Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Thursday, March 14, 2019



Jacket Copy
What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life? 

New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they're kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

Author Bio
C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel.

Christie's books include The Mortician's Daughter seriesShadow Fall Novels and This Heart of Mine.

"Hunter deftly delivers a complicated back-and-forth point of view between Chloe and Cash, building suspense along with a steamy sense of attraction between the two teens." -- Kirkus

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My Review:


IN ANOTHER LIFE is a heartwarming and emotionally powerful story about seventeen-year-old Chloe, who moves with her cancer-stricken mother from El Paso to Joyful, Texas, because of her parents' divorce. They move into her late grandmothers' home, and Chloe starts in a new school. Anxious over her mother and furious about her father's infidelities, Chloe encounters Cash Colton, also 17, foster child of wealthy physicians, who suspects Chloe is a con artist like his sociopathic late father. Chloe resembles the daughter of his foster parents, kidnapped at age three almost 15 years ago. Both Chloe and Cash suffer serious trust issues, but they must learn to trust each other if they are to discover the truth.

In Another Life Blogger Q&As

Q&A 1
  • What advice to you have for aspiring authors?

Two things.

  1. Writing is a tough business and only the determined make it, so be determined. Don’t give up. It took me ten years to sell my first book and another thirteen to sell my second, but I am now working on book 44 if you count my non-fiction books and novellas. It would’ve been easy to quit after the first year, or the second, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
2. Write as often as you can. Writing is like exercise, skip several days and it’s harder to get back into it.

  • Where do you get ideas for your books?

I used to say at Wal-Mart on the clearance rack. But honestly, they come from everywhere and sometimes I feel like they come from nowhere. A newspaper article sparks an idea or a conversation I eavesdropped on gets me plotting. A personal experience makes me ask, what if? An old memory is triggered and it leads me to a plot. Or an idea just falls from the sky and lands smack dab into the story-idea crevice in my brain.

  • What kind of people would be interested in reading your books?

Well, I have all kinds of people reading me. More females than males, but just this weekend at a book festival, I had numerous young men buying my books. I have gotten emails from readers as young at ten, and I would say that about half my readers are past their teen years. I think anyone who enjoys an emotional story with suspense is a targeted reader for my books.

Q&A 2
  • Cash seemed to have a very rough life, would you say that is important for the book?

Yes. I love creating characters that have lessons to learn and emotional hurdles to overcome. To me, this journey is what makes a story. It offers layers of emotion as we see a character struggle with their past and decide to break free of old beliefs and change their future. I also purposely created Cash’s past to both reflect and contrast Chloe’s past. It’s important that two people who are falling in love be able to empathize with each other.

  • When do you think Chloe realized that she was Emily?

I think there’s a fine line between knowing and accepting. Deep down Chloe knew it was true when she was at the library and saw and heard Mrs. Fuller on the video. The voice resonated with her and stirred feelings of deja vu. She went back to denying it, but in her heart she knew the truth. And isn’t that the way we are in real life? When something painful presents itself, it’s easy to bury our heads in the sand.

  • Did you plan on the adoption agency being the kidnappers all along? What gave you that idea?

The story of being adopted is one that I was intrigued with when I was really young. I am, and have always been, different from my family. Not so much in appearance, but in interests and outlooks. My two brothers and parents are people who like to work with their hands, who seldom slow down. They play sports, do crafts, and build houses. Me, I’m a thinker. Being dyslexic, I wasn’t a reader growing up, but I was writing books in my head by the time I was eleven. These stories, starring certain characters, would last months. Several of my stories included discovering that I was adopted, or that I had been mixed up with another infant at birth. And to this day, that theme still intrigues me.

As for deciding that the adoption agency would be the guilty party, I knew I didn’t want it to be either set of parents. And if Chloe’s parents thought it was legal then the deceit had to be on the part of the agency. When I was writing the book, I recalled the story about Britain’s Adoption Scandal where babies were taken from their mothers by the Catholic church. I don’t believe that sparked the idea, but it might have left footprints for the idea to follow.

