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Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young Review

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

Two people haunted by the past on a small island town find dark secrets emerging as strange happenings unearth the magic and folklore that their town has been steeped into for years in author Adrienne Young’s “Spells for Forgetting”.

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The Synopsis

A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.

But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.

August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.

The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.

The Review

This was such a powerful and captivating mystery thriller. The rich character-driven narrative really did an excellent job of elevating the atmosphere and emotional tone of the narrative. The air of suspicion and secrets run deep in this small island town, and the seemingly small-knit community where everyone knows everyone suddenly becomes a bed of deceit in which everyone is a suspect, even those closest to the protagonists. The heated passion and unresolved feelings between both August and Emery add even more tension to this atmospheric thriller and keep readers invested in their divergent stories until they come together in unexpected ways.

For me, the rich and dynamic setting with the subtle yet the natural feeling way the author incorporated magic and fantasy into this narrative felt so alive on the page. The author did an incredible job of showcasing the concept of town secrets, local legends, and the power that secrets and lies can hold over us in life, and blended these themes into a years-long whodunnit that captivated the audience instantly. The atmosphere of this small town played well into the mystery both in the novel and the genre as a whole, as the story elevated the reader’s curiosity factor while also keeping them emotionally invested in these protagonists. 

The Verdict

Haunting, mesmerizing, and entertaining, author Adrienne Young’s “Spells for Forgetting” is a must-read fantasy and murder mystery read. The passionate character development and ideas of destiny and the power of local legends played well with the diverse cast of characters and the sheer volume of twists and turns that will keep readers shocked for days after reading the final pages of this incredible story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Adrienne Young is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the Sky and Sea duology, the Fable series, and Spells for Forgetting. When she’s not writing, you can find Adrienne on her yoga mat, on a walk in the woods, or planning her next travel adventure. She lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

For information on release, appearances, ARCs, giveaways, and exclusive content, sign up for the newsletter at https://adrienneyoungbooks.com/

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Embracing the Magic: A Middle-Grade Magical Fantasy (Town Magician Book One) by S.A. Schneider 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 who dreams of becoming a powerful wizard must work with his bitter rival, a trickster who has convinced his town that he is a powerful magician himself when an evil wizard arrives to destroy their home and those they care about in author S.A. Schneider’s “Embracing the Magic”, the first in the Town Magician series.

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The Synopsis

Their hero is a fraud and only he knows it. When the truth comes knocking, can one boy conjure a way to save the day?

Young Samual longs to perform magic of his own. And what’s worse, he can’t seem to convince anyone that their beloved Town Magician is a trickster without an enchanted bone in his body. When a wicked wizard challenges the pretender to a duel, Samual vows keep his village safe by forcing the fraudster to rise to the challenge.

Determined to prevent disaster, he secretly shadows the phony protector during his training with the Grand Wizard. And when they barely escape an attack by dire wolves, Samual realizes he must partner up with his bitter rival. But keeping the truth hidden any longer may not help them outwit a powerful sorcerer.

With his town in grave danger, can Samual protect the ones he loves from the forces of evil?

Embracing the Magic is the enchanting first story in the Town Magician middle grade fantasy series. If you enjoy unlikely heroes, coming-of-age adventures, and spellbinding creatures, then you’ll love S.A. Schneider’s fantastical tale.

The Review

This was such a captivating and tantalizing read. The author did an incredible job of capturing a unique world filled with magic and wonder. The imagery and atmosphere did a beautiful job of bringing the action and adventure of the story to life on the page. The way the author is able to relate this story to younger readers and provide both study guides, terminology, and a reference guide on the world-building he did was great to see brought to life. 

For me though, the character growth and world-building/mythos the author creates in this story were the highlights of the narrative. The relationship between Rory and Samual was such a rollercoaster of highs and lows throughout the narrative, showing the bond they form and the motivations that take life as their journey continues. The concept of challenges between town magicians, a Town Magician Council, and so much more made this story feel so vibrant and alive on the page. 

