Friday, 31 January 2020

Amber Hollow by Edgar Swamp

Title: Amber Hollow
Author: Edgar Swamp
Genre: Horror (with elements of suspense, mystery, and fantasy)
Publication Date: October 10, 2019

On July 15, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community's 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict each other; the only link is a man named Anthony Guntram, but because he is presumed to be dead, this claim can't be verified. Further investigations reveal a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors hiding? Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.


      “I’m not going back!” the woman screamed, her eyes rolling in terror. “You hear me? I’m never going back!”
      “We understand,” Sadie said, approaching carefully from the opposite side of her partner, although her reply couldn’t have been farther from the truth. So far, she didn’t understand anything. However, she knew for certain that this woman’s passing wouldn’t do them a damn bit of good at getting to the truth. They needed to keep her still so she wouldn’t let go.
      “We’re here to help you,” Jeremy said, “in fact, we were on our way to the hospital to visit you, to ask you some questions—”
      “You have questions, you can ask Anthony Guntram! It’s his fault, all his fault!”
      “I’m afraid we can’t do that, ma’am.” He gazed down, saw a police boat approaching from the mouth of the river. Good timing. “Please, let us help you. Take my hand.”
      “I don’t want your help!” she screamed, and in her exertion one of her feet slipped and she almost fell, the only thing keeping her from plunging over the side was her grip on the cable, which apparently was pretty tight. “You can’t help me, no one can!”
      “Let us try,” Jeremy begged.
      “Never,” she croaked in a husky voice, and then she let go of the cable.

About the Author:

Edgar Swamp is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Aurea Mediocritas by Gaston D. Cox

Title: Aurea Mediocritas
Author: Gaston D. Cox
Genre: Short Stories
Publication Date: October 2019
Publisher: Page Publishing

Aurea Mediocritas: A Book of Short Stories

The term, Aurea Mediocritas, refers to the golden mean, a balance between two extremes. The characters in “Queerious”, faced with insurmountable odds in a society unaccepting of same-sex relationships and the hidden secrets which have divided the family.

The story "In a Nutshell," features an expedition in the Amazon, where an ancient ritual amulet is discovered by a young boy. He makes a wish on the amulet and rapidly began to age twenty-five years older. The boy's father makes a bargained and faces the consequences of his sacrifice at a price too dear to pay. The father desperately searches to find a balance between dealing with his own demons and striving to save his son.

In “For the Sake of my Enemies,” a young Japanese girl immigrates to the USA and joins the international police task force she was assigned to a US Federal case. On an assignment in Japan to bring back a crime boss who has ed from prosecution, she unravels an old Japanese cold case and found the man who killed her father and brother. She struggles to ‑and balance, revenge or her mission.

About the Author:

Gaston D. Cox, a famous American writer, graduated from Irvine University College of Law and now lives in China. He fled the United States and came to China because of his wounds. First, he worked as an English teacher at Qiqihar University, then he transferred to Shanghai because he was not tolerant of the cold. He has been a university professor, legal adviser and medical representative for several years. Although a seven-foot man is a strong man, I have a delicate and sensitive heart. When I came to China, I was inspired and fell in love with writing. I published many books. The words are passionate and popular with many Chinese fans. His representative works include Cries of insanity, Aurea Mediocritas, Sounds of Silent, The Seventh Plague, and Life Cubed.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Lights Above Cass by Marilyn Brokaw Hall

Title: Lights Above Cass
Author: Marilyn Brokaw Hall
Genre: Sci-fi Suspense
Publication Date: January 2020
Publisher: Xlibris

Lucia a self-aware Quantum computer recovered from the Roswell crash was brought to a secret base. Time on Earth and the completion of her mission will soon collide. She awaits the final codes to return home.

While investigating alien abductions the CIA uncover some of America’s ugliest social injustices. Several women return some meet their fate other ways. Rose a minister’s daughter, Jacqueline a gay schoolteacher, Eve a deaf-mute farm girl, Molly a college student living on the edge and Rita an Army nurse are missing. To some this book may read as a parable, to others a premonition.


No more secrets… no more lies,

Eyes once clenched tight now wide open.

Not too late... don’t hesitate…

It’s up to you… it’s up to me,

What each of us chooses to see.

