Tag Archives: paranormal thriller

Interview with Author Yasmine Maher 

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

I think I’ve always been a storyteller, even before I learned how to write. My parents used to keep cassette tapes of the six-year-old me narrating stories I made up with imaginary characters and colorful worlds. During middle school, I started experimenting with writing, video creation, and drawing anime mainly because I had so many stories to tell. Though I didn’t create anything serious until much later in life, it all put me on the right track.

Growing up with social anxiety, I had a lot of trouble expressing myself. I have never really been an eloquent speaker, but writing gave me an opportunity to put my thoughts and feelings into words and helped me become more confident.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Honestly, I wrote the first draft of Echo so long ago that I can’t remember how it all started. But I do know that I’ve always been passionate about magic and superheroes. At that time, most female superheroes I knew were “too cool,” if I may. I couldn’t relate to them, and I wanted to write about a hero that was just…ordinary. A clumsy, sometimes naive character who’s always trying to do her best despite her own insecurities. That was how Echo was born. 

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

Everyone has a choice. In the battle against evil, the hardest part is to fight the demons inside. Whether it was Echo, Doyle, Ebba, or any of the characters, it was always up to them to choose redemption, even when it wasn’t the obvious choice and when it wasn’t easy.

There’s evil and good in all of us, and we get to choose which side will win. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve been a fan of witches and witchcraft since I was a child watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch on the Disney channel. So, my first serious book had to be a fantasy. 

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

If I could, I’d sit down with Vanna, drink tea, and ask her about life in general. What she has learned in her long life and what she has read in her books. Vanna has always been the one who didn’t say much, yet she thought a lot and had surprising opinions about everything.  

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

It’s a bit too early to judge that since I’m still starting, and my book isn’t even out yet. Like many authors, social media is a great challenge for me; however, I’m more comfortable using Twitter than FB or Instagram, and many people know me from there.

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

Keep writing. It’s the only way to get better. Ask for professional feedback if you can (and as soon as you can). And stay strong. Writing is not for the faint of heart, and the path to authorship is full of rewrites, rejections, and redirections. 

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

Yes, I’m very excited about moving on to my new books. I’ve already plotted the planned the first two. They’re going to be different from Echo, and I hope they’ll live up to my readers’ expectations.

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About the Author

Yasmine Maher is the author of Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches and Director of Fables and Facts Publishing. As a passionate wordsmith and an active member of the Twitter writing community, Yasmine loves to weave captivating tales that inspire her readers with whimsical adventures, magic, and larger-than-life characters.

https://yasminemaher.com/

To Charm A Killer (A Hollystone Mystery Book One) by W.L. Hawkin Review

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

The High Priest of a powerful coven must search for a killer who is targeting witches as Hecate issues a dreadful prophecy he must race to prevent in author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Charm a Killer”, the first book in the Hollystone Mystery Series! 

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The Synopsis

When a third witch vanishes from Vancouver, the witches of Hollystone Coven spin a charm to catch the killer. But spells ripple with repercussions, and in the ensuing chaos, an innocent seventeen-year-old girl gets caught up in the charm. As obsessed with the killer as the killer is with him, High Priest Estrada vows to find the man and stop him. Then, at their Samhain ritual, Hecate speaks through their high priestess and shocks everyone with her prophecy:

As one of you has spun the charm, now none of you are safe from harm.

One who all felt they could trust, breeds deception cloaked in lust.

One will gain their heart’s desire, while yet another pays with fire.

Before the dark of winter night, four souls pass over into light.

Once begun it cannot end, but circles round as circles bend.

To save the girl and catch the killer, Estrada journeys from the West Coast of Canada to Ireland and Beyond. Abduction, death, fire, and faeries. Who is the killer? Why is he killing witches? And how can he be stopped before Hecate’s prophecy comes true?

WL Hawkin weaves threads of Macbeth and ancient Irish myth with edgy romance in this mysterious urban fantasy. To Charm a Killer is the first in the Hollystone Mysteries series.

The Review

I have had the pleasure of reviewing quite a few books this past year from W.L. Hawkins. Her work always entertains and inspires me both as a reader and a writer, and the interesting thing about this series, in particular, is that I came into it starting with book 2 and then jumping around a bit. I’ve become quite invested in Estrada’s journey throughout this series, and getting to see the genesis of this character and the supporting cast was such a pleasure to read about.