The Verdict

With amazing world-building, rich atmosphere, and engaging storytelling, author S.A. Schneider’s “Embracing the Magic” is an incredible Middle-Grade Fantasy Adventure novel and the perfect first chapter in this emerging series. The emotional growth of the characters, the powerful villain they face, and the entertaining narrative will have young readers and others alike hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Don’t you wish you could have a lightsaber? I imagine it all the time. And force powers – definitely force powers. Think of that? Oh, wait – how about spider powers? Shooting web lines and clinging to walls. You could get to school in style.

OK, so we can’t have those. At least to the best of my knowledge. What’s the next best thing? Reading stories about other worlds. I guess I’ll have to settle for that and hopefully you’d like to come along for the ride.

I live and grew up in a rural area in Ohio. That left a lot of room for reading. I now live with my family and create stories set in many other places.

For now, I have to visit another world.


Enjoy the adventure!

Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen Review

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

After becoming the prime suspect in the disappearance of the finalists for the nation’s highest medal of valor for civilians, one man must put himself on the line to find and save these heroes from the sinister web they’ve been ensnared within author Ken MacQueen’s “Hero Haters”.

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The Synopsis

Jake Ockham had a dream job, vetting nominees for the Sedgewick Medallion—the nation’s highest civilian award for heroism. His own scarred hands are an indelible reminder of the single mother he failed to pull from a raging house fire; her face haunts him still. Obligations drag him back to his hometown to edit the family newspaper but attempts to embrace small-town life, and the hot new doctor, are thwarted by unknown forces. The heroes Jake vetted go missing and he becomes the prime suspect in the disappearances. Aided by resourceful friends, Jake follows a twisted trail to the Dark Web, where a shadowy group is forcing the kidnapped medalists to perform deadly acts of valor to amuse twisted subscribers to its website. To save his heroes, Jake must swallow his fears and become one himself…or die in the attempt. 

The Review

This brand-new thriller from a brand new author and seasoned journalist was absolutely fantastic. The author immediately showcased the strength of finding the right balance between character growth and suspense building. The atmosphere and tension really elevated the narrative here, capturing the shocking nature of the crimes and the fight for survival that takes place. The focus on “heroes”, and how we treat our heroes in the world is a great central theme to play into this thriller and did a great job of showcasing the humanity within our heroes.

The brilliant character development and escalating suspense were so well delivered. The chemistry between Tina and Jake as the story develops adds a hint of romance into the narrative, but the complexity of the protagonist’s struggle with his brush with heroism and the blend of guilt for those that couldn’t be saved, as well as the human faults all heroes still have in their daily lives that are often ignored in the wake of their heroism, made their development so mesmerizing to read about.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and entertaining, author Ken MacQueen’s “Hero Haters” is a must-read suspense thriller of 2022. The gripping blend of haunting dark web crime and the balance of morality with heroism as a whole made this such a rich and dynamic story to dive head first into, and readers will be hard-pressed to put this novel down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy or preorder by October 5th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Before turning to fiction, Ken MacQueen spent 15 years as Vancouver bureau chief for Maclean’s, Canada’s newsmagazine, winning multiple National Magazine Awards and nominations. He travelled the world writing features and breaking news for the magazine, and previously for two national news agencies.

He has written extensively on crime, politics, disasters, both natural and man-made—and, being Canadian, on the shifting fortunes of Queen Elizabeth II and her clan. All of this is potential fodder for future fiction, though the Queen as action hero seems unlikely.

Hero Haters, set in the Pacific Northwest and rural Pennsylvania, is his debut thriller.

MacQueen covered nine Olympic Games and drew the athletic prowess of Jake Ockham, his protagonist, from tracking elite rowers in training and on podiums in Athens, Beijing and London.

He and his wife divide their time between North Vancouver and British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

kenmacqueen.com

Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family (The Destiny Trilogy Book 2) by Cathy Burnham Martin Review

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

The journey and struggle to escape a horrific attack and genocide of the Armenian people at the end of the Ottoman Empire leads to a new life in America and the struggle to overcome new prejudices and persecutions in author Cathy Burnham Martin’s “Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family”, the second book in the Destiny Trilogy. 

