Review: The Scarlet Queen by Sean Robins

It’s time for another Sean Robins review.  Our prolific writer has penned another book, The Scarlet Queen, the prequel to the well-received The Crimson Deathbringer series.  This time, we follow beautiful Xornaa, a “femme fatale mercenary”—and Xortaag spy—who becomes involved in time traveling with the intriguing if not unique Klatzo, creator of the time machine.  In addition to (expected and desired) engaging battles, there are more life-saving episodes (but no spoiler alerts as to outcomes).

There are references to characters from the series (like Tarq the impassioned prankster and Maada the dogged general), which bring back welcome memories of those other exhilarating stories and danger-fraught and oft crazy adventures.

Here’s a little taste:

Up until then, I still had a faint hope that we could make it to the jump point, but it evaporated with the arrival of the new enemy ships. I closed my eyes, let out a long low sigh, and covered my face in defeat. The thought that everything I’d done, including inventing a freaking time machine, had been for naught stabbed at my heart.

I clenched my fist so tightly that my hands started shaking as a vein began to pulse in my forehead. Then I heard my doppelgangers shouting in excitement. I looked at my tactical display and, in sheer astonishment, realized the new ships were shooting at their own space fighters.

I blinked and checked my tactical display again to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Nope. It was real.

Two of the pursuing space fighters were hit before their pilots realized what was happening. The other two broke and flew in opposite directions, but each had three vessels on their six, and I was certain even their pilots knew they were doomed. They threw their space fighters up and down, left and right, and tried to avoid the incoming fire, but they joined their dead comrades in less than two minutes.

What the hell is going on?!

What the hell indeed?  You’ll just have to read The Scarlet Queen to discover what happens!

For those not yet familiar with Sean, he’s a huge fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Star Trek.  He’s also a university/college level English teacher who has lived and worked in different countries.  To find out more, please check out Sean and his new book out at:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.ca/Scarlet-Queen-Adventure-Crimson-Deathbringer-ebook/dp/B091FMTSX4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+scarlet+queen&qid=1625919260&s=books&sr=1-1

Twitter:  @seanrobins300

Facebook:  facebook.com/seanrobins300

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18999889.Sean_Robins

Rating: lei1forbookreviewslei1forbookreviewslei1forbookreviewslei1forbookreviews

It’s JJ on the last day of the 99-cent promotion for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?  . . .

Hula is our first professional (paying) case that we—the three private investigators of the Oahu-based Triple Threat Investigation Agency—undertake.

Given we’re newbies, we do pretty well . . . okay, maybe we make a few mistakes and get ourselves into some seriously sticky situations . . . but we learn along the way.

An elderly millionaire hires Rey, Linda and me to find out what his young, pretty wife is doing when she’s not at home.  He believes she’s having an affair—and, given he’s looking at a divorce, this would help his cause immensely. 

Before we can discover whether she’s involved with anyone (like her personal trainer or the “pool boy”), we find her floating in the Pacific at the base of some cliffs.  Any number of people might have been responsible, so we have our work cut out for us. =

A few more bodies drop.  As they do, we attempt to help a young drug addict, does deal with an ornery drug dealer or two, and encounter some mean-tempered gang members.

This first case proves complicated, but we endeavor to put the pieces of the complex puzzle together.  Perhaps you’d like to find out how we accomplish this?

You can find Hula here . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Becoming Bulletproof – Part 1

I’m reading a great book right now (one I’m not editing)—Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras.

The intention was to do a review, but as I was strolling along pre-dawn streets this morning, it came to me to do a two-parter.  One: how the book came into my possession.  Two: the review itself.

This year has been one of sharing, of communicating things about my personal situation, and what a challenge life has become over the years.  I never had the inclination to be transparent [that much] in past, but somehow, these days, this year, it seems a cathartic thing to do.

I’ve been sad/depressed off and on for a long time; sometimes, I can handle it, sometimes I slip deep within and/or spit razorblades.  Lately, it’s been the latter.  I’ve walked away from people (the very, very few friends I have, all three of them).

One friend, however, was sweet enough to give me a feel-better bag filled with lovely pick-you-up pressies.  Scented candles (I couldn’t peel my nose from those heady fragrances).  Sweet treats (how nummy).  A soft blanket (so ni-ice at night).  And the book . . . Becoming Bulletproof (Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent).  Thank you, Krystyna.

“The one person you should be able to fully rely upon to save you is you.  You are the hero you’ve been waiting for . . .” is how the back jacket reads.  Love it.  Ultimately, it’s true; the only person(s) we can rely on are ourselves.

The book revolves around how to deal with and overcome fear.  I’m all for that; who doesn’t want to take charge of her/his life?

My fear?  There’s really only one: never being free of mom-care.  I’ve devoted most of my life to taking care of a woman who could care less what the toll is on me, nor is she thankful for the multitude of things I do every day.  That’s okay.  Some people simply can’t say thank-you.  And I don’t criticize or condemn her for that; that’s just who she is.

I’m often feeling like one of the walking dead because I am exhausted beyond exhausted.  And hope and faith are merely memories.  But real [uninterrupted] sleep will come one day.  Maybe not tomorrow or next month.  But it will come.  Hope may return and I hope (he-he) it does.  Faith I’m not so sure about, but maybe I take the Wayne Dyer approach to life.  Faith is found in many forms and it doesn’t have to be “religious”.

I must learn to go with the flow better than I have been doing.  Pull up the socks.  Keep a stiff upper lip.  Let things happen/unfold.  Allow the cards to fall where they may.  How are those for overused—but appropriate—sayings?

wpbookI must also apply what I’ve learned from the book.  It’s merely a matter of putting advice into practice . . . and practice does make perfect (one last familiar saying, he-he).

And, with time, yours truly will become bulletproof.

Review: THE BLACK FLEET – The Crimson Deathbringer Book Three (Sean Robins)

The third book in the series, The Black Fleet, continues to satisfy.  It’s not quite as complex perhaps as the previous two (The Crimson Deathbringer and The Golden Viper), but it still delivers—with brisk action, campy humor, and the crazy cast we’ve grown so fond of.  They abound with zealousness (or is that insanity?).  The threat this time deals with the fate of the future.  Scary!

There’s protagonist Major Jim Harrison—with new wife, Ella, a career military woman—and his nemesis/alter-ego, Venom.  Jim’s still an ace fighter pilot but is also the author of well-selling autobiographies; not only have they granted him a certain level of fame but have bolstered an ego that was rather big to begin with.  Comrade Kurt returns, as does prankster Tarq, but the “insect” seems a little less dynamic than previously.  General Maada takes a pivotal role and gives Jim a run for his money, er, space fighter, er . . . .

Sean’s characters are well crafted and alternative planets and lifeforms—like the Akakies, Volts, and Talgonians—are thoroughly detailed.  It’s easy to visualize the action in all its explosive fervor.  Energy and danger overflow as heroes/heroines and enemies engage in thrilling skirmishes.

I looked at Earth, visible from the front window, and admired its magnificent beauty for the thousandth time. No matter how often I saw Earth from orbit, this view always made my breath catch and my spirit lift. My planet, where all my loved ones lived, including my unborn child. In this wide universe, this was the only place I called home, which incidentally I’d helped save a couple of times, along with the rest of the galaxy.

If pride really were a deadly sin, then I was going straight to hell.

And now new baddies were coming for her. Well, guess who was standing in their way. But first, there was a minor issue I had to deal with.

“You know what, Tarq?” I said conversationally. “It’s just occurred to me you never answered for the seven hundred million humans you got killed.

Another thrilling ride to be sure, one that leaves you longing for another.  Lucky us—there’s a fourth one to come.

A definite 4 out of 5!

savesavesavesave

What about Sean Robins?  As may be evident from the Crimson Deathbringer books, he’s a huge fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Star Trek.  He’s a university/college-level English teacher and has lived and worked in six different countries, including Canada.  Sean has met people from all around the world, which is “probably why my characters look like the bridge crew from Star Trek”.

His favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is why he ended up writing in first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone.  The fact that his MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental, and has nothing to do with Captain James Kirk either.

Please check Sean out on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter (@seanrobins300) and/or Facebook (facebook.com/seanrobins300).

Aloh-hawaii

A new posting assignment from Boss Lady (as opposed to “The Boss”), otherwise known as Cousin Reynalda.  She thought posts about Hawaii would be a pleasant change (uh, we haven’t had any of late??).

Linda took it one step further and suggested we write about our favorite Hawaiian author or Hawaiian-themed story.  I liked that idea but Rey not so much (she doesn’t read a lot).

It’s JJ, just in case you weren’t sure, and I’ll go first (Rey’s still scratching her head and uttering words best left unwritten).  I have to go with Kaui Hart Hemmings’ The Descendants.  I loved the movie, as I once posted, so much so I finally read the book.  It was everything I expected and wanted—a great character-driven story.  The book, as an FYI, is told from a man’s POV, yet written by a woman.  It works; it sounds natural and flows well.

The storyline revolves around Matt King, a well-to-do [somewhat self-absorbed, or is that workaholic?] lawyer who is the descendant of a Hawaiian princess.  He’s also a husband who finds himself having to play father/parent when his wife ends up in a coma.  The two daughters, pre-teen Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex, prove a handful . . . and make him realize how out-of-touch he’s been with his family.

Parenting skills take time to master, but thrust into the role of mother as well as father, Matt begins to develop as pater and person.  Soul-searching accompanies him on the journey for truth and self.  Yes, it sounds like it might be a heavy read, but it’s not; there’s humor . . . even during dire moments.

I look at the photo, which looks like those joke snapshots everyone takes of someone sleeping. I don’t know why we think they’re so funny. There’s a lot that can be done to you while you’re sleeping. This seems to be the message. Look how vulnerable you are, the things you aren’t aware of. Yet in this picture you know she isn’t just sleeping. Joanie has an IV and something called an endotracheal tube running out of her mouth to a ventilator that helps her breathe. She is fed through a tube and is administered enough medication to sustain a Fijian village. Scottie is documenting our life for her social studies class. Here’s Joanie at Queen’s Hospital, her fourth week in a coma, a coma that has scored a 10 on the Glasgow scale and a III on the Rancho Los Amigos scale. She was in a race and was launched from an offshore powerboat going eighty miles an hour, but I think she will be okay.

The Descendants is a great, easy read, something pleasantly diverting to hunker down with on a stormy day or evening.  If I were giving stars, I’d give five out of five.

Aloha, my friends.

Michele’s Seamless Fishnets

I’m referring to Michele E. Northwood’s “seamless” smooth-reading Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea It was a great, riveting read that compelled me to give it a five-star rating (please see last week’s review).  I’d gotten so involved in the three women’s lives and mis-adventures, I found myself wondering what transpired after they’d returned home.

I contacted Michele and asked if she’d be interested in doing an interview—she was!  If you’ve not yet read Fishnets, please do; you won’t regret it.  And if you have and you’re curious to find out more . . . here you go, my friends . . .

An obvious question: do you still keep in touch with anyone from the Fishnet days?  If so, who?  Do you reminisce?  Or do you just not go there?

I’m still in touch with Louise via Facebook.  Occasionally, we share photos and reminisce, but as I mentioned at the end of my book, the memory fades and we tend to obliterate the bad experiences and remember the good ones.  Although it’s impossible to forget some of the experiences, we usually talk about funny or pleasant times and ignore the negatives.  Occasionally, the name of our agent pops up, but I think time mellows a person and I hold no malice towards him.  

When did you begin writing the book?  What served as the “trigger” to write it?

To answer that question, I have to go back to my time in Korea.  I knew from the first couple of days being in that country that we were living through a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I kept a detailed diary of every single day.  I came across the two notebooks I had filled a couple of years ago, and when I sat down to read them again, I realised that it would make an interesting book.  I thought that the uniqueness of the situation would be eye-opening, not only for other dancers but for readers interested in travel and the Far East, as well as appealing to anyone with a curiosity to discover the not-so-idyllic truth behind a dancer’s life.

It took me over a year to write the book and it was released in 2019.

 What were your takeaways from the experience?  Any regrets?  Lessons learned?

I have no regrets about doing the contract.  Although I went through some unpleasant experiences, the three of us dealt with each episode with a lot of laughter, something that I also wanted to get across in the book.  It wasn’t all doom and gloom; we had some good times too.

The experience made me mature and become a much stronger person.  I was an extremely naïve twenty-year-old who was thrown into a seedy world that I was ill-equipped to deal with.  I soon realised the need to stand up for myself if I hoped to see this contract through to the end.  But I was lucky to have Louise as my friend, as she was much more worldly-wise and mothered me for the first few months of the contract.

Some readers have asked me why I didn’t just go home.  This would have been impossible.  I was on the other side of the world at a time when cheap airfares were nonexistent and a one-way ticket back to the UK was eight hundred pounds.  This was a huge amount of money for me at that time, and with our intermittent salary being literally drip-fed to us by our agent, the thought of saving up enough money to buy a ticket home was an insurmountable task.

I think we were all committed to seeing the contract through, regardless of the circumstances. As I said earlier, in between the bad experiences, there were some good times too. These positive experiences kept us all going.

I have no regrets about my time there, I think I grew as a person, particularly mentally, and I learnt to accept that throughout life there is always a Ying and a Yang. We all experience good and bad events throughout our lives and we have to deal with whatever life throws our way.    

That’s a great, sage outlook.  What happened after?  How did the experience affect you?

Well, believe it or not, I went on my next contract with the same agent!  This time I travelled to the island of Hokkaido in Japan!   (In fact, I’ve just released the second book in the Fishnets series. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Fishnets+and+Fire-eating&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

I guess I felt that if I could cope with Korea, then Japan couldn’t be any worse.  Japan was a totally different experience.  I enjoyed the contract, but once again I experienced some daunting experiences along with a lot of laughter and weird experiences.  To whet your appetite, here is the blurb from the new book:

MichelleNewBookabcThis amusing, true story tells the tale of four young, professional dancers who travel to the island of Hokkaido, an area steeped in mystery, myths and legendary beasts.  When the quartet discovers that they are living next door to an ancient Japanese Indian tribe, they drunkenly decide to conduct a Ouija board session and, from that night onwards, things never seem quite the same again.  Not knowing, understanding or really appreciating the ancient Japanese traditions, culture or etiquette, the quartet finds themselves in some hilarious situations as well as living through some shocking real-life experiences.  They stumble their way around massage parlours and maternity hospitals, museums and temples, learning the intricacies of the hot baths and the Japanese green tea ritual.

The girls are plunged into a world of secrets and mysteries where nothing appears to be what it seems.  People vanish without a trace, and there is the strange disappearance of a large amount of money. What is the big secret on the island?  Who is in control?  Will the girls manage to keep themselves safe?  And will they ever uncover the truth behind these mysteries that seem to enshroud them all?

Sounds intriguing!  You’ve certainly sold me; I can’t wait to read it.   . . . Have you returned to Korea since?

No, I have never returned. I sometimes imagine going there out of curiosity, to see how it must have changed since 1989.  It would be interesting to visit the same old haunts, but as I have a terrible sense of direction, I´d probably never find them again!

How did your sister’s time in Korea go?

As I mentioned in the book, she seemed to have hit the jackpot compared to me.  Her agent seemed attentive to the trio and their accommodation was almost palatial compared to our digs.  However, her relationship with her agent also turned sour.  He became abusive towards the girls and my sister eventually left, leaving the two other girls she was contracted with to work as a duet.  She started modelling in Korea which was more lucrative and on her return to the UK, she never danced again.

Good for her; a happy ending, indeed.

Thanks so much, Michele, for sharing this captivating insight into yourself and your fantastic journey.   You’ve certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be looking for Book #2!

A few more fascinating facts about Michele—she:

◊  was not only a dancer, but a magician and fire-eater who toured the world for 20+ years in theatre, musicals and circus    ◊  went back to school upon retiring from the entertainment world and now has a First Class Honours degree in Modern languages, (English and Spanish)    ◊  has been in the Guinness Book of Records, during her years in entertainment for being part of the world’s largest Human mobile while working for the circus of horrors as their first “Girl inside a bottle” (wow!)    ◊  rubbed shoulders with Sting, Chris de Burgh, David Copperfield, Claudia Schiffer and Maurice Gibb from the Bee Gees    ◊  worked as a knife throwers assistant; assisted a midget in his balancing act; and also taken part in the finale of a Scorpions’ concert.

Michele currently lives in Spain with her Spanish husband, Randy, two dogs and two cats, and is an English teacher, preparing students for the prestigious Cambridge English examinations.

A great concern of Michele’s is climate change, the abundance of plastic pollution, and hates the way man unkindly treats the other species that inhabit this beautiful planet, which we are slowly destroying.   She loves living in the countryside with views of the sea and likes nothing better than to sit on the terrace at the end of the day, looking up at the stars and contemplating.

She can be contacted/followed at:

https://www.facebook.com/michele.e.northwoodauthor

Twitter : @northwood_e

Pinterest board: michele e. northwood pinterest.es https://www.pinterest.es/nextchapterpub/pinterest-board-michele-e-northwood/

Books by Michele:

Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea (a true story)

Fishnets and Fire-eating: A Dancer’s True Story in Japan

The Blood Red Retreat (coming soon)

The Circus Affair

Review: Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea by Michele E. Northwood

I’ve embarked on a reading frenzy these days (won’t last much longer, but it’s fun)!

Michele E. Northwood’s Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea has received great reviews—for obvious reasons.  It’s a fascinating real-life tale.  Usually, I find autobiographical accounts rather flat and dry, but Michele’s flows smoothly, like a gently rippling late-spring stream.  It’s entertaining, engaging, a can’t-put-down read.

Here’s a bit from the Amazon blurb:

Set in 1989, a year after the Olympic Games in South Korea, this is the true story of Michele, a young dancer, whose naïve dream of working in the Far East quickly turns into a nightmare. She finds herself in a host of situations for which she is ill-equipped. Dancing her way across Korea with Louise and Sharon, she is—among other things—propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels. Both shocking and humorous, this Double Award Winning Memoir takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you follow the life of a timid young girl caught in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.

If that doesn’t pull you right in to Michele’s well chronicled story, nothing will.  This last paragraph of the first chapter makes for foreshadowing . . . as, indeed, fate does take its course.  

This struck me as a bit odd and rather deceptive, but I did not voice my opinion. The deed was done. I had signed the paperwork, so all I could do was let fate take its course.

From the get-go, you’re compelled to accompany the threesome on their crazy journey.  

I equated our situation to how animals must feel when loaded into a cattle truck heading for slaughter. I could not help but feel as though we were heading for the same fate – comparatively speaking. What did destiny have in store for us now?

Our author has a disarming narrative manner; description, characters, and dialogue are convincingly presented.  It’s easy to visualize the various venues (like dim or dirty bars with daft or dangerous customers), appreciate the fluctuating feelings as Michele and her colleagues interact with sordid sorts, and hear the emotions as they discuss dilemmas and incidents. 

WPFishnetstwitterDOTcomAs the dancing trio travel around the country, they deal with dubious agents and managers, meet some pervy people, and encounter lascivious males.  Work is often an “audition” and money is tight (if at all).  Food is sometimes scarce and hotel rooms are rat- and insect-infested.  You know things will go from bad to worse before they get better—and there are moments where you wonder if they truly will improve—but you hang in, needing to learn what transpires.

Funny moments intersperse the drama; Michele, Sharon, and Louise share humorous moments and situations just as they share grim ones.  It takes strength—perseverance and persistence—to contend with what they did.  Hats off to them!

The editor in me usually deducts a half point or so when there are typos or the like; but in this case, I so enjoyed Fishnets, I have to give it a 5 out of 5. 

Rating:  savesavesavesavesave

Please check out Michele at:

https://www.facebook.com/michele.e.northwoodauthor

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/michele-e-northwood

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18794280.Michele_E_Northwood

By the By . . . By Gaslight

It’s rare that I get to pick up a book just for the pleasure of reading—what little novel-related “me” time I have is devoted to reviews for authors I’ve come to know through Next Chapter or social media.

When I picked up By Gaslight (lying on a friend’s coffee table) and read the back flap, I had to borrow it.  I was intrigued.  Very.

LONDON, 1885.  In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Pinkerton, the son of a famous detective, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.  Adam Foole, haunted by a love affair ten years gone, has returned to London in search of his lost beloved.  But when these two are drawn together in their search for answers, what follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls.

How could you not want to read Steven Price’s thriller?  Obviously others were of the same mind, because the book (published by McClelland & Stewart, 2016) was a Canadian National Bestseller and on the prestigious Giller Prize Longlist.

Price has an enviable way with description—he writes eloquently, evoking vivid images.

It was a wide tunnel high and well ventilated and the waters moved at a steady drift, muscling past, scraping the filth and detritus of a world city against its bed.

(Can’t you just feel the layers of rubbish and smell the wretched stench of waste?)

This is far from a review, simply a suggestion: if you’re search for a good [long] riveting read, this book is for you.  The one thing that takes getting used to: no quotation marks denoting dialogue.  It’s not unheard of . . . but it is . . . weird.

Regardless, as the Toronto Star called it, it is a darkly feverish page-turner . . . or, even better, as Anakana Schofield advised, a poetic, persuasive pea-souper.  Love it!

The Stand-Alone Sequel—A Review of Hiding Cracked Glass

I’ve never been one to read a sequel without having read the prequel.  Not my preferred reading tactic.  So, when I volunteered to read/review Hiding Cracked Glass by fellow blogger and writer (and wearer of numerous hats) James J. Cudney IV, I’d decided to read both—decided, but then didn’t.  I was curious to see if a sequel could stand on its own.  You know what?  It can. 

Something I should share—I loathe tales/books that:

  • stay within a tight timeframe (an afternoon, a day)
  • provide an overabundance of different characters’ stories or perspectives.

Oddly enough, while Hiding Cracked Glass does both, I didn’t mind either, not one bit.  In fact, the way the accounts intertwine and the events flow, it worked very well.  There are a also few flashbacks that provide insight into what makes who tick: relationships (affairs, divorces, marriages), vices and illegalities.

A brief summary per our esteemed author:

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for? In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Will they indeed?  I won’t provide clues as to the outcome <he, he> but I’m sure, like me, you’ll find yourself riveted as the plot twists and turns through and around the intriguing characters.  Olivia Glass is the matriarch, a strong woman, who knows that one son, now deceased, was switched at birth.  Now, on the day of her birthday celebration, it appears someone has sent a menacing letter that speaks to revenge . . . a devastating letter that soon becomes known to all.

I rather enjoyed following Olivia’s attempt to unravel the mystery.  Who sent the letter?  Who might have shared the information re the son’s true lineage?  What will transpire as a result?  How will the family be impacted?  I also liked the afternoon soap opera feel: every character has a story, history, a setback or dilemma.  Life is not always designer champagne and long-stemmed roses, no matter how wealthy you are.  There are cracks—imperfections—in these “Glasses”.

Jay’s come a long way.  He’s always been dedicated and diligent—this is his ninth book in three years!—but he’s also someone who absorbs and applies what he’s learned.  He’s always been a good writer, but with Cracked, he’s become a great one.

What can I say but a 5/5.  Well done, my friend!

Rating:savesavesavesavesave 

Please check out Jay at:

♦ Website:  https://jamesjcudney.com/  ♦ Blog:  https://thisismytruthnow.com  ♦ Amazon:  http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks  ♦ Next Chapter:  https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney  ♦ BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

WP1jaytourlogo. . . And a quick thank you to Shalini of digitalreadsblogtours.wordpress.com for organizing the blog-book tour.  She’s done an amazing job.

Please enter the raffle to obtain a copy of this suspenseful sequel (that can . . . stand alone):

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e5ee1a9220/?

Making Memories with a New Novel – Memory Makers (Debbie De Louise)

Today, I’m pleased to feature Debbie De Louise and her new mystery novel Memory Makers (part of the Silver Dagger tour).

Twenty-five years ago, Lauren Phelps, age three, and her sister Patty, age five, were kidnapped from their Long Island backyard. Lauren was fortunate enough to escape her captor; Patty, sadly, was not.

Since then, Lauren has suffered from nightmares featuring the “Shadow Man”.  In an attempt to recall his face—and avenge her sister’s murder—Lauren, now a kidnapping investigator, enrolls in a clinical trial for a new memory drug.

At the California offices of Memory Makers, she receives injections of the company’s special serum and starts to experience flashbacks re repressed memories.  Occurring in tandem with the flashbacks: threats from an anonymous source that point back to that wretched childhood trauma.

As she recalls moments from her past, she confronts facts about her relationship with Patty and her parents that she’d not previously, consciously, acknowledged.  Patty had always been her parents’ favorite.  “Baby Doll” to her father, she’d always been the one who got to choose which game to play, book to read, or place to go.

In addition to suffering survivor’s guilt at her sister’s death, Lauren experiences jealousy from a hurtful, harrowing childhood she must come to terms with.  There’s more on Lauren’s laden plate than finding “Shadow Man” (possibly before he finds her).  It’s about finding truths . . . and herself.

A little about Debbie . . . besides being an award-winning author and reference librarian on Long Island, she’s an active member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, and the Cat Writer’s Association (she has three lovely fuzzy felines).  Published novels include four books in the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, and Love on the Rocks.  There’s also a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and a mystery thriller, Reason to Die.  And let’s not forget the psychological mystery, Sea Scope.  She has also published a romantic comedy novella and written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres.  Impressed?  I am.

Please visit Debbie at:

Website:  https://debbiedelouise.com / Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author / Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian / Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/debbie-de-louise / Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW / Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise