#Review “Gray is the New Black (Guerilla Grannies, Mission 1)” by Jo Michaels

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5/5 Stars!

Grannies come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and ages. Yet still blue-haired, little old ladies come to mind at the mere mention of the word.

Fuhgeddaboudit.

While two of the group are grandmothers… and Pearl has blue hair… there isn’t anything granny-like about this group of fifty-something lifelong-friends.

Though they’ve lived normal lives apart and experienced too many of life’s milestones—betrayal, loss, divorce, and widowhood—Pearl, Ethel, Opal, Minerva, and Alma are back together now, living on the outskirts of Atlanta.

And they’re bored.

So what do a ballistics expert, a chemical engineer, an edged weapons expert, a martial arts master, and a former member of law enforcement do for excitement? They find a crime to solve before the police can muck up the works.

It’s while solving a bank robbery that this snarky, irreverent team of badass boomers come to the attention of a secret government agency and are recruited into service. Far-fetched? Okay, a bit, but it’s a good look for this group.

Gray is the New Black is such a fun read because the characters are so relatable. These women are not prim and proper matrons of society. They talk about aches and pains and aging, but they also discuss flirting, dating and sex. Especially Ethel! Insults and f-bombs are part of the endless banter but without rancor or spitefulness. These women are family and the deep love and respect they have for each other is the running thread through the story.

Bits and pieces of each woman’s life are shared as the story unfolds and while some questions are answered, I couldn’t help but want to know more.

I volunteered to read an ARC of Gray is the New Black as part of a book tour, but 1-clicked a copy even before I finished, and I’ve preordered book two. This is Golden Girls meets James Bond meets Mission Impossible and I’m here for it!

Enjoy!

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coverGuerrilla Grannies, Book 1
Women’s Action/Adventure Comedy
Date Published: December 9, 2019
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These aren’t your typical grannies.
Pearl Etta Riggs just buried her husband of a million years (no, not literally, but it felt that way sometimes), and her dear friends are trying to find a way to cheer her up. So, they meet for coffee and cheesecake at their favorite place, the Cheesy Cream Café. Ah, the taste of childhood.
Ethel spots the story of a local bank robbery in the paper, and pitches solving it as “it will give us something to do.” She begs, she pleads, and she… Flirts with the waiter?
Alma, always the level-headed one, cites the fact that the man may be one of those panty-sniffing rapists for the reason they shouldn’t. Consider that she was raised by a Southern Baptist preacher and always naysays; her friends rarely listen to her sage advice.
Opal and Minerva are all in, as usual, and they work with Ethel to wear Pearl down. Eventually, she caves, gets Alma on board, and…
You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens after that. What? Did you expect the author to give it all away in the blurb?
It’s a crazy thrill ride full of laughs and shenanigans as these women take the law into their own hands. What happens after is anyone’s guess.
After all, gray is the new black.

