~Inhuman – Review~

About:


Sergeant First Class John Nicholas and his Recon Team New York, lead by the inexperienced Captain Brandon Doran, are sent on a rescue mission in North Vietnam to find Recon Team Florida have gone missing. 

‘At first, John expects heavy resistance. But intercepted radio traffic suggests something near that village has spooked even hardened NVA. And soon after New York’s midnight insertion behind enemy lines, John finds out what.’
 
My Thoughts:

INHUMAN is an intense Supernatural, Military Thriller that I didn’t want to end—with unexpected, cringeworthy moments and scenes that broke my heart. Author Eric Leland does an excellent job submerging the reader into the vast jungle of Vietnam alongside characters you genuinely care about as they come face to face with formidable foes.

Highly Recommend!

Thank you, Eric Leland and Publicist Shelby Kisgen, for providing me with an eBook and Paperback copy of INHUMAN in the request for an honest review. 

Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse, suicide, child abuse, discrimination



~Q&A WITH ERIC LELAND~

Courtesy Of Smith Publicity

Question: What inspired you to write Inhuman?

Eric Leland: During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

Q: What sets Inhuman apart from other military and horror books?

EL: The bravado one comes to expect when reading military fiction is quickly ripped away to expose and pick at the delicate flesh of fear and self-doubt we are ashamed to admit exists.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

EL: It was never my intent for Inhuman to be didactic. Primarily I hope readers are entertained. I hope readers will remember the experience of Inhuman rather than any particular lesson.

Q: Inhuman features a diverse cast of characters. How did your military friendships, and experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” inform this inclusivity?

EL: A diverse cast adds verisimilitude to military fiction simply because any U.S. military unit features a diverse roster. In my first combat experience I found myself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Mexican Americans, an African American, and a gay woman. Unfortunately, DADT was still a thing for most of my military career and I would only find out after DADT was repealed that some of my greatest friends were gay. I think truth in fiction is important, and if I did not write a diverse cast I would by lying. Readers can spot a lie from a mile out.

Q: How did you develop your characters? And which of them do you have the strongest connection to?

EL: The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.

ERIC LELAND grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Inhuman is available on Amazon in both print and digital.

Audiobook forthcoming in Summer 2021.


~Hold Back The Night – Review~

by – Sean Lynch

Hold Back The Night - Cover

~Amazon Image – NetGalley/Kensington Publishing Corp./I received an eBook – 04/27/2021~

~Available Now On Amazon~

~Hold Back The Night~

I would describe HOLD BACK THE NIGHT as Grip-Lit—a psychological thriller that kept this reader engrossed until the very end. The novel is set in my neck of the woods, though the County depicted in the book is fictional, a firestorm that sweeps through Northern California—the backdrop of the story—is very real to Cali’s like me, adding a visceral tension to the narrative.

‘It begins with a spark. A simple act of carelessness that ignites the autumn grass of the Sierra Nevadas. In minutes, the flames spread.’

‘In Farnham County live three very different women. Marjorie Guthrie, a wealthy suburban housewife fleeing an abusive marriage; Mary Hernandez, her troubled, rebellious sister; and Leanne Strayer, a young SWAT deputy with a dark past. All three share one thing in common: they are in the wrong place at the wrong time….’

‘Today, their worst fears come true. Tonight, the nightmares come home.’

I LOVE a novel centered around strong women, and Lynch did not disappoint!

Highly Recommend!

Thank you, NetGalley and Kensington Publishing Corp., for loaning me an eGalley of HOLD BACK THE NIGHT in the request for an honest review.

Scheduled To Release On – April 27, 2021


~The Safe Return – Review~



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About – THE SAFE RETURN:

It’s a topsy-turvy world that children live in today, but the adventures must safely return. Face masks on or face masks off, this fast-paced book takes kids through the ups and downs of a balance bike ride with friends. A stuffed bunny is temporarily lost, but a community is found. No matter which way you read it, the book reinforces the joys and freedoms of childhood and advocates for a safe return to the fun. Print copies of this book flip over so that the book can be read either way.

Perfect for Covid-19 and to normalize the wearing of masks. Yet, this book will remain in your collection when the crisis has ended. e

About the Authors:

Ashley is a writer and lawyer on the central coast of California. She loves books, especially children’s books, and began her book career as the then youngest editor-in-chief of her elementary school’s press. She dreams of marshmallows and witches.

