Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, paranormal, Review on November 20, 2017

That Olde White Magick (An Abracadabra Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 7, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516100583
E-Book ASIN: B06X3TLCLH

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . . .

Review

I think what I like the best about this series so far is Merlin – a sorcerer from the past that somehow ended up in today’s world and seeing how he handles new experiences each day. But all of the characters are interesting and all interact well with each other….even the killer until (s)he is caught red handed! The author does a good job of narrowing down the suspects for the reader, but even then I didn’t suspect the killer until it was revealed.

You don’t have to believe in magick to enjoy these books but I find that aspect intriguing. I’m not sure if I believe in it or not, but I am always open to discovering new things. If nothing else it makes for enjoyable reading.

Since this is the 2nd in the series, I would recommend reading book 1 first. It helps set up some of the back story and the relationship with various characters. You could read this but you might feel a little lost when it comes to the various relationships

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

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Posted in 4 paws, paranormal, Review, Short Story on November 19, 2017

Synopsis

A short 25 page true story to read waiting for a bus or any other event where you have about 15 minutes.

INCLUDES RECIPE from my evening meal with a British Seventh Daughter.

“The fire sparked loudly, and spit a burning ember onto the rug. It scared my Heinz57 dog (British for not a purebred) and she ran into the next room. Was it a premonition? Just then someone appeared behind the couch. There was just Auntie and me there.

Who was it and why did it visit us?

You might not believe in spirits but this is a true account….believe it, or not. I saw what I saw and so did my dog.

The Seventh Daughter saw nothing. I tell you, friendly ghosts are real.”

Review

This is a short story but quite an interesting one. The author pulls us into a true retelling of an event from years ago that reveals second sight ability just might be real if you want to believe.

I felt like I was sitting there at the table with Jessie and her Aunt as she shared what happened to her as a young child and that evening and the apparition that she saw and who it might be and why he might appear to her.

This is a very short read but very enjoyable and I do hope that she does put more of these stories into print. They are fascinating especially if you are intrigued by the paranormal.

We give it 4 paws up

 

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, paranormal, Spotlight on November 2, 2017

DEATH IN D MINOR

by

ALEXIA GORDON

  Genre: Paranormal Mystery / African American Sleuth

Publisher: Henery Press

Date of Publication: July 11, 2017

Number of Pages: 236

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Gethsemane Brown, African-American musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy now. Right? Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord’s about to sell to a developer, and her brother-in-law’s come to visit. She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from destruction. But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with an investigator to go undercover at a charity ball and snoop for evidence of a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the woman’s help clearing him. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. She races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself, then the killer targets her. Will she bring a murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?

 

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PRAISE FOR DEATH IN D MINOR

Gethsemane Brown is everything an amateur sleuth should be: smart, sassy, talented, and witty even when her back is against the wall. In her latest adventure, she’s surrounded by a delightful cast, some of whom readers will remember from Gordon’s award-winning debut and all of whom they won’t forget. Gordon writes characters we want resurrected. – Cate Holahan, author of The Widower’s Wife and Lies She Told

Erstwhile ghost conjurer and gifted concert violinist Gethsemane Brown returns in this thoroughly enjoyable follow-up to last year’s Murder in G Major. Facing eviction from the historic seaside cottage she calls home, Gethsemane must clear her brother-in-law’s name – as well as her own – when a priceless artifact goes missing and the wealthy dowager to whom it belonged is “helped” over a high balcony railing.  With the help of a spectral sea captain she accidentally summoned, Gethsemane tries to unravel the mystery as the murderer places her squarely in the crosshairs. – Daniel J. Hale, Agatha Award-winning author

A writer since childhood, I put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, releases July 11, 2017.

Murder in G Major won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best New Novel, and was selected one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts. I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at www.missdemeanors.com, voted one of Writers’ Digest magazine’s 101 best websites for writers, and featured on Femmes Fatales.

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GRAND PRIZESigned Copy of Death in D Minor + Whisky Field Guide, Sea Salt & Bay Rum soy candle, Notepad, $20 Starbucks Gift Card

2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy of Death in D Minor, Ceramic Skull Coffee Mug, $20 Amazon Gift Card

 

October 25-November 3, 2017

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25-Oct Review Hall Ways Blog
25-Oct Notable Quotable Texan Girl Reads
26-Oct Top 5 List Books and Broomsticks
27-Oct Review Momma On The Rocks
27-Oct Playlist 1 Texas Book Lover
28-Oct Review Chapter Break Book Blog
29-Oct Excerpt A Page Before Bedtime
30-Oct Author Interview The Librarian Talks
30-Oct Review Forgotten Winds
31-Oct Playlist 2 Syd Savvy
1-Nov Review Tangled in Text
1-Nov Top 5 List Bibliotica
2-Nov Notable Quotable Missus Gonzo
2-Nov Notable Quotable StoreyBook Reviews
3-Nov Review Reading By Moonlight

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, paranormal on October 10, 2017

 

Title: WICKEDLY EVER AFTER: HALLOWEEN HIJINKS
Author: Lotta Smith
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 213
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Synopsis

As the new Mrs. Rowling, life is supposed to be easy for former FBI Special Assistant Amanda Meyer. Marriage to her drop dead gorgeous boss Rick is everything she dreamed of, unfortunately she can’t sleep, and she can’t even blame the ghost of his late stepmom Clara for popping up in the middle of the night with a tricky request.
Someone staged mechanic Fynn’s death to look like a suicide, and now his unhappy ghost is keeping Clara and her dead friends awake all night. Proving he was murdered will keep the newlyweds hopping, and the real trick will be staying alive in this hilariously wicked book in the Manhattan Mystery Series.

