Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

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

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

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Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Links:

brandondragan.com

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Author Interview with Lily Black

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

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

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

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

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

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

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

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

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

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

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

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

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Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Book Ninjas website: http://www.book-ninjas.com/
LB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

 

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Towne Square (Providence Island Book 2) by Dianna Wilkes Review

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

A woman reconnecting with her son after recovering memories of a life she never knew she had leads a small knit group of people through a mystery that shakes up the small town of Providence Island in the hit book Towne Square (Providence Island Book 2) by Dianna Wilkes. Here’s the synopsis:

Jamie Danvers’s luck changed for the better when she was hired to handle marketing and communications for a Providence Island design firm. Although she’s learned from her past mistakes, her family continues to believe the worst about her. On PI, she’s making a fresh start—a home, good friends, and a challenging career. Her boss, Dana Canfield, believes in her, something Jamie hasn’t experienced for a long time. Falling in love with architect Rhys McCall wasn’t in Jamie’s plan, especially since he’s Dana’s son. Can she trust her instincts this time that Rhys might be The One?

Workaholic Rhys McCall put off having a personal life for too long. A fractured family life growing up left him cynical about finding eternal love. Jamie’s beauty catches his interest from the beginning. Her clever mind and quick wit keeps him on his toes, and he’s ready to become a believer in Forever After. She’s the perfect fit for him—personally and professionally.

But the path to love isn’t going to be easy. A killer roams the streets of PI. He’s murdered two people already, and Rhys appears to be next in his sights. Until Rhys discovers who’s targeting him, he can’t put Jamie’s life at risk. But Jamie’s not about to let Rhys shut her out. Will her determination to save their relationship put them both in jeopardy?

This book perfectly balances the mystery surrounding these characters with the personal relationships both romantic and familial that everyone loves to read. This romantic suspense thriller is the second in the acclaimed Providence Island series, and sees the story continue as a woman who learned she was lied to for years about who she was reconnects with her long lost son, trying to rebuild the life they never got to have together. However her son not only has to deal with a blossoming romance, a man swooping his mother off her feet and a huge business deal that could affect the entire town, but now he has to contend with a stalker who sets their sights on him, going after anyone he cares about.

The suspense is addicting to read, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat until the books final moments. Leaving room for the anticipated third book in the franchise, the story does a marvelous job of furthering the character’s story developments while keeping the relationships fresh and heartwarming to read. Twist after twist keep the story flowing in this small town, as the island itself becomes a character that sets the scene for a coastal town becoming the home to a mysterious killer with an agenda all his own.

In the end, this was a wonderful read. While I hadn’t read the first book in the series, the second book does a great job of balancing past events in the first book with a fresh new story that doesn’t require the reader to go out and buy the previous book. It’s an engrossing read that everyone should try, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Dianna Wilkes novel Towne Square today!

Rating: 8/10

 

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Book Tour: Bleeding Hearts by Dana Provo

Title: Bleeding Hearts

Tag Line: Finding love is difficult, especially when it tries to kill you.

Genre: New adult, romantic suspense

Blurb: Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

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Short Blurb: When Cami Lucks accepted a date with a charming, gallant stranger she didn’t know it would be the beginning of her worst nightmare. She becomes an obsession for Carson, her first love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life. Now Cami must work with the police to stop the illusive murderer before he finds her.

Author Bio:

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Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

Excerpt:

My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn’t move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.

We’re at a stalemate.

A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I’m another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.

Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.

“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it’s no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.

“Why are you doing this?” I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I’m wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.

“It’ll be over soon, sweetheart.” His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanaprovo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaProvo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icehorses12/

Blog: https://authordanaprovo.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authordanaprovo

Amazon: https://goo.gl/aL1YR8

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/3z28apX

Barnes & Noble: http://fw.to/mfIx33N

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/KydHeb.l

Kobo: http://goo.gl/ea1W0W

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/r99gn5

 

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A Life of Death (A Life of Death #1) by Weston Kincade Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity in return for a fair and honest review.
Many thanks!

It’s rare that a YA novel that deals with supernatural elements is outshone by the emotional core of it’s characters and story, and yet that is
the case in Weston Kincade’s A Life of Death, the first in the A Life of Death series. This book is very well written, and does a marvelous job
of exploring the themes of life, death, and family. Here is the description:

Alex Drummond is a troubled high school senior with a checkered past, a broken home, and a surprising ability. When he touches items that murder
victims held in their final moments, Alex relives the events in gruesome detail, seeing what they saw, thinking their thoughts, and even feeling
what they felt. But who will believe a troubled teen, especially when the murders are so close to home and might reveal skeletons hidden for
hundreds of years? Join Alex as he struggles to find his destiny, understand love, solve the mysterious murders within his small home town, and
speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves.

The novel does a great job of implementing the supernatural elements in a very real and natural way. While the prospect of this protagonist being
able to connect with the dead is fascinating, what draws readers in more and what a lot of people will be able to identify with is Alex’s struggle
with his home life and the loss of a loved one. Elements of abuse, alcoholism and death are the core of this powerful story, while the emotional
struggle Alex goes through in every chapter of this story make this novel a heartbreaking read that is impossible to put down. The grounded
reality of the characters does a great job of mixing with the surreal nature of Alex’s newfound abilities, and by the end of the book you are left
wanting more from Alex Drummond and his life. This is a must read novel and I hope to see more from Weston Kincade and this series in the future.
Be sure to check out A Life of Death by Weston Kincade today!

Saint Odd by Dean Koontz Review

The final adventure of everyone’s favorite fry cook who can see the dead has arrived in Dean Koontz final Odd Thomas entry, Saint Odd. The story
finds our hero, Odd Thomas, returning to his home of Pico Mundo. Yet this isn’t a happy reunion, but a mission to save his home and the people
he loves in the town, as a powerful cult has set it’s sights on the city, and the destruction they plan to unleash can only be stopped with the
help of Odd. Having faced and overcome the cultists before, he knows the power they wield and the chaos they are capable of sowing, and so he
must gather his strength and will to save the town one final time, even if it means sacrificing himself as well.

The book is a beautiful story artfully captured to detail the final Odd Thomas adventure. What stands out is the fact that Mr. Koontz has included
throwbacks to the series with characters established throughout the entire book collection, and yet gives the story fresh life by exploring the
mental state of our hero after years battling uncounted evil in all its forms. The fast-pace of the story makes the story fly by, and yet you
can’t help but reminisce during certain moments in the story about the deep emotional bonds between Odd and the friends he’s made. This is a book
made for character development, and fans of the series will love the direction Odd’s character takes throughout the novel.

What will Odd Thomas do in this final adventure? You can find out by picking up your copy of Saint Odd today! This is one of my top books of 2015,
and I feel satisfied that this final entry gave the Odd Thomas series a satisfying conclusion.

Baby Please Don’t Go by Frank Freudberg Review

They say love is blind, but in this incredible thriller from acclaimed author Frank Freudberg, love is not the only thing that is blind in
“Baby Please Don’t Go”. No, so too is the desire for family, and for Child Protective Services investigator Lock, that desire will send him
down a dark path with no way of turning back.

When an anonymous report comes in reporting child neglect, Locke goes in to investigate, only to find the children in good health. Determining
the report to be false and suspecting a scheme to undermine the image of Natalie Mannheim, the children’s mother, in the midst of a divorce
case, Lock soon finds himself in the midst of a power struggle he cannot escape. Accustomed to the power addiction can have, Lock knows that
Natalie has a strong hold over him, one he cannot fight or deny. With an internal struggle between his desire to do what’s right and his
need for a family, Lock will fall down a hole so deep that he may not be able to find his way back from it.

The novel is one of the best suspense/thrillers I’ve read in a long time. The detail and character development that Mr. Freudberg integrates
throughout the story is ironically very addicting, and there are twists and turns throughout that will keep the reader on edge. The author
does a wonderful job of bringing to life a story that is not that unfamiliar in this world, and while sad to see that children often become
fodder in custody battles, it is a high-octane tale of lust, deceit and straight up murder that is so thrilling that one will find themselves
unable to put the story down until it’s finished. With a satisfying end that will both make you glad to see the story end and have you
clamoring for more, “Baby Please Don’t Go” is a must read novel and a fantastic candidate for suspense thriller of the year for 2015! Be sure
to pick up your copy of Frank Freudberg’s novel in either eBook or paperback now!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity in return for a fair and honest review.
Many thanks!