Review of “Troika: A Supernatural Short Story” – Bibiana Krall

A normal day in the Deep South turns into a nightmare, as Chantal discovers that beauty and terror trace the fault lines between life and death. She fights to understand why a good woman, her friend Aida is stricken with a debilitating illness that steals her mind and reason. When Aida’s terrifying visions are revealed, what price does it have when it’s shared with Chantal? 

 
 Take a walk on the dark side, where existence is fragile and knowledge of the after-life can cross over and become frighteningly real and physically dangerous to anyone who knows the truth. Make it a summer to remember with a fantastic new story from Black Calyx Books!
 
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Dementia is a scary illness. It weakens the mind and body. People with the affliction are aware their time is limited, and there’s no cure. Loss of motor function, loss of memory, and hallucinations are just a few symptoms a person faces with this terrible illness. Again, it’s a sad and frightening illness.


Bibiana wrote about the fears and heartache of having Dementia from a sufferer’s point of view and a friend’s as well.


She focused a lot of time on hallucinations. Were the three people Aida saw real or the result of her disease? To avoid spoilers, I won’t say either way.


I will say this…


When you sense evil or death breathing down your neck, real or imaginary, it’s a real mind F—K. You can’t help but live in constant fear. And fear, as we discover, is like food for vile creatures.


After I finished this short story, I read the “Afterword.” In my opinion, I think Bibiana Krall should’ve put the “Author’s Note” before the actual story. Knowing this story was loosely based on real-life events increased my score. Before the “Afterword,” Troika was a solid three stars. After I read the “Author’s Note,” my score jumped a point.


Also, before the story began, Bibiana had an “Epilogue.” An epilogue goes at the end of a story.


Other than those two things, I wouldn’t have changed anything else. It was a quick, to the point, read and had just the right amount of spookiness to keep me engaged. No gore, only a story that embraced the word FEAR.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 
 
 
Bibiana Krall is the author of seventeen titles on Amazon, a former international travel expert and luxury insider, she has lived the adventurous life she writes about. Her novels and short stories highlight kickass, female protagonists in character driven stories that utilize social narratives.
Winner of a ‘Pay It Forward Scholarship’ from Wilkes University CW, Bibiana Krall has been called a, “Lyrical maven and literary wordsmith.” @Goodreads Learn more about Bibiana’s books, watch cinematic book trailers.

Become Literati and subscribe to her free blog, news, inspiring articles and occasional recipes at https://www.bibianakrall.com

YouTube: Bibiana Krall Books | Barefoot Films
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Author Showcase – Laura M. Baird (Sights on Her: Shifter Clans Book 2)

Hawk shifter, Brennon Underhill is on a mission to shut down rogue labs and take down those responsible for experimenting with humans and shifters. A startling connection ignites within him after one look at Mikki, the only survivor of horrific deeds, and he knows he’ll do anything to save her and make her his.

One moment Mikki Babineaux is celebrating with friends, the next she realizes she’s been kidnapped and put through torture. Her savior comes in the hulking form of a gorgeous stranger named Brennon who sparks decadent desires. But learning he’s a shifter, and she may now be one as well, throws her world into a tailspin.

Can they rise above the chaos to find love and balance with one another?

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Excerpt:

Brennon hooked the radio to his pants. He then raised his hand to the glass and flattened his palm to the window. The glass wasn’t any thin, two-pane panel that might be easily broken. It looked to be solid, nearly the same thickness as the door, at close to two inches. So what had caused the cracking? On the inside, no less. He looked to the woman with wonder, staring, beseeching her with his eyes to approach the glass again.

She looked at his hand, then his eyes, and took a hesitant step forward. Slowly, cautiously, she raised her hand but held it away from the glass.

“Come on, trust me,” Brennon whispered.

Her gaze locked with his as she pressed her palm to the window opposite his hand. When she made contact, Brennon could’ve sworn he felt her heat radiate through the thick barrier. And she must have felt something too because a tiny gasp escaped her mouth, causing the glass to fog with her breath. Her breathing increased, her chest moved rapidly, and her eyes dilated, becoming almost completely black from her wide pupils.