 

Excerpt

At exactly three o’clock in the morning, I was in bed, turning over for the umpteenth time. For some unknown reason, I couldn’t fall asleep. In fact, I didn’t have even a blink of sleep.

Okay, so I was pretending not to know the reason for my difficulty, but I could come up with possible reasons. For starters, I had a little too much espresso cake after dinner and a few more cups of strong green tea than the recommended amount at lunch. Also, in the past few hours alone, I had at least thirteen people visit me, asking about the whereabouts of their personal belongings and if I thought their spouses were cheating on them. All of them happened to be former residents of this upscale condo on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where I called home. The last straw was Mrs. Williams, who kept demanding I return her hearing aid. I kept telling her that I wasn’t the evil woman who hid her belongings, and I shared my hunch that her family might have forgotten to put her hearing device with her; however, she didn’t seem to fathom what I was trying to say—perhaps because she didn’t have her hearing aid.

By the way, did I mention that all those people who visited me during these ungodly hours had been dead for years?

My name is Amanda Rowling, née Meyer, a part-time secretary for my husband and mostly a stay-at-home housewife, and people, including but not limited to my husband Rick, usually call me Mandy.

Anyway, I was trying my best to grab some sleep before dawn, not that I had to get up early and go to work in the morning, but Rick had been busy since joining USCAB—United States Cover All Bases, a security-based conglomerate owned and run by his dad—and I wanted to do my best to be his super-supportive partner. Cooking power breakfasts for him and myself had become my ritual since I moved in with him at this condo over a year ago, and I was determined to continue this ritual. Anyway, using knives and a hot oven in a sleep-deprived status wasn’t high on my to-do list. I tended to commit faux-pas in the kitchen, like scorching eggs and bacon to a crisp, whenever I was short of sleep.

Before marrying him, I used to work for the FBI’s New York City headquarters as a special assistant. At first, I was just an assistant with a mission to keep my then-boss Rick Rowling, the sexy, arrogant loose cannon who loved nothing more than trouble, from wreaking havoc and destroying NYC. However, a little after starting my FBI career, I developed a special skill of seeing dead people and communicating with them, and my tasks expanded to interviewing murder victims and dead witnesses.

When Rick, who was the head of Paranormal Cases Division and the only colleague I had, left the feds to join his family business, I followed his suit and resigned from the feds.

Even though Sheldon Hernandez, the head of the FBI’s New York City headquarters, offered me a lucrative consulting contract, I declined. At that time, leaving my life with the FBI, communicating with dead people and dodging frequent temper tantrums thrown at me by the deceased, and concentrating on being Mrs. Rowling seemed like a fabulous idea. But after the wedding and returning from our honeymoon, I wasn’t sure if I made the right decision. At that time, I presumed I’d stop encountering the spirits of dead; however, things didn’t go as I’d hoped. I was still having as many ghostly visitors as before.

And, recalling my past life as an FBI assistant, I was horrified to found myself sort of missing my days dealing with the murderers, crooks, and dead people. Okay, so having nothing to do with criminals should be the norm for most people, and when I left the feds, I couldn’t wait to spend my days without worrying about being assaulted by evil ghosts and bad humans, but…

About the Author

Lotta Smith is the author of Paranormal in Manhattan Mystery series. She fell in love with mystery the moment she developed consciousness. She is especially fond of lighthearted murder mystery stories with a little sprinkle of romance.

She went to medical school hoping to see real corpses and sexy professors. Back then, she was into this kind of mystery series about a smokin’ hot forensic medicine professor and a quirky female student going a-sleuthing, cracking unsolvable cases. Lotta truly, madly wanted to team up with a superhot professor and crack a difficult murder or two. (Note; she got to see the corpses, but sexy professors were nonexistent.)

Lotta loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to drop her a line at lottasmith_author@yahoo.com.

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Giveaway

Lotta Smith is giving away a collection of six books:

Wickedly Ever After: Halloween Hijinks by Lotta Smith

Trick or Treason by Kathi Daley

A Witchmas Carol by Amanda M Lee

Dark, Witch & Creamy by H Y Hanna

Curse of the Day by Annabel Chase

Dead Man Talking by Jana DeLeon

 

Thank-you for your participation prize: Everyone receives a free ebook copy of:

Whoever Finds the Wicked: Rick Rowling’s Secret File (Paranormal in Manhattan Mystery Prequel) Whoever Finds the Wicked: Rick Rowling’s Secret File

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the book collection.
  • This giveaway ends midnight October 13.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on October 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on September 15, 2017

Title: Her Dark Half

Author: Paige Tyler

Series: X-Ops, #7

Pub Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis

Trevor Maxwell

  • Coyote shifter with an attitude
  • Covert operator
  • Trusts no one, especially his devastatingly beautiful new partner

Alina Bosch

  • Former CIA, newest operative on the covert team
  • Hired to spy on her partner
  • Motto: “Never be deceived again.”

Coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is teamed up with CIA agent Alina Bosch to catch a killer. But when the mission becomes much more dangerous than they expected, they’re going to have to ignore the attraction between them and learn how to trust one another to come out on the other side…

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Excerpt

“What’s the plan here?” she asked Trevor quietly as the restaurant’s patrons eyed them curiously. “Because I don’t see anyone warming up to us enough to invite us into the back room.”

“We’re Trevor and Alina Hoffman, a filthy rich, newly married couple from Silicon Valley,” Trevor said, glancing around as if taking in the ambience. “We’ve been on an extended honeymoon for the past few months and are currently heading for a trans-Atlantic cruise out of New York City. We decided to do some gambling and got tired of dealing with all the crap at the local casino.”

“You think they’ll buy that?” she asked as he led her across the room toward the door with the guards.

“You sell the fact that we’re a newly married couple, and I’ll make them believe I’m a rich guy with a gambling addiction.”

She could do that. Then she realized one big flaw in their cover story. “If we’re a newly married couple, shouldn’t I be wearing a ring?”

Trevor gave her a sidelong glance. “What makes you think you aren’t?”

She looked down at her hand in confusion and almost fell off her stacked heels as she saw the monstrously large diamond he’d somehow slipped onto her ring finger when she wasn’t looking. Oh crud, it was huge! And as beautiful as any she’d ever seen.

“When did you put this on? More importantly, is this thing real?” she whispered.

Thank goodness she had his arm to keep her steady. She was feeling faint at the idea of wearing a diamond that was probably worth more than her entire apartment.

“I put it on you when we were married on the first of June in Monaco,” he whispered back. “And of course it’s real. I would never put something fake on the love of my life.”

“Trevor, I’m serious,” she said.

He made a face. “Okay. I slipped it on your finger when I was helping you out of the SUV. And yes, it’s real, so don’t lose it. I had to sign my life away to get it out of the DCO safes.”

She gulped. “How much is it worth?”

“Nothing compared to you, sweetheart,” he said in a romantic tone as they stopped in front of the two guards.

The bouncers working this door were a little bit more professional than the ones outside.

“Can I help you?” one of the men asked in a deep, rough voice that made Alina wonder if he chewed gravel for fun.

“Someone told me a man might be able to find a friendly game of poker somewhere near here,” Trevor said casually. “I don’t suppose you two might be able to point my wife and me in the right direction for a game like that?”

The two men regarded him suspiciously.

“I think you’re talking about the Horseshoe Casino,” Gravel said. “It’s nearby, very clean and friendly.” Trevor chuckled. “The Horseshoe is very friendly. But the place doesn’t have the quite the atmosphere we’re looking for. It’s a little too…what’s the word?… sanitized for our liking.”

Gravel studied Trevor for a moment, then glanced at the bar, giving someone there a nod. Ten seconds later, a slim man in an expensive suit appeared at their side.

“My name is Teddy,” he said in a cautious yet friendly tone. “What can I do for you?”

“I’m Trevor Hoffman. This is my wife, Alina. We’re getting ready to head out on a cruise in a few days and decided to do some gambling while we’re in town. Someone told us this place runs a clean game, so I thought I’d spend some money here.”

Teddy surveyed them with a practiced eye, taking in the cut of Trevor’s suit and her expensive gown, not to mention the big honking ring she wore. He must have liked what he saw, because he nodded.

“If I could get some identification and a credit card from you, Mr. Hoffman, I can quickly check your credentials and set you up with a line of credit.”

Alina tensed as Trevor handed over the requested ID and credit card. They could be in trouble. The fake ID and credit card by themselves would have taken quite a bit of time and money to pull off. Coming up with an Internet background to support that would take even longer.

“What are they going to find when they run your name and that credit card number?” she whispered as he slipped his arm around her and casually urged her away from the two men guarding the door.

“Relax.” He flashed her a grin. “They’ll find us with all the relevant financial and societal tidbits one would expect to see when looking at the rich and bored.”

She glanced at Teddy. He typed something into a computer just out of sight behind the bar. A moment later, he lifted his head and frowned in their direction.

“Something’s wrong,” she whispered.

Even the two guards were eyeing them funny now. She was starting to wish she had a weapon. If things went bad, they were in trouble.

“Alina,” Trevor said softly as he tightened his arm around her waist and tugged her closer. “Now’s the time for you to sell the newlywed thing.”

She opened her mouth to ask him exactly how he suggested she do that when he pulled her even closer.

She wished she could have said it was years of CIA training that took over and made her kiss him. But that wouldn’t have been true. Instead, it was a totally different kind of instinct. The kind that made a woman want to kiss a hot guy.

About the Author

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast.

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Giveaway

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Posted in excerpt, paranormal, suspense on August 18, 2017

Curse Breaker

By J.T.Bishop

 

Publisher: J. T. Bishop; 1 edition

Series: Red-Line

Paperback: 402 pages

October 6, 2016, $14.95

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Synopsis

She’ll risk her life to break his curse, but revealing the truth could be far more dangerous.

In high school, a friend’s mother blames Grayson Steele for the tragic death of her daughter. Now, years later, Grayson is wealthy and successful, but on the brink of suicide. Because the women he loves are dying. And he can’t stop it.

Knowing about Grayson’s circumstances, Gillian Fletcher derives a plan. Catch the killer who’s making Grayson Steele’s life a living hell. But there’s only one way to do it. She has to be the bait.

As Grayson and Gillian’s plan takes shape, they must not only expose a killer, but also their feelings for each other. The further they go, the more secrets they will reveal. Secrets that will illuminate not just a murderer, but shocking truths that neither may be prepared to face.

Truths that will change their future forever.

Curse Breaker is an Indie Brag Medallion winner and the fourth book in J. T. Bishop’s award-winning Red-Line paranormal suspense series. It can be read before or after her Red-Line trilogy. If you love murder mysteries, page turners, and fast-paced stories, then you’ll love this compelling book by award-winning author J. T. Bishop.

Excerpt

“Then what do you want?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know my name? Know I live nearby? Know I grew up not far from here?” He crossed his arms. “What do you want?”

She didn’t answer for a second. “I’m a reporter.”

He chuckled. The men on the beach lifted the tarp, but they blocked his view. “Looks like you’ve got quite the story on your hands. First on the scene.”

“I’m not that kind of reporter.”

“You’re not?”

“No. I work for Lifestyle magazine.”

Lifestyle, huh? What lifestyle are you interested in?”

“Yours.”

He smirked. “Let me guess. You want to interview me?”

“I do.”

“Why?”

“Why not? Everyone wants to get an interview with you. You’re a millionaire playboy who’s become a recluse. The Howard Hughes of our time. You’re a huge scoop.”

“No thanks.”

“Why not? Don’t you want the world to know the truth?”

“What truth?”

“That you’re not as messed up as they say you are. That you’re not a drug user or psychotic. That you’re not building sandcastles in your bedroom in your free time. Or tying up seagulls and eating them for lunch.”

He grimaced. “Is that what they’re saying about me?”

“Depends on the magazine.”

He shook his head. “I’m obviously not keeping up on current trends.”

“So tell them that you don’t do any of those things.”

He tilted his head. “And how do you know I don’t?”

She didn’t say anything, but her eyes moved back to the beach. The men were moving the body into a zippered bag. They tried to keep the bystanders from watching by holding up a blanket, but a strong gust of wind blew and the blanket moved and he got a quick but clear view of the woman. A chill shot through him when he realized he recognized her. He knew the victim.

“Oh my God.”

“What?” she asked.

He felt the blood leave his face, and he stared at the sand.

“You okay?”

He looked for his dog. “Max?” He saw Max chasing a seagull.

“Mr. Steele?”

Max ran up to him and shook out the water on his coat. “Let’s go, Max.”

“Please, Mr. Steele. Would you consider it?”

He didn’t answer her. His wooden legs didn’t want to move, but he forced them over the sand, the face of the victim echoing in his mind. He blinked and tried to think back. When had he seen her last? Calculating the time in his head, he grimaced when he remembered. Three days. It had been three days since he’d slept with her. He felt the urge to lose his pizza, but he held it back. Picking up his pace, he walked fast through the sand and ignored the reporter behind him.

“Mr. Steele? Are you okay? Can I follow up with you later?”

Leaving the scene, he said nothing.

About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, J. T. Bishop began writing in 2012. Inspired by a video that theorized the meaning of the end of the Mayan calendar, J. T. began the Red-Line trilogy. The video surmised that the earth was the central hub of activity for extraterrestrials thousands of years ago. J.T. didn’t know whether that was true or not, but it did spawn an idea. What if those extraterrestrials were still here? Two years and a lot of work later, the first three Red-Line books were complete, but she’s not done. The Red-Line saga develops as she continues to write new books.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, paranormal, Science Fiction, Spotlight on August 18, 2017

Synopsis

…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future… -Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.
She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.
Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Excerpt

It was an unsettling feeling to say the least. One second she was lying in the hospital bed surrounded by frantic medical professionals, and then suddenly she wasn’t. In fact, Rose was not at all sure what she experienced.

Rose had understandably developed an interest in near-death experiences over the past year or so. She had watched a ton of documentaries on the subject before she got too weak to work the TV remote. Her mother had encouraged it, along with far too many hours of what Rose scornfully referred to as “Jesus TV”. Gypsie Johnson had hoped this would reassure Rose, help her cope with what was happening to her, but it did not.

Usually, the shows just made her angry that she had to worry about such things at all. Still, she was well versed in the usual particulars of transitioning to the afterlife – the out of body experience, the long tunnel, the bright light, the dearly departed relatives to greet you in Heaven… That was not at all what she experienced now.

Is this it? She thought in confusion. Am I dead?

She waited. Then she waited some more for something to occur that felt… she wasn’t sure… death-like? Nothing really appeared to happen, but Rose could not be positive, not at all certain what ‘dead’ was supposed to feel like.

“How long are you going to lie there?” a bemused female voice asked. “You’ve arrived, you know… Wouldn’t you like get up and look around? I’ve been waiting for you.”

Slowly, Rose cracked open her eyes. She saw earth and grass beneath her tightly clenched fingers. Hesitantly she lifted her head and caught her breath at what she beheld. Rose stood and slowly turned a wide circle in amazement.

A flaxen field of tall grass stretched away from her in every direction to disappear into the distant horizon. Birds chirped, insects buzzed, and she felt warm sunlight, golden on her face. The smell of fragrant flowers and greenery, heavy in the honeyed air, assailed her nostrils and permeated her deepest self to saturate her very essence with an abstruse sense of felicity and well-being. Then she caught sight of a figure, standing just a few feet away.

She was a very beautiful woman. Her dark-brown, luminous eyes were large, almond shaped, and sparkling. They glinted with amusement. Her hair was long, black, and silky, flowing nearly all the way to the red, wooden sandals on her tiny feet. It gracefully framed her pretty face. She was dressed in a gorgeous, bright pink kimono liberally embroidered with a swirling floral pattern of gold.

“Welcome,” the woman greeted amiably with a low bow as she twirled a red, paper parasol slung casually over her left shoulder. Her genial voice floated across the bucolic plain. There was a quality about it that sparkled as brightly as the effulgent sun. “You are among the first to arrive.”

Rose simply stared.  A gentle breeze tousled her long brown hair, and she casually wiped a strand from her eyes. Then she froze. Her hair… She gave the errant strand a tug then gaped at the smiling woman in astonishment.

“Where am I?” she breathed. “Is this Heaven?”

The kimono wrapped woman laughed.

“Well,” she began. “Perhaps it could be. I like it, certainly. I hope that you will too! I’m glad that you’ve chosen my kingdom. You’re actually my first.”

“Kingdom? Chose? I don’t…” Rose stuttered. Then she shook her head and took a deep breath before asking, “Who are you? Are you a… a queen or a… a… an angel or something?” Her voice softened to a murmur. “You’re beautiful…”

The woman giggled girlishly, and her cheeks flushed pleasantly pink. The parasol flashed out of existence.

“Thank you,” she murmured, fanning herself with a pink, silk folding fan that suddenly materialized in her right hand. “I do try. In any case, to answer your second question first, you may call me Hana. If I have to choose, I think I prefer to think of myself as a princess, but some of the others choose differently. And your name is… Rose?” A broad smile spread across Hana’s face.

Rose nodded wordlessly.

“Rose!” Hana repeated with a musical giggle. Her eyes glittered, and her grin pleasantly dimpled her porcelain cheeks. She clapped her dainty hands together in delight. “Rose and Hana! What an apt pair! Well, I am quite delighted to meet you, Rose. I’m glad you are my Veda. I hope you will be happy here.”

There was too much of the woman’s speech that Rose did not understand – far too many questions to be asked. They seemed to flood her brain to bursting so that she could not fully articulate any of them. At last she picked the one that seemed simplest.

“Please, Princess” Rose entreated. “Where is here exactly?”

“Oh!” Princess Hana exclaimed. “I apologize! This place is called Aaru, and you now find yourself in my kingdom of Tenkoku. Aaru is a new place… Another place… Maybe, I could say… the next place?”

Her brow furrowed as she noted Rose’s confused expression.

“I’m sorry,” Hana apologized. “I don’t really know how else to express it. If I told you simply that Aaru is a good place, could you accept that?”

Rose nodded uncertainly.

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on August 16, 2017

Title: SEAL Wolf Undercover

Author: Terry Spear

Series: SEAL Wolf, #5

Pub Date: August 1, 2017

Synopsis

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…

Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke—until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring—and potentially treacherous—Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

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Excerpt

Formerly an army intelligence officer and now a PI, Jillian Matthews had agreed to go out with her brother Miles’s friend as a favor, but man did the guy have octopus arms. Oh sure, he was fun, but way more interested than she was. The guy several tables over, now he got her attention. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he was all wolf, though some human males showed the same wolfish interest in a woman, even if she was with someone else. She’d never think about dumping a guy on a date when he was being nice, especially when it was to pay her brother back for his help in solving one of her cases. But she’d made sure she said it was only one date, unless she changed her mind.

Everything about the club was a blast—the music, drinks, dancers, and atmosphere—yet the man at the other table truly stole her attention tonight.

“Did you want to return here tomorrow night?” Miles asked.

She smiled at her brother. She’d love to if the other guy was going to be here.  He had dark hair, chiseled features, tanned biceps. He was muscular but not overdone, and had a darkly, intriguing smile that made her melt.

“Sure,” she said, secretly wishing she could see tall, dark, and intriguing. Maybe tomorrow he would ask her to dance or she’d ask him. The guy’s own date looked bored and Jillian hadn’t seen him dance until women began asking him. As soon as a blond did, it was like a signal to other single women that he was interested and available. If Jillian had been without a date, even she would have asked him to dance. She’d help him move that gorgeous body right up close and personal. Her own date wasn’t interested in dancing with anyone else, so she curbed the inclination. She could envision hanging onto the guy too, if he still piqued her interest and not allow any other woman to take a turn with him.

“Hey, you ready to go?” Miles asked, breaking into her fantasy. “If I’m going to help you on that next case, I need some sleep.”

His date was a human woman, and Jillian knew her brother too well. Sleep wasn’t what he had in mind at all.

“Yeah, agreed.”

“I can take you back to your hotel,” her date said, as if he were looking for some mattress action too.

“Oh, thanks so much, but no, that’s fine. Miles is right. We have to get up before the crack of dawn.”

She and Miles rose from the table, Jillian’s date not making a move to leave. “See you tomorrow night then,” he said.

Not if she could help it. She gathered her sweater and bag, and though she didn’t want to seem too obvious that she was interested in the other guy, she glanced back at him. He inclined his head a little to her and her whole body flushed with heat.

He was so hot. Yeah, he was the date she wanted tomorrow night, whether he had   a date with him or not.

Then suddenly a scream caught Jillian’s attention. One of the corner chains holding a dancer’s platform had broken loose, and the dancer on it screamed again. Thank God the dancer had reacted quickly enough to grab one of the remaining four chains holding it up before she fell. Dangling twenty feet above the patrons, she clung precariously to the end of the chain, looking up as if she was thinking of trying to climb up it. Before Jillian could do anything, the wolfish guy she had been admiring had climbed the ladder to the platform. He leapt to one of the chains still holding the platform, and shimmied across the top of it to reach the chain the dancer was holding onto.

The music was still in heavy jungle beat mode, most patrons unaware of the potential tragedy unfolding before them. Jillian rushed to tell a server to get help and to turn off the music so the guy rescuing the woman could concentrate.

“Hell, that’s part of the show,” the server said, smiling at her. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“The guy trying to rescue her is part of it too?”

The server glanced up at him. “No. Once in a blue moon we get some hero type that has to show off how macho he is. He must not be from around here either.”

“He could injure himself! Kill himself even!”

“Safety nets spring up and will catch them if they fall. We’ve only had one case where we’ve had to use them, and everyone, including the would-be hero, loved it.”

Then the man managed to climb down the chain to the woman and had her crawl up his body. As agile as she was, she probably could have made it up the chain by herself if the heroic guy hadn’t tried to rescue her. The dancer wrapped her legs around his waist, her arms around his neck as he made the treacherous climb up.

Even so, Jillian was practically holding her breath. The visitor wasn’t part of the show, and any misstep on his part could mean the two of them could fall. Maybe he knew this was part of the show. Maybe the waiter didn’t realize it.

The music was still playing, but a lot more of the patrons had stopped to watch, probably because only once in a blue moon someone came to the dancer’s rescue.

At the top edge of the platform, the guy made his way across the wooden edge until he reached the next corner chain. He paused there for the longest time. The music was still playing, the only lights the ones highlighting the dancers on their platforms. The other dancers no longer moved, riveted by their fellow dancer and the heroic guy. If he jumped to the ladder and missed, that would be the end of the show, and the dancer and the good Samaritan would fall. What if the net didn’t appear in time?

Jillian wanted to do something, anything to help him. All she could do was lamely watch and pray he was successful.

 

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Terry Speer has written over 35 paranormal romances featuring werewolf and jaguar shapeshifters. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Spring, Texas.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on August 2, 2017

Third in Ashlyn Chase’s light paranormal romance series featuring hot dragon shifters. No one would believe that lovely Lt. Kristine Scott of the NY Fire Department is an actual dragon, but there’s no denying the flames that ignite when she meets firefighting phoenix shifter Jayce Fierro.

Synopsis

One Boston Phoenix + One New York Dragon = Scorching Heat

You think it’s tough being a dragon? It’s a piece of cake compared to being a phoenix shifter. Dragon shifters just have to worry about accidentally setting their stuff (or a loved one) on fire. A phoenix can rise from the ashes, but then they have to start over…as if growing up once wasn’t tough enough..

Meet Lt. Jayce Fierro of the Boston Fire Department, and Kristine Scott of the FDNY. A long distance relationship could never work—especially not with the secrets they’re keeping. But when Kristine lands herself in a blaze of trouble, she’s in no position to turn down Jayce’s help. Even if it means letting down their guards…and giving in to their sizzling attraction.

Boston Dragons:

I Dream of Dragons (Book 1)

My Wild Irish Dragon (Book 2)

Never Dare a Dragon (Book 3)

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Excerpt

The rest of the dinner went well. In fact, Kristine was surprised by how well it was going. She hadn’t dated a guy like Jayce in a long time. Their connection seemed to be almost instantaneous. It was just too bad he was a firefighter—and lived three hours away as the Acela train flies. Actually, a quick plane ride would reduce the commute to only an hour and a half, but the hassle and time it took to go through security would make the trip even longer.

