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Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

Code of Rainbow by Weiqi Wang

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Soaring Flame and the Dragon-transcending Magimal (Book 1)

Some say this book has a Harry Potter feeling, but it’s a completely novel story and unique magic world. The world is beautiful because it’s full with magic elements of seven types, each in a designated color – just like the rainbow code! That said, those colors could only be seen by some special eyes, such as Soarame’s!

Many animals in this world possess magic power, so they were called “magimals.” A well-known example is dragons, and we all know how strong they are. However, they are still not the most powerful kind of magimals, because each type of magic has a king kind – and never underestimate a magimal just because it looks cute and little!

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My Review

4 Stars

Soarame has humble beginning and a special ability to see magic. When the wizard Scankeen comes to town he rents a room from Soarame’s father and learns of Soarame’s abilities. Scankeen stays with Soarame for many years training him and then sends him to the Institution of Libral. Thus beginning Soarame’s learning how to use his abilities, meeting other students and magimals, and starting his adventures.

This is a wonderful, magic filled story about Soarame. He has some serious abilities that can be used for good and just as easily corrupted for darkness. Although a bit naïve to the world he still has a good heart and an eagerness to learn.

I admit that I did have a hard time starting this story. The narration was a little clunky and made trying to sort out the information dump a little challenging. But once everything gets laid out the story started to flow. This is when I really got engrossed in the tale and wanted more.

This is the first book in the series and I am very excited to see where the story goes from here.

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Ancient Barons and the Returned Assassin (Book 2)

Two years after the MagiMax incident, everything seemed to be peaceful. Until one day, Soarame and his friends received a threat from an unknown person, who they suspected to be Max. At the same time, they realized that Rodka had been badly injured by the same person and since then missing. The friends thus must do something to help him, but they were no more than a group of school teens without enough power. What could they do to help their friend – and do it without leaving the campus?

Fortunately, there was a solution! Carrying the hope, Soarame and his friends started making their best efforts in different ways. But to their greatest astonishment, someone had been watching them all the time…

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My Review

4 Stars

It has been a couple years since the last book. Soarame and his friends have grown. Things that were alluded to in the first book are now a reality and overall Soarame’s world is progressing nicely. But then the friends receive a threatening note regarding Rodka, who has graduated. Soarame wants to go save Rodka but he also wants to finish his schooling and learn more about his family.

I liked how we see the friends a few years older. I admit a note in the story would have made this transition a lot more smoothly. I enjoyed catching up with Soarame and his friends and seeing how things have changed since we last saw them. Of course now we can dive into the story more and it is clear that this book is not as innocent as the first book with more language and bloody fighting.

I do have to say that I like the magic elements; this is a fresh take on magic. I do like the combination of science and magic although it still feels a little rough. I loved seeing the Dragons and Empires idea coming to life in this book.

This is a great continuation of the series although I recommend reading them in order. I don’t think you would have a hard time jumping into this story but there is so much more to this book when you read it as a series.

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Code of Rainbow: Legends of Azure and the Masked Planet (Book 3)

Due to a shocking discovery, Soarame now has to undertake a new dangerous journey with his friends. He must cross the largest, most deadly ocean in the world. Battling more powerful, evil wizards, he was forced to escape underwater, and stay in the bottom of the ocean for weeks. But how could a teenage boy survive underwater, especially that there were lethal creatures down there? And what further perils are waiting for him, if he really survives?

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My Review

5 Stars

Soarame is looking for Filton and learns that the Astandos group he embarrassed on his first day of school may have run across Filton. Soarame is off to find Filton and save him but is ambushed. Soarame hides at the bottom of the Azure Sea. He has been there for a while and has learned that underwater is just as dangerous as above.

I have to say that I think this is the best book of the series so far. We are finally getting to see more of this world as Soarame is on his quest. I love the various locations and the people that Soarame meets on his quest. But as Soarame searches for Filton he starts to learn more about himself and his own past.

I have come to love this world. Soarame is a great character and is determined to find Filton. His quest takes him to new lands and into confrontations with new and very dangerous creatures and people. I had a hard time putting down book three since I just had to know what was going to happen next. I can’t wait to get my hands on book four.

I received a complimentary copy of this series. I voluntarily read and chose to post honest reviews.

Weiqi Wang

A Bit About Weiqi

While people may think “magic fantasy authors” are opposite to “scientists”, Weiqi Wang preserves his own opinions. As a D. Phil graduated from Oxford University, Weiqi loves to be both. After all, philosophy is to explain the world; some choose to use scientific languages, some put it also in fantasy.

This fantasy series is aimed at bridging magic fantasy with sci-fi, as a pioneer in this unique direction. It will show an immense magic world that may seem similar to that in a “pure” magic fantasy in the beginning, but become fundamentally different as the story goes on – more and more sci-fi elements will get into play!

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Smith Publicity

I would like to thank Smith Publicity and the Author for the opportunity to read and share this series.

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Road to Nowhere

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss Banner

Road To Nowhere

by Cy Wyss

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

 

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss

 

Synopsis:

 

PJ Taylor, the feline shapeshifter, is back! Someone is kidnapping people’s pet cats and holding them for ransom. When PJ’s beloved niece is catnapped, the trail leads PJ to Nowhere, a tiny hamlet north of her hometown of Mayhap. What intrigues will PJ find among the inhabitants of this minuscule community? You can bet it involves at least one person up to no good and flushing this person out could be…murder!

