Posted in reviews

Ekleipsis by Tamel Wino Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

What happens when ordinary people give into their darker nature? Find out in this amazing collection of short stories from author Tamel Wino, titled “Ekleipsis”. 

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The Synopsis

The sun has finally set on humanity…

What happens when we give in to the darkness?

Ékleipsis is a debut short story collection written by Canadian author Tamel Wino, with hints of Chuck Palahniuk’s and Cormac McCarthy’s stripped, vivid writing styles. This gripping book explores the havoc wreaked when ordinary people abandon their humanity to pursue their darkest desires, and questions just how far people will go to follow their baser instincts.

Each story takes a version of a person we’ve known in our own lives and transforms them into something completely unnerving—yet all too familiar.

These dark, complex characters and twisted tales of the once ordinary will change your perception of humanity forever.

The Review

What a fantastic and well-written collection of short stories. The author does a brilliant job of delving into the darkest parts of human nature and allowing readers to see into the minds of these ordinary people who find themselves pushed into becoming their darkest selves. Pacing is key to this collection of stories, as each tale while short, does an incredible job of building the suspense until the twist ending comes and shakes the foundation of the narrative to its core. 

One story in particular early on that I enjoyed was Closing Costs. The author does a great job of taking readers into the classic affair story gone wrong while getting to see the story from a different perspective of “the other woman”. The author does an incredible job of making these characters feel both vibrant and real all at once and challenges the notion that far too often we see the masks of people they want to show the world, and rarely see the true face beneath the mask. 

The Verdict

A powerhouse collection of short horror stories that are both entertaining and enlightening all at once, author Tamel Wino’s “Ekleipsis” is a must-read book. The author truly is able to showcase the dark psychology of those who are pushed to their limits and those who take the plunge into their darkest desires and gives readers a thought-provoking thrill ride. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a horror/thriller short fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on madness and human morality. He attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in health sciences and psychology which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold, evocative narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic movies and travelling.

To get a copy of the book: https://books2read.com/ekleipsis

my website: https://ekleipsis.ca/

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ekleipsis29/

goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20895934.Tamel_Wino

book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuiVWiZP13s&feature=youtu.be

Posted in reviews

Quinn’s Christmas Wish by Lawna Mackie Audiobook Tour

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<img class=”aligncenter wp-image-47087 size-medium” src=”https://i0.wp.com/audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Lawnamackie-acx.jpg?resize=300%2C300&amp;ssl=1&#8243; alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Author: Lawna Mackie</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Narrator: Carolyn Jania</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Length: 3 hour 30 minutes</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Series: Bandit Creek, Book 7</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Publisher: Lawna Mackie</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Released: January 2021</h4>

<h4 style=”text-align: center;”>Genre: Paranormal Christmas Romance</h4>

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43205120-a-christmas-gift&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-1349 size-full” src=”https://i2.wp.com/audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Pink-Rectangle.png?resize=257%2C91&amp;ssl=1&#8243; alt=”Add on Goodreads” width=”257″ height=”91″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></a>

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<blockquote>As far as twelve-year old Quinn is concerned Christmas has lost its magic. Since his father’s death life has lost its sparkle. His mom is now a widow struggling to put food on the table. Quinn is no help, and the mysterious illness afflicting him only makes things worse. Even Christmas, complete with decorated trees, ribbons and bows have no meaning…then along comes Jazira.

Jazira doesn’t know what happened to her former self, the eleven-year old little girl. She drowned, didn’t she, along with half the other folk of Cold Creek in 1911? Somehow, she’s grown four furry legs complimented with a large wolf head and body. Scared and alone, she reaches out to Quinn and a strong bond is formed. Jazira learns Quinn, and his mother, are threatened by a wealthy powerful citizen of Cold Creek. She is determined to protect her new family, no matter what. Christmas Eve finds Quinn staring up at the adorned tree and muttering a quiet prayer. Will the Spirits of Christmas grant his wish, or will the evil surrounding Cold Creek prevail once again?</blockquote>

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<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Quinns-Christmas-Wish-Bandit-Creek-ebook/dp/B006ELHNZO/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&amp;keywords=Quinn%E2%80%99s+Christmas+Wish&amp;qid=1607865299&amp;sr=8-9&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-1311 size-full” src=”https://audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Rectangle.png&#8221; alt=”Buy on Amazon” width=”282″ height=”72″ /></a></p>

<h5 style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-981″ src=”https://audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Author-Bio2-e1498331181816.png&#8221; alt=”” width=”307″ height=”116″ /></h5>

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I’m a small town girl with big world dreams. I was born in Jasper, Alberta, and my parents were outdoor enthusiasts. My dad was an avid fisherman and I’m certain my mother was Mother Nature.

The love of my life is my husband. He, along with my animals are my inspiration for everything I write.

I live for romance, and truly believe true love conquers all. From an early age you could always find me with my nose buried in a romance novel—that hasn’t changed. I write various forms of romance from contemporary, paranormal and fantasy to erotica.

<h6 style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://www.lawnamackie.com”><b>Website</b></a><b>⎮</b><a href=”https://twitter.com/Lawnamackie”><b>Twitter</b></a><b>⎮</b><a href=”https://www.facebook.com/lawnamackie”><b>Facebook</b></a><b>⎮</b><a href=”https://www.instagram.com/lawnamackie/”><b>Instagram</b></a></h6&gt;

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<img class=”alignleft wp-image-47091 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Carolyn.jpg?resize=200%2C300&amp;ssl=1&#8243; sizes=”(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px” srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Carolyn.jpg?resize=200%2C300&amp;ssl=1 200w, https://audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Carolyn-133×200.jpg 133w, https://audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Carolyn.jpg 533w” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Carolyn Eve is an LA-based actor/ singer/ writer/ improviser. She is an alum of The Groundlings Sunday Company where she has done extensive comedy character work. Paired with her classical theatre training (BA in Theatre from Butler University), she loves variety in her narration projects. Her passion is her comedy pop band, Schmab where she writes and performs original comedy songs. She records and edits from her home studio.

<img class=”aligncenter wp-image-9977 ” src=”https://audiobookwormpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Character-Interview.png&#8221; alt=”” width=”579″ height=”95″ />

<h5 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Looking Forward</span></h5>

<h6 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>An interview with Jazira from Lawna Mackie’s </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Quinn’s Christmas Wish.</span></i></h6>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Jazira, thank you for being our guest today. Not very many agree to speak about the mysterious lake and the flood of Bandit Creek. We hope you’ll answer some of our questions.</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Perhaps. </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>She nodded her head</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> So, tell us Jazira, how old are you?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> I am twenty-four years old.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> And it says here that you haven’t been back to Bandit Creek in six years. Would that be correct?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Yes, I left Bandit Creek when I was eighteen years old.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> What was Bandit Creek like as a child?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Bandit Creek has its moments. It’s a beautiful place, but certainly not ordinary. Things changed when the flood hit.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Yes, I can imagine the whole town changed because it was gone. The flood took care of that. Now, you say you were in the flood is that correct?</span>

<ul>

         <li><strong>Jazira: </strong><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Closes her eyes and nods her head slowly</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. My mother, father and myself were in a wagon when the water hit us. I remember hearing the screams. The water was so cold. My parents drowned.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> I’m very sorry dear. I’m told that you are from another country. You’re very beautiful. How old were you and can you tell us how you managed to survive?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> I was eleven years old and was pulled from Lost Lake by Samuel Campton. He was a nice fellow and like a parent to me. He married Amanda Drake and the two of them raised Quinn and myself.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Oh yes. Quinn Drake. I remember reading about him also. He had a rare illness and it was said people feared the devil had possessed him. To this day we have no record of his whereabouts, or if he’s alive.</span>

<ul>

         <li><strong>Jazira: </strong><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Smiles sadly</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. He’s alive, though I haven’t seen him in many years. We were best friends, but we had a falling out and I haven’t seen him for a long time.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> A falling out? Sounds sad. And you say he’s still alive. He must be invisible because nobody seems to be able to locate him. Back then folks said the two of you were destined to marry.</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> We were young, but like so many others it didn’t work out. I did something he couldn’t forgive me for. But I’ll leave it at that.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Okay. Well let’s move on. Tell us a bit more about Bandit Creek.</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Back when I was in school, people weren’t always nice. To this day the town is full of bizarre happenings, superstition and death. But some folks such as that nasty George Ellis didn’t deserve to live.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Bandit Creek has had its share of villains. How about we talk about something happy. Christmas is almost upon us, do you have plans Jazira?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>She reaches up to her neck fiddling with an odd necklace of sorts</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. Christmas is my favorite time of year, or it used to be. I will always remember my Christmases with Samuel, Amanda and…Quinn. Our last Christmas together was seven years ago. I may go back for Christmas this year.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Is it true your wedding day was to be on a Christmas day? What happened?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Yes, that is true, but I’m sorry I can’t speak about it. </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>She wipes a tear from her eye</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> Okay, I’m sorry to upset you. The necklace you’re wearing looks very old, it could almost resemble a collar.</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> It was a gift I received for Christmas many years ago. I never part with it.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> It must have come from somebody very special. Care to share who gave it to you?</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> I think that’s another secret for me to keep.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Reporter:</strong> It’s been a pleasure Jazira. I do hope you’ll stop back again to let us know how your visit goes should you decide to visit Bandit Creek this Christmas. And if you happen to see Quinn Drake, I’d love to interview him as well.</span>

<ul>

         <li><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><strong>Jazira:</strong> Thank you, it’s sure to be an interesting Christmas.</span></li>

</ul>

</li>

</ul>

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Posted in reviews

Murder Across the Ocean by Charlene Wexler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman’s trip to London to visit her granddaughter takes a shocking turn when a run-in with her high school love turns into a murder mystery in author Charlene Wexler’s “Murder Across the Ocean”. 

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The Synopsis

American widow Lori Brill thought she’d have an uneventful vacation in London visiting her Granddaughter, Cate. At the airport she ran into Josh, her high-school boyfriend. This resulted in an unexpected night of passion in a London hotel. Lori was all smiles as she stepped out of the shower the next morning, until she saw Josh’s bloody corpse lying in the bed. Who killed Josh? Find out in Murder Across The Ocean.

The Review

The book immediately takes readers through the wringer, as one minute the protagonist is flying high on a cloud of happiness and pleasure, and the next her world is turned upside down as the man she’d spent the night with is now dead. The author does an amazing job of blending a slow-burn style murder mystery with quirky and engaging characters. The relationships between characters like protagonist Lori and her granddaughter Cate or Cate and FBI agent Jordan Gould was one of the more unique ones of the novel, as their heated arguments and clashing as he investigated her grandmother took some shocking turns that readers will love.

One of the most interesting things about the story was the way American and English cultures clashed within the narrative. The setting of London as the backdrop made this feel like a cozy yet entertaining British Murder Mystery on BBC, and the narrative came to life easily on the page as the twists and turns the narrative took only served to enrich the characters themselves overall. 

The Verdict

An engaging, thoughtful, and entertaining murder mystery, author Charlene Wexler’s “Murder Across the Ocean” is a truly memorable read. The author does an excellent job of hitting the reader fast in the first couple of pages before settling into nice and steady pacing that keeps the mystery alive all the way to the book’s final pages. If you haven’t yet be sure to give this book a read for yourselves and grab your own copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Charlene Wexler is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She has worked as a teacher and dental office bookkeeper and as “a wife, mom, and grandmother,” she said. In recent years, Wexler’s lifelong passion for writing has led her to create numerous essays as well as fiction.

She is the author of the books Lori, Murder Across the Ocean, Murder on Skid Row, Milk and Oranges, and Elephants In The Room.

Her work has appeared in several publications, including North Shore Magazine; the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry’s Vision magazine; Alpha Omegan magazine; the book and CD Famous Poets of the Heartland: A Treasury of Beloved Family Poems, Talent, OR: Famous Poets Press, 2014; and the Gazette newspaper of Chicago.

She also has had essays and fiction published on the websites AuthorsDen.com, The Best Short Stories, Cat Stories, Cats and Dogs at Play, End Your Sleep Deprivation.com, Funny Cat Stories, Funny Cats Playing, Funny Passport Stories, How Old is Grandma?, Laughter Is My Medicine, Moral Short Stories-Ethical Tales, One Bright Star.org, Scribd.com, Short Stories for Women, True Cat Stories, and Way Cool Dogs.com.

Wexler’s first novel, Murder on Skid Row, was published in 2010. It is the story of a double-murder on Chicago’s Skid Row in the 1960s. Murder on Skid Row won an international Apex Award of Excellence from Communications Concepts, a writing think tank outside Washington, DC.

Published as an e-book on Smashwords and as a print edition by Central Park Communications in 2012, Milk and Oranges, is a collection of her short fiction and essays examining life, love, and the tragedy and comedy of the human condition. Whether she is tackling fiction or essays, Wexler writes from the heart. With a keen eye for detail and a way of looking at the world a bit sidewasy, wexler’s writings in Milk and Oranges entertain while they make you think.

Milk and Oranges received a Bronze Award in the Women’s Issues category of the eLit Book Awards competition sponsored by the publishing services firm Jenkins Group Inc. of Traverse City, MI, and a rare international Grand Award in the Apex Awards competition by Communications Concepts in 2012.

In 2014, Charlene published two novels as e-books on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle: Lori, a family saga spanning several decades, and Murder Across the Ocean, a murder mystery set in England. Murder Across the Ocean also is available from Amazon as a paperback.

In 2016, Amazon Digital Services published her book Elephants In The Room, Charlene’s latest collection of short fiction and essays examining life, love, and the tragedy and comedy of the human condition.

Her short story Abracadabra Magic received a “Very Highly Commended” rating in the AuthorsDen.com Tom Howard Prose Contest, 2009.

Wexler is active with the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, the Authors Marketing Group, the Chicago Writers Association, Children’s Memorial Hospital philanthropy, Lungevity (an organization that fights lung cancer), the McHenry Bicycle Club, the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Richmond IL Book Club, the Jewish United Fund, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

“I have always used writing as therapy,” Wexler said. “Now I have the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career.”

Her advice for other aspiring writers–even grandmothers like herself–is to “follow your dream. You can do it, and it’s never too late.”

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Peter C. Mitchell

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Ink is in my blood. Both my parents were journalists; and my father’s parents were journalists. My grandfather, Frank Mitchell, received an OBE for his services to England; first as Head of the News Division for the British Foreign Office in the U.S., then as Chief of the Press and Information Office for the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

I have yet to attain such lofty heights myself, and likely never will; but I initially followed my father’s footsteps into Business Journalism in Ontario, Canada where I served as Managing Editor for two regional business magazines in Hamilton and Niagara. It wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but I soldiered on and developed a growing interest in Corporate Social Responsibility and the role businesses were playing in helping alleviate society’s woes. I started moving away from providing context to the facts and figures that constitute most business stories; and focusing on the people who were using their business success to tackle the issues that affect us as individuals and as a society.

At the same time I started poking into my family’s history, notably my great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk. He received a knighthood for his philanthropic work as the Director of the Ragged School Union in London, England. This organization was founded in 1844 to provide free education to those who could not afford it. When the Education Act was passed in England in 1870, the Ragged School Union was suddenly superfluous to requirements and frantically started expanding their philanthropic efforts –basically throwing every strand of charitable spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. They managed to survive as they moved into other areas of charity; and their influence stretched around the world –even to Hamilton, Ontario where I had spent my childhood. John Kirk was a natural media manipulator and proved instrumental in that growth, achieving almost celebrity status amongst Christian and charity groups around the world.

There had been two previous biographies written about him, but they were little more than feel-good public relations pap, almost nausea inducing –and as I quickly discovered, not entirely honest in their portrayal of his work. A lot was brushed under the carpet. The internet opened up research possibilities that were virtually impossible before and enabled me to lift the carpet just enough to see what was hidden underneath. It proved wonderfully messy, both in terms of John Kirk’s personal life and his work. My father and I bonded, not as father and son, but as professional journalists with each salacious revelation. As an award-winning journalist himself, he too knew a good story when he saw one. With my father’s practical, financial and emotional support I dedicated myself full-time to writing “A Knight in the Slums,” a new biography of Sir John Kirk and his work.

But that is not the book I have written –yet. Life, as it does, took an interesting turn.

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What inspired you to write your book?

“Rude Awakenings From Sleeping Rough” is my first-person account of that interesting turn.

I returned to England in 2017 to complete the research on Sir John, and within a year found myself homeless on the streets of London with nothing more than a broken suitcase and a scant few possessions. With an ironic nod to literary coincidence, I spent most of that first month in Paddington Station, much like the famous bear that took its name. Sadly, there was no Brown family to pass by and take me in; but the staff of the Station and the businesses within were tremendously helpful and supportive –as many people in the business and service sectors have proven to be. They see and deal with homelessness every day –more than people realize– and despite regularly experiencing the theft, vandalism and abuse that often results, they often take a personal interest and have a genuine desire to help in whatever limited capacity they can.

I don’t refer to Paddington Station directly in the book, but I want to take this opportunity to draw attention to them, and the other unsung heroes –from road-sweepers to store managers– who get no credit for the small acts of kindness and support they quietly provide. They should be empowered and supported to do more: the desire is there. I hope any journalists reading this interview will be inspired to seek out those stories that occur on an almost daily basis. The general public is not as apathetic as we might think; and are capable of providing more practical support than they may realize, free of charity influences and agendas. I own a plush Paddington Bear toy as one of the few fond mementoes of this ordeal and will treasure it to my dying day. I loved that bear as a child and I love him even more as an adult. I would not have survived that first month without the kindness and support I received at Paddington Station.

Eventually I found myself directed to one of the homeless charities in the Westminster area of London, and that is when the real nightmare began. My experiences within the charity system proved more horrific than homelessness itself, and I find myself still trapped in the nightmare three years later. Right from the start they were dishonest about the options that were available, to the point of blatant lies, and refusing to answer questions phrased to elicit a simple “yes” or no”. answer. While completing the paperwork relating to my case, they applied their own filters, often leaving out critical information I was sharing; digging into my family history although it had no relevance to my situation, and insisting they could only help me if I applied for benefits through them. I was frequently encouraged to “play the game” if I wanted to be helped.

I refused. The relationship quickly deteriorated, and I was subjected to severe mental and emotional abuse at the hands of multiple charities. I was eventually forced into housing that was unhygienic and unsafe. The risk of drunken assault by other tenants is so great I frequently find myself sleeping outside more than in. It is in no way the “solution” the charities promote it as being.

During this time I discovered homeless women were being sexually assaulted in London by a man volunteering for many street level charities. The response of every single charity was to decline his volunteer services, and take no further action hoping the problem would simply go away. I disagreed, and informed the police, who also took no action. Word reached the ears of the wrong people and my life was repeatedly threatened. Again, the London Metropolitan Police refused to take any action, at one point threatening to arrest me. I was eventually forced to flee London for fear of my life. Sadly Covid-19 struck, and I was eventually forced to return. This man is still volunteering for charities. And I still live in fear for my safety, from the other tenants within this house, and from the thugs associated with this serial offender -particularly when word of this book’s publication reaches street level.

I was sharing this entire ordeal online with friends back in Canada who were horrified. One close friend, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, owns his own publishing imprint, Stark Publishing. He reached out asking if I would be interested in writing a book about my experiences –partly to help earn the money required to escape this nightmare once and for all, and also to bring attention to these abuses within the charity system. Sadly, none of my experiences are unique. Stories even worse than mine are far too common, and not limited to England. It needs to end.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

It is time for governments to put the charity system under the microscope; to investigate the actions that occur behind closed charity doors; and to bring legislative reform and strict regulation to prevent these abuses, not only of the people who turn to these charities in times of desperate need, but of the benefits system itself. There needs to be greater honesty, greater transparency, greater accountability, and increased monitoring in all areas of charity work. And it should be easier for victims of physical, mental, and sexual abuse within the charity system to seek justice.

What drew you into this particular genre?

“Rude Awakenings From Sleeping Rough” is a straight-forward first person account of my experiences within the charity sector. It is not the story of my “journey” per se, but an honest, often uncomfortably graphic account of systematic abuse. Those hoping for any sort of inspiration are going to be sadly disappointed. It was painful to live through; it was painful to write; and it will be painful to read. But it is necessary. My experiences pale in comparison to those of others, but their stories rarely reach the public eye. As a third-generation journalist I was fortunate to inherit and develop the necessary skills to draw attention to these issues.

What is one major misconception that many people have about those forced to live on the streets that you’d want readers to really know and understand?

Don’t allow sympathy to cloud your judgment. It is always wise to avoid letting emotions cloud any decisions you make whether personal or professional. That holds true for any cause you may be inclined to support. It is easy to feel great pity for those who have found themselves living on the streets, but you shouldn’t allow that pity to influence the decisions that are required to bring permanent, sustainable solutions to their plights.

Imagine if your parent, sibling, or child has found themselves on the streets because of alcoholism or drug use. Would you appreciate strangers handing them money that is subsequently used to feed their addiction? Sadly, this is the reality more often than not. 

And blindly donating money to charities without doing any research to see how that money is spent often perpetuates, rather than provides any permanent, long-lasting solutions to people’s homelessness. As I know from bitter experience, that money is not always well spent. Far too often people with addictions and serious mental health issues are irresponsibly thrown into living conditions where they simply fuel each other’s addictions, or antagonize each other’s mental conditions. All too often this results in violence both inside and outside the accommodation. As I detail in the book, these housing “solutions” the charities promote are dangerous, violent, and unsafe. Even in the bitter cold of winter I still find myself escaping to the streets in the middle of the night to avoid the violence that suddenly erupts without warning. And that is ignoring the fact the housing itself is often unhygienic and unsafe.

Both the homeless and the charities play on people’s sympathies to get them to open their wallets. Don’t allow that to happen. The homeless are not cuddly helpless waifs. It is a violent, crime-riddled life where physical and sexual assaults are common occurrences; where theft, vandalism, and drug related crimes spread out into the surrounding community, affecting people’s businesses, homes, and their children. And again, as I know from horrific experience, even when homeless women are being raped – by a charity volunteer in this case- the charities and the local authorities take little to no action to put an end to those sexual assaults; and go to great lengths to prevent that information from becoming public knowledge. It isn’t good for the benevolent “image.” My life is still in danger from trying to obtain justice for a woman I know who was sexually assaulted; and the responses from the charities and the London Metropolitan Police have been abominable. It’s as disgusting as the rapes themselves.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Social media has been a lifesaver throughout this ordeal. It was my only connection with the world, particularly friends back in Canada. When I found myself homeless, I immediately made my Facebook account private and used it to maintain those valuable connections. I shared the specifics of my experiences with complete honesty and the rawest of emotions. I ranted; I raved; I cried; I begged for help; I reached out for emotional support on a regular basis –and there was always someone available to provide it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And though we were separated by the Atlantic, they provided their strength and support just as effectively as if we were able to connect in person. I have more than my fair share of close, personal friends –in many cases better friends than I deserve. There are simply too many to list. They saved my sanity, and for that I will always be grateful. And it was on their recommendation that I used those posts to write the book, capturing the pain, the helplessness, and the fear in its unfiltered immediacy.

In terms of developing a readership, I’m not expert enough to offer a valuable opinion. Mark, my publisher, would be able to provide a more informed answer. I simply post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to bring attention to the book with varied levels of success. However, I’m only reaching established connections –preaching to the choir so to speak. In terms of breaking out of that limited audience –beyond trying to establish a ‘word of mouth’ campaign by asking those connections to share the posts and recommend the book– I’m not having any success at all. Again, Mark has the knowledge and experience to provide any recommendations in that regard.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

I’m going to pigeonhole myself as a grumpy old man; but I’m going to state categorically to stop looking for advice and just write. Anything else is just procrastination. And I speak with the authority of a Master Procrastinator.

I’m reminded of the first “Kung Fu Panda” movie where the secret ingredient of Mr. Ping’s Noodle Soup and the secret behind the power of the legendary Dragon Scroll both prove to be nothing. There is no secret or hidden ingredient to writing. You simply commit to doing it. It requires discipline, and a love for the process itself. If either are lacking, the odds are you are not going to succeed.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

In all honesty my future still looks quite bleak. One of my aims in writing “Rude Awakenings From Sleeping Rough” is to use the money from the sales to finally escape this horrific living situation I was forced into against my will and establish myself in proper -and safe- living accommodations long enough to obtain proper employment.

But the sales simply aren’t there –particularly here in England. People don’t want to know. I understand the trepidation: it’s reading that’s ‘good for you,’ and that’s never an easy sale. It is a brutally honest and uncomfortably graphic account of abuse and neglect within the charity sector. And there is no “happy ending.”

But that’s the point. The happy endings are few and far between when people become ensnared in the world of homelessness. The “solutions” the charities waste money on promoting are not working –and aggravated by the abuse and neglect within many of the charities themselves. Governments need to step in and put an end to these abuses; not only of the homeless, but of their respective benefits systems. The charity sector needs radical reforms and strict regulation. And the public needs to stop placing their blind faith in these “caring” organizations.

Those aren’t comfortable truths. The general public understandably doesn’t feel comfortable facing them. And if the public doesn’t have the motivation or desire to learn the truth you are trying to impart, it doesn’t matter how well you write; or how strong your intentions to shine a light on that truth, and bring change that is sorely needed –you are simply wasting time, ink, and paper. It is soul-destroying enough to put an end to any future writing endeavours.

To be blunt, without the charity sector being scrutinized and heavily regulated, the homeless will continue to fall victim to their own personal demons; and live at constant risk of abuse, assault or rape with no recourse to justice. I am still trapped in this cycle of homelessness more than three years later despite all my efforts to escape it. And I still live in fear for my personal safety in the housing “solution” the charities forced me into accepting. Quite frankly, the future is a false-hope luxury I, and many others, can’t afford. All we can do is survive day to day and pray this existence doesn’t break us. Without proper charity reform, there is no future for any of us.

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About the Author

London born, Canadian raised Peter Mitchell was bumbling his way through a moderately successful career in business journalism when an investigation into a story on Corporate Social Responsibility inspired him to look beyond profit margins and PR into the very real problems faced by society. This inspiration prompted him to dip his toes into a self-confessed Sanity/Vanity project of a biography of his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk. 

As Secretary of The Ragged School Union, John championed the causes of children, the disabled, and the working poor in Victorian-era London. His influence extended beyond the city limits, and his life proved more interesting than previous biographies revealed. Dust-buried references have surfaced in the most obscure locales, showing the consequences—both good and bad—to the ragged and crippled children John Kirk devoted his life to help. 

In 2017, Peter returned to London to complete his research and begin the writing of “A Knight in the Slums.” The past was ready to be mined, and the future was assured. The present, however, took an unpredictable -and darkly ironic—turn. https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD

A series of unfortunate events transpired, creating a perfect storm of calamities leaving Peter penniless and sleeping rough. He had unwittingly fallen victim to the same societal ailments John Kirk fought. That nightmare inadvertently provided him with an inside look into the current workings of these same systems put in place by his great, great grandfather, and others like him, put in place over a century ago. That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself. 

Armed with the scars of this unexpected, but disturbingly relevant, knowledge Peter continues to work on “A Knight in the Slums” with renewed insight. John Kirk created solutions over 100 years ago that are still in play today. Times have changed; yet the solutions have stagnated, and proven to not be solutions, but mechanisms that perpetuate the cycle of poverty: a Hell’s Carousel funded by well-meant individuals and institutions blinded by the brand of “charity.” New systems need to be developed; new solutions need to be found.

LInks:

Peter C. Mitchell

LinkedIn

A Knight in the Slums
In Someone Else’s Shoes

How It Feels to be Homeless (Huffington Post)

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Stolen Enchantress (Forbidden Forest #1) by Amber Argyle Audiobook Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman finds herself in a dangerous game of magic, death and possibly love in author Amber Argyle’s YA Fantasy, “Stolen Enchantress”, the first in the Forbidden Forest series.

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The Synopsis

A beast. An enchantress. An unbreakable curse . . .

When her little sister is taken by the beast of the Forbidden Forest, Larkin does the unthinkable: she goes in after her.

Deep within the sentient woods, Larkin uncovers a secret that puts her in dreadful danger. Worse, now that the beast has had his taste, he’ll never stop hunting her. But the forest has woken something inside Larkin; something that gives her the power to fight back.

Magic.

Using forbidden magic will get Larkin hanged. Not using it will leave her at the mercy of the beast’s enchantment. But there’s a third option; one that scares her more than anything.

She could fall in love with the beast.

Fans of A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES will be spellbound by the fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast and The Pied Piper in Stolen Enchantress. One-click now to find out why readers around the world are getting lost in the Forbidden Forest!

The Review

A powerful, enchanting combination of engaging and entertaining writing with clear, concise, and magical narration, the audiobook of Stolen Enchantress is a welcome delight. The reader is instantly transported into a world that feels part Brothers Grimm, part Mortal Instruments with a mature and dark Disney spin. 

Larkin is a strong and memorable protagonist, who showcases her courage and heart from the book’s early pages as she ventures into the dark forest in search of her sister. A multi-layered world and danger present itself as not only are fans treated to the amazing twist on the Pied Piper story that places him in the role of the Beast but the twists and turns the story take to create a complex and memorable mythos that fans of the series like A Court of Thorns and Roses will find themselves falling deeper and deeper into. While there are some serious topics utilized in the story (abuse being one of them), the author does a good job of layering these topics naturally into the more fantastical aspects of this world.

The Verdict

A must-read and must-listen audiobook, author Amber Argyle’s “Stolen Enchantress” is a memorable and fun YA Fantasy read. With a great balance of emotional storytelling, engaging mythology building, and amazing character relationships both good and bad, fans will not be able to stop listening to this amazing tale. Be sure to grab your copy of this audiobook today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Amber Argyle

Narrator: Lynn Bradford

Length: 14 hour 5 minutes

Series: Forbidden Forest, Book 1

Publisher: Starling Publishing

Released: Nov. 11, 2020

Genre: Romantic Fantasy; YA

Add on Goodreads   Continue reading “Stolen Enchantress (Forbidden Forest #1) by Amber Argyle Audiobook Tour”
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The Girl Who Can Cook by Mike Wehner Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

What begins as a tale of revenge soon turns into a search for life and the hidden nature of those we care about most in author Mike Wehner’s “The Girl Who Can Cook”. 

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The Synopsis 

She killed my best friend.

Shame on me.

She lied and said it was self-defense.

Shame on me.

She wrote a book about it.

Shame on you.

It’s been three years since chef Erin shot her boyfriend, John, five times during a domestic dispute. Two years since she was found not guilty on murder charges by way of self-defense. And one year since she opened Essen, a German restaurant in San Francisco’s East Bay. You can read all about it in her memoir; there’s a copy on the front seat of the car parked in front of Essen. The man in the driver’s seat was John’s best friend, Alex, a former engineer. He’s abandoned his career to take justice into his own hands, what he doesn’t know is that soon he’ll be inside, using those hands to peel carrots for the girl who can cook. 

The Review

The novel starts out swinging and doesn’t slow down from there. The protagonist, Alex, is a man beset by anger and fury after his best friend is killed, and the woman responsible not only gets away from it in his eyes but makes money off of it through a tell-all book. The path of vengeance is explored heavily here, as far too often vengeance blinds us to the truth. That also plays into the other narrative here, which is what we do when confronted with a harsh truth about those we care about. Far too often those we trust and love harbor dark secrets about themselves and who they truly are, and it doesn’t come to light until it is too late. 

The author achieved a perfect balance of character development and action within this narrative. A commentary on our modern obsession with true crime-style storytelling, the author highlights the pain of loss and the lengths those who have lost someone will go to see justice done when the law fails them. The use of food and recipes throughout the narrative brought a creative and lightheartedness to the novel, making this a truly entertaining and memorable read.

The Verdict

Emotionally-driven, at times humorous and always action-packed, this evenly-paced novel “The Girl Who Can Cook” by Mike Wehner is a must-read. The exploration of the thin line between revenge and justice is a marvelous thing to see in this narrative, and the twists and turns the reader endures all the way to the book’s end make this a remarkable and fun read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mike is a novelist, illustrator and fine artist. When he isn’t writing he’s drawing and painting. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with one small wife and two large dogs.

https://www.instagram.com/wehnermike/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MikeWehnerArt

Posted in reviews

Mentally Strong Entrepreneur: Build Your Mind Strength and Get Entrepreneur Tips for Startup Success by Robert Moment Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Robert Moment highlights how becoming mentally strong can be a longterm benefit for entrepreneurs in his book, “Mentally Strong Entrepreneur: Build Your Mind Strength and Get Entrepreneur Tips for Startup Success”.

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The Synopsis

Be mentally strong on your entrepreneurial journey!

Whether you’re just starting your entrepreneurial engines or are well down the road on your business journey, mental fitness is what sets the successes apart from the failures.

From the crucial habits that make or break entrepreneurs, to your personal game-plan for setting up goals and business strategies, to essential personal development and mindset hacks to get you crushing the competition, Mentally Strong Entrepreneurs has you covered from side hustle to success!

In this book you will learn:

  • How to implement the 15 habits of highly effective entrepreneurs.
  • How to identify and fully harness your natural talents and abilities 
  • The 10 things mentally strong entrepreneurs do in business and 3 they avoid.
  • How to develop a crystal-clear sense of direction and purpose in your business.
  • The top 10 skills you need to succeed at anything.
  • And MORE!

If you’re serious about committing to an entrepreneurial career change in the long term, you need Mentally Strong Entrepreneur to bulletproof your mental wellbeing through the toughest of business challenges!

Robert Moment is The Mental Strength Life Coach and Entrepreneur, who coach women entrepreneurs and women professionals how to be mentally strong and successful. For more information and to get coached to become mentally strong , head to: SpiritualLifeCoachRobert.com

The Review

Unlike so many self-help or how-to books that have come before it, this book actually does a great job of providing actionable information that new or established entrepreneurs alike can implement into their work. From finding one’s true self by identifying your natural abilities to finding the things you are passionate about and finding a way to balance the two, this book is filled with easy to understand and well-written guides for those seeking to truly understand the success of an entrepreneur. 

While a short read, the author has done a masterful job of highlighting a lot of key information and knowledge that so many people venturing into the world of entrepreneurship often fail to understand. In a world where the necessity of entrepreneurship is crucial, this is the perfect way to engage with readers and help them to understand the tools they will need going forward. \

Chapter 4 in particular is great for those like myself who believe in mental health and gaining a firmer understanding of one’s own mental health and willpower, as it helps readers find a means of mastering what the author calls your “inner game”. Through a belief in ourselves and learning to conquer our fears and overcome the limiting beliefs that tell us that something is impossible, we can begin to chart our own path with a newfound confidence and strength that was always there, waiting to be released.

The Verdict

A strong, quick yet informative read, author Robert Moment’s “Mentally Strong Entrepreneur: Build Your Mind Strength and Get Entrepreneur Tips for Startup Success” is a must-read book. The perfect read for those seeking to delve into the world of entrepreneurship and seeking to find the right mentality and focus to make your pursuits a success, the book perfectly achieves a balance of a how-to guide with the mental and emotional tools of a great self-help book, making this one of the more unique business-driven reads I’ve had on my site. Be sure to check it out for yourselves today, as this is the perfect nonfiction read to begin 2021!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

My Story

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a real passion for personal growth, development and renewal. It’s a journey that’s allowed me to enjoy some amazing experiences, meet many inspirational people, and visit places I never thought possible. But more than that I want to use my own experiences to offer you the chance to live in exactly the same free and open way.

My Goal

As a Spiritual Life Coach I believe that anyone, from any walk of life, can go out there and change the world in their own unique way. It may not always be easy, but it does only become possible when you invest in your inner self and believe that it’s possible. The only problem is knowing how to make it happen so that freedom and spiritual awakening manifest themselves in your life.

My Approach

I specialize in offering Spiritual Life Coaching that’s designed to set you free in a whole host of ways that you could have never imagined. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been connected with your spiritual side your entire life, are a complete skeptic, or you’re anywhere else in between, I want to connect with you and show you what can become possible.

Your Future

Living a spiritual life means different things to different people, and some see that as a problem. I’m different in that I see it as a solution to every potential problem out there as it allows you to define your life in your own terms as you find your voice amongst the noise.

Together we can connect, get to know the real you, and reconnect your authentic self with the inner you. Through my combination of coaching and writing I love nothing more than showing people just like you what becomes possible when you open your eyes to the spiritual side of life.

Posted in reviews

Darling Girls (The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book 1) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The blood-soaked worlds of authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross come together in an explosive novel as a powerful threat threatens the Vampiric Kingdom in the acclaimed supernatural drama, “Darling Girls (The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book 1)”. 

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The Synopsis

Fang Meets Fang

The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is hellbent on destroying them all.

The Review

While I am fairly new to the vampire worlds created by the authors, the novel felt fresh and easily followed for newcomers to the franchises. The in-depth analysis of the lore and mythology these two authors have crafted both separately and together were entertaining to see unfold, and the adult-driven character development brought a sense of both realism and fantasy as the human cast of characters met the vampires. 

The way the authors were able to create so many intricate plot points throughout this novel and seamlessly weave them together so that each character’s arc felt both unique and cohesive with the overall story was a true masterpiece in storytelling. Combined with the incredible imagery used throughout the narrative that brought the settings to life, including the area known as Eternity, made this one novel that was easy to devour. 

The Verdict

A brilliant and expertly crafted supernatural drama, authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have breathed new life into the vampire sub-genre with the novel “Darling Girls”. Fans of both authors and their individual vampire series will love both the cast of characters they know and love and the ease with which these two series blend together, making this a must-read for vampire fiction lovers everywhere. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice, author of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

https://www.alistaircross.com/

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Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life.

Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background.

Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness.

Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an open-minded skeptic, she’s spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. Most recently, she and Alistair Cross went on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in California’s Gold Country – an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh.

Tamara and Alistair co-host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! every Thursday night on Blog Talk Radio.

You can also visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.

https://www.tamarathorne.com/

Posted in reviews

The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson and J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An FBI agent and a local detective must work together when evidence of a long-hidden serial killer emerges, even when the suspect has no memory of his accused crimes, in authors James Patterson and J.D. Barker’s “The Coast-to-Coast Murders”.

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The Synopsis

A detective and FBI agent join forces on what seems like an open-and-shut case — but a new rash of killings sends them on a pulse-pounding race against time in this intense thriller.

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown — Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology — they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to. Their parents are public intellectuals, an Ivy League clinical psychologist and a renowned psychiatrist, and they brought up their adopted children in a rarefied, experimental environment. It sheltered them from the world’s harsh realities, but it also forced secrets upon them, secrets they keep at all costs.

In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles — the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss — if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?

From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer — one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

The Review

The action begins immediately as readers are thrust into a shocking turn of events. Michael is introduced and is immediately thrust into a position of a suspect as a dead woman is found in his home, only he doesn’t know her. However, evidence begins piling up that he had some sort of life with this mystery woman, and soon he finds himself hunted by the law. The twists and turns that take the reader into the heart of this mystery are truly entertaining, as are the multiple POVs that the authors introduce. Michael’s sister Megan is one of the most peculiar and fascinating characters, as her narrative to the police via a written document portrays the damaging and harsh environment these two siblings were raised in. 

The suspense as readers are constantly torn between who the killer truly makes this book stand out. The shift from a complex homicide investigation into a manhunt for a notorious serial killer as the mystery of Michael’s identity and memories comes into play keeps readers invested, and while this is a lengthy read, the twists and turns make this story feel fresh and unique throughout the entirety of the novel. 

The Verdict

A must-read novel, authors J.D. Barker and James Patterson have created a masterpiece thriller with “The Coast-to-Coast Murders”. The characters are memorable and the action intense, and by the book’s end readers will be both pleased and shocked at the final reveal of it all. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Official US Site

Official UK Site

JIMMY Patterson Books

ReadKiddoRead

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today, with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He has sold over 380 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, among them The President Is Missing with President Bill Clinton, Patterson also writes fiction for young readers of all ages, including the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. He is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestseller lists.

The son of an insurance salesman and a schoolteacher, Patterson grew up in Newburgh, New York, and began casually writing at the age of nineteen. In 1969, he graduated from Manhattan College. He was given a full-ride scholarship to Vanderbilt University’s graduate program in English. He left Vanderbilt before getting his PhD due to complications involving the Vietnam War.

Instead, he moved to New York to become a junior copywriter for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, eventually becoming CEO of its North American company.

In 1976, while still working for J. Walter Thompson, Patterson published his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, with Little, Brown and Company. After being turned down by thirty-one publishers, it won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Patterson’s 1993 novel, Along Came a Spider, his first book to feature Alex Cross, was also his first New York Times bestseller in fiction.

In 2001, Morgan Freeman starred as Alex Cross in a film adaptation of Along Came a Spider, and Tyler Perry also played the character in the 2012 film Alex Cross. A film adaptation of Patterson’s middle-grade novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life was released in theaters in October 2016.

James Patterson has donated more than one million books to students, focusing on some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country. To date, he has donated $7.25 million to school and classroom libraries throughout the United States, and $2.1 million to independent bookstores and employees.

Patterson has recently donated over $35 million to his and his wife’s alma maters—the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Manhattan College—and he has established over four hundred Teacher and Writer Education Scholarships at twenty-one colleges and universities throughout the country. Patterson has also donated more than one million books to U.S. soldiers at home and overseas.

In May 2015, Patterson launched a children’s book imprint at Little, Brown—JIMMY Patterson—that is unwaveringly focused on one goal: turning kids into lifelong readers. This imprint also provides resources, strategies, and programs to serve teachers, parents, librarians, and booksellers. Patterson invests proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

Patterson also founded ReadKiddoRead.com, a website designed to help parents, teachers, and librarians ignite a new generation’s excitement for reading. Awarded the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize and the American Library Association’s Great Websites for Kids, the site features thoughtful book reviews from a variety of genres and age ranges, a large and lively Facebook community, and contributions from other authors.

J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE, released March 31. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd