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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eye on Orion by Laura D. Bastion Audiobook

A cute, entertaining story!



My Review:

This is a cute story safe for any age. It's summer and Holly's best friend moved replaced by new neighbors, a brother and sister. At first Holly isn't sure about them. They're family is odd. As a star gazer with a telescope on her roof the brother Jai (not sure if I spelled that right) joins her one evening and she realizes they aren't so bad. He's stiff and boring at first but begins to lighten up. Soon the three are spending quite a bit of time together, quickly becoming friends. It doesn't take long when she learns their secret.

The story flows at a steady pace and I really liked Holly. She's a gutsy girl. Soon her and Jai realize they are equally attracted to one another. The story is a bit far-fetched for me but no doubt young teens would enjoy it. I will give the author credit for the unique way they travel through space, very clever. The siblings speak in a mechanical tone that occasionally the narrator used too excessively, other than that it was a good performance.

Overall, a fun story.

Amazon/Audible

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hollow Fissure by Max E. Stone

Max E. Stone has another and a perfect addition to the Warren/Bennett/Johnson saga.




My Review:

Max E. Stone does it again in the continuing saga of the Warren/Bennett/ Johnson series. This short story is a great addition filled with love, suspense and the intricacy of familial relationships. It’s not as pulse-pounding yet more of an in between story in which we get more connected to the characters and the complex situation caused by the sociopathic Dereck Warren.
The families are undertaking the aftermath left from One Minute There. Dealing with it one day at a time as new surprises take the reader’s breath away and deception fills the pages. Melissa’s fate and mental stability hangs in the balance.
With the author’s unique style this thriller is a quick and satisfying read!

Amazon

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cut & Run by Traci Hohenstein Audiobook Review

Really fabulous read!



Review:

I made the mistake of buying book 3 first so I've never read the first two and I applaud the author because I had no problem keeping up with the story. Rachel owns and runs Florida Omni Search where he assists police in finding missing persons. This is especially important to her after losing her daughter Mallory who was abducted when she was just 3 years old. Rachel chases ghosts and follows leads but none bring her closer to finding her daughter.

In this book Matt is assaulted, hit in the head then his wife is killed and children abducted. Rachel's job is to assist him in finding his children and who did the crime. It's a clever story with a great plot that builds at a steady pace.

The only part of this book that didn't fit or caught me off guard was the narrator had a northern U.S. accent and the story takes place in the southern U.S. It was difficult to imagine them eating boiled peanuts and speaking as if they lived in the north. Otherwise Angela Dawe is a good narrator.

For anyone who loves a good mystery this is a book to read or listen to.

Amazon/Audible

Zombies everywhere!


A little over a year ago I released Zombie Girl, a short story in the Once Upon a Zombietale Anthology. You can still buy the anthology and read the original story as well as all the other fabulous zombietales in the book.


Readers came to me after reading asking about the story which ends on a bit of a question. I write series so naturally leave a story open for possibilities but hadn't planned on expanding it. 

Zombies were something I never really planned on writing about even though I've watched Dawn of the Dead, the Resident Evil movies and 28 Days Later series countless times. In fact all the movies are in my collection.

I'm not a stranger to zombie horror or the fun movies like Zombieland and Warm Bodies. In my own series, Zombie Girl, I incorporated both horror and silliness.

Premonition, the first book released today!

Buy Links:
 Amazon Kindle
Apple, Nook, Kobo, 24 Symbols, Inktera, Indigo 

Blurb: 
Maddie’s parents flip when they find out she’s failing science. That’s her worst problem until she wakes up and finds they’re zombies. Now she must escape them and her house. With nowhere else to go, and the keys to her parents’ sailboat, she makes her getaway. Finding Bryce was a fortunate circumstance and the two take on zombies and set sail for parts unknown

Infection, the second book releases July 10! Pre-order it now. The .99 price tag won't last.
Buy Links:
Blurb:
When Maddie and Bryce touch, she knows her zombie dream wasn’t simply a dream but a premonition. It’s up to her and Bryce to save the world from the doomsday sickness that will kill everyone – in a manner of speaking.
They soon learn the zombies aren’t the only horrors that await them in the new fight-or-die world. They battle by each other’s side as the infection spreads globally.

