Tag Archives: book review

Review: Francesca of Lost Nation – An Enchanting Story Everyone Will Enjoy

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A BODACIOUS READ!!!

 

REVIEW:

Once in a while a novel emerges that defies genre classification, thus confusing readers who shop for specific content. Unfortunately, those readers often overlook an outstanding story that could lift them to another level. I’m not dismissing genre classification because it’s how most people choose their next title (myself included). I’m simply saying readers sometimes bypass a good novel if it’s not within their search criteria.

I believe Francesca of Lost Nation is such a book. It’s touted as “old fashioned romantic suspense” but what it contains is so much more.

The tale revolves around Sarah, a precocious nine year old and her grandmother, Francesca, a larger-than-life free spirit who infuses the child’s life with countless adventures during one summer together. Amid the eccentricity, family relationships, new relationships and underlying element of danger emerge little nuggets of wisdom like, ““Happiness is a treasure, Sarah, especially someone else’s. It is therefore civilized behavior to think carefully before you set about spoiling it.” 

Set in post war 1947 in a rural hamlet of Iowa, Ms. Crosby presents an accurate description of the era as well as the location, adding zest with an array of colorful characters. It’s a simpler time but the emotional polarities are the same i.e. joy and sadness, confidence and insecurity, courage and fear, love and loss.

The deep connection between grandmother and grandchild is indisputable in this coming of age story. It reminds me of similar titles such as To Kill A Mockingbird but the subplots are not quite as dark. This fearless duo adopts a lost dog, rescues a physically and emotionally damaged pilot, discover a town secret and dodge a vicious arsonist. Dotting the subplots are car races, plane rides and overcoming old hurts.

I’m urging you to go beyond your search for paranormal, fantasy, historical, contemporary, women’s fiction, mystery, erotica . . . or whatever genre you typically read and give Francesca of Lost Nation a try. I honestly think there is something in this captivating saga for everyone. Keep a box of tissues nearby. You might need them.

RATING: Easily 5 stars

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FRANCESCA of LOST NATION

Francesca of Lost Nation

Lucinda Sue Crosby

Francesca.Lost.Nation.Cover.FNL

Genre: (an old-fashioned) Romantic Suspense

http://amzn.to/1lzM8rg – Kindle

http://amzn.to/1pPmvXN – Paperback

  

Winner of Four Literary Prizes & Author selected as one of “50 Authors You Should be Reading” by The Authors Show online media outlet.

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When a mysterious man named Matthew appears in the small Iowa town of Lost Nation, his sudden arrival raises questions about his past. Quiet with an apparent taste for rum, Matthew makes it clear he doesn’t want to make friends. He isn’t too pleased to be dropped off at Home Farm where the independent and eccentric Francesca doesn’t accept bad manners or booze binges.

Matthew doesn’t want to form personal ties and intends to move on as soon as his damaged leg from a recent plane crash heals. But a series of events draw him into reluctant relationships: One with the feisty Francesca, the second with her 10-year-old granddaughter Sarah.

In spite of her own reservations, Francesca finds herself falling for this brooding pilot but his past looms between the pair and what neither knows is that Sarah, Francesca’s 10-year-old granddaughter, has encountered a stranger of her own … leading to a climatic confrontation that will put her and her grandmother’s life in danger.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Magazine photo

Lucinda Sue Crosby is an International Kindle Bestselling author and award-winning journalist and environmentalist as well as a published and recorded Nashville songwriter. She’s also a former film and television actor, professional athlete and sports commentator. Lucinda Sue has always had a love affair with the written word.

 

 

 

REVIEW: Pangaea – A Rollicking Sci-Fi Adventure

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REVIEW:

Pangaea coverPangeaea: Eden’s Planet by Tom Johnson offers something for everyone: a fresh take on a familiar Sci-fi theme which should thrill Sci-Fi and Fantasy buffs; romantic elements with “swoon” factor for romance addicts; non-stop adventure for adrenaline junkies; survivalist theme for preppers; and a shorter length (50k) for those readers who have limited time to devote to reading but still want the punch of a longer story.

Have you bought this book yet? You should.

Pangaea is the tale of an ill-fated NASA crew on their way to Mars by way of the Twilight Zone. (Sorry, had to throw that in!) The crew soon finds themselves on a prehistoric planet with danger and threats around every tree, boulder and hill and valley. Our adventurers encounter monstrous creatures so realistic you might find yourself looking over your shoulder as well as some pretty scary humanoids. The characters are fun, quirky and well developed. But don’t get complacent. Pangaea is also about surviving insurmountable odds with limited resources. People get killed.

