Monthly Archives: February 2016

Will Earth Survive?

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Stolen Eyes Cover

Jackie is one of the few women left and the only one that Bianca wants. To save Earth Jackie agrees to be bait for Bianca once again. But, this time the device to destroy Bianca could also destroy Jackie by aging her 75 years at detonation. Will she succeed? Will she survive?

In the second book of the The Nanobot Wars, Stolen Eyes continues the story of Jackie, an orphaned sixteen year old girl with her crew of young boys trying to survive the best they can in this post-apocalyptic world. It seamlessly mixes familiar characters with new. As with the first book in the series, there is a lot of raw emotion from the teenagers as they struggle to find their place in this ever changing environment.

Farrell lures you in with her captivating story telling ability and does not disappoint. I was both elated and saddened by the plot twists as they unfolded. My heartstrings were definitely pulled by the sacrifices that were made, and I laughed out loud at some of the lighter moments. This book was a quick read for me since I was eager to see what would happen next.

Stolen Eyes was very well written and edited. I would definitely recommend it with only one warning – there are a couple of very descriptive sex scenes that would not be suitable for younger readers. 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Conform or Perish

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The 6th Domicile Cover

Q437B is about to become an Adulte and be forced to marry a man she does not love. She loves B116A, her childhood friend, which is strictly forbidden within the Domicile. B has shown Q the world outside of the Domicile and it is nothing like what is taught in school. In their passion for one another they have committed the ultimate crime by revealing their faces which are forever hidden behind masks.

Q is torn between exposing the lies of the Elders and keeping B, her grandmother, and herself safe by conforming. What she does not realize is that there are many within the Domicile watching her every move. Some who seek to punish her and some who view her as the spark for a new revolution.

Ruggles’ first book in the Domicile series, The Sixth Domicile, is told from Q’s point of view. Q’s character is very well developed. The suppressive dystopian future is described in just the right amount of detail. The story is nicely paced and has some surprising twists.

The book I was given to read for this review had many typographical errors. I have contacted Ruggles and hopefully, she will have them corrected when you read her novel. It’s a good story and I hope to read the next installment. 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Author Jaq C. Reed

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February 27, 2016

Today I am pleased to interview Jaq C. Reed, author of The Ungoverned.

The Ungoverned Cover

CTC: Hello, thank you for spending time answering questions for my readers. So, let’s get started.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

JCR: As a child I reveled in telling stories.  After I went to college, I unsuccessfully tried to write screenplays, Then I got a job and settled into a routine. After that I became a mother and life got so busy! I didn’t think of writing very often after that, though I still wove stories for the kids.  After my relationship ended, my life came to a very low point. I had never been so dependent on family and friends and I spiraled into a depression.  I would go through the motions of efficiency but at night I just laid there and felt sorry for myself.  I couldn’t live like that anymore.  Writing became an escape and a distraction and an obsession again.  I met people, I widened my circle of contacts and all of a sudden I felt like I had this piece of life again, that I existed beyond motherhood, the daily grind, and past that failed relationship.  After being immersed in the community of writers I suddenly knew this was where I wanted to live my life. So maybe I always had a inkling I liked to write, I didn’t know with certainty until I was 34.

CTC: How long does it take you to write a book?

JCR: The rough draft of both my novels took me around 4 months.  Editing and rewrites take another 3 or 4 months.  I would like to be getting 2 novels a year out, but at the moment it seems to take a year.

CTC: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

JCR: I have written two, and am into the followup to The Ungoverned currently.  The most recent piece is with my editor and should be out for publication in April.  It’s probably my favorite but also I have no idea how it will be received.  It breaks some rules, and colors outside of the lines a lot more than The Ungoverned did. I’ll be on pins and needles to see how it is received but good or bad it is my baby and I will love her for always.

CTC: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

JCR: I write when the kids are in school, I sit and try to forget about everything else I need to do.  I sprint with other writers, and sometimes I will just fall into a flow and nothing else exists for that time.  And other times I sit for hours and stare at the screen trying to think of the next course of action for the story. 

CTC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

JCR: I don’t think I have one!  I get zoned out, and if I am fully immersed in a story, my head can stay in that world for days.  My house gets pretty messy then, and dinners usually aren’t that great.

CTC: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

JCR: I usually borrow the 6pm news headlines. Something I see will irk me, and I will write that into a story.  With The Ungoverned it was the fact that we are losing our right to know what is in our food, and companies reluctance to label things.  I take the things that gnaw at me, and then I try to wind a very human story around the issue, the issue takes a backseat then to my characters, and it is up to the reader to draw the correlations of what has happened in the story, to what is relevant to our lives today.  I am at heart an environmentalist, my writing usually falls into a category of Cli-Fi.  The stories are wrapped around environmental catastrophes.

CTC: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

JCR: I was 34. 

CTC: What does your family think of your writing?

JCR: My teenager loves it, although she tells me she feels more pressure in English class to be creative.  My youngest kids will ask what I’m doing then get upset I’m not writing a story for them.  I’ve promised them a book but I found out writing for children isn’t as easy as I thought it would be!

CTC: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

JCR: Just write.  Keep writing.  Give yourself a daily word count.  Sooner or later those words will add up to a book.  We can fix the words and polish them, but we can’t fix a blank page.  I heard that advice once, and it’s stuck with me.  I can’t remember who said it, so those words aren’t mine, but the advice is what I tell myself.  The other thing that has helped me is, learn to accept criticism, grow a thick skin.  Embrace critiques like a gift, trust your beta readers, they aren’t there to be mean, and they are your audience. I have a never ending amount of gratitude for my betas, they help me see things from the angle of the reader. 

CTC: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

JCR: Sometimes I will get an email, and it always surprises me.  When I hear from readers its usually because I’ve struck a cord with them via the story.  Those emails make everything worth while. To feel like you’ve successfully conveyed something.  The strangest feeling I had as a new author was, I was at a book sale, and someone came up to me and started gushing about my book and was so thrilled to meet me and that she loved the book.  I was new, and my sales weren’t that great so I was blown away, it was a little bit surreal to realize that people out there were reading my work and enjoying it and also a little bit terrifying.

CTC: Do you like to create books for adults?

JCR: The books I create are stories that I first tell myself.  They are what I would like to read.  I’m not a hundred percent positive if I write for older teens or adults.  I get readership from both, but I find it is adult women that enjoy the novel better.

CTC: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

JCR: I wanted to save the world, be a vet, write stories. I wanted to do a lot of things, and in a way I’ve found that now in my thirties, your childhood dreams really do have a way of creeping back up on you. It’s a shame that sometimes we let those dreams die away.  

CTC: Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

JCR: It’s important that both writers and readers in the indie market support each other. I am practicing paying it forward, it’s important to view others not as competition but as comrades, and to build each other up. To readers if you find an indie writer you like, tell others!  We don’t have huge budgets and word of mouth can change the world for a writer. And if you take the time to leave a review, you have no idea how much you are helping us.

CTC: You can find Jaq’s book here:

http://smile.amazon.com/Jaq-C.-Reed/e/B00WZY9J9W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1456540993&sr=8-1

You can follow her here:

http://jaqreed.com/

https://twitter.com/jaqcreed

Jaq C Reed photo     Ara is Code Yellow.

In a world of assignment, there is no choice. Ara lives, works, and breathes under the rule of the Governance. It’s a race against time, as every minute is counted down off her clock of life.

 

Who is the real Henry?

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Broken Dreams Cover

Meet Henry Daniels, aka Liam. He is a product of ‘the program’ from England sent to the USA as an operative. He manages a blood bank in New York City and has an unlimited spending account. Meet Elaina Cooper. She is from New York and cannot keep a job due to her sarcasm. They meet, fall in love, and plan to marry. While he knows everything about her, Henry keeps his past and original mission secret from Elaina.

On their wedding day everything falls apart as a virus breaks out turning those infected into vampire-like zombies or undead. Henry’s training kicks in and he does his best to keep Elaina and a small group of other survivors alive. His actions bring up a number of questions, the answers to which could destroy their relationship.

Blakeley’s first book in the Shattered Lives series, Broken Dreams, is a combination of post-apocalyptic and paranormal fantasy. It’s rather lengthy at over 600 pages and contains strong adult language, multiple sex scenes, and graphic violence.

The main characters are well developed as are some of the supporting characters. The first part of the book starts off rather well. After the virus outbreak the story becomes repetitive – fights within the survivor group, sex, fighting the undead, and repeat. There were several chapters that added nothing to this book and could have easily been cutout, unless they are germane to the novels that follow. 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

The Man with the Midas Touch

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Goldfinger Cover

Auric Goldfinger is an extremely wealthy man obsessed with hording all the world’s gold. James Bond (Special Agent 007), who is a member of the British Secret Service, MI6, goes undercover to investigate Goldfinger. Bond discovers Goldfinger’s plan to destabilize the world’s economy and continue to finance SMERSH, the Soviet secret spy ring. Can Bond bring down one of the most notorious villains of all time?

Fleming’s 9th James Bond novel, Goldfinger, is set in the late 1950s. It has the iconic characters of Oddjob, driver and bodyguard to Goldfinger, and Pussy Galore, leader of an all-female gang. While far from politically correct by today’s standards, the story reflects the attitudes and cultural aspects of the time period.

While one of Fleming’s longer novels it is not one of his best. It tended to drag a bit in places and seemed rushed in others. The plot itself was disjointed. This is one case where the movie was much better than the book. 3 out of 5 stars.

Enjoy the theme movie’s theme song here:

 

Detective Post Mistress

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Wish You Were Here Cover

Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen is the post-mistress of Crozet, Virginia. Crozet is a small town where everybody knows everybody else’s business. Harry has a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. After several townsfolk, who all received a postcard stating “Wish You Were Here”, are murdered, Harry starts her own investigation.

Brown’s first novel in the Mrs. Murphy Mystery award winning crime series, Wish You Were Here, is a delightful mix of busy-body hijinks and detective work. Unbeknownst to her, Harry’s pets, Mrs. Murphy, a tiger cat, and Tucker, a Welsh corgi, aid in her sleuthing. Will they be able to save Harry from being the murder’s next victim?

As cute as this book is, it is not without its faults. The animal characters were much more likeable and well developed than the humans. The writing style was more for the younger crowd until some totally unnecessary curse words were thrown into the mix. 4 out of 5 stars.

Growing Up Post Civil War

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On Agate Hill Cover

The story of Molly Petree is brought to life through Molly’s journal, letters, newspaper clippings, and court records found in an old home called Agate Hill. Molly’s tale begins at age thirteen, set in North Carolina during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and continues into the early twentieth century. An orphan because of the war, Molly must learn how to survive in the harsh South.

Smith’s 10th novel, On Agate Hill, is thoroughly engaging. Molly is taken in by her uncle who, on the verge of death, marries his scheming, gold digging housekeeper. Selena all but kicks Molly out. Fortunately, a friend of Molly’s father becomes her benefactor and sends her away to Gatewood Academy. From there we follow Molly on a roller coaster ride of love, betrayal, treachery, and a spectacular murder trial.

I read this book on a whim and could not put it down. Not one for historical fiction, especially based in this time period, I was pleasantly surprised how easily I was drawn into the story of Molly Petree. 5 out of 5 stars.

Author Ian Smith

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February 22, 2016

Today I’m am happy to interview Ian Smith, author of Dead & Alive: Survive (Book 1), INFINITY: Legend, Love, Honour (Book 1), and Infinity: Return of the Legends (2).

Dead and Alive Cover               Infinity Book 1 Cover               Infinity Book 2 Cover

CTC – Thank you so much, Ian, for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend a few moments with me today.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

IS – Pretty much from the moment I was born, my earliest memory was one of story telling. When I was 7 years old I won a school competition. It was an event open to all the junior schools in the town, I came first for my story about a lost world, I even still have it in my cupboard.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

IS – It really depends, I have a problem where if I start something I must finish. I recently completed two books in 6 weeks, I have a notebook full of ideas, enough to keep me going for years. For me it is hard to stop, when I start I have to finish.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

IS – Full, my life is pretty busy either way. Working from home is a bonus, I have always had a very healthy work attitude, I get bored very easily, so doing nothing is something that never appeals to me.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

IS – Music, I usually write with music playing, especially orchestral, it helps me get my brain flowing. Also comfort, most write at a desk, I write on my bed, surrounded by all that I need.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

IS – Mostly my imagination, I can usually come up with something on the spot and out of the blue. The amount of books I have read over the years has supplied me with a very vivid imagination, in fact it is hard to turn it off sometimes.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

IS – When I was 7, I wrote a 78 page book called the Lost World. Over the years I have written loads, but due to my then complicated life I never followed through and published.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

IS – I like my sports, I played rugby and boxing until I blew my knee out. I swim every other day and like to hit the weight when I can. Other than that I love to cook, and take long walks along the beach I find it helps my brain flow.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

IS – This is actually a difficult question. The most important person in my life was my mum, I worked long hours and was very career focused. I dreamed of writing but never found the time, one evening at work I received a phone call telling me both my parent were being rushed to hospital. Sadly my mum never came out and passed away with me at her side a few days later, I took her passing hard and really withdrew from the world. I hit rock bottom and realized at that moment how short life was and chose to follow my dream. I quit my Job and started along the road. My biggest wish is that my mother could have seen me follow that dream, my father is very supportive, he even pushed me to follow it by going out and buying me all new equipment to use. This is a long winded answer but I needed to explain that the only family I have is my father and I can hope my mother would be proud.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

IS – How easy I found it, I have an ability of making easy connections to my characters and received so many messages telling me the same. Also making so many new friends, people think of writers as loners, but the interaction with the readers is amazing, I would never change that.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

IS – I have written dozens, but only published three to date. My favorite, I am not sure I can answer that, each of my stories have their own rewards.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

IS – The best thing I can say is, don’t always listen to criticism, I have found many people have advice, telling you how to write and think when they have not even published or their book is terrible. I write from the heart, I write what I would want to read, keep true to yourself and the rest will follow.
It is a slow progress and it takes time, if you love writing the rest will always fall into place.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

IS – Everyday, Just yesterday I was told how great the chemistry with my characters flow, and how easy the story is to read. I get a minimum of 10 emails and messages a week asking me when the next book is coming.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

IS – I like to write horror, but erotic is a big no no, it is just not my thing.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

IS – Your own excitement when writing it, if you are enjoying it, then the reader will. People like to read something easy, they want to disappear into the world of the book and not want to sit there falling asleep when reading.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

IS – Just be happy, my childhood was rough. I never dreamed of riches or fame, I just wanted to be happy with what I was doing. But obviously my main dream was writing or a spaceman haha!

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

IS – I think I am a nice guy, I love interaction. So please come and say “HI”. Look me up and join me on this journey.

CTC – You can find Ian’s books here:

http://www.amazon.com/I.J-Smith/e/B00YF1KATQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

You can follow him here:

http://ijsmith.weebly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/servo1981/

https://twitter.com/I_J_SMITH

Ian SmithGreat Britain has been evacuated and quarantined, access is forbidden. When a mysterious message is received, they send in a Army Section to investigate. What they discover will send them on a journey through hell, can they survive, can they make it out within 24 hours.

The North is in the Dark

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33 Decgrees Cover

The South has the North imprisoned behind a wall in a perpetual ice age. It is rumored that the sun shines in the South on the other side of the wall, but it is all a lie. Death in the North is a daily occurrence with the fight to get on the train in order to work for food and fuel for heat. Javin, an 18 year old who was orphaned at an early age, has survived the servitude under the South’s rule and seeks to kill one of the guards.

Annunziato’s award winning, first novel, 33 Degrees, is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian story of the USA set in the future. The characters were well developed and the world he presented was easily visualized. I was so drawn in by this dark tale that if there were any editing issues I didn’t notice them. The story itself is refreshingly original.

I am so looking forward to both the prequel and the sequel that are promised to be in the works. 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

 

 

Leaving Las Vegas

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EVADE Cover

Imagine waking up only to find yourself without power, working cellphones, or working vehicles. An EMP has neutralized all of the USA. No way to get or give information other than word of mouth in person to your neighbor. That’s what happened to David Collins and his family with one exception. They were prepared. Their vehicles are functional and they have the supplies to evacuate before everything turned chaotic. Will they and their friends make it to the rendezvous point?

Turner’s first venture into writing, EVADE, a Kindle Worlds novella, is part of The Perseid Collapse Series. The setting is in Las Vegas and the Collins family must get to their bugout location as soon as possible. What they encounter along the way will put their survival skills to test. Hard choices have to be made quickly in order to stay alive.

EVADE is a quick, fast-paced read with some heart stopping moments. Turner promises us two more installments. I look forward to reading them as well. 5 out of 5 stars.