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Archive for May, 2018

Made in LA

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Made in LA Fiction Anthology Vol. 1

Readers in Los Angeles are thirsty for stories that bring their city to life. This anthology features a diverse range of voices and genres. Like the City of Angels in which these stories were born, nothing is off-limits. Literary or contemporary, noir or ghost story, fabulism or science fiction, each story in this volume will forever change the way you look at this iconic metropolis.

Made in L.A. Writers is a collaborative of Los Angeles-based authors dedicated to nurturing and promoting indie fiction. This 2018 volume is the first of the annual Made in L.A. anthology series. While our styles, themes, and story locales differ, our work is both influenced and illuminated by our hometown and underpinned by the extraordinary, multifaceted, and often surreal culture and life in the City of Angels.

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This book is created by a team of amazing author’s make sure to check out all of their books. You won’t be disappointed.

My Review

5 stars

Los Angeles is a place of many things. Hopes, dreams, fun, and horror. This collection of short stories has a little bit of everything in them. You will read about aliens, demons and angels, the young trying to be famous, and those past their primes. It definitely has something for everyone and no one will be disappointed. I loved all of these stories, some more so than others, but they were all a joy to read.

I won’t go into a summary of each story even though it pads my reviews. But believe me, if you can think about it possibly being in LA, it is in these stories. I really loved Salt in the Hell Mouth and the possibilities of demons being fought in the streets unknown to the rest of us.

This is a great collection of short stories based in the LA area. I loved the book and recommend everyone check it out. I can’t wait to read volume two.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

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He

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He by John Connolly

An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake . . .

And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe.

he is Stan Laurel.
But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction.

With he, John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity, the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists, and one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel & Hardy.

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John Connolly

Author’s Bio

John was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London.  (A dogsbody, for our North American friends, is a ‘go-fer’.) He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper.  He divides his time between Dublin and Portland, Maine; makes regular donations to the wine industry; and keeps a number of dogs in a remarkable degree of comfort.

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My Review

4 Stars

This is a fictional biography of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, otherwise known as Stan Laurel of the infamous Laurel and Hardy. I have heard their names and seen a couple skits of Laurel and Hardy, but I’m sorry to admit that I don’t know much about them beyond that. I liked this book because you get to travel along with Stan as he comes to America and makes his break into Hollywood along with Oliver Hardy.

This book was an interesting read as you follow along with Stan as he is in understudy for Charlie Chaplin, doesn’t make it, finds a grove with Hardy, and then makes it big with “talkies”. But just like almost all Hollywood stories, nothing stays the same and as fast as you rise you can fall just as fast.

Stan has a lot of things that go wrong in his life including numerous marriages, the death of a child, losing fame, and of course the loss of money. His life was not easy, but throughout it all he always had Oliver to lean on.

Now, having said that, I’m sorry to say but the writing style got on my nerves with the super short sentences, repetition, and use of full names. After a while you tend to get used to it, but it did make it difficult getting into this book. But overall it was a good read. It definitely made me want to learn more about Laurel and Hardy along with watching their movies.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Quercus for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Dead Girls

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Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

I may not remember everything, but I know he won’t hurt anyone else.

I won’t let him.

It’s been two months since a serial killer brutally attacked police detective Alisha Green and left her for dead. Two months since she could effortlessly recall simple things, since her mind felt remotely sound. The nameless killer thinks he knows her, thinks she’s just another dead girl among many. Ali Green plans to show him he’s dead wrong about that.

Ali has two enemies now: the dangerous man she’s hunting and her own failing memory. As explosive new evidence comes to light and conflicting accounts from a witness and a surviving victim threaten both her investigation and her credibility, she begins to question what is and isn’t real. And now Ali has no choice but to remember the past…before it buries her.

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Praise for Dead Girls

A hypnotically gripping thriller that proves internationally bestselling author Graeme Cameron is one of the most unique voices in contemporary fiction today.