 

 

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery Published by: Nighttime Dog Press, LLC Publication Date: September 1, 2019 Number of Pages: 222 ASIN: B07WCHL75J Series: Eyeshine, 2 Purchase Links: Amazon, Goodreads  

Read an excerpt:

Robert Taylor entered the brownstone via the back door, closing it quietly behind himself. He was in a landing of pale green and gray with tan carpet and stairs leading upward and a sandwich board on the wall with office numbers. The woman he was looking for was in 303, two stories above him. He ascended the two flights, his heart leaden with reluctance. He considered himself a unicorn – someone special and rare. Not only was he smart and successful (head of his own one-man FBI office in Mayhap, Indiana), the women in his family had the unusual proclivity to turn into cats when the sun set. This made them particularly effective operatives, although in fearing for their safety he often restricted their usefulness. His sister, PJ, had been his most important informant up until her recent death. He couldn’t believe she was gone. It didn’t seem real. Didn’t cats have nine lives? He somehow expected PJ to rise from her grave and come back to him. Instead, here he was, about to attempt to convince a psychotherapist of his sanity in the face of his recent tragedies. All he wanted was to get back to work. They wouldn’t let him back without the sign-off from this woman, Ms. Julia Herzenberg. Her name conjured images of some ancient Freudian presence, maybe someone who looked like Dear Abby or Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, with copious wrinkles and a severe bun. He shivered at the idea of exposing his inner life to this person. On the third floor, the stairwell opened into a larger space of muted pastels that smelled of rose and mint. Three doors greeted him, and he pushed through the one whose frosted glass proclaimed it 303. Inside, soft new age music played, and the floral scent was stronger. The culprit was an incense burner on a small table near the door. Thin smoke wafted from a glazed, bulbous pot in gray ombre. The walls of the suite were a soothing blue and the furniture worn leather in earthy browns. Striped pillows and throw blankets abounded, and health magazines lined the coffee table. Robert perched on the edge of a fat armchair and crossed his legs, interlacing his fingers around his knee. He waited, with the demeanor of a man about to face something dire and unwanted. His first impression of Julia Herzenberg when she opened the inner door was that she looked nothing like an old psychiatrist or supreme court judge. Her hair flowed around her head in generous curls, spilling from her shoulders in waves of auburn silk. Her eyes were a crystalline green the likes of which he had only seen previously on actresses or fashion models. She was tall and thin, with slender, manicured fingers and long legs beneath a plaid wool skirt. She reminded him of a willow – inscrutable and eternal, with Nature’s grace and strength. “Robert Taylor?” she asked. It took him a moment to shut his flapping mouth and recover his aplomb. “Yes,” he finally said, extending his hand. She shook it firmly, her hand warm and dry. She led him into a brown hallway, and to an office at one end. The room contained the same homey furniture as the waiting area, in neutral shades of soft leather with woven and plush accompaniments. “Have a seat,” she said. He stared at the wide couch before him. “Do I need to lie down?” he asked. “Only if you want to,” she said. She sat in an armchair across from the couch with her knees pressed together and her hands folded in her lap. She studied him, an entirely unassuming expression on her porcelain face. Awkwardly, he perched on the edge of the couch and rested his weight on his elbows on his thighs. He let his hands dangle. She remained still and silent as he took in his surroundings. The paintings on the walls were interesting but not distracting and consisted of abstractions that reminded him of natural surroundings. The lights were incandescent, and the shades partially drawn, rendering the space as comforting as a forest nook where sunlight filtered through the branches above. Dr. Herzenberg even had a small fountain on one side table and the faint sound of running water complemented the illusion. Robert could feel his tension recede, despite his natural wariness and dark mood. Still, she said nothing. Robert felt her watching him and found he couldn’t meet her gaze directly. Rather, his eyes roved over their environment, never settling for more than a few seconds. Behind and beside her was a narrow bookcase with glass panels and something about it bothered him. He kept returning to it, until he realized why. On the very top of the bookcase was an old-fashioned globe and a statue that looked like a very realistic black cat. It could have been PJ. He stared at the cat, and almost jumped out of his seat when the statue blinked. “God, that’s a cat!” he said. Dr. Herzenberg smiled. “That’s Bella.” “Wow,” Robert said. “I thought she was a statue.” “She likes to sit up there,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Many of my patients don’t ever notice her.” “I’m amazed. You bring your cat with you to the office?” Dr. Herzenberg shrugged. “She doesn’t like to be alone.” “You could get her a companion.” “She doesn’t like other cats.” Robert chuckled. “Typical difficult feline.” “Tell me,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Are you a cat person?” He remembered his sister, and the fact he’d never see her again. His eyes burned, though he willed himself not to tear up. “You could say that,” he said. PJ had turned into a cat every night since shortly after she had hit puberty. He still remembered the first time she’d shapeshifted. He was a rookie cop at the time and looking after her since their parents had died, as her much older brother and legal guardian. They’d been playing video games on the couch when she howled and writhed in pain. He had thought she was dying and called 911. Imagine his chagrin when they arrived and found no sign of the girl that he’d insisted needed an ambulance. Instead, a black tabby cat watched him explain that he’d had