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Earth 101: Time to Run

Earth 101: Time to Run by Emae Church introduces us to Jayne’s eerie world, where high school girls are disappearing and mysterious boys with unnatural features seemed to be all around. Jayne is the only one who remembers the missing girls, and it’s starting to make her feel like she’s going crazy. One boy in particular forms a powerful bond with her—Aithen is alluring and kind to Jayne when the rest of their school is suspicious of her research into the missing girls. With a strange man named Erek lurking around the girls and mutterings of possible supernatural creatures, all signs point to one dark answer: alien abduction.

The world is in peril, and the characters in Earth 101: Time to Run need to save it. Jayne herself holds the fate of the universe in her hands. Through her compassion for her missing friends and desperation to protect her family, Jayne connects the dots and becomes closer to Aithen as he shares the secrets of his home planet, Korudaz. He moves through time and sees the future where Jayne’s life is in danger. Rather than allow those pieces to fall into place, they decide to rewrite history and save the world.

I loved the pacing of this story. Every moment was a surprising twist, full of exciting action. The characters were nuanced and complex as they navigated the supernatural aspects of the story. I really enjoyed seeing the connections that Jayne made with others as she strives toward protecting the people she loves and saving her friends from being permanently deleted.

While I found the alien world fascinating, I was a little confused by all the terms that we are introduced to. There were many worlds, objects, and people to keep track of at once as the alien universe is first brought into our story. However, by the end of the book these ideas became easier to follow and made the story very intriguing and created an immersive experience. I liked how creative the approach to space was within this book.

Earth 101: Time to Run by Emae Church is a fast-paced, high intensity science fiction story that brings a new approach to stories of alien invasion. With our heroine Jayne and her intense focus, we’re able to travel through time and watch as she encounters daring feats. This is a story full of passion, action, and romance that you won’t want to miss.

Pages: 412 | ISBN: 1916300375

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Eastover Treasures

Eastover Treasures by [Dawn Brotherton]

Eastover Treasures is written by award winning author Dawn Brotherton. The story follows Aury and her fellow quilters, as she tries to solve a series of clues for a treasure hunt that was devised in the 1860s. Eastover Treasures combines a mystery novel with a slight hint of romance, and is an interesting read.

This intriguing cozy mystery novel is set in the same geographical area, over two time periods. Geographically, Eastover Treasures is set on a piece of land and buildings in Florida. The first time period is the 1860’s. The land and buildings make up a large plantation. The time period is stated at the top of the chapter, but this is also supported by rich detail such as clothing descriptions, technology (or lack of) and the dialogue and speech of the characters. Subsequent chapters transition into the past as the characters read diary entries written in the 1860s. The present-day time setting is indicated by the land usage – a motel and discarded house, descriptions of nearby towns and available technology (electricity, internet, speech). The two time periods are linked in numerous ways: quilts found in both the house and quilts the women are making, remnants of buildings that existed in the 1860s and present day relatives of the family that lived on the plantation in the 1860s.

There are many fascinating characters that color this spellbinding story –  both present day characters and characters in the 1860s. Characters in the 1860s include Mary and her children, Frederick, Thomas, Noah, Sarah. The reader gains some insight into Mary’s feelings and motivations through her inner monologue. However, large parts of her life remain a mystery until the end of the novel. All of the children and their actions feature in subsequent diary entries. In the present day, Aury and Scott are the main characters of the novel. Both are well developed an authentic. Aury, an avid quilter, is an accountant by trade, whom has had her interest piqued in the estate by a mysterious treasure hunt she and her friends found reference to in a diary. Scott, owner of the estate develops an interest in both the treasure hunt and Aury herself. As the novel progresses their friendship develops and grows naturally.

Eastover Treasures is an interesting and worthwhile read. The geographical setting is well described and draws the reader into the enthralling story immediately. The characters are authentic, relatable and even heartwarming, and the relationship between Aury and Scott becomes a sub plot within the novel that was engrossing in itself. This is an mesmerizing historical mystery story that was a delight to read.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B094D54C8R

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The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2

The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2 by [Norman Westhoff]

The characters we came to know and love in Stone Fevre are back in The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2 by Norman Westhoff! Keltyn SparrowHawk, the beloved geologist, is trying to make a life for herself with the tribe that took her in a year following the traumatic events of book one. And the capitalistic mastermind, Sir Oscar, is back to his cruel doings and planning another mission for the iridium treasure. Keltyn hears of this and does everything she can to stop him. Can she foil Sir Oscar’s plans? Find out in The Color of Greed.