Arwen is a PR executive. Her mission is to raise strong girls, which is important as she has three of them. She spends her commute embroidering elaborate gifts while dreaming up her next story. Arwen is a member of SCBWI.

Abigail Gray Swartz is a fine artist, muralist, and illustrator. Her work has appeared in The NY Times, countless magazines, and most notably, she painted the Women’s March cover for The New Yorker magazine (Feb 9, 2017 issue). Her cover went on to win several awards. Abigail is also the founder of City of Hidden Figures a national public art program that seeks to celebrate local hidden figures through murals, statues, and the renaming of streets while providing art opportunities and equal pay for female-identifying artists. Abigail earned her MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She lives in Maine with her young family and a handful of chickens, where she loves to garden, go swimming and breathe in the salty sea air.


By Ashley Wheelok and Arwen Evens

Illustrated by Abigail Gray Swartz


~My Thoughts~

THE SAFE RETURN: KIDS WEAR MASKS FOR A SAFE RETURN TO FUN

I am a huge advocate for wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic—both children and adults—in the ongoing effort to keep everyone safe, so when I was presented with THE SAFE RETURN to read and review, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

As things begin to slowly normalize, children safely return to the classroom, spending time with their friends, it’s important to do so safely by wearing a mask, but you can still have fun.

In THE SAFE RETURN, five friends go on a bike-ride through their neighborhood—together but slightly apart—as the main characters’ Dad jogs behind them.

‘Feet on pavement.’
‘Tush in seat.’
‘Kick, balance, roll.’

During their adventure, ‘a stuffed bunny is temporarily lost, but a community is found.’

The book illustrations are warm and colorful, reminding of those late Summer days that blend into Fall, my favorite time of year.

Thank you, Blackberry Children’s Book Tour, for providing me with an eBook of THE SAFE RETURN in the request for an honest review.

Blackberry Children’s Book Tour/My Blog – April 19, 2021

Age Range: Infant to 12

Genre: Children’s Picture Book 



~Colony – Review~


~BLACKTHORN BOOK TOUR~


An edge-of-your seat action thriller that will appeal to fans of James Rollins, Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.

~About~

The novel centers around one of the many main characters, archeology Professor Callum Ross, who is asked by one of his colleagues, Dr. Jonas Olsen, to take his place on The Arctic Council to conduct a field survey in his stead, which means going to Harmsworth Island in the Russian Arctic.

As Ross and his colleagues survey the Island, Ross and his guide discover a prehistoric ice mummy preserved for thousands of years—it’s evident that they did not die from natural causes. 

‘As Callum races to unravel the mystery of the mutilated corpse, others race to sabotage the expedition. He and his team are left stranded, and they are not alone on the island. Someone, or something relentless, is stalking them.’

~My Thoughts~

Have you ever read a book that so profoundly puts the suspense and thrill in Suspense-Thriller, that keeps you on the edge of your seat with anticipation and makes you utter out loud, ‘Ooooooohhh, I wasn’t expecting that!’?

For me, at this moment, that book is COLONY by Benjamin Cross. I am a fan of chapters that end on cliffhangers, which deliciously amps up the suspense and tension as you eagerly wait to see what happens next. 

The one issue I have, though it does not factor into my overall enjoyment of the book, was the depiction of the women, at times, portrayed as damsels in distress.

Cross has another book coming out in 2022, THE ANACONDA TREE: A Ryan Miller Thriller, and I can’t wait to read it! 

COLONY was unputdownable, a novel that I Highly Recommend!

Thank you, Blackthorn Book Tours, for providing me with an eBook of COLONY in the request of an honest review.


~About Benjamin Cross~

Benjamin Cross has an M.Phil. in Landscape Archaeology from the University of Oxford. He’s been lucky enough to explore some of the world’s most spectacular ancient sites; from the temples of Cambodia to the Andean cloud forest cities of Peru; from the burial sites of the Tibetan plateau to the Maori strongholds of New Zealand.

He is now an Associate Director of Heritage and Archaeology at a national consultancy and is a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Colony is Benjamin’s first novel and it was written whilst he worked full-time as a professional archaeologist.

