Blog Tour Spotlight: Subject A36 by Teri Polen (Excerpt/Giveaway)

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Welcome to the blog tour for Teri Polen’s upcoming release, Subject A36, the first book in a brand new series called The Colony!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a signed or digital copy of the book!

SUBJECT A36 (THE COLONY #1)
BY: TERI POLEN

Subject A36

Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Expected Publication Date: February 13, 2020

SYNOPSIS

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

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EXCERPT

“Asher!” Mom gripped the porch railing and called for me. Her voice cracked and was laced with tears. Dad vaulted over the porch railing, landed solidly on the grass, and frantically scanned our expansive yard.

My stomach clenched. Something was very wrong. “Over here!”

Dad’s gaze locked on mine. “Code Exodus! Now, Asher. Run!”

Was this another drill? We’d practiced twice a week, the times always unexpected, without fail for as long as I could remember. Drills were a regular part of our life, like eating, sleeping, and homework. Protocol was pounded into our brains. There could be no hesitation.

But this felt different. Dad’s expression was tight and urgent. Tears streamed down Mom’s face, and I knew. This was no drill. It was real this time. We’d been found. Code Tribe—we leave together. Code Exodus—we leave without our parents.

Code Exodus rules.

Grab the backpack.

Leave immediately.

Don’t stop for anything or anyone.

Run to the Wallaces.

When my sisters could no longer keep up, hide them and keep running.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Teri Polen

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at http://www.teripolen.com

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February 10th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
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Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/
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Blog Tour: Buried In My Past by Eva MacKenzie

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BURIED IN MY PAST
BY: EVA MACKENZIE

buried in my past

Genre: Domestic/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Craven Ink Press
Publication Date: February 6, 2020

SYNOPSIS

She’s desperate to stop the panic attacks. But the truth won’t set her free…

Jamie Kendal sees life through the bottom of a bottle. After surviving assault and betrayal, she is forced back to her hometown to care for her mother. Not long after her return, she’s plagued by terrifying slivers of memories from the night her twin brother disappeared forever…

Unearthing new evidence, she’s shocked to learn she’d been found wandering in the woods that same night—covered in blood. More than one person from her past hid the haunting truth that’s bubbling to the surface. The deeper she digs into the horrors from her past, the more she fears almost anyone could be a killer, including Jamie herself.

Can Jamie expose what happened that night, or will she join her missing brother?

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REVIEW

Buried In My Past is a pretty great thriller. While its story, in general isn’t quite as unique at first glance to other stories told in the similar type, its the way that the author executes it from its pacing to how the story is structured to building its characters that give it quite a good deal of depth and opens up a world of questions linking the past to the present of a case happening in a small town bringing back its victim to figure out her own past. Because of its good execution, this novel is quite the page-turner, as it gets the readers to engage in the whole guesswork of what happened in the past and who the killer could possibly be.

The story is structured in the perspectives of a few of the characters. The first is from the view of Jamie, a mid-30s lady who goes back home with the news of her mother being unconscious after a break-in to her home. Upon searching, she realizes that there’s more going on to what happened in camp when she was younger that caused her family to lose her brother and that somehow she was involved as well. Its this investigation that takes her character into a deeper exploration of the chunk of memory loss that might be the key to solving this case. This perspective is possibly the one that has the most impact.

However, the other perspectives float around a few other people. The more prominent goes to the leading detective (maybe sheriff, I can’t remember the title) called Drew who happens to have history in Jamie’s youth of the romantic variety and ends up being something of a tangent as in the midst of all the things happening, their attraction also builds. If anything, I didn’t quite think this is completely necessary but that might just be that there’s a place and time for everything and romance in thrillers (unless its meant to be the focal point) doesn’t seem to have its spot although part of the resolution did have to do with Drew and Jamie’s connection. Not quite sure on that element yet.