I don’t want to give away the ending which was a surprise for me . . . and I’m not slow to catch on . . . so go buy the book. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet
Tom Johnson  


Genre: Science Fiction/Survival

 
Publisher: First Realm Publishing
Date of Publication: June 18, 2014
 
ISBN -13: 978-1497340749
ISBN-10: 1497340748
ASIN:
 
Number of pages: 100
Word Count: 50,000
 
Cover Artist: Jared from Off the Wall Creations
 
Book Description:

Seven astronauts en route to Mars encounter a time warp in space that disables their ship. Crash landing on Earth, they discover an alien planet sixty million years before the dinosaurs.

Pangaea, the super continent, is filled with danger and terror, as they must survive against fierce reptiles that ruled the Earth 250 million years in the past!

Excerpt:

“Damn!” he let out a whoop, “My foot’s caught in something. Someone shine their light down here!”

When two flashlight beams were aimed at his feet, three voices sounded as one:

“Oh, hell, what is that thing?”

The twin beams illuminated not only the major’s trapped foot, but also the thing that had hold of it. Cooper had stepped into something like a giant circular pit with gentle sloping sides that culminated in a center at the bottom, like a whirlpool in sand. A long, dark vine had wrapped around his ankle. Only the thing wasn’t a vine, it was some kind of slender arm with thick scales, and steel-like strength. And the arm was slowly, but steadily pulling him towards the creature waiting at the bottom!

Like the head of an octopus, there was a bulbous cranium sticking out of the sand at the bottom of the pit. The skull-like thing was covered with a thick layer of scales like those of a reptile, but that’s where the resemblance ended. There were no eyes visible, only a round mouth, with many sharp, pointed teeth. The long, powerful, scaly arm was pulling Cooper towards that gaping mouth!

Pulling the automatic pistol from its holster, the major fired point blank at that bulbous head, until the clip emptied. He was aware of Colonel Peterson firing her pistol at the same time, and heard its audible click as well. Their pistols were useless now. In an act of blind rage, he threw the empty automatic at the head of the ugly monster, and was satisfied to see it strike the creature in the mouth. It must have injured one of the teeth, for the creature shook for a second. But the awful arm continued to pull him ever closer to the wide opening and horrible death.

He was only a yard from the monster when he suddenly yelled, “The spear. Throw me the spear, quickly!”

Colonel Peterson was nearest to the spear, and she grabbed it up and jumped into the pit, as if intent on rushing the creature herself. But Major Cooper grabbed the long, metal weapon from her hand and pushed her out of harm’s way, as he brought the weapon high above his head just as he came within reach of those deadly teeth.

About the Author:

Tom's Back Cover PictureAs a twenty-year military veteran, I served on the Korean DMZ under fire, as well as in Vietnam. I have a law enforcement background. My studies of paleontology and entomology have been an influence in many of my novels.

My wife and I started the publishing imprint of FADING SHADOWS in 1982, and published a hobby magazine and several genre magazines for 22 years, before I settled into writing my own novels.

I have now been published in over 80 books, which include fiction novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction books. I write SF, YA, Western, and Action novels.

Website http://www15.brinkster.com/jur1/index.html

Pulp Den http://pulplair.blogspot.com

Jur Novels  http://jurnovels.blogspot.com

Review: Come Little Children

Book Description:

The Nolan morgue is more than just an ordinary funeral home.

When their newest employee uncovers a supernatural conspiracy connected to a string of child murders, she must use every shred of her intelligence to stop a new breed of serial killer and escape the morgue alive.

Come Little Children

D. Melhoff

come little childrenGenre: Horror, thriller, supernatural thriller

Publisher: Bellwoods Publishing

Cover Artist: Carl Graves

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/nM0QAA607yo

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Review:  5 Stars

If you like horror . . . thrillers . . . twisted characters disguised with eccentricity . . . then you absolutely MUST read “Come Little Children” by D. Melhoff. This novel grabbed me from the very first scene – an autopsy or so I assumed by the detailed description. Funny how an author can set the stage and then pull the rug out from under you. The slicing and dicing is done by a middle-aged woman who calmly disposes of the young boy’s body in a pond. This brought new meaning to “whistle while you work”.

The story then took off in a new direction. I was mentally and emotionally hooked, captivated by the introductory scene with our main character, Camilla Carleton. I found myself sucked right in to the story. Again. She arrives at the mortuary, a new place of employment, and spies her first corpse. Dismayed by the disheveled appearance, Camilla approaches the old man lying on the slab and begins to tuck his shirt into his pants, hoping to make the dead man appear more presentable. As soon as her hand brushes his crotch, he opens his eyes and screams. I think Camilla did, too. I know I did – even though it came out more like a snort, something between a squeal and a giggle.