Media links:



~Wasatch Witches – Review~

~Cover Design by Rooster Republic – Fear Knocks Press LLC. 03/11/2021~

~Available Now On Amazon~

~Wasatch Witches~

~Available Now On B&N~

~Barnes & Noble – Wasatch Witches~


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WASATCH WITCHES, a Horror Anthology was written by Utah Horror Writers, contains twenty-five short stories and poems centered around the darkness of witches and witchcraft, an arcane tome meant to terrify and titillate your senses.

‘Be warned, once you pick this book up, you just might hear cackling coming from the darkness!’

Though the stories and poems in WASATCH WITCHES didn’t terrify me, they most certainly titillated this reader’s, horror-filled heart. More, Please! 

The following are my favorites, including snippets from each:

‘The Pestilence’ – by Vince Font 

‘They came up the mountain with their torches and their bibles and their godly heads held high. Boots plunged into snow-packed earth and scarves drew over ears as winter’s icy breath blew down the Wasatch Range. At the end of the path where the Devil dwelt, the men stopped and formed a hard line. 

‘Within the darkened cottage, nothing stirred. The serpent lay in wait.’

‘The Witch’s House’ – by Jesse N. White – Love this one!

“‘Quite the spooky place you got here, Miss Why-chel,” Paul remarked, purposely mispronouncing their host’s name as he walked over and casually cupped the mannequin’s breasts. “ I love the decor.”’

‘Olivia smirked at Paul and gave Angie a wink. “Not quite what you were expecting? Nothing here frightens you, Mister Olmstead?” She cackled as she swirled and allowed her dress to fall off her shoulder. 

‘She motioned the couple further into the house. “Well, not to worry. A float session is meant to relax…”’ 

Wasatch Witches’ – by C.H. Lindsay 

‘[O]nce the sun has gone to sleep,/they stalk the night ‘mid shadows deep./

‘In graveyards cold,/ through darkest night,/they harvest names while moon is bright.’

‘The Crazy Cat Lady’ – by Jo Schneider – Love It!

‘A high-pitched yowl came from inside. I leaned forward. Was that a cougar cub? Or a regular cat? The sound stopped abruptly, and the door clicked open. I jumped back, straightened my shoulders, and smiled. 

The Cougar Lady had never agreed to be interviewed before. Her stipulation to let me come had been that I kept all of this a secret until I published the article.

‘Persona Non Grata’ – by Lehua Parker 

‘The doorbell won’t stop, not for God or love or money. I open the door just wide enough to scowl at the woman on my front porch. She’s not alone, but doesn’t know it.’

‘For Scrying Out Loud’ – by Caryn Larrinaga – Love it!

‘Here’s the crappy thing about scrying: the mirror doesn’t always tell you what you want to know. It only shows you what you need to see. . . . And don’t be surprised if it shows you something you didn’t want to see—even when you didn’t ask it a question.’

‘Rip to Reset’ – by  Sariah Horowitz – That was really good! 

‘Mark was near perfection; dark hair, bright brown eyes, kind, and understanding. Marie assumed that when they reached high school, they would be dating, attend the same college, then marriage, and spend the rest of their lives together.’

‘But then that Nancy Hanks ruined all of it.’

‘Frankenbear’ — by C.H. Lindsay 

‘In autumn’s chill/ the witches watch/for teddy bears/ in graveyards dark. . . . .Beneath full moon/ the witches chant/ for graveyard bears to coalesce.’

‘Cadmium Blue’  — by Jeff Dosser – Love The Ending! 

‘Cadmium blue. Emily Ray lowered her binoculars and studied the children. The girl’s aura was a brilliant cadmium blue. . . . Satisfied, she lifted her binoculars and studied the children once again. They sat beneath a rusted ‘Bus Stop’ sign. The boy was nothing special, virtually no aura at all, but the girl….’

‘Why Are Children So Delicious?’ — by Joshua P. Sorensen

‘I’ll fatten up my neighbors/ With cookies and with cake,/ Chocolate ice cream, custard,/And sweets that I will bake/When they’re fat and plump,/ With pudgy little toes,/ I’ll roughly grab and toss them;/In my oven they will go.’

‘The Warlock of Kay’s Creek’ — by Bryan Stubbles

‘Johnnie’s death made dusk’s chill all that more miserable. Sixteen-year-old Mabel looked on from afar as the hushed graveside service quickly concluded. Not even Johnnie’s parents attended the funeral.’

‘Only the Presbyterian minister, his wife, and the gravedigger attended. None of the Mormons—many of them related to Johnnie by blood or marriage or both—could be bothered.’

‘Welcome to 1894 Kaysville.’

Danara’s Coven’ — by  C.H. Lindsay

‘The clinking of the prismatic wind chimes drew Danara’s attention to the rainbows dancing across the ceiling. How many times had their magic—her magic—drawn her back? . . . Time held no meaning for her anymore; only the addition of another presence, another voice.’

‘They were here with her now, whispering to each other that another woman would die that night.’

‘Miss Fortune – Anastasia’ — by Natasha MorningStarr

‘You would expect to see her floating overhead on a broom. Instead, she struts with grace in Louboutin pumps—reminiscent of Meryl Streep, only melanated—she walks with the Devil wearing Prada . . .The essence of her roots is magick. Her presence pulses with a subtle vibration known to draw people into a trance. One beat of her drum, and you’ll do her dance.’

‘Her name is Anastasia.’

‘Unfruitful Works’ – by  D. J. Moore – Love It!

‘I first met her outside the gates of Temple Square. In the spot where you usually see a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace for loose change. Arianna Plemmons. . . . Both arms were raised high above her head, fingers twitching as if playing upon an invisible instrument. . . . [F]ollowing the gazes of several people in the audience, I saw a young man dressed in a white shirt with a red tie jerking about in a kind of marionette dance.

‘Like a puppet dangling from unseen strings.’

‘Vice’ – by Donald Evans – Love This One! 

‘I grabbed the first envelope on the top of the slush pile. What kind of life do you have when you spend your day looking through a slush pile? I read about ten pages and threw it in the trash. . . . After reading it, I felt like washing my hands to get the icky off. The next story had something to do with toast and a guy who stares at the toast for like nine pages. I picked up the next package, and I felt cold run up my wrist. . . The packaging was nondescript, but it bothered me. I couldn’t tell you why. I didn’t want to open it.’

 ‘I opened it.’

‘What Happens in Salem’ – by Angela Hartley – Love It!

‘I can hear their thoughts as I walk down the hall of Salem High. Hate rolls off them in waves as they give me a wide six-foot berth. Even the teachers keep their distance as if my presence were a dangerous pathogen.’ 

‘Catching.’ 

‘They aren’t wrong. I am dangerous, especially to small-minded humans in a little town like Salem, Utah.’

Thank you, Fear Knocks Press LLC.For providing me with an eGalley of WASATCH WITCHES in a request for an honest review. 

~Orange City – Review~


~BLACKTHORN BOOK TOUR~

~About the Author~

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. 

As well as the sci-fi novel, ORANGE City, his first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021. 

After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. 

He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. 

His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. 

He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

Media links:

Website: http://www.leematthewgoldberg.com/bio/


~About Orange City~


What would you do, by way of a second chance at life, if you were selected to live in a hidden City—a place for felons and deformed outcasts, a place for rehabilitation wherein everyone gets a job, a place to live, but there’s one catch—you can never leave—would you agree?  

And, what would a dystopian world be without a dictator to rule over its citizens—keeping them firmly under his thumbs as he watches their every move through the pupil on top of the Eye Tower, who has eyes everywhere—they call him the ‘Man,’ a looming, Stalin idolizing figure with multiple robotic limbs the likeness of a monstrous, demented spider as seen by the expendable flys caught in his web.

*Insert full-body-cringe here*

Through fear of being exiled into the apocalyptic region known as the Empty Zone, everyone follows the ‘Mans’ every order to make Promised Land stronger, including Graham Weathered.

Graham Weathered, the book’s main character, who, after ten years working as an advertising executive in the Factory Region of the City, is given the job of testing different flavors of Pow! Soda, Warton, Mind & Donovan Advertising and Concepts’ newest client. 

It is only when Graham becomes addicted to the mood-altering soda that he sees the puppeteer holding the strings in his newfound variegated reality, but is it too late to cut the ties that bind him?

You will have to read the book and find out. 😉


~My Thoughts~

ORANGE CITY is the second book that I have read and reviewed by author Lee Matthew Goldberg, THE ANCESTOR being the first—you can read my review here  ~THE ANCESTOR~

Though the first half of the ORANGE CITY is a slow build, it is not difficult to like, root for, and get invested in some of the characters—many pawns themselves under the oppressive thumb of the ‘Man,’ specifically Graham, who’s the most fleshed-out within the dystopian world Goldberg created. 

I am a huge fan of dystopian, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, survivalist stories, so I look forward to reading Book II, LEMONWORLD.

Thank you, Blackthorn Book Tours and Atmosphere Press, for providing me with an eBook of ORANGE CITY in the request of an honest review.

Purchase link:

~Orange City~



~The Dinner Guest – Review~


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‘Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.’

‘And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.’

THE DINNER GUEST is a multi-perspective narrative written in alternating chapters and timelines as seen through the eyes of Charles Allerton-Jones’—husband to Matthew and Father of fifteen-year-old Titus, and Rachel—a perfect stranger Charles meets at a Bookstore and later the market where Matthew insists on inviting her to his Book Club and upon doing so, their lives.

I wanted to like this book, but…

I couldn’t stand many of the characters (which is the author’s intent) specifically, Charles, a prudish elitist snob who looks down upon Rachel, who he considers one of the lower-class poor, undeserving of being a part of or in the presence of the Upper-class collective.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a book with a deplorable villain and even one that has some redeemable qualities, however, having to be submerged in Charles’ mindset for the majority of the narrative was nauseating, to say the least.

The one aspect of the synopsis that drew me to want to read the book is that it’s a who-done-it, so having characters depicted with potential motives for murder are essential. However, I personally would have preferred to view it from the perspective of an outsider looking in.

Thank you, NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishing UK, for loaning me an eGalley of THE DINNER GUEST in the request of an honest review.


~Bernice Takes A Plunge – Review~

~Blackberry Children’s Book Tour~

About the Author:

Ann Harth writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Strong, interesting characters creep into most of her books and stories, and many arrive with a sense of humour.

Before becoming a writer, mentor and developmental editor in Far North Queensland, Ann studied psychology, waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries, worked as a clown and punched keys on various tills. She also spent ten years working with children with special needs. Ann taught writing for the Australian College of Journalism for eight years before taking the leap into freelance work.

Ann has had a number of fiction and non-fiction children’s books published in Australia and the UK and over 120 short stories sold internationally.

After five years (2015-2020) she has stepped down from her position as Far North Queensland representative for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators as Bernice is eager to dive into another book.

When not tapping the keys, Ann stuffs a notebook into her pack and searches for remote places to camp, hike or explore.

Media links:


~My Thoughts~

Bernice Peppercorn was not a morning person, her little brother Jake, on the other hand, was. Ugh!

Breakfast was often bickering on toast, that is until Mum read in that day’s morning newspaper that local celebrity Crystal Bell’s mansion was broken into the night before. 

‘It looks like family members will be dealing with the authorities because Ms. Bell is shooting a film in India.’

Bernice and her best friend Maggie want to be just like Crystal Bell who is calm, cool, smart, knows karate, can get out of any situation, solve mysteries, and outwit any bad guy who tries to mess with her. 

The next day, armed with her Crystal Bell secret spy watch, notebook, and Crystal Bell pencil, Bernice must dive into detective mode alone (Maggie is stuck at home with Chickenpox) and stumbles across some vital clues. Oh, what imagination and adventure she has! 

Age Range: 9 to 12

Genre: Children’s Action And Adventure 

I had a blast reading BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE, which brought me back to The Stone Age when I was a wee girl, and we had to read Judy Blume’s books on stone tablets. *sigh*  #memories

BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE – A Funny Adventure/Mystery That I Highly Recommend! 



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~Dreamy Days & Random Naps – Review~

– By Mawson


During his waking hours Mawson Bear thinks about the perfect nap while his friend Scottie Bear daydreams about being a brave King or a great guitarist, Professors Caddy and Bree Bear have high hopes for their new inventions, and Samantha sees wondrous things all around her.

You too can join The Seekers journey to the edge of the world, as long as you return by bedtime. 😉

‘So Many Wonders Could Happen Today.’

‘That’s Why Every Day Is Grand…’