Excerpt from Premonition

Annoyed and scared, I cranked the motor and pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The car plowed forward, hitting the lead zombie. It thumped, flew, and slid beneath the car. More zombies hit the car; body parts and blood covered the windshield.
I fumbled with the dash, depressing buttons, looking for the wipers. Once I found them and turned them on, they swiped away the blood, leaving streaks on the windshield. Stuck in the pasty, bloodied streaks were little black dots. I looked closer, squinting my eyes. They were lovebugs; horrible little insects rumored to be created in a lab at the University of Florida to control the mosquito population in the state. Twice a year, spring and fall, they marred every vehicle on the road and were a complete nuisance. I was thinking science again! And the thoughts kept coming. The heart pumps blood throughout the body. Did the zombies’ hearts still work? Did I kill them?
Slamming on the brakes, I wanted to know. I turned the car around, hitting the side of a truck’s bumper as I did. I drove by slowly. The body parts were still moving, and a couple whole zombies struggled to get to their feet. So how do I kill them?
With the car running, I considered my options and owned up to my morbid curiosity about them. I rifled through the contents of my mom’s car. No weapons. Disappointed, but not stupid, I turned and ran over the zombies struggling to get up and turned around again, the car thumping over their wriggling bodies and crunching away at their bones. I got back onto I-95 and headed towards the Marina.

Excerpt from Infection

Bryce and my father were in trouble. I had to do something, so I grabbed the gun, twisted in my seat, and brought it to my face. I’d never shot a gun other than in video games, but I’d seen tons of movies. It couldn’t be that difficult. I clicked the lever thing on the topside of the gun. I knew that was the safety.
“Maddie, your father can handle him” she said, her voice quaking. I imagined her wringing her hands together like a dishrag.
From the corner of my eye, I watched Sarah lift her eyes off the cat and stare towards me. I met her gaze and she nodded her approval then mouthed, Be careful.
The men drew closer to the boat with each second I wasted. I pushed the door open, snuck around the side and observed my surroundings. I felt like a hunter in the wild carrying the big shotgun, but acted more like a detective on a cheesy cop show. As I moved around the van, I spotted a crate identical to the one where I found Bryce in my… our dream.
I scurried towards it, doing my best to step over and around the large puddles so as not to make splashing noises that would catch the creepy bald man’s attention. Upon reaching it, I crouched. Placing my back against the wet wooden side, I slid around it and onto my knees and peeked out. Bryce and my father stepped onto the boat, I used the man’s shining head as a guiding light. He was still behind them.
Taking a deep breath, I moved back around the side and out of their view. The nose of the shotgun rose over the top as I held it straight and fired. Its recoil hit my upper thigh and I screamed as I doubled over, the gun hitting the ground. My leg throbbed and I knew I’d have a nasty bruise.

Disclaimer:
Both stories end with a tad of a cliffhanger.




Monday, May 8, 2017

A Long Time Dead by Wondra Vanian Audiobook

Loaded with great stories!



My Review:
This book contains a series of short stories, each is exciting and written with an expert hand. They kept on edge waiting for the next one. This was my first experience with this author but not the last as I'll happily read anything of hers again.

My favorite story was one about a young couple expecting their first child. They've just moved into a new home but the house has a bit of history. The wife starts seeing a little girl in a red dress and hearing strange sounds. it all climaxes into a suspenseful ending.

I'm a huge lover of short stories and will be looking for more from this author.

Amazon/Audible

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reaching for the Light by Marie Krepps and TL Katt

This new release is available for pre-order and all its royalties are being donated to NAMI in support of mental health awareness and mental illness.

 
 Available at Amazon and other retailers

Support the Thunderclap

Blurb:

Mental Illness affects people in all walks of life, all countries and all nationalities. It does not discriminate. Those affected are friends, family members and you. The proceeds of this book will be donated to NAMI. If you’d like to know more about NAMI please visit their website. Authors Marie Krepps and TL Katt have opened their minds and imaginations to assist in mental health awareness, something they both feel passionately about. Follow their characters as they reach for their light.


High Heels & Ice Cream by Marie Krepps

Brianna suffers from depression and anxiety, but she won’t let it stop her from moving in with the chatty and attractive Carla. When her attraction to her roommate becomes something more, Brianna has to decide if she will let her inner demons win and run away as usual, or face her fears and admit her true feelings.



Bloom by TL Katt

At the hands of Jen’s husband, the man who should love her unconditionally, she suffers one nightmare after another. His bombardment of mental abuse leaves her a shell of a human and her mind unable to let go of the terror, she relives it again and again. Jen’s actions become more impulsive and
dangerous.

Can she reach the light and find solace to begin her coping journey from PTSD?

The Terra Debacle by Marcha Fox

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51

Release Date: May 30, 2017
Preorder NOW for 99c! ($2.99 after official release)
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Kobo

Barnes & Noble
Apple

It's May 1978 and a normal night at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah—until a bogey shows up in their air space. It gets even stranger when the UFO requests permission to land. It changes its mind, but by then F-16s escort it to the ground. A human girl in her early teens and a robot exit the craft, a strange botanical lifeform found onboard later that night by a USAF landing party. The vehicle, robot, and the strange plant are impounded and subsequently sent to Area 51.
NASA astrobiologist, Gabriel Greenley, PhD, is called in to study this new lifeform that at first appears similar to a botanical species known as oxalis. As a psi-sensitive, Greenley quickly learns the specimen is highly intelligent and potentially dangerous when he attempts to take a leaf sample. He backs off, frustrated, desperate to investigate the scientific details of this new botanical species that combines intelligence with a metabolism based on photosynthesis. Meanwhile, the specimen, a flora peda telepathis named Thyron from the planet Sapphira, is investigating his new environment through all frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum as well as his suite of psychic abilities that includes remote viewing.
Greenley eventually gets his leaf sample and makes a ground-breaking discovery that he can never share, due to his security oaths and research agreement at this Top Secret facility. Eventually, however, he's confronted by an ethical dilemma that forces him to make a treasonous and potentially deadly decision.
* * *
(Sound familiar? If so, you've probably read one or both of the first two volumes of the Star Trails Tetralogy. Yes, this is the story you've been waiting for, of what happened to Thyron and Aggie while they were detained at Area 51. If you're not familiar with the series, this story stands alone, but you'll undoubtedly want to read the proverbial "rest of the story" when finished. )

* * *
(Sound familiar? If so, you've probably read one or both of the first two volumes of the Star Trails Tetralogy. Yes, this is the story you've been waiting for, of what happened to Thyron and Aggie while they were detained at Area 51. If you're not familiar with the series, this story stands alone, but you'll undoubtedly want to read the proverbial "rest of the story" when finished. )

EXCERPT

Onboard Impounded UFO
Hill AFB
Ogden, Utah
May 30, 1978
1445 MDT/2045 GMT

THYRON SAT PERFECTLY STILL on the bench occupying the Cerulean Nimrod's lower deck, the very spot where he'd tromped the 'troid in a tysa game during their recent journey; one of his most cherished moments of botanical victory. That association was fading rapidly, however, as a bearded man with dark brown hair streaked with shoots of grey scrutinized him with curious green eyes. 
"Clearly it's a botanical lifeform," the man stated to a small cluster of uniformed humans, then removed a small light source from one of many pockets in his tan jacket. 
Invisible behind his carefully arranged leaves, Thyron rolled his botanical eyes. Lifeform, indeed. Classifying these people as morons was far too generous.
"Strange," the man went on.. "It looks like an oxalis palmifrons - gigantea hybrid, a type of wood sorrel quite common in Brazil. South Africa and Mexico, too, as I recall. I wonder if it was brought here or harvested? They're known to have medicinal properties, which could make them of interest."
"What do you suggest we do with it, Doctor Greenley?" asked an older soldier of considerable rank, judging by the cluster of decorative ribbons and dangling metallic ornaments on his chest. His uniform, unlike the others, was a shade of blue, similar in color to coagulated Sapphiran blood.
"We need to secure the specimen in a sealed unit to assure its safe arrival at the Nellis lab, Colonel. It looks rather hardy, but we don't know what its heat tolerance is, which could be exceeded during the trip across the desert. Furthermore, it shouldn't be exposed to contaminants like molds, fungi, bacteria, and such, which could prove lethal. Hopefully, that hasn't already occurred."
"Yeah, I know," the colonel grumbled, expression grim. "We were so taken back, we jumped in without proper precautions. It's not like we have an SOP, at least around here. We usually send in a specially trained detachment for this kind of thing. By the time I checked the manual, it was too late. I'm sure I'll hear plenty about it from my superiors. At least so far no one's gotten sick."
"Spilt milk, Colonel Jenkins. Fortunately, I brought along an ECV."
"A what?"
"Environmentally controlled vivarium—an isolation chamber. To protect it from the environment, at least from this point on. Designed and built it myself, but on loan from NASA's Astrobiology Branch."
"Great. Let's do it. We need to get this thing off the tarmac. A crane's on its way to load it up on an eighteen wheeler so we can get it out of sight until departure tonight."
Greenley removed a notched strip of metal from one of his pockets and handed it to the nearest soldier with hair the color of deciduous leaves after a frost. "Here's the key to my rental car, airman. It's in the back seat. Two of you should be able to handle it."
Airman? Thyron thought. Odd. He didn't look as if he could fly.
"While your men retrieve the ECV, I'm going to take a sample to study in the astrobionics lab when I get back to Houston. Then I'll be able to determine conclusively whether it's native or extraterrestrial." 
Thyron gasped as the botanist reached into another pocket and extracted a cutting device. Take a sample?
Instantaneously, an ancestral defense mechanism lurking in his DNA activated. Thyron froze, having never experienced anything quite like it before. His cytoplasm tingled as deep within his primary bulb potassium transmuted to sulfur that bonded with two oxygen molecules, forming sulfur dioxide. Fortunately, the burning sensation tipped him off before it combined with water being drawn from his leaves, allowing him to stop the process before it emitted a toxic cloud of gaseous sulfuric acid, injuring and possibly killing everyone within ten meters.
The mental concentration required to perform this humane action, however, prevented him from cloaking his thoughts. As soon as it escaped, all he could do was hope that no one within range was psi-sensitive enough to pick it up.
No such luck. The botanist's eyes widened and jaw dropped, hand gripping the cutting device frozen in midair.
"What's wrong, Dr. Greenley?" Jenkins asked, stepping closer. "Are you all right?"
The scientist closed his mouth, blinked a few times, then turned in the officer's direction. "Holy guacamole! It just refused! Rather adamantly, in fact. I swear! To be exact, I had the distinct impression it said, Like hell you will."
Several more mouths fell open amid chuckles of disbelief.
"What's that smell?" one of the airmen asked.
"Well, it wasn't me," the scientist stated. "Whatever this species is, Colonel Jenkins, I suspect it's intelligent, perhaps highly so, and possibly dangerous." He shook his head, muttering, "Too bad Backster isn't here to see this," which earned even more mystified expressions. 
Greenley dismounted from the bench, narrowing his eyes as he returned the obnoxious tool to his jacket's breast pocket, then stared at Thyron with elevated suspicion.
"I've seen thousands of botanical species, from the tropics to Antarctica, from the Andes to the depths of the Mariana Trench," he said. "But this specimen's unlike anything I've ever encountered, anywhere on Planet Earth."
The colonel took a deep breath and blew out his cheeks. "Yeah. If it's a talking plant, I'd say that's intuitively obvious, Dr. Greenley.  Intuitively obvious.



Author Interview:

Q: What can readers new to Star Trails expect from "The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51"?

A: Like the other books in the Star Trails Tetralogy, this one is hard science fiction with a liberal dose of known science embellished with speculation. Instead of focusing on physics and engineering, however, this one addresses botany and the possibility of intelligent plantlife. We've all enjoyed characters such as Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors" or Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and Star Trails fans already have met Thyron. But what kind of scientific investigation would provide evidence that a plant has consciousness? Do they have it already, but we just haven't noticed? This is what Gabe Greenley wants to find out: What makes Thyron so different when he looks so much like domestic oxalis?

In addition, there's a generous dose of satire, humor, and wisdom seeing Earth through the eyes of a telepathic walking plant. As stated on the print version's back cover, this story is "A unique combination of hard science fiction, suspense, intrigue, and a touch of humor, this story has been described as a "dark version of ET: The Extraterrestrial." Strong characterizations, a mysterious setting loaded with intrigue, and unexpected plot twists make this an unforgettable tale whether you're a science fiction fan, botanist, UFO aficionado, or simply enjoy a good story."

Q: What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

A. There were several. First of all, I'm a physicist and former NASA engineer, not a botanist, so I had to have a crash course in plant science, courtesy of Wikipedia and Google. In so doing, I learned some fascinating things, particularly about oxalis, the plant on which Thyron is based. The more I learned, the more ideas came to mind. By the time I was finished, I had 100+ website bookmarks in addition to buying some print books as well.

Next to botany, the next most challenging was learning as much as possible about Area 51. As a UFO fan, I've seen several TV shows that talk and speculate about it, but the really cool and creepy details came from books by Maximillien de Lafayette as well as "Alien Disclosure at Area 51", the story of Dr. Dan Burisch, by C. Ronald Garner. The basic description of Area 51's subterranean levels found in TDPA-51 is based primarily on what Garner described with a large portion of my own poetic license.

Q: What was the most fascinating thing you discovered from your plant research that related to the story?

A. Several things made me smile. First of all, how appropriately Thyron is named, given the light collecting cells in a plant are known as thylakoids. I had no idea when I named him, though like most characters, he named himself. He's on a quest toward enlightenment, so this was one of those serendipitous moments. The other that fit nicely was confirming his medicinal qualities. 

Q: Tell me about the main human character, Gabe Greenley.

A. Gabe is the NASA astrobiologist called in when Thyron is discovered onboard the UFO. He has such a love and affinity for plants that he's a fruitarian, a specific type of vegan who only eats the parts of a plant that don't result in it's demise. He's also psychic, enabling him to communicate with Thyron telepathically. He's worked at Area 51 previously when UFOs with algae-based air purification systems were impounded, but he's never encountered anything like Thyron. If you're familiar with the 70s classic, "The Secret Life of Plants," let's just say that Gabe is very comfortable with the ideas presented there for plant sentience.

Q: Is this book suitable for Young Adults like the other books in the Star Trails Tetralogy?

A: All the characters (besides Thyron, of course) are adults, and since this story is based on Earth, it does include a few words not found in the tetralogy, but nothing that exceeds the "PG" level or what you hear on television. The science gets a little deep in places, but for someone interested in life sciences, especially botany, it would serve as a great introduction to some basic lab procedures and research methods. The technical parts are concentrated in a few chapters, so if a reader's eyes glazed over, they could skip over the science without losing track of the plot. It's primarily included as brain candy for true, hardcore science fiction fans like myself. My objective as an author is to include enough science to lend interest, credibility, and some palatable science lessons for YA readers to demonstrate that science is interesting, fun, and relevant.

Q: Your stories tend to link together. Does this story actually end or will there be sequels?

A: Not exactly what you'd call a sequel, but there will be story elements that continue which readers are sure to recognize as teasers when they occur. TDPA-51 ties into Star Trails Tetralogy Volume II, "A Dark of Endless Days," actually including some common scenes from that story, but from Thyron's viewpoint instead of Creena's. As far as Thyron's fate is concerned, what happens to him after this story is covered in the tetralogy. In many ways, this is simply a sidebar to Volume II, even though it's a standalone, full-length novel. Some of the other characters you'll meet in TDPA-51 will turn up again. ;-) Let's just say that the various encounters Star Trails characters have had on Earth have ongoing reverberations that aren't over yet, and they won't all be pretty.

Q: That sounds pretty ominous! Will you give us a few hints what to expect and when?

A: Let's just say that Allen Benson from "A Dark of Endless Days" will be back, as will Brad Inglehardt, whom you'll meet in TDPA-51. There will be more Area 51, especially "Alice's Floor", (supposedly named for Alice in Wonderland) some more new characters, and various time travel elements similar to "Refractions of Frozen Time." It's title will be "Dark Circles", but don't expect to see it for at least a year or more. Nonetheless, rest assured that Star Trails ain't over yet!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Ashes: The Rebecca Underhill Trilogy Vol. 2 by Vincent Zandri

Suspenseful, twisted and gory! The kind of story I enjoy.



My Review:

Rebecca Underhill is a single mom who lives with her best friend Robin and Robin's daughter in Rebecca's family home in the country. Both ladies are artists and have used the barn on the property to start art classes to support themselves. When Rebecca's son Michael Jr. starts talking about seeing his deceased father and the man, Mr. Skinner, he keep seeing in the corn field Rebecca takes him to a psychologist. But the story grows weirder when Rebecca starts experiencing strange events. She also talks to her dead husband and dead twin sister in her head.

The events grow eerier throughout the story. Rebecca does a bit of research dragging along her boyfriend and closest neighbor Sam. Even with Sam's urging she refuses to go to the police. She's stalling on purpose, she's scared yet because of past trauma is reluctant. Too reluctant. I really didn't like her but it made a good story that held plenty of suspense and a gruesomely twisted plot.

The story does get gory and is not for those who have weak stomachs. The narrator was good but her voice didn't work for me with this story and made the story less intense.

Overall it was a great story.

Amazon/Audible