Once the helicopters reached where they last detected the unidentified craft, the copter pilots set down in a clearing approximately a half mile from the site. Air Force military boots hit the ground running; trained military canines led the way through the pitch dense forest. Unsure of what they would find when they got to the craft landing site, Sergeant Trevon Loch’s special team of men and women were trained to fight and were ready to give all for their country.

As the soldiers closed in on their prey the dogs cowered. Their ears no longer perked up and their tails hung down flat against their hind legs which was very unusual behavior for these brave beasts. They were trained by soldiers to obey orders as any other soldier normally would. The dogs were to attack first unless otherwise ordered to stand down.

Tonight, a sense of eeriness settled upon the squadron of soldiers. They were not used to being in this posture here in the mountains on US soil. Neither were the German Shepherd’s they had brought along. If the craft landed near this area, there were no lights to identify its specific coordinates. The soldiers wore camouflage uniforms with their faces painted to help them blend in with the forest vegetation providing extra cover under the full moon. Except an occasional owl, coyote, soldier snapping dead twigs under their boots or intermittent panting of the dogs all remained quiet in this part of the forest. They knew they were close from the coordinates received from tactical command.

Sergeant Trevon Loch motioned his platoon with special hand signals to stop, get down and listen. Time passed quietly and at a snail’s pace. His troops were disciplined they could wait out any enemy no matter how long it took. Tiny hairs on the back of his neck stood up giving him a chill. Sergeant Loch knew exactly what that meant from being in Kuwait. Over there he had a sixth sense about hidden bombs. They would stay put until he understood the danger clearer and was able to devise a safe plan of attack.

Without warning, light emanating from under the ship created sparks from the hidden craft. The heat it generated intensified, creating sizzling mounds of dry grass and leaves under it from the intense heat. Within seconds it left behind only minute orange glowing bits of disintegrated cooling ash. A deafening whirring noise created a sense of chaos among the dogs and the soldiers. The obsidian sphere rose two hundred feet in the air within seconds, rotating in a circle. Trapezium-shaped four-sided lights none of which were parallel blinked randomly near the expansive windows of the craft. The occupants inside appeared more frightening than the soldiers expected in the time they were able to lock eyes on the aliens inside the spacecraft and wrap their heads around what they were witnessing.

Before the soldiers were able to fire their weapons to get off a warning shot, the craft vanished. Sergeant Loch identifying a form left behind ordered, “Hold your fire.” Attempting to refocus his eyes from the blinding light Sargent Trevon Loch noticed a single silhouette standing in the center of the field directly under the light of the full moon.

The human form was easy to recognize since it was aided further by the fading glow of embers lighting the field. It was a young woman. She appeared to be in her mid-twenties. Her shoulder-length blonde hair appeared as if it were floating in the air due to the updraft created by the craft. She was wearing a mid-century cotton house dress. Sergeant Loch immediately noticed when he approached her that she was missing her shoes. There was no way that she had walked here barefoot this late at night on her own. He knew instantly that she must have been aboard the craft. The young woman stood quietly gazed off into the darkness of the forest, unaware of her current surroundings or the soldiers quietly approaching. Her pale skin and stone-like stature resembled a concrete statue one would normally see when visiting a park. As Sergeant Loch came closer, he noticed two other females lying on the ground, hidden by her shadow. 

About the Author:

Marilyn Brokaw Hall, author of Mothman’s Vengeance and The Ring Master’s Secret: A tale of Witchcraft and Deception graduated from Rio Grande University. She grew up in southeastern Ohio and is fascinated by tales involving myths, legends, and supernatural phenomena. Marilyn uses Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky as the backdrop for the diverse and complex characters she loves writing about in her novels.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

The Breaking by K. S. Marsden

Title: The Breaking
Series: Northern Witch #3
Author: K. S. Marsden
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: 20th March

Mark thought being a witch would be easy, but it has ruined everything.

Now, he has to fight for his friends and the guy that he loves.

Which would be challenging enough, without school being a living nightmare; more demons than he can handle; and witches that have strayed from the light.

Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks Smashwords

Author Bio:

Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

Hunter's Blood by Val Penny

Title: Hunter's Blood
Series: The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #4
Author: Val Penny
Genre: Crime – police procedural
Publication Date: 1st January 2020
Publisher: Crooked Cat (Darkstroke)

DI Hunter Wilson never has just one problem to solve.

Three elderly women he knows have died in mysterious circumstances. Hunter appears to be the only link.

A little girl goes missing on a cold winter’s night. When his team discovers cocaine hidden at the farm where she was living, the search becomes even more urgent.

Why did the women die? And what did the child witness?

Hunter must find the answers to these questions to ensure his family and his city are safe.

My Review:

This is the first book of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries I’ve read, and even though this is the fourth book of the series, it works well as a standalone read.

There are several distinct plot threads; a vehicle accident, a missing child, mysterious deaths, drugs and more, all of which seem to have no connection to each other, but slowly, and cleverly, tie into each other as the story progresses.

There is a generous cast of well-developed characters, each with their own personality. Some, on both sides of the law, have obviously appeared in previous books. Whereas reading those books may have helped with a familiarity of the relationships between the characters,  not having read them didn’t hinder my understanding or the enjoyment of this book.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable, intriguing, character-based, realistic story, that drew me in.

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

Previous Books in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries:

Author Bio:

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, 'Hunter's Chase' Hunter's Revenge, Hunter's Force and Hunter’s Blood are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth book in the series, Hunter's Secret, follows shortly.

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of Hunter’s Blood by Val Penny (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions - Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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Monday, 27 January 2020

Convincing You by J.M. Adele

Title: Convincing You
Series: Sensing Series #2
Author: J.M. Adele
Genre: Romantic Suspense (Supernatural)

We were connected in more ways than one—I knew it when we met.
What I didn’t know was how close he would bring me to death.
And that death would be a blessing.

Andrea has always been able to tap into messages from somewhere beyond. When she meets Ben, an unrelenting force draws them together. But it’s going to take some convincing to help Ben realise their potential. Ben never thought his friend’s little sister would be anything more than a nuisance. He was wrong. She’d always been so much more. And now, their bond could be severed and her pulse silenced forever.

*Recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.*

$0.99 for a limited time - proceeds donated to the Australian bushfire appeal

Add to Goodreads


“You’ve gone quiet. What’s wrong?”

I flicked a glance at his nose, knowing that if I looked him in the eye he might see something I wasn’t ready for him to see. Something I was trying to understand for myself before I admitted it to anyone else. I wouldn’t be admitting it to him, that was for sure.

“Hm? What? No, nothing. I’m just hungry.” I hid my hands under the table. Way to play it cool.

One of Ben’s brows inched up

Tapping a finger on the edge of my seat, I ignored the weight of his stare. The silence was like a wedgie that I couldn’t get rid of.

I cleared my throat and aimed for casual conversation. “So, are you a league convert yet?”

He scoffed. “Never. I was only helping out a friend.”

“If you hate it so much, why’d you do it?”

“I don’t hate it. I’m just loyal to my code.”

“Plenty of players switch.” I picked my brain trying to remember the names Dad had said at the game. “Like, you know, that guy, The King. What’s his name?”

“Wally Lewis?”

“Yeah, him.” I think. He was the only player I could think of.

“Just ’cause The King switched doesn’t mean I have to.”

“Fair enough.”

Ben stood by his convictions. I liked that. My eyes drifted sideways in a bid for some reprieve from his gaze. Two tables away, the boys were slapping each other’s hands, doing some customised shake thing, and laughing like loons.

“They’re good mates.” Ben’s comment brought me right back to those crystal blues.

“They are.” I tilted my head. “Why are you friends with my brother? Seriously?”

His lips quirked. “Stewart’s all right.”

“He’s different with his friends, I guess.”

He hooked an arm behind his seat, twisting his chest towards me. “I know he can be a dick sometimes. He has a weird way of getting attention. He means well.”

The fact that he was defending my brother endeared him to me even more.

“Do you play any sport?” Ben scratched behind his ear like he was uncomfortable talking about Stewart.

I was happy to change the subject. “I dance.”

“You dance?” His brows rose as he leaned back a little. “Like ballet?”

“God, no. I’m not graceful enough for that. Hip-hop is my thang.”

“Your thang?”

“Yeah. Like this.” I jumped out of my seat and gave him a demo—legs popping, arms locking, all while Nelly Furtado and Timbaland sang about promiscuity in my head.

His mouth dropped open and his eyes bugged out.

Am I that bad? I slid back onto my seat, heat infusing my cheeks.

“You’re good.”

