Archive for January 24th, 2018

The Naturalist


The Naturalist (The Naturalist Series – 1) by Andrew Mayne

Professor Theo Cray is trained to see patterns where others see chaos. So when mutilated bodies found deep in the Montana woods leave the cops searching blindly for clues, Theo sees something they missed. Something unnatural. Something only he can stop.

As a computational biologist, Theo is more familiar with digital code and microbes than the dark arts of forensic sleuthing. But a field trip to Montana suddenly lands him in the middle of an investigation into the bloody killing of one of his former students. As more details, and bodies, come to light, the local cops determine that the killer is either a grizzly gone rogue…or Theo himself. Racing to stay one step ahead of the police, Theo must use his scientific acumen to uncover the killer. Will he be able to become as cunning as the predator he hunts—before he becomes its prey?

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Andrew Mayne 

Author’s Bio

Wildly innovative, highly-visual with a little bit of mischief thrown in, Andrew Mayne is at the forefront of the next generation of magic.

Star of A&E’s Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, he’s performed his unique brand of illusion on five continents, his YouTube videos have millions of views and he’s cultivated thousands of fans for his magic, books and podcasts calling themselves ‘Mayniacs’.

Taking magic in a new direction, Andrew created his own style of magic called “Shock Magic”; combining the impact of large scale illusion with the in-your-face approach of street magic. It’s fun, it’s irreverent, it’s the next evolution in magic. Andrew’s effects range from making ghosts appear on cell phones, shrinking himself to one foot tall and making a town think they were besieged by UFOs. His magic has even been performed for astronauts on the International Space Station! Andrew has invented over 400 magic effects and published 45 books and videos on the art of illusion. On the leading edge of magic and pop culture, he was among the first to invent magic for the iPhone (even before there were apps) via his website iPhoneTrick.com – that’s since been performed on millions of people.

He’s worked behind the scenes creatively for David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and David Blaine. In 2011 Andrew was invited to China on behalf of the legendary Beijing Circus to share with Asia’s leading magicians his modern approach to illusion. His 2012 tour brought him to Europe and the Middle East.

Andrew started his first world illusion tour while he was a teenager and was soon headlining in resorts and casinos around the world. With the support of talk show host and amateur magician Johnny Carson, Andrew Mayne started a program to use magic to teach critical thinking skills in public schools for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Andrew’s Wizard School segments, teaching magic and science to children, aired nationwide on Public Television.

Beyond magic, Andrew Mayne is also the author of five bestselling mystery and thriller books. His recent thriller, Angel Killer, the story of a female FBI agent with a background magic, was the fifth best selling independent novel in the United Kingdom in 2012. His podcast, Weird Things is also one of the top science and nature podcasts on iTunes.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

5 stars

Professor Theo Cray is called in to help locals investigate the death of a former student, Juniper Parsons. It looks like a bear attack and that is what the locals label the death. But Theo thinks that this is a man killing like a bear. But when Fish and Wildlife kill the suspected bear everyone thinks it is all taken care of.

Theo doesn’t agree. He starts digging into the past and discovers murders like this have been happening to young women over the last thirty years. He keeps digging but Theo is an odd duck and attracts the attention of the police who are starting to think that he is the one that killed Juniper.

This is a great mystery thriller with lots of science. I love how Theo’s computational biology is the thing that catches all the clues to the killer. But his awkwardness is what attracts the attention of the police. Theo is a great person and he is intent on stopping the real killer before he gets arrested.

The science really added to the story and made it that much more believable. I’m glad to see this is the first in a series. I can’t wait to read more about Theo Cray.

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

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Book Details:

Book Title: Cathadeus (Book One of the Walking Gates)
Author: Jeff J. Peters
Category: YA Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release date: Dec 8, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 15 to Feb 2, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (fighting scenes)

Book Description:

It has been six hundred years since the Alchemists fused together men and beasts to form strong, mindless slaves. Now, their most vicious creations have attacked the mystical Walking Gates, slaughtering their Keepers and isolating their cities. Wounded in the brutal attack, Braxton Prinn’s mother is on the verge of death and he makes a desperate journey to find the reclusive elven master who can save her. But when he discovers an ancient magic, Brax is caught up in an even greater struggle and soon finds himself hunted for his power. Drawn into the chaos of an impending war and pursued by enemies on all sides, Brax must fight to save his mother and her race from slipping into darkness. Though his untamed magic may be the greatest threat of all . . .


What Readers are Saying about Cathadeus:

“Jeff J. Peters’ strong cinematic writing style allowed me to easily visualize the story and feel that I was right there alongside the characters.”
– Alison W.

“Jeff J. Peters’ writing is so smooth and easy to read – I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it was…and how quickly you end up being drawn into the story because of it.”
– Amanda R.

“Cathadeus is the best kind of fantasy story – you get to learn along with a flawed main character while you get lost in a richly designed world. You can’t help but keep reading. A cleanly written pairing of characters you wish you could spend more time with and an enthralling world built around them. Cathadeus is the kind of story that plays perfectly off of your imagination, with characters grounded in reality to make it feel like you could really be there.”
– Ryan N.

“Jeff J. Peters definitely has storytelling skills…The story stayed on my mind when I wasn’t reading it. Young readers will be drawn in this imaginative story, while they relate to Braxton’s struggles with temper, insecurity, and young love. Cathadeus is dramatic, with an anxious tone—at times bleak, as the story keeps you wondering until the final battle if good will prevail.”
– Elizabeth C.

