Tag Archives: spirits

The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story (Book Review)

 
Warning: The book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is the occasional swear word, but they are not frequent.
 
 
 
HE CAME BACK, DETERMINED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.

Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .

He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

​From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

 
 
Buy the Book:
CAMCAT BOOKS
AMAZON ~ B&N ~ Nook
IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Warning: The book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is also a scene dealing with “cutting,” and it’s established this is not the first time the person has engaged in self-harm.


The Beaches Ones made my head hurt. Was Daniel really dead? Was he alive? Why could some people see him while others couldn’t? How was Daniel solid to Jolene and Brent but not to other people? Why does Daniel shower, eat, and bleed if he is dead? Talk about a mind-bender! I had no earthly idea what the heck was going on. 


Things began to make sense when we met the guru, Richard Wells. Thankfully, now the answers start flowing. 


There were some inconsistencies in the story. Jolene says a couple of times that she started seeing dead people when she was five. She also remembers when she was four and saw her deceased neighbor looking for their alive cat. While the story itself was indeed a mystery, leaving me puzzled for most of it, I had to dock half a point for giving two different ages. Sorry.  


As the warning states, some scenes deal with suicide. One, in particular, is very intense. It made my anxiety soar. 


After all the mystery, heartache, pain, and suffering, the final moments were unexpected but beautiful. HEA. 


After The Beaches Ones, Colleen M. Story stresses that if you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. They also list two “help” sites. 

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

 

CAMCAT BOOKS
AMAZON ~ B&N ~ Nook
IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Colleen M. Story

 

Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker who loves animals, music, and the great Pacific Northwest.

Her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others. Her next novel, The Beached Ones is forthcoming from CamCat Books on June 14, 2022.

Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. “Your Writing Matters” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives.

Her previous release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller.

With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She continues to work as a full-time freelance writer, helping clients create informative and inspiring communications in a variety of media formats.

Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader, writing coach, and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Go to Colleen’s website for free chapters of her books.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter goodreads ~ bookbub

 
 
 

 

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Grace Among Thieves (A Grace Michelle Mystery) by Kari Bovee (Book Review)

GRACE AMONG THIEVES (A Grace Michelle Mystery) by Kari Bovee

 
A priceless heirloom worth its weight in lives. Can she crack the case before she becomes a killer’s trophy?

Hollywood, 1924. Grace Michelle’s professional star has risen. Now a successful costumier for a major studio, the ambitious woman has just about everything she wants. But when the father she thought was dead reaches out to reconnect, the talented designer doesn’t know what to think… especially after his new wife is kidnapped.

Discovering her dad is mixed up with a stolen Russian artifact, Grace puts her sleuthing skills to work to rescue the abducted lady. But with a famous actress murdered in connection with the missing valuable and a man she put away stalking her for revenge, the frazzled amateur detective fears getting to the bottom of this crime will leave her six feet under.

Can she hunt down the treasure before it bankrupts the lives of everyone she loves?

Grace Among Thieves is the nail-biting third book in the Grace Michelle Mystery historical series. If you like bright-but-beset heroines, breathtaking twists and turns, and the glamor of a lost age, then you’ll adore Kari Bovée’s riveting tale. 

 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 

In Grace Among Thieves (A Grace Michelle Mystery) by Kari Bovee, the bodies keep piling up. Grace agrees to put on her imaginary detective hat and solve multiple cases, but maybe she shouldn’t have. With danger lurking close to home, she should reconsider sticking with her day job. I don’t think Grace ever will, though. Luckily, she has friends and family who lend a helping hand and watch her back. Heck, Grace even has the undead assisting her. Not zombies —just spirits. 🙂


When she’s not solving crimes or designing costumes, she runs a foster home with Chet. When you open your home to foster children, you must prepare for turbulence. There was plenty of drama between two foster boys — Daniel and Stevie. Stevie is the latest child to join the ranch, and he has baggage, as most foster kids do. The scenes featuring foster life added depth to the story. 


The drama that unfolded on and off the ranch did reach a happy resolution, which might not be a shocking revelation. Speaking of shocking revelations, Kari Bovee delivered quite the humdinger! This surprise development raised the score a bit. Why? Cause who doesn’t love the unexpected (when it comes to mystery novels)!

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Kari Bovee

When she’s not on a horse riding along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovée is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined in her historical mystery novels.

Kari Bovée writes the award-winning Annie Oakley mystery series and the Grace Michelle mystery series. In 2020 she was honored with First Place in category for the Chanticleer International Clue Awards for her book Folly at the Fair. In 2019 she was awarded the NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category, and won First in Category in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings won First in Category for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards. Peccadillo at the Palace won Grand Prize in the 2019 Goethe Awards, and was a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category.

Kari Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant.

 
Connect with the author:  
Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram Pinterest
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mambo and Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Mystery #6 by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

 

Three ballroom dancers had been murdered over forty-years ago. Wow, that’s one old cold case. What’s more, the murderer thought to have been killed during a police chase has resurfaced in Pittsburgh. Yikes! How can that be?Worse, ballroom dancing simply isn’t Detective Nathan Landry’s forte. After weeks of practice, Nathan still has two left-feet. Can Fiona step in to guide Nathan through this dancing debacle or will it take forty-years for the detective to find his footing? Double yikes!Join Fiona and Detective Landry in this high-stepping whodunit!

 

Buy Links:
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Right out of the gate (Prologue), we had a crime on our hands! While Nathan was investigating the burglary, secrets buried long ago came forth. Did Vincent Di Volante really die 40+ years ago in a fiery car wreck? If not, who did?
 
If these two questions were enough to wet your whistle, Fiona and the people in the neighborhood have been getting mail postmarked back in the 70s. I know mail runs slow, but that gives a new definition to “snail mail.”

I think it’s worth noting, Mambo and Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery (book #6 in the series) by C.S. McDonald is NOT just adults. Since there are no curse words or suggestive scenes, it’s perfectly acceptable for teens and young adults to read it. As a family who loves playing clue, this book is right up our alley, and I’m thrilled to share it with my teen. 

Oh, and BTW, I love the cover! 
 

 
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.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 
 
 

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Peel Back and See by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.

From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn. Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.

 

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

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

 

Peel Back and See is a collection of sixteen (16) short stories that are heavy on unforgettable encounters with hungry creatures, blood and gore, fear, Satan, and (weirdly enough) sexual arousal. 

Some stories stuck with me more than others. Below are my top five (5). 

1.) Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests: Everyone knows you don’t try to double-cross Satan. I mean, come on, don’t even try. Deals with him are also a bad idea. Seriously, the worst possible choice a person can make. If you believe in the devil, demons, and hell, say NO to anything offered. Period!

2.) @GorgoYama2013: We’re raised to know you NEVER go into a stranger’s car. Horror movies have ingrained in us to NEVER go into a strange basement, especially alone. Victor broke all the rules. What he met could best be described as a horrific version of Krang (the brain) from TMNT. If you don’t know who I am talking about, look him up! 

3.) Vomitus Bacchanalius: Okay, people are vomiting. Aliens are eating the regurgitated food. There are goo-faced men. Ugh, this story was gross, BUT good! I loved the nod to Gordon Ramsay too. 🙂

4.) The Furnace Room Mutant: This story stood out more because you’d think an unnatural being would be the monster in the story. I like it when authors step out from the paranormal norm. 🙂

5.) Havoc: This was the first story in the collection, and it made me close my laptop and take one giant step back from it. Read the story, and you’ll understand why. There was only one part I wasn’t too keen on — a flashback scene between student and teacher. I don’t want to divulge too much, but it made my score drop from a five to a four. (for this story only, not the overall score of the anthology)

 

 In Peel Back and See, thirteen of the sixteen stories scored three and above. That’s impressive! I encourage others to read the collection and see which story has you cowering under the covers. 


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

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

 

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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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Cassandra’s Time Yarns (Time Yarns Anthologies Book 1) by Erin Lale, Plus 4 More Contributing Authors (Anthology Review)

Print length: 92 pages

Contents:

The End of History by Gordon Yaswen
Choice by Ralph Ewig
Noble Northern Spirit by Erin Lale
Testing Time by Tony Thorne MBE
The Artist Formerly Known as G-d by Erin Lale
The Beginning by J.L. Toscano

Art Contents:

Paradise Lost by Maria Arango
Mandalas by Lisa Yount

Kindle Purchase Link



(review request submitted by Erin Lale, contributing author/editor, for an honest critique) 

 


(Story One) The End of History by Gordon Yaswen explored TIME in the manners of science and philosophy. In doing so, Yaswen reached a broader audience. The more individuals who can debate/explore a topic = more readers, more press. That is the goal of most writers. To get people talking about their work! 

 

(Story Two) Space is majestic, but it also comes with obstacles and fears. Every time a person explores space and the unknown, they are essentially gambling with their life. If something life-threatening happens in space, there is no 9-1-1. You and your comrades only have yourselves to rely on and no one else. All of this was emphasized in Choice by Ralph Ewig.

 

(Story Three) Noble Northern Spirit by Erin Lale was vastly different from its predecessors in this anthology. Erin Lale did not venture out into space. Her adventures took place on Earth. Hers centered almost entirely around magic.

Through the fourteen chapters, Erin Lale mentioned witches, the mob, drug smuggling, Jesus, Satan, and (deep breath) THOR!

There were several mythical beings discussed, in-depth or in passing. She really threw everything into the story except the kitchen sink. 😀

Speaking of kitchen sink, if I had magical powers, I’d used them to tackle the dishes in my sink. 😛

 

(Story Four) Testing Time by Tony Thorne MBE could be plausible in one aspect. If any citizen created a working time machine or force field, the military would be all over them. They’d confiscate the tech and the person. 

The interesting part of Testing Time came millions of (Earth) years later. I wished this section was explored more. Yes, I want about another 10-20 more pages. Why? Because there was so much more Tony Thorne could’ve said. Testing Time felt like it was just getting started when the story was (technically) wrapping up. 

Tony, I would love for you to expand this tale. I’d read it if you did. 🙂

 

(Story Five) The Artist Formerly Known as G-d by Erin Lale discussion of time travel, disruption of events, changing history, and warnings about when/where not to travel got me thinking. If I could travel to any period, where would I blast off to first?

I don’t know about Aunti Cassie and her opinion of her time spent with da Vinci. It might be an unforgettable experience to witness the creation of one of his genius inventions.

The only thing I know for sure…I would limit my time in any place which didn’t have indoor plumbing. I’m a bit spoiled in that way. 😀

 

(Story Six) The Beginning by J.L. Toscano would appeal to anyone who works in the sciences or is fascinated by science as a hobby. My hubby and his friends regularly discuss, and debate topics brought up in The BeginningThere’s also a theory that we (Earthlings) are merely puppets, and someone is pulling our strings. After reading The Beginning, you’ll wonder if this theory could be plausible. I’m sure many will debate this question. 🙂

 

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

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Gordon Yaswen, a college professor in California.

Ralph Ewig, from Western Europe, a rocket scientist at SpaceX.

Tony Thorne MBE, awarded a chivalric order by the Queen of England for advances in cryosurgery tools and carbon fiber furnaces, resides in the Canary Islands.

J.L. Toscano, a teacher at the Scarsdale Schools in New York.

Maria Arango, from Cuba, a woodcut artist.

Lisa Yount, from California, an artist and jeweller.

 

Erin Lale

Erin Lale, invented technical processes in iDEN and CDMA wireless communications technology.

Erin Lale writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc. She published Berserkrgangr Magazine, owned The Science Fiction Store in Las Vegas, was Acquisitions Editor at Eternal Press / Damnation Books, reviews books for Eternal Haunted Summer Magazine, writes an official blog for Witches and Pagans Magazine, and is the originator of the Time Yarns shared world universe. She lives in Nevada with her black cat, Happy.


Author website:  

https://www.erinlaleauthor.com/  

 

Author social media links:  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erin.lale  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlale/  

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i-front/erinlale  

Minds: https://www.minds.com/erinlale/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinlale  

 

 

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