Pulling my shoulders back, I puffed out my chest. “Thank you.”

“No, I really mean that.” He blinked, swallowing.

I relaxed against the back of my chair. Sincerity. Another tick on the list of his good characteristics. I was sure there had to be some negatives.

I already liked so many things about him. His commitment. His discipline. His arse. But if I told him, I’d scare him away. He wouldn’t get it. Not for another few years at least. I wasn’t sure how I knew that either. I just did. The thing was, I didn’t understand how or why it was going to take a few years. And that worried me. What was about to go down that I’d have to wait so damn long to have him by my side?

The air grew so thick, my lungs had trouble dragging it in. I shuffled my butt, fighting against the unbearable tug urging my eyes to connect with his. “It was nice of you to help out the opposition, even though they couldn’t find a uniform that fit you.”

He placed his arms on the table, his elbow bumping mine. It was the final yank in the tug-of-war. My gaze snapped to his crystal blue stare.

A hint of a smirk played on his lips. “It’s no biggie.” Deliberately bumping my elbow again, he set his grin free.

He’s laughing at me! My mouth popped open before clamping shut.

The rest of our group approached through the glass, trays in hand. Their arrival would mean the end of our conversation. Last chance to make an impression. “Yeah, you’re right. Their team lost. You were no help at all. I don’t know why Dad whinged that you’re not a league player. Seriously, you sucked. Stick to what you know, Benji.”

Ben’s grin dropped off his face, and his eyebrows jumped high as he barked a laugh.

Like idiots, we grinned at each other, and something more passed between us. That thing that I couldn’t yet define, but saw behind the gaze reflecting back my smiling face. It was so familiar. I’d seen it before. I knew it.

Unbelievably, his face aged ten years in ten seconds. Suddenly he was a man with the beginnings of wrinkles fanning from his eyes. And I was ... huge. I checked myself out. A wedding ring dug into my swollen finger. My stomach was round and full. And moving. We were both naked. Naked!

My gaze snapped back to his, finding his face in transition again. Light reflected off his bright blue irises, splitting into a prism of colour before swirling and blending into a muddy dark brown. A colour that could swallow you whole if you let it.

“Emmeline.” I saw his mouth move, but it wasn’t Ben. I was staring at a young man with scruffy brown hair, sweat and dirt smeared on his neck. “Emmeline,” he pleaded.

Who was Emmeline? Who was he?

Author Bio:

Author of smart, sexy characters, J.M. Adele loves to flit between the dark and light sides of romance. Somewhere along the way an almost constant procession of imaginary characters settled into her thoughts and she picked up a pen to share their stories.

She lives in Queensland with her three greatest loves, her children. When she’s not writing or being a mum, you might find her hiking up a mountain, singing in the car when nobody is looking, or curled up with a good book.

J.M. Adele will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by:

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Two: Mind Games and Murder by K. J. McGillick

Title: Two: Mind Games and Murder
Series: A Path of Deception and Betrayal Book 2
Author: K. J. McGillick
Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: 21st February 2018

Her husband wants her locked away in a psychiatric facility. His business partner wants her dead.

Trust. Who do we place our trust in every day? Family members, friends and people who we turn to for help, doctors. But what if the doctor you placed your trust in had secrets? Dark secrets. So many secrets.

Isabella Armond is an ordinary Parisian woman with a comfortable life — until a shocking discovery shatters her perfect world. As her husband’s behavior becomes increasingly unstable, Isabella slowly realizes all the signs point to the fact he is not who he appears to be. Is he a respected Cardio-thoracic surgeon with a thriving Paris medical practice helping people? Or is he leading a double life which involves the international trafficking of black market organs? Greed, blood money, and psychopath are the terms she learns are associated with a man she thought she knew.

Forced to delve deeper into her husband's secret life, she makes discoveries that will make her question everything she believed forcing her to face an impossible decision. She is desperate to uncover the truth, but once you know something, it can’t be unknown. The more she learns, the more she wishes she knew nothing at all.

When the sun dims, your second self shall disappear. Consequences not of her making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.


