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Archive for the ‘5 Star Books’ Category

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Kill or Cure Oblivion by Pixie Britton

What price will she pay to save him?

With her little brother Tommy now ravaged with Infection and her best friend Will kidnapped and hidden far underground, Alyx’s world is on the edge of ruin.

General Sinter is stealing Will’s memories, searching for the secret to Tommy’s power. If Will continues to resist, he loses everything, including his love for Alyx.

Desperate and afraid, Alyx has no choice but to seek help from a man whom she betrayed, the ruthless gang leader Tyron. Can she convince him who the real enemy is? Or will his thirst for revenge be the end of Alyx and her friends?

The clock is ticking. The fate of humanity rests in her hands. Join Alyx and Will in the explosive finale of the Kill or Cure trilogy.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

About the Author

Pixie Britton is a full time indie author, occasional podcaster and public speaker. When she’s not writing her debut YA series, Kill Or Cure, she’s working with local schools running creative writing workshops and taking pictures of her cat.

Her author career started on the social media platform Wattpad, where her debut novel gained 100k reads within five months. Shortly after, she approached Troubador publishing in the UK and subsequently published two books with them in the Kill or Cure series. The third and final book in the series is currently under development.

She lives in a small town outside of London called Leigh-on-sea with her husband and adorable fur baby Pudding. As an all round book nerd and fan girl, she loves to discuss Stranger Things, The Handmaids Tale, The Walking Dead and any film in the Marvel Universe.

If you’d like to connect with Pixie and chat, she’s probably procrastinating on Instagram.

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My Review

5 stars

We have come to the last book in this amazing series and I admit that I couldn’t wait to see what happened yet was so hesitant to leave this world. Time has run out and Alyx can’t see any way out of this mess without getting Tyron involved, if he doesn’t kill her first.

Tommy does get riled up and is very strong but can only be calmed by Alyx and is nonresponsive the rest of the time. Alyx manages to find Mia and gets her to help bring Tommy back a little from the edge along with teasing that she may be able to make a cure from him.

Will is in Sinter’s hands and is being tortured. Thankfully he has Carl next to him to help give him the opportunities to semi survive the Altering but explains that the end results are usually Oblivion. The only thing keeping him alive is Sinter is still looking for Tommy, for the moment.

I could not read this book fast enough to see how it ended. Poor Alyx just knows that Tyron is going to kill her but he is her only hope and it is putting a lot of stress on the group because they know that it will not end well. I really felt for her trying everything she could to save Tommy. And Colt, I’ll not spoil that one.

I have to say that my two favorite people in this book were Pati and Carl. Each really added to the story in their unique little ways. But the ending!! OMG!! What the heck?!?

This is an amazing series and one that I recommend checking out. I think you will really enjoy it. I can’t wait to read what Pixie comes up with next.

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 amazing series.

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The Healing Stone

Starchild Book Three:  The Healing Stone by Vacen Taylor

A riveting ice adventure full of incredible challenges, bravery and friendship.

When they escape the attacking forces, Mai, Akra, Kalin know they must find a way to purge the evil of the dark peddle that has consumed Long.  But as the news of the Underworld king spreads, gloom and fear begin to sweep over the lands.

The children must face a dangerous adventure across the ice to reach the healing stone. Once they reach the stone they must face the truth.

Have they made the journey in time to save Long or is he lost to the Underworld forever?

Odyssey Books     Amazon US     Amazon UK     Barnes and Noble     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

The kids now have Silvershade and have escaped Piceptus for now. But Long has become possessed by Ameal. They travel to the Ice City and Queen Isolde to ask permission to use the Health Stone. But they have to win a challenge before continuing with their journey to help heal Long and continue on their quest.

I love this series. You can’t help but cheer for the kids, hate the bad guys, and hope that everything is going to work out. And the history of this world is so fascinating. I was rather upset with how the challenge initially started but I was glad that they could finally get to the Healing Stones.

Then there is Piceptus who has gained an unlikely ally, the soundwavers. That was an interesting twist and one I hope the kids can get over, especially Fojan. Piceptus is bound and determined to stop Akra no matter what.

This is a great series for mid grade readers and up. I was surprised that this is not a trilogy and am very excited to read the next step in this journey.

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

 

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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Cloth of Grace

 

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Cloth of Grace

Choices and Consequences Book 4

When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?

Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?

Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.

Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads     Other Retailers

Price : £2.99 but £1.99 if you pre-order

My Review

5 Stars

This has been an epic journey for all that it involves. Leonie started as an orphan with no place in the world and has now learned how she has come from a powerful family. But if she reunites with her family she is going to put Perry back into the world that initially broke him.

Perry loves Leonie and will do anything to help her. He is trying his best to encourage her to return to her family but at the same time he balances on the edge of two worlds, one that tore him up and a new one that he has found his own place in.

I absolutely love this series and how the journey that we have come along. I hope nothing but the best for both Leonie and Perry but they still have a long way to go with lots of pain and suffering. And just when they think they have found their place, things get turned around again.

I recommend checking out this series but I recommend reading it from the first book through. If not you are going to be missing out on a lot of information. It’s definitely one that I will be coming back to time and time again.

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

 

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Weave of Love

Choices and Consequences Book 3

What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?

How can anyone know the right thing to do?

Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.

Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?

The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads     Other Retailers     Google Play

Price : £2.99

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Thread of Hope

Choices and Consequences Book 2

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?
Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…

Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…

Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads     Other Retailers     Google Play

Price : £2.99

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Strand of Faith

Choices and Consequences Book 1

A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

Amazon UK     Amazon US    Barnes and Noble     Goodreads     Other Retailers     Google Play

Price : Normally £2.99

But for the cover reveal and launch of Cloth of Grace Strand of Faith is available free from Bookcave but requires a subscription to my newsletter.

