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Van Ops: The Last Power

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae Banner

 

VanOps: The Lost Power

by Avanti Centrae

on Tour November 4, 2019 – January 10, 2020

Synopsis:

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae

Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider in this award-winning thriller that #1 NYT’s author James Rollins called, “Full of action and suspense.”

Spain 1057: During a thunderous battle, the first King of Aragon wrestles Alexander the Great’s priceless Egyptian weapon from the Moors, but finds it holds a terrifying and mysterious power.

A thousand years later, on a hushed, fog-shrouded, Napa morning, gunshots and the sound of breaking glass rip through the silence. Maddy Marshall, an app designer and aikido instructor, and her twin brother, Will Argones, an engineer, quickly run toward the sound. Horrified, they discover a sniper’s bullet has found its human target.

Before the pool of blood on the living room floor is dry, the twins are sent on an arcane quest to recover Alexander’s ancient weapon. Joined by a VanOps covert agent, they soon discover the rifle’s sights are now set on them. No place is safe, a wrong move means death, and even a simple phone call is off limits if they are to survive.

From a medieval Spanish castle, they follow a time-worn trail, starting at a secret warren under the streets of Jerusalem. But if the killer finds the weapon first, it will be used to cripple the United States’ eye-in-the-sky early warning systems, allowing the Russians to swoop in and prey on the vulnerable nation.

Can Maddy learn to wield the power of the dangerous weapon in time to stop the Russian scheme? Failure means the fragile world peace will be forever shattered…

Critical Praise for VanOps: The Lost Power

“Avanti Centrae’s VanOps: The Lost Power opens a tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue—with the promise of more to follow. Written with a dynamic, cinematic style and full of action and suspense, here’s a book that defines page-turner. Don’t miss this riveting debut!” ~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crucible “Just a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish. Enjoy the ride.” ~ Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author “A high-stakes, daring adventure charged with suspense and mystery!” ~ Ann Charles, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Deadwood Mystery Series “The writing is superb. Easy to read and captivating. There is a mixture of mystery and action that keeps me turning pages. Readers who like Indiana Jones, or the books by James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn, will enjoy Centrae’s first installment in her VanOps series.” ~ John Bernstein, Professional Reviewer

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller Published by: Black Opal Books Publication Date: November 9th 2019 Number of Pages: 308 ISBN: 1644371960 (ISBN13: 9781644371961) Series: VanOps #1 Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Napa Valley, California, June 25, 8:56 a.m., Present Day Through the crosshairs of his long-barreled sweetheart, Ivan scanned the wood-casement window of the vineyard’s stone-walled residence, and waited for his intended target to walk into view. His movements were slow and meticulous. Lying in the loft of an old barn, he calculated range, altitude, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and humidity. His skin was irritated by the coarse hay that surrounded him, but he ignored the sensation and focused on his calculations. Click. He made a minor adjustment on his rifle to account for the drop of the round due to air density. And another for windage. Although misty rivers of fog swirled into gray whirlpools around the winery, the computer enhanced scope of his Springfield EBR allowed him to visually lock onto the home’s large bank of windows. Human movement flickered behind the glass. He didn’t want to pull the trigger. Nevertheless, Ivan waited for the perfect moment, the perfect shot.

CHAPTER 2

8:57 a.m. As she headed toward her father’s vineyard, Maddy drove as fast as she dared down a familiar tree-lined Napa country lane. Today, she didn’t recognize the road. It looked eerie and unnatural. The area was draped in sheets of fog from yesterday’s unseasonable rain, and the silver half-light gave the trees an ethereal patina. “Sensei, would you kill someone if you had to?” AJ asked. Surprised, Maddy frowned. “I’m not a sensei yet, remember?” She paused for a moment before she replied to his query. “Where did that question come from?” “We were talking about it in the locker room at the dojo after class. We know aikido is about non-violence, but what if you don’t have a choice?” His voice dropped to a dramatic whisper. “What if it was kill or be killed?” Maddy shook her head. The things children thought about. “I would always look for another way.” She glanced over at AJ, glad she’d brought him along today. His ears stuck out and his face was dotted with freckles. She found him adorable. “Okay. Can martial arts masters light paper on fire with just their hands?” Maddy halted the car at a stop sign and peered through the swirling patchy-dense fog, trying to get her bearings while she figured out how to answer this question. The mist distorted everything. She turned right. Without warning, a smothering mass of black rustling feathers flew toward the car. She flinched in her seat and slammed on the car brakes. Her heart pounded. She stopped breathing and scanned the road ahead of her. After a long moment, she realized with chagrin that she had just scared a bunch of ugly, red-faced black turkey vultures into flight by turning onto a new road after a stop sign. She took a deep breath. It wasn’t like her to be so jumpy. She was, after all, shodan, a first-dan black belt. But the sudden movement of wings, obscured through the morning’s foggy haze, had pulled her off balance. Maddy gave the car some gas and it inched forward down the road. Maddy looked over at AJ. “Are you okay?” AJ laughed. “I’m okay. But that scared you!” “Did not!” Maddy replied, twisting her ponytail. “Did too—I saw you jump! And you smashed on the brakes.” Maddy grinned for a moment at the childish banter and AJ’s creative language. It could be a happy day, in spite of everything. She loved AJ, she and Vincent had even talked about adopting him. Vincent, her former fiancé. Of course, that was before the breakup. Since then, she’d been feeling brittle, and the nightmare last night didn’t help. The dream was gut-wrenching. Although the sensation had faded in the dim light of morning, much of it lingered like a bad relationship. That dream was probably why she was on edge and had jumped at the thrashing wings. She looked at the dash clock—only a few minutes late. Heart still beating faster than normal, she turned down the long shadowy driveway of the once proud vineyard.

CHAPTER 3

9:02 a.m. Up in the old barn, Ivan was close to the target, only seventy meters from the glass curtain that separated him from his quarry. Although the misty morning limited his visibility, he felt confident in his ability to execute the task Baron Sokolov had assigned to him. Ivan recalled much longer-range kills. Two months ago, from a nearby skyscraper, he’d eliminated a traitorous spy during a French soccer match, piercing the man’s forehead as directed. His record was just under two thousand meters, one hundred fifty meters shy of the longest recorded sniper kill in history. But he reminded himself to stay vigilant and cautious, traits that had earned him medals as one of Russia’s most accurate shooters. Being watchful was his nature. It was the silver lining of his disorder, congenital analgesia, which made him insensitive to pain. My gift from Mother, he thought. Ivan wondered where on his body he would mark this job. His left arm was covered in sets of hash marks—scars, where he had marked his kills. He started scarring himself in school to impress the other children, and in time it had become a blood ritual after a task to remind himself to be careful, that he too could die. After this morning, it would be time to add another scar. At one hundred and fifty-five confirmed kills, he had scars on both thighs, both arms, and was running out of room for the marks. Soon he would catch up to the kills his grandmother had recorded during World War II. After Germany had invaded, she had volunteered for the military and had one hundred and seventy-nine confirmed kills to her credit. Impressive. He remembered how she had taught him to shoot when he was young. She had a fondness for killing rabbits and he could still picture their crimson blood sprayed on the bright Siberian snow. However, patience was her favorite lesson and it had served him well. A puff of wind tugged at a windmill in the distance, and the melancholy creak of metal scratching metal disturbed the morning silence. He held his breath and listened for any sound to indicate he’d been discovered. There was nothing further, only an unnatural, muted quiet. Focused on his breathing and the window, he continued to wait for a clean shot. He was tired of killing, but he had to do his job. This last job. Or his son would die.

CHAPTER 4

9:05 a.m. Maddy’s car hit a pothole on the vineyard’s long gravel driveway. It annoyed her that Dad hadn’t said what was so urgent, and she’d been too distracted with the breakup to call him back. As she drew closer to the house, she was irritated to see Will was playing fog-fetch with the dog in the front yard. What is he doing here? Did dad call all the siblings? Bella, too? Will waved, walked toward an obnoxious sky-blue convertible that must be a rental, and opened the trunk. Maddy parked by Will’s car, near the house. She wished Dad would get the place painted. It was overdue and made the house look dilapidated in the gloom. Barking, her dad’s middle-aged golden retriever ran up to the car. “A dog! Can I play with the dog?” AJ asked, true excitement in his voice. “Sure, just don’t head too far into the vineyard,” Maddy replied. “His name is Squirrel.” AJ bounded from the car and ran off, chasing the dog through the murky, fog-bound yard. Will closed the trunk of the Mustang, moved around to the side of the car, and watched AJ and the dog playing. Dressed in his usual style, he wore tan cargo shorts, leather sandals, and a dark-blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt. Ever prepared for disaster, he had a small flashlight hanging from the front of his shorts, and she figured he had a knife in his pocket. He was holding two small travel bags and managed to cradle a book in his hand. Without a doubt, a geeky physics book. Maddy had avoided prolonged contact with Will since their senior year in high school when he had pulled that awful prank. She had turned her back on him then, and her face flushed with the memory. As she opened her car door, she stood and swung her hair out of her face. Then she shut the door and walked over to him. It was so foggy and quiet, she didn’t even hear songbirds. Maddy tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice. “Hello, Will.” After they’d spent time apart, she was always surprised at the strength of their emotional bond. She couldn’t believe he was happy to see her—he had no shame! She had felt some connection to her boyfriends, Vincent included—I hate you right now, Vincent—and sometimes to her students at the dojo. But the connection was always strongest with Will, her twin, like it or not. He felt content now. She had almost missed his charm. Will flashed his irksome, boyish, lopsided grin. “Hey, Maddy, it’s good to see you! Did you have a safe drive?” To meet her, he walked around toward the front of the car. She noted his dark curly hair looked ruffled and a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him. His green eyes looked pinched, as if he were worried about something. Dad sometimes teased that they all had Spanish olives for eyes, but she enjoyed sharing the feature. She just wished she’d been blessed with Will’s long eyelashes, instead of having to create them every day with mascara. Maddy studied Will’s face. She noticed that the scar on his chin was almost hidden by a fashionable new beard that he’d grown since she’d seen him last year at Christmas dinner. The scar was always a painful reminder of the childhood accident that killed their mother. As he put down the bags, he scratched the beard, casually leaned back against the hood of the Mustang, and crossed his long lanky legs. She knew protocol called for a hug, and considered it. Rejecting the idea, she also ignored his worrywart question about the safe drive. “Did you leave Maria in Brazil?” Maddy could tell from his eyes that Will didn’t understand her cold shoulder, and she didn’t care. He had never made amends for that thoughtless stunt back in high school and she wasn’t going to let him off the hook. “No, I brought her with me,” he replied. Remembering her nightmare, Maddy’s gut clenched. She tried to ignore it. “We’ve both been working too hard.” Instead, she lashed out, her voice rising more than she intended. “Was that wise? Bringing her? Do you even know what Dad wants?” Will took a deep breath. “Gee, sis, simmer down. I thought I was the worrier of the family.” He met her gaze. “Maria was up for a change of scenery so we planned a romantic wine-country vacation. You know, the train, mud baths, that sort of thing? We might even stop by Safari West. Besides, you brought company.” He nodded toward AJ. “Who’s the little guy?” “His name is AJ. He’s a foster kid from the dojo and it’s his birthday.” She watched AJ and the dog play a spontaneous game of tag. “Is that all Dad wants with us? A vacation? He sounded concerned on the message he left me. And didn’t mention you’d be here, or Bella. Is she coming? He didn’t even say why he wanted me to come, which just seems odd. Did you talk with him?” “Bella is on her way, but no, we didn’t talk before I came up. I hope nothing is wrong. We just got here and haven’t had a chance to visit much, but he did mention he had some disconcerting news.” He paused. “You feel upset. What are you not telling me? What’s the big deal?” On days like today, Maddy hated that the emotional bond between them worked both ways. She didn’t feel like telling him anything, especially about the dream. Irritated, she looked around for a way out of the conversation but didn’t see one. The sun was hidden, the vineyard foggy and subdued, like it was holding its breath. She clenched her teeth and took a deep breath of her own. “I had a dream last night.” Now his tone sharpened a notch. “What kind of dream?” “A bad one. Maria was in it. I woke up early and it’s stuck with me since.” “Tell me,” he demanded. “I don’t know…there was blood on her face.” She remembered another dream she had when they were six. The night before their mom died. She knew by the look on his face that he was remembering that dream, too. “Blood on Maria’s face—” he frowned, thinking, questioning. “Yes, it was horrible. Splattered like a Pollock painting. I don’t remember much else. But the feeling is still with me.” Her mood picked up a little, having gotten it off her chest. “It’s probably nothing. I just wish you hadn’t brought her.” “Interesting,” he said. “You haven’t had one of those dreams in a while, have you? A real one?” “No,” she said. “It’s been a few years and the last was about a boyfriend cheating on me. The dream ended that relationship.” Will put his hands on his hips. “How is Vincent?” She grimaced. Irritated, Maddy turned and headed up the sidewalk toward the house. Will grabbed the bags and his book, and followed her, his feet padding on the concrete. As they walked, she remembered the lush landscaping that had been here once. It had provided a jumbled, colorful contrast to the acres and acres of straight green vines in the fields. Her father’s landscapers, back when he could afford them, had done well in this entry area. She couldn’t see it, but she inhaled the light scent of gardenia, and she recognized remnants of some sort of native grass, night-blooming jasmine, pansies, and roses. Vincent had brought her roses only three weeks ago. Bastard. “I see,” Will said. “So…maybe this dream was a reaction to whatever is going on there?” “Maybe—” she said. “I hope so.” Then she added, “Let’s go see what Dad wants.”