Norman Westhoff has done it again in the second installment of the Erebus Tales! I may even say he has gotten better at his craft since the first book.

First things first, I want to dive into Westhoff’s improved storytelling skills. The first book in the series was so well written, I didn’t think it could get any better. The story flows easily and I was able to easily understand what was happening in this thrilling adventure story, this is important to me as I just finished another book that was very convoluted so I much appreciate the clarity of Westhoff’s writing.

I mentioned in my first review that there was never a dull moment in the book and it was very easy to read despite the drama and complexity of some of the issues. The same remains true for book two. I felt that chronologically, book 2 does a better job at connecting events and scenes together.

Although we explore a lot of the same themes as book 1, book 2 further elaborates on these themes beautifully. The Erebus Tales series can teach anyone who reads it a valuable lesson on modern society.

The Color of Greed is a riveting Western action adventure novel filled with alluring characters, a vivid setting, and a storyline that takes Keltyn on yet another perilous journey. Something about this story reminds me of The Revenant, with stirring characters on a compelling journey. Or even Michael Crichton’s Dragon Teeth with it’s effortless yet enthralling storytelling. Readers who enjoy a wild western style adventure will surely enjoy this novel.

Pages: 301 | ASIN: B093MGMYKL

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The Flying Fool

The Flying Fool by [Edgar Aleksandrovic]

The Flying Fool by Edgar Aleksandrovic is an adventure story in a time when magic is commonplace, people can transcend their earthly bodies, and the world is controlled by a ruthless empire and its soldiers. The story is told from the point of view of David, a scarred man with a dark past who is now a pirate flying sky ships. His story starts when his ship crashes. Although he should not survive the crash, he does, saved by Jester from the ether-world who requires that David set out to find an unspecified item, a kind of holy grail.

David is rescued from the crash and begins travelling with a group of rebels who are fighting against the imperial army. Apart from the old man Toothless Stevie, they are a ragtag group of children led by the gruff soldier, Gob, and blind, noble Francesca.

This highly imaginative fantasy story mainly focuses on the group’s perilous journey between the isles, hiding from the imperial soldiers, living on berries and trying to survive. This epic adventure is filled with colorful characters that beg to be explored further. They were all interesting and I wanted to get to know them better. The plot is quick and the chaotic nature of the story will keep readers hanging onto every word as they try to peace together what is happening.

There are moments of really excellent writing, like the description of the interminable passage of time while David is lost in his own head: “Time passed … 100 ticks, 500 tocks, more than a thousand tick tocks”. My favorite phrase is in the characterization of Gob: “Not much else to do but follow the man with the plan, and the knife, and the murderous intent.” This creates a very intriguing way to tell a story, that I really looked forward to. One more round of edits, to catch misspelled words here and there, will really elevate this novel. The story and characters are otherwise engaging and fun to follow. It is clear that in author Edgar Aleksandrovic’s imagination, David inhabits a hugely complex and fascinating world.

The Flying Fool gives readers an intricately imagined world and chaotic atmosphere that delivers a fast paced and thrilling epic adventure novel.

Pages: 146 | ASIN: B08KYF3SGS

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The One Going Undercover

Steve Zimcosky Author Interview
Steve Zimcosky Author Interview

Midnight Cranes sets the Polish Dragon on a new murder investigation in a manufacturing plant that leads to the Dragon Trail. What inspired the setup to this mystery story?

Years ago as a martial arts student and as an employee in the material handling industry I had thought about how interesting it would be to have someone like Chuck Norris be the hero and discover, as an undercover cop, a drug ring going on inside of the plant. I had outlined the story and sent it to one of his students, who also was making movies, to see what he thought of the idea. He liked the idea but said he was too busy and didn’t really have the time. Fast forward many years and now that I am an author I thought why not make it into a book instead. The only change was having the Polish Dragon P. I. be the one going undercover.

I enjoyed how well the story is developed in so few pages. Is it your intention to make your stories short, or is that just your writing style?

It is a little bit of both. My intention is to write the story in a novella so that it makes for a quick and easy read. Some of my fans have said how much they enjoy the shorter read as sometimes a full novel can be too long and filled with unnecessary information. So if you’re riding a train say from New Jersey into New York City you could finish half the book on your ride in and the other half on your ride home. I have noticed though, that each new book I write seems to get a little bit longer each time.

What were some new challenges you wanted Tom to face in this book that were different from the previous books?

I wanted Tom to face the challenge of going undercover and having to maintain the cover as long as he could. Another one was to have him finding help from one of his colleagues and not just for digging up information but actually working on the case with him. That is where Suzie Mandrake comes in, a detective on the Cleveland police force who aspires to be a private investigator like Tom. Her big dream is to be a partner with Tom in his Polish Dragon Investigations business.

What is the next adventure you have lined up for the Polish Dragon P.I.?

Tom will now have to partner up with Suzie again as a friend of hers has a 600 year old family bible disappear after his father was killed in a car accident. The bible may hold clues to a dark secret from the families past.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Tom Sipowicz, The Polish Dragon P. I. is hired to work undercover in a manufacturing plant where two employees have been found dead in a nearby park just days apart. They died from a heroin overdose and the County Coroner ruled them as a “death by misadventure”, but the president of the company seems to think that there is more than meets the eye.Law enforcement refuses to get involved and Tom must seek the help of Suzie Mandrake, a Cleveland detective, who aspires to be Tom’s partner in the P. I. business. Things begin to move quickly after Suzie deciphers a phone message in a somewhat obscure man-made language that puts the two of them onto the Dragon Trail.

Atypical of the ‘Thriller’ Genre

Al E. Boy
Al E. Boy Author Interview

Little Girl Scream follows a hotelier who must find a killer lurking in her hotel before he strikes again. What was the inspiration for the mystery at the heart of your story?

We wanted to write a thriller absent of the usual tropes and cliches. We were trying for a scene and situation somewhat atypical of the ‘thriller’ genre. Foremost in our objectives was to create a relationship between the two main characters wherein they did not end up romantically involved by the end of the story. Sort of a: “Yes. A man and a woman can be great friends who admire and respect each other.”

I loved the relationship between Dale and Sofia. What were some ideas that guided their character relationship?

The references in the book to the witty dialogue and ‘slightly combative’ repartee of the golden age of movies was something we both wanted to embody in Sofia and Mathis. In a sense, they are a little like Butch and Sundance from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in that while they do make the odd pithy and even disparaging remark, the duo do genuinely care for one another and will willingly risk their life for the other.

What was the writing collaboration process like with co-author F. Carod?

While I live in South Korea, F. Carod actually lives in Cancun. She’s a wealth of information that was put to great use in the development of the story. We’d write excerpts, post them in a ‘private’ Facebook page we created, give our critiques, do rewrites and revisions, etc., etc, until we were satisfied we had what we were after. It was a low process that took a while, but I think I speak for both myself and my co-author when I suggest we both learned a great deal from one another in the process. Lastly, modern technology is wonderful. It’s remarkable two individuals on either side of the globe can write a book together without having ever met.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

There are three books in the series. The second takes up a few months later with Sofia and Mathis living in Guadalajara. Her father is a wealthy hotel magnate, and he allotted them plots of land on his huge family compound to build homes with some of the money Tiara Tillman gave them. At the close of Book 1, when they watched Chief Ricardo’s press conference on TV, and he stated every person connected to Tillman would be hunted down, Mathis mused the man may be inviting trouble. Truer words were never spoken. But the trouble follows our faithful friends, as well.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Absolutely nothing can compare to the Hotel Amatista, Cancun’s premier luxury resort. The jewel in her family’s chain of 5 star hotels, Sofia Hernández is in charge, and the young woman takes great pride when she hears guests remark the hotel makes them feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s been happening lately, Young guests vanish, only to turn up the next day…abused, tortured…and dead. Sofia suddenly has her hands full dealing with police investigations, trying to ease her guests’ fears, and doing her best to save the Amatista’s reputation. And, with no way of knowing if the sadistic culprit is a hotel employee or a guest, stopping the killings will be no easy task. With the help of Dale Mathis, a visiting English professor, she is able to thwart further abductions and murders, but her interference draw the ire of the sinister mastermind who decides Sofia must pay for her boldness. To make matters even worse, her new friend becomes the number one suspect of the Cancun police.

The Correction

The Correction, by John Hazen, is the fascinating tale of a supernatural gift passed on from generation to generation, following the course of history and the characters’ life up to the narrator’s life. Joseph Vance, the narrator’s voice, leads us through his ancestors’ good and bad corrections and takes us through his life, where many obstacles will be placed on his way, but he’s not completely alone in overcoming them.

Hazen writes beautifully with vivid descriptions and insights on the characters’ feelings and thoughts. He manages to keep a fast pace all the way through the story. While time travel stories can get fanciful, I appreciated how grounded this supernatural thriller was which ensures that the story, and the characters, are relatable.

If you’re a reader that appreciates the details in a story, then you can certainly appreciate all the effort put in to fully flesh out these complex characters. Each has an important role to play in the story, and the dialogue and interactions with each one or subtle yet compelling. I was surprised to find to some impassioned commentary on social issues woven throughout the story. Issues like racism are addressed and provide an opportunity to really understand who are characters are and test them in some morally intriguing ways.

While I heartily enjoyed this science fiction drama, I had to get a few chapters into the novel before I felt I was sure I knew where this story was going. But diving into Joseph Vance’s life felt authentic and compelling and was something I eventually looked forward to.

The Correction, by John Hazen is a supernatural thriller that feels like it was written by Stephen King. With fully realized characters and a well-conceived and engaging plot, this was a historical thriller that kept surprising me. If you enjoy a good dramatic thriller, then I highly recommend this stimulating book.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B094SRYXMV

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The Cry of a Raven: The Epic Conclusion to The Roar of a Dragon Trilogy

The Cry of a Raven: The Epic Conclusion to The Roar of a Dragon Trilogy by [Robert Blanchard]

The Cry of a Raven by Robert Blanchard continues the journey of Aidan in the epic conclusion to The Roar of a Dragon Trilogy. The exciting journey is narrated with an intensity that sets a quick pace and elevates the drama. The story keeps the same quick pace among brutal battles, sacrifices, and tragedy from the start. Aidan quickly narrates how his life is irreversibly changed through triumph and loss. As previously, Aidan knows he must build his strength, mentally and physically, to further his quest. The narration is engaging and colorful. It grabs the reader from the start and leads them through a realm of richly imaginative kingdoms and exotic locations.

Before the prologue, the author offers an honest, heartfelt introduction about writing this book through a challenging year. Through personal tragedies and the first year of a pandemic, Robert Blanchard shares his positive message of love and prosperity for the future and how learning to overcome today and embrace the best in life is essential. His vision of getting the most out of life is a great mindset to have before diving into the action-packed story. The introduction and prologue set up the perfect stage for this fantastic fantasy.

In this book, Aidan grapples with his battles, both physical and emotional. The author continues to lead the reader through the monumental struggles and life-changing paths that Aidan takes. Readers will find a solid connection to Aidan and his relationships with Delmar, Kirra, and other characters who profoundly affect his growth throughout the series. The story winds through many beautiful and dangerous kingdoms, keeping the pace exciting and the reader turning pages.

Aidan’s adventures are well documented and written, with intense, lively dialogue along the way. It’s a rollercoaster ride of solid character development and engaging action. The author masters internal and conversational dialogue that gives the story and characters a strong resilience throughout the tale.

Robert Blanchard’s third installment of this series lives up to the high expectations set in the previous books. The story maintains a high level of entertainment that’s an excellent read for fans of Aidan’s quests. The Cry of a Raven by Robert Blanchard rewards readers with a thrilling, fast-paced adventure and a well-rounded tale with engaging characters and dialogue. This is a creative epic fantasy novel that brings this rousing sword and sorcery story to a thrilling end.

Pages: 312 | ASIN: B08CSH9YLH

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