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Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

Book Title Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller (Book 1) by Cassidy Dwelis
Book Series: Braidy Von Althuis
Category Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 320 pages
Genre Paranormal
Publisher Precursor Publishing
Release dates:   May 2017
Content Rating: PG:
Some mild profanity and some mild magical violence

Book Description:
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis just wants one thing: to fit in. The other kids at school think he’s weird, and for good reason. Despite his oddities, Braidy wants more than anything for his dad to be able to come to Township Day, a fun-filled event at school, but Mr. von Althuis refuses. “It’s too dangerous,” he says.Things change for Braidy when Mr. von Althuis gets sick, and, even worse, this pesky pest controller won’t leave Braidy alone! Will Braidy be able to get his family to Township Day without his world falling apart?Braidy von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a tale of friendship, family, magic, and mayhem that takes a look at what it means to be bullied and how to rise above it. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

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Meet the Author:
I’m Cassidy, and I love storytelling! I’m incredibly passionate about writing, art, and anything that allows me to create my own worlds. My goal is to write dreamy fiction for all ages that is unique, inspiring, and imaginative. I want my books to instill wonderment in the reader. I like to write about themes that include coming of age, magic realism, identity, relationships, and bullying. My books are intended for readers ages eight to twenty-five, and are meant to connect the world of the fantastical to everyday life. I currently live in Colorado and just got my MA in Publishing!connect with the author:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads
 
My Review
4 Stars

Braidy von Althuis is ten years old and just wants to fit in. But it is hard when you wear old hand me down clothes that make you stand out in school. It’s even harder when you talk about your father and family but the only two people that are seen are his mother and aunt. This makes him a huge target to the bullies. The school has decided to hold Township Day to help the children create a store and sell things.

Braidy wants nothing more than for his father and the rest of his family to come but it is too dangerous. His father is not really from this realm, his uncle is a ghost, and his grandmother is a puppet. Needless to say they won’t instill trust with the rest of the humans. But there is more going on than just this. His father is having episodes that are getting more and more dangerous. Braidy is in for the start of a great adventure.

I really enjoyed this book. It did take me a little while to figure out who and what everyone in Braidy’s family was. I loved how this group of people has come together and so loving to everyone, in their own way. That goes to show you that no matter how different you are you are still loved.

This is a great story that will appeal to any mid grade reader to adult. I can’t wait to read more about this family. Luckily I do have the last book in the series but I will definitely be playing catch up with the three book in between.

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

Tour Schedule:
Oct 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Gullible Ghost Hunter / guest post / giveaway
Oct 30 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller / author interview / giveaway
Oct 30 – Working Mommy Journal – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Changeling Children / giveaway
Nov 2 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
No 2 – Lisa-Queen of Random – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 3 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Gullible Ghost Hunter / giveaway
Nov 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 4 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 4 – Rajiv’s Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller / giveaway
Nov 5 –  Working Mommy Journal – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 6 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 9 – Book Bustle – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller / guest post / giveaway
Nov 10 – Leels Loves Books – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Gullible Ghost Hunter / giveaway
Nov 11 – Rajiv’s Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 12 – Book Bustle – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 13 – JBronder Book Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller / giveaway
Nov 16 – Leels Loves Books – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 17 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Changeling Children / giveaway
Nov 18 – – JBronder Book Reviews – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 19 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of Braidy Von Althuis and the Final Fight / giveaway
Nov 20 – DZA Blog – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

Enter for your chance to win a Complete signed set of Braidy Von Althuis series with Customized Teas (USA only)

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

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YA fantasy

Date Published: January 21, 2020

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Jack Galloway has had enough of life and is chasing a high he just can’t seem to find. Upon meeting with a drug dealer from his school, he is given some mysterious, bean-shaped pills that just so happen to be nothing but beans. However, Relatively Normal beans do not grow miles and miles into the sky overnight, drawing attention from everyone around and destroying the very idea of reality on Earth.