With that said, as much as there is the romance, the story does know to keep its focus on the different characters that appear here. They all contribute and are a piece of the story and add to the investigation at hand. Buried In My Past is clever and uses the little details and descriptions as well as each of its characters to its potential and with the use of separating the chapters into quick-paced pieces from different character perspectives and guiding through the past and present effectively and clearly, its a well-written and gripping thriller to read.

Score: 4 out of 5

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Pic (3)

Eva Mackenzie is an author who enjoys twisty, emotionally engrossing tales. Her debut novel has been a work in progress for over a decade. Under the urging of a loved one, it’s finally finished.

She is a wife and mother living on the east coast. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family, training for her next marathon or reading stacks of suspense novels. Some of her favorite authors are Minka Kent, Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Jackson.

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February 3rd

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February 5th

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February 6th

Ally’s Reading Corner (Review) http://allysreadingcorner.wordpress.com
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February 7th

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Blog Tour: Drowning by Steven M Cross (Spotlight/Excerpt)

Drowning
By: Steven M. Cross

Drowning

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: Liminal Books

SYNOPSIS

Dean knows being different isn’t always a good thing.

Trapped by the voices and visits from the dead, Dean is drowning. His father, allegedly drowned, and the friend who took his own life taunt like the school bullies he can’t seem to get away from.

A sliver of hope breaks through when his mother announces they are moving. A chance for a fresh start for all of them. So why does she move them to the cottage near the river his father drowned in?

The water begins to envelop him, threatening to pull him under, when Dean discovers nothing changes and the bullies find not only him, but his twin sister, Dee, as favorite targets. Dean’s personal struggles worsen as his tentative grasp on reality weakens.

An unexpected hand plunges through the water toward him, bringing with it questions and a family secret that haunts them all.

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EXCERPT

My dad looks up at me, “I’ll catch you.”

I know he probably won’t, but that doesn’t scare me, not today. What scares me is knowing that this day—this perfect day—one of the few my family ever has will end soon, and it will be back to yelling and screaming and being slapped for saying the wrong thing even when I don’t know what is wrong.

I turn to Dee and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t ever want to grow up,” she says.

And I realize I don’t want to either. I back away from the cliff.

Dee says, “Finally. Don’t kill yourself.”

“I don’t want to grow up either.”

I run to the edge of the cliff, but this time I don’t jump feet first. I dive. I think as I sail through the air and hit the water that it’s the perfect day to die.

My dad jerks me out of the water. “What the hell are you doing? You could have killed yourself.”

I just look at him and say, “I didn’t.” Then, I swim toward the beach.

Dee yells, “Holy shit, brother! Way to go.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven M Cross

Steven Cross remembers his first literary success, a play about a wolfman that his English class read. His first publication was a Haiku about hearing wolves at sunset one evening as he sat on his back deck with Luke his faithful mutt by his side. He also published a horror story about mutant moles whose taste buds begin to crave human flesh.

Cross, born in Missouri, has published plays, novels, and poetry and done well in some screenwriting competitions, most recently as a quarterfinalist in The Bluecat Screenwriting competition, considered one of the best in the country.

Cross often writes about mental illness. He is an example of how a person can overcome mental illness and succeed. His young adult book Drowning covers bullying and mental illness and is a must-read for teenagers, parents, and teachers.

An educator for over 30 years, he is now semi-retired. Right now he and his wife Jean live in Poplar Bluff, MO, where they spend a lot of time spoiling their grandchildren. Cross is a St. Louis Cardinals fan and has been ever since he was old enough to hold a baseball card. He also enjoys music, reading, and of course writing.

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January 27th

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January 31st

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Blog Tour: The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen

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The Weighing of the Heart
By: Paul Tudor Owen

WOTHCoverfront

Publication Date: March 22, 2019 (Obliterati Press)
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS

Following a sudden break-up, Englishman in New York Nick Braeburn takes a room with the elderly Peacock sisters in their lavish Upper East Side apartment, and finds himself increasingly drawn to the priceless piece of Egyptian art on their study wall – and to Lydia, the beautiful Portuguese artist who lives across the roof garden.

