Tag Archives: paranormal

Review of “Touch of Smoke” – Karissa Laurel

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

 

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

 

About ½ way through Touch of Smoke and my mind was teeming with questions.

How did Nina die?

What was Owen’s part in Nina’s death?

What’s up with Rikki’s nightmares?

How can Owen afford everything he’s buying?

Who’s the mystery man in the black ball cap, polo shirt and khaki shorts?

I had many more questions and I needed answers. I wanted to know more about Rikki’s life — past, present and future. And it wasn’t just Rikki’s story that I wanted to know more about. Was Owen a good guy or was he a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I pressed on to the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, looking forward to getting some answers.

 

In the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, I got most of my answers. Owen finally opened up and told Rikki his deep, dark secret. A secret I won’t share because it would reveal too much about the plot.

I will admit that Rikki did annoy me at times except during the battle scene. During that section, she impressed me and then I thought…. Maybe this chick is all right after all.

As for Owen: I loved him, from first introduction to the very last page. As the legendary Salt-N-Pepa would say…

 

What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
Gotta say it again now
What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
He’s a mighty mighty good man

 

Technically, Owen is more than just a man BUT to learn more you must purchase a copy and find out for yourself!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, super heroes and Star Wars. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. In the summer she’s camping, kayaking, and boating at the lake, and in the winter, she’s curled up with a good book.

 

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Kingdom Journals series)

Kingdom Journals Prequel: Anne’s Story

Kingdom of the Damned is a stand-alone prelude to the Kingdom Journals Series.

“…he that believeth not shall be DAMNED” – Mark 16:16

In 1557, witches burn her home and family. She escapes with the help of a family friend and they hide among humans. At seventeen, another atrocity ignites Anne’s passion for justice. Circumventing the globe, she seeks to unite the vampires and build peace. Powerful enemies amass against them, but her friends number many, including a surprising and mysterious hero. In a war for survival, love feels extravagant, and heroes don’t always prevail. Can she best her enemy and find happiness at last?

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Volume 1 (Kingdom Journals)

Alena’s story

He wouldn’t understand. He didn’t live in a pretend world. In truth, he did. Most beings, pure humans, walked around thinking they were the only type of people that existed.” –Alena

As a creature forbidden by both vampire and witch cultures, Alena is forced hide her identity. Her mother moves them from city to city searching for answers. When Alena finds Hunter everything changes. She believes their bond may be the. But her mother finds Theron, an equally handsome and mysterious suitor. Will the truth of his intentions be uncovered before it is too late? Or will her Mother’s kingdom be reduced to embers?

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 Volume 2 (Kingdom Journals)

Camille’s story 

“… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together.” – Camille Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

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Volume 3: (Kingdom Journals)

Jude’s Story

Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. But once she’s recovered, what will his role be? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this urban fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.

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Series Finale Released Today, Volume 4: (Kingdom Journals)
Hunter’s Story

They’d been imaginary childhood friends until Alena found him thirteen years later. After uniting the trinity, they formed a coven of witches, eight souls shouldered with the burden of breaking an age-old curse. Someone had to lead, and from the moment he became a full witch, Hunter knew it must be him. But his power, the magic coursing through his veins, hungered for a life of its own. Can he control his demons? Will Alena, Camille, and Hunter figure out how to break the spell binding their souls or will the darkness consume them?

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Tricia lives in Colorado with her family and four-legged friends. She writes young and new adult fiction including fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, and romance titles. If not out on the trail, you can find Tricia on your favorite social media! 
Find Tricia and her books at www.triciacopeland.com or on your favorite social media.

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Review of “Tainted Luck” – Cynthia Austin

Levi Kast was content living his life in the shadows. He didn’t want much, just his dad’s attention and the girl of his dreams to notice his existence.

Instead, he got more than he had bargained for.

Taylor James was the new student at Kennedy High. She was eccentric, impulsive, Gothic and…dark.

She always got what she wanted, and she decided instantly that she wanted Levi Kast. He became her obsession.

Despite Levi’s initial response to retreat from her other world presence, he was eventually drawn to this girl and her obsession of death and ghosts.

But Taylor had skeletons in her closest, including a dead boyfriend, and before Levi could understand them, he found himself her next victim.

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

In Tainted Luck, Levi Kast dealt with problems associated with teenage life: dating, insecurities, and parental issues. He, unlike other teens, also had to deal with paranormal situations: spiritual body swaps and spirits.

This story did have some creepy moments in it and a few moments that will make your skin crawl, especially the maggot scene.

It also touched upon a sensitive subject matter… teen suicide.

It’s difficult raising a child because you wonder what going on in your kid’s head. I can’t imagine the mental and emotional toil raising Taylor James had on her parents. She had powers, thoughts and intentions that would be difficult for any caregiver to process. I can understand why her mother, teacher, and classmates were leery/afraid of her. Trust me, you’ll understand why once you read the book.

Tainted Luck is a book worth reading. Whether you believe in paranormal/supernatural world or not, certain sections might freak you out. It sure did me.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Cynthia Austin is a multi-published author who lives in Northern California with her husband, two boys, and Olde English Bulldogge named Count Dogula. They love all things horror, gothic, and Victorian which prompts her friends to dub them as “The Adams Family.”

She is an avid reader who may be slightly obsessed with music. She hears music in a way that she believes the artist intended it to be heard: visually, with a storyline that follows. Listening to the songs by her favorite artists, she was inspired to write her first series titled “The Pendant.”

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Author Showcase – Jim Proctor (In Azure Dreams)

Delve into six stories from the paranormal realm…

Caveat Emptor (story one): Mark buys a house for half the market value. He’s thrilled with the deal, but he has no idea he’s about to discover the full cost. As they say, “Let the buyer beware.”

The Meaning of Life (story two):  Eric obsesses over discovering the meaning of life. Given how thick-headed and self-absorbed he is, it will take someone else to spell it out for him in big, bold letters.

In the Sand Beneath the Dawn (story three):  Carly has just about given up on life, but she’ll learn Fate isn’t finished with her, and is shuffling the cards to deal her new hand.

See You in My Dreams (story four):  Arthur teeters between two places at once. Reality has split his existence into two parallel realities, and he doesn’t even know it. Unfortunately, life will only offer one solution to his problem.

Planet 94 (story five): Senja and Petre make the scientific discovery of a lifetime—a planet teeming with life. Among the ruins of a lost civilization, a new discovery will make them rethink everything they know about their own history.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving (story six):  Samantha works hard and makes just enough money to get by with little to spare. When her company has a big celebration and she needs to buy a gift for her boss, she’ll get a taste of buyer’s remorse when she ignores her instincts and buys a gift from a strange little shop that hadn’t been there only yesterday.

What you can’t see can hurt you.

 

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~~ Excerpt from Caveat Emptor, story one ~~

 

The alarm clock blared. Sunlight filtering through the window shades cast a sickly grey hue about the room. Three open moving boxes sat on the floor near the closet, their contents sorted into piles waiting to be moved to their appropriate places. Mark had moved in just four days ago.

The divorce had been bitter. His ex-wife got the house, the kids, and half of everything else. He got to pay the mortgage, alimony, and child support. He never would have been able to afford this place if it hadn’t been for the circumstances. Three previous owners, all young men, had died in this very bedroom. All had died in their sleep of unknown causes within days of moving in. Mark had laughed at the idea that the house was to blame. The first time he walked in, it had felt so welcoming, drawing him in. When he made a ridiculously low offer for the place, he’d been shocked when the bank accepted it without counter. Now, he lay motionless on the bed, beads of sweat glistening on his ashen face. Mark was dead. Number four. He wasn’t laughing any longer.

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Jim Proctor has been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy since high school, bitten by the Sci-Fi bug while reading Frank Herbert’s Dune. He has worked as an engineer and laboratory scientist for almost forty years, and uses his expertise to create believable frameworks for his science fiction stories. He is married with four kids, all adults now, who remind him he was born before dirt was invented. He enjoys sitting down with his laptop and his new writing partner, Bailey, a two-year-old yellow Labrador.

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Review of “Wild Willful Heart” – W. Boone Hedgepeth

Take a wild megalomaniacal trip into the American spiritual and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s-1990s, as a young southern man gives fresh perspective to the propaganda, bad marriages, a collection of strange gurus and some bizarre mystical places. For many years, author W. Boone Hedgepeth was a magnet for unusual occurrences of an ethereal nature which vigorously affected the world around him. Suffering a life threatening illness and after a near death experience, Boone goes on an adrenalized journey from the American south and across the country seeking answers. Here, force of will and prayer are the proven best weapons against very unusual circumstances. Literally seeking the face of God, the author plunges into the magical medicine of his native ancestors, the new age metaphysical movement, Christian fundamentalism, and other wild and life-changing experiences before coming out of the fires to the other side.

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

 

There is so much I want to touch upon regarding Wild Willful Heart. Please be patient with me as I share my thoughts on many aspects of Boone’s story.

 

Mormonism

I’m not too familiar with Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I grew up in a Pentecostal church and my minister only spoke of our beliefs. While reading Wild Willful Heart, I learned both religions believed in the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit.

However, Boone disclosed some bizarre facts about Mormonism that had me shaking my head.

1.) For over 100 years, Mormons believed there were six foot tall beings living on the moon because an early church leader named Orson Pratt had said so. This was debunked after the moon landing.

2.)Mormons believed their “magic underwear,” which had Masonic markings on it, was knife proof and bulletproof. It had to be worn everyday to protect the righteous wearer from evil.

I’m not sure why anyone would believe such nonsense but, then again, atheists wonder why people believe in GOD so to each their own, I guess.

 

Like many people, Boone questioned organized religion. He used words like hypocrite and hypocrisy more than once. I can understand why he used these key words. I’m not saying all churches or church members are hypocrites. What I am saying is I can fully understand why some people are losing their faith in GOD, churches, and religion as a whole.

 

Mental Health

As Boone embarked on his vision quest, he discussed troubling times from his past. At thirteen, he began to hear voices in his head, which instructed him to end his life. He assumed every teen experienced these voices as they transitioned into adulthood. As a teen, I began hearing voices too. I didn’t speak of them. The voices are scary. You feel alone, afraid of your own mind. Like Boone, I also live with bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I truly believe MORE people should discuss mental health because we need to end the stigma of mental illness. If we don’t, if we shame those with mental health problems, people who are suffering won’t seek help. A person who thinks there’s no help, no understanding, will end their life. I, personally, don’t want to see that happen. Everyone needs the opportunity to feel safe to discuss their issues, to get the help they need, and to live a long, happy life.

As for Boone’s experience with drugs and alcohol, it happens with most teenagers. IMHO, I don’t believe illegal drugs and liquor should be consumed if you’re battling a mental health problem. It can and will make you more self-destructive. Boone discussed this during one of his flashbacks. Boone, I applaud you for being so forthcoming with your struggles with mental illness, mental health hospitals, liquor and drugs.

 

Apparitions and UFOs

Many people have claimed to see sprits and UFOs. I’m not sure if spirits are real or just a play on eyes, a figment of our imagination. However, if you believe in life on other planets, then the possibility of UFOs is plausible. Maybe, just maybe, spirits are real. And maybe, those sightings of UFOs do hold some merit as well. Bravo Boone, you made me stop and evaluate their validity.

 

Vision Quests

Vision quests are popular because many people seek enlightenment, a connection to all things. They want to find answers, peace, or a purpose in life. Boone went on several and he spoke of the physical, emotional, and mental toll it took on him. It changed his life; it was cathartic. After I read about his time on the mountain, I began to wonder if I could benefit from one. Maybe after reading his trials, you’ll consider participating in one as well.

 

Summation

You don’t have to be a religious person to read Wild Willful Heart. You only need to have an open mind and few hours to spare on this (under) 300-page story.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Author W. Boone Hedgepeth
W. Boone Hedgepeth studied history at the University of South Florida for four years. He spent 35 years in business and copywriting, with 11 years as a lay minister in his free time. His favorite places are the mountains of North Carolina, and any good waterfront restaurant in South Carolina. His hobbies include classic cars and RVs, listening to swampy blues, and reading the Bible. W. Boone Hedgepeth lives with his wife on the coast of South Carolina.
 
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