Purchase Links

Amazon

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 Excerpt
Chapter 1
“Pearl, your husband just died. You could use some cheering up. We should do this.” Ethel put her forearms on the table, her hands clasped and her eyebrows wiggling, a smile on her face so big it turned her crow’s feet into eagle talons.
“He was such a good man.” Pearl’s heart constricted, and she dabbed at her eyes with the tissue again, trying to ignore the growing desire for action and adventure tickling the back of her mind. We could, but I’m not sure we should. We’re too damned old…
“It’s really warm in here. Why don’t you take off that hat, honey?”
That question snapped her out of her thoughts. She’d considered removing the thing several times earlier in the day, but she wasn’t sure how her friends were going to react to her new hairdo. Sighing, she relented, pulling the black, wide-brimmed cap off and closing her eyes, preparing herself for the onslaught.
Opal giggled behind her hand.
“You look like a couple of blue Easter eggs got busy on your head. What the hell did you do?” Ethel’s mouth was hanging open.
Indignation rose inside Pearl, and she squared her shoulders. “Like you have any room to talk. Your damned lavender streaks look like a grape-eating bird shit on your head.”
“Maybe, but that’s what I was going for.”
“Ladies. Calm down,” Alma said, patting their hands. “It’s not that bad.”
“The hell it isn’t,” Ethel muttered. “Makes her look like a school marm. An old one.”
Pearl stuck out her tongue.
“Hush, you two. You’re ruining my reminiscing.” Misty-eyed, Opal gazed around the diner, a soft smile on her lips. “I missed this place. Memories of our teen years came flouncing back through my head immediately with the smell of the coffee, the creaminess of the cheesecake, and even the waitresses shouting orders. I know we’ve been here several times since I moved back, but it never gets old. We didn’t have anything like this in Japan. Over there, it was mostly tea houses.”
“We remember.” Minerva pressed her lips together.
“Oh, yeah. I try to block that period out.” The smile disappeared.
“You always were an old softy.” Taking a long drink of her coffee and closing her eyes, Minerva reached out to pat Opal’s hand, seeming keen on changing the subject before she lost control of her emotions completely. “But I know what you mean. There was nothing that compared to this in Florida, either.”
Ethel ignored them and went back to her nagging, stabbing the front page of the newspaper for emphasis. “We have the skills, ladies. It’s not like it would be a difficult case to crack. Look at this loser.” She held up the paper and pointed at the man’s grainy security-footage photo.
He had a scruffy beard and a terrible haircut. Not an incredibly nefarious-looking fellow, but not very welcoming, either.
It was tempting, and Pearl was on the verge of saying yes when Alma butted in again.
“No. Noooo. Absolutely not, Ethel. You want us to go running all over the great state of Georgia trying to find a man that only made off with”—she squinted at the print and gulped—“half a million dollars?”
“There’s no such thing as only half a million dollars, sweetie. And yes, I do. Not only will it cheer Pearl up, but it’ll give our rusty educations some badly needed workouts.” Gently, Ethel lifted her cup and took a dainty sip of the strong brew. She sighed and put it back down. “I like my coffee like I like my men: sweet and white. Damn. This is good. Best coffee in Georgia!”
“Move your wrinkled old ass so I can go to the bathroom. This stuff’s going right through me.” Opal shoved, trying to get out of the booth.
With both feet planted firmly on the floor, Ethel pulled one side of her mouth into her cheek and lowered her eyelids halfway. “Or maybe I just want to sit here and see how long it is before you piss yourself.”
“You’re such a grouchy old bitch.” Minerva winked over her cup. “I love it.”
“Come on, Ethel. Let Opal out before she has to change her diaper.” Alma chuckled.
“Fine, fine.” Ethel scooted to the end of the bench and stood as she rolled her eyes. “Ow!”
“That’s what you get!” Opal retorted as she sprinted for the ladies’ room.
“What’d she do?” Minerva asked.
“Pinched me on the ass. Hard.”
Everyone laughed.
One of the waiters came over and asked if anyone needed anything.
Ethel leaned forward, her elbows on the table, coffee cup between her raised hands, and ticked her head at him, indicating that he should lean closer.
Pearl watched in earnest as the young man leaned down and put his ear close to Ethel’s mouth. Her lips moved, and her eyes sparkled.
His eyes widened, his face turning bright red as his jaw dropped.
When he straightened again, she winked at him, and he mumbled something under his breath before rushing away. She chortled, sipping her coffee, a look on her face like she was the cat that got the cream. “Where were we?”
“What was that about?” Minerva asked. “What did you say to that poor boy?”
“I don’t tease and tell.”
“Ethel, really; he’s half your age!” Alma turned bright red.
“Yes. Yes, he is. I figure, if I can grab ‘em young, they won’t keel over like my husband did.”
“You really have to let yourself off the hook about Leo, sweetie.” Minerva put her hand on Ethel’s. “He just had a bad ticker.”
“Yeah, right. He was only thirty-five and fit as a fiddle. Not really enough time to develop heart problems.”
Gazing at the other women, Pearl gave thanks they were back in her life. It was rare to find so many amazing women, and she loved having all of them around again after so many years apart. Her heart filled with the love of friendship and comradery they’d forged, and she stabbed her chocolate cheesecake gently, putting it in her mouth, the flavor bringing back so many memories.
“Can I get back in, or is your replacement hip not high-tech enough to get you to your feet again?” Opal crossed her arms over her bosom and cocked her head to one side.
In a huff, Ethel scooted out again and got to her feet. “My hips are all mine, thank you very much. Not a single shred of titanium in my…” Her face turned red, and she sat back down.
Opal, Minerva, and Alma knit their brows.
Pearl could barely breathe she was laughing so hard, but she forced an inhale so she could speak. “You almost lied!”
“Shut up.”
When the questioning looks of the others landed on her, she held up one finger and pulled herself back together. “Just think about it.”
A collective gasp went up.
“When?” Opal asked.
“How?” Minerva added.
“Did it hurt?” Alma’s face was so red it was bordering on purple.
Ethel grimaced. “About two years ago. You don’t want to know. Yes. A lot.” Slapping the newspaper again, she caught Pearl’s gaze. “Please? If not for me, do it for them.” Gesturing at the other three, Ethel stuck out her bottom lip. “Look how old and decrepit they’re getting. This will give them new life.”
Alma pressed her lips together and shook her head a tiny bit from side to side as she gave that look she was best known for. They were going to get into trouble if they went along with it, and Ethel would be the ringleader, as she always was.
A war broke out inside Pearl. She wanted to do it, but she knew they really shouldn’t. Nothing good ever came of Ethel’s ideas—well, rarely.
As though she could read their thoughts, she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Y’all are no fun anymore. It’s not like we don’t have the skills. I was an upstanding officer of the law until a few years ago.”
“Seven, if you’re counting.” Alma smirked.
She got a look from Ethel that would’ve melted a car. “Fine. Seven, but Pearly is a chemical engineer! She could make us some knockout gas or something.” Turning, she continued as she pointed at each lady in turn. “You’ve knocked down whole buildings in huge cities without a single hiccup, you’re a freaking ninja, and there’s no one on the planet better with a blade than Minerva.”
“Gotta know how to use them if you’re gonna make them.” Minerva winked.
“I’m not a ninja,” Opal muttered into her coffee cup.
“Okay, martial arts master.” A laugh burst out of Ethel. “And a master of disguise, am I right?”
“That was way back in the eighties. I’m not even sure how to use all the newfangled stuff on the market.”
“So you’ll brush up on your skills!” She turned back to Pearl. “Please?”
“I’m afraid we simply can’t right now. We’re all too old, anyway.”
“Why can’t we, moneybags? Did Mansfield not leave you enough cash? And like hell we’re old. Gray is the new black, bitches.”
No one said a word for a long time, as though they were all sharing Pearl’s thoughts. It was an interesting idea, and she didn’t want to go home and sit in her newly empty house without Manny. There were too many crushing memories contained in those walls. Construction was nearly complete on the new house in Manny’s most recent development, Shady Pines, and she wondered if it would be better to occupy herself with something else until everything was done. Nearly all the houses were built already, there were only about ten to go, so she wouldn’t be busy with an agent on site yet. It had been Manny’s dream to build a whole neighborhood before letting anyone see it.
Her fingernails tapped the tabletop. Finally, she inhaled, but her pending speech was cut off by Alma once again.
“Ethel, you’re crazy as a Bessie bug. Forget it. No way. If I have to be the voice of reason, then so be it. We’re absolutely not doing this.”
“But, Alma, wh—”
She held up a hand and shook her head. “We don’t know what kind of criminal that man is. He might be a murderer or one of those crazy, panty-sniffing, rapist guys. When it comes down to it, we’re just five old women. Flesh versus gun, the firearm always wins—as you well know.”
Ethel’s hand moved to her shoulder, rubbing the place she’d been shot in the line of duty.
A phone ringing brought the conversation to a halt. Heart beating too fast, Pearl dug through her bag and pulled out the offending device, flipping it open and putting it to her ear. Her daughter, Katarina, was on the other end.
“Hey, Mom. Any idea when you’ll be home?”
“In a few minutes. Alma and I were just about to leave.”
“Okay. Do you want me to cook dinner?”
“No thanks, baby girl. I just had cheesecake. I’m all set.”
Katarina laughed. “You and that cheesecake. Be safe driving. I’ll see you soon.”
“I will. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
After flipping the phone closed, Pearl threw a twenty on the table, put her hat back on, and bumped Alma’s hip. “We need to leave. Katarina called.”
“That girl. You’d swear you were ninety the way she checks up on you all the damned time.” Ethel rolled her eyes.
Nothing would’ve given Pearl more satisfaction in that moment than smacking the shit out of something, but she held her temper. “She just cares.”
“Yeah, cares about losing her free babysitter.”
“Stop it! I love my grandchildren!”
“I never said you didn’t, but you’re in too deep. Your daughter and her husband can afford daycare.”
“Not today; okay, Ethel? Not today.”
Lines around Ethel’s face softened. “Okay. Sorry.”
“Y’all get up and give me and Alma hugs!”
Everyone squeezed Pearl extra tightly and told her to be safe.
Alma led the way to the car and got in on the passenger’s side, putting her seatbelt on right away.
She’d always been the levelheaded, law-abiding, church-going one. Any time there was trouble worth getting into, she’d shut Ethel right down with a snarky remark or soundbite of wisdom from dear old Daddy. What made Alma even more insufferable was, they’d avoided a lot of bad situations because of her naysaying. Her daddy had been a Baptist preacher, and he’d always threatened her with the wrath of God if she misbehaved. Though, if she ever wanted something badly enough, she always did it. Pearl knew that, and she planned to use it to her advantage.
Solving a local bank robbery was becoming more tempting by the minute. She was positive her crew of misfits could pull it off without a hitch. Everyone but Alma got excited when it was first brought up, and their eyes took on that gleam like when they were younger and were about to do something they’d never forget.
Pearl started the Caddy and put it in reverse after clipping her own seatbelt into place to avoid getting yet another speech about proper vehicle safety. As she backed up, she plotted a way to make Alma agree to take on the bank robbery case.
They were well on the road to home when Pearl started talking again, deciding the best way to get what she wanted was to use the new widow angle and a little fast talking. “You know, I’m not sure I want to be in that big old house by myself all day every day.” She glanced to the right. “Without Manny there, it’ll sure feel empty.”
“I can stay with you a couple of days if you want.”
Damn. “No, no. Kat will be there today and tomorrow with her family. I just meant when they leave.”
“Won’t you still have the kids every day?”
Damn! She’d forgotten about that. “I was thinking I’d ask if they can start daycare.”
“Really?”
“Mmhm. Ethel’s right. I deserve to have a proper retirement from raising kids.”
“You just have the one, like me. Not like it was that hard.” Alma smirked.
“I’m not saying it was hard, just that I’m tired of babysitting. Plus, it’s all I can do to lift that baby anymore.” Even as the words left Pearl’s mouth, she regretted them. Elizabeth was the sweetest baby ever, even more so than her mother had been.
“Pearl, I know what you’re doing.”
Alarm bells rang in Pearl’s head, and she sat up straighter behind the wheel. Trying to sound like she had no idea what was going on, she asked, “Oh? What’s that?”
After a deep sigh, Alma shook her head and closed her eyes. “Fine. If you want to do the bank robber thing, I’m in.”
“Really?”
“Yes, but just so you know, this isn’t a good idea, and it’ll probably end badly, but I’ll do it. For you. We really could use some flexing of our skills. I know I’m itching to blow something up.”
Pearl wanted so badly to squeal like a schoolgirl in that moment, but she kept her face as stoic as possible. “Well, if you insist. Wouldn’t want you blowing up things without supervision.”
“That’s not what I said!”
“Oh, look. You’re home!” She put the car in park and grinned. “Love you! I’ll call Ethel and tell her! Meet at my house at ten tomorrow morning! I’ll have Enrich make us brunch!”
Alma closed the door, and Pearl sped away, her cellphone already in her hand.
“Ethel? Alma’s in.”
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About the Author

