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Archive for June 28th, 2018

Boy in the Mirror

Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Horror

Date Published: December 31, 2016
Publisher: TRO Publishing
 
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Fifteen-year-old Jacqueline Talbot’s boyfriend Mal lives in the mirror of her makeup case. There’s never been anything normal about Jacqueline; not during her time in foster care, and certainly not in her new hometown of Mercy Hills.
With rumors of actual monsters in the woods, the popular kids taking an unhealthy interest in her, and the revealing of her own dark past, all Jacqueline wants to do is run away forever with Mal. Too bad he’s trapped in the mirror.
But when she learns the ancient forces of the town want to destroy everything she loves, the race is on to free the boy in the mirror, because he just might be the only one who knows how to stop them.

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Excerpt

Olivia tripped, falling on her rump with a yelp. Jacqueline continued to kick out her feet, trying to scurry away from the lurching monstrosity as fast as she could. She tried to get her anger to rise up again, to feel the strength of her rage as she had when Papa Gelick attacked her, but it remained hidden, locked away, out of reach. This wasn’t confronting some boisterous kid in a high school hallway. This was real. This was dangerous.
And Jacqueline was afraid.
“Get away!” Annette’s voice shouted. “Don’t come any closer!”
Jacqueline’s friends rushed forward. Ronni helped Jacqueline to her feet while Annette did the same for Olivia. Neil stepped toward the man with the knife with his phone held up, the flashlight on the back shining. The man held up his hand to shield his eyes. Jacqueline shrugged away from Ronni and joined Neil’s side, trying not to be completely terrified.
The man dropped his hand and leered at them. Neil kept his arm raised, the wavering light revealing a haggard, forty-something adult with a patchy beard, messed-up teeth, and beady eyes. The guy wore a beaten-up leather duster and grimy jeans. He took another step toward them, which prompted Neil to hastily retreat and stumble over his own feet.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in,” the man growled as Neil fell. His beady eyes shifted in Jacqueline’s direction. “Not by the hair of my—”
His mouth abruptly snapped shut, his jaw twitched, his cheeks sagged. Jacqueline froze, not sure what to do. Finally, the brute turned tail and dashed across the parking lot, looking like he was headed for the thin line of woods on the mall’s west end.
Jacqueline wasn’t sure if the danger was over. She heard Olivia sobbing behind her. “I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry…my cousin was mugged last week…what’s wrong with this town?” Jacqueline stepped toward the darkened area between the two cars, where the second shadow still lay. The victim. Jacqueline knelt on wet pavement. She touched the body, and it flinched.
“Please…” whispered a weak, female voice.
“Guys!” Jacqueline called out over her shoulder. “Neil, call 9-1-1!”

About the Author

Robert J. Duperre is an author from Connecticut, the land of insurance, tobacco, and unfulfilled dreams. Over his mildly interesting life, Robert has released seven novels that skirt the line between horror, science fiction, and fantasy, as well as edited and contributed to a pair of short story collections. His novel “Soultaker” was released in 2017 by Ragnarok Publications. He also co-wrote “The Breaking World” series with David Dalglish, which was picked up and published by 47North, a subsidiary of Amazon Publishing. And all this was accomplished while living happily ever after with his wife, the artist Jessica Torrant.
 
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My Review

5 stars

Jacqueline Talbot has had a rough go. Her father is a murderer and her mother passed away leaving her an orphan. She has been bounced between foster homes and then her Aunt Mitzy shows up to rescue her and take her back to the family home. She makes friends easily in Mercy Hills but has a secret. Jacqueline’s best friend, Mal is a ghost in her compact. This keeps her busy trying to find a way to free him. But there is more to Mercy Hills than what you see on the outside. The monsters are rising and it is up to Jacqueline and Mall to stop them.

I loved this story. You feel for Jacqueline, I mean her father is a murderer and the best thing for her is to get a fresh start. But, of course, fresh starts don’t always mean a good start. I loved the diversity of her friends and the town. Of course you want Mal to get out of the mirror and I loved how he got trapped there.

I didn’t want to put this book down. There is so much going on and I was kept on the edge of my seat hoping everything was going to work out. This is the first book in a series and a fantastic start. Now I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands and the second book.

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

Enter for your chance to win 2 Signed physical copies of all books released in series.
 
