ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

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But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

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AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AuthorLeigh Bardugo
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic & Elementals
Series: Six Of Crows (Book #1) & Grishaverse
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 495
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Blurb:
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Review

★★★★★

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the first book in the Six Of Crows Duology (also a part of the Grishaverse), is DEVILISHLY GOOD!!

When I was starting with this book, I did not even have the slightest of ideas that it would turn out to be one of my all-time favourite fantasy books! I loved, LOVED, the world-building and felt like Ketterdam was indeed a real world of which I desperately wanted to be a part of! This book is like a dream come true for a fantasy reader because this book has so much to offer to its readers that you simply can’t fault it! The conflicts were ridiculously good and lent an air of authenticity to the characters, something that lacks in most of the fantasy books these days. It was pure bliss to have read this book as I was so fed up of reading books that were only hyped up and had literally next to nothing to offer Caraval.

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This book is a mind-blowing and earth-shattering dark fantasy novel. The story is deliciously complex and suitably grounded and the characterisation very mature, gritty and intricate. The story and the concept are simply out of the world and the author’s meticulous detailing is spot-on. This is a book you’d want to get lost in forever.

It is like a beautiful piece of art that you want to collect and then visit and revisit it again and again and again… This book is so ridiculously good that I can re-read it right now (only after 10 days.) It is one of those books that you wish would never get over… like The Hobbit and the ASOIF series but in a totally different way.

description

THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL!!
✦ A badass anti-hero with gut-wrenching inner-conflicts and an extremely difficult background and who is dubbed by people as the demon or the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A deadly and dangerous heroine who uses her Wraith-like persona to find out everyone’s dark secrets in order to serve the devil himself – check ✔︎
✦ A super-funny, charming and dangerous sharp-shooter side-kick who also happens to have a crush on the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A super-sassy, bold and gifted enchantress with unmatched super-powers who can kill you with a snap of her finger – check ✔︎
✦ A badass warrior-hunter-soldier who cannot be matched for strength – check ✔︎
✦ A naive rich brat who has left all the comforts and riches behind in order to find himself – check ✔︎

And there’s even more…
☛ An impossible heist
☛ Harsh weather conditions
☛ Bitterness amongst some people in the crew
☛ Possibility of backstabbing
☛ The odds are completely against and the stakes are so high that the readers can’t help but get swept away by how things happen the twisty turns that greet them at each and every page turn!

This book is a legitimate un-put-down-able read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or books with a solid plot as well as characterization. I mean, What The Hell Are You Still Waiting For?! Go and get this book today and do yourselves a huge favour!!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz

Author: C. Hofsetz
Release Date: 7th January 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Series: 
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb:
After Mike goes through a gut-wrenching betrayal by his fiancée, he finds himself in what he thinks might be the afterlife. But this is no heaven. The gods made a mistake and created another Earth in a parallel universe, putting both universes in peril. They need someone from his planet to destroy the alternate, and Mike is randomly selected for the job.
Trapped in an impossible choice, Mike accepts his mission and is returned to an Earth—and a body—so unlike his own. There, he meets Jane, who is—unbeknownst to him—the secret leader of an organization bent on tracking down Earth’s saboteur. In the face of her passion for humanity, Mike’s resolve falters. If Mike won’t complete his mission, the gods will.

Review

★★★★

Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz is a new sci-fi fantasy novel with a very unique plot based a really good concept. I liked this book a lot because it differs from most of the new sci-fi novels as it had depth, good characterization and good world-building and the best part was the concept itself – it was both fresh and unique.

The characterisation was decent if not excellent but it did compliment the story as, for me, the real hero in this book was the story. The plot was complex and at times it took me a while to grasp what was really happening because of the thin border the author dared to tread in this book between two parallel realities, but that was as it should be and it proved to be a good stimulus for the brain.

The writing was really good and it made the reading of such a complex book very easy. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it highly to all sci-fi readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Author: Karma Brown
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher: Mira
Blurb:
Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Review

★★★★+1/2

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a beautiful, heart-warming and very memorable read about friendships, husband-wife relationships and the unpredictability of life.

This book is one of those books that always stays with the reader. I believe Contemporary Women’s Fiction as a genre has a lot of potential and when the books in this genre are paired with excellent writing, a strong and unyielding plotline and powerful and believable characters, they transform into magic. This book had all these things and so much more. I loved the dialogues in this book a lot because they were good and as a result, each and every conversation felt real. For me, this was the strongest aspect fo this book.

The second best thing about this book was the writing – clean, crisp and clear. As a result, the book felt like a very easy and quick read (something that I always appreciate.) The writing had a very smooth air about it and flowed beautifully complementing this beautiful story. The pacing was spot-on and the tension perfect.

I was totally blown away when the main turning point of the story came; I was left gasping for breath, literally. I did not expect it and it totally broke my heart. It took me a while to digest what actually happened and all the while I kept wishing for it to somehow get undone, but then when it did not, I found myself struggling to grasp what was actually happening just like the characters in the novel. I mean, one thing you know you love a character and then the next thing you know something very bad has happened to them and you totally did not see it coming (I’m remembering Ned Stark’s execution in the first book itself… god! it still hurts!) After having read a lot of books you come to a point where hardly anything surprises you. But this book made me feel emotions I forgot having felt for a long time. This book made me feel like a first time reader who got involved in a book so much that even after having finished the book I am not able to forget the characters.

I’m cutting back 1/2 a star because the author left me sleepless for a couple of nights with such a tragic ending (I hate you for it, Karma Brown, but I love you for writing this book!) I’m sure as hell reading other books by the author. And I’d recommend it to all the readers who have a hunger for really good stories but won’t mind reading about issues related to surrogacy or pregnancy.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by C.J.

Author: C J
Release Date: 4th September 2018
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 448
Publisher: 
Blurb:
When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty product–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns, and even scars especially when one of its side effects prolongs the user’s life indefinitely.
But a discovery like that is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula reveals another side effect. One decidedly nasty. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.
As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?.

Review

★★+1/2

Beautiful Disaster by C.J. is a unique new dystopian book with a fresh concept and a good plot.

I finished this book pretty quickly in spite of the book being 400 plus pages long which is a good thing and was mostly possible because of the simple writing style of the author. Though, in many instances, I felt that the writing needed some polishing. I liked the storyline and the concept, which was different from what I generally always expect from a dystopian book.

The characterisation was okay, it wasn’t too bad but I wasn’t really impressed by it. I liked the characters just enough to finish the book, so the characterization could have used more work, though as I said, it wasn’t too bad either, I just wasn’t able to feel a connection to any of the leads. For me, this was more of a plot dominated book than a character driven one.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to explore a new title (and/or author) in dystopian or speculative genres and won’t mind a plot-driven story.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

AuthorStephanie Garber 
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The Sunday Times bestseller WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS . . . Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

REVIEW

★★+1/2

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is one book that I had waited for a long time to read before, finally, I was able to read it for the buddy read of RMFAO‘s Buddy Read for December’s Fantasy Month. To say that I had monumental expectations from this book would be a complete understatement. I’ve always loved reading immersive and elaborate fantasy books, but after having read The Night Circus, I was completely enthralled to have discovered magic in such a conventional form – Circus. And that was the reason why I was so eager to read Caraval which, to me, seemed a lot like The Night Circus.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, comparing both these books would be an insult to The Night Circus as Caraval miserably and unapologetically failed on more fronts that I even care to count. The only reason I even completed the book was the plot because somehow (unbelievably) the plot managed to keep me interested and I wanted to find out how the book ended.

I was appalled to see that the characterisation was so lifeless that I don’t even remember the names of the leading heroine even though I finished the book only a couple of days ago! And this was not even the fault of my huge expectations because I really feel that if a book is a Sunday Times Bestseller, it has to have something going for it, shouldn’t it??

