Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

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

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

brandon dragan author photo 01

Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Links:

brandondragan.com

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIO9KMNQem0

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Walking the Pendulum by H.A. Dawson 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 looking for a fresh start instead finds herself tumbling into someone else’s past in author H.A. Dawson’s thriller Walking the Pendulum. Here’s the synopsis:

A stolen existence triggers the ultimate identity crisis
Megan’s made a hasty escape. Now she’s perplexed by the confusion sparked by events on the train journey and her effect on the locals, whose disconcerting behavior makes her skittish. She’s determined and headstrong yet vulnerable, unaware of the imminent danger posed by the scheme hatched by her mystery assailant.

 

How long could you wait to take revenge?
Megan’s never experienced visions or fainted before. The vivid images have
a momentary impact, though they’re a harbinger of future events where Megan is
not the only victim to fall prey to a scheming murderer.

 

The journey of life is as much a cliché as is the idea of seeing
yourself through others eyes. In this compelling thriller, Megan’s assumptions are foolish as her real journey starts when she reaches her
destination. There are many scrutinizing her activities; a few are threatened by her presence,
questioning her reasons for moving to this small town. The situation is intriguing especially as her striking features resemble Saskia a lively woman who vanished 3 decades ago.

 

This story embraces a British style of mystery that merges into the
suspense, culminating in a thriller with an enthralling finale that
leaves us to question our personal strengths and endeavors

 

This author takes pride in presenting the reader with a strong theme
immersed in dramatic content.

 

Do you try to avoid all conflict?
How calm are you when handling uptight friends and family members?
If their behavior becomes irrational does this influence you in any way?
Do you turn tail and run or stand your ground by confronting the issues?

This was an evenly paced yet chilling thriller. The British style mystery thriller explores the way other’s perceive us and our actions, and how sometimes the only people who get to see the truth of the matter at hand is ultimately you. The mystery surrounding Megan and her connection to Saskia is intriguing to explore, and the way it reflects on Megan’s own past and troubles that she is desperate to escape make the reader invested as they go through the book.

The character growth in this story is definitely the biggest draw in for this story. Whether we witness the emotional roller coaster Megan is forced to ride or the chilling air surrounding the townspeople of this small British town, the characters help breath fresh life into the classic murder mystery genre. Think of this book as an incredible literary version of the Insidious film franchise mixed with a good BBC thriller like Broadchurch.

Overall I loved this story. It was unique in it’s approach and had a wonderful cast of characters that kept the book flowing smoothly. It’s a book filled with twists and turns galore, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Walking the Pendulum by H.A. Dawson today!

Rating: 8/10

“Walking The Pendulum” is the first book in a collection of exciting
Traditional British psychological suspense mystery crime, laced with
romance, packaged with the intensity of a thriller. There are seven to be
published up to November 2017.
Further British Mystery – Suspense – Thrillers to come from H A Dawson

Walking The Pendulum
Beds of Rusty Nails
Edging On Despair
Naive Retribution

Novellas

Twist Of A Steel Bracelet
Snapping That Lock

Mystery Novels

Drifting On Distant Murmurs

If you enjoy gripping stories, spotting subtle clues and can cope with the dark chilling complexity of the human psyche! You will be excited to read this emotional thriller. Realistic male and female perspectives are blended into plausible situations, abduction and kidnapping, psychological suspense and crime,

 

You will definitely enjoy the diverse content of H A Dawson’s “Women’s Contemporary Thrillers”.

 

She has praise for the following best selling authors. A J Waines,
Rachel Abbott, Mark Edwards, Louise Voss, C L Taylor, Sophie Hannah,
Elizabeth Haynes, Angela Marsons, Sharon Bolton and Linwood Barclay.
They have had a positive influence in her style development.

Blog Tour: The Pariah Child & The Ever-Giving Stone by Natasha D. Lane

Blurb:

When Sarah was four, she promised her mother she would be a good girl — a proper young lady in their small country town — and that she would ignore the creatures who appeared to her and whispered in her ear of things unknown. But like all creatures of myth and legend, they won’t be ignored forever.

Now thirteen, Sarah is attacked by a wolf with poisonous black fur and strange, human-looking eyes. With the help of a few unexpected friends, she manages to survive the attack but soon discovers the creatures have returned. They want Sarah to find a powerful gemstone and bring it to them in Lyrica, their magical homeworld.

Her new friends urge caution, however. There may be more monsters like the black wolf. And the creatures themselves are frightening. Can Sarah trust them? Stuck between reality and imagination, her mother’s wishes and her own desires, Sarah faces an impossible choice – break her promise or do nothing to save a world in peril.

AUthor Photo B&W

Interview with Author Natasha D. Lane

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

I started writing as a kid. I was probably in elementary school when I realized how much I loved writing. Eventually, it became an outlet for me. I took everything I had to hold inside and put it on paper. It started with poetry,then eventually grew to short stories, before I started my first novel. My middle school teacher Ms. Snyder was the one who saw my talent and pushed me to write my first novel. It was called (get ready for this) “An Imperfect Utopia.” Great title, right?

Anyway, I never stopped writing. I was traditionally published as a romance author in college and did that for several years, before returning to the genre that always held a special place in my heart: fantasy. Now, here I am with one of the first fantasy novels I have ever written ready to be published.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

So much! Life experiences, other stories, and just a simple desire to write.

“The Chronicles of Narnia” and the movie “Eragon” (I know, I know, it was a horrible adaption) gave me a lot of fuel to write my novel. I love the sense of pure adventure both stories have and I wanted to write something like that, too. At that time, most of the fantasy novels I read had heavy aspects of romance in them which I didn’t mind but I began to wonder what it would be like to read a story that focused on the journey and less on some love triangle, ya know?

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

Love yourself even when the world tells you that you’re somehow wrong or unlovable. Love yourself.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Fantasy is a genre known for escapism. I think as a kid I wanted to escape from a lot of the crap that was happening. I was bullied at school and had very few good relationships with the adults in my life, so everywhere I looked there was this chaos, this negativity, and so much stuff out of my control. When I read fantasy I got to leave all of that behind.

I also got to leave some of the things I used to hate about myself behind. When I read fantasy novels I wasn’t a nerd or loser. I was a warrior going on a journey to save the world or a magician with hidden powers that no one understood. I felt like an underdog and fantasy novels are famous for turning the underdogs into the heroes of the tales.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Oh, good question! Hmmmm. If I had to pick, I think I’d sit down with Serwa. She’s one of the main characters in the story and a very powerful witch. I think I’d ask her how she manages to carry all the burdens she does and how she handles people’s misconceptions about her. I don’t want to go into too much detail because her background has more explanation in the sequel. However, I will say that Serwa is one of the most misunderstood characters in the series. She’s often viewed as mean or a monster when in reality she’s trying to do what she can to save everyone.

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

Twitter and Instagram are my favorite platforms. Specifically, Insta for readership but Twitter is good for branding and networking. I like Insta because it’s such a positive sight. Seems to me like it has less drama than other social media platforms.

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

“Write your way through life.” That’s my mantra because, like any form of art, writing is an outlet. When life gets tough (which it always does) write out all madness, the beauty, the good and the ugly. It’s a healthy form of expression.

Beyond that, I’d say take any marketing classes you can and build your platform now! The sooner you build your platform, the more opportunities you’ll have to test what works best for your brand and how best to develop it.

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

Lots of new projects. After “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” is released into the world, I plan on publishing my second novel. It’s tentatively titled “The Woman In the Tree” and is an Arthurian legend retelling that takes a different spin on how Arthur became king. I’m already writing the book, so it won’t be too long a wait.

Once that’s done, the sequel to The Pariah Child is next on my list.

Author Photo Color

Author Bio

Natasha Lane enjoys reading a wide variety of genres, but fantasy has always been dear to her heart. After a brief stint in romance, Natasha’s returned to fantasy and currently has two works in the making. She plans on releasing her first fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” March 22, 2018.

Natasha hopes one day to be a well known published author, whose writing informs as well as entertains her reader.

Besides being a bookworm, Natasha is a documentary junkie, rom-com addict, health advocate, entrepreneur, and chef (in her own way).

She currently resides in Baltimore, MD. Despite where life may take her, one thing is certain. Natasha will always keep writing.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8547000.Natasha_D_Lane

Twitter: https://twitter.com/natasha_lane1

Website: https://www.natashalanewrites.com/

Excerpt: https://www.natashalanewrites.com/excerpt/

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

Copy of Pariah Child - Final Cover - front cover only - ebook rgb

Video Review: Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Interview with Author I. Ashmawey

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Since a young age, I’ve always imagined the world differently. Asked strange questions. Pictured how things could be rather than how they are. Writing is my way of capturing that imagination and documenting it. When I have a thought, I write it. It’s my way of allowing that thought to leave my mind and instead, possibly go into the minds of others. If people like my thoughts, wonderful. If not, I have plenty others!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know anyone who reads regularly in my circle of friends. Perhaps that means I need new friends 🙂 But it also means that in general, my generation is not one of readers. My generation gets a ridiculous amount of screen time. Whether it’s TV, YouTube, or whatever else, it’s all the same. First of all, it limits the kinds of opinions they will hear. Second, the mind simply doesn’t work when it is receiving content through a screen. It’s a lazy method, and breeds even more laziness. Even those who laud themselves as people who read the news, do they really read it? Or just the gist?
I wrote this book to encourage my generation to spend more time with an open book in front of them, rather than a screen. The hope is that with only five minutes a day, people can escape their lives and take a small glimpse into a life that once was, or could someday be. And perhaps they would gain something positive from this insight.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The themes in the book are plenty, as every short story aims to take the reader somewhere different than the one before. If I was to summarize all the messages and concoct a common theme that connects them all, it would simply be: think differently. If society runs things in a certain way, that way may be entirely wrong. There may be a far better way that is waiting for someone to discover it. There may be a way far worse, that’s still worth trying in order to feel more assured of society’s way. There is always something to be gained when thinking differently and questioning everything.
4) What drew you into this particular genre or genres?
Writing a book of short stories was never my intention. I actually finished a sci-fi novel and had sent it to my editor for editing which usually takes a few months. In the meantime, I couldn’t sit idle. So I decided to put some ideas down, which turned into short stories. I then wanted to challenge my creativity: 30 stories in 30 days. I was able to do it, a story a day. Then I added ten more, and thought to myself, “Why not publish?”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
That’s an extremely tough one given that there are 40 shorts with 40 main characters. But I think I would choose Apolena Kipp from the story “Before the Beginning.” A space explorer who takes humanity’s first trip back to before the Big Bang. There was a moment while writing that story that I truly felt scared for her. I couldn’t imagine the courage it would need to take such a trip. Being the first to ever do anything requires courage, but especially to cross that threshold where there are no safety precautions, that’s something else. I would want to ask her what this trip means to her personally. Why does she so desperately want to know what happened before the Big Bang? And more importantly, how did she feel about what she found?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have to be honest, I don’t have social media. I used to. I was one of the first to join Facebook back when it required a .edu address and you needed to put in which classes you were taking. But on a specific day, I found myself with my 1-yrld daughter at Disneyland, and I was fighting with someone I didn’t know on Facebook about some political opinion. It hit me then, and then I deactivated my account, and vowed never to return.
I don’t deny however that social media can tremendously help marketing a book. So that’s something I’m currently working on, but without social media 🙂
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The most important thing any writer can do, is write. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing is initially. It doesn’t matter if t hey don’t have a fully fleshed story. Start writing, and write everyday. One’s writing is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it, it will become weak. To write is to find the characters, then the characters will build the story. Just start, that’s the most important thing. Start!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
The soft sci-fi is currently out with agents! The book is titled, “ETA: the Trial of Logan Gruver.” The story talks of Logan, a traveler on a commercialized time-travel trip to the Pliocene epoch, who finds purpose and love when he meets Giselle, a fellow traveler in the past. Together, they discover that humanity will mysteriously cease to exist in the future. The newly discovered Canvas of Time, a fabric that covers the universe and also lends way to time travel, will begin to deteriorate. Logan and Giselle understand their devotion, the consequences of their actions, and why humanity may have to pay the price.

My Interview with Author Claire Gem

I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

via Welcome Author Anthony Avina

Valentine’s Day Book Giveaway!

I wanted to let you guys know that two of my books will be free starting today and ending on the 17th! The first is Blood and Romance and the second is At First Glance.

At First Glance: A Frightening Romance Novel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008X0NK56/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_umVGAbMERH74E

Blood and Romance: A Book of Poetry and Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042P5DP6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_4mVGAbAWZFY7K