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Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Why You Were Taken by J.T. Lawrence

16 Aug

 

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Author: JT Lawrence

Narrator: Roshina Ratnam

Length: 8 hours 49 minute

Publisher: Author’s Republic⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: When Tomorrow Calls, Book 1

Release date: Aug. 7, 2017

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In tomorrow’s world prowls a creative and ruthlessly efficient assassin who won’t stop until Kirsten is killed.

A troubled woman approaches Kirsten with a warning and a key and is later found dead. Was the woman just another victim of the Suicide Contagion, or is there something more sinister at play? The key leads Kirsten to the Doomsday Vault and a hit list of seven people – and her barcode is on it.

Edgy and original, Why You Were Taken is a dark cinematic thriller that will keep you guessing till the last.

Grab the first audiobook in the futuristic suspense series, When Tomorrow Calls, now.

Buy Links

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JT Lawrence is a bestselling Amazon author, playwright and bookdealer based in Parkview, Johannesburg. She is the mother of two small boys and a baby girl, and lives in a house with a red front door.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

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Narrator Bio

Roshina Ratnam is actress, puppeteer, voice artist and lover of dumplings.
She has performed around the world mostly notably playing Opelila in Janet Suzman’s production of Hamlet which toured to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Other highlights include For Colored Girls which received a Fleur Du Cap. Her puppetry work has seen her work with Handspring Puppet Company as well as the award winning political satire TV series ZAnews. She is currently a producer and performer with Pillow Fort Theatre which creates art focused for children aged 18 months to 4 years. Her work as a voice artist has seen her record several books and radio commercials over the years. Roshina Ratnam is a graduate of UCT drama school.

Twitter

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by JT Lawrence. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

When I started Why You Were Taken, I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it. It took me a little while to get into the book but once I did, it was very good. The year is 2021 but it’s an alternate future because women are having difficulty getting pregnant, there are hover bikes, and the technology is quite a bit more advanced than it will be just 3 years from now, I’m sure.

Kirsten aka Kate is the main character and her life has become a mess. Her parents were just murdered, she desperately wants to get pregnant but it’s not happening, and this “crazy woman” told her her life is in danger right before the woman dies of a so-called suicide. The woman left her a list of 7 people who she said were going to be killed. Kirsten is on the list and may be the next target. She realizes that she can trust no one except her friend KeKe.

I like the author’s writing style and the Roshina Ratnam did a good job narrating. Her enunciation and timing were great.

Why You Were Taken is full of suspense and intrigue in a world that has the technology and deteriorating environment that is all too possible in our future. I have the second book ready to listen to and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

 

Giveaway

When Tomorrow Calls Giveaway: Audiobook & eBook Set

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Book Review: The Life and Lessons of a Young Author by Sunayna Prasad

15 Aug

Book Title: The Life and Lessons of a Young Author by Sunayna Prasad
Category: YA Non-fiction, 19 pages
Genre: Writing
Publisher: Amazon KDP
Release date: Sept 1, 2018
Format available for review: ebook (PDF)
Tour dates: Aug 13 to 31, 2018
Content Rating: G

 

Book Description

Whether you are young or old, The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can offer those who dream of finding the right path in the world of writing and publishing. Sunayna Prasad shares her experience as a young author and discusses what went well for her and what she suggests to those who long for success.

Talking about her life as a published writer, Sunayna Prasad teaches you the rules of the writing craft and the standards of the publishing world, as well as additional tips and tricks. The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can help you choose your own writing and publishing paths.

To read reviews, please visitSunayna Prasad’s page on iRead book Tours.

Buy the Book:

 

 

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

In The Life and Lessons of a Young Author, the author shares her experiences and explains what did and did not work for her. She also encourages authors to get feedback from as many people as possible, especially strangers, and to accept negative feedback and use it to better their writing. 

She tries to caution new authors that rewriting and publishing can take weeks, months, even years. Sales may also be a disappointment, but authors need to hang in there. Many bestselling authors struggled for years before they were published or had bestsellers.

This is a good book for authors who are starting out or thinking about writing a book. It’s very short so there’s not a lot about the writing process. It’s more about what has worked for her along with a little encouragement.

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Meet the Author

Sunayna Prasad has been writing since she was six. She continues to write fiction and non-fiction today and has even won a Pacific Book-Review award. She lives in New York, and when not writing, likes to create art and cook.

Connect with Sunayna: Website ~ Facebook

Blog Tour: The Bespokist Society Guide to London

12 Aug

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The Bespokist Society Guide to…London

“sparse… some glaring omissions” FoodPorn London

“only page 23 is of mild interest” http://www.londonpetlover.com

“Wow!!! A genuinely bespoke city guide!!!” Tommy Sponge, Chairman, The Bespokist Society

You have in your hands one of the most curated city guides ever created. As the first travel book produced by the hugely influential Bespokist Society, this handy guide takes you to a London you’ve never seen: a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.

On the way, meet an eclectic band of inspiring Londoners – from scriveners to socialites via urban wordsmiths and coffee preachers – and see why London is now the global epicentre of Bespokist consciousness, community and culture.

Purchase Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bespokist-Society-Guide-London/dp/1912615142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523828780&sr=8-1&keywords=bespokist

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Bespokist Society Guide to London is a tongue in cheek travel guide to London. One of my favorite places listed is the chain of ‘bottom parlors’ that include luxurious toilets, bowel-stimulating music, and bottom butters. I think it tickled me because I wouldn’t be surprised if these parlors popped up somewhere. 

Like all city guides, there are plenty of restaurants listed. My favorite (because it’s so silly) is V-Gastro. All the food is virtual reality so even though it might be an enjoyable experience, customers will leave hungry.

If you enjoy tongue in cheek, this is a book for you. I think it’d be even funnier for someone who lives in or has visited London. I’ve never been to London but still found it amusing.


Author Bio 

The Bespokist Society Guide to London is a work of fiction written by born and bred Londoner, Jeremy Liebster. Somewhat surprisingly, Jeremy is also a city lawyer – formerly at DLA Piper and now a General Counsel within a large private equity group. Jeremy is utterly obsessed with travel books and although he might poke fun at urban fads, hipster fried chicken is his guilty pleasure. He also has an unusual interest in clothes hangers.

 

Social Media Links – @TheBespokist www.bespokistsociety.com

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Book Review: Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray

10 Aug

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When there’s more than secrets buried, where do you start digging?

When Brooke Adams is found battered, bleeding, and barely conscious, the police are at a loss as to who her attacker is or why she was targeted.

Then, PI Rod Morgan turns up convinced that Brooke’s attack is the latest in a string of unsolved disappearances dating back twenty-five years.

The police, however, aren’t convinced, so Brooke and Rod must investigate the cases themselves.

As secrets from the past start unravelling, will they find Brooke’s attacker before he strikes again, or is that one secret that will stay buried forever?

Purchase Linkhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Ribbon-theres-secrets-digging-ebook/dp/B07F9CC32X/

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Brooke starts life moving from foster home to foster home. When she’s old enough to leave, she moves to a new town and is fortunate enough to find Nico who turns out to be like a father to her. With his help, she’s able to turn into a strong, independent woman and even starts attending college.

Then Brooke is attacked, and it starts a chain of events that will change her life. She wants to find out who attacked her, and she and PI Rod Morgan end up investigating not only her attack but murders that he thinks are related. There are several twists along the way, and the story is one difficult to put down. I had to find out what was going to happen next!

I definitely recommend this book especially if you enjoy a good murder mystery.

