Lured by Light by Beth Barany (Book Review)


At Bijoux de L’Etoile, the high-end casino orbiting Earth, anything can happen.

It’s a quiet day for L’Étoile lead investigator, Janey McCallister, until a young woman runs screaming through the blackjack tables. She looks like a victim of abuse, but when her boyfriend turns up dead the next day, she becomes the prime suspect.

Determined to investigate every angle, Janey searches for clues and uncovers a world of high-priced escorts and human trafficking—a world just like the one that took the life of her best friend long ago.

When Orlando Valdez, inspector for Sol Unified Planets, shows up with a new suspect, Janey isn’t sure she can trust the mercurial man who stopped returning her phone calls. But as the threats escalate and she unravels a deeper conspiracy, Janey and her team will need all the help they can get. If they fail, it could be the end of everyone on L’Étoile.

***

Lured By Light, the second book in the Janey McCallister Mystery series, is perfect for fans of J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas books and Killjoys, and CSI. It contains a slow-burn romance, enhanced humans, cool high-tech gadgets, a futuristic vision of the Earth, and a tough kick-ass heroine with secrets.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Lured By Light didn’t fail to keep me entertained. It had mystery, suspense, murder, misunderstandings, futuristic tech gadgets, more questions than answers, and left me counting down the days until Gone Green releases in 2021. 

As with Into the Black, Orlando Valdez worked his way back into one of Janey’s case and, I believe, her heart. Of course, I’m not entirely sure he ever left it. He’s charming but irritating at the same time. One day soon, I think these two will eventually get some quality time together. Maybe Orlando will wear a costume for fun, not just for his undercover assignments. *wink, wink*

As for the ending, Janey didn’t get everything she wanted. The loose ends mean more books, and I am 100% on board for this.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤ 

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The ‘Janey McCallister Mystery’ Series Reading Order

Into the Black: Kindle Purchase Link / Print Purchase Link

Lured By Light: Kindle Purchase Link / Print Purchase Link

Coming 2021 – Gone Green: Kindle Purchase Link

Red Running Deep: Date TBD

 

 

 

Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction mysteries. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

For fun, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with a piano and over 1,000 books.

Sign up here to be notified about once a month of book news and special events: http://bethb.net/itbnews.

 

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‘Henrietta The Dragon Slayer’ Series by Beth Barany (Multi-Book Showcase)

Henrietta YA Fantasy Box Set: Books 1-3

Recommended Age: 12+
Genres/Themes: YA, adventure, fantasy

Buy all three at once!

 

 

You can also purchase each book individually.
Keep scrolling for more information / purchase links! 

 

 ~ ~ Book 1 ~~ 

She’s a legend at 17, but only Henrietta knows the price she paid for her fame … and it was much too high.

From the Winner of the California Fiction Writer’s Book Contest comes this thrilling adventure of a young warrior on one final quest … against an opponent she swore never to face again.

Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of Bleuve, can’t face the thought of another kill.

She’s lost family, friends and home on her rocky road to fame.

But when the young warrior is summoned by a King to retrieve the Dragon Stone from the last dragon in existence, she can’t refuse–her mentor lies dying, and the healing stone is all that can save him.

This quest will be her most harrowing of all, for it means facing mysterious assassins, the dreaded choppy sea, and all with a misfit band — a young witch, a jester and a surly knight. And at journey’s end, someone must die … the dragon, or Henrietta.

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EXCERPT

Henrietta strode away from the tavern, fists clenched so hard they hurt. At two paces from the forest edge, the ground crunched in the black night behind her. Even with her ale-fogged brain, she sensed the presence of a man, smelled on him soot, leather and metal, and knew he was armed, but wore no armor.

She didn’t have time for this.

“What do you want?” Henrietta whirled to face the thrill seeker, her long sword drawn, her red hair whipping across her chilled cheeks. Above her head, the bitter wind keened through the forest trees.

The man hovered five feet-lengths away from her, out of sword reach, his face shadowed by the light of the tavern behind him. “I heard your story back there.” His voice, thick with a foreign accent she couldn’t place, held no compliment. “I hear you’re looking for a new quest.”