But as Nick draws Lydia into a crime he hopes will bring them together, they both begin to unravel, and each find that the other is not quite who they seem.

Paul Tudor Owen’s intriguing debut novel brilliantly evokes the New York of Paul Auster and Joseph O’Neill.

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REVIEW

The Weighing of the Heart is a wonderfully written novel by Paul Tudor Owen. Its one that essentially follows the main character Nick who truly starts off as a very likeable character and appealing to all of those people around him. However, throughout the slender length and with that, a well-paced storytelling skills, Nick’s character starts to fall apart. His character becomes the central focus as it seems that there is a lot more than what is shown with a lot of questions of his past and the little details that pop up. Its because Nick is such a character that it makes the story develop in a way that when the decision to go through with a wrong act leads both him and his girlfriend Lydia start showing their division. Their characters span out to how they cope with the whatever guilt they have.

As charming as Nick’s character is drawn out, its the central focus on a piece of artwork called The Weighing of the Heart that dives into Egyptian mythology and becomes something that, in some ways, haunts Nick and with that, it further emphasizes on the elements of this picture that builds up the story and how the choices that Nick and Lydia make actually matches up to the whole Weighing of the Heart ceremony (I had to do a little research here to clear some things up). It ends up corresponding to the issues of different values as well as the concept of right and wrong. This is a refreshing element to use.

Overall, The Weighing of the Heart is a good read. It starts off fairly lighthearted and quickly becomes something of a romantic story but takes a turn into something more of a thrilling mystery as the possibility of success gets thrown into the equation and how far someone will go to meet an end. At the same time, the thrilling elements intrigue as Nick’s character starts showing more and more of the lesser side and he starts viewing his world in a comparison to this obsession over The Weighing of the Heart. Its a very unique reading experience.

Score: 4.5/5

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Pic (2)

Paul Tudor Owen was born in Manchester in 1978, and was educated at the University of Sheffield, the University of Pittsburgh, and the London School of Economics.

He began his career as a local newspaper reporter in north-west London, and currently works at the Guardian, where he spent three years as deputy head of US news at the paper’s New York office.

His debut novel, The Weighing of the Heart, was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize 2019 and longlisted for Not the Booker Prize 2019.

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January 13th

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January 14th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Guest Post) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
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January 15th

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January 16th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
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January 17th

Port Jerricho (Spotlight – Review to Follow) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
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Blog Tour: Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review/Giveaway)

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Death in Smoke (The Cape Mysteries #2)
By: Barbara Elle

Death in Smoke

Publication Date: December 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

*Each book in The Cape Mysteries can be read as a standalone novel*

A bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off Cape Cod.

A cold case in Kansas.

What’s the connection between two unrelated murders over a thousand miles away and decades apart?

In Death In Smoke, the thrilling sequel to Death In Vermilion, artist Leila Goodfriend unravels the truth about two brutal killings.

From Cuttyhunk Island to a Native American casino in Kansas, Leila tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a faded past.

Once again, Leila has to trust her instincts, which puts her at odds with Detective John Grace—a relationship of attraction that, in the end, reveals a tragic secret from her own past.

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across clashing cultures and time, challenging assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.

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REVIEW

Death in Smoke is the second book in the Cape Mysteries Series and yet, while the main sleuth carries forward from the previous book, this mystery is pretty much a standalone with only a little bit of reference to the previous book and it makes to effort to fill in those spaces for new readers (like myself). At least its the feeling that I got here which is always good to not feel like starting in the middle of a series is an intrusion and it stands alone as it promotes itself.

