my book will be donated to Operation: Homefront.

www.operationhomefront.net

To keep up with all the other author’s books, please join the reader group! There’s so many amazing authors involved!

The line-up includes

Platform Four by Eden Butler
Behind My Charade by Skye Turner
Her Southern Temptation by Trish Leger
His Cami Girl by Glenna Maynard
Dear Dixie by JL Baldwin
Iron Heart by Madison Street
Beyond the Ghosts bye Jody Pardo
An Unexpected Hero by Diana Marie DuBois
Home by Morgan Jane

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1095597557149707/

About the Author

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A Virginia girl since birth, J.L. Baldwin loves her small town atmosphere, but like many others, dreams of the big city…more specifically, New York City. Reading and writing was always an outlet when it came to avoiding being a social butterfly. She made the transition from reader to blogger to author in a matter of months. It took a lot of courage from an introvert like her to hit publish on her first book, Unbound Faith in December of 2015 and she is now working on more books to continue on in her debut saga and beyond.

Stalker Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jlbaldwinauthor

Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/958856047535475

Twitter: @authorjlbaldwin

Instagram: @authorjlbaldwin1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jlbaldwinauthor/ (I pin a LOT)

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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At Last a Glimmer of Hope by Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

In the sequel to the thriller “A Light Beyond The Darkness.” The earth is in complete turmoil, and is being split in half with fire falling from the sky. It would seem that the Gods are truly angry and that the world is truly about to end. When an old amazon tells of the a legend she knows about the rings of the Gods. In order to close the rift in their dimension The rings of Poseidon, Zeus, Hades and Hera must be brought together in one place. So the Hybrid Family must once again band together to stop the Gods of Olympus from destroying the earth. But how can mortals stop the Gods of Olympus?

You also know that nothing is ever that simple, lies, deception and unknown undertones are discovered as the truth behind Zeus’s reign over the Gods is finally revealed.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 

Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

Two people from different backgrounds meet and became instant friends. They realized that they were like minded. Others never understood the mind trappings of these two individuals. One day, playing around, they came up with the Hybrid Clan. Henceforth, a stronger friendship and a new book. Hope you all enjoy this book as much as they enjoyed creating it.

Here’s a funny fact for you reader’s out there, Mikel and Sherry meet about 7 years ago and they have been friends every since. They are both very unique individuals and everyone that meets them can plainly see that they have made a lifelong friendship. Mikel, or Kel as a few people like to call him, is a young man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He now makes his home in Sweet Water, Alabama.  Sherry is a lady from a small town known as Meeker, Oklahoma. She calls Crossville, Alabama home now. They are both family oriented. They have lots in common and yet they are different. These two will dazzle and boggle the mind. Together they hope to bring your imagination alive in a whole new way.

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My Review

4 stars

The world is destroying itself. It seems that the Gods are not happy and are willing to destroy this world. It is up to the Hybrid family to end this bickering. Everyone splits up to take the rings from Zeus, Poseidon, and Hera. When united, they open a portal from the Gods realm to our realm. But not is what it seems. Are the Gods who they say they are? How to the Titans fit into this?

It was nice to come back to this world after finishing A Light Beyond the Darkness. Everyone has grown and moved on. This is a great story and I loved the twists and turns. Nothing is as it seems and the family and friends are being played. But they come together and fight to save the world.

The writing has gotten smoother since the first book. The problem I had was you will jump between different characters and locations in the middle of a paragraph. If there was some division it would make it easier to follow.

But overall, this is a good book and one that I recommend everyone check it out. I like where this series is going and I hope to see more about the Hybrid family and friends.

I received At Last a Glimmer of Hope from the author’s for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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They Came Out After Dark (Tales of Crow – 1) by Chris Ward

For Jun Matsumoto, a school trip to the remote study camp of British Heights is hardly his idea of a good time. Akane, the love of his life, hates him, and he’s rooming with Ogiwara, the school bully.

Things get even worse when a dose of bad Christmas turkey makes most of the students sick, and suddenly Jun and a handful of others are left cut off from civilization as the snow closes in. Pretty soon the power has gone off, and a strange, birdlike creature begins terrorizing the guests.

If Jun thought the school trip could get no worse, he’d be wrong. As the students group together with the other remaining guests, suddenly their understanding of danger turns on its head.

There are creatures out in the woods, and they’re hungry for human flesh…

They Came Out After Dark is the first in a new series from Chris Ward, the acclaimed author of the Tube Riders Trilogy …

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 Author’s Bio

Chris Ward hails from Cornwall in the UK. Since 2003 he has lived and worked in Japan where he is married and owns two cats.

At age eleven, he won a competition for a short story. He wrote his first novel at the age of 18 and published his first professional short story in Weird Tales 352 in 2008. In 2012 he published his first novel, The Tube Riders. Since then he has published a further seven novels to positive reviews and acclaim.

In addition to writing, he enjoys travelling, hiking in summer, snowboarding in winter, and plays guitar in a local rock band.

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My Review

4 stars

A group of Japanese high school students are going to spend some time at British Heights, a medieval camp, deep in the Japanese mountains. Along with the kids, rock band Plastic Black Butterfly has taken a wrong turn and ended up at British Heights too. But while there, a snow storm strikes and leaves the kids snowed in. Then the students become sick from dinner and some creatures start hunting the kids down. Not everyone is going to make it out from this little adventure.

You have a combination of teenage issues, a rock band, and monsters. What could go wrong? Of course you have rude teenagers that don’t want to learn. When they get sick and start becoming monster chow I couldn’t really feel bad for them. I thought the monsters were a great twist. There is a lot of action, some humor, and a lot of blood.

This book was not what I expected but it was not a bad book. It ended with a great lead into the next book and I would like to see what happens next. This was my first book from Chris Ward and I am curious to read this other books.

I received They Came Out After Dark from Candid Book Reviews and Kindle for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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