Walking down the wide sidewalks of Times Square, hand in hand, sure made her feel as if the trip might be worth the hassle. His hand was warm and rough. For once she wasn’t concerned that hers were the same way. No hand cream could stand up to a firefighters’ routine. Wet gloves, rough weather, unbearable heat… All of that detracted from the soft, supple skin she longed for.

They had decided over dinner to visit the top of the Empire State Building. Jayce had never been there before, and Kristine had only visited with friends—never a date. It was supposed to be romantic. She’d never understood why. Probably because her cynical ex-boyfriend thought it was hokey. As she glanced over at Jayce, he glanced back, and they smiled. One thing she wasn’t seeing in him was a city dweller’s pessimism. Its absence was a refreshing change.

Eventually, they arrived at their destination, and as luck—or the stars aligning at the right moment—would have it, they stepped into an elevator with no one right behind them. The doors whooshed closed while they were still alone.

She spun toward Jayce with a hand over her mouth. “I guess that wasn’t very nice of me. I probably should have waited.”

He stepped right into her space. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

As the elevator began to ascend, he leaned in and captured her mouth with his firm lips. She looped her arms around his neck, and he pulled her close. She immediately opened her mouth, and their tongues found each other and swirled together. Kristine wasn’t at all sure her light-headed feeling was due to the elevator traveling so fast. Unfortunately, she felt as if she were falling instead.

Don’t think about it. Whatever happens happens… She seemed to have found a new mantra. She heard the ding of the elevator doors opening, and they were greeted by chuckles and a wolf whistle.

“Yeah, yeah…” Jayce said, but he was grinning and holding Kristine’s hand as they made their way off the elevator.

When they spotted a space at the building’s edge that was fairly deserted, they walked over to it with no hesitation.

“You’re not afraid of heights, I guess…” Jayce said to her.

She laughed. “I’d be in deep trouble if I were.” Not only was she a firefighter in a company that specialized in high-rises, but she was a full-fledged, fire-breathing, wing-soaring dragon. She could hover at this height and enjoy the view.

Speaking of enjoying the view…

Jayce turned his back on the dazzling city lights and kissed her knuckles as he stared into her eyes. She felt as if her insides were melting. A deep shimmer in his eyes must have been reflecting the lights. Or not. His eyes seemed to glow for a moment, and then he quickly turned back toward the city.

She took her first good look at the city lights as well. Dear Lord. At last she realized why people thought this place was romantic. At night, so many lights against the velvet black sky were more beautiful than Christmas. Some even seemed to twinkle like stars. Below, white headlights and red taillights trailed through the landscape, but the sounds of the city were far away.

A chilly breeze ruffled her hair. Jayce enveloped her in a side hug. If she felt a chill, it was forgotten in favor of his warm, strong body alongside hers. Everywhere they touched, merging heat radiated through her. Wow. How she’d missed this! Or had she ever had this feeling?

Good Lord, Kristine… Get ahold of yourself!

“So, Jayce… What do you think of the view from up here?”

He turned her toward him and said, “I think the view right in front of me is as beautiful as it gets.” Leaning in, he delivered another toe-curling kiss, and she realized she was a goner.

About the Author

Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a scrumptious, satisfying, experience.

She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the Red Cross. She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. She is a multi-published, award-winning author of hot, humorous paranormal and contemporary romantic comedies.

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Posted in Guest Post, mystery, paranormal on July 20, 2017

New Sins for Old Scores
by Tj O’Connor
Black Opal Books (May 27, 2017)
Paperback 370 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1626946750
E-Book ASIN: B071S213GB

Synopsis

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And, when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history—but, after years as a cop, he is about to get the lesson of his life. Ambushed and dying on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder. Soon Jax is a suspect in a string of murders—murders linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and intelligent historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy-year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, Jax and Trick hunt for the link between their pasts—confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again. Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

Guest Post

Who’s Sinning and Who’s Settling Old Scores?

Tj O’Connor

New Sins for Old Scores is my latest murder mystery with a paranormal twist—the twist is that one of the lead characters is dead. Yup, read it again. He’s dead. And this story is packed with a band of characters, each with their own agenda, and each trying to either sin or settle an old score. A couple are doing both. The secret to the story is, as you might guess, who’s sinning and who’s settling scores. When you find out who’s doing both, you’ll know who the killer(s?) is/are.

You see, I’m one of those authors who plot out the story and ready a cast of characters to do my dirty work. Schemers and dreamers, haters and lovers, do-gooders and killers. Unlike most authors, there are also the present-day players and the historic players—dead ones, too.

Like you’ve probably heard other authors say, once I start writing, my characters takeover and do what they want. No really, it happens. I start out with a cast and each one has a story to tell—the story I plotted out for them. By the time I’m done with the first draft, they’ve gone their own way and created their own stories, often ignoring me completely. Some of them do a better job than I can, too. Some of them I had high-hopes for have become evil and dastardly and have gone and sinned on their own. Others, well, they are in the midst of settle scores that I didn’t even know existed.

Before I give you a snapshot of these page-players, let me explain what New Sins for Old Scores is about—at least, on the surface:

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history. Now, after years as a cop, he was about to get the lesson of his life.

As Jax lay dying after being ambushed at an old inn on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder and prove he wasn’t a traitor. Soon, Jax is a suspect in a string of murders. The murders are linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II “Operation Paperclip,” an OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and brilliant historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, they hunt for the link between their pasts, confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again.

Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

New Sins for Old Scores is my fourth published novel. It was written a few years ago in the middle of another series I was writing—Oliver Tucker’s Gumshoe Ghost (I hate that moniker) mysteries. Since, I’ve also completed my thriller, The Consultant: Double Effect that will be out in May, 2018 from my new publisher, Ocean View Publishing. Each of these stories has been plot driven with strong characters that always have secrets to hide. In each, I provided the plot and my characters jump in and do the rest. Oh, I give them all names like Jax and Trick (New Sins), Tuck and Angel (The Gumshoe Ghost), and Jonathan Hunter who is The Consultant.  With each of these, I drafted the outline and the characters drove the story chapter-by-chapter and character-by-character. By the end of my novels, the characters had become people I didn’t even recognize—the good ones and the evil ones. New Sins for Old Scores was no exception. Let me give you a peak at who’s who in my stories.

Special Agent Richard Jax and OSS Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall: New Sins centers on these two accidental partners joined in the chasm of 75 years. Jax must come to terms with being the chief suspect in a double murder. He’s lost his love, his best friend, his career, and perhaps his mind—he’s seeing and taking advice from the spirit of Capt. Trick McCall, after all. Yet, Trick doesn’t quite see their friendship as a problem what so ever. Sure, he’s dead and all, but he’s a 1940’s man and who else can help solve a 75 year old murder case? Especially when it’s his! Trick must adjust to the modern day—2011—with computers and cell phones, the internet, and of course, the casual, often risqué lifestyle of the 21st century. Both men are hunting killers. The question is, is it the same one?

Surrounding Jax’s homicide investigation is the Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) Task Force. Once his friends and colleagues, they’re now a collection of the trusted and the devious. First, there’s Mike Martinez, the BCI chief. He and Jeremy Levin—a Princeton Lawyer who oddly joined the state police—are under the spell of FBI Agent H.P. MacTavish. MacTavish is a duplicitous figure who arrived right after Jax’s ambush with claims of WWII treason and all the while hiding behind the veil of national security. Then there’s Detective Dylan Finch, a local sheriff’s deputy thrown into the mix. Finch clearly doesn’t want to be part of the circus. He doesn’t trust any of the BCI agents and while he’s worried about the BCI finding the killer, he has his own agenda that is more important. The wild card on the Task Force is Christie Krein. She’s young, pretty, smart, and doesn’t believe for a moment that Jax is a murderer. She also doesn’t believe he’s seeing ghosts. Throughout the story, each of these characters is hiding secrets and each has their own reason to be chasing the killer—or protecting him. They all have one thing in common: they think Jax is a little crazy.

Just when Jax thinks he understands what’s happening around him—Trick McCall included—Professor Alexandra “Alex” Vouros appears. Alex is as beautiful as she is brilliant, and yes, she has her own agenda, too. Alex is searching for evidence to prove or disprove Trick McCall’s innocence as a traitor and murderer back in 1944. She’s in league with John H. Singleton—one of the few survivors from Trick’s failed attempt to capture Harriet, the elusive double-agent responsible for smuggling illegal Nazi’s into the US during the war. Singleton, along with other OSS survivors, all have a stake in the outcome of Alex’s research. The trouble is each one wants a different outcome, for a different reason. Each is willing to do anything to get their way. Not all of them want Harriet’s true identity discovered. All of them want the past to remain in the past. Secret. Gone. Dead.

Finally, there is young Ameera, a pretty Afghani refugee being secreted from safehouse to safehouse by a gang of Latino thugs. She and her family are on the run and their only protection is the dangerous street gang, the Salvadorian Muchachos. Ameera faces danger at each turn and she’s not sure which is the most threatening, those hunting her or the Muchachos protecting her. But she knows the secrets connecting 1944 and Richard Jax—who the murderer is and who was there to cover it up.

Now, after reading about these characters in New Sins for Old Scores, you might be thinking I’ve got too many characters. I don’t think I do. In a murder mystery, having too few makes it easy to figure out whodunit. Right? In New Sins, because of the historical subplots, you have to figure out whodunit now and whodidit then. So the more characters the better.

Of this band of characters—past, present, and those living and dead—there are those still sinning and those settling old scores. The question is—who’s who? The answer is not what you think.

About the Author

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS (IPPY) FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of New Sins for Old Scores, from Black Opal Books, and Dying to KnowDying for the Past, and Dying to TellHis new thriller, The Consultant, will be out in May 2018 from Oceanview Publishing. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also the 2015 Bronze Medal winner of the Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a finalist for the Silver Falchion Best Books of 2014, and a finalist for the Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

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