Tag Archives: short story

Banking on a Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

Fiona’s old college chum, Priscilla Conroy, has recently moved back to the Pittsburgh area after a most unpleasant divorce. Fiona was looking forward to reconnecting with her friend to help cheer her up and the two had made plans to meet at the bank where her friend worked after it closed—only Priscilla never shows up for the lunch date. Thinking the worse, Fiona is beside herself and spends the entire Memorial Day weekend searching for her friend. Did her ex-husband abduct her? Has she been murdered? Somehow Fiona knows that the key to Priscilla Conroy’s disappearance lies within the bank. But how can that be?

Join Fiona Quinn for a quick mystery that’s sure to keep you guessing!

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
Banking on a Murder: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald is a cozy mystery with ZERO foul language or suggestive scenes. It’s the perfect read for adults and teens. What’s even better, it’s only 30 pages long, so it won’t take all afternoon or day to read. 


I know many parents are choosing the homeschool route. If you’re one of these people, Banking on a Murder: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery would be an excellent story to include during their ELA studies. Students can predict the outcome and then help write the review to share online. 🙂 


I made my prediction regarding Priscilla’s whereabouts, and I was wrong. 


C.S. McDonald’s creations ALWAYS keep me entertained, and this time was no different. This was yet another story with an exciting plot and characters. Speaking of characters, Vivien Leigh cracked me up. Her attitude reminded me of my Nana. Maybe when you read this story, she’ll remind you of yours. 🙂

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
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Mara’s Awakening: The Mara Files (Book One) by Leo Flynn (Book Review)

The first in an explosive science fiction series of short stories, this is an action-packed and addictive book from an emerging author.

 

Mara Keres. A trained warrior and formerly highly respected peacekeeper.

Note “formerly.”

Once, she had her life under control. Once, she had the trust of the galaxy.

Now she rots in the same prison she used to sentence people to. Solitary confinement for six years. Would’ve brought anyone else to their knees.

Not her.

Then an offer resurfaces, almost too good to be true. Ghosts of her past and demons come back to haunt her, will she ever make it out alive?

Sometimes, facing your worst memories is worth the risk.

 

Featuring a badass anti-hero, secrets, betrayals, twists and turns, this gripping story will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more.


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

 

While the writing was a bit choppy, overall, it was a nice start to a series. There was suspense, action, deception, revenge, and a prison break. Oh, and I mustn’t forget there was a wicked cool weapon — Skyfall Swordbow. As you probably surmised, it’s a weapon used as a sword or a crossbow. That weapon wasn’t the only tool at Mara’s disposal. She also could fire bolts from her hands.

She’s a lethal weapon, one that used to be on the side of justice before wrongfully incarcerated. I look forward to reading what trouble awaits her while she’s on the run. And, I hope to see more backstory on Mara and other key characters. 

 

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

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Book Two

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Leo Flynn writes poetry & gripping, action-packed SciFi, like The Mara Files, his debut, an exciting science fiction short story series. Other galaxies, reading, talking too much about writing and music consume his waking hours.

 
 
 

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The Kelping: Rewind or Die Book 9 by Jan Stinchcomb (Book Review)

Print Length: 68 pages

Doctor Craig Bo has everything: a perfect wife and children, a thriving dermatology practice, and a house in a lovely coastal town. Nobody is surprised when he is chosen to be the Sea King of Beachside in his hometown’s annual festival.

But after the festival Craig’s world turns upside down. Something starts growing on his skin. His son tells him a story about a sinister mermaid who lives in the attic of the local history museum. And his beautiful wife, Penelope, can no longer hide her dark connection to the sea.

As Craig grapples with his own secrets and misdeeds, he finally understands the woman he married and the plans she has for him.

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

 

When you think of mermaids, your mind probably first goes to The Little Mermaid; sweet, singing, happy go lucky, under the sea people. 

Jan (the author) DID NOT write a Disney tale. Instead, she wrote a story that would make the Grimm Brothers proud. 

As a reader, Penelope was throwing up red flags all over the place. Certain phrases in conversations would lead any smart man to run for the hills. Example: Penelope wants him to “worship” only her. 

Craig didn’t see or didn’t want to see the warning signs that something was off about his wife. Heck, if he looked hard enough, I bet he could see she had crazy eyes. That’s the problem, he didn’t stop to look. Craig thought with his little head, and Little Craig got him into a particularly sticky situation. 

I didn’t feel compassion for Craig. I didn’t care about the outcome of anyone besides Dash. 

While I did like the progression of Craig’s inevitable transformation, I wanted more horror, much like we glimpsed in the opening credits. 

No doubt, this was an intriguing short story and one worth reading.

 
Heart rating system:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Score: ❤❤❤1/2
 

 

 

Jan Stinchcomb is the author of The Kelping (Unnerving), The Blood Trail (Red Bird Chapbooks) and Find the Girl (Main Street Rag). Her stories have recently appeared in WigleafHobart and Pithead Chapel. A Pushcart nominee, she is featured in Best Microfiction 2020 and The Best Small Fictions 2018. She lives in Southern California with her family. Visit her at janstinchcomb.com or on Twitter @janstinchcomb.

 

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The Celestial Assignment by Theresa Braun (Book Review)

After a sudden death, Will, a misguided angel, is tasked with protecting a baby girl. Watching over her as she grows up and navigates the world appears a harsh punishment for his past failings. Can he redeem himself, or will he fall further from grace?

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

 

While alive, Will was a horny devil. He thought with his dick, treated women like shit, and was an asshole. Even his ex-guardian angel proclaimed him an asshole. You’d think he’d end up in hell, but nope, he got angelic wings instead. 

Sometimes the best punishment is to watch your sins unfold, see the pain it causes, and keep reliving them until you feel empathy, pain and/or regret. 

BTW: If you haven’t listened to “Asshole” by Denis Leary, check it out. It’s the first thing that popped into my mind as I watched Will navigate through his assignment. 

 

🎶 

I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)

I’m an asshole (He’s the world’s biggest asshole)

A-S-S-H-O-L-E Everybody! A-S-S-H-O-L-E

Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf

Fung achng tum a fung tum a fling chum

Oooh Oooh

I’m an asshole and proud of it! 

🎶 

 

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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The Well House by Ernest Solar (Book Showcase)

Some voices are never silenced.

Lucy is a young girl who loves her Pa, their cow, and the little farmhouse she calls home. She also loves the red bicycle that Harvey gave her as a present. But not all is idyllic, and she struggles to steer clear of the local transient, Joe-Michael.

Gannon and Farrah move to Lucy’s family farm many years after Joe-Michael became Lucy’s father’s farmhand. Together, Gannon and Farrah hear Lucy’s voice for the first time on an audio recorder hidden in the woods near the old family homestead. Even though their lives are separated by decades, they intersect at the pond where the secrets have been submerged by Joe-Michael.

Blurring the lines between time and space, Lucy shares her tale with Gannon and Farrah in an unconventional turn of events.

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Present

    “Taa daaa!”

    “Wait, play that again,” said Farah, still wearing the headphones.

    Gannon used the touchpad mouse on his laptop to slide the tracker on the editing software to play the recording again.  This time he pressed the loop button and then the triangle play button.  The two-second recording played repeatedly in a loop cycle.  He watched the reaction on his fiancées face.

    Farah cupped both hands over the headphones to block out any extraneous noise.  Eyes closed, she listened to the recording repeat itself.  “Taa daaa!  Taa daaa!  Taa daaa!  Taa daaa!  Taa daaa!”  She pulled off the headphones and handed them back to Gannon.  “She’s saying ‘Taa daaa!’ in a singy song voice.  It’s a little girl.  Almost like when Payton does a cartwheel and finishes with a ‘Taa daaa!’”

    Gannon smiled at her.  “This was recorded at 2 a.m. in the middle of the forest away from any of the walking trails.”

    Farah shrugged her shoulders and moved off toward the kitchen.  “She is saying ‘Taa daaa!’” 

    Gannon closed his laptop.  He moved into the kitchen to help Farah with dinner.  Shuffling the chicken around in the frying pan Farah asked, “Wasn’t the recorder near that old farmhouse?”

    Gannon nodded his head.  “Yeah, it was up the hill from the old Griffith house.”

    Farah thought for a moment.  “Maybe a little girl used to live there?  Maybe she was a slave?”

    Gannon pulled the plates out of the cupboard for dinner.  He wouldn’t say that Farah was a psychic or medium.  However, she did have a sixth sense about things.  She just seemed to know things.  Since moving into their house a year ago, she had several dreams – if you want to call them dreams, more like visitations from the old woman, Julie, who used to own the house.  At first, they weren’t sure if it was Julie, but at the community potluck dinners a couple of the neighbors described Julie.  They talked about her mannerisms, the way she dressed, her routine, and Farah and Gannon were able to deduct that who visited Farah at night was Julie.  Farah never got the sense that Julie was malicious.  But seeing a ghost can be unnerving in its own right.

Gannon had his own experiences; however, they were different.  He usually heard movement.  Or sensed a presence.  Many times, while working from home, he caught himself checking the closets because he swore a physical person was secretly hiding in their house.  Never finding anyone, his next logical conclusion was that he was hearing Julie move around the house.  Gannon was a trained scientist.  Therefore, he errored on the side of skepticism.  Gannon would be the first to admit that he had to control himself from automatically jumping to a paranormal explanation.  He forced himself to eliminate all other logical possibilities before believing or accepting that a ghost was living in their house.

The one exception was Farah.  Gannon wasn’t sure if Farah knew or not; he suspected she knew, but she was his barometer.  If Farah suspected paranormal activity, Gannon was one-hundred-percent onboard.  He still tried to eliminate all logical possibilities.  But in the back of his mind he was doing a happy dance when Farah believed something originated from the paranormal. 

“So, you’re saying I picked up the voice of a ghost?” asked Gannon.

“A spirit,” corrected Farah.

Gannon chuckled.  “I go out there trying to capture the howl of a Bigfoot and come away with the voice of a spirit.”

 

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Kindle Customer Robin

September 6, 2018

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K. L. Byles

November 19, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

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Ernest Solar has been a writer, storyteller, and explorer of some kind for his entire life. He grew up devouring comic books, novels, any other type of books along with movies, which allowed him to explore a multitude of universes packed with mystery and adventure. A professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, he lives with his family in Virginia.

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Goodreads Author Page Link / Instagram Link

 

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