Listening Is Good For You! Free Audiobooks by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Today I’m happy to turn my blog over to friend and fellow author, Julie Elizabeth Powell.


 

Listening is Good for You!

Hello all :)

Firstly, let me thank Darcia for allowing me to pester her again about my work!

My pen name is Julie Elizabeth Powell, author of eighteen titles in a variety of genres and lengths.
The purpose of this post is to bring attention to audiobooks – mine of course :)

I’d been thinking about it for a while and until recently the possibility hadn’t been available for those of us in the UK – I live in England. But now, Amazon have a sideline called, ACX, (through Audible), where I can now offer my work for production.

It’s been a very steep learning curve but now have the majority of my work in the process of being created into an audiobooks.

Of course it’s a load of work – writers don’t sleep anyway – but so far, I am very pleased with the results.

I wasn’t inundated with auditions to begin with but they suddenly trickled in, probably because my first audiobook was ready and my work highlighted. It’s called A Murderer’s Heart, a murder mystery (narrated by Melanie Fraser) which has been enjoyed as a paperback and a Kindle edition, as have all my stories.

Knowing Jack, a mystery adventure (narrated by Joel Froomkin) is also available, soon to be followed by many more.

Thanks to both Melanie and Joel for a wonderful job.

But why would you want to listen?

I remember as a child listening to my mother read to me at night, in addition to the radio, to a programme called, Listen With Mother – I loved it!

Do you remember how you felt when listening with half closed eyes to those adventures?

Apparently (according to my research), when we are being told a story things change dramatically, where the language processing parts of our brain are not only activated but also enhanced by other parts of the brain. Meaning that we feel far more engaged when we hear the narrative. Your whole brain is put to work, with amazing results, so much that it can shape your thinking and way of life.

It seems that we are wired that way, in that when a story is broken down into the simplest form, there is a connection of cause and effect – and that is exactly how we think.

We think in stories all the time, while creating them in our heads for every action and conversation (just think about gossip and the connections to personal stories). We want to relate stories to our existing experiences and storytelling is one of the most dominant methods to communicate and inspire.
There, you see, it’s science!

As a further incentive to listen to my audiobooks, I have promo codes to give away :)

Please email me for a promo code for either A Murderer’s Heart, Knowing Jack, or the newest release, Christmas Past. I will send you the code and Mobi file, with links to Audible for UK or USA – please let me know your preference and write in the subject line: promo codes through Darcia.

Learn more about me and my books in the following places:

Here is the link to my Amazon UK page:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julie-Elizabeth-Powell/e/B007EBEWES/

Here is the link to my Amazon USA page: you can follow me if you wish?
http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Elizabeth-Powell/e/B007EBEWES/

Website:
http://www.freewebs.com/julizpow

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1349023.Julie_Elizabeth_Powell

That’s it – oh no it isn’t, um, if you’d like to post reviews on Audible, Amazon and Goodreads that would be fantastic! Well, I hope they would be positive :)

Thanks, Darcia, thanks all :) :) :)

a murderer's heart Knowing Jack Audio christmas past
 

 

 

 

 


 

Thank you, Julie! Readers, please don’t be shy. As you can tell, Julie is quite friendly and easy to talk to. And she really, truly wants to give you an audiobook – free!

Thanks for reading – and listening. :)

Book Review – TOX-SICK: From Toxic To Not Sick by Suzanne Somers

Tox-Sick

Pioneering health and wellness advocate, Suzanne Somers, delivers a powerful answer in this expose on the immediate and long-term dangers of living in a world that has become increasingly toxic to our health. The build-up of toxins in our bodies can lead to myriad health concerns — including weight gain, food allergies, brain disorders, cancer, among many others. Moved to investigate by her own family’s plight, Suzanne sits down with environmental doctors and specialists who share eye-opening information and practical advice for how to survive, thrive, and stay healthy today. In Tox-Sick you’ll learn how to effectively detox all your body’s systems and the different survival skills that can save your life, from top experts in the field, including:
DR. SHERRY ROGERS, an environmental doctor for over 40 years, shares the truth about detoxification—and where you will likely be if you don’t take it seriously.
DR. NICHOLAS GONZALEZ shares where cancer comes from and how to manage it by detoxifying the liver and supplementing with enzymes.
DR. RITCHIE SHOEMAKER alerts you to mold toxicity, the newest threat to your brain and wellbeing…and just what to do to fight for your health.
DR. WALTER CRINNION teaches what everyday objects to avoid and the simple diet and lifestyle shifts to clean up your health and home in mere weeks!
DR. STEPHEN SINATRA, America’s leading integrative cardiologist, explains that we have been approaching heart disease all wrong: a healthy gut, detoxed body, and quality fats are each crucial and cardioprotective.
DR. GARRY GORDON shares new protocols for removing toxic lead from the body, as well as ways to keep the most important gland in your body, the thyroid, clean and healthy.

