Posted in reviews

Reborn by Jenna Greene 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 destined for a life as a slave risks everything to save a young girl facing a horrific fate in author Jenna Greene’s “Reborn”. 

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The Synopsis

Those who bear marks on their skin are doomed to a life of slavery. Lexil has seven.

Sold into servitude, Lexil must deal with brutal punishments, back-breaking labor, and the loss of every freedom. When a young child she has befriended faces a horrible fate, Lexil must intervene to protect her, no matter what the risk.

With the help of a boy named Finn, the trio flee into the Wastelands. There, they must evade those who hunt them while trying to survive a barren landscape. Lexil must face challenges she’s never imagined existed, all while learning what it means to truly be reborn.

The Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new release. Buy REBORN now to find out if being branded a reborn is a myth, a curse… or a destiny.

The Review

A fantastic blend of fantasy and dystopian thriller, author Jennifer Greene has crafted an engaging world where the fight for freedom takes on a whole new meaning. Exploring a world where those born with marks on their bodies are known as Reborns, those who have lived past lives, and are considered property to serve the Once-Borns, this novel does an expert job of crafting wholly original mythology and a memorable cast of characters.

The author’s ability to blend a unique and creative new narrative with an important theme such as freedom and fighting against oppression makes this such an important read. The action and character growth are beautifully balanced with the world-building the author delves into, exploring how the fight for freedom comes from multiple sides, and there is often much more to the story than meets the eye. 

The Verdict

A shocking, entertaining yet thoughtful dystopian fantasy, author Jenna Greene’s “Reborn” is a must-read novel. Highly engaging and memorable, the author does a fantastic job of creating a great cast of characters, especially the protagonist and hero Lexil, as well as a wellspring of unique world mythology that readers will want to revisit over and over again. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jenna Greene is a writer, podcaster, teacher, clumsy dancer, dragonboat coach, and semi-professional napper. She’s also the co-host of “Quill and Ink: A Podcast for Book Lovers” with Miranda Oh.

www.facebook.com/jennabutrenchukgreene

www.jennagreene.ca

Posted in reviews

Orange City (Orange City, #1) by Lee Matthew Goldberg Review

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

A city where outcasts get a second chance at life leads to an ad executive having his eyes opened to the prison they’re in and the monster who runs their lives in author Lee Matthew Goldberg’s “Orange City”, the first in the Orange City series.

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The Synopsis

Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave.

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD

The Review

A haunting and breathtaking sci-fi and dystopian novel, author Lee Matthew Goldberg brings a truly gritty world to life. The author does an amazing job of delving into the thin line between “good” and “evil” that many of these characters share, as morality within a society plays a major role in the narrative. 

The imagery used in this book does a great job of fusing the colorful and in-your-face advertising that has taken over our world over the last few decades with the action-driven and darker side of technology in our society. The pacing of the narrative really is what draws the reader in, presenting figures like E and the menacing ruler known simply as “Man” so that readers are instantly hooked and driven to delve into this fantastic world the author has built.

The Verdict

A shocking, intense yet engaging sci-fi and dystopian novel, author Lee Matthew Goldberg’s “Orange City” is a great start to this brand new series. Exploring themes of consumerism, addiction, and technology, this story does a wonderful job of creating a mythos that readers can really delve into nature, and makes this a must-read book. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. 

He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. 

Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

Posted in reviews

Journey of Hope and Tears by Dieter Ryckewaert Review

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

A nurse and a soldier must work together to escape a nefarious army in a dystopian landscape in author Dieter Ryckewaert’s “Journey of Hope and Tears”. 

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The Synopsis

If you were a refugee, would you be able to move on when your loved ones have all perished?

Jill lives with her parents and brother in Greenwood. She longs for freedom, far away from the Seers Dynasty and their tyrannical regime. She works in her father’s practice as a nurse, and this brings her some joy in her life – a simple but meaningful life.

When Jill’s homeland is attacked by Cerynean soldiers, her dream of finding happiness shatters into a thousand pieces. Jill and her brother are summoned to defend their homeland, but the war is short-lived. Latania falls, and all hell breaks loose.

