Yearly Archives: 2017

Author Showcase / Interview – Jennifer Macaire (The Road to Alexander)

 

  1. Welcome, Jennifer! 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?

(JM) Hello Kam, and thank you for the warm welcome! I think I was born with a pen in my hand – I’ve written stories since I could put letters together to make words. My mother (who else?) still has a copy of my first book written when I was 6, called ‘Tafy the Wunder Hors’. I have made progress in spelling since then, but the joy and creative passion is still intact. I love to invent stories.

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(JM) I sacrifice to Calliope, muse of epic poetry. A bar of chocolate and a cup of coffee usually do the trick. Otherwise, I’ll send a prayer to the Oneiri. In Greek mythology, the (Ὄνειροι, “Dreams”) were various gods and demigods that ruled over dreams and nightmares. My favorite would be Morpheus – god of dreams, but Phobetor, the god of nightmares, is handy too. Many of my books are born of dreams.

Source: wikipedia.org

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(JM) I have a “real” job as an assistant to an orthodontist that keeps me grounded and gives me a different kind of job satisfaction. We say, here in the office, that we make smiles. I love my work, and we have a great team working together.

 

 

  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?

(JM) Since I live in France, and my books are all in English, it’s rather a let-down when people find out I write but that they can’t read my books. (Let down for me, that is – I can’t brag or show off, lol) So far, none have been translated into French. I have one translated into German and another in Thai – but no French. Otherwise, I don’t hesitate to tell people I’m a writer – it seems natural, since it’s so much a part of me.

 

 

  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.

(JM) Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Dunnett, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Larry Mcmurtry, Diana Norman, Louise Penny, Ian Rankin, Philippa Gregory, Mary Renault…there are ten, but like you said, I could go on forever!

(KAM): It is truly difficult to stop at ten. Like you, I’m sure, my favorite’s list grows longer each day. 

 

 

  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 see casted in the parts?

(JM) Well, my wish came true when The Game of Thrones became a TV series – I devoured those books, and the mini-series did them justice. If I could see my Time for Alexander series be transformed into a show, like Game of Thrones, that would be so cool. I’d need a huge cast of characters, and for the main part, I’d love to see Paris Jackson play the part of Ashley – she’s a tough girl, with a strong character. She’d be perfect. As for Alexander, a certain Alexander Richard Pettyfer might be good, and Richard Madden as Plexis.                      

(KAM) Can you believe I’ve yet to watch it?! Maybe one day I shall see what all the fuss is about. I’ve heard rave reviews regarding the books and show. 

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(JM) Not top secret, but taking a while because squeezed in with promoting and my day job – I’m writing a YA story about a daughter of a Muse, she’s mortal, lived in the present day, and wants to become a great hero so she can become immortal and join her mother’s family on Olympus. I can tell you right now, it’s an impossible dream. (But what are dreams for, right?)

(KAM) Sounds fantastic! 

 

 

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

(JM) The first one in the Time for Alexander series is ‘The Road to Alexander””, and there are 7 books in the series. They’ll be coming out every 3 months or so – all are written and I’m just in edits with the later books. Writing is easy – editing is tough.

 

 

Otherwise, there is a list on Goodreads, and also on Amazon are a few of my other books. I have a really cool space cowboy series about horses that travel through the galaxy at Evernight Teen (‘Riders of the Lightning Storm’ is the first book in that series)……..

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…..and also at Evernight are ‘Jack the Stripper’ and ‘Murder and Mayhem’ that feature zombies and vampires, oh my!

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

(JM) My Time for Alexander FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/

My blog is: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

My author webpage is: https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @jennifermacaire

 

 

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

(JM) Nothing really – except – I am eternally grateful to readers everywhere! I feel like we’re a dying breed sometimes. Buying books can be expensive and it’s hard to budget sometimes, so I am always thankful when someone takes the time to invest in one of my stories. I buy books too – my favorite pastime is reading (besides biking – I love my bicycle!) And if you, dear reader, could just put a small review or remark on your blog, tweet, Amazon review – anything – I promise that every little bit helps, and this author, at any rate, is truly thankful.

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Jennifer, thank you for divulging a bit of yourself with all of us here today. It has been a true pleasure getting to know you.

Now folks, before you go back to work/school/etc, please grace us with a few more minutes of your time and lets take a more in-depth look at  The Road to Alexander. 

THANKS!! 

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under the pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death and ever so much more.

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EXCERPT

 

I wondered if I should speak or wait until he spoke to me. I was irritated to feel myself getting flustered. Then Alexander sat down next to me with a fluid movement and I stifled an exclamation.

‘What can I give you? Grapes? Some wine?’

‘That sounds fine,’ I said, my fingers itching for a pen so I could write down all my impressions. But I had to wait until I got back. Until then, I was supposed to make a mental note of every word and action.

He chose a grape for me and gently put it into my mouth. It was one of the most sensual gestures anyone had ever made to me. I felt faint, and, when he leaned over and kissed me, I toppled over onto the rug with hardly a whimper. Alexander obviously thought I’d come to see him for only one reason. I guess he was smothered with women throwing themselves on him, but vestal virgins? My body was saying, ‘Yes! Yes!’ My head said, ‘Ashley! Get a hold of yourself this instant!’ I sat up and pushed him away.

‘Sorry, I can’t do this,’ I said.

His expression of surprise was comical. ‘You mean, you really did come from the temple?’

‘Can we talk?’ I avoided the question and took a bunch of grapes.

‘Not those,’ he said, plucking them from my hand and putting them back into the bowl. ‘Those grapes are poisoned. I keep them in case an enemy comes. So, what do you want to talk about?’ His brow furrowed, then his face cleared. ‘Ah, yes, I recall. You’re the onirocrite. So, what dreams have you had?’

‘I dreamt that I came to your tent while you were sleeping. In your sleep you were calling out my name, the secret one that I can’t tell to anyone except the goddess. When you woke up you saw me. You said that I must come to you because you had a dream that you wanted me to interpret for you. You also said that it was a waking dream.’

He looked interested. ‘Really? And just what is a waking dream?

‘It’s like a wish,’ I said. ‘It’s what you want to do with your life. Can you tell me about it?’ I was hoping for grist for the prize-winning article that I was going to write when I got back. No one knew why Alexander had decided to conquer Persia and travel as far as the Indus River. It was a mystery, and I’d decided to solve it.

Instead of answering me, he lay back on his bed, put his arms above his head and stretched, showing off his lean body with its beautiful, flowing lines. ‘That’s too bad,’ he said. ‘I was hoping you were one of the virgins who didn’t want to be sacrificed. There are lots of them, you know,’ he added, looking at me sideways out of his magnificent eyes. ‘When they don’t want to be sacrificed they simply cease to be virgins, if you get my meaning.’

‘I do,’ I said, ‘and I’m flattered. But can we get back to the subject of my visit?’

‘A single-minded woman,’ he sighed. ‘You remind me of my mother. She’s terribly stubborn. She hated it when I sucked my thumb, so I did it for years just to spite her.’

‘Well, that explains your teeth,’ I said, vexed to be compared to his mother.

He looked at me, his expression unreadable. I started to think that maybe conversations about his mother weren’t the best idea, but all he said was, ‘You want to hear about my dreams, is that it?’

‘Please,’ I said, concentrating on his next words.

‘Very well.’ He stood up, poured two glasses of wine from an earthenware pitcher, and sat down next to me again, handing me one. The wine had a faint spicy note.

I was feeling smug. The article was going to net me a huge prize. I could just imagine the accolades. I was going to be famous; I couldn’t wait to see the faces of those who’d been waiting to see me fail. ‘Cheers,’ I said, and sipped. The drink wasn’t bad. It was young grape wine with spices and a trace of honey. It had been watered down so it was refreshing.

He raised his eyebrows. ‘Cheers?’

‘Here’s to your health,’ I amended.

We sipped our wine in silence for a few minutes while he studied me. Finally he put down his glass and shook his head. ‘There’s something strange about you,’ he said, ‘though I cannot say exactly what it is. You are impressed, I sense this, and you are interested. But, you are not afraid. Perhaps it is your lack of fear I detect the most. I am extremely attuned to fear; my father beat it into me. But it goes deeper than that.’ As he spoke, he wound his body around me, pausing now and then to touch my cheeks, my neck, or my breast. ‘I get a very peculiar feeling from you. There is a coldness, a frost that emanates from your very bones.’ He paused and ran his hands lightly down my sides.

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I stammered. ‘I’ve wanted to meet you since I first heard about you. It was a dream, and now it’s come true.’ The passion in my voice startled me. I frowned, struggling to keep my emotions in check. This was not the cool, calm, collected Ashley I knew.

Alexander took my hand, stroking the inside of my wrist before pressing it to his mouth. ‘I want to bite you,’ he said. ‘I want to shake you out of your indifference. I want to hear you scream.’ He stared at me, a fierce expression in his uncanny eyes. ‘My mother is cold like you. She’s as cold as the ice on the mountaintops.’

I shivered. ‘I’m sorry if I appear cold. It was my parents’ fault. I had to stay quiet, otherwise I was punished.’

‘Perhaps that’s it.’ He tilted his head and looked at me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. There was such intensity in his gaze that I had to struggle not to drop my eyes. ‘Did you know that of all the living things on this earth, only man can look another man in the eye? My teacher, an old Greek, taught me that. He is a very intelligent man. He said that the world was round like an orange, and that the stars we see at night are in reality other earths, like this one, or suns. Is that heresy, do you think, or is it truth? I would like to know the answer to those questions and to so many more. I want to see the ends of the earth where the water drops off into a great chasm. Of course, if my teacher is right, I shall never find that. Instead, I will end up where I started out.’ He sighed, then leaned over and lifted a corner of the tent to peer outside. ‘It’s getting near midday, I have to go see my troops. Will you stay, or will you go back to your temple?’

‘If you please,’ I said humbly, ‘I’d like to stay.’

‘I please.’ He smiled then, and I realized that his face had more expressions than anyone’s I’d ever seen, including the great actors and mimes. His smile seemed to bloom from within, to reach out and caress me, and to bind me to him.

Anyone on the receiving end of that smile, I thought, would walk straight off the edge of the world if Alexander asked him to.

 

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Review of “Rescue Me: Escape From Reality series” – Sara Schoen

Mia Daniels is running away.

She’s leaving her family, her job, and her life behind, all to get away from her past. With no plan, she packed her suitcase and took off for a town where she thought she’d be safe. She should have known she wouldn’t be safe anywhere…

Gage Greystone is running from his family name.

His family has owned the town for generations, but he doesn’t plan to take it over from his father. He has a dream to save others; from the treacherous hiking trails or from themselves. Maybe that’s why he’s so attracted to the newest resident of Escape, Mia. She seems to be silently begging to be rescued. From what, he doesn’t know, but he’ll do anything to rescue her.

But this rescue may be impossible for the decorated emergency serviceman…

 

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As I traveled through the camping ground and the wellness camp, I could see what Lottie meant by a slow start to summer. There was room for well over one hundred and fifty hikers, and that didn’t include the trailers I’m sure drove through occasionally, at the camp site. The wellness camp had about ten cabins with what seemed like only one being used and a lot of open space.

I made a point to travel through the wellness camp slowly so I could possibly find Kelsey and see if she wanted her bike back, but I only saw a few girls who looked to be about fifteen. They were lacing up their hiking boots while others were preparing for a swim. A few waved at me as I passed, others seemed shy and looked away from me. I tried not to be offended. To them I was an outsider, someone they should stay away from. Just like he had taught me to do. I waved back regardless and continued my ride over Faith Bridge. I could see the town crowning over the hill to my right, but the well-defined hiking trail to my left beckoned me.

Lottie can wait a little longer, I decided with a smile. Turning my front tire toward the dirt path, I took off with the girl’s excited laughter and shrieks from entering the cold-water echoing around me. Their voices faded behind me as trees thickened around me, wrapping me in a cool, shadowy blanket, shielding me from the sun, and silencing everything around me until I was left with only my thoughts.

A few months ago, leaving me to my thoughts would have been dangerous. Maybe even suicidal. In the past few years, I had gone through more turmoil than I thought possible, and it seemed like the pain was never-ending. No matter what I did, I couldn’t escape bad news.

I thought I had found the one, the person I was meant to be with, the one who’s supposed to be by my side for the rest of my life, but then it all fell apart. “It’s over, Mia.” I had been trying to fix a broken relationship; cheating, fighting, and abusive, manipulative behavior. I should have known it couldn’t be fixed, but I didn’t want to give up on him. I thought we loved each other, but it turns out that had been one sided too. “Mia, stop. You’re embarrassing me and you’re embarrassing yourself. It’s over, Mia. I don’t love you, I don’t think I ever did. You’re someone I settled for, you’re nothing. It’s your fault this happened, not mine. Now it’s time to move on. I have, and you should too.”

Trees moved past me in a flash as I peddled faster, taking my memories with them. But once those were gone, I was left with a harsh reality. The same ex who had told me I wasn’t worth anything and would never amount to anything is chasing me to ruin the life I had created without him. I shook my head as the path took a turn. Stop thinking about it. It’s over now. The small flickers of sunlight through the leaves and the light at the end of the tunnel of trees echoed my thoughts; a new life, one without him.

I broke free of the trees and came out on a stunning overlook. The path settled against the edge of one of the mountains, giving me a great view of Peak View, a small town the bus had stopped in for a short time, and the surrounding landscape. It reminded me a lot of Escape, but with more shopping, a high school, a military base, and more homes. It’s going to be packed in the upcoming months. Not that I could blame anyone for wanting to visit. I had been here only a few days and I already loved the little town. Even as I looked over the lush green landscape, I didn’t feel as far from my family as I had when it came to Wes. For the first time, in a long time, I genuinely felt at home. I didn’t feel the need to look over my shoulder. This is the place for me. This is where I can finally heal and move on. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Taking a deep breath of the fresh mountain air, I realized I couldn’t wait to move on. I’d dive in head first, even if it meant accepting another gift I didn’t deserve from Lottie. If this is what they do, then I should accept it. It’s time to move on. Whether he wants me to or not. Turning my bike around to head back to town, I took one last glance at the overlook. The sun hanging over Peak View, the mountains keeping us concealed, and everything in me was screaming for me to take a leap of faith. And that’s just what I’ll do. I pushed away from Mountain Side Height lookout and headed toward town, thanks to the helpful signs on Morning Glory’s trail. I left feeling the best I had in years…I’d return when my life turned to shit again. As it inevitably would.

 

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

 

Every day, every minute, people are starting their lives over. Some choose to build a new life in a town close to home while others move out of state or even out of their country. Any move, no matter the distance, can be nerve-racking; however, relocating because you’re hiding from an abusive ex takes the stress of the situation to a whole other level. Abuse, in any form, can reek havoc on your mental state. I am not surprised Mia was skittish with dating again. She’s literally running from the past, trying to stay one step ahead of Wes.

While embarking on a new life in Escape, Colorado, Mia let her guard down and formed relationships. In this small picturesque town, she found support, acceptance, friendship….. a home. The quaint town had accepted this “outsider” as one their own. I know a lot about little towns so I can relate to a small community banding together. They do help each other out and secrets are few and far between.

Sara painted small town living to a tee. She also created a hidden treasure many vacationers would love to unwind at for days, week, or longer: breathtaking mountain view, tranquil lake, numerous hiking trails, caves to explore, etc. It’s a nature lovers dream destination. 

It was Mia’s dream come true, too, until her past caught up with her. After three months on the run, Wes did find her. For me, I thought their confrontation would’ve been more nail biting. Everything was leading up to their monumental moment so this was Mia’s time to shine. Now was the time for Mia to take the bull by the horns and make her stand. Unfortunately, she didn’t and I felt disappointed by her lack of action. I wanted her to take the power away from him. In the end, it all worked out but not in the way I was foresaw. But hey, she still got her happily ever after and that’s what matters at the end of the day. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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Sara Schoen is a Biology major at James Madison University who was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She has been an adamant writer since she was young, and now enjoys reading, ghost hunting, and traveling. She hopes to have readers find solace in the worlds and characters she creates and in some cases provide a cautionary tale. Sara plans to continue writing and explore various genres in the future.

 

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Review of “An Empire in Runes: The Runes of Issalia, Book III” – Jeffrey L Kohanek

A Long Forgotten Magic That Might Save the World …Or Destroy It

Led by a boy named Brock, a small team of teens urgently assembles a force to confront an army of monsters, one that ravages and destroys anyone or anything in its path.

In a race against time, Brock attempts to train a group of recruits to wield the powerful magic known as Chaos, a magic that he himself is still learning to master. All the while, they must remain vigilant against a secret organization within the Ministry that will do anything to prevent the return of Chaos.

As foretold by an ancient prophecy, the human army must face and defeat their ancient enemy on the Tantarri Plains. For if they fail, all will be lost.

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I knew the battle against the banshees was going to be fierce. Standing ten feet tall, with red eyes and sharp talons, they would strike the fear in any man, woman, or child. Their wail alone leaves their opponents frozen in place, but to see them actually engage in battle is a sight to cause night terrors. Hell, that is if you survive their rampage. With their immense power, they can and will rip you limb from limb and then devour you — dead or alive. To them, it makes no difference. A meal is a meal.

However, there were many a men and women who wouldn’t stand by and watch the towns fall. They fought back and with a vengeance. The battle lasted many chapters but Jeffrey knew not to rush such a pivotal moment in their lives. The humans used magic (runes), flash bombs, swords, fire-tipped arrows, and much more to hinder the banshees’ path of carnage. Many lives were lost, two especially I hated to see go. The losses hit the survivors hard. I felt their grief as my very own & wished they could be brought back to life. Sadly, there was no coming back. 

Once the battlefield had grown quiet, Jeffrey led the team to another battle — with humans. This is the point where everything is explained: The Hand, banshees, bacabras, Chaos…..everything!

There were multiple happily ever after’s. Some old characters reappeared. Plus, the ending showed us that the future looked remarkably promising; a major turnabout from hours before when death was thisclose to knocking on their door. 

Great job, Jeffrey. You’ve written three wonderful tales, full of triumphs and tragedies. And most importantly, each was more intriguing than the last. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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Catch all the action from the very start……..

 

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Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten…

Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to a life below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire’s ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire’s future leaders are trained.

As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.

Brock’s compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, growing into a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.

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As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.

Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.

 

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Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.

Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.

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Review of “Rock My World (A Mondez Novel, Book 1)” – Lee Piper

High school teacher Grace Thompson didn’t want to be a mentor. And she sure as hell didn’t want to mentor Levi Mondez. They got off to a rocky start, but it wasn’t entirely her fault. How was she to know he was the lead singer of local rock band, Mondez? How was she to know he considered her short temper a turn on? And how was she to know her best friend, Riley, would fall for him? If he wasn’t so damn gorgeous it might have made the whole mess easier to handle. If he didn’t transform Grace into a blazing furnace of need, and if he hadn’t confused the hell out of her already bruised heart, life might have turned out a heck of a lot differently. She was screwed.

 

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

 

Like Levi and Grace, we all have lived through moments in our lives that we cherish fondly or would rather forget entirely. Some of us plaster a smile on our face and continue living as if it’s our last day. Some of us turn to a coping device (such as liquor) to just get through a single day. For those who turn to the bottle, like Grace, you soon realize you must face your fears because alcohol solves nothing. It only compounds the problem.

Grace, at times, appeared to have a drinking problem. She turned to it often and I wished Levi would’ve called her on it. Not that he didn’t call her out regarding other things. Grace was scared — scared of feeling anything anymore after she lost key people in her life.

When life keeps dealing you a rotten hand, it is easy to fall into a self-hating role. Lets face it, Grace was a BITCH for quite a bit of this story. However, her actions were a mode of self-preservation. I saw that and Levi most definitely saw that too. That’s why he never gave up on her. It’s why he kept trying to bring some joy, laughter back into her life. Just wait until you read his texts during the conference. You’ll laugh out loud one minute and then say Oh baby the next. Levi was a sweet, sexy, dirty talking musician with a heart as big as his penis.

 

In summation…………

Lee Piper showed us the strength it takes to love someone who is broken and the mental struggle a person battles to just let it all go and live again. Not an easy task, as a real person or as a author writing about imaginary people. To have a reader actually feel a character’s emotions, feel their pain as your own is a challenging feat BUT Lee conquered this task.

Whether she was focusing on Levi’s past, Grace’s ghosts or delivering us some sizzlin’ sex scenes, the reader will not walk away emotionless. They’ll demand a happy ending and will be rewarded with one, too. Of course, it won’t happen until a little more drama occurs. Ah, such is life. Always an adventure!  😉 

On a final note: I love Dom (Levis’s brother) and Riley (Grace’s BFF). I can’t wait to find out what Riley was about to confess to Grace before they were interrupted. I just bet it’s a juicy secret!! Maybe they are doing the horizontal polka. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Lee Piper is a lover of books. She often juggles reading seven novels at a time for the sheer joy of it. At the grand old age of five, Lee Piper decided to become an author, however found a limited market for her unicorn stories. So, high school English teacher it was.

At thirty-two, and grieving the loss of her second miscarriage, Lee Piper turned to novels—Kylie Scott, to be precise—to escape the pain. This then inspired her to write Rock My World, the first in a four part contemporary romance series. Her debut manuscript reached the second round of the ARWA 2016 Emerald and became an Evernight Publishing bestseller within the first two weeks of publication.

Lee Piper lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her drummer husband, cheeky daughters, and one very crazy dog.

 

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Review of “Tony Mandolin Mystery, Book 1: A Slight Case of Death” – Robert Lee Beers

Vampires don’t exist, do they? That is a question Private Detective Tony Mandolin finds himself pondering as the evidence piles up in a case involving a string of dead redheads and the usual dose of weirdness San Francisco has to offer. To complicate things, Mandolin has to deal with the perception that he has become the latest golden boy of the fog city’s crime boss. Then there’s his cross-dressing friend Frankie…Just another day in San Francisco.

Dive into an exhilarating new noir fantasy series where nothing is as it seems.

 

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

 

Based on mentions of Magnum, P.I., TJ Hooker and other pop culture name drops, I knew this book wasn’t set in the 1920’s or 1930’s. However, A Slight Case of Death had the feel of a detective classic from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. You could blatantly sense who inspired Robert Lee Beers in his development of Tony MandolinSome of the word choices, conversations, made this modern day story appear as if we had stepped back in time. The mobsters also spoke like they were from Jersey or New York instead of San Francisco but with old school flare. At least in my opinion that’s how they came across. I don’t know any real mobsters so maybe that’s how they converse. Eh, I digress.

Plot time….

A routine missing person case turns into the manhunt for a serial killer. To stop the killer (aka a vamp) Tony (PI) finds help in the unlikeliest places. But beggars can’t be choosers when the boogey monster has his sights set on you. Gotta admit, despite the nightmare inducing man to monster transformation, Simon was quite the likable vamp. I can see why vampires can lure their prey so easily. You don’t want to like them, but you also find yourself unable to resist their charm. Plus, like Simon, I always played with my food despite my momma’s warning so…. Play on! 🙂

Besides Simon, I also adored Frankie. Frankie was so flamboyant, funny, and won the award for best character. Frankie brought life to scenes that were becoming stodgy. Frankie was the light this book needed when facing a creature only thought to come out at night. When I envision this Frankie, I picture RuPaul: an American actor, drag queen, model, author, and recording artist. Maybe after you read over his parts, you’ll see a bit of RuPaul in this role too. 

 

 

BTW: Many myths were squashed in chapter 20 about vamps but the real shocker came later when we saw what could harm a vampire. This surprising weapon bumped the score from 3 to 3.5 stars! 

  

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

Kindle Purchase Link

 

Robert Lee Beers was born on March 11, 1951, on the far northern California coast in the Humboldt Bay area. He is an artist, musician, and a mediator.

In 2008 he was nominated for the JFK Profiles in Courage Award for his work on the Nevada State Assembly.

He is the author of the Hilarious Tony Mandolin Mystery series as well as the epic fantasy, the five-volume Milward Chronicles.

His first novel, The Promised Ones became the number one bestselling fantasy on the Barnes and Noble Fictionwise eBook store for 6 weeks. That book eventually became the novel Birthright, the first in the Milward Chronicles series.

Graphic Audio, the premiere producer of audio books in full cast audio has optioned the first five novels for production. Hole Lotta Shakin’, a Tony Mandolin Short Story is currently in pre-production into a serialized YouTube Audiobook at Tall Tales TV. As for Robert, he is usually found at his desk, laying down the next Tony Mandolin adventure.

 

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Review of “The Mortal Falls (Undercover Elementals)” – Anna Durand

A pragmatic human thrown into a world of magic…

Lindsey Porter fled from her traumatic past, determined to lay low, but now someone has framed her for murder. The quest for answers leads her into a parallel realm where magic reigns, and with a hostile sheriff and a shapeshifting assassin on her trail, she must place her life in the hands of a seductive, supernatural man who tempts her like no one else.

An immortal sylph enslaved by magic…

Nevan is trapped by a desperate bargain struck a century earlier, yet the beautiful, spirited Lindsey has enticed him to abandon his magically enforced duty. As forbidden passion flares between them, they’ll risk everything to uncover the truth and find what they both need the most—redemption.

When two worlds collide…

The fates of the elemental and mortal realms depend on the star-crossed lovers. As dark secrets from their pasts threaten to shatter the fragile trust between Lindsey and Nevan, a shocking revelation holds the power to deliver salvation or destruction.

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

 

First impressions of the book: What an absolutely eye-catching cover. You just know, along the pages, there lies a badass man who will partake in a good fight because what’s the point of welding a sword unless you’re going to use it. Mmm, there’s something sexy about a man who knows how to use his sword, the weapon and the one covered by his loincloth. FYI: He made use of both swords and those times left quite the impression. With out a doubt, Nevan proved he’d do anything for Lindsey and she in turn him.

Their relationship started off bumpy as in she stumbled upon a dead guy and witnessed Nevan running away from the crime scene. She didn’t fully trust him but she overcame that in four short days. He sort of grew on her with his sexy bod, sweet gestures, oh and saving her behind repeatedly. She did return the favor though with the help of a wee leprechaun.  Oh Tris, he made me smile. His presence lightened up some tense moments, which there were plenty of: corpse, killer raven, psycho king and a battle between occupants of the Unseen realm and ours to list a few.

However, despite all the obstacles trying to keep them apart, Nevan and Lindsey did take time to consummate their relationship, which I thought would never come to pass. My only issue was the time leading up to the big moment. I get that Lindsey was a 32 year old virgin but she acted as if she had never seen a naked man before. At times, I found her behavior and attitude that of a much younger woman. I get she’s inexperienced but a woman of her age with ZERO sexual experience seemed a bit far-fetched. Maybe there are 30 year olds out there like her. I don’t know any but it’s plausible.

 

That aside, if you are wondering if you should purchase The Mortal Falls, then let me help you with your decision. 

1.) Do you love stories with strong men and even stronger women?

2.) Do you love paranormal stories where the supernatural beings underestimate mere mortals?

3.) Do you love characters who are sarcastic, sexy, and prepared to throw down to protect the ones they love?

4.) Do you believe in magic and the power of love?

 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you must pick up this book. 

  

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

Print Purchase Link

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 Anna Duraadnd is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in steamy romances featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Her romances have to date won eight awards and her novel Intuition was a 2016 RONE Award nominee, while her short story Tempted by a Kiss was a finalist in The Romance Reviews 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Check out the Upcoming Books page for details on what she’s working on now.

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Google+ ~ Amazon

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Author Showcase – Hywela Lyn (The Destiny Trilogy)

Note from Hywela Lyn regarding the ‘The Destiny’ trilogy:

💕 “Although some characters appear in each of the three books, each story is a ‘stand alone’ with no cliffhangers until the next book in the series. The series is Science Fiction/Adventure romance with a fantasy feel (or ‘space opera’, not heavy S.F.)” 💕

 

 Book 1 in the Destiny Trilogy



When Jestine Darnell is rescued from her sabotaged starship by the crew of the Destiny her only objective is to complete her mission and keep her promise to save a world from slavery. Love is the last thing on her mind. However, she has not counted on losing her heart to Kerry Marchant the ship’s second in command, who makes his distrust of her painfully obvious, despite the chemistry between them. The completion of her mission has consequences that neither of them could have foreseen. Enter Dahll Tarron, who becomes involved in a long and dangerous quest to find the Destiny. Fates become intertwined, perils shared, culminating in the realization that sometimes love may be so close that there is a danger it will not be recognized until it is too late…
 
 
 
 
CHILDREN OF THE MIST – Book 2 in the Destiny Trilogy
 
 
Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love:

Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own.

Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a comon threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late?

Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?
 
 
 
 
 
 BELOVED ENEMY – Book 3 in the Destiny Trilogy
 
 
Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.

Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.

Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?
 
 
 
 (review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 

The best science fiction tv shows are the ones that have you eagerly anticipating the following week’s episode or have you zooming through the commercials because wading through 2.5 minutes of ads feels like eternity… pure torture. When a show is that good, you wish for a few more minutes. When a scifi/fantasy book is equally grand, you crave a several more pages.

When I was nearing the end of Beloved Enemy, I kept hoping 20-30 pages would magically appear —  much like things in the book. No such luck though. However, despite my wish not being granted, I was thoroughly satisfied with everything I did read.

Each chapter in Beloved Enemy contained enough scifi, mystery elements/creatures that maintained my attention from the beginning to end.

 

Most memorable (for me):  

  1. The huge ass water and sand creature. They are the things of nightmares and deserve a spot on any otherworldly show! PS. I am rethinking ever washing off in a lake again. 
  2. bio-regenerator: This device enhances the body’s natural healing process. Imagine how many lives would be saved, children or an adult’s pain eased in minutes instead of days, and the profound effort it would have in combat missions. Medical marvel! 

 

After dealing with inhospitable creatures, more than one crash, physical altercations with humans, and other WTF moments, I am not surprised Cat and Kerry relationship went from allies for a common cause, to becoming friends, and then progressed to full on love. When you been to hell and back, your troublesome times either break you or make you stronger. Their bond definitely became stronger. It’s what actually saved them. And that’s all you’ll get from me. To find out more…. read the damn book. No seriously, read it. It’s a page-turner, for sure!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤1/2

 

 
 
 
 
REMINDER:  “Although some characters appear in each of the three books, each story is a ‘stand alone’ with no cliffhangers until the next book in the series.” 💕 
 
 
 
Hywela Lyn lives in a small village in England, with her long suffering husband Dave,  although her heart remains in her native rural Wales, which inspired so much of her writing.
 
Although most her writing tends to be futuristic, the worlds she creates are usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature.  Her characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself.  Her heroes are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable – and of course, handsome and hunky. Her heroines are also strong and courageous, but still retain their femininity! However difficult the journey, love will always win in the end. She is a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association (UK)  and Chiltern Writers, her local writing group.
 
A keen animal lover, she has two horses,a ‘feral’ stable cat, and a rescued terrier, who manages to twist her round his little paw.  When she is not writing, she can usually be found enjoying the outdoors with the horses and dog – or just  eating chocolate!
 
 
 
1. Hywela Lyn are her real first two names. She has always been called ‘Lyn’ and decided it was time her Welsh/Celtic name ‘Hywela’ got an airing!
2. She completed the arduous Red Dragon Endurance ride in Wales.
3. She used to enjoy oil painting but gave it up to write.
4. The planet Niflheim, featured in the first two books of the Destiny Trilogy, was inspired by seeing the snow sweeping in like a pink mist across the Welsh mountains just before sunset.
5. The name ‘Hywela’ means ‘Eminent’
 
 
 
 
 

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Authors: Get Inspired with April’s Sweet & Sexy Selections!

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mancrushoftheday.tumblr

 

 

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Review of “Mechanisms of Despair” – Gary Buller

Length – 75 pages

Shawn Langley (Illustrator)

Deadman (Editor)

 

Welcome to the Mechanisms of Despair. In this chilling collection of horror shorts, you will find tales of the macabre, stories of suicidal tendencies, and moments of acute psychological torment.

 

“The Way Out”

“Escape’

‘The Way In”

“The Blackout”

“Into the Fire”

“The Present”

“A Friend in Need”

“Dog of the Day” by Holly Buller

This collection will raise money for two very good causes- the publisher is donating its proceeds to The Alzheimer’s Foundation in the USA, and Gary Buller will be donating his to Sarcoma UK- A charity that helps people suffering with bone and soft tissue cancer- people like his mum.

 

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

 

Horror movies draw audiences because people love to be scared. People read thriller novels for the same exact reason. When you sit down to read the haunting short stories in Mechanisms of Despair, you definitely will be creeped the eff out by more than one story. For me, I am so glad I read the hair-raising tales in the light of day. 

Ok, I might spook easier than most people but a couple weirded me out big time. Take for example “The Way Out” and “The Way In”… Those two spine-chilling stories have me rethinking staying at any hotel this summer that I haven’t researched thoroughly first. Seriously, if there’s one hint of anything remotely supernatural happening there (past or present), any deaths, murders, suicides, then it’s on the NO WAY IN HELL I’M STAYING THERE list. Shoot, I don’t want to spend a minute in a HOTEL FROM HELL. Would you? Ok, maybe some supernatural thrill seekers would but I am not that adventurous. 

My other favorite short tale was “Into the Fire” because it pointed out monsters can be made of flesh and bone. Those are the scariest ones of all. With 7 creepy tales by Gary and one bonus shorty by Holly, I will say folks will find multiple stories that’ll leave a lasting impression on them. For me, I found enjoyment with half and that ain’t too shabby in my mind.

Word of warning, as of April 24th, Amazon listed this as a children’s book but I don’t agree with that sentiment. When I think children’s book, I envision anything deemed appropriate for the under ten crowd and these stories are definitely not suited for my youngster. Teenager, yes. Younger child, no.

With that said, mature audiences….. ENJOY! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤1/2

 

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partner Lisa, and his daughter Holly. He is a huge fan of all things macabre having grown up reading King and Koontz and loves a tale with a twist.

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Richard Paolinelli (Escaping Infinity)

 

  1. Welcome, Richard Paolinelli! 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?

(RP) I started out as a freelance writer and photographer in West Texas in the mid-1980s, was the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics series, Seadragon, and then went to work as a sportswriter for newspapers and online websites in New Mexico and in California. In 2010 I retired from newspapers and decided to restart my fiction writing and I’ve been pretty busy since then.

 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

Amazon Purchase Link

Kam: Did you know I absolutely love comics? I own several hundred and always looking to add more.  😉 

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(RP) One of the advantages of having spent so long working for daily publications is having to produce anywhere from 800-3000 words a day, five days a week. You don’t have the option of being blocked. So I really don’t get it now that I’m doing fiction only. On those rare occasions when I just don’t “feel” like writing, I don’t try to force it. Usually a day or two later I’m back at it as usual.

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(RP) Marketing my books, appearing on radio shows and doing in person appearances. When I’m not doing work-related tasks, I usually read, catch a movie and try to spoil my two grandsons as much as I can.

 

  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?

(RP) Everything I’ve written, fiction and newspapers, has been under my real name, so everyone who knows me knows what I do. I haven’t really asked them what they think about it. No one has ever come up and told me to get a real job or anything like that so I’d say they are supportive.

 

  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.

(RP) (In no particular order)

Jack McDevitt

Edgar Allan Poe

HG Wells

Gibson Michaels

Douglas Adams

Harry Harrison

Diane Duane

Tom Clancy

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Dan Brown

 

 

  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 see casted in the parts?

(RP) I’d love to see someone take up my latest novel, Escaping Infinity, especially with the quality of CGI today. I think Luke Evans could pull off Peter Childress and Emily Blunt might make a great Liz. The Manager I always envisioned being played by Kelsey Grammer even as I was writing the book.

 

 

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(RP) I actually am juggling three projects. I need to finish up the final two books of the Jack Del Rio series and I am writing a short story I hope will be accepted for a special sci-fi anthology. And I have started on an epic sci-fi/fantasy project that is my “Lord of the Rings” project.

 

 

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

(RP) You can find everything I’ve written on Amazon, or go to my website – www.richardpaolinelli.com – and click on the book covers and they will take you directly to their respective page on Amazon. Other that the Del Rio series – Reservations is #1 and Betrayals #2 – there isn’t any particular order you need to read them in.

 

 

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

(RP) My e-mail is: rp@richardpaolinelli.com

I’m on both Twitter and Gab as: @ScribesShade

And you can leave comments on my blog: https://scribesscribblesblog.wordpress.com

 

 

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

(RP) Just that I’d like to thank you for interviewing me and for reading my book. I would like to just say to every reader out there: No matter whose book you are reading, one of mine or any other author, the greatest kindness you can do for them is to leave a review of their book, especially on Amazon.

Whether you thought it was the greatest book, the absolute worst or somewhere in between, leaving a review helps them in so many ways. I encourage you to so, even if it is just a few words or a sentence or two. Speaking for my fellow writers, especially ones just getting started, you will have their deepest gratitude.

 

Closing Remarks

Richard Paolinelli is correct on an author’s need for reviews. It helps boost awareness of their writing, helps them improve their craft and encourages them to keep pouring their hearts & souls into their creations. Without reviews and readers sharing their love of a story, writers fade off into the sunset. If you don’t want a writer to vanish, then show them love. Write a review.

With that said, I’d like to present to you a brief look into Escaping Infinity and my thoughts regarding it. 

 

 

Nominated for a 2017 Dragon Award (Best Sci-Fi Novel), Nominated for a 2017 Nebula Award (Non-finalist).

Thousands have checked into the Infinity Hotel over the years. None of them have ever checked out.

Peter Childress and Charlie Womack are successful engineers on their way to Phoenix for an important presentation. But one of Charlie’s infamous “shortcuts” has gotten them good and lost once again. As night falls, the pair stumble across the Infinity Hotel and the promise of a meal, fuel and a good night’s sleep before starting off fresh in the morning is too good to pass up.

But while Charlie immediately takes to the hotel’s amazing amenities, Peter begins to uncover some of the hotel’s dark secrets – a seemingly unlimited number of floors, guests that appear out of time and place and a next morning that never seems to come. Worse still, the entrance to the Infinity has disappeared and no other apparent exit back to the outside world is in sight.

Now, under the watchful eyes of the hotel’s manager and front desk clerk, Peter searches for a way back out and uncovers the horrible truth behind the mystery of the Infinity Hotel.

 

 

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

 

After reading the back cover, I knew I was embarking on a freaky, mind-warping ride and was looking forward to the journey Richard was going to take me on. The front cover looked promising as well. It had me thinking this book would be taking place solely in the future. However, once I began reading the prologue, I soon realized space and alien life would encompass the plot. Even though I was only thrown for a loop for about a nanosecond, I soon found myself engrossed in the mystery of the Infinity.

 

Even though I fascinated by the happenings of the hotel, one thing was missing for me which would’ve made me feel more contacted to the storyline. For me, I wanted to know more about the lives of the hotel’s occupants before stepping into the time/space paradox. We got a glimpse of Liz and the football star, but the inquisitive side wanted more history regarding its occupants. I guess if Richard was writing a 700 page novel then my wish would’ve been granted but he wasn’t. He didn’t. To stay on track, he led us through a series of events which would test the sanity of any man or woman. His writing was equally mystifying and eerie as fellow thriller writers Stephen King, Clive Barker, and R.L Stine. That’s saying a lot about his creativity. 

 

All in all, the plot was sound. The follow-through was a tad bumpy but overall a book I am thrilled to have read and happily encourage others to purchase. 

 

Parting remarks…..

1.) Planet Disney cracked me up.

2.) I didn’t know whether to laugh or yell RUN when the door’s guardian became activated. However, I did laugh a wee bit when it went airborne.

 

Good science fiction/fantasy story! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Kindle Purchase Link

 

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