“Chilling [and] blackly humorous…Normal marks Cameron out as one to watch.” —Daily Express, 4 stars

“Original and gripping.” —Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author, on Normal

Graeme Cameron

Author’s Bio

Graeme Cameron is the bestselling author of Normal and its sequel, Dead Girls. He was born, raised and remains in Norfolk, where he juggles writing with a career in the motorsport industry. He is assisted in procrastinating by four children and such high-octane pursuits as photography, boardgaming, toy restoration, crochet, and bingeing on Netflix.

Website

My Review

4 stars

Detective Alisha Green is on the hunter for a serial killer when she is abducted and beaten. She manages to escape and just knows that her kidnapper is the same person as the serial killer. The problem is she has memory issues since her attack. She is trying to keep it together and keep her little secret from her partner. But when new evidence comes to light, it makes Alisha question what she knows.

This book had a lot happening in it. There we so many points of view that I became as confused as Ali. Then you have Ali herself that is starting to have a hard time figuring out what is real and what is in her head. This made the books hard to get into.

I really liked Normal and wanted to like Dead Girls too. But I see that I’m not the only one with mixed opinions. I will still check out Graeme Cameron’s other books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Mira for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Dark Angel

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Dark Angel (James & Sandersen Files – 2) by PJ Nash

Looking for a fast-paced serial killer thriller full of twists and turns?

When a commuter discovers a mutilated corpse on the Prague Metro, Captain  Jiri Hofschnadir of the Criminal Police is called in to investigate.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, newly-weds ex British cop Lawrence James and forensic psychologist, Jessie Sandersen are on honeymoon after their frantic efforts to capture the Australian serial killer known as The Dingo.

But wherever James and Sandersen go, trouble is never far behind.

As the body count rises in Prague, Sandersen is called in to help track down the serial killer dubbed The Dark Angel.

In a game of cat and mouse, James and Sandersen will be pushed to their very limits.

Dark Angel is the second book in the James & Sandersen Files, but can also be read as a thrilling stand-alone. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed, crime thriller which will appeal to fans of authors such as Mark Edwards, Robert Bryrdnza and Michael Connelley.

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Author’s Bio

P.J Nash was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the birthplace of George Eliot and Shakespeare, respectively. Not surprisingly he decided he’d like to be a writer too.

After studying history and working in PR for a few years, he was running a second hand bookshop, when wanderlust and destiny in the form of his future wife took him to Prague.

During his time behind the counter in the shop and travelling on trams between English lessons he wrote his first crime novel, The Hunt for the Dingo featuring maverick British expat cop, Lawrence James and and his hunt for a serial killer in Australia. On his return to the UK, he drew on his Bohemian adventures to write his second crime novel featuring Lawrence James and his co-investigator, Dr Jessie Sandersen.  He currently lives on a narrowboat with his wife Clare and grumpy cat, Lulu.

In his past life P.J. Nash was a Special Constable for the Warkwickshire police.

Nash is also a member of the CWA and International Thriller Writers.

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My Review

4 stars

In Prague, a woman dubbed the Dark Angel targets male British tourists. She has been wronged in the past and we follow along as she starts to get her grove killing these guys in a brutal way. Ex cop Lawrence James and Jessie Sandersen are on their honeymoon in Hong Kong but as the bodies start piling up in Prague, forensic psychologist Jessie Sandersen is called in to help stop the Dark Angel.

I really enjoyed reading The Hunt for the Dingo and couldn’t wait to get into Dark Angel. This is an action packed thrill ride with a vicious killer. You get to see inside her and you will come to kind of understand what motivates her. It’s kind of hard to hate the serial killer when you sympathize with her. Of course James and Sandersen are trouble magnates. I mean they are trying to enjoy their honeymoon when they are thrown into the case of the Dark Angel.

I loved the different locations but I have to say that Prague was my favorite. The Dark Angel is malicious and intent of stopping those she feels have wronged her. The short chapters keep you reading just one more before bed and you have the feeling that no one is safe. This is the second book in the series and although it could be read as a standalone I would recommend checking out The Hunt for the Dingo first so you have a better background.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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the Awakening

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The Awakening: Book 1 of Valkyrie’s Curse Series

Author: Ellie Mack

Release date – June 20, 2018

BLURB

Helena Eskildson is obsessed with Vikings and Norse Mythology. Neither Helena nor her sister knows they are Freya’s daughters – Valkyries, the shield maidens to Odin.
When her obsession leads her to a remote site at Roskilde and it’s two monolithic rune stones, her destiny is awakened.
While the team wages a battle between a cursed site and a sociopathic killer, time is ticking closer to Ragnarok.
Will her friends be able to save her before the gjallerhorn sounds?

Available for Preorder NOW on Amazon for 99 cents!

EXCERPT

He felt he had the favor of the Norns, the three goddesses associated with destiny, that were akin to the Greek gods of fate.

Having the favor of the gods meant success in his goals. He was destined to be Lif, the last man standing, the lone man that would repopulate the earth after Ragnarok. In essence, he would become the new Adam.

The rituals were necessary, an integral part of the process before using the key. Unfolding the linen handkerchief carefully, the ancient bronze key looked nothing like what most would think of as a key. A circular piece, about six inches in diameter spanned from his thumb to the tip of his middle finger. Runic writings along the outside edge written within the form of the great serpent Jormungand, the great dragon conquering the gripping animal grouping in a circular band about two inches wide, the design in the eternal triskell pattern. Inside of that, written in runes was the location of the gjallerhorn. At the center were nine swords pointing to an amber stone, nine strands over an open area, the stone center raised with a square notch in the back. It had to be positioned precisely at the solstice.

 Ellie Mack

Author Bio:

Since leaving the corporate world for the title of MOM, Ellie Mack has pursued her writing dreams. This former columnist is using her sassy opinions to shape her writing in novels. She lives near St. Louis, MO with her husband and two daughters. Ellie is a breast cancer survivor and wants to encourage others who are going through this battle.

When she’s not writing she can be found bullet journaling, crocheting, or cooking. You can find her musings on her blog: https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com

OTHER BOOKS BY ELLIE MACK:

Red Wine & Roses

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass

Roxy Sings the Blues

Tempting Fate: Charity Anthology

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A DARK PATH
Series: Katrina Williams #3
by Robert E. Dunn
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pub Date: 8/7/2018
Sheriff’s detective Katrina “Hurricane” Williams confronts deep-rooted hate
and greed in the Missouri Ozarks in this riveting police procedural…
What at first appears to be a brush fire in some undeveloped bottom land
yields the charred remains of a young African-American man. As
sheriff’s Katrina Williams conducts her in-spection of the crime
scene, she discovers broken headstones and disturbed open graves in a
forgotten cemetery.
As Katrina attempts to sort out a complex backwoods criminal network
involving the Aryan Brotherhood, meth dealers, and the Ozarks
Nightriders motorcycle gang, she is confronted by the sudden
appearance of a person out of her own past who may be involved. And
what seems like a clear-cut case of racially motivated murder is
further complicated by rumors of hidden silver and dark family
histories. To uncover the ugly truth, Katrina will need to dig up
past crimes and shameful secrets that certain people would kill to
keep buried . . .
A PARTICULAR DARKNESS
Katrina Williams Book 2
Pub Date: 9/12/2017
From the author of A Living Grave comes a gripping police procedural
featuring sheriff’s detective Katrina Williams as she exposes the
dark underbelly of Appalachia . . .
Dredging up the Truth
Still recovering from tragedy and grieving a devastating loss, Iraq war
veteran and sheriff’s detective Katrina Williams copes the only way
she knows how—by immersing herself in work. A body’s just been
pulled from the lake with a fish haul, but what seems like a
straight-forward murder case over the poaching of paddlefish for
domestic caviar quickly becomes murkier than the depths of the lake.
Soon a second body is found—an illegal Peruvian refugee woman linked to
a charismatic tent revival preacher. But as Katrina tries to
investigate the enigmatic evangelist, she is blocked by antagonistic
FBI agents and Army CID personnel. When more young female refu-gees
disappear, she must partner with deputy Billy Blevins, who stirs
mixed feelings in her, to connect the lake murder to the refugees.
Katrina is no stranger to darkness, but cold-blooded conspirators
plan to make sure she’ll never again see the light of day . . .
A LIVING GRAVE
Katrina Williams Book 1
The first in a gritty new series featuring sheriff’s detective Katrina
Williams, as she investigates moonshine, murder, and the ghosts of
her own past…


BODY OF PROOF
Katrina Williams left the Army ten years ago disillusioned and damaged. Now a
sheriff’s detective at home in the Missouri Ozarks, Katrina is
living her life one case at a time—between mandated therapy
sessions—until she learns that she’s a suspect in a military
investigation with ties to her painful past.


The disappearance of a local girl is far from the routine distraction,
however. Brutally murdered, the girl’s corpse is found by a
bottlegger whose information leads Katrina into a tangled web of
teenagers, moonshiners, motorcycle clubs, and a fellow veteran
battling illness and his own personal demons. Unraveling each thread
will take time Katrina might not have as the Army investigator
turns his searchlight on the devastating incident that ended her
military career. Now Katrina will need to dig deep for the
truth—before she’s found buried…
Robert E. Dunn was born an Army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He
wrote his first book at age eleven turning a series of Jack Kirby
comic books into a hand written novel.

Over many years in the, mostly, honest work of video and film production
he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his
favorite, travelogues. He returned to writing mystery, horror, and
fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It
seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not
always his choice.

Mr. Dunn is the author of the horror novels, THE RED HIGHWAY, MOTORMAN,
and THE HARROWING, as well as the Katrina Williams mystery/thriller
series, A LIVING GRAVE, A PARTICULAR DARKNESS, and the upcoming A
DARK PATH.

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Beside the Syrian Sea by James Wolff

Jonas works for the UK secret service as an intelligence analyst. When his father is kidnapped and held for ransom by ISIS gunmen in Syria, he takes matters into his own hands and begins to steal the only currency he has access to: secret government intelligence. He heads to Beirut with a haul of the most sensitive documents imaginable and recruits an unlikely ally – an alcoholic Swiss priest named Father Tobias. Despite barely surviving his previous contact with ISIS, Tobias agrees to travel into the heart of the Islamic State and inform the kidnappers that Jonas is willing to negotiate for his father’s life. When the British and American governments realise they may be dealing with betrayal on a scale far greater than that of Edward Snowden, they try everything in their power to stop Jonas, and he finds himself tested to the limit as he fights to keep the negotiations alive and play his enemies off against each other. As the book races towards a thrilling confrontation in the Syrian desert, Jonas will have to decide how far he is willing to go to see his father again.

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Author’s Bio

James Wolff grew up in the Middle East and now lives in London. He has worked for the British government for the past ten years. Beside the Syrian Sea is his first novel.

My Review

4 stars

Jonas is a British intelligence officer located. He learns that his father has been kidnapped by ISIS and tries to get the British government to help with the ransom. But the British government doesn’t negotiate. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Jonas seals secrets and heads to Beirut to get his father back. He realizes his limitations and asks Gather Tobias, a drunken Swiss priest to help with the negotiations.

What follows is a race against time as Jonas tries to get his father back. The government knows he stole secrets and is trying to catch him. Jonas has to stay one step ahead of the government and ISIS to try and play them off each other. But it’s going to be close to save his father.

This is a great, action filled story. Jonas is not your typical hero. He is more soft spoken and very introverted. But when it comes to saving his father, he is willing to do whatever it takes, even stealing from his own government.

For a first book, James Wolff has a great read. I’m and curious to see what he comes up with for his next book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Bitter Lemon Press for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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