As soon as the Cerynean soldiers march into the streets of Greenwood, Jill’s father brings her to safety. Aboard an old boat, the Sabrielle, she can flee, but her parents and brother are left behind. Tormented by pain and agony, Jill sees no way out…

Sam, a foreign soldier of the Freedom Pact, lost and miles away from his unit, becomes her salvation. Onboard the Sabrielle, they both realise that they can only survive if they work together. Hunted by the Cerynean army, they begin their journey with only one goal: to escape Latania.

JOURNEY OF HOPE AND TEARS: an unusual story about the true meaning of love, set in a dystopian world, reflecting our own challenges as humankind. 

The Review

A beautiful and emotional dystopian read, author Dieter Ryckewaert does an incredible job of blending brand new mythology with a memorable cast of characters that really showcase the horrors of war and the pain that comes with loss. Protagonists Jill and Sam are the heart of this story, each showcasing a different aspect of the world the author has created and highlighting the various aspects and impacts that war has on different people involved, from the soldiers on the front lines to the innocents who must witness their lives being torn apart. 

The emotional pull of Jill and her story is what really drives this narrative forward in a great way. The relationship between her and her family, as well as the growing relationship with Sam in the midst of all this death and tragedy all around them, help elevate the stakes in regards to the novel’s action and more integral scenes. The author’s ability to craft this whole new world and narrative allows readers to gain a sense of imagery that really showcases the magnitude of the novel’s intense plotline as well, making this book excel above so many other dystopian reads. 

The Verdict

An evenly paced, emotionally driven action & adventure/romantic dystopian read. The character growth of this novel is hauntingly beautiful, and the dystopian setting and deep cut in new mythology help this story stand out above the rest in the genre. Author Dieter Ryckewaert’s “Journey of Hope and Tears” is a must-read novel, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

When an author writes about his characters, or about the magical worlds in which they live, his or her pen never gets empty. Ask an author about the background of his or her latest protagonist, and the next hour you’re guaranteed not to get a letter in between.

What could be difficult about writing your own biography, you might think?

The answer to that question is already written in the question itself: the ‘own’ biography. Most authors write about everything and everyone, but mostly not… about themselves.

But anyway, let me introduce myself.

My name is Dieter Ryckewaert (1984) and I was born in Poperinge, a small town in West Flanders, a stone’s throw from the Belgian coast. When I was about three years old, we moved with our family to Zonnebeke, where me and my sister had a carefree childhood. The house in which we lived bordered a field and a forest, the dream playground for every child of my generation.

Together with the children of the neighbors, we played outside, and risked our lives several times in the branches of the trees. The garden of the neighbors was separated from our garden by a nine-foot high hedge. In the middle of that hedge was a hole big enough to give passage to an adult person. On day one of our time in Zonnebeke, my parents wanted to close the hedge, so we had a little more privacy in our garden. Of course, that didn’t match our idea about the hole (us as in: me, my sister, and the three children of the neighbors). The hole functioned as a passage from and especially to the new playmates. So close it? No way!

Eight years later, when we moved back to Poperinge, the hole was still there.

Back in Poperinge I was first confronted with my ‘writing itch’ when we got the chance at school to work on a collection of poems about love. As a fourteen year old adolescent I found the idea as corny as it could be. Really, shouldn’t we be tough like men? Well, I gave it a chance… and it turned out that ‘writing’ was much more fun than I first thought. When the words flowed out of my pen (we didn’t have a computer yet), ‘poetry and rhyming’ became quite fun.

From poetry, it logically turned into short stories. And I remember my first short story very well. I was so proud of my little Sci-Fi work! In hindsight, the quality was way below par, but one has to begin somewhere, right?

Many short stories followed, and as the writing itch continued to rise, I ventured into my first ‘real’ novel.

Once I graduated, I wanted my writing to blossom further. Bringing new worlds and characters to life and sharing them with readers gives me enormous satisfaction. Not only that, but also the fact that stories with a positive note inspire people and give them a chance to escape from the – hectic or not – life. 

Posted in reviews

Rats in a Maze by Peter Bailey Review

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

A simple case turns Detective Ray Fisher’s life upside down, revealing shadowy organizations and making him question is sanity in author Peter Bailey’s “Rats in a Maze”. 