Yeah, it’s that kind of book. Spooky. Surprising. Riveting.

“Come Little Children” follows Camilla’s journey to the small town of Nolan in the Yukon Territory where she uncovers a series of child murders at the Vincent family morgue. The owners are controversial, to say the least, so when children who are supposedly dead start showing up in physical form, Camilla suspects there’s more to the strange events than meets the eye. She’s right – but her love for one of the owner’s sons, Peter, convinces her to keep the family secret. Restoring life to dead children is a gift. Isn’t it?

Camilla and Peter bring a young girl, Abigail, into their lives, unaware of the horrific consequences of their actions. As things begin to unravel, Camilla realizes there is only one option, she must kill Abigail or die trying.

This book reminded me at times of The OMEN and Dax, the evil son who brings death and mayhem to everyone’s life. D. Melhoff is a master of description, blending details into the story with such subtlety that it becomes part of you, just like the fast paced intensity in “Come Little Children”.

I rate this book  5 stars. It’s an amazing story, beautifully written, and tempered perfectly between horror, suspense and supernatural. Buy it. Read it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

About the Author:

Dcome little children. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town located an inch above the Canadian-American border. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Raimi, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

www.dmelhoff.com

www.facebook.com/dmelhoff

@dmelhoff

Review: “Voodoo On Bayou Lafonte” by Susan C. Muller

Voodoo On Bayou LaFonte Banner 450 x 169

Review:

Voodoo On Bayou Lafonte offers some serious reading MoJo for fans of paranormal romantic suspense! Susan has done a wonderful job crafting a book with all the elements I love . . . romance (of course), a suspenseful plot, realistic characters with tangible chemistry and a creepiness that kept me nibbling at my thumb nail until I finished the final page.

Remy and Gabrielle are the estranged couple who never moved on because deep down, they still have feelings for each other. Remy is a detective in Houston, Gabby lives with their daughter, Adrienne, in Louisiana. When Gabby calls Remy to help locate the missing teenager whom authorities believe ran away, he wastes no time joining the search. The stress of a missing child, combined with old wounds, keeps the conversation lively between Remy and Gabby in the beginning.

As the investigation delves deeper into Adrienne’s disappearance, the star crossed lovers are thrust into a whirlwind of danger. I mean, this book covers a gamut of adventurous scenarios to whet your appetite for suspense – voodoo, drug rings, corrupt law enforcement . . . even a hurricane. Remy and Gabby soon realize their feelings for each other are just as strong as ever but their true happiness hinges of finding their daughter alive.

Loved this book! You will, too. It’s a great romantic suspense filled with action, snappy dialogue and characters who are easy to like.

Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte

Occult Series – Book 3

Susan C. Muller

VoodooonBayLafonte2_850Genre: Paranormal romantic suspense 

Publisher:  Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication: December 18, 2013 

Word Count: 80,000

Cover Artist: Rae Monet

 

 

Book Description:

A frantic phone call leads Detective Remy Steinberg racing through the night toward the one place he vowed never to return. With the life of his kidnapped daughter at stake, he willingly faces shotgun-wielding drug dealers, corrupt law-enforcement officials, and a raging hurricane.

Scouring the seedy back alleys of New Orleans for information, he goes undercover at a sinister voodoo ceremony, and struggles to understand the forces of black magic that hold his daughter hostage.

With time ticking down, he battles for his life against a high voodoo priest, but can he face the two things he fears most: the swamp that terrorized his childhood, and the ex-wife he’s never stopped loving?

Detective Remy Steinberg must return to Louisiana in search of his kidnapped daughter. Can he save her before the swamp swallows her up and he loses any chance at happiness?

Excerpt:

Detective Remy Steinberg glared at his phone. No good could come from answering this late on a Friday afternoon, but he still had ten minutes left on his shift. It was one thing to slip out when you finished your work, but to turn his back on a ringing phone . . .

He glanced at his lieutenant’s office. Hard Luck Luchak stared back at him. Damn. Remy gritted his teeth and reached for the phone, hoping like hell he wouldn’t be delayed.

“Homicide, Steinberg.” Maybe it was one of the guys in the back, playing a joke on him.

“Remy?”

Shit. Ball Breaker Number One. What could she want? He’d mailed his child support payment in plenty of time.

“Gabrielle, what is it? I’m just leaving the office.”

“Adrienne didn’t come home from school today.”

He sighed. Poor Adrienne. She never had any freedom.

“For God’s sake, Gabby, she’s sixteen. She can’t be more than an hour late. She’s probably gossiping with a girlfriend. Cut the girl some slack.”