CHAPTER 5

9:15 a.m. Ivan tugged on the two-stage trigger, testing it. He was used to his Soviet bolt-action SV-98, but in the interest of time and ease of entry into the country, he had purchased a black-market rifle in the States. He was pleased with his choice, and glad it had come with a suppressor. The Enhanced Battle Rifle was decent—he tested it out yesterday in an isolated vineyard he found for the purpose. The rifle was a little heavy, but he liked the trigger-shoe modification the prior owner had done, as it gave the pull a more natural feel. He drew his attention back to the wood-casement window and twice glimpsed the oblivious inhabitant, dancing his way to death. A minute ago, the sound of car tires on gravel had come to him through the fog, so his partner, on lookout, should be reporting in. On cue, a voice in his head broke the morning stillness, “Green Prius has parked at the front of the house.” The sniper appreciated that he could hear his partner’s Russian voice clearly through the high-tech device, as he was old enough to remember missions without such advanced technology. “Driver?” he subvocalized the question, also in Russian, into the tiny molar microphone that had been custom formed to fit his teeth. “She’s female, young, maybe thirty. Slim, with an olive complexion. Has sexy long dark hair in a ponytail, and is tall. Pretty tall for a woman. Rape-bait if you ask me. Dressed in jeans and a snug purple T-shirt,” his partner said. On this job, his partner was here as much to keep an eye on him as to help, Ivan knew. The man’s simple mind and cruel nature were evident every time they worked together. The idiot had caused them to run late this morning. This part of the job should have been over an hour ago. Now it was getting complicated. “That’s not what we’re here for,” Ivan hissed. “Maybe. If so, you need to take your shot.” A few beats later his partner continued, “She was talking to the tall man next to the blue sports car. They look alike. Now they’re headed to the front door.” There was a long pause. The sniper adjusted his hold on the rifle, concentrating. He’d read the dossiers on Maddy Marshall and her twin brother, Will Argones. Argones was an engineer, no real threat. But the Marshall woman. A world-class athlete and national ski champion who had been a favorite for Olympic gold, she’d used her lightning-fast reflexes to become a warrior in an unusual martial art. And she was gifted with a keen intelligence. A dangerous combination. In another time and place, he’d have been interested in her as a mate. He swore. Based on his orders, their arrival meant he had run out of time. A low whistle pierced his ear. “Ivan, she’s got long legs. You know I like long legs, right? Why don’t we stick around and have some fun?” “You’re a pig and the baron was clear in our instructions,” the sniper replied, with heat in his tone. “You’re a bore. Oh, she had a kid with her in the car.” “A kid? What kid?” The dossier didn’t mention a child! That wasn’t part of the deal. I may go down in flames if the baron makes me shoot a kid. This target is one thing but— “How do I know what kid? He looks like he’s eight or nine. Red hair, big ears. He’s playing with the dog in the vineyard.” Ivan hoped the kid and dog were off in a different direction. At home, Ivan’s son might be playing with his own dog. But that thought was dangerous. “Just make sure they don’t come this way.” His attention back on the window, Ivan finally got a complete look at one of the other inhabitants: a short, dark-skinned woman. She wore a pale pink blouse above a blue skirt and Ivan prayed she would get out of the way. He didn’t like killing women. However, he knew that, whether he liked it or not, the latter part of the baron’s plan already called for its share of female bloodshed. The older man, near a black sofa, came into Ivan’s sights for a brief moment. It appeared that he and the younger woman were moving into the room with all the windows. Ivan knew it was time. Ivan was glad now they’d chosen a fast getaway car. “I must focus—go get the car ready.” The older man came completely into view. He was tall, clean-shaven, tan-skinned, with owlish glasses. His receding black hair was streaked with gray, and he wore slacks and a white button-down shirt. Yes, finally. But the woman was directly behind the target! Move, he willed to her. Please. This was the best shot he had. Time had run out! He had no choice but to urge her to move at the last minute. He took a slow, steady breath and tugged again on the two-stage trigger. Only this time, it wasn’t a test.

CHAPTER 6

9:20 a.m. AJ and Squirrel, done with the chase and on to a game of fetch, ran around the side yard, enjoying the grass and the feel of morning in the dense, wet fog. AJ loved all things nature. Feeling happy today made him miss his parents. He had vague memories of joyful times when they took him to his grandparent’s Ukrainian dairy farm. When the Russians came and killed his grandparents, his parents and he had fled to San Francisco. Then, one day, his mom and dad had been caught in the crossfire of a convenience store holdup while stopping for milk. That’s what he’d gathered, no one had told him. Since his parents’ death he’d been in foster care, because all of his family back in Ukraine were dead, too. He didn’t like his foster family because they ignored him, but he loved Maddy and did whatever his foster creeps asked so that he could go to the dojo. Maddy treated him the way his mom used to, warm and caring. Today, he was full of pleasure—hanging out with Maddy, getting to chase a dog outside. More than anything, he wanted a real family again. And a dog, just maybe not one named Squirrel. Someday, he’d get a big dog to protect him and name it Rufus, or Damien. AJ threw a stick and tried out the new name, “Damien, fetch!” After several minutes of chasing the stick in the side yard, AJ decided they should play a new game in the rows of vines. “C’mon, Damien,” he called as he ran into the shadows, followed by the panting dog. The morning was blissfully perfect as they ran up and down the rows. Then a loud crack sounded from the direction of the barns, like a tree branch breaking. He called his new canine friend and they headed off to investigate. *** Excerpt from VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae. Copyright 2019 by Avanti Centrae. Reproduced with permission from Avanti Centrae. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Avanti Centrae International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into nonstop thrillers. Avanti Centrae is the author of the international award-winning VanOps thriller series. An avid world-traveler, she’s studied aikido, been a river raft guide, and thrives on adventure. Her book, The Lost Power, took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.