“Who gave you that idea?”

“The Song of the Dragon Slayer.” The man’s tone was flat.

So he wasn’t a fan. She didn’t care. She cared that he didn’t move any closer. Empty hands at his sides, a sheathed long sword at his belt, he was broad shouldered and taller than her by half a head.

She re-sheathed her sword reluctantly. “So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s only a song.”

“A song about you. That is why you must come with me now.” He stepped toward her, his face still hidden by darkness.

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~ ~ Book 2 ~~ 

What if all those you loved were threatened by a force you couldn’t see or fight?

Henrietta the legendary ass kicking dragon slayer wants to return to her village for a heroes’ welcome. But an unknown sorcerer rides after her and her Dragon Stone, and aims to destroy everyone she cares about.

Can she claim her newfound powers sparked by the Dragon Stone and keep her loved ones safe, especially her more-than-friend, and her stalwart bodyguard, before the sorcerer destroys her and everything in his path?

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The early morning dawn hovered as fog wrapped around the ancient castle. Henrietta hoofed it up a staircase to meet with the new king. She was impatient to set sail on the mid-morning tide.

Henrietta knocked and slipped into the room on the command to enter. She greeted Jaxter with a firm quick hug, then stepped back, waiting for him to speak. In the castle turret room, her good friend, Jaxter, now the new King Renaldo of the Oro Islands, sat in his raised chair, regarding her with a straight face.

She wanted to shift from foot to foot, but schooled her nervous energy. That wouldn’t do for her new role as Ambassador for King Renaldo’s kingdom. Even if, she guessed, it was only an honorary title to thank her for all she’d done.

A merchant class junk would sail in a few hours, and she’d be on it, heading home to the Kingdom of Bleuve—her home. The gyrating tide in Plumaria’s large harbor beckoned her. Plumaria was the colorful, bustling capital and only large city on the main island of this nation of one hundred-plus islands. She’d miss the place. Another time she’d have to come back to explore the islands, now that she wasn’t afraid anymore of water or boats.

Jaxter smiled, his expression tinged at the edges with sadness. He was hiding something from her.

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 ~ ~ Book 3 ~~ 

Finally, the sweeping conclusion to the Henrietta The Dragon Slayer trilogy! 

Parted by destiny, the four friends struggle to rejoin forces and face for a final time, the ruthless sorcerer intent on destroying them all.

In the biggest challenge of her life, Henrietta the legendary Dragon Slayer of Bleuve must lead her people into a battle that may end life as they know it. For they face no ordinary army, but the dark forces of a powerful sorcerer bent on overtaking all five kingdoms. And unless she can rescue her dauntless knight Franc, she must do it without his support.

Franc will follow Henrietta anywhere. But on a mission to find allies among the Horse People, he is kidnapped and taken by minions of the evil sorcerer Eyvindir. Will he find the strength and courage to survive, and fight again at Henrietta’s side?

Paulette, the young fire witch, must stand trial for a murder committed out of desperation. In despair at her imprisonment by forces acting against her dearest friend, Jaxter, she escapes and flees to the frigid, forbidden land of Varangia to find a witch powerful enough to help her finally master fire. But what must she give up to gain the power to aid her friends?

Jaxter, now a king, must come to terms with the heavy responsibilities of ruling the Oro Islands, newly emerged from over 75 years of evil rule. This means doing right, even when it means going against ancient customs and protocols. Worse, the marauding Varangians press at his borders. He must find a way to defend his home, or none of them will survive.

Will Henrietta and her friends be able to stop the ruthless sorcerer from obliterating her, claiming the Dragon Stone, and ruling over the Five Kingdoms?

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EXCERPT

Henrietta leaned over the bowsprit and peered into the black churning sea that hissed and slapped the wooden sides of the junk. But they weren’t home yet, so she would make the best of her time during the voyage.

“Ready?” Franc said behind her.

She spun, her sword poised. “You’re late.”

He crouched. “You’re in high spirits.” He stepped into her, testing.

She danced to one side. “Leoni finally let me out of training. Those robes.” She shook her head.

“I think you look—”

She silenced him with a glare and stepped-feinted with her left foot and swung her sword from the right.

He caught it in time and countered easily with a quick spin to the left and a slice toward her middle.

She blocked him. “I look what?”

“If I tell you, will you knock me flat?”

“Maybe.” Henrietta grinned. She was free of the restrictive Oro diplomat robes and her limbs were loose and giddy. She had the rest of the afternoon to practice with Franc.

Franc shrugged, a half grin on his face, so uncharacteristic of him. She froze at his expression. Then jumped into action, somersaulting over some tightly coiled ropes on the deck, just as the junk lifted over a wave. She laughed and landed on her feet in a crouch. Nimbler than he looked, Franc swiped for her feet. She leapt.

“Well?” she said.

“Well what?” He squinted at her. The afternoon sun was in his eyes.

 

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Fun Facts about Beth:

* She speaks fluent French and has lived in Paris, France twice, and in Quebec, Canada, once. She also can say Thank you in over 15 languages. Merci!

* She’s run 4 sprint triathlons (swim, bike, run) and finished each one.

* She has earned 2 belts, so far, in capoeira.

To learn more about Beth, visit her website.

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The Soulweb by Steven M Nedeau (Book Review)

Centuries ago, King Mavius’s spell caused destruction beyond reasoning, weaving a web around and through the souls of his knights. Even now the spell of that long dead king pulls at his descendants and Jaron must trade his books for blades when Mavius, with his knights behind him, returns from beyond the grave to reclaim his throne.

Pushing heavy tomes onto marble shelves and translating archaic text until the wee hours of the night could not prepare Jaron for the trials in store for him. After years of teaching history, he will learn that books do not always tell the truth as he becomes a pawn in a war between kings.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

If you even remotely like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings trilogy a wee bit, then you’ll love The Soulweb. It possessed some of the same qualities as J. R. R. Tolkien’s works of art. 

  • important mission
  • dwarves
  • elves
  • creatures
  • epic battle scenes
  • magic
  • unique alliances
  • dragons
  • dead people
  • a ring: The Soulweb’s ring wasn’t precious, though. 😀

 

The Soulweb had its unique properties, which kept me engrossed in the storyline. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll attempt to keep things vague to peak your interest: Keepers of the Royal Secret, stone mage, shades, talking lion, secret passages, and lizard riders. 

With everything mentioned above, how could I not be highly entertained?! How could anyone walk away from this book feeling disappointed?! I don’t think it’s possible. 

Do I recommend The Soulweb to others?

OH YEAH! Most definitely!!! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  ❤ 

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Audiobook Purchase Link

 

 

My website http://www.StevenMNedeau.com has a contact section that I pay attention to, but I can often be found playing on twitter (@StevenMNedeau), and a little less often at Instagram (@theleastinterestingmanalive). I almost always respond to my fans. You’re the people I write for.

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Memory Reborn by Steven M Nedeau (Book Review)

At his new job at the memory storage facility, Darien Mamon is stunned to discover that he is the intended storage device, and has been all along.

Darien thought MemorSingular hired him for his brain. They did. They just don’t need what’s in it. After finding details of a century old knowledge retention program, Darien learns the company has been grooming the minds of new hires to be overwritten with the personas of their most valued employees.

An old classmate, Nancy, could be Darien’s only chance to escape MemorSingular before his mind is overwritten. Unfortunately, Nancy hates his guts, and if she doesn’t change her mind the company will change his.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Memory Reborn twisted my mind up like a pretzel. Real – fake – it was hard to decipher what the heck was going on. Memory Reborn was a real thinker. It made me question everything and everybody. 

This book was a science fiction lover’s wet dream; however, I believe it will appeal to readers who enjoy mystery novels. Hacking, murder mystery, extreme VR, and a few other elements will capture and hold your interest until the final page. You might even find yourself going back and reexamining the clues, wondering if you could’ve predicted what’s happening in the silo before it’s unveiled for us. 

I had my suspicions. I was correct on a few essential items/people, but not on everything and everyone. Plot twists and surprise developments were the name of the game, and Memory Reborn had both! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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My website http://www.StevenMNedeau.com has a contact section that I pay attention to, but I can often be found playing on twitter (@StevenMNedeau), and a little less often at Instagram (@theleastinterestingmanalive). I almost always respond to my fans. You’re the people I write for.

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Interview with Steven M Nedeau (Science Fiction and Fantasy Author)

Science Fiction and Fantasy Author, Steven M Nedeau!

 

  1. Welcome, Steven. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?


(Steven)
I’m an artist, actor, writer, and dancer and I’ve been working as an electrical engineer for twenty-two years. While I was enjoying engineering and solving problems, my artistic side had been drowning in despair for years. An artist must do art, and I was craving a chance to create something beautiful.

I started writing seriously when I became fed up with someone else’s story telling. Critical of several films and television series, I felt the entertainment industry was dropping the ball. How many retellings of the same story do we need? We deserved better than the drivel presented to us.

I was thirty six, still deep in my engineering studies, when I started to think about the stories I wanted to tell. I even remember the moment when I decided to start writing something substantial. I was reimagining how Star Wars Episode 1 should have been told, how the past of Darth Vader should have been written and, in a rant, I built up his back story into a plausible and intriguing tale. When I looked up from my rant, my son’s face was hanging slack as he looked at me in awe. He asked, “Did you just come up with that all by yourself?”

I decided I wouldn’t retell an existing story. If I wanted a story strong enough to meet my expectations, I was going to have to write it myself.

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

 

(Steven) Everyone suffers from writer’s block at one time or another. We all have our own ways of dealing with it. I have a couple of different things I do when so afflicted. I watch old movies, the older, the better. Then, I imagine the scripts of those movies. I imagine the words that would be needed to arrange the scene for the actors. Sometimes, my attempt to simplify what I’m seeing will prompt questions that need answering.

My other answer to writer’s block is sleep. I sleep. My dreams are the backbone of my stories and I often resolve the dilemmas in those tales with my eyes closed.

(Kam) Love this response!  I solve a lot of dilemmas in my sleep, too. 

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

(Steven) I write both science fiction and fantasy. My first book, a fantasy novel, The Soulweb, took seven years to write and a year to edit.

Centuries ago, King Mavius’s spell caused destruction beyond reasoning, weaving a web around and through the souls of his knights. Even now the spell of that long dead king pulls at his descendants and Jaron must trade his books for blades when Mavius, with his knights behind him, returns from beyond the grave to reclaim his throne.

Pushing heavy tomes onto marble shelves and translating archaic text until the wee hours of the night could not prepare Jaron for the trials in store for him. After years of teaching history, he will learn that books do not always tell the truth as he becomes a pawn in a war between kings.

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link
Audiobook Purchase Link

 

 

 

My first science fiction novel, Memory Reborn, took a year to write and two years to edit.

When I’m not writing I have a number of hobbies and so little time for any of them.

We are what we do. Here is a list of some of my favorite things: motorcycles, camping, kayaking, screen-printing. I have a lot more as well, but that’s enough for now.

 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

 

(Steven) I don’t hide anything about myself. I share my writing with the people around me (maybe a little too much) but I love my creative side and feel I don’t get to take it out to play often enough. I know my wife is sick of hearing about it. Oh, well. Most of my friends and family are supportive, even if they haven’t read anything I’ve written.

(Kam) It’s lovely to hear those around you are supportive of your work. Congrats. 

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

 

(Steven) In no particular order, here’s a list of my ten favorite authors. Their stories have built my dreams.

  • Philip K Dick,
  • William Gibson,
  • JRR Tolkien,
  • Piers Anthony,
  • Stephen King,
  • Douglas Adams,
  • Margaret Weiss,
  • George Orwell,
  • Isaac Asimov,
  • Frank Herbert.

(Kam) There are several authors unfamiliar to me. I might need to rectify that. 🙂

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?

 

(Steven) Choose a book for the big screen? Of course, the book would have to my latest, Memory Reborn. This book holds a cinematic feel to it and I could definitely see it becoming a movie one day. As far as actors I would choose, there are so many that have held my admiration over the years, but if I got my choice, I would choose Letitia Wright, Chloë Grace Moretz, Wilmer Valderrama, and James Spader to fill out the four main character roles.

 

At his new job at the memory storage facility, Darien Mamon is stunned to discover that he is the intended storage device, and has been all along.

Darien thought MemorSingular hired him for his brain. They did. They just don’t need what’s in it. After finding details of a century old knowledge retention program, Darien learns the company has been grooming the minds of new hires to be overwritten with the personas of their most valued employees.

An old classmate, Nancy, could be Darien’s only chance to escape MemorSingular before his mind is overwritten. Unfortunately, Nancy hates his guts, and if she doesn’t change her mind the company will change his.

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? 

 

(Steven) I have several works in progress. I’m currently preparing my science fiction novel, Memory Reborn, for publication. In parallel to the print publication, we are also producing the audiobook for Memory Reborn, with George Kuch (http://www.georgekuch.com) narrating.

As far as writing, I’m working actively on the second book of The Soulweb Trilogy while storyboarding the third book.

In addition to the books I also have several short stories in the works. As I complete them, I like to make them available for free on my website. These stories are usually written to go along with some writer’s game or as part of an online collection of stories that all follow the same theme.

I don’t understand how anyone works on only one thing. As I get ideas about new stories I jot them on some paper and let them fester in the back of my head for a couple of years while I push on with the most pressing project.

(Kam) Whew, you are a busy bee! 

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?

 

(Steven) Since all of my books so far are in separate genres, there is no reading order assigned. That is to change in the coming years as The Soulweb is book one of a trilogy. We expect to be publishing the remaining books of that trilogy soon.

Right now, you can find all of my books on Amazon, as long as you spell my name correctly. The Soulweb is available in kindle, ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

Memory Reborn will be available in ebook, kindle, paperback, and audible at Amazon as well, but will also be available just about anywhere you can purchase books. Initially, as far as brick and mortar stores are concerned, physical copies of Memory Reborn may only be available at a few select Barnes and Noble retailers, however, we expect the reach of this book to expand.

My play, The Unlikely Hero, a Fair Play Renaissance Fair Play, is only available in paperback format at Amazon at this time.

 

A narrator tells the tale of not so brave Sir Issanass and the dragon Pestulis Pejorative. This is intended as a live performance play for two to four actors and additional audience participation. There are minimal props and set requirements. Ideal for Renaissance Fairs, school productions, or public events.

Amazon Purchase Link

(Kam) Cute cover. 

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

 

(Steven) My website http://www.StevenMNedeau.com has a contact section that I pay attention to, but I can often be found playing on twitter (@StevenMNedeau), and a little less often at Instagram (@theleastinterestingmanalive). I almost always respond to my fans. You’re the people I write for.

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

 

(Steven) No more questions? I get to say what I want? That’s unusual, and dangerous. Where shall I take this? Will I use this time to build my global empire, to seize power? Probably not.

All kidding aside, I’m not used to such freedom. Here’s what I have to say. If you want to be a writer, write. Don’t wait.

What else is there? Oh, yeah.

Writers build emotional rollercoasters. But, we can’t hear your screams. If you enjoyed the ride, leave a review.

(Kam) Yes, I absolutely know the importance of reviews — giving and receiving of them. 🙂

 

 

 

Steven, it was a pleasure to meet you. I can’t wait to share my review of Memory Reborn with you and my audience. 

Folks, Steven has given you several reading options. I encourage you to click on any of the links and purchase something OR everything by him. 

If your budget is tight and you’re seeking free reads, Steven has FOUR short story titles for you to choose from on his website. Just click HERE to be redirected to the page.

Again, thank you, Steven, for joining us today. I wish you great success in all your future endeavors! 

 

 

 

 

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