Book Review: She has a Broken Thing where her Heart should be by J.D. Barker

A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster. 

After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child—this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She’d creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after. 

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn’t the first, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. It was no different from the others. He’d find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject “D” waits, grows, learns. He’s permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

My Review

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

There are a lot of authors I like, but J.D. Barker is one of a handful that are my absolute favorites. Every time he has a new book come out, it’s like getting a Christmas present! He has a way with words that immerses me in the book. I’ve seen him compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and other famous authors and that’s because, like them, he’s in a class of his own.

When I started this book, I was afraid I was going to be disappointed. The first quarter of the book is good. I wouldn’t say it was slow, but I was able to put it down when I needed to. Once the characters had been developed, and I knew what was going on (kind of, there were many surprises), I was hooked and it was difficult to put down.

There are a lot of characters in She has a Broken Thing where her Heart should be, but I had no trouble keeping track of them. There were some characters I really liked: Jack, Stella, Auntie Rose, and Stack among others. There were some I absolutely didn’t like such as Subject “D” and Olivia. Then there were those who I still am undecided about: Jack’s dad and his childhood friends.

This book is almost 800 pages long, and I savored every page. You will too!

About the Author

J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author whose work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.

Website: https://jdbarker.com/books/she-has-a-broken-thing-where-her-heart-should-be/

Book Review: Yoga to Stay Young by Rachel Scott

Stay Flexible and Fit for Life―Practical Yoga for Any Age

Now, you don’t have to take a yoga class to learn how to relieve pain, improve posture, and feel healthy. Yoga to Stay Young is the perfect, practical guide for active seniors who want to start from square one to build strength and gain flexibility for a lifetime.

From simple neck stretches to more advanced moves like the downward-facing dog and the tree pose, you’ll explore beginner-friendly poses guided by clear, color illustrations. You’ll perfect your form, find balance, get stronger, and manage pain. Yoga to Stay Young can help you get the most out of your new yoga journey. Yoga is a practice that can be tailored to everybody―all ages and physical ability levels. It’s never too late to learn these helpful poses and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

This essential yoga book includes:

  • Get the facts―Discover the science behind yoga and learn how different poses can help with nagging pain and injuries.
  • Master more than 40 poses―Follow step-by-step instructions for fundamental yoga poses―including low-impact chair yoga―organized by the parts of the body you’ll be isolating.
  • Step up to sequences―Combine multiple poses into a simple series that can train your body for specific tasks and types of yoga movement.

Balance your way to healing and body bliss with this complete yoga guide for seniors.

My Review

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

After having neck surgery last summer, I wasn’t able to do much of anything for a few weeks until my bone was fused with the hardware that was placed in my neck. Since then, I’ve had trouble getting back my pre-surgery strength. Yoga to Stay Young is helping me do that! I’ve started with some of the beginning poses and plan on working my way up.

The instructions are simple enough for me to understand and at the beginning it explains the importance of the correct posture for the poses. Each pose tells what area(s) it is good for and reminders about the pose.

I like the last part, the sequences, the most. It lists suggested sequences of poses for everyday activities like waking up or playing cards or playing golf. It also has sequences for aches and pains which is helpful to overcome pain.

Yoga to Stay Young is a great book to get if you want to learn yoga, get moving, or stay moving.

About the Author

Rachel is an author, yoga teacher, speaker, and educational nerd based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not cheerleading her students to better relationships, she loves helping yoga teachers find their voice and develop their skills. As an educational designer, she supports passionate yogis and studio owners create dynamic and effective educational experiences. She has taught over twenty 200-hour yoga teacher trainings.

A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, you can often find her in Texas at her parents’ farm where she tries to pet the chickens. She sings opera for fun.
E-RYT 500; BA Columbia University; Masters of Fine Arts, Acting; Masters of Science, Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies.

Book Review: Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults by Steven Clontz

It’s only logical–boost your brainpower with 150 logic puzzles for adults.

It’s time to give your mental muscles a real workout! Stuffed full of clever and cunning challenges, this collection of logic puzzles for adults is perfect for puzzlers looking to prove (and improve) their skill.

Featuring a variety of puzzle types–including Sudoku, Masyu, Logic Grids, and Nonograms–these easy-to-understand (but tough-to-solve) puzzles will help keep your mind sharp as you remain engaged and entertained for days to come. Brainpower on!

This exciting book of logic puzzles for adults includes:

150 puzzles, 1 big collection–Find a plethora of logic puzzles for adults all packed into one portable package.

True brain-busters–Stretch your abilities with puzzles that are designed to be tough–even for master puzzlers!

Plenty of options–Banish boredom with several types of puzzles, including math-focused Calcudoku and innovative Cryptic Puzzles that require both code breaking and creative thinking.
Test your mental acumen with this collection of truly challenging logic puzzles for adults.

My Review

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

I’ve always enjoyed puzzles and my favorite are logic puzzles, so of course I wanted this book! It contains sudoku, mazyu, nongram, calcudoko, logic grids, and cryptic puzzles.

Sudoku is okay but I’ve gotten kind of bored with them. I’ve never done Masyu, and I found these to be very difficult for my brain. They’re really a challenge for me. I haven’t done Nonograms either but I like them. They’re a bit challenging but fun. The Calcudoku and Cryptic Puzzle can also get challenging when I do the bigger ones, but I also like them. My absolute favorite has been Logic Grids since I started doing puzzles.

The puzzles in Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults is one of the best puzzle books I’ve gotten in a long time. They’re both challenging and fun. I’ve worked on some of them, but I still have more to do. They’re a great way to spend a little time in between reading books!

About the Author

Dr. Steven Clontz is a mathematician, educator, researcher, and puzzler. His puzzles and games have been featured by the National Museum of Mathematics and the international puzzle events DASH and Puzzled Pint.

Book Review: The Ouija Board Mystery (Penny Lane, Paranormal Investigator Book 1) by David J. Cooper

When a group of teenage schoolgirls fool around in the school break, they accidentally injure one of their friends. She dies as a result. They try to contact her by using a Ouija board. They believe that they have contacted her, but release an evil entity instead which threatens their lives. They contact Penny Lane – a paranormal investigator, for help. She tells them what they have to do to destroy it. They follow her instructions but four of them die mysteriously. The two terrified remaining survivors return to see Penny, but is it too late for her to save them? A story that will make you think twice before dabbling with the occult. 

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.

I expected this book to be about a paranormal investigator but she only plays a small part in the story. All of the characters, including Penny, are poorly developed. There are several books in this series so hopefully Penny and her aunt have been more developed as the series continues.

The basic idea of evil being released by a Ouija board is not a new concept, but it can be compelling. The warning about Ouija boards at the beginning was unexpected. My mom and I used to play with a Ouija board when I was young and we had a lot of fun with it and we came to no harm. On the other hand, I had some friends who had one that started to spell words on its own! They got rid of that one pretty quickly.

Although I read the entire book, I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it were longer mainly because it needs to be edited. I did see that there’s a newer edition than the one I have, but noted in a review or two that it still has issues.

I really wanted to like this book because I’ve always enjoyed reading about the paranormal. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

About the Author

David J Cooper is a British author. He was born in Darlaston, West Midlands, to a working class family. After leaving school he had jobs ranging from engineering to teaching. He got involved in local politics and became a local councillor in 1980.

His novels incorporate elements of the paranormal, horror, suspense, and mystery.

He is featured in the Best Poems and Poets of 2012 with his first and only poem God’s Garden.

He currently lives in a small town in Mexico with his three dogs, Chula, Sooty, and Benji.

https://www.amazon.com/David-J-Cooper/e/B007N5EEKW

Website http://davidjcooperauthorblog.wordpress.com
Twitter @davidcomx

Book Review: Millennial Samurai: Mindset for the 21st Century by George J. Chanos

Millennial Samurai: Mindset For The 21st Century by George J Chanos

Publisher:  Indie (August 25, 2019)
Category: Self-help, Motivational, Personal Transformation
Tour dates: January/February, 2020
ISBN: 9781688563339
Available in Print and ebook,  391 pages

“Regardless of what age you are, if you want to make the most of one and only life, read ‘Millennial Samurai.”

