Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Damned by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

Damned
By:  Alexandrea Weis, Lucas Astor
Publish Date:  October 3, 2017
Published By:  Vesuvian Books
Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, Adult, Occult, Fantasy
Pages:  242 Kindle Edition
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’ crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.
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Welcome to my Halloween post for 2017! I’m excited to host a book review for Damned, via Xpresso Book Tours, to highlight interesting reads for your fright night.

I was so interested in Damned as I love the premise of Lexie and Will moving into their bargain-basement price new home, the old Blackwell manor, which has been sitting empty for decades, perched on the edge of a wild cliff side in Maine; just the perfect setting for spooky story happenings.

Soon we discover that at least one real ‘live’ ghost, that of Magnus Blackwell, inhabits their new home and Lexie realizes her inherent gift of sensing, then seeing and hearing the dead starts growing, fast. Something that fiancĂ© Will isn’t that comfortable with.

Her ghost, Magnus Blackwell, is likened to Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde), which gives us some idea about how freely Magnus committed evils while living, with no thought about repercussions or his deeds casting a shadow over his being. So not exactly a benign type of ghost. But then maybe he’s not so bad anymore since making the transition, or maybe it’s Lexie.

Damned reads a bit like a mystery and I really liked Lexie’s persistence in digging up secrets of the Blackwells, rooting through old attic boxes and paintings, and then determinedly taking the trail down south as disaster falls on her and Will. The storyline is very beguiling and I didn’t want to stop reading, especially when Lexie heads down to New Orleans with ghost in tow to hunt for the stolen, powerful voodoo baton juju.

Magnus turns out to have some surprising talents as he and Lexie research into the very origins of voodoo there. There’s great back history on this strange, fascinating and somewhat terrifying belief system, and Lexie can’t help getting drawn in deeper and deeper. Completely unexpected ending!

If you’re looking for a great Halloween read, or an occult-themed book any time of the year, Damned will keep you captivated. 4.6 stars!
Some explicit sexual content. 

 About the Authors: 
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.  He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Grab your copy at Amazon!


Monday, 9 October 2017

A Memory of Fire by R.L. Stedman

A Memory of Fire
Book 3 of 3, SoulNecklace Stories
By:  R.L. Stedman
Publish Date:  October 1, 2017
Published By:  Waverley Productions
Genre:  Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages:  262 Kindle
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

About my wrist is a tattoo of roses, strung like beads on a bracelet of thorns. I have a past, if only I could remember — but I cannot remember.

Held captive in a strange city, Dana dreams of fire and flight. There is something she must find, but she does not know what it is, or why it is important. If only her dreams would let her rest.

Half a world away, Will studies a new, exciting discipline. But while enchantress N'tombe is impressed by his newfound skills, inside he feels only desperation. A terrible moment is approaching. Soon, Dana must face her final ordeal.

Is his new power enough to save her? And is he prepared for what might happen next?

In this thrilling conclusion to the award-winning SoulNecklace Stories, Will and Dana must make a heart-breaking choice. A choice that will change their world forever.
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First of all, author, R.L. Stedman, has a really clear easy-flow writing style that moves the reader flying along at speed through crisp, short descriptions that give you the essence of the dreamscapes, magic and adventure that are book 3 in the SoulNecklace Stories. Even so, it's better to read books 1 and 2 to more fully understand the background to the action taking place in this final instalment as Will and Dana are separated at the start of this and struggling both to fight the evil Kamaye and find each other again across vast distances.

Kamaye, the evil immortals, are described just a little bit like making me think of HP death eaters, and just as horrible, but Will and Dana have TeSin, N’Tombe and dream magic on their side.

Our male MC, Will, is a totally good guy. He even wants to help survivors of an earthquake though he has bigger problems of his own on tap.  He’s a natural learner/warrior, watching N’tombe and copying her. Dana plays an equally strong role and has special qualities too, including wings (though I didn’t get a really clear idea of what exact sort of wings they are. Like to know what exact sort of wings they are.) I love the stick-to-it female characters in the books I’ve been reading and Dana comes through here with grit. Secondary character development and subplot in TeSin and Mai-Long, and with N’Tombe are really well done and don’t take away from the main story line at all but add to it nicely.

Readers will find interesting and different magics in this novel, several that I’ve never heard of before. The soul necklace theme is very unique. I also really liked the idea of the glass globe and would have liked to have seen even more done with this curious object.

This quote really reflects the feeling of the novel/writing - “Your eyes are full of sky.”  2506/3946.

My criticisms would be of the use of a black out kind of effect at the end of many scenes, though this is really tied into the dream element of the story (but starting to feel a little repetitive). Also, I found that Dana and Will being separated for really most of this last book a bit strange. The reason seems to be to allow for other aspects of the story to develop but I feel in the final part of a trilogy this plot approach a little disconnecting.
Overall, A Memory of Fire is a great clean YA adventure fantasy read that will have you thinking of far off places and magical adventures. I recommend this easy-fast read, charmingly written story for all ages who love YA paranormal/fantasy stories.  4.3 Stars!
AUTHOR BIO:
Award-winning author Rachel Stedman lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Her first novel, A Necklace of Souls, won Best First Novel at the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014. In 2012 Rachel was the winner of the Tessa Duder Award and was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep - By Alistair Cross


ALISTAIR CROSS

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace
Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own - and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem - and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.
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Excerpt - Sleep, Savannah, Sleep

“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.

Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding - as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast.

Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal - probably a fan belt - went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic.

“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference.

“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.

Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.”

“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.

“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”

The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them.

“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.” A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials - and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky.

Then again, the whole town - or what he’d seen of it so far - was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him - good for all of them.

Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks - it was what he had to believe.

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Alistair’s debut novel, The Crimson Corset, was an immediate bestseller, earning praise from such authors as Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series, and vampire-lit veteran, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Alistair also writes with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and together they have released several bestsellers, including Mother, The Cliffhouse Haunting, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest.

To pre-order your copy of Sleep, Savannah, Sleep, and find out more about Alistair's books and his doings on the web, check out the following links!




Thursday, 14 September 2017

Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall

Anchor Leg
By:  Jack Croxall
Publish Date:  January 9, 2017
Published By:  Author
Genre:  Science Fiction, YA, NA, Futuristic
Pages:   194 Kindle Edition
Source:  Jack Croxall

‘I toss my knife out into space. It doesn’t matter, I’ll kill him with my bare hands.’

Humanity has spilled out into the solar system, into a succession of giant space stations known as the Relay. Seren Temples is a security apprentice running the Relay’s Anchor Leg. Her ship forced off course, sensors detect an automated distress signal. The ship responsible for the signal is a zero-G graveyard. Inside its vast hold, nothing but a single vial of frozen blood.

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I’m excited to be doing another review for Jack Croxall as I really like the warm human touches in his writing. Anchor Leg is a bit of a departure in that he’s branching into science fiction though he keeps his signature YA/NA focus. (And check out my spotlight review link for 6 Short Stories, one of the author’s earlier books.)

Jack Croxall writes his new novel from the female perspective, Seren Temples’ POV, which I think is unique and tough to do. I really like his take on Seren even though she gets a tiny bit on the androgynous side which probably has more to do with the science fiction/space setting for the book. Even so, the author is sensitive to feminine sensibilities and has put in the research on his heroine’s way of being. There is an LBGT angle and the author handles this very gently and fits Seren’s romance seamlessly into the story. So nicely done and I think will go easy with younger readers. I do feel like this take overall though is currently being kind of pushed through media and sometimes wonder how many authors are picking this up for that reason.

I really feel for Seren who has ‘escaped’ planet earth only to get caught up in a dangerous situation developing around one of the outer planets where her mining spaceship, Charybdis, is traveling through. For a 17-year-old she keeps a very cool head when sudden important responsibilities are thrust upon her, moving her up from apprentice level and things start to go crazy.

Anchor Leg reads a bit like Star Trek mixed in with some Sherlock Holmes sleuthing stuff. Interestingly, the names of the two spaceships, Scylla and Charybdis, are two ancient Greek mythology sea monsters that guarded a narrow sea strait and brave passers would inevitably get caught by one or the other. So too, Seren and security teammates shuttle between the same-named spaceships as time runs out on figuring things out. Good pacing with fast-paced ending keep the reader wanting to turn the pages.