Now, in order to restore his Relatively Normal world, Jack must embark on a mission with a girl he barely knows from high school, Red Crawford, who just so happens to be the only one he knows who has encountered a tear in the non-magical reality they live in.

The beanstalk, too tall and too wide to climb, leads them down a rabbit hole to the strange and nonsensical Underland, where they must go through insane trials in order to reach the answer to their problems — the Giants, magical creatures who live in Overland and can rid the Relatively Normal world of that pesky beanstalk. However, the beanstalk and its effects on reality might just be the least of their worries when they reach the dark, mysterious Overland.

 

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About the Author

Mikaela Miller has not exactly found her place in the world yet, and she’s still trying to understand herself, so there’s not much to say. She loves writing, memes, her friends, and her fur children. She is currently living the small town life but has high hopes of moving to a big city to live out her dreams one day. She loves the darker side of all fairytales and has recently discovered a love for horror novels. This book idea came to her in a dream, as many of her strange ideas do, and she hopes for a bright future as she delves further into her characters’ lives. One day, she would like to be able to rescue lots of homeless animals and be the crazy old cat lady down the street.

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My Review

4 Stars

Jack Galloway has a rough life with an abusive mother. To escape he has started drinking and doing drugs. Then one day his dealer gives him something new and he is out of it when fellow classmate Red Crawford tries to help him, and they discover Red’s Grandmother is no longer the woman she knew.

This is the beginning of a dark fairytale adventure that has a giant bean stalk growing in Jack’s back yard. Jack and Red go down the rabbit ho lei search of a way to get rid of the bean stalk and to keep the realms next to Relatively Normal from opening.

What follows is a journey through Wonderland and Neverland but this is no Disney journey. It is filled with dark characters that want to do some serious harm to jack and Red. I felt for Jack, he has never thought of Red as a real friend, but he is racked with guilt because he feels he conned her from going on this journey with him.

This was a good read. I felt for Jack with everything going on with him. I was really curious about Red and was not disappointed. Of course, I fell in love with the Wonderland portion of the book, I’m such a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and this was what I really think of when I think of traveling through. Neverland was just the same way although I’m not really familiar with Peter Pan.

This is a great story and an excellent beginning to the series. I can’t wait to read more of this series.

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

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

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Wild Sky

Wild Sky: The Relic Hunters #2

Wild Sky (The Relic Hunters – 2)

After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.

But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.

Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?

Not everyone is who they appear to be, and time is running out …

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Audible     Goodreads

My Review

4 stars

We jump right into the story in the same place as Eternal Seas ends. It’s Aria’s turn to find the air tamer relic. The journal she was given by the elders really isn’t helping but when she decides to share she learns that more eyes can help. Off they are to a former fort then off to a monastery in India.

But trouble strikes and mom is injured and dad can’t continue. It also seems that the elders have a secret regarding a demon that is now wrecking havoc on the world. At every turn it seems the kids are not going to make it. But friends arrive at strange times.

This was a great continuation of the story. You could read it as a standalone book but you get so much more from reading the series in order. Poor Pippin, I swear she means well but every time her choices seem to cause more trouble.

I love where this book is going and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Chris Devon does a fantastic job narrating this story. This series is wonderful for mid grade readers to adults.

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Eternal Seas (The Relic Hunters – 1)

Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble, but this parcel is far from normal.

Lost and scared after a violent storm, Finn and his sister, Aria, take shelter on a remote island. They discover the parcel contains a relic belonging to a long forgotten people. Locked inside are powers which will change their lives, and the world, forever.

As Finn realises his connection to the relic, a vision strikes him – but what does it mean? Who should they trust? And if they decide to follow their hearts rather than their orders, will they manage to deliver the relic in one piece?

Chased across the seas as they try to solve the mysteries within the parcel, the fate of this ancient people depends on them. Finn and Aria must choose between what is right and what is easy – and time is running out …

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Audible     Barnes & Noble     Goodreads

My Review

4 stars

A long time ago, people had magical powers over the elements. But the clan elders decided to keep them safe and locked the powers away in relics. Now the world has changed and people know of magic only from stories. Finn and his family are smugglers and have been giving the task of retrieving a package. A problem arises when they open the package and learn that it is the relic that holds the water tamers magic.

Finn’s family sets out to take the relic to the elders, where the magic can be released. But their enemies are many and are chasing them to get their hands on the relic. If they can destroy the relic the sea tamer magic will be destroyed forever.

Finn and his family make a living smuggling items for clients. They have been trying to keep things going since they lost mother a while ago. But a strange package they pickup is messing with Finn. On the way to deliver it they find themselves on a strange island and learn that the package actually holds the water tamer relic. They also learn that their mother is still alive and being held hostage for the relic. But if they turn over the relic it will surly get destroyed.

This is a great story filled with action, adventure, an evil Lord, and magic. I was quickly sucked into the story and couldn’t get back to the audiobook fast enough. Christopher Dickins does a fantastic job narrating this book.

I loved this story and can’t wait to get into the next book, Wild Sky.

I received a complimentary copy of both books. I voluntarily chose to listen to and post an honest review.

Lexi Rees

Author Bio

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children.

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest     Instagram

Win the children’s adventure series, the Relic Hunters, on Audible, including both Eternal Seas PLUS Wild Sky. Total listening time of almost 8 hours.

Free UK or UK audible code.

ENTER HERE

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

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Parasite

Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord

Get ready to learn what really happens behind closed doors.

Landlords have become one of the most hated groups in society. Parasites, they’re often called. And there’s a lot of them. The Treasury estimates there are almost 2.6 million landlords in the UK with around 5.45 million rental properties.

But the real life of a professional landlord is very different to what most people think. From burglaries and break-ins to drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers, game-playing freeholders to moments of heartfelt joy and happiness, the life of a landlord is never dull. Especially when the government keeps moving the goalposts.

This explosive front line exposé blows the lid off what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. Hovering close to a nervous breakdown and likely suffering PTSD, The Secret Landlord exposes truths rarely shared. Stories that will grip you, move you and smack you in the face.

This is the truth, the other side of the door. 

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Goodreads

Author Bio

The Secret Landlord has been renting, refurbishing and selling properties across the UK for almost two decades. An award winning landlord, as judged by the National Landlords Association, The Secret Landlord has provided accommodation for hundreds of tenants from all walks of life.

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My Review

4 stars

Typically when I think of landlord I think of those that I have had to deal with in the past. Most are good but some should be squashed like the bugs they are. But that is the view of the tenant, what does the landlord actually go through? When I saw this book for review I was curious to find out what the other side looks like.

This book is written in a diary format with tenants referred to ask colors for fear of law suit. It starts out simple enough, the author thought being a landlord would be easy and full filling. Unfortunately to goes on to show there are good tenants then there are the scum of the earth. You will learn of thing people do to try and get free rent, how they treat other people’s homes/apartments, and how they try to get the landlords in trouble.

This is an eye opening story for those of us on the outside. I knew of people that had taken advantage of their landlords but never to this extent. Like the author comments, “I was a nice person and I trusted people but instead I now realize you can’t show any weakness.”

This is a great book and one that I recommend checking out. My heart goes out to the author and other landlords that have to deal with this mess.

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

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

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Dead Woman Scorned

DeadWomanScorned

Are you as excited as I am about this next leg of Michael Clark’s multi-book tour? This time I am thrilled to share Dead Woman Scorned (The Patience of a Dead Man #2). Mildred is back and she’s looking for vengence!

Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an amazing giveaway!

Dead Woman Scorned KINDLE Cover

Dead Woman Scorned (The Patience of a Dead Man #2)

Publication Date: November 12th, 2019

Genre: Horror/ Ghost Story

She’s back, and they’ll regret what they’ve done.
Mildred Wells had a miserable life that carried over to a lonesome death. In the end, they betrayed her–played her the fool.
She was the last to know, but there’s still time to catch up. She’ll formulate her painful plan as they live their lives in blissful ignorance.
With no more family, only vengeance drives her; in fact, it’s all she has. She would have rather rested in peace, but for Mildred, dying isn’t so easy

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE

October 1971—One year before the Open House

(at the end of The Patience of a Dead Man, Book One)

Tim Russell banged his palm against the steering wheel in frustration—he’d forgotten his wallet. He wondered for a second if he really needed it before tomorrow, then looked at the gas gauge—near empty. Not even enough gas to make it to Holly’s house in Laconia. He stepped on the brake and pulled over to the side of the dirt road to make a U-turn, then hesitated.

It shouldn’t be a problem—to simply turn around, drive the quarter-mile back, walk into the house and retrieve the wallet—but it was undeniably harrowing even though their struggles with the murderous Mildred Wells were over. They’d beaten her, and she’d been taken away weeks ago, but even so, Tim’s stress level was off the charts as he worked alone each day, watching over his shoulder, restoring the old house as fast as he possibly could.

He looked back before making the turn, his heart picking back up to the level it had maintained the entire day. Here I go–I’m going back in, he thought, as he postponed thoughts of the cold beer waiting for him at the convenience store a mile down the road. Best to hit and run. He stepped on the gas and made the turn, never taking his eyes off of the house and, more specifically, the turret, his designated office space during the reconstruction–the room where he’d left his wallet.

In seconds he was inside the front porch, opening the front door, faking as though there was nothing to be afraid of. Once inside, he noticed that it seemed very dark in the kitchen. It was late May, and the longest day of the year would be here in less than a month. Sunset should be at around 8 pm today, with the twilight keeping things well lit for another half-hour at least. Strange. He turned to look out the kitchen window.

It was pitch black outside, and his truck was already gone.

In a panic, he spun for the porch, deep down, becoming aware that forgetting his wallet was the greatest mistake of his life. The smell hit him right then, and he wondered why he hadn’t noticed it sooner. The front door was closed and locked, even though he’d left it open on purpose. He grabbed the knob and began to work it when three flies landed on his hand and wrist. No. She must be close. Tim turned to the dark dining room to protect his back. Mildred Wells stood in the far corner, motionless.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based. The bats really circled the rafters of the barn all day long, and there really was a grove hidden in the forest. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba.

The Patience of a Dead Man, Dead Woman Scorned & Anger is an Acid are his first three novels.

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My Review

4 stars

Tim and Holly think that their fight with Mildred Wells is over and go about their lives. Mildred, on the other hand, thinks that she will be joining her dead family but when she wakes she starts looking for information and learns that she is a revenant, an undead corpse bent on revenge.

We delve into Mildred’s past to learn about how she has come to be a revenant and it is heartbreaking. The poor girl lost everything and was abused. Thankfully she was able to escape but not without unknown scars.

Now that Mildred remembers her past she has a plan to take revenge on those that have wronged her and given her this curse. It is just like the saying, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.”

This is a great series. I though Mildred was absolutely crazy in The Patience of a Dead Man. But when I learned what happened to her I felt for bad for her and completely understood the revenge portion. Mind you I’m not going to forgive her for what she did to Elmer or Thomas.

As for Tim and Holly, I was hoping things would work out for the best but they have ended up on Mildred’s revenge list. But it’s not just Mildred that is giving them problems, the living are just as bad.

I really liked the second book in this trilogy. I was engrossed throughout the book and was thinking about it when now reading.  I can’t wait to get into Anger is an Acid to see if Mildred is going to be stopped and if Tim and Holly can finally have a life together.

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

 

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What makes this tour extra special is that it’s part 2 of 3! This book is the second in a trilogy, best read as one big, terrifying story!

Here are the details for the last tour!

Anger is Acid (The Patience of a Deadman #3): November 30th – December 4th

Giveaway: To win print copies of the entire trilogy (US Only), or a print copy of The Patience of a Dead Man (International), click the link below!

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Book Tour Schedule

October 5th

LoopyLouLaura (Review)

@the.b00kreader (Review)

@thecrookedhouse (Review)

Cats Luv Coffee (Review)

Purple Shelf Club (Review)

October 6th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

Inked & Blonde (Review)

@_mybookcorner (Review)

 Jessica Belmont (Review)

October 7th

PoptheButterfly (Review)

@bearpiglove (Review)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Sophril Reads (Review)

October 8th

Cocktails and Fairy Tales (Review)

@DreaminginPages (Review)

Ally’s Reading Corner (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

October 9th

Stine Writing (Review)

 @better_off_read (Review)

The Faerie Review (Review)

 

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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Escaping Demons

Escaping Demons (Castillian Blood Series – 1) by Killian Wolf

One phone call landed me the perfect job. Too bad it didn’t come with life insurance.

I didn’t think this job would be anything special. Sure, the first phone call was weird, and yeah, maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to come to someone’s house before I met them in person, but Dax seemed nice. All he wanted was a caretaker for his sick father.

Oh, and an exorcist for the spirits haunting his family’s estate. Now he’s left me alone with his father, and the ghosts know my name. Caring for an old man with dementia, I can do. Fighting evil spirits? That’s way above my pay grade.

But Dax has disappeared so I have to learn on my own or both Orlando and I might not live to see tomorrow…

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Author Bio

Killian Wolf is a Miami, FL native who enjoys pirates, rum, and skulls as much as she loves writing about dark magick and sorcerers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology and a Master of Science in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy.

Killian writes books about obtaining magickal powers, and stepping into other dimensions. She lives in England with her husband, a tornado of a cat, and the most timid snake you’d ever meet.

When she isn’t writing, you might find her at an Archaeological dig, rock climbing, or sipping on dark spiced rum while working on a painting.

Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     TikTok: @Killian_wolf_author     BookBub     Goodreads     YouTube

My Review

4 stars

Addison is given the opportunity to be a live in nurse for Dax’s father, Orlando. But strange things are happening at the house and it’s clear that a demon is after Orlando. Addison meets Ambrose in the worst way possible but it is clear that there is something going on with Ambrose and Dax and that it involves Addison. They are going to have to work together to stop the demon, and help both Dax and Ambrose with their problems.

This is one of those stories that I want to write a summary of the book but then I would be giving too much of the story away. Addison, Dax, and Ambrose has some much going on with each other. Addison lost her parents at an early age and although freaked out she still stays to protect Orlando. Dax and Ambrose have their own problems but they are also interconnected. They have very limited time to finish their tasks but then again you can’t really rush what needs to be done.

I hope I have been vague enough to make you curious about the story without giving too much away. This is a great read that I quickly got into and had a hard time putting down. I was cheering for the trio and on the edge of my seat hoping all would work out. This is definitely a great story and one to check out.

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

Giveaway to Win a £25/ $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open INT)

*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.

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

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Some Can See

Author: J.R. Erickson

Narrator: Allyson Voller

Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Series: Northern Michigan Asylum Series, Book 1

Publisher: J.R. Erickson

Released: May 20, 2020

Genre: Paranormal

(more…)

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The Vessels

The Vessels by Anna M. Elias Banner

The Vessels

by Anna M. Elias

on Tour July 1 – August 31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Vessels by Anna M Elias

What if you could help those who’ve passed on get a second chance—but at the risk of your own life?

Four broken strangers volunteer to become the first humans in North America to join the international VESSELS program. Their bodies will host the Spirits who seek to right past wrongs and earn a chance at Elysium. Disguised inside a homeless shelter in Reno, the program is facilitated by a retired Army officer, a former ER Doctor, and a tech-savvy teen who tracks the Spirits merged with their Vessels through an ancient ritual on the Anaho Indian Reservation. The Vessels only have seven days to succeed—and to survive. But when the vengeful spirit of a serial killer enters one of them, they learn not all Spirits are here for redemption.

Book Details:

Genre: Supernatural Thriller Published by: Vesuvian Books Publication Date: July 14, 2020 Number of Pages: 326 ISBN: 1944109080 (ISBN13: 9781944109080) Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Though the wide mirror made the tiny room feel big, it had the opposite effect on Tal. She splashed water on her face. Her reflection seemed to shrink in the big glass, making her feel like a single speck of humanity on a vast planet in an endless universe. A lone Vessel housing the infinity of Spirit. She splashed more water and blinked. A more present and focused woman blinked back—one who wasn’t much different than the woman who had been uprooted from her old life in Pittsburgh. But she had accepted an insane job as a ghost host and had been branded with her very first tattoo. Her badge and gun were gone, and the concept of “protect and serve” now meant something else entirely. Tal grabbed one of the soft white towels and dried her face. The cloth smelled fresh and clean, like air-dried linen—it was homey, comforting She caught her own gaze in the mirror one more time. That frightened, hopeless woman from the pawnshop window two weeks ago was gone. A more confident person replaced her—equally uncertain but willing and ready to face a new and unpredictable future. Perhaps her change was more like the grown-up happy child after all, and less like the dried up pool full of leaves and dirt. A sudden pain stabbed her left ankle, and the skin around her new tattoo seemed to—move. Tal sat on the bed, yanked up her pant leg and crossed her left foot over her right knee. While most of the iridescent vines shimmered normally, a small cluster at the center of her inside leg were twisting together into a small circular mark at her ankle. They pulled in the hidden SObY letters, elongating and absorbing them to form a kind of Celtic or Romanesque knot made of iridescent vines. Her flesh burned slightly as the center of the twisting knot opened and a tiny image took shape. The figure was more primitive and cryptic, like a totem carving or cave painting, but it definitely had wings. One last vine connected and the twisting stopped. So did the pain. Tal inhaled sharply. She held her breath, steeled her nerve, and touched the mark. Though the texture looked different, and though the mark was round against the straight, interconnected tendrils of the tattoo that circled her leg, the skin felt the same on both. Tal exhaled and closed her eyes, unable to discern where one ended and the other began. When she opened her eyes again, she caught the symbol’s shrouded image for a fleeting moment before it finished. What she’d thought was a primitive knot or ancient medallion of vines turned out to be—a nest. At its center, the angel figure had become an enigmatic, nearly invisible dove clutching a vine in its beak like an olive branch. The mark twisted closed, hiding the nest and bird inside. Goosebumps tore up and down Tal’s skin. She shifted to the nearby desk and fired up her computer. Her trembling fingers flew over the keyboard as she researched images of doves, dove symbolism, the “Serve Others” expression, and any other ideas the tattoo inspired. Her search turned up a host of disparate sites—from the dove above Jesus at his baptism, to white birds being released at weddings and funerals, to recipes on preparing tasty squab. Nothing reflected this tattoo or its particular elements. “This is crazy,” she mumbled, working her shoulders to unstick the tension. “That many Vessels in the world, spanning decades, and not a single image or hit?” *** Excerpt from The Vessels by Anna M. Elias. Copyright 2020 by Anna M. Elias. Reproduced with permission from Vesuvian Books. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Anna M. Elias Anna Elias is a screenwriter who began her career as Don Johnson’s assistant on Miami Vice. She’s worked on feature films such as Nell, The Rainmaker, The Client, 12 Monkeys, A Time to Kill, and Practical Magic. She has written and co-written spec films, TV scripts, and award-winning shorts. Anna’s passion for justice translates to her work. This was especially true on the set of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Canton, Mississippi had just suffered great racial hardship and division in a Mayoral race. With Anna’s encouragement, the movie crew made extra efforts to befriend, buy from, and work with the townspeople, and it served to break down walls of inequality and injustice that had divided the town for decades. The impact was so positive that Dan Rather traveled there to tape a 2-part special for 48 Hours.

Catch Up With Anna M. Elias On: AnnaMElias.com, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

 

My Review

4 Stars

VESSELS is a program that has four people to be a conduit for spirits. The idea is to help both heal from the different things they have going on. But not everything is a happy outcome. It seems one spirit was a serial killer and has other plans than moving on.

I know that is an over simplified summary of this book but I don’t want to give too much away. I really like the concept of this book. We all have experienced loss and regret in one form or another. People handle these emotions differently. Those that have a hard time coping have an opportunity to heal from their loss and regrets with this program. This part of the story is wonderfully handled and had me wrapped up in the story.

I was curious about the serial killer portion of the story. It didn’t pan out like I though it would and I found it more of a distraction than an addition to the story. I also have to admit that some of the characters didn’t hold me as enthralled as others did.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was an interesting concept and I liked where it was going. I’m curious to see if this is going to be a series because I think that you could really explore this world.

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

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Inside

Audiobook Tour: Inside by D.M. Siciliano

Author: D.M. Siciliano

Narrator: Marcus Rothenberg

Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: May 20, 2020

Genre: Horror

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The Distant Dead

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The Distant Dead by Heather Young

A young boy finds himself at the center of a murder mystery in this timely and twisty thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Lost Girls—a compelling and indelible story set in small town America that examines the burden of guilt, the bitter price of forgiveness, and the debts we owe our dead, both recent and distant.

A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire station, pale with the shock of a grisly discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. By day’s end, when the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town will be rocked to its core by a brutal and calculated murder.

Adam Merkel left a university professorship in Reno to teach middle school in Lovelock seven months before he died. A quiet, seemingly unremarkable man, he connected with just one of his students: Sal Prentiss, a lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. The two outcasts developed a tender, trusting friendship that brought each of them hope in the wake of tragedy. But it is Sal who finds Adam’s body, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles’ compound.

Nora Wheaton, the middle school’s social studies teacher, dreamed of a life far from Lovelock only to be dragged back on the eve of her college graduation to care for her disabled father, a man she loves but can’t forgive. She sensed in the new math teacher a kindred spirit–another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After Adam’s death, she delves into his past for clues to who killed him and finds a dark history she understands all too well. But the truth about his murder may lie closer to home. For Sal Prentiss’s grief seems heavily shaded with fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he’s telling about how his favorite teacher died. As she tries to earn the wary boy’s trust, she finds he holds not only the key to Adam’s murder, but an unexpected chance at the life she thought she’d lost.

Weaving together the last months of Adam’s life, Nora’s search for answers, and a young boy’s anguished moral reckoning, this unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life, filled with complex, flawed characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future, and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.

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Heather   Young

About the Author

Heather Young is the author of the awarding-winning and Edgar nominated novel The Lost Girls and the forthcoming novel The Distant Dead (June 9, 2020). She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She lives in Mill Valley, California.

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My Review

4 stars

Sal Prentiss is 11 years old and doesn’t have any friends except his math teacher, Adam Merkel. He lives with his uncles, one that sells prescription pills and is trying to get Sal to deal for him. Sal discovers a burned body and reports it but it is clear that he knows more than he is telling.

Nora Wheaton is a teacher that found a kindred spirit in Adam and is worried when he doesn’t show up for work one day. By the end of the day it is clear that the burned body is Adam. Nora enlists the help of her ex, Mason Green the chief deputy and a volunteer firefighter, Jake Sanchez.

Nora is determined to find out what happened to Adam. But first she needs to gain the trust of Sal to learn what he knows about Adam’s death. What follows is a slow burning mystery story involving a small town in Nevada, a drug epidemic, poverty, guilt, sadness and so much more.

Knowing that I live in Reno I was curious to see what was going on in Lovelock. What I found was people doing the best they could where they were at. Nora had tried to get out of town but finds herself back to take care of her aging father. This is complicated by strong feeling she has against him. She really thought she found someone special with Adam and is rather upset about his death.

But my heart goes out to Sal. He is in a bad situation with nowhere to go. I wanted to scoop him up and protect him from his uncles. I was cheering for him and hoping he would come out of this in the best way possible.

This is a slow rolling story that kept me interested through the whole thing. I admit that when I thought I might know where we were going there was a great twist that changed everything up. If this is something that you like I would recommend checking out The Distant Dead. If you are looking for a more action-packed story you may not enjoy this story as much. But it is still worth checking out.

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

I would like to thank Beth at Beth Parker PR for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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