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The Synopsis

What does it mean when you start remembering things that never happened and your dreams are haunted by the most beautiful woman in the world?

NYPD Detective Ray Fisher thought it meant he was going mad, but there was enough of the Detective left to see that the weirdness had started after he’d investigated a car that had been driven into the river. It was a trivial case but it opened his eyes to a shadowy elite who used people like pawns.

Ray thought he had all the answers until the NYPD suspended him and he realised that the only thing worse than the elite was the vast government Conspiracy concealing it

Chased by black clad kill teams through the city, Ray has to escape with the most unlikely person in the world on a road trip like no other where he discovers that the only way to be truly free is to leave his humanity behind.

Rats in a maze, a roller coaster thrill ride leading to a shattering conclusion where the fate of the world is literally in the hands of children.

The Review

A fantastic blend of police procedural and thriller with a twist of dystopian suspense, Rats in a Maze is a fantastic read. The author expertly weaves a complex and layered story with a fully fleshed out cast of characters that capture the reader’s attention and engage with them emotionally. 

Protagonist and Detective Ray Fisher is a truly interesting character. Driving this journey full of twists and turns, the character’s arc is exceptional to read, from his tragic backstory and loss to the growing mystery this case brings him and the evolution he undergoes as the story goes on. Add to this the author’s fantastic world-building and the lore they crafted for this tale, and readers will be hard pressed not to be entertained as they fall deeper and deeper into this novel’s web. 

The Verdict

An evenly-paced, action-packed and exciting read, author Peter Bailey’s “Rats in a Maze” is a must-read thriller of 2020. A larger than life story that hits all the great notes of a good suspense and mystery read and adds a bit of dystopian vibes, readers won’t want to miss the shocking conclusion to this amazing read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Peter lives in England with his long-suffering wife. His first story was a fictionalized account of a disastrous trip to Las Vegas with a dental abscess. Since then, he has written a vampire story (without any actual vampires) and about a perfectly ordinary day at the office that will last for eternity. Rats In A Maze is his third book, kindly published by Moonshine Cove, in September 2020

https://peter-bailey-books.com/

Posted in reviews

Blackacre Rising (Ivy Spires #2) by John C. Adams Review

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

Loyalties will be tested and lines will be crossed as the fight for humanity wages on in author John C. Adams’ latest entry in the Ivy Spires dystopian series, “Blackacre Rising”. 

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The Synopsis

From Horror Tree reviewer and double Aeon Award Longlister John C Adams comes a disturbing tale of scientific experimentation and sadistic cruelty. The sequel to ‘Souls For The Master’, ‘Blackacre Rising’ features a stunning cover by Fiona Jayde Media.

Leaving the chaos erupting in the Metropolis behind, Gerald speeds north to his cousin Brett Flint’s farmhouse, Blackacre. He is certain that their vehicle is being followed, but returning to the capital with Don and Ivy is simply too risky now that Janus Fidens has taken over the Resistance and declared the pair to be outlaws who have betrayed the Revolution. Arriving at Blackacre, Gerald begs Brett and his wife Radclyffe to shelter Ivy and Don under their roof without asking too many questions about why his young companions have had to flee to the sparsely populated uplands and need their presence there kept secret.

Distraught at saying goodbye to Gerald, Ivy admits how much she has come to care for him since they have been battling the authorities together. They snatch a few moments alone together to say a private farewell before Gerald drives back to the capital, hoping to persuade Janus to drop his pursuit of Ivy and Don. En route, Gerald is followed by the same car that tailed them northwards. Lured into stopping to assist at the site of a road traffic accident, the trainee surgeon is captured and transported to a shadowy underground scientific research facility, where he is disturbed to discover that Sinister Tungsten, sister to his arch nemesis Hendra, awaits him.

In the Blackacre library, Don is welcomed by the Seven. This mysterious group includes the Master he fought to defeat down in the Metropolis, five other strange figures with bizarre powers and, of course, the malignant farmhouse itself. Brett, Radclyffe and their twin baby sons reside in the oddest place Don has ever encountered. He reluctantly agrees to become involved in the Seven’s project to assassinate Dr Luther Honigbaum, who funds the facility where Gerald is being held prisoner and runs the asylum in Austria which supplies its young female test subjects.