         “I’m not discussing this again, Isabella. The financial aspect of the business is too important to have two people’s hands in it.” Adrien was schooling me as he grabbed items and threw them into his suitcase. The man must have a portrait like Dorian Gray in a closet somewhere. He never appeared to age, and he never ran out of energy. He remained the same attractive man I married ten years ago, and even under the stress of his profession, he never displayed a wrinkle.
         “The gallery is mine,” I reminded him. I stood in the door, watching him as he paid closer attention to what he packed in a two-tone brown leather overnight bag.
         He stopped stone still and then stood from his bent position. He leveled a look at me that was cold and angry. These were the moments that frightened me lately. Although he’d never given me a sign he would physically harm me, and never exhibited violence, it appeared he was controlling an urge to strike me. His expression aimed hatred at me, delivering a physical reaction from me worse than receiving a slap. I watched as he took one measured breath, then another, and after the third nostril flare, he spoke.
         “Isabella, that gallery may have been your concept ten years ago. You had some idealistic but foolhardy concept that selling unknown artists’ paintings would somehow turn a profit. It was an experiment and a way to find your footing in the art world. You never did. Even you must admit, at one point it had almost dragged us under.
         “It was something to keep you busy, and then it became a financial burden. I breathed financial life into it. I took my money and invested it in a damaged enterprise. And I emphasize the word ‘invested.’ I am the chief stakeholder. I make the financial decisions. Don’t for one minute challenge my place to make those decisions. I have no intention, now or anytime in the future, to share the financial obligations of the gallery operation with you.”
         Defeated. I felt useless and defeated. This argument would end the same way as the other arguments we’d had about the gallery. I eventually would apologize to him and take the blame for starting the conversation. Anything was better than the next step, where he would start listing off every mistake I’d ever made, and how he alone saved me from myself. Finally, he would remind me that if it weren’t for his business acumen, we’d be living in a box under a bridge.
         In his eyes, I was a failure. In mine, I was coming to terms he was correct.
         This time was different. I had questions, serious questions, that I deserved to have answered. Paintings I didn’t recognize and had zero input regarding their acquisition, were bought and sold without being placed on the documented inventory. That alone was a serious legal issue if it came to light. And why did Roselov from London, whose name filtered through at times, seem to be there more frequently? And why did we have his paintings shipped with part of our lots to auction houses? Why would Adrien not allow me to meet with Dmitri Roselov? And why was I precluded from conversing with the accountant? Why was Adrien the only one allowed access to the inventory?
         My questions would never be answered. It was a circular conversation. I asked, and he would deflect. I was aware the art world could be seedy. I never wanted the seedy part to touch my life. I was a purist and wanted anything bearing my name to be synonymous with integrity.
         “The new client wants to view the paintings in our inventory—” I started.
         “My God, what is wrong with you? You know you have to obtain photos of his apartment first. Isn’t that set up for tomorrow?”
         I nodded. My hands clenched and my anger soared. Adrien was treating me as if I didn’t know my own business. His manner of speech was that of self-important employer to an irresponsible employee. Need I remind him that this was a business I started and maintained for eight years before he decided to insert himself into it. Without my asking him to, might I add.

Author Bio:

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that's what New Yorker's do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Standing Our Ground by Bill Percy

Title: Standing Our Ground
Series: Monastery Valley, Book 4
Author: Bill Percy
Genre: Murder Mystery
Publication Date: January 2020
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

A cold-blooded murder. The victim: A fourteen-year-old boy. The shooter waits patiently for the cops and calmly explains his right to kill the boy. “I was defending my property.” Can Deputy Andi Pelton find the evidence to break through the killer’s stand-your-ground defense? Suddenly, Sheriff Ben Stewart almost dies and cannot campaign for re-election. Andi knows she must take his place—her nemesis, Deputy Brad Ordrew, runs unopposed and he’s promised to fire her when he’s sheriff. Can she stand her own ground to stay in Monastery Valley while she tries to solve the murder and defends herself against scurrilous political ads paid for by a mysterious stranger?

Other books in the Monastery Valley Mystery Series::

Climbing the Coliseum
Book 1

It’s the rugged Monastery Valley of Montana. High on the cliff called the Coliseum stands a man, deciding whether to live or die. In the valley below, Grace Ellonson, fourteen, will be abandoned by her mother. Where has Grace’s mother gone, and why has she left her daughter behind? A rancher will be seduced into a racist and anti-government conspiracy—who’s leading the conspiracy and what are his plans? Depressed psychologist Ed Northrup and Monastery Valley newcomer deputy sheriff Andi Pelton struggle to unravel these mysteries before they explode in a violent collision. And amid the chaos, Ed, Andi, and Grace must face the most formidable decision of their lives.

Nobody's Safe Here
Book 2

When cattle baron Magnus Anderssen collapses mentally, psychologist Ed Northrup struggles to find the cause - a terrible event buried in Magnus's past leaving him veering between suicide and murder. Meanwhile, Deputies Andi Pelton and Brad Ordrew clash as they investigate Jared Hansen, a boy caught with rifles and a paranoid plan to kill his schoolmates. Their problem? Jared, a great kid, a school leader, has no previous problems. Ordrew’s convinced Jared’s a mass shooter-in-waiting, but Andi’s not. Ed joins their search for whatever caused his radical transformation from great kid to psychotic killer. It’s a race against time: Magnus grows more irrational and homicidal, Jared's insanity may not be controlled before it’s too late, and Ed’s risky plan to save the boy may destroy his relationship with Andi. Nobody’s Safe Here, a psychological thriller, tells the story of a community of ordinary, decent people facing terrifying mysteries.

The Bishop Burned the Lady
Book 3

A mysterious fire in a remote forest clearing; a woman's charred bones; unexplained tracks in the rutted road—the only clues Deputy Andi Pelton has to what happened. Then she meets an old man living alone in a forest compound that obviously houses many people. Sex trafficking in the Montana wilderness? As Andi and psychologist Ed Northrup struggle to solve the brutal and fiery murder, Andi faces a fear she didn’t know she had. The horrors they unearth lead them deep into the appalling reality of prison gangs and a cult led by a malign Bishop—and threaten to overwhelm Andi and Ed’s romance and her growing bond with her “step-girlfriend,” Ed’s adopted daughter, Grace. Will that center hold when Andi finds the killer holding a knife against her throat? And if it does and she succeeds, will she be able to face her greater fear?

About the Author:

Bill Percy, an award-winning novelist, draws on his experiences as a psychotherapist to write vivid, engaging tales of people confronting painful and challenging mysteries. His previous novels in the Monastery Valley series, Climbing the Coliseum, Nobody’s Safe Here, and The Bishop Burned the Lady, were finalists or distinguished favorites in multiple book award competitions. Bill lives with his wife, Michele, in Hope, Idaho, above the shore of idyllic Lake Pend Oreille in the shadow of the rugged Cabinet Mountains.

Friday, 24 January 2020

The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster

Title: The Black Ditch
Series: The Laurie Sterne Trilogy (Book One)
Author: Simon J Lancaster
Genre: Dystopian future thriller
Publication Date: 8th July 2019

LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

My Review:

A bleak perspective on the future of mankind.

Global warming has devastated the world, and London is now a prison filled with criminals, refugees and dissidents, kept in line by criminal hierarchy and the police who seem to be allowed to kill without repercussions.

Laurie Stern has grown up in this world, but now his life, and the lives of his family and ‘friends’, are threatened at every turn. Tortured and shot at, Laurie doesn’t know who he can trust, if anyone.

Moving at a brisk pace, the book is filled with action and intrigue.

I found this complex story hard to follow - with so many factions and betrayals; it was difficult to figure out who was on whose side

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

Author Bio:

Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)

*Terms and Conditions - Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The Incarn Saga by Katharine E. Wibell

Series: The Incarn Saga
Author: Katharine E. Wibell
Genre: Fantasy
Age Category: Young Adult/New Adult

Issaura’s Claws
Book 1

According to legend, when the world was young, the goddess Issaura appeared among men. Those who treated her with kindness received the gift of the gods—the ability to transform into an animal form. This was a great honor but one that separated this race from other humans. Before Issaura departed the mortal realm, she promised to return if her people were ever at the point of destruction.

Now a threat is rising from a land across the mists of the ocean, a threat that will push this race to the brink of extinction. Responding to the call to war, seventeen-year-old Lluava heads off to find her destiny, one that will carve her name in history.

Ullr’s Fangs
Book 2

According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.

Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?

Excerpt from Ullr’s Fangs:

         Growling, Lluava crouched low and prepared to attack. Her inner heat seared up, then, with her quick realization, was smothered unforgivingly. Lluava could not shift without risk of destroying her braces. Hand-to-hand combat was her only choice.
         The Raider held one of their thinner swords from across the sea. The pinprick blade appeared fragile against the man’s girth, yet Lluava knew how lethal it was.
         Snarling, Lluava lashed out. Claws missed their target. Before she could strike again, she was deterred by the sword’s hot temper. As Lluava countered, she spied a second attacker approaching. This one carried a thick mace. Bits of flesh and hair were entangled in its spikes.
         Switching to defensive maneuvers, Lluava stood ready to receive a blow from either direction. When the first man grunted, they both went into action simultaneously. There was no way she would be able to protect herself.
         At least I will take one out, Lluava thought stoically. Choosing the sword-bearer, she ducked under his swinging blade and tore into his torso, her Claws freeing the man’s imprisoned intestines.
         Spinning round, she saw two arrow-like projections protruding from the second Raider’s throat. The red of his grisly beard mixed with the blood he spat out. Leaving her would-be offender in his death rattle, Lluava turned to nod thanks to Yamir. His throwing quills had done their job.
         As the fight wore on, Lluava realized that although the braces were indeed preventing her injury from flaring up, the need to shift was much more important. Moving to the edge of the main clearing, Lluava took advantage of an atypical rock formation. Squatting low, she unstrapped the bindings around her arms. Lacking the time to figure out how to detach the braces from Issaura’s Claws, Lluava hid both the weapons and the braces deep in a crevice in the rocks.
         In the blink of an eye she had shifted, bolting from her hiding place. Like a striped fiend from hell, Lluava tore through opponent after opponent. The stink of blood and death intermingled with a smoky odor that she could not identify.
         A war horn blew twice.
         She sensed a shift in the enemy’s mood. The men began backing away from her, the ring of Raiders reminding her of the judgmental high councilmen she had so happily left behind. The circle of men separated her from Yamir. Then the crowd split.
         A man like none other strode forth. A head taller than the rest, his helmet sported an uncut set of adult steer horns. Stopping in front of her, he let the head of his maul slam into the ground. The face of the weapon was as big as her own. The strong smoky odor wafting about made her eyes water. As she blinked back tears, the man’s bloodshot gaze caught hold of hers. Then the hulk cried out—a sound far from human.
         The man-thing before her charged, swinging his weapon wildly. Lluava turned tail and ran, clawing her way through the onlookers. Breaking through the circle, she charged across the battlefield. There was no way she could defend herself against a creature like that. Behind her, the massive shape swept past the warriors, laying low everyone in his path, Elysians and Raiders alike.
         In her mind’s eye, Lluava carried the image of the Raider’s bloodied mouth, the slivers of flesh stuck in his teeth.
         Skirting a trio of marauders, Lluava listened to their cries as they were tossed out of the way by the behemoth. The heavy tread of his feet did not diminish. He would not be shaken off her trail.
         Lluava was nearing the Elysian side of the field. The soldiers moved forward to give her aid. Nothing could prepare them for the unstoppable force that would send them to the afterworld.
         I can’t lead him to our camp, though Lluava in a panic. Veering to the left, she began to lead her pursuer away from her comrades. A sharp catch in her side caused her to stumble. She tried to run through it, but to no avail. She could not continue this pace much longer.
         A thick spear hurtled over her shoulder. Lluava recognized it as Yamir’s. With a thunk, the weapon sank into its mark. Lluava looked over her shoulder and saw the giant Raider still moving toward her, despite the shaft of the spear that skewered his left shoulder. Oblivious to his injury, the man raised his maul above his head.
         A second serrated spear severed the man’s wrist.
         “Watch out!” Yamir cried. Lluava quickly skidded to a halt to prevent herself from colliding with a small marauder. Slicing through the man with tooth and claw, Lluava glanced back once again. As impossible as it seemed, the massive Raider had vanished.
         Yamir ran up to her. “What was that?”
         “I don’t know.” Looking at the pools of blood soaking into the earth, Lluava said, “He won’t last much longer.”
         Yamir cautiously circled the massive maul, to which the hand was still attached. Its shaft was as long as he was tall. Turning to the carnage in their wake, Lluava was stunned. “If there are more like him, we are in trouble.”

Crocotta’s Hackles
Book 3

According to legend, when the world was young, Crocotta, Queen of the Gods, discovered her mate’s faithlessness. She vowed to prevent future threats to all matrimonial pacts henceforward, but for her it was too late. The child born from the illicit coupling was a warrior goddess—one whom Crocotta would seek to destroy throughout eternity.