Q&A 3
  • What inspired you to write In Another Life?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. A newspaper article, a personal experience, a word or two of dialogue you overhear from a stranger. The story of being adopted is one that I was intrigued with when I was really young. I am, and have always been, different from my family. Not so much in appearance, but in interests and preferences. My two brothers and parents are people who like to work with their hands, who seldom slow down. They play sports, do crafts, and build houses. Me, I would find a quiet spot and ponder. I always have been a lover of a good story. Being dyslexic, I wasn’t a reader growing up, but I was writing books in my head by the time I was eleven. These stories, starring certain characters, would last months. Several of my stories included discovering that I was adopted. And every book I write has a little of the theme, Who am I? or Who am I now? I love identity crisis books.

  • What lessons did you learn from writing This Heart of Mine, and how did you apply them to In Another Life?

That’s a great question. I believe I learn and grow as a writer with every book I write. This Heart of Mine was inspired by husband’s kidney transplant, so I really tapped into an emotional vein to write it. I wanted that same emotional feel in my novel In Another Life. So I worked at creating that heart-tugging essence. What’s crazy is that I sort of tapped into another vein and didn’t even realize it at first. My husband walked into my study when I was writing the scene where Chloe finally unloaded on her dad and expressed how she really felt about his infidelity and leaving her mom. I was crying as I was writing, and when I explained the scene to my husband, he said, “So you were actually telling your real dad how you felt.” I was shocked, and how right he was, because a very similar event happened in my family, but I hadn’t really put the two things together. So I think perhaps learning to tap into my own emotional veins might be the lesson I learned from writing This Heart of Mine.

  • What projects are you working on now?

Right now, I’m finishing the third book in my YA series, The Mortician’s Daughter: Three Heartbeats Away. It’s sort of Ghost Whisperer meets Veronica Marrs. Also, I just turned in a proposal for a speculative fiction YA. It’s about young girl who is a sole survivor and how she learns Fate sometimes get things wrong, and she might have the ability to change Fate and save hundreds of lives, including those of her own family.

Q&A 4
  • How did your love of writing/storytelling begin?

Being from the Deep South, storytelling was infused in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my grandfather would get all of us grandchildren around in a circle and he’d tell his childhood stories.
Storytelling was part of my immediate family as well. Our dinner table conversations were supposed to be interesting. If our day was boring, we had to find some deeper meaning to the mundane events or elaborate to make the conversation more interesting. Sometimes someone would ask, “Did that really happen?” And the person talking would say, “Almost.” I now call it “creative faction.”
Because I was dyslexic, I never allowed myself to dream of being a writer. However, from the time I was about eleven, I would run off by myself into the woods, find a tree to lean on, and I would create stories in my head. Stories of young love and adventure. It wasn’t until I was twenty-three, when my husband asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, that I admitted I wrote stories in my head and I wondered if I could learn to put them on paper. I started writing that same week. It took me ten years to sell my first book. Then another thirteen to sell book two, but the day I sold book two, I actually sold four books. And In Another Life is my forty-third book if you count my novellas and my non-fiction books.

  • You have a lot of awesome books under your belt! Tell me a little bit about how you keep yourself organized when writing!

I’m not really organized, but the fact that I have you fooled means a lot. LOL. Honestly, this career involves a lot of juggling. You have to write your novels, market, plan events and signings and do blogs and interviews. I often feel like I drop a lot of balls. That said, years ago, I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. To this day, I try to remember to prioritize my to-do list and figure out what matters the most. And as a writer, it’s always to write the next book. Because I write three or more books a year, I have hired an assistant to help me keep up with the business side of it.

  • What is your favorite thing about being an author? And the hardest thing?

I wear my pajamas to work every day. LOL. Seriously, I do love that, but it’s not my favorite thing. My favorite thing is sharing my stories and learning that they touched, helped, or got someone through a difficult time in their own life. I’ll admit I started writing to entertain and that’s still my main objective, but when I get those emails that tell me my book touched them in a personal way, I get all warm and glowy inside.

And the hardest? I think it’s balancing and juggling. I remember there was a day when all a writer did was write. Now, with social media, blogs, and all the on-line opportunities and book festivals, it’s hard to keep up. But whenever I start to get stressed, I tell myself that I’m lucky I have these problems. This career beats any other career out there. This is what I’m supposed to do.

Q&A 5
  • What's the story behind In Another Life? Where did you take inspiration from to write Chloe's story?

The story of being adopted is one that I was intrigued with when I was young. I am, and have always been, different from my family. Not so much in appearance, but in interests and outlook. My two brothers and parents are people who like to work with their hands, who seldom slow down. They play sports, do crafts, and build houses. Me, I’m a thinker. Being dyslexic, I wasn’t a reader growing up, but I was writing books in my head by the time I was eleven. Because of those differences in myself and my family, several of my stories included discovering that I was adopted. Every book I write has a little of the theme, Who am I? or Who am I now? I love identity crisis books. Also, my parents went through a bitter divorce when I was sixteen. That pain Chloe felt was part of my teenage years.

  • How do you think the relationship between Cash and Chloe affect her search for the truth about her origins?

I like this question. I think the relationship affects the search in many ways. 1. There are times that falling in love became so consuming that I think the search became less consuming. I wanted to show how great falling in love feels and how the wonderment of it can help soothe the bad things that come our way. 2. While their relationship brought them close. I wanted to showcase their different past experiences and how it affected how they each thought the search should proceed. Cash felt more loyalty to the Fullers, and naturally, Chloe felt more toward the mom and dad who raised her. 3. I also wanted show that while the bond Chloe and Cash formed was solid, it was tested because of their different backgrounds. Cash was willing to steal the information from the adoption agency, Chloe wanted no part of it.

  • I ask each author I interview to do this (so I hope you don't find it weird) but can you summarize In Another Life using 3-5 emojis?
  • I would say the emojis would be, chew on your lip suspenseful, love, and either happiness or family.

Q&A 6
  • I loved this story like all others but your usual snark and laugh out loud moments where sparse. What was your frame of mind when you wrote it? Was it a conscious choice right from the start or something forced on you by the story and the characters?

It was characters and the story. I didn’t set out to cut back on the snark. I love snark. However, I did feel the absence of it when I was writing the book. I even tried to add it to a few scenes, but if felt forced and off. So instead, I let the characters take over.

  • What made you choose this topic? Was it something you’ve read in the newspaper? Something else?

The bitter divorce theme In Another LIfe is one I lived. My parents got a divorce when I was sixteen. The story of being adopted is one that I was intrigued with when I was really young. I am and have always been different from my family. My two brothers and parents are people who like to work with their hands, who seldom slow down. They play sports, do crafts, and build houses. Me, I’m a thinker. I can sit and muse for hours. Being dyslexic, I wasn’t a reader growing up, but I was writing books in my head by the time I was eleven. Several of my stories included discovering that I was adopted. Also, if you think about it, almost every book I write has a little of the Who am I? or Who am I now? theme. I love an identity crisis in books.

  • Chloe is the new girl in a new school. How often have you been the new girl? And how did you adapt?

We only moved once. But to be honest, I felt it at the start of every school year. You see, being dyslexic sort of made me a wall flower. I was a loner. So every year when I started, I felt like everyone had a tribe but me. I think I adapted by creating more stories. There was hardly a day that I didn’t go inside my head, where I lived an exciting life. I had a hot guy who loved me. Sometimes even two. LOL. I had best friends who would go to the end of the world for me and keep my secrets safe. It’s funny how creating stories got me through the teen years and how writing has brought me out of my shell. I’m no longer a wall flower or a loner. I love meeting new people. I guess you could say writing helped me survive and it helped me become the person I was meant to be.

Chapter 1 Excerpt:


“What are you doing? I ask when Dad pulls over at a con­ venience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living. My voice sounds rusty after not talking during the five­hour ride. But I was afraid that if I said anything, it would all spill out: My anger. My hurt. My disappointment in the man who used to be my superhero.
“I need gas and a bathroom,” he says.
Bathroom? So you cant even come in to see Mom when you drop me off? My heart crinkles up like a used piece of aluminum foil.
He meets my eyes, ignores my questions, and says, You want anything?
“Yeah. My freaking life back!” I jump out of the car and slam the door so hard, the sound of the metal hitting metal cracks in the hot Texas air. I haul ass across the parking lot, watching my white sandals eat up the pavement, hiding the sheen of tears in my eyes.
“Chloe, Dad calls out. I move faster.

Review: Reaper: A Horror Novella

Reaper: A Horror Novella Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

REAPER is a really twisted horror novella, twisted in a good way, convoluted with some highly unexpected twists and revelations. Gregory is a good brother, and now at 13, his parents (foolishly) decide he can babysit his sister Imogen, 7--on Halloween! Foolish not because Gregory isn't capable (he's a lot more patient with his little sister than would be a lot of adolescents), but because circumstances he can't control will intervene. I mustn't say more because I never want to reveal this twisty path. A fairly quick read, I don't recommend it for late at night if you're living alone. (Smile)

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Review: After the Green Withered

After the Green Withered After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic speculative fiction (and nonfiction) since childhood, so I am well aware that there are a multitude of potential causes of Apocalypse, each with their own consequences and terrors. I don't wish to start a competition of "my Apocalypse is worse than your Apocalypse!" but I do think that the type illustrated here is both possible, and horrendous. Rather than a flash-bang split second death, here are months and years of fighting for the one life essential (for humans, animals, and plants): Water. Yes I know water is important also for cleanliness, but imagine what life would be like if so little was available for life that nations and even communities started wars to gain or to preserve supplies. Thinking of it boggles the mind...and it could happen.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I was born an aficionado of Historical Fiction. Certainly I don't remember a time before.
Just before A GENTLEMAN FROM MOSCOW was announced as our first read for this quarter, I had discovered, and determined to read THE WITCHES OF ST. PETERSBURG, a novel whose setting is almost immediately prior to the time period of A GENTLEMAN FROM MOSCOW. Unfortunately for me, at the moment I only have access to the audio versions of either, so I hope to "re-read" both soon in text.

I had not yet read author Amor Towles' debut novel, RULES OF CIVILITY, so of course that is now on my "I need to read this" list. I entered the Goodreads Giveaway for the upcoming paperback version.

What struck me most is the author's depth of research. Not only did he take up an era nearly a century removed; but with the upheavals of that nation--from royal rule to Bolshevik to World War II to Stalin's Fascism to Communist oligarchy and Soviet dissolution to capitalism [I'm out of breath], factual records must be few and far between.

The other memorable aspect is the Count's humility and integrity of character. Here is an individual who was raised as nobility, lived under the Tsar's rule, was wealthy, an estate owner--and then he loses everything but his life. Talk about the Crucible of Affliction. But he never gives up: he survives, then perseveres, and finally, in a different, even mutated, fashion, he thrives. Incredibly remarkable.

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Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon April 6 2019


Spring Into Horror April 2019

Spring Into Horror

APRIL 1-30.

Dewey's 24

Review: Spells, Salt, & Steel

Spells, Salt, & Steel Spells, Salt, & Steel by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm always excited to read any titles by Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin. Their creative imaginations are wide-ranging and their writing is gifted. SPELLS, SALT, AND STEEL (isn't the title itself intriguing?) is one entry in a new series called "NEW TEMPLARS." Mark Wojcik lost most of his family to a Wendigo; now he owns his own mechanic's business and hunts the paranormal and supernatural entities that trouble and endanger humankind. He's not really a feckless hero, but he does have his comic moments, which lighten the burden for the reader if not for Mark himself, and the authors have the real scares locked down for us. I love their imaginations, as they come up with entities and dangers that try men's souls (and sometimes plan to eat souls). A fast-paced, always intriguing collection, SPELLS, SALT, AND STEEL SEASON ONE contains the first four novellas.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Three Truths and Other Unsettling Tales

Three Truths and Other Unsettling Tales Three Truths and Other Unsettling Tales by Thomas O.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never trust a demon! That's a truth I learned from this collection. Seven enterprisingly imagined yet divergent tales showcase the imagination of author Thomas O. Fantasy, dark fantasy, and horror noir are here offered up for the delectation of readers and the inspiration of nightmares. Long after the book is finished, readers will wonder "Now just how did he come up with--"

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Review: Will Haunt You

Will Haunt You Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WILL HAUNT YOU is griity horror noir about a band which proves impossible to leave. Or maybe it's not the band, so much as it's the other members. Though not obvious on the surface, the lives and destinies of these musicians are inextricably twined, more so than they are with their spouses, girlfriends, or children. When one proffers a book--"the book that should not be read"--the consequences (and ugly they are) spread faster than pond ripples from a skipped stone.

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Review: Lucifer Sam

Lucifer Sam Lucifer Sam by Leo Darke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I raced through LUCIFER SAM in one session. Like a passenger on a runaway bullet train hearing a soundtrack of Death Metal, I could not pause and I certainly could not stop. LUCIFER SAM stole my breath, and once the novel truly started, there was no slowing down. Author Leo Darke went to the extremes of imagination (and metal) to bring this story home, and a powerfully impacting story it is.

Totally steeped in heavy metal and punk, LUCIFER SAM postulates behind-the-scenes scenarios of two bands, Cat of Nine Tails and Lucifer Sam. Cat recorded a popular first album, developed a fan base, then put their scrappy Cockney lead vocalist out to pasture. Unfortunately for Ray Starling, whose gritty rage powered that first album, Cat's leader and the other two members had different directions in mind. They went to a sort of middle-of-the-road cozy metal and reached "biggest band on the planet" status, while Ray spiraled into alcohol, depression, promiscuity, desperation, and frequent pub fights.

Lucifer Sam is another four-person metal band, led by Kirk. They're not making it big, scarcely even making it, and a lot of cracks in the surface hardly conceal the tensions and guilt underneath. Leader Kirk's girlfriend Rose is a long-time aficionado of Cat of Nine Tails, and ecstatic along with their enormous fan base when the band, missing over the Indian Ocean for six months, inexplicably returns. "Inexplicably" is the key word here, as is "impossible." But if this is a miracle, it came from the Devil himself. Cat of Nine Tails is NOT who or what they were before they disappeared. They went looking for a new musical direction, and they found it: or rather, Something found them. Now they are the portal to inescapable evil and apocalypse.

Rated 18+ for extreme violence, language, sexual scenes.

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Review: The Worship of Mystery

The Worship of Mystery The Worship of Mystery by J.R. Mabry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An exciting, heartwarming, spiritually and philosophically expansive novel. I want a sequel! Chaplain Jun of the Temple of All Worlds is ready to retire, but instead is sent to a position on another planet, teaching the Chaplaincy Service. With little time to spare, he and Belle, a replacement social worker, are thrust into the midst of uproar: portions of a mine have collapsed and lives are lost, with many not yet accounted for. Jun and four brand-new students and Belle must exemplify compassion in the face of such grief. Then Jun discovers that there is also an indigenous species--aliens.

This first book in THE TEMPLE OF ALL WORLDS Series is a vivid exploration of the nature of humanity--and of aliens.

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Review: Surviving the Swamp

Surviving the Swamp Surviving the Swamp by Grace Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Grace Hamilton's AFTER THE SHIFT series and am excited about her new series, SURVIVALIST REALITY SHOW. In SURVIVING THE SWAMP, a group of reality show contestants vie for a big payoff by "surviving" 4 weeks in the Florida Everglades. It's all fun, games, and stress--until communication is lost and the camera crew fails to return. Nothing electrical or battery-powered works. It's true not just inside the swamp.

SURVIVING THE SWAMP will rivet the attention of prepper readers and of lovers of attention too.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Cthulhu Armageddon

Cthulhu Armageddon Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

C. T. Phipps is a prolific author in multiple genres, but CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON is my first experience of his work. Thankfully, I now have many more of his books to read, including the sequel, THE TOWER OF ZHAAL. For any reader who loves or even just admires Lovecraft, or Post-Apocalyptic fiction, or Dystopiana, CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON is absolutely not to be missed.

CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON postulates New England AFTER the Great Old Ones have risen. Amazingly, they didn't arrive from Outer Space, but from underground. Scary! This is a couple of centuries in "our" future, and Arkham is now New Arkham, a more or less armed and guarded community surrounded by desert. Kingsport is a criminally active traders' town which practices (or allows) human slavery, gambling, and so forth. John Henry Booth is a soldier, descendant of soldiers, who is more and beyond what he seems and what he thinks he is. Two decades of soldiering in the wilderness have hardened him, estranged him from his psychic wife, and kept him away from daughter and son. He perseveres to save the remnant of humanity. When his squadron is killed at the Black Cathedral, and he discovers the cause is Dr. Alan Ward, John's former mentor, he sets out on a personal quest for vengeance (and to save humanity). In the process, he will begin to discover aspects of himself he could never have possibly imagined and now does not know how to cope with. Yet every single time he decides to end it all, his mission to save the human species reawakens and inspires him.

For readers well familiarized with Lovecraft's stories (or of the Mythos writers), this novel will be like "coming home," with a multiplicity of twists and turns. For those not aware of Lovecraft, this will still be a fascinating post-apocalyptic read with a lot of monstrous entities (otherworldly and human).

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Review: Crow's Cottage

Crow's Cottage Crow's Cottage by John Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

CROW'S COTTAGE is the newest novel from author John Bowen, and is a stand-alone sequel to WHERE THE DEAD WALK. So you don't have to read WHERE THE DEAD WALK to enjoy CROW'S COTTAGE, but if you haven't read it, don't miss it! It's terrifying! I found the consequences of the story line in CROW'S COTTAGE more sad than terrifying (although there are plenty of terrifying moments!). This novel emphasises that we don't have to rely on the Spirit World to produce monsters: there are plenty of those among the human species, from simple vanity and cupidity and envy to outright greed to self-absorption to the point of committing murders. CROW'S COTTAGE introduces a new participant to the cast and crew of the television programme WHERE THE DEAD WALK: Chloe is a former You Tube content creator who loves to explore abandoned buildings, graveyards, and so forth, for Spirits. Now she is a co-resenter/investigator on WHERE THE DEAD WALK programme.

Mr. Bowen is champion at eliciting characters' emotions and personalities as well as at delivering those scare moments. Read and enjoy!

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Review: Trifles and Folly: A Deadly Curiosities Collection

Trifles and Folly: A Deadly Curiosities Collection Trifles and Folly: A Deadly Curiosities Collection by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin are exceptionally delightful and entertaining prolific authors. TRIFLES AND FOLLY offers nine wonderful stories in the Deadly Curiosities universe, focusing on Cassidy Kincaide's Trifles and Folly Shop in historic and haunted Charleston South Carolina, established 1670. Additionally, this collection includes three other stories and an excerpt. Welcome to the magic and edge-of-the-seat suspense these authors provide.

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Review: The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger The Perfect Stranger by Marin Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seldom is a marriage perfect, even when or the other of the participants believes so. Stella Masen has it all: gorgeous spouse, expensive Malibu home, her own cosmetic company, love and freedom to be herself. Sounds enduringly perfect. But there's thorns in Stella's garden, and it won't be long before the perfect marriage dissolves into a perfect storm.

Prolific author Marin Montgomery spins a psychological thriller of remarkable complexity.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Review: Cobe: Kampot's Curse

Cobe: Kampot's Curse Cobe: Kampot's Curse by Greg Alldredge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Protagonist Cobe is a feckless hero in this fantasy, yet it is not entirely his fault. Actually, he is quite intelligent and resourceful, but a hard life and difficult circumstances have rendered him feckless. Living in a small village, motherless, surrounded by the products of interbreeding, he is one of the few intelligent individuals there and so is constantly despised and denigrated. So is Ariana, an orphaned metalworker and jewelry maker who inherited her mother's shop. Considered different from the villagers (she does seem to possess obsessive compulsive disorder), she is left distraught and homeless when inexplicably the stone building containing her shop and workplace burns. Then Cobe returns to the village after an attempt on his life to discover the village gone. Will these two lost youths and a wild dog even find survival, let alone manage to thrive and build new lives?

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Review: Palace of Ghosts

Palace of Ghosts Palace of Ghosts by Thomas S. Flowers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Readers of author Thomas Flowers' SUBDUE Trilogy know how clearly he delineates the horrors of war and the enduring suffering of those who survive its depredations. The author demonstrates subtly but powerfully and enables readers without the experience can peer into that world. Here again in PALACE OF GHOSTS he brings us the sights, sounds, smells; the terror, the anger and aggression; the guilt of survivorship, the trauma and the subsequent PTSD. So not only is PALACE OF GHOSTS tragic and compelling, it's also inordinately SCARY! Gentle Readers, the Terror here is implacable. In addition to a psychiatrist "who ought to know better," the Amon Palace located on Galveston Island is TERRIFYING, unavoidable, and scared the living daylights out of me! I know I find Lovecraft under every rock, but there are scenes here and characters that resonate with me in a Lovecraftian vibration. But they're still beyond frightening!

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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Review: The Bakken Blade, A Zeke Traynor Mystery

The Bakken Blade, A Zeke Traynor Mystery The Bakken Blade, A Zeke Traynor Mystery by Jeff Siebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An explosive yet tragic reader's hook propels this mystery into readers' imaginations. The suspense and thrilling action is non-stop as series protagonist Zeke Traynor, possessor of an eidetic memory, takes on cases all around the nation, commencing with the horrible North Dakota killing which cimmences the book. THE BAKKEN BLADE is the newest of the Zeke Traynor Mysteries.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tour_OUT OF THE DARKNESS by Darcia Helle

Out of the Darkness

by Darcia Helle

on Tour March 1-31, 2019


Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle Gus wakes up in a dark void with no memory and no body. Screaming and cursing does him no good. He’s trapped, until he learns about one man who can help. Joe Cavelli is a PI who hears ghosts, solves their murders, and sometimes fixes their personal problems. Now he finds himself pestered by an invisible, impatient, and brash amnesiac. Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances. This time, Joe can’t even claim to be investigating a murder, since Gus’s body is nowhere to be found. Together, Joe and Gus delve into Gus’s past, uncovering clues that lead to a startling conclusion.

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense Published by: Indie Publication Date: February 12, 2019 Number of Pages: 300 ASIN: B07KJGZY9F Series: Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI Book 2 Purchase Links: Amazon |Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Joe put the few dishes in the dishwasher, made himself another cup of strong coffee, and said, “Okay, Gus. Let’s see if we can figure this out.” He walked out of the kitchen, Gus’s voice trailing after him. “Where are we going?” “My office.” Joe stepped into the room that was the smaller of the two spare bedrooms. He crossed over to his desk, opened his laptop, and switched it on. “This is your office?” Joe sat in his padded leather chair. “My home office. I have another, professional place, with an assistant. No need to go there, though, particularly since she doesn’t know about—” He waved his hand in Gus’s general direction. “—you. This.” “She doesn’t know you talk to ghosts, is what you’re saying?” “Right.” “Afraid she’d think you’re crazy?” “No. It’s just not something I feel like sharing.” “You banging her?” “Jesus. No.” “Huh. I thought all guys banged their secretaries.” Joe heard the dry humor in Gus’s tone, though the statement still irritated him. “No, all guys don’t. And I said assistant, not secretary.” “Same thing, isn’t it?” “No. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m a one-woman man.” Joe opened a browser page, then the Tampa Bay Times website. He typed ‘Angus Smith’ into the search bar and clicked the Enter key. “What are you doing?” Gus had a gruff way of asking a question that made it sound more like an accusation. One minute Joe felt bad for Gus, and the next he wanted to punch Gus in the face. If he could see Gus’s face. If Gus even had a face. Did ghosts have faces, or were they just invisible blobs of energy? Joe was too tired to deal with this. “I’m trying to find out how you died,” Joe said. “Why?” “I don’t know, Gus. Because it’s a place to start? Figure out how you died and maybe I’ll figure out why you’re stuck in the dark? Unless you have a better idea?” A huff, then, “No. I got nothing.” Gus kept silent while Joe scrolled down and clicked a link. Gus’s photo stared back at him from the screen. Seeing the person for the first time was always an odd experience. He couldn’t help but form a picture of each ghost in his mind, based solely on the voice and the little he knew about who he or she had been. Sometimes he was way off. Other times, like now, he was pretty close. “That’s a crapass picture of me,” Gus said. Joe studied the grainy image accompanying the article. Buzzcut. Deep brown eyes. Tattoo snaking down the side of his neck, disappearing into his shirt. He seemed to be snarling at the camera. The article put him at 6’3”, 230 pounds, and Joe could see it was all muscle. He didn’t address the quality of the photo, ignoring Gus while he read through the article. He double-checked the date on the article, then said, “You’re missing.” “What d’you mean, I’m missing? I’m right here.” “I mean, you were reported missing. Last Friday, so three days ago.” “Missing? That makes no sense, since I’m dead.” “No one appears to know you’re dead.” “Huh.” “Do you remember where you were when you died?” “No.” “Were you sick? In an accident? Traveling somewhere?” “I don’t know!” Joe leaned back and closed his eyes. He forced himself not to react to Gus’s abrupt tone. The guy had every reason to be upset, though this mess sure as hell wasn’t Joe’s fault. “Who reported me missing?” Joe opened his eyes and scanned the article. “Cat Loring.” Silence. Joe waited a moment before adding, “Says she’s your live-in girlfriend.” “Yeah.” “Do you remember the last time you saw her?” Joe felt a cool wall of air pressing around him. “Are you leaning on me?” “I’m trying to read the article.” Joe suppressed a shudder—barely. “It doesn’t say much. You left the house at your usual time on Thursday morning. You’re not answering your cell phone, and no one has seen you since.” “I don’t remember.” “What’s the last thing you remember?” Silence. “Gus?” “The very last thing? Hell, I don’t know. I might’ve been at a bar with some buddies. I might’ve been driving my truck. Or having sex. It’s all a jumble.” “Did you and Cat fight the last time you saw her?” “I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe.” “Could she have killed you?” Gus snorted a laugh. “Cat? Kill me? That’s funny, Mr. Detective.” “Yeah? Why is it so funny?” “She just wouldn’t.” Joe rubbed at his burning eyes. “Tell me about your relationship.” “Why?” “Maybe it’ll trigger a memory. Help me figure out where your body might be.” “Well, shit.” *** Excerpt from Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle. Copyright © 2019 by Darcia Helle. Reproduced with permission from Darcia Helle. All rights reserved.
Darcia Helle

Author Bio:

  Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.

Catch Up With Ms. Helle On: darciahelle.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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My review:
Out of the Darkness (Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI Book 2)Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joe Cavelli used to be a normal private investigator. That was before his encounter with the ghost Max. He wasn't expecting Max, but both their lives have undergone an immense positive change. Now Joe is some kind of Super P.I., solving murders and other cases like never before. But when an amnesiac spirit contacts him, demanding help, unable to explain what happened to him or where he is and scarcely recalling his own name, Joe is puzzled to the maximum. It's one thing to work with a cogent ghost, quite another to deal with the impatient and secretly frightened Gus.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS is a warmhearted and engaging paranormal suspense thriller, the sequel to INTO THE LIGHT.


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Darcia Helle. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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Monday, February 25, 2019

Review: The Winner Maker

The Winner Maker The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

High school teacher Fiske has been a larger-than-life figure and individual for decades; but as with any charismatic individual, there are those who love and admire him, and those who because of misunderstanding, fear, or jealousy want to see him fail, perhaps even wish him to stop existing. This novel reminded me of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, in regard to its focus on a teacher who is one of a kind, admired yet denigrated, and the lengths to which some will go to stop him. WINNER MAKER has a really twisty plot, with turns I certainly didn't expect. In that, it qualifies as a suspenseful page-turner thriller.

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