Catch Up With Avanti Centrae: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

 

 

My Review

5 Stars

Maddy and Will Argones are brother and sister that have come home for a meeting with their father. But when they get to the house a sniper has shot both their father and Will’s wife. With his last breath, their father gives them directions to their Sacramento attorney and the start of this adventure. The siblings meet up with a friend, Bear and are off to Spain, Jerusalem, and so many other locations looking for the source of vast power.

This book is full of action, adventure, exotic locations, tons of history and an item of great power that has the potential for more harm than good.  Maddy and Will are typical siblings bickering over everything, one minute hating each other and the other getting along. I love how Bear was the anchor of the trio keeping them on track the whole time. Of course he is not in the quest just to help those two out.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes action and adventures with lots of history mixed in. This is the first book in the series and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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

 

Tour Participants:

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Avanti Centrae. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 4, 2019 and runs through January 13, 2020. Void where prohibited

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Mortom

23586170

Mortom by Erik Therme

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.

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About the Author

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: HERE

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My Review

5 Stars

Andy and Katie Crowl are the beneficiary to their cousin Craig Moore. Neither has spoken to Craig in years but Andy remembers how they loved to solve puzzles together but neither has spoken to Craig recently. While looking around the house they discover a dead rat with a note and key in its mouth. Andy believes that this is the beginning of a treasure hunt and becomes obsessed.

Andy recently went through a divorce and has lost his job so it’s easy for him to get wrapped up in this treasure hunt. While Andy is searching, his sister Kate is torn. She missed the funeral and wants to give her condolences to her Aunt Mary. But she is also curious about some of the clues and can’t really leave Andy.

This was a great read. I had an idea that something big was coming and the ending was just great. Andy was one heck of a jerk and basically got what he deserved. I do have to say that may heart broke for Mary and Debbie. I just loved this story and read it in one sitting. It’s a great psychological thriller and one I recommend checking out.

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

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

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43822226

An Encyclopedia of Tolkien by David Day

A comprehensive, illustrated guide to the history, lands, and inhabitants of Middle-earth.

The fantasy world of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth contains a rich assortment of people, cities, and creatures—as well as a deep, intertwined history that spans thousands of years. In this beautifully illustrated, leather-bound volume, best-selling author and Tolkien scholar David Day presents four decades of research and writing on the lands and inhabitants Middle-earth. Sections of this A-to-Z dictionary are devoted to discussion of the battles, history, beasts, and heroes of Tolkien’s stories, and are accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. This comprehensive volume on Tolkien’s world also includes an appendix of three primary legends that served as sources for Tolkien’s creations—the Volsunga saga, the Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle—and more than 200 black-and-white illustrations.

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About the Author

David Day (b. 14 October 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a Canadian author of over forty books: poetry, natural history, ecology, mythology, fantasy, and children’s literature. Internationally he is most notably known for his literary criticism on J. R. R. Tolkien and his works.

After finishing high school in Victoria, British Columbia, Day worked as a logger for five years on Vancouver Island before graduating from the University of Victoria. Subsequently he has travelled widely, most frequently to Greece and Britain.

Day has published six books of poems for adults and ten illustrated children’s books of fiction and poetry. His non-fiction books on natural history include The Doomsday Book of Animals, The Whale War, Eco Wars: a Layman Guide to the Environmental Movement, Noah’s Choice and most recently Nevermore: A Book of Hours – Meditations on Extinction (2012).

His Doomsday Book was a Time Magazine Book of the Year and became the basis for the 100 part animated-short TV series “Lost Animals of the 20th Century”.

David Days best-selling books on the life and works of JRR Tolkien include: A Tolkien Bestiary, Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien’s Ring, The World of Tolkien and The Hobbit Companion.

Day’s Tolkien’s Ring was illustrated by academy award-winning artist Alan Lee, as was Castles, The Animals Within, Gothic and Quest For King Arthur.

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My Review

5 stars

This is the go to book for anything Tolkien. When I first received the book I instantly fell in love with the leather cover and gold edged pages. But I was completely blown away when I opened the book and started reading selections here and there. This is an extensive look into the world of Tolkien punctuated with beautiful artwork.

I am just an amateur when it comes to Tolkien, I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring series but that is where my knowledge ends. I started reading the encyclopedia by referencing a couple of the names that popped out to be from the books. But it was quickly apparent that there is so much more to Tolkien’s world.

Needless to say I started really reading this book. I admit I jumped around to the different names that were associated with the last passage that I read then I filled in the spaces in between. Now I can’t wait to go back and read the four books again any anything else that I have missed from Tolkien’s world.

This book would be an amazing addition to anyone’s shelves and the perfect gift for any Tolkien lover or soon to be lover. All I can say is get this book!!

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

Media Masters Publicity

I would like to thank Media Masters Publicity for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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43822572

Disney Stories for 2-Year-Olds

A Mickey and friends collectible picture book made for 2-Year-Olds!

Join Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends in this collection of stories just right for 2-year-olds! Disney Stories for 2-Year-Olds includes fourteen stories with short, simplified text and bright illustrations, perfect for youngsters to follow along as parents introduce the adventures of Mickey and his friends. Whether it’s a camping adventure, the story of when Mickey first met Pluto, or a case of missing flowers from Minnie’s garden, this collectible makes a perfect gift for anyone turning two!

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 My Review

5 stars

This is a delightful collection of 14 stories sure to please any 2 year old. This book will introduce children to Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and the whole gang with quick, silly stories. These stories will take you and your little one on several adventures from a fire house to helping friends and everywhere in between.

I love that this is a bigger and heavier book. The pages are thicker with beautifully colored photos that will appeal to any child. The stories are a couple pages long and would be a great story prior to nap time or bed time. Each story also has a great message for children about working together, being true to yourself, or how to be brave when you are scared. I personally loved the last story The Bravest Dog.

This is a wonderful book and one that I recommend checking out for your children or some children that you know. This would be a great introduction to reading for any child.

43822567

Disney Stories for 3-Year-Olds

The perfect collection of Disney stories for 3-year-olds!

From Peter Pan to 101 Dalmatians, three-year-olds will be introduced to wonderful Disney adventures in Disney Stories for 3-Year-Olds! This treasury includes fourteen classic Disney stories retold and simplified for a younger audience. With the same spirit as the extended versions and paired with colorful illustrations, this book is perfect for parents introducing their children to classic Disney adventures. With fourteen stories to choose from, youngsters can treat themselves to a favorite Disney classic story anytime!

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

My Review

5 stars

This collection of fourteen classic Disney stories has been shortened from the originals that we grew up with. They are a simple version of the stories that will keep children’s interest without boring them.  Some of the stories included are Alice in Wonderland, The Aristocats, Peter Pan, and so many more.

I really enjoyed the shortened down versions, they have the basics of the classic story and enough to get you interested. I admit that after reading this book now I want to watch all of the movies. I realized that I have not seen a couple of the movies that are included in this book.

This is a delightful book to introduce 3 year olds to classic Disney stories. It was a well made book with thick pages that is meant to last. I love how the stories have more to them for the older children. I think this is a marvelous way to introduce toddlers to the wonderful world of Disney and to reading.

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

Media Masters Publicity

I would like to thank Media Masters Publicity for the opportunity to read and share these books.

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The City of Souls

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The City of Souls (Starchild – 2) by Vacen Taylor

A gripping forest adventure full of mystery, betrayal and courage.

When a new sealer boy joins the journey, Mai, Long, and Akra are confident their challenges have come to an end.  But as they embark on their journey once again, they find themselves having to escape from the clutches of dangerous enemies.

They travel to Naroan – the forest lands of the soulbankers, the regulators of life and death. Against the backdrop of rules and suspicion, the children are challenged with unravelling the mystery of the Silvershade, which has been calling to Akra from the moment he arrived in the forest city. But Long is tormented by his doubts – he must face a deadly power from the Underworld before it takes him into the darkness.

Will the dark pebble take Long along a road of no return? Or will his friends find a way to help him?

Oyssey Books     Amazon US     Amazon UK     Goodreads

About the Author

Vacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

 

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

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My Review

5 Stars

We return to this wonderful fantasy world as the children are trying to finish their original quest to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts. But they get trapped by sand slavers and barely escape. As they kids try to get to the Chamber of Souls to retrieve the Silvershade. But they are not alone in their quest. Dark and evil forces are also trying to find the Silvershade to use it for their own purposes.

Where to begin? I love how we jump right into the story from the end of the first book. I do recommend reading this series in order. This world just keeps getting bigger and better as the kids are on their quest. We discover many new people and creatures, not all of them good and helpful. We also find out someone is not quite as dead as we first thought.

This is an amazing series that is geared towards midgrade readers but anyone will enjoy. I think this book/series would be a great addition to any kid’s shelves. I was kept on the edge of my seat as I read The City of Souls and now I can’t wait to read the next book in the Starchild series.

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

 

Enter to Win all 4 books of the Starchild Series by Vacen Taylor (Open INT)

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

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

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Whose There?

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Who’s There? By Kerena Swan

Appearances can be deceptive…

Arnold Eastwood is thrilled when social services allocate him a flat all of his own. Independence hasn’t come easily to a young man with Downs Syndrome but now he has the chance to live free from his mum’s nagging, find a girlfriend, watch endless movies and make new friends.
Meanwhile a London drug gang is setting up a supply line in Arnold’s town. They’re looking for someone to deliver drugs for them and somewhere to set up a base of operations.
Soon Arnold and his flat are in the drug gang’s sights. Drawn into the dark underworld of crack cocaine and modern slavery, Arnold soon discovers that friends can in fact be deadly enemies.
The question is: can he break free?

Amazon      Goodreads

About the Author

Kerena Swan trained as a Social Worker and worked for Social Services for over 25 years. For the past 14 years she has owned and managed an ‘outstanding’ rated agency for children with disabilities.  Following serious illnesses she decided to fulfil her long-held ambition of writing a book and getting it published. ‘Dying to See You’, published by Bloodhound Books, was her debut novel.

After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration and deep joy of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer. Her second novel ‘Scared to Breathe’ is now available and her third book, ‘Who’s There?’ will be released on December 13th 2019.

Kerena lives with her family in a small village in Bedfordshire, UK and her books are set in the surrounding areas.

Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience of the problematic world of social work and social studies, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir and crime genre.

If you would like to hear more about new releases, read Kerena’s blogs and download a free short-story – the prequel to Dying to See You – then visit here and join her mailing list.

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My Review

5 Stars

Arnold Eastwood wants to get out on his own and is overjoyed to get his own flat from the council. Of course his family worries for him because he is not in the best neighborhoods and he has Down Syndrome. But with his sister out of work and returning home and his mother slowly getting sicker Arnold starts to worry about being out on his own without someone there to help him.

We also learn of Chip, a young man that has become almost a son to a local drug dealer. The dealer gives Chip the change to branch out in the suburbs. Chip falls in with Saskia, Arnold’s neighbor and things quickly go from bad to worse when the drug dealer comes to stay and wraps Arnold up in his dealings.

Where do I even begin with this story?!? Arnold is one of those pure souls that you want to wrap up and keep his innocence safe. Of course someone is going to take advantage of that and had me biting my nails hoping that things would work out for Arnold.

I also felt for Chip and Saskia. Poor Chip was just looking for someone and although not the best person, the dealer did he best to “help” the boy. Saskia has her own demons and is trying to straighten her life up but gets sucking into the mess all the same.

This is a captivating read and one I strongly recommend checking out. I loved it and can’t wait to read more from Kerena Swan.

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

 

I would like to thank Sarah at Book on the Bright Side for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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TillHumanVoices

Welcome to the blog tour for Till Human Voices Wake us by C.S. Johnson!

TillHumanVoicesWakeUsTill Human Voices Wake Us (Till Human Voices Wake Us #1)

Publication Date: July 31, 2019

Genre: Science Fantasy/ Mermaids

Sometimes the difference between reality and insanity is only a matter of absurdity.

There is nothing Milo Bishop fears more than the thought that he is going insane.

Having grown up hearing his Uncle Jay’s stories about the strange mermaids Milo never had a reason to believe they were actually true. But when a near-death experience gives Milo a vision of a mermaid calling to him for help, Milo is forced to test his uncle’s claims. And when he winds up in Rasulka, the mermaid community tucked away, deep under the southern California seas, the question of his uncle’s sanity is the least of his concerns.

For in the heart of Rasulka, a growing whirlpool in the ocean-sky and the terrarium’s changing climate — along with a discarded prophecy that says their end will come when humans appear — all suggest that the end is near. Along with his uncle and best friend, Moss, and Eluia, a young mermaid who grew up hearing myths about humans, Milo has only hours to sort through his doubts and insecurities and face down unimaginable terrors if he is going to find his way home — before Rasulka, and everyone in it, is lost forever.

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Excerpt

“Are you awake?”

Much like the time I’d woken up in the hospital, I was beckoned back to reality by a familiar voice—but instead of my mother, this time it was her voice.

Am I dreaming? Am I dead?

I could hardly believe it. My eyes were covered with sand and dirt, and I squirmed as something nudged my foot, and hard.

“What is it?”

A new voice spoke from the other side of me. This one was a male voice, one that sounded older and much more disgruntled.

“I … can’t say.” She was the one who answered, and I knew from the gentle innocence of her voice, she hadn’t been the one who’d been prodding me.

“Well, is it alive, Eluia?”

Eluia.

Her name was Eluia, and before I could open my eyes to see her, I already knew she was the one I’d seen before. She was the one I’d spoken to while I was saving Moss from the whale.

“Yes, it seems so,” Eluia said. A soft whisper of a touch grazed my forehead. A shiver went through me at its chilling warmth.

“Let me see.”

“Don’t poke it with that stick!”

Right on cue, something stabbed my cheek, right underneath my goggles.

“Ouch,” I grumbled, tasting the salty thickness of air and musk through the mask of my wetsuit. “Watch it.”

“It’s making noises.” Eluia’s voice rang with excitement. “See, it is alive.”

“Hey!” I yelped, as another jolt of pain hit me, as I was prodded in the ribs.

“Ceros!” Eluia’s rebuke came quick. “Stop. You’re hurting it.”

“Just because it’s alive doesn’t mean it has value,” Ceros scoffed.

I didn’t have to see Ceros to know I didn’t think I was going to like him.

Ceros.

He was in one of Uncle Jay’s stories.

That moment was too surreal; I found myself debating with myself, torn between whether or not I was going to open my eyes and find out what destiny had in store for me.

Uncle Jay had told me before that some people don’t want to heal. But as I lay there, with my back to the ground and my limbs all sprawled out in different directions, I realized that it wasn’t just healing that people didn’t want. I didn’t want to be stripped of my ideas about life—and I didn’t want to take a leap of faith into a new world where things could be different or frightening.

“Just because that’s your opinion, doesn’t mean I value it,” Eluia murmured under her breath. From the sound of it, Ceros was already walking away, so I doubted he heard her.

Hearing her voice again—and the spirited defiance behind it—I decided I wanted to know the truth about her, if nothing else.

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Author Pic

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

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

My Review

5 Stars

Milo Bishop has some problems and has some seriously negative thoughts when we first meet him. Milo grew up listening to his Uncle Jay’s stories of mermaids and is about done listening to them until he finds himself in Rasulka, the mermaid community below California. But these are not the wonderful mermaids of legend.

These mermaids don’t believe in humans. They are cold and cruel as they practice torture and murder in the name of science. This behavior is a recipe for destruction and it will be up to Milo to try and save those he can along with himself.

After reading Across the Floors of Silent Seas I couldn’t wait to dive head first into this book. Milo has some serious issues he is working with and my heart goes out to him. I think I would be thinking the same thing about the mermaids until I found myself in Rasulka too. But Milo has to make some serious decisions quickly if he is going to save everyone.

I really liked how this book makes you think, especially about Milo and his issues. I understood his mental health issues but he does realize how selfish he has become. This is not your typical happy, fuzzy bunny story and I loved it because of that. I really hope that there is more to come from this series.

 

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Across the Floors of Silent Seas (Till Human Voices Wake Us – 0.5)

Do mermaids believe in humans?

While working on a deep-sea diving assignment at the University of California, oceanography student Jay Bishop is dragged into a volcanic tube towards the earth’s core and certain death.

But much to his surprise, Jay not only survives the fall, he finds himself taken prisoner by a community of mermaids and kept alive as a science experiment. Confused and disoriented, Jay’s only hope to escape back to the surface is found in Paga, an elder of the community who believes Jay’s unexpected arrival marks the fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy.

With the community rising against them, Jay and Paga face dangerous choices — and their consequences — if Jay is ever to see home again. Will Jay make it back to the world on the surface? And even if he does, how can his life be the same ever again?

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

My Review

5 Stars

Jay Bishop is an oceanographer that is studying the sea floor when he is sucked into a volcanic tube to the center of the earth. There he is rescued by mermaids to keep him to runs tests on him. To them humans are myths and legends. Jay just wants to go home but it looks like his fate is sealed except for an elder called Paga.

Paga believes that Jay is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Jay is trying to get Paga to help him but then again he is afraid of what awaits him on the surface. Are humans really going to believe his story? That is if he can escape the mermaids in the first place.

I love SC Johnson’s stories and jumped at the chance to read Till Human Voices Wake Us. I was also giving the chance to read Across the Floors of Silent Seas. I am so glad that I did. Jay has a great banter with his sister with just breathes life into them. I was instantly sucked into the story along with Jay in the volcanic tube.

I could not put this book down and ended up reading it in one sitting. I’m so glad that I have the next book in the series because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Enter for your chance to win a digital copy of this book and the prequel novella, Across the Floors of Silent Seas, click the link below!

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TillHumanVoices

Blog Tour Schedule

December 2nd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

Quirky Cat Fat Stacks (Review)

Vicks Bookish Writing Blog (Review)

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight)

December 3rd

Rambling Mads Blog ( Spotlight)

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight)

December 4th

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight)

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Viviana MacKade (Spotlight)

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

December 5th

Cats Luv Coffee & Books (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Lunarian Press (Spotlight)

December 6th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review of Duology)

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

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

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