Learning how to transport herself from one location to another shocks Ivy. Unlike Don, who has wielded great power his whole life, her skills as an assassin are more practical in nature, and she worries that having shifted safely to Austria she’ll be unable to return safely. Finally, she is ready to undertake her mission to kill the evil man behind the gruesome experiments that serve no purpose other than to gratify the rampant cruelty of Honigbaum and his acolytes.

Meanwhile, the Seven show Don another facility, this time in Antarctica, where equally cruel experiments take place upon men. When the Seven tell him he is too young to witness exactly what it taking place, he uses his unique powers to advance his age by three years so that he is now eighteen. He gladly sacrifices a part of his natural life to rescue the men kept prisoner there and tormented by sadistic experiments with no scientific value whatsoever.

Arriving in Austria, Ivy is horrified to discover that her cover is already blown and Honigbaum lies in waiting for her. He has a sinister agenda of his own and will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who resists both his sadistically cruel medical research and his repulsive sexual advances. When Brett Flint’s cousin Henry turns up at Ubersneller, Honigbaum locks him up in one of his asylums high up in the mountains to ensure his silence. He has particularly dark designs on Ivy, and is determined that her close friendship with Don will enable him to reach out to his estranged son. Drugged and forced to comply, Ivy is young enough to provide the ageing Honigbaum with everything he wishes. Gerald’s imprisonment ends when Sinistra’s elder sister Hendra returns and the authorities brutally re-establish law and order, but he is no safer with her than with her sibling.

The Review

A truly gripping, intense, and engaging dystopian sci-fi read. The author does a brilliant job of creating a large mythos in this dystopian world rich with a multitude of main and side characters that readers will be able to both loathe and root for. 

Although I had not read the first book in the series, the author writes in a way that allows readers both new and established to be able to delve into this new narrative, as the central characters find themselves split up and fighting brutal battles all on their own. Each finds their path fraught with horrifying trials and monstrous adversaries, all while their own abilities grow and develop over time. 

The story really benefits from a strong character arc for the central protagonists and antagonists. This lengthy read delves into the hardships and struggles each character undertakes in this world divided by class and exposed to horrors unlike anything seen before. In the midst of powers and action, the author really brings about complex characters that readers can identify and support throughout this narrative.

The Verdict

A must-read dystopian sci-fi thriller, author John C. Adams’ “Blackacre Rising” is a fantastic sequel in the Ivy Spires series. Emotionally driven character arcs and action-packed scenes all come together under strong mythology and ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Be sure to preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a non-binary author and critic of fantasy and horror.

I review for Schlock! Webzine, the British Fantasy Society and Horror Tree, as well as placing reviews and articles across a wide range of blogs and magazines.

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. I’ve been a Contributing Editor for Albedo One Magazine and the Aeon Award since 2016. Before that, I was a Submissions Reader with them.

My debut horror novel, ‘Souls for the Master’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. Likewise, my debut fantasy novel, ‘Aspatria’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. The sequel to ‘Aspatria’, ‘Dagmar of the Northlands’, is out now on Kindle and Smashwords retailers.

Although I write mostly long fiction, since 2015 I have had stories published in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press, Fantasia Divinity and Jersey Pines Ink. My short stories have also been published in the Horror Zine, Swords & Sorcery, Sirens Call, Blood Moon Rising, Lovecraftiana and various other magazines.

Every emerging writer needs plenty of encouragement right at the start, and entering lots of competitions early on made a real difference to my confidence to press on with writing longer fiction and think about submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies in due course. In 2012, I was longlisted for the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest for ‘The Visitors’ and again in 2013 for ‘We Can Finish Your Baby’s Brain For You’. My writing was also recognised by the Enrico Charles Literary Award (runner up in 2012) and by the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference in both 2012 and 2013, including a Commendation in the First Three Pages of a Novel category, and other nominations in poetry and short fiction.

I read PPE at Somerville College, and I am a non-practising solicitor. I live in rural Northumberland, UK, and I combine my career as an author and critic with raising my kids and caring for a severely disabled relative. I’m always busy!

http://johncadams.wix.com/johnadamssf

Twitter: johncadamssf

Posted in reviews

Judenrein by Harold Benjamin Review

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

A troubled man with a checkered past finds himself forced into the role of a hero when a white supremacist led America faces a terror attack that is set to pin the blame on the already disparaged Jewish community, and plunge the nation into chaos in author Harold Benjamin’s novel “Judenrein”. 

