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Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection.

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Cover Reveal! The Scented Bones: The Svabodina Case Files (book 1) by Angelina Kerner

The Scented Bones: The Svabodina Case Files (The Svabodina Case Files Book 1)

Genre: Paranormal/ Crime Thriller

Expected Publication Date: September 28, 2018

Publisher: KDP Select

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Synopsis:

Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.

She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.

When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?

Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?

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About the Author

ANGELINA KERNER is a self-published author of paranormal and lighthearted romance. She’s the wife of a photographer/physicist, and the mother of a cute little toddler, but she’s also been a dancer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a geographer, a dreamer, and an adventurer. She does her best writing while being bothered by her cats, taking care of her son, in dressing rooms while waiting for family to try on clothing, and at home in sunny California. Angelina loves to play goddess-dragon matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where young goddesses have lovable flaws, the Fates plan to dethrone, the universe is endless and untamed, and dragons roam free! She also loves to write carefree romance where one can finish reading with a smile.

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Visit her website at www.kernerangelina.live

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5 Star Review: Fox in the Closet, by Alisa B. Bates (Another stellar debut!!)

Review:

Liverpool in the late 18oos/early 1900s was a cruel place to be for Annie, but she never lost her hope for the future or compassion for humanity. Although fictional, Fox in the Closet is based on a factual ancestor of the author Alisa Bates. The research put in is beyond impressive, and the dedication to her character Annie is lovely. This book is tragic through and through, yet its written in a way that inspires hope and beauty in all situations. Annie finds light, and an upside to her living conditions no matter what barrel she’s scrapping the bottom of.

The book starts out with Annie in love. She’s a barmaid at her brother’s place, and has fallen for a patron. They’ve planed to run away together, but he leaves her stranded, alone with the baby growing inside. From there it spirals from one low to another for Annie all throughout her pregnancy and beyond. After her only family and childhood contact situations turn sour, she bounces from homelessness on the cruel streets of Liverpool, begging for food and taking a couple of abandon children under her wing.

She’s picked up by the authority, and finds herself in a religious placement for distraught women and their babies. It’s an ideal place, yet because Annie is not Catholic, she is only allowed a few weeks stay. They refer her to seek out a sweatshop type workhouse. It’s a less than ideal situation, but at least it offers a roof over her head, a small meal in her growing belly, and has a decent hospital for when the baby is born. It’s an option she can’t pass up.

Annie follows instruction and is admitted in the workhouse, and its much worse than expected. She’s given a mere box with straw to sleep on, it’s lined against a wall with several others. Privacy is non existent, the food is sparce, and the work is grueling. That’s not to mention the tension and hatred the workers have with one another.

Annie winds up having her beautiful little boy Charlie here, which starts a whole new journey for her. The love and devotion she has for her baby is felt deeply. Annie fights through thick and thin to keep him, and to give him a healthy happy life despite their situation. While Charlie is still an infant, he and Annie are placed in a working home as caretakers for an elderly couple. They’re happy, and well for a short time. She’s making a living and their stay is comfortable. Sadly, they’re stricken with red measles and forced back to the workhouse hospital.

The struggle continues as Charlie grows. By the age of three, he’s been in and out of family placement, the workhouse nursery and schooling, and has stayed with Annie another short time as she was able to find work and care for him. The second time Annie was stricken with sickness, it was Cholera, and they barely made it back to the workhouse hospital, as it nearly claimed her life. This time around, Charlie is placed in a home during Annie’s recovery and she’s forced yet again to make a decision of giving Charlie a better life than what she can offer as a single homeless mother in a cruel poverty stricken place.

As the book draws to an end Annie decides to try mending fences with her brother, which is an utter fail. She also makes the decision to try and seek out Charlie’s father. She loved him dearly, and her memories of him nearly convince her that the abandonment was a fluke… nearly!

Annie’s journey is one of a kind. She has a beautiful soul despite her mishap, and loves her son with the kind of dedication that really touches a mothers heart. I absolutely loved her drive and dedication to do what’s best for Charlie no mater what, and her heartache is written flawlessly by Alisa Bates. There is a taste of poetry at the end of each chapter as an emotional sum up, and it’s perfection, I loved it! There is also an index after the story describing situations, wording, and placement as they’re linked to historical facts and places. I love everything about this book, and recommend it with the highest regard!

Description:

Annie Brett waits near the quay of the River Mersey to begin a fresh, new life with her sailor. As the moon sinks lower in the sky, she pines for her true love, though he is nowhere to be seen. If he does not come, he will leave her with a lifelong remembrance and burden. Annie rubs her tightening belly. “I fear we be alone and withered, dear child. Our hearts be properly broken, now.”

