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Review

The End of the World Running Club

This is not the kind of book I normally read. When I first started this blog I decided to not focus on only one genre. That would be easy. So I have read many non-fantasy books. Some have been worth it, and some haven’t. I don’t like post- apocalyptic literature mostly because of zombie. I hate zombies. I am happy to report that this book has NO zombies.

The title of this book caught my attention. My husband is a runner and so many of our dinner-time conversations involve running and all things running. I’m glad I read this book because overall I liked it and I think it is well written. Edgar, the main character, is faced with an almost impossible situation. His town and most of the Northern Hemisphere has been destroyed by asteroids. He is separated from his family.  In order to join them, he has to, you guessed it, run.

The twist with this book is the main character is NOT a runner. He is just an ordinary man who feels stuck in his life and is trying to figure it all out. He has two young kids and he struggles with fatherhood. I’m not a father, but the doubts he shares hit home. I’ve been there, done that.  That part, along with all the other insights the author shares are spot on and totally well-developed. The other characters are just as deep.

What I didn’t like about this book was the lack of dialog. I like people and I like dialog. There were long passages of narrative that dragged on at times. I also do not like ambiguous endings. Here was this good story, written well enough to overlook the parts I didn’t like, and then I get to the ending. I was not a happy camper. I admit this is my preference though and others may not be bothered by it.

Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.

When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts.

No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run — or risk losing what he loves forever.

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Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ’70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

His second novel, The End of the World Running Club, is a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance. It is being published by Del Rey UK, in May 2016.

His third novel, Colours, is the first part in a dystopian sci-fi trilogy and is available now.

 

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**I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review**

Secrets of the Slain by Lindsey Goddard

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review, but I liked it so much, I bought a copy too. This post originally appeared on Gothic Moms Reviews

So many things to like about this book, it is hard to know where to begin. The author hooks me in from the introduction. Perhaps it’s because I can relate when she mentions how busy her life is and she has to fit in writing when she can. I love her attitude. She writes short stories and poems because this is easier to feed her muse. Her short stories are strong and vivid, but her poetry is even more so. The emotions she uses to drive her stories are ones all readers can relate to. Two of the stories, “The Running” and “Old Man Stump” appear in this book for the first time anywhere. “The Running” is my favorite of the short stories. It presents a crazy other worldly situation, but the author presents in a great believable way. I felt what her characters felt when I read this story. If I had to pick another story I liked, it would be “Red Mask”. It’s an emotional heart-wrenching story with a dash of freaky sprinkled in for good measure.  I think “Freak” has the makings of a good series. I finished this in a little over an hour not just because it was shorter than most of the books I read, but because I HAD to keep reading to see how all the other stories ended.

 

A collection of poetry and short stories created to tantalize your senses and wreak havoc on your mind, each tale further challenging your perception of what reality is and what it is not. Be prepared to see inside of the soul of Lindsey Goddard and share in her “Secrets of the Slain”

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Lindsey Beth Goddard’s passion for storytelling started at an early age. At fifteen she was published in a small-press magazine, and–ever since–her work has sprinkled the horror genre, although her pen name has changed more than once. She resides in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO with her husband, three children and a daft feline companion.

 

 

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The Island: a MFM Romance by Alyne Hart

Let me preface this review with saying this is the first MFM book, but not the first adult romance, book I’ve read. In order to really see the beauty of this story, it is important to understand the dynamics behind this type of romance.

Amie is looking for an escape as she deals with a rough divorce. She travels to Hawaii to work with chairty building houses. There she meets and falls in love with two best friends, Michael and Gabe.  Unsure how to rectify her feelings for both of them, she learns it’s ok to love two people and the three of them create a situation that works for them.

This was one of those books I HAD to keep reading because I wanted to see what happened next. She drew me in from the beginning.  I liked Amie a lot and I think first person point of view was the perfect way to tell this story. It was easy to feel her emotions throughout this story.  I believe Hart did a good job creating a story that could have been all about the sex. The sex scenes were well-written and enhanced the overall story. The plot dragged a tiny bit in a few spots, though, but not enough that I lost interest.

THREE PEOPLE. ONE RELATIONSHIP.
For 31 year old Amie Graham, life on the island was supposed to be simpler – simpler than the life and problems she left behind. Less complicated and less dramatic than life back home. That was the plan anyway.
But fate, it seems, has a sense of humor and it throws a complication or two right in her path.
Complication one, Michael.
If you could cross a model with a football player, you’d get Michael, at least how Amie sees him. Long dark blonde hair, packed with rounded muscles and well over six feet tall, he’s gorgeous, he’s funny, sweet and vulnerable. He’s her own Greek god among men, and she finds herself falling in love with him.
Complication two, Gabe. 
Gabe is beautiful, serene and intelligent, and Amie finds herself drawn to him. With his curly brown hair, soulful green eyes and olive skin decorated with tattoos and piercings – she finds herself falling in love with him also.
The other problem? They’re best friends – and they’re in love with her too. Can three people really love each other, or is the air of the island just messing with their hearts and minds?
WARNING. This is a MFM romance. While this book focuses heavily on the emotions and relationship(s) there is plenty of steam! If this is your cup of tea, you should know there is no MM action. It’s all about Amie, and her love of these two hot, loveable, sexy men

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Hi I’m Alyne.
Contemporary Romance Author
Cat Collector
Wine LoverI began my story-telling journey first with my dolls, then it progressed to paper. I have a deep love for anything romantic, and I’m a believer that in love anything is possible.
I write (mostly) strong, witty and intelligent women and strong, sexy, intelligent men (and my own little fantasy – they can all cook)
Most of my stories involve people with problems bigger than just trying to find love, making peace with the past and re-kindling old flames. I love small towns, cowboys, rockstars and men in uniform.

You can follow me on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/alynehartnovels/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/AlyneHart
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16866555.Alyne_Hart
Blog:
https://alynehart.com/
BookBub:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alyne-hart

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

A few weeks ago, I asked for book recommendations from one of the Facebook groups I belong follow. I asked for books with assassins. This series was one of the recommendations. I’m glad I picked this one. I read it in one day! It was that good. It was a my-family-can-just-eat-cereal-today-because-I’m-too-busy-reading kind of book. The world building is rock solid and the main character is as strong as I like my women. There was no wimping out for her. However, Mass created Celaena, the main character, as a well-rounded hero with emotions and struggles just like the rest of us. I found the fight scenes to be very descriptive and I even found myself moving a couple of times as I read them. I need to get through my current TBR so I can move on with the rest of this series.

 

 

 

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

 

 

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

 

 

 

 

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Nefarious: Volume Two: Honor the Suffering by Lucille Moncrief

Writing historical fiction in any form takes work. Writing historical fiction and incorporating the paranormal is even more work. Lucille Moncrief does a great job with her second volume in this story. Even though this is the second volume in the series, it reads as a stand alone. However, if you would like to read the first volume, you can find it here. The entire Nefarious series explores human empathy and temptation. This volume shares the back story of one of the main characters during the Battle of the Somme during WWI. Talcott Henderson and his companions are stuck in a bunker during the heavy bombing of the battle, but they aren’t the only ones. Moncrief’s stream of conscious writing creates a vivid picture of how horrible war is on the people fighting. I felt like I was in the bunker next to these guys either playing cards with them or just observing as a fly on the wall. She did a good job weaving historical details throughout the story instead of relying on major info dumps. It was worth the read as it is short but packed with a lot of power and insight.

 

Is eternal guilt the price of human empathy?
While the bombs rain overhead, Talcott Henderson and a group of fellow soldiers huddle in the cratered ground beneath the German front lines. Through the never-ending din of enemy fire, the voracious, blood-soaked machine of war haunts Talcott. Memories claw at him; kill or be killed, eat or be eaten. In the bowels of the earth a specter appears, and offers him an eternal life free of guilt.
But what is the cost of an unmarred soul?
*Includes custom illustrations
*Cover art by Jessica Dueck

Lucille Moncrief is a horror and historical fiction author. A stodgy old librarian in a past life, she loves poring over history books and binge watching PBS’s “Secrets Of” series.
Her literary inspiration comes from the works of Poe, Lovecraft, Fitzgerald, and her favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut.
When she is not yelling at the kids to get off her lawn, you can find her staring out her window pretending to be pensive.
To contact Lucille and for more information on upcoming and past releases, please visit www.moncriefs.net.

 

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**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Hidden Coven Series- Book 1 & 2 by Kim McDougall

I enjoyed reading these two books. The author proves she is not intimidated by the shortness of the novella. She does a great job developing her story and creating fully rounded characters. The plot is face-paced and I found myself turning the pages as soon as possible so I could find out what happened next. I look forward to the next book in this series.

 

Book One:

Welcome to the Hidden Coven. Tucked away in the rugged hills of Pennsylvania is a unique village; a mix of medieval and modern, dark and light, guided by a mad seer and hidden from the mundane world by dangerous magic. As ley-lines swell, and magic spills back into the world, keeping this coven a secret

becomes a race against dark forces who would take the power of the witches for their own.

Bobbi Cole’s first attempt at spell-casting leaves her paralyzed, and the only the High Priestess of the Hidden Coven can help. Quinn Mason, head of security for the coven, doesn’t want Bobbi around. He doesn’t trust strangers. Not when a demonic force is looking for a way inside the coven’s defenses to steal their most valuable resource: magic. Bobbi will have to battle Quinn’s mistrust and her own insecurities to get a firm grip on her magic, and do it before the witches face their ultimate enemy.

Book Two

When Bobbi attracts a new admirer, Quinn breaks all the rules to keep them apart. It’s not that he’s jealous. Okay, he’s burning with jealousy, but William Fain is not what he seems. And with the demon Koro’s agent loose in Ashlet, Quinn isn’t taking any chances with Bobbi’s safety or the fate of the Hidden Coven.

As Bobbi falls under the stranger’s sway, Quinn must convince coven leaders that Fain poses a real threat and not just to Quinn’s love life. Get to know the Hidden Coven family from an all new perspective as four powerful witches and two civilians come together to stop the blood rite that will cost Bobbi her life and unleash a demon on the world.

 

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical critters and magic often feature in her stories. So until she can change into a Griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal action and romance tales. Kim is also passionate about fiber art, photography, children’s literacy, rescue animals, nature, and genre-bending fiction.

 

Book One

Book Two

Drakon Book 1: The Sieve by C.A. Caskabel

**I received this book through NetGalley, but I liked it so much I bought it as well**

This book starts out as a story told through a monk in order to record the atrocities of The Sieve, an excruciating and barbaric warrior training for children in this world. So, when I first started I had my doubts just because this is a hard format to make good. I’m glad I continued to reading because I didn’t have to read too many pages before it got really good. The author does an incredible job putting the reader into the lives of these children. I felt their pain and saw the world through their eyes. It is a quick read, but trust me when I say this story will stick with you. The cover alone gives me the creeps. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

 

 

 

“I am here to redeem the lives of my wife and daughter. I’ve brought the offering.”
Thus said Da-Ren, the Devil’s First Blade at the gates of the Castlemonastery; His only offering, a jar of honey.
This is his story, as transcribed by the monk Eusebius, as ordered by the Emperor himself.
Book I chronicles Da-Ren’s early years, growing up in a tribe of archers and pagan witches. He enters the Sieve, the forty-day initiation trial that determines the fate of every boy and girl. Many of his comrades will fall, the strong will join the warriors, an elite few will be marked for leadership.
Da-Ren learns to obey the Truths, to hate all other tribes, and to conquer fear. And yet there is one trial that will bring him to his knees. The Goddess’s favorite daughter. “Brown-haired, brown-eyed. Brown was the first color of the day.”
South of the Blackvein River, a young Sarah survives the horror of the barbaric raids and devotes her life to acquiring knowledge and wisdom. She will talk to the witches, the priests and the rag dolls, she will learn the tales and the songspells, she will give birth and demand death. Revenge is her only mission.
Not even ten thousand warriors will be able to stand against her, when she delivers her vengeance of wine and song.

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C.A. Caskabel started writing Drakon in 2013 and completed the 400,000-word epic fantasy novel in 2016. He split Drakon into four books which he will release within 2017, he promises. After all, he is eager to start working on the next novel. C.A. is also the founder of an indie publisher of picture books and fantasy fiction.
Before 2013, C.A. was a serial technology entrepreneur. He studied at Boston and Brown University. He calls Boston, New York, Providence, San Francisco, London, and Athens (and in general Planet Earth) home.

 

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Stone Cold Heart by Jami Gold

 

This is a great contemporary romance with a dash of supernatural. I have never read a love story involving gargoyles so I was intrigued. I read this in a day, I just couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what happens next. I have not read the rest of the books in this series, but I read a blog post by the author who said this could work as a stand-alone.  I did not feel like I missed out on anything by not reading the other books in the series. I felt instantly connected to the protagonist, Raquel as she struggled with re-entry after fighting in Afghanistan. I liked that Garret and Raquel’s story mirrored each other and they were able to help each other cope and fell in love.

 

 

Abandoned to his fate, a shapeshifting gargoyle is trapped until she sets him free…
A gargoyle betrayed by his soldiers…
After centuries of stone-cold death, Garrett discovers his legion has deserted him. Without their help, he’ll succumb to eternal sleep once more unless he can trick the woman who woke him into trusting him with her soul.
A combat veteran scarred inside and out…
Her last night in Afghanistan, Raquel Guerrero’s team fell victim to a suicide bomber, killing everyone but her. Now, despite her determination to never again let anyone close, her sense of duty compels her to help an endangered warrior survive.
Trust isn’t in their vocabularies…
A tentative truce frees them to investigate his regiment’s abandonment—and unleashes passionate temptations. But when the truth is uncovered, Garrett and Raquel’s fragile bond—and the healing power of love—might be the only thing that keeps them alive.

Don’t miss Jami’s next release! Sign up for her newsletter (jamigold.com/mail) to be notified when her next book goes on pre-order and sale!

*** Check out this award-winning author… ***
Jami recently won the 2015 NATIONAL READERS’ CHOICE AWARD for Paranormal Romance with her third Mythos Legacy novel, Ironclad Devotion!

After an allergic reaction thwarted her attempt to find Atlantis, Jami Gold moved to Arizona and decided to become a writer, where she could put her talent for making up stuff to good use. Fortunately, her muse, an arrogant male who delights in causing her to sound as insane as possible, rewards her with unique and rich story ideas.

Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her family–and zombie cat.

Visit Jami at jamigold.com for more information and to connect with her on social media!

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Fiction Attack! Insider Secrets for Writing and Selling Your Novels & Stories — For Self-Published and Traditional Authors by James Scott Bell

 

I won this book in a monthly contest. I’m glad I did. I like several of Bell’s other books so I knew I would like this one. This is a collection of blog-like posts that strive to inspire and teach indie as well as traditional authors. There is just something about his tone and writing style that makes and writing struggle easy to tackle. I enjoyed the interviews with various authors. For me, it is a good reminder that I can do this.

 

 

How to Write Fiction That Sells Across All Channels . . .
Just what are the inner secrets of selling fiction to an ever-growing audience of readers? It’s not just the same old tips you see repeated over and over. It’s almost always a matter of specialized tools and techniques bestselling authors use––consciously or unconsciously––to break away from the slush into bestseller territory.
Whether traditionally or self published––or both––the writers doing these things in their fiction are the ones generating substantial income and happy fans.
Now, these keys are revealed.
Bestselling author and #1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell brings you dozens of powerhouse techniques and strategies, many of which are adapted from his popular writing posts at The Kill Zone blog. Among the many subjects covered are:

* The 10 commandments all writers must follow.
* The What-Do-You-Want-to-Say-to-Me test.
* The cure for overstuffed dialogue.
* Must you show compassion for the bad guys?
* What makes a novel a page turner?
* How not to write your novel.
* The two things every novel needs, no matter the genre.
* The things you never, ever do in your opening pages.
* The myth of the “inciting incident.”
* How much exposition up front?
* Why “Show, Don’t Tell” might be overrated.
* The #1 secret in using First Person Point-of-View
* How to use dialogue as a weapon.
* Where to get plots.
* The secret to adding fireworks to your style.
* The answer to the flashback quagmire.
* The art of listening to the book.
* How to find the “premise” of your novel.
* How to write a novella.

And many more. PLUS, interviews with some of the best writers working today, including: Sandra Brown, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Barry Eisler, Joseph Finder, Peter Straub, Stephen Coonts, Katherine Neville, Andrew Gross, Lisa Jackson, Kathy Reichs, M.J. Rose
If you’re serious about selling your fiction, Fiction Attack! is your battle plan for breakthrough.

 

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James Scott Bell

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

Deep, heavy books are not for summer.  Summer books need to be light and fun and transport me away from the heat and humidity. This book is a fun read that just makes ya feel good. I like books written in the first person point of view when the characters are honest and I can relate to them. I like the main character and I connected with her and her struggles almost immediately.  The author did a good job of not sharing every part of the story in the first chapter. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I have to be careful with what I say, but I liked how the author developed one of the storylines over time. It made me read faster because I had to know what happened.  I need to note that this book is written from an English point of view, so some of the phrases and spellings may be different than American English. However, I did not feel like that took away from the story.

 

 

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

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**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review**