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Archive for the ‘5 Star Books’ Category

Donn’s Legacy

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3

Released: Sep. 27, 2021

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


How do you catch a killer who moves like a ghost? Mackenzie Clair is sure she’ll find answers in New Mexico. The mysteries around her mother’s past have haunted her for 20 years, and every sign points toward the truth lurking in her childhood home. But the Donn’s Hill Body Magnet should have known better than to expect a quiet trip. Everywhere Mac goes, ghosts follow. All her life, Mac thought her mother’s death was just a tragic accident. But when a tourist dies under suspiciously similar circumstances, connections between Evelyn Clair and more recent victims start stacking up. There’s a serial killer on the prowl, and they’ve set their sights on Donn’s Hill. Hard as she tries, Mac can’t convince the police the deaths are related. The murderer is like a ghost, moving through the living world in ways only a psychic can follow. It’s up to Mac to solve the case, but if she can’t sift through the clues from her past, she won’t live to see her future.

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Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

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Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Narrator Jessica McEvoy
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I saw an ad for ACX (the audiobook creation exchange) and it piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I can do that? By myself? Right now?” and then bought a microphone soon after. I’d never imagined I’d find a job where I could read books and be paid for it.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • As much as I’d like to think my role as the Cat in the Hat in Suessical the Musical in middle school was a breakout performance, I don’t think a theatre background is entirely necessary for a career in voice acting.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I keep a supply of emergency chocolate on my desk for when my reserves start to run dry. I try to keep my office a happy place, with an essential oil diffuser throwing out some good smells and a few comfy blankets to wrap myself in when I’m trudging through editing the audio. I take breaks when I start to feel like I’m hitting a wall.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • After narrating the adventures of Mac and her friends in the two previous novels, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow, I knew I had to follow through with them to the end.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I love feedback from authors! It’s reassuring to know when I’m getting something right and when something needs to be adjusted, otherwise I’m a nervous mess and assume I’ve ruined the whole thing.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Sometimes the characters’ voices are explicitly described in the text and so I do my best to match that. If they’re not, I’ll try to do a voice that I feel best reflects their personality or style of speaking.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Screaming. My main gig is voice acting for The NoSleep Podcast, a horror anthology show, so this comes up somewhat frequently. When I know I’ve got to full on death shriek in a story, I’ll save that for after everything else has been recorded to avoid rasping through the narration. Then I consume copious amounts of tea.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that’s really unfair. I’ve spoken with blind or visually impaired listeners who are so happy to be able to enjoy stories otherwise unavailable to them. Many folks listen at work or while taking care of other tasks and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to sit down and read. Listening to an audiobook still requires reading comprehension and interpretation; it’s just a different way of doing it.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Start small. Don’t jump into a contract for a multiple book series or an epic saga right away. Make sure you know what you’re doing first and take time to experiment. It’s also not a bad idea to use a pseudonym for your first few novels. You’ll inevitably get better with practice and may regret attaching your professional name to projects that don’t match that quality.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • One of the characters in The Soul Searchers series is a cat, who occasionally has a few bits of meowing or trilling dialogue. Narrating a cat is fun but watching my dogs’ reactions to hearing the result is even better. They’d hear it even when I had headphones on and then walk around the house terribly confused, trying to find this phantom cat.

Review

Graham and Mac are taking a vacation in New Mexico where Mac grew up. They find a dead woman and a possible lead of who Horace is and then learn of a friend’s passing when they get back home. Something sounds odd to Mac about Elizabeth’s passing, especially since that was how her own mother died.

Things keep moving as the Soul Searchers find new crew to replace those that have left. Mac is learning more about astral projection and finds she has brought a ghost back with her from her trip to New Mexico. But she is still plagued by Horace and having a harder and harder time trying to get some restful sleep. Mac is getting closer to the breaking point and it’s looking like Horace may just win.

At the end of Donn’s Shadow, I was worried that with the team breaking up and Mac going to New Mexico that they would be done. But don’t worry, this is just another stepping stone on the way to the finally. Poor Mac, I really thought she was going to snap and be lost to Horace. All is not lost, just keep reading.

Jessica McEvoy does a fantastic job narrating this story. She has an amazing voice and great pace. I can’t wait to find other books that she narrates.

I really liked this series and recommend it to anyone that is looking for a paranormal cozy mystery. I do recommend reading it from the beginning to get the full experience.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

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Donn’s Shadow

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 53 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 2

Released: May 14, 2020

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


Mackenzie Clair finally has this whole ghost-hunting psychic thing figured out. The Soul Searchers are a hit, she’s got pet-parenting down, and she even has a plan to banish the poltergeist running amok at a lakeside cabin. Best of all, Donn’s Hill feels like home. But not everyone loves the town as much as Mac. A world-famous paranormal debunker thinks the psychics in Donn’s Hill are lying about their abilities. His determination to destroy the Soul Searchers threatens Mac’s livelihood, and when a killer strikes, the sheriff’s suspicions threaten her freedom. Mac needs all the help she can get to find the real murderer and clear her name… even if that help comes from beyond the grave.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Striker the cat
  • What is your full name? Do you have a nickname (if so, who calls you this)? Striker Clair. Mac sometimes calls me “my cat” in front of other humans, which is hilarious.
  • Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place (home and location) and the person/people you live with. Mac found me a really nice, warm, cozy apartment in a big yellow house not too far from Main Street in Donn’s Hill. There’s a great big tree right by the window, so I can climb up and down whenever I want. My favorite part about it is this cushy bench that runs along the inside of a round turret; it’s sunny there for most of the day and it’s a great place to nap. Usually I sleep in the soft bed Mac bought me though; she’s pretty warm so I let her share it with me.
  • What is your job? I’m in charge of security for a TV show called the Soul Searchers. I travel with the team when they’re filming and make sure no mice or birds interfere with anything. If a ghost shows up, I keep Mac safe. She’s really important. You know… to the show. Sometimes I help my friend Graham sell his sculptures at the Afterlife Festival. He always sells way more when I’m around!
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement so far, why? I’m really proud of how far Mac has come since I’ve been taking care of her. When we first met, she was so lost. She didn’t even have a home. Now I make sure she’s happy and healthy, and she’s really thriving. It’s great to see!
  • Do you have a motto? If so, what is it? “A treat in the hand is worth two in the bag.” Also, “Give me the bag.”

Music Playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/496SXt6tY2sJEwek3290ab Review

It’s been about one year since Mac Clair discovered that she is a psychic. Her job with Soul Searchers is going well and her relationship with Graham is going well. But when famous debunker Raziel sets his eyes on the Soul Searchers things are going to get heated. But Mac discovering another dead body puts her in the person of interest’s category again.

Mac is also up against a powerful ghost that directs her to a dybbuk box. The discovery of this book seems to put a curse on Mac and her friends. As everything seems to be crashing down around her it’s up to Mac to find the truth and learn to ask for help.

I really like this series and I think Jessica McEvoy breathes life to the characters and the story. Things seem to be going so well for the Soul Searchers and Mac. But this is going to change quickly. A séance brings a new and powerful spirit to Mac’s attention, and it seems he likes to follow her around. He also gets her mixed up with a cursed object that seems to be breaking up her life.

I enjoyed how things are going to Mac, but I did get frustrated by her naivety. I understand she wants to think the best of people, but it almost gets her killed. I still say Striker is my favorite character, but I have a soft spot for torties. Thank goodness she is there to guide Mac to what is under her nose.

I’m kind of torn on the ending. I understand how this is going to progress, but I worry about how this is going to work out in the next book. I guess I just need to read it to see.

If you are looking for a good, cozy, paranormal mystery you need to check this series out. Although you could start with this book, I would recommend starting at the Donn’s Hill so you don’t miss anything.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

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Donn’s Hill

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 54 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 1

Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


“Grief can change us… rewire our brains and shift the way we look at the world…” After returning home from her father’s funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she’ll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn’s Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer. Aided by her new roommate – a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker, and the ghost-hunting crew of the nationally televised show Soul Searchers, Mac struggles to learn how to use her powers. But she’d better get a handle on them fast, because someone in town is hiding a deadly secret. If Mac can’t somehow divine the truth, Donn’s Hill will never be the same.

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Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Author Caryn Larrinaga
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • The first thing everyone has to learn how to pronounce is usually my name (it’s “Kuh-rin” but most people try to say it like “Karen”). 🙂
    • Jessica is amazing, so it was super easy to work with her on all three of these books. We talked about how certain words should be pronounced, especially the names of Elder Futhark and Ogham runes in Donn’s Legacy. For the main characters, we talked a little bit about their personalities and how they should sound, but overall I left it up to Jessica to decide how she wanted to bring each character to life. It was the right call – she’s a genius at packing a character’s spirit into their voices.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Spookily, yes! A lot of the ghosts Mac encounters are inspired by the actual experiences of friends and family (like the poltergeist my mom encountered). And Striker the cat is pulled straight from real life – she’s the immortalization of my sweet tortie cat who was feisty and playful until she passed away at 20.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • There’s one piece of advice I’ve heard again and again but still always need to hear: celebrate everything. Every milestone of the writing process, every email from a reader who loved a story, every opportunity to connect with other writers and new readers. They’re all worth marking and savoring. It’s a habit I fall out of sometimes, but it seems like right when I need it most, there’s a writing conference or a speaker’s bureau night with someone like Tim Waggoner where I’m reminded about it.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Definitely! My favorite thing about it is that my husband and I can experience the book together. We love listening while we’re in the car or to wind down at night. I’ve gotten him into supernatural romance and
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Oh man, I would want to do so much! I’m assuming I wouldn’t be allowed to change anything (I don’t want to Homer Simpson myself into a world where it rains donuts… or do I?). So if all I could do was be a spectator at some event, I’d go back and sit in on one of the seances Houdini’s wife held after he died because I bet they were deliciously spooky.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • The last couple of weeks of writing a novel are a massive sprint for me. The words come more easily but they also sort of come all at once, and my brain needs a break after. So I like to take a week off from writing, play way too much Civilization 5 while eating chocolate covered orange sticks and pickle flavored Lays, then come back with a fresh mind for editing.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • When I’m feeling stuck on my longer projects, I like to switch to writing short stories and get that sweet sweet dopamine hit from finishing something. Try it! It also helps me to finish a big chore I’ve been putting off, like reorganizing the Closet of Mysteries in my den while I listen to some synthwave. Using my hands and letting my brain roam free can sometimes unlock whatever barrier has me slumping.
    • I definitely get into reading slumps too. Genre hopping helps me with that. Last spring I got super into reading romances and tore through all the Bridgerton books before switching back to paranormal horror and cozy mysteries, haha.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • I’d say to start by focusing on building a good writing habit. Pick an attainable word count (for example, 500 words per day) and work toward hitting that. Then work on hitting it every day for a month. That’s been the most important thing for me, and that daily habit is how I get things done.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Don’t rush the process of finding the right narrator. Take your time and keep looking for the right fit. That’s how you end up getting to work with someone as phenomenal as Jessica.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My collection of short horror stories, Dread Softly, just released last month. One of those stories (“The Bump”) will be coming out in audio as part of the Untold Tales Podcast, and later as an animated special from TKMV Studio. I love this story and the children’s voices in it are soooooo creepy. I hope folks will check it out!

  • Mackenzie Clair (aka Mac) is a wanderer at heart. For Mac, home is where the people she loves are, and at the beginning of the Soul Searchers Mysteries, everyone she loves has either left this life or betrayed her completely. She’s used to starting over, and her willingness to dive head first into uncharted territory serves her well as she discovers the return of a lost psychic ability to see the dead. Mac has dark, curly hair and tends to have shadows under her blue eyes from staying up late reading. Her sweet tooth can get out of control, and her favorite snacks include lemon bars and homemade chocolate chip cookies. She loves a good cup of tea but will take coffee if somebody else made it.
  • Striker is a small tortoiseshell cat who found her way into Mac’s life just when she was needed most, as cats have a way of doing. Fond of games and cuddling, she takes care of Mac as well (or better) as Mac takes care of her, and her inquisitive nature has a way of leading her human both into and out of trouble. Favorite snack: crunchy treats from Mac’s landlord’s breast pocket.