I would have liked to know a little more about the bad situation on earth and maybe some more of that history through Seren as additional background to the story.
YA and NA science fiction readers will whip through Anchor Leg and those who really like relationship feel-y stories in other genres should branch out and give this sci-fi a try. You’ll love it.  4.5 stars!

Check out Jack Croxall at these internet links:


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Survivor of the Clan by Jennifer Ott


Survivor of the Clan
By:  Jennifer Ott
Publish Date:  September 10, 2016
Published By:  Author
Genre:  Suspense, Thriller, Futuristic, Science, International
Pages:  242 Kindle Edition
Source:  Jennifer Ott
A roar of motorcycles disturbs a peaceful congregation leaving church on an Easter Sunday outside Edinburgh Scotland. One of the motorcyclists assassinates geneticist Dr. Kyle Locke, while another abducts his daughter, Shelby Locke witnesses her entire life taken from her in one instant. When clues arise that lead to Odessa, Ukraine, it is Shelby who steps up the search to find her daughter and her husband’s killer.

Arriving in Odessa offers more questions than answers. Confronted with the suspects, Shelby must face her own past, as a child, and that of a mysterious woman whom she has recollections of a precarious time in the near past.
In order to save herself and her daughter, she must find the courage and compassion to face issues that plague mankind and its future, only then can Shelby and Amelia be free.
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Welcome to my review of another of Jennifer Ott’s books, Survivor of the Clan!

Check out my featured post to the right for my previous review for Desperate Moon, one of the author’s previous books and foray into all things Euro vampire and just well-rounded story telling.

Survivor of the Clan is her latest publication where she takes on our current human condition from an ancestral DNA perspective, and I’ve never read of a MC (Shelby Locke) profession of being a doll maker so for me these are different themes than I usually read about. This also brings in more than one layer to the meaning of the word ‘clan.’

So through Shelby’s brave journey to find her abducted daughter, Ott plumbs interesting concepts such as whether our human DNA carries memories from our ancestors and even bygone emotional responses to our environment that may not necessarily be beneficial to us anymore as times have changed, a lot! I also really like that Shelby’s story is very current with stuff that’s happening in our world right now such as the take that human life is being detrimentally orchestrated by powerful global companies.

Even though there’s a scientific basis to the story, Ott’s writing has a warm, almost homey feel often focusing on the food and cultural traditions of the Ukraine and the importance of family that ultimately lure Shelby away from what she believes to be her  best interests. The need to know about our family roots is ever a strong one for us all, good and/or bad.

Survivor of the Clan is also a story about Shelby’s own search to find her origins as she is an adoptee. This is really the primary plot that intertwines with her finding her kidnapped daughter who has been taken to the Ukraine where Shelby finds her own mysterious and somewhat frightening birth roots. During this journey, she is led down some terrifying and unspeakable paths.

Steady pacing and new revelations keep the story moving and the reader engaged, and the ending reveals some very unexpected surprises that Shelby learns on her path to discovering her origins. I really liked how the ending isn’t like a perfect cut and dry, comes with some violence, but we are left with upbeat, hopeful feelings for Shelby.

Fav quote:  “When you share eyes, you share a soul.” At 6.3/488
Some minor typos.

If you like to savour stories that delve into the very substructure of human make up and make you think about where your own emotions and thoughts are coming from, be sure to pick up Survivor of the Clan, an interesting and thought-provoking read that presents the reader with fascinating possibilities. 4.3 stars!

You will find Jennifer Ott on the internet at these links:


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Nostalgic Rain by A.S. Altabtabai

Nostalgic Rain: Galaxies Away
By:  A.S. Altabtabai
Publish Date:  July 1, 2017
Published By:  Author
Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages:  324 Paperback, 329 PDF
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

What seventeen-year-old Leland finds in the abandoned basement of his house is something he will never forget.

Leland lost his father when he was seven. Since then, he has successfully adapted to the awful life of being a student, the man of the house, and a father figure to his two younger siblings. All of that changes when he and his best friends stumble upon a secret in his deserted basement, and fall into another dimension with three moons, foggy woods, and an ancient castle-Oremanta.
Learning who he really is, how he came to this remote planet, and the shocking, ugly mystery of Oremanta aren't as bad as the quest he finds himself obligated to complete-killing someone he never thought he'd meet in Oremanta to save everyone.
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Stories that transport readers to other worlds are so interesting; they take you away from the known, a definite reason why I read. Leland gets a soul call to return to Oremanta, a land he didn’t realize is his birthright, and ends up being transported there with his good friend, Jennifer, and also apparent schoolmate Dylan through a portal in his own basement.