From diet and supplement advice to coconut oil cleanses, everything you need to live clean and enjoy great health is in your hands.

Published: April 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

My general sense of this book: Lots of great information offered, but the reading experience is too much like sitting through an infomercial.

To begin with, most, if not all, of this information is not new. That being said, the content is arranged well and is easy to follow. Somers talks about a variety of issues behind chronic illnesses, from diet and digestion to environmental toxins like mold. She offers insight into avoiding the pitfalls of our modern life, as well as treatments for the wide array of resulting chronic health problems. While the tone is overly enthusiastic, bordering on preachy, the content is solid and well researched. She also interviews a few doctors at length, offering us a professional viewpoint.

All good, right?

Not so much. And here we come to my main problem with this book. Somers tells us throughout her narrative that each of us can get well if we simply follow her instructions and see the right doctors when necessary for treatment. She proclaims this with such excitement, over and over, that we begin to believe her. Until we take a closer look.

To give you a general idea: I have chronic Lyme disease with severe neurological complications. In this book, Somers mentions a doctor who has an incredibly high success rate in treating this disease. She talks about his treatment plan and how anyone in my situation can get well. I looked him up and found, much to my amazement, that he is within a 45 minute drive from my house. I was thrilled. Momentarily, at least. Then I explored his website. No insurance information, because he does not accept insurance. (Most of his treatments wouldn’t be covered, anyway.) But I’m prepared for that. What I want is a cost estimate. I looked. And looked. His website doesn’t even list the cost of an office visit. Not a good sign. Next I explored message boards talking about his treatment. And, yes, patients love him. The cost? A minimum of $3,000 per WEEK! Someone like me, with long term, multiple problems, would need about six months to stabilize just enough to cut visits to once or twice a month.

Not once throughout this book does Somers acknowledge the absurdity of her proclamations for those of us who do not have unlimited funds. Even for those with an upper middle class income, following these treatment plans for any sort of chronic illness is an impossibility. If you’re wealthy, then, sure, this book and these doctors will help you. If you’re an average person with a chronic illness mainstream medicine can’t handle, then you’re still very much on your own.

But don’t despair yet. The last quarter of the book lists an assortment of ailments, along with all the supplements/herbs you need to take in order to get well. Somers even gives us the best brand and recommended dosages for treating the ailments. So, if we can’t afford the doctors, we can at least help ourselves this way. Right?

Maybe. Depending on how sick you are, that is.

If I took every supplement recommended for every symptom and health issue I have, I’d need to stop paying my mortgage. Even if I could afford it, I’m not sure I could swallow that many pills.

I should also mention that all the recommended supplements come from companies Somers has her hand in. She directs us to these websites several times throughout the book. One website of hers won’t even allow me to look at articles unless I sign up, which I won’t do, so I have no idea how helpful anything there might be.

In the end, I found this book too self-serving, and completely out of touch with the main problem many of us with chronic illness face: finances. While some of the content is important, this is not the book I’d recommend reading.

*I received this book via Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review.*

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM by Michael Phillip Cash

Witches Protection Program

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law enforcement agent, is given one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232 year old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar Cosmetics company’s diabolical plan of using witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds.

Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in both witches and himself.

Filled with adventure, suspense and a rousing good time, Michael Phillip Cash creates a tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern day New York City.