Brennon slung the rifle across his back while continuing to keep his sights on the woman. He began speaking in a normal tone. “I’m not here to harm you. I’m here to help.”

She blinked several times, a beautiful bright gold replacing the black as her eyes returned to normal. Her breathing remained a bit elevated, but at least she was breathing. And upright, as opposed to either passed out, drugged, or dead like the others.

“I want to open the door and get you out of there, but you’ve got to promise to remain with me. Can you do that?”

The woman nodded once as she quickly glanced to the doorknob then back to Brennon.

“I’m Brennon.”

She smiled, showing brilliant white, straight teeth. “M-Mikki.” Her voice cracked, its low tone barely above a whisper as it was muffled by the obstacle between them.

Brennon returned her smile. “Mikki.”

She nodded several more times before attempting to speak again. “The door, locked.”

The raspy sound of her voice shouldn’t have sparked something inside Brennon, but it sure as hell did. Turning his concentration to the door, he did indeed find it locked. With nothing around to bang on the knob, and not wanting to damage the rifle any further, he figured he’d have to bust it open with his body.

“You’re gonna have to step back.” He spoke louder so she’d be sure to hear him. “Can you shield yourself with the mattress? I’m gonna have to bust the door.”

Mikki nodded and scrambled to the bed, easily lifting the pitiful mattress and holding it in front of her as she put herself in the corner.

Brennon lifted the rifle off and set it along with the radio on the floor beyond the door jamb. He backed against the opposite wall, giving himself about four feet of distance before launching his body at the door. It easily burst open from the force, banging against the wall. Brennon stopped it from swinging back at him, and when his hand slid around to the inside, he felt dents on the metal. As he started to look at what he was feeling, Mikki threw down her shield and began running toward him. He had just enough time to react as she jumped into his arms. Her body shook as he easily caught her petite form and held her close. Even with the smell of dirt and sweat coating the gown and her skin, he detected an underlying scent of something sweetly musky. A heady combination.

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As one who grew up with a love of reading, I’ve turned that into a love of writing.  And one day (soon) I hope to make that my full-time endeavor.  I continue to practice dental hygiene – a career I’ve enjoyed for nineteen years.
 
I’ve been married over twenty-eight years to my stud of a husband, and had the pleasure of raising two sons who make us proud. Recently, we’ve joined the ranks of grandparents, with the addition of a precious grandson.

Growing up on the East Coast in Florida, and after meeting my husband in Georgia while we both served in the U. S. Army, we call the West our home.  After living in Idaho for many years, where hubby is from, Washington State is where we now reside.  Traveling is a dream for us, as we have passports just waiting for stamps from Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, and Fiji!

Besides reading and writing, I enjoy music and movies, art and tattoos [both admiring as well as personally getting], staying active, watching football [NFL and Boise State], dark chocolate, and stalking my favorite authors on social media…. authors such as Donna Grant, Rachel Grant, Toni Anderson, Anna Durand, and so many more. You can see what I’m reading and recommending at Goodreads and BookBub.

I write what I also enjoy reading; stories that range from heart-warming to body-blushing, filled with emotion, suspense, humor, and contemporary issues.
 
To be in the “know” about all the latest, click over to my contact page and follow me on my social media sites.  I love engaging, so join me for the fun and memorable moments on this journey!

 

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Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (The Resurrection of Ruma: Demons & Witches Book 1)

The year is 1879, the witch Farrah has destroyed the demon Ruma, but the cost has been high. Her two best friends and fellow witches are dead as well.

A shot rings out and a bullet plunges into her back. As Farrah lies dying, she watches helplessly as one of Ruma’s followers gathers some of the demon’s ashes. The follower shoots Farrah again. With the last of her magical energy she embeds her essence in the necklace she wears then dies.

Years pass and the follower’s descendant revives the demon Ruma. At the same time an innocent woman named, Lisa, finds Farrah’s necklace in a meadow and puts it on. Farrah’s spirit enters Lisa’s body and takes control of it.

The battle between witches and demons is renewed, but this time the struggle starts in 2016. Ancient magic and modern day weapons will make this war deadlier by far.

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** EXCERPT **

Lisa guided her vehicle to the grocery store. She didn’t have any choice which store to go to, the one in whose parking lot she pulled in was the only one in town. There was a single hardware store, two gas stations, a post office, a 7-11, one bar, a café and a few other small businesses and that was the extent of the Greensville’s shopping district. Off from Main Street were two churches as well. Lisa filled her cart then checked out. She opened the tailgate and started placing bags in the back of her SUV. A jolt of surprise raced through her when a stranger stepped up behind her. She hadn’t even heard a car pull in.

“Need any help loading, Lisa?” he asked.

She spun quickly to face him. The man was tall and buff in his blue jeans and red t-shirt. He had sandy blonde hair and a rugged face. His green eyes seemed to smolder and to her chagrin she unconsciously licked her lips. It hasn’t been that long since I was with a man. For Pete’s sake one look at this handsome man and I’m ready to jump into bed with him. I don’t even know his name for crying out loud.

As if he could read her thoughts, he went on, “My name’s Grant, Grant Higgins.” He reached out and brushed his fingers gently over her fingers instead of shaking her hand which was filled with a grocery bag. His mere touch was like a deep kiss and to her mortification it caused her panties to dampen. Say something, you damned idiot. Don’t just stand there like a deer caught in the headlights. “Lisa, Lisa Hale, nice to meet you, Grant.”

Without waiting for her approval, he began helping her load the shopping bags in the back of her truck.

“May I ask how you happen to know my name?” she asked.

Grant chuckled and the smile that spread his lips caused her heart to skip a beat. This is real life, Lisa, not some romantic moment from a novel you’re writing.

“Small town, most everybody here knows everyone else. And if possible, most everything about everyone else. For example, I know you’re new here, from Texas, are single and a writer.”

Lisa stopped loading and placed her hands on her hips. “How the hell do you know so much about me and I don’t know a damn thing about you?”

“My aunt is the real estate broker you bought your cabin and property from. She is also one of the biggest gossips around here. I’m not the only one who knows your name and what you do. I may be one of the few that knows you’re single, but that is because I probed my aunt for more info. By the way, I own the tavern here and work there much of the time. I’m single as well. So now you know some about me. I lead a pretty boring life.”

Once again he flashed her his disarming smile that made her want to drop her pants and jump his bones right there in the parking lot. Why does he affect me that way? I’m brazen and some say I have loose morals. I’m not afraid to go after what I want, but I don’t flaunt myself on men I’ve just met a few minutes earlier.

Grant loaded the last bag of groceries in the back of her truck and she closed the hatch. Lisa moved to wheel the shopping cart back to the store, but Grant stopped her. “I’ll get it. I haven’t done my shopping yet. By the way, Lisa, we’re neighbors. That branch off the dirt road going to your cabin leads to my place. I’d give you my phone number just in case of emergency, but I doubt you have reception out there.” He cocked his head in question.

“I’m getting internet tomorrow so I will have then.” After a slight hesitation she took her phone out of her purse and gave him her number. “Call me so I can add your number to my contact list,” she said. When he did she added it to her list and said, “Got it. Thank you. I’ve got to go now and put these away before the frozen things thaw. Nice meeting you. Maybe we’ll see each other again soon.”

“I’m sure we will. Small town. Stop into my tavern sometime. I’ll spring for some free drinks.”

This time they shook hands for real and once again the contact of his skin to hers caused thrills to race through her. Lisa hopped into her SUV and drove away, only allowing herself to glance in the rearview mirror once to see the tall and handsome Grant standing there in the middle of the parking lot watching her drive away. Oh yes, she did intend to accept his invitation to visit his bar. If for no other reason it would give her an excuse to get to know him better. If things worked out maybe she could make his life unboring. She chuckled at her wicked thoughts.

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Contact links:

Website / Blog
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads / 

 

 

Resurrection of Ruma (book 1)

When Lightning Strikes (book 2)

Collateral Damage (Book 3)

Demon Spawn (book 4)

A Matter of Trust (book 5)  

 

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Review of “The God Queen: Rebirth Book 1” – M. L. Tishner

The return of the God Queen is not what everyone hoped…

Humans have long since spread their numbers among the stars. Now far, far into the future, war has torn the Tyre Star Cluster into two major political factions. The militant Dominion have gained the upper hand in the last decade when their champion murdered the hope of the progressive Federation: Niklaryn Ettowa. Some considered the war to be almost won.

Yet there are those who claim the war will not be ended by mortals…but by the rebirth of the gods. 

Rei lived most of her life bartending on one Earth’s backwater towns. She daydreams of something more, traveling the stars, and destroying the man who murdered her brother Niklaryn. Her dream is within her grasp only if she accepts her fate as the God Queen.

Bronx is disillusioned with being a reincarnated god, let alone a reaper. He pays his penance by keeping people at a distance and taking up the mantle of a combat medic. When the sister of his old mentor Niklaryn storms in to join the cause will he find something worth fighting for?

Together with others, they must help the Federation tip the scales in their favor, but everyone seems to have their own plans for what the gods should do.

Jupiter Ascending meets X-Men in this epic New Adult space opera bursting with star-crossed romance, elemental magic, and an adventure across the star cluster, perfect for fans of A Spark of White Fire.

 

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Read the first four chapters for FREE!

 

 

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

 

The God Queen is broken up into two sections: The Woman and The Goddess.

(Part One) The Woman read as if it was picking up from a prequel. One hundred pages into the story and I finally contacted M. L. Tishner (the author) to ask if there was perhaps a prequel to The God Queen. M. L. Tishner responded there was NO PREQUEL. She stated things were taken out, but it was all in the sakes of her readers. 

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to print.

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is definitely a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to press.

For me, I missed not having more information on key characters: Niklaryn, Infiernen, Negander, to name a few.

 

 

(Part Two) The Goddess was a thousand times better than Part One. Secrets were revealed, past/present connections were explained more, and we finally saw some real emotions from central characters.

It’s in this section that I actually started to like the characters, particularly Bronx. He’s a character you’ll want to hug and tell him everything is going to be okay.

Even though I found Part One lacking in character development, I do recommend reading this book. Why? Part Two was pretty good, and I think the series has great potential.

(Book II, no release date yet)

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Read the first four chapters for FREE!

 

 

Mari, a native Hoosier, currently lives in southern Germany where she entertains people with her adventures as an American expat in the Land of Beer and Pretzels on her blog adventuresoflamari.com as well as the adventures of her pugs, Abner and Roxy. When she’s not writing, Mari cooks, snowboards, dances to the beat of her own drum, reads late into the night, and binge watches Netflix with her husband. The God Queen is her debut novel.

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Review of “Nexilexicon” – Keith Anthony Baird

NOTE: A story which incorporates similar themes to major motion pictures such as these – JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARGATE, THE LOST CITY OF Z.

From the sworn oath of an ancient curse a cult rises. She is the ocean vast, its deadly rake, and primal power. Her first ones commune from across the great divide and make their new hive in the emptiness of men. A secret project, born from the ambitions of a young nobleman, transcends the passage of time and reaches through the veil of life and death for her reawakening. Deep beneath a mountain, inside a secure facility at the heart of a covert black op called Nexilexicon, a team of scientists, the military and the CIA are about to punch a hole through to another dimension. What could possibly go wrong?

What begins in the wilds of the Amazon jungle in 1847 culminates in a threat to mankind’s very existence.

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


This story takes part in different time periods, so I’ve broken up my review into sections to discuss each area. Beware, there are spoilers! 

 

Chapters 1-8

The story begins with Sander van Straten embarking on a voyage. It’s not long before feelings of excitement turn to feelings of dread.

First, a mighty storm struck and they lost a young sailor.

Next, a swarm of insects descended on their ship and the crew had to hunker down below deck.

Then, there were the strange markings on the barrels and several stolen items.

Was the cook correct in saying this voyage was cursed? Even though I found Keith Anthony Baird (the author) long-winded at times, and the story seemed to teeter on the dull side, I was curious about the crew’s fate.

The crew’s trek through the Amazon jungle was quite adventurous, but I’d expect no less. They crossed paths with many exotic creatures, came face to face with a spider the size of a man’s head, and were ambushed by the natives. I wished they’d stayed in the jungle longer. I was thoroughly enjoying their time there, even though they weren’t at the least.

When they went back on the Eva, trouble again struck hard and fast. Rhames overtook their ship, and Eva’s crew members were held captive for two weeks, starved before released onto a small island. No drinkable water, no food, nothing but the clothes on their backs. The men turned into savages. They ate one of their own, had to if they wanted to survive. Sander couldn’t allow himself to partake of human flesh. I’m not sure I could’ve either.

 Life on the sea was hard, but life on land was no picnic either.

 

Chapters 9 -11

We jump forward in time to 1964. For over a century, Eva’s treasure has been lost to the sea but no longer. Wreck hunters have found the bounty and, with it, the curse that accompanies it. These chapters were laced with mystery, intrigue, suspense, death, and left me wondering what the hell was going on.

 

Chapter 12

It’s 1973, and an international team has been in the Al-Hajar Mountains for five weeks. Five weeks before the discovery of a chamber’s entrance. What they did find there is an archaeologist’s wet dream: mummified creatures, crystals, and a civilization that thrived and appeared highly evolved and intelligent. Unfortunately, their good fortune didn’t last long. Nobody’s luck remains good for long in this story.

 

Chapters 13 – 15

2012 – Project Nexilexicon was underway, and things were finally getting really good. Using DNA discovered at a dig site 40 years ago, scientists have reanimated/resurrected the creature Sander van Straten saw during his time in the Amazon jungle. The animals had six limbs, around 650 pounds, and had a presumed bite force that would resemble a crocodile’s.

I knew these creatures would escape their enclosure, but I didn’t realize how they would. They were extremely organized and intelligent in their escape. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll be amazed by what these creatures could and did accomplish.

Humans versus beasts… I knew it would be a bloodbath, and I was right. Keith Anthony Baird had the creatures biting heads off and separating limbs from bodies. Soldiers did everything to stop them, even sacrificing themselves for the civilians.

This set of chapters were my favorite out of the entire book. I actually could’ve used more action like this. In my opinion, I would’ve edited out much of the beginning time spent in 1847 and devoted more paragraphs to Project Nexilexicon. What the scientists and government were doing underneath a Nevada mountain range was the only reason why my score became a solid three stars.

 

Overall Impression 

The first eight chapters were mostly bland. Chapters 9-11 were okay. Chapter twelve had great potential but fell flat overall. However, Chapter 13-15 had me on the edge of my seat! I also enjoyed the epilogue because Keith ended with a nice twist. It’ll make you wonder what’s going to happen next for Project Nexilexicon.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Keith Anthony Baird lives in rural Cumbria, England, with his partner Ann, a mad spaniel, two cats and two goldfish. He’s also inherited two daughters and a grandson. He’s had a varied career, having been a journalist for ten years, and also a designer and a retail manager in his time. The Jesus Man is his first novel, written throughout 2016 and based on an idea he devised just under thirty years ago.

Inspired by such luminaries as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. G. Wells, his aim has been to deliver stories in a classic vein, but with a contemporary slant in both style and content. He aims to remain entirely independent, producing his works his own way, without interference from traditional publishing houses.

In his spare time, he and Ann indulge their shared love of the mountains by scaling the many peaks of the inspirational Lake District National Park.

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