The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller #2) by J.D. Barker Review

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

Today is a special treat my friends. I was recently sent an advanced copy of the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite thrillers in the last few years, The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. This time around the author has published The Fifth To Die, a thrilling ride that explores the continuing hunt for the deadly 4MK. Here’s the synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

This book was incredible. Of course as with all my reviews this will be a spoiler-free review. However I can honestly say that author J.D. Barker has mastered how to write the perfect sequel, upping his game greatly to create an even more intense, thrilling and engaging story than The Fourth Monkey. Delving deeper into the killer’s past, Detective Porter finds himself drawn into the twisted world of 4MK in ways no one can ever imagine, unless of course you’re J.D. Barker.

The way the story takes readers into the minds of everyone involved in the case, from new investigators and the team you came to know and love in the first novel to the killer himself and the newest victims who have to face the very heart of darkness and evil alone. It’s a powerful and explosive story from the first page, showing the way everyone was affected by 4MK’s surprising actions in the first novel and how just when you thought you knew the limits of this killer, he takes things so much further. By the end of the story your heart will be racing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath because you got so enraptured with the twist ending that you forgot to breath.

Overall I loved this story. It was so fun and thrilling to take part in, and the entire time I was reading it I kept asking myself when someone is going to make a movie or show about this story. The tale of 4MK and those hunting him is the modern day serial killer story we’ve been waiting for, and makes for the perfect summer thriller read. In J.D. Barker we’ve found a spiritual successor to the incredible Stephen King, taking the characters of the everyday man and transforming their lives into one of a kind adventures and thrill rides that only these one of a kind authors could come up with. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, be sure to do so now. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker comes out July 10th, 2018, so grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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ABOUT J.D.

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Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public. The novel, titled Dracul, sold at auction to G.P. Putnam & Sons, with film rights going to Paramount. Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) is attached to direct.

Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

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Smashwords July Summer/Winter Book Promotion: 50% Off And Free eBooks!

Hello there!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer thus far! As I continue preparing for the upcoming release of novella #2 in my YA series Nightmare Academy, I thought it would be a great time to start sharing my books with you all. That’s why I’m excited to share that my books I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered and Welcome to Nightmare Academy are taking part in Smashwords annual Summer/Winter promotion! Throughout the entire month of July, I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered is going to be 50% off (that’s $1.50 for an entire novel), and Welcome to Nightmare Academy will be completely free! Yes, the first entry in the series is now free for the entire month. So click the link down below and get both a marked down, scary horror novel about a teenage killer and get a free copy of a highly reviewed and engaging upcoming YA series. If you enjoy these stories then I would love for you to leave a review on any site you are able to and also preorder your copy of Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella today! Thanks everyone, and enjoy your summer!

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Guest Post: Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites by Michael Okon

Hi Everyone! I am honored to share with you this amazing guest post from author Michael Okon on the importance of social media for authors. Enjoy!

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Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites

By Michael Okon

Any serious author wanting to be discovered by readers knows how important it is to engage online. Whether we love social media or we hate it, it’s necessary for branding purposes. Authorship is a business. And like all businesses, you MUST actively participate in your marketing efforts. Social media platforms make this possible.

Truth be told, I actually despise social media. Yes, I said it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore it. It’s time consuming, and at times can be downright silly. All that follow to unfollow nonsense. Who has the time? I’d rather be writing than worrying about getting and maintaining followers.

At first, I did most of my social media management on my own. Trust me, I wasn’t an expert and I recognized that pretty quickly. There’s no shame in hiring someone to help out with your social media efforts. That’s what I eventually did, but I do still try to stay as engaged as I possibly can.

Now I have a team of social media experts who work tirelessly to get my name out there in front of as many potential readers as possible. Indie publishing is a tough business to be in and you absolutely need every edge possible to get people to notice you and your books.

If you don’t yet have the finances to hire a social media manager I implore you not to ignore this side of book marketing. Just posting once or twice a day on the biggies – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – will help readers find you. And don’t forget to comment, like and repost while you’re at it. Social media is here to stay so you may as well get used to it!

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. Monsterland Reanimated, Book Two in the Monsterland series, was just released on April 13, 2018 and promises to be bigger and badder than Book One. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.  

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Hybrids (Underlays #1.5) by T.A. Moorman

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Hybrids

Underlayes, #1.5

by T.A. Moorman, GothicMom’s Studios

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Anya has never been one for the spotlight, but her family seems to now be front and center, and the talk of the town in Underlayes. In the aftermath of her mother’s death, the discovery of said mother’s deceit, and Anya’s half sister getting ready to challenge her own father for the witches throne, keeping a low profile may prove to be difficult. Add in the fact that she’s pregnant, by her female mate, and it may be impossible.