Review

Mackenzie Clair is starting over after catching her boyfriend with his assistant. She remembered Donn’s Hill from her childhood with her mother and decided to start over there. After a rough start she finds a great apartment, a tortoiseshell kitty, and an odd job with Soul Searchers, a local paranormal research group/television show.

But Mac seems to have creepy things happening around her and is seeing ghosts. But when the body of a very prominent resident, Tom Bishop is discovered, things take a turn for the worst. It seems he was involved in scrupulous dealings.

I loved this story! Mac is a good person that has found herself in hard times. I loved the whole paranormal abilities and festival. That would be a blast to attend. Of course, I was left guessing who the killer was and I kind of felt sorry for her too. It doesn’t make what she did right, but I could understand part of it. I also felt Jessica McEvoy did a fantastic job of narrating this story. She drew me right in and didn’t let me go until the end.

I strongly recommend this mystery to those that like a little paranormal twist to a mystery. I’m really excited that I signed up to review all three books. I can’t wait to jump into Donn’s Shadow.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

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Redemption

Legendsof Lightning copy

Congratulations to author T.R. Slauf on the release of the second installment in the Legends of Lightning series, Redemption! Read on for more details!

redemption_ebook

Redemption (Legends of Lightning #2)

Publication Date: November 2nd, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

“Blood seems to be the only thing flowing in this Realm. The day I found out the truth of who I was, was the day I died.”

“Sometimes you must die so you can be re-born.”

Esther escaped the horrors of Castle Rose, but at a cost. Believing her lost guide is still alive deep in the bowls of Adam’s dungeons, she aims to save him, but the other Huntsman are not so sure he’s alive… Desperate to rescue Oisin, Esther makes tempestuous allegiances with dangerous foes. Walking a fine line between enemies and allies, life and death, she rages war against the monsters of the Hidden Realm.

Esther’s journey continues in this heart wrenching sequel as she navigates the politics and grudges of ageless Queens. By night, she’s haunted by what she’s seen fighting in a war that was never hers. What she’s done to survive in the Hidden Realm will haunt her forever and she’s terrified of losing herself in the darkness without a star to guide her. Will Esther be able to save Oisin and the lands before the shadows of her mind overtake her spirit?

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Esther stifled a scream. A sheen of cold sweat dripped from her face and soaked her clothes. Gathering her wits, she looked around. It was early evening, and she was in a dark cramped room full of sleeping bodies at Auburn Keep.

Her heart pounded; she was safe. There were no Faye ravishing her body while the shadows laughed, there were no beasts torturing her while the misshaped yellow eyes of the gremlins watched. The sound of rushing waters and Oisin’s screams were only in her mind

Available on Amazon

Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning #1)

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“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride

About the Author

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I have always been torn between two halves of myself; one half revels in all things scientific and longs to explore the secrets of the universe, while the other half finds solace and excitement within the arts. When it came time to choose a college degree, I put aside my creative hobbies and perused a career path in biochemistry. For me, college was an expensive privilege, thus I decided a degree within STEM was the most logical route for my costly investments. Through my years in college I still tried to enjoy the arts, reading novels and drawing in my sketchbooks when time permitted.

Five long years later, I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology. I immediately began working full time in an academic research lab, it was miserable. I quickly grew weary and depressed in the toxic and hostile work environment created by our supervisor. I begun interviewing for other jobs and exploring my creative hobbies again when my congenital heart condition required me to have another open-heart surgery.

In the months before my operation, I became determined to finish my first novel; I had started and abandoned several over the years. Once I was well enough, I continued writing during my recovery. Nine months after my operation, I left my job at the research lab and invested more of myself in my novel. It wasn’t an easy transition and it did not happen over-night, but I decided to start a new career as a novelist.

T.R. Slauf | Instagram | Facebook

My Review

5 stars

Esther may have survived Castle Rose but she is torn up with guilt about Oisin and leaving him behind. She still has to unity the Huntsmen and the Queens if they are going to be able to fight the Red Witch. But Esther is distracted and danced along the line closer to the enemy than to the hero.

I admit that I tried to start reading this book and quickly realized that you need to have read Hidden Realm first otherwise you are going to be lost. I love how this is a dark twist on Grimm’s fairy tales. Esther is supposed to be the hero, but she didn’t fully understand her role in this battle. She is going to have to sacrifice all just to survive this world.

Although Esther is supposed to be the hero and fight the Red Witch, I find that she is too distracted by different things. Don’t get me wrong, my heart went out to Oisin and I just hoped that he would make it through his ordeal. Having said that this story had some great battles and I think does a great job of gearing up for the next chapter of the series.

I really enjoyed Redemption. I do recommend reading Hidden Realm first since this one picks up right away. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

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

Paperback Copies of the Legends of Lightning Series

Giveaway

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

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

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Grace in Hollywood

Join us for this tour from June 22 to July 19, 2021!

Book Details:   

Book Title:  Grace in Hollywood – A Grace Michelle Mystery by Kari Bovee
CategoryAdult Fiction (18 +), 336 pages
GenreHistorical Mystery
Publisher:  Bosque Publishing
Release date:   May 25, 2021
Content Rating PG + MBook has mature themes; adultery, murder, bigamy, but there is no bad language.

Book Description:

All that glitters… is sometimes blood. With her golden ticket buried in the ground, can she save a wrongly accused teen from the gallows?
Hollywood, 1924. Promoted to lead costume designer of a star-studded film, Grace Michelle should be on top of the world. But between her husband’s debt, her sister’s recent death, and the troubled teenaged girl she’s fostering, she’s struggling to please everyone and still keep a smile on her face. And when a Tinseltown shindig turns deadly, Grace is horrified to discover her young charge unconscious alongside the director’s grisly corpse.

Determined to prove the girl’s innocence, Grace’s own haunted past fills her sleep with prophetic nightmares. And no sooner has she sought clarity from a medium than a second body lands the scared teenager in the slammer.

Can Grace turn the camera on the real culprit before another victim ends up on the cutting room floor?

Grace in Hollywood is the second book in the riveting A Grace Michelle Mystery historical series. If you like fiercely loyal heroines, thrilling whodunits, and the magic of old cinema, then you’ll love Kari Bovee’s enthralling tale.

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Also Available for Your Mystery-Reading Pleasure: 

 

Book Details:

Book Title: Grace in the Wings – A Grace Michelle Mystery by Kari Bovee
CategoryAdult Fiction (18 +), 340
Genre
Historical Mystery
Publisher:  Bosque Publishing
Release date:   September 19, 2019
Format available for review e-book (mobi file (for Kindle), ePub, )
Will send print books out:  USA
Content Rating PG + MBook has mature themes; adultery, murder, bigamy, but there is no bad language. 


Book Description:
 

A ghost from her past. Her sister murdered. Can Grace slay her demons and find the killer before she ends up dead?
New York City, 1920. Grace Michelle has everything she wants: a home, a family, and a future career as a costume designer for famed showman Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.’s Ziegfeld Follies. Pretty good for a girl who once lived on the streets of New York City. But when her sister, Sophia, the star of the show, is murdered, Grace’s safe and protected life is shattered.

Battle-scarred by the war and emotionally scarred by his past, Chet Riker has made it a practice to keep his distance from others; love, after all, leads only to pain. But Chet has a problem—a big one: he’s become indebted to mob-boss Joe Marciano in an attempt to save his estranged mother’s life, and Marciano wants him to pay up or else. Desperate to get the money, he contacts former client Florenz Ziegfeld for work.

Soon, Chet finds himself playing bodyguard for introverted Grace, who has reluctantly agreed to be Ziegfeld’s new leading lady—on the condition that Ziegfeld promises to find Sophia’s killer. Upon meeting Grace, Chet quickly finds his hardened theory that love equals pain tested. Grace, meanwhile, is swept up in a life she never wanted as the Follies’ star, and as the pawn in a series of publicity stunts during a transcontinental train trip to California that puts her life at risk. Who would want her and Sophia dead? Together, she and Chet must confront publicity-hungry Florenz Ziegfeld, power-driven Joe Marciano, and their own pasts to find Sophia’s killer—and let themselves love once again.

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Meet the Author:

When she’s not on a horse, or walking along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovee is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined, and helping them to find order in the chaos of her action-packed novels.

An award-winning author, Bovée was honored with the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for Southwestern Fiction for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category, and won First in Category in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings won First in Category for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards. Peccadillo at the Palace won Grand Prize in the 2019 Goethe Awards, and was a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category.

Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant.

Connect with the author:  Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest


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My Review
5 Stars

Grace Michelle is a costume designer in 1924 Hollywood. She also owns a ranch with her husband and rescues racehorses and troubled children. Although she tries to keep the kids separate from her work, she finds herself hosting a Hollywood even for the director, Edward Travis, of the movie she is working on. Unfortunately, at the dinner the Travis is found dead and Lizzy, one of her wards, is blamed.

But there is so much more going on with the story. Travis had a second wife and many dalliances. Lizzy and her sister Margaret are having a fight and Lizzy finds herself being charged with her murder too. Grace is trying to find a way to clear Lizzy of the charges, but it seems the harder she tries to help the more tangled this mystery becomes.

I have not read the first book in this series, but I had no problem hopping into this story. Grace has some issues, but she is trying her hardest at work, on the ranch, and with her husband and kids. I instantly liked her and felt heartbroken for what she was going through.

I love how she just kept fighting to prove that Lizzy was innocent and get to the bottom of the mystery. I couldn’t read fast enough to learn what happens next and had a hard time putting the book down. I never expected the ending and I just loved how it wrapped everything up.

If you are looking for a great mystery, I recommend checking out Grace in Hollywood. I can’t wait to go back and catch up on what I missed with Grave in the Wings.

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

Tour Schedule:
June 22 – Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
June 22 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review
June 24 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book spotlight / giveaway
June 25 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 28 – Rajiv’s Reviews – book review
June 29 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
June 30 – Lisa Everyday Reads – book spotlight / author interview
June 30 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of GRACE IN THE WINGS / giveaway
July 1 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview
July 2 – She Just Loves Books – book review
July 2 – PuzzlePaws Blog – book review of GRACE IN THE WINGS / giveaway
July 6 – @twilight_reader – book review
July 7 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 7 – I Read What You Write – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 8 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 9 –Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
July 9 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
July 12 –Bigreadersite – book review / giveaway
July 12 – PuzzlePaws Blog – book review / giveaway
July 13 – Wickedly Romance – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 15 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
July 16 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway

July 16 – JBronder Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
July 19 – Books for Books – book review
July 19 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
Giveaway 4
Enter the Giveaway:

Enter to win one signed copy each of Grace in the Wings and Grace in Hollywood, a completed and framed (8.5 x 11) diamond painting of a flapper, an art deco mousepad, a small art deco notepad and pen, an art deco tote bag, and an Amazon gift card for $50! (one winner) (USA only)

GRACE IN HOLLYWOOD (Grace Michelle Mystery) Book Tour Giveaway

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

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Legend of the Dragon Slayer: The Origin Story of Dragonwatch

by Brandon Mull & Brandon Dorman

In ancient times, dragons posed the ultimate threat to the rest of the magical world. During the Dragon War, a group of specially trained Dragon Slayers banded together to stand against the onslaught. They called themselves Dragonwatch, and they succeeded in confining the majority of dragons to sanctuaries. Legend of the Dragon Slayer is the illustrated story of the very first Dragon Slayer who took to battle.

As the legend tells it, powerful monsters terrorized the kingdom of Selona on all sides. An unlikely hero named Konrad, the cobbler’s son, accepts the king’s challenge to defeat the monsters: fierce yeti, a merciless vampire, a dangerous gorgon, and a deadly phoenix. But Selona’s biggest threat will come from the Dragon, and it will take every ounce of wit and experience that Konrad has acquired to stand a chance against such a formidable foe.