a nightmare and called emergency services by mistake. His colleagues ribbed him for weeks afterward. Robert was so traumatized, he confined PJ to her room after sundown from that time forward, and he somehow managed to convince himself her transition hadn’t happened. It was only recently, with his own daughter, Nancy, entering puberty, that he’d finally opened up to PJ about her wonderous ability. He had been terrified that Nancy would become a shapeshifter as well. Be the status of that as it may, at least one outcome had been that he had become significantly closer to PJ, a relationship long overdue. His memories of PJ ran through his mind, and guilt stabbed his heart. If only he hadn’t been so pigheaded, he could have showed his love for her sooner. He could have had years of closeness instead of mere months. They could even, perhaps, have– No. He wouldn’t let himself think about that. Regret was a demon that ate you alive. It was what it was. He couldn’t change the past any more than he could draw castles in the sky. “What are you thinking about?” Dr. Herzenberg asked. Robert blinked several times, his reverie broken. “Nothing,” he said. She stared at him. His gaze dropped to the coffee table between them. “I was thinking of my sister,” he said. “Tell me about her.” Robert took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He crossed his arms over his chest and studied the carpet under their feet, a confetti-patterned collage of woodland hues. He found himself telling Dr. Herzenberg the truth – something he hadn’t done in decades. “She’s not actually my sister,” he said. “Oh?” She raised a delicate eyebrow. “Well, she wasn’t, I mean,” he said. “My father was her mother’s cousin.” Dr. Herzenberg appeared lost in thought for a moment. “So, your ‘sister’ was actually your second cousin?” “Yes,” Robert said. “Why do you call her your sister?” “Our parents married,” Robert said. “Legally, PJ was my sister.” “I see,” she said. Another wave of regret washed over Robert. He clasped his hands together and hung his head so she wouldn’t see the sheen of tears in his eyes. “I did read your employment record,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “You’ve had quite the last couple of weeks.” Robert snorted. “Yeah. You could say that.” “You failed the bureau’s lie detector test, separated from your wife, shot and killed a man, and your sister – your second-cousin, I mean – died. I’d say all of that qualifies you for a little paid leave.” Then there was the business with his daughter, which he couldn’t talk about, as well as the thing concerning his infidelity, which he likewise couldn’t bring himself to talk about. His shoulders drooped. “I don’t want paid leave,” he said. “I want to get back to work. All I do is sit around and mope. If I can work, I’ll feel better.” He looked up, into her concerned face. “What can I do to convince you I’m fit for returning to work – that, in fact, it’ll help me recover?” She tilted her head and scrutinized him. He fidgeted under the weight of those amazing green eyes. “You can’t run from your grief, Robert. Turning your attention elsewhere will only cause it to fester and grow into something uncontrolled.” He sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that.” On top of the bookcase, the cat stood and stretched elegantly, her back a deeply curved S. She sat on her haunches and used her paw to clean her snout. Robert watched, fascinated. “Tell me more about your sister,” Dr. Herzenberg said. Another wave of regret reminded Robert of his failures, and, with it, a twinge of fear piqued his soul. He’d already said too much. “You were close, I take it,” the psychiatrist said. “Yeah,” Robert said. Dr. Herzenberg waited. Robert looked around the room again, his gaze settling on the quarter-height of window, through which a gray fall sky was visible. “What bothers you most about her death?” she asked. Robert’s eyes lost their focus as his attention turned inward. Guilt weighed heavy in his heart as he remembered the past two weeks and his role in the whole mess. “I never…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it. Dr. Herzenberg perked up. “You never what?” He stared at the cat, who stared back unblinkingly. The odd sense of unreality overtook him again and he found himself speaking the truth once more. “I never told her how much I loved her,” he said. “I’m sure she knew,” Dr. Herzenberg said. Robert shook his head. “No. She didn’t.” “What makes you think that?” “I pushed her away. She wanted more from me. I should have given it to her.” Dr. Herzenberg’s brow furrowed and her eyes darkened. “What are we talking about, Robert? You’ve told me she wasn’t your blood sister. How did you see her? As your little sister? Or, as something more than that?” Robert ground his teeth. How did they get onto this topic? He was here to get back to work, not to get himself fired for inappropriate feelings toward PJ. “I shouldn’t have said it that way,” he said. “Of course, I meant it platonically.” She studied him. “You know that everything you tell me is confidential.” He frowned. “I know you have to report what I say to my superiors,” he said. “No,” she said. “I have to report my overall opinions. Your disclosures are entirely between us alone.” Robert stared up at Bella, whose golden gaze had never seemed to leave him. He was pretty sure the cat saw right through him, and he wondered how much of that ability Dr. Herzenberg had. He said nothing. *** Excerpt from Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss. Copyright 2019 by Cy Wyss. Reproduced with permission from Cy Wyss. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Cy Wyss Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They have a Ph.D. in computer science and their day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC. Before studying computer science, Cy obtained their undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. They studied overseas for three years in the UK, although they never managed to develop a British accent. Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with their spouse, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, they enjoy reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.

