Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘5 Star Books’ Category

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.

Instagram     Website

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.

Read Full Post »

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:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=295264

 

ENTER TO WIN!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2020 and runs through March 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

I would like to thank Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

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.

Twitter     Facebook      Instagram

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.

Read Full Post »

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:

 

Enter for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

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

Read Full Post »

The Six-Week Solution

TheSix-WeekSolution (1)

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.

Add to Goodreads

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.”

Now Available!

Amazon

B & N

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TheSix-WeekSolution (1)

Blog Tour Schedule

February 10th

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review)

Rambling Mads (Review)

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

February 11th

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight)

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

February 12th

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight)

Cup of Toast (Review)

I’m All About Books (Spotlight)

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight)

February 13th

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

The Faerie Review (Spotlight)

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight)

February 14th

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

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

Read Full Post »

Tour Banner

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!

Book Cover

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.

Add to Goodreads

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.

Now Available

Amazon – Print | Kindle | Other Fine Retailers

About the Author

photo01

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.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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

IMG_20200128_103726114_HDR

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

Click the link below to enter and best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Banner

Blog Tour Schedule

February 3rd

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://readsandreels.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

February 4th

A Garden of Books (Review) http://agardenofbooks.com

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

Turning the Pages (Review) https://turningthepagesonline.wordpress.com

February 5th

C Vonzale Lewis (Review) https://cvonzalelewis.com/index.php/blog/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

I’m All About Books (Review) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

February 6th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

Shalini’s Books & Reviews (Review) https://bookreviewsbyshalini.com/

February 7th

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

Sophril Reads (Review) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours

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

Read Full Post »

Tales of the What the F*ck by DA Watson

Billionaire terminal cancer patient John Longmire’s going to die today, and he’s going out in style in the classiest euthanasia clinic in the world. But the strange nurse with the clipboard and the look of a goddess is spoiling the mood, with all her irksome questions about how he’s lived his life.

Recent retiree Gerald loves his wife Barbara and he loves his garden, but Barbara hates the garden. Because the garden’s taking Gerald over, and Barbara says he has to stop before he has another ‘incident’.

Bullied, ridiculed and unloved, moustachioed schoolgirl “Hairy” Mhairi Barry has never had any friends but the ones she finds on the shelves of the library where she’s spent most of her lonely childhood. But tonight, she’s going to a party with all the cool kids, to show them what she’s learned in all those books.

A suspicious smelling smorgasbord of lovelorn psychopaths, vengeful mugging victims, pawn shop philosophers and rhyming Glaswegian alien abduction, Tales of the What the Fuck is a dark, touching, horrific and hilarious collection of short stories, flash fiction and epic poetry from People’s Book Prize nominated author D.A. Watson. Things are about to get weird.

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Goodreads

Author Bio –

D.A. Watson was halfway through a music and media degree at the University of Glasgow and planning on being a teacher when he discovered he was actually a better writer than musician. He unleashed his debut novel In the Devil’s Name on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 2012, and plans of a stable career in education left firmly in the dust, later gained his masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.

He has since published two more novels; The Wolves of Langabhat and Cuttin’ Heads, a collection of short fiction and poetry, Tales of the What the F*ck, and several acclaimed articles, poems and stories, including Durty Diana, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US in 2016, and the Burns parody Tam O’ Shatner, prizewinner at the Falkirk Storytelling Festival and Dunedin Burns Poetry Competition, and nominated for the People’s Book Prize in 2018.

Watson’s writing has appeared in several anthologies and collections including 404 Ink, Dark Eclipse, Speculative Books, Haunted Voices and The Flexible Persona, and he is also a regular spoken word performer, with past gigs at Bloody Scotland, Tamfest, Sonnet Youth, Express Yourself, Clusterf*ck Circus, and the Burnsfest festival in 2018, where he appeared on the main stage as the warm up act for the one and only Chesney Hawkes, a personal milestone and career highlight.