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The Synopsis

“Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family” illuminates the stark realities of immigrants determined to settle in America, a land of opportunity and freedom. While young Hrant’s Armenian story parallels the horrors experienced by far too many cultures in both the past and present, book 2 in the Destiny trilogy also highlights the strength and hope that live within survivors of various nightmares. After witnessing and escaping genocide, Hrant may just find American prejudice and bigotry to be manageable hurdles.

Book 1 found Hrant Gulumian, the youngest child in his family, deeply relating to his granddaughter, Cassie when her nightmares precisely mirrored his traumatic childhood experiences. Destiny of Dreams… Time Is Dear shared young Hrant’s harrowingly narrow escape from the mass deportations and attempted annihilation of the Armenians in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire.

Despite the hauntingly intense and dramatic truths in Book 1, the Destiny trilogy resumes with the powerful hope and strength known only to survivors. Book 2 completes Hrant’s voyage and sweeps the reader into his family’s new life in the USA, illuminating the vulnerability of the diaspora and all forced refugees in a new and unfamiliar land filled with language, cultural, and discrimination challenges.

Author Martin celebrates her family’s quiet determination and its refusal to lose faith, despite intolerance and numerous economic woes. Set in the 20th Century, her family’s true story shines a beacon of optimism and comfort for countless other families, hailing from many nations and struggling to endure on the way to freedom and a chance for a better life in this century.

The Review

This was such a brilliant blend of both fiction and nonfiction storytelling. The author did an incredible job of relaying the experiences and powerful memories of her family, showcasing the struggles to make a place for themselves in the United States and the hurdles they had to overcome from a society that judged and looked upon them with suspicion and even at times hatred. The themes of immigration, family, and the pursuit of acceptance were felt so powerfully here in this narrative and made the story flow smoothly. 

The author’s emphasis on character growth and history and culture was brilliant to read. The knowledge that the “characters” were actual family members that the author changed the names of made their experiences and pivotal moments in the story much more impactful, and allowed the reader to really connect to them and the narrative, especially as it relates to the immigration story. The way the author pivots this immigration story between the character’s desire to maintain their culture and practices after the events they survived, and the hope of building a new life in this land of opportunity despite the bigotry they are faced with, allowed the reader to feel connected to the narrative. 

The Verdict

Captivating, inspiring, and hopeful, author Cathy Burnham Martin’s “Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family” is a must-read genre fiction meets biography nonfiction style narrative that you won’t be able to put down this fall. Due to release on November 2nd, 2022, the book brings readers a heartfelt, emotional, and engaging story of survival, family, and finding the balance between honoring one’s culture and history with the hope of a brighter brand new future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Goffstown, New Hampshire, Cathy Burnham Martin’s eclectic career path wove through recruiting, communications, television broadcasting, management, and bank organizing. An active board member and community volunteer, she received Easter Seals’ David P. Goodwin Lifetime Commitment Award. This professional voiceover artist, journalist, corporate communications geek, and dedicated foodie earned numerous broadcasting awards as a television news anchor. She wrote, produced, and hosted dozens of groundbreaking documentaries, TV specials, and news reports, ranging from the Moscow Superpower Summit and the opening of the Berlin Wall to extensive coverage of New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primaries.

Some of her most challenging work includes news stories behind the Iron Curtain under the scrutiny of foreign military personnel touting loaded AK-47s. While she met and interviewed Presidents and candidates, other interviews ranged from inventor Dean Kamen, best-selling authors Og Mandino and Richard Lederer, and Star Trek originator Gene Roddenberry to Popcorn icon Orville Redenbacher, Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, superstar New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, and filmmaker Ken Burns.

Among little-known facts about Cathy? She once sang with The Beach Boys and with the marvelous Marvelettes, shared a dressing room with Ella Fitzgerald, and emceed for Tony Bennett. She also performed on stage with comedian Adam Sandler, actor Dan Lauria, and director Alek Keshishian.

Dubbed The Morale Booster, this 20-year professional member of the National Speakers Association remains a business speaker, media coach, and member of the Actors Equity Association. Proud of her Eurasian heritage, Cathy Burnham Martin narrates her own books and those of other authors. Audiobooks appear on such sites as Audible.com as well as Amazon and iTunes. Author of 20+ fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks, Cathy writes articles for her  http://www.GoodLiving123.com website. When not writing or in full production mode, Cathy and her husband enjoy traveling, boating, music and visual arts, and great food.

Plague Unleashed (The Intern Diaries Book Two) by D.C. Gomez Review

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

Death’s intern must save a small town in Texas as a mysterious plague turns its citizens into the beginning stages of the walking dead in author D.C. Gomez’s “Plague Unleashed”, the second book in The Intern Diaries series! 

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The Synopsis

After eight months as Death’s North America Intern, Isis Black is comfortable seeing dead people.

She is used to talking to the souls of the departed and helping Death carry the souls to the afterlife, too. But unfortunately, her intense training is not enough to prepare her for her new challenge: the walking dead.

Zombie-like people, whom have lost all higher-level consciousness, are walking the streets in the small Texas city of Texarkana, where Isis lives and works. Isis, and her teammates, a talking cat and a genius boy, must find the person responsible for this destruction, stop the infestation, and find a cure before every living person turns into a zombie or dies without a soul.

Not only must Isis find a cure for the plague, she must find it in five days—before twenty-thousand people arrive to watch and compete in the math and robotic Bowl Games.

If Isis doesn’t stop the plague in time, everyone who attends the games will contract the virus and spread it across the country.

Can Isis find the culprit, the cure, and save Texarkana and the country from a zombie apocalypse?

In this second book of the captivating series, The Intern Diaries, author D.C. Gomez takes the reader on a fast-paced, exciting journey through the real-life streets of Texarkana

The Review

This novel’s unique blend of humor and supernatural mythos was on point. The author did an incredible job of world-building in this narrative, with the small town of Texarkana not only bringing a more intimate setting to the larger-than-life narrative but also becoming quite vast in nature when the grand scale of this storyline comes to fruition. 

Yet for me personally, it was the combination of rich character dynamics and deep-rooted mythos that the author crafted that made this story so brilliant. The inclusion of other powerful entities besides Death being expanded upon in this narrative and the inclusion and teases of other supernatural creatures and mythologies made the cohesive nature of the story feel pretty epic. All the while, the author brought some heart and humor to the situation with the cast of characters, for whom they found love and friendship amongst one another that kept them together and fueled their mission to help those affected by these supernatural threats.

The Verdict

Action-packed, captivating, and entertaining, author D.C. Gomez’s “Plague Unleashed” is a must-read paranormal and humorous fantasy novel and a great second novel in The Intern Diaries series! The breathtaking imagery and tension the author layers into the narrative enshrines the mind-blowing mythology the author builds upon from the first book and leaves readers eager for the third book in the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

D. C. Gomez is a USA Today Bestselling Author, born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She study film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

Those experiences shaped her quirky sense of humor. D.C. has a love for those who served and the families that support them. She currently lives in the quaint city of Wake Village, Texas, with her furry roommate, Chincha.

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Spring House (Westward Sagas Book One) by David Bowles Review

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

Families of both Scottish and Irish descent settling into the colony of North Carolina find themselves fighting to not only survive but thrive in the new world in author David Bowles’s “Spring House”, the first book in the Westward Sagas series.

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The Synopsis

The Westward Sagas tell the stories of the lives of Scots-Irish families struggling to find happiness on the new frontier. Spring House, the first book of the series, begins in North Carolina in 1762 and paints a vivid picture of colonial life in the backwoods of the North State. Adam Mitchell fought to protect his family and save his farm, but his home was destroyed by British troops in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and his corn fields were turned into fields of death.Finalist in the Historical Fiction category of the National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards.

The Review

This was a powerful and moving historical fiction read. The intimate look into the lives of these ordinary families just trying to make a home for themselves and how the events of the Revolutionary War would impact them was so moving to read about. The atmosphere and tone the author struck in his writing allowed for some engaging moments between the reader and the narrative, giving a sense of urgency and the scenes themselves had some depth thanks to the great use of imagery in the writing. 

Yet it was the balance the author struck between history and character-driven narratives. The story of protagonist Adam and his pursuit of what would later be known as the “American Dream” was great to see, and whether intentional or not, showcased every immigrant’s dream of finding a place to call home, free to be themselves and without fear of persecution. The detail of historical events and figures made the story feel much more alive, and the captivating moments where these families were able to set aside their differences in everything from politics to faith and instead focus on surviving together against insurmountable odds showed the true heart of what this nation’s foundation was meant to be.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and character-driven, author David Bowles’s “Spring House” is a brilliant historical fiction novel and the best introduction novel to the Westward Sagas series. The rich setting and historical facts layered into the personal character growth and emotional narrative allowed readers to feel connected to both the story and the period of time in a really unique way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

David A. Bowles is a fifth generation Austinite. Both parents from early Travis County pioneers. His great grandmother Elnora Van Cleve, is recorded as the first birth in Austin, Texas during the days of the Republic. The author and his dog Becka travel in a class A motor-coach they call home, telling and writing the stories of the Westward Sagas. David grew up listening to stories of his ancestors told by his elders. Their stories so fascinated him that he became a professional story-teller, spinning tales through the Westward Sagas as well as the spoken word. He is a member of the National Story Telling Network and the Tejas Storyteller Association. David entertains groups frequently about his adventures on the open road and the books he has written. All four books in the Westward Sagas series have won awards. He is presently writing the sequel to Comanche Trace which won 1st Place at the North Texas Book Festival.

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Only Lies Remain (An Aoife Walsh Thriller Book 2) by Val Collins Review

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

The discovery of a body leads to old family secrets being unearthed, and a hunt for a killer who could very well be amongst Aoife Walsh’s family takes center stage in author Val Collins’s “Only Lies Remain”, the second book in the Aoife Walsh thriller series. 

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The Synopsis

Everyone thought Danny Walsh deserted his family when his sons were young. But when Danny’s body turns up fifteen years later and his wife, Maura, is implicated in his murder, accusations and old rumours surface.

Aoife rushes in to clear her mother-in-law’s name. But why is it that Maura’s story surrounding Danny’s disappearance doesn’t quite add up?

Aoife’s investigation uncovers old secrets, long-held jealousies, and lies upon lies. With every new revelation, Aoife realises she doesn’t know her family at all. Now her new boss is acting strangely, her best friend is more and more distant and her husband is no help at all.

With her support network crumbling and her family threatened, Aoife must race to keep one step ahead of danger before more innocent lives are lost. But how will she uncover the truth when only lies remain?

The Review

This was a captivating and thought-provoking thriller. As a newcomer to the series, I was immediately enthralled with the expansive cast of characters. Protagonist Aoife is such a brilliant presence in the narrative, providing both the determination and strength a thriller’s heroine is meant to have and yet infusing the vulnerability and emotional components that make her character feel well-rounded. The balance of everyday developments in her life, from her tumultuous relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband and her desire to help her former mother-in-law, to her growing relationship with the lead investigator and the close friendship she has with Orla.

Yet it was the twisted narrative and haunting atmosphere the author built into this story that made the novel so captivating. The rich world-building and stark settings were brought to life brilliantly using powerful imagery and made it feel very cinematic in nature as if it could be turned into the newest BBC murder mystery and thriller series that takes the world by storm much like The Fall or Broadchurch. The chilling nature of the case and the personal connection the protagonist has to it allow the reader to feel the desperation and need to solve the case that drives this story forward.

The Verdict

Brilliantly written, complex yet inviting, and thoroughly entertaining, author Val Collins’s “Only Lies Remains” is a must-read murder mystery thriller. The twists and turns the narrative takes, as well as the shocking reveal of the killer and his or her motives, will have readers hanging off the edge of their seats, and the author’s skills and powerful command over the genre make her future in this industry something that cannot be ignored.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and the No. 1 international bestsellers ONLY LIES REMAIN, THE SILENT SPEAK and WHERE LOYALTIES LIE. All four books are stand-alone thrillers and they can be read in any order.

Val has lived in Ireland her entire life, and graduated from University College Dublin. She enjoys chocolate, going for long walks in the countryside, seeing as much of the world as possible, meeting friends, writing, and reading. In fact, she devours books at the rate of one per week, and her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.

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The Flower Enigma (Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles Book 5) by Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey Review

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

A man and woman seeking a quiet vacation away from their busy work lives find themselves instead embroiled in one crisis to another as the small town of Magnolia Bluff experiences a new round of intrigue and terror in authors Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey’s “The Flower Enigma”, the fifth book in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicle series. 

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The Synopsis

JJ and Jo find the ideal spot to get away from their busy work lives—Magnolia Bluff offers Flower Bed & Breakfast, a quaint country destination within the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

They pull up to the picturesque building only to discover a crowd of citizens anxiously awaiting a special podcast, created by a group of local women, to start. Flower B&B is the sponsor of today’s show in this multi-day series. The couple works through the human log jam. As they check in, they learn that a cyber-attack may prevent the show from airing.

JJ, a technology guru, is convinced by Jo to help the group meet their broadcast promise. While he’s working on the issue, Jo spots a girl in the crowd with fear in her eyes who flashes the international help sign. The teenager vanishes into the throng. Fearful young people signaling for help strikes too close to home for Jo.

Their romantic vacation becomes a journey from one crisis to the next as these vacationers help the evangelizing ladies even as risks are multiplying. Threats expand to include all the podcasters, the show location owners, and suspected missing teens.

Authorities discount the gossipy group’s allegations that Mateo Hernandez built a wall around his property for more than privacy. JJ and Jo work to assemble the necessary clues to convince Chief Jager that Hernandez is a bigger menace. Their nosing around places them both in harm’s way. When Jo is attacked it becomes personal.

This romantic getaway isn’t even close to plan. Lives are at stake, and the young couple won’t accept failure.

The Review

This was such a thrilling and fun suspense thriller of a read. The blend of cyber-thriller and the cozy mystery was such a unique and captivating angle to keep the reader invested in this story, and the fast pace of the narrative gave readers an edge-of-their-seat feeling throughout the entirety of the narrative. The authors were able to find the right harmony of atmosphere that wove both lighthearted dialogues between the protagonists and the townspeople and tension-filled moments when delving into the darker mysteries at the heart of this narrative.

What drove this story, as often is the case with great cozy mystery reads, was the rich character dynamics of the book. The story’s opening chapters reflect this greatly, as Lilly, the owner of the Inn the protagonists are staying in, immediately shows a unique small-town charm as she carries on with grand storytelling and makes hilarious assumptions about people. The blend of humorous interactions like this and the twisted confrontations that arise later on made this story so engaging.

The Verdict

Captivating, thrilling, and engaging, authors Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey’s “The Flower Enigma” is a must-read cozy mystery meets suspense thriller read and a great addition to the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles series. The rich storytelling and entertaining characters of this small town mystery will have readers invested in this narrative, and the twists and turns it takes will keep you hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Charles Breakfield is a renowned technology solutions architect with years of experience in security, cloud computer, hybrid data/telecom environments, artificial intelligence, and unified communications. He finds it intriguing to leverage his professional skills in writing the contemporary award-winning stories of the Enigma Series and the short stories he creates with his co-author.

Never one to sit still, he uses his spare time to explore books on World War II his¬tory, travel with his family, and cultural exchanges everywhere. Charles’ love of wine tastings, cooking creations on the grill like individual pizzas, and Harley riding are sometimes sprinkled throughout the Enigma Series.

Recently, Charles commented that being a part of his father’s military career stationed at various outposts, has positively contributed to the many characters in the stories. He enjoys exploring the various character perspectives and interactions pulling from real people. He accepted the challenge to try to teach Burkey humor which is also incorporated into many of the stories in an unexpected manner.

Burkey commented that If Charles is not creating a new story he paces like a caged tiger. So yes there is another story in the works. You can enjoy snippets of their stories, book trailers, audible sections, and get FREE stuff at www.EnigmaSeries.com.

Rox Burkey is the co-author of the 13 books in the Enigma Series. The prequel, Out of Poland, historical fiction released in 2021. In addition to her award winning novels and nurmerous short stories, she is a techologist by profession. She is known for helping business customers modernize and optimize customer experience (CX) with processes, technology shifts, and building roadmaps to success. Nothing makes her workday go better than for a customer to indicate she helped reach their business goals. She is adept at learning the drivers for customers and helping to measure their success as well as adjust their journey using CX principles.

Rox loves writing fiction as much if not more than her professional job. More than once she has been a featured speaker, workshop leaders, subject matter expert, interviewer, podcaster, book reviewer through RoxBurkey.com. Her favorite is writing the novels and short stories of the Enigma Series. She convinced her co-author Charles Breakfield that writing fiction is a lot more fun than white papers or documentation.

As a child, Rox jumped at the chance to lead the other kids with exciting new adventures built on make believe characters. As a Girl Scout until high school, she contributed to the community and went on to support the local Head Start program. Rox enjoys her family, cross country travel (okay international too) listening to people, outdoors activities, sewing, cooking, baking, and imagining the possibilities.

Recently Rox indicated that her humor was lousy, and Charles was helping her. You can enjoy snippets of their stories, book trailers, audible sections, and get FREE stuff at www.EnigmaSeries.com.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6QK4FGK/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61889926-the-flower-enigma%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DVCEhxr792K%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Spaceball: A Fantastic Soccer Journey Through Space and Time by Matthew Bennett Young Review

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

Author Matthew Bennett Young takes readers on a cosmic journey to explore our universe and brings the passion for soccer and locations throughout the UK that many young readers will enjoy in his children’s book, “Spaceball: A Fantastic Soccer Journey Through Space and Time”. 

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The Synopsis

Do you Love Soccer? Do you also dream of scoring the Greatest Goal in The History of Everything? Find out how it’s done in this thrilling soccer space adventure.

The soccer ball in this story leaves Earth with a mighty strike of the boot and rockets past every planet. Each planet has a landmark of a famous soccer city in the UK. See if you can work out which city and soccer club it is!

The collage illustrations in this picture book are fun and vibrant and really make the story come alive. It genuinely seems as if you are travelling along with the soccer ball through space. Children will learn about the planets in our solar system in a fun and exhilarating way, travelling faster than the speed of soccer!

Let your imagination travel to new soccer frontiers on this magical fantasy adventure. Follow the journey of the world’s most adventurous soccer ball as it travels through our solar system and finally lands….where?

Buy the book today and get the world’s most fantastic soccer surprise!

Suitable for fans of all ages 

The Review

This was such a fun and unique approach to the children’s book genre. The author was able to find a creative way of blending children’s interest in three very different subjects, (soccer, space, and iconic UK locations), and make a cohesive story that felt vibrant and inviting to young readers. The imagery that the author used, a creative collage-inspired approach, allowed the reader to feel more connected to the narrative as if this was something they themselves could have participated in. 

Yet it was the attention to detail the author used that made this such a unique and educational story. From the intimate look at our own solar system and how each planet functioned, to the deep-rooted and specific cultural meanings behind some of the UK locations and events mentioned by the author, this book gave readers much to learn and consider, as well as a good dose of humor and wit that will keep them invested until the book’s end.

The Verdict

Creative, heartfelt, and entertaining, author Matthew Bennett Young’s “Spaceball: A Fantastic Soccer Journey Through Space and Time” is a must-read children’s book. The humorous dialogue between the father and his son in this story, as well as the rich educational value in multiple fields of children’s education the author taps into, made this such an enjoyable read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Matthew has been writing stories since his childhood in England. His children’s stories can be recognized by a “naïve” style, written as much from a child’s view of the world as possible, but in a way that is also intended to appeal to adults. He tries to write to disrupt associations and challenge assumptions that are commonly made around us. Matthew was appointed a Writer in Schools by the Ministry of Culture and Communications in Quebec and through this program delivers literary workshops to children in the Montreal area. He has taught at school, college and university level in Sweden and Canada and has been invited to give readings and teach workshops at schools, museums and literary festivals in New York, Berlin, London and Gothenburg. Matthew currently teaches in Montreal.

He enjoys growing food, cooking, doing yoga and walking on the chalky downs of North Dorset when he can.

https://www.onewildword.org/