The descriptions were very forced and sounded repetitive, the characterization was weak and immature and the progression of the plot felt weak too. The pacing was not great as at some places it was so slow that I had to skim over portions. The world building was okay but not as it should have been and the dialogues were outright bad at some places.

I hate writing so much negative about this book as I do feel that this book had a lot of potentials but it failed miserably for me in almost every aspect. I won’t be recommending this book to anyone. Though if you love reading fantasy genre, you should really give The Night Circus a read because that book is simply MAGIC!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Spotlight: Beautiful Disaster by C.J.

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring C.J, author of Beautiful Disaster, for one of our features, Book Spotlight.

About The Book

Book Name: Beautiful Disaster

Author: C.J.

Publisher: KDP

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Page Count: 448

Release date: September 2, 2018

Synopsis

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

get the book here:

amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster


About The Author

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

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If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn By Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy DwelisRelease Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #3
Edition: e-book
Pages: 228
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
“He should have known this would happen. Wishes in movies and books seemed to go bad, so why would this one be any different?” 
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis misses his family dearly. Ever since his father, his aunt, and his uncle went to look for Gran in Europe, the house has been quiet and lonely. Even worse, Braidy’s cousin Blockhead is miserable after a breakup. Braidy wishes more than anything that he could do something to make his cousin happy. His wish is granted by a mysterious djinni, but the wish does not solve all his problems. Something is wrong with Blockhead, and Braidy learns a dark secret about his family that changes everything he knew. Will Braidy and Blockhead be able to undo the djinni wish, or will Braidy spark a war that may change the world as he knows it? Braidy von Althuis and the Dastardly Djinn is a story about identity, self-worth, consent, and responsibility. 
This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn by Cassidy Dwelis is the sequel to Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter. I had a bit of a complaint from the last part because of the absence of a character, but this book totally made up for everything because this part focused mainly on Braidy and Blockhead, Braidy’s cousin. So I really, really enjoyed this book (as much as I did the first one, Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller.) 

The story in this book starts where the last one left off and the plot progressed further featuring Braidy on yet another adventure, this one, again, a little bigger and better. Reading about the familiar characters felt so good and in no time I was there living the plot myself right beside Braidy. I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading more books (especially in this series, if the author plans to continue) by the author.

I’d recommend this book to all middle-graders and to their parents and siblings and friends alike because this book has so much to offer that anyone could enjoy it.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Written By Blood – Conviction by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

Review

★★★★

Written By Blood: Conviction by Dwayne Gill is an action-packed techno-thriller that is sure to keep you entertained right from the start to the very end. This book is jam-packed with high octane thrilling action and masculine drama like there’s no tomorrow. The storyline was good and the thing I liked best about this books is that it revolved around male characters, something rare to find in today’s books where the leading lady always steals the show, so for me, this book was a real treat.

I liked the writing style as the simplicity of it greatly complimented the plot, though at times it did feel a little rough around the edges, it did not get in the way of reading. The characterization was good and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary or secondary. The plot progression was really, really good and the pacing was great too.

Overall, it was a really new engaging read which proved to be a quick read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a book with strong male characters and don’t mind gritty action and rustic tones.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter by Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy Dwelis
Release Date: 30th March 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #2
Edition: e-book
Pages: 228
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
“Braidy felt a churning cauldron of fear stirring in his stomach. Uncle Rolo had the habit of destroying good things.” Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis finally has what he needs: a good friend, Saturday-Morning cartoons, and a loving family. While life has been perfect since Braidy defeated the warlock that attempted to kidnap his father, Braidy knows the quiet will not last. Strangeness creeps through Maple Hills, especially since a ghost hunter moved into town. This ghost hunter has Braidy’s dead Uncle Rolo worried sick, but Braidy’s family thinks the newcomer in town is harmless. Braidy feels otherwise, and to make matters worse, a friend from Uncle Rolo’s past comes to call. Will Uncle Rolo follow the rules and stay safe, or will Braidy watch his uncle tear their family apart? Braidy von Althuis and the Gullible Ghost Hunter is a story about telling the truth, taking responsibility, and what it means to be a family. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★+1/2

Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter by Cassidy Dwelis is the sequel to Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller, a book which I heartily enjoyed. This book was a bit shorter than the last one and as a result, for me, did not pack as much punch as I was expecting. Still, overall the series kept progressing nicely through this book and the story in this one tackled another great adventure which was very enjoyable.

The book was good, but I felt that it missed a couple of characters entirely, for example, Blockhead and Kara. Kara at least made occasional appearances, but blockhead was missing entirely from the second half of the book which felt more like a plot hole than a planned event. Even Gran, Aunt Liz and Mrs Althuis were shown very less which affected the characterization in this one (which was really unfortunate as I had huge expectations from this one.)

Nonetheless, the story was exciting in its own way and the plot was, yet again, a winner. I loved the fact that in this book, the story focused on Brady’s uncle, Rolo, and that new characters were introduced in a nice way. I again came across the issue of unpolished dialogues, but the brilliance of the plot again made it up for me.

If you’re looking for a fresh series to explore than I’d highly recommend this series, though I don’t recommend reading this part without having read the first one as the first part, Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller, gives an intimate knowledge of all the characters and their backgrounds.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Excerpt Reveal: Beautiful Disaster by C.J

Welcome to TRB-Lounge, the section of TRb dedicated to book promotion. And today, I’d like to welcome author C.J, for sharing with us an excerpt from her latest release, a fascinating speculative fiction novel, Beautiful Disaster.

Read ahead to get a sneak-peek into this amazing new read!

About The Book

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

book links:
amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster

Book Excerpt

CHAPTER FOUR

Suzanne Verassing, Safety and Human Resource coordinator of Lexi Corp. was making her usual trip to the security office with an armful of baked goods. Since her hire date Suzanne had been cultivating the friendship of all of the security personnel. She believed if she was seen often enough, and shoved enough baked goods down their throats, they would feel she harmless and would cease to notice when she came around or at least not be alarmed when she did. Her plan worked, for, on every trip to the security office, which she made several times a week, she would download several days’ worth of video surveillance on a flash drive she carried with her at all times for opportune moments of piracy. Then she would watch it at her leisure at home or occasionally in a vacant Lexi office and forward any pertinent video off to Teaberry Cosmetics, Lexi Corp’s main competitor.

Suzanne was actually employed by Teaberry, the, CEO of which had no compunctions about getting ahead in the cosmetics business no matter the risk or illegality.

Suzanne Verassing or as she was known at Teaberry, Suzanne Hemlock, was a jack of all trades so to speak, a hired gunslinger for companies, which like Teaberry left their scruples behind after their stock first became public. With her chameleon-like features, Suzanne could fit in anywhere and conform to any type of situation. At five foot four 120 pounds, with shoulder length dark hair and hazel eyes, she had deceivingly soft facial features which contrasted her extremely physically fit and heavily muscled body. She covered up her muscles with long sleeves and full-length skirts.   At Lexi, she was the Human Resource woman who wore her hair in barrettes and favored pastels and flower-printed outfits. With a permanent smile on her face, she could always be found around the company delivering home-baked goods to someone’s office or a conference room.

Teaberry hired Suzanne because her abilities included theft, actual and informational, and product sabotage. She was not above seducing anyone who might have valuable information or needed to be slowed down if they were on the verge of a significant breakthrough. She also had a knack for destroying companies from within by preying on the weaknesses of essential members of staff, such as alcoholism, gambling, etc. What Teaberry didn’t know was that Suzanne also was a hired assassin and that she advertised on the dark web for extra money and for the sheer thrill of killing. She especially enjoyed making a murder look like an accident or a natural death. However, there was something to be said for the out and out wham bam bullet through the head approach. She often wondered if she was more of a sociopath or a psychopath but decided that was society’s problem to figure out at some point. For now, she would just enjoy the ride.

For two long years, Suzanne had integrated herself with these self-absorbed non- productive piles of emotionally driven drones. She had plastered on a smile after fake smile. She had signed every birthday, get well, and retirement schlock filled card until she wanted to puke. Known as the happy homemaker of the company, she had brought in baked goods by the dozens, which gave her stomach cramps. Finally, yes finally she was going to get out of this stifling environment and move on to something that didn’t involve skin care or the beauty industry. If it required chemistry, she wanted the end result to at least blow-up.

“Actually that might be a fitting end for Lexi a lab explosion with these annoying lab rats blown up in a fireball. Whoops, something went wrong, and just when they were having a breakthrough, what a horrible tragedy. Well, it’s time to butter up Mitchell and Roger,” Suzanne said to herself as she grabbed a tin of cupcakes and headed for the security office, unaware that she was about to hit pay dirt.

Later, after leaving the security office, she headed on home and watched the video she had downloaded. On it Suzanne saw Kensington and Montgomery (code names, “Dumb and Dumber”) run to the UV-VIS (ultraviolet, visible spectroscopy) with some sort of sample to analyze. She noticed Dumb and Dumber were acting stranger than usual, and something seemed different about them as well. They didn’t look as repulsive as they usually did. Their skin glowed as though they just had a body wrap, which was doubtful. She wasn’t sure they even bathed.

She leaned into her monitor as far as she could while zooming in. Suzanne couldn’t believe what she saw. Kensington and Montgomery both had perfect, unblemished skin. Had they actually come up with something? No. It wasn’t possible, she thought. She waited for them to suddenly combust, or for their first layer of skin to slide off in a crusty heap, but nothing happened. They just stood there grinning at each other and doing what appeared… Wait, they’re seizing. They are having the start of some sort of grand mal. No, oh God, they’re dancing and chest bumping.

She immediately texted her contact at Teaberry, Gretchen Meadows, and told her she was sending a feed off her computer. Once the feed uploaded, Suzanne and Gretchen began an Internet Relay Chat (IRC). They start an Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

G- Why are they analyzing the formula now? Are they double checking the ingredients? They should’ve examined the formula ages ago. They needed to have run it through the spectroscopy months ago for the quantitating determination of the different analytes. They can’t be checking to make sure their sample complies with the Drug and Cosmetic Act for the FDA now. It’s crunch time.

S- I wonder if the morons are using Nanotechnology and or nanoemulsion. That’s a little beyond their limited scope.

G- Of course it was experimental in 1998 and is the new hot ingredient we hide in the label. Of course no one advertises it that way. Who wants to buy something that bores into your skin and then possibly into your bloodstream and lymph system?

S- Think again, G. Some of these women would give 10 years off of their life to look 10 years younger now. What do they care if things run amuck in their system and eventually damage their tissue?

G-Why are you just showing me this now? It looks like they have been working on this for some time. What have you been doing over there?

S-These guys are idiots, grade “A” morons who spend the whole day playing games and socializing. The odds of them coming up with anything slightly marketable and innovative are the same odds of a pig winning the lotto. I’m looking through the previous video to see the breakthrough moment. I’ll also look for any specific ingredients or at least find out where they keep their notes.

G-Teaberry is paying you a lot of money. You had better do more than just look at the video and guess at what they came up with. I want that formula, I want everything surrounding that formula and no trace of anything or anyone connected with it after you have it. Is that clear?

S- Yes, G. I understand. You will have it all and Lexi Corp. will have nothing once again.

G- Signed off.

Suzanne was nervous and for Suzanne nervous was unthinkable. She disregarded the most recent portion of the download since it appeared those two grade A idiots were just throwing ingredients into a bowl. And when they combined the two containers, she figured they were making their lunch again. Several months ago she’d been fooled. While viewing a surveillance video, she thought Dumb and Dumber were looking unusually focused as they compared notes from battered notebooks. She had carefully taken notes of every colored-coded jar, only to learn that the morons had been making chili for themselves and the rest of the lab.

She couldn’t find a moment in any of the videos where Kensington and Montgomery had manufactured a formula. In fact, she could barely find a moment when they were actually working. Suzanne thought she had it back in July, but then a series of explosions and an evacuation of the lab destroyed that possibility.

She sat and pondered things. She began to wonder if the video in which they’d been making chili might have been when they actually created the formula and the latest video with what appeared to be them tossing random ingredients in was part of that same formula. Did I misjudge those idiots? Are they that brilliant that they can come up with a working formula in that short of time? Did they just need a deadline to perform? No. They are idiots that got lucky, and now they will be the late idiots of Lexi Corp.

Suzanne packed a “to go” bag. For her, this meant a Glock 21 .45 cal. with a silencer, a .223 DPMS rifle in a case, plenty of ammo and enough explosives to wipe out an entire city block. She also put in a change of clothes; she would walk past the Tweedles as Suzanne from HR, but would come out a warrior. She put all of this in her Land Rover. Soon after arriving at Lexi Corp., she had the car outfitted with plates registered to that moron Brian Conner. She never drove the Land Rover to Lexi Corp. before given she felt it would not go with her happy homemaker image. But today, when the big bang occurred, the last car seen going through security would be Conner’s Land Rover, and his ID badge would be used in the entryway. It was always good to be prepared and to have a scapegoat, and Conner, the jackass, was perfect.


About The Author

C.J

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

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Book Review: Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 7th October 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 82
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Not all monsters are created equal…Cane is the world’s most feared assassin.
Daniel is possibly the most dangerous man alive, and he’s definitely the largest.
When you think hero, neither one should come to mind.
Find out how each man stumbles upon a person in dire need and how they respond.

Cane and Daniel are the two main characters in Written By Blood Part One: Cane. The following two short stories are prequels of the novel.

CANE’S DETOUR

Kristy escaped a dangerous serial killer.
Can she escape Cane?

Cane was trained from birth by the U.S. government to be the world’s most feared assassin. Often sent to eliminate difficult targets quietly, his anonymity is his most important asset. In fact, very few people have seen Cane and lived afterward.

Kristy is abducted by an infamous serial killer and held captive in a remote barn filled with many other victims. While she watches the other women’s grisly fates unfold before her, can Kristy escape before she meets the same destiny?

When Kristy and Cane’s paths cross, they’re on very different routes. Cane is on his way to complete an urgent mission and can’t be late. Kristy is running for her life.
She just didn’t know she’d run into an even worse monster.
For Kristy to live, Cane must make a detour. Will he consider it? After all, he’s on a tight schedule, and she’s seen his face.

DANIEL’S DARKNESS

Taryn is a happy, outdoor-loving thirteen-year-old with a gentle, loving father. But her tranquil life is turned upside down when her father dies, leaving her alone with her drug-dependent mother, who squanders the little that they have and moves them to a rough neighborhood outside of Chicago. To make matters worse, Taryn’s mom hooks up with her drug dealer, who moves right in and begins abusing Taryn. Things can’t get much worse for her. Or can they?

When Taryn meets Daniel, her new neighbor that moved in across the street, his enormous body is bandaged from head to toe and he’s recovering from an ambush that nearly killed him. Taryn should probably stay away, but she’s drawn to the qualities of him that remind her of her father. But the better she gets to know Daniel, the more she sees that he’s not only very different from her loving father, he’s also carrying a terrifying darkness inside of him.

Review

★★★★

Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne Gill is a collection of two short novellas which serve as a prequel to and marks the beginning of a new technothriller series, Written By Blood.

Cane’s Detour: 4/5: The story started with an action-packed and super fast paced scenario which set the tone of the story (and the series) pretty well. As soon as I started reading, I knew I was in for some gritty action and some serious thrills. And this story did not disappoint. I was pretty amazed at how much the author managed to pack up in such a short story. A must read if you like action-packed narration and raw characters with dangerous edges.

Daniel’s Darkness: 3.5/5: This story was an entirely different cup of tea than the first one in terms of storyline, while at the same time, packing qual amount of rawness to characterization. Though this one had less action and more emotions and explored different themes while staying true to the main conflict of the series (as far as I can tell up to this point in the series.)