Catch Up With Cy Wyss On: Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

My Review

4 stars

PJ Taylor is a journalist that shape shifts into a cat at night. Several people have had their cats catnapped lately and the police are not excited about solving the mystery. PJ steps up and uses her abilities to help solve the crime.

I have not read the first book in this series, Eyeshine, but I had no problem jumping in and getting sucked into the story. That first page just had me asking so many questions that I was hooked from the start. I felt for PJ, she can’t control her ability to shift into a cat which is its own set of problems. But she uses it to find the catnapper.

There is a lot of that in this story, finding your true self. But I will say that the whole attraction with men thing seemed to be a bit much at times. There were some behaviors and reveals that had me wondering about the resolution.

Overall this is a great mystery. I had no problem hopping into book two but I really want to go back and read book one to find out what I missed. This is a quick mystery and one I recommend checking out.

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

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cy Wyss. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on September 1, 2019 and runs through October 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Silent Meridian

Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens Banner

 

 

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One:

Silent Meridian

by Elizabeth Crowens

on Tour August 18 – September 21, 2019

Synopsis:

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert pianist, but a paranormal investigator and a time traveler professor to a select few.

Like Holmes and Watson trying to solve a mystery, together they explore lost worlds and their friendship is tested to the limits when they go back in time to find it. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: SILENT MERIDIAN reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other luminaries in the secret diaries of John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. First Prize winner of Chanticleer Review’s Goethe Award for Turn-of-the-Century Historical Fiction and First Prize for Steampunk in the Independent Press Awards. Stay tuned for A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES; Book Two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.

Book Details:

Genre: Alternate History, Mystery, Fantasy Noir
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC
Publication Date: June 12th 2019
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781950384 (ISBN13: 9781950384044)
Series: The Time Traveler Professor #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Edinburgh, 1898

Scotland was just barely crawling its way out of the nineteenth century. I was a naïve, but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh hurrying over to meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who would change my life forever.

“John Patrick Scott, sir,” I said and approached Mr. Doyle, who was already seated at a back corner table of the Deacon Brodie, the pub that inspired the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I extended my hand to greet him and removed my rain-soaked hat, while my overcoat slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor by accident. It was still hard to believe that good fortune finally brought us together, but we were both nervous. “Mr. Conan Doyle, or should I call you Doctor Doyle?” I was unsure how to address him.

Doyle scrutinized me from top to bottom as he signaled the waiter. “John, call me Arthur.”

“Sir, I’m so honored that you agreed to discuss this matter. Perhaps you can enlighten me in a way that I’ve failed to comprehend.”

I wanted to ask him about my unusual turn of events straight away but he caught me off guard and was dead set on pulling me into the swift current of an unexpected conversation.

“Can I assume you believe in the transmigration of souls?” he asked.

“Until now, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” I said, unsure as to which direction he was leading.

“Did you ever read those books about that Swiss doctor who felt his body and soul had been taken over by a Benedictine monk? That presented a curious case. He claims that he was approached by the spirit of an elderly monk before he died, and that the monk needed to rent his body to continue his spiritual mission.”

“Rent?” I choked in disbelief.

“We truly don’t take anything with us when we pass on, do we? This monk knew he was dying and therefore needed to replace his physical body with something more youthful and vital.”

“That’s incredible. It debunks the theory that you need to die and be reborn as an infant to carry on your spirit.”

Mr. Doyle had the tinge of excitement in his voice.

“John, here’s another instance. I’ve had my suspicions about a famous musician who had an obsession about a notorious and controversial mystic. You’d surmise by his overwhelming attraction to that person he might’ve been him in a previous lifetime, but facts were clear he was born three years before the mystic died. My understanding is the mystic was aware he didn’t have long in his present incarnation. Therefore he made plans for some sort of partial soul transference while he was still alive to imprint his essence upon the child. That would’ve allowed him to carry on and accomplish unfinished business, which couldn’t have been executed otherwise. Essentially he had the ability of being two places at once.”

“Sounds more like Spiritualism,” I replied.

“Honestly, John, I don’t think there are any steadfast rules when it comes to this matter. That’s what makes it so intriguing.”

I sensed he had a secret agenda.

Doyle reloaded his churchwarden pipe with fresh tobacco and continued, “This is not at all like anything you’ve ever read from H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. We’re poking holes in every treatise written on the subject — the idea of being able to reincarnate a part of yourself while you are still alive into another soul.”

Our conversation was quickly becoming like a speeding train ready to jump the tracks. Realizing this, Doyle slowed down the pace and took a deep breath. He carefully composed his next statement.

“Fiction it may seem to be but it’s not hocus pocus. Don’t you also find it strange that you somehow found yourself initiated into a mystical order on a commuter train bound from London to Edinburgh when the instigators kept on mistaking you for me? There are no accidents.”

I became silent for a moment, stalling for time as I slowly raised my glass of ale to my lips. As soon as I fished a small red book out of my coat pocket and placed it on the table in front of us Arthur eyed it intently. It had been the source of intrigue, which led me to Doyle in the first place and piqued his curiosity as much as it did mine.

“Could I have done something terrible in my youth that caused this to happen?”

“You have no recollections, John?”

“I remember so little of my childhood. I wish I could.”

“You’re a smart young man. I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever deduction.”

Mr. Doyle paused to relight his pipe. He had an unnerving look in his eye, which I vainly tried to read into, but he took me for a spin when he brought up the next topic.

“On another note, John, have you ever considered that people are capable of communicating without speech, and I’m not talking about writing letters?”

“Pardon me?”

“Imagine communicating by mere thoughts. I’ve always wanted to experiment with someone open to these concepts. God knows — my brothers at the Society for Psychical Research certainly talk enough about it. My wife, Touie, has been an unwilling subject and is not the most objective choice.”

I looked at him, somewhat perplexed. “Are you asking me to accurately guess what you’re thinking?”

“Come now. We’ll play a game. I’ll form an image in my mind, and for the next minute I will try to project it into yours. Clear your thoughts of any distractions and be as receptive as possible,” he explained.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t have been more preoccupied. Images of that fateful event flashed through my brain. My recollections revealed my rain-soaked train ticket. I kept arguing with the steward about putting me in the wrong cabin. An erroneous judgment had been made when three strangers insisted I was Arthur. We were so different in physical appearance. He was a large, athletic man with a distinguished moustache. On the other hand, I had baby smooth skin and couldn’t grow facial hair to save my life. I was nearly twenty years younger and much shorter with wild auburn hair that resembled Maestro Beethoven’s with the exception of premature strands of gray.

So why was I singled out? Was there laudanum in my brandy? Details spun like a whirlwind. I must’ve been in a drug-induced stupor but I was initiated into some secret Masonic-like society, and when it was all over those mysterious men were gone. What remained were an engraved silver ring on my finger and an ominous red book on the seat beside me.

“Looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Arthur broke my trance and realized my thoughts had been elsewhere.

“I felt like I had.” Barely able to articulate, I tried to tame my wild mane in place. Visions faded in and out. Timelines jumped. So I gulped down another swig of ale to focus on the present.

Arthur leaned in closer. “I can see you’re still worried about that event on the train. Those men have been after me for some time. Why? It’s hard to fathom. I’ll dilly dally with notions here and there about Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Watson, who fancy themselves as detectives. Me? I’m just a simple doctor and writer with interests in Spiritualism trying to find scientific explanations for the unknown.”

“Arthur, what would anyone want with an unassuming music student like me?”

“Personally, I don’t think this was A Case of Identity,” Arthur replied with a smile.

Obviously he meant to say my dilemma was not a case of mistaken identity, not the name of one of his famous Sherlock stories. He was pleased I caught the humor of his play on words.

“Perhaps it has something to do with that book,” he said pointing to the one I brought.

“I’m concerned it’s dangerous, that it’s a curse. I wish I had never found it.” I shoved it back into my pocket and drained my glass.

* * *

One week later as I was returning home from school, my landlady, Lydia Campbell, yelled from the kitchen as I trudged my muddied shoes through the front door of her boarding house. “John, a letter from Undershaw arrived for you today! I wonder whom it could be from? You don’t know anyone from Undershaw, do you?”

Oh, yes I did. I grabbed the letter and ran upstairs so fast I nearly tripped on my muffler and fell on my face. I poured myself a glass of port to calm my nerves, doffed my wet garments and sank into my most comfortable brass-studded leather chair I affectionately named my thinking chair, where I created many a melody in my head, could think deep thoughts, and drift off to dreamland.

* * *

Dear John,

I wholeheartedly enjoyed our conversation at the Deacon Brodie and kept my promise of a prompt reply. By now, you are well aware of my passion to explore the realms of Spiritualism and related paranormal phenomena far surpasses any personal interests involved with Sherlock Holmes. Public demand for my writing, however, exerts a strain on how much I can overtly reveal to even my most trusted colleagues. Whenever I indulge in any activity, be it a simple séance, investigating a revered medium or attending a meeting of the British Society for Psychical Research, it never fails to raise the eyebrows of my wary publishers and critics. It’s God’s honest truth that I believe in many of these inexplicable accounts. Even my father painted beautiful renditions of fairies, which I trust he witnessed with his own eyes. The betterment of mankind rests on embracing such theories once they are proven to exist by the scientific community. Thus, I’ll have to continue more controversial and debatable endeavors in utmost secrecy, or at least for the time being until more evidence can be brought to light.

Since you seem to be an open-minded young man who has already experienced some effects of the preternatural, this is my proposal: At midnight every night, we should conduct a variety of remote operations with the primary purpose of communicating through means of telepathy. Since I have a tendency to travel, we’ll have to make some sort of adjustment to take into account the different time zones. Of course, you must share this secret with nobody. Besides us, only my wife will know, although she will not participate.

When you shared the account of the strange commuter train incident that was enough to convince me that you would be the perfect partner for this private undertaking. Most assuredly, there was something you did in the past in the realm of the arcane to warrant such a chain of events. That was not mere happenstance, and now since you possess that enigmatic red book, I’m sure it will affect your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

My intentions have been to perform similar trial and error enterprises with Harry Houdini, a rising star whose stage performances have been astounding audiences, but his busy schedule has made it nearly impossible to coordinate such engagements with any sort of regularity. One of these days we’ll catch up. Meanwhile, I collect whatever news comes from across the herring-pond. At one point, he and I will develop a special relationship based on mutual interests.

Regarding the two of us, however, we’ll back up our observations with letters or telegrams as often as possible as proof of results, but those must be destroyed as soon as they are read. Once again, I cannot over emphasize the importance of confidentiality. Regardless, we must keep a faithful agreement, as skill will come with practice.

If you are willing to put aside any apprehensions regarding trains, I’ll pay for you to travel down to Undershaw and visit me on weekends whenever possible. My driver can meet you in London at a pre-arranged time. You’ll stay in one of our guest bedrooms, and as long as you don’t mind the children and can tolerate what our kitchen staff provides, you’ll be well taken care of. That’ll give us the opportunity to expand our repertoire and commence further psychical experimentation with ectoplasm, spirit photography and astral projection. And bring the red book. I’d like a chance to look at it.

I’ve also desired a partner to accompany me for ghost sightings and occult investigations. For all we know with the knowledge gained, we might even break through the barriers of time. That would certainly give Bertie (H.G. Wells) a shock to the senses, proving his imagination does not merely dwell in the realm of fiction. We’ve been at odds on this topic for years.

Regarding telepathic technique, I can only suggest you conduct yourself in a way as you see fit. Personally, I don’t give credence to things like magical amulets, but if it helps to have an etheric link, use this letter you hold in your hand, as it contains my heart, soul and signature with a drop of blood, which I added to the ink. You might wish to reciprocate.

Let’s raise our glasses to honor the quest of conquering the unknown.

Arthur Conan Doyle

* * *

So, Arthur was serious when he first brought up the subject. When he and I left the pub, I really didn’t know what to think. After all, he was a famous author, and I was merely a student. What possessed him to choose me for such an engagement?

I shuffled through my schoolwork to find my pen and ink and a fresh sheet of paper. Blood, I needed blood. Ah, my razor! That would work. I fetched my shaving kit and winced as I drew a few drops. I scribbled a swift, affirmative reply with the blood-tainted ink, mailed the letter the following day and looked forward to our first otherworldly encounter.

