The Sorceress By Jessica McCrory

Release Date→ January 1st, 2018

Signed Paperback pre-order is up on Jessica McCrory’s website!

Pre-order before December 15th and you will receive a FREE kindle version of The Sorceress prior to the release!

★★Cover Reveal!!★★

Check out the cover for the latest book in Jessica McCrory’s Prophecy Series!


A Phoenix is made to rise from the ashes.  Except, what if it doesn’t?

When a tragic betrayal leaves Anastasia fighting for her life, it’s up to her best friend and the love of her life, Dakota, to keep Terrenia’s walls standing.

But Dakota finds himself losing hope with every passing day, and while the dark sorcerer Vincent lurks in the shadows, that could prove to be a deadly mistake.

In this third installment of The Prophecy Series, loyalties will be tested and sacrifices made as they try to gain the upper hand against Vincent’s steadily growing army.

But the question remains: what will be the cost of their victory?

Or will it even come at all?


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Cover made by Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs

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The first two books in the series are available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!


The Phoenix (book 1) on Amazon


The Fighter (book 2) on Amazon

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Hi everyone!!!My name is Jessica and I started writing when I was a teenager. I have always had a love of reading and that influenced me to write my own stories!! I am married to a wonderfully supportive man and we have two beautiful kiddos together! I spent seven years in the Texas Army National Guard and after I got out, I started putting more time into my writing! My absolute favorite genre is fantasy romance or anything that is considered paranormal. The different worlds you can visit through those types of books absolutely fascinate me!
I love red wine (its my end of the day treat to myself) and I am a sucker for sappy love stories, but who isn’t right?

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When they entered the house, Dakota wasn’t surprised to see that the inside matched that of the outside.  The creaky wooden floors were covered with thin rugs, and tapestries that looked to be made of the same material hung on the walls.  A fire roared in a fireplace, but that was the liveliest thing in the single-room cabin.

“Put her on the bed,” Monique instructed, and Dakota gently laid Anastasia on the small twin-size bed.

“I love you,” Dakota whispered, and kissed her pale cheek.  He pressed his forehead to hers.  “Please come back to me, Ana. I can’t live this life without you.  We have to experience that future we’ve dreamed of.”  He placed another kiss to her forehead and then stood.  “If anything happens to her because of you, I don’t give a shit how powerful you are—I will come for you.”

“You think I’m afraid of you?” Monique’s lip twitched as if she were amused.

Dakota didn’t even blink.  “You should be.  She is my entire world and the only thing that makes my life worth living.  If you do anything other than try and help her, I swear I will kill you, no matter what it takes.”  He stepped out of the cabin with Carmen on his heels.


White Water, Black Death

White Water Black Death - cover.jpgWhite Water, Black Death

Author: Shaun Ebelthite

Release Date: Septemer 2017

Genre: Thriller/ Suspense

“A cruise ship is the perfect target for a biological attack”. These are the chilling words emailed to the Seaborne Symphony in the mid-Atlantic.

Magazine editor Geneva Jones has been sent on the trans-Atlantic cruise to help secure a major advertising agreement from the CEO of the cruise line Rachel Atkinson, but her efforts to win her over are curtailed by a mysterious crew death. Geneva suspects foul play. Rachel insists its suicide. A former investigative journalist, Geneva can’t resist digging deeper, but what she finds is far more devastating. There’s an Ebola outbreak on the ship, everyone is trapped aboard and Rachel is trying to keep it secret.

Geneva knows enough about Ebola to be terrified, but she’s also onto the biggest story of her career. As panic surges through the ship, she becomes fixated on a single question. How was the virus brought aboard? The answer is worse than she could have imagined, and the greatest exposé she’ll ever get, if she can only prove it.

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Available to Purchase on Amazon


About the Author

Author Pic.jpg

Shaun Ebelthite was born in Namibia, raised in South Africa and educated in Dubai in the Middle East where he is a maritime and cruise journalist. He has been covering all aspects of ocean transport for more than five years and runs the Middle East’s foremost online cruise magazine. He has had two children’s books published, and is now branching out into a new genre with his first thriller.

Cruise Arabia     Amazon

My Review

5 stars

Geneva Jones works as an editor for Cruisecritique.com. She finds herself on board the Symphony. But something weird is happening. Whenever she asks Rachel Atkinson, the CEO of the cruise line, about the odd things she sees. Rachel skirts the subject and doesn’t give straight answers. Then there is the suicide of a crew member that sounds strangely made up. Then Geneva finds out what is really happening, there has been an outbreak of Ebola on the ship and Rachel has been trying to keep it quiet.

The ship is outside of Cuba but they refuse to let the passengers off. When Aaron, Rachel’s son announces what is really happening rioting breaks out. People are jumping off the ship and ignoring the lock-down. With no choice they decide to try to get to Miami but Geneva knows a sinking ship when she sees one.

I have to say that I have always been leery of cruise ships with news reports of people disappearing, sicknesses, tipping over, and such. After reading this story I doubt that I will every take a cruise. You have a large number of people, in a semi confined space, and a quick spreading disease without the means to stop it. This is a disaster the size of the Titanic.

But I have to say that in the beginning I was lost for a little bit but stick with the story. Once it gets rolling there is no stopping it. This would be a killer disaster movie.

I received White Water, Black Death from R&R Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.


Ebola. It sounded better suited to a field clinic than a cruise ship. If this was Ebola, she was utterly fucked. Emma knew without any doubt that she was right though. She’d been right before the WHO and CDC contacted them, before Bermuda closed its border, before the FBI launched its investigation.

She’d realised before anyone else what this was, but had been too afraid to accept it.

Little good acceptance would have done anyway. The virus was deadly in more than half of all infections, even with expert supportive care. A person could go from perfectly healthy to dead in a few days. Most of her patients were exposed to the virus more than a week ago, and began showing symptoms three to four days later. They had forty-eight hours left, if that.

According to Rachel, Miami was more than seventy four hours sailing at full speed.

Even if Bermuda had taken them ashore, they’d still die. Once the bleeding started there was very little any hospital could do.

And her patients were bleeding.

It started in the stools and urine, then the nose, ears and eventually the eyes. The young girl she’d examined just two days ago was bleeding from every orifice.

Emma could see the vague shape of her body on a mattress between a white sheet and the windows. She was trying to give the worst-off patients what privacy she could. They had to be stripped down to their underwear and constantly sponged in a futile attempt to control the fever.

Some sort of privacy was all she could give them.

The girl’s mother was with her, sponging her and periodically being sick in a wastepaper basket. There were no more buckets available, even the disposable vomit bags had run out. Emma had just a few boxes of paracetamol left and only one of Imodium, her last remaining Ovartin would be used to save as many as she could when they were within airlift range of the US.

All other medication of any use had run out during the night.

She was using 19th century means to treat the most deadly virus of the 20th century.

“You’re all right my baby,” the woman was telling her daughter, the girl was trembling violently. Emma didn’t need to see her face to know she would be looking at her mother with wide, terrified eyes. Dozens of her patients had given her the same stricken look in the last twenty-four hours.

Emma couldn’t remember their names, but their faces were there like skulls in Ntarama church.

“Fight it Megan, we’ll be home soon,” the woman said.

She hadn’t let her daughter see her cry. Her husband’s body was one of those wrapped in a sheet in a line with four others that had died during the night. They’d been placed next to the doors on the left of the lounge, nearest the bar. Crew in protective gear would come to collect them soon and take them to the hold.

“You’re going to be okay, Megan.”

The girl would be dead within the next two hours.

“Doctor?” Emma felt a hand on her arm, the fingers clutching nervously, almost politely. “Her temperature is getting worse.” The young woman, her sandy blond hair hanging in clumps in her face, was looking at her with a wild optimism that made Emma feel like a fraud. “Could you come and see her?”

And do what?

“Of course,” Emma smiled, following the girl to her friend. She’d been brought in during the night when the ‘clinic’ was being set up. She lay shivering on a bare mattress, dark stains all around her. Emma lifted her chart, little more than a sheet of paper from one of the cruise line’s notepads and pretended to examine it. ‘Lucy’ scrawled just below Seaborne’s elaborate goldleaf logo.

The vitals noted by Ryan showed a clear trajectory. She wasn’t bleeding from any orifices yet, but her temperature was dangerously high, her blood pressure dangerously low and her blood urea nitrogen and creatinine were elevated. Her kidneys were failing and she was haemorrhaging internally.

Emma couldn’t waste resources on her.

“I’ll get her something right away,” she told Lucy’s friend. The girl flashed a relieved smile, slipping her hands into two plastic bags. She put a damp cloth on Lucy’s pink forehead.

All Emma could give her were electrolytes.

“We thought she was just seasick, she’d been feeling iffy since before yesterday, but we thought maybe it was from the sunburn. We made her come to the pool deck party last night.”

Lucy’s friend wasn’t showing symptoms yet, but Emma had let her stay because she didn’t have enough healthy people to look after the sick. The girl was using plastic bags to protect herself.

It was shameful.

Emma made her way across the lounge, trying to muster a smile and a kind, reassuring word as she went. A teenage boy with acute diarrhoea and vomiting would be prioritised for antiemetics and loperamide. It would make his death more comfortable, but his mother thought it was treatment. A wife was told her husband would get diazepam within the hour. The woman was just a wrinkled face to Emma, they were all blurring into one swarming mass of people she couldn’t help. The woman’s husband had a rash over his chest and stomach that looked like a war-torn archipelago. A diffuse erythematous maculopapular rash that was also desquamate.

He wouldn’t survive the next three days. A sedative would ease his suffering.

It was inhuman.

Disaster triage, ‘resource allocation based on potential medical benefit’ was what medical textbooks called it.

She’d have to sedate most of her patients soon, she couldn’t keep this act up indefinitely.

Emma had crossed a line during the night, entering unexplored, ethically gray territory. She would have her medical license revoked for it. She was lying to her patients to keep them calm, giving them placebos because there wasn’t enough of the real thing.

She had to lie. Ebola was terrifying enough. Ebola without anyway for the ship’s doctor to treat it would cause total hysteria, endangering everyone on-board.

“Five more incoming,” Ryan sighed, a walkie-talkie held in a gloved hand that hung loosely by his side. They were probably both infected.

A patient could present with symptoms anywhere between two days and three weeks after exposure to it. A week was the average.

It was only a matter of time before he started experiencing nausea and an elevated temperature. Emma wasn’t throwing up yet, but she knew it would come. Fatigue was the first symptom. Extreme fatigue. The long hours she was working in the clinic masked it for the first day or so, now she could feel the tell-tale achiness in her joints, the oversensitivity of her skin. She wouldn’t be able to control the shivering soon.

“Ryan,” she thudded heavily across what had been the marble dancefloor a few days ago to where her nurse was checking someone’s temperature. “How many have we lost?” she asked in a whisper, tiptoeing around the truth, afraid to wake it.


Emma had forgotten. He’d told her at sunrise. Emma never forgot details like this, but now she couldn’t hold onto to basic information. Couldn’t concentrate.

“Are the opiates still in the clinic?” Emma wasn’t sure why she was asking, she had the key to the medical stores and if she did need the morphine and acetaminophen and other painkillers she would get them herself.

“Yes,” said Ryan, but there was a question in his eyes.

Emma was looking for permission. She wanted to ease the suffering, but Morphine could be lethal to someone already presenting with low blood pressure.

“Doctor, you need to sit down. You need to rest.”

“I’m going to do another round.”

“Miss Atkinson is already…”

Emma tried to turn, but her feet wouldn’t follow her body’s lead. She stumbled awkwardly, almost falling into a row of patients lying on haphazardly arranged mattresses. They’d been in orderly rows last night.

A hand caught her arm, holding her up.

“One hand for the ship, doctor.” Rachel smiled at her like they were waiting for the dinner announcement. “I’ve asked some of the crew to clean things up a bit, I hope you don’t mind? I think the smell is what gets to people most. I know it does me.”

That smile again.

Emma’s opinion of the CEO had been low even before the emergency meeting in the captain’s office two nights ago. Now she was convinced she must be crazy. Worrying about the cleanliness of her lounge with death all around them, closing in like a creeping tide. She’d been going from one passenger to the next, making chit-chat and cracking jokes for the last hour.

“Of course.”

Emma hadn’t given sanitation a thought for hours. Early this morning some of the crew already quarantined in the lounge had volunteered to help, but she needed an army to empty buckets, clean up feces and vomit, hand out water and fresh towels, let alone actually try to treat any of the more than two hundred people now crammed into the room.

Even if she did have the medicine and equipment she needed, she didn’t have enough hands.

“You are going to sit here behind the bar and rest for half an hour,” Emma hadn’t realised Rachel was leading her to the other side of the lounge, through a maze of makeshift screens and mattresses. “We’re going to clean up, then I’m going to have a chat with you about what you need.”