Bookcave

 

Author Bio

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series.  The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October. The story concludes with Cloth of Grace, released on 29th February 2020.

Rachel has a degree in engineering, which she followed with a career in accountancy which is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Shooting targets only, honest.  Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at HERE.

Newsletter subscription link  HERE

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Enter to win a complete, signed Choices and Consequences series and matching bookmarks (Open INT)

Prize includes signed copies of Strand of Faith, Thread of Hope, Weave of Love and Cloth of Grace.

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

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

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The Atlantis Bloodline by CA Gray

When sweet Ada Edwards meets the mysterious Kaison Hughes, lead singer of the biggest band in the world, she can’t understand what he sees in her. Despite everyone’s warnings about him, she’s rapidly falling in love. But it’s obvious he has a secret, and he’s not all he appears to be.

Kai’s life isn’t his own, and his fame isn’t the half of it. As a member of a secret organization known as the Elioud, descended from the Atlantean daughters of the Pleiades, he’s been commissioned with a task: to reintegrate the lost line of Maia into their ranks. It just so happens that Ada is the one they’ve been looking for. He doesn’t know what they intend to do to her, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is the prize for a successful mission: one unqualified wish, which he intends to spend on his beloved sister’s freedom.

There’s just one problem: Kai’s falling in love with Ada, too.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

C.A. Gray

About the Author

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.

Join her newsletter for best-of-the-month reads, freebies and giveaway information, as well as new releases HERE!

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My Review

5 Stars

Ada Edwards doesn’t have much but her father and their little apartment in Kansas City. But one night she sees rock star Kaison, Kai, Hughes. This leads to him pursuing her and her falling in love with him. But there is so much more to this story. Kai is part of a secret group called the Elioud and Ada is the last of the Maia bloodline.

Kai has been giving the take to bring Ada into the group and in exchange he will get one wish which he will use to free his sister. It sounds simple enough but Kai finds himself falling in love with Ada. Kai is torn on who to save and how to do it.

This is an amazing story of families, Atlantis, magical abilities, and love. Ada is an amazing girl who sees the good in everyone. She is naïve to the world and wants to help people. I personally loved how she might have wanted more but she was still happy with what she had. This is such a fresh approach to a lot of YA fiction I read.

I also really enjoyed how there were some tender moments but it’s not light Ada and Kai were trying to crawl in each other’s pants every time they looked at each other. I can only take so much of that. The romance was sweet and strained but still has a glimmer of maybe working out.

I really liked this story and recommend it to anyone that likes the paranormal YA stories. The plot was captivating and I had a hard time putting this book down to cook dinner and to try to get some sleep for work the next day. I have read a couple of CA Gray’s stories and recommend them to any fan of YA paranormal stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to share my opinion.

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I would like to thank Silver Dagger Book Tours and CS Gray for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Word-Keeper

The Word-Keeper by Veronica del Valle

What would happen if words disappeared forever?

Set in a whimsical town called Inkwell, a place with an ancient secret history, this fairytale-like adventure will uncover the key to the power hidden within words.

The Word-Keeper is a tale about a savvy bookmark named Ben that unwillingly becomes an evil imp with only one objective: follow the orders of his master and destroy the words that live inside books.

Only one girl can stop him. Her name is Florence Ibbot. She is eleven years old, oddly eloquent and a quiet observer of the world. But above all, Florence is a keen logophile and is willing to sacrifice everything to protect the words.

She sets out to discover who is behind all this. The journey will take her to the origins of writing and inspiration. But she’ll also have to face the most treacherous adversary, Zyler, a ruthless sorceress whose sole mission is to ruin one of humankind’s most precious possessions: the gift of language.

As the final battle approaches, Florence will have to learn how to wield words instead of the sword. Is Florence brave enough to become who she was born to be?

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Author Bio

Veronica Del Valle grew up in Argentina, but life eventually led her to live in London, the city that was her home for many years.

Veronica’s always had a fondness for words, language and the magic of storytelling. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University.

Veronica currently lives in Buenos Aires with her husband, Ale, and her daughter, Tomiko. She teaches creative writing at Universidad de San Andres and is a contributing editor and writer for one of Argentina’s leading news organizations.

When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s either a) meditating or b) enjoying life with her family (which, in a way, is another beautiful way to meditate).

The Word Keeper is the first novel she’s written.

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My Review

5 Stars

Florence Ibbot is a wonderful 12 year old that just doesn’t fit in at school. Her love of books and use of words make her a target for bullies. The place she does fit in is Inkwell, the magical town that her Grandpa runs a book store in. But when she gets there she notices that something is wrong. Words are disappearing and it’s going to be up to Florence and her Grandpa to help save Inkwell.

Poor Florence is such a wonderful young lady and is full of knowledge. I loved her use of big words but at the same time I wondered if other children her age would other looking them up as they read the story.

I really enjoyed the story with words disappearing along with peoples behaviors changing. It does make you ponder what would happen if these words disappeared in our world although I swear some days it feels like it has already happened.

I loved the adventure and the use of vocabulary. Grandpa Davey was a wonderful character along with Ben. I really enjoyed this read and recommend it for children and adults alike. I think this book would be great for kids and help them work on their own vocabulary.

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

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

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The Vampire Next Door

The Vampire Next Door

The True Story of the Vampire Rapist

by JT Hunter

on Tour February 1-29, 2020

Synopsis:

The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter

While he stalked the streets hunting his unsuspecting victims, the residents of a quiet Florida town slept soundly, oblivious to the dark creature in their midst, unaware of the vampire next door.

John Crutchley seemed to be living the American Dream. Good-looking and blessed with a genius level IQ, he had a prestigious, white-collar job at a prominent government defense contractor, where he held top secret security clearance and handled projects for NASA and the Pentagon. To all outward appearances, he was a hard-working, successful family man with a lavish new house, a devoted wife, and a healthy young son.