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The Synopsis 

Zack Gurevitz has had a checkered past. A Yeshiva boy, turned Green Beret, turned junkie, excommunicated by his one-time faith and now the potential savior of people he doesn’t even like.

As a white supremacist movement stealthily takes the reins of power in America, it is again the Jews who are made out as scapegoats. Stripped of wealth and citizenship, they are made to live in 21st century ghettos that hark back to a sinister and murky past that many had thought would never return.

But things are about to get much worse. With the revealing of a planned terror attack that will place the blame firmly at Jewish feet and condemn millions to death, Zack is contacted by Jewish leaders in Detroit, begging for his help.

Reluctantly he agrees and before long he is mired in a conspiracy that will have far reaching consequences for his country, the Jewish population and even his own sanity.

As the clock ticks down, can Zack find a way to avert a looming disaster? Who is behind the conspiracy? And can he really trust anyone?

The Review

There has never been a more relevant time for a thriller novel such as this. The author conveys a powerful story that relates a long history of violence, hatred and prejudice through a dystopian thriller lens. 

The author does an amazing job of creating a vast cast of characters, but most importantly a complex, multi-layered protagonist. Getting to see Zack struggle with his addiction and the complex relationship he has with his people and the circumstances they find themselves in really made the narrative shine through much brighter. It brought the harrowing experiences occurring in the dystopian future into the light and showcased how scary the events of our own world are sadly not far off from this reality, making it a plot that readers greatly pay attention to. 

The Verdict

A true page turner, author Harold Benjamin’s “Judenrein” is a heart-pounding thriller. This sad and dystopian future  is a stark reminder of how important it is to resist the hatred that threatens to overtake the world, and the flawed nature of protagonist Zack keeps the reader fully invested in the character’s journey through this dystopian world. It is a must-read thriller that won’t disappoint fans, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Harold Benjamin is the pen name of a 50-something Jewish writer who lives in the American midwest. He grew up in New York. Three out of his four grandparents were born in the 19th century.

Judenrein is available as an ebook and paperback.

For more information, visit www.judenreinbook.com.

Website: http://judenreinbook.com/

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4j26RJJMCQ

Posted in Book Related Blog Posts

Best Books Of 2019

Hello everyone! This is Author Anthony Avina, and today I am here to share with you all the top reads of 2019 on my website. I’ve reviewed over 160 books this year, and as we close out not only 2019 but the decade, I thought it appropriate as we head into 2020 to look back on 2019 and see what were the top books of the year. So without further adieu, here are my top picks of 2019! 


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Best YA Romance: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio 

A beautiful story from emerging author Christine Riccio about the choices we make in life, and what we would do if we could go back and change things. A story of following your dreams, living the life you want and finding love, and how hard a person is willing to fight to hold onto that dream and that love. 


Best YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy: Nexus (The Androma Sage #2) by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

This exciting concluding chapter to the Androma Saga duology was a whirlwind sci-fi adventure in the YA genre. Authors Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg did a wonderful job closing this story out, creating a universe under the forced rule of a pair of siblings that seek control, but as a young outlaw turned hero seeks to save her makeshift family and stop this threat, the siblings find they are more pawns than true rulers in this quest, and an even greater threat is set to emerge on the galaxy. A must read sci-fi adventure! 


Best Fantasy: The Second Life of Eddie Coyne by Louis K Lowy

A brilliant fantasy driven narrative from author Louis K Lowy, which showcases the downfall of a father and husband and the journey he takes to find the true meaning of life and a life well lived. Finding what matters most in life and holding onto it as the protagonist struggles to find their way back home again, this is a fantastic read for 2019. 


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Best Mystery/Crime: A Shattered Lens: A Detective Preach Everson Novel by Layton Green

If you are looking for a great murder/mystery series to sink your teeth into, then the Detective Preach Everson series is for you. Author Layton Green’s second novel is a masterpiece of the genre, expertly crafting a murder mystery that pushes the protagonist to their limit both professionally and personally. This book serves as both the perfect continuation of the series and a great book for newcomers to enjoy as well.


Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel: Spider-Geddon by Christos Gage

While there were many great comic books in 2019, and many that I still need to read, out of all the comics I read that were published this year, my all time favorite had to be Spider-Geddon. A great sequel to the epic Spider-Verse storyline, the return of the Inheritors and the imminent threat they pose to the Spider-heroes of the Marvel Multiverse make this a thrilling read. Spider-Man is an essential hero to the larger Marvel Universe, and the comic book industry as a whole, and so exploring not only his story but the story of several other spider heroes in the multiverse is always a thrill. Add the terrifying and powerful threat of the Inheritors to the mix, and this storyline makes for a wonderful read. 


Best Contemporary Romance/Fiction: If Only by Melanie Murphy 

One of my all time favorite reads of 2019, Melanie Murphy’s debut fiction novel was a brilliant novel. The characters were engaging, the fantasy element of seeing various lives if the protagonist had made different choices was a great addition to the plot and yet it didn’t overpower the overall theme and romance of the story whatsoever. Its a story many people our age can identify with and the author’s voice and tone in the novel is entertaining, engaging and refreshing to read, making this a must read of 2019. 


Best Dystopian Thriller: A Single Light (The Line Between #2) by Tosca Lee

A great ending to another brilliant duology, author Tosca Lee has created a wonderful dystopian thriller that showcases the continued struggle for survival in the face of a massive breakout. Months after surviving the events of book one, the protagonists must fight for survival in a crumbling society, and as secrets threaten to tear them apart, they must find that which makes life worth living in the face of great danger once more. A must read novel of 2019!


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Best Science Fiction: Hybrid by Rebecca Henry

My all time favorite sci-fi read of 2019, my good friend author Rebecca Henry has created a fantastic story that delves into the best aspects of the sci-fi genre. Secret government operations, powerful aliens who have influenced society, time and space travel and so much more. It’s a sci-fi fans dream read and I highly recommend reading my full review to get a sense of this amazing novel. 


Best YA Historical Fiction: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

If you are a fan of History’s Vikings or the legends of Norse Mythology mixed with historical settings then you will absolutely love Adrienne Young’s “The Girl The Sea Gave Back”. The novel is a sequel of sorts to “Sky in the Deep”, and expertly crafts a story of a young girl considered an outcast her entire life and burdened by knowledge of fate, and a young man striving to make a better life for his people years after the end of a decades long war. Its a great way of continuing the story of the original novel while focusing on new characters and a new period of time in this wonderful world the author has created. 


Best Mystery Crime Thriller: The Sixth Wicked Child (4MK Thriller #3) by J.D. Barker

The exciting final chapter in one of the best crime thrillers of the decade, author J.D. Barker’s “The Sixth Wicked Child” is the brilliant concluding story in the 4MK Trilogy. The shocking game of cat and mouse between the protagonist and 4MK is taken to new heights in this novel, as readers are forced to examine whether or not the series protagonist is the hero they’ve been led to believe, or will he turn out to be the villain all along? A twisted tale that pushes everyone to their limit, this was a phenomenal read and one of the top books of 2019 for me personally.


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Best Nonfiction: Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley by Carol Es

Last but certainly not least is author Carol Es’s book “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley”. A heartbreaking and emotional journey, this non-fiction read was one of the best of 2019, and took readers through the author’s life as well as through the harrowing journey of being caught in the midst of a cult. It’s a gritty and realistic novel that will catch the reader off guard at times, but is well worth the read. Highly recommend! 

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Anne Joyce

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

I started writing because I was bullied very badly throughout my childhood. I didn’t have a lot of friends or anyone I could really talk to, so I channeled my frustrations into comic books. I was the sidekick to the superhero and in my own world I was somebody really cool instead of the kid that got beaten up. When I got a little older, I moved into poetry and eventually novels

What inspired you to write your book?

I was watching a conspiracy theory show that documented the stifling amount of lakes and rivers that are mysteriously being drained throughout the country. It appears some powerful force has a very specific motivation for the water disappearance. It just got me thinking about so many different possibilities and outcomes

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

Always be cognizant of what’s happening around you. Stand up for what you know is right even if others disagree with you

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m not sure, to be honest.  I guess many years of being a nerd

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

I would ask Blane why he made some of the idiotic decisions that he made because he’s not a stupid man at all. I can’t provide a lot of detail or I’ll give too much away

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

Instagram and Facebook

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

Network with other authors. Promoting and selling your work is a group effort so be part of a community and scratch each other’s backs

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

I’m currently writing a Prequel to Arid called “Parched-The Days Before Exile.” 

About the Author

Anne Rasico (AKA Anne Joyce) was born in a small town in Indiana you’ve probably never heard of. She composed short stories and comic books as a child to amuse her family and began writing poetry at the age of thirteen.

In 1998 she received an Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence for her poem “She Didn’t Come Home.” She attended business school and made the Dean’s List for three consecutive years, putting her love for writing on the back burner. It wasn’t until her mid-twenties that a political post on social networking rekindled her literary flame that has since become a bonfire.

In 2013 her novella When the Chips Are Down was named a Finalist in the MARSocial Author of the Year Contest. When she is not writing, thinking about writing, or going insane from writing she enjoys camping, fishing, swimming, and otherwise spending time with loved ones. She is mother to three extremely spoiled cats. Crazy cat lady? Probably.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7159849.Anne_Rasico

Anne Rasico (AKA Anne Joyce) (@AnneRasico) | Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/AnneJoyceWriter

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Posted in reviews

Death by Design by John Graves Review

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

A dangerous and deadly assassin is tasked with the most violent attack on humanity the world has ever seen, and only a handful of people stand in her way in author John Graves action packed thriller, “Death by Design”. 

The Synopsis 

Navy Seal. Mossad agent. I am the Storm!

CEO of the world’s most exclusive executive protection agency, Tracker is now on her most dangerous mission ever attempted—exterminate mankind!

Tracker has been retained by a cabal of five extreme environmentalists to solve the climate change equation. They paid her $20 billion for 20 years for a final solution.

Humans are the enemy of the planet. They are the scourge of all species. They have destroyed much of Planet Earth’s wealth. There is little hope for the future. Only Tracker can solve the impossible equation. Only Tracker has the funds, the resources, and the will.

Pitted against her are Jake and Colonel Soliz, the best of the best within the CDC; Dr. Bake and her daughter Sally, who are brilliant CASPR, AI, and nano research scientists; and Mantis, Tracker’s equal and nemesis.

Which team will succeed? Who can eliminate the most successful killer of all time? Will humanity survive? Who will win? Read this page turner, Death by Design, for the thrilling answers!

The Review

One of the most unique and original thrillers of 2019! A whirlwind adventure that starts off with a bang as the CDC faces utter destruction, and leaves the world reeling as world leaders become so embroiled in retaliation and discovering who is responsible, that the real threat is just getting started. The author’s use of equal storytelling between assassin Tracker and the small team of people tasked with stopping the plot to destroy humanity forever keeps the reader engaged throughout the entire narrative. 

Rarely is an action-thriller able to delve more into the mindset and actions of the villain or antagonist than the protagonists. From the book’s first pages the reader is torn between the haunting origins of the character to the vicious and disturbing violence the assassin displays throughout the novel, keeping the readers emotions invested and torn asunder at every turn. 

The novel does a great job of showcasing humanity’s impact on the world, and the way some of humanity’s inherent cruelty impacts the rest of the world and their mindset about the way the world works. It also goes far and beyond what a typical dystopian thriller does, taking a scientific and methodical approach to how a trained and ruthless killer would go about systematically eliminating the human race. 

The Verdict

This is one of the top action/bio-thrillers of the year! Creative, engaging and top-notch characterization help bring this story to life in unexpected ways, and the book’s end leaves readers hanging on the edge of their seat as it takes a complete turn and leaves the reader wanting more. If this novel is any indication, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Tracker or the author themselves, so be sure to grab your copy of “Death by Design” by John Graves today and dive into the chaotic and messed up world of Tracker now!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

John has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries’ stamps in his passport. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He has trekked the Andes, the Sahara, the Taklamakan, the Serengeti, and the Namib.

In his previous career, John was a chef.