Monthly Archives: February 2021

Shelter for the Damned by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

 

While looking for a secret place to smoke cigarettes with his two best friends, troubled teenager Mark discovers a mysterious shack in a suburban field. Alienated from his parents and peers, Mark finds within the shack an escape greater than anything he has ever experienced.

But it isn’t long before the place begins revealing its strange, powerful sentience. And it wants something in exchange for the shelter it provides.

Shelter for the Damned is not only a scary, fast-paced horror novel, but also an unflinching study of suburban violence, masculine conditioning, and adolescent rage.

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

 

Holy smokes, this book was a challenging read. Scenes were written exceptionally well, in painstaking detail, which made me want to gag at times. 

If the monster/presence in the shack were real, it would scare the sh*t out of anyone who had the misfortune to encounter it. I don’t want to give too much away about it or its evil intentions, but its actions are vile, sickening, gut-churning, and a thousand more adjectives along those lines. 

If I could change/add to Shelter for the Damned, it would be answering a few questions. Why did the Shack want Mark? Did it sense Mark’s anger? Was Mark a psychopath? What made Mark such an angry/problematic teen? I think understanding his past more would’ve helped me understand his draw to the Shack and it to him.  

With or without the added details, Shelter for the Damned is twisted AF and not for the faint of heart. 

 

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

 

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Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Prairie Gothic. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

Connect with him on Twitter (@MikeThornWrites) or visit his website for more information: mikethornwrites.com.

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A Rendezvous to Remember: A Memoir of Joy and Heartache at the Dawn of the Sixties by Terry Marshall, Ann Garretson Marshall (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 18 yrs +, 378 pages
Genre:  Memoir, Romance
Publisher:  Sandra Jonas Publishing
Content Rating:  R. This memoir contains mature themes, explicit sex scenes, one f-word, and occasional profanity.

 

In June 1964, Ann Garretson skips her college commencement to tour Europe with Lieutenant Jack Sigg, a tank commander on the German-Czech border, with the hope of returning as his fiancée. A month later, her best friend, Terry, proposes marriage—by mail—throwing all their lives into turmoil.
 
Jack offers the military life Ann grew up with. Terry, a conscientious objector, will leave for the Peace Corps at the end of the summer—unless the draft board intervenes and sends him to jail. Her dilemma: she loves them both. Caught between the old mores and winds of change, Ann must make an agonizing choice. 
 
In alternating voices, A Rendezvous to Remember presents firsthand accounts by the two who eventually married, enriched by letters from the rival, whose path led him elsewhere. Provocative and delightfully uncensored, this coming-of-age memoir is a tribute to the enduring power of love and family.

 

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Author Ann Garretson Marshall
Terry Marshall and Ann Garretson Marshall taught English in the Philippines as Peace Corps volunteers and later served as Peace Corps country co-directors in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. Back in the States, they worked side by side as community organizers and activists in Colorado. Terry went on to write fiction and nonfiction works on discrimination, poverty, rural development, and intercultural conflict. Ann has thirty years of experience as a writer, editor, and community-government go-between for issues related to nuclear and hazardous waste cleanup. Always seeking adventure, Terry and Ann have traveled to forty-three countries. They live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

What was the inspiration for A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. A Christmas gift: Terry gave me a three-inch, Italian leather binder of our love letters for Christmas 2013. We read the letters out loud to each other each night for the next six weeks. They told a story so emotional and so compelling that we knew we had to write about it.

 

The epilogue to A Rendezvous to Remember includes vignettes from your 2014 trip to Europe to “redo” Ann’s trip with Jack in 1964. What other highlights of that trip are not included in the memoir?

Terry. There are so many, but here’s a special one: In drafting the book, Ann made contact with a French soldier who worked with Jack and Ann’s brother on the Czech-German border. In 2014, we visited him at his home in Tours, France, and spent a delightful afternoon with his family, including four grandchildren straight out of The Sound of Music. A home-cooked, seven-course meal, wine parings, and a journey through his photograph albums, which included snapshots both of Jack and of Ann’s brother.

 

What, if any, is the main un-pulled thread in A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. I ache to know what happened to my brother’s girlfriend Gretchen after she had her baby—my niece! We have searched for her and her child, who would now be in her fifties.

 

You two are a married couple writing about Ann’s love for another man. Didn’t that cause problems between you? Or did Ann simply leave out the spicy parts?

Terry. Not really. We set out to explore how we came to be a couple. It was a journey of discovery, not an attempt to “tell (or sell) our story,” so we dug as deeply and wrote as honestly and frankly as we could. The result: It brought us closer together because we gained tremendous insights into each other’s actions and feelings. Frankly, the writing—though painful at times—was wonderfully fulfilling.

 

What was the dumbest thing you did during the period covered in A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. Hitchhiking by myself across Germany without being able to speak German, then getting into the car with the “butcher brothers.” Readers will enjoy this story—it turned out OK. Also, dumping my boyfriend’s Sting Ray in the ditch. I still cringe about this.

Terry. I foolishly chose not to brave the cold and get my condoms from the car on an icy, subzero night in Silverton.

 

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Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa (Henrietta The Dragon Slayer Book 3) by Beth Barany (Book Review)

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

 

The gang is all here for the third and final novel in the Henrietta The Dragon Slayer series. While all the familiar faces are present, they each have a quest that keeps them separate but eventually reunites them for the final battle. 

Paulette: searches for a way to control her firepower.

Henrietta: She has too many missions to list. 🙂

Jaxter: He’s searching for Paulette. He’s also working on another item but revealing it would spoil his big reveal, so MUMS THE WORD. 

Franc: He’s mission hasn’t wavered since the last book — protect Henrietta and find the magical villain. 

Antoine: Return home and show he’s no longer a scared child. 

Eyvindir (villain): His evil intentions have stayed constant – get the stone by any means possible! 

 

So many storylines happening = never a dull moment.

With numerous battles, I can understand why Henrietta is always bone-tired and hungry. She’s riding high on adrenaline! 

Beth (the author) did a marvelous job depicting the characters’ individual quests and then merging them at the end for the final showdown. I only wish this wasn’t the end of the series.

Paulette’s story was just heating up, and I believe Jaxter has many tales to tell. 

Beth, great job at leaving this reader wanting more. MUCH MORE! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2

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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.

 

 

Henrietta YA Fantasy Box Set 
Books 1-3
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres/Themes: YA, adventure, fantasy

Buy all three at once!

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Scorned : A Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance (Never Marry a Shifter Book 2) by Azaaa Davis (Book Showcase)

Releases February 23rd on Amazon! 

She’s the only one that can stop her cursed husband’s murderous rampage. 

Theresa lived a planned and pampered life that left her unprepared for the dark secrets and brutal people surrounding her new husband. Trapped in the form of a white wolf, the handsome Dr. James Patrick is in danger of dying, crazed and alone, or turning into something even shifters fear, a rogue alpha.

Theresa is bound to the unruly and vicious wolf pack James has tried to distance himself from in more ways than one. Theresa must stop relying on her looks and start using her mind. Can a human female that is best known for her beauty tips somehow save her cursed husband before he kills … again?

Preorder your ebook copy of Scorned today!

 

 

Be sure and check out book one! 

We said “I do,” and then he disappeared. 

Administrative assistant by day and boss lady on social media by night, Theresa enjoys sharing her charmed life with half-million followers. The only thing she loves more is being engaged to the hottest doctor at the clinic where they both work. Cementing her fame by reaching one million followers would be the icing on her wedding cake. 

Life stops running smoothly when her husband vanishes on their wedding night and a leaked photo of a barely-dressed Theresa yelling at the police sparks a viral sensation. With everything at stake—love, reputation, followers, and career—she embarks on a reluctant voyage of discovery. Follow Theresa as she stumbles over her new husband’s secrets and develops her inner strength. 

 

Start reading this thrilling paranormal romance novella today!

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Azaaa Davis is an International Bestselling American author of urban fantasy & paranormal romance novels. ✨

She fell in love with reading as a high school freshman and continues to read, write, and draw today. Her background in social work helps her portray realistic characters in otherworldly–and sometimes terrifying–situations. A New York native, Azaaa currently lives in New Hampshire (USA) with her husband and daughters.

Azaaa is working diligently to finish writing more fantasy novels while raising her daughters. Thank you for showing an interest in her stories!

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A Cupcake Christmas: A Christmas Elf Romance by Beth Barany (Book Review)

Love, chaotic magic, and cupcakes. What could possible go wrong?

What if you risked losing your baking legacy by cooking up a love truly special?

Florian MacMillian needs a final job to complete his baking resume—preferably a job where he’s unlikely to blow things up with his unruly magic—before returning to the North Pole and taking his rightful place as Master Baker to all the elves.

Kate Delore desperately needs help in her fast-growing cupcake business. Florian is a perfect fit, so she brings him on as baker. For a short time, Florian is happily up to his elbows in batter, and Kate’s business is booming.

But when things heat up between them, Florian wonders if he should risk his legacy to cook up something truly special.

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

 

If I had a sweet tooth, this story would’ve been torture on it. There were so many delicious desserts mentioned. Here are a few that even had me tempted to search out a sugary treat: donut cupcake, chocolate croissant cupcake, apple nut cupcakes, and a chocolate shake.

Kate served these sweet treats and a variety of savory options with her temporary assistant, Florian. Florian was a delightful character. He exuded joy! He even made me smile when his magic went off the rails, and Santa came a callin’. Yup, THE SANTA. Those scenes were just so precious and had me smiling from ear to ear.

Sweet holiday read!

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

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Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.

All the Books in the Touchstone Series:
All books are stand-alone, yet are connected.

Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) (Touchstone, #1)
A Christmas Fling (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #2)
Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #3)
A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #4)
A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #5)

Buy All Five At Once!

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