“Medicine,” said Emma. “Need more. We’ve run out of…”

“We can get it airlifted from Bermuda,” said Rachel, handing Emma a bottle of water. “Have something to drink and close your eyes for a few minutes.”

Emma was sitting now. Perched on a footstool, her head below the bar’s countertop so that all she could see were bottles of water on shelves all around her. There were more than two hundred bottles of water stoked behind the bar, she’d noted it down somewhere. Rachel said there were another eleven thousand available in the hold.

“I’m going to have to start sedating patients soon,” said Emma. “As more die, those left are going to get increasingly agitated.”

“That’s not necessary yet.” Rachel was kneeling in front of her. “Doctor,” she waited for Emma to lift her eyes. “Promise me you won’t do that yet.”

Emma nodded, looking down at her gloved hands. The gloves were unnecessary now, serving as part of a costume rather than a purpose.

“Tristan?” Rachel was looking for a member of the cruise staff, her voice carrying over the moaning of a man nearby. “Is there any way for us to discreetly put out a call for volunteers to help here? The doctor’s overwhelmed, we need as many of our first aid people as we can get.”

“I’ll ask security to pass the word.”

“I’ll call Richard,” Rachel lifted the phone behind the bar. “We need to get supplies airlifted from Hamilton.”

Rachel was taking over her clinic, but Emma could only feel relief.

She hadn’t been alone like this since the day before yesterday. Was that the last time she slept? Emma couldn’t remember, but she could remember how many bottles of water there were. How many patients were there in the lounge now? She needed to ask Ryan. Should be keeping a runny tally. Why wasn’t she able to remember these details? Emma flicked through her notebook and found the page.







Why had she put a question mark next to it? She must have intended to double check with Ryan. She’d do a headcount herself, he was as overworked as her. She made a note to find out the total number of Ebola cases throughout the ship.

Shouldn’t be sitting here doing nothing.

“…almost heaven, West Virginia, blue ridge mountain, Shenandoah river…”

Emma stood up, incredulous. Singing. Her patients were singing. It was just a few people at first, the Philipino staff mainly, who, despite being sick, had also volunteered to help in trying to keep the lounge clean.

“life is old there, older than the trees…”

They were being led by Rachel, standing in front of a group of children all singing along, clapping out of time. There were thirty-five children in the lounge. Emma could remember that. Almost all the children on-board.

“younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze…”

Most of them had been brought in by parents who weren’t sick yet. Emma had intended to enforce a strict quarantine, but couldn’t separate children from their parents.

Everyone was infected anyway. Quarantine was a plan that failed as soon as it started.

The voices grew, spreading through the lounge until everyone who had the energy was singing, joining in on the chorus, some filming on their phones.

“country road, take me home, to a place I belong…”

Rachel had lifted a small boy up, his hands in the air in glee, beaming at his dad like he’d won a prize. Jack, though his mother called him Jackie. She was feverish behind one of the curtains; she would likely die during the night. His father wasn’t showing symptoms yet. He might survive until they reached Miami. His son wouldn’t.

“West Virginia, mountain mamma…”

The doors closest to the bar opened, two security guards with tasers at the ready and ten crewmen in masks and gloves, come to remove the bodies.

“take me home, country road.”

Rachel caught Emma’s eye and launched into the chorus once more.

With most patients in the lounge distracted by Rachel and the children, Emma stumbled forward to help them lift the dead. She’d been focusing so much on what medication and treatments her patients needed, and dwelling on her inability to provide it, that she’d forgotten one of the worst parts about being ill.


She watched the first three bodies carried to one of the elevators on the other side of the lobby and tried to remember how many had died. What had Ryan said? She needed to see what was being done with the bodies, she had to make sure they were being treated respectfully.

She gestured to Rachel and then stumbled over to the lift, catching the alarmed glance of a passenger on a mattress closest to the door. By tomorrow, even Rachel wouldn’t be able to keep the flood gates closed. Panic was going to set in tonight. Several dozen people were unlikely to make it through to the morning and with death on every other mattress in the lounge, Emma and Rachel’s deception would be laid bare.

She wasn’t escaping, she would come back. She wasn’t abandoning them.

By tomorrow, she would be incapacitated anyway, and would be unable to control the diarrhea. She’d end up soiling herself like so many of her patients, whose shame she’d had to ignore as she or one of the crew helped them clean themselves.

It was absurd, but this was what scared her most. Not death.

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Outremer by DN Carter

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads


My Review

5 stars

This is the story of Paul Plantavalu, his best friend, Taqi al Komanty, and Taqi’s sister Alisha. The three grew up around each other but after some time apart Paul and Alisha find that they are in love with each other. But Paul is a Christian and Alisha is Muslim. At first the father’s try to break them apart, but they realize that this is not going to stop either Paul or Alisha.

This part of the story is beautiful, but wrapped around it is the story of the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, and advanced civilizations. Paul and Alisha become wrapped up in everything and span realms and realities.

I thought this book sounded good and couldn’t wait to read it. Of course I was a little shocked at how huge the book was but once I start reading I couldn’t put this book down. There is so much to this story but hard to really talk about without giving too much away.

It is clear that D.N. Carter took the time to fully research everything in this book. You feel right there alongside of Templars and Assassins. You will learn about numerology and astrology and other beliefs from ancient times. And I love how you learn the meanings of so much. I love stories that teach along with entertain.

This is an amazing start to this series. I can’t image four parts to this series but if they are as good at this one I have no problem digging into them too.

I received Outremer from the 12 Days of Clink Street from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Other Mother


The Other Mother by J.A. Baker

Three troubled women. One deadly secret.

Lissy and her daughter, Rosie, live a quiet life in Yorkshire, however when events at Rosie’s school come to light, their peaceful existence is shattered

Meanwhile, middle-aged women Erica and Beverley appear to have perfect lives but behind closed doors things are not as they seem.

All three women are tied together by a dark past that goes back to their school days. A child was murdered and one of the women is to blame.

But is the person responsible for the child’s death the same person who was blamed for it all those years ago?

As secrets from their past begin to surface it becomes clear that someone has revenge in their sights…

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Author’s Bio

Born in Middlesbrough too many years ago to mention, J. A. Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular, to psychological thrillers.

After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her third novel and working on her fourth one.

A. Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.

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My Review

5 stars

Lissy is a young mother with a past that keeps her moving around a lot. Unfortunately this is starting to affect her daughter Rosie. Rosie is acting out in school with bullying and stealing. Then there is Erica that is having a hard time with her life and Beverly who is breaking down because of guilt. All three women have their own story to tell yet they are connected by events in their past.

I admit that this book is a little tough to get into. You bounce between Child A, Child B, and the three women. At first this was confusing but thankfully the chapters start with a name to help. Once you get into the story, then it starts to fly.

I really liked this story. It drew you in with each woman’s life and a back story of a child that died and one of these women had a hand in it. It’s a great thriller and the clues and hints built upon each other until the moment when the answer if revealed and you have that Ah Ha moment.

If you are looking for a great psychological thriller look no further. This is a great story and a first of J.A. Baker’s stories for me. I can’t wait to get my hands on Undercurrent and Her Dark Retreat.

I received The Other Mother from Bloodhound Books for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

All Day at the Movies


All Day at the Movies by Fiona Kidman

When war widow Irene Sandle goes to work in New Zealand’s tobacco fields in 1952, she hopes to start a new, independent life for herself and her daughter – but the tragic repercussions of her decision will resonate long after Irene has gone.

Each of Irene’s children carries the events of their childhood throughout their lives, played out against a backdrop of great change – new opportunities emerge for women, but social problems continue to hold many back. Headstrong Belinda becomes a successful filmmaker, but struggles to deal with her own family drama as her younger siblings are haunted by the past.

A sweeping saga covering half a century, this is a powerful exploration of family ties and heartbreaks, and of learning to live with the past.

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Author’s Bio

Fiona Kidman is a leading contemporary novelist, short story writer and poet. Much of her fiction is focused on how outsiders navigate their way in narrowly conformist society. She has published a large and exciting range of fiction and poetry, and has worked as a librarian, producer and critic. Kidman has won numerous awards, and she has been the recipient of fellowships, grants and other significant honours, as well as being a consistent advocate for New Zealand writers and literature. She is the President of Honour for the New Zealand Book Council, and has been awarded an OBE and a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to literature.


My Review

4 stars

Irene Sandle is a war widow that only has the baby her husband gave her before his death. She tries to return to work after the birth of her daughter. Not to be put out, Irene decides to move out of her parent’s house and work as a tobacco picker. She struggles to survive with her daughter and ends up marrying Jock. Sadly years later she dies in childbirth and leave Jock with four children he is not ready to raise. He in turn marries Charm who is not capable to raise the children either. What follows is neglect, abuse, teen pregnancy, and so much more.

This story revolves around Irene and her family over several years. Going against the norm for a woman, Irene is determined to create a life for her and her daughter. They both face trials but Irene does the best she can. So does Jock after Irene’s death. Sadly things don’t get better and all the children have to live with everything that they went through as kids and the choices they make as adults.

This is not an easy journey but I really enjoy how Fiona Kidman tells this story. These are real characters that do the best they can to survive and have real human flaws, unfortunately. It is touching and sad what the kids have gone through but it is also a reflection of real life. I think that many will enjoy this story.

I received All Day at the Movies from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

The Variant Conspiracy

NA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
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Irina Proffer leaves home to follow creepy visions inspired by odd tarot cards. In BC’s capital, she uncovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. A job that feels too good to be true and a powerful first love almost derail her, but the conspiracy she encounters is terrifying and undeniable.
An engineered earthquake overshadowed by a planned Armageddon forces Irina and her friends to travel south. Their investigation launches a journey that takes them through the Pacific states, into the Mojave Desert, and through a mind-bending portal to London – all while Irina’s love fights for his life.
As the group faces a vicious pandemic virus, they race south again, this time chasing a timeless evil through Europe and Africa. When they finally confront a demonic alien outside a Nairobi slum, it costs them everything as they fight to stop the end of the world.
Book 1
Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery.
Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip.
Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
 Amazon     Goodreads
My Review
4 stars

Irina Proffer starts experiencing visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. She leaves her small town in northern British Columbia and travels to Victoria to learn more about these visions and herself. What she discovers is a company called Innoviro Industries. She also learns about the Variants, people with special abilities. But the more she learns, the more she starts to distrust Ivan and his plans. It quickly becomes a battle as the Variants gather to stop Ivan and his plan for the world.

I really enjoyed this story. It is a great start to a new series and has some wonderful characters. Irina starts out lost but comes into being a strong leader when it comes to standing up to Ivan’s crazy plan. Of course you have to have betrayals. Who does she trust, who is really on her side, etc.

This book is a wonderful start to a new series that covers so many genera. It’s not just about the romance and love triangle. There is a fantasy/paranormal aspect and thriller as they rush to stop Ivan. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 Excerpt from In Irina’s Cards

From Chapter 4:

The restaurant was full and the combined conversations created a loud chatter. Dim candlelight, a few glass chandeliers, and an antique-looking piano in the corner set a romantic atmosphere that sparked another twinge of embarrassment. On the other hand, the abstract and industrial mixed media wall décor had me looking around for art and film students. Aside from a few biker bars, the edgiest hangout I knew of in Prince George was an indie coffee shop – and it had only been open for a few years when I left.

We made our way around and between tables. Everyone in the restaurant looked like an artist or an intellectual. I felt like an ugly duckling in my plain, boring clothes, but I was glad for the first time since starting my new job that not all of the blue dye had gone from my hair. Jonah reached the table and pulled out a chair for me. We sat down and Cole scowled.

“Dude, what’s up with the timeline fail? We’ve been here for like, half an hour,” said Cole.

“Ignore his attitude. I’m Faith,” the girl said as she extended her hand to me and grinned happily. The flickering light glinted off a stud in her nose and a ring in her eyebrow. She wore dark makeup on her eyes and mouth. She had the same coffee brown eyes as Cole. I couldn’t tell if it was her features or the eyeliner and lipstick, but she looked striking in a bold, exotic way. As we shook hands, her gaze shifted over to Jonah.

We looked at our menus in awkward silence, waiting for a server, sipping our water. I sighed and put down my menu. I could feel Cole’s eyes on me as I watched Faith stare at Jonah, the only person still looking at his menu. I gave in and glanced back at Cole briefly with a small smile. This was all heading in the wrong direction. The time for tact expired along with my patience.

“So I take it we’re all mutants here,” I said casually.

Jonah sprayed water onto his menu and coughed. Cole looked at me urgently. Faith’s mouth made a small ‘O’ under her confused frown.

“Seriously, I came here, to Victoria, because I started having visions of this place and I wanted answers. All I’ve gotten is cryptic nonsense. Other than meeting you people, I’ve learned next to nothing. Rubin is all vague double-talk. It’s getting old. I want to know what you all know.”

Jonah looked at me and took a breath as if to say something. He decided against it and looked around our corner of the restaurant. Nobody paid any attention to us. He placed his hand over the droplets of water on his laminated menu. The water coalesced into puddles under his palm. As he concentrated on the small pool, it lifted off the menu and spread into a donut shape. The circle broke and the stream became a spiral, getting thinner and thinner until it evaporated into steam, absorbed into Jonah’s hand.

Faith’s frown turned into a smile as she looked at Jonah. She picked up one of the unlit candles on our table and pinched the wick between her thumb and forefinger. As she released it a flame sprang to life.

“Well, I’m not breaking this table, that’s for damn sure,” said Cole.

“That’s okay. I saw your street-fight with that bouncer when I first got to town,” I said.

Cole rolled his eyes, but I couldn’t worry about his temper. I wanted to keep talking about Innoviro and Ivan. “So, now that we’re making progress, albeit moving into some surreal comic book world, tell me what’s the deal with Innoviro. What the hell does this company really do?” I felt my adrenaline rise.

“I’m not risking my job so you can get a head start on whatever Ivan has in mind for you. You’re acting like there’s something bad going on here. He helps people like us.” Cole looked over at Jonah. “For some of us, being different is actually a health risk.”

“Dude, leave it alone!” said Jonah.

Faith frowned again. “You’ve met Rubin. He’s like a recruiter. He told you that much at least, didn’t he? He works with Ivan to find people like us and help, if they need it.”

“And what if I don’t need help?” I said.

“You may help others. We’re not all different in the same way. Some of us were born this way and some of us were … made,” said Faith.

“Ivan will talk to you about all of this soon enough. We’re really not allowed to and I think the reasons for that will start to be obvious. It’s not the kind of research the government likes. You can’t put this kind of stuff in a job posting and you definitely can’t chat about it at parties.” Jonah looked around the room again.

“So they’re doing tests on people.” I felt the unease in my gut churning faster. “On us.”

Book 2
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.
Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.
Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.
My Review
5 stars

Irina and the rest of the variants have slowed Ivan’s plan for the world. They travel to Seattle and share with the media what he has been planning. They learn that he is hoping to set off an earthquake in San Francisco and try to stop him. But as they follow him into the Mojave Desert they learn that there is so much more to his plan for the world and they may not be able to stop him.

I thought the first book was good. I love where The Compendium went. Irina and the group try to get information about Ivan out to the media. They learn of Ivan planning an earthquake and rush to stop him. But not everyone in Irina’s group are entirely on her side so it seems they keep falling short.

I loved the twist when they got to the Mojave Desert facility. If you think Ivan was crazy before, you have no idea. What a way to end this book!! This is a great series and one that I recommend reading in order. You could read The Compendium on its own but you get more of a feeling when you read them in order. I hope Irina and the group can save the world.

Excerpts from The Compendium

From Chapter 10:

I awoke standing on an orange cliff under a purple sky. An unfamiliar canyon wound under the horizon on either side. I looked down to see a river of metallic sludge oozing along the canyon floor. Chunks of debris floated in the sludge. Steam intermittently bubbled here and there. The sky darkened as I watched the river. Lights streaked across the sky, red and white, blinking. Black pellets fell from the lights, exploding in the distance as they hit the ground.

A figure walked through the smoke left by an explosion on the cliff directly opposite from me. While the smoke cleared, Ivan reached the edge of the cliff. His face distorted with a ripple. He reached up with both arms, burying his hands in his hair. His fingertips pulled on his scalp. Ivan’s expression melted. He peeled off his face in a downward motion taking the rest of his body with it. In Ivan’s place stood a red-eyed humanoid reptile with giant curling horns, identical to what I’d seen reflected in the window of Ivan’s apartment.

The horned figure let out a ferocious roar. The ground shook. The landscape shivered until the canyon transformed into a green valley below dry sage-covered hills. Ivan seemed himself again, smiling and tapping his wristwatch, strolling toward me. I shuddered, shaking my head. The green grass floor trembled and a crack opened horizontally between us. Trembling turned to shaking. The crack ripped into the ground in both directions until a canyon separated us.

A hand brushed my cheek. I whirled to find the source of the touch. I found myself lying in bed back in the guest bedroom in Josh’s farm house. I shouted and sat up.

Book 3
The end of the humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.
After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads
My Review
5 stars

After discovering the Terra Nova virus, the group can see where this is going. Telling the world about Innoviro Industries and Ivan has done nothing to stop him. It’s up to Irina and the group. But will they stop the virus in time. They travel through a portal to London tracking the virus hoping to stop the release. But the question is if they will stop it in time and save the world.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do. The group is doing everything they can to stop Ivan but it seems that he is always one step ahead of them. Now it’s a race against time to try and stop the Terra Nova virus. If they don’t make it, there won’t be anyone left to save.

Ivan is truly insane with his determination to affect the world. But I think the best part is watching Irina’s group learn to work with each other to the best of everyone’s abilities and attitudes. I love this series and can’t wait to read more from Christine Hart.

Excerpt from Terra Nova

From Chapter 1:

Faith returned with four glowing green drinks in a cup holder tray. Clear plastic cups, lids, and straws let the liquid inside glow through. It smacked of something that would spawn ninja turtles. “These are the Incinerator’s own toxic spills. They’re just vodka and sprite with a capful of that crap they put in glow sticks. Did you know you can drink that shit?”

Jonah reluctantly took a plastic cup. “Are you sure we should drink it?”

“It’s not going to kill us. No more so than the alcohol.” Ilya picked up a cup and took a long generous pull on his straw.

I took an experimental sip. It tasted like vodka and sprite. There was a mildly synthetic aftertaste, but nothing toxic. I took another, much larger sip. Aha – the warmth I’d been craving since my shower. I might stand a chance of sleeping tonight after all.

Jonah followed my lead and took a slurp on his straw, pausing to let the liquid do its work. He leered at me with a devilish grin and grabbed my hand, pulling me off to the dance floor. His touch radiated energy into me, right through my skin waking up every cell in my body.

He leaned down and kissed me, running his hands through my hair. His powerful grip felt restrained, as though his mind fought to control his body. The intensity surpassed our first night together. After we had spent so long mocked by his unstable mutation, first hurting me and then nearly killing him, we were both finally stronger than ever.

“I can’t help myself. I need to touch you. I don’t ever want to let you go. We’re going to make up for some lost time tonight.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His fingers traced the line of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. So much for sleep!

About the Author

Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, Christine writes speculative fiction for YA & NA readers.  She has an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, a corporate background in communications and design, and an Etsy alter-ego named Sleepless Storyteller. Christine shares her eclectic home and lifestyle with her metal working husband, dancing daughter and rocket enthusiast son.
Contact Links
I recieved all three books in The Variant Conspiracy Series from Reading Addiction Virtual Books Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of these books.
RABT Book Tours & PR


The Learn by Tony Halker

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.

A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior. Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.

Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.

At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.

A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

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 Tony Halker

Author’s Bio

Born in London, one of five children of mixed Scottish, English and Welsh parentage, of people who had hard lives.

A life long avid reader of fiction, I am in awe of those who create worlds with words that we can escape into and learn from.

My main hobby other than reading fiction, has been mountain biking for over twenty years: off road on trails over woods, hills and mountains. Walking is an obsession in any terrain, particularly the beaches, mountains and hills of North Wales, hence the setting for my debut novel.

With degrees in Geology and Business Administration; I worked as a geologist for seventeen years; now “lapsed” but trying. I worked in underground mines, surface exploration and geophysics.

A world traveller for work and pleasure through the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australasia, I lived overseas in a number of countries. Favourite places always to return to are North Wales and Western Scotland.

Following my life in Geology I developed a career in business management, working in hi tech marketing and as Product Manager, Chief Executive and MD, as well as becoming an entrepreneur in my own right.

I am privileged to have known and worked with people of different cultures, backgrounds and views of the world.


My Review

5 stars

Owayne is the son of a beach scavenger. One day an object is found and his mother takes it to the Druid Merle. She convinces Merle to take Owayne and teach him how to be a druid. What follows is Owayne’s Learning about being a druid, from how to properly chose sides in a fight to the Goddess, and everything in between.

But it is a pivotal time for the Celtic Bronze Age. New things are being discovered, like a wooden wheel. Owayne has to learn to balance the traditional oral histories and bring his people into the new world. And for all changes, there will always be those that don’t want to leave the old ways.

This is a great history of the druids and their role in this world. I loved following along with Owayne and learning about how important it was to be a druid. This is a great history and you will learn a lot.

On the other hand this book is pretty steady, truly melodic in its telling. But because of this, if you like action packed thrills; this book may be a bit slow for you. But over all I enjoyed the story. It is easy to tell that the author has a love for this time period and has done his research.

I received The Learn as part of the 12 Days of Clink Street from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.