Psychological thrillers are always tricky business. Death in Smoke does a relatively good job. It starts off on a strong note in its set up its foundation with the discovery of the body and the well-described scenario and the forensic and detective work that follows. While the story does seem to a bit deliberate in some of its leads and the discoveries making it seem a bit predictable in certain plot progression, it does redeem itself in the second half when it shifts its scenario from the murders on an island, which is always an intriguing setting, to the link to another case in Kansas and brings in the Indigenous American elements. This brings in the unique angle for this mystery.

Looking at the characters of Death in Smoke, the main sleuth is an artist called Leila who has unexpectedly been around for this and in this story, feels the urge to follow the leads and help solve it as she finds the body and therefore responsible to follow through (or at least it seems that way). There’s a nice little bit of what would probably be a link to the previous book in terms of the little love tangent it goes on but done in a classy way. All these elements build up on Leila’s character.

Overall, there are some small pacing issues where with Death in Smoke. However, the book is well-written with some vivid descriptions and a decent main character Leila leading the mystery. The mystery itself also is well structured with gradual layers that eventually build up to the finale. The ending isn’t hard to completely figure out but it does redeem itself also with finding a unique twist. Plus, the grand finale shares a little on the origins of dreamcatcher which a lot of people know about but never the art of it or the different elements and the meanings. I’m not sure if it was meant to end to give Leila some more depth in its ending or to give it a little informative moment for the readers but whichever the reason, the ending does add to the experience.

Score: 3.5/5

Available on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BARBARA ELLE

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, the musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

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Blog Tour: Murder in Montague Falls (Spotlight)

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Murder in Montague Falls
by: Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton & Patrick Thomas

Murder in Montague Falls

SYNOPSIS

WHITE HOT THRILLS! PITCH BLACK DEEDS!

3 TALES OF TEENS TACKLING THEIR DARKEST RITES OF PASSAGE

Acclaimed storytellers Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas each present an original novella brimming with enough danger, intrigue, and murder to get readers’ blood pounding and hearts racing.

In Colchamiro’s RED INK, a paperboy with an overactive imagination witnesses a brutal killing on his route—or has he taken his fantasy spy games a step too far?

In Hatton’s THE DEVIL’S DELINQUENTS, a trio of teenage misfits in pursuit of success, power, and revenge practice amateurish occult rituals… with deadly consequences.

In Thomas’s A MANY SPLENDID THING, a sultry high school teacher enrolls one of her students to get rid of her husband. But will the young man really graduate to murder?

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EXCERPT

Red Ink:

An infrared scope cut through the suburban tree line.

Perched on a high-angle branch in the neighbor’s spruce tree, Isaac could see her through the living room window, six houses away.

The M21 semi-automatic sniper rifle with fiberglass stock and 20-round box magazine was snug against his shoulder.

One bullet. One body.

Though camouflaged within a thicket of evergreen leaves, he had a clean shot.

“Come on,” he whispered, his eye against the scope. “Give me the signal.”

In perfect synchronicity, Isaac’s earpiece crackled. “Target confirmed. Kill shot approved.”

The Devil’s Delinquents:

Natalie exits her room with the ritual kit, locking the door behind her.

Her father, swathed in a cornucopia-pattern quilt, sits in his wheelchair in the den, positioned near enough the window so that he can be in the daylight. Maybe he enjoys it, but one cannot tell for certain since his face registers no enjoyment, nor any other emotion.

Natalie kneels down before him, flips up the quilt, and undoes the bottom three buttons of his shirt, exposing his stomach. Between her fingertips, she wields the double-edged blade for a safety razor. She carefully nicks the skin above his father’s belly button. She looks up at him, detects no reaction.

She makes intersecting six-inch-long slices into his stomach, then carves a large circle around the lines, working around the seeping blood. Upon finishing, she evaluates her work and nods.

“I’m going to bring you back, daddy,” Natalie says to him, kissing his knuckles. “I promise.”

A Many Splendid Thing:

Rosa went from smiling to bawling in less time than it took to blink. I pulled her in and held her against my bare chest. She pounded my ribs with her closed fists.

“Why won’t you understand! There is no other way! If we don’t kill him soon, you’ll come to school one day and find that he killed me. How are you going to feel then? Especially if he figures out that you’re my lover! You would follow me to the Pearly Gates.”

“Rosa, this talk of killing is crazy.”

She pushed herself back and slapped me hard across the face. “You think I’m crazy?”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Russ Colchamiro

RUSS COLCHAMIRO is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany sci-fi backpacking series Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, editor of the sci-fi mystery anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, and contributing author for his newest project, Murder in Montague Falls, a noir novella collection, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ has contributed to several other anthologies including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, They Keep Killing Glenn, Altered States of the Union, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Brave New Girls vols. 3&4, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, and Footprints in the Stars.

He is now finalizing the first in an ongoing SFF mystery series featuring his hard-boiled private eye Angela Hardwicke and has several other SFF, crime fiction, and children’s book projects in the works.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, their twin ninjas, and their crazy dog, Simon.

For more on Russ’s works, visit www.russcolchamiro.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @AuthorDudeRuss.

Sawney Hatton

SAWNEY HATTON is an author, editor, and screenwriter who has long loved playing in the dark. His published works include the Dark Comedy novel Dead Size, the YA Noir novella Uglyville, and the Dark Fiction short story collection Everyone Is a Moon. He also edited the Sci-Fi Horror anthology What Has Two Heads, Ten Eyes, and Terrifying Table Manners?

Other incarnations of Sawney have produced marketing videos, attended chili cook-offs, and played the banjo and sousaphone (not at the same time). As of this writing, he is still very much alive.

For more semi-unseemly insights into Sawney, visit his website at www.SawneyHatton.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Patrick Thomas

PATRICK THOMAS is the award-winning author of the beloved Murphy’s Lore series and the darkly hilarious Dear Cthulhu advice empire.

His 40+ books include Fairy with a Gun, By Darkness Cursed, Lore & Dysorder, Dead to Rites, Startenders, As the Gears Turn, Cthulhu Explains It All, and Exile and Entrance. His is the co-author of the Mystic Investigators series, The Santa Heist, and the Jack Gardner mysteries.

Patrick is the co-editor of Camelot 13 (with John French), New Blood (with Diane Raetz), and Hear Them Roar (with CJ Henderson), co-created The Wildsidhe Chronicles YA series and is the creator of the Agents of the Abyss series.

He has had more than 150 short stories published in magazines and anthologies, with his work for YA and children including the Ughabooz books, the Undead Kid Diaries, the Joy Reaper books, and the Babe B. Bear Mysteries as Patrick T. Fibbs.

Visit him online at www.patthomas.net and www.patricktfibbs.com

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October 28th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com
Viviana MacKade (Guest Post) https://viviana-mackade.blog/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
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B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
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I Smell Sheep (Guest Post) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
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Musings of a Final Girl (Review) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/
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Kelly Lacey (Spotlight) https://lovebooksgroup.com/
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Blog Tour: Hope by Terry Tyler (Review/Giveaway)

Hope

HOPE
BY: TERRY TYLER

Hope

Publication Date: May 24, 2019
Genre: Dystopian/Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.

Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cozy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.

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REVIEW

Hitting quite close to home as the main character Lita is a blogger who talks about fairly touchy subjects in a future dystopian UK that results in rather dire circumstances, Hope is a gripping psychological thriller. Its dystopian setting is one that has similar goals to those familiar with movies like The Purge, where the government schemes in their own way to thin out the non-working class which is seen as being a burden to the society and disposed of in whatever way possible. “Out of sight, out of mind” kind of deal. This dystopian future is always a nice topic to look at as it also refers to different events that has happened in our current day and age and how it has affected the future of the UK (such as Brexit). This setting opens up through the eyes of Lita about the levels of governmental control, its manipulation of technology, the lies and secrets as well as its schemes to push the non-working class or the poor/less fortunate to these camps called Hope Village in the middle of nowhere and working to live there for credits while having a lot of underlying issues that the three soon discover for themselves.

Separated into a few parts in the book quite cleverly, the situation of Lita and her two friends, Nick and Kendall end up in different locations as they move from one place to the next trying to maintain their bond and stay together as they view each other as family. Each location creates a new section of the story which gives it structure. In each phase, it moves from the struggle to stay afloat as things go sideways for each of them one by one and how it leads them to live in a Hope Village which makes them desperate for change and their actions to this puts them in a much worse situation.

Its these situations that also give Lita the hard times that give her character a lot of development. It shifts from each location from the honest blogger to a much more toned down version that treats situations a little smarter through her many losses throughout the story and shifts her character trajectory. While a few of these situations, from the reader’s view is quite easily predictable and doesn’t quite do any out of the left field. Its really the combination of all these events that make Hope quite an intriguing read.

The finesse of crafting  each of the characters and the hardships they encounter each lead to their own outcome. The setting of this dystopian future UK also is one that has lots of discover. It manages to touch on a lot of the different angles from the government motives to the characters reactions and how to face this situation and find their ways to uncover the secrets trying to be hidden. There’s also a little to think about this dystopian future as the society going backwards as these Hope Villages feel very similar to restrictive camps in history. As thrilling as this might be, where it falls short just a little is that it was fairly predictable and I like thrillers to be slightly more shocking. While I say that, there is no doubt a lot of really great writing and story execution done here. 

Goodreads: 4/5 

Where to Buy:

Amazon UK
Amazon
Universal Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Hope’, a dystopian, psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on ‘Blackthorn’, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

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October 14th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com
Just 4 My Books (Review) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
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LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/
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October 18th

I’m All About Books (Review) https://imallaboubtbooks.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Crossroads Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

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Blog Tour: The Moonlight Pegasus by C.S. Johnson (Review/Giveaway)

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The Moonlight Pegasus
By: C.S. Johnson

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebook

Publication Date: July 2016
Genre: High Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Sapphira is a desert world with little plant life, where the people live in the shadows of gray sunlight, sickened by the Dark Plague. To cure the people, the Guardian of Dreams sends the Spirit of Truth to bring the light back into his darkened world. In the form of Pegasus, he enters the world through the pure, innocent dreams of Selene, the reluctant princess and heir-apparent to the throne. Now, with her brother Dorian as king, another rebellion is stirring. All eyes are turning to Selene to bring peace through an arranged marriage. However, Selene only has eyes for her true love—her protector, Etoileon. As the rebellion unleashes its fury upon the kingdom of Sapphira and the supernatural forces collide, Selene is caught in the middle of all conflicts—the battle for her world, the battle for her love, and the battle for her very soul.

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REVIEW

The Moonlight Pegasus is a story with many faces. Its a story about love, faith, good and evil, war and family. Rightfully so, it also is quite lengthy but surprisingly also manages to keep a pretty good pacing right from the start. The world itself is set on a planet called Sapphira and revolves around kingdoms and the islands surrounding it. There would seem to be a presence of religion in terms of resurrection and faith and belief disguised in a higher entity called The Guardian that watches over the people and some levels of sacrifice for the greater good.

The Moonlight Pegasus is a bit overly long and that has to do with giving the time for these different elements to fall into place while merging together as the climax of the situation approaches. Its done in a pretty good way especially in the flow of events. At times however, it feels like one of the Chinese TV dramas, and the fairly soapy kind, in terms of the dialogue but considering the fantasy world it is set in, it seems to fit although there are some wordings that don’t seem to quite fit the characters here and there but they are not frequent.

A big element of the first half of the story is about the love between the main characters which the princess Selene and her protector Etoileon. Their roles and back stories on how they met are described and their current situation and even their feelings for each other, which really emphasizes on how those involved are the most blind, because the way the interact with each other and the words they use is almost too obvious that they have feelings for each other and yet, they both are reluctant to say anything, which is the type of drama that I personally find a tad frustrating. However, these two characters are written really well and suitably so as we see what is in their destiny by the end of the novel. The “surprise” I would expect wasn’t exactly a surprise either maybe like I said, a lot of the stuff that happens here is almost straight out of a normal Chinese TV drama, especially those set in dynastic China and dealing with royalty.

On the other hand, what is taken a little lighter and less focused on was the war side which only had glimpses of its affect and the going ons, putting the King Dorian more in the backdrop. Fact is, there was a good deal of characters as well. A lot of the story was giving space to the “good” characters including meeting Pegasus whereas, it makes the evil on the other side with only a few bits here and there in the spectrum of the story as a whole.

The Moonlight Pegasus has some issues in dialogue and some imbalance in the different elements it tackles. However, it is a fun book to dive into because of the fantasy world that it builds and the two characters leading the story.  While there is a sequel to the story, this first book does set the stage quite well while still wrapping things up so it can stand alone keeping its story contained, which is always a plus.

Goodreads score: 4

Purchase link: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
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Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/
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Blog Tour: Wild Dark Times by Austin Case (Review/Excerpt)

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Wild Dark Times
By: Austin Case

Wild Dark Times

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publication Date: July 23, 2019

SYNOPSIS

It’s the summer of 2012 and Elizabeth Megalos is a disillusioned art-school grad getting by as a bank teller in St. Louis. One evening, she’s attacked by a possessed coworker and saved by a mysterious, wise-cracking sorcerer named Eddy. He drags Elizabeth and Hugh—a skeptical scholar of the occult—to Europe, where he introduces them to his three magical celebrity friends. Once there, Eddy explains the group’s mission: preventing a Demiurge—a creature out of Gnostic Christian mythology—from fulfilling the visions of doom in the Book of Revelation. The Demiurge has been drawing power from the misguided beliefs in the Mayan apocalypse and is set to start the destruction on Dec. 21st, 2012. Through ritual magic and a series of psychedelic experiences, the group learns that Elizabeth is the key to taking down the Demiurge, though she can’t imagine how she will be the one to stop Armageddon.

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EXCERPT

“Elizabeth, I don’t think this is the first time that an apocalypse has almost happened. There have been people claiming that the end is nigh for thousands of years. The way things have gone in the past—what, with the awful things people have done to each other and the large-scale tragedies that have occurred—I can’t imagine things didn’t get close to ending quite a few times. But there are good people out there, people who care about the world and struggle to help. People who can see the beautiful in the world and strive for compassion and peace instead of destruction. Have you ever heard of the Gospel of Thomas?”

Elizabeth shook her head.

“It’s a Gnostic gospel. A book of sayings attributed to Jesus but which was left out of the Bible. While the New Testament talks about the Kingdom of God and the apocalypse that would lead to this perfected place, Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas says that it’s here already. That, essentially, it’s a matter of perceiving the perfection of things that are already here. This view is common to lots of other mystical traditions. In a way, the apocalypse could be seen as that Gnostic or mystical insight, where the world as we know or understand it falls apart around us, and all that is left is the Kingdom of God. The falling apart is just a matter of perception and is necessary to see the true beauty before us already… 

Amazon

REVIEW

Wild Dark Times takes a magical twist set in the few months with a group of people with various magical powers joined together to stop the apocalypse set to happen on December 21, 2012. Taking a more enchanted and dangerous adventure towards how to stop it all, the premise itself is intriguing because with fantasy of these types, there is always its own little twist on its own magical world of creatures and elements and how magic works in this urban fantasy reality. Due to those adventure elements, Wild Dark Times is quite a page-turning experience, more so as the novel dives deeper and further into each location that it moves to and the next event that happens as they approach doomsday itself, the stakes are higher just as the characters developed have taken a certain level of importance to the story as a whole as well.