Published: May 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

This is one of those fun reads that is the perfect distraction from our often too serious lives. We have witches, both good and bad, a secret organization that protects the good ones, a clueless detective, magic, action, humor, and a sprinkle of romance. Boredom should not be an issue with this story.

“I’m talking about broom-flying, caldron-stirring, soul-sucking, mean-spirited witches who wreak havoc on society.”

The cast of characters is entertaining, though not as developed as I’d have liked. I didn’t feel I knew the main characters well enough. I loved Junie, who is a minor character with a larger-than-life personality.

A squat woman wearing a polyester skirt and a vestlike apron covered in shamrocks walked down an alley of containers, a clipboard under her arm and a pen designed to look like a tree branch in her gnarled hand.

The plot kept me intrigued and had some good twists along the way. But I also felt there were some holes, or maybe more like unexplained, unanswered questions. For instance, the use of magic and its limitations seemed arbitrary. At times, when magic would have been an easy fix to a situation, it wasn’t used. Other times, magic was used to the extreme. I wasn’t clear on what could or couldn’t be done, or what, if any, the rules were.

Looking down at her wand, she watched it pulse weakly, knowing her brand of magic was nothing against a giant like Pendragon. Suddenly Junie was afraid – very afraid.

This is a quick, enjoyable read that, despite my complaints, kept me engaged throughout.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review – PROVIDENCE NOIR – Short Story Anthology

Providence Noir

Anyone who has spent time in Providence, Rhode Island, knows that lurking in the shadows are many sinister noir elements and characters. The city is ripe for this volume, and Akashic is proud to have recruited the amazing Ann Hood as editor. The impressive contributor list conveys the caliber of Providence Noir, which joins Cape Cod Noir, Boston Noir, and Boston Noir 2: The Classics in sketching a dark and alternative portrait of these New England locales.

From the introduction by Ann Hood:

“Providence was founded in 1636 by a rogue named Roger Williams. Williams escaped here when Massachusetts was ready to deport him back to England. In the almost four hundred years since, we’ve become infamous for all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors, including serving as home base for the Patriarca crime family for decades. My very own Uncle Eddie–I can hear Mama Rose screaming at me: ‘He wasn’t a blood relative! He was related through marriage!’–was gunned down in the Silver Lake section of town in 1964, just a year after he drove me in his white Cadillac convertible in a parade as the newly crowned Little Miss Natick. The writer Geoffrey Wolff told me that once he went to a barber in Princeton, New Jersey and the barber asked him where he was from. ‘Providence,’ Wolff told him. The barber put down his scissors, raised his hands in the air, and said, ‘Providence? Don’t shoot!’

“I’ve asked fourteen of my favorite writers to contribute short stories to Providence Noir. We have stories to make you shiver, stories to make you think, stories that will show you my beautiful, noirish city in a way it’s never been highlighted before.”

Published: June 2015

Amazon

 

My Review:

I was initially drawn to this book because of the setting. I’m from Massachusetts, and spent a lot of time in the Providence, RI area. That, coupled with the fact that I love the noir genre, got me to open the book. What kept me reading was the immense talent of the contributing authors.

The women of Fox Point wore black because someone was always dying. — from GOLD LEAF by Luanne Rice

While all of these stories share genre and the city setting, they vary widely in content and writing style. We have sorrow, fear, grief, some humor, and, of course, crime.

Beside him in the passenger seat, strapped in by the seat belt, there was only a bright pink, pig-shaped, ceramic cookie jar – a cookie jar he was using as an urn. — from THE PIG by John Searles

Several stories were standouts for me, an easy 5-star rating. A few didn’t hold the same appeal, though that was more a matter of personal taste than anything to do with the writing. They are all masterfully written, with characters that feel real and suck you right into their world.

Before I could answer, he simply walked off in the direction he’d come, leaving me wet and alone, my tube of lipstick still clutched in my hand. — from UNDER THE SHEPARD CLOCK by Ann Hood

Being familiar with Providence, Rhode Island is absolutely not a prerequisite to enjoying this collection of stories. The authors paint their portraits of this place with such beautiful brush strokes that you will easily see it through their eyes.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Blog Tour and Giveaway: INK CALLS TO INK by Nathan Crowder

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Title: Ink Calls to Ink
Author: Nathan Crowder
Published: July 23rd, 2015
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content Warning: PG-13 Violence

 

Ink-Calls-to-Ink Franklin the Steadfast Soldier saw first hand what the cold indifference of modern London does to a Fictional Personae–a Fict. Refugees from their respective texts, scratching out a meager existence, the Ficts’ only comfort is the weekly Book Fair.

