Tag Archive | Book review

Under A Hunter’s Moon by Timothy Bateson

UAHM

Title: Under A Hunter’s Moon
Series: Shadows Over Seattle: Prequel One
Author: Timothy Bateson
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Past and present collide on Halloween

UAHM FINALRichard Parsons is a maverick wolf-shifter who grew up among the teen gangs of Seattle. His tendency to find trouble has often attracted police attention.

When a traveling exhibition returns to the McCaw Museum Richard finds that he has personal reasons to visit after hours. His audacious plan goes awry when a particular display forces painful memories to the surface.

Can Richard face down the demons of his past before the police become aware of his presence?

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Excerpt:

Chapter One

October 31st, 2013

A janitorial closet served as my hiding place until the museum staff locked up for the night. The simple lock disengaged in seconds, and I made my way down the corridor. A solid oak door blocked my progress, as I reached into a backpack. This presented a challenge, but I resolved not to be defeated.

Pulling out my lock-picking tools, I set to work. I glanced over my shoulder a couple of times, thinking I heard movement from around the corner. The night guard was making her rounds, and I wanted to avoid running afoul of her. If she discovered me so close to obtaining my target, it would be disastrous.

Less than a minute after starting, the tumblers clicked into place. I eased the door open, slipping into the room housing the touring exhibition. Green light from the emergency exit sign, cast a pale glow over my shoulder. I shouldered my backpack, as I placed a folded piece of paper between the deadbolt, and the strike plate, preventing the lock from engaging. I tested the door and it required more than a casual effort to push open – more than satisfactory.

The door opened into the rear of an exhibition room. Dim overhead lights shone down on several displays. Dim moonlight shone through the honey-combed skylight, causing filaments of shadow to overlay the displays, a little like dark cobwebs. The clouds were so wispy that there was little chance of them obscuring the moon.

The displays highlighted various predators and prey of Washington. Different lighting effects created a feel of the wilderness and unsettled the nerves of the average visitor. Years of hunting at night meant that I wasn’t even the least phased.

I glanced around, getting my bearings, and took in the life and death struggles that surrounded me. To the left, a rabbit ran from a cougar. To the right several pheasants flew from bushes, pursued by a raging boar.

Despite the familiarity of the other scenes, the central display caught my attention. The woodland recreation was so realistic that I detected the scent of dampness in the soil. Two hunters hid in the bushes, pointing their rifles at a third figure. Though she wasn’t human, I knew both aspects of her nature human and wolf.

Her wolf form was posed as if running from the hunters. As I reached out to touch her paw, I remembered how things had turned out on the night portrayed. My fingers contacted perfectly preserved fur, and the sensations flooded back from that Halloween night.

The air turned damp, the scent of the forest after a rainfall filled my nostrils and the sensations of grass and mud between my toes. Tears welled up, blurring my vision, and memories came flooding back. As I looked up through the skylight, the moon became fuller and brighter – a Hunter’s Moon that shone through the trees. The room faded.

 

My Review:

A quick read pulled me in and left me wanting so much more! This short prequel, touching on a new twist to werewolf lore, certainly whet my appetite for further reading of Shadows Over Seattle.

 

Timothy Bateson Headshot 450x600Author Bio:

Timothy Bateson is a writer who broke into the market in 2014, with three short stories being featured in Halloween and science-fiction anthologies. In 2016, Bateson self-published a re-release of “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, the first of a several stories set in the “Shadows Over Seattle” world, which he co-writes with his wife, Sandi.

Bateson is also a blogger who often spotlights books and fellow indie authors, alongside his other interests, such as the Brain to Books Cyber Convention events, falconry, journaling, quotes, and reading.

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Saturday Spotlight

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The Knowing Child
by Valarie Savage Kinney

The Knowing Child

Evie O’Connor isn’t a typical three-year-old. She hears the cries of the dead and the dying. Her burgeoning ability brings the scars of a painful past into her parent’s lives.

No matter how hard she tries to forget, the effects of neglect and abuse linger in Keisha O’Connor’s mind. Nightmares, anxiety, and something more sinister have a grip on her she can’t break. When her daughter Evie makes a terrifying announcement, the walls surrounding her perfect life come tumbling down.

At Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, the familiar isn’t what it seems. A bizarre twist of fate puts Evie in danger as the Rennies band together to save the child… and possibly take down one of their own.

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My Review:

Valarie Savage Kinney’s series, Secrets of Windy Springs goes from strength to strength. This, the third instalment, is the best one yet. I gave the first two, five stars, so this should definitely be a six-star book.

The Knowing Child took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride, that I couldn’t get off until I turned that last page.

Keisha, Rogan and all my favourite characters were back, and this time young Evie is at the forefront of the story. Evie tries to deal with hearing the voices of the dead and dying, as best as a three-year-old can, and one voice, in particular, turns Keisha and Rogan’s world upside down.

Each book brings me closer to the quirky cast as I get to know them better and learn more about them and their pasts.

I loved this book, I love this series, and I love feeling that I’m meeting up with old friends each time I open the book. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there are many more secrets to uncover in Windy Springs.

 

The Author:

Valarie Savage KinneyValarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs.

Author of Heckled, Slither, Just Hold On, and the Secrets of Windy Springs series, as well as short stories included in various anthologies.

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Saturday Spotlight

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The Streets Of Nottingham

by Auckly Simwinga

 

The Streets of Nottingham

 

Eons ago, a betrayal rocked the heavens. Grief overwhelmed the mother of creation, driving her to madness when the god-king banished Caelemon to the underworld. Leading to the sundering of the world which would come to be known as the Breaking.

Only a tiny village, located at the edge of the world survived the breaking, and for hundreds of years it remained forgotten. The villagers now pray to the mother seeking her mercy and protection, but she’s as cold and merciless as the black stone statue from which she was carved. Her supplicants haven’t realized it yet.

But they are about to, in the worst possible way.

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My Review:

This short story, told in the first person, reads like an ancient myth handed down from person to person over many years. Sometimes confusing, sometimes unclear but always engaging and exciting.

When Adam’s village is attacked by wraiths and the love of his life is killed, he sets off to seek Nottingham, a place where no-one has ever been or is meant to go, to find a healer who, according to the ancient scrolls, knows he is coming but is not waiting for him.

An entertaining debut book from Auckly Simwinga,  an author I’d be interested in seeing more of.

 

The Author:

Auckly SimwingaAuckly Simwinga was born in Kitwe, a small mining town on the Copperbelt province of Zambia. He’s an author and architect who writes and draws stuff. But mostly he draws stuff.

The streets of Nottingham is his first published book, though he has a few others doing time in various rubbish bins across the nation.

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Saturday Spotlight

 

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Charley’s Baby Surprise: A Macconwood Pack Novella
by C.D. Gorri

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Can Alpha wolf, Rafe Maccon, survive his mate’s pregnancy?

Charley is adapting to married life in her new home with her husband, Alpha Wolf, Rafe Maccon, and the eight Wolf Guards who live with them. Learning the rules to this new supernatural world isn’t always easy, especially when she finds herself pregnant after just a few weeks of marriage.

Rafe Maccon never had anyone of his own before. He is determined to love, cherish, and most of all, protect his bride. His mated Wolf instincts go into overdrive once he discovers Charley is pregnant!

Will Charley cave to Rafe’s demands or will this Alpha learn the meaning of compromise?

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My Review:

An enjoyable, quick and easy read from C.D.Gorri, that catches up with alpha wolf, Rafe and his mate, Charley.

Charley is pregnant and Rafe is overprotective and overbearing, for all the right reasons, but I found myself wanting to give him a swift kick in the rear for not talking to Charley about his fears.

Take an emotional human and a non-communicating wolf; add a rogue wolf to the mix, then stir in a few surprises, and you have a sweet recipe for another adventure for the Macconwood Pack.

 

The Author:

61AB7DqR1wL._UX250_I’m C.D. Gorri, Paranormal Fiction Author and Creator of the Grazi Kelly Universe. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I have a profound love for books and literature. When I’m not writing or taking care of my family I can usually be found with a book or tablet in my hand. I live in my home state of New Jersey with my husband, our children, and our dogs, Dash and Chewie.