The balance of action and mythos was so strong in this first novel. The way the author is able to integrate the supernatural and paranormal elements into the world so naturally was amazing to read. As someone who is fascinated with the real-world applications of magick, the paranormal, and the supernatural as a whole, it was great to see just how close the author was able to go through real-world practices and mythologies before integrating the more fantastic elements of the narrative.

Yet it was the mystery and suspense of the narrative that was truly great to read about. The shocking murders and the cat and mouse element of the plot between Estrada and the killer kept me hooked on the author’s narrative. Being able to keep the reader guessing the killer’s identity as the clues begin to unravel before them was such a fun aspect of the plot, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thought-provoking, author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Charm a Killer” is a must-read novel and a great first book in the Hollystone Mystery series! The twists and turns in the narrative and globe-spanning mystery blended well into the mythology and supernatural deep dive into witchcraft, magick, and the paranormal as a whole, making this a thrilling story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

W. L. Hawkin writes myth, magic, and mayhem designed to inspire and entertain. Described as “intoxicating, lush, magically-edgy, page-turners,” her Hollystone Mysteries series features a coven of witches who solve murders using their wits and ritual magic with a little help from the gods. Wendy is also a published blogger, book reviewer, Indie publisher, and poet, with a background in Indigenous Studies and English literature. She loves myth and magic, so when she’s not writing, she’s studying Druidry, shamanism, and mediumship. Although she is an introvert, in each book, her characters go on a journey where she has traveled herself.

She defies genre by writing character-driven fast-paced mysteries and thrillers that involve fantastical characters. See her four book series: To Charm a Killer, To Sleep with Stones, To Render a Raven, and To Kill a King.

Her latest book, Lure, is set on a Chippewa Reservation in the American Midwest and tells the story of Jesse & Hawk.

Song To The Siren by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

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

Two documentary filmmakers go on an intense journey to discover the truth behind the untimely death of an indie rockstar who may or may not have been struggling with some very real ghosts in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren”.

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The Synopsis

When two young documentary filmmakers start investigating the enigmatic death of the infamous Reed Sinclair, founder of the never-quite-made-it indie rock group The Big Carnival, by interviewing Reed’s former girlfriend, photographer Samantha (“Sam”) MacNamara, she tells them the story of a seeming love triangle between herself, Reed, and a frightening entity named Belle. Belle may have simply been how Reed’s troubled mental state interpreted multiple tragedies and coincidences in his life… or she may have been a supernatural being…

The Review

This was such an engaging and mesmerizing read. The story does an incredible job of delving into a multitude of genres that keep the reader guessing, from paranormal and mythology-driven fantasy to dramatic mental health and romantic suspense novels. The themes of mental health, fame and its impact on those who achieve it, and the hidden mysteries of life itself, all played such a pivotal role in the narrative, and how these characters connected to one another. 

I loved the pacing and the formatting of this novel. The use of Sam as the narrator of sorts as the filmmakers interview her throughout the book really gave a unique 3rd person perspective to the story, and allowed for some distance between the reader and the characters in question, aka Reed and “Belle”, so that the question of Belle’s existence continuously played a role in the narrative as the story progressed. It was such an engaging story.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thoughtful, author Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren” is a must-read paranormal and mythological story. The utilization of the indie-rock scene as a setting for emotional character growth and the mystery of “Belle” overall made this one novel reader won’t want to miss. Be on the lookout for this book starting this fall! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.

https://parkgsg.wixsite.com/wickermanstudios/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057705847859

The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

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

A therapist finds herself drawn into a world of the strange and bizarre as a mystery client walks into her office with stories of the supernatural in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry”.

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The Synopsis 

Zach Cutter claims he’s not really an antiques dealer as such, but that he’s really a supernatural investigator.

–Zach claims he’s got repressed memories, missing at least a year of his life, probably more.

–Zach claims he can do magic. Not stage magician magic– REAL magic.

–Zach claims he’s got FEELINGS for his new psychiatrist, Dr. Cynthia Mann.

–Zach claims a LOT of problematic things.

But they’re ALL TRUE.

After a disturbing case in New York made Dr. Cynthia Mann wonder if the supernatural might actually be real, she’s started her life and her practice all over again in Cleveland, where she meets a new patient, stranger than any she’s ever met before—and far more charming than anyone she’s ever met, too. 

During the progress Zach makes as Cynthia’s patient, he tells her stories about his past, and their relationship slowly edges from a doctor-patient one to a friendship—and Zach clearly wouldn’t mind if it became more. 

Together, Cynthia and Zach will eventually have to find a way for him to get out of the trouble he stumbled into long ago…

The Review

This was such an engaging and exhilarating paranormal read. The authors did such a great job of world-building and infusing humor and wit into the dialogue between the characters. The vivid imagery that was used in the author’s writing was perfect to help build a visual in my mind of these stories that Zach begins to relay to Cynthia. I could easily picture that first story in particular, with Zach helping a ghost locate the map to some lost loot that he had left with his partner in crime years earlier. The more intimate approach that the authors took to this style of storytelling will draw readers in immediately.

One thing of note that all readers should know is that some of the characters and stories involve instances of self-harm, suicide, and more, so reader discretion is advised. With that in mind, the emotional and psychological nature of the narrative and the way the author balanced this out with the witty dialogue between the two main protagonists was so great to see, as it added a grounded and depth of humanity to the story that featured so many supernatural and mythological stories of magick and creatures abound.

The Verdict

Captivating, heartfelt, and entertaining, authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic and Psychiatry” is a must-read paranormal thriller of 2022! The imagery and atmospheric build-up of these supernatural cases from Zach and the growing relationship between him and Cynthia will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to go and follow the author’s socials and website for updates to their publishing schedule, as the preorder link should go live next month. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.

https://parkgsg.wixsite.com/wickermanstudios/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057705847859

Interview with Author David A. Neuman 

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


I’m not sure when it began – perhaps in another lifetime – but one significant event sticks in mind: when in year six or seven, the teacher asked the class to write an essay on a topic of their choice, much to the student’s mortal objections, except for goody-two-shoes. I wrote about a tree in a field and described it to the inch degree. And – ta-da! – received top marks. Whether it be a tree or shadows lurking within other dimensions, the urge to present folks with a doorway in which to escape remains my driving force. KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES, however, remained mothballed for a decade until a lovely ex-hippy, ex-school principal, and all-around good guy – Hi there, Brian Harris! – suggested that I get off my butt and do something about it.

What inspired you to write your book?


Part of my childhood was spent in a house where unseen guests strutted about, opening and closing all amount of the doors and windows and even went as far as rescuing me, if not the entire family, from potential disaster. Awakening one morning, freezing cold – as my folks had made the mind-numbing decision of us moving us into the Adelaide hills where night temperatures kept one in cryogenic status year-round – I was greeted by several oddities 1.) My electric blanket had caught alight during the night and had burned a patch in the bedsheets and mattress and 2.) The electrical cords feeding the blanket had been unplugged and pulled from the socket. The rest of the family were still sleeping blissfully unaware when this discovery was made. Oh – and by the way, it’s not true, you know? The dead… they can hurt you just as easily. And badly.

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


Ah – you know, that is both an interesting question as well as one which draws out a simple answer: we are all in this together, and when we all start learning that – if mankind as a whole ever will – we’ll discover regardless of sexual orientation, of gender and desires, of likes and dislikes, of the color of our skin or the gods we genuflect to, each and every one of us experiences pain, love, happiness, and sadness and by turning one’s back on someone in need only cheapens humanity.

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What drew you into this particular genre?


The undying intrigue in what lies beyond. I believe I just about absorb every ghost-hunting doco, paranormal doco, and everything in between which can’t be explained. Yep – it’s pretty much part of my DNA and scares the pants off my lovely GP whenever I ask for a blood test and he gets the results! There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that screams at us to take notice – or suffer the consequences of ignorance.

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


Huh – I’ve never given that a thought. The characters were such an integral part of my life for as long as I was with them through their journey. I guess I would ask both Joshua and Leon why the hell they just don’t open up about their feelings for each other. I could also ask Bob and Sue if there were any substantial differences between Adelaide and California. And, by the end of the ordeal, I’d ask each and every one of them how they were going to approach the rest of their lives having survived the ravenous horrors of another reality.

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


Ha-ha-ha! I’m on LinkedIn which automatically hooks up to Twitter, but I don’t seem to be very good at socials. I feel very clumsy as if I’m soliciting people in some weird way. There’s a giveaway I’m involved in at the moment on Crave Books in both sci-fi and horror genres and it took me an age to post the link on LinkedIn. Therefore, I’m pretty much talking to myself… seriously, I have a number of followers, and if we all got together we could have a quaint dinner party. But – boy howdy – I’d love these special people to purchase Kaleidoscopic Shades and then post a review. Who knows, that might even kick-start things.

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

Find your style, and avoid following a fad. Be yourself and express yourself in your own unique way. And don’t be fooled by marketers once you’ve finished. Check. Double-check and then triple-check. Never pay a cent until you know what that marketer can truly do for you besides a bunch of meaningless promises.

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

A second novel is now complete in manuscript form after some 14 months and 70 hours a week. It’s loosely a sequel to KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES and, hopefully, breaks the stereotypical rules of sequels in that it explores far greater avenues without becoming lost in its own importance or merely running over trodden grounds. THE PENNY ARCADE is, once again, a thriller/horror that carries a hint of a psychological thriller. It’s primarily set in rural surroundings and focuses on the unworldly happenings taking place on Solemn Street. Situated on the very outskirts of a little township, it has a playground – with one helluva nasty reputation. The only visitors that roam it now are bloodless and don’t particularly care for the slippery dips and swings, leaving them as sad, abandoned relics, in preference for exacting revenge. Whilst a hitch-hiker from Earth’s beginning once again rises to the surface to satisfy its dark needs.

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About the Author

Born in Adelaide, Australia, David A. Neuman was gifted a vivid imagination that continues to this day to distort memories of childhood. In the late-seventies, he left Norwood High School as an underachiever after his parents had moved from the burbs into the hills. Too easily distracted. Too ready to dream beyond the windows of the classroom, and journeyed from one college to another, graduating from Flinders University with a graduate certificate in behavioral science. Though his visible passion lay in lending a hand to others overcoming their physical and mental obstacles, he remained a dreamer.

Turning to write early in life to express himself and give his imagination a playground upon which to run, odd scraps became serious tomes about 30 years ago and would have remained mothballed when the suggestion was raised that he should do something about it, debuting Kaleidoscopic Shades – within Black Eternity two years afterward.

David continues to live in Adelaide, South Australia, where he remains a child at heart, accepting everyone regardless of their sexual orientations and their take on this big, fantastical universe – understanding that each and every one of us is in this together.

Kaleidoscopic Shades: Within Black Eternity by David A. Neuman Review

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

A father must take his son back into his haunted past years after a near-cataclysmic event nearly destroyed South Australia and the world once more hangs in the balance in author David A. Neuman’s “Kaleidoscopic Shades: Within Black Eternity”.

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The Synopsis

Twelve years following a cataclysmic event that took civilization to the brink of no return, the Triplow family has finally found peace. Settling in Corona, California, has ensured that the past horrors and madness remain relegated to another time, another place.

On the morning of September 7th, 2022, that false perception is shattered when Bob Triplow is forced to take his son back to his past, and the horrors of childhood – a place truly out of this world – where he will struggle for sanity, while his son, a mere child of ten, will be compelled to make decisions upon which six billion lives depend.

The Review

I absolutely loved this story. It is a horror meets paranormal thriller mystery read that readers won’t get enough of. The world-building and mythology the author develops are so rich and captivating. The exploration of other worlds, shady organizations that meet underground, and the concept of time itself coming undone all blended together beautifully and naturally in this read. 

What stood out to me was the character-building that the author did in this story. The frightful emergence of Patrick Nesmith, aka the Man in Black, was certainly memorable, but what really was amazing to read was the author’s ability to create a group of friends who held a camaraderie and strength, with each member of the group finding their own unique trait that made them stand out. It reminded me of Stephen King’s writing, as it had a healthy balance of horror and world-twisting shocks with relatable and memorable characters. 

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, author David A. Neuman’s “Kaleidoscope Shades: Within Black Eternity” is a must-read paranormal thriller and horror read! The blend of mystery and high strangeness was very reminiscent of projects like the Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks, but as a major fan of Stephen King, I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, as well as some Easter eggs from King’s own works, whether purposeful or not, such as the “Man in Black” villain in both King’s Dark Tower series and this book, as well as the group of kids facing a great evil found in books like King’s It. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your own copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Adelaide, Australia, David A. Neuman was gifted a vivid imagination that continues to this day to distort memories of childhood. In the late-seventies he left Norwood High School as an underachiever after his parents had moved from the burbs into the hills. Too easily distracted. Too ready to dream beyond the windows of the classroom, and journeyed from one college to another, graduating from Flinders University with a graduate certificate in behavioral science. Though his visible passion laid in lending a hand in others overcoming their physical and mental obstacles, he remained a dreamer.

Turning to writing early in life to express himself and give his imagination a playground upon which to run, odd scraps became serious tomes about 30 years ago and would have remained mothballed when the suggestion was raised that he should do something about it, debuting Kaleidoscopic Shades – within Black Eternity two years afterwards.

David continues to live in Adelaide, South Australia, where he remains a child at heart, accepting everyone regardless of their sexual orientations and their take on this big, fantastical universe – understanding that each and everyone of us are in this together.

Fright Nights, Big City (Canadian Werewolf Book 3) by Mark Leslie Review

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

The man who once sought to live a simple life as a successful author and part-time werewolf finds himself embroiled in a battle of good versus evil as he fights to stop a growing wave of hatred and fear against supernatural creatures while also hoping to preserve the love he has sought for so long in author Mark Leslie’s “Fright Nights, Big City”, the third novel in the Canadian Werewolf series, (4th story overall).

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The Synopsis

STOP SPREADING THE NEWS

THERE’S NO LEAVING TODAY

Not when the Big Apple comes under attack from an infectious worm threatening to rot it, and the entire nation, to the core.

Michael Andrews thought he’d found the perfect woman. A companion whose own powers neutralize his werewolf curse and bringing the balance he’s always wanted. But his plans on settling down and giving up the vigilante lifestyle are fleeting.

The hatred, the fear, and the monstrous attacks on innocent civilians are growing and spreading as supernatural monsters roam the city streets at night. The neo-Nazi Proud Fighters for America, aware of the special abilities that Lex possesses, track her down and plan on leveraging her powers for their own nefarious purposes.

With Michael’s powers nullified in Lex’s presence, the couple is forced to divide in their attempt to conquer, and Michael turns to his ex-girlfriend and her knowledge of the occult world in order to understand how to fight this rising evil.

But will two supernatural forces of good operating separately and one paranormal scholar be enough to vanquish the growing legion of evil? 

The Review

This series just keeps getting more and more engaging. The balance of character development with grounded storytelling and rich mythology never ceases to amaze me. The evolution of new and existing paranormal creatures and individuals was great to see here, as was the dive into what it means to be the wolf for Michael, as his love Lex’s gifts keep the wolf from coming out, but at what cost? The exploration of that cost early on was so fascinating to see and shows the duality that comes from werewolf transformations in literature.

I also loved seeing the developing relationships between Michael, Lex, and Gail, as the sparks between Lex and Michael were so prominent but the author didn’t shy away from the complex relationship Michael has with Gail still, and the shared love that still exists there. The exploration of these characters and how they mesh together was so well done, and the author’s emphasis on character growth really elevated the overall narrative of this novel. The dive into the racism and violence our world has seen in recent years and how it impacts the paranormal community as well was such an inspired choice and was the perfect mirror of real-world problems in a paranormal setting.

The Verdict

Action-packed, emotional, and entertaining, author Mark Leslie’s “Fright Nights, Big City” is a must-read paranormal mystery thriller and the perfect next chapter in the Canadian Werewolf series. The twists and turns the narrative takes and the shocking finale that will have fans gasping in surprise will have readers hooked and in desperate need for the next chapter of the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mark is a writer, editor and bookseller who was born and grew up in Sudbury, spent many years in Ottawa and Hamilton and currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

When he is not writing, he tacks “Lefebvre” back onto his name and works as a book industry consultant, having been a bookseller since the 1992, the same year his first short story was published.

Apart from publishing novels and non-fiction paranormal explorations under the name Mark Leslie, having works occasionally appearing on his mother’s refrigerator door under the name Mark Lefebvre, and podcasting and consulting about the book industry under the name Mark Leslie Lefebvre for his Stark Publishing/Stark Reflections brand, Mark is a lover of craft beer.

When he’s not enjoying craft beer or playing around with his three given names, he can usually be found wandering, awestruck through bookstores or libraries.

http://markleslie.ca/

Burning Lies (The Gift Legacy Book 3) by J.P. McLean Review

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

After uncovering a hidden ability of her own and discovering the dark origins of her gifts, Emelynn uncovers a conspiracy to expose her and her people’s gifts to the world, forcing her to face her worst fears head-on in author J.P. McLean’s “Burning Lies”, the explosive third novel in The Gift Legacy series!

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The Synopsis

A dishonourable legacy. A powerful enemy. A future threatened.

While recovering from a psychopath’s savage attack, Emelynn Taylor learns the ugly truth: deceit spawned her gift of flight, and ruthless brutality safeguards it.

But knowing the truth doesn’t prepare Emelynn for the terrorist who rips her world apart. And when the escalating violence spreads to the inner circle of her covert community, Emelynn uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to expose the gift and all those who share it.

Emelynn joins forces with a man she doesn’t trust and a family she doesn’t know to fight a menace that cloaks itself in lies. And when she lands at the feet of a dangerous enemy, Emelynn must face her worst fears to save the people she loves—and she must do it alone.

The third book in The Gift Legacy series, Burning Lies is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Step inside and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

Burning Lies was previously published as The Gift: Redemption

The Review

This was a truly captivating and entertaining read. The author always does such an incredible job of crafting a narrative that allows readers to pick up on the important plot points and themes found in previous entries of the series without it feeling like a full recap of the series overall. It felt natural and flowed smoothly, and allowed for the character’s evolution and the mystery unfolding within the narrative to come alive. 

The evolution of these characters was so mesmerizing. Emelynn’s journey from the previous book sees her recovering both physically and mentally from the abduction and torture she endured at the hands of a madman and his team, and her story of confronting that trauma and learning to take back the power that had been lost during that harrowing time was so important both to the story and to the overall theme of the violence women face far too often in today’s world. The gripping way that readers are on the edge of their seats trying to understand who can be trusted and who cannot is what makes this story shine, as you spend most of the time trying to figure out if you should hate or love a character, (except Manse, who everyone just hates). 

The Verdict

A powerful, engaging, and character-driven narrative, author J.P. McLean’s “Burning Lies” is a must-read novel! The paranormal/fantasy-driven thriller is the perfect next chapter in this ever-growing series, and the twists and turns the narrative takes not only enhance the growing mythos of the Fliers and those around them but Em’s own past and her connection to the family she’s lost over time. It’s an emotional experience as well as action-packed, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honourable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.

JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com

Hidden Enemy (The Gift Legacy 2) by JP McLean 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 with a powerful gift finds herself caught in the crosshair between two powerful organizations (one ancient, one evil), and a web of secrets being brought to the surface in author JP McLean’s “Hidden Enemy”, the second book in The Gift Legacy series.

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The Synopsis

A forbidden book. A dangerous secret. A life in the balance.

In the wake of a bullet and a broken heart, Emelynn Taylor learns the true portent of a gift she can barely control. Her discovery of a forbidden book unlocks explosive secrets that connect her to a past she never imagined.

Now someone is threatening to expose those secrets, and an unknown assailant is hunting her. With everyone hiding something, whom can she trust? Emelynn is thrust into the eye of a storm as two powerful factions clash: one ancient, one evil. And both of them want a piece of her.

Knowing that not even her gift of flight will save her, Emelynn forms an uneasy partnership with a dangerous man she must learn to trust—and then she must risk her gift and her future to protect her friends’ lives.

The second book in The Gift Legacy series, Hidden Enemy is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Climb aboard and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

Hidden Enemy was previously published as The Gift: Revelation)

The Review

This was such a fun and exhilarating paranormal and fantasy thriller. The author did such an amazing job of taking the elements that made the first book in this series such a hit and ramped up the action and suspense by about ten notches, making this such an exciting and action-fueled story. The balance of the character development and world-building that the author had with the deeper dive into the world of the Fliers and the mythos behind the different families that make up this hidden world made this story just fly by (pun intended)!

The arc that the protagonist had in this narrative was such a great advancement of the character development of this sequel overall. The way the author forged Emelynn’s actions and showed her evolution from a young woman thrust into this strange world of powers and hidden societies to a woman learning to adapt and evolve in this new world of hers and grow her own gifts, as well as take ownership and power within her personal life and dive into her own past at the same time, made this such a powerful read that many readers will be able to wrap themselves in. 

The Verdict

An entertaining, adrenaline-fueled, and suspense-filled paranormal and fantasy thriller, author JP McLean’s “Hidden Enemy” is a must-read book. The mythos and history that the author explores of both the protagonist and the Fliers themselves, as well as the infusion of some steamy romantic scenes and an examination of how we process trauma made this such an engaging read, and an open-ended final chapter will leave readers eager to jump further into this amazing series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honourable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.

JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com