 photo Gray is the New Black Author Jo Michaels_zpssgymhjib.jpgJo Michaels loves writing novels that make readers gasp in horror, surprise, and disbelief. While her browser search history has probably landed her on a list somewhere, she still dives into every plot with gusto, hoping “the man” will realize she’s a writer and not a psychopath about to go on a rampage. Her favorite pastimes are reading, watching Investigation Discovery, and helping other authors realize their true potential through mentoring. She’s penned the award-winning Pen Pals and Serial Killers series and the best-selling educational book for children, Writing Prompts for Kids, which has rocketed the kids that use it into several awards of their own.

Most of Jo’s books feature the places she’s lived: Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia. That’s given her a special amount of insight to what makes those locations tick. Her works are immersive and twisty, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
Contact Links

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#Review “The Devil and Dayna Dalton (A Bulwark Anthology #9)” by Brit Lunden

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5/5 Stars!

Small towns can be wonderful places to live. With their low-stress way of life, rural living offers simple pleasures enjoyed by neighbors who know all about each other.

Not a good thing if you’re Dayna Dalton and live in Bulwark, Georgia.

A full college scholarship years ago offered Dayna a brief respite but before her life could begin, the young journalist had to return to care for a sick mother—the mother whose loose morals and even looser tongue gave Dayna the white-trash reputation she was born into.

She hasn’t helped herself any working her way through Bulwark’s male population. Spurred on by alcohol, Dayna is running from a lifetime of unrequited love for Clay Finnes, now Bulwark’s sheriff.

But Dayna is also running toward something, she just doesn’t know what… or who.

Clay is no longer the center of Dayna’s world after she’s saved from a wolf attack by a caped stranger with red eyes. Red perpendicular eyes.

Dayna Dalton has always known strange things happen in Bulwark, but she’s about to find out how strange things can get

 

This read is the ninth and last story of the Bulwark, Georgia paranormal anthology. Though I have read none of the earlier books, I don’t feel as though I was in the dark about Bulwark or its residents. The story flowed freely keeping me in the moment and feeling Dayna’s frustration, desperation, and self-hate.

I knew something was off about Mrs. Sweetpea (That name!), Dayna’s current neighbor… and former babysitter, but whoa! Pretty sure I was surprised as Dayna.

I liked Dayna. She had mountains of issues and didn’t always make good decisions, but she never lied to herself or played victim. A lesser woman would descend into a dead-end life never raising her head to see around her. But not Dayna. She’s haunted by the two things she wants most—a life with Clay and her mother’s approval and knows she will never have either. When she, at last, finds out the reason why, if gives her the clarity she’s longed for, but will it give her the courage to challenge the unknown?

As I said before, I didn’t feel like I was missing information from the earlier stories, but The Devil and Dayna Dalton has made me want to read them and I’ve downloaded them. Even if future readers don’t, this is one read that shouldn’t be missed because the devil IS in the details.

Enjoy!

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coverBook 9: A Bulwark Anthology
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: September 30, 2019
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc.
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Reporter Dayna Dalton’s reputation has been ruined since birth. The daughter of wild child, Becky Dalton, is expected to follow her mother’s footsteps; never given a chance to prove she’s different. Dayna’s been in love with Clay Finnes since she was a teenager. Her unrequited love for Sheriff Finnes leaves her empty.  He’s happily married and unavailable. Instead, Dayna finds herself stuck in the revolving door of bad relationships. But this is Bulwark, Georgia, a town where strange things are always happening.  Dayna is doomed to this loveless life until she can find someone who will appreciate the depth of her character. Can she overcome her fears and look beyond her own perceptions to accept a greater love?
*Contains Sexual Content*

Purchase Link

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon US

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Amazon CA

Amazon AU

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About the Author

 photo Brit Lunden_zpsrch5ipgt.jpgBrit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology.  Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.

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#Review “Needs Work” by John L. Sheppard

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5/5 Stars!

Early in Needs Work, Phil Derleth watches his Mustang burn with all his worldly possessions inside. For him, it’s just the latest shove into the downward spiral of failure which is his life. Not coming home before his mother died. Suffering a traumatic brain injury in combat. The disintegration of his marriage.

Before even reaching chapter two, Phil had become Bad Luck Schleprock from The Flintstones to me. Wowsie wowsie woo woo. If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none at all.

The story unfolds from Phil’s point of view, and it’s hard to believe people could be so cruel and distant, especially his waffle-obsessed father, Larry, who calls him dummy. But as contempt and anger morph into absurdity and the impossible (and dogs into people and back again), the light comes on.

This IS told from Phil’s point of view.

To heal from his TBI, Phil has to come to terms and accept not only how his injury happened but everything that came before in his life. Needs Work isn‘t about Phil finding employment (although he does go to work at the Buy and Bye), but reclaiming himself. His brain needs work. His life is a puzzle missing pieces, and while people like his first crush, Patty, his old Army buddies, his father and his band of cohorts, his dead mother, Marie, and a husky/human named Katie provide the pieces, it’s up to Phil to place them correctly and complete the picture.

Needs Work has been called contemporary fiction and magical realism, but there’s also a love story here… you just have to take a trip down the rabbit hole to get to it.

But it’s worth it.

Enjoy!

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Fiction
Published: October 2019
Publisher: Paragraph Line Books
Once upon a time in Cleveland… Phil Derleth, a former Army “combat cartoonist,” comes home to Cleveland, Ohio after a messy divorce. Phil is brain-damaged from a war wound and there are holes in his memory. His father Larry, a stone mason living on disability, takes him in. Soon enough, Phil finds himself embroiled in all sorts of trouble, including dodging the Ohio Department of Transportation, blood-stealing tramps, the ghost of his dead mother and stray dogs who are more than they appear to be. One stray in particular will show Phil the way back to a life that he may have forgotten.

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 Excerpt
I was let go.
That was months after my wife threw me out, taking our daughter with her. I was twenty-seven and starting all over again with life. I moved in with my father. Moved back to Ohio, a place that I thought I’d left in the rearview mirror. Instead, it was in my cracked and hazy windshield.
My car, a ten-year-old Ford Mustang, broke down in my father’s driveway never to recover. It had thrown a rod.
I got out of the car. The parking brake popped. The car slowly rolled into the street. A small fire crackled under the hood. In few minutes, dark black smoke poured out from the undercarriage and a red glow simmered within the passenger compartment. For a moment, I saw a shadow behind the wheel, a remnant of my former self, the one who was so confident that he would never again grace the state of Ohio. A small explosion. Another small explosion. They sounded less like explosions than someone manually popping a paper lunch sack. The driver’s side front wheel fell off and the car tilted over. The Mustang emblem clinked onto the pavement. A car, and then another car, drove past as if this sort of thing happened all the time. Nothing to get excited about.
“My clothes are in there,” I said aloud. “My employee of the month certificate. My Army uniforms. My crazy pills.”
My father emerged from the tiny house I’d grown up in, leaning forward on an aluminum walker, a wry grin on his mossy face. There was a reason why he’d never grown a beard while my mother was alive. The beard was patchy in so many ways. The coloration was wrong. The growth was uneven. There were too many things wrong with his beard to list.
The look he sent my way told me that he hadn’t yet forgiven me for not coming around while my mother was dying. I came to the funeral. Wasn’t that enough?
The police arrived. They pulled their cruiser up to the curb. A decal on the side of the car read, POLICE INTERCEPTOR. An older fat patrolman strolled up to me. He stood alongside me in silence and we watched my car burn for a while. Finally, he said, “That yours?” His name tag said, SMITH.
“Yes,” I said. “I have no money.”
“Who does?” He patted me on the shoulder solicitously.
The flames licked the air. It was sensuous.
“This is my son.” My father was beside us, opposite the cop.
“Total loss,” the friendly, gray-haired patrolman said. He rubbed his belly like there was a cat underneath his shirt.
His partner, a youngish woman, her hair pinched into a severe bun at the nape of her neck, stood near the car in the street, waving other cars past. When the street was clear, she pulled out her ticket pad and wrote me up.
My state of Illinois vanity plate fell off the back. It read, “E4MAFIA.” It was a joke that wasn’t funny now that I was out of the Army. I’d been out of the Army for years. I was in the Army for four years, most of it spent in a Navy hospital in Illinois, recovering from my war wounds. The Navy corpsmen would wheel us all up to the roof of the hospital at times, I remembered. We’d sit up there, high above the base, staring at Lake Michigan. It was calming. The hospital specialized in traumatic brain injuries. It was why we were all there. We were learning to speak again. To feed ourselves. To walk. To read and write. The Navy’s corpsmen school was there, so the student corpsmen would come by to gawk at us, or help us out with basic things. Eating. Finding our way back to our ward.

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About the Author

 photo Needs Work Author John L. Sheppard_zpsua5q7qsy.jpg

John L. Sheppard, a graduate of the MFA@FLA creative writing program at the University of Florida, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Illinois.
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#Review “Gabby (Safe Haven Wolves Book 1)(Audio)” by Sherry Foster

Audiobook Tour: Gabby by Sherry Foster

Author: Sherry Foster

Narrator: Jacq Ainsworth

Series: Safe Haven Wolves, Book 1

Length: 5 hours 42 minutes

Publisher: DAS Publishing

Released: Sep. 11, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

She’s on the run.

She’s being hunted.

If only she knew why.

Trey’s only goal is to protect his pack. When a young shifter female moves into his territory, it raises a million questions. Who is she? Doesn’t she know how dangerous it is to travel alone and unprotected? Where did she come from, and what kind of danger did she bring with her?

Time is running out as Gabby’s first transformation nears. Trey must walk a knife edge between protecting her from harm and convincing her of what she is.

He also has to convince her she isn’t going crazy so she will give his pack a chance, and maybe give him a chance. After all, shifter females are scarce. They have to be protected at all costs.

Failure is not an option.

But will the rabbit hole she’s tumbling down prove too much for her to handle?

Grab your copy today and find out.

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Writing is a full time wonderful job. But when your only help has 4 legs and sharp claws, it can be a bit stressful. Raccoons are less help than toddlers when it comes to computers. Much less helpful. With two grown children who have gifted her with 10 amazing grandchildren Sherry tries to fit in spending the right amount of time with the children with writing the books the characters are screaming about in her head.

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Narrator Bio

Trained in Theatre and Literature at UBC and in Voice Over and Acting Technique from actors working in the Film and TV industry. Jacq Ainsworth is a producer and director in Vancouver. From Fringe to Shakespear to indie thrillers, Jacq has enjoyed working in many aspects of the Performing Arts.

 

4/5 Stars

Gabby’s been on her own since her early teens when her family disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Driven by the strange, troublesome scent of young males who’d harassed her earlier, Gabby lives life on the run, supported by an emergency fund set up by her aunt and uncle. She never understood why they had an emergency plan, but she was grateful for it and hoped it would help her find her aunt and uncle one day… and her twin sister.

Gabby’s journey leads her to a town that gives her a sense of calm she hasn’t felt since her family disappeared. The skittish young woman rents a secluded cabin, still ever vigilant of those around her. The town belongs to wolf shifters and a single female with no family or pack attracts major attention from everyone, especially, Trey, the local pack alpha who may or may not be Gabby’s fated mate.

As Trey and his pack try to get close to Gabby, family connections and secrets are revealed, and Gabby has to acknowledge who and what she truly is, and that the danger that stalks her is a bigger threat to her and the shifter world than anyone realizes.

Gabby is a good introduction to the Safe Haven Wolves saga. Characters are well developed and the plot is suspenseful enough to keep you in the story. Narration is good but the story loses a star for me because I felt humorous and sarcastic dialogue was too quickly glossed over. Also, I didn’t connect with the narrator’s voice for the older males in the story.

Readers of paranormal romance and romantic suspense will enjoy Gabby (Safe Haven Wolves, Book 1). I’ve already downloaded book 2!

Enjoy!

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Sherry Foster. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Gabby is free for review via Audiobookworm Promotions’ Adopt-An-Audiobook program. REQUEST YOUR COPY HERE!

 

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#Review “The Devil and Dayna Dalton (A Bulwark Anthology #9)” by Brit Lunden

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5/5 Stars!

Small towns can be wonderful places to live. With their low-stress way of life, rural living offers simple pleasures enjoyed by neighbors who know all about each other.

Not a good thing if you’re Dayna Dalton and live in Bulwark, Georgia.

A full college scholarship years ago offered Dayna a brief respite but before her life could begin, the young journalist had to return to care for a sick mother—the mother whose loose morals and even looser tongue gave Dayna the white-trash reputation she was born into.

She hasn’t helped herself any working her way through Bulwark’s male population. Spurred on by alcohol, Dayna is running from a lifetime of unrequited love for Clay Finnes, now Bulwark’s sheriff.

But Dayna is also running toward something, she just doesn’t know what… or who.

Clay is no longer the center of Dayna’s world after she’s saved from a wolf attack by a caped stranger with red eyes. Red perpendicular eyes.

Dayna Dalton has always known strange things happen in Bulwark, but she’s about to find out how strange things can get

 

This read is the ninth and last story of the Bulwark, Georgia paranormal anthology. Though I have read none of the earlier books, I don’t feel as though I was in the dark about Bulwark or its residents. The story flowed freely keeping me in the moment and feeling Dayna’s frustration, desperation, and self-hate.

I knew something was off about Mrs. Sweetpea (That name!), Dayna’s current neighbor… and former babysitter, but whoa! Pretty sure I was surprised as Dayna.

I liked Dayna. She had mountains of issues and didn’t always make good decisions, but she never lied to herself or played victim. A lesser woman would descend into a dead-end life never raising her head to see around her. But not Dayna. She’s haunted by the two things she wants most—a life with Clay and her mother’s approval and knows she will never have either. When she, at last, finds out the reason why, if gives her the clarity she’s longed for, but will it give her the courage to challenge the unknown?

As I said before, I didn’t feel like I was missing information from the earlier stories, but The Devil and Dayna Dalton has made me want to read them and I’ve downloaded them. Even if future readers don’t, this is one read that shouldn’t be missed because the devil IS in the details.

Enjoy!

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Book 9: A Bulwark Anthology
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: September 30, 2019
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc.
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Reporter Dayna Dalton’s reputation has been ruined since birth. The daughter of wild child, Becky Dalton, is expected to follow her mother’s footsteps; never given a chance to prove she’s different. Dayna’s been in love with Clay Finnes since she was a teenager. Her unrequited love for Sheriff Finnes leaves her empty.  He’s happily married and unavailable. Instead, Dayna finds herself stuck in the revolving door of bad relationships. But this is Bulwark, Georgia, a town where strange things are always happening.  Dayna is doomed to this loveless life until she can find someone who will appreciate the depth of her character. Can she overcome her fears and look beyond her own perceptions to accept a greater love?
*Contains Sexual Content*

Purchase Link

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

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About the Author

 photo Brit Lunden_zpsrch5ipgt.jpgBrit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology.  Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.

Contact Links
Blog  
 

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RABT Book Tours & PR

#Review “Unwrapping Hanie” by Empi Baryeh

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5/5 Stars!

Hanie Morrison is at a crossroads and moving forward doesn’t seem to be an option.

As Christmas approaches, her younger sister is off to celebrate her wedding anniversary and her parents are off on a dream vacation. The good thing is there’ll be no one to remind her of her single-status. The bad thing is… she’ll be alone.

The one bright spot in Hanie’s life is Trojan aka Peter, her online dating friend.

With her last relationship ending in betrayal almost two years ago, fears and doubts rule Hanie. She believed she and her ex were heading for the altar, and he was, just not with her.

Yet, there’s something about Peter that calls to Hanie’s body… and heart. The overly cautious paralegal reminds herself it’s just online fun and it’s temporary. Peter will soon forget about her as easily as her ex did and walk away. Even easier since he’s in the UK and she’s in Ghana.

Until he isn’t.

A planned meeting during the holidays goes too perfectly and advice from a well-meaning friend causes a misunderstanding. Hanie needs to decide if she will continue to be afraid or be bold.

I enjoyed this read with its realistic characters!

Hanie over-thought everything. Not judging her. It’s understandable, considering how her ex treated her. She feels as inadequate as her family thinks she is for not being “married with children.” But her flaws fade when she chats with Peter and Hanie feels the woman she always wanted to be fighting for her voice.

Nursing a broken heart of his own, Peter is a decent guy. He’s yet to tell Hanie how he feels about her but everything about her pulls him closer, especially her honesty.

On the surface, Unwrapping Hanie is a sweet holiday romance. But this author has turned up the heat… and doused it with gasoline! WOW!

The passion between Hanie and Peter has been a slow burn during their six-month online friendship and when they meet, the intensity rocks them both as they explore each other’s body bringing fantasies to life and I’m here for it!

The ending is a solid HEA, but I’m looking forward to the special epilogue being released tomorrow. Download this read today so you don’t miss out!

Enjoy!

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UNWRAPPING HANIE

BY EMPI BARYEH

Is she willing to risk her heart for a man she’s never met?

Hanie Morrision has either completely lost her mind, or she’s finally taken charge of her love life when she starts a liaison with a man she meets online. Their friendship fast becomes more, and she’s having the best (cyber) sex of her life.

When her internet lover decides to travel halfway across the world to see her, she must make a decision of her own—book a one-way ticket back to reality or risk her heart and find love one orgasm at a time.

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON CA | APPLE | KOBO

ADD ON GOODREADS

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#Review “Finding Ruby” by J.A. Higgins

Finding Ruby cover

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5/5 Stars!

I was only a few pages into Finding Ruby when I couldn’t decide if I felt sorry for the protagonist’s situation or if I hated her for allowing herself to be in that situation.

At first glance, Eleanor “Nell” Montague appears ditsy, frazzled and weak as she arrives late to her own grandmother’s funeral.

My sympathy swelled as she rushes back to work, concocting scenarios to account for her time so as not to arouse the ire later of her live-in boyfriend, Gary. He doesn’t need much provocation to lay hands on her.

Nell annoyed me as I read her thoughts on all the punches, smacks and beatings she’d endured because of some transgression Gary believed she’d committed.

Why didn’t she leave? Why didn’t she pick up a baseball bat and swing for the bleachers?

Nell’s life is that of a typical abuse victim. Isolated from friends and coworkers, and with the death of her beloved grandmother, she has no more family.

Her mother died years ago and she assumes her father is also deceased… but she isn’t sure since he abandoned the family when she was a small child.

But there is nothing typical about Nell.

As I learned more about Nell, I didn’t feel she was so much stuck in her situation as she was waiting for something.

I have no idea what—and I don’t believe Nell knew either at that point—but it’s obvious she wishes she was more like her alter-ego, Ruby.

Her father, Will, used to tell her “stories” about the fierce, confident young girl, and Ruby came alive in Nell’s fantasies. Ruby wouldn’t put up with Gary’s crap. Ruby would stand up for herself at work. Ruby would marry a wonderful man and have beautiful children. But it’s all pure fantasy because Ruby disappeared decades ago.

Nell’s wait comes to an abrupt end when she’s handed the keys to a new life… and ghosts of the past.

Fear becomes Nell’s constant companion because she’s afraid she’ll give in and return to Gary simply because he’s all she has left. She loves him but she isn’t in love with him, he’s just the only constant in her life, even if he is a bastard. However her bigger fear is now Ruby, who haunts her days as well as her nights.

Nell sees and hears her and believes she suffered from one too many of Gary’s attacks. But then Emily, another missing young girl, appears to Nell. First, as a captive in a cellar, then standing behind Nell in a crowd.

Maxine, a local nurse and quirky psychic unsure of her own abilities, may be the key to saving Nell’s sanity.

But Nell also wonders if she needs saving from the mysterious Mr. Austin who’s been stalking her since her grandmother’s funeral. He claims to be looking for her father, but Nell is sure his connection runs deeper, she just doesn’t know how deep, or if there’s any truth to the rumors of Will Montague being involved in Ruby’s disappearance.

Nell Montague is not some badass, take-no-prisoners heroine. She’s afraid or anxious during much of this story.

However, as she comes to realize the answers are within her and only she can save herself—and possibly two missing girls—she shows a sense of determination and quiet strength as her past and present collide in the wake of repressed memories and haunting evil.

And I am cheering her own!

Finding Ruby is engaging fiction with spot-on character development, but it’s the plot twists straight out of left field that turn this read into page-turning suspense as you try to figure out who’s alive, who’s dead, who’s innocent, who’s guilty, and who’s just sad.

Issues are resolved by the story’s end but… that ending! Here’s hoping I haven’t seen the last of Nell Montague.

Readers who enjoy mystery and suspense… and a dash of the supernatural will enjoy this solid read. Those with emotional triggers should be aware that while not graphic or gratuitous, there are scenes of domestic violence and sexual assault as part of the story line.

Enjoy!

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On Halloween night thirteen year old Ruby disappears in the company of a masked figure. She is never seen again. The only witness is Nell Montague who is just seven years old.

Twenty three years later, Nell is trapped in an abusive relationship and still suffering from vivid nightmares of what she saw. When tragedy strikes she escapes and attempts to put her past behind her. Then thirteen year old Emily disappears.

Haunted by increasingly disturbing visions and helped by a reluctant psychic, Nell must unravel the mystery of what really happened that night because to save Emily she must first find Ruby.  But to do so she will question everything she thought she knew about her own childhood and soon discovers that nightmares don’t always end when you wake up.

Purchase Links

Silverwood Books     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon UK

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Author Bio

Born and raised at Porton Down in Wiltshire, and currently works for the NHS in Salisbury, J A Higgins has always been fascinated by crime, history and the unexplained.  Finding Ruby is the first in the Nell Montague mystery series which will examine how horrors from the past are still very relevant today.

Social Media Links

Twitter     |     Instagram

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