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Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

I have a special treat today. I was given this collection of stories ages ago and can’t believe that it has taken me this long to get them reviewed especially since they are such a great series. So, without further ado, get read for some time travel and lots of romance, healing, and so much more.

American Journey Series by John Heldt

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September Sky (Book 1)

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

Amazon     Goodreads

 

My Review

4 stars

Chuck Townsend is a reporter that spent a lot of his time wrapped up in his career. Chuck pursued his reporting career instead of spending time with his family. Now his job is over and his wife has passed, he wants to make up for lost time with his son Justin. They decide to take a cruise to Mexico and catch up. While there they attend a lecture on time travel and find themselves back in Galveston, Texas in 1900.

They have been given the instructions that they are only to observe what is going to happen but both of the men throw that rule out the window when they both fall in love with two women from Galveston. But Chuck has decided that he wants to fix some family history. At the same time that they go back, a family member was accused of murdering a man. Chuck wants to set the records straight.

Of course, we all know that there is a huge paradox about changing the past and how it can affect the future. But on top of this, both men have to decide how they are going to progress with their relationships. They can’t stay and they can bring the women back to our time.

I have read John’s Northwest Passage series and absolutely loved it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this series. One thing I want to warn you, this book is relatively slow going as John builds the world around you and the romance between Chuck, Justin, and the ladies. But it does pick up toward the end.

This is a great historical romance/time travel fantasy story. It is a great start to the series and I can’t wait to see where it is going from here.

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Mercer Street (Book 2)

Love, honor, and courage take center stage in the second book of John Heldt’s American Journey time-travel series as three women from the present become entangled in the past in the tension-filled months leading up to World War II.

Weeks after her husband dies in the middle of an affair, Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel.

Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties.

Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to sacrifice and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Amazon     Goodreads

My Review

5 Stars

Susan Peterson is a romance author that has just lost her husband and learned that he was having an affair. She is broken hearted and decides to take her daughter, Amanda, and her mother, Elizabeth on a beach get away. While there they attend a talk given by a time traveling professor and they agree to go back in time. The three women find themselves in 1938 Princeton, NJ.

Elizabeth connects with her immigrant parents that she lost many years earlier. She is introduced to herself as an infant and starts reliving events that she was too young to remember. With their lost she appreciates this time she gets to spend with them.

Susan is still mourning the loss of her husband and his betrayal. But she has found a new love with a widowed admiral. Amanda wants an adventure before she has to go join the rest of the adults working. Here she falls for German scientist Kurt during a fragile time with those of German decent.

I love John Heldt’s stories. There is lots of research with the different time periods from the clothing to how things were done and simply how people interacted with each other. It really makes me nostalgic when you compare that to today and how indifferent we are with each other.

I really enjoyed this story. All three women found the love that they were looking for and the ending was just perfect. I strongly recommend checking out this series if you like historical romances with a touch of time travel.

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Indiana Belle (Book 3)

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

Amazon     Goodreads

My Review

5 Stars

Cameron Coelho is working on a dissertation on the 1920’s. While looking through various papers, Cameron finds the picture of a captivating woman, Candice Bell. Cameron is given the chance to go back in time to spend it with Bell but he is given the strict order not to change anything, especially Candice’s murder since Candice is directly related to the time traveling professor.

Cameron initially feels the 20’s are a simpler time yet he is going to find out real quick that there are problems that still affect that time. He will face prohibition, flappers, KKK, women’s rights, and so much more. It also doesn’t help that he falls in love with Candice and finds it hard not to try and stop her murder.

I love all the research that goes into John Heldt’s books. You can’t help but feel right there with Cameron. I did look up a couple events and found them to be true which just added another level to this story. But just the simple thought that you can go back and observe someone but you cannot change their fate is just hard.

This is another great addition to this series. My heart goes out to Cameron as I didn’t want to see Candice be murdered too. But the ending was just perfect.

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Class of ’59 (Book 4)

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

Amazon     Goodreads

My Review

5 Stars

It is 2017 and Mary Beth McIntire is recovering from the loss of her fiancé and on vacation with her family at a friend of her father’s house in California. One day she sees a strange man coming and going from the house. But when she goes to confront him he is gone. Mark Ryan is from 1959 and his family has just moving into the house. While exploring he finds plans about going forward in time. He goes on his adventure and seems Mary Beth a few times before he finally approaches her and tells her what is going on.

The two couples explore 1959 and get closer the longer they are around each other. But then time is up and the couples have to decide what they are going to do, stay in 1959, go to 2017, or split up.

I loved 1959! I am a bit too young still to know anything much about it besides what I’ve seen in documentaries and movies. This is such a wonderful romance. The 50’s seemed so much simpler and more personable than today. I hoped that everything would work out for the couples and it did in its own way.

I love exploring the different times as I read the American Journey series. This is a great series and one that I recommend checking out if you like historical romances (even if it’s not really that long ago) with a touch of time travel.

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Hannah’s Moon (Book 5)

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

Amazon     Goodreads

My Review

5 Stars

Well we have reached the end of this series and it is memorable. Claire and Ron Rasmussen want a child more than anything but cannot have one and adoption is a paperwork nightmare that can last years. But an unknown uncles arrives to give Claire the gift of time travel to 1945, where adopting a child is very easy. Claire, Ron, and her brother David head to the past to find their new family.

Claire and Ron get their child and David starts a friendship with the girl across the street. But things are not ideal in this world. World War II is in the ending months when Ron gets sent to war. Claire does get her child but she also learns of the limitations of 1945. She doesn’t have the conveniences as today and she is stuck with the medical advancements of the time.

This is a great conclusion to this series. There is lots of research done that makes the book just that more enjoyable. My heart breaks for Claire and Ron, I hoped they get a child but then again I was on the edge of my seat with what happened next. Of course I really hoped things would work out for David and Margaret.

I really enjoyed this historical romance series with time travel. Although each book is a standalone I just loved jumping in and reading them in order. This is a great series and one that I strongly recommend checking out.

John A. Heldt

Author’s Bio

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage, American Journey, and Carson Chronicles series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

I would like to thank the Author for the opportunity to read and share his books. I’m so sorry that you had to wait so long for a review of this amazing series.

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The Hidden Cities

Mind the Gap
The Hidden Cities Book 1
by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Thriller
“The super-fast pacing and creepy touches give this teen adventure plenty
of character.”—
Publishers Weekly
Returning to her home in London, teen Jasmine Towne realizes just how long
she’s been training for the moment she would be on her own. Her
paranoid mother’s last words, scrawled in her own blood, demand her
action: JAZZ HIDE FOREVER. In this moment, the strange men who have
always hung around her family’s life—whom her mother called the
Uncles—become starkly sinister. And they’re on her trail.
Seeking cover in the Underground, Jazz slips through a mysterious gate, down
tunnels, and seemingly through time. Inside an abandoned city of bomb
shelters and forgotten Tube stations, she finds temporary refuge with
a gang of petty thieves. Flashes of the past, spectral and haunting,
share the tunnels…with no regard for the living. For how long can
Jazz hide from the terrors of both her worlds?

My Review

4 Stars

Jasmine Towne, Jazz has lived her life with her mother and been looked after and terrorized by those she calls her “Uncles”. This life has left her mother paranoid and had her raise Jazz to look out for things that didn’t fit. This saves her life one day as she returns from school to find the Uncles had murdered her mother and are looking for her.

Jazz runs and finds herself in the Tube. There she finds a group of kids that call themselves United Kingdom. Jazz lives with the rest pick pocketing and robbing to survive as they live in a maze of old tubes, tunnels, and fallout shelters. But Jazz has a special ability; she can see what others can’t. This is why the Uncles and others are after her.

This was an interesting start to a series. I was instantly drawn in to Jazz, I wanted to know more about the Uncles and why they were after her. Then there are some areas in United Kingdom, The Hour of Screams, and such that I wanted more explanation. But the ending had me. It was an interesting ending and left me wanting to know more about this series.

I think Mind the Gap is a good start to the Hidden Cities series. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

The Map of Moments
The Hidden Cities Book 2
To what lengths would you go to undo the pain of the past?
“Golden and Lebbon have far outstripped their past efforts with this
wonderfully creepy thriller of a ghost story.”
Publishers Weekly starred review
“Golden and Lebbon vividly evoke the rich, enduring character of New Orleans,
as well as spinning a compelling fantasy yarn that builds momentum as
Max works his way through the city’s history.” —
Booklist
Max Corbett has returned to New Orleans for the funeral of his former
girlfriend, Gabrielle Doucette, but between the destruction wrought
by Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of his ruined relationship,
the city feels alien.
At Gabrielle’s graveside, Max meets Ray. Over a bottle of bourbon in a
dive bar, the two discuss Gabrielle’s unique connection to the city.
Ray suggests that this connection might mean her tragic death is not
truly her end. And he happens to know a real magic practitioner—not
some Bourbon Street phony—who could open a window to the past and
send a warning to Gabrielle. Maybe Max can even deliver the warning
in person? Ray offers him a cheap map and says the process is simple.
Follow the charted moments to build up a little bit of magical clout
and then find the man with the gift.
Surging with liquid courage, Max takes the ludicrous tourist map and sets
off. But it turns out this quest is not so easy. When Max enters the
First Moment, he is drawn into the fabric of history to witness dark
and violent periods, and with each passing step, a grim conspiracy is
revealed. Suddenly in too deep, there is nowhere for Max to go but
through. But when you trudge through a swamp, you’re going to get muddy.

My Review

4 Stars

Max Corbett is a history professor at Tulane University in New Orleans. There he meets a beautiful young girl and falls passionately in love with her until he catches her with another man. He leave New Orleans to return to Boston just before hurricane Katrina strikes. After that, Corinne, Gabrielle’s cousin contacts Max to come back for Gabys funeral.

Just after the funeral Max is approached by a man that offers him a map of New Orleans magical moments. If Max follows the map he will find himself at a monument that will let him change a moment in his past. But as he travels the map he attracts the attention of some powerful people. He also learns that changing the past comes with a high price to pay.

This is a great sequel to Mind the Gap. Although it is a different character and city, the tension and magic are the same. I kinds felt bad for Max but at the same time I could see Gabys betrayal and following course to change time coming like a freight train. But I loved the different moments Max found himself in. Of course the bad guys are close behind and wanting to claim the prize for themselves.

I really enjoyed this book and think it’s a great addition to the Hidden Cities series. I can’t wait to see what city is explored next.

The Chamber of Ten
The Hidden Cities Book 3
Archaeologist Dr. Geena Hodge is on the precipice of success: her team has found an
entrance to an underground chamber while searching for the Petrarch’s
lost library. A documentarian is joining her team for the descent
into the long-hidden structure and may be the key to extensive
funding. Best of all, she is able to share the excitement of this
momentous occasion with her assistant-slash-lover, Nico, whose
psychic presence resonates in her own mind.
Within a strikingly preserved room—unlike any Venetian excavation—the
team finds only one artifact: a small vessel that immediately
mesmerizes Nico. While the team investigates a slab of granite inlaid
in the floor, Nico becomes transfixed by the object, and before he
can be stopped, he has the urn in his hands. Then, it is broken open
on the ground. And with that, the impossibly withheld groundwater
begins to fill the chamber…
In the clamor to escape the rapidly flooding room and save the found
texts, the team is sent in all directions. And Nico’s mind, always
attuned to Geena’s, seems to go quiet. His actions in the days
after the incident feel unlike him, and his consciousness seems to
dissolve beneath the weight of his experience with the artifact. What
insidious force was within? And what can satisfy its restless will?

My Review

3 Stars

Geena Hodge is an archeologist working in Venice. While working her team finds what is thought to be the lost library of Petrarch. As exploring the room they find another room that is hidden and way below the water level. It is a complete mystery as to why both rooms are still dry until Nico, Geena’s boyfriend, breaks an urn. At that moment the rooms flood then Nico starts acting strange. It seems that Nico has become possessed by a powerful magician from hundreds of years ago.

What follows is a story from present time and the battle of the Group of Ten in the 15 and 16 century. I loved the history and the back and forth in the story. I felt for Nico as he tried to fight for control of his mind with the magician. I really liked this mystery and though this was a great story.

But I have to say that Geena seemed to push my buttons and acted like a silly school girl with a crush instead of the professional archeologist with a BBC documentary being filmed of her. Her behavior really drew the story down. Although it is still good I am sad to admit that I didn’t like it as much as the first two books in the series. I really hope The Shadow Men is better.

The Shadow Men
The Hidden Cities Book 4
From Beacon Hill to Southie, historic Boston is a town of vibrant
neighborhoods knit into a seamless whole. But as Jim Banks and Trix
Newcomb learn in a terrifying instant, it is also a city
divided—split into three separate versions of itself by a mad
magician once tasked with its protection.
Jim is happily married to Jenny, with whom he has a young daughter,
Holly. Trix is Jenny’s best friend, practically a member of the
family—although she has secretly been in love with Jenny for years.
Then Jenny and Holly inexplicably disappear—and leave behind a
Boston in which they never existed. Only Jim and Trix remember them.
Only Jim and Trix can bring them back.
With the help of Boston’s Oracle, an elderly woman with magical powers,
Jim and Trix travel between the fractured cities, for that is where
Jenny and Holly have gone. But more is at stake than one family’s
happiness. If Jim and Trix should fail, the spell holding the
separate Bostons apart will fail too, and the cities will reintegrate
in a cataclysmic implosion. Someone, it seems, wants just that.
Someone with deadly shadow men at their disposal.

My Review

3 stars

Jim Banks lives in Boston with his wife Jenny and daughter Holly. But one day when he wakes from a nap Jenny and Holly are gone. I don’t mean Jenny left him gone. I mean every trace of them is gone, like they never existed. Then Jim finds Trix Newcomb, she is Jenny’s best friend but has discovered that she can’t find anyone that remembers her.

Together Jim and Trix travel to the Oracle of Boston to figure out what is going on. They learn a prior Oracle made a mess of thing and created three versions of Boston that have grown differently. This is where Jenny and Holly are at. It is up to Jim and Trix to save them and put Boston back together. If the city doesn’t get combined it will explode shortly.

This story has a pretty good concept as Jim and Trix try to find jenny and Holly while uniting the three versions of Boston. There is a lot of history and an interesting reason for why the city was split up. I like the different versions of Boston not being too far off and the doppelgangers being interesting.

Now, having said that, I did feel that the book fell a little flat. I wasn’t all that invested into Jim, Jenny, and Holly. There was a race against time yet I wasn’t fully invested in the story so I didn’t really care. Although the book has potential, I’m sorry to say that for me I was just happy to be done with it in the end.

I received a complimentary copy of these books. I voluntarily chose to read and post honest reviews.

CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
is the New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Ararat,
Snowblind, Tin Men, The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are
Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, and Of Saints and Shadows.
He has also written books for teens and young adults, including
Poison Ink, Soulless, and the thriller series Body of Evidence,
honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA’s
Best Books for Young Readers.
Goldenco-created (with Mike Mignola) two cult favorite comic book series,
Baltimore and Joe Golem: Occult Detective. As an editor, he has
worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, The New Dead,
and Dark Cities, among others, and has also written and co-written
comic books, video games, screenplays, a BBC radio play, the online
animated series Ghosts of Albion (with Amber Benson), and a network
television pilot. A frequent speaker at conferences, schools, and
libraries, Golden is also co-host of the podcasts Three Guys with
Beards and Defenders Dialogue, and the founder of the Merrimack
Valley Halloween Book Festival.

 

Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his
family. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen
languages in countries around the world.
TIM LEBBON
has been published for over twenty years and have written over forty
horror, dark fantasy and tie-in novels, including The Silence,
Relics, Coldbrook, The Cabin in the Woods, the Noreela series of
fantasy books (Dusk, Dawn, Fallen and The Island), the NY Times
Bestselling novelisation of the movie 30 Days of Night, Alien: Out of
the Shadows, Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Into the Void, and several
books with Christopher Golden, including Blood of the Four, The Map
of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London. He’s also written
hundreds of novellas and novels and have won several prestigious awards.
The movie of The Silence, starring Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka, is
out summer 2018. Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, was released
in 2016. More of his work is currently in development for the big screen.
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Uncanny Valley
Uncanny Valley Book 1
by C.A. Gray
Genre: YA Dystopian, Coming of Age
**Dystopian coming-of-age with superintelligent A.I.**
Rebecca Cordeaux knows exactly what her future will hold: she will marry
Andy, her crush of the last five years. Once Andy is ready to settle
down, she’s sure he will discover that she is his soulmate. After
several small parts on stage, Rebecca knows she can become a renowned
actress. Her writing also shows promise as a future author. Robots
perform most human jobs that can be automated, leaving many free to
pursue their personal creative interests.
But Rebecca’s mother Karen fears the new world of robots, and insists her
brilliant daughter join a university research team, studying the
hazards of a complete robotic economy. Rebecca’s father Quentin was
obsessed with the subject to a degree that even her mother considered
absurd, prior to his untimely death. So long as she can reserve
enough of her time to pursue her true passions on the side, Rebecca
half-heartedly agrees to join the research team, if only to please
her widowed mother. There she joins a post-doc named Liam, whose
conspiracy theories rival even those of her late father. Liam is
convinced that world Republic leader William Halpert’s worldwide
challenge for researchers to develop synthetic creativity will lead
not to the promised utopia, in which every kind of human suffering
has been eradicated, but rather to an apocalypse. Rebecca, whose best
friend is her own companion bot Madeline, writes Liam off as a
bot-hating conspiracy theorist, just like her father was… until she
learns that her father’s death might not have been due to mere
happenstance.
With Liam’s help, Rebecca learns of an underground organization known as
The Renegades, where Quentin Cordeaux was considered a legend. While
Liam attempts to stop Halpert’s challenge if he can, Rebecca tries
to unravel the mystery of what happened to her father. Did he and
many of his contemporaries die for something they knew? Who is the
mysterious informant who calls himself John Doe, and only seems to
want to drive her out of harm’s way? And if Halpert’s challenge
is answered, will it usher in a brave new chapter in humanity’s
history… or were Quentin Cordeaux’s dire predictions right all along?

My Review

4 stars

If you read the description of the book you will know basically everything that is going on. I’m not going to waste your time repeating everything so I’m just going to jump into my review.

We are in a world where robots are created to help out in everyday life. They do the menial jobs that no one wants to do so the humans can focus on creativity and science. Becca is one of those people that seem to excel at all she does and comes across as conceited. Of course she is going to agree with her mother to join the research team just to make her happy as long as she can still pursue her own goals.

But then Becca learns that her father may have been killed for his knowledge. She goes on the hunt for the truth. It seems that robots are being given creativity, which will make them better at performing their jobs. But which will also lead to a revolution from those humans that don’t want robots to rule all.

This story was an interesting concept which I liked. The possibility of robots taking over, ok I understand the problems and fears. There are some twists and turns that are a little predictable but do make the story. I am curious to see where the series goes in the next book.

The Silver Six
Uncanny Valley Book 2
What is it that makes us truly human?
Rebecca Cordeaux’s entire world has been turned upside down. In a single
day, she’s learned that Senate Leader Halpert and his Board of
Advisors are actually illegal humanoid robots created underground
twenty years ago—and they tried to have her killed. Her mother
Karen, whom she always believed to be passionately against the cause
of the Renegades, turns out to be their leader. And Liam, a man she
never thought she cared for, is now fighting for his life—and she
finds that she cares desperately.
Fortunately Karen, known to the Renegades as M, has planned for exactly
this sort of eventuality. Using Rebecca’s father’s blueprints, Karen
patiently built an underground compound in an abandoned part of the
Americas where they can regroup and plan for the coming war. The
compound becomes an unlikely oasis as their number grows, both on
accident and on purpose. In attempting to recover her best friend and
companion bot Madeline, Rebecca gets what she thought she’d always
wanted: Andy arrives at the compound too, along with her friends Jake
and Julie. But with the sudden addition of an old flame from Liam’s
past, Rebecca discovers just how little acquainted she has been with
her own heart.
Meanwhile, the Silver Six are running a worldwide campaign of indoctrination
to ensure that the people are on their side. In the name of peace, they
want nothing more than to wipe out every shred of resistance, while
pursuing their ultimate goal of robotic superintelligence. With the
assistance of a neuroscientist who helped to build the Silver Six
decades ago, Rebecca attempts to understand how synthetic minds work,
hoping this information can be used against them. She’s sure that
the mysterious, brilliant, and beautiful Alessandra Russo is the key
somehow, but Alex’s hatred for the Silver Six is only matched by
her hatred for the Renegades. Can the Renegades find and exploit the
weakness of the Silver Six before synthetic intelligence passes the
point of no return?

My Review

5 Stars

I will admit that with the end of Uncanny Valley I was reluctant to start The Silver Six. I will freely admit that this book took off and had me on the edge of my seat. There is a war coming but it is going to be hard to find followers for the Renegades as the Silver Six have been brainwashing those into following them.

Of course Becca is causing herself more problems as she tries to process the truth she has learned and figure out how she really feels about Liam. But there is no much more than just Becca. We are talking about the fate of humanity. Will people stand up and fight for what is right or will they just go along with the group because it is easy.

There is a lot happening in this book. We have the robots verses people theme but we also have individuals trying to find their place in this world, those willing to fight although things look bad, and so much more.

I admit that I am officially hooked on this series. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

I received a complimentary copy of both books. I voluntarily chose to read and post honest reviews.

Jaguar
Uncanny Valley Book 3
The Silver Six have blown the Renegades’ underground compound to bits,
killing several of Rebecca’s best friends in the process—and to
her horror, the boy Rebecca had convinced herself she loved for all
these years was the one to betray them all. At the same time, General
Specs, the company Liam was once slated to inherit, has developed a
superintelligent robot called Jaguar which is quickly becoming
godlike in her omniscience. As the remaining Renegades flee to their
last bastion of safety in the Caribbean, Liam makes his way back to
London, in a last ditch effort to convince his father to destroy
Jaguar before it’s too late.
Rebecca, meanwhile, finally understands her own heart: she never loved Andy.
He was merely a ‘safe’ choice who would never require anything of
her. Liam, on the other hand, exasperating as he was, had seen past
her defenses. All of his teasing and provoking had been his attempt
to get her to be real with him—but the more he made her feel, the
further she had retreated. She had even substituted her companion bot
Madeline for real, deep human friendships, and for the same reason:
she’d been avoiding love to protect herself from another loss like
the one she had experienced when her father was killed for the
Renegades’ cause. Ironically, she only realizes this once Liam is
on his way to a similar fate. But she’ll be damned if she lets him
go without a fight.
This high stakes conclusion to the Uncanny Valley Trilogy envisions a
world not too far off from our own, in which superintelligence is a
reality, humanoid bots have supplanted human power and influence, and
there are eyes watching and reporting our every move. If humanity is
to survive, the Renegades will have to galvanize support across the
globe, under the radar—and it will require every last bit of
ingenuity they possess. But is attempting to outwit a
superintelligent being really the answer? Or will it require
something much more fundamentally human?
C.A. Gray is the author of three YA Amazon bestselling trilogies:
PIERCING THE VEIL (magic and quantum physics meet Arthurian legends),
THE LIBERTY BOX (dystopian metaphysics and mind control technology),
and UNCANNY VALLEY (dystopian coming-of-age with neuroscience and
super intelligent A.I). She starts with some scientific concept that
she’s interested in learning more about herself, and then creates
lots of epic chaos and high-stakes action to go along with it. Her
stories are free of gratuitous violence, language, and sexual
content, and she abhors depressing endings… but they’re not all
kittens and rainbows either! She also listens to and reviews
audiobooks on her website, here on Goodreads, on Instagram, and on
her podcast, Clean Audiobook Reviews, where she also
occasionally interviews other authors.
By day, C.A. Gray practices naturopathic medicine, podcasts, and writes
medical non-fiction under her maiden name (Dr. Lauren Deville). She
lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband Frank, and together they
maintain an occasionally contentious film review blog (under her real
name: Lauren Baden. Three names. Yes.) She’s kind of the queen of
multitasking—so in her spare time, she creates whatever meals or
crafts she found most recently on Pinterest, drinks lots of coffee
(Aeropress btw) and occasional wine (reds—and she saves the corks
for craft projects), works out (while listening to audiobooks), and
studies the Bible—about half of the podcasts on Christian Natural
Health are scripture meditations.
She does sleep, too. Promise.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
I would like to thank Silver Dagger Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share these books.

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I am A Failure

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I am A Failure by Skhil Sharma

Have you experienced failures in your life? Is your startup business facing a downturn? Is your dream partner telling you she hates you? Don’t despair. Failure encages us all.

Akhil, born with a plastic spoon in India, was specially designed for all failures life can bring. Growing up like everyone, the more he tried for success, the more he failed. Not until when he redefined his stupidity and started listening to his heart, his failures brought forth his keys to freedom and made him discover that ‘Failure encourages us all’.

This book is about his transformation from being a failure to the creator of the award-winning technique ‘The Art of Failure’. It talks about his technique, hidden in the form of an entertaining but true autobiographical story. It is helpful for everyone who wants to become a fearless failure warrior rather than being a usual success hunter.

The narrative is set against the transformation of India – from its analog days to the digital age and bubbling startup economy. One thing which hasn’t changed with time though is the hatred and fear towards failure and how it has been eating up our enormous innovation potential for ages. It is time to accept failure as a part of life – where there is no failure, there is no growth. Learn from your experiences and move on!

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My Review

4 Stars

Akhil Sharma writes this book with a little bit of everything included in it. We learn about his childhood and wanting to reach many goals, the opposite sex, and success. But sprinkled with his biography is an observation about success and mainly failure. We all want success, but are we willing to do what needs to be done to reach it? Mainly, fail.

One thing many of us fear is failure. We have dreams and goals but many of us don’t wait to fail at them so they are never pursued. But true success comes from what we do when we fail and what we learn. What did we learn about ourselves? What did we learn NOT to do? This knowledge is mixed with stories of Akhil and the failures that he has experienced. At times humorous, sometime bitter, but all of it was a learning experience.

This book is based on Akhil’s life so we learn a lot about India and it coming into technology of the world. We also learn about Akhil and his sense of humor, a little odd for some people. I will admit that I thing that there might be a little lost to translation because some of the things he was talking about seemed to go over my head.

But this is a great read that will make you think about yourself and your own goals. Hopefully it will motivate you to go after your dreams and goes and not to fear failure.

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

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

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Elk Riders Series by Ted Neill

Elk Riders, the epic fantasy series by Ted Neill, has received a Kirkus Star. Reviews have called it: “brilliant, brutal, evocative, visionary, and divine.” All five books are available in print, digital, and audio on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, and more. – Tenebray Press Website

I reviewed this series back in the beginning of August and absolutely loved it. I was recently contacted by Author Marketing Experts about reviewing the audio version of the second and third book in the series. Aundrea Mitchell and John Caliendo give these two books a new level of depth as they narrate them. I loved reading the books but listening to them has put them in a special place for books that I absolutely love. Now I need to get the other books to catch up on what I have missed. Make sure to check them out on Audible.

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In the Darkness (Book 1)

In the Darkness Visible tells the story of two brothers, Sade and Vondales, and their attempt to wrest control of a portal to the world of the dead. A young village girl, Gabriella Carlyle, resists them with the help of her mentor Omanuju and his companion elk. While the brothers’ lust for power corrupts them, Gabriella finds herself on a quest that leads to new friends, exotic lands, and great peril.

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My Review

4 stars

This story has two parts. The first is about two brothers, Sade and Vondales. They are just trying to survive in a world that doesn’t care for them after their mother dies. It’s partially survival yet they make some bad decisions that make their lives darker than they started out to be. Then we have Gabriella, she faints during a festival and starts speaking about a prophecy. Together with her mentor, his elk, and her ostracized brother. Gabriella goes on a quest to help protect her island from the brothers Sade and Vondales.

The story bounces between the brothers and Gabriella. Sade and Vondales story is in the past explaining what happened to the brothers while Gabriella is in the present while she tries to protect the Tower of the Dead. The more I read about Sade and Vondales story I couldn’t help feel a little bad for them. They had a tough break in life and it just seems that things just kept getting worse at every turn.

But then again it’s not like Gabriella had everything given to her. Her brother suffers from autism like behavior which leaves her family as outsiders to their own village. But I did love having him in the story, it made it more realistic and wider.

I think this is a great start to the series. It does end abruptly but that is to be expected in a sense with a series. It was a quick read and I have to say that I’m excited to dive into The Voyage of the Elawn.

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The Voyage of the Elawn (Book 2)

In this second volume of the Elk Riders series, the stories of siblings from In the Darkness Visible continue to interweave, as Gabriella Carlyle and her brother, Dameon, work to stop the plans of Sade and Vondales—bothers who are powerful members of a dark order of sorcerers. Gabriella and Dameon travel far across the ocean on a mysterious craft, the Elawn, accompanied by an elk, Adamantus, who holds many mysteries of his own. All the friends and foes walk paths that explore the bonds of family, the depth of faith, and the ever perilous road to adulthood, one balanced between good and evil; life and death.

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My Review

5 stars

Gabriella just keeps finding trouble on her quest. The captain is dead and the skyship is damaged. Omanuju is injured and a greedy Mortimer causing more problems than providing any kind of help. Then there is Dameon, Gabriella’s brother. His behaviors caused problems at home and those same problems are complicating Gabriella’s quest. She is getting frustrated and wants to send him home but then is guilty because these thoughts are not helping her to be pure.

Gabriella is getting frustrated with the quest, challenges, and those around her that seem to be causing more hindrance than help. She also doubts herself being pure enough to complete her quest. I loved following along with Gabriella. She is stronger than she thinks and is such a great kid even if she gets frustrated with her brother.

Sade and Vondales don’t have as big of a part in this book as opposed to the first book. But you learn how more about their current position and how they come to be where they are. The more I learn about them the more I come to understand how they got where they are. I don’t feel they are the big bad villain’s they seemed when we first met them.

This is a great YA fantasy story that will appeal to many ages. Although you could pick up this book and read it as a standalone I really think you would like it more if you read the series in order.

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The Font of Jasmeen (Book 3)

When a wayward prince, Haille Hillbourne, with his friend, Katlyn Barnes, seek out an enchanted font to cure his seizures they find themselves drawn into a conflict with sorcerers, slave traders, ambitious nobles, and unruly mercenaries; all the disparate players tied together by an elk of unknown origin.

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My Review

5 stars

Prince Haille Hillbourne has not had an easy life. His mother died in child birth, his father hates and blames him for the death of his mother, and he has an epileptic shakes. When Haille learns that his father plans to send him away to an orphanage for the afflicted, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Haille and his friend Katlyn go on the quest for the Font of Jasmeen, essentially the fountain of youth that should heal Haille. But no good adventure comes without trouble and the friends and going to find themselves in trouble.

We have ventured from Gabriella’s story but we are still going to find ourselves meeting back up with familiar characters; Sade, Vondales, and Adamantus. But the real gem of the story is watching Haille grow from the young, naïve kid in to a strong leader. I say this because I admit that I was short with Haille and tired of his attitude in the beginning of the story. But just has he learns about the world around him he matures and become a great character.

This is a great story and addition to this series. I think this is a great series for both kids and adults alike. I really enjoy how the main characters have issues not usually seen in stories and how they rise above them. I’m really excited to see where the story is going to go in The Journey to Karrith.

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The Journey to Karrith (Book 4)

The Journey to Karrith Volume 4 of 5 in the Elk Rider series. The war in Anthor continues. As King Talamar goes south to aid the embattled Karrithians his son, Prince Haille, and his unlikely band of friends brave haunted forests and high seas to try to reach his father before an unknown threat closes in on him. Time is the enemy as much as the past as old grievances come to bear and creatures from darker ages begin to stir.

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My Review

5 stars

Prince Haille has had his hopes at being healed dashed but has willingly given that choice to save a close friend. Now he is traveling with his friends to the war in Karrith. They have been told that the king will need their help but Haille has some serious doubts about his abilities, is he could really help, and if his father would even accept his help.

At the same time we follow along with Gail, Red, and how she is dealing with the attack on Haille’s group. He size makes it easy to hide as a man. She finds her own path as a squire and heading to the same war Haille’s group is going to.

I really enjoy this series. You have a little bit of everything. A great story, action and adventure, trouble around every bend, and realistic characters. I love how Haille is willing to go fight in the war but has so much self-doubt. He worries so much about what could happen that he finds himself in trouble left and right. Thankfully his friends are there to help.

This is an amazing series and one that I strongly recommend checking out. I do suggest reading the story in order otherwise you miss part of it.

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The Magus (Book 5)

Prince Haille’s world is shattered by loss while the realm of Anthor descends into chaos, a single enigmatic mastermind-the Magus-behind it all. Haille’s friends rally to help him put together the pieces of the mystery, the fragmented realm, and his own fractured life, before it is too late.

Amazon     Audible     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 

My Review

5 stars

We have reached the end of this series and we find Haille in prison ready to be sentenced for the death of his father. Because he rides an elk and takes his counsel he is blamed for the twisted elk that killed his father. He is stripped of his title, banished, and then is sold into slavery. He is all alone but that doesn’t mean that his friends don’t have plans to rescue him. Things are going to go sideways and not as planned, allies and foes are going to switch roles, and the truth about who the Magus is will come out.

This is one of the hardest books in the series. It’s not hard to read, just painful watching everything Haille goes through. But then again, diamonds do not just appear without the pressure that changes the coal to so much more. The same thing happens to Haille as he has pressure added to his life that will help him go front the prince to the true hero king that he is meant to be.

I really liked how the last three books played together and worked out for the most part. There is not a completely HEA ending but things are left just open enough to make you wonder and hope that Mr. Neill is planning on writing another series around a couple of the characters.

I strongly recommend checking out this series. You will not be disappointed.

Author’s Bio

Globetrotter and fiction writer Ted Neill has worked on five continents as an educator, health professional, and journalist. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and he has published a number of novels exploring issues related to science, religion, class, and social justice. His novel, The Selah Branch, attempts to confront issues of racism and the divided political environment of the US today and the 1950s. His debut novel, City on a Hill, examines the fault lines of religious conflict in the Middle East. His 5 book series, Elk Riders, wrestles with issues of ethics, morality, and belief against an epic fantasy backdrop.

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The Complete Elk Riders Collection: Volumes I-V

The limited-edition Elk Riders Complete Collection is available in ebook version only. It includes the full Elk Riders series, beginning with the adventures of Gabriella and her brother Dameon and following the wanderings of Adamantus as he joins Haille Hillbourne and his band of misfits and outcasts as the burden of saving the realm from resurgent, dark forces falls upon their shoulders.

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My Review

5 stars

The Elk Rider series follows a magical elk as he helps a young girl find her inner strength and a helps a weak prince become the strong king that he is. There are many adventures and challenges that they all will face. I love how the main characters have something challenging them that they have to face. This is a wonderful series that will appeal to all ages. I also love how the series may have ended but there are still somethings that are left open for possible other series.

This is my first book from Ted Neill but it won’t be my last. I can’t wait to read other books and explore his other worlds. This is a series that you need to check out. It appeals to all ages.

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

I would like to thank Author Marketing Experts for the opportunity to read and share this series.

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Ghost Owl

Ghost Owl: Sacred Path into Darkness

By Nancy Schoellkopf

Genre: Magic Realism, Visionary Fiction

Twenty-year-old college student Mariah Easter is missing.  Her mother and half-brother are frantically searching for her.  Her best friend Rafa is poring through her private journals, seeking clues to her whereabouts.  But Mariah is unaware of their concern.  Blind to any danger, she has slipped into a world where darkness is as bright as noon—but for her eyes only.  Embarking on a deep spiritual journey into shadows, she begins peering into the unlit spaces normally hidden from view, leading her to confront the sinister nature of power, the vulnerability of the ill, and the secret life of a homeless man:  a winding path that will bring healing to herself and the man she loves.

Ghost Owl is a spiritual story of discovery that follows a young woman as she explores  the limits of her potential and confronts her own shadow.

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About the Author

Nancy Schoellkopf is a California poet and novelist who writes stories with spiritual themes.  She is the author of the Avian Series of Novels–Yellow-Billed Magpie, Red-Tailed Hawk, and Ghost Owl—as well as the short story collection, Rover.  In her books she has created a universe where each soul–orphaned, homeless, autistic, wounded, ill, young, old, rich, poor, unremarkable, ageless–is discovered as a luminous gift.  She invites the reader to ponder the extraordinary treasures hidden in the ordinary events of daily life.

Based in Sacramento, Nancy spent over 30 years teaching amazing children in Special Education classes in urban school districts.  A full-time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

You may reach her at her website, Wild Imaginings:  a Spiritual Journey  at here.

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My Review

4 Stars

Mariah Easter has a strange new ability. It starts as vivid dreams until she realizes that she is on spiritual journeys. She starts journaling them until one day when she disappears. Her best friend Rafa and brother Dale follow her journal to try to find her. At the same time Mariah doesn’t realize that she is missing but is following on her path to learn more about her abilities and what is around her.

This was an interesting read. I admit that I didn’t realize that it is the third book in a series. It can be read as a standalone book but I think you might get more by having a background with the characters. Having said that I will admit that I was a little lost in the beginning because I really didn’t know what was going on.

Once I got into the book a little more it made more sense. This was a journey for both Mariah and me as she learned about herself and those around her. This is an interesting concept with the dimensions and spirituality. You really need to pay attention as you read or you will miss something small and you will have to retrace your steps to figure out what is going on.

This was an interesting read and nothing like what I was expecting. It’s one book I would say try but I would start with the first two books in the series to have a better understanding of what is going on.

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

I would like to thank Sage Adderley Knox for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Blood Moon Fever

Blood Moon Fever

By Connal Bain

Genre: Horror, thriller, crime

Crime … Corruption … Werewolves. Just another day in LA.

David Goodwin isn’t having a good month. Sent on a manhunt after escaped felon ‘Hard Time Jake’ Griffon, he finds he has bitten off more than he can chew as he moves from the wooded Northern California wilderness to the mean streets of LA in pursuit of a man who has become something beyond human.

During Griffon’s bloody prison break, something happened in the woods of the Modoc Forest. Something inhuman. Something evil. Something terrifying.

Now, as the full moon prepares to rise over the City of Angels, Goodwin must piece together elements of a puzzle involving a fugitive on the run, a crooked lawyer, a violent drug cartel, and a string of bloody corpses left in the wake of an ancient terror now awake and hungry for fresh carnage.

Combining the hard-boiled realism of Jim Thompson with the gritty horror of Jack Ketchum and Clive Barker, Bain introduces a new brand of horror noir.

Savagely dark and wildly inventive, Blood Moon Fever introduces a powerful new voice to horror and crime fiction.

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About the Author

Connal Bain is a freelance writer and novelist living a peripatetic life in the Western United States. He has worked as a journalist, long-haul truck driver, short-order cook, labor organizer, and bookstore clerk, among other odds and ends.  Traveling from job to job around the great American West has provided him the opportunity to spend much of his free time writing, often gathering story and character ideas from his experiences on the road.

An avid reader from an early age, he became a horror and mystery enthusiast upon discovering a treasure trove of paperback originals in his parents’ basement in junior high school, beginning with John D. MacDonald and Manley Wade Wellman and working up through King, Herbert, and the late great Jim Thompson.

His fascination with all things dark and creepy grew as he expanded his tastes to the classics and the pulps, always finding pleasure in the genre at hand.  This brought him a great respect for the printed word, regardless of the merits of canonical “literary” value.  Always in search of a tale well-told, he began writing his own detective and supernatural horror stories in high school, and has been writing ever since.

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My Review

4 Stars

Jake Griffon is an inmate at the Redwood State Penitentiary in Northern California. One day he is visited by Rachel Lewis, an attorney that says she can help him. But he quickly learns that she is going to help him escape. But once outside he decides to do his own thing and things quickly go south, especially when he meets a stranger in the forest. But when he gets to LA things go from bad to worse when a lot of people are not going to just let him get away.

David Goodwin is sent to catch Jake. But this is not just a simple jail break with drug dealers and the cartels. This also involves the world of werewolves and the like. It’s going to be up to David to figure out what is going on and try to catch or stop Jake before he causes lots of problem in LA.

This is a great story. It starts out like a normal thriller. Bad guy is helped to get out of prison as long as he agrees to do the bidding of even bigger bad guys. Then turns against them and all hell breaks loose. But then it takes a supernatural twist that just amps up the action until you are rushing to get to the end of the book to see how the story ends.

This is great read, one to definitely check out. It’s the first book I have read from Connal Bain but it won’t be my last.

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

Excerpt

Water ran down the bathroom sink drain, stained red and then pink before finally running clear. Griffon splashed water on his face, clearing away spots of blood and bits of flesh and hair. He ran handfuls of water over his hair, slicking it back with his fingers before looking into the mirror over the sink. He turned his head from left to right, mesmerized by the return of normalcy to his features, then wiped the sink clean with his hands before turning off the water.

He grabbed a towel off the bar mounted to the wall and glanced at the slip of paper resting on the toilet tank. A Home Depot invoice with a photocopy of a returned check attached. He studied the name and address on the check copy while he dried his hands.

“Well, pleased to meet you, Mr. Hollister,” he chuckled, crumpling the papers and burying them beneath a pile of used tissues in the trash next to the toilet.

He froze, listening intently. Moving silently out of the bathroom, he slunk to the living room and stood still, listening. A light breeze blew in through the open windows, stirring the mesh curtains.  He turned to the front door and dropped into a crouch.  For a moment, the only sound came from the radio in the kitchen. Suddenly, the door crashed open, swinging from broken hinges. Tear gas canisters crashed through the window screens, filling the room with a haze of chemical smoke. Black-clad SWAT team members burst through the door frame in respirators and full body armor.  Beams of light crisscrossed the room from flashlights clipped under the barrels of their assault rifles.

Griffon whirled as the back door shattered and more SWAT officers swarmed in. Smoke rapidly filled the room.

“On the ground! On the ground now! Hands behind your head. Do it now!”

Griffin let his face go slack and complied.  One officer stood over him, the barrel of his M4 aimed at his head while another landed with one knee on his back and cuffed his wrists behind his back.

“We clear?” said the man aiming at Griffon.

“We’re clear,” said a voice from the kitchen. “Sir, you’d better come back here.”

The team leader stepped away from Griffon’s prone form, another officer immediately stepping into his place. He crossed to the kitchen where a group of officers were huddled, staring at something partially hidden by the door.

The walls and counters were bathed in streaks of blood and gore, running in the crazy patterns of a psychotic abstract painter.  Behind the island counter, a pair of nylon-clad legs protruded, ending in bloody knobs where they had been torn off at the knees. White bone and cartilage glistened under the florescent lights.

To call the room an abattoir would be an insult to abattoirs. Bits of flesh and muscle lay scattered across the floor and a slimy blood trail led around the corner to the side.

“Where’s the rest of her?”

“Something over here,” said another officer in a shaky voice, pointing at the sink.

The team leader walked to the sink, sidestepping the pools of blood on the floor.  He peered inside, ignoring the gagging sounds from the other men in the room. In the sink lay an eyeball, a gangly network of nerves still attached. The blue iris stared back at him, the whites shot through with a spiderwebbing of thin red lines.

“What the fuck did he do to her? Check the knives, power tools. Everything. Anything. There’s still a lot of body missing.”

“Sir,” said an officer standing at the edge of the blood trail at the opposite end of the kitchen. He vomited into an empty evidence bag and stepped back. The team leader edged the crime scene and peered around the corner.

“Aw, Jesus…”

I would like to thank Sage Adderley Knox for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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