Moments change lives. It can happen as a result of something you see, something you hear, something you read, or something you experience.

It’s essentially an epiphany moment that touches you on a conscious or unconscious level. A discovery that makes you see things differently, inspires you to action, gives you hope, or offers a new or alternative perspective.

Many who read Millennial Samurai, will experience these epiphany  moments—and for some it will be life changing. Different chapters will speak to different readers. What touches or inspires you may be very different—yet only one chapter away—from what touches your daughter or your son. There are lessons here for everyone.

Over the next thirty years, technology will redefine life as we know it, in

A way that is beyond our ability to even comprehend.

To survive and thrive in the 21st Century, you will need to pivot and adapt to a rapidly and radically changing environment. You will need  to engage in a process of lifelong learning, unlearning and re-learning. And you will need to learn how to think critically and guard against misinformation, all while surfing a tsunami of technological change.

Those who are able to do this will be the Millennial Samurai – who will lead their generation and future generations through the 21st Century.

Millennial Samurai will teach you how to surf that tsunami and dance with machines. It will help you to; see yourself and the world more clearly, guide you in your search for the truth, help you to distinguish fact from fiction, improve your ability to communicate, enhance your relationships, assist you in identifying your passions and encourage you to lead a more successful and more meaningful life.

Action is magic. Take action now, by reading Millennial Samurai and begin to make the most out of your one and only life.

Amazon

Guest Review by Sol A.

‘Millennial Samurai,’ by George Chanos is a self-help book like no other. This book almost functions like a set of small, bite-size pieces of wisdom that you are able to read quickly and carry with you throughout your day. Many of the chapters get to the point quickly, which is a feature that I greatly appreciate, having read a lot of self-help books that devolved into self-aggrandizing rhetoric all too quickly. And they leave you with strong, impactful sentences that you can easily remember. Take the chapter on ‘Failure’ that gave me the gem, “Having a great character does not require that you never make mistakes.’ That’s a sentence that I know is going to stay with me for a while and help me when I feel that I have messed something up.

Chanos gives advice from everything to stress, courage, compassion and even things you normally would never see in a self-help book like sections on police corruption and student debt. The latter being my favorite section in the entire book. I don’t think I know a single millennial without student debt and, therefore, we can all use this book. This type of knowledge and wisdom can only come from someone who clearly has a lot of experience in the world and someone who enjoys sharing said experience.

Reading this book, I almost felt like I was getting a debt-free college course in life management. It was like Chanos knew exactly what I needed to hear about everything that is going on in my life. He really did tap into the millennial mindset with the political and internet sections of the book, which I greatly enjoyed. All in all, I would recommend this to any of my millennial friends who are looking for a little guidance in their lives and are unsure where to turn to get it. I give this book a highly recommend 5 out of 5.

Praise for Millennial Samurai

“Millennial Samurai is an everything book for everyone. The first half is a pleasant refresher of “the important stuff” with beautiful quotes from outstanding people and clear and concise text from Chanos to absorb and reflect on. The 2nd half will blow your mind, give you new tools/apps, and give you conversational fuel and advice to take action on to make life more fulfilling. This is the kind of book you wish every school had in the classroom for students to reflect on with each other and their teachers. I just became an Uncle recently and look forward to reading this to my nephew when he’s of age. With the internet being so massive it’s so nice to own something that has all the essentials of today all in one place.”-Phil A., Amazon

“This book is a life-changer! It is filled with truths that will last forever. Destined to be a classic and a must for every human being on earth to read, absorb and put into action. This is Napoleon Hill’s 17 Laws Of Success for millennials! An extraordinary piece of art. This is a masterpiece. Great work to you George!”- Extraordinarily You, Amazon

“I have finally found a book that the author is sympathetic with not only my age group but also that anyone who can relate to the way to success in the day and age of millenialism, and how to use what we know nowadays to be ahead and get far. I am astonished at the fast pages and quick read in each chapter since it made it easier for my attention to get a grip on it. “-Tina Chau, Amazon

About the Author

George J. Chanos, Esq. served as Nevada’s 31st Attorney General from 2005-07. In that role, he administered Nevada’s Department of Justice and acted as the state’s chief legal officer and advisor. He also successfully (9/0) argued ― Warton v. Bockting, 549 U.S. 406 (2007) ― before the United States Supreme Court.

Prior to serving as Nevada’s attorney general, Chanos had a distinguished legal career, representing individual and corporate clients on all matters relating to the growth and management of their businesses.

Mr. Chanos has a common sense approach to dealing with problems and a unique ability to understand and explain complex issues. He also has a clear vision and uncommon insights, concerning how anyone, regardless of circumstance, can design and lead a happy, successful and meaningful life. Mr. Chanos is a father and an uncle. His daughter, Alexandra, is a freshman at University of Nevada, Las Vegas and his nephew, David, is a graduate of San Diego State University. They are both Millennials. They are the inspiration for his first book, Seize Your Destiny.

Website:  https://www.millennialsamurai.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/georgejchanos/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/georgejchanos
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/georgejchanos/

Book Review & Giveaway: The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter

The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter

Genre: True Crime
Published by: RJ Parker Publishing
Publication Date: October 11th 2014
Number of Pages: 365
ISBN: 1500909491 (ISBN13: 9781500909499)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

While he stalked the streets hunting his unsuspecting victims, the residents of a quiet Florida town slept soundly, oblivious to the dark creature in their midst, unaware of the vampire next door.

John Crutchley seemed to be living the American Dream. Good-looking and blessed with a genius level IQ, he had a prestigious, white-collar job at a prominent government defense contractor, where he held top secret security clearance and handled projects for NASA and the Pentagon. To all outward appearances, he was a hard-working, successful family man with a lavish new house, a devoted wife, and a healthy young son.

But he concealed a hidden side of his personality, a dark secret tied to a hunger for blood and the overriding need to kill. As one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, Crutchley committed at least twelve murders, and possibly nearly three dozen. His IQ eclipsed that of Ted Bundy, and his body count may have as well.

My Review

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

I don’t read too many true crime books from cover to cover. If I come across them to sell, I’ll often skim through them, but since I had never heard of the Vampire Rapist, this one intrigued me. After reading this book, I’m not sure why I’d never heard of him. Maybe because I was working full time and going to college full time in the 1980s.

The facts of John Crutchley’s crimes are horrific, and I could feel the frustration of the men in law enforcement who were trying to find any piece of evidence that would keep him behind bars. I like how the information was presented except that there was a lot of repetition. There were facts about other events such as the Challenger explosion and the Ted Bundy case which helped with the timeline but were also distracting. If they’d just been mentioned without the extra explanation, it wouldn’t have been distracting.

Overall, I found The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist very interesting and well written. It’s obvious that the author did a lot of investigation for this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes true crime.

Excerpt

Chapter 2: You were a vampire…

Nineteen-year-old Christina Almah was still a virgin, and a bit naïve when it came to matters of sex, but like most teenaged girls on the verge of womanhood, she enjoyed receiving attention from good-looking, romantically inclined men. Yet, even she was surprised when, after a handsome, slightly older man took an interest in her, she found herself traveling all the way across the country to see him again.

Christina first met twenty-two-year-old Carl Von Bane several months earlier while he was visiting a friend near her hometown of Westminster, California. She immediately noticed him when he walked into the Drug Emporium where she had been working for the past year as a clerk, and they had quickly hit it off. His rugged, bad-boy looks and confident disposition combined to render her fully smitten. But the budding romance had barely begun before “Von” returned home to Florida. Their brief time together had passed much too quickly for the love-struck Miss Almah.

Since Von’s departure, they had continued their blossoming relationship by telephone racking up steep long distance bills. All the while, Christina had meticulously saved her meager Drug Emporium pay so that she could afford to purchase a plane ticket to visit him. When Von had called her a few weeks ago, Christina hinted at wanting to see him again by casually mentioning that she had some vacation time that needed to be used. When he suggested that she catch a flight to Florida to visit him, she had immediately agreed. After all, this was not some fly by night infatuation. She thought that she might be in love.