Kierra has never been one for many words. So if she were forced to explain how she impregnated Anya, it probably wouldn’t be easy for her. Especially since the truth would mean revealing her origins; she’s not a vampire, or even anything close to it. And living in realm where her kind isn’t allowed may cause a few ramifications. Plus, should the kid call her Mom, or Dad?

Jump right back into the world of Underlayes where this magical family takes dysfunction to brand new heights.

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Chapter 1

“What the fuck happened to you, Anya?” were the only words thrown at me as I flashed into my living quarters, right before being pulled into a crushing embrace by my mate who was so emotional she kept flashing between being male to female. My entire body was so numb I couldn’t tell how many times she transformed. Truth be told, I didn’t care. Being in Kierra’s arms was all that mattered, whether there was a perfectly sculpted masculine chest or a large pair of succulent breasts. It meant I was finally home.

After everything that had just transpired, my entire being had felt numb, right down to the depths of my soul, the feeling going beyond skin and bone-deep. Being with my Fated One didn’t take all the pain away, but it did at least make me feel grounded again and helped me to feel something other than the pain of losing a mother whom I never had a chance to figure out I loved more than I hated her or vice versa. So, not only did I miss out on having a mom to idolize when I was young, and fight with and terrorize as a teen, I also would never be able to confront her as an adult for everything that she had done. Even though I was more vampire than witch than my sister Tialanna, I still resented being the one our mother had decided to let go.

My mind replayed what had happened no more than a mere few hours ago…

“Anya, I’m not going to insult you with apologies.” My left eye twitched at that. I couldn’t help it, and I hadn’t bothered to try and hide it. She wasn’t supposed to die yet, and she owed me so much more than an apology. “What I did, I did only because of how much I love you. The beliefs as they are right now within the witch community? No way would you have been able to survive that. The king would have taken one look at you and killed you on sight, no questions asked and no answers needed. Which is something you girls are going to have to change. Your fire may be gone, but a flame still burns bright within you, honey. Hone your new element and let it shine through.”

My mother sucked in one long, final gasp of air. “I love you girls, all of you, and I know you will make all this right.”

With that, her eyes glazed over and her body went completely limp. Looking at my sisters, Tia and Elyssia, with tears streaming down their faces, my own remained dry. And for a brief moment, I hated them both. Which was completely unfair. It wasn’t their fault what happened, any of it. But I couldn’t help the anger I felt for them having been with this woman for their entire lives, none the wiser that I had even existed. When I looked back down at my mother’s body, I felt anger at her for abandoning me and fear at what she had left us to face. There was also the fact that she had given her element to me so that I could live. There was a turmoil of emotions dominating for control inside of me.

I allowed myself to sink deeper into Kierra’s embrace, losing myself as her lips captured mine in a kiss that went beyond physical contact and began to put a healing balm on my shattered soul. I don’t think I ever referred to her as a male, even when she was penetrating me as one. Some distant part of my brain was telling me that this time, however, I needed to help her regain control and remain in her female form. But right then, neither of us cared about anything except being as close to one another as possible.

So, when Kierra was finally able to settle on just one form, it didn’t matter to me that it was her male form. And I also didn’t stop to spell myself against getting pregnant.

I reached up and ran my hands through now shoulder-length, silky jet-black hair as Kierra deepened the kiss even more and brought my body flush against a chest that was all male and packed with smooth, hairless muscles, and an erection that was impossible to miss. At some point we both must have done away with our clothes, because before I knew it, we were already on the bed with my legs wrapped firmly around Kierra’s waist. And we made love, as male and female.

If I were being one-hundred percent honest with myself, I would admit that Kierra’s male form was exactly what I needed at that moment. I loved making love to Kierra in her female form, but that wasn’t what I needed at that particular moment in time.

Kierra entered me hard and strong, and for a couple of moments made no move, leaving her rock-hard shaft, seemingly growing in length, lying there inside of me, and rubbing my clitoris with her thick, calloused thumb. My mind blanked out of all thoughts, and primal instincts took over where all I could do was feel as Kierra began to thrust, rubbing and hitting against my walls at a perfect pace. “Harder,” I managed to say, right before I sank my fangs into the throbbing pulse point that seemed to be calling out to me.

It wasn’t long before juices began flowing out of me as Kierra let out a long stream of thick, wet heat inside my core. After a few more thrusts, we came
together once more. Without breaking our connection, Kierra rolled over so that I was the one on top, and just held me as I laid my head down on that sweaty, muscular chest. We both drifted off, content in each other’s arms, not yet ready to let reality back in.

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Fight the Good Fight (Echoes of the Past Book 1) Blog Tour

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That night, David took a long shower; also known as a Hollywood shower by those in the CDF. The term traced back hundreds of years; to where, David wasn’t quite sure. It referred to taking a long shower while in space, as opposed to a space shower, in which you turned the water on for thirty seconds, turned it off, lathered up, and finally turned it back on again to rinse. His bunk was thankfully quiet and empty due to the rest of the men assigned to that berthing compartment being absent, finally giving him time to think. The idea of being a part of something larger than himself embodied the motto of the CDF, which was “Semper Paratus” or “Always Ready.” If he was being honest with himself, it appealed to him.

Lying in his bunk, he pondered over and over, What do I owe the Terran Coalition? Do I owe it anything? Does everyone have a duty to stand up for the freedoms we’ve received and fight against evil?

Finding no solace, he decided to place a real-time comm call to a friend from boot camp, Sheila Thompson. It would cost his entire comm time ration for the next three months, but he had to talk to someone, and his mother wasn’t the right person to have this conversation with. As he reached for his tablet computer, his mind thought back to boot camp, where he met Sheila three days into the ten-week ordeal.

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The Fiasco In News by Stephan Morse Review

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

An incredible twist on the superhero genre plays out in author Stephan Morse’s novel The Fiasco In News. Exploring the life of one young man who gains the unfortunate superpower of drawing disasters to himself, this genre mixture of dark comedy, horror, science fiction, fantasy and satire lights up the pages of this book like no other book before it. Here’s the synopsis:

When you’ve seen as many catastrophes as I have, “disaster” becomes a relative term. But when disaster hits, feel free to do what I do—hang your head while waiting for the tight-wearing crowd to arrive. That only works if your super power is the same one I have though. I’m an immortal walking magnet for superpowered problems. 

This new guy, Ted—a fake part-time villain who’s in it for the ratings and excitement—wants me to be a field correspondent for his news blog, and his offer sounds good. If I can’t beat ’em, expose ’em. The problem is he has no idea what my daily life is like. 

No one really does—but they’ll learn.

When I read this novel, I honestly couldn’t believe it wasn’t a television show already. Reading this was like reading the script to a show on Netflix that mixed the whacky horror of Ash vs. The Evil Dead, the larger than life superhero antic of The Flash and the adult drama of a Marvel Netflix show. Not only was this book packed with the incredible superhero action that one comes to expect from the genre, but we got a comic look at the way superpowers impact everyday people, and also the tragedy of those same interactions.

The character of Adam Millard felt very relatable if you can believe that. Despite his overwhelming power, the feeling of hopelessness in the face of overwhelming odds and the struggle to overcome your circumstances that cannot be changed felt like something I could personally identify with, while the sarcasm and humor he displayed in the face of these otherwise incredible encounters made me feel like I was watching a comedy on HBO instead of reading a book.

Overall I loved this story. It was one of the most original and unique stories I’ve read this year. The imagery used in this story made me picture the novel as if it were an actual comic book. I could almost see the twisted worlds Adam was forced to visit in this story popping off of the page, and the relationship between himself and the supporting cast made this an incredible story to behold. I can only hope we get more adventures of Adam Millard and I hope one day we can get this incredible series turned into a show, for it’s one of those stories that is both original and easily translatable onto another entertainment medium. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of author Stephan Morse’s novel The Fiasco In News today!

Rating: 10/10

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Looking for Dei by David A. Wilson 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 learns her destiny is far greater than she could have imagined in author David A. Wilson’s Looking for Dei. A brand new YA Fantasy novel that is filled with magic, war torn countries and love, this brand new release is an amazing first novel in what I hope will become a full fledged series. Here is the synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.

A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

From the books first page we get a glimpse into the complex and chaotic world of this incredible read. A society where religion is law and your station in life is determined by a dangerous coming of age ceremony, this whole society has their world turned upside down by the power one young woman wields. The relationship between Nara and those around her is powerful and emotional, drawing the reader in with their connection to one another and the lengths to which each of them will go to fight for one another. This story is a coming of age tale to be sure, filled with betrayal, sorcery and a journey of self discovery the likes of which you’ve never read before. The story is filled with twists and turns galore, and by books end you will be on the edge of your seat, praying to Dei himself that the next book will magically appear in your hands.

Overall I loved this book. I thought the story does a great job of showcasing not only the power we all have within ourselves to rise above ordinary and become extraordinary in our own way, but it showed the way completely unrelated strangers could becoming a loving and caring family. It proves that blood doesn’t define you, but the bond you share with someone does. It’s a wonderful entry into what sounds like a promising fantasy series, and the writing was expertly crafted to create an intriguing and emotional tale that showcases just how much the author has mastered the genre. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Looking for Dei by David A. Wilson today!

Rating: 10/10

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