***

Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Crowens

 

Crowens has worked in the film and television for over twenty years and as a journalist and a photographer. She’s a regular contributor of author interviews to an award-winning online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate. Short stories of hers have been published in the Bram Stoker Awards nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writers Association, the Authors Guild, Broad Universe, Sisters in Crime and a member of several Sherlockian societies. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

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My Review

4 Stars

John Patrick Scott is a music student in Scotland. He is bored and learns to travel through time to entertain himself. He meets Arthur Conan Doyle in 1898 and they start working together to explore the paranormal and Spiritualism. What follows is John traveling through time to meet various characters through time.  When he travels into the future he has a whole new set of problems.

I have mixed opinions on this book. I liked the spiritualism and the traveling through time. It was fascinating to meet the different characters in time. Even John’s adventures in the future were interesting. This part kept me reading the book. I was curious who John was going to meet next and what situations he would find himself in.

On the other hand the story felt disjointed. I didn’t really get a cohesive feeling about what the story was about. John’s all over, meeting people, and then off again. I know it is the first in a series but I was left confused.

I’m on the fence about this book. Parts were really good and kept me reading while other parts left me not really wanting to read the next book. So, I suggest that you give it a try. You may like it or not. But this is one of those books you have a try to decide.

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

 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Crowens. There will be eight(8) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and seven (7) winners will each receive Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens (eBook). The giveaway begins on August 18, 2019 and runs through September 23, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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She’s So Cold

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She’s So Cold by Donald McInnis

Think this couldn’t happen to your family? Think again.

In the winter of January 1998, the small town of Escondido, California, was horrified when the body of 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe was found brutally murdered in her own bedroom. The police used psychological manipulation to force three 14-year-old boys to falsely confess to the murder. She’s So Cold traces the twists and turns of a real-life mystery which eventually changed the lives of fifteen people and cost a district attorney his job.

To protect children and teens from such manipulation in the future, McInnis proposes a new Children’s Miranda Rights Warning and a Bill of Rights for Children who are being questioned as suspects. These proposals must be adopted in order to prevent minors from making false confessions that could destroy their futures.

She’s So Cold is the story of a broken system. A system stacked against families and, most of all, against children.

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Donald E. McInnis – Defense Attorney 

About the Author

Mr. McInnis has been an attorney for over 40 years. Early in his career he was a Research Attorney for the California Superior Courts. Later he became a Deputy District Attorney for two different counties in Northern California and a Deputy Public Defender in San Diego County.

Mr. McInnis has also served as a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, has been an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a referee/arbitrator for the California Superior Courts.

For the past twenty years, Donald McInnis has specialized as a litigator trying criminal and civil cases. His civil trial work has been in business law, personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and civil rights cases. Mr. McInnis has handled over a hundred jury trials and negotiated hundreds of settlements. He is admitted to try cases before all state and federal courts in California.

With over a hundred jury trials and hundreds of negotiated settlements, Mr. McInnis is admitted to all State Courts and Federal District Courts in California.

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My Review

4 Stars

In January 1998, Stephanie Crowe was discovered stabbed and dead in her bedroom. The police then coerce three fourteen year olds, including her brother, into confessing to the murder. Donald McInnis was the attorney for Aaron Hauser and saw problems associated with interviewing the boys in this case. He proposed changes to the interrogation process for children to help keep these false confessions from happening.

This is not your normal true crime story. Although we do see what happened all because of Stephanie being murdered it revolves around the way the confessions were obtained. I don’t agree with the way it happened in the book. I mean I understand the police were under a lot of pressure to find the killer(s). I also understand that sometimes you have to do things to get the killers trust to get a confession. Having said that I don’t believe children and teens should face the same inquires. I am glad that Donald McInnis stepped up and changed procedures for the children and teens.

I learned a lot from this book. I recommend those that like true crime read the story. They will get so much more from it than just the mess that the police and others made trying to get a confession.

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

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

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The Pale – Chronicles of the Pale #1

The Outside can be a dangerous place.

But so can the inside.

It’s been years since the original cataclysm, but life has been structured, peaceful, and most of all uneventful in the Pale. The humachine citizens welcome the order provided by their ruler, the baleful Regent.

However, when one of their own rescues a human boy, Hector, from ravenous ferals on the Outside, their careful systems are turned upside down.

As Hector grows more and more human-strange, the citizens of the Pale grow uneasy.

What will happen when the Outside tries to get in?

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My Review

4 Stars

In an apocalyptic/dystopian world there are many groups struggling to survive after a cataclysmic earthquake. The Pale is a wall civilization where humachines live, humans that have merged with machines to remove the emotions which ruin people. The canini are upgraded wild dogs that live closer to the earth and stay to their packs. The tribes are a group of people that seem to have a connection with the canini. Then there are the settlers, a group of people that live by strict rules of survival and procreation.

This book is an introduction to this world and the different characters. You will meet a maniacal ruler call the Regent in the Pale and a young humachine called Tad discovers a boy outside the walls of the Pale and brings him inside. This is the main story of the book but you will find yourself wandering through the other areas and people. Times are changing and not everyone will survive.

This was a wonderful dystopian world, I just loved it. My one complaint was that there was so much going on that I would get frustrated bouncing around instead of letting one story line follow through.

I did enjoy this book and am very glad that I have the whole series to read. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

 

Broad Plain Darkening – Chronicles of the Pale #2

The safe world of the Pale is under threat.

Inside the policosmos, the new Regent Adaeze strives for dominance over the all-powerful Senior Forecaster, but the Pale’s humachine citizens are unaware that their city is close to collapse.

Outside on Broad Plain, the exiled human Hector undertakes a dangerous trek to find a safe haven for the orphaned twins.

How can anyone survive as their world shifts underneath them?

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My Review

5 Stars

Things seem to be getting worse from The Pale. A new Regent in the Pale is gearing up to take control as the rest of the humachines blindly go about their ways in life. Hector has been banished from the Pale and is on a journey to take the twins to safety. But things are looking no better with the tribe and the settlers.

This series just keeps getting better and better. Now that this world has been created in our minds, not we can start focusing on the events happening in it. If you thought The Pale was in trouble before hold one for one heck of a power struggle.

As for Hector, I loved following him on his journey, for the good and bad. He just wants to find a place with the twins but it seems like there is no good place or one that will last.

This world is dark but there is the glimmer of hope for a better future. I think I have fallen in love with this world, especially after that ending. I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up.

 

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The Ruined Land – Chronicles of the Pale #3

Exiled from the Pale, humachine Hector has found a home with the tribes Outside.

Or has he?

While the canini struggle to care for the human twins, Feather travels Broad Plain to reunite them with their father. But his own family is scattered as the Pale sends out its terrifying army and the land itself buckles beneath them.

Can anyone survive the ruination of the land?

In this gripping conclusion to the Chronicles of the Pale, the citizens of the mighty Pale have as much to lose as the communities of the Outside.

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My Review

5 Stars

Hector thinks that he has finally found a place to call home. I’m sorry to say that the poor boy just has not learned that this world is hard and broken. He did find a place for the twins with the canini. There is a plan to get them back home but just about then the fighting goes full tilt. The Pale has its own plans for The Ruined Land and the land itself will have the last word.

Talk about end on an amazing note. My heart goes out to Hector, the poor boy has gone through so much but it seems fate is not done with him yet. And the Pale and what they do just infuriates me.

This series has gone full circle, a dark world with the glimmer of hope to this ending? I’m going to have to take a break for a day or two just to process everything that has happened. If you like dystopian and scifi stories you will love this series. I recommend checking it out. I really enjoyed Clare Rhoden’s writing and can’t wait to read more from her.

I received a complimentary copy of this series. I voluntarily chose to read and post honest reviews.

Author Bio

Clare Rhoden is a writer, speaker and reviewer inspired by politics, culture and the march of history. Her thought-provoking stories and popular characters inspire hope and optimism through challenging times, with novels ranging from wartime history to the dystopian world of the Pale.

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Enter to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and share these books.

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The Moonlight Pegasus

The Moonlight Pegasus

Welcome to the blog tour for The Moonlight Pegasus, by C.S. Johnson. Perfect for Fantasy lovers!

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebookThe Moonlight Pegasus

Publication Date: July 2016

Genre: High Fantasy

Sapphira is a desert world with little plant life, where the people live in the shadows of gray sunlight, sickened by the Dark Plague. To cure the people, the Guardian of Dreams sends the Spirit of Truth to bring the light back into his darkened world. In the form of Pegasus, he enters the world through the pure, innocent dreams of Selene, the reluctant princess and heir-apparent to the throne. Now, with her brother Dorian as king, another rebellion is stirring. All eyes are turning to Selene to bring peace through an arranged marriage. However, Selene only has eyes for her true love—her protector, Etoileon. As the rebellion unleashes its fury upon the kingdom of Sapphira and the supernatural forces collide, Selene is caught in the middle of all conflicts—the battle for her world, the battle for her love, and the battle for her very soul.

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Excerpt

Etoileon smiled as he pulled out his special gift for Selene—having taken Ronal’s earlier advice, he had a tiny bouquet of deep red ekedlets, small minuscule flowers that smelled like sweet fruit. The ekedlets were tied together with a small yellow ribbon. He’d thought that the small gift would be perfect for her. It had taken him a while to get them, too. He was only allowed into the city, along with the other members of the Palace crew, only twice a month. Etoileon was lucky that he’d known the streets well enough to know where to go so he could get back in time to escort Selene down to the ballroom entrance.

The city was crowded for the opening of the reception. Etoileon had run into more than one person trying to reach his destination, Madame Flora’s Shop. Though he had meant to hurry up, Etoileon slowed down to look around, amazed to see just how the streets had changed to him in so short a time.

He’d been raised on the streets, mostly all alone.

It had been a miracle that he had survived there, let alone to manage to get a job in the Diamond City Palace, considering a job at the palace was a highly coveted position in society. Middle class children often took jobs in the palace, using their connections to be introduced into the flashy world of riches and wealth. After a number of years, they were able to use their earned capital to be educated in the way of society. Using the skills they would acquire from training and teaching of their instructors and parents, the now young adults would be able to be placed in a position where it was likely for a marriage to be arranged or sought after.

Etoileon had none of this.

He had no parents, no real family, few allies … there were plenty of untrustworthy people, enemies, and dangers around every corner. All he had were survival skills, and the good fortune to happen to be in the right place at the right time. As Etoileon leaned back on the tower wall, he thought about the night that he’d met Selene. He did not get too lost in his memories. The Palace was beginning to feel more like home to him as time went on, and his memories of the darker times of his life were beginning to fade.

It was a moment later that the door opened and Selene walked into the Tower room as well.

“Etoileon,” she greeted him, her eyes quickly losing their flicker of surprise and replacing it with an expression of warmth. “I did not think you would be up here this early.”

“You are,” he pointed out, a small smile forming on his face.

“Well,” Selene blushed, “There was something I wanted to do before later.”

“You mean before I came?” Etoileon asked. “What was it?”

“Well … ” Her face had turned even redder, and she looked away as she reached behind her and pulled out a small bag. “I wanted to give this to you later, but I have no objections to giving it to you a little early.”

Etoileon looked down at the bag she placed delicately in his hand. It had been carefully prepared for him, he could tell. The bag was all dressed up, tiny curls of ribbons surrounding the drawstrings of the sack, and made from cheerfully colored fabric.

Selene nodded. “Open it, Etoileon. It’s for you.”

Inside the bag, he found a small silver-framed photograph of Selene and him from a few years ago. It was when he had first undergone his training for the Fighter squad. Selene was sitting in front of him in the picture, while he was standing behind her. He could tell that his eyes had been focused on her; Etoileon figured that he must have missed the camera. His eyes examined the picture closely, running over Selene’s face again and again.

“I don’t remember this picture,” he said slowly.

“It’s from the time that you came storming out of the Fighter’s training room, remember? You were not too happy, I recall. My memory of the reason has faded, but I remember thinking you needed me there,” she said in a hushed voice. “I still come to watch, sometimes.”

I still need you there, he thought. But he could not say that. So instead, he looked over at her intently, and said, “Thank you.”

“So you like it?” Her smile seemed to brighten up the entire evening sky.

“Very much,” he nodded. “That must’ve been the day that Master Norio told me in front of everyone that I had been poorly trained and it would be a miracle if I amounted to anything.”

Selene’s sad smile flitted to her lips. “Poor Master Norio. That has to be the most incorrect he’s ever been.”

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About the Author

author-pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more here.

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My Review

4 stars

Sapphira is a desolate land stuck in the darkness. But the people have not been forgotten and the Spirit of Truth has been sent to help bring the land back into the light. Princess Selene is second in line to the throne with her brother Dorian as king. The land is in turmoil and another rebellion is starting to gather. Everyone expects Selene to bring peace with an arranged marriage. But Selene has eyes for Etoileon, her guardian. Selene holds the fate of Saaphira in her heart.

I have come to enjoy all that CS Johnson has written. I loved the Author’s Note in the beginning and to learn of the origins of this book. Saaphira is a magical world that drew me in and left me feeling for those in the torn kingdom. Selene is a wonderful girl and is torn between having to do what is expected of her for her kingdom and wanting to follow her heart anywhere as long as it was with Etoileon.

There were times when the story slowed and I will admit that I had to force myself to keep reading. But then something would spark my interest and I was back in the story and wanting to know what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed this story and recommend checking it out. I see that there is a sequel and I would love to see what happens next.

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

Blog Tour Schedule

September 9th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

The Faerie Review (Review)

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight)

Read & Rated (Spotlight)

The Reading Chemist (Spotlight)

September 10th

Jessica Belmont (Review)

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Crossroads Reviews

Lunarian Press (Spotlight)

September 11th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

Reading Nook (Spotlight)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (Spotlight)

The Bookish Mrs. Harding (Spotlight)

September 12th

I’m Into Books (Spotlight)

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight)

J Bronder’s Book Reviews (Review)

September 13th

Tranquil Dreams (Review)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Reviews & Promos by Nyx (Spotlight)

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Blog Tour Organized By:

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

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Black Nowhere

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Black Nowhere (Lisa Tanchik – 1) by Reece Hirsch

Chasing a cybercriminal into the pitch-black heart of the Dark Web.

Special Agent Lisa Tanchik is the best at taking down cybercriminals. So when the FBI discovers a multibillion-dollar black market online, she’s tasked with finding the creator and bringing him to justice. Donning one of her many digital disguises, Tanchik goes undercover into the network.

Brilliant college student Nate Fallon started his site as an idealistic experiment. But his platform has made illegal trade not only more efficient—but also more dangerous. Now the FBI aren’t the only ones out to get him. As profits soar, a criminal organization casts its monstrous gaze on Fallon, and danger leaps from cyberspace into reality.

Feeling pressure from both sides of the law, Fallon is forced to make a decision with shattering consequences. Can Agent Tanchik find Fallon before his dangerous infrastructure falls into the wrong hands?

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Reece Hirsch

About the Author

Reece Hirsch is the author of five thrillers that draw upon his background as a privacy attorney. His first book, The Insider, was a finalist for the 2011 International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. His next three books, The Adversary, Intrusion, and Surveillance, all feature former Department of Justice cybercrimes prosecutor Chris Bruen. Hirsch is a partner in the San Francisco office of an international law firm and cochair of its privacy and cybersecurity practice. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife.

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My Review

4 Stars

Nate Fallon starts a marketplace called Kyte on the dark web to provide drugs to users. He is quickly successful and is quickly making lots of money. But the more money he makes the more people he attracts. The FBI are watching him along with some cartel people that are not very happy with Nate. Lisa Tanchik is a FBI agent that has issues and a past and is given this case. She has some personal demons but is determined to catch Nate before the cartel does.

This was an interesting read. I admit that I have heard about the dark web and don’t really want to think about everything that goes on there. Nate was a greedy jerk that only focused on the money, like a regular drug dealer. But he had a chip on his shoulder since he couldn’t really get any fame from what he was accomplishing with Kyte.

Lisa as some serious issues and I can’t believe the things she did, drinking vodka out of a sports bottle at work and diagnosed depression. I understand things you can get away with in the workplace but you would think the FBI has a bit higher standards than that.

Overall I thought this was a good read that kept my attention and I was curious about how the story was going to end. I have not heard of Ross Ulbricht’s Silk Road and could see how this story would come from the real life events. Now I’m curious to see what happened in real life and compare to Black Nowhere.

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

I would like to thank Little Bird Publicity for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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