Overall: 4/5: I enjoyed both the books and can’t wait to read the main book in the series, Written In Blood: Conviction. The mood of the series is already set and I know one thing for sure that this book is going to be one hell of an exciting ride. Plus, being so intimately acquainted with the characters, it is difficult not to feel so excited to actually begin with this series.

I’d recommend this to all the readers who’ve been dying to read a series with raw and truly masculine male heroes who throw heavy punches before taking bullshit from anyone.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy Dwelis
Release Date: 10th May 2017
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 323
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis just wants one thing: to fit in. The other kids at school think he’s weird, and for good reason. Despite his oddities, Braidy wants more than anything for his dad to be able to come to Township Day, a fun-filled event at school, but Mr. von Althuis refuses. “It’s too dangerous,” he says. Things change for Braidy when Mr. von Althuis gets sick, and, even wose, this pesky pest controller won’t leave Braidy alone! Will Braidy be able to get his family to Township Day without his world falling apart? Braidy von Altuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a tale of frienship, family, magic, and mayhem that takes a look at what it means to be bullied and how to rise above it. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis is an insanely enjoyable middle-grade fantasy book that will definitely warm your heart. This book is about a ten-year-old boy, Braidy, who lives with his odd family in an old palace and faces challenges in school in the form of bullying for being different. But in reality, Braidy is a brave boy who can go to any lengths in order to help his family and loved ones.

This is a beautiful story and I loved it to the core. The characterization is brilliant and the story progression is really, really good. The writing was mostly good but did feel a bit rough around the edges and in all honesty, seems to require a bit of a polish. Even the dialogues felt a bit crude and sometimes out of place, but these are minor flaws which can always be corrected by the author and seem minuscule in front of such a winning plot.

The best part about the book was that it had a lot going on which made the overall plot very interesting as well as very realistic. Each and every character’s internal conflicts were displayed beautifully and I really liked reading about each and every single person and incident.

I’m sure the kids would love to read this book (or listen to it as an elaborate bedtime story.) If you like reading books with honest characterization and concept then go ahead and grab yourself and/or your kids a copy of this amazing book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Dwayne gill

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for another one of our very popular feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads


The Interview

 

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My starting ambition was simply to put my story out there for everyone to read, but a funny thing happened along the way. I separated one long book into separate volumes. By doing this, I knew I’d be losing a lot of content, so I decided to incorporate the extra content into short stories.

I published Cane’s Detour in February 2018 with little expectation and a lot of pride. It was awesome to see my book, my story, on my own Kindle. Of course, my family and friends read it and said they loved it, but the reception I began receiving from complete strangers is what first made me realize there may be more to this. There were readers writing me expressing how much they enjoyed the story and began asking me when the full-length novel would be published. A few readers turned into many, and by the time I released the second short story, Daniel’s Darkness, in May 2018, I had quite a substantial following. Little did I know that readers would like Daniel even more than Cane.

Daniel’s Darkness caused my following to multiply exponentially, which made me realize the potential in what I was doing. I knew if all of these people loved the two short stories this much, they’d love the novel.

Then, in August 2018, my wife gave birth to our first child, and my world changed forever. My wife and I were both working before, but shortly after Sampson was born, we both decided she would stay home to raise him. It’s what my wife always wanted. That left me shouldering the burden of being the sole breadwinner, which made me realize how badly I needed this author thing to work for me in the long-term.

I hope to someday be able to support my growing family as a full-time author. We’re not done having kids, so I better get busy!

What started as a hobby has escalated into a deep desire to entertain people, and to make an honest living doing so.

 

Which writers inspire you?

This may sound funny coming from a self-published author, but I’m inspired by the traditionally published authors who came before me. These authors didn’t have the luxury that I have today of being able to decide to put my work out there for the world to see, absent any gatekeepers. Authors Like Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, even James Patterson, were all turned away multiple times by publishers, yet they never lost hope. They kept writing. They didn’t have the alternative that we indies have today; they just had to keep submitting their manuscripts, hoping someone would believe in them. That inspires me. I hope that I’d have the same level of confidence in my writing to trust myself on that level.

 

Tell us about your book?

My book is, in a lot of ways, your classic action thriller. It has all the elements you’d expect to see: a scary bad guy, epically bad-ass protagonists, damsels in distress, high-level corruption, and heavy doses of action sequences. It’s set in the near-future and features genetically enhanced men to throw in a dash of Sci-Fi. Conviction is also obviously pointing at a soon-to-be apocalyptic-type event, which would give readers that enjoy that sort of scenario something to look forward to in future volumes.

The book features Cane, a rogue-assassin who was trained by the government. He’s ruthless, efficient, and because he was isolated from society from birth, unable to understand most human emotions. In one of the short story prequels, Cane’s Detour, you get to see him at his worst. He’s still an asset of the government program, before it’s shut down, and he’s on his way to kill an American citizen. He runs into Kristy, who’s recently escaped from a serial killer, and has to decide what to do with her. He ends up helping her, albeit in an unconventional way.

The other main character is Daniel, who you also get a peek at in the short story Daniel’s Darkness. He’s 7’5 and over 400 pounds and is locked up in a super-max prison, convicted of multiple counts of murder. While Daniel isn’t in the novel as much as Cane, he’s still a highly entertaining character.

There are lots damsels in distress; besides Kristy and Taryn, the two you meet in the short stories, you meet Natalie and Jordyn as well. Not all the women in the novel are in need of protection though; readers will get to see a lot of the female characters evolve and stand apart on their own.

The other supporting characters of note are Lynks, who is Cane’s best friend and former fellow trainee, Bowman, the man who trained Cane and Lynks, Calvin, Daniel’s best friend, and Agents Hart and Barkley, whose roles grow bigger as the plot unfolds.

The villain of the novel is named Amos, and he’s one of the seven terrorist leaders who are giving orders to the marked men. Years ago, men by the thousands began disappearing all over the country, then reappearing elsewhere. What made it stranger was that they all were ordinary, hard-working family men. They abandoned their families and careers and moved away, and every one of them now have a marking, like a tattoo, on their forearm. There are also some who commit seemingly unprovoked acts of random violence, leading many to be suspicious of the group’s intentions. The true nature and origin of these men become clearer as the novel progresses.

The centerpiece of the plot has to belong to Marcene, however. She’s a mysterious lady that directs Cane to save Natalie from the marked men, thus bringing them to his attention. She also leads him to Calvin, then Daniel. She’s instrumental in the novel.

The novel follows Cane’s journey to save Natalie, investigate the marked men, recruit Calvin, and extract Daniel.

It also follows Amos’s path of trying to corner Cane, and when he fails, he targets Kristy and her mother, the two people Cane cares most about.

It turns into a feud that will keep escalating until the final pages.

Anyone who likes thrillers in the vein of Rapp and Reacher will surely be entertained, but where my novel and series differ from most thrillers, I believe, is in the exploration of the characters’ own inner struggles. Cane and Daniel are two of the most unlikely hero-types you’ll ever find in a novel, but each have found a way to overcome their own limitations to be someone better.

And it’s just the beginning of that journey.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I won’t count the original version of Written By Blood, because it was really long and ended up being segmented into different volumes. Because of the way I had to restructure the one long story, it’s hard to gauge how long it took to actually write Part One: Conviction. I began separating Written By Blood into different volumes in February 2018, which was a complicated process. I wanted each volume of the story to stand alone on its own, absent cliffhangers, so I had to add some plot and move things around.

The end product was Written By Blood Part One: Conviction, and I finished the manuscript in August 2018. In total, it took nearly four months of actual writing, once I had the plot worked out.

 

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Oh yes! I’m always working on other projects. Currently, there are three short stories due before the launch of Written By Blood Part Two. One features Cane, another is a prequel to Part Two and features Daniel, then the other features the third main protagonist of the series, William, who will be in Part Two.

Of course, I’m also working on Written By Blood Part Two itself, which I think readers will like even better than Part One.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I didn’t really choose the genre. In fact, I didn’t consider genre until after I finished my first short story. It turns out my novel really crosses genres; it’s best described as a technothriller, but it could fall into a number of others as well.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

I wrote my first book when I was about five years old. It was called, The Thing, and it was awesome. My sister helped me make it into an audiobook, in the form of a tape cassette recording. In fact, I would read a page aloud and she’d press the side button of a walkie-talkie to indicate it was time to turn the page.

Seriously, though, after that phase of my life I gave little thought to writing. However, all through school I excelled in English and Grammar, and my ninth-grade teacher was so impressed with my journal entries that she presented me with a special award at the school end-of-the-year awards ceremony. She also told me she wanted a signed copy of the first book I wrote. I plan on following through on that promise.

I still didn’t quite fancy myself a writer at that point, and it really wasn’t until I wrote the first version of Written By Blood that I yearned to become a writer. It was more of a pipe dream then, but as I got older and the publishing industry became more indie-friendly, that dream became a reality.

 

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had a story burning inside of me. I didn’t sit down to write it until I was twenty-eight years old, and it was for fear of the story being lost somehow. I knew when I died, the story would die with me, unless I put it in writing.

So I did. However, I didn’t actively pursue publishing until I was thirty-nine years old. I had talked about it, people had encouraged me to go for it, but it took many years to pull the trigger.

However, Written By Blood isn’t the only story in my head. In fact, I have entire books, or stories, start-to-finish, sitting in my mind, waiting to be written. Dozens of books in many different genres, and I plan on writing them all.

I write for two reasons: One reason is the love of the story, for seeing the movies in my head come to life in written form. There’s no bigger thrill for me than that.

The second reason is for my fans. No one ever warned me about what it would be like to have fans that turn into dear friends. I have met so many great people in the past year, people that began as casual readers who took a chance on me. I’m so thankful for the relationships I’ve formed, and my readers mean everything to me. I vow to always be accessible to fans; I answer every email and have months-long conversations going with people.

Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. When I was a young boy, I’d play entire movies out using G.I. Joe men or stuffed animals. I’d even set a timer to make sure the length of the “movie” stayed in a certain time-frame. As I got older, even though I’d abandoned my toy props, I’d still play movies in my head. My favorite time to do this was on the school bus; because I lived in a rural area, I rode the bus for over two hours to and from school. In the mornings, I would lie on the back seat, close my eyes, and let the film roll in my mind. During these trips to school, the concept of my series Written By Blood was born.

Even at age thirty-nine, I still have the same, active imagination, although I rarely use stuffed animals or action figures. I’m inspired by anything I watch on television, anything I read, and I’m greatly inspired by music. I can listen to an emotionally moving song and have a movie trailer, of my making, playing through my mind by the end. I also use complete silence to brainstorm. One thing’s for certain: I never force an idea into a book or plot. It all comes very naturally, for I could only write stories that move me personally.

 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

90% of my writing is done on a desktop computer, however, I’ve been known to type out portions of my books using my phone. I use MS Word and save my work on OneDrive, so my phone can connect seamlessly to any document that I need to edit on the fly. In fact, I do a lot of my proofreading on my phone.

I’ve yet to master dictation. I’ve tried a few times but so far it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. Vince Flynn
  2. George R. R. Martin
  3. John Grisham
  4. Dean Koontz
  5. Sandra Brown

Each of the books and authors played a great role in me becoming an author. I don’t claim for any of the books or authors to be a top five list of the best, but the impact they each had on me was substantial.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve honestly never experienced Writer’s Block, but that’s likely because all the writing I’ve done has consisted of stories that I already know from beginning to end, and everything in between. I’m sure at some point I’ll inevitably hit the wall, but so far there’s been no issues.

 

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

The most important piece of advice I’d give is simply to write. That may seem like a no-brainer, but I think too many aspiring authors out there don’t consider themselves true authors. I think this rings truer with Indie authors; we tend to only think of ourselves as an author once we see one of our books published. However, being an author starts long before any of your writing is published, so we should act accordingly. A true author writes, and does so every day. Set time away and make content your priority. By writing daily, you’re honing your craft, finding your voice, and becoming a better author.

The second piece of advice would be to grow your audience, and to do it immediately. This ties into writing everyday as well. Produce content, whether it be blogs or short stories, and get that into the hands of readers that will value your work. And keep producing! Give free material away all the time to your faithful readers to keep them engaged.

Decide whether you’re writing as a hobby or making it a career endeavor. If you’re writing as a hobby, you don’t have too many rules or guidelines you need to follow. But if your aim is to make a living from your writing, there’s certain things you’ll need to do if you want to be successful, and it will cost a few dollars. Don’t think you can put out quality work completely on your own without spending a dime. While you absolutely can publish at virtually no cost, your chances of long-term success are pretty low. Get a professional editor and cover designer, at the very least, and if you’re really looking at getting your name and novel out there, consider researching marketing. Learn how to write a professional blurb, learn categories on Amazon or wherever you’re publishing. Consider Facebook and/or Amazon Ads.

Lastly, join communities, whether it be other like-minded authors or readers in your genre. Goodreads has a ton of groups. Join one, or three. Get to know other people in the industry.

If you want to be successful, visible, and to stand out, you’ll need to do things other authors aren’t doing, because let’s face it: there are thousands of authors out there that no one knows, so if you want to avoid being just another name thrown into the mix, go the extra mile.

Have confidence in yourself and your writing. Accept criticism; it’s more important than you realize. Have fun. And most importantly, value your faithful readers. They’re the ones who will always have your back. Keep them happy, and never take them for granted.


Thank you, Dwayne, for all the insightful and exciting answers! 


About The Book

Written By Blood: Conviction

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

book links
amazon and goodreads

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Author Spotlight: Dwayne gill

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for one of our very popular feature, Author Spotlight.

 

About The Author

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads

About The Book

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

buy Written By Blood on
amazon and goodreads

Praise

“If you like action thrillers with a slightly futuristic, Crichton-esque twist, I strongly recommend Dwayne Gill.”
Matt McAvoy

“If you are looking for action, and conflicted heroes like Jack Reacher, you’ll really like this novel. But if you’re looking for something deeper, something that’s guaranteed to move you on a personal level, then you’ll LOVE this book.”
–RobertGG, Booksprout reviewer


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author/book featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Audiobook Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Author: Dan Brown
Narrator: Paul Michael
Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series: Robert Langdon Book #5
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 19 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb:
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Review

★★★★

Origin by none other than Dan Brown is a gripping thriller which was both enjoyable and gripping. This book is the 5t instalment in the Robert Langdon series and, unlike lost key, was more in sync with the author’s impeccable sense of modern-day controversies. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to note that this book differed from the last one (which is one of my favourites in this series, Inferno) greatly.

The characterisation was spot on, the twists and turns were really good and made the mystery more interesting (though it was a bit predictable, maybe that was because of the fact that by the 5th book you generally know what the author is capable of doing) and the plot-line was excellent. The only complain I had from this book is that it had hours of exhaustive descriptions and backstories and crazily lengthy dramatics. This has been my problem since the first book, Angels & Demons, but this book took it all to another level entirely. Now it might be because this is the only book I have read (listened to) as an audiobook, but the descriptions felt too long even for Dan Brown’s standards – out of 19 hours more than 9 might have been the descriptions, so that is a LOT! Because of that, I zoned out a lot while listening to it and even fell asleep.

Still, overall it is worth a read if for nothing else than for the story itself and I’d recommend it to all Dan Brown readers and to those who are interested in conspiracy theories and such.