Moving Forward

Nothing about life just stops and waits for us. Time moves forward whether we’re ready for it or not. People grow, and events happen. We can progress right along with time. We can work hard day in and day out toward our goals (note I didn’t say dreams, because really that’s just a load of crap. If you have a dream, make it a goal, or it’ll always be just that… a dream.) OR… we can let opportunity pass us by, grow stagnant from fear and self doubt.

I choose to move forward and I hope you do to!

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Yesterday was my Grandpa’s funeral (Another Family Loss) I actually stood up with two of my cousins and read memories and a few poems that I had written for him, my grandma and all of their eight children.  If you follow my blog closely you know how badly I’m afraid to speak in public (Artist’s Fears). Anyhow, funerals are different, I was nervous but everything went smoothly, and I’m so glad I was able to honor him at his services.

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Now it’s time to focus, bounce back, it’s hammer time! I have so many projects in the works right now it’s insane. This week is a big one, because over the weekend I finished up the second draft of my first book’s rewrite/rendition!!  I’m so excited!! The Stix was a book I wrote before I had any clue I was destined to be a writer.

I enjoyed writing it, but in the editing and publishing phases I cut corners and settled with mistakes that I didn’t realize were indeed such outrageous mistakes (the publishing place I went with totally stole my book!).  Anyhow, because they’ve been in breach of contract for SO LONG, haven’t paid me a dime, and refuse to release the title or let me make changes… I’ve FLIPPED it!  It’s been a work in progress for sometime now, and this week I’ll be starting the submission and query phase. I’m choosing not to self publish right away. I’m hoping that with the acceptance of an agent and/or publishing agency I can get some help in releasing the original story. We’ll see how that goes, wish me luck!

Along with the Lamian Trilogy that has been in the works, I’ve been making some pretty awesome progress on another thriller. I’m not going to get into details about it. I don’t want to give anything away OR jinx it, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about ANY of my books!!  The title is Justice For Belle, remember the name and keep an eye out. As soon as I have the first full draft finished up, I’ll share a little taste of it once in a while…. I CAN’T WAIT!

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#excerpt #blogtour The Phoenix Cycle, by Bob Collopy @shanannigans81 @BobCollopy

phoenixcyclefrontcover.pngThe Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

Publication Date: June 23, 2017

Published By: The Department of Smoke

Genre: Dystopian/ YA/ Sci-Fi

New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?

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Excerpt

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Every wrist in the stadium beeped. Every boy and girl glanced down at the face of their watch. “00:10” then “:09” then “:08.” Everyone turned their heads to the west. There it was. Right on time, as always. The nightly storm. A wall of blackness had lurched up into the sky, swallowing the setting sun. The hairs on Steve’s neck stood up, urging him to get the hell out

of there.

Instead he grabbed Leslie’s hand, who sat quietly quivering next to him, instinctively pressing her bow into her head for comfort. Steve knew her shaking wasn’t coming from Line’s yelling, the storm, or even the tank pointing at them. Her quivers never came from the barrel of a gun, no, the ragging agony she held within her was the very same thing that pushed him back into the sheets when the sun finally rose—are we going to lose each other?

Leslie’s mind pushed the feeling away for at least another moment. “It’ll be all right,” she whispered. Her brown eyes guided him to the dozens of mortar tubes pointing upward and outward on the vibrant green field and then to the perfect line of churning ash that approached the stands.

“Unity can only be achieved and be maintained when it is the STRONG who come together and fly under one flag! We, like no other in the world, have created a unity that has never broken, has never FLINCHED! When the rest of the world saw THAT—” Line’s long arm pointed at the coming avalanche of black— “They all fell to pieces!”

The earth began to quake as the wall rose over them. Someone screamed. The mortars on the field fired as one at the roiling sky. The blackness spilled over the stadium, then slid over the perimeter of the frizzing wall of static that had encapsulated the field. No Phoenix Cycler had seen—only heard rumors from past Cycle Pref parties—this blackness that was sliding over and them whispering their deaths.

– The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

About the Author

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Bob is pretty dope. Firstly, his name is Bob, so…yea. Second, have you seen him rock that suit while in a maximum security prison? Epic.

Yea. That’s Bob. No psychological scarring with that author. Nope. Totally fine.

Gosh he looks good in suits.

Hey Have you read The Phoenix Cycle? He wrote that.

One suggestion before you read it and become one of those fans that leaves him roses by his doormat. Read her slowly. This book is not Twilight. She’s deeper than that. Take your time with her. Show the book you care. Cradle it and make it feel loved. If you do, she’ll be good to you. Go too fast and you’ll have no idea why she’s acting so crazy.

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Giveaway!!!

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The author is giving away 10 print copies (That’s right 10) and 5 Digital copies of his book so make sure you enter as the odds are definitely in your favor! (Runs from May 21st to May 30th)

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 21st

Reads & Reels (Kick-Off Promo)

Just for My Books (Excerpt)

The Lit Cottage (Review)

Adventures Thu Wonderland (Review)

The Midwest Ladies Who Lit (Excerpt)

May 22nd

IAMAGEEKINGGINGER (Review)

Tranquil Dreams (Review)

On the Shelf Reviews (Excerpt)

May 23rd

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt)

The Genre Minx (Excerpt)

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt)

Valerie’s Musings (Excerpt)

The YA Book Divas (Interview)

May 24th

J Bronder Reviews (Review)

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Interview)

Bri’s Book Nook (Review)

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt)

Wicked Good Reads (Review)

May 25th

Afire Pages (Excerpt)

Port Jerricho (Excerpt)

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review)

Life at 17 (Review)

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Over a Hundred Downloaded! Thank You!

As a spring time thank you gift to my readers I offered Search For Maylee free for a few days last week. I’m over the moon that so many people took advantage of this offer! Usually when I do a free day or two of one of my books, I get anywhere from ten to fifty copies downloaded. It’s a very random number, to be honest… I never really know what to expect.

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SO, when I had over a hundred copies downloaded you can imagine my joy!  I’m so excited, and so grateful that so many readers were interested in reading Search For Maylee!

That said, I just want to throw a quick THANK YOU for everyone who spotted the promotion here on the blog and decided to give this book a try!  I appreciate every single reader dearly, and I can’t wait to see your thoughts on my book!

 

#review #booktour The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, by Charlie Laidlaw @shanannigans81 @CharlieLaidlaw

The things we learn COVER FINAL.jpgThe Things We Learn When We’re Dead

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Humor

Publication Date: January 26, 2017

Summary:

With elements of The Wizard of Oz and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

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Excerpt

The things we learn COVER FINAL

The old man was as good as his word and a tray was swiftly brought by a male nurse in white clinical overalls who looked spookily like a young James Bond. On it was a plate of grilled lamb cutlets, string beans and sautéed potatoes. There was also a warm bread roll with a knob of butter and, under a silver dome, a bowl of chocolate profiteroles with cream. In short, exactly what she would have ordered in an expensive restaurant, given the choice, and if she’d ever been able to afford to eat in one. Also on the tray was a small metal jug of white wine, which made no sense. During her coma, had it become health service policy to keep patients inebriated? And why the metal jug?

“The boss says that you’re up and about now,” he remarked, placing the tray down and making sure it was well balanced on her knees. The jug of wine and glass he placed on her bedside table. Why wasn’t there a bunch of flowers in a vase? That’s the first thing her mother would have brought. It was the first thing she always took to friends and relatives in hospital, even the ones who suffered from hay fever.

“Who was the old man? The one who was here a minute ago?” she asked, as if there might be several old men in her wing of the hospital. “Grey hair. Beard. Beads,” she added.

The nurse merely gave a small shrug. “He’ll tell you himself the next time you meet. Anyway,” he added, making for the door, and looking uncomfortable, “if there’s anything else I can do, just ask.”

“I’d like to know how long I’ve been asleep.”

“Asleep?” The nurse raised one eyebrow.

“Yes, asleep. I mean, how long have I been here?”

He didn’t reply for a few moments, hands clasped behind his back. “Not long, as far as I know.”

“And how long is not long?” she asked. “Look, if you don’t know, could I please speak to someone who does.” Lorna, running out of patience, had raised her voice. The nurse took a step backwards towards the door.

“All in good time,” he assured her and indicated the tray. “For now, you need to eat. Get your strength back.”

“Look, I really need to know how long I’ve been here. Can I see a doctor? Actually, I shouldn’t have to bloody ask that, should I? What kind of useless hospital is this?”

The nurse, perhaps unused to being shouted at, had backed himself to the door. “Anything you need, just ask. Okay?”

Lorna wanted to scream at him. “But how?” she asked instead, looking around the blank walls for a call button. “And what did he mean by not feeding the little brutes?”

“Just ask, that’s all. Your room is sound-activated so don’t worry, I’ll hear.” He touched a blank place on the wall that somehow made the pneumatic door hiss open. “But he’s right about not feeding them,” he added as the white door closed again, leaving Lorna utterly exasperated. – The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

About the Author

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I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Twitter: @claidlawauthor

Facebook: charlielaidlawauthor

Website: http://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

Giveaway Time!

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My Review:

Contemporary type fantasy isn’t usually my cup of tea, so my joy in reading this was actually a pleasant surprise. After reading over the unique description along with a few very promising reviews I decided to give it a go, despite my initial hesitation due to the genre. I like to mix things up and rotate book types. So, more often than not, when I do actually find great books in my not to usual genres’ I’m ultimately thrilled to have found them. I’m happy to report that this was indeed the case with Charlie Laidlaw’s afterlife tale.
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was a bit slow paced for my taste, but it is contemporary(ish) so knew was I was getting myself into. That said, there are a few qualities about this book that I absolutely loved. The word choices and scene flow throughout is brilliant. I really enjoyed the way Charlie describes things. Even the dialogue is superb. I think it’s conversation that really makes this book what it is. In a way I felt like the characters are built through the in depth and witty banter. Especially the main character Lorna. She’s someone I could see myself hanging out with. She has a no-nonsense approach to life, along with dry humor and a bit of quirk. Her character feels real, and I enjoyed that immensely!
At the beginning of the book Lorna is in an accident that claims her life. She finds herself waking in Heaven, only this particular version of Heaven is insanely different than anything I’ve ever read or even dreamed of reading. Be it fictional books, religious reference, or any other way for that matter. Lorna’s afterlife is centered in a place beyond all logical comprehension. In my opinion it’s unique, and actually kind of genius in simplicity.
Heaven is a spaceship, that happens to be stuck in a black hole. I’d go into the details of this place, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. Lets just say that Laidlaw covered every ‘what if’ and ‘how is that possible’s’ very thoroughly, and once you’ve read the details… it doesn’t seem as far fetched as it sounds and first blush.
Lorna’s life on Earth comes back to her through distorted memories. They are hit and miss, some significant, and some not so much. They jump around in frame of time, leaving Lorna confused and sometimes beside herself. Her life experiences are uncovered little at a time, all the while she’s trying to adjust to her current living circumstances. Love, family, loss, friendship, and everything in between are unfolded through glimpses of memory. Once in a while I was a little confused, but oddly enough even that was fitting to the premise of the story line.
Ultimately I enjoyed the story and will be looking into the author further. I give it a 3.75 rating.

Thanks to the author and Reads and Reels Book Tours for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Search For Maylee, #free (May 15 – 18)

I love everything about this time of year! The colors, the smells, the warmth. There is just something about new life and growth that comes with spring. I light of the spirit of spring, as well as a (somewhat belated) Mothers Day celebration, I’ve decided to do a spur of the moment spring promotion!

I’m so excited to offer my latest book Search For Maylee as my gift to you! From today May 15th through Friday May 18th the kindle version is downloadable for free on Amazon!  Click this link to claim your gift! Happy spring, and happy reading!

Description:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

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Happy spring everyone, and happy reading!!

Remember sharing is caring, and reviewing is LOVE!

Screams You Hear, by James Morris #booktour #review #excerpt @shanannigans81 @JMorrisWriter

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Screams You Hear

Genre: Horror/ YA

Publication Date: January 8, 2018

Book Blurb:

Murder and madness infect a small town.

For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.

When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?

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Excerpt

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Chapter 1

I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.

Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.

In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.

In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.

I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.

Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.

I could press it and disappear into numbness.

I could press it and just drift.

But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.

The button is my litmus test.

I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.

I am not my pain.

I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.

I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.

My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.

I scream and my world goes dark.

“Ruthie?”

I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.

She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”

I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.

She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”

I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”

I don’t know how to answer that question.

“I’m sorry,” she says.

Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.

She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”

My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”

“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”

“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”

Are you jonesing for more? Well for a limited time, Screams You Hear is available for review!

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Available on Amazon and it’s an absolute MUST read!

About the Author

James Morris

James Morris is a television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the young adult thriller What Lies Within, the dystopian love story Melophobia, the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall, and the young adult horror Screams You Hear. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching ‘House Hunters Renovation’, or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.

James Morris | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

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My Review: 5 STARS

Hold onto your seats with this one. The pace is fast and the twists WILL dump you on your rear, and quick!!! Every single page of this book is splattered with jaw dropping content. It’s the kind of horrifying scenario that every teen/kid (or anyone really) who lives on a secluded island should have nightmares about.
It starts out with Ruthie waking up in the burn unit of a hospital. The island she’s from has literally been completely wiped out in population… all except for her. She’s the sole survivor of an insanely morbid series of events. She’s being questioned by the law enforcement who’s trying to figure out what exactly took place. Her recollection is detailed, overflowing with adrenaline, and just flat out bloody terrifying!
So, the story bounced in time, back and forth between the now and the previous few days as the odd events play out. I loved this approach here, and I usually don’t. Most books that bounce around leave me a little confused and irritated, but with Screams You Hear it worked out perfectly. The character development was perfect. I especially loved Max her best friend, and Theo her brother. They each bring about their own story and personality dynamics, that in my opinion polish the story over, making it well rounded and actually realistic.
It’s hard to explain any details without throwing any spoilers in the mix. So, I’ll just give a short and very broad outlook. Basically, the adults in the community snap. Ruthie has her suspicions on what’s causing it, which makes total sense. No matter the scientific backdrop, it’s murderous, its nasty, its ruthless, and utterly heartless what they do to the kids here. It has a feel of a survival story, more so than anything else, as its coming from Ruthie’s point of view.
I debated between 4 and 5 stars for some time. The writing is exquisite, and the story is definitely one of a kind horrifying… But at the same time, because the kids aren’t mentally sick the way that the adults are… a few of the scenes were a little too hard for me to stomach.
All in all I enjoyed the read, and will most definitely be reading more from this author!

Review: Father Figure, by James J. Cudney #5stars

MY REVIEW:

OMFG you guys, James J. Cudney is two for two in the ‘ugly cry book’ department! His debut Watching Glass Shatter blew me away, I couldn’t believe it was his first book. I became an instant fan of his writing. So, when Father Figure came out, I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible!

Father Figure is just as good as Watching Glass Shatter, and yet utterly different! It’s unique in several ways. James has managed to create two family dramas that are equally as wonderful, yet entirely outside of the cookie cutter tales. This author clearly has a gift for originality in each of his works, which is SO stinking refreshing!

There are two main characters who alternate in POV. First lets talk about Amalia and her role based in the 1980’s.

Amalia has been raised by a horrid mother, and loving father who has been her sole support system for her entire life. The awful woman who birthed her (I wont even call her a mom) forced her to grow up sheltered from life as a regular child, keeping her away from crowds and any useful knowledge about life, and being a woman in general. All the while exposing her to physical, mental, and emotional abuse. She controlled their household, treated her husband like dirt, and Amalia like her slave. Amalia’s escape from her mother came about by means of College, which brought a whirlwind of new life experiences… Some good, and some of which was not at all pleasant.

I love Amalia!  I love her deep rooted kindness, and her life long dedication to being the exact opposite of her mother. Even when she makes mistakes, they’re backed by innocence, driven by emotion, and followed through with the help of ignorance of any better choices. She’s practically a child in so many ways, just thrown to the wolfs, and forced to find her way through round after round of harsh life blows.

Next lets talk about Brianna and her role played in mid 2000’s.

It’s 2003- 05 and the world is an entirely different place. A part of me really likes Brianna, and a part of me wants to give her a slap once in a while. Her mother, Molly, has raised her as single mom in New York, with a bit of the helicopter parent approach. Molly’s a bit overbearing, she’s over-protective, and in a way it’s driven a bit of a wedge between the two.

They are close in so many ways, the love is very clearly there, yet they hold back from each other far too much. They both hide things and are secretive. They feel like they’re protecting one another, but in reality they’re creating a sort of obstacle course in their mother daughter relationship. Brianna is trying to figure out who she is as an adult, and how to cope with her own relationships and emotions. She’s wants her independence, and she’s also trying to uncover the past her mother has always kept hidden.

Brianna want’s to find out who her father is, and in the process of digging she pulls out some pretty insane skeletons from the closet. The shocks in her quest to find her father are awesome! Just when I thought I had things figured out, I was completely wrong!
Both of the characters have some similarities in college experiences, and the story weaves itself together seamlessly.

I think what I love most about this book is the way clues are left along the way, planted in the most perfectly inconspicuous ways. The last hundred pages or so of the book are overflowing with those AwwHaa surprises. The kind that leave you scratching your head wondering ‘how the hell did I miss that’. It’s like the entire book is this intricately cut jigsaw puzzle, each piece imperative and meant to be put together one at a time, in it’s time. Then, the completed image is layered in depth and color.

Absolutely beautiful! I’m officially fangirling over this author… And, if it means anything at all, that’s a term I swore I’d never use. Do yourselves a favor a read this book!!!

DESCRIPTION:

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

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