“She’s seventeen, which you’d know if you paid her any attention.”

He knew how old she was, he just didn’t like to think of her as anything except a gap-toothed kid.

Gabby didn’t give him time to answer. “She hasn’t been missing for an hour. She’s been missing for over thirty hours.”

His heart caught in his throat and he couldn’t speak for several seconds. In his job, he’d seen what could befall a young girl in that length of time. He might not be the world’s best dad, but he was her dad just the same.

“What? For over a day? How could you let this happen?” His voice rose and he couldn’t control it, despite the eyes he knew were trained on him. “Why weren’t you keeping track of her? Have you called the police?”

“I’m calling you, aren’t I? You’re the police.” The tremor in her voice might not have been noticeable to anyone else, but he recognized just how scared she was.

“And I’m three hundred miles away.” A good four and a half hours from Comeaux. More like five on a Friday afternoon when half of Houston headed across the state line to do some gambling in Louisiana.

He tightened his grip on the phone. What the hell had happened to his daughter? He wanted to believe she was getting into the same sort of mischief he was at that age, but something in his gut told him her disappearance was far more sinister.

Remy gritted his teeth and turned off his flashing light bar as he crossed the state line. His badge might carry some weight in Texas, but not in Louisiana. Those guys had a hard-on against everything from Texas except the money that rolled in.

Well, too damn bad. He felt the same about their whole fucking state. Had since the day his mother dragged the family there from New Jersey.

He understood, forgave her even. When his father died, she needed someplace that felt like home. Only it never felt like home to him. In fact, it felt more like purgatory. And he got out of there as fast as he could.

Unfortunately, that meant dragging Gabrielle and Adrienne to Texas with him. And Gabby had refused to do that. She’d given him an ultimatum. Come back or get a divorce. Well, he’d never much liked ultimatums. And he sure as hell didn’t plan to ever live in that state again.

He’d gone to Texas in search of work, sure that if Gabby loved him enough, she’d follow. Only she hadn’t, and he’d refused to give up a good job and return to a hand-to-mouth existence, sponging off of family, and feeling like a failure because he couldn’t support his new baby and his wife.

The same wife who hadn’t loved him enough to come with him.

His hands tightened on the wheel until his fingers went numb. Would things have been different if he hadn’t been so bullheaded? Was Adrienne paying the price for his stubbornness?

He could beat himself up later for rash decisions. All that mattered now was his daughter’s safety.

Two of the detectives in his squad, Adam Campbell and Ruben Marquez, had stayed late at the station to work the phones, something he appreciated. Even his boss was pulling all the strings he could, but Remy knew he was on his own.

And every minute that passed, the knot in his gut grew.

He stopped for gas, a quick burger, and to study the map. He hadn’t been here for at least three years, probably four, and if it weren’t for Adrienne he wouldn’t be here now. As soon as she was old enough to fly alone, he’d brought her out to join him for her weekend visits.

Nothing had changed. A few more fast-food joints, a few more casinos. But the fucking swamp was still only feet off the road in places. And the people that lived in it were still as superstitious and backward as ever.

The burger tasted like cardboard, but he didn’t care. Just fuel for his body. No different than the gas he put in the car.

Another hour of driving, and he turned off the interstate, into bayou country. The lights fell away and he was left with only his headlights poking a hole in the darkness. Even the air felt heavy, like the weight on his shoulders.

God, how he hated this place. And now it had taken his daughter.

#

Remy’s heart barely had time to slow down before they coasted into the driveway of the next friend on Adrienne’s phone-list. He shot a quick peek at Gabby as she chewed on her bottom lip. What was she so nervous about, Adrienne or something else?

As if reading his mind, Gabby gave a tiny shrug. “Claudine’s stepfather is kind of a jerk, so be careful. I get the feeling he’s not around much so hopefully he won’t be home.”

Remy dealt with jerks every day. He even worked with some. Gabby probably thought a cross word meant the end of the world. Sometimes being sweet could be a disadvantage. He didn’t have that problem.

Claudine was outside, climbing into a blue Honda. Gabby spoke up before the girl had time to shut her car door. “Hi, Claudine. This is Mr. Steinberg, Adrienne’s father. He wants to ask you some questions about Adrienne’s disappearance.

Claudine started fidgeting with her car keys. “I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

Every damn time. People either outright lied or omitted things they didn’t want to talk about. Did they think he was a fool? He could read body language faster than most people could read a book.

The teen tried to close the car door, she wasn’t getting away that easy. He leaned down when he heard someone shout.

“Hey! What are you doing?” A big guy wearing cut-off jeans, flip-flops, and a thick covering of body hair leaned out the door of the house. “Get away from her before I call the police.”

“Claudine’s stepfather,” Gabby whispered before lifting her head. “Hi, Dan. It’s Gabby Hough, Adrienne’s mother. Her father and I are just asking Claudine if she’s talked to Adrienne lately.

“I said, ‘Back away.’” Cryer grabbed a shotgun from behind the front door and started across the lawn. “I don’t care who you are or what happened to your whore of a daughter. Get you hand off the car and your butt off my property or I’ll blow your balls off.”

Remy’s ears roared as blood rushed to his head. Now wasn’t the time. Finding Adrienne had to be his priority. But Cryer’s time would come. He promised himself that.

He put out his hands and twisted toward the man. “There’s no need to use that kind of language in front of these women. We were just asking Claudine for her help.”

The idiot took another step his direction and leveled the shotgun at his chest. “And I said, ‘Get the fuck out of here.’”

Remy mentally counted to ten. He sure didn’t want to have to shoot the guy, not in front of his stepdaughter, or Gabby.

Heart pounding, he kept walking toward Cryer, his hands at his shoulders, palms out. He wasn’t the frightened little pipsqueak he’d been at eleven. “Come on, man. Her mother’s in a state about this. We won’t be but another minute.”

“You’re fucking right about that, asshole.”

Dan adjusted his grip on the shotgun as Remy slapped the barrel aside. In two moves, the big man was facedown on the ground with Remy’s knee in his back.

Remy leaned forward and whispered in his ear, “Ferme ta gueule, merde embulante. If you ever pull a weapon again on me or mine, I’ll stick it so far up your ass the coroner won’t be able to identify the pieces.” He kept his knee against Dan’s back as he unloaded the shotgun, tossing the shells in one direction and flinging the gun into a bed of azaleas.

Remember,” he continued, his voice a deep growl, “use that language in front of my wife again, and I’ll be back to discuss it.”

#

Gabby didn’t speak on the way to Sherri Lynn’s, the next stop on their interrogation route. Her hands were shaking and her voice probably was, too. Besides, what could she say to Remy? You shouldn’t have beat up that guy? That would have been a lie. The creep deserved everything he got. I didn’t know you could do that? Maybe. At least that would have been the truth. You shouldn’t have told Dan to shut his trap or called him a walking piece of shit? That was very true. Dan Cryer never forgot, and he never forgave.

Oh, and by the way, for someone who seemed so eager to sever the marital connection, when did I become your wife again?

She clasped her still-trembling hands in her lap and stared out the front window.

Remy didn’t take his eyes off the road as he spoke. “Would you like to get a cup of coffee, something to eat, before we try the next girl?”

Eat? How could she eat? Her stomach was in knots and her heart was about to punch a hole in her chest. “Don’t you think we should try to get to Sherri Lynn’s before Claudine or her father decides to call over there?”

“Claudine’s not going to say anything, not for a long time. And Dan is inside changing his underwear and trying to convince himself the last fifteen minutes never happened. The last thing he’ll ever do is tell anyone. Right now we’re both upset, and Sherri Lynn is our last chance. We need to calm down before we face her.”

Gabby sighed. Remy was right. They did need to settle down. “Papite’s is still on Pecan Street, and they still make the best shrimp po’boys in three parishes.”

They didn’t speak again until they were settled in a high-backed booth in the far corner. The vinyl seats were cracked and held together with duct tape, but their voices couldn’t be heard over the hum of the air conditioning unit. No point letting the whole parish in on their discussion.

She waited until the waiter left with their order before broaching the subject she’d debated sharing with Remy. “Starting something with Don Cryer might not have been the best idea. He’s not a very nice man and he holds a grudge.”

Remy flashed her a cocky grin. “You haven’t been around me much over the last years, but I can be a badass myself, if need be. I don’t hold a grudge, but I don’t put up with shit, either. Cryer pointed a loaded gun at us. If I’d backed down, I’d have lost the respect of every man for a hundred miles, and no one in this parish would have told me anything. I don’t care about popularity, but I do intend to find my daughter, and that takes information.”

Gabby felt a knot form in her stomach. Just like always, Remy wasn’t listening to her. “Did you see that house? And the land it sat on? The place must be worth millions. Dan didn’t get that playing by the rules. Now there’s rumors Dan’s bringing drugs in from Texas, maybe even New Orleans and Baton Rouge. You can’t find Adrienne if you’re dead. And even if he doesn’t kill you, Adrienne and I have to live in this town after you’re gone.”

Oops. Had she really said that? She sank back against the cushions. Well, it was true. Like before, Remy would rush in, think he had to save her, and just when she got used to having him around, he’d be gone. And she’d have to learn to live without him all over again.

“Is that what this is about, the elephant in the room? I’m sorry I called you my wife. If it insults you that much, I’ll go back and retract the statement.”

About the Author:

Hi Res. 022

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a fourth generation Texan and I attended Stephen F. Austin State University where I majored in Business Administration, but took creative writing classes on the side because that’s where my heart was.

I have always loved reading and if it’s true that God doesn’t subtract the hours you spend reading from your life span, then I should pass the century mark with flying colors. I first tried my hand at writing when I was eleven, but the sun was shining and I had a new bike so that effort was doomed to failure.

I didn’t try writing again until I was well into my sixties. People ask me why I took it up then and my answer is simple, because my husband retired. If you don’t understand, just wait, you will.

My first novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, won several awards. After that, I was hooked.

I’ve been blessed with two great kids and four grandkids. My late husband and I loved to travel and we saw much of the world. Kenya, New Zealand, and the Galapagos Islands are a few of my favorite places. After he passed, I thought my traveling days were over, yet I’ve since been to Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.

I live in Spring, Texas where I currently serve as president of the Northwest Houston chapter of RWA and volunteer at a local hospital. I also enjoy speaking to book clubs and writers groups.

www.susancmuller.com

https://www.facebook.com/SusanCMuller

Twitter: @susancmuller

 

October & Horror: A Perfect Blend (MARTUK . . . the HOLY Review)

Martuk … the Holy

Book One

JONATHAN WINN

Martuk-ebook-cover-Tim-2-TwitterGenre:  Horror, Literary Horror

ISBN:  978-1480035690

ASIN:  B007HPQPV4

Number of pages:  446

Word Count:  89,000

Cover Artist:  Timothy Burch

Amazon    BN   Smashwords

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Win 5 e-copies of Martuk . . . the Holy by clicking this link:

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Martuk the Holy Banner 450 x 169

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In a crowded Left Bank cafe, an immortal man sits, the phantoms crawling near, the heat of their whispers stinging his cheek …

and Martuk … The Holy begins.

One thousand years before the birth of Christ, a golden god damns Martuk with a kiss. In a land ruled by a wounded king, life everlasting steals his mortality from the bottom of a golden cup. Finally, generations later, a Messiah who has the power to heal breaks under the weight of Martuk’s demons, stumbling to his death defeated by darkness.

From his home in modern Paris, he writes, his memories lush, his words evocative. Revisiting his impossible life, he vents his rage and shares his loneliness. From bloody battles with a demon he cannot escape to the ghost of a beauty who haunts him still, this is his story.

This is Martuk … The Holy.

REVIEW:

If you enjoy books with a new twist on a familiar plot similar to Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”, then you will most certainly love “Martuk . . . the Holy” by Jonathan Winn.  This intense, gripping tale will keep you turning pages, biting fingernails, and re-evaluating your beliefs until the final sentence.

I’m not sure if Winn’s book can be classified into a single genre . . . or even a sub-genre. It’s multi-faceted and that’s part of the appeal. The fact  Martuk . . . the Holy is a debut novel is impressive beyond words.

Martuk is a tormented immortal with roots in ancient history. Before you start thinking Adrian Paul and the TV series, “Highlander”, let me assure the differences are vast. Martuk . . . the Holy is a dark story filled with demons, angels, beastly abominations, horror, sexuality, violence and a provocative biblical twist. All that adds up to a fascinating, complex read that will thrill most readers and upset a few. Be warned . . . it’s not easy reading.

At times, you might feel confused because there’s a lot going on. The story covers past, present, future and can jump scenes before you’re emotionally ready.  Martuk is written in first person, told in flashbacks and flash forwards because he’s a seer. Winn’s ability to transport the reader to various periods in history as well as build a fantastical world filled with breathtaking detailed imagery is astounding. Even scenes with horrifying violence transmit a beauty that both sickens and beguiles.

At this time, Martuk . . . the Holy averages 5 stars on Amazon. Add my 5 stars to that ranking.

Invest your time in this book. Authors like Jonathan Winn are a rare treat.

EXCERPT:

His scream brought me back.

The blackness lifted again, those Beyond the Veil disappearing again. I was on the stone again. He was straddling me, his hands on my throat. Again.

I opened my eyes.

Above me, he sat, his mouth open in another loud scream, a roar, the pain of his loss obsessing him, driving him to hurt me.

He bent low, his sweaty face inches from mine, the skin flushed red and dripping with sweat. Shaking his head, he caught his breath, his eyes wide with disbelief as I died and came to life again and again, his mind, still blunted and thick with wine, not comprehending the impossible.

He roared again, the spit rolling from his mouth to stain my lips and run down my cheek to tickle my ears.

I tried to move. Tried to breathe. Tried to escape. But it was useless.

I didn’t have the strength.

Yes, my demons had left me. I suffered, losing life, the Veil so near yet so far, tempting me with its peace, its quiet. Abandoned by my strength, the human in me unable to escape this man’s anger and rage, his brutality.

He lifted my head and smacked it against the stone, the thwack rippling over my skull, my eyes closing, the burning pain stealing my breath.

I had endured this once, long ago. So long ago. Trapped and held by cruel hands, my head hitting the stone with a crippling thwack while the stars twinkled above.

He tightened his grip around my throat.

Where were you? I silently asked. Oh my God, my demons, where were you?

My chest was on fire, my lungs burning, every bone hurting, every inch of skin screaming for release, for relief, for surrender.

The darkness was coming again.

Help me.

There they stood, Those Beyond the Veil, their faces pressed close, watching me.

Help me, please.

They stood near suddenly, watching. Impassive. Unresponsive.

Having slipped into the Fog to move among them once again, I could see their unfinished forms wandering, their shapes shifting like a delicate fog. There were noses and chins, perhaps eyes, arms and legs and torsos and breasts. There were children and parents. Parents of parents. Some watched closely, the fragile gaze curious and afraid. Others stood in the distance, lost in the dreams of a life once lived. I didn’t know.

But they were shapes. Listless, ineffective shapes.

I thought of the altar lifetimes ago. How they had abandoned me then. The poisoned brew at my lips. The smell of blood. The smell of fear. The warmth on the soles of my feet as the darkness wound its way up my shins, my thighs, whipped itself around my waist and crawled up my chest as I drank and drank and drank.

I gasped, the air filling my lungs as I came back to this world. The world of stone and roaring fires, smoldering bodies, and an angry beast driven by anguish choking the life from me. This horrible reality ripping me from the Fog once again.

He was resting, this beast. Still straddling me, he fell forward, leaning forward, his weight crushing as, his chest on mine, he rested his forehead on the stone as he caught his breath.

He would stir again. I knew this. And the frustrating cycle would begin again. I knew this, too. I would suffer, my chest exploding, tears washing my cheeks, his drool slipping from his lips to slide down my chin, the pain of death endured yet again.

I need my demons. The restless, useless Dead couldn’t help me. I need my demons. I needed my strength. My power. To live, to rise up and seek revenge. To slaughter this man who had killed my angel. Who had brutalized her, leaving her for dead on the side of the road, in the dirt, the leaves, the grass and the trees. I needed that impervious strength I possessed lifetimes ago.

To hurt him the way he had hurt her, I needed my demons.

On the verge of exhaustion, he lifted himself, his eyes heavy, his skin sweating in the glow of the fire. He still sat on me, breathing deeply, his chest rising and falling, his shoulders slack.

Glancing to the side, his eyes focused and saw his dead daughter charred black, her flesh red and raw. And then his wife in the water, her flesh scorched, her skull red and raw, the fine dark hair burned away. His sons, his dead sons, laying peacefully as if in sleep, their heads awkwardly twisted.

The grief returned.

His face crumpled in tears, his chin trembling, the sobs struggling to escape as a shudder of pain rippled through his shoulders. He swallowed, paused, shaking the emotion away. He then turned to me, his eyes no longer heavy, his breath no longer ragged, his chin no longer trembling, his shoulders strong and straight.

He bent low, his lips almost on mine, and roared, his open mouth easily covering my face from the dip in my chin to the top of my nose. And then he sat up, his hands around my neck.

Lifting my head, he brought me close, looking at me for a moment, watching me. Wondering, perhaps, how I, this weak nothing of a boy, of a young man, a beardless, smooth, skinny young man, could possibly have killed so many so quickly.

The tears threatened again. He swallowed before snarling, gritting his teeth. And with my face still so close to his, he screamed again.

Yes …

Just as my own tears came again, just as I lost all hope of this nightmare ending, just as I surrendered to the darkness swallowing me once more, the peace of the Veil taunting me with a quiet I can never claim as my own, they came.

Look …

The Whispers inched near, the heated breath slipping over my skin, the darkness, their darkness, their blessed darkness, the effective, terrifying darkness of my demons, clouding the air as his thumbs tightened around my throat.

We are here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and now award-winning author, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA, and currently divides his time between the East and West coasts.  Martuk … The Holy is his first book.

Blog – http://martuktheholy.com

Twitter –  http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Winn

Facebook – http://facebook.com/MartukTheHoly

In Pursuit of a Good Read? DANGEROUS PURSUIT

Dangerous Pursuit Button 16-23 Tour 300 x 225Review:

Margaret Daley has once again nailed it with fingernail decimating intrigue while romantically tangling two wonderful characters in a fun romp through the jungles of Brazil. DANGEROUS PURSUIT is Book One in her new series, The Protectors . . . and I can’t wait for more!

The chemistry between Samantha Prince, a woman searching for her brother in the wilds of the Amazon, and Brock Slader, the adventurer she hires as a guide, is tangible, fun and well structured, adding just the right amount of spice. Don’t expect steamy, however. The main heat in this tale comes from the climate, not the bed sheets. And that’s okay. I don’t mind a book that builds sexual tension with thoughts and banter instead of descriptive sex if the characters are realistic and the plot holds my attention. DANGEROUS PURSUIT succeeds on both counts.

I was reminded of the movie, “Romancing The Stone”, when I first started reading this book. While there are similarities – as in the bookish heroine who blossoms in a foreign country while being pursued by villains, and the roguish, devil-may-care hero who reluctantly serves as her guardian and ends up losing his heart – DANGEROUS PURSUIT provides enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and fresh.

If you like big adventure or treasure hunting scenarios such as the Indiana Jones movies, you’ll be pleased with DANGEROUS PURSUIT. I don’t believe it’s marketed as Christian romance, but could probably qualify under that genre. I prefer to think of it as a rollicking romantic suspense. Margaret Daley has written 84 books and earned a legion of fans along the way. I think her record speaks for itself.

Read DANGEROUS PURSUIT. You’ll be glad you did.

Dangerous Pursuit

The Protectors, Book One

Margaret Daley 

Genre: Romantic Suspense

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ISBN: 9781301248940
ASIN: B00E7HNG6M
BN ID: 2940148824664

Number of pages: 172
Word Count: 59,000 words

Cover Artist: Laura Marie Altom

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Book Description:

Reading about danger never prepared Samantha Prince for the desperate phone call from her brother in Brazil that sent her from the safety of her New Orleans bookstore into the rugged, inhospitable Amazon in search of him and a hidden treasure. And reading about romance never prepared Samantha to resist the mysterious appeal of Brock Slader, a guide she hired to help her in her quest.

Alone with Brock in an alien world of orchids and anacondas, primitive headhunters and very up-to-date gunmen, she struggles to keep their relationship strictly business. Will Samantha survive the dangers in the jungle only to have her heart broken by a man who lives on the edge—no strings attached?

Excerpt:

“Don’t worry. You won’t have an hysterical woman on your hands. I don’t go in for that.” Samantha’s voice held none of the confidence she wanted. She told herself that it was the humidity and strangeness of the jungle city. But in truth all her senses converged on the touch of Brock’s hand on her arm, his fingers a tantalizing combination of rough and gentle.

Brock released his hold on her but didn’t move away. He was only inches from her, his male scent mingling with the potent odors of the tropics carried on the moisture-laden breeze. The noise of Manaus surrounded them, but all Samantha could hear was the loud pounding of her heart that filled her ears.

“I knew a man who disappeared about six months back without a trace. There are a lot of stories like that, Miss Prince.”

“I’m sure there are, but I’ll find Mark. I would know if something had happened to him.”

The warm gleam in his eyes that made them appear almost silver was gone, replaced by a serious look that turned his gaze a dark gray like storm clouds. “It will be worse if you discover nothing.”

“Worse?”

“The jungle has a way of swallowing people up. You may never find out what’s happened to your brother. You may spend the rest of your life hoping for something that won’t happen.”

The thought sent a chill down her spine, in spite of the heat. “What has made you so cynical?”

“Reality,” he said in a clipped voice, his expression suddenly very closed. His stance forbade further discussion of the subject.

Samantha took a step back, trying to distance herself from his very masculine presence. “Are you saying I should hope to find my brother dead rather than not at all?”

Brock’s mouth thinned. His eyes narrowed. He didn’t need this. Why was he even standing here with her. His common sense told him it was dangerous to become involved with Samantha Prince and her quest. He needed to keep his distance. She reminded him of all the things he had left behind in the States: security, normalcy, order.

But looking at Samantha Prince at that moment stirred something in him he didn’t need or want—a protective instinct. Wisps of her fiery hair had escaped her bun and framed her face. Not a beautiful face by most people’s standards but definitely intriguing, he decided as his gaze took in the angry tilt of her head, the glint in her sherry-colored eyes, the frown on her full lips, the sprinkle of freckles on her upturned nose.


About the Author:

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-four books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love.

When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household.

To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margaretdaleybooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/margaretdaley

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretDaley