Month: November 2019

Review of ‘Not For Ourselves’

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Alyssa is a member of a group of believers in witchcraft in her local community, whose peaceful life is shattered when a group of drunks, off-duty deputy sheriffs, disrupts an event they are hosting to raise money for a local animal shelter. The leader of the group of rowdies, Justin Nevel, is the nephew of the sheriff, and when the group files a complaint, he vows revenge. Nevel focuses his rage on Alyssa, constantly harassing her with threatening phone calls. In an effort to learn why she has been singled out, Alyssa performs a spell, but instead of finding an answer, she finds herself merged with the spirit of Shannon Marie Cullen, a Scottish girl caught between clan tradition and her desire to be a free spirit.

What follows this unearthly reunion is love, betrayal, bloodshed, and murder, leading to Shannon’s untimely murder at the hands of a jealous bastard son of one of her father’s primary rivals.

As Alyssa struggles to make sense of what she is experiencing through this spiritual union across space and time, Nevel ups his threats, and sets out to kill her. She is tossed between the violence of the past and the violence that is plaguing her real life, and in the process learns that she is not the only one channeling spirits from the past.

The action in Not For Ourselves by Theresa Chaze begins on a high note, and continues to escalate to a fever pitch, as Alyssa makes sense of past events, and how they relate directly to her present-day life.

Chaze does a masterful job of relating events of the distant past to the present, and grabs the reader’s interest from the first page until the satisfying conclusion. You don’t have to be a fan of this genre to appreciate the deeper meanings contained in this work, but I’m willing to bet that after reading this book, you’ll become a fan, and look forward to more from this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I give it four and a half stars.


Review of ‘3 Weird Marketing Secrets of Success For Authors on Amazon’

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If you’re an author, whether you’ve just finished your first book, or, like me, are working on number one hundred, the one unavoidable chore you’ll need to focus on is attracting readers—and getting sales. There are tons of books out there on how to sell books, some of them are useful, but most offer suggestions that frankly aren’t worth the time it takes to read them

That, fortunately, is not the case for 3 Weird Marketing ‘Secrets of Success’ for Authors on Amazon by Shaun Hibbs. I like the way he hooks you into the book by offering to expose the ‘lie’ that most book promoters tell, and then, taking a ‘left at Albuquerque’ as Bugs Bunny used to say in the Saturday morning cartoons, he tells you that he’s NOT going to tell you a fail-safe method for selling tons of books. Now, that got my attention, and made me wonder if reading any further would be worth my time. Because I was intrigued with his rather unorthodox statement, though, I soldiered on, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was the wise thing to do.

Hibbs describes in detail three methods for leveraging your sales on Amazon’s platforms—in fact, the book is more or less a promotion for the giant in the publishing world, something that many of us indie authors already know. Some of the things he suggests, such as finding a genre that is popular, but not overpopulated with writers, I already do with a modicum of success. In my case, I came upon this strategy through several years of trial and error. But, some of his other suggestions were new to me—my trial and error style of marketing my books hadn’t stumbled across them yet, so I thank him profusely for providing them.

As the author says at the start of the book, nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes things work out as planned, at other times, they don’t. But, the race doesn’t necessarily go to the fastest, but to the one who never stops running. That sentiment is indirectly expressed in this book.

A worthwhile addition to your writer’s reference library. I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. So, completely unbiased, mind you, I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Malice at the Manor’

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Penny Summers accompanies her teacher and mentor to Brantleigh Manor in North Carolina to further her study in garden design. While touring the manor’s gardens, they stumble upon the body of her teacher’s step-father in a stream, an apparent heart attack that they think is anything but. As Penny digs into the case, she discovers the secret past of the victim, as well as of her teacher, which puts their lives in danger. An ex-navy public relations officer and basically a stubborn person who never shirks her duty to friends and justice, she pushes on despite the danger.

Malice at the Manor by J. Marshall Gordon is a finely crafted cozy mystery set in the modern South where the past is not prologue, but an integral part of daily life. With liberal doses of humor and its fair share of spine-tingling, nail-biting moments, it’s a nice rainy-day read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. A job well done. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘The President is Missing’

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Shortly into his first term, President Matt Blake is addressing the nation via live TV from the nuclear submarine, USS Louisiana, when the broadcast is suddenly cut off. It’s followed by an explosion and the appearance of debris in the area where it was last known to be. The nation mourns the loss of its president and one of its nuclear subs, but Dee Blake, the president’s wife, schooled by him to examine all the evidence and then not trust it, is convinced that he’s still alive and the destruction of the submarine is just a gigantic ploy. The newly sworn-in president agrees with her, and assigns her to be his chief of staff with one main duty, find the president.

The President is Missing by Russell Moran is a nail-biter from page one, as it follows two story lines: Dee’s efforts to unearth the truth behind the hijacking of the sub and the kidnapping of the president, and Matt, as he tries to come to grips with his status as a hostage of an enigmatic force made up of Russians and traitorous American naval personnel.

Who is behind this dangerous and insane operation? Is it the new Russian president, a megalomaniacal despot who wants to restore the Soviet empire, or the wannabe American dictator, the president that Matt defeated in a landslide, and who has refused to accept his status as an ex-president?

I won’t spoil the book for you by revealing the outcome, but I will say that, as you read it, you’ll wonder whether this is pure fiction, or perhaps an account of real-world plans. A riveting read.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Serial Homicide: Book 3’

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In his third book on serial killers, Serial Homicide, Book 3, R. J. Parker dissects serial killings in Australia. Six of the country’s most notorious murder sprees are discussed in detail, complete with the personal backgrounds of the perpetrators.

Not a book to read if you worry about going out alone, for as his other books show, serial murder, while quite common unfortunately in the U.S., knows no national boundaries. If, though, you’re a fan of true crime books, you just might find this interesting.

I give it four stars.