His fourth novel Adonias Low will be released by Stirling Pubishing in 2021. He lives with his family in a witch infested village on the west coast of Scotland, and continues to write some seriously weird sh*t.

Twitter     Facebook

My Review

5 Stars

This is a collection of sixteen short stories and 6 poems that are dark and twisted and will leave you asking “What did I just read?” There are stories of bullying, sexual encounters, creatures of the night, and so much more. Some start out innocent and some will have you laughing. But they all have a dark side and a twist that will make you think twice.

When I first read the blurb for this book I was really excited. I love dark and twisted things and couldn’t wait to get into this book. I instantly loved it and could not put it down. You have a guy who cannot live after the loss of his wife and son. There is a photographer that has to judge a competition and has issues with having his own picture taken. And creatures from fantasy creating havoc in our world.

This book is not for everyone. But if you have a dark sense of humor and like twisted stories you will love this book. You really need to get a copy ASAP.

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.

Read Full Post »

The Seeking Serum

44025151. sx318

The Seeking Serum (Potion Masters – 3) by Frank L. Cole

Mezzarix has stolen the Vessel, the source of power for all potion masters, and is preparing to launch his final attack on the potion-making community—which includes his own family.

Gordy and his family have gone into hiding, but when his mom uncovers some new information, she takes Gordy into the underground network known as the Swigs, a haven for renegade potion masters and black-market potions, to secure support in the fight against Mezzarix. But when Scourges, rebel potion makers acting on orders from Mezzarix, attack the Swigs, Gordy barely escapes with his life and is forced to leave his family behind.

As the fight intensifies between B.R.E.W. and the Scourges, it falls to Gordy and his friends—Max, Sasha, and Adilene—to locate Mezzarix’s hidden headquarters, retrieve the Vessel, save the world, and unite the potion-making community.

The world of Potion Masters is full of fantasy and adventure as Gordy and his friends learn the power of friendship and loyalty, and to trust in their own individual talents.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

About the Author

Frank L. Cole has lived in such exotic places as the Philippines and Kentucky, and currently lives with his wife and three children out west. While he strived for years to earn his publishing credits, Frank considers sharing his message of “Exercising Your Imagination” to over 100,000 kids across the country as his greatest accomplishment. Potion Masters – The Transparency Tonic is Frank’s 11th published book. You can learn more about his writing at frankcolewrites.com

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

5 Stars

I have to say that I can’t believe that this is the last book in the series. After sharing so many adventures with the kids I am reluctant to read this book for the simple fact that the story will be done. But we have traveled so far that I just had to make that things worked out and that the kids won in the end.

Gordy and the B.R.E.W. crew are up against Mezzarix and other bad guys from previous books. Gordy and his family go into hiding but when they are attacked Gordy goes out on his own, separated from his family.

I loved watching Gordy and the rest of the kids growing into young adults. There are tense moments and some great fight scenes to keep my quickly flipping pages to see what happens next.

In the end this is a great series for middle-grade readers and up. There are several things that are great talking points with kids and just a great fantasy story for any age. Like I said, I’m sad to leave this series but I will definitely be rereading it several times and looking out for other books from Frank Cole.

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

Logo

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

Read Full Post »

Van Ops: The Last Power

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae Banner

 

VanOps: The Lost Power

by Avanti Centrae

on Tour November 4, 2019 – January 10, 2020

Synopsis:

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae

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

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

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

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

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

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

Critical Praise for VanOps: The Lost Power

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

Book Details:

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

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

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

CHAPTER 2

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

CHAPTER 3

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

CHAPTER 4

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

CHAPTER 5

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

CHAPTER 6

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

 

Author Bio:

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

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

 

 

 

 

My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=293940

Enter To Win!:

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

I would like to thank Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

Mortom

23586170

Mortom by Erik Therme

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

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

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

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Godoreads

About the Author

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

Website     Facebook

My Review

5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »