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review 2019-02-21 04:59
Quick but Disappointing
Creed - Trisha Leaver,Lindsay Currie

This one read out like a B movie. Entertaining for the most part, but then you’re left empty and at times it felt like you were cheated out of a potentially good story. It was over so quickly hence why you get the feeling you were cheated. Which is too bad. The plot had promise, but it fell short.

 

It started off well. Just enough to get your attention, the creep factor was all set. A breadcrumb trail was set up and it was good enough to keep the plot going steady. Considering the length of the story, you don’t really have the time to connect with the characters, which is all right. I suppose the same would be said of characters in a horror movie. You’re just there to see their untimely end ;)

 

Despite there being a shocking moment in the book, it wasn’t enough to redeem the plot. There were so many unanswered questions and a rather drab mediocre last third of the book. You wanted to know so much and yet nothing much was produced. I’m not sure if that was meant to be a teaser but it was disappointing.

 

It was a quick read, this could be considered something to read in between books, or a light one to pass the time. Nothing eye opening or any wow factor will redeem this one. You’re not going to miss much if you pass this on.

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review 2019-02-20 18:07
Loved This Short – Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka #EliasZanbaka
Environmentally Friendly - Elias Zanbaka

Elias Zanbaka reached out to me through Goodreads offering his short story, Environmentally Friendly, to me for review. I’m glad I took him up on the offer. At the time of posting, it was free (be sure and check for the “0”) and you can grab it HERE.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Amazon / Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

I’m so glad I grabbed this original, intense, wild rollercoaster ride of a short story that had me zipping through the pages, following a cop trying to do a good thing, giving more than taking and leaving me wanting more of this wonderful character.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos4 Stars

 

READ MORE HERE

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/environmentally-friendly-elias-zanbaka
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text 2019-02-20 07:10
Book Tour - Cold-Blooded

 

As the toughest son with the fewest morals, Manō Alana promised his mother that he’d protect his siblings. Since her death, he’s embraced his role as the family heavy, but killing is the one part of his job he hates. And the awful nightmares driving him to commit violence aren’t doing him any favors—nor is the sinister, ancient magic calling to him from under the slopes of a dormant volcano.

 

A shakeup in power between rival drug lords reveals a half brother Manō didn’t know he had, complicating the Alana family’s plans to take over the marijuana trade on Maui. Not only that, but one wrong move could turn the sexy cop he’s involved with against the family.

When a crime the Alanas fought hard to bury is exposed, their whole cartel is in danger. Now Manō’s blood has him trapped between two clans: the siblings he’s loved since they were kids, and the ruthless, shadowy kin he just learned he has.

 

Manō can either succumb to the darkness threatening to drag him under or tap in to its power and embrace his role as a cold-blooded killer.

 

 

 

About the Book:

 

Cold-Blooded by Kendall Grey

Series: Ohana Book Two

Genre: Adult, Supernatural Suspense

Publisher: Howling Mad Press

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

 

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon

 

Also Available On:

 

 

 

AUTHOR Q&A
 

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?


A trip to Australia several years ago sparked the backdrop for my Just Breathe urban fantasy series. I was part of a whale research team and learned a ton about whales during my time there. Many of my experiences in Hervey Bay, Queensland became actual scenes in the Just Breathe books.


I also own property on Maui and go there at least once a year. Early visits fueled my ‘Ohana supernatural suspense series and gave me lots of ideas for not only portraying the setting of those books but also Hawaiian culture.



Does writing energize or exhaust you?


Both. Writing can be exhilarating or debilitating, depending on the book. When I write comedy, I usually have loads of fun. Heavier stories can be hard on the soul, though.



Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?


Yes! I have two pseudonyms—Seven Slade (check out COMING OUT, a friends-to-lovers romance with a twist) and Kendall Day (FALLING FOR MR. SLATER is an enemies-to-lovers teacher romance).



Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


I tried writing what everyone else writes, but it’s not for me. I’d rather make art than house payments (just ask Letty Dillinger, the heroine of my Hard Rock Harlots series). If I can’t write what I want, I don’t enjoy it. No point in being miserable, so I write original stories from my heart and hope the right readers will find them.



What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


I took most of the money I made from STRINGS and put it toward my condo on Maui. Best investment ever! But nowadays, a good investment for me is paying a solid editor and quality cover designer for every novel. Bad editing and bad covers will ruin a book.



What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?


THE PRICE YOU PAY by Aidan Truhen. It’s effing brilliant and so, so funny!



As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


Whales, of course! Whales have been my spirit animals since 2006 when I met my first one off the coast of Massachusetts. I wrote an entire series based on them (INHALE, EXHALE, and JUST BREATHE).



How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


Currently, three. They’re all written and have been through first-round edits, but for various reasons, I haven’t gotten back to finishing and publishing them. Maybe one day.



What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?


My research is always extensive. I don’t often do a ton of research before writing, but I’ll stop to look things up while I’m writing. I’m a firm believer in fact-checking every little detail I’m not sure about.



What did you edit out of this book?


I had to cut several thousand words from COLD-BLOODED on the advice of my betas and editor, and it broke my heart. There’s one scene that provides the answers to all the mysteries in the ‘Ohana series (as well as a connection to my Just Breathe series and its upcoming spin-off books). Readers said it slowed the pace too much. While I understand that, it was painful to delete it. I wanted to yell, “The entire book is unpacked here, and you’re not seeing it! UGH!” But they were right. The scene slowed the pace too much, so I worked around it. Maybe I’ll published that deleted scene someday.



If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?


Ideally, I’d be a marine naturalist on whale watch boats.



Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?


YES! All the time. In fact, pretty much every book I’ve published is connected in some way to the others. Sometimes it’s the characters; sometimes the worlds overlap. I love finding ways to connect my stories, even if readers don’t notice. It makes me feel like I’m welcoming a new member to the Kendall Grey ‘Ohana. Ha!



What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?


Dealing with my own emotions around writing. I’m very hard on myself and have paper-thin skin. The tiniest bit of criticism hurts. When I get edits or beta feedback, I have to read through everything and step away from it for a few days so I can come back later and look at it more objectively. I try not to read reviews. Those can be brutal. It’s best to avoid reading other people’s opinions of my work.



Does your family support your career as a writer?


My husband is by far my biggest supporter. My kids pretty much ignore anything to do with my book stuff. Ha! My parents have both passed away, but my dad was around during my first release, and even though he didn’t read the story, he was very supportive. My sister and a couple aunts are also amazing. The rest of the family … I don’t think most of them view what I do as valuable or an actual job, even though this has been my full-time job since 2008. I don’t talk about my work around friends or family much. They’re just not interested.


Do you believe in writer’s block?


Absolutely. I struggle with depression, and that puts a dent in my writing mojo from time to time. When I’m feeling down for long stretches, I can’t write. Thankfully, it’s been a while since I had a depressive episode, so writing has been much easier this last year. But yes, writer’s block is very real for me.

 

 

 

About Kendall Grey:

 

A whale warrior, indie freedom fighter, and vodka martini aficionado, KENDALL GREY is calm like an F-bomb*. She writes about fierce women and the men who love them. Her aliases include Kendall Day (FALLING FOR MR. SLATER) and Seven Slade (COMING OUT).

 

Kendall lives off a dirt road near Atlanta, Georgia, with three mischievous Demonlings, a dashing geek in cyber armor, a long-haired miniature Dachshund that thinks she’s a cat, and an Aussie shepherd mix whose ice-blue eyes will steal your heart and hold it for ransom.

 

*Detonation manual not included.

 

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  | 

 Pinterest  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

 

 

 

This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.

 

 

 

 

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review 2019-02-19 18:45
THE PLAYING CARD KILLER by Russell James
The Playing Card Killer (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Russell James

 

THE PLAYING CARD KILLER was one twisty-turny thriller of a ride!

 

Brian is tired of taking anxiety meds as he's been taking them his entire life. He decides to quit them cold turkey and see what life is really like. Unfortunately, his panic and anxiety attacks return and they seem worse than ever. Also, he can't sleep without having terrible nightmares wherein he's strangling people. When Brian learns that the victims he's seeing in his dreams are actually being killed, his anxiety ramps up to a previously unknown level. Is he murdering people while he's asleep in some kind of sleepwalking trance? How could he do such a thing? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

It's hard to talk about this story without spoilers, but I'll give it my best shot. While I don't think this tale added anything new to the thriller genre, I do think it gave an unflinching look at anxiety and panic attacks. In fact, it personified them in the form of Mr. Jitters and that WAS new. To be honest, Mr. Jitters freaked me out. I've had personal, close up experience of what panic and anxiety attacks can do to a person and I've seen what the meds can do as well. There's nothing good about any of it and this book addresses those facts head on.

 

I loved the characterization in this book, especially that of Brian and Detective Weissbard. They came across as real to me, with real life concerns and problems. I could understand why Brian wanted to be off of his meds and why it was so important to him.

 

The only problems I really had with this story was that Weissbard's boss was a caricature of a "bad cop" and I thought that came across as a bit silly, even though I did hate the guy. Also, the real antagonist of this story didn't seem quite real to me at first, but as the tale progressed, I warmed up to him and I could see where he was coming from.

 

Overall, this fast paced story flew by and I enjoyed it. I think fans of psychological horror, serial killer stories and police procedurals would enjoy THE PLAYING CARD KILLER as well!

 

Recommended!

 

 

You can buy your copy here: THE PLAYING CARD KILLER 

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-02-18 16:12
A well-written book but the plot might sound familiar.
The Taking of Annie Thorne - C.J. Tudor

I thank NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK (Claire Bush in particular) for providing me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review. I had read and enjoyed C. J. Tudor’s previous novel The Chalk Man (you can read my review here), and I was eager to see what she’d follow it with.

I know I can go on in my reviews, so I’ve decided to cut to the chase, in case you’re in a hurry. Did I enjoy the novel? Yes. C. J. Tudor can definitely write and write well. But, if you are looking for an original story and something that will take you by surprise, this is not the book for you. That is particularly true if you’re a fan of Stephen King, although there are elements in the story that will be familiar also to people who watch a lot of movies, even if they don’t read King’s novels or his adaptations to screen (a somewhat difficult feat, I must admit). I’m not saying there are no surprising elements in the book, and there are quite a few twists and turns in it, but the general plot lines I think will be recognisable to many, especially to people who read this genre often.

In many ways, this book has much in common with the author’s first novel. The main character, Joe Thorne, is also a teacher, and far from an exemplary one. It is not so much his teaching that is at fault, but his drinking, his gambling, his lying… Yes, this is a morally dubious main character, who also narrates the story in the first person, and who, although we might or might not suspect this, to begin with, also belongs in the category of the unreliable narrator. He seems to freely share negative things about himself from the very beginning, but as the story moves on we realise that what he tells us might not be the whole truth. I won’t elaborate more on this, because there is a twist close to the end that puts things under an interesting light. Like in his previous novel, the author is also forced to look at things that happened years back, which involved him and his friends at the time.

I kept wondering what I thought about Joe, and I’m not sure I’ve decided yet. He is intelligent, witty, but has a penchant for getting himself into trouble, and although his way of using sarcasm to protect himself makes him rather amusing, there are moments when we glimpse at other aspects of his personality. He was a devoted brother, he was bullied and later joined the bullies’ gang, and he suffered terrible loses as a teenager, although… He struggles between trying to avoid tragedy repeating itself and trying to keep himself out of trouble, as he is being tracked by Gloria, who is intent on getting him to pay off his gambling debts, one way or another (I confess Gloria is my favourite character in the novel. I’m not sure if that says more about me or the novel, but she is fast, small but lethal, and you underestimate her at your peril). Joe tells the story of what is happening now when he returns to the town where he was born to take up a teaching job, because somebody has anonymously warned him that some pretty terrible things that happened when he was a teen have started happening again.

This is a trip back in time, and the narration of Joe’s current investigation and life (including living in a cottage where a murder-suicide took place) is interspersed with his memories of what happened to the Annie Thorne of the title, his little sister, who disappeared, returned (sort of), and then died in an accident that killed their father as well. (By the way, and just in case you read it or see it in some place, it seems the book was originally going to be published in the US as The Hiding Place, and I have seen some reviews on Goodreads under that title). There are many other characters in the novel, some that we meet in the past and the present (Joe’s friends and schoolmates, some still around, school staff members…), and some that are brand new, like some of the teachers (Beth is another one of my favourites). Although not all of them have big parts, and some are drawn only in outline, the author is very skilled at creating a sense of community and a believable, if creepy, small town. This mining community, with its challenges and changes over the years, comes to life, and despite the supernatural touches suffusing the story, the setting remains, mostly, well-grounded and realistic.

As I said at the beginning, the story is not very original. In some way,s it is like a collage of disparate elements many readers will recognise: the prologue brought to my mind Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and some other aspects of the story did as well (although there are no aliens, just in case), some reviewers mentioned The Tommyknockers (I hadn’t thought about it, but yes, in a way the connection in theme is also there), like her previous novel, some bits of it made me think of It, although the Stephen King novel it resembles the most is one whose new film adaptation is due out later this year (and I won’t mention it in case people are not familiar with it. It’s one of the first novels by King I read, and the first novel I read in English in its entirety, so it’s not one I’ve ever forgotten). There’s even a passing nudge at The Usual Suspects. Postmodernism is fond of pastiche, but it is normally used to emphasise the fact that the surface of an object or a creation is everything, and we can mix and match diverse elements without feeling obliged to refer to their original meaning or intent. I am not sure if C. J. Tudor would call her novel a pastiche, and she does give the stories and the characters her personal touch, but I can see the point of a reviewer who called it “fan fiction”.

The novel, as it is (and if you’re not familiar with King’s books all I’ve mentioned might not affect you at all), is full of atmosphere, quirky characters, some pretty dark moments, some that might be scary (I don’t scare easy, so I’m perhaps not the best person to comment), and some set pieces and scenes that are compelling and are easy to imagine as a film or TV adaptation. As I said, there are plenty of twists and turns, and the book is highly entertaining. There are many reflections that would make readers chuckle, even though sometimes we might also feel like telling the character to stop being so clever and get on with things.

I thought I’d share a few quotes, to give you an idea of the writing style:

“Finally, a long time since I’ve seen anything resembling civilization, or even a McDonald’s, I pass a crooked and weathered sign on my left: Arnhill welcomes you. Underneath, some eloquent little shit has added: to get fucked.”

“It is the sort of village that glowers at you when you arrive and spits on the ground in disgust when you leave.”

Here, Joe is talking to Beth about the teacher whose cottage he’s living in now. Beth is telling him she is fed-up with people asking if they had seen the tragedy coming, if there were any signs.

“Julia came into the school wearing a great big placard around her neck: ‘I intend to kill my son and myself. Have a nice day.’

“Well, politeness costs nothing.” (Joe replies).

On a more philosophical note:

“People say time is a great healer. They’re wrong. Time is simply a great eraser.”

So, this is a good read for lovers of thrillers with a touch of the supernatural and horror, but I’d be a bit wary of recommending it to enthusiastic readers of the genre or of Stephen King who are looking for something unique. But if you enjoy well-written stories in the genre and have fun looking for references and connections to well-known books and films, you will have a blast with this one.

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