But Oremanta is preparing for war, the great castle, the domed areas, and renegade outposts, all.

Leland starts out the novel a sad teen so this adventure ultimately is good for him I think as he completely transforms into a fierce warrior. His character development is gradual and well done. There is also a great twist about Leland’s family that entwines him into what’s happening now. The beginning is a bit slow but the pace of the story then goes well dipping between Leland and Jennifer’s POV/experiences as they separate for some of the book as Jennifer is steered towards becoming a ‘healer.’

I didn’t get a sense of what Leland and the other characters actually look like. This leaves a sort of disconnect for me. But we do get good descriptions of their feelings so you’re rooting for them. Overall the author might have spent more time fleshing out scenes rather than quick moves to new action.

Nostalgic Rain is somewhere between a little bit of a gory Middle Grade style and thoughtful YA with a mix of both straight up monster and battle scenes sometimes and interesting, thoughtful observations/insights at others.

Page 210
“It’s haunting how a person can be so greedy and honorable at the same time.”
Page 230
“Healing is all about your emotions and how you control them. The better you control your feelings, the better healer you are.”

Some unanswered questions at the end so we wonder if the author is going to write part 2. Dylan’s story could be really interesting.

Overall, Nostalgic Rain reads a little younger than I was expecting but is an entertaining if not somewhat bloody MG-YA adventure tale.  Good debut effort. 4.1 stars!
Find the author on the internet at these links:

Monday, 5 June 2017

Day Moon by Brett Armstrong

Day Moon (Tomorrow’s Edge Book 1)
By:  Brett Armstrong
Publish Date:  March 26, 2017
Published By:  Clean Reads
Genre:  Young Adult, Futurist, Fantasy, Christian
Pages:  389 Kindle
Source:  Ultimate Fantasy Books
In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global software initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare's complete works gifted him by his grandfather.

Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled "Day Moon". When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose.

Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depends on it. 
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Right away I get the horrible feeling that I’m looking at a very near future scenario that I definitely do not like. Physical books are being done away with by powers that be after being entered into an online repository. Then I realize that this is actually sort of happening to me right now as I haven’t read a physical book for probably two or three years. On one hand it’s great not having to lug heavy hard copy around but where is this possibly leading us?

In Elliott’s slightly future forward world we discover to a not very good or even safe place that is subject to manipulation by those that hold the keys of control to such online repositories. At the moment it seems impossible that our currently self/boutique-published works and even the vast world literature on the incredible Project Gutenberg digital library might ever see such a fate, but reading Day Moon has made me wonder.

After realizing the gift his grandfather left him on his passing is more than just a revered Shakespearean tome, Elliott, John and Lara somehow are forced together to embark on a dangerous and mysterious trail of clues on the road to finding the truth about Project Alexandria. We see themes of near future technology, cyber security, secret codes, mysterious clues, upper level forces that are orchestrating lives in the background, and faith. I thought the idea of electromagnetically controlled mostly self-driving cars fascinating though pretty awful, but then I’m a rebelliously independent type who dislikes even just the digitization of cars.

Elliott and Lara begin a sweet relationship that nevertheless is not all smooth sailing, especially as they are besieged by dangers from the beginning that bring on suspicion and distrust. Lara has a mind of her own but is by nature very supportive.

There were a couple of good twists that I didn’t see coming that take the story down some unexpected paths.  The pacing of the story is very even and while the ending leaves us at the bridge to book II, I didn’t feel wrung out to dry, but hopeful for Elliott’s continued quest. He’s pretty brave and at least willing to take a stand against what he sees as wrong-doing even if it pits him against powerful forces.

Overall I found book 1 in the series very intriguing, if somewhat too even-headed in writing style/pace, but readers will relish Day Moon for its near future scenarios that pinpoint pitfalls of what may be coming our way if we don’t pay attention. A great clean read. 4.4 stars!
BIO
From an early age Brett Armstrong had a love for literature and history. At age nine he combined the two for his first time in a short story set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. After that, writing’s role in his life waxed and waned periodically, always a dream on the horizon, till he reached college. At West Virginia University he entered the Computer Engineering program and spent two years pursuing that degree before an opportunity to take a creative writing class for fun came along. It was so enjoyable he took another and in that course he discovered two things. The first was the plot for a short story called Destitutio Quod Remissio, which the others students really seemed to love. The second, he realized he absolutely loved writing. For him, it was like the proverbial light bulb coming on. In the years since, describing that epiphany has been difficult for him but he found the words of 1924 Olympian Eric Liddell are the most eloquent expression for it: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” God gave Brett a passion for writing, and so feels His pleasure when writing.

After a few years passed, Brett got his Computer Engineering degree, but also completed a minor in each of his real passions: history and creative writing. In 2013, he began graduate school to earn an MA in Creative Writing. During that time he completed the novelization of Destitutio Quod Remissio and entered the 2013-2014 CrossBooks Writing Contest, which won the contest's grand prize. As of March 2015, Brett completed his MA and is presently employed in the West Virginia Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology as a programmer analyst.

Brett lives in Saint Albans, West Virginia, with his beautiful wife, Shelly. In the summer the pair garden together, and each day Brett continues writing his next novel.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Memortality by Stephen Provost

Memortality
By: Stephen H. Provost
Publish Date: February 1, 2017
Published By: Pace Press
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 260 PDF
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
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Minerva Rus can raise the dead. And it might get her killed.

Minerva’s life has never been the same since the childhood car accident that paralyzed her and killed her best friend, Raven. But when the long-dead Raven reappears in her life, now as a very attractive grown man, she discovers that her photographic memory has the power to bring the dead back to life ... heal her paralysis ... and shape reality itself.

Pursued by a rogue government agent who wants to eliminate her and her talents, Minerva must learn to control her powers to save herself and Raven. Because if she dies, he dies as well―again.

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Memortality has a really neat concept – use your memories of someone you loved that has died as a way of bringing them back. This made me think, what are memories really and can we actually use this human quality in some currently unknown way?

Minerva Rus, crippled in a childhood accident, has the gift of a photographic memory. She hasn’t really made use of it but once CIA operative, Bradley Carson, comes into her mother’s life and the family’s, things change. Minerva’s closest friend, Raven, who died in the terrible car accident that left her crippled, also returns to her as a grown up living memory who becomes more and more real the more she remembers him. Raven’s character is very sympa and I immediately took to him, especially as he cares a lot for Minerva.

The beginning jumps around a bit so that we get some back story but I like the pacing of the story and things develop quickly as Minerva tunes more deeply into her “gift” with Raven’s prompting. There are some good twists that I didn’t see coming, and Raven eventually is able to show her the “Between” world.

“Bradley Carson” is the agent who is torn between his duty to infiltrate Minerva’s life for interested higher ups and what he considers to be doing the right thing. He has to make some critical choices when one of his agency contacts, Jules, begins behaving strangely.

Eventually we discover deep, hidden family secrets. I think the author could have actually introduced these secrets earlier on to make the story overall darker and more compelling as the concept of giving the memortality gift could have very sinister and far-reaching implications. Provost could have made more of this to deepen the story I feel.

Minerva is a very independent thinker and I love how she makes up her own mind about what to do in situations no matter what others tell her even though she feels she’s seen by most everyone in a very negative way, and then too when her world is undergoing a complete metamorphosis. So a good female lead character.

The ending wraps up in a light and fun kind of way.

Overall, Memortality is a fast-paced interesting read that will entertain readers with the intriguing idea that our not well understood human quality of memory might actually be used for other interesting purposes. 4.3 Stars!
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AUTHOR BIO:
Stephen H. Provost is an author of paranormal adventures and historical non-fiction. "Memortality," his debut title on Linden Publishing's new fiction imprint, Pace Press, is due out in February 2017 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

An editor and columnist with more than 30 years of experience as a journalist, he has written on subjects as diverse as history, religion, politics and language and has served as an editor for fiction and non-fiction projects. His book "Fresno Growing Up," a history of Fresno, California, during the postwar years, is available on Craven Street Books, and his next non-fiction work, scheduled for release in June of 2017, will examine the history of U.S. Highway 99 in California.

In addition, the author has published several books as Stifyn Emrys, beginning in 2012 with "The Gospel of the Phoenix" and also including the nonfiction works "The Way of the Phoenix" and "Undefeated." He also has published three works of fiction: "Feathercap" (children's); "Identity Break," (young adult science fiction/adventure) and an accompanying novella, "Artifice."

The author served as editor of four young adult novels: the "Mad World" series by Samaire Provost - "EPIDEMIC," "SANCTUARY" and "DESPERATION" - and the award-winning "Lorehnin: A Novel of the Otherworld," Volume 6 in the Otherworld series by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. He has worked in journalism as a news editor, sports editor and reporter for four daily newspapers in California, and is currently managing editor for an award-winning weekly, The Cambrian. He has worked as an educator and has been featured at occasional speaking engagements.

He lives on the California coast with his wife, stepson, cats (Tyrion Fluffybutt and Allie Twinkletail) and dogs.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Free Writer Resources Roundup

Writing and publishing books has changed so much by 2017 as to be nearly incomprehensible from the old model of finding a publisher who will take your hard work and bring it successfully to the public.

Today, authors and especially indie authors by necessity have to do most if not all of the work themselves of not only writing their book but seeing to creation of book covers, publication in various formats, and advertising and media work to get the word out on their special creation they want to share with the world.

As an indie I’ve discovered several amazing free resources out there to help me with the various aspects of putting together my books including the interior design, book covers, social media advertising, and so much more.  So here’s an early 2017 round up of some wonderful free resources that I’ve found and use.  I hope they may be of use to you in your efforts to become a successful published author today.
Fabulous website of hundreds of free use fonts for commercial use listed under themed categories.  These are great to use for your promo Twitter cards, blog posts, and even dramatic text design within your book or on your book covers. 




Free Images and Attribution-Free Images from Pixabay
Pixabay is one of the greatest sites for free images not only for the quality of their images but because they are also attribution free (though I try to give credit to the author of an image I use as often as possible).  All images are Creative Commons CC0 so you are free to use them commercially, on your blogs, on items that you sell, for your book covers, business cards, etc.  They are my total go-to image source now.  You can ‘donate’ coffee money to any of the individuals whose images you use though I believe all the monies that go into a central pot to be paid to contributors.
So now you need a utility where to use those great images!

Free Online Photo Editing with iPiccy
Truly there are dozens of really good free online photo editors.  I found iPiccy when I first started and since I’ve learned a lot about their features, I’ve stuck with using them to create many composite images that I use for ads as well as for creating book covers.  But they can be used for so many more applications.
Here’s where I create my Twitter promo cards as I can upload a book cover image or other image that I want to combine with text to create an ‘ad’ which can be saved to a scaled MB size of your choice.
Here’s a sneak preview of my cover for Immortelle, book 2 in my Iron Web series!

Calibre – Free Book Converter
Take your MS Word ebook file and convert it to a variety of different formats, including Mobi for kindle, and ePub.
Of course, when uploading to Amazon, they have their own program.  Smashwords too has their own ‘grinder’ that authors use when uploading there.

Free Music
Incompetech provides free music selections in my categories, very easy to download.  They do ask for attribution but this is easy enough to add at the end of your video trailers, etc.
There are several categories of types of music to choose from so go check them out to see if they have something for your next project.

Free Movie Maker App/MS Word
Included in the MS Word suite is Movie Maker.  This is a very easy to use program that enables you to load images, other videos, and music to put together your own video.  I use this to create book trailers (have to get onto my next one for that!) but there are many different applications limited only by your own imagination.

The program comes with a variety of features that allow you to put various movie type effects onto your images such as fade in, pixelate in, etc.  There are loads of effects that you can apply to your images.  You can also easily upload a music file to your creation.  You can apply overlay captions, and there’s even a specific Credits slide.

There are lots of features in Movie Maker so you have to get in there and play around to get a good idea of what can be achieved!  This is one of my very early endeavours:


More Freebies
Internet’s largest free database of literary agents for those looking:
Free service to find out if anyone has plagiarised your work
Character Development Tool (a personality test that then gives personality traits!)
Humanmetrics

Hopefully some of these free resources will help you on your quest to becoming a successful self-published or agent/book house published author. Happy spring everyone!