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January 19, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: The Heatstroke Line




Edward L. Rubin


Author: Edward L. Rubin
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Pages: 223
Genre: Scifi/Cli-Fi (Climate Change Science Fiction)
Nothing has been done to prevent climate change, and the United States has spun into decline.   Storm surges have made coastal cities uninhabitable, blistering heat waves afflict the interior and, in the South (below the Heatstroke Line), life is barely possible.  Under the stress of these events and an ensuing civil war, the nation has broken up into three smaller successor states and tens of tiny principalities.  When the flesh-eating bugs that inhabit the South show up in one of the successor states, Daniel Danten is assigned to venture below the Heatstroke Line and investigate the source of the invasion.  The bizarre and brutal people he encounters, and the disasters that they trigger, reveal the real horror climate change has inflicted on America.


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 Book Excerpt

Chapter One:
Daniel Danten didn’t really want to have a family.  What he wanted was to be a scientist, to teach at a university and produce original research.  But this seemed so unlikely, given the state of things in Mountain America, that he decided to hedge his bets or he’d have nothing to show for his life.  So he married a woman he convinced himself he was in love with and had three children.   As it turned out, somewhat to his own surprise, he achieved his original goal, probably because he switched fields from astronomy to entomology, a subject of enormous practical concern these days.  And now, with a secure position at one of Mountain America’s leading universities, his own lab, and a substantial list of publications to his credit, he spent most of his time worrying about his family.  His wife, Garenika, was depressed, his ten year old son Michael was suffering from one of the many mysterious ailments that were appearing without warning or explanation, and his fourteen year old daughter Senly was hooked on Phantasie and running wild.  Worst of all, his sixteen year old, Joshua, who had always been such a reliable, level-headed and generally gratifying son, had become an American Patriot.
On a blazing, early September afternoon, with the outdoor temperature spiking at 130 degrees Fahrenheit, he was sitting with Garenika in the waiting room at Denver Diagnostic Clinic while Michael was being examined by still one more doctor.  Garenika thought they would get some sort of answer this time, but Dan was convinced that the doctor would come out of the examining room and say that she really couldn’t tell them what the problem is.  Senly was spending a rare evening at home and Joshua was on his way back from his field trip to the Enamel, an expedition that, Dan felt sure, was designed to make the participants angry, rather than providing them with information.    The doctor appeared and Garenika jumped to her feet.
“Well,” the doctor said,” I really can’t tell you what the problem is.”
“Why not?” Garenika asked, her voice tinged with its increasingly frequent sense of panic.  “Why can’t you find an answer for us?  Look at him –he’s losing weight, his skin keeps getting blotchier, and he’s exhausted all the time.”
“I’m sorry.  As you probably know, we’re pretty sure that we’re seeing all these new diseases because the climate change has wiped out a lot of the beneficial bacteria that we used to have in our bodies.   Commensals, they’re called.  But we’ve never really figured out how they work, so it’s hard to compensate for their disappearance.”
“Okay,” said Dan.  “So what can we do for Michael?”
“Keep him comfortable and give it time.  Put cold compresses on any area where there’s a rash.  Try to get him to eat, lots of small meals if he can’t tolerate a large one.  We’re expecting some new medicines from Canada that may relieve the symptoms.  Michael’s getting dressed; he’ll be out a few minutes.”
When Michael came out, they went back down to the clinic carport.   Dan set the car for Return and sat in the rear with Michael, letting Garenika sit alone up front.  They were quiet on the drive back home.  Dan kept watching his discolored, fragile little boy, trying to think of something reassuring to say, but nothing came to mind.  So when they arrived at the house, where Senly was waiting for them, he just gave Michael a long hug and told him to take a nap.
“Be quiet when you go into the room” Senly said to Michael.  “Josh is sleeping.”  She turned to Dan and Garenika.  “He was really tired out from the trip, so he decided to rest up.  But he’s looking forward to having dinner with you.”
“Wonderful,” said Dan, “we’ll all be together.”
“Well, actually,” Senly answered, “I figured you’d be occupied with all the news from Josh, so I made plans to go out.  Anyway, the kitchen might break if it we have to program another meal for tonight.  It hasn’t been working very well.”
“That was our decision to make, Senly, not yours,” said Garenika.
“I was just trying to be considerate. Remember, you told me that you wanted me to take other people’s feelings into account without being asked.  So that’s what I did.  I even took the kitchen’s feelings into account.”
Dan couldn’t suppress a grin.  Senly got up to leave.  “You can reach me on my wristlink.  I’ll just be having a quiet dinner with Ranity and  Sharana.”
As soon as she was out of the room, Garenika turned on Dan. “You did it again.  You smiled at her for her smart-ass comeback.  You seem to think that anything she does is okay, as long as she acts clever.”
Garenika was right.  Dan knew that he valued intelligence too much.  Somehow, he thought Senly’s good mind and quick wits would make up for her surly irresponsibility, and that she would turn out well in the end.  But it was his job as a parent to exercise more control over her, to keep her from getting into some kind of trouble she couldn’t get out of, and maybe even to teach her some sense of morality.
“You need to be more careful, Dan.  You have a career, but these three children are all I’ve got.”
In fact, Garenika was a food inspector for the government, but she hated her job.
Josh appeared in the multi-purpose room promptly at 7:15, just as the servo-robot was putting out the plates for dinner.  He looked completely refreshed and as handsome as ever.  After announcing that he was glad to be home, asking where Senly was, and telling Michael that he was looking better, he launched into his account of the trip by using his wristlink to project images onto the wall.
“I couldn’t send anything from the Enamel, of course, but that’s what it looks like.   I know you’ve seen it Dad, but Mom and Michael haven’t.  Isn’t it awful?”
A scene appeared of wide, flat land, part brown rock and part dark clay, with scattered pools of water, jumbled piles of brick and stone, and a few stunted, scrawny bushes.  Josh had taken the footage on an overcast day to heighten the effect.
“This used to be the richest farmland on Earth,” he continued.  “Until the Canadians raped it.  You know where the term Enamel comes from, don’t you?”
“Yes,” said Dan.  “NML — No Man’s Land.”
“I didn’t know that,” said Michael.
“They called it that because it’s supposed to be a buffer between us and the UFA, didn’t they?” Garenika asked.
“That what I thought, particularly because of the Canadian communications blackout there,” said Josh, “but Stuart told us that the Canadians would actually have been glad if we kept fighting with the UFA.  American netnews writers named it No Man’s Land because no one could live there after the Canadians got through with it.  Stuart really knows a lot about it.”
“I should hope so,” said Dan, “he’s probably the leading American history professor at the University of Mountain America.”
“He’s really nice.  And he ran a great trip.”
“If he hadn’t been running it, dear, we wouldn’t have let you go,” said Garenika.
“There are the train tracks,” said Joshua, switching scenes.  “You can’t really get a good sense of them from a picture, but it’s horrible to see them in real life.  There are three sets, each twenty feet wide and running straight into Canada.  Did you see them Dad?”
“No, I went to the Enamel to find insects. I never got that far east.”
“Maybe if you’d seen the tracks you would feel different about the whole thing.   Stuart said it took three years for them to transport all that topsoil up to Canada, even with those giant trains.  Just think, three years ripping the surface off seven states.”
“Well, we did drop nuclear bombs on their two largest cities,” Dan replied.
“We were justified.  They were supposed to let our citizens move into the Arctic, instead of taking in all those Aussies, Brits and Frenchies.  They just let us die from the heat.  What were we supposed to do?”
“Not that.  Even the Russians didn’t do that when China conquered East Siberia.”
“But both sides used nuclear weapons.”
“Just tactical ones, on the battlefield.  The United States was the only country that ever used them against civilian targets.”
“Are you two going to start arguing again?” said Garenika. “I thought we were just hearing about Josh’s trip.”
“Well, the purpose of Josh’s trip was to get him revved up so he’d argue with me.”
“The purpose of my trip was to provide me with information so I can explain to you why it’s so important to be a Patriot.  We were the most powerful nation on Earth before the Second Civil War.  And we could be powerful again if the three Successor States united.  Just think, we’d have almost as many people as Canada.”
“How do you figure that?” said Dan.
Josh was obviously waiting for that question.  “Mountain America has 24 million people, the UFA has 25 or 26 million, and Pacifica has 12 or 13.
“Well, that’s a little over 60 million by my math.  Canada has 150 million.”
“Yeah, but five million of them are in New England, and another 20 are in Alaska.  Those used to be part of the United States.  If you subtract 25 million people from Canada and add them to us, the difference gets a lot smaller.”
“But why would all those people want to leave a richer, stronger country with a decent climate to join three smaller, overheated  ones?”
“Because they used to be part of the greatest nation on Earth.”
“Not the people in Alaska. They came from Australia, Britain and France, as you just mentioned.”
“Only some of them.  There are plenty of Patriots in Alaska.   Plus another five million people in the Confederacies, and almost all of them are Patriots.”
“They may be Patriots,” said Dan, “but according to the last count, there’s only about three million of them.”
“That information comes from a Canadian satellite survey, and they falsify the data to make the Patriots look weak.”
“Did Stuart tell you that?”
Josh was getting rattled, but he held his ground.  “No, Noah told us that.”
“Noah!” Dan exclaimed, with a snort.
“Noah knows a lot.”
“Noah’s a nut case,” said Dan. “A Revivalist nut case.”  He was about to add that Josh would be a nut case too if he kept listening to people like that, but he caught Garenika’s eye and restrained himself.
“I’m tired,” said Michael.  Can I go back to bed?”  Dan noticed that he had barely touched his food.
“Of course, darling,” said Garenika.  “I’ll come in to say goodnight in a few minutes.”
“Actually,” Dan continued, trying to be slightly less contentious, “even three million people is impressive.  Most of the areas below the Heatstroke Line are completely uninhabited these days.”
“That’s American ingenuity for you,” Joshua said.
“And that’s just a Patriot slogan.”
“Dad, if all the Successor States were unified, we could repopulate the South.  Crops grow there, so there’s no reason it couldn’t hold more people.”
“That’s impossible, Josh.  I’d be surprised if they can even sustain the present population very long.”
“Why exactly is that?” Garenika asked.  “You can live below the Heatstroke Line if you have air conditioning.  I mean, I’m a nutritionist, not an h-vac engineer, but the Halcyon units are really good.  Ours can handle 150 degree weather easily.”
“So it would seem,” said Dan, “but it never works.  It’s a matter of social organization, not engineering.  You’ve got to keep a power plant going all the time.  As soon as it breaks down, or the fuel supply is interrupted, or one of your enemies blows it up, you die.  Then there are the biter bugs.  And you’ve got to give everyone a stun gun or life is just intolerable.  Even with the guns, it’s pretty damn unpleasant. You’re always on edge.”
“But everyone in the Confederacies does have a stun gun” Josh responded.  “And the power plant situation isn’t as bad as you say, because they’re not so far south.  You can survive in winter without air conditioning, so it’s only a little more than half the year that a power failure actually kills you.”
“Well, that was the idea behind President Garcia’s program of repopulating West Oklahoma, Central Texas and New Mexico,” said Dan, “but the problem in that case is that there’s no water.  It’s a lost cause.”
“The problem,” said Josh, “is that it created an unnecessary conflict with the Confederacies in Arkansas, East Oklahoma and East Texas.  We need to start working together, not competing for little bits of extra territory.  The Canadians never could have invaded us if it hadn’t been for the Second Civil War.”
“Well then,” said Dan.  You should be an enthusiastic supporter of President Simonson.”
“Simonson’s a lot better than Carletta Garcia.  At least he’s trying to establish better relations with the Confederacies.  But he’s not a Patriot.  He has no vision.  One day we’ll elect a real Patriot as President and start putting this country back together.”
“One day,” said Dan, “you’ll go back to fantasizing about being a medieval knight, or hunting dinosaurs, or something else that’s more realistic than the lost cause you’ve got for yourself now.”
When Dan and Garenika were in bed that night, she told him that he was being much too hard on Josh. Dan   was tempted to respond that he was just following the advice she had given him about Senly, but he realized that would be a smart-ass, Senly-type remark and stopped himself.
“You know,” he said instead, “what Josh is doing can be dangerous, maybe more dangerous than Senly’s Phantasie parties with those so-called friends of hers.   I trust Stuart, but when they were looking at the train tracks, they were pretty close to territory claimed by the UFA.  And American Patriotism is a criminal offense there; they could all have been arrested.”
“But it’s legal here.  And at least he’s using his mind and doing something constructive.”  She paused.   “Oh hell, you’re right.  I’m worried about him too.  I’m worried about all of them.”

edward-l-rubinEdward Rubin is University Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  He specializes in administrative law, constitutional law and legal theory. He is the author of Soul, Self and Society:  The New Morality and the Modern State (Oxford, 2015); Beyond Camelot:  Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State (Princeton, 2005) and two books with Malcolm Feeley, Federalism:  Political Identity and Tragic Compromise (Michigan, 2011) and Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State:  How the Courts Reformed America’s Prisons (Cambridge, 1998).  In addition, he is the author of two casebooks, The Regulatory State (with Lisa Bressman and Kevin Stack) (2nd ed., 2013); The Payments System (with Robert Cooter) (West, 1990), three edited volumes (one forthcoming) and The Heatstroke Line (Sunbury, 2015) a science fiction novel about the fate of the United States if climate change is not brought under control. Professor Rubin joined Vanderbilt Law School as Dean and the first John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005, serving a four-year term that ended in June 2009. Previously, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1998 to 2005, and at the Berkeley School of Law from 1982 to 1998, where he served as an associate dean. Professor Rubin has been chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ sections on Administrative Law and Socioeconomics and of its Committee on the Curriculum. He has served as a consultant to the People’s Republic of China on administrative law and to the Russian Federation on payments law. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his law degree from Yale.
He has published four books, three edited volumes, two casebooks, and more than one hundred articles about various aspects of law and political theory. The Heatstroke Line is his first novel.


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Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

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January 18, 2017


David Trock 


Fans of Dennis Lehane, Tana French, and Michael Connolly, meet Detective Robin Noel, a no-nonsense former cop who must endure the horror of investigating a friend's death. Robin is confident that she has solved the case, though a jury's guilty verdict doesn't bring peace. In this psychologically, morally complex mystery, Robin is forced to examine her own abilities and explore the question of faith inside the courtroom.  

About the Author

About the author: David Trock has written in several genres, notably non-fiction in the field of medicine. His book, Healing Fibromyalgia, provided insight into a common source of chronic pain. His book chapters and journal articles have been widely published. Dr. Trock s interest in the human mind motivated him to write the novel, A Religion Called Lovea modern exploration of the limits of behavior and the lasting impact of choices made by ordinary people. He is married with two grown children and lives in Connecticut."

This is David Trock's first novel.  I was amazed at the characters and how interesting their personalities were.    The story starts with a kindergarten teacher, Kathryn James.  Kathryn has 20 children in her class and they all adore her.    She doesn't intend to be controversial but it seems like it follows her everywhere she goes.  She was only 28 but questions have come to surface about her unorthodox religious beliefs, this is dividing believers and non-believers alike.   She is confronted by parents who are quite angry. She is found murdered and the circumstances were quite from the normal. After her death a manuscript was found called A  RELIGION CALLED LOVE.   Some think this is payback for her stand on some social issues.  For this being a first novel, the author is quite skillful in his character development and his plot development.   The author gives the reader plenty of suspense with a wide range of characters.   A mystery you can get your mind around.  I did have one problem with the book, though.  There was so much going on in this book,   religion, cloning, love, murder, mystery, suspense and more.   It takes a while to sort it all out and keep track of what is going on.  After Kathryn's death, a Detective Robin Noel is trying to find who killed Kathryn.    Three men, are suspects in this mystery.  Three very different men with possible different reasons to kill Kathryn. One is the man who loved her deeply.    Many questions, several suspects, controversial beliefs all spin a web of mystery that has to be unwoven.   Read this book and see if you can untangle the web.   Is it the man who loved her, one of the angry parent's or someone completely unknown?     Quite a novel for a debut.   Check it out and see for yourself. The author takes you into many different realms in the story, from the classroom, to  the murder, the angry parents, the murder and  then into realms that are unforseen.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Word Slinger Publicity and voluntarily decided to review it.  

I would give this book  5 STARS. 



Zanna's Outlaw (Revolving Point, TX Series Book 1) by [Lence, Julie]

Revolving Point
TX Series
Book One
Julie Lence


 Notorious outlaw Buck Grayson is set to hang for the one murder he didn't commit, until a last minute pardon sets him free. But there's a condition to the pardon, one that sours Buck's gut. He's to cease outlawing and bring law and order to Revolving Point, Texas. The border town along the Rio Grande has a reputation worse than his, even after a fire destroyed the saloons and chased away the rabble rousers. But Zanna is there and still in danger from the fancy-pants attorney seeking revenge against her. To keep her safe, Buck will pin the star to his chest and settle the matter for good. Then he'll give Zanna what she wants--his name.

Former soiled dove Suzanna Reynolds wants respectability, a home and children, and she wants them with Buck. Trouble is, Buck isn't the settling type and has never openly acknowledged she's his woman. Convinced Buck only took the sheriff's job to settle a score and not to please her, Suzanna demands he court her to prove his love or leave town for good.

Sometimes I like a little sweetness in my westerns and the author gives the reader that.   It isn't sickning sweet but has just a little sweetness mixed in with the sauce in this western historical romance.   Suzanna is tarnished or as they used to say a soiled dove.   Her lover is an outlaw and Buck has been doing time in prison, not for something he has done but for a murder he didn't commit. He has been sentenced to hang.   I loved this part,  Buck has been offered his freedom, that is, freedom to a point, if he becomes the sheriff of Revolving Point.  The town was almost completely destroyed by a fire and needs to be rebuilt, along with having law to protect the people of the town.    Zanna is already there so Buck decided to accept this pardon and become the sheriff of Revolving Point.     They both know they won't be able to have a real relationship until Buck hunts down the men who have him and Zanna on their death list.   The author gives you a real outlaw, but there's something you have to love about Buck.  He's a gentleman.  Now most outlaws in the westerns you read aren't gentlemen, but Buck is the exception.  He takes good care of Zanna, treats her with respect.   Prostitutes weren't important but Buck didn't take kindly to Fancy, the town's prostitute being beaten up.   He let it know in very plain terms that women in his town weren't going to be treated that way.  I love that part.   The author gives us a real man,  true, an outlaw, but an outlaw with a gentle side, a good side.   But Buck is stubborn and so is Zanna.   Buck doesn't want to get too close to Zanna for fear it will put her in more danger and Zanna just doesn't understand why he keeps his distance.   The author makes you want to take these two characters and shake some sense into them.  Sure, you understand Buck's reason and you understand why Zanna doesn't get it but let's have a little honesty here, just between the two people who really care, need and want each other.    I loved this story from start to finish.  A really sweet love story that took place in the wild west.   Buck was one charming outlaw and Zanna, although a soiled dove was one special lady. The author gives you  all, outlaws, second chances, gunfights, romance, the gentler and softer side of a tough outlaw and so much more.  Don't miss out on this sweet and charming historical romantic western. Nothing makes a  heart warm like a good love story.  Good writing, good characters, good plot. There you have it!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Authors X Promotions  and voluntarily decided to review it.

I would give this book  4  STARS.


January 16, 2017


Kick-ass females

GIVEAWAY - Kick Ass Females
AUTHORS: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Sharon Stevenson
M.H. Soars
Lindsey R. Loucks
Mary Fan
Kory M. Shrum
Alicia Michaels

GENRE: Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
DATES: January 16-18, 2017


Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty-one year old with family, friends and a normal job. She  also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a parallel world to earth.
When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have  imagined the reality of the world that she is stepping into- a world where magical abilities are in everyone's possession. She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief, a guardian who captures her heart; and a darkness that wants to take it. On her journey, Sarajane discovers her  magical abilities, and realizes too that they come with a price. She is truly tested as her own loved ones are put at risk- the
ultimate question she is forced to ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?


Blood Bound.jpg
Blood Bound is the Amazon bestselling Scottish urban fantasy novel that combines a breakneck plot line with flawed characters and a wicked sense of humor. "It's a read that grips you from the beginning, and keeps you enthralled until the very end." – Ashley, Fae Books
19-year-old twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to running into trouble—mostly the kind with fangs—but while Sarah embraces her powers to their fullest extent, trusting her instincts implicitly, Shaun distances himself from his abilities and can do little more than despair at his sister’s reckless nature and idly back her up.When they come across 17-year-old Melissa Carling, a demon tracker who’s been torturing innocent super-naturals, they know they have to stop her. Sarah is desperate to punish Melissa for what she’s been doing but Shaun’s instant attraction to the girl points to a soul-mate bond stronger than anything he’s ever had to fight before…


Prophecy of Arcadia.jpgBlurb:
Being a teenager is tough, especially when you have to pretend to be something you’re not, and  you’re in love with someone you shouldn’t. 115 years ago, a small planet called Arcadia was invaded by a vicious alien race and nearly destroyed. Cut off from their resources, the Arcadians turned to Earth for help. A group of Arcadian explorers discovered a Prophecy that claimed their salvation lay in the hands of two children from Earth. To ensure their safety, the Arcadian Council sent their most gifted youngsters to Earth to act as protectors. Samantha is one of them. To succeed in her mission she must learn to control her Arcadian powers and keep her true identity from her best friend, and the girl she swore to protect, Alexia. But Samantha will soon realize that
nothing is as it seems. Someone is trying to prevent the Prophecy from taking place and the prophecy boy hasn't been found yet. There is also a new drug circulating at school that is turning students into freakishly strong menaces. To make matters worse, distractions keep getting in her way. Such as her love/hate relationship with her “cousin” Matthew. Or her confused feelings toward popular and mysterious Julian. She wants nothing more than to be free to live her life. But the survival of Arcadia depends on her and her friends. Free will is not an option.


Welcome to Petrified City, where the dead don’t stay in the ground. Ten years ago, an accident at
petrified-citythe city chemical plant leaked toxins into the soil of the historic Brookwood Hill Cemetery. From the  poisoned ground emerged the wraith – ghosts of the long dead who gorge on the energy sucked  from the city’s dwindling population. Desperate to contain the threat, the government enclosed the city in a giant dome, trapping the wraith and the residents inside. Now, there’s almost nothing left. Sydney Cale – a thief with a strange and secret power – attempts to escape from the city’s jailers, only to find herself facing off against the wraith. She teams up with Alain, a raven shape shifter who is a member of the Order of the Reapers, a powerful force who work to banish the wraith back to the underworld. Alain agrees to protect Sydney and her friend Diana in exchange for her help. She must enter the Citadel – the wraith compound in the center of the city – and steal back his kidnapped daughter. But what Sydney finds inside the Citadel will change everything. The wraith are evolving, drawing energy from the decaying city itself. Soon, they will be powerful enough to break free of the dome. Sydney and Alain must stop the wraith before they escape and infect the world,
even if that means dooming themselves, and everyone they love, to petrifying inside the dying city.


Jane Colt is just another recent college grad working as an Interstellar Confederation office drone—until the day she witnesses her best friend, Adam, kidnapped by a mysterious criminal. An extensive cover-up thwarts her efforts to report the crime, shaking her trust in the authorities. Only her older brother, Devin, believes her account.
Devin hopes to leave behind his violent past and find peace in a marriage to the woman he loves. That hope shatters when he discovers a shocking secret that causes him to be framed for murder. With little more than a cocky attitude, Jane leaves everything she knows to flee with Devin, racing through the most lawless corners of the galaxy as she searches for Adam and proof of her brother’s innocence. Her journey uncovers truths about both of them, leading her to wonder just how  much she doesn’t know about the people she loves.


Dying Breath.jpgBlurb:
"I always knew I was going to die. I just didn’t know it was going to be today." Maisie won’t live to see her seventeenth birthday. Her mother and sister are locked in a war over the world, and Maisie is stuck between them. She must decide if she will join her sister’s cause, or defend her mother. In the face of her mother’s demands, Maisie doubts herself and what she truly wants. But her only alternative is to be murdered by the person she loves most. Jesse wants to find her father’s body and finish him before he can resurrect. If she succeeds she will save millions, if not billions, of lives. But first, Jesse must defeat the woman protecting him. Will Maisie stand with her? Or fight by her mother’s side? One decision will make all the difference in the world.

of the red dawn.jpgOn the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet, Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from. A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that she was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can  Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?


 TOTALLY ADDICTED TO BOOKS has teamed up with seven must read authors to bring you our Kick-Ass-Females Giveaway.
These books feature amazing female characters in the
fantasy, paranormal and science-fiction genres.

One Lucky Winner
will receive,
Win a $35 Amazon gift card
A signed paperback of Artificial Absolutes by Mary Fan
A signed paperback of Daughter of the Red Dawn by Alicia Michaels,
A signed paperback of Demon Divided by Sharon Stevenson
Four E-Books,
The Prophecy of Arcadia by M.H. Soars
Dying Breathe by Kory M. Shrum
Petrified City by S.C. Green and Lindsey R. Loucks
Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan




Poppy Denby Investigates
Book 2 of 2
Fiona Veitch Smith
The Kill Fee


Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Fabergé egg in the collection is stolen. While the egg itself is valuable, the secrets it contains within are priceless--secrets that could threaten major political powers.
Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Fabergé egg, a Russian princess named Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin, inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg--and the other treasures--should all be restored to the Russian people. Poppy, her editor Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But, soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found a an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect...The race is on to find both the key and the egg--can they be found before the killer strikes again?

  • Series: Poppy Denby Investigates (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 27, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782642188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782642183

Fiona Veitch Smith has worked as a journalist in South Africa and the UK and is now an Associate Lecturer in Journalism at Newcastle University.  Her debut novel in the Poppy Denby Investigates eries, The Jazz Files, has been shortlisted for the Crime Writer's Association's Endeavour Historical Dagger Award..
For more about Poppy go here.

This is the second book in the POPPY DERBY INVESTIGATES series.   Even though it is t he second book, it can be read as a stand alone.    The book is an easy book to read and keep up with . I liked that the author gives you on the first two pages a map of Central London back in 1920 and shows where each character lives and what is located there.  Then she gives a listing of the characters, and tells about each one.    The author also explains what the importance is about White and Red Russians.

Poppy's world is at the top right now.   She is the Entertainment Editor at The Daily Glob.   While she is researching the Russian Art at the Crystal Palace, things change abruptly.  A guard is injured by a shot.   Then it is discovered that a valuable Faberge Egg, the largest, is gone.   It isn't so much the egg, although it is very important and valuable.   It holds secrets.  Extremely valuable secrets.
As always Poppy delights in being in on this story of the missing egg.   But this wasn't to last long.   Darkness sets in when a murder takes place of someone connected with the exhibition of the egg.   
The suspense is heavy and the author gives you, the reader, lots to  think about.  Who is behind the murder and the missing egg?  Your brain will go on overload trying to figure all this out.  Join Poppy and investigate with her.   You can you know. Just when you have the pieces lined up in perfect order,  you find some are out of place.
I couldn't help but like Poppy.  She took what she wanted and decided on working instead of being at home.     Women back then weren't supposed to be strong and self sufficient but Poppy didn't let that stop her.   She didn't need a man to protect her.
You have to look at Poppy as one strong lady who goes after she wants and usually gets it.   The book isn't just a well written story but has a few history points in it that you may not have known. 
When I finished the book, I was looking for Poppy's next adventure.   I wanted more. I read the first book The Jazz Files and this book follow it's lead. A great, well written, interesting and entertaining read.   Grab both copies and travel with Poppy on her adventures.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Blog Tours and the author and voluntarily decided to review it.

I would give this book 4 STARS.


January 15, 2017


    The Feast of All Souls
  • Number: 9781781084625
  • Release: December 6, 2016               
  • Author: Simon Bestwick
  • Availability: Print-Book
  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Tags: Horror
  • Publisher: Solaris

Alice’s house stands at a gateway between worlds. Now something has awoken on the other side - and she's in its way... 378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn’t the one you expect to see. And sometimes you’ll turn around and find you’re not alone. The suburb of Crawbeck, on a hill outside the English city of Manchester, overlooks the woodlands of Browton Vale. Alice Collier was happy here, once, but following the end of her marriage and loss of her daughter, she’s come back to pick up the threads of her life. John Revell, an old flame of Alice’s, reluctantly comes to her aid when the house begins to reveal its secrets. The hill on which it sits is a place of legends – of Old Harry, the Beast of Crawbeck, of the Virgin of the Height and of the mysterious Red Man – and home to the secrets of the shadowy Arodias Thorne. And now Alice and John stand between him and rest of our world... (from Night Owl Reviews)

Simon Bestwick
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About the Author

"Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror," according to Horror legend Ramsay Campbell, Simon Bestwick is the author of Tide Of Souls, The Faceless, Hell’s Ditch and the serial novel Black Mountain, together with the story collections A Hazy Shade Of Winter, Pictures Of The Dark, Let’s Drink To The Dead and The Condemned. After having spent most of his life in Manchester, he now lives on the Wirral with a long-suffering girlfriend. When not writing, he goes for walks, watches movies, listens to music and does everything in his power to avoid having to get a proper job.

This isn't your normal ghost story.  It starts out that way but boy, does it go in another direction.   The author gives you everything that keeps the reader connected, fast pace, lots of action, characters that are a bit odd and terror.
When Alice loses her little girl and her marriage has gone down the tubes.   She appears to have no direction and she is extremely depressed.  She makes a decision to move and the move may not be the best decision she has ever made.   She moves into a eerie, falling down and isolated house.   As soon as she does, things start to go really bad. I got a little tired of Alice going around like a zombie.   She needs to get it together.   Just as I thought that, the plot quickened.  The author didn't give the reader thoughts of possible ghosts, we're talking actual ghosts.  But it didn't stop at ghosts.  There was more. Alice has no choice but to get it together.   I liked when the author takes you back in time and history of an old house.  There is old tales, priests, customs, mysteries and most important, actual documentation.  Alice learns about all of the history of the house through stories told to her. The author gives you so much to feed on that you definitely feel satisfied.  If you love creepy, then this is definitely creepy.  There were some sensitive topics in this story that I felt the author handled quite well, such as the loss of a child.   I know from experience how stories that don't handle that subject delicately can  actually add to the hurt of the reader.  This author handles this subject perfectly.  This author wrote with an out of the box perspective.  You think as you read, this is going to end just like all ghost stories, but when I got to the ending, I was actually surprised.   What a different approach!  I have to have characters that I can relate to or I have a real problem with the book.  This book gave the reader the main character, Alice, and I found I related to her as though I knew her.  You also get different time spaces.   The first part of the book is about the present and then it starts to go to the past.  Very different and interesting, as the author keeps them separate for much of the book. Then they start to merge together. 

I received a copy of this book from the author and Night Owl Reviews and voluntarily decided to review it.

I would give this book  4 STARS.