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Archive for the ‘5 Star Books’ Category

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

American Journey Series by John Heldt

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September Sky (Book 1)

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

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My Review

4 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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Mercer Street (Book 2)

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

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

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

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

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My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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Indiana Belle (Book 3)

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

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My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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Class of ’59 (Book 4)

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

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

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

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My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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Hannah’s Moon (Book 5)

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

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

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

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My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

John A. Heldt

Author’s Bio

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

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

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The Chronos

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The Chronos (Alterealm – 5) by J Risk

Kidnapped and stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere, Paisley is determined to escape and discover why she and others were taken.

One leap of faith is all it took.

Finding herself wrapped in the arms of a man she doesn’t know, her rescue turns out to be yet another unfamiliar place that is almost home, yet oddly not.

But, for the first time in her life she’s not the strangest person in the room, or the only one with abilities.

Can Paisley’s ability to stop time help with the threat against both worlds?

Amazon     BN     Goodreads

About the Author

Risk is a pseudonym used by Jacqueline Paige

I wanted to write a story that would fit into new adult levels as well as adult. Something that was serious with fun elements–paranormal / fantasy that everyone could read and enjoy.

I’ve decided to use J. Risk as the pen name for this to separate this series from my other writing which is definitely adult reading material.

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My Review

5 stars

Paisley finds herself kidnapped and trapped on an island. She has this strange band on her wrist that keeps her from using her time control ability. She is there with several other women that come and go but she is determined to get off the island. She does by taking a leap of faith and jumping off a huge cliff. She finds herself in the arms of a huge man that can’t keep his eyes off of her, Arius.

Paisley learns that the island that she is on is the other sides plan to win the war. They are breeding an army with any woman that has connections to Alterealm. Paisley is heartbroken to learn the fate of these women and will do anything to rescue them. But she also has her hands full with Arius and the whole family.

Arius can’t believe that the prophecy is true and that he has found his mate. Of course he is so focused on this that he misses catching up the poor girl with family dynamics, the war, and the whole mate issue. Paisley is surprised to learn that she has a huge family and an attachment to Arius but is still hesitant.

I love this series and couldn’t wait to read the next book in it. I love Paige and my heart went out to her. What a horrible situation to be stuck in and the survivor’s guilt about knowing what the other women are going through would tear me apart too. But I love how she finds both a family, lots of friends, and someone that will love her forever.

This is an amazing series and I can’t wait to read the next book. This is one to check out. Now I need to start reading Jacqueline’s other books too.

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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Magic at Drysdale’s School (The Sprite Sisters – 7) by Sheridan Winn

THE SPRITE SISTERS – FOUR SISTERS, FOUR ELEMENTS, FOUR POWERS

FIRE, WATER, EARTH, AIR

MAGIC AT DRYSDALE’S SCHOOL is the seventh title in the bestselling Sprite Sister series that has sold over 500,000 copies. The magical adventures of the four Sprite Sisters – Flame, Marina, Ash and Ariel – are aimed at readers aged 7-13 years.

In age, the characters are now: Flame, 15; Marina, 14, Ash, 12 and Ariel 11 years.

It is the autumn term at Drysdale’s School and Zak makes a strong impression at his new boarding school – not all of it good. A few weeks before, he used his dark magic to summon the terrifying invasion of screeglings to Sprite Towers.

Nervous of what Zak may do next, the Sprite Sisters keep a wary distance from him at school. Despite her anger, Marina still finds herself drawn to the troubled boy when they come face to face. Meanwhile Flame anguishes about having to keep her magic power secret from her boyfriend, Quinn.

When Ash’s power of Earth draws her to a mysterious stone in the school grounds, she feels it holds the key to a magic pathway. Zak is not far behind her, and senses that something in this pathway will help rid him of the dark power that is consuming him.

With time running out for Zak, the Sprite Sisters and their cousin Verena must find a way into the magic pathway – but much more than any of them had ever imagined awaits them there.

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 Sheridan Winn

Author’s Bio

Sheridan Winn lives in Norfolk, England, where she was born. She divides her time between journalism and writing books. As a journalist, she specialises in writing profiles of business leaders for magazines. As an author, she is known for her fantasy adventure series, The Sprite Sisters, which has sold over half a million books.

The idea for the Sprite Sister books popped into her head, late one night in January 2007. She was very lucky to be able to find a publisher, Piccadilly Press, who liked her idea and gave her a contract to write the first book, The Circle of Power.

This was followed by The Magic Unfolds, The Secret of the Towers, The Ghost in the Tower, New Magic, The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes, Magic at Drysdale’s School and The Mystery of the Locked Door. The books are best read in sequence but are stand alone stories.

The Sprite Sisters are now published by Sheridan Winn Limited and available as paperbacks and as e-books for Kindle.

Vol 9, A Wisdom of Owls, and Vol 10, The Power of Four (the final story), will be published in late 2016.

The Sprite Sisters have been bestsellers in Germany with 500,000 books sold. The series is known there as, ‘Vier Zauberhafte Schwestern’ and published by Fischer Verlag. Fischer has also commissioned a prequel series, which will published in 2018 onwards.

The eldest of four sisters, Sheridan Winn grew up in a big country house and many of the elements in the Sprite stories come from her own childhood. The stories are deeply rooted in the landscape of Norfolk and every location is somewhere real.

There is a lot of information on her website!

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My Review

5 stars

Now that the girls are back in school, they are more separated than normal due to their age. Marina and Flame are older and the girls have their hands full. Marina is torn between the screeglings incident with Zak yet still caring for him. It doesn’t help that they play opposite each other in the play The Tempest. Flame is worried about keeping her magic secret from her boyfriend.

Ash is left on her own and finds herself draw to a stone at school. She can sense the power of it but is weary of her family noticing her actions. It seems she has stumbled upon a ley line and this opens a whole new mess for the girls. Zak has noticed Ash and can feel the same power at the stone and things that this path may have a way to get rid of the screegling inside of him. But Zak doesn’t want any help, he thinks he is hearing the voice of his mother and hopes that she can help him.

I love the Sprite sisters. Although they are older and starting to go their separate ways they are finding time to work together to help Zak and figure out the ley lines. I feel bad for Zak, he is fighting this screegling inside of him, feels horrible for the trouble he has caused, is actively searching for his mother, and not able to accept help from the sisters. I also felt bad for Flame and she is dancing the line of a relationship with Quinn and not sharing about her magical abilities.

I loved this series. I feel bad since I have not gotten the time to finish reviewing this book or the next book one sooner. This is a great series for all ages. A great story about four special sisters. It will draw you into their world and by the end you will not want to leave.

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

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

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Uncanny Valley
Uncanny Valley Book 1
by C.A. Gray
Genre: YA Dystopian, Coming of Age
**Dystopian coming-of-age with superintelligent A.I.**
Rebecca Cordeaux knows exactly what her future will hold: she will marry
Andy, her crush of the last five years. Once Andy is ready to settle
down, she’s sure he will discover that she is his soulmate. After
several small parts on stage, Rebecca knows she can become a renowned
actress. Her writing also shows promise as a future author. Robots
perform most human jobs that can be automated, leaving many free to
pursue their personal creative interests.
But Rebecca’s mother Karen fears the new world of robots, and insists her
brilliant daughter join a university research team, studying the
hazards of a complete robotic economy. Rebecca’s father Quentin was
obsessed with the subject to a degree that even her mother considered
absurd, prior to his untimely death. So long as she can reserve
enough of her time to pursue her true passions on the side, Rebecca
half-heartedly agrees to join the research team, if only to please
her widowed mother. There she joins a post-doc named Liam, whose
conspiracy theories rival even those of her late father. Liam is
convinced that world Republic leader William Halpert’s worldwide
challenge for researchers to develop synthetic creativity will lead
not to the promised utopia, in which every kind of human suffering
has been eradicated, but rather to an apocalypse. Rebecca, whose best
friend is her own companion bot Madeline, writes Liam off as a
bot-hating conspiracy theorist, just like her father was… until she
learns that her father’s death might not have been due to mere
happenstance.
With Liam’s help, Rebecca learns of an underground organization known as
The Renegades, where Quentin Cordeaux was considered a legend. While
Liam attempts to stop Halpert’s challenge if he can, Rebecca tries
to unravel the mystery of what happened to her father. Did he and
many of his contemporaries die for something they knew? Who is the
mysterious informant who calls himself John Doe, and only seems to
want to drive her out of harm’s way? And if Halpert’s challenge
is answered, will it usher in a brave new chapter in humanity’s
history… or were Quentin Cordeaux’s dire predictions right all along?

My Review

4 stars

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

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

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

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

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

My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Phoenix Unbound

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Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire – 1) by Grace Draven

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Grace Draven

Author’s Bio

I’m an author and Louisiana native living in Texas with my husband, three smalls and a big doofus dog. I have lived in Spain, hiked the Teton Mountains, honeymooned in Scotland, ridden in competition rodeo and am the great great granddaughter of a Nicaraguan president. I also hate doing laundry and refuse to iron anything.

I’ve loved storytelling since forever. I published my first short story with Amber Quill Press and have since written several other tales. A love of the bad boy in fiction always inspires me.

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My Review

5 Stars

Every year each of the villages in the Empire must chose a young girl for tribute. The girls are brought to the Empire’s capital where they are taken by the gladiators then burned alive the next morning. For the last several years Gilene is her village’s tribute. She is a fire witch and can change her appearance. The villagers threaten her family to keep her in this charade.

Azarion is the most famous gladiator the Empire has. He has survived in the ring and in the empress’s bedroom and has suffered both physically and mentally. Since he is the top gladiator he gets first pick of the girls and has come to realize that the one girl is the same person he has seen for the last couple years. He comes up with a plan to make her help him reclaim his birthright in his clan.

This is a dark story but amazing. Gilene is a strong woman and has to be with what she puts herself through. She is willing to play this charade just to keep her family safe. When Azarion figures out who she is he doesn’t really give her the chance to argue, he essentially makes her help him.

Beside that portion of the story, what was really amazing was the romance that developed between Gilene and Azarion. It was sweet, caring, and perfect for what the two of them has gone through.

This is an amazing romantic fantasy that will draw you in to this brutal world, fill you with hope, and leave you wanting more. I can’t wait to read more about this world.

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

Penguin Random House

I would like to thank Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Jake, Lucid Dreamer

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Jake, Lucid Dreamer by David J. Naiman

12-year-old Jake has been suppressing his heartbreak over the loss of his mother for the past four years. But his emotions have a way of haunting his dreams and bubbling to the surface when he least expects it. When Jake learns how to take control in his dreams, he becomes a lucid dreamer, and that’s when the battle really heats up.

Using his wits to dodge bullies by day and a nefarious kangaroo hopping ever closer by night, Jake learns about loss, bravery, the power of love, and how you cannot fully heal until you face your greatest fear. This uncompromising novel is a magical yet honest exploration of emotional healing after a devastating loss.

Amazon     Goodreads

Praise for Jake, Lucid Dreamer

“A fantastical tale with a powerful message” raves SPR.

Described as a “poignant coming-of-age novel (that) offers a sensitive and honest examination of a child’s spiritual and emotional battles” by The BookLife Prize.

2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Award First Place winner for Middle Grade fiction

2018 International Book Award Silver Medal Winner Readers’ Favorite for Coming of Age

David J. Naiman

Author’s Bio

After graduating from Wesleyan University, David J. Naiman obtained his medical degree at New York University School of Medicine and trained in the primary care internal medicine program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Writing nights and weekends, he published the award-winning #1 Amazon bestselling novel Didn’t Get Frazzled, a work of humorous medical fiction for adults, under the pen name David Z Hirsch.

From there, David turned to children’s literature to pursue the themes of family, friendship and the magic of childhood that continue to inspire him. Jake, Lucid Dreamer is his first middle grade novel.

When he’s not writing, David toils in the front lines of primary care, battling scourges like diabetes, heart disease, and insurance companies, although probably not in that order. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons.

Website

My Review

5 Stars

Jake is having a hard time processing the sudden loss of his mother four years ago. The twelve year old has anger issues, vivid dreams, the stress of dealing with his home life, and he is getting bullied at school. The dreams seem to be an extension of the events that he is going through in real life. But then he figures out a way to affect the dreams and change the outcomes. As he starts working through his dreams we find that he is finding solutions to his waking problems too.

This is a great story that will appeal to kids and adults. Jake is having a hard time working through his grief over his mother. The loss of someone close is very hard and this is well written. There is no simple way to deal with this and Jake is clearly lost. I feel that dreams are an extension of our waking life and in this story they play a huge role with Jake to start processing his loss.

This is a quick yet powerful read. It’s hard to try and help someone that has gone through such a tough loss. We can listen to them, relate, and be there when they need help but we can’t really help them simply get over it. This books is a great example of this and I think a wonderful read for all ages.

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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Alter Ego

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Alter Ego (Jonathan Stride – 9) by Brian Freeman

When a freak auto accident kills a driver on the remote roads outside Duluth, Jonathan Stride is disturbed to discover that the victim appears to be a “ghost,” with a false identity and no evidence to suggest who he really was. What’s worse, the man has a gun locked in the trunk- and the gun has recently been fired.

The next day, Stride learns that a Duluth college student has vanished, and he worries that the two incidents are related. But what would have put an ordinary young woman in the cross-hairs of a man who has all the hallmarks of an assassin-for-hire?

Stride’s investigation of the girl’s disappearance leads him onto the set of a film crew in Duluth, where a movie is being made based on a case in Stride’s own past. The actor playing Stride is Hollywood royalty, an award-winning icon who has charmed his way to the top of the box office.

But Stride soon hears whispers that his alter ego has a dark side . . . and in trying to expose the truth, he discovers that he has made a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to protect his reputation.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Brian Freeman

Author’s Bio

Brian Freeman is a #1 Amazon bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride, Frost Easton, and Cab Bolton series. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages. He is widely acclaimed for his “you are there” settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots.

Look for two books from Brian in 2017, including THE NIGHT BIRD (featuring a dramatic San Francisco locale) and the latest in his Jonathan Stride series, MARATHON.

Brian’s seventh novel SPILLED BLOOD won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards given out by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his fifth novel THE BURYING PLACE was a finalist for the same award. His debut thriller, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel and was a nominee for the Edgar, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry Awards. IMMORAL was named an International Book of the Month, a distinction shared with authors such as Harlan Coben and Lisa Unger.

His novels (in order) are: IMMORAL, STRIPPED, STALKED, IN THE DARK (also called THE WATCHER overseas), THE BURYING PLACE, THE BONE HOUSE, the award-winning SPILLED BLOOD, THE COLD NOWHERE, SEASON OF FEAR, and GOODBYE TO THE DEAD.

He also has two Stride e-books, TURN TO STONE and the short story “Spitting Devil.”

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

5 Stars

Jonathan Stride is called into investigate an auto accident where he discovers the victim has no identification and has a gun in the trunk that has been recently fired. Then he gets the call that a college student has disappeared and he is afraid that the two cases may be related. As Stride is investigating he is lead to the set of The Caged Girl, a movie based on the one case that gives him nightmares where a killer kept three girls in cages and they died before Stride could rescue them.

On the set of The Caged Girl, the main actor playing Striker is powerful and can make or break careers. But he has a dark secret that he will do anything to keep it hidden. While Stride is on set he is starting to get a sense of deja vu with the female actors. But he also gets a sense of dread. Will he figure out the secret before it is too late?

This is only the second book in this series that I have read but I loved it. I find it ironic how he is investigating the movie about his own investigation. There is lots of action and plenty of twists and turns as you rush to find out what happens next with this story.

This could easily be a television crime episode the way it plays out. I love how you could read this book as a standalone without getting lost, great for those of use that didn’t realize this is book nine in the series. It’s definitely one to check out.

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

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

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