But he concealed a hidden side of his personality, a dark secret tied to a hunger for blood and the overriding need to kill. As one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, Crutchley committed at least twelve murders, and possibly nearly three dozen. His IQ eclipsed that of Ted Bundy, and his body count may have as well.

Book Details:

Genre: True Crime Published by: RJ Parker Publishing Publication Date: October 11th 2014 Number of Pages: 365 ISBN: 1500909491 (ISBN13: 9781500909499) Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 2: You were a vampire…Nineteen-year-old Christina Almah was still a virgin, and a bit naïve when it came to matters of sex, but like most teenaged girls on the verge of womanhood, she enjoyed receiving attention from good-looking, romantically inclined men. Yet, even she was surprised when, after a handsome, slightly older man took an interest in her, she found herself traveling all the way across the country to see him again. Christina first met twenty-two-year-old Carl Von Bane several months earlier while he was visiting a friend near her hometown of Westminster, California. She immediately noticed him when he walked into the Drug Emporium where she had been working for the past year as a clerk, and they had quickly hit it off. His rugged, bad-boy looks and confident disposition combined to render her fully smitten. But the budding romance had barely begun before “Von” returned home to Florida. Their brief time together had passed much too quickly for the love-struck Miss Almah. Since Von’s departure, they had continued their blossoming relationship by telephone racking up steep long distance bills. All the while, Christina had meticulously saved her meager Drug Emporium pay so that she could afford to purchase a plane ticket to visit him. When Von had called her a few weeks ago, Christina hinted at wanting to see him again by casually mentioning that she had some vacation time that needed to be used. When he suggested that she catch a flight to Florida to visit him, she had immediately agreed. After all, this was not some fly by night infatuation. She thought that she might be in love. Christina had been counting the days until this trip—a weeklong vacation certain to be a memorable one if for no other reason than the fact that it would be the first time she had ever traveled alone. She booked a direct flight on Eastern Airlines from Los Angeles to Orlando International Airport, and Von had picked her up there nearly a week ago. Since then, she had been staying with Von in his mother’s mobile home at Lot 12 of the Enchanted Lakes Mobile Home Park on Malabar Road, near the eastern edge of the City of Palm Bay in southern Brevard County. Named for the lush palm trees that lined the bay at the mouth of Turkey Creek, the nearly 100-square-mile Palm Bay had experienced a period of rapid growth in recent years fueled by an influx of retirees, northern transplants, and space industry workers. As part of the “Space Coast,” Palm Bay benefited from its proximity to Cape Canaveral, home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space shuttle program. To the west of Palm Bay, just past Interstate 95, a vast expanse of swamps and marsh grass stretched beyond the horizon, home to an endless assortment of flora and fauna. Under the blinding gaze of the eternal Florida sun, cold-blooded creatures swam silent and unseen as they had for ages past, ancient predators stalking their unsuspecting prey. Immediately to the east of Palm Bay sits the Town of Malabar, a small, quiet community only thirteen square miles in size. Its eastern edge meets the Intracoastal Waterway in a subtropical paradise of palm trees, sailboats, and spectacular sunsets. The area’s abundant seafood, perennial sunshine, and constant sea breeze reminded Christina of her favorite parts of California. That familiarity was reassuring. It felt comfortable. She felt safe. A petite girl standing about five feet, four inches tall and weighing a little less than 110 pounds, Christina was not a beauty queen, but she was not unattractive either. Indeed, her green eyes and brown hair combined in an inviting way that most men found sensual and appealing, and she had enjoyed her fair share of suitors. Although she had shared a few intimate moments with boys in high school, she had never found one with whom she felt comfortable enough to sacrifice her virtue. Still sexually inexperienced, she had the classic Libra traits of compassion, innate gentleness, and a genuine caring for others, traits that were sometimes misconstrued by men. Still, it never dawned on her that Von’s testosterone-driven brain would expect something more than a kiss hello, or that he would interpret her willingness to fly across the country to visit him as a green light for sleeping together. Von had tried to take that next step during her first night in Florida, and when she told him that she was not ready, he had reluctantly played the part of the understanding boyfriend, but he could not wholly hide his irritation and mounting frustration. Von worked at Gator Chrysler in nearby Melbourne, and he had to leave Christina alone for much of the day. That had been the routine for most of the week, and the excitement of staying with someone in another state had long-since faded away. On this particular morning, she passed some time by listening to a worn down cassette tape of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” album, popping it into the cherry red Sony Walkman that Von had given her. She played several songs, rewound the tape, and played them again, but after a while she tired of listening to the provocative singer purr about being “touched for the very first time.” She tried watching television after that, but quickly lost interest in the mindless game shows and melodramatic soap operas that dominated the channels. Growing bored, she decided to walk to Melbourne a few miles away to visit several friends that she had met through Von. She would be flying back to California the next morning and wanted to say her good-byes and make the most of her final day of vacation. Wearing blue jeans, sandals, and a black t-shirt with a Harley-Davidson insignia splashed across the front, she left the trailer shorty after 1:00 p.m. It was the twenty-first day of November, 1985. As she walked out of the entrance of the mobile home park, a light rain began to fall. She could see dark clouds gathering in the distance and a westerly wind promised that they would soon be present. Somewhere beyond the visible horizon, thunder rumbled ominous and angry, its source hidden behind an approaching wall of grey and black clouds. Christina turned left and started walking faster as the rain increased, heading