 

 

About Roger Bray

I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

 

Social Media Links – 

https://twitter.com/rogerbray22

https://www.facebook.com/rogerbraybooks/

https://rogerbraybooks.com/

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Sigma Surrogate by JT Lawrence

8 Aug

 

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Author: JT Lawrence

Narrator: Jean Ann Douglass

Length: 4 hours 1 minute

Publisher: Fire Finch Press⎮2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: When Tomorrow Calls, Book 0.5

Release date: Jul. 3, 2018

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The Handmaid’s Tale meets Mr. Robot in this smart, sexy, cyberpunk thriller.

2021. A tribe of surrogates. A terror cult. A deal struck in desperation.

Keke is a biopunk journalist who won’t stop till she exposes the truth. Will her reckless ambition help the surrogates, or harm them?

Join Keke on her mission to uncover the biggest story she’s ever encountered. You’ll meet Jasmine and Marko and get pulled under with Kirsten, who’s on the cusp of her own nail-biting story.

Ready for your new pause-resisting addiction? Grab the prequella for the futuristic conspiracy thriller series When Tomorrow Calls now.

Buy Links

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JT Lawrence is a bestselling Amazon author, playwright and bookdealer based in Parkview, Johannesburg. She is the mother of two small boys and a baby girl, and lives in a house with a red front door.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

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Narrator Bio

Jean Ann Douglass is an actor, playwright, producer, and voice artist living in Brooklyn, NY. She has recorded regional and national commercials, and numerous apps that assist kids learning how to read. She performs and co-creates work with Eric John Meyer for Human Head Performance Group, an internationally touring theater company. As a writer, her work will be seen at Underbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe this August.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by JT Lawrence. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

I knew this was a prequel to a series so I listened to it with the expectation of getting to know this world and its characters before I read the series. 2021 has become of world of mostly infertile women and those who can conceive are highly regarded, but there’s something going on that seems sinister. I’m sure there will be more about that in the future.

KeKe is a reporter and she is working on a big story. She seems to be willing to do just about anything to get a story, and I think she’s going to get more than she bargained for. Her friend Kirsten is introduced and there’s already a mystery surrounding her. KeKe has just met Marco through the internet and although it made me nervous how they “hooked up,” it looks like he’s going to be a helpful resource for her, among other things.

I’m glad I listened to this first and I’m definitely psyched about starting the series!

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Giveaway

When Tomorrow Calls Giveaway: Audiobook & eBook Set

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Book Review & Giveaway: Psycho in Paradise by Deborah Brown

3 Aug

NEW RELEASE!

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In the Florida Keys, you have to take the shady with the sunny. And Tarpon Cove has more than fifty shades of shady going on.

Shady No. 1: When Brad is caught with the dead body of his crazy ex-girlfriend—a body he swears was planted—the Westin family gathers to plan a strategy. That family now including Fab, Didier, and Creole by default.

Shady No. 2: Fab is having a hard time keeping her promise to go legit. It’s not her fault she tends to attract clients who want their problems solved without getting the cops involved. Trying to keep her reined in is a full-time job, and a thankless one, since Madison keeps getting roped in on “easy” jobs that wind up getting the kind of messy that require specialized cleanup.

Shady No. 3: Ferreting out the info needed to save Brad means using sources so deep in the friend-of-a-friend network they’re anonymous.

The only thing not shady is Creole’s love. Madison’s kept her promise never to lie to him. Mostly. But when the killer wafts like smoke through the cracks in the investigation, it reminds her she should’ve eaten dessert first more often.


The Paradise series, are Florida Keys mysteries, “great as stand-alone reads, but they’re like chips…you won’t be able to devour just one!”

Available to buy from…..

Amazon.com Amazon UK Paperback Barnes & Noble

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I’ve read most of the books in this series and I’ve fallen in love with the characters. They’ve become like good friends, and I’m always looking forward to their next story or adventure. Madison and Fab are best friends and although they’ve calmed down over the years, they’re still good private investigators. They are just trying to stay away from the more dangerous cases. Somehow, though, that doesn’t always work out.

Brad, Madison’s brother, is caught with the body of his dead crazy ex-girlfriend in his new SUV. Although his family knows that he’s innocent, it’s going to be difficult to keep him out of prison unless they can figure out who killed her. The police are investigating, but Fab and Madison feel the need to get involved, which has both good and bad consequences.

Both Madison and Fab are engaged and I’ve been waiting for a wedding. It looks like one is finally on the horizon. And there a couple new family members! The Paradise books are fun to read but they also tend to tug at your heartstrings. What more could you want from a book when it can make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page?

Although this series is best read in order, all of the books stand alone. I definitely recommend them if you like independent women who are loyal and passionate about family, life and love. 

 

 



South Florida author Deborah Brown books are infectious.

 

“My love for these quirky characters grows with every book! Hope they never end!”

 

“Deborah Brown has done it again. I don’t think I could ever get tired of Madison, Fab, and the rest of the gang. These books are always laugh out loud funny and this one is no different. Psycho in Paradise has plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning pages. It’s filled with adventure, suspense, thrills, and fun characters. It’s impossible to put down.”

Above reviews from Amazon

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Read an excerpt HERE

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Also available in the Paradise Series

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Christmas in Paradise (Florida Keys Mystery Series Book 13)

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About the Author


I’ve been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; poetry, sappy short stories (my best friend made me swear that I’d never show anyone until I changed the names), and a romance novel shoved under my bed.

I wanted to create books with a wide-range of unforgettable characters, with heat and romance, and lots of guns. It wouldn’t be complete without a slice of humor and charm.

I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Find the author on the following sites…

Website Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Goodreads Amazon Author page Bookbub

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Book Review: Goodnight, Monster Jim by Dominic Velasco

1 Aug

Is your toddler in need of a positive bedtime story to immerse in a good night sleep?
Are you on the lookout for a positive children´s book that will relax, entertain and educate your kid when night comes?
Positive, funny, colorful and with eye-catching printing,Goodnight Monster Jim will take your little angel to a fascinating travel to the world of dreams.
 

A Whole World Of Dreams Opens Up! 

Follow together the adventures of naughty Monster Jim in his quest for happiness, through a motivational kids’ book that teaches, inspires and guides through example! 
The quality printing and the eye-catching, imaginative pictures make this positive book a must-read for toddlers and young boys and girls and an excellent gift choice. 
It is a short and easy-to-read inspirational book for kids that will teach your little adventurer perseverance, discipline and confidence to pursue their dreams.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/GOODNIGHT-Childrens-Goodnight-Children-Learning-ebook/dp/B07C337Y1F

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Goodnight, Monster Jim has some adorable and colorful illustrations as well as a positive message. It teaches that we should pursue our dreams, and we can achieve them if we work hard. I do suggest a good edit, though. There is repetition and there are a couple of grammar/punctuation issues. 

This picture of Jim and his mommy is an example of the cute illustrations: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Dominic Velasco, a man who loves children and, even more, likes to create different colorful books for them.
Dominic came up with the idea that he can create wonderful books for children and their parents. In accordance with this, he decided to create a company KidBooks to produce various children’s books in a variety of genres.

 

Book Review: The Friar’s Lantern by Greg Hickey

29 Jul

The Friar's Lantern front cover

You may win $1,000,000. You will judge a man of murder.

An eccentric scientist tells you he can read your mind and offers to prove it in a high-stakes wager. A respected college professor exacts impassioned, heat-of-the-moment revenge on his wife’s killer—a week after her death—and you’re on the jury. Take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And while you weigh chance, superstition, destiny, intuition and logic in making your decisions, ask yourself: are you responsible for your actions at all? Choose wisely—if you can.

Available on Amazon.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

What a fun book to read. It’s like the Choose Your Own Adventure books for adults. I actually read The Friar’s Lantern twice. The first time I made the choices I wanted and the second time I made other choices. Of course, it was the “other choices” that gave me the million dollars.

After reading The Friar’s Lantern a couple times, I can see how the author could lead the reader to make certain decisions; however, he does give different choices with different outcomes so there are always those unpredictable souls who will choose the other path.

I definitely recommend The Friar’s Lantern. It’s a quick read whether you read it once or twice or more. See how your choices affect the outcome.

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About the Author

I started my first novel the summer after seventh grade. It was based on a short story I had written for class the previous school year about the passengers of a shipwrecked cruise liner forced to coexist on a deserted island.

I didn’t get very far. Much as I liked writing stories, I far preferred playing outside with my friends.

Eight years later, I began to find a better balance between writing and life. I wrote the early drafts of my first screenplay Vita during my last two years of college, doing most of my work in the dead hours of Friday and Saturday evenings before going out with my friends. Vita went on to win an Honorable Mention award in the 2010 Los Angeles Movie Awards script competition and was named a finalist in the 2011 Sacramento International Film Festival.

After college, I spent a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams and penning my first novel, Our Dried Voices. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for the Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year.

Today, I still love sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of my life. I am a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After my post-college travels, I am back in my hometown of Chicago with my wife, Lindsay.

Book Review & Giveaway: Into the Woods by Mindful Writers Retreat Authors

24 Jul

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Into the Woods is the title and theme for this assortment of short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods. The twenty-six contributors who attend Mindful Writers Retreats in the mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds to support the research and work of The Children’s Heart Foundation.

 

Available at….

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iBooks   Paperback

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Into the Woods is full of short stories, essays, and poems by various authors all with a nature theme. Since they’re by different authors they’re all different of course, with a variety of genres. The introduction tells how the Mindful Writers Retreats came into being. At the end is an article by one of the contributors that explains how to do Walking Meditation which sounds interesting and is something they do at the Writers’ Retreats.

If you’re looking for something to read for just a few minutes at a time, this is a great book because the stories, etc., are short but good. Some are simply fun to read while others will make you think.  

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Book Excerpts

Short Story

TRAIN WRECK
by Kathleen Shoop

 

Ellie Trumbull squinted out the window of the Uber, gripping the door handle. The car swerved and bounced up the long driveway leading to the retreat center where the courts had sent Ellie for punishment. She grabbed her stomach to stave off nausea, but when it began to launch itself she smacked the driver’s arm. He slowed and stopped. Ellie pulled the handle, and tumbled out of the door onto all fours, heaving.

She gasped for breath, dizzied. Voices sounded as she struggled to stand. She focused on the group heading toward her: two women, a man, and several children who simply bolted past her, their squealing laughter filling the air.

A graceful woman with gray, bunned hair and dark skin approached. She took Ellie’s arm and pulled her close, leading her into a building. “Welcome. I’m Vera.”

“I’m Alice.” A stout woman with platinum spiked hair followed along.

A lanky man with hair so perfect it looked plastic picked up Ellie’s duffel bag. “I’m Brandon. Your husband’ll send the rest of your luggage shortly.”

Ellie grunted. They led her upstairs. Brandon rushed ahead to open a door. Ellie shuffled inside.

“Your room,” he said. “I’ll set your bag here.”

Ellie looked over her shoulder to see him smiling, as he’d been doing since she arrived. “Thanks, Guy Smiley.”

“What?”

She ignored his question, held onto one of the top bunks and surveyed the space. Three large windows at the end of the room and three sets of bunks with plastic mattresses belted the perimeter.

Ellie collapsed onto a bed.

“Plastic makes it easy to clean,” Vera said.

“Shut those.” Ellie shook her hand at the windows.

The woman sighed, closed the curtains and lowered the blind that covered the center pane. She lifted Ellie’s feet off the floor and swung them onto the bed. “Housekeeping’ll make up the bed in a little bit.”

“Fine,” Ellie groaned.

Vera loosened Ellie’s shoelaces.

Ellie snatched her feet away. “I’m fine.”

Vera backed away, her large hands flailing for a moment before she tucked them against her belly. “Our healing circle begins in an hour.”

Ellie turned away and balled up. Leave me alone.

And a few seconds later the door clicked shut.

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Giggling children and the sound of feet running down the hallway outside Room 2 woke Ellie. Her mouth was desert dry, so she headed downstairs to the great room where she saw a kitchen area. With the kids gone, the silence felt good.

Ellie startled at the sight of Alice, Vera, and Guy Smiley sitting around an island. Guy Smiley poured coffee. Healing circle.

“Ellie,” he said. “Welcome.”

Vera sliced banana bread. The scent threatened Ellie’s stoic facade. A smile tugged her lips, but she tucked away the fleeting happy sensation, hid it where it wouldn’t remind her how Maggie’s face would light up when she bit into her favorite treat.

Alice clomped her feet onto the coffee table. Vera batted them away and pushed the banana bread toward Ellie.

She looked away.

“I’ll take hers,” said Alice.

“I’d like to begin,” Vera said, her voice gentle and melodic. “The healing circle guides us into continued acceptance and strengthens our endurance as we grow through the pain that comes with losing a child. Each of us understands the daily shock of waking and realizing our lives will never be the same. So how do we go on?”

Guy Smiley sipped coffee. “Feels good to be with everyone.”

“Each time we meet I do better back home,” Vera said.

“Same,” Alice said.

“We hope you’ll find our group helpful, Ellie,” Vera said.

When Ellie didn’t respond the others went around describing how they lost their child. Ellie blocked out every word, rubbing her temples. Her own pain was enough. She wasn’t about to invite theirs inside. Her gaze strayed to the kids outside, the game of tag that left them breathless, rolling down the hill and out of sight. How lucky they were.

“Ellie?” Alice asked. Ellie turned her gaze back to see Alice glaring.

“It’ll help,” sweet Vera said. “To share.”

Guy Smiley slid forward in his seat, fingers steepled. “Change brings…blah, blah … comfort, healing…” He droned on and on and finally Ellie’s mind snapped back to what he first said.

Change?” Ellie said.

He nodded. They all did.

Ellie’s anger surged. She wiped spittle from her lip. “I don’twantchange. I feel Maggie more now than I ever did… before she died I couldn’t wait to get to work, or girls’ night out or go away with my husband. My daughter… difficult from the day she was born… is dead. I’ll never sit with you people thinking about change and eating stinking banana bread.”

She stood and stomped away.

“She don’t want help,” Alice said.

“But her husband…” Brandon said.

Ellie got farther away, unable to hear what they said. Her husband? He was finished with her. She jogged to her room and crashed onto the mattress that housekeeping hadn’t yet returned to make. She covered her face and held back tears. With balled fists she tried to resist.

But she couldn’t.

Up off the bed, Ellie dug through her duffel and found it. Vodka. Cap unscrewed, she gulped, washing away the scent of banana bread, the thought that she’d never again see Maggie’s smile when she took a bite of it.

 

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Short Story

EIRA
b
y Wende Dikec

The lights went out, and Eira held her breath, waiting for the emergency generator to work. It started with a shudder and a horrific crunching noise, but at least it continued to function.

She closed her eyes, feeling the fear in her chest ease when she heard the comforting sound of the humming engine. She couldn’t bear the thought of being left cold and alone in the dark.

Tugging her pale, blond hair into a ponytail, she pulled her ragged wool cardigan tightly across her body and walked over to the window of Alexander House, a grand name for such a Spartan hunting cabin, to peek outside. She waited for the sun to come up, looking out the dirty glass pane, and continued to stare out the window long after the sun rose in the sky. She didn’t know why she bothered. She saw nothing outside except the same white expanse she’d seen every day for the last five lonely months.

Eira opened the door to grab some wood from the pile for her fire, her body flinching from the chill of the icy wind. She had enough wood to last a few more weeks, and then she’d have to make the dangerous trip into the forest to chop more. She dreaded it, but not as much as she dreaded living without the generator. If she rationed carefully, she’d have enough fuel for another month, but she wasn’t sure what she’d do after that. She hadn’t planned on being stranded for such a long time. Spring should have arrived almost two months ago.

She blinked in surprise when she saw a figure moving toward her house, struggling in the waist deep snow. Eira squinted against the harsh sunlight reflecting off the white landscape, trying to make out if the approaching form was human or animal, friend or foe, but she could see very little at this distance. She stumbled back into her warm little house, and reached for her heavy coat. She quickly slipped on her snowshoes before grabbing her gun, a nervous sense of excitement building inside her. If it was a person, it would be the first human being she’d seen in months. If it was an animal, she’d shoot it and have food for a week. And if it was one of the strange ones, the creatures that were no longer human yet not completely animal, she’d kill it without remorse and leave its carcass for the hungry bears to find.

She waited on her front porch, her gun ready as it came closer. It looked human, bundled under layers of heavy clothing, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

“Who are you?” she asked, her voice echoing in the quiet wilderness.

The figure stopped moving and looked directly at her. She could see a dark beard covering the skin exposed beneath protective ski goggles. It was a man.

“My name is Ben,” he said, his voice sounding scratchy and strange, as if it hadn’t been used in a long time. “I saw the smoke from your fire. Can I come in and warm up?”

Eira paused, considering his request. He seemed human enough, but it was a risk. He could steal her food, hurt her, or take her precious fuel. She weighed her options quickly. Loneliness won out over caution, but she wasn’t stupid. She clenched her gun as she waved him in.

*** Continue reading

Audiobook Review: The Culling by Ramona Finn

20 Jul

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Author: Ramona Finn

Narrator: Stacey Glemboski

Length: 8 hours 39 minutes

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Released: Mar. 21, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

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In a solar system where The Authority decides who lives and who dies, only one of their own executioners can stop them.

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint—a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is designed to identify and destroy any potential humans that threaten the colonies: those marked as lawbreakers, unproductive or sick. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.

Pulled between two opposing sides, and with her family’s lives hanging in the balance, Glade is unsure of who to trust—and time is running out.

 

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Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question ;).

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Narrator Bio

Stacey is an accomplished audiobook narrator and voice actor who has recorded books for many best-selling authors. Many of her favorite books have been for kids and teens, but all genres of narration appeal to her. For Stacey, narration is about having fun breathing life into characters and getting as lost as possible in the story she’s telling. Outside the studio, Stacey is an avid tennis player and fitness enthusiast. She enjoys dog walks, paddle boarding, and most any outdoor activities.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Ramona Finn. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The Culling is about a terrible future not just for Earth but for the entire solar system. The Authority has taken over and it is their practice to rid the solar system of those who have violent tendencies through what they call culling. They have teenagers called Datapoints who have been synced to their database and they are trained to do the actual culling.

Glade Io is special and the Authority expects more out of her than anyone else. Unfortunately, she’s beginning to question some things. She doesn’t understand why she’s not allowed to get into the Database to see how things work. This and her independence tend to get her into trouble and she knows that she could die if she’s not careful.

Glade’s character is well-developed and I could feel the conflict within her especially when she was told her sisters would become Datapoints. The rest of the characters are interesting, some evil, some fun. 

The narrator does a good job at timing as well as differentiating between the different characters.

The Culling is definitely a book you don’t want to miss if you like young adult fiction. The way it ends though will make you want to read the second book right away!

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Jul. 15th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

T’s Stuff

In Pattis Imagination

Jul. 16th:

Buried Under Books

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

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Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 18th:

Book Addict

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Jul. 21st:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Sefina Hawke’s Books

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