Now that the Raiders’ elite army is threatening the kingdom of Elysia’s northern borders, seventeen-year-old Lluava must leave the familiarity and safety of her native land to venture into the wilderness. Her mission is to discover others like her who will come to Elysia’s aid; her hope is to unravel the secrets behind what it means to be Incarn. But what she finds could destroy everything.

Giahem’s Talons
Book 4

According to legend, when the world was young, Giahem, King of the Gods, realized that the pantheon was on the verge of self-destruction due to his own actions. To protect his favorite child, he hid the infant and gave her a false name in the hope that she would survive—a name that would forever be associated with the young goddess: Issaura.

Now, the capital has fallen to the Outlanders, the king has been overthrown, and the Raiders have entered the kingdom of Elysia in full force. Eighteen-year-old Lluava must flee in order to survive. After all the losses she has endured, the battles she has fought and won to no avail, she must face the worst fact of all: that she alone is responsible for the kingdom’s demise. Will she ever be able to rectify her wrongs?

Awards for the Incarn Saga book series to date:
  • Issaura’s Claws:
    • 2018 New Apple Book Awards Solo Medalist Winner for Children’s/Young Adult eBook
    • 2018 Fantasy/Paranormal Fiction Fist Place Winner by Epic eBook Awards
    • 2018 Young Adult Fiction Gold Winner for Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards
    • 2018 2nd place winner for the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Young Adult Fiction eBook
  • Ullr’s Fangs:
    • 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist for New Adult
    • 2019 November Gold Metal Award by Literary Titan
  • Crocotta’s Hackles:
    • 2019 New Adult Fiction Gold Winner by Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Award

About the Author:
Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell moved to New Orleans with her dog, Alli, to kick start her career as an artist and a writer. Her first literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.

Guest Post by Katharine E. Wibell:

 Do you think it would be more fun being a hero or a villain?
This is a tough question. In the typical architype of hero versus villain, a hero/heroine puts him or herself at risk in order to protect others and achieve great feats. The life of a hero or heroine is always in danger from the villains he or she faces. Not only is there the fear of injury or death in a physical battle but also there are moral values that restrict the choices that a hero can make. In truth, it is hard for me to picture a hero’s life as fun. On the flip side, a villain is not constrained by morality. Villains are typically evil and malicious characters who will not hesitate to break laws or act immorally in order to achieve their desire be it money, fame, or power. If others are harmed in the process, so be it. Yet, these evil-doers are also at risk from the heroes and heroines who wish to thwart their plans, capture and possibly kill them. Villains can never truly relax and revel in their success. They are always on the run or trying to outsmart their own nemeses. So, when asked which lifestyle would be more fun, I would say neither, although the abandonment of morality makes life a bit more freeing for the villain. If I had to choose, I would turn to the dark side!

Why blogging is important/matters not to your success?
Blogging can definitely contribute to an author’s success. Some authors, myself included, host their own blogs or participate on sites like Medium. In these cases, the author determines the topics. For current books, blogs often provide insight into the creative process, back stories for favorite characters, or fun facts and trivia that tie into the worlds and plots. Sneak peaks on what’s coming next or short stories engage existing fans and attract new ones. Blogging also enables authors to connect with their readers on a more personal level. For example, they might discuss what books they are reading, their favorite authors, or what they like to do when not writing. Professional bloggers also contribute to an author’s success. These writers provide expertise and variety in genres, authors, and related topics. Over time, good bloggers acquire followers and build significant readerships. For an author who is seeking to expand their own readership, reaching out to bloggers for interviews or book reviews can be very beneficial. Cross promotion between blogger and author is also advantageous. The blogger gains fresh and interesting topics to write about while the author is provided an opportunity to reach new audiences. Both blogging on your own and partnering with professional bloggers are important marketing strategies for any author wanting their work to be read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Incarn Saga. One winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card. Open international.
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter above.

This is my stop during the blog tour for The Incarn Saga by Katharine E. Wibell.
The Incarn Saga is a four book young adult / new adult fantasy series inspired by ancient myths and filled with fast-paced action and adventure.

I hope you enjoyed reading.

The blog tour runs from 20 January till 2 February.
This blog tour is organized by: