Posted in reviews

STAZR The World of Z: The Dawn Of Athir by Dr. Anay Ayarovu Review

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

An aspiring writer and author finds themselves at the center of an ancient prophecy and must become a savior to an entire people in author Dr. Anay Ayarovu’s “STAZR The World of Z: The Dawn of Athir”. 

The Synopsis

A strange and mystical prophecy was found in the city of Treebarad. On a piece of parchment,

old long-forgotten events come back to life, the memory of which was intentionally erased. A mysterious prophecy now gives hope to the twisted ruling race that the power they seek lies behind an ancient gate. On the reverse side of the oracle are coordinates to the location of the Chosen One.

Lael is an introverted and naive writer who grew up with a book in one hand and a quill in the other. All his life, he has lived in a peaceful solitude, reading and writing his short stories and dreaming big of one day becoming a prestigious author. To his surprise and delight he must now become savior of the Star people and take the journey to find answers that do not exist in books.

The Review

A truly engaging and fun read, STAZR The World of Z: The Dawn of Athir is a fascinating YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy read that thrusts readers into an already established world of creatures descended from modern-day animals and unique languages and vocabulary that will appeal to fans of epic sci-fi and fantasy. 

The story is also unique in that the protagonist is not a born adventurer, a young man seeking to travel to distant lands and become a hero. Instead, the protagonist is a quiet and at peace writer who dreams of becoming an author and has that quiet life threatened by a prophecy that makes him into a would-be savior to an entire people. The author does a marvelous job of world-building and mythology building throughout this novel, setting the stage for a rather one-of-a-kind sci-fi and fantasy series to be born that readers will instantly fall in love with. 

The Verdict

An evenly paced yet gripping and engaging narrative, author Dr. Anay Ayarovu’s “STAZR The World of Z: The Dawn of Athir” is a one of a kind sci-fi/fantasy read that YA fans are going to love. A fun read, the author also does an amazing job of creating a narrative that is thought-provoking and challenges the reader to delve even deeper into their own imaginations, making this a must-read novel. Be sure to grab your own copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. Ayarovu is currently residing in Miami, FL, where she hopes to build STAZR Universe into a multi-media platform. Her love of sailing brought her to the coast and falling in love with her husband kept her firmly in place. She previously spent time as a creative photographer, where she gained inspiration for her debut epic fantasy novel STAZR The World Of Z: The Dawn Of Athir. Dr. Ayarovu found herself writing backstories for her photoshoots based on societal roles and expectations; those short stories made up the very first draft of what this novel is today. She holds a love for the way society works with and through one another and has strategically sculpted the characters to reflect the way current day society plays off shared issues and ideas.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51493691-stazr-the-world-of-z

https://stazr.com/

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Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3) by Ellen F. Feld Review

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

A feel good children’s picture book series enters a third novel into the story in author Ellen F. Feld’s Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3)”. 

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The Synopsis

Donkey-Donk wants to hike Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. Before she can hike the mountain, however, she must get in shape by lifting weights and working out on her treadmill. Then it’s off to New Hampshire and the White Mountains, where Mount Washington awaits. Follow along with Donk as she hikes this amazing mountain and enjoy the incredible scenery that she discovers.

Over 20 beautiful, professional photographs of Donk as she prepares for, and then hikes, Mt. Washington.

The Review

In such a short read, the author does a great job of establishing a connection between the reader and the protagonist through not only great photography but artful storytelling. The book brings the story of this miniature donkey to life brilliantly, making the story flow at a reasonable pace for younger readers. 

The use of photography over artwork was an inspired choice, as it allowed for more personal touches to the story than artwork may have. The story itself showcases the narrative that with hard work, training, and perseverance anyone can achieve their goals, including hiking and climbing Mount Washington for Donkey-Donk in this tale. 

The Verdict

A well written, short yet impactful read, this is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys picture books and children’s narratives. Full of heart, joy and creativity, author Ellen F. Feld’s “Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3)” is a must-read children’s story that stands out on its own while fitting into the overall series of stories expertly. Grab your own copy of this book on May 07th, 2020. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Award-winning author Ellen Feld began writing about horses more than 20 years ago. At first she wrote for small, regional magazines, but within a few short years, her work began to appear regularly in large, national publications. In 2001, while waiting for her next assignment, Ms. Feld wrote a short story about a Morgan. That tale became the first chapter of Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse. The book went on to win a coveted Children’s Choices award (as did the second book in the series, Frosty), an honor bestowed jointly by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council. The book was also picked up by Breyer Animal Creations to be sold with a model of the star of the story, Blackjack. To date, Ms. Feld has authored fourteen horse books, including seven in the Morgan Horse series. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two children, twelve horses, and assorted other pets.

http://www.willowbendpublishing.com/shop/take-a-hike-a-donkey-donk-story

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Nefer Blue Phoenix by Micah Patton Review

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

A young warrior haunted by the events of her past must fight to reclaim what is rightfully hers and protect her family along the way in author Micah Patton’s “Nefer Blue Phoenix”. 

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The Synopsis

We all fear the unknown. Scared of never achieving the ultimate dream. On an island of ancient super beings lives a warrior haunted by attaining one goal. Kill every rebel responsible for stripping an innocent child’s family of their throne. They left the empire decorated in death and gave birth to a warrior hellbent on restoring the rightful order of the nation. But will the warrior go as far as to risk forsaking friends? Family? The gods themselves? Absolutely…

In a land of magic, pharaohs, and thrones, one warrior will discover just how treacherous they will have to become to achieve the ultimate goal. Power. Welcome to the island nation of Serenium. Where the quest for power is a must. The ability to lose it is just a scandal away. When the rich and powerful cry. They kill.

The Review

This is a fantastic historical fiction/fantasy novel that delves deep into a world of gods and royalty in the days of Ancient Egypt. In the Kingdom of Serenium, a young woman born to avenge her fallen parents and retake the throne that was meant to be hers must play a dangerous game of deceit, power and even battle amongst the new Pharaohs and the royalty surrounding them. 

The mythology really takes center stage here, mixing with the political drama of the narrative that showcases the dangerous rise to power one must take and the powerful individuals the protagonist must overcome in order to achieve it. The introduction and use of the gods and the Divinity was a nice inclusion in this fantasy narrative, bringing a sense of otherworldly wonder into the bloody, sexual and tense drama of the royal court and all it’s backstabbing that comes with it. 

The Verdict

A well written, lengthy yet well executed narrative, the story of Nefer Blue Phoenix by Micah Patton is a must watch for anyone who enjoys ancient mythology, fantasy, history and political drama. Action packed, character driven and a fun read overall, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing novel on April 10th, 2020! 

Rating: 10/10

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Kingdom of the Silver Cat (The Sapphire Fruit Chronicles Book 1) by Thomas M. Carroll Review

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

A day that begins with a bus ride ends with mystery, wonder and danger for a group of students after a crash sends them into another world in author Thomas M. Carroll’s “Kingdom of the Silver Cat (The Sapphire Fruit Chronicles Book 1)”. 

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The Synopsis 

Kingdom of the Silver Cat is a fantasy adventure novel about friendship, adversity, risk-taking, and self-discovery. When a school bus full of children drives through a mysterious blue light in the road, the bus is transported to an empty field in a strange land. The bus driver leaves to find help but doesn’t come back, and the children realize they must fend for themselves. They soon discover they each have a magical power, but with each power comes a weakness.

Alone in a mysterious land, Sarah, Wesley, and their schoolmates set out to find their way home. As they journey through the land, the children encounter strange and wondrous creatures, including playful clouds, thundering fireballs, warrior fairies, giant wolves, and bouncing bears. But when terrifying winged beasts begin hunting them, the children must flee for their lives. They find help in unexpected places and learn the only safe place for them is the Kingdom of the Silver Cat.

They set out to find this kingdom. Along the way, they encounter dangers and hardships. They must work together and support one another if they hope to survive and someday return home.

Kingdom of the Silver Cat is a fantasy adventure for ages eight and up, which Kirkus Reviews calls a “fast-paced, sparkling fantasy for tweens in which great wish fulfillment entails great responsibility,” and IndieReader says is a “clever and engaging fantasy with a lively cast of characters and an imaginatively-drawn world” containing “a variety of peoples and places, enough novelty and beauty to delight, and enough danger (both apparent and promised) to keep the suspense going until the end.”

Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re…

IndieReader: https://indiereader.com/book_review/k… 

The Review

A story that immediately begins with a shock takes readers on an incredible journey throughout this first book of a wonderful new fantasy driven series. Readers are immediately immersed into the narrative of this magical land the children find themselves in, and have a unique character study of these characters when they find they have fantastic new powers, but powers that come with a cost. 

