Book Review & Giveaway: Teetering on Disaster by Michaela Renee

Teetering On Disaster by Michaela Renee

Teetering On Disaster by Michaela Renee

Publisher:  Bowker (January 11, 2019)
Category: Memoir/Self-Help/Non-Fiction
Tour dates: March/April, 2020
ISBN: 978-0578430805
Available in Print and ebook, 316 pages

Teetering On Disaster

Description

Michaela Renee Johnson was just 12 years old in 1992 when a financial slump forced her family to move from an upscale area in Sacramento to a 27-ft trailer in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, with no electricity or running water — so no Nintendo or MTV. It wasn’t exactly the life that every adolescent dreams of, but it was, in fact, their reality.

Michaela chronicles these formative years (and beyond) in her often humorous, constantly candid true story, Teetering on Disaster. As the young Michaela navigates her way through the inherently melodramatic teen years, she must come to terms with relieving herself in the woods, shaving with a 10-cent borrowed razor in an irrigation ditch and taking what she called “bird baths” with a jug of water.

Somehow, in the midst of disorienting change, she learned to focus on what she was gaining instead of what she had lost. And in the end, she gained profound wisdom about her family and the world around her, and uncovered the truth about her own ability to thrive in the face of life’s inconveniences.

But the effects of her unorthodox upbringing don’t end at adulthood, and Teetering takes readers along as a grown Michaela stumbles upon a few “Mr. Right Nows,” gets divorced in her twenties, and ends up right back where she started: a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere.

Teetering on Disaster is a heartfelt, coming-of-age story written to inspire others to live a courageous life of authenticity and to speak their truth with grace. Michaela’s book is an unapologetically honest, authentic tale that will make readers laugh out loud and cry — sometimes at the same time.

Guest Review by Linda Lu

A joyful, thought-provoking and uproariously funny good read. I love when I find a book that just makes me feel like I am having a great time reading. Michaela Renee Johnson wrote a memoir here that, in a different author’s hands, might have come across as kind of sad and maudlin but she made it fun and life-affirming. With the talent that she has for picking out the silver-lining in every situation, I can only imagine that she is really great to have around in real life.

Here’s what happened, Johnson’s family owned a small construction business that made them comfortably middle class in early 90’s southern California. Until the stock market collapsed on Black Monday. Suddenly Johnson’s parents were selling everything (including their house) in order to avoid filing for bankruptcy. One day, Johnson arrives home to find a “27-foot Terry trailer” waiting in the driveway. Her parents had bought it with the intention that their whole 5-person family would live inside it for the foreseeable future. Of course, Johnson is horrified by the idea of living full-time in what is, essentially an RV.

What follows are faithful re-tellings of her strange and unique childhood and how it affected her adult life in unexpected ways. There was no part of this memoir that I did not love but I especially loved Johnson’s absolutely crazy childhood stories. At one point, her family lived without water or electricity in the trailer which meant that she had to do things like going to the bathroom in the woods and learning to shave her legs in an irrigation ditch. I couldn’t believe how her family managed to survive during such hard times and not kill each other. I can’t even imagine going through something like that with my own family. Yikes! I highly recommend this book if you like a good, funny, crazy memoir! This is a 5 star read.

Acclaim/Awards Teetering On Disaster by Michaela Renee

Best Indie Non Fiction Novel, Shelf Media Group

Non Fiction Author’s Association, Silver Award

San Francisco Book Review, Prestigious 5 Star Award

San Diego Book Awards Best Un-Published Non Fiction

Praise

“Throughout Michaela’s autobiographical story, she sent me through a rollercoaster of emotions. Not being able to identify on a personal level with the extreme of both of her situations in each half of the book, I still felt that as a human being I could sympathize, and it helped me to have a greater appreciation for what I currently have. Michaela’s story had me happy at all of her highs, sad at the many losses, and emotionally confused concerning her relationships. What it all boils down to is that at times, being a grown-up, and a female, can be very difficult.”- Rachel Dehning, San Francisco Book Review

“I really did laugh, and cry, while reading this. I was able to relate to the experiences of the author, even though we are twenty years apart in age; the early years… amazing experience that family went through, creating a precious, ever-lasting bond between a young woman, her parents, and her two younger brothers.
Her humor and positive attitude, her extreme frankness and humility (touched with a bit of narcissism) draw one to her.
She, like the sweet doggies of the Great North, she is ever pleasing, forgiving, hard-working and never tiring. She relates to the dog world so much, calling herself Rio’s mom, that she probably won’t mind being compared to a canine. 🙂 Being a dog lover myself, I think of it as the highest compliment!
I wish I had her strength, her sense of humor and wit, her looks, her intelligence, her resilience and determination; I wish I had her ability to seems so Angie-Jolie-transcendent, and yet admit to being a little Grace-Adler-(Debra Messing)-ordinary … striking and competent, clumsy and insecure… God bless her!!
I wanna go through struggles and come out looking like Michaela Renee! One you just can’t help admiring.
Very inspiring. You just know she is going to be JUST FINE! She has spirit! She has spunk! And she IS LOVED… she will never be alone 😉 When she least expects it her true love will curl up next to her, and he won’t have four legs!”- Marcy Lundy, Goodreads

“Laugh out loud funny, interesting & touching. Teetering on Disaster is like a Modern day “Swiss Family Robinson meets Jerry Springer”! You could know the entirety of the story and Kayla’s writing style, quick wit, raw truth still entertains. If she wrote recipe’s we wouldn’t need the food channel. Buy it for every chick you know and earn major points, but make sure you keep one copy for yourself! Not just a “chick” book – man up and enjoy!”-Rick Harris, Amazon

About the Author

Michaela Renee Johnson is a licensed psychotherapist, Be You Find Happy podcast host and an award winning published author. She inspires happiness by encouraging people to speak their truth with grace, and live a courageous life of authenticity.

Her business Be You Find Happy holds workshops and conversations on happiness in spite of life’s setbacks and has landed her speaking opportunities across the nation.

She lives in Northern California with her husband and son. She enjoys traveling and has visited 19 countries; she loves the ocean and everything in it. She rarely finds herself without an activity whether it be hiking, yoga, tinkering the garden, golfing, reading or spending time outside.

In her most simplest she loves poetic quotes and all things metaphysical.

Website: http://www.michaelarenee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelareneej
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/michaelarenee

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

Giveaway

This giveaway is for one autographed print copy and 2 ebook copies of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends April 21, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 2 Interview & Kickoff

Becky What U Talking Bout Willis Mar 3 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 4 Review & Guest Post

Susan Amazon Mar 5 Review

Amber Amazon Mar 6 Review

Michelle Reading Authors Network Mar 9 Review

Wendy Wall-to-wall books Mar 10 Review

Katy Goodreads Mar 12 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads Mar 16 Review

Karen Amazon Mar 23 Review

Jas International Book Reviews Mar 26 Review & Interview

Miller Amazon Mar 31 Review

Serena The Write Review Apr 1 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Apr 8 Review & Excerpt

Dawn Bound 4 Escape Apr 14 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Apr 17 Review & Excerpt

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 20 Review

*This schedule is subject to change

Teetering On Disaster by Michaela Renee Johnson

New Releases

Australia is one of the highest-ranking parent-child abduction hotspots in the world.  The Child Snatchers takes an investigative look at some of Australia’s more notorious child-abduction cases. Each story is deeply personal, highly complex and frighteningly true. Were they a desperate act of protection or a despicable act of revenge?

The Child Snatchers explores the often bitter nature of separation and divorce, and our heavy reliance on the overburdened Australian Family Law system. It brings you the heartfelt, true accounts of left-behind parents and the children they longed for. Some are heart-warming, successful recoveries; others may never see their children again. All leave you questioning everything you thought you knew.

About the Author

Jasmin Newman is an educator, mediator and coach who has been an active proponent in the reform family law system since 2013. Her interest in family court matters arose when, through her work, she found herself listening to heart-wrenching stories of parental alienation and abduction, all of which involved complex family court decisions. Jasmin immersed in herself in understanding the history of Australian family law and the interested political lobby groups which shaped its legislation. With neither the mothers’ or fathers’ groups happy with outcomes, the system was failing everyone, but none more so than the children.

This raised deep questions on the efficacy of family law in parenting disputes and the public’s over-reliance on using it. How could legislation, which in theory was designed for child protection, result in such catastrophic outcomes?

With a pragmatic, child-focused approach, Jasmin helps parents navigate divorce and separation through her parenting after separation course and mediation business.  She remains a dedicated advocate for a less adversarial family separation process.

Excerpt from the Book

“By talking to dozens of parents, reading countless stories and watching associated documentaries, the standout observation is that the left-behind parent is always the one who was willing to co-parent. Even after abduction recovery, their strongest desire was to facilitate a relationship with the other parent so the children could have as normal upbringing as possible. 

When I learned of the mothers fighting for their children in Islamic countries, I felt sure I would be hearing stories of hopelessness. My experience was the opposite. These women were respected for choosing to follow the appropriate legal path of Sharia family court and were richly rewarded with custody for doing so. Their children were allowed to return to the country of their birth, the people they know and love and a culture they were intended to be raised in. Then most satisfying of all, they were not traumatised twice in order to facilitate their repatriation. 

In dire situations where parents use recovery agents, the least damaging approach is one of negotiations. Where that’s not possible, reuniting the children with their left-behind parents and allowing them to come willingly causes the least stress on the child. If, and only if the agent has done their due diligence on the alleged left-behind parent. By far the worst, most traumatic approach is when children are snatched away from loving family members suddenly – especially by people they do not know.”

“The Child Snatcher” by Jasmin Newmanis available to purchase in hardback from Amazon.com at:

This book is also available in paperback from Amazon at:

This insightful book can also be downloaded in e-book format at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 712 064
E-mail: info@newgeneration-publishing.com

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This ground-breaking book exposes a taboo aspect of Holocaust history;   the sexual abuse of children. Children were sexually assaulted in ghettos, camps, on transit trains, while in hiding, and even when sent to supposed safety outside Europe.  The Nazi’s genocidal brutality facilitated the abuse of children, in addition to targeting them for murder. In addition, children were sexually assaulted by some rescuers and peers who took advantage of their vulnerability. After the war, they were again betrayed by those who discounted their experiences, and by Holocaust scholars who refuse to acknowledge their stories or give credence to their memories.

About the Author:

Dr Beverley Chalmers has dedicated her life to studying women’s and children’s experiences in difficult social, political, economic and religious settings.  She has held professorial appointments in Faculties of both Medical and Social Sciences and served for decades as a maternal and child health consultant to numerous United Nations and other global health agencies.  Her inter-disciplinary focus and extensive international experience provide a unique perspective on the Nazi era and on the neglected issue of child abuse in the Holocaust.
In 2015, Bev’s book “Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women’s Voices Under Nazi Rule” was awarded the USA National Jewish Book Award, the Canadian Vine Award for Jewish Literature, a CHOICE ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ Award, and a Canadian Jewish Literary Award. She has two doctoral degrees: a Doctorate of Science in Medicine (DSc (Med)) and a PhD in Psychology.

Reviews of “Betrayed:  Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust”:

“Sexual abuse was one of the many horrors that some children were forced to endure during the Holocaust. But their stories deserve to be told.

‘Betrayed’ is a well-written and researched, albeit difficult, read that gives these victims a voice to be heard.”

(Dr Tessa Chelouche M.D, Unesco Chair of Bioethics, Haifa)

“With a rare combination of humane empathy and scholarly criticism, Beverley Chalmers delves into a disturbingly difficult subject: the sexual abuse of children during World War II. Her research sheds light on the various forms of child abuse, and undermines conventional categorization patterns. For example, Chalmers shows that children were sexually abused not only by people related to the occupying forces or by hostile strangers, but also by others, including some of their very protectors. Chalmers puts the children and their suffering in the center and makes their voices – their cries – heard; by doing so, she creates a wider awareness of this dreadful phenomenon, awareness that is crucial to anyone who wishes to build a better world for our children.”

(Noam Rachmilevitch, archivist at the Ghetto Fighter’s House, Israel)

Betrayed:  Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust (Grosvenor House Publishing, UK, 2020) is available from all major international booksellers including Amazon.

Press/Media Contact Details:

Press Officer:  darin@theinspiragroup.com
Author:  bevchalmers1@gmail.com

Book Review: The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row by Steffen Hou

Six Americans tell the heartbreaking and dramatic stories of how they ended up on death row for crimes they never committed. In some cases they were minutes away from being executed despite their innocence.

The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row provides a rare insight into life on death row.

Through compelling interviews the book describes how innocent mothers and fathers suddenly become victims of meaningless violence in a vicious prison environment where their survival often depends on becoming just as brutal as the killers in the cells next to them.

However, the book is also a life-affirming tale of how humans can survive even the greatest injustice, and how the innocent death row inmates, after their exoneration, have managed to transform a life in solitary confinement into a life full of love, hope and faith. But despite leaving death row today, death row will never leave them.

Derrick Jamison, exonerated after 20 years:
When Derrick’s execution was announced, he had already spent more than 15 years on death row living in despair, but as he now sat alone in the cell knowing that his ordeal was about to come to an end, he found no comfort for himself.
When he ate his last meal, he had one more wish—that his execution would be quick and painless. Not all of the 18 men who had been executed prior to Derrick were that lucky.
“They were forced out of their cells, strapped down on a gurney, and had poison shot into their blood. Many suffered physically when killed. They had to have injections again and again. Knowing that death could be painful really scared me,” Derrick shares.

Sunny Jacobs, exonerated after 16 years:
“The guards were not allowed to talk to me because if they started seeing me as a human being, they might not be able to participate in taking my life. Therefore, they had to treat me as less than a human being,” Sunny says.
For the same reasons, she was never referred to by her name. Only her inmate number.
That is your inventory number till they decide you must die.

Kwame Ajamu, exonerated after 38 years:
Old Sparky was the electric chair and Kwame had only been in the death house for a few minutes when the guards introduced him to what was going to be his final destination in life.
It mortified me. Imagine what that kind of cruelness does to a 17-year-old boy who knows he is innocent. It broke me down and gave me mental scars for life. I will never be able to shake off that experience. When other people do not care if you are dead or alive, you lose faith in humanity. I will remember those horrifying minutes until the day I die.

Nick Yarris, exonerated after 22 years:
“Normally, I would just hurt myself. I would knock my head into the wall until I tasted the blood. Because when I felt the pain, I would start to feel alive and be reminded that I was still human. But when that was not enough, I tried to commit suicide,” Nick says, telling that one of the reasons why he probably never succeeded in killing himself was because he could not disappoint his parents. He felt that he owed it to them to prove his innocence because they had already lost so much in life.

Damon Thibodeaux, exonerated after 15 years:
“Till I sat in that interrogation room, I was always convinced that a person would never confess to a crime they had not done. I was the person who did. Until you are put in the position I was in, you will never understand why. But investigators are allowed to manipulate and force you to get a confession. At some point, everyone will break. When I did, it got the real killer off the hook. Today, we all know he is still out there,” Damon says.

Herman Lindsey: exonerated after 3 years:
“By putting me on death row, God gave me a voice. We cannot be sure we are not killing innocent people. I am an example of that myself. And it changes people’s views when I tell my story. God knew I had to go to death row to get that voice,” Herman says.

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.

The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row really touched me. I know there are many innocent people in prison and that more and more prisoners are being exonerated because of DNA. To read these stories, though, made it real. They were all heartbreaking but at the same time I was encourage by the way these people could forgive the injustice so that they could move on with their lives.

The story of Sunny especially tugged at my heartstrings. She has been through so much in her lifetime. The fact that she can stay so positive after all that she’s been through makes her a hero in my eyes.

Everyone should read this book because Hou has made this issue personal and real. I’ve always thought that death sentences should be abolished for two reasons: it seems that a sentence to life in prison is worse for the guilty rather than escaping through death and they can’t seem to get the executions right. I’ve heard horror stories about every method that’s used. Now, the innocent people on death row is the best reason of all to abolish the death sentence.

About the Author

I am a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author I have written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking, and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is my third book. In the book I investigate ten abductions cases through interviews with the parents searching for their missing children.
Besides writing books and making documentary movies, I also produces “The Deprived Podcast”, which looks into various American crime stories, always with the intent of giving the victims a voice.

Read: www.steffenhou.com
Listen: www.deprivedpodcast.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Moms-Missing-Nightmare-S…
Twitter: @steffenhou

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

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2020 and runs through March 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Book Review & Giveaway: Golden Gremlin by Rod A. Walters

Book Title: Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers
Author: Rod A. Walters
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 228 pages
Genre: Humor
Publisher: Omega Man Press
Release date: November 2016
Tour dates: Feb 12 to 23, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Mild and indirect innuendo to both sex genitalia, a short essay about the fictional “AssBook,” an essay on current health-care talk, a teaser “is his cord long enough?” to get readers to choose a short piece on electric cars next, etc.)

 

Description

Written to make Dave Barry, Lily Tomlin, and Ben Stein laugh, Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers delivers the experience of a balanced life, and the wisdom to like most of it, and then laugh at the rest of it. What the heck, Barry lives in Miami, habitat of geezers, and Ben Stein is one. The world really needs that push, vigorous or gentle, from misanthropes & geezers, the world’s most valuable golden gremlins. Misanthropes pretend to not like or need other people, but in reality, they merely prefer their own company much of the time. Geezers, aside from that silly name, also like their own company quite well. Both share the virtue of seeing the world calmly. You get pointy bite-sized life pointers from these experienced gremlins, told in easy bite-size chunks. Laughter included in the price! Two out of three wouldn’t be bad either.
Life is good! So laugh a little at yourself on the way through these pointy essays, and that will buy your laughing at the world’s simpler parts, guilt-free.

Golden Gremlin comprises about 70 short essays bundled into six topic areas:

NATURE: boys, ugly drivers, and coffee cups in the ‘fridge.
WORDS: the real meaning of Caucasian and Genre.
BUSINESS: deafness at the economics conference, and getting on AssBook.
KITCHENS: sushi chefs, and truth about manna.
HISTORY: when Hell froze, and Attila the Honey.

Golden boy gets to be GOLDEN GREMLIN: experience overcomes certainty.
What things could possibly be more important!

 

My Review

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

Golden Gremlin is full of stories written by an old geezer with a good sense of humor. Some of the stories are cute and some made me laugh out loud. The prologue is about the author going to meet with his publisher by stealing the Residence’s mower. To make sure he didn’t get pulled over, he made sure he knew how to cut the grass alongside the road so that he would look like a worker mowing. 

I read this book in one sitting but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I’d just read one or two stories at a time. In fact, I plan on keeping it and doing just that at some point in the future. It’ll be a nice way to wind down before going to bed.

I definitely recommend Golden Gremlin. Anyone who has dealt with the elderly will appreciate it while those who haven’t had that privilege may learn a thing or two.

 

To read reviews, please visit Rod A Walters’ page on iRead Book Tours.

 

Buy the Book:

 Amazon

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 
Rod Walters lives and writes in upstate New York to prove he can be an all-season writer. Since he wants everybody to be all-season persons no matter her or his circumstance, his writing aims sharply toward the practical—without turning into one of those godawful do it ma’ way authors. Life, after all, is practical hour by hour. Self-described as “old enough to know better, and he probably is,” his former life as Army officer, engineer, and administrative assistant could not have better prepared him to write both light and more serious short pieces pointing to creating a balanced life. Chuckling at yourself usually makes a good takeoff, he says. Giving up having to be certain makes for a good landing, especially for one’s friends! Then again, who the heck wants to live a balanced life? Mostly everybody does. That’s why he now writes. Although many friends nudge and badger him to be a Facebook and Twitter butterfly, he tries not to spend many numbing hours a day with circular keyboard tapping. Writing works better.
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 Ends March 3, 2018

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