east on Malabar Road toward U.S. 1 and the Intracoastal. She planned to stop at the Jiffy Mart at the corner of Malabar Road and U.S. 1 to buy a pack of cigarettes before walking north into Melbourne. She had not gone far when a small, light-colored car pulled up beside her. Behind the wheel of the two-door automobile sat a clean-shaven man wearing a stylish, navy-blue sports coat, a black-and-white striped tie, and a nice pair of dress slacks, not the cheap K-Mart kind, but the higher quality cloth and cut of a more fashionable men’s store. The man looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had loafer style shoes, but he was not wearing them while he drove. Christine thought it slightly odd that the well-dressed man’s bare foot operated the gas and brake pedals, but she gave it no more than a fleeting thought. She had certainly seen much stranger things during her time in Florida. The man’s eyes were concealed behind darkly tinted sunglasses and his face was framed by a mane of medium-length, dirty blonde hair. He had a thin build, and though slightly pale in complexion, his handsome facial features held an undeniable allure. She could not help feeling an attraction to him. Flashing a broad, inviting smile, he leaned over, rolled down the passenger door window, and greeted her in a friendly, reassuring voice. “It’s a bit wet today for a walk, isn’t it?” he asked with a wry, disarming smile. “Can I give you a lift?” Although Christina was initially wary of his invitation, he looked harmless enough and it was the middle of the day in broad daylight in a public place, so she did not wait long before responding. “Well,” she said, deliberately drawing out her reply as she decided how much to trust the seemingly friendly stranger. “I’m on my way to Melbourne to meet some friends. Are you going anywhere near there?” “Sure, I have to go that way to get to my office. I just need to stop by my house real quick to pick up a notebook for work, but it’ll only take a minute or two. Go ahead and hop in.” She hesitated for just a moment, studied her Good Samaritan one last time, and then grabbed the passenger side door handle of the car. As she opened the door, she heard Sting’s new song, “Russians,” playing on the car’s radio. The country had long since fallen into the depths of the Cold War, and the perpetual threat of nuclear holocaust loomed in the back of most people’s minds like some amorphous boogieman lurking in the shadows. As Christine pulled the door closed, Sting’s voice flowed out of the car’s speakers, echoing what seemed to be the universal mood in America and Western Europe, the growing fear of a nuclear attack by the Russian-controlled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The song sought to appeal to the good in what President Reagan dubbed the “Evil Empire,” expressing a desperate hope that the Russian leaders loved their children enough to avoid the horror of a nuclear holocaust. Suffering from the same state of uneasiness expressed in the song, Christina found herself captivated by the sense of calm that seemed to radiate from the man behind the wheel. They drove for a little while making small talk. While they chatted, she caught a glimpse of the man’s eyes behind his sunglasses. Their azure shade of blue added to the aura of assuredness he projected, and it seemed to Christina that the man’s eyes had the power to peer into her very soul, not in any unsettling way, but in an understanding, comforting manner that disarmed her naturally cautious disposition. He seemed genuinely interested in learning about her, and she was impressed with how articulately he expressed himself. He was charming, witty, and exuded self-confidence, and Christine felt relieved that he seemed to be normal. Some of Von’s friends that she had met were more than a little on the odd side. After about five minutes, the man turned his car onto a bumpy, dirt road, and then continued on for a few minutes more before exiting onto a gravel driveway obscured by a tall row of hedges. Planted across the inner edge of the yard, the hedges had grown high enough to block a clear view of whatever was behind them. As the car continued down the driveway, a well-kept lawn, dotted sporadically with pine and oak trees, came into view. At the far end of the lawn stood a redbrick, Colonial style house with four white columns framing a large front door painted the same shade of white as the columns. The gravel driveway ended at a double-length carport on the left side of the house. The man pulled into the carport and parked. Two motorcycles stood at the opposite end of the parking area. “I’ll be right back,” the man told her as he took the key out of the ignition and slipped on his shoes. He stepped out of the car and walked to the side door of the house, where he paused and glanced back at her. “Hey, you want to come inside for a drink?” She smiled politely. “Oh, no thanks, my friends are expecting me and I don’t want them to worry.” “Suit yourself,” he said, before unlocking the door and disappearing into the building. After a few minutes, the man emerged and announced with an embarrassed laugh that the notebook was not in the house after all. “It must be in the back of the car,” he said, an amused smile spreading across his face as if he had just remembered an irresistibly funny joke. He walked to the passenger side of the car and opened the door, flashing her the same smug alligator smile. He crawled into the back seat and began looking around, grinning all the while. Suddenly, the back of Christina’s seat shot forward, slamming her violently against the dashboard. Stunned by the force of the impact and shocked by the unexpected attack, she was barely able to register the sound of something rustling behind her. Then something brushed against her forehead. Before she could react, her neck jerked back painfully, and she began to choke. Frantically, she reached for her purse, attempting to grab something – anything – to try to defend herself. Her fingers brushed against the top of a can of OFF insect repellant. Desperate, she thought that if she could spray her attacker in his eyes, she might be able to blind him long enough to get away. But as her fingers closed around the spray can, the man’s voice, angry and powerful, startled her into submission. Stop it or I’ll kill you!” As her initial impulse of self-defense gave way to a paralyzing feeling of despair, her hand retreated out of her purse and her arm fell numbly to her side. Then the rope tightened and everything went black. *** Excerpt from The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter. Copyright 2014 by JT Hunter. Reproduced with permission from JT Hunter. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

