Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, Spotlight, Thriller on December 31, 2014

The Last Private Eye

23171432Title: The Last Private Eye Michael Rhineheart, P.I

Author : John Birkett

Genre: Thriller

Series: Micheal Rhineheart P.I.

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

Nasty horseplay at the Derby lands Rhineheart in a race against time to stop a murderous scheme …

Michael Rhineheart is a Louisville private eye with a taste for bourbon and a nose for trouble. He’s as tough and savvy as they come. His sleuthing secretary, Sally McGraw, is desperate to learn the ropes. Their pal Farnsworth is a crusty old pro who hasn’t lost his touch.

Together this hardboiled trio sets out to solve a mysterious disappearance at the racetrack. Soon they are galloping onto a trail of lust, greed, and murder … and enough dirty deeds to turn Kentucky’s bluegrass red with shame.

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queenTitle: The Queen’s Mare Michael Rhineheart, P.I

Author : John Birkett

Genre: Thriller

Series: Micheal Rhineheart P.I.

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

All bets are off when it comes to kidnap, mayhem, and murder …

When the “Grand Dame of Kentucky Racing” enlists private eye Michael Rhineheart to deliver the ransom for a kidnapped broodmare and her foal, Rhineheart thinks it will be a speedy transaction.

But what should have been a simple mission turns into a deadly double-cross, and soon Rhineheart is on the hunt for the horses … and a ruthless killer.

Fans of Dick Francis will love Birkett’s hardboiled gumshoe and his Kentucky bluegrass flavor.


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About the Author

JOHN BIRKETT is the author of The Queen’s Mare and The Last Private Eye, both to be released by Witness. He is a winner of the Shamus Award, given by the Private Eye Writers of America.


Witness Impulse // Witness Suspense Thriller Book Club




Giveaway 5 Promo Codes for each book, for digital download. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free

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Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Review, romance on December 30, 2014






Nearly a decade ago, accountant Kari Parker shed 220 pounds of dead weight — her hulking, abusive college boyfriend. The last thing she wants in her life is another man — especially one as tall as a Windy City high rise. Yet when her best friend enters her in Romance TV’s “Get a Love Life” contest, another man is exactly what she gets. As much as she’d love to just say no, she can’t turn down the prize money that will allow her to help her parents save the restaurant they’ve run all her life. Sparks fly between Kari and her bogus groom, and as she and Damien share close quarters, intimate meals and — gulp — his bed, Kari doesn’t stand a chance of resisting his considerable charms. Even worse? She might not want to. But building a real future out of their sham marriage will be tougher than baking a wedding cake from scratch … with no flour … in a broken oven.


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What could possibly go wrong when your best friend submits your name for a reality tv show where you marry someone you don’t know?! This is even crazier than The Bachelor/Bachelorette.

Kari and Damian didn’t expect to find love on reality TV and were doing it for the money, to make life a little easier for themselves and their families. What they didn’t expect to find was love and perhaps a “forever ever after”.

This was an enjoyable story and I like the focus that it put on Kari and Damian’s lives before they met and how it shaped them to be who they were today. They both take leaps of faith, after getting to know each other, at go for their own kind of happiness. The author does a good job of bringing in the topic of abuse and that it isn’t always physical. Damian isn’t a perfect character either, he has his own flaws and issues, and it was good to see those addressed and watch how the story unfolded and Kari and Damian were able to help each other.

We give this 4 paws up



About the Author

arleneArlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan but will root for the Diamondbacks until they run up against the Cubs. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she’s about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf.


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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Review on December 29, 2014

Rant of Ravens, A - Christine Goff



Rachel Stanhope, escaping from a failing marriage, seeks solace at her aunt’s ranch. There she is thrust into the colorful world of birdwatching. With a murder, lies, and secrets haunting her every move, she sets off to solve the mystery and clear her aunt’s good name.

In an attempt to escape hellish matrimony, Rachel Stanhope sojourns to her Aunt Miriam’s ranch in Colorado in search of some peace and quiet. As a favor to her aunt, a bird enthusiast, Rachel agrees to host meetings of the local bird watching society. On her first expedition, however, instead of finding a LeConte’s sparrow, she makes a much more disturbing discovery—a dead body. Identified as a reporter for Birds of a Feather magazine, this man was trying to dig up troubling information on Miriam’s deceased husband and a bird trafficking scheme. Now sweet Aunt Miriam is the prime suspect in this fowl play.


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This is a slightly older mystery being reissued (circa 1998 or so) and you can tell by some of the terminology in the book (telecommuting via modem and the computer discs). Despite that, the book was enjoyable and the author did a good job of not letting on who the killer was and why. I was truly surprised at that revelation but it made sense once you knew the whole story.