I’m a busy mom of three and finding time for leisurely reading was never easy, so I write stories that are fast-paced, yet detailed with satisfying conclusions. If I thought making time to read was difficult, I was in for a huge surprise when I started writing, but now that I started, I can’t picture myself doing anything else! I love writing powerful women and strong heroes who face relatable problems in supernatural settings! I plan on increasing the GK Universe with each and every story I publish. You can follow me on social media to keep up to date on all my new releases and events!

Want to know how it all began? Enter the Grazi Kelly Universe with Wolf Moon: A Grazi Kelly Novel #1 or how about a little PNR with the Macconwood Pack? Pick up Charley’s Christmas Wolf for $0.99 today! I have series for for young adult and young at heart audiences who enjoy paranormal fiction, and I also have paranormal romance books available now! If you like sassy heroines and sexy heroes then you might want to try my PNR books! Thanks for dropping by and happy reading!

del mare alla stella,
C.D. Gorri

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Saturday Spotlight

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Medium Wave by Rose Zolock

 
Medium Wave Book Cover

Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.

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My Review:

Medium Wave is an enjoyable book from Rose Zolock, with elements of both paranormal and horror. Hard to believe that this is her first book, it was definitely a page turner and hard to put down.

We join ‘fake’ medium and radio show host, Becky Moran, as she touches an historical supernatural artefact which turns her life upside down.

Her friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that she can really talk to the dead, and are less than helpful as she struggles to deal with her new-found gift, and the darkness that threatens to overwhelm her.

The characters are reasonably well fleshed out, and I hope they continue to develop and grow as the series continues.

Medium Wave is well written, with a descriptive narrative, and skips along at good pace. There is a satisfying ending, which makes a good standalone read, with one thread left open to leave you wanting the next book in the series.

 

The Author:

Medium Wave - Author Headshot Embedded.jpgHer Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.
It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.

Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.

As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.

Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?

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Barnacle Brat by Adrian Baldwin

Barnacle Brat

A Dark Comedy for Grown-Ups

535880_505659702856537_1607688465_nLosing your grip on reality is a real bummer. Just ask Leon Blank. Not that he’d know. Seems those losing their marbles are always the last to find out.

Until recently, Leon would have argued that having a tendency to become easily side-tracked on a regular basis wasn’t that weird.

And what’s so unusual about hearing a voice inside your head? Doesn’t everyone? Isn’t that just thinking? But his recent visions are not so freely dismissed; especially the angry-looking clown who’s started following him around with a baseball bat.

Time to act, Leon decides: perhaps keeping a log would shed light on the mystery. Then again, could ‘seeing-things’ just be sexual frustration? It’s been a while! If only he had a girlfriend to take his mind off stuff . . .

Prepare to enter the normally hidden world of delusions, paranoia, and . . . ahem . . . ‘unusual interests’: Voyeurism; Feederism; Shoes — that kind of thing.

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My Review:

I know I have a weird sense of humour, and this book had me chuckling and laughing (and between you and me, I’ll even admit to a snort or two). There’s more to the story than the humour though, there’s a serious and sometimes quite somber side too. I ran through a whole range of emotions from sad to happy, and from frustrated to optimistic.

We meet Leon Blank at the start of the book, hanging upside down in a crashed car, talking to a dummy (he prefers the word ‘mannequin’).

From there on Leon’s life becomes wilder, weirder and more threatening. Although it’s easy to see that all is not well in Leon’s head, it’s hard to tell where reality stops and delusions start, what actually exists and what’s just a figment of Leon’s mind.

This was an intriguing and captivating, surreal story with plenty of twists and a satisfying ending.

Warning: If you have a fear of clowns, don’t read this book!!

Author Bio:

Adrian BaldwinAdrian Baldwin is a Mancunian now living and working in Wales. Back in the ’90s, he wrote for various TV shows/personalities: Hale & Pace, Clive Anderson, Brian Conley, Paul McKenna, Smith & Jones, Rory Bremner. Wooo, get him!

After that he wrote three screenplays, one of which received generous financial backing from the Film Agency for Wales. Then along came the global recession to firmly kick the UK Film industry in the nuts. What a bummer!

Not to be outdone, he turned to novel writing – which had always been his real dream – and, in particular, a genre he feels is often overlooked; a genre he has always been a fan of: Dark Comedy (Horror’s weird cousin).

As a young lad, Adrian grew up watching Monty Python and reading the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Little wonder then – perhaps it was inevitable – that all his stories (dark comedies for grown-ups) would turn out to be “weird and disturbing but funny at the same time” – much like the strange and surreal humour he so enjoyed as a boy.

Adrian’s first novel, BARNACLE BRAT won Underground Books Reviews’ INDIE NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2016 (Readers’ Choice)

His second novel, STANLEY McCLOUD MUST DIE! is shortlisted for Underground Books Reviews’ INDIE NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2018

Besides Python and Kurt Vonnegut, Adrian cites his other major influences as Stephen King, Galton & Simpson, David Bowie, Bruce Robinson, Christopher Moore, David Mitchell, Robert Rankin, Colin Bateman, Irvine Welsh, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to name just a few.

Saturday Spotlight

Blood and Bile

Blood and Bile by J.C. Boyd and Joshua Robertson

“Before the world came to be, there was nary beginning nor end, nary sky-shield nor night-wheel, nary war-garb nor shield-foe, nary fate-heeder nor fate-weaver, nor any thing living or dying or dead.”

 
35190935Ranvir ripped meat from bone, the dew of deep wounds dribbling between his fingers. He packed the flesh into his teeth-house, chewing happily.

His wife gaped at him, word-land soundless, forehead-stones devoured long ago, and wound-necklace torn from ear to ear.

She had never looked more beautiful.

His hands probed into her blood’s-seat for another bite, nails scraping against cartilage, fingers squeezing organ and fat, seeking a tasty morsel.

Ranvir heard the rasping of his tent flap open, but did not turn from his meal. Snaer’s brisk breath briefly touched his back. and then he felt it no more. He swallowed another mouthful and pulled at his wife’s skin to gaze at the glossy remains.

A voice, light and feminine, spoke.

“Ranvir?”

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My Review:

Death is punishable by death according to the Law, but Runa will stop at nothing to save her brother.

This tense, character-driven, dark fantasy progresses at a steady pace, giving you the time to get to know the beliefs, needs and way of life of the members of the small community in which most of the story takes place.

The characters are real, emotional and flawed. Each has their own personality and motivation. They develop and change through the story, as did my allegiance. I couldn’t make up my mind who to side with as each character had a reason for their actions.

Focusing on the events of one small community, there’s never a dull moment in this beautifully-written and riveting ‘old world’ tale, with a complex hierarchy,  mysterious magic system, and flesh-eating ‘monsters.

 

The Authors:

Robertson & Boyd Fantasy Clan

 
14590479J.C. Boyd lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs and has an M.A. in English Literature.

The first novel in his world, Blood and Bile, was released in 2017.

Before completing junior high, J.C. had received his first box set of Dungeons & Dragons and devoured J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since, he has been heavily influenced by a myriad of fantasy authors, such as Weis and Hickman, Robert Jordan, and Ed Greenwood.

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4452549Joshua Robertson is an award-winning author in fantasy, and a writer for Fantasy-Faction. Robertson is also a Licensed Master Social Worker, who received his degree from Wichita State University. He has worked with children and families for the past fifteen years in a variety of unique venues: a residential behavior school, a psychiatric treatment facility, and the child welfare system. He has functioned as a supervisor, an educator, a behavior specialist, and a therapist during his career. Mr. Robertson has presented trainings for hundreds of professionals and military personnel on topics that include child abuse and neglect, human trafficking, strengthening the parent and child relationships, and the neurobiological impact of trauma.

You may recognize him as the dude whose dragons were said to destroy George R.R. Martin’s and Christopher Paolini’s dragons in a very biased Twitter poll. His first novel, Melkorka, was released in 2015, and he has been writing fantasy fiction like clockwork ever since. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers.

He currently lives in North Carolina with his better half and his horde of goblins.

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