Christina had been counting the days until this trip—a weeklong vacation certain to be a memorable one if for no other reason than the fact that it would be the first time she had ever traveled alone. She booked a direct flight on Eastern Airlines from Los Angeles to Orlando International Airport, and Von had picked her up there nearly a week ago. Since then, she had been staying with Von in his mother’s mobile home at Lot 12 of the Enchanted Lakes Mobile Home Park on Malabar Road, near the eastern edge of the City of Palm Bay in southern Brevard County.

Named for the lush palm trees that lined the bay at the mouth of Turkey Creek, the nearly 100-square-mile Palm Bay had experienced a period of rapid growth in recent years fueled by an influx of retirees, northern transplants, and space industry workers. As part of the “Space Coast,” Palm Bay benefited from its proximity to Cape Canaveral, home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space shuttle program. To the west of Palm Bay, just past Interstate 95, a vast expanse of swamps and marsh grass stretched beyond the horizon, home to an endless assortment of flora and fauna. Under the blinding gaze of the eternal Florida sun, cold-blooded creatures swam silent and unseen as they had for ages past, ancient predators stalking their unsuspecting prey.

Immediately to the east of Palm Bay sits the Town of Malabar, a small, quiet community only thirteen square miles in size. Its eastern edge meets the Intracoastal Waterway in a subtropical paradise of palm trees, sailboats, and spectacular sunsets. The area’s abundant seafood, perennial sunshine, and constant sea breeze reminded Christina of her favorite parts of California. That familiarity was reassuring. It felt comfortable. She felt safe.

A petite girl standing about five feet, four inches tall and weighing a little less than 110 pounds, Christina was not a beauty queen, but she was not unattractive either. Indeed, her green eyes and brown hair combined in an inviting way that most men found sensual and appealing, and she had enjoyed her fair share of suitors. Although she had shared a few intimate moments with boys in high school, she had never found one with whom she felt comfortable enough to sacrifice her virtue. Still sexually inexperienced, she had the classic Libra traits of compassion, innate gentleness, and a genuine caring for others, traits that were sometimes misconstrued by men. Still, it never dawned on her that Von’s testosterone-driven brain would expect something more than a kiss hello, or that he would interpret her willingness to fly across the country to visit him as a green light for sleeping together. Von had tried to take that next step during her first night in Florida, and when she told him that she was not ready, he had reluctantly played the part of the understanding boyfriend, but he could not wholly hide his irritation and mounting frustration.

Von worked at Gator Chrysler in nearby Melbourne, and he had to leave Christina alone for much of the day. That had been the routine for most of the week, and the excitement of staying with someone in another state had long-since faded away. On this particular morning, she passed some time by listening to a worn down cassette tape of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” album, popping it into the cherry red Sony Walkman that Von had given her. She played several songs, rewound the tape, and played them again, but after a while she tired of listening to the provocative singer purr about being “touched for the very first time.” She tried watching television after that, but quickly lost interest in the mindless game shows and melodramatic soap operas that dominated the channels. Growing bored, she decided to walk to Melbourne a few miles away to visit several friends that she had met through Von. She would be flying back to California the next morning and wanted to say her good-byes and make the most of her final day of vacation. Wearing blue jeans, sandals, and a black t-shirt with a Harley-Davidson insignia splashed across the front, she left the trailer shorty after 1:00 p.m. It was the twenty-first day of November, 1985.

As she walked out of the entrance of the mobile home park, a light rain began to fall. She could see dark clouds gathering in the distance and a westerly wind promised that they would soon be present. Somewhere beyond the visible horizon, thunder rumbled ominous and angry, its source hidden behind an approaching wall of grey and black clouds.

Christina turned left and started walking faster as the rain increased, heading east on Malabar Road toward U.S. 1 and the Intracoastal. She planned to stop at the Jiffy Mart at the corner of Malabar Road and U.S. 1 to buy a pack of cigarettes before walking north into Melbourne. She had not gone far when a small, light-colored car pulled up beside her.

Behind the wheel of the two-door automobile sat a clean-shaven man wearing a stylish, navy-blue sports coat, a black-and-white striped tie, and a nice pair of dress slacks, not the cheap K-Mart kind, but the higher quality cloth and cut of a more fashionable men’s store. The man looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had loafer style shoes, but he was not wearing them while he drove. Christine thought it slightly odd that the well-dressed man’s bare foot operated the gas and brake pedals, but she gave it no more than a fleeting thought. She had certainly seen much stranger things during her time in Florida. The man’s eyes were concealed behind darkly tinted sunglasses and his face was framed by a mane of medium-length, dirty blonde hair. He had a thin build, and though slightly pale in complexion, his handsome facial features held an undeniable allure. She could not help feeling an attraction to him.

Flashing a broad, inviting smile, he leaned over, rolled down the passenger door window, and greeted her in a friendly, reassuring voice.

“It’s a bit wet today for a walk, isn’t it?” he asked with a wry, disarming smile. “Can I give you a lift?”

Although Christina was initially wary of his invitation, he looked harmless enough and it was the middle of the day in broad daylight in a public place, so she did not wait long before responding.

“Well,” she said, deliberately drawing out her reply as she decided how much to trust the seemingly friendly stranger. “I’m on my way to Melbourne to meet some friends. Are you going anywhere near there?”

“Sure, I have to go that way to get to my office. I just need to stop by my house real quick to pick up a notebook for work, but it’ll only take a minute or two. Go ahead and hop in.”

She hesitated for just a moment, studied her Good Samaritan one last time, and then grabbed the passenger side door handle of the car. As she opened the door, she heard Sting’s new song, “Russians,” playing on the car’s radio.

The country had long since fallen into the depths of the Cold War, and the perpetual threat of nuclear holocaust loomed in the back of most people’s minds like some amorphous boogieman lurking in the shadows. As Christine pulled the door closed, Sting’s voice flowed out of the car’s speakers, echoing what seemed to be the universal mood in America and Western Europe, the growing fear of a nuclear attack by the Russian-controlled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The song sought to appeal to the good in what President Reagan dubbed the “Evil Empire,” expressing a desperate hope that the Russian leaders loved their children enough to avoid the horror of a nuclear holocaust.

Suffering from the same state of uneasiness expressed in the song, Christina found herself captivated by the sense of calm that seemed to radiate from the man behind the wheel. They drove for a little while making small talk. While they chatted, she caught a glimpse of the man’s eyes behind his sunglasses. Their azure shade of blue added to the aura of assuredness he projected, and it seemed to Christina that the man’s eyes had the power to peer into her very soul, not in any unsettling way, but in an understanding, comforting manner that disarmed her naturally cautious disposition. He seemed genuinely interested in learning about her, and she was impressed with how articulately he expressed himself. He was charming, witty, and exuded self-confidence, and Christine felt relieved that he seemed to be normal. Some of Von’s friends that she had met were more than a little on the odd side.

After about five minutes, the man turned his car onto a bumpy, dirt road, and then continued on for a few minutes more before exiting onto a gravel driveway obscured by a tall row of hedges. Planted across the inner edge of the yard, the hedges had grown high enough to block a clear view of whatever was behind them. As the car continued down the driveway, a well-kept lawn, dotted sporadically with pine and oak trees, came into view. At the far end of the lawn stood a redbrick, Colonial style house with four white columns framing a large front door painted the same shade of white as the columns. The gravel driveway ended at a double-length carport on the left side of the house. The man pulled into the carport and parked. Two motorcycles stood at the opposite end of the parking area.

“I’ll be right back,” the man told her as he took the key out of the ignition and slipped on his shoes.

He stepped out of the car and walked to the side door of the house, where he paused and glanced back at her.

“Hey, you want to come inside for a drink?”

She smiled politely.

“Oh, no thanks, my friends are expecting me and I don’t want them to worry.”

“Suit yourself,” he said, before unlocking the door and disappearing into the building.

After a few minutes, the man emerged and announced with an embarrassed laugh that the notebook was not in the house after all.

“It must be in the back of the car,” he said, an amused smile spreading across his face as if he had just remembered an irresistibly funny joke.

He walked to the passenger side of the car and opened the door, flashing her the same smug alligator smile. He crawled into the back seat and began looking around, grinning all the while.

Suddenly, the back of Christina’s seat shot forward, slamming her violently against the dashboard. Stunned by the force of the impact and shocked by the unexpected attack, she was barely able to register the sound of something rustling behind her.

Then something brushed against her forehead. Before she could react, her neck jerked back painfully, and she began to choke. Frantically, she reached for her purse, attempting to grab something – anything – to try to defend herself. Her fingers brushed against the top of a can of OFF insect repellant. Desperate, she thought that if she could spray her attacker in his eyes, she might be able to blind him long enough to get away.

But as her fingers closed around the spray can, the man’s voice, angry and powerful, startled her into submission.

Stop it or I’ll kill you!”

As her initial impulse of self-defense gave way to a paralyzing feeling of despair, her hand retreated out of her purse and her arm fell numbly to her side.

Then the rope tightened and everything went black.

***

Excerpt from The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter. Copyright 2014 by JT Hunter. Reproduced with permission from JT Hunter. All rights reserved.

 

J.T. Hunter

J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.

Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On:
jthunter.org, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

02/01 Review @ Books with Bircky
02/02 Review @ The World As I See It
02/03 Guest post @ Nesies Place
02/04 Guest post @ Books with Bircky
02/05 Review @ fundinmental
02/06 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews
02/07 Showcase @ Read and Review
02/09 Showcase @ Buried Under Books
02/10 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
02/11 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook
02/12 Showcase @ Lisa-Queen of Random
02/13 Review/showcase @ Avonna Loves Genres
02/14 Interview @ Books Chatter
02/17 Showcase @ Im All About Books
02/18 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
02/18 Showcase @ Im All About Books
02/20 Showcase @ CMash Reads
02/26 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews
02/27 Review @ Bound 4 Escape
02/28 Review @ Celticladys Reviews
02/29 Review @ Erica Robyn Reads
02/29 Review @ Forever the Wanderer
02/29 Showcase @ Teatime and Books

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Book Review: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole by Auralee Arkinsly

Darling Hedgehog goes on an adventure to look for her parents who dropped out of sight.

Carefree, cute, and winning episodes bring Darling and Miss Fox to life. As a read-to-me picture book, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten or as a chapter book for first grade through third grades. This story like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood only nicer.

Darling introduces herself to the strange animal who is Miss Fox. Miss Fox gives her gifts so that Darling is distracted from her mission. The two animals look for things to do together in fantastical attempts to be friendly. When Darling enters Miss Fox’s kitchen, she realizes that by nature, not all strangers are good for you. Will Darling save the day when it’s already dinner time?

Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. Learn about opposites, homophones, and similes as two animals in nature roll into fantasy land. For children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Pictures similar to Charlotte’s Web and the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

My Review

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

Darling the Hedgehog is looking for her parents and ends up falling down a foxhole. She meets Miss Fox who says she hasn’t seen Darling’s parents but gives Darling a gift (a tutu). Miss Fox keeps calling her Dumpling instead of Darling but being a naive youngster, Darling doesn’t realize why. It takes finding her parents in Miss Fox’s pantry to make her realize that she can’t trust Miss Fox.

This is a good story to teach children not to trust strangers. I was a little uncomfortable thinking about reading this to my grandson. While I do think it’s important to teach children about those who are “sly as a fox,” I think parents should read this story with a child and explain it as they read along; otherwise, it may turn out to be very scary for certain youngsters. It also teaches about hedgehogs’ spines which might encourage a child to learn more about them.

While some of the illustrations are a bit odd, most of them are bright, colorful, and cute.

I do think Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is a good book for parents to read to children and explain as they go along.

Cute hedgehog
Sly fox

About the Author

Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. Since opposites exist, she believes children can learn to identify the nature of things and get out of a risky situation. “Good Laughter sparks the mind.” She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done a good day’s work.

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is her first early reader chapter book full of lush illustrations, illustrations which she wooed from a highly gifted 9th grader by offering good trade in exchange for the artist’s first published works.

Find author’s bling/swag at BooksForBondingHearts.com.