Posted in reviews

Ekleipsis by Tamel Wino Review

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

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

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The Synopsis

The sun has finally set on humanity…

What happens when we give in to the darkness?

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

my website: https://ekleipsis.ca/

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

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

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

Posted in reviews

Murder Across the Ocean by Charlene Wexler Review

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

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

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

Magic.

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

She could fall in love with the beast.

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Amber Argyle

Narrator: Lynn Bradford

Length: 14 hour 5 minutes

Series: Forbidden Forest, Book 1

Publisher: Starling Publishing

Released: Nov. 11, 2020

Genre: Romantic Fantasy; YA

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

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

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

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The Synopsis 

She killed my best friend.

Shame on me.

She lied and said it was self-defense.

Shame on me.

She wrote a book about it.

Shame on you.

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

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

Posted in reviews

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

Be mentally strong on your entrepreneurial journey!

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

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

In this book you will learn:

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

My Story

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

My Goal

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

My Approach

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

Your Future

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

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

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

Fang Meets Fang

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

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

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

https://www.alistaircross.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.tamarathorne.com/

Posted in reviews

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Official US Site

Official UK Site

JIMMY Patterson Books

ReadKiddoRead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note from J.D.

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

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

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

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

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

jd

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Splurge Dealers & Banshee Addicts by Douglass Goodman Review

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

A futuristic sci-if thriller explores the power of addiction as a plot to control the world by a powerful threat behind the scenes forces humanity and a secret society to join forces, with two special agents caught in the middle in author Douglass Goodman’s “Splurge Dealers & Banshee Addicts”.

The Synopsis

This book is about addiction and its future. The future is not bright. Here are your two choices for our society’s ultimate fate. Will the rampant addiction be to a new drug (Splurge) that gets us high on rationality? Or would you rather have what’s behind door number two, an addiction to an internet of emotional sharing (Banshees)? I should also mention that this latter addiction is part of a conspiracy to control the world. Are you on the side of Splurge Dealers or Banshee Addicts? Those are the choices of our hero, Hunter, a drug-enhanced agent for the DCIA and his new partner, Sammi, who has her own dark secret.

An imaginative, narrative exploration of addiction. It has the high stakes, deadly suspense and hidden conspiracies of a thriller. The what-ifs of science fiction. The gut-emotional impact of horror. Plenty of outrageous sex and lots of humor. It’s fun, taut, thrilling, but more importantly it gives you characters and dilemmas to think and talk about addiction, its consequences and its possible futures.

The first step is to admit you’re powerless. You can’t help yourself. You must read this book.

The Review

An exhilarating story that teeters between a sci-fi adventure and an action thriller, Douglass Goodman delivers a wonderful book that readers can get easily invested in. The analysis of addiction as a whole and the commentary on how so many people will end up substituting one addiction for another was felt heavily throughout this narrative and brought depth to the sci-fi genre.

The multiple POVs throughout the novel was refreshing, giving readers a chance to explore multiple facets of this futuristic universe the author has created. The dialogue shifts evenly between outrageous humor and inner dialogue to thought provoking conversations where readers have to see what is truly more important: emotions or rational thinking, especially in this narrative where a powerful force is set to weaponize emotions through technological addiction. Can one survive without the other?

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, evenly paced and powerful story that felt like it would have been home in a great late 70’s, early 80’s sci-fi film. This is a must read novel and a great way to kick off 2021. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Last Christmas Cowboy (Gold Valley #11) by Maisey Yates Review

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

A cowboy still dealing with the loss of his family finds himself drawn into an unexpected mission of romance for his best friend’s sister and discovers instead a chemistry and passion he never before imagined in author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Christmas Cowboy”, the eleventh novel in the “Gold Valley” series.

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The Synopsis

Will this brooding Gold Valley cowboy find redemption this Christmas?

This Christmas, cowgirl Rose Daniels is determined to play matchmaker to ensure her beloved sister will meet someone under the mistletoe. She enlists the reluctant help of family friend Logan Heath, but his insistence that she doesn’t understand chemistry is exasperating. Until they share one electrifying moment that shows her exactly what chemistry is all about, and it becomes outrageously, irresistibly intriguing…

Logan hates the holidays. They are a painful reminder of the family he lost and a time of year he always wants to spend on his own. But Rose refuses to let him. Logan’s worked for years to keep his attraction to her under wraps—she’s his best friend’s youngest sister and she couldn’t be more off-limits. He’s the last cowboy that innocent Rose should ever kiss, but this Christmas, will Logan become the only cowboy she’ll ever want?

The Review

While the notion of reading the eleventh book in a long-running romance series can feel daunting, the author does an amazing job of crafting a narrative that feels both recognizable to longtime readers and wholly new and original to newcomers, creating a story that can work as a standalone novel. 

The chemistry and tension between Rose and Logan is definitely heated, and fans of more adult romance won’t be able to get enough of this story. The story does a great job of incorporating both graphic and intimate scenes between the characters and deep, emotionally-driven narratives that delve into the lives of the characters themselves, creating a perfect balance that fans of the romance genre won’t be able to get enough of. 

The Verdict

A lengthy, engaging, and intimate modern-day cowboy romance, author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Cowboy Christmas” is a must-read this holiday season! The history these characters share with one another and the approachability for readers both new to the series and well established will both be able to enjoy, this is a heat-inducing and romantic novel that readers can’t help but enjoy, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.

She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

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