J.T. Hunter J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.

Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On: Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!

 

 

 

My Review

5 stars

John “JB” Crutchley is known as the Vampire Rapist because he drained the blood of his victims and would drink it in front of him as he repeatedly raped them. Although he was only convicted of the kidnapping and rape of a nineteen-year-old girl. But the police think that he has killed more than thirty people. Unfortunately, they could not find the evidence to prosecute him.

JT Hunter is a lawyer that has spent the last two years looking into this case and has done an amazing job presenting the case of JB Crutchley. I like how he notes that with any book like this one there is certain guessing when talking about the person. JT has written a captivating story of a man that had a horrible childhood and some serious issues later in his life.

I didn’t really know about this case so I was excited, yes I know I’m morbid, to learn about the Vampire Rapist. I understand the struggles when you just know that he has committed these murders yet cannot find the evidence. But the thing that got me was how his wife defended him. What in the HECK?!?

If you like books about real like serial killers than you need to get this book. It is so well written! I was instantly drawn in and kept on the edge of my seat as I explored more about JB Crutchley. I recommend checking out The Vampire Next Door.

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

 

Tour Participants:

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Unborn

Unborn by Rachel McLean

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Author Bio

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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My Review

5 Stars

It is 2026 and abortion has become a crime. Three women find themselves being punished by this new law. Kate was the victim of a rape and became pregnant and has an abortion. Grace has a baby that has a facial deformity and ends up with a miscarriage that is deemed an abortion. Then there is Cindee who is abused, pregnant, and kicked out on her own. All three are being charged but Kate is an attorney and is determined to help fight the law that is punishing women.

With the presidential election coming up and everyone’s heated opinions on abortion right now I though this was an interesting take on the topic. I truly believe that there are no right or wrong answers for abortions. There are always grey areas like the ones discussed in Unborn. My heart does go out to all three women and everything they face.

This was a good look at the possibilities of current issues in our world. Nothing is completely black and white, there are many grey areas that dance around these issues. I like how Unborn points out things that are not commonly brought up when we talk about abortion.

Rachel McLean is a great author that pulled me into this story. I love how it was written and it has left me wanting to read more from her. This might not be your normal read but I recommend checking out this book. I think you will enjoy it.

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

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

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The Nutcracker Conspiracy

“Steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own. It’s thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.  Nicely done, Ms. Carr!” – Review by Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

The Latest Best-Selling Thorny Rose Mystery Available Now!

Get Your Copy Today!

Join us for this tour from Jan 20 to Feb 28, 2020!
Book Details:

Book TitleThe Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries,
so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on
stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some
mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

 

Book Description:

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:  “13”

My Review
5 stars

A presidential assassination attempt three years prior took the lives of the vice president’s wife and the assassin. Since then there have been all kinds of conspiracy theories about the true target and who ordered the murder.

Zip to present day which finds Murphy Thornton at a wedding reception with author Dean Conway. Dean is going on and on about his book about the assassination attempt. He tells Murphy about how twelve witnesses have died in the last couple years. How when someone seems to be getting close to the results, they end up dying. Murphy doesn’t think anything about it until he receives a text message from Dean saying “13.” Dean is later found dead.

Murphy jumps into the mystery of spies, stolen secrets, and assassinations. What follows is a twisting, turning ride with lots of red hearings along the way. I was kept on my toes the whole way and was completely wrong with who the killer was, as usual. This is what makes me a huge fan of Lauren Carr’s books.

And of course, there are the animals: Gnarly, Newman, and Spencer. The only thing I can say is lycanthrope. Sprinkled through the story are hilarious canine antics.

I love Lauren Carr’s books and strongly recommend checking them out. You can read them in order to get more from the books or you can read them as a standalone without being completely lost. If you like mysteries, you HAVE to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

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

Check Out These Other Thorny Rose Mysteries:
“The plot was original, fresh and fast paced in spite of the “traditional elements” employed which can normally be found in any other thriller of this genre. The USP of this story would be its unpredictability. When you think you have it all guessed up, the plot would change its course keeping you hooked. There were a lot of suspense twists and turns that kept the momentum up. Needless to say, the writing was simply perfect. One thing that writer needs to be lauded for is the humor she inculcated in the book. Minus those humorous parts, the book would have been one serious read.” – Reviewer: Book and Ink

 

Book Description:

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a town home outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

“Mysteries, murder, danger, and memories that threatens their lives keeps the action and suspense at a high level and even when the answers are found, it left me wanting more.” – Review by Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental

Book Description:After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

 Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
Add to Goodreads

Murder by Perfection is a wonderful read and a perfect to escape from the challenges of a busy day. Danger, intrigue, humor, and love all take their turn in this tale which will keep you reading into the wee hours.” Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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

What Writing Murder Mysteries Taught Me about Life

By Lauren Carr

A few years ago, I was on a radio program. During the interview, the topic of my husband came up. The lead host, a long-time fan, announced the interesting fact that my husband of thirty years has never read any of my best-selling murder mysteries. After having twenty-seven novels published, my husband has yet to read a single one.

New to the show, the other host, who hadn’t had a chance to read any of my books, was shocked—as many people are.

“It’s okay,” I said with a shrug. “It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. My husband reads non-fiction and is supportive of my writing in every other way. He doesn’t have to read my books.”

I was surprised when across the table, this co-host sighed with relief. “Me, too. I don’t like reading fiction. I prefer non-fiction.”

By the end of the show, this co-host asked for an autographed copy of my new release and promised to read it. If he doesn’t, that’s okay.

I wasn’t always so laid back. Ironically, during my career of writing murder mysteries where the primary goal is end someone’s life, I have learned some things about life.

  • Everyone is different.
  • Each reader reads different things into every book.
  • Just because someone doesn’t like or agree with your books or reading preference, doesn’t make them a bad person or wrong.

When I was a college student, studying literature, I remember, while listening to professors declared, “The whale in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick symbolizes …”, thinking:

“How do you know that was what Moby Dick is a symbol of? Did Herman Melville say that is what Moby Dick symbolizes? Maybe he just wanted to write a thrilling book about a big white whale and Moby Dick doesn’t mean anything?”

As an author who has read reviews and emails from reviewers and readers, I have concluded that I was right.