Legend of the Dragon Slayer features a never-before-published catalog of Dragon Slayers, a detailed map of the kingdom of Selona, and lavish full-color illustrations. Fantasy fans will love this stand-alone tale of valor, destiny, and magic.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Brandon Mull

About the Author – Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull resides in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and three children. He spent two years living in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile where he learned Spanish and juggling. He once won a pudding eating contest in the park behind his grandma’s house, earning a gold medal. Brandon is the author of the New York Times bestselling Fablehaven series and The Candy Shop War.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

About the Author – Brandon Dorman

The illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Wizard, written by Jack Prelutsky, as well as Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray, and his own Pirates of the Sea! and Santa’s Stowaway. He received a degree in fine arts from Bringham Young University–Idaho.

My Review

5 stars

If you have read Mr. Mull’s Dragonwatch series, there has been a question of where the Dragonwatch originated. Wonder no more, here is their origin story!

The kingdom of Selona is surrounded by dangerous creatures something has to be done to expand so the people are not so crowded. The king submits a challenge for those that are brave enough to face the creatures and win, they will be richly rewarded.

No one answers the challenge, no knights, no warriors, but a cobbler’s son, Konrad steps up. He faces a gorgon, yeti, a vampire, and a phoenix. But his biggest challenge will come when he is king of Selona and has to face the Dragon.

I loved this book. It is filled with beautiful artwork and the monsters are fantastic. Konrad shows that you don’t have to be big and strong to defeat those around you. Although we do learn some surprising facts later on.

I love how the story ended and how it wrapped up as a great introduction for the Dragonwatch series. This would be a great introduction for children to start reading this series and even just a good bedtime story. This is one that you definitely want to add to your child’s bookshelf.

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

I would like to thank Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Demon of Yodok

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To celebrate the release of the latest novel in the Juche series, The Storm of Storms, we’re going back to the book that started it all! The Demon of Yodok! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of the novel!

Juche part one - eBook - Copy

The Demon of Yodok (Juche 1)

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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Excerpt

Cranes sang songs of joy from the mountain tops.

Double rainbows appeared in the sky.

The aggressors from the west were defeated. The invaders from the east were expunged. The traitors from the south were put at bay.

The people of Choson were finally free to create their own destiny, and so a hermit kingdom of people’s rule rose from the ashes, and the doors to the enemies of the outside world were closed, never to be opened again.

The world around them moved on. Years passed. Decades passed. Peace and prosperity spread throughout the world, and nothing was heard from the secluded hermit paradise.

Then one day, people started emerging from its closed borders. The stories they brought with them were, however, not of a paradise on earth. Instead, what they depicted were horrors so vile and cruel that they almost exceeded human comprehension.

Little had the people of the kingdom known when they closed its doors to the outside world, that the vilest beast of all was still lurking among their midst, and as soon as the curtains had been drawn, the beast unleashed its reign of terror upon the people, not stopping until it had crushed and enslaved every soul within its reach.

The beast now rules the kingdom from a throne of human misery and agony.

No one alive has ever encountered this beast, but everybody knows its name.

JUCHE

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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My Review

5 stars

Areum is fourteen years old and lives in Chosen under the Great General’s command. She lives in the Capital with her family. Her father Young Il works for the department of agriculture for the country, Sun Hee is her mother and a former actress, and Nari is her twin sister that has a heart condition.

Areum is rather snotty to her family and focuses on the Great General and believes how he is her true father. Her only goal is to get selected for the Great General’s National Gymnastics Team and through a little cheating gets her wish. She is about to be away from those she lives with when suddenly her mother, Nari and her are rounded up and sent to Penal Labor Camp 15, otherwise known as Yodok.

Young Il has been deemed a traitor and sent to the camp. But the Great General knows that treachery runs deep so whole families are sent with the traitors to make sure all doubt can be cast out. Slow to accept her fate, Areum is going to have to learn how to come together with her family if they are going to survive Yodok.

I was instantly drawn into this story even if Areum is such a snot and horrible to her family. It just made me bristle until I learned more about her past, then I could kind of understand her behavior. Of course she is very narrow sighted and doesn’t see the big picture around her until she falls flat on her face.

You know this story is about North Korea and how the people live. It breaks my heart that anyone should have to live like this but all you have to do is look at history to know that it has happened in the past, in the present, and will happen again in the future.

The more I read the more I wanted to know what was happening. I received the original Part One of the series and as soon as I finished I downloaded the update to keep reading Areum’s struggles. This is a wonderful read and one that I recommend checking out. I would recommend having all ages read it.

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

Book Tour Schedule

May 24th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

@jypsylynn (Review)

Michelle Meng’s Blog (Review)

 May 25th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

@booksford_dictionary (Review)

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight)

May 26th

Bonnie Reads & Writes (Spotlight)

@esmeralda_lagiggles18 (Review)

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review)

Musings of a Final Girl (Review)

May 27th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight)

@tiny.bibliophile (Review)

@bookloverleah (Spotlight)

 May 28th

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

@gin_books_crochethooks (Review)

Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater (Review)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Review)

Click the link below for a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of The Demon of Yodok

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Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

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

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The Swansong Conspiracy

Author: Nick Vossen

Narrator: Marcus Rothenberg

Length: 8 hours 30 minutes

Series: The Eldritch Twins, Book 1

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Jan. 5, 2021

Genre: Horror; New Adult

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Ever Alice

Author: H.J. Ramsay

Narrator: Caroline Holmes

Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Publisher: Red Rogue Press

Released: January 19, 2021

Genre: Fantasy; YA

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Red Virus

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Red Virus (Zommunist Invasion – 1) by Camilla Picott

Invading troops with a deadly virus.
A young man fighting for his life.
Will flesh-eating monsters run out the clock on America’s future?

Northern California, 1985, Former high school quarterback Leo Cecchino sacrificed his dreams his family. Unfulfilled by the daily grind of their ailing farm, he can’t help but feel resentment.But he’s soon redirecting his smoldering frustration into battle rage when his small town is invaded by bloodthirsty Russians armed with a zombie virus.

Forced from his home to a secret hideaway, Leo tries desperately to spread the word and defend his country. But with the Soviets and their ravenous puppets firmly in control, it may rest on Leo and his hastily created counterattack playbook to save them all form a grisly death.

Can Leo snatch victory from the undead jaws of defeat?

Amazon     Goodreads

About the Author

Camille Picott has been writing Stories from the End of the World since she figured out how to turn on her family’s Apple IIe computer and wrangle a floppy disk into the drive. She loves nothing more than penning an epic action scene or pushing a character to her limits.

Her books, which range from zombie apocalypse, YA dystopia, and epic fantasy, are all Stories from the End of the World. There’s no fun in writing a story if the stakes aren’t high and the fate of the world isn’t in jeopardy. 

When Camille isn’t writing or spending time with her family, she loves to run absurdly long distances. It’s not unusual to find her hitting the trail in her running shoes long before the sun rises or cranking out miles (and stories!) on her treadmill desk.

Website     Facebook     Instagram     YouTube

My Review

5 stars

It is 1985 in Northern California and we meet the Cecchino family. The family has a small apple farm that they work. One day while everyone goes about their normal lives the Russian’s attack. They arrive on the Grey Hound bus and start shooting people with automatic rifles and dart guns. It is unknown what kind of attack is happening but it’s clear that we are being invaded.

It seems the Russian’s have a plan to stop all communication, turn people into zombies, then invade after the zombies have died out. The Cecchino family on the other hand is trying to get everyone back to the farm them up to a hunting cabin. Not everyone will make it but they are all willing to fight for their country and those that have already lost their lives.

I really enjoyed Ms. Picott’s Undead Ultra series and was excited to start reading Red Virus. I am just old enough to remember 1985 and really enjoyed being back there with Leo, Dal, and Lena. Although I absolutely loved Nonna, I hope to be like her when I’m her age.

Of course, when I got to the end, I just had to purchase book 2, Snipers. I can’t wait to jump back into this world. I was also surprised to received book 3, Scattered from the author. Now I just need a weekend to bing these books.

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

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