I did wonder how Rachel was able to leave her job to help her aunt in another state, but was glad to see that was explained a little bit into the book. I don’t know a lot about birds so it was interesting to hear some of the descriptions and learn about birds and what is on the endangered list and such.

We give this 3 1/2 paws up.



About the Author

Christine Goff is the award-winning author of the bestselling “Birdwatcher’s Mystery” series. A former Colorado journalist, Goff is a Willa Literary and Colorado Authors’ League Fiction Award finalist. Named Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2002 Writer of the Year, her most recent work is a thriller set in Israel.

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Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, Middle Grade on December 29, 2014

We are thrilled to be a part of the book blitz for book two in the Tuttle Twins series hosted by Fire and Ice.

The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil

by Connor Boyack

In this second book of the Tuttle Twins series, Mrs. Miner leads the twins and their classmates on a fun field trip to learn how pencils are made using parts from all over the world—and how in an economy, people from all over the world work together in harmony to produce helpful products that improve our lives.

Teach your kids about the free market with a fun story and bright, engaging illustrations!


About the Authorunnamed (4)

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a public policy think tank in Utah. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, along with hundreds of columns and articles championing individual liberty. His work has been featured on international, national, and local TV, radio, and other forms of media.

A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.

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About the Illustratorbio_elijah

Elijah Stanfield is owner of Red House Motion Imaging, a media production company in Washington.

A longtime student of Austrian economics, history, and the classical liberal philosophy, Elijah has dedicated much of his time and energy to promoting the ideas of free markets and individual liberty. Some of his more notable works include producing eight videos in support of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential candidacy. He currently resides in Richland, Washington, with his wife April and their five children.




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Follow the Fire and Ice Tuttle Twins Blog Tour for more chances to win

January 5 –Fire and Ice– Kick Off
January 6- Marie Leslie– Review
January 7- Dreamland Teenage Fantasy– Interview
January 8- Little Red Reads– Excerpt
January 9- The Elliott Review– Review
January 12- The Write Path– Review
January 13- CBY Book Club– Interview
January 14- The Things I Love Most– Review
January 15 Sher A Hart Written Art– Review
January 16- Deal Sharing Aunt– Interview


The Giveaway

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Posted in Book Blast, Young Adult on December 27, 2014

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

Random Fun Facts:

1) To trigger my inspiration, I binge on Netflix. I pick shows from any genre, and study the dialog and the plot. I also watch video game walk throughs on YouTube. It’s a great help to develop my characters.

2) I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a bad case of writer’s block. Plotting helps eliminate that issue. 

3) My biggest pet peeves: misspellings, grammatical errors, and inconsistent formatting. 

4) Julie Jones has named her car “Bubble”, and when she swears, she says things like “shizzle”, “shizzle nizzle” or “crapola in a peanut butter jar”.

5) The original title for the first draft of the story, before it became 32 Seconds, was Death by Chocolate. 

6) Julie Jones loves In&Out burgers, and strawberry milkshakes. 

7) Julie is also a surfer. Her favorite beach is the one in Oceanside, CA. 

8) I’m a cat lover. I have four cats, and they all distract me from writing by taking turns and lying on top of my laptop.

About the Author:
Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood–authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”
Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.

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Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, Young Adult on December 26, 2014

I have this book to read and review in the coming weeks, so check back! It looks like a fun read.  Until then, sign up for the $50 giveaway below

Tour Schedule


Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life


Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life

Lexi Middleton has been socially invisible to her classmates, but starting her junior year, that’s going to change. First, she’s determined to hook a boyfriend, ensuring dates with flowers and possible kisses on the doorstep. Second, she wants to be a writer for the school paper, even though it freaks her out to think of everyone judging her by her punctuation and metaphors.

High school is difficult enough—keeping up her grades, dealing with increasing sibling rivalry, and trying to stay out of the way of her personal nemesis, Amberlee—but when Lexi catches the eye of her long-time crush, she also becomes the focus of mean-girl tactics.

Caught between who she was and who she wants to be, Lexi must decide how to confront a bully, and choose who to let into her heart.

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Jo NoelleAbout the Author

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—

Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

They began writing separately several years ago but found the process much more fun when they started collaborating. They are debut authors, with Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life as their first completed work. Other titles include Newbie and Damnation.

Deanna attended college before marrying and starting her family.

Canda received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her day job focuses on teaching teachers and children about literacy.

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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/18/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in 4 paws, chick lit, Review, women on December 24, 2014

how do you know



What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?
On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4-0.
In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.
Meredith Schorr, best-selling author of light women’s fiction, digs deep in her newest novel and raises the age old issue of the ‘proverbial clock’ that haunts many women, in a way that is refreshing and sassy no matter your age or relationship status.


This is the second book I have read by Meredith, and I have enjoyed both books.

I like the fact that Maggie is “older”. She is 39 and isn’t sure if Dan is the one for her despite their 3 year relationship and that he seems perfect for her. So she asks for a break and instead, Dan breaks up with her. Thus spiraling Maggie into a year long search of herself and what it is that she wants in a guy.

I thought that it was very thought provoking and sounds like my life, but when I was a bit younger. I took a year to discover myself and in the end found my husband. Granted, my town and Maggie in NYC are very different, but the underlying emotions were very similar.  I guess you could say this was Maggie’s mid life crisis!

One thing I liked was how supportive Maggie’s friends were…those are true friends that support your every decision but don’t hesitate to let you know when you have done something stupid!

We give this book 4 paws up.


About the Author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After trying her hand writing children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real” chick lit for real women.  When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal.  Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner.

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Posted in Guest Post, Medical Thriller on December 23, 2014

I have featured author D.J. Donaldson on StoreyBook Reviews a few times in the past.  His books are intriguing and if you like Medical Thrillers, might be right up your alley!

Cajun Nights - D.J. Donaldson



by D.J. Donaldson



Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn.  A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.”  I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show.  As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news.  I figure, okay, the thing is dead.  But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher.

So more time goes by with no news.  Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights.  CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal.  And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it.  I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced.  That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced.  (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had, was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail.  IT’S THE SCREENPLAY.  I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.”  That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it.  After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it.  The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit.  I couldn’t believe it.  The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had.  Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father.  How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts.  Was I upset?  Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t.  And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check.  Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot.  They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans.  They say they’ll even find a bit part for me.  They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited.

But… later, I get another call.  CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas.  The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three.  I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.”  This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.


A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book.  We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on.  Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy.  He wants to option the series for TV.  I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed.  We strike a deal.  There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard.  John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit.  I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel.  (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.)  The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer.  So I guess the deal is off.


In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy.  One day I get a call from a former dental student.  He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films.  He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.”  They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES.  He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard.  I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect.  Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week.  He’s sure they can get him to sign on.  With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke?  No.  Because they actually got him on board.  And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network.  They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in.  I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went.  Years later, I’m still waiting.  The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal.  In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”


Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show.  My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility.  Why not let my mind run with it?  Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor.  So that’s what I did.  And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

(By the way, if you’re a TV/film producer, the rights are available.)

About the Author

DJ Donaldson ImageD.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

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Aoleon The Martian Girl Part One
Book Title: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 1: First Contact
Written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur
Category:  Middle-Grade, ​94 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Release date: January 31, 2015
Content Rating: G


Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never…until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.


Buy The Martian Girl Song!

Aoleon Single Album

Another World – Single, Featuring Élan Noelle

Download on iTunes


I don’t normally read books aimed at middle grade aged people, but this one sounded interesting so I had to check it out.  So glad I did because the book is fast paced from the beginning and doesn’t stop until it leaves you hanging waiting for part 2!  Gilbert is a typical boy and Aoléon is your typical Martian, I guess? Who knows what a typical Martian is like!  Anyway,  Aoléon takes Gilbert on the ride of his life in the spaceship and while it makes him nervous, he is also very excited by this experience.  After evading NORAD and NASA and every other government entity, they head to Mars where Gilbert gets a taste of what it is like on Mars.  I was surprised that during this escape that the spaceship didn’t seem to bring about as much attention as I would have thought considering it was close to the ground in several countries and seen by many.  This story is very engaging, descriptive and made me laugh along with keeping me on the edge of my seat during various parts of the book.  I was very sad to see part 1 end.

There are also illustrations in this book that are amazing.  Very lifelike and reminds me of some animated movies like Book of Life or Toy Story…there is probably a better example but that is what I could come up with off the top of my head!  There is one illustration I wish I could show you because it cracked me up….I was reading along and it talks about how Aoléon does something as they are trying to leave and cows start floating in this bubble. Then the military shows up trying to shoot down the spaceship and all of a sudden a cow is in the line of sight of the plane….I flip the page on my Kindle and there is the image.  It was just like I imagined and 100 times better.

We give this 4 1/2 paws and look forward to part two.


About the Author

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Website ~  Twitter ~  Facebook ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl
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Posted in Crime, Guest Post, International, Political thriller on December 21, 2014

It is always exciting to feature the thoughts of an author here on StoreyBook Reviews and today I give a warm welcome to author Adrian Churchward who is the author of Moscow Bounds.  I have to say I agree with the title of his guest post, that the truth is stranger than fiction..just look at the news today and some of the crazy stories we hear each day.  You can’t make some of that stuff up!


“Truth Really is Stranger Than Fiction”

After being an attorney focused on the truth for so many years, what’s it like to write fiction, and create characters out of nothing?

This is an interesting question, if only because the harsh reality of common law jurisdictions like the USA and UK is that we have an adversarial system, where the search for “truth” takes second place to the emphasis on destroying the opposing side’s credibility.

And so far as writing fiction is concerned, I suspect that few authors create characters out of nothing. Most of the characters in Moscow Bound are composites of people I met, primarily because the real-life activities I saw in Russia were so interesting. I have been reading Russian literature and about Russian culture all my life, but nothing prepared me for the realities on the streets of Moscow. To date, it has been the most fascinating period of my life.

If I were to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about my experiences readers would find it impossible to suspend their disbelief.

An example:

In my novel, General Pravda of military intelligence is summoned to his superior’s office, where he’s ordered to deliver a man that Pravda removed from the secret city of Arzamas for medical reasons. The office is in a former Soviet Ministry building off Staropanksy Street, behind the Supreme Court, a few minutes’ walk from the Kremlin. I describe the room as containing a 22-seat redwood table in the middle, ten chairs either side, a large map of the world on one wall; two of the other walls clad with brown wood panelling and the fourth wall comprising a line of windows with their blinds permanently closed and a threadbare green carpet resembling a relic from the days of Catherine the Great.

This was based on a real office I visited in 1987/9, also located off Staropansky Street. It was occupied by a Soviet Ministry bureaucrat who’d accepted that the days of communism were over. It was not too difficult for me to gain access with the right connections and sufficient dollars–no “aspiring entrepreneur” could be bribed with roubles. In the real room, however, were also fifteen antiquated red telephones, one for each Soviet republic. The bureaucrat told me they were used during Stalin’s 1930 show trials, when high-ranking Kremlin members would call judges during trials to instruct them on what verdict and sentence to pronounce. In the most important cases, Stalin would personally use phones like these to call the court and order the death penalty for some hapless wretch. Soviet apologists deny this ever happened, but there is plenty of authoritative literature that establishes the contrary.

I had read about telephone law in my early Soviet studies, but that didn’t stop me from freezing when I saw these fifteen instruments, innocuously arranged on the table – waiting to convey their messages of death.

It’s a cliché, but truth really is stranger than fiction, for as Lord Byron said in his poem Don Juan:

‘Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction; if it could be told,
How much would novels gain by the exchange!
How differently the world would men behold!
How oft would vice and virtue places change!
The new world would be nothing to the old,
If some Columbus of the moral seas
Would show mankind their souls’ antipodes.’


moscow bound


When wealthy Russian Ekaterina Romanova asks Scott Mitchell, a young English human rights lawyer, to find the father she’s never met, she can’t foresee the danger they will both find themselves in. Ekaterina believes her father has been languishing for decades without trial in the Gulag system. Scott, though he’s already being intimidated by the authorities for prosecuting Russian war crimes, agrees to help. What they don’t expect is General Pravda of Russian military intelligence, who hinders their investigation at every turn. Though he’s an advocate of transparency in a corrupt and complex bureaucracy, Pravda has a secret that he needs to protect. Before long, lawyer and client are on the run for a murder they didn’t commit. As they descend into the Hades that is the world of international realpolitik, and as decades-old secrets crumble, they each must reconsider their identity in this new world.


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About the Author

adrian ChurchwardBetween 1984 and 1998 Adrian Churchward lived and worked in Moscow, Budapest and Prague as an East-West trade lawyer, representing British, American, and German corporations. During this period he became fluent in Russian, and proficient in
translating Russian commercial and legal texts into English. He was one of the few Western lawyers working in the day-to-day arena of President Gorbachev’s liberalization process of perestroika and glasnost, and which ultimately resulted in the collapse of communism and disintegration of the Soviet Union. In 1991, he witnessed the abortive coup against Gorbachev, and in 1993, he was again present in Moscow when Yeltsin ordered the shelling of the Russian parliament building, aka the “The Russian White House.” Moscow Bound is his first work of fiction. He has also co-written and co-produced a short film called Paranoia which was shown at the Budapest Film Festival in September 2013. He now lives in London, has two daughters, three grandsons and a cat that eats furniture.

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