 Buy the Book:

 Amazon ~ Indiebound

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Meet the Author:

JEFF J. PETERS was born in South Africa and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, where he fell in love with all things fantasy. He obtained degrees in digital electronics and computer science and worked as an IT professional for more than twenty years. In 2014, he left his corporate position to focus full-time on writing. Cathadeus is his debut novel. He is currently working on the sequel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook

My Review

5 stars

Braxton Prinn’s day was going as usual until the long forgotten Minotaurs, Mins, attack the Walking Gates leaving his mother seriously injured. He learns that his mother is from an elven race and is an outcast for marrying outside her race. But the only way to heal her is to take her pendant to her tree. He is also given his grandfather’s sword, the Unicorn Blade, which has a lot of power.

But this is not a simple quest. The lands are at war and one group wants to extinguish the lives of all elves. Thankfully Brax has a group of friends to help him along the way. The Unicorn Blade also help teach him how special he really is and how to use his new powers. Brax is the only one that will save his world.

This is a marvelous fantasy story. Brax gets thrown out to a bigger world and gets a crash course in magical abilities and war. It was so easy to get into this story, by the second chapter I couldn’t put the book down. There is action, adventure, lots of fighting, and serious bad guys.

I strongly recommend checking this book out. Any fantasy lover will instantly adore this book. I can’t wait to see what happens to Brax and his group next.

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

Jeff J. Peters

Blogger Guest Post

How I got involved in fantasy

I had just immigrated to the US as a teenager, when a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Hobbit, which I loved, and went on to read the LOTR and a number of other books, including those by Eddings and Brooks. I quickly became fascinated with all things fantasy – movies, books, tabletop games – anything related to these imaginary worlds and the characters within them. In high school, I developed text-based computer games (before there was graphic rendering), and started writing short stories and ideas about various heroes and events. Looking back, most of my free time was spent in the genre in one form or another. This continued throughout college and, after getting married, I started reading sword & sorcery stories to my two boys when they were young. I still love a great read, and am always captivated by the new ideas authors create. The fantasy category has really exploded over the years, with tons of terrific stories coming out all the time. Computers, of course, have accelerated this, adding strong visual effects, great story telling, and fascinating worlds. What started out as a limited genre is now mainstream, and I look forward to seeing what other authors and game designers come up with next.


Jeff J. Peters


Two large, muscular beasts stood behind the flames and slightly to one side, another lying further back and to the left.


They occasionally entered the Spine to hunt, wearing totems for protection that never worked, and his kin always defeated them. There hadn’t been any significant intrusion in almost six hundred years—not since the Breath of the Dragon wiped out their valley.

“So what ya doing in the mountains?” Thrag mumbled to himself, studying their bull-like faces. They had furs and leather jerkins covering their human bodies, and their weaponry was too advanced for a hunting party. Sentries, he concluded. But for what?

He needed to find out and report in, and they were too dangerous to be left alone. Unstrapping his giant battleax from across his back, he loosened the throwing weapon in his belt. Clenching his jaw, he readied to charge, then stopped. He couldn’t see into the trees. Normally, he wouldn’t care, but this time he had to be sure. Someone had to report, and something about this already had his beard on edge.

Turning around, he put his back against the boulder where he hid and called. A long, peaceful sound echoed among the rocks. He knew the Mins would hear it, even though he was downwind, but he wasn’t worried—he’d been a ranger for more than sixty years and could imitate nature’s calls. His sound was strong and true, riding the wind between the mountain pines and craggy valleys before fading away. He repeated it a few more times, then waited. As expected, the Mins ignored it. Minutes passed, and he watched the trees. Then a branch moved. Against the wind. His companion was closer than he’d thought, as usual.

Time to go.

Thrag burst from the rocks, hurling his smaller ax at the Minotaur on the right as he sprinted across the clearing. The weapon hit the beast square in the forehead, felling him. The other Min grabbed its weapon and brayed loudly. Thrag leapt up onto a stump directly opposite the fire, using the smoke to obscure his approach, and launched himself at the beast. He came through the screen with his battleax held high above his head in both hands, yelling as he appeared. The creature raised its halberd to block the strike, but Thrag’s ax smashed into it, splitting the shaft in two. The Min stepped back to steady itself, but the dwarf wasn’t slowing. He landed in front of it, bringing his weapon around and striking diagonally across, hitting the Min below the knee and severing its leg. The creature bellowed a horrific call, falling onto its newly formed stump. The third Min was up now, a spear in hand and coming to the fight. It pulled its arm back preparing to skewer the dwarf, but a dark form hit it from behind, sending the creature hurtling past Thrag. The dwarf ignored it. He thrust the top of his weapon straight up, hitting the crippled Min under the chin and jolting its head back. Raising his battleax again in both hands, Thrag struck down with his formidable strength, burying the blade deep into the Min’s chest, killing it.

He turned to look for the remaining beast. It hung from the massive jaws of a giant, sleek, charcoal-gray leopard standing eye level beside him.

“About time you helped,” Thrag admonished, looking into his companion’s enormous eyes.

The leopard gently lay the dead Min down on the ground without making a sound and stared back at the dwarf.

Thrag rocked his head from side to side. “Well . . . thanks,” he said.

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