The plotline for Three Days to Forever and the Washington DC backdrop of the Thorny Rose Mysteries were inspired by numerous sources—mostly a series of news events at the time involving terrorism and disagreement in our country about how to handle the rise of Islam and the spread of terrorism—even the debate of “Is it really an issue? Is our country really safe?”

As a writer, I asked myself many “What if’s…” Among them, “What if traitors to our country, supporting Islamic terrorist groups, managed to achieve positions high up in our government—even to the point of being a trusted advisor to our president.” Thus, one element of the plot in Three Days to Forever involved fictional characters in the fictional president’s administration.

Since I don’t live under a rock, being aware of the political divide in our country, I issued Three Days to Forever with a “disclaimer” reminding readers that this book is a work of fiction. “It is not the author’s commentary on politics, the media, the military, or Islam. While actual current events have inspired this adventure in mystery and suspense, this fictional work is not meant to point an accusatory finger at anyone in our nation’s government.”

The vast majority of readers took the author note as just that—a reminder that Three Days to Forever was fiction and not meant to be a political commentary.

This disclaimer holds true for every installment in the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the newest, The Nutcracker Conspiracy. While much of the mystery revolves around the attempted assassination of a president, the intelligence community, and the media, The Nutcracker Conspiracy is not meant as a commentary about any of that.

My job as a writer is to observe things—how things, people, circumstances, are, and ask, “What if …” Based on my observations during my years as an editor living in Washington, I had noticed how personal, professional, and political agendas can skew perceptions of events. It is surprisingly simple how the facts can get buried under so many lies that the truth can get lost.

Such was the inspiration of The Nutcracker Conspiracy.

In spite of the author note in the front of Three Days to Forever, I was not surprised when a few readers interpreted the fictional plot as an attack on the current real-life President and a political message. One reader actually pointed to the note saying, “tells me that deep down she probably knows better.”

These readers who read unintended messages between the lines and cast judgment on the supposed deliverer of that message have just as much right to their opinion and beliefs as I have to write a series about an elite special ops team working off the grid for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The last I looked, we still have the right to freedom of expression here in America … or am I wrong about that?

During the course of my writing career, in speaking and corresponding with readers, reviewers, and writers from diverse backgrounds, I have learned that every single person has different likes, dislikes, beliefs in sex, politics, religions, and worldviews.

Therefore, as an author, there is no way possible to write a book that’s going to please every single reviewer and reader. (Heck! I can’t even write a book that will entice my husband to read it!) Nor, is it possible to not offend someone reading something between the lines—even if that “message” is only in the reader’s mind.

A while back one reader posted a two-star review for Open Season for Murder, the tenth Mac Faraday Mystery, because I had named a minor character Corey Haim. She found it offensive that I had used the name of an 80’s former teen idol who had tragically died of a drug overdose.

“What really got to me in this book though was that one of the lesser characters was named for a deceased Canadian actor, Corey Haim, who died in 2010 of a possible accidental drug overdose. Seriously?? Fine, use the name Corey or Haim but to link the two together? No, I wasn’t a fan of the young man but I found the use of his name offensive.”

My first response? To google “Corey Haim” to find out who she was talking about. I had never heard of this actor. Nor, had I ever seen any of his movies. Also, I discovered on the Internet that he died of natural causes. While the actor this reader was referring to had a history of drug addiction—he did not die of a drug overdose.

The minor character by that name in Open Season for Murder bore no resemblance to the actor. He was not an actor. He was not a drug addict. He had no emotional issues at all. This minor character was positive in every way shape and form. He was a doctor from a small West Virginia town working to build a free clinic for his neighbors. He was a devoted friend and committed fiancé—which begs the question—how is using the name of someone who had lived a tragic life for a positive character offensive?

The use of the name Corey Haim—pulled out of the air—was completely coincidental. However, based on whatever her experiences may have been, this reader read something between the lines that was never there.

Studies have proven that when it comes to siblings, each child is born into a different family. Think about it. The first-born is born as an only child. The second child is born into an established family. The last child may be born into a big family. In each case, the circumstances—family dynamics—are different. Therefore, each comes away with different experiences and impressions of those experiences. How many of us know of siblings in which one remembers their childhood as something from Nightmare on Elm Street, while one or more saw their family as role models for The Waltons?

Is it really any wonder that authors, reviewers, or readers don’t see the same book in the same manner? Are those who read “messages” between the lines (like the reader offended by the name Corey Haim) that I did not intend (since I had never heard of Corey Haim) wrong or stupid or judgmental? Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Not me. My only intention is to write thrilling mysteries with plenty of twists and turns. As a human being and author, I respect those readers whose strong beliefs differ from mine. I only ask that they reciprocate with their respect.

After all, how else can billions of people, each one different in their own way, get along on this planet we call Earth if we don’t respect each one’s differences?

So, when it comes to people, whether they be readers or reviewers or my most devoted fan who still won’t read my murder mysteries—who disagree or dislike my books or are offended by the name of a minor character or what they perceive to be my worldview, I say, with a shrug of my shoulders, “That’s okay.”

That’s what writing about murder has taught me about life.

Tour Schedule:Jan 20 – Library of Clean Reads – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – Working Mommy Journal – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 20 – redpillows – book spotlight / guest post
Jan 21 – My Reading Journeys – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 21 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 22 – Jypsylynn – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Jan 22 – eBook Addicts – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 23 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 23 – Leels Loves Books – book review of A Fine Year for Murder
Jan 24 – Bookmark and fork  – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Jan 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – book review of Murder by Perfection
Jan 28 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 29 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Jan 30 – Library of Clean Reads – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 30 Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of Kill and Run / giveaway
Jan 30 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 31 – fundinmental – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 31 – redpillows – series spotlight
Feb 3 – b for bookreview – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 3 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 4 – Christa Reads and Writes – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 4 – Blooming with Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 5 – Leels Loves Books – book review of Murder by Perfection
Feb 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 6 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Feb 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 7 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of Murder by Perfection
Feb 10 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 11 – Laura`s Interests – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 11 – eBook Addicts – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 12 – FUONLYKNEW – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 12 – Leels Loves Books – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 13 – Casia’s Corner – book review of Kill and Run
Feb 13 – I’m All About Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 14 – Pause for Tales – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 17 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
Feb 18 – Bookmark and fork  – series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 19 – JBronder Book Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 19 – Literary Flits – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 20 – Svetlana’s reads and views – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 21 – Divas With A Purpose – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post
Feb 24 – Laura`s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 24 – My Devotional Thoughts – series spotlight
Feb 25 – Peaceful Pastime – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 25 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Feb 26 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview
Feb 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 –fundinmental – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 27 – My Devotional Thoughts – book review / author interview / giveaway
Feb 27 – Read and Review – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 28 – Nighttime Reading Center – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 28 – Casia’s Corner – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 28 – Adventurous Jessy – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

 

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The Six-Week Solution

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I’m thrilled to share a brand new historical fiction called, The Six-Week Solution by Paula Darnell. I have an excerpt for you to read and a giveaway to enter below!

The Six-Week Solution_bc1b.jpgThe Six-Week Solution

Publication Date: January 1st, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Never guessing that their very lives might be in danger, well-to-do women come from all over the country to stay at guest ranches around Reno to establish the six weeks’ residency required for a quickie Nevada divorce in 1955.

When a Circle E Ranch guest dies after her Cadillac plunges off Mount Rose Highway, a mountain road between Lake Tahoe and Reno, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron is assigned to investigate the accident. His inquiries lead him to question everyone at the Circle E, where he meets Mary, an attractive prospective divorcée from New York, who soon has an accident of her own. In the meantime, Ben’s case takes a turn as twisty as the Mount Rose Highway, and when Mary suffers a second accident, he quickly figures that someone is out to get her. Unless Ben can discover who’s targeting the out-of-towners, some of them won’t live long enough to have their day in court.

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Excerpt

Mary and Shirley, each carrying a couple of large shopping bags, emerged from Gray Reid. Mary hadn’t intended to spend so much on her new swimwear, but Shirley’s infectious enthusiasm had rubbed off on her, and she’d purchased two swimsuits, a flowery cover-up, a wide-brimmed sun hat, a couple of beach towels, a bathing cap, and a large straw beach bag. She rationalized that she’d need some way to keep busy for her six weeks in Nevada, and since the Circle E had a nice pool and Shirley had offered to teach her how to swim, it made sense to buy swimwear.

“All you need now is some suntan lotion,” Shirley said. “We’ll stop at a drug store on our way back to the ranch and pick some up. Right now, I’m starting to feel hungry. Why don’t we stop for lunch at one of the casino restaurants? By the time we get back to the Circle E, lunchtime will be over. It’s usually just soup and sandwiches set out as a buffet at noon anyway. At the ranch, the big meal of the day is always dinner.”

“Casinos have restaurants, too? I thought they were only for gambling.”

“Most of them are hotels as well as casinos, and usually they have at least a couple of restaurants. They have big-name entertainment, too. Frank Sinatra played the Sky Room at the Mapes a couple of months ago, and Tony Bennett sang there just last month. Of course, it’s not New York or L.A., but, for a town this size, it’s something.”

“I didn’t realize that. Every time I’ve heard about Reno, it’s always been in connection with a divorce, and now here I am to get one myself. I can’t quite believe it.”

Shirley and Mary lingered over a long lunch in the bustling coffee shop at the Riverside. Walking through the casino had been like a trip through a foreign land for Mary as she gazed in amazement at the crowd of gamblers playing table games and slot machines. The gambling didn’t stop in the casino, either. It spilled into the coffee shop, too, where patrons could play keno while they were enjoying their meals. Short, stubby pencils and packs of keno forms were on every table in the coffee shop, and keno runners in black and white garb came by the tables periodically to collect the keno forms that customers were going to play or to return them after the numbers had been verified. Shirley, who had played the game before, explained to Mary how it worked. It was as simple as choosing numbers on the form that resembled a bingo card, then hoping that the numbers the house drew matched. Winnings could range from a dollar to several thousand dollars, depending on how many numbers were played and how many numbers matched those that the house drew. In every casino game, losers outnumbered winners, but gamblers’ optimism that they’d beat the house kept the Nevada gaming business healthy.

Shirley lost several dollars before giving up, but Mary won enough to pay for their lunch and leave their waitress a generous tip. Gathering up their shopping bags, they left, satisfied with Mary’s small winnings.

As Mary and Shirley emerged from the Riverside, they were surrounded immediately by a large crowd of tourists who had evidently just arrived by bus. They sidled their way through the crush—they were leaving while the tourists were clamoring to enter the casino. Finally, the tourists all passed, and the two women paused to recover from the jostling for a moment. The onslaught wasn’t over yet, though, as another tourist bus pulled up to the curb, and its passengers began streaming from the bus. Hoping to cross the street to get away from the throng, Shirley and Mary hurried to the corner where they had to wait for the red light to change. Mary turned to look for Shirley, but she didn’t see her new friend. Somehow, they’d become separated when the big group of tourists mingled with the locals outside the casino.

The temperature had risen considerably since Mary and Shirley had left the Circle E in the morning, and Mary thought it must be well above ninety degrees by now. She squirmed in her beige raw silk suit, which was stylish, but too heavy to wear in hot weather. The shopping bags felt like lead weights, and her girdle felt constricting, as beads of sweat popped out on Mary’s forehead. People kept bumping into her, and she began to feel as though the whole world were closing in on her. Assuming that Shirley would catch up to her on the other side of the street, Mary inched her way forward until she stood right on the edge of the curb, and there was nobody between her and the street. Fighting lightheadedness, she took a deep breath. The red light seemed to stay on forever. If only she could reach the other side of the street, if only she could escape from the crowd, if only she could get out of the hot sun. The seconds ticked away, seeming like an eternity to Mary.

Suddenly, she felt a blow on her back, and she pitched forward, into the busy intersection. She heard screams, maybe from herself, maybe from Shirley or other people on the crowded sidewalk as a taxi screeched to a halt just inches from her. People rushed to help. The cab driver leaped from his taxi and picked up the scattered contents of Mary’s shopping bags while Shirley and a couple of cowboys held onto Mary as she struggled to stand. Throbbing scrapes covered her knees and forearms, and she had a large bump on her forehead. Her silk stockings were in shreds.

“Lady, you’re lucky you weren’t killed,” the cabbie said. “I sure burned rubber trying to avoid hitting you.”

Looking as though she might pass out at any moment, Mary moaned and swayed.

“Can she sit down in the cab?” Shirley asked. “She’s about ready to faint.”

“Oh, sure. Sorry, lady.” The cabbie flung open the taxi’s back door, and the cowboys guided Mary onto the seat.

“Lie down, Mary,” Shirley said.“You’ll feel better.”

Shirley turned to thank the two ranch hands who had helped, but they’d already disappeared into the crowd.

“Where you wanna go, lady? It’s on the house,” the cabbie said. “Maybe we should take her to the hospital,” he said to Shirley.

“I’ll be OK,” Mary said. “I felt like I was going to pass out for a few minutes back there, but I’m starting to feel better.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to see a doctor, Mary? You have quite a bump on your head.”

“No, let’s go back to the Circle E. I don’t want to be a bother.”

“All right.” Shirley gave the cab driver directions to her car. When they arrived, she offered to pay him, but he refused to take any money, repeating that the ride was “on the house.”

Shirley’s car felt stuffy, but at least it had been parked in the shade. Shirley and Mary rolled down the windows and enjoyed the rush of air, even though it was hot, as Shirley drove back to the Circle E. She whizzed past a drug store without slowing down before she remembered that she’d intended to stop so that Mary could buy some suntan lotion.

“Oh, shoot. I meant to stop at the drug store. I guess we’ll have to come back tomorrow. You’ll need to get those scrapes cleaned up as soon as we get back, anyway. I bet they really hurt, don’t they?”

“Oh, boy, do they! It reminds me of when I was a kid and fell off a curb while I was roller skating. I was really banged up then, too.”

“I’m sorry our shopping trip came to such a bad end, Mary. We were having fun until you fell and nearly got run over by that taxi.”

“Shopping was fun, but I didn’t fall. I was pushed.”

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About the Author

PaulaDarnelAuthorPhoto

An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications. She is the author of Death by Association and Death by Design, both in her cozy series, the DIY Diva Mysteries.

Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.

Paula Darnell | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

My Review

5 Stars

It’s 1955 and Nevada’s lax divorce policy has people all over the country headed to Nevada to live for six weeks. After that they were considered a resident and they could file for divorce. Many people stayed in hotels, boarding houses, or just local’s homes but the elite stayed at the many dude ranches to play with the horses and the ranch hands while waiting their time out.

This story starts when one of the ladies staying at a dud ranch dies. As Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron is investigating another person staying at a ranch has a terrible accident. Coincident? Maybe but when she suffers another serious accident it starts to look like someone is silencing these women.

Being from Reno, NV I just had to read this book. I loved the familiar settings. Like many of the characters in the story I came for the location but was spellbound by the story. Ben was a great investigator and the story had twists and turns that kept me guessing. Just when I thought I might know what was going on and bang, off in another direction we would go. I was left guessing until the end.

But the best part was this had me curious about divorces and the history of Reno. I was really surprised to learn that this is what helped grow Reno and Las Vegas into the beginnings of what we have today. It was what helped locals survive the Depression when much of the rest of the country was failing.

Anyway, this is a great story and one that I recommend checking out. It is the first book that I have read by Paula Darnell but it definitely won’t be my last.

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

The author is giving away 3 print copies of The Six-Week Solution (US) and 3 digital copies (International). Click the link below!

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I’m so pleased to share this long-awaited release with all of you today! Nutmeg: Egyptian Secrets by Sherrill Joseph is the perfect MG mystery for readers! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win the most amazing giveaway!

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Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)

Publication Date: February 1st, 2020

Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

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Excerpt – Chapter 4

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

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About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

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My Review

5 stars

Egyptologist Dr. Thornsley discovers an ancient burial urn while on a dig in Egypt but is accused of stealing it. He has recently died a couple months prior as a disgrace. His wife Ida insists that he was innocents even if the authorities don’t really care. To clear her husband’s name, Ida hires four local kids to look into this matter.

Lanny, Lexi, Moki, and Rani are the Botanic Hill Detectives and are ready to solve this case. What follows is an amazing adventure for kids both locally and internationally as they survive traps and chase down clues to what really happened.

This is a wonderful mid grade cozy mystery that has a lot of information about Egypt and plenty of action to keep reader involved in the story. I will admit that at time the story was a touch quick and simple where there could have been more detail to wrap up the reader in the story.

Overall I really enjoyed this story. It brought me back to my childhood reading Nancy Drew stories. I think any kid that enjoys mysteries and Egypt will enjoy this book. It would be a great addition to their shelves.

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

Giveaway Time!

US Only: One signed paperback copy of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets

  • One bookmark
  • One sticker
  • One refrigerator magnet
  • Winner’s choice of either the standing Egyptian goddess Bastet statue or, the reclining Egyptian god Anubis statue

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International Only: One eBook copy of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets

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