When a determined Knight of the Round Table hires him to find a missing king, Franklin starts to believe a better world could be possible. But the Knight works for the Host of Heaven, and Medea and Judas warn Franklin: One man’s heaven is not heaven for all. There is no place for misfits and villains in this new world order, their crimes are pre-ordained, written into the very fabric of their being.

To protect their city from a holy war, Franklin and his friends must stop the Once and Future King and an army of angels. Will they find the courage to write their own stories, or will they die slaves to their text and the ink in their blood?

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Excerpt from Ink Calls to Ink by Nathan Crowder:

“What brings you to the Book Fair, Franklin?”

The richly-accented voice snapped the Soldier’s head around. He recognized Judas immediately. While not adversaries by any means, they had engaged in their share of disagreements at the shelter. Franklin didn’t know what it was about the fallen acolyte that set his teeth on edge and, for his part, Judas seemed to delight in testing the Steadfast nature of Franklin’s title. The Soldier said nothing. His eyes narrowed in suspicion when he saw the young Juliet Capulet in the Scripture’s company. “Surely you have nothing to sell,” Judas continued, “and little money with which to buy.”

This last was said without a hint of judgement, and they both acknowledged it as a truth—both men existed largely on the charity of others, and the occasional coin earned from their very specific skills and reputations. “I have been retained by a woman who desired a degree of protection while stepping out this evening.” The soldier indicated the flap of the tent behind him with a tilt of his head. He hiked himself up straighter upon his crutch. “While it is true that I possess skills rarely sought, my courage and integrity bring peace of mind to those who need it.”

Moll chose this inopportune time to fold back the flap. “Only a moment more and you will escort me home before William even knows I was gone,” she said, her tone pitched as though she was addressing a disobedient dog. She retreated back within the tent, ignorant of the flush appearing at the base of Franklin’s neck.

“That is who hired you?” Juliet joined in, pointing towards the tent, with a disbelieving look. Judas offered up a sad smile. “Tell me, Franklin: how much does your integrity cost these days?”

Franklin clenched his jaw. “Even a Steadfast Soldier needs to eat, Judas. We were not all given thirty silver coins.”

Both men glared hard at each other as if willing the other to burst into flames. Juliet looked embarrassed to be seen with either Judas or Franklin, and peeled herself free from their company. The waifish teen made a bee-line for Medea, which didn’t surprise the Soldier in the slightest.

It was Judas who broke the silence first, his voice cold and flat—a sterile scalpel. “How I enjoy these talks, Franklin.”

“And I as well,” the Steadfast Soldier’s voice dripped. “Let us do this again sometime soon.”

Judas ambled in the direction Juliet had gone. He didn’t seem to be following her so much as already heading that way. Franklin waited where he stood, and it was only a few seconds later that Moll exited the tent with a bemused smile. “Good news, I take it?” he asked.

“Great news. Now, hurry me back to my home.”

Scarcely had they taken five steps when a bellowing voice cleared a path behind them. “Moll, you scurrilous wench! You’ll learn the price you pay for cheating ol’ Billy Sikes!”

The Soldier’s head dropped in realization. “And that would be William?” he sighed to his employer.

Moll’s smile as she glanced back over her shoulder at Franklin was all sugar and razorblades. “If you want the rest of your money, you had better make certain he doesn’t lay a finger upon me.”

By the time Franklin had spun around, there was a clear path from him to Bill Sikes. The well-known Dickens rowdy wasn’t particularly tall, but his arms were corded with muscle, and veins bulged in his neck. His face was red with rage as he closed the twenty feet between with an incomprehensible roar. There will be no reasoning with him, the Soldier realized, at least not at this point. Like it or not, Franklin had to fight this madman. He tightened his grip on the crutch in his right hand. Remember, the client paid for courage as well as integrity, he thought distantly as he limped into desperate combat.