As each of the characters chases down one location to the next and figures out one clue to the next, each of this group has their shine in the spotlight and their worth in the group especially the two people acquired throughout this who initially seem like they don’t quite fit into any particular use in this whole equation. One of such is the the female leading character that somehow gets pulled into this and seems like it is way over her head because of her lack of knowledge and yet the group keeps her and the other more educational fellow along. It gives these characters a space to develop and they do work out quite well despite the fact that perhaps at times, it does feel like for the length of this novel, some of the characters in this group feel a little underdeveloped and some of them don’t quite leave quite the impression making it at times hard to track who is who at the beginning except for some of their more specific uses.

Wild Dark Times is pretty clever with the pacing of the whole story. While some of the characters are quite used as they should, the constant string of things happening does help to keep it very intriguing to follow despite it feeling slightly like its going through a formula for this magic to work as they figure out one place to the next and when and where which feels like it might need a little more back story but somehow still manages to tie it together in the end. What also does work well here is the stakes do seemingly increase as it moves along as the forces they fight against also creep closer as well. Overall, everything balances out between the urban fantasy and the paranormal along with the magic elements and whole saving the world from the apocalypse take in a fun and adventurous way.

Goodreads score: 4 out of 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Pic

Austin Case received a Master’s Degree from the University of Amsterdam in Western Esotericism and Mysticism. His academic knowledge of the occult and other peripheral phenomena has given him a unique take on fantasy and speculative fiction.

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August 26th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

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The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
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My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://mybookishbliss.com
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Blog Tour:The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars by C.S. Johnson (Review/Giveaway)

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The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars
By: C.S. Johnson

The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars

Publication Date: November 7, 2018
Genre: Manga Style/Graphic Novel
Length: 30 pages

SYNOPSIS

A tiresome task.

A deceptive dragon.

A prince that changes everything.

Ophiuchus is a celebrated warrior of the Celestial Kingdom and a warrior among the Stars. He has been always been a dutiful servant of the Prince of Stars. So when the prince asks him to watch over the crafty serpent, Naga, Ophiuchus agrees. But as time passes and discouragement—both from Naga and others—Ophiuchus wonders if the Prince of Stars was right in asking him to take on the burdens of his task.

Will Ophiuchus honor his duty, or give into his heart’s weariness?

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REVIEW

The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars is a fantasy graphic novel set in the world of the zodiacs. This story is about Ophiuchus who doesn’t only have the feud of the rest of the zodiacs against him for one reason or another but also the Prince of Stars has burdened him with the task of monitoring Naga, a deceptive serpent who constantly is in disagreement with him. Naga is representative of the evil in the world or perhaps on a lesser note, simply a disapproving negative thoughts that become a burden over time. Through the 30 pages or so of this graphic novel, the story brings together the obvious comparison of the story’s literal burden to the heavier mental burdens surrounding a person and whether and how to let it go. That message alone is the worthy of a lot of value as it instills the positives and has Ophiuchus, struggling to let go of the burden and even embrace the positives and freedom.

With that said, to be able to deliver fairly engaging characters, especially Ophiuchus and Naga as well as The Prince of Stars all give this fantasy a nice depth and development. Its only 30 pages so both the pacing and the execution are tight. It has a lot of other characters, the rest of the zodiac notably, but they only pop in with their random thoughts and opinions. Its gives their character context and all it really does need to do.

Simple as it is, quick as the story flows by, the animation is nice but not quite at its full potential. The writing style also still has a bit of improvement to flow some dialogue better. Its not exactly manga but the fantasy elements do give it that extra perk. It also lacks a little to be a full-on graphic novel, perhaps its the art style or the story style itself. It sits in the middle. It would be nice to see C.S. Johnson take on more of these while trying to commit to either or of the styles. Still, the ideas and creative aren’t to be dismissed and it will be interesting to see what works are in the horizon.

Score: 3.5 (3 on Goodreads)

Purchase Link
Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.S. Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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