One unique thing that really stood out immediately was the amazing artwork picturing the cast of characters in the book, which added to the imagery used by the author throughout the story as the characters encountered new environments and new threats along the way. A story that was very reminiscent in style and approach to the Chronicles of Narnia, The Kingdom of the Silver Cat does a marvelous job of showcasing an already established world to the audience that feels natural and magical all at once, creating that sense of awe that keeps children, teens and adults invested in the narrative. 

The Verdict

A whirlwind adventure, author Thomas M. Carroll’s “The Kingdom of the Silver Cat” is a phenomenal first novel in a brand new fantasy series. Filled with action, mythical and magical creatures alike, and a much needed new narrative of young people discovering themselves and their relationships with each other and the world around them as they navigate a mysterious land, this is a novel not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.facebook.com/SapphireFruit/?view_public_for=107805530726017

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Dream Chasers (Screamcatcher #2) by Christy J. Breedlove Review

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

A young woman uses her new experience gained from the first book in a powerful mythological series and delves further into the realm of dream catchers and Native American lore in author Christy J. Breedlove’s “Dream Chasers (Screamcatcher #2)”. 

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The Synopsis

Seventeen year-old Jory Pike knows a thing or two about Indian lore from her half-blood Chippewa ancestry. She can trap, hunt and fish with the best of them. She has a team of three other teens friends called The Badlands Paranormal Society. Instead of bagging groceries or playing on I-pods, they think they can excel at banishing evil spirits. They hope to cleanse houses and earn fat paychecks for their services.

Dream catchers aren’t just the chic hoops tourists buy at novelty shops–they work. And sometimes they clog up with nightmares until they collapse under their own evil weight, imploding and sending the dreamer into an alternate world. Jory uses her worst nightmare to enter the dream catcher world. She’s pulled her teammates in deliberately. Everything goes right on schedule but they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Now Jory and her friends are there, trapped between the people who have confessed their sins to the Great Spirit and are seeking a way out, and the monsters and evil spirits, which are happy to keep them trapped in the web world forever.

They were once considered Seekers in the dream world. Now they’ve become vigilantes and call themselves Pathfinders. Is it spiritual enlightenment they after? Or have they now become fatally reckless?

The Review

An action-packed and deeply mythological sequel, author Christy J. Breedlove has done a fantastic job of connecting to the larger mythology established in the first book and bringing forth a new twist in the evolving story of these characters. The thing that really jumps out is that for returning readers, the story sees a much more educated and experienced protagonist in Jory and her team of investigators, but newcomers will still be able to jump into the series even if they haven’t read the first book yet. 

The speed in which the group of characters is thrust into the world of this possessed dreamcatcher keeps the reader’s hearts pounding in their chests. Unspeakable creatures and beautiful imagery give the reader a deeper connection to the character’s during their journey into this other realm, while the ever-evolving story do a great job of delving into the complex and treasured history and mythology of the Native American people amongst the varying tribes and people. 

The Verdict

A must-read YA fantasy and mythology series, “Dream Chasers” is a brilliant sequel for Christy J. Breedlove’s “Screamcatchers” series. Filled with intense action, deep character growth and an overall sense of adventure, this is a unique read in the YA genre that delves into a mythology that deserves far more storytelling than it typically gets, so be sure to grab your copy of this amazing book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I became a story teller. I’m a diehard frantic creator of Young Adult fiction, whether it’s paranormal, science fiction, suspense or fantasy. I believe in pure escapism with unceasing action adventure and discovery. If you want a moral message or cultural statement, you’re apt to get a small one. But let me tell you something, reader, I want to make you laugh until you gag, cry until you’re dry and tear out tufts of your hair. Today, young adult lit needs a resurrection. How soon we’ve forgotten about Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight. Oh, the mania! Where has it gone? Are we losing our young readers? We need something really fresh and new. I and several writers are going to pour everything we have into that end. You are the kindly judge–help us get there and we will deliver!

Amazon Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Harold-Stevenson/e/B001K8UUBK

Christy’s Website:  https://christysyoungadultfabuliers.com/

Blog:  http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blogspot.com/

Posted in reviews

The Goodbye Family and The Great Mountain by Lorin Morgan-Richards Review

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

A family of undertakers from the Weird West must traverse the underworld after long and recently passed neighbors begin rising from the grave, upsetting the balance and their business, in author Lorin Morgan-Richards’ “The Goodbye Family and The Great Mountain”. 

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The Synopsis

The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain follows the lives of Weird West undertakers Otis, Pyridine, and their daughter Orphie. Pyridine is a witch and matriarch mortician, Otis is a brainless but bold hearse driver, and Orphie is appointed grave digger for her strength of twenty men. Through bumbling, Otis discovers his neighbors are turning into zombies, a mystery that is directly affecting their burial business. In their backyard cemetery, they travel to the underworld for answers and uncover a plot to surface the evil entities that would otherwise burn in the Lake of Fire, have risen again through oil pumps that are bottled up as a tonic medicine for the ground above. The tonic goes fast, and the host takes over the body when the body perishes. Can the Goodbyes hilarious gaffes and revelations plug up the works? Find out in this fast-paced carriage ride through the underworld. The story includes an exclusive foreword by entertainer and medium Richard-Lael Lillard.

The Review

This is a fun and unique read for YA audiences everywhere. An entertaining blend of the Wild West meets sci-fi and Victorian Goth horror, The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain is a fast-paced read that creates an imaginative and magical world filled with zombies, the underworld and literal magic. 

The author’s ability to fuse this wild and creative mythology within the novel’s world with the humor of the cast of characters, particularly the odd yet fun protagonists the Goodbye Family, make for a unique literary journey. Otis, in particular, will delight audiences as his strange comments will showcase the surrounding character’s bemused and dumbfounded looks in the reader’s minds. 

The Verdict

An entertaining, evenly paced and magical read, author Lorin Morgan-Richards’ novel “The Goodbye Family and The Great Mountain” is a must-read for 2020. Action-packed, whimsical yet haunting in its an approach, readers can easily picture the novel adapted into a Tim Burton-like claymation animated film. It’s a delightful read that I highly recommend, so be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lorin Morgan-Richards is an author and illustrator, known mostly for his YA fiction. A fan favorite is his daily comic series The Goodbye Family about a family of eccentric undertakers living in the Old Weird West with their daughter Orphie who oversees the town of Nicklesworth as their sheriff. Richards writing career started in 2009, with his latest novel The Goodbye Family and the Great Mountain (2020) being his thirteenth release. In addition to writing and illustrating, Richards colorizes Old West and Victorian-era photography.

Official site: https://www.lorinrichards.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorin_morgan_richards/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorinmorganrichards/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lorin-Morgan-Richards/e/B002LTN6KO

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2943244.Lorin_Morgan_Richards

Posted in reviews

The Strawberry Road: The Collective Journaling of an Ancient Wanderer by Ritch Gaiti Review

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

One author takes a poetic journey through a prose filled literary fiction studying the road to life’s adventures in author Ritch Gaiti’s “The Strawberry Road: The Collective Journaling of an Ancient Wanderer”. 

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The Synopsis

I reached skyward to touch the universe . . . it wasn’t far at all.

The Strawberry Road is a unique, provocative and meditative journey — to appreciate beauty and structure of life from the perspective of innocence. It is a spiritual adventure through discovery of the world as we know it but as we rarely see it — an escape into the primal reality of life, time and nature. The Strawberry Road is a rare exploration and insight on a visual journey that we all should take, told through beautiful tranquility of prose and verse — delivering as much in words as it does in concept.

It was a Sunday morning, the moment of my birth that I stepped onto the Strawberry Road . . . From the very onset, the Strawberry Road appeared vast and never ending, suggesting an adventure that would last forever if I so chose. I had anticipated the undertaking for some time but hadn’t felt the need to plan the course or the destination, as those would be decisions that I would make along the way. The thought of discovery was exhilarating, but frightening — yet full of hope and opportunity.

The Strawberry Road, an unplanned journey of discovery of life and time through the naked eye of innocence and reflection.

The past was curiously a testament to order and symmetry while the future remained forever in undefined chaos. Yet, in the calm between the two worlds lay the present — just a marker on a never-ending line. The past has always just ended, while the future was forever a moment away. Yet I experienced neither but cherished what was solely within my grasp, a sliver of now.

And now was always now,

Separating what was,

From what was about to happen

And it will be, until it does.

The Strawberry Road, a depiction of the beauty of change and the time in between:

In a moment of pure stability

Tween what was and what will be

Frozen crystals veiled the land

Neath a blanket of serenity

And each branch of each tree

Was framed in purity

As perplexity turned to harmony,

And obscurity to clarity

A blanket of virtue

A blanket of white

In a moment of pure stasis

Tween what was and what will be

Looking back, it seemed so obvious. The Strawberry Road, once mysterious, puzzling, stressful, joyful and confusing, was now so clear. But such was the nature of the road — it provided the opportunities and the obstacles. The knowledge and the decisions were all mine.

* * *

The Review

“I reached my hand skyward to touch the universe…”

This line speaks volumes of the artistic nature the author takes with his poetic narrative. A mixture of lyrical prose and poetry, the author delves into the metaphysical aspect of life and the journey we all must undertake at one point or another in our lives. 

The author paints a vivid image in the reader’s minds as they travel along the “Strawberry Road”. This hammers home as true given the author’s natural gifts and experience with art in general. The combination of this imagery with the poetic nature of the narrative and the thought-provoking nature of the story overall make this an emotional read to be sure. 

The Verdict

A must-read literary masterpiece, author Ritchie Gaiti has created a wonderful tapestry of images and emotions throughout this work of art. A beautiful display of literary fiction and prose that captures the heart of the open road journey both physically and metaphysically, “The Strawberry Road” is a book that is not to be missed, so be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ritch focuses on telling compelling stories depicting the real world through unique perspectives. He writes in a variety of voices and genres from humor to drama, both non-fiction and fiction. He is an author, artist, and an alumnus of Wall Street and has written novels, screenplays and many magazine articles and has been featured on national radio and TV, including an appearance on the Today Show.

Ritch loves to channel his unique characters – whether they be a comical washed up copywriter, a gambler from Brooklyn, a Native American lawyer, and everyday guy who has an entertaining battle with cancer, or, in The Strawberry Road, an undefined protagonist who observes and absorbs the natural world that is often missed. Ritch doesn’t write about his characters — he is the character and shares his emotions, confusion, drive and obstructions.

Ritch is also a recognized artist focusing on depicting the ethereal west in another time, another place. He exhibits across the U.S. in several galleries and museums. His artwork can be viewed on http://www.gaiti.com. Books are available through major outlets as eBooks and paperback (through Amazon).

Ritch Gaiti’s published books:

-The Strawberry Road: a spiritual adventure through discovery of the world as we know it but as we rarely see it. “I reached skyward to touch the universe . . . it wasn’t far at all.”

-F*ck you Cancer … and the Cell you rode in on: Humorously toxic

-The Jewolic . . .Conundrums of a Half-Jew: a humorous romp through religious ambivalence.

-The Big Empty: A gritty lawyer uncovers an ancient conspiracy and the betrayal of a man and a nation in a socially significant mystery/thriller.

-Dutching the Book: A NYC fireman schemes a way to beat the track in an American classic of four lifelong friends, betrayal, gambling, romance and the best horseplayer to ever play the game.

-Tweet: humorous fiction about one average guy who changes the world because he didn’t know that he couldn’t. Recently, Tweet, has been optioned for a feature film.

-Points: Women have them, Men need them: a humorous non-fiction relationship book (under the pseudonym I. Glebe).

Ritch Gaiti Ritch.Gaiti@verizon.net

www.GaitiBooks.com

www.Gaiti.com

https://www.facebook.com/ritch.gaiti

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She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by 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. 

A young boy meets a mysterious girl, and begins a lifelong journey of shadowy organizations, haunting deaths and strange happenings no one could possibly believe in author J.D. Barker’s “She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be”. 

The Synopsis

A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster.

After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child–this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She’d creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn’t the first, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. It was no different from the others. He’d find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject “D” waits, grows, learns. He’s permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE conjures thoughts of early King and Koontz. A heart-pounding ride that creeps under your skin and will have you turning pages long into the night. 

The Review

After the grim and compelling series 4MK, my expectations for J.D. Barker’s next novel were definitely high, and he definitely did not disappoint. While not as chilling in nature as 4MK, this novel creates not only engaging mythology and story but a wide cast of characters that elevate the story and create a wide range of emotions in the reader overall. 

The mystery of the young girl this boy meets and the journey he goes on as the years go by creating a truly mind-bending thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The genre combination of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller and crime with a hint of romance and suspense keeps the readers guessing at every turn, questioning the character’s motives and firmly invested in the story, especially that of the protagonist, Jack. 

The Verdict

One of 2020’s standout hits already, J.D. Barker wows readers everywhere once again with his novel “She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be”. The story is lengthy yet exciting as each chapter goes on, never leaving the reader unengaged and yet always exciting enough to have the reader wanting more. A thrilling novel that felt reminiscent of the early days of Stephen King, this is a must-read book for any fan of a good suspense, mystery and crime thriller. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His novels have been translated into two dozen languages 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

Posted in reviews

Man on Edge (A Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 2) by Humphrey Hawksley Review

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 her only means of survival in an enemy state is her former fiancee as the clock races in author Humphrey Hawksley’s “Man on Edge (A Rake Ozenna Thriller Book 2)”. 

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The Synopsis

A tense and twisting espionage thriller involving state secrets, lethal assassins and the threat of a new Cold War.

Trauma surgeon Carrie Walker is taken aback when her estranged uncle makes contact out of the blue. Senior Russian naval officer Artyom Semenov claims to be in possession of an explosive piece of information which he is offering to share with the West. But can he be trusted?

Travelling to Moscow undercover to meet with Semenov, Carrie finds herself stranded when the carefully-planned operation goes catastrophically awry. In grave danger, there’s only one person she can turn to for help: her former fiancé, Major Rake Ozenna of the Alaska National Guard.

Aware how vital it is that he reaches Carrie before others do, Rake knows he’s pitted against a powerful and lethal enemy. But is it a rogue agent – or the Russian state? As preparations gather pace for a high-profile NATO exercise off the Norwegian coast, Rake must act fast if he is to prevent a global catastrophe.

The Review

An action-packed thriller, author Humphrey Hawksley has created a thrill ride of a novel. While I haven’t read the first book in the series, the author does a great job of gleaning into the backstory and history established in the first novel enough to create a clear picture of the major players of the narrative and their roles. 

The buildup of suspense and heart-pounding action is equally matched to witty banter between characters and powerful character growth throughout the novel as well. Playing into the government agent versus the world theme, the author blends the shadowy government operations of a good thriller with the personal ups and downs of protagonist Rake and his on and off romance with Carrie. The backdrop of Russia and the surrounding areas felt relevant to the current political scene in the world, creating a deeper connection to the action of the novel’s plot overall. 

The Verdict

A one of a kind read author Humphrey Hawksley has created a tension-filled, action-packed narrative that is not to be missed. An evenly paced read with steady character arcs and a great flow overall, everyone should grab their copies of “Man on Edge”, the second book in the Rake Ozenna Thriller series, today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Humphrey Hawksley’s brand-new international thriller series begins in paperback in October 2019 with MAN ON ICE a knuckle-whitening drama set on the remote and wild US-Russian border. In early, 2020 comes the nail-biting MAN ON EDGE set on the Norway-Russian border followed in 2021 by MAN ON FIRE whose location is yet to disclosed. Rake Ozenna, a native of Little Diomede island in Alaska is the series hero. Each thriller includes trauma surgeon, Dr Carrie Walker, American intelligence contractor, Harry Lucas, and his ex-wife, British businesswoman and diplomat, Stephanie Lucas.

Humphrey’s thrillers have been widely praised. Steve Berry describes ‘authentic settings, non-stop action’ from MAN ON ICE. Lee Child speaks of SECURITY BREACH as ‘high stakes, high octane’ and Alan Furst as a ‘hard-driving, a good taut thriller’ — right back to the first future history thriller DRAGON STRIKE: THE MILLENNIUM WAR which Steve Coonts hailed as ‘ominous and insightful.’

His recent non-fiction ASIAN WATERS: THE STRUGGLE OVER THE SOUTH CHINA SEA AND THE STRATEGY OF CHINESE EXPANSION has been acclaimed on every continent by those at the heart of global decision-making, such as Indian cabinet minister, Hardeep Puri; the last governor of Hong Kong Baron Lord Patten of Barnes; and Dr Wu Shicun, President of China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies. China’s rise is a fast developing story, and Humphrey is currently working on an updated edition which is due out in June 2020.

Humphrey’s work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him all over the world with postings in Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Delhi and Colombo. He has contributed to ABC, National Public Radio and other networks in the United States and global publication of his work includes the Financial Times, New York Times, Yale Global, Nikkei Asian Review and others.

http://www.humphreyhawksley.com/