RABT Book Tours & PR
I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.
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Go Home Afton

Go Home, Afton

Author: Brent Jones

Length: Novella

Genre: Thriller

Series: Afton Morrison, Book 1

Release Date: June 25, 2018

We all wear masks, and Afton Morrison is no exception.

A small-town librarian with a dark side, Afton, twenty-six, has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life. Impulses that demand she commit murder.

Blending her urges with reason, Afton stalks a known sexual predator, intending to kill him. But her plan, inspired by true crime and hatched with meticulous care, is interrupted by a mysterious figure from her past. A dangerous man that lurks in the shadows, watching, threatening to turn the huntress into the hunted.

Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

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  Brent Jones

About the Author

From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Brent Jones

My Review

5 stars

Afton Morrison is a small town librarian that hates kids, especially their parents, and has the desire to kill. She is drawn to kill but she wants to make it matter. So, she chooses Kenneth Pritchard, a serial rapist that seems to always get away with the crime. But there is more to this story. She has a snarky alter ego that seems to want to kill discriminately and The Man in the Shadows who seems to be someone that is going to get her caught before her first kill.

I first met Afton in Brent Jones’ short story An Honest Day’s Work A Book With No Pictures. She stood out because she is so quiet and great with children at the library but then she clearly has a wild and dark side. I loved learning more about her as she goes about planning for her first kill.

You can’t help but like Afton. She has the desire to kill but doesn’t want to just randomly kill. I loved Animus and her snarkiness. She reminds me of that devil sitting on the cartoon characters shoulder. The Man in the Shadows had me wondering if Afton really had a stalker or was slipping further into the deep side.

Of course this is a four part novella and ends with quite a cliff hanger. But don’t worry; the second part will be released shortly. This is a great story that drew me in quickly and left me wanting to read more about Afton. This is another wonderful read from Brent Jones.

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

Excerpt (Chapter 3)

Parents—stay-at-home moms, mostly—brought in their toddlers once a week so I could read them a story. And I use the word toddlers loosely. Kids as old as six or seven sometimes attended during the summer. And the stories we would read were made up of fewer than fifty words, for the most part. A lot of the mothers in Wakefield were too lazy to read to their own children, I guess.

Oh, and crafts, too. After reading a story together, we’d break out glitter and colored pencils and paste and other nonsense, but that wasn’t the real reason a dozen women turned out with their little monsters each week. Storytime was an excuse for the mothers to gather and gossip. It always took a little while to get the children to settle down, sure. I’d press my finger to my lips and wait. Five or ten seconds at most, although I would have been happy to wait longer. Their mothers, on the other hand, were so much worse. Getting them to shut their fucking traps was a whole separate exercise in endurance.

But as much as I disliked children, there was something magical about them. It was their inability to see gray, I think. Their entire worlds existed in black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. You could see it in their faces as a story unfolded, rife with nervous energy at every inconsequential turn.

“And she just doesn’t know”—I read to the room, pointing to each gigantic word—“should she stay, should she go?”

I caught a boy’s expression, who sat just inches from me. The hippopotamus in our story was faced with a dilemma, and this boy was transfixed. His eyes were wide, his hands were cupped over his mouth, and he was vibrating with anticipation to see what the hippo would do next.

I flipped to the last page. “But yes the hippopotamus.”

The boy relaxed a little, making a deliberate show of letting his shoulders drop. A talented drama queen in the making. He was new to storytime and looked to be about five or six years old. He had dark hair, a tan complexion, and a missing front tooth. He’d attended just once before and he’d sat close that day, as well. I’d never really been big on learning children’s names, to be honest, but I knew his was Neil only because he’d come to the library alone both times. It sounds strange, I’m sure, but having a parent use the library as a free babysitting service happens more often than most people would guess.

I continued on, reading the final words of the story. “But not the armadillo.”

Neil was stressed all over again, and his tiny hand shot up. “Miss Afton?”

“Yes, ah, Neil? What is it, little man?”

“How come not the arma-darma?”

“Armadillo.” A woman in baggy gray sweatpants corrected him from the back of the room. She was a few years older than me, had bleach-blonde hair in a ponytail, and her voice resembled a seagull getting crushed by a car.

I shut the book and set it on my lap. “That’s a good question, Neil.” I bit my lower lip, deciding how much to share. “Well, let’s see. Ah, no one likes armadillos, for starters. They’re bullet-proof, if you can believe it, and ugly as sin. They carry leprosy, too, but they don’t bite children too often.”

The woman at the back of the room—Sweatpants, let’s call her—looked horrified. Her stained teeth chattered and she blinked in rapid succession. She placed her palms over her daughter’s ears, a girl around three or four in age.

Neil scratched his head. “What’s a lepra-she?”

“It’s—”

Sweatpants raised her hand to silence me—not that I minded—and looked to a few of the other mothers in the room for support, most of whom were checked out or occupied with their phones. She looked back at me again, then at her daughter. “It’s when good little boys and girls get ice cream.” That wasn’t how I might have defined the word, however. “You want to stop for ice cream on the way home, Jessi?”

It was hard enough getting these little turds to sit still for all fourteen pages of But Not the Hippopotamus. Why on earth would this woman want to stuff her daughter’s face with sugar before lunch? But the girl jumped up and squealed at the mention of sweets, and soon, other kids joined in, as did their mothers.

I peeked down at Neil to see him cradling his head in his hands, masking a look of disappointment by staring at the floor. It appeared he had forgotten all about armadillos and leprosy and storytime, and now sulked, wishing he had a parent present to take him for ice cream like the other children.

The mothers talked amongst themselves, and their toddlers fed on the elevated energy levels. The room was alive with discourse, and I wondered if the local Dairy Queen might consider paying me a small commission. “Well, that’s it for storytime, boys and girls. Thanks for coming.”

Sweatpants spoke up at the back of the room, the self-elected leader of Wakefield’s fattest and frumpiest. “But it’s only quarter past, Afton. Isn’t storytime supposed to be a full hour?”

“Just figured you were all on your way to get a double-scoop of leprosy.”

“Very funny.”

I raised my hands in a gesture of mock uncertainty. “We’ve got crafts we can do.” I pointed to three short tables covered in plastic, adorned with supplies that Kim had set up for us. “Should we get to it?”

“That won’t take long. Couldn’t you read them another story first?”

Couldn’t I read them another story? It’d been her idea to squeeze out one of these little nightmares. Why was I being punished for it? “Not this week, I’m afraid. Sorry.”

But she just wouldn’t give up. “Afton, do you know where Jessi’s daddy is right now?”

My first thought was that her husband was probably fucking her sister at some roadside motel with hourly rates, bed bugs, and a one-star rating on Trip Advisor. I couldn’t say that out loud, of course, and so I fought like hell to keep a smirk off my face. It helped to keep my sights trained on Jessi, who had sat back down, cross-legged in a checkered dress. She was drawing on the floor with one small finger.

Sweatpants answered her own question. “He’s at work, Afton. And he works hard, by the way, and we pay more than our share of taxes in this town. Taxes that pay your salary.”

Oh, the salary card. How I loved it when disgruntled parents brought up my salary, as if any one of them wanted to trade places with me. Yes, her taxes paid me a small fortune. That’s why I rented a one-bedroom apartment in a triplex. And it’s the same reason I drove a seven-year-old Corolla. I was so grateful—indebted, even—to Sweatpants and her husband that I just couldn’t wait to read another story.

“Sure thing.” I grabbed a second book off the pile next to me. “One more story, coming right up.”

Sweatpants smiled. It was a flat, fake smile, of course, the kind where the mouth curls tight but the eyes are dormant. It was about the best I could have hoped for, and it seemed to have a calming effect on the other mothers. They quieted down, eager to return to their various text message conversations.

I pointed my finger to more jumbo text on a colorful page. A story about an overweight and diabetic caterpillar with impulse control issues, who was always so very very fucking hungry. “In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf . . .”

And I couldn’t help but lose myself in thought. I was that little egg on a leaf, glimmering in the moonlight, and about to hatch. Soon after, the morning would come. And my hunger would be satiated at last, because Kenneth Pritchard would be dead.

Tour Schedule

June 25th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

Book Wonderland (Review) https://bookwonderlandweb.wordpress.com/

Down the Rabbit Hole (Review) http://meggydowntherabbithole.wordpress.com/

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review) https://touchmyspinebookreviews.com

June 26th

Book Dragon Girl (Review) http://www.bookdragongirl.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Reviews (Review) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com

The Scribblings (Review) https://thescribblingssite.wordpress.com

June 27th

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

June 28th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.wordpress.com/

Just 4 My Books (Review) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com

June 29th

Kim Knight (Review) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Port Jerricho (Review)  http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com

 

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R&R Book Tours

I would like to thank R&R Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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