Read this book for RMFAO

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Future Comes From Behind by S.T.K. Chan

Author: S.T.K. Chan
Release Date: 28th October 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Visionary
Series: Paradigm Shift, Book #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 235
Publisher: S.T.K. Chan
Blurb:
What if the battle for good and evil were being fought just out of our sight, beyond our reach?
How far should one go to seek out the good and destroy evil, and what consequences might their choices have?”Tightly conceived and smoothly choreographed sci-fi fantasy. Higher aspects of human nature. RECOMMENDED,” The US Review of BooksLisa and her family barely manage to escape an invasion from the Rebel army in their home of Malta. Shortly after this episode, she discovers Exo, the ancient dimension she cannot understand until her late 20s. Exo is made of memories of the past; it brings forth all the strong echoes we leave behind. Lisa desperately wants to resolve the conflicts of this inner world peacefully, but quickly learns she must fight the shadows in people’s hearts, materialized through battle re-enactments, warfare and emotional turmoil.

Review

★★★+1/2

Future Comes From Behind (Paradigm Shift, Book #1) by S.T.K. Chan is a very unique visionary science-fiction fantasy novel which is utterly mind-boggling, to put it mildly.

The book started out with a seemingly normal storyline which seemed to be pretty straight-forward but soon it turned into a whirlwind of tightly packed chapters that were interlaced in different timelines belonging to different people. I am a huge fan of multiple POVs and time-shifts, but this book to an entirely different, which was both good and bad in its own way. It was good because it made the story fast-paced and really thrilling and bad because somewhere down the line it all got a bit confusing at times, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The characterization was average, it made me care for the characters enough to read the entire story, but I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters thoroughly. I also felt that some places the dialogues and some paragraphs felt unpolished, and there was more telling than showing throughout the book, but, for me, the unique concept of the story made up for all these flaws. So overall, it was an enjoyable book and I’d recommend it to hardcore Sci-Fi Fantasy readers and to those who feel adventurous and want to try something different than ordinary fiction.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Spotlight: Future Comes From Behind by S.T.K. Chan

About The Book

Book Name: Future Comes from Behind (Paradigm Shift, #1)

Author: S.T.K. Chan

Publisher: S.T.K. Chan

Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Visionary

Page Count: 235

Release date: August 28, 2018


Synopsis

After Lisa barely manages to escape an invasion from the Rebel army in her home of Malta, she discovers Exo. This ancient dimension is made of memories from the past. It is here that evil manifests as flesh. It is here that the legacy of centuries of darkness can be stopped from whispering to our ears. Lisa desperately wants to resolve the conflicts of this inner world peacefully, but quickly learns she must fight the shadows in people’s hearts materialized through battle re-enactments, warfare and emotional turmoil.

buy here
amazon and website

 


About The Author

S.T.K. Chan – A fan of nourishing SF&F fiction. Seeker of essential truths in historical non-fiction. Exploring life for almost half a century. Delivering action and matters of the inner self. “Chan has license to be more philosophical and issue-oriented, and on the whole he blends together different genres well.” (John Staughton, SPR)

 you can connect with the author here
website

ARC Review: Killing Adam by Earik Beann

Author: Earik Beann
Release Date: 1st January 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series: 
Edition: e-book
Pages: 224
Publisher: Profoundly One Publishing
Blurb:
The world runs on ARCs. Altered Reality Chips. Small implants behind the left ear that allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine. The network controls everything, from traffic, to food production, to law enforcement. Some proclaim it a Golden Age of humanity. Others have begun to see the cracks. Few realize that behind it all, living within every brain and able to control all aspects of society, there exists a being with an agenda all his own: the singularity called Adam, who believes he is God.Jimmy Mahoney’s brain can’t accept an ARC. Not since his football injury from the days when the league was still offline. “ARC-incompatible” is what the doctors told him. Worse than being blind and deaf, he is a man struggling to cling to what’s left of a society that he is no longer a part of. His wife spends twenty-three hours a day online, only coming off when her chip forcibly disconnects her so she can eat. Others are worse. Many have died, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs.After being unwittingly recruited by a rogue singularity to play a role in a war that he doesn’t understand, Jimmy learns the truth about Adam and is thrown into a life-and-death struggle against the most powerful mathematical mind the world has ever known. But what can one man do against a being that exists everywhere and holds limitless power? How can one man, unable to even get online, find a way to save his wife, and the entire human race, from destruction?

Review

★★★

Killing Adam by Earik Beann is a new dystopian science-fiction novel with a refreshing new take on the alternate reality concept. I enjoyed reading this book mostly because of the author’s unique concept in which the focus was more on the people left int he real-world rather than focusing entirely on the alternate reality and the people living a virtual life.

I’ve read a decent number of books revolving around the subject of artificial intelligence and I must admit that, in most of the places, the author has done a good job in paying attention to details in creating this world. While at the same time, I felt the plot could have been a little bit more polished and just a little more pronounced. At some places the writing was good, but in some rare instances the writing felt crude and the dialogues felt redundant. The characterization wasn’t overly complex and felt a bit lacking in terms of being realistic and relatable.

Another issue I had with the plot is that it didn’t give any clear idea on how exactly the altered reality was – I did appreciate the fact that the story revolved around the world outside the altered reality, i.e., the real dystopic world, but I would have really liked it if at least some idea of the other world would have been given too, just enough to let the readers know what was going on on the “other side.”

Still, overall, it was an enjoyable book and made for a nice winter read which was clean and quick to read. I’d recommend it to readers who want to explore a light science-fiction story on altered reality. But if you like intricate plots with complex and multi-layered characters then this book might not be for you.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon (not up yet)

Book Review: Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima

Author: Margaret Mizushima
Release Date: 11th September 2018
Genre: Suspence, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4
Edition: e-book
Pages: 280
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
Featuring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo, Burning Ridge by critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima is just the treat for fans of Alex Kava.On a rugged Colorado mountain ridge, Mattie Cobb and her police dog partner Robo make a grisly discovery—and become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Colorado’s Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.

Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game?

A deranged killer torments Mattie with a litany of dark secrets that call into question her very identity. As a towering blaze races across the ridge, Cole and Robo search desperately for her—but time is running out in Margaret Mizushima’s fourth spine-tingling Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge.

Review

★★★★

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima is the 4th instalment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery but can be totally read as a standalone. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to read this book as it was a really good read with a nice plotline and honest characterization. I enjoyed the story on the whole and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything significantly even though I’m new to this series, and now I’m looking forward to exploring the prequels and the sequels to this part.

The two things that I liked best in this book were the plot and the characterization – the plot was intense, yet not over-the-top complex and the characterization was simply but realistic and I was able to feel a connection to both the story as well as all the main characters, especially the leading lady Mattie and her GSD, Robo.

The writing was simple and clean and the book had a moderate pacing which complimented the story well. The tension was also moderate, though it spiked up enough wherever needed to make it a very engaging read. Overall, I felt that this book is a complete package and I think that based on this book I can already see this series becoming a nice thirst quencher for mystery-ravenous readers.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of mystery, suspense and light thriller genres, especially those who are looking for a new detective series to explore.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: Shadow Killer: A Silo Story by David R. Larson

Author: David R. Larson
Release Date: 7th October 2018
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 89
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The silo is full of secrets. Deadly secrets.
Growing up in this world is hard enough for a regular kid, but so much more so when you’re an orphan with no friends.This is Bryson’s reality before he is chosen by the head of IT to receive a rare opportunity to Shadow for the mysterious position of “IT courier.” Wary of what may be expected of him but facing an uncertain future, he accepts the job for a chance to change his situation for the better.

As he grows into a young man, Bryson discovers dark truths about the origin and maintenance of the silo. Blasphemous things that no one knows, suspects, or would dare say out loud for fear of being sent out to clean. Or worse.

This knowledge comes at a price. When the time comes, will Bryson be willing to pay?.

Review

★★★★

Shadow Killer: A Silo Story by David R. Larson is a new post-apocalyptic novella that was equal parts interesting and entertaining. It was a very, very quick read, not only because it was under a hundred pages, but also because it had a great story and the writing had a good flow too.

I enjoyed this book even though I haven’t read any of the original Silo stories. In fact, after having read and liked this book, I’m now planning to explore the original silo stories that the author mentions in the book blurb on the book’s Goodreads – Hugh Howey’s WOOL.

I started this book with no expectations whatsoever as the concept was foreign to me, but as I was done with the first 3-4 chapters, I knew that it was a good book with a solid foundation. Maybe purists (who love the original books) might not think the same, but I had one hell of a time reading some really good post-apocalyptic fiction (one of my favourite genres.)

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic genres and also to those who’ve already read the Silo Saga and enjoyed it (and won’t mind reading a short spin-off.)

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise by Paul Briggs

Author: Paul Briggs
Release Date: 15th June 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series: Altered Seasons (Book #1)
Edition: e-book
Pages: 394
Publisher: Secant Publishing LLC

Blurb:

Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise is a top recommendation for cli-fi (climate change fiction) readers seeking more depth than the usual approach to life-threatening environmental changes. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review. A few weeks with no sea ice in the Arctic Ocean are enough to trigger a chain reaction that alters the Northern Hemisphere beyond recognition. Isabel Bradshaw, an engineer, tries to find security for her family in an increasingly chaotic world when they are driven out of their home on the Chesapeake Bay.

Review

★★★★

Altered Seasons: Moonrise by Paul Briggs is a refreshing new take on the climate-change fiction with a fresh perspective that has faith in the human race coming together instead of counting on its downfall under the pressure and stress of a global disaster.

This book is a welcome take on the very popular disaster fiction and, for a change, doesn’t repeat the same age-old theme of the world falling apart at the seams under the weight of a global threat. Instead, this book focuses on how societies can come together and try to fight and re-build the threats that we all will inevitably face. The situations in this book are very relatable and characterization pretty good.

I enjoyed reading this book through the voices of different main characters (I always enjoy reading multiple POV books,) but at times it did feel like some narratives could have been a bit more polished and better. Still, looking at the entire pictures, it didn’t affect the plot (the real hero of the book) a lot, so I’m not complaining.

Overall, it is a decently written novel with great execution and good command over the language as well as the genre of writing – science-fiction and dystopia. The author’s unique style of writing (I’d say it was very theatre-like) was a very interesting and though it took me a while, eventually, I got used to the way the notes were made and even started liking it by the end of the book. The world-building was one of the best parts of this book as the author cleverly presented the world in a way that was both easy enough to grasp and complex enough to make it highly interesting to understand. The story itself was good and the concept so close to reality that it was hard to not be able to relate to the happenings in the story.

I’d recommend it to everyone who loves reading sci-fi and dystopian fiction, especially one that revolves around climate change.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu

Author: Bo Wu
Release Date: 23rd July 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 342
Publisher:
Blurb:
“’Crabs talk?’ asked Benji.
‘Everything in nature speaks. Not everything in nature listens,’ said Octavius nodding Topside.”
Benji Fisher has spent the first twelve years of his life growing up in a small fishing town, Topside. He’s gotten used to the gang of dolphins who follow him on his surfboard and the voices he hears under the water; odd things that have, in their repetition, become part of normal everyday life.

However, none of that prepares him for the recruitment speech he gets from an octopus named Octavius and three of the dolphins the night before his thirteenth birthday.
What would you do if your ‘calling’ in life required you to take a leap/dive of faith? Would you take the plunge?

Review

★★★★

Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu is a pleasant new young adult fantasy book with a nice concept and a strong plot. I enjoyed reading this book, though initially, it took me some time to get into it. But once I was hooked, it was difficult to not read it in one sitting.

The concept of this book is not only beautiful but also very well-meaning and has a lot to teach its readers. The way the author executed the plot and the storyline, it came across beautifully and the message of the story gets highlighted but without being too obvious.

In spite of liking the story, I felt that somewhere something important was missing from the book. I feel that the overall story would have come across much better had the writing been a bit stronger; it wasn’t bad, just not very polished. I think what this book really needed was a very strong and firm editing as it would have solved most of the issues  I came across while reading the book. Nonetheless, the story itself has a lot of potential, so that is the biggest positive for this book. The characterization wasn’t spot on but it was good enough to make me care for the lead character.

Overall, it was a nice, cosy read which read more like a middle-grade fiction than a YA novel. I’d recommend it to teens and adults alike who have a special liking for mermaids/mermen and the aquatic life.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Madrone by Jack B. Rochester

Author: Jack B. Rochester
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 340
Publisher: Wheatmark
Blurb:
The year is 1969. After an interminable four years under the boot of the US military, twenty-four-year-old Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers is ready for his real life to begin. His plans are straightforward: spend as much time as he can with his girlfriend, Jane, finish college, and become a writer. But when Nate is denied admission to UC Santa Cruz, he decides that a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessarily the path he’s laid out for himself. He can learn about literature on his own, and he’ll have more time to write if he isn’t in school. His choice doesn’t sit well with everybody. Jane’s father asks Nate how he’ll support Jane without a degree. Jane’s mentor offers to pull some strings at SC if Nate agrees to become his student. And when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself, even Nate is tempted by the allure of conventionally defined success. Picking up where Wild Blue Yonder left off, Madrone inspires us to consider how far we’ll go to remain true to ourselves.

Review

★★★★★

Madrone by Jack B. Rochester is a beautiful sequel to Wild Blue Yonder, which picks up where the first one left off giving a detailed glimpse into the life of the protagonist, Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, after he enters the next phase of his life and explores the world outside of the military.

Just like the previous book by author Rochester, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. I’m glad that I got a chance to read the first book so close to this one because the whole story of Nathaniel felt like a nice long movie. The writing was really good and felt apt for such a beautiful story. The characterization was great as instantly I was able to connect to Nathaniel, and was able to relate to him while he went about living his life in a world that was new to him.

The book is based in the 1960’s and the author has done a commendable job in enabling people like me, who never saw that era, to be able to live it through his amazing cast of characters. The settings did not only make the book very interesting but also very enjoyable.

It is a good book with a heart-warming story and exceptional writing to compliment it, sprinkled with a cast of characters that would steal your heart in a blink and I’d recommend it to everyone who loves reading a meticulously constructed story with fully fleshed-out characters.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson

Author: Sean Anderson
Release Date: 12th February 2018
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 324
Publisher: Riversong Books
Blurb:
Hugo Larson is a retired accountant living in North Seattle. Having recently lost the person most important to him, he attempts to make a life for himself in spite of that gaping absence. While he spends his time swimming, gardening, and accomplishing the mundane tasks of everyday life, he also has several important relationships to manage. Adrian is Hugo’s caring but foolish son, a young man desperately in need of career guidance. Hugo’s brother, Martin, brims with positive energy and a life many would envy: a kind wife, an illustrious teaching career, and a darling granddaughter—but at the implications of retiring. Then there is Paul, a serene next-door neighbor and friend who is haunted by his own loss, who goes on adventures with Hugo through the city. Despite all this, Hugo faces the heaviness of existence, confronts towering questions, embraces and then pushes away those close to him. Through the course of one year, he faces his past, struggles with the present, and questions the future.
What waits for Hugo at the end of that year?

Review

★★★★

The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a sensitive book about dealing with loss, the overpowering and omnipresent grief that ensues and about individual growth. It was a very likeable read, albeit being on the heavier side of the spectrum.

It was very interesting to read about Hugo, the protagonist, and seeing his journey for an entire year after the loss of his beloved. Many times I found myself feeling a wide spectrum of emotions that the protagonist goes through – sadness, frustration, loneliness, disdain and emptiness. But as the book progresses, the author artfully shows the growth of the main lead in a way that felt very real and relatable.

I loved the writing of the author as it complimented the story well. The story had a good flow to it and I was able to navigate through it easily. I liked the story from start to end, and in spite of an unexpected ending, I felt it was very apt for the book.

The best part about this book, though, was that the subject of death and the grief that one has to cope with afterwards (which is a very tricky one) was handled, to my pleasant surprise, quite skillfully with the much-needed delicateness and subtlety. It was a bit hard for me to read this book as the subject of loss, personally, is agonising for me to handle, but I’m glad that the author respected a person’s sense of loss, in general, and worked gracefully around it, touching on the nerves only as required.

A wonderful book for a debut novel that I’d recommend to everyone and anyone who can handle reading about loss, grief and pain related to a close one’s death.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart

Author: A.F. Stewart
Release Date: 13th September 2018
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural
Series: Saga of the Outer Islands (Book #2)
Edition: e-book
Pages: 202
Publisher:
Blurb:
From the depths, darkness is rising…
Something ancient and powerful stirs beneath the sea of the Outer Islands. A creature strong enough to challenge Captain Rafe Morrow, God of Souls, for control of the dead and the survival of the living.
Still reeling from the aftermath of his battle with the Goddess of the Moon, Rafe and the crew of the Celestial Jewel find a mysterious shipwreck and strange tales of bones. Tasked by a new ally to find answers, Rafe stumbles on long-buried secrets shrouded in the shadows of the Nightmare Crow.
Now armies of the dead ascend from the ocean. And their master is not far behind.
Set sail on a new adventure with ghosts, gods and sea monsters!

Review

★★★

Souls Of The Dark Sea by A.F. Stewart is a dark fantasy novel with a strong plotline and good writing.

The book started out good, the progression was also decent but at some places the pace slowed dramatically and then picked up at unexpected places, making it a mixed bag of positives and negatives. The characterization, to me, felt a bit off but that might be because I haven’t read the prequel to this book.

On the whole, I liked reading this book; I might not have loved it but it was still a good read – dark (as promised), well-written with a good storyline and didn’t feel like it was a part of a series (as the blog tour promised) but I think I would have appreciated the characters in this book more had I read the previous book.

I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a new dark series to explore.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins

Author: C. B. Collins
Release Date: 9th September 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Thriller
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 476
Publisher: C.B.C. Publishing
Blurb:
Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.

Review

★★★

One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins is a new supernatural thriller with a lot of potentials that serves as a perfect Halloween read.

When I started reading this book I was pulled into it so fiercely that for the first 30% of the story I was not at all ready to put it down! But, much to my dismay, as the story progressed, I started to feel a little distant as the plot began to drag and the characterization started to falter. It began to get more and more difficult for me to feel a connection with the characters that started to emerge as the main ones as the story progressed. And by the time I finished 80% of the book I wasn’t sure if it was the same book that I had started. Maybe it’s simply my monumental expectations from the story or maybe the story was that way, but I feel that overall the story progression suffered heavily after the first 30-40% of the story. The second half of the story was totally dominated by the first half and wasn’t able to live up to the expectations that were set in the brilliant first half of the story.

Still, it made for a good Halloween read with an engaging plot. If the characterization would have been better, I would have given this story another star, but it wasn’t. So if you like stories with a decent plot and can do with not-very-strong characterization in a supernatural setting then do give this book a try, you might enjoy it more than I did.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: A Recipe For Love by Lucy Madison

Author: Lucy Madison
Release Date: 5th October 2018
Genre: Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 181
Publisher: Labrador Publishing, LLC
Blurb:
Piermont, New York. Danika Russo is 55, newly retired from a 30-year career as a mail carrier, and stuck in a rut. After putting her own needs on hold to care for her terminally ill partner and her unloving father, Danika is holed up the childhood home she inherited, a claustrophobic time warp from the 1970s complete with brown Formica and linoleum, and not sure what to do next.
Her best friend Natalie suggests making a list of things she has always wanted to do. Stepping outside her comfort zone, self-deprecating Danika opts for taking an Italian cooking class, not knowing that she will both impress the appreciative chef with her tasting skills and meet a mysterious younger woman there, Finn Gerard, who will capture her heart and teach her the recipe for love. But Finn is withholding a grim secret and, despite her initial passion, appears unable to commit to Danika fully. Will Danika allow herself to let go and fall in love for the first time in her life, even if there are no guarantees? Even if she must learn to let go?
This complex lesbian romance touches on themes of rediscovery and transformation, showing that while love can be the answer, real healing always starts from within.
Lucy Madison’s latest will appeal to fans of fine, well-crafted lesbian fiction and authors like Caren Werlinger. Readers will enjoy a bonus cookbook section at the back, featuring all the recipes mentioned in the book!

Review

★★★★

A Recipe For Love by Lucy Madison is a heart-warming and, in a non-traditionally way, an uplifting romance novel with well-developed characterization and a storyline to compliment it. I’m not a huge fan of LGBT fiction, mostly because it mainly focuses on the sexuality of people rather than the story or other conflicts in characters, but thankfully, this book was so much more than your regular lesbian fiction as it concentrated on the story and the character more than the label itself. And that was what I really liked about this book.

I enjoyed reading it and, for me, the best part was the beautiful growth of character of the protagonist, Danika. I feel that her conflicts, both inner and the main story conflict, were explored nicely and as a result, I had a great time reading the story. The writing was well and complimented the story well making this book a light, fun yet a memorable read.

I’d recommend it to all romance lovers. Though people who are not comfortable with lesbian relationships might not like it.

this review is also posted on Amazon

Book Review: Civil Hearts by Claire Gem

Author: Claire Gem
Release Date: 1st April 2018
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 326
Publisher: Erato Publishing
Blurb:
He’s a sexy Southern gentleman–with epilepsy. She’s a widow scarred from her late husband’s brain cancer. Her new home, an abandoned antebellum mansion, is haunted by a Confederate ghost–and she’s a Yankee.
A widow with no family, web designer Liv Larson yearns for big change. After all, she can work from anywhere, right? Why not throw a dart at the map? She heads out of the big city for the rural South and falls in love as soon as she arrives—with the Belle Bride, an abandoned antebellum mansion.
Heath Barrow loves his country life, managing his antiques store in sleepy Camellia. But he’s lonely, and his condition—epilepsy—makes life uncertain. It’s already cost him a marriage. A new medication and the new girl in town have his heart hopeful again.
Sparks fly between Heath and Liv. But his first seizure sends Liv into a tailspin. Its mimics those her husband suffered before he died . . .
To make matters worse, Liv discovers she’s not living alone. Her challenge? Dealing with a Confederate soldier, one who clearly resents his Yankee roommate—even though he’s been dead for over a hundred and fifty years.

Review

★★★+1/2

Civil Hearts by Claire Gem is a fast-paced and enjoyable new paranormal romance book. The book was written well and it had a cast of interesting characters. I wasn’t particularly able to relate to the characters, but they seemed interesting enough for me to want to know what happens to them.

The story was a good blend of a romantic relationship and a ghost story. The pacing was good and the storyline interesting. I enjoyed reading this book as much as I can a paranormal romance book (I’m not a fan of the genre, so that’s something.) I’d recommend this book to all the genre fans and to those who’re looking to explore a new light read or a new romance author.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: TwoSpells by Mark Morrison

Author: Mark Morrison
Release Date: 21 February 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy, Young Adult
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures.
The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway.
The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated.
Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?

Review

★★★

TwoSpells by Mark Morrison was a delightful read with a very engaging plot and decent story-telling. I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish and even though the characterization wasn’t perfect, it was good enough to take the story further. It wasn’t an overly loaded read and proved to be a light and breezy read.

I liked the tension in the book and the build-up was also pretty good as was the ending. It suited the plot and I’m looking forward to exploring more titles by the author. The world-building was good, the pacing was decent and the writing okay and overall it made for an enjoyable read which I’d recommend to all fantasy lovers who don’t mind reading a story with very young protagonists.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon