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Review of “Fountain Dead” – Theresa Braun

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. 

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

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

 

Fountain Dead is a carefully crafted story that takes place in two time periods, in two POV’s.

Emma, born in the 1800’s, didn’t have a lifetime of love and happiness. There was a brief period of time she thought she’d achieve her HEA but her life took a grisly turn. Family turned against her and she learned the hard way not to trust anyone.

Mark’s story took place in 1988 when his family moved to Winona and into the Durley house, Emma’s family home. From the start, Mark knew something was off about the house. It was messing with his mind, his sister’s and eventually it turned its attention to others. The house was cursed. Anyone who entered it was prey.

Mark didn’t want to live in the house but a child must live where their parents tell them. His parents were oblivious to the danger lurking in the house but Mark wasn’t. He saw the spirits, humanoid creature, and saw the effects of possession firsthand.

As we watch Emma’s life progress, we see every monumental point in her life was somehow tied to what Mark and his family was living through in present time. At first, the time period/POV’s flip-flopping did mildly annoy me. It was occurring way too rapidly. I actually started taking meticulous notes because I wondered how each moment in the past would have an impact on Mark in his time period. It wasn’t until I was about mid checkpoint that I didn’t mind the flip-flopping speed as much because NOW the puzzle pieces were clicking together and the grand picture was almost revealed.

The link between past and present was mapped out very well and the ending was spectacular.

Cliffhanger? Yes, Theresa’s final moments in Fountain Dead let readers know there was more evil to battle.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Review of “Between The Shadows (Lake Lanier Mysteries)” – Casi McLean

She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one… 

After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold. 

An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart. 

Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life? 

 

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Confederate States of America currency circa 1865

 

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

Time travel stories and movies capture viewers’ interest because many of us have pondered when and where we would go, if given the opportunity. I myself have considered, many times over, whom I would like to meet.

In Between The Shadows, Casi McLean takes us back in time to the Civil War era. There, readers are thrust into one suspenseful moment after another while York and Kenzi attempt to save a woman’s life without altering the present.

That’s the real issue with time traveling… you can’t alter history. York took steps to make sure history was left intact. (For you history buffs, you’ll be pleased to know the missing Confederate gold is the main focal point in the plot and Casi addresses it again before we reach The End.)

Whether you are traveling to the past or coming to the present, the experience can be overwhelming. On the trip to the present, this is where Casi does a fantastic job of showing how our simple luxuries can be confusing to a person.

Suspense, love, bit of history, couple surprise moments, and a HEA……. All of these combine to make a story readers will want to relive time and time again.

 

Heart Rating System 

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

 

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Review of “Death’s Desire: Siren’s Lullaby Anthology” – Tracy A. Ball

Enchanted Anthologies presents Siren’s Lullaby, an intertwined novel told by six authors. 

‘The madness of the eyes is the lure of the abyss.’

Three women are left stranded on a small Island near Sicily, Italy, to starve, but they won’t give up easily. Joining together to fight to survive, they make a deal with a demon of the sea. 

The only catch is they must lure ships to the rocks using their voices and sink the ships along with the men aboard. 

Three pirates–brothers–who haven’t agreed on much since their mother died get back together for a long journey. They long to rid themselves of the curse placed on them by a sea witch. 

An insatiable hunger felt by the seductress sirens and the deadly pirates will join them together in more ways than they could ever have thought. 

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I didn’t know where the others were, but Tristian, Rauel and I were taken to a pen. It wasn’t large or particularly comfortable but a small cave with bars that appeared to have been salvaged from some-long forgotten ship. I imagined lots of things from long-forgotten ships were hoarded in these caves.

Tristian and Rauel belonged to my vanguard. Deadly fighters and trustworthy men. That was, if you considered men who plunder to be trustworthy. I knew enough about them to anticipate what was coming. Tristian was claustrophobic. He hesitated at the cave’s entrance and turned on the siren. 

I drew my sword and turned on him. “We all must die sooner or later. Your choice.”

Rauel went into the cave without a backward glance. He had called me unpredictable on more than one occasion.

“Baldassare, I can’t go in there,” Tristian said.

“You can, and you will.” I nudged him with my sword tip.

It was low, almost inaudible. I felt it before I heard it, snaking its way around my heart. My sword arm went limp. Tristian didn’t notice. He, too, was captured by the siren’s magic. Rauel came forward, enchanted, called by this temptress. The bitch. I didn’t understand what she was doing, but I didn’t want her to stop.

All too soon, she did stop. I was sure we looked as stupid as we felt. 

“Get in the pen.” Her words were cold, but her eyes were black magic. My member stiffened, not for the first time since I’d seen her.

She noticed. 

“There are seven deadly sins,” she said. “I can sing and make you guilty of all of them.” She locked the cage behind us. 

“Wait,” Rauel called before she moved away. He didn’t have anything to say. He just didn’t want her to leave.

She paused.

“Who built this?” He touched the bars.

While he talked, I committed her to memory. I wanted a detailed image when I pampered my erection. 

“You are not the first men to make landfall.” She spoke as if he was impertinent for asking. 

Tristian knelt, pressing his face against the bars, taking deep breaths. “There are other men here?”

“Not any longer.” She thought a minute, then said to me, “Perhaps, you’ll be next.”

“Then I best get busy.” I nodded my head once in the direction of my crotch.

Her exquisite bottom lip dropped open. It quivered like she had something naughty to say. She came very close to me, reached out to touch me…only she didn’t. Damn. I wanted her to touch me. Her fingers were a wisp away from cupping my groin. Oh, please… 

“I can sing all seven sins.” This time, she did not look back.

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(review request of “Death’s Desire” submitted by the author, Tracy A. Ball,  for an honest critique) 

“Death’s Desire” conveyed beautifully the enticing power of a siren’s call, the magnitude of their power, and the lure of their body.

As we know from mythology, sirens are irresistible and bloodthirsty beings. Tracy capitalized nicely on illustrating their seductiveness and their insatiable hunger to feed on victims that cross their path. She also allowed readers to witness their capacity for the emotion – love.

Twist and turns, love and death, “Death’s Desire” could’ve went on to a full-length novel. As “Death’s Desire” came to a close, I came to realize I didn’t want Baldassare and the sirens’ story to end.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love…and takes naps.

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Review of “Dangerous Currents ” – Kathryn Knight

When a costly mistake ends Malorie Montgomery’s career, she returns to Cape Cod in search of a fresh start. But her plans for a new–and quiet–life are quickly derailed when she makes a grisly discovery in the woods, and her screams bring the one person from her past she’d hoped to avoid. Dean Slater, the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart in high school, now lives in the beachfront community that was supposed to be her haven…and he’s just as hot as he was six years ago. 

With his rough background, Dean always knew he wasn’t good enough for the kind, intelligent beauty who claimed his heart, but somehow he’d believed their love was strong enough to survive anything–until the tragic night she turned her back on him when he needed her trust the most. Despite their painful history, Dean can’t resist the instinct to protect her, especially when it becomes apparent there’s a killer in their town. 

Their former chemistry soon reignites, but Malorie has long accepted that her dark family secret has destined her to a life alone. And when she uncovers evidence that makes her the killer’s target, a deadly confrontation threatens to destroy any possibility of a second chance. 

 

He took a step closer, eliminating the small distance between them. “I wasn’t about to let him hurt you.” He paused, his strained expression revealing an internal struggle. Clenching his jaw, he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, their green depths flashed with something like defiance, and he cursed under his breath. “The thing is,” he finally continued, his tone rough with barely harnessed emotion, “I still feel…protective of you. I want to keep you safe.”

Her lungs stopped working. Alarm bells jangled in a distant part of her mind as he leaned over her. This was dangerous. She was dangerous. Swallowing past the knot in her throat, she forced the words out. “You don’t need to feel that way.”

His hands gripped her shoulders, setting her skin on fire. He lowered his head, bringing his lips inches from hers. “I don’t think I can control it.”

She couldn’t move. She simply didn’t have the willpower—or the desire—to stop this from happening. Every cell in her body was clamoring with need for him; it was a force of its own. All coherent thought fled as the moment stretched out in an agonizing slide toward the inevitable.

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

Dangerous Currents began with the discovery of a young, dead woman. Malorie was only back in Cape Cod for 14 hours when her and her dog, Brady, stumbled upon the gruesome finding. It was a startling encounter and so was the following moment when her ex-love, Dean, came running when he heard her scream. Talk about a bad day.

Dean, the ex who stole Malorie’s heart as a teenager, came to her rescue a few times in this story. He was there for her when it mattered most and she didn’t let him push her away when his world came crashing down around him.

 

For the most part, this story was an okay read. I only wish two things.

  • I wish more time was spent on the psychopath.
  • I wish the psychopath’s identity wasn’t so easy to figure out.

 

Even though much time wasn’t really spent on this mentally ill man, I did appreciate the fact mental illness was addressed in this story.  Mental illness isn’t discussed enough in our society and it should be.

Mal’s mom suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Mal was concerned she would develop symptoms soon. It’s why she shied away from Dean. She didn’t want to burden him with the illness. She had no intention of having children because she stated there’s a 12% chance a child would develop schizophrenia if a parent is affected with it. These are fears many individuals face on a daily basis. 

Kathryn Knight pointed out another truth about mental illness. People with mental illness want love, to be loved, but they don’t want to sidle people with the negative aspects of their illness.

For addressing this real issue many people battle, I thank you. We need more people talking about mental illness. Everyone deserves a happily ever after like Malorie.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon and Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and RomCon Reader-Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets. 

 

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Review of “Wedding Tango (Rhythm & Romance Book 3)” – Mariposa Cruz

Print Length: 64 pages

Moira Williams is dismayed when her daughter, Tami, announces her engagement. Sure Jon’s a great guy, but why do they have to get married in Buenos Aires? Though she dreads seeing her ex-husband, Alan, the gorgeous father of the groom has her pulse racing.

Widower Alan Rochester buries his grief with non-stop home improvement projects, but a sexy redhead has captured his attention. He’s eager to show Moira the sights of Buenos Aires from his college days, but is he ready to face the world again?

South of the equator, nothing is as it seems. Can Moira and Alan navigate through their feelings for each other and save their kids’ dream wedding from becoming a nightmare?

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Moira was frustrated by the time Alan reached her in the rotation. Rattled by the distracted dancing husbands and Roarke’s stare, Moira wanted to scream. Finally paired with a smooth dancer and the best-looking lead, she feared being an anxious, clumsy fool. Standing so close to him, she noticed that his eyes had flecks of brown and were framed by long lashes. Those gorgeous hazel eyes gazed at her with concern.

“You okay?” Alan asked.

“I don’t get Tango,” Moira confessed.

He nodded. “Let’s try something else then. For now, concentrate on the rhythm of the music,” he said as he took her into his arms. He waited for the opening strain of the music to pass before he led her around the dance floor.

“Better?” he asked.

“Much better,” Moira replied. Focusing on the music helped. Despite a few missteps, she finally felt as though she was dancing, not stumbling. Alan’s firm, but light, touch made it easy to follow him. The music drew to a close much too soon, and Becca announced the end of the lesson.

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

No matter the location, there’s usually always a hiccup or two when it comes to weddings. Mariposa showed us what could go wrong during the wedding planning process AND how all those unforeseen bumps don’t mean a thing once you exchange I do’s.

There was plenty of drama unfolding in Wedding Tango, but readers also experienced love (old and new) between several characters. 

Sometimes a person just needs a sweet romance story to get through their day or, in this case due to book length, lunch break. 

As much as I enjoyed the wedding hoopla, I must say the La Bibliotecha stayed on my mind long after I finished Wedding Tango… more so than anything else.

The La Bibliotecha is a bookworm’s dream destination. The La Bibliotecha is a hotel where each room is inspired by a different book genre. Now, I don’t know if a hotel like this exists or not. If not, it really needs to be built. I want to go there. I want to keep visiting it until I have vacationed/lived through every genre… twice. Hmm, maybe three times.

Do I recommend this short story? Yes.

Do I highly recommend Mariposa saving up all her royalties and putting it towards building this bookworm’s dream vacation hotspot?

ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

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