 

About the Author:

Nathan-Crowder Nathan Crowder is a writer of long fantasy and short horror with a love of pop culture and working-class heroes. He currently lives in the Bohemian wilds of Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood where he blogs about writing, film, and fringe candy, and is known to haunt the local coffee houses, comic shop, dives, and karaoke stages. Nathan lives alone with his cat, Shiva, who is currently managing his career in exchange for fresh kibble.

He has appeared in several anthologies including That Ain’t Right: Historic Accounts of the Miskatonic Valley, Coins of Chaos, and Cthulhurotica.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

 

Interview with Nathan: The Writing Life

How much research goes into your fiction writing? What is your approach?

Most of the time, my research comes from digging into random things that float into my orbit. I’ll see an article somewhere, do some digging, and realize there’s a story buried in there. After that I do just enough research to get a feel for the material, maybe a page or two of notes, tops.

Is there a time of day or night when you’re most creative?

I tend to be most out-of-the-box creative at night, but most productive doing the actual work of writing in the morning. Good notes are crucial in maintaining that balancing act.

Describe your writing environment.

I do most of my writing at the Monkey Grind Espresso across the street from my apartment. I have too many of the wrong distractions at home—dishes, laundry, a co-dependent cat. At the coffee house I have the right balance background noise, music on headphones as needed, and just me, my laptop, and an army of little Field Notes notebooks and pens.

What do you find the easiest to write; the beginning, middle or end? Why?

The beginning is easy because I’m generally inspired by the “NEW!” and the end is easy because I have momentum. I’m always cautious of that tipping point when I get near the end and it’s “No sleep ‘til Brooklyn” and I’m done. The middle sucks. The middle always sucks.

Do you write a book sequentially, from beginning to end? Or do you sometimes write scenes out of order?

Front to back with few exceptions. What I’m writing now I went ahead and wrote the ending scene for already. And I’ll occasionally workshop tiny bits of dialogue or something in a notebook to add in later. But the document itself is written front to back, same way it’s read.

What is the biggest challenge for you in writing from the opposite gender’s POV?

The challenge is to do more of it. The instinct to write the default CIS white male POV is so prevalent in this genre. I always have to ask myself when I create a new character what gender and orientation suits the character and story best. I don’t approach writing female characters fundamentally differently than I do male characters. They’re all just people with their own dreams and motivations.

Do you edit as your write? Or do you write an entire rough draft before doing any edits?

If something isn’t particularly working and I come up with a better way of doing it, I might go back and wrangle it into place. But most of the time I only go back a page or so and re-read to know where I am before starting up again. I might make minor changes there to tighten things up, but that’s it.

How do you decide on your book’s title?

Sometimes a title is easy. Ink Calls to Ink was instinctive. Other titles I have to sweat blood for and even then I’m not happy with them.

Do you set your books in real locations or do you make them up?

Most of my fiction is in places I’ve made up because I have total freedom and don’t have to get it so right a local might notice it. But a real location allows you a certain degree of setting shorthand. It’s easier to pull that off in short fiction, which is why the story Ink Calls to Ink was based on was based in London. London as the center for literature made sense. And when it came time for the novel, I was locked into that as a setting. I hope I did it justice.

Tell us about your process for designing a cover.

I love good graphic design. I’m drawn to old-school covers from the fifties and sixties rather than the representative fantasy paintings or tattoos and leather urban fantasy trend. When I got covers made for Cobalt City Blues and Chanson Noir, the mission brief was to capture the Blue Note jazz album covers. When I did my cover for Cobalt City Los Muertos, I knocked that out myself, from the physical backdrop art to the photography to the final cover layout because I had a strong idea of what I wanted to do—a sort of altar space with superhero elements in the background. With Ink Calls to Ink, I had the fortune of finding the photo of the tin soldier against a background of books and found a font I loved, and was lucky enough to have a talented cover artist lay it out and put it all together.

 

Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

• 10 signed, print copies of Ink Calls to Ink

Giveaway is US and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Book Review – A DECEPTIVE HOMECOMING by Anna Loan-Wilsey – Historical Fiction

A Deceptive Homecoming

Traveling secretary Hattie Davish is returning to her once-quiet hometown, where a deluge of deadly secrets leaves her feeling anything but welcome…

When her good friend Virginia Hayward’s father passes away, Hattie Davish rushes to her hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. She’s looking forward to visiting the place where she grew up, even if the circumstances bringing her there are bleak. But upon her arrival, she learns that all is not well in St. Joe. Virginia is cold and distant, Frank Hayward’s death is shrouded in mystery, and a string of troubling incidents have descended on Hattie’s alma mater, Mrs. Chaplin’s School for Women. Frank was the school’s bookkeeper, and as Hattie begins investigating the bizarre goings-on, she becomes convinced that someone other than Frank was in the casket—but who? Her search for the truth takes her from the town cemetery, to the home of an infamous outlaw, to the dungeon-like tunnels beneath the State Lunatic Asylum—and brings her face-to-face with a killer bent on the deadliest lesson of all…

Published: July 28, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

I enjoy historical fiction with strong female characters, and the author certainly gives us that here. Unlike many women of her time, Hattie Davish is independent and more than capable of taking care of herself. She’s forceful without being brazen, often pushing the boundaries slightly beyond what is expected of polite, society women.

I never imagined I’d use my past encounters with murder as justification to help investigate another one.

The plot involves several mysteries that tie together. In her pursuit to find answers to one thing, Hattie inadvertently raises more questions and uncovers long kept secrets. The pace is steady, with a couple of intriguing twists.

The sound of chains rattling accompanied the distressed person’s next wail. Like having to see an upturned carriage up close, I stepped forward. Before me was a man, not much older than me, wearing a cotton nightshirt, once white but now so threadbare it was almost transparent.

I have not read the first three books in this series. While this one reads fine as a stand-alone, some of the subtleties within the plot and the characters’ relationships were lost to me. I also felt that the female characters’ emotional reactions tended to be overdone. I understand that women of that time were considered more fragile, but the excessive swooning and such felt almost comical at times.

Miss Woodruff dropped the books and covered her face with her hands. “Oh my God!” She dropped to her knees, unaware she knelt on the spine of an overturned book.

Overall, this is a fun read that thoroughly captures and immerses us in another time.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: WEAKEST LYNX by Fiona Quinn

Weakest Lynx

What Lexi wants is a simple life. What she gets is simply terrifying.

Lexi Sobado is a 20-year-old experienced intelligence consultant with a special psychic gift. However, her gift couldn’t prevent her from becoming the focus of a stalker’s desires. With a death threat shoved in her purse, she finds herself caught in the middle of a sinister web of crime and corruption.

Striker Rheas, a seasoned special agent, is charged with keeping Lexi safe. But can he keep his personal life separate from his professional life as he finds himself falling for his assignment?

What Lexi hides, what she reveals, and what she keeps trying to uncover is a delicate balancing act as she tries to save her own life and stop the killer. Can Lexi learn to love, trust, and harness the power of her psychic flashes before it’s too late?

Published: April 21, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

This is a well written, multi-faceted story that brings us action, suspense, mystery, romance, and family drama, all with a paranormal undercurrent. The author certainly has a gift for storytelling. I felt like I was there in the midst of the action, breathing their air and feeling their emotions.

And I will come again, my Luve, so I can watch you die.

The plot moves at a steady pace, building momentum as we near the climax. Quinn tackles the topic of stalkers, showing us how absolute the effects can be on the victim’s life. Sadly, most stalker victims do not have the resources afforded to our heroine.

I heaved another sigh. Seems as if I lived my life as one great big, weary exhale.

The characters are well developed and unique. While I really liked Lexi, she was also my stumbling point. She is simply too perfect. At just 20-years-old, she is a fabulous cook, a superior fighter, can out shoot most anyone, performs magic tricks with ease, is a beautiful and petite size 2, can put puzzle pieces together to solve most any crime, and all this without using her additional, paranormal skills. She felt, at times, more superhero than human. Also, I found certain issues with her marriage too convenient and not quite convincing. I don’t want to give details here, so I’ll just say that the true romance would have worked better on its own.

Mrs. Miller smiled. “Oh, honey, you’ve never led a typical life, you don’t know how to lead a typical life. Your life was cut out of a more colorful fabric.”

Aside from my grumbling, this story absolutely held my interest. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Blitz and Giveaway: THE FORLORNED by Angela J. Townsend

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Title: The Forlorned
Author: Angela J. Townsend
Published: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre: Horror
Content Warning: Violence
Recommended Age: 13+

The-Forlorned When Tom Doherty first laid eyes on the lighthouse he knew it was damned.

An advertisement lured him to the island, offering a job renovating the old lighthouse and ramshackle buildings. What he didn’t know was that he was the only applicant. None of the locals wanted the job – no one dared.

Isolated and alone, Tom soon discovers why. Messages from disembodied voices; ghostly visitations and escalating horrors draw Tom deeper into the island’s evil past—a darkness that forces Tom to unbury the truth and bring demons of his own into the light.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

The Forlorned upcoming movie release information can be found on IMDb at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4294968/?

 

Excerpt from The Forlorned by Angela J. Townsend:

The trap stood in the entryway of the kitchen, smeared with a thick glob of Peanut Butter. Tom sat in the living room and waited for it to spring. He’d take the rat to the opposite side of the island and release it. At midnight, he gave up and climbed into the chair by the fire. The tightness in his body relaxed and sleep overtook him.

Tom was awakened by his shivering only an hour after dozing off. He peered outside his frosted window. There must be a cold front moving in.

He added more wood to the fire and shivered under the quilt. The temperature continued to drop. He could see his own breath come in puffs of steam with every exhale. Exhausted and still shivering, Tom finally dozed again.

Deep asleep in the middle of the night Tom struggled, fought to move, but couldn’t. His eyes refused to open.

A sinister presence loomed over him, trapping him under like a heavy fish net, constricting his every movement, only inches from his face. Icy breath pelted his forehead.

Tom’s eyes snapped open. His chest seized with panic. He was no longer in the chair. He struggled to hold himself upright. Cold, fog-laden night burned his lungs with each gasping breath. His bare feet froze onto cold, wet wood. The crash of thunder and flash of lightning took turns adding to the torment of the night.

As if waking up from a bad dream, Tom stood on the deck of a strange ship. The massive vessel leaned forward and back, driving hard through the waves. Wailing winds and icy sleet tore at her ravaged sails, creating an eerie flapping noise. Tom’s heart pounded. Muffled voices of men shouted over the storm.

A shot rang past his head.

He struggled to wake himself from the nightmare but couldn’t.

Somewhere in the dark a man yelled, “Hold tight!” The sea rose and a wave washed over the ship.

Wrenched off his feet, he landed hard on the deck. He slid to the opposite side of the ship and grasped the edge of a rail just in time to avoid being washed overboard. A hot flash of pain seared in his back.

Tom rolled over and saw the men loading grape and canister shot into cannons lined up along the deck. Scrambling to his feet, he bolted to a man busy loading another round into one of the large guns.

“Who are you?” Tom shouted.

The man looked directly at him but didn’t seem to hear. Angry at being ignored, Tom shouted again, “What’s going on?”

The man looked past him.

Tom ran to the other side of the ship to avoid the salt-stiff rigging as it crashed to the deck. He realized the crew couldn’t see him.

A flash of lightning struck near the rear of the ship and he saw the pursuer, a massive frigate. Her great prow sliced through boiling black waters. An English flag boldly whipped back and forth atop her mast. Daggers of ice hung from her gun ports.

Someone grabbed his arm. He tried to wrench it away, but the hand held fast. He looked into the eyes of a young mast-hand.

“What ship is this? Where am I?” Tom yelled.

Lightning struck again, and the young man turned into a bloated corpse. The flesh fell away from his raw bones. A grape shot wound appeared in his forehead.

“It was hell, Tom. Don’t forget us. Come find us, Tom. Come find us.”

 

About the Author:

Angela-Townsend Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.
Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog

 

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Crimson Tree Publishing Links:
(An adult division of Clean Teen)
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Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

• A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.

Giveaway is International.

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Book Review – REPEAT OFFENDER by Bradley Nickell – True Crime

Repeat Offender

Millions in stolen property, revolting sex crimes and murder-for-hire were all in the mix for a Las Vegas police detective as he toiled to take Sin City’s most prolific criminal off the streets for good.

Las Vegas Police Detective Bradley Nickell brings you the inside scoop on the investigation of the most prolific repeat offender Las Vegas has ever known.

Daimon Monroe looked like an average guy raising a family with his diffident schoolteacher girlfriend. But just below the surface, you’ll learn he was an accomplished thief with an uncontrollable lust for excess. His criminal mind had no bounds—he was capable of anything given the proper circumstances.

You will be revolted by Monroe’s amassed wealth through thievery, his plot to kill Detective Nickell, a judge and a prosecutor, and the physical and sexual abuse to which Monroe subjected his daughters.

Published: April 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

I’m probably giving Daimon Monroe exactly the kind of notoriety he thrives on when I say that I was captivated by his crime spree. I’d never heard of him before reading this book, though I imagine he was, and perhaps still is, notorious in the Las Vegas area.

He was a normal, average guy trying to raise a family and operate a business. And then Daimon and Bryan crawled into his life and turned it upside down.

This is a comprehensive book. The author is one of the cops who tracked Monroe from early on. Nickell takes us through the investigation, shares transcripts of prison phone calls, and gives us a behind-the-scenes view of all the subsequent trials. While Nickell’s writing is straight forward and easy to read, the content is sometimes weighed down by all the details. This can become cumbersome and repetitious. Despite that, I found the case compelling enough that this aspect didn’t bother me too much.

Daimon now had three cases in the system; the car-stop case, the big property case, and the gun case. A lot of effort and long hours had paid off and I thought things would finally slow down. Oh, how wrong I was.

The one thing that did niggle at me was Nickell’s clear biases. His religious beliefs bleed into the writing, at times making himself sound a bit too virtuous. Also, he makes several faulty blanket statements. For instance, many times throughout the book he blames attorneys for our faulty justice system. Whatever your opinion on lawyers, this is certainly not an issue that rests entirely on their shoulders.

Attorneys have eroded the ideas that uphold justice.

In his closing summation, he states that society needs a religious revival as a crime deterrent. Again, this is a nonsensical argument. Most people know that God seems to be most popular within prisons. Still, those inmates get out of prison and go on to commit more crimes, despite their proclaimed love of God.

Perhaps, our society needs to experience a revival in the values our country was founded upon and a renewed interest in God, our Creator.

With nonfiction of this sort, I prefer that an author keeps his/her biases and beliefs in check. Still, I have much respect for the work Nickell put into tracking Daimon Monroe over the years. His own life must have been consumed by Monroe, and I’m sure that took its toll. This is a fascinating story of a criminal who flew under the radar for far too long, and might have continued on had it not been for the dedication of Nickell and his coworkers.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich – Moonshine and Madness!

Bull Mountain

Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family’s criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.

In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family—the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it—Bull Mountain is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.

Published: July 14, 2015

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

Some books you read, other books you experience. This is one you experience.

Brian Panowich has a natural feel for setting and characterization. Rather than describing the surroundings to me, he picked me up and put me there. The characters came alive, displaying all the quirks of real people. I felt what it was like to live in these southern mountains, with these people who call the mountain their own.

Cooper Burroughs sat and chewed tobacco while he watched his nine-year-old son dig his first grave.

The dialogue is also masterful. Characters all have unique voices, both in word choices and in the rhythm of their speech. Conversations feel natural, never forced for the purposes of the story.

Clayton shook his head. “No, it’s not, and that’s why you people will always lose, Agent Holly. Because you don’t understand how it works up here. Money isn’t the endgame for my brother. It never was. It’s simply a by-product of the lifestyle my father raised him on.”

The one drawback for me is that the story moves back and forth in time. We don’t spend nearly as much time in the present as I’d have liked. We go back into previous generations, getting to know other family members and seeing how we got to where we are. The switches are handled well, but also make it a challenge to stay in the moment and feel the urgency. This won’t bother some readers at all. But, if you’re like me and prefer a more linear story, this one is largely told through the past. Despite that, I fully enjoyed the author’s style and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.

 

Thanks for reading. :)