Book Review: The Lair (The Farm #2) by Emily McKay

16250637Title: The Lair (The Farm #2)

Author: Emily McKay

Genre: Young Adult, Vampires, Dystopian, Paranormal, Horror

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been “quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .

After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.

Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.

But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.

After reviewing The Farm, I thought it was time to dive into the sequel, The Lair. My one main issue with the first book in the series was Carter, the main love interest. I was hoping there’d be less chapters in the sequel told from Carter’s POV, and that the book would focus more on Lily and Mel, the two protagonists I did like. Unfortunately, Carter plays an even larger part here.

I want to know how this series ends, because seriously, the plot is engaging, the characters – minus Carter – are enjoyable, and this book ends on a cliffhanger, and I want to know what happens next. But Carter makes it really hard for me. In the first book, I could forgive some of his flaws. But here…he turns from a slightly-controlling person into a self-righteous, controlling alpha male (or at least, he acts like an alpha) who tries to control Lily’s every move. When Lily gets hurt, he starts acting like a raving maniac. I understand freaking out because someone you love is in danger, I do, but he’s just over the top. Lily would be so much better off without him. If he acts this controlling so soon in their relationship, that only predicts trouble for the future.

Also, I’m not sure what it is with YA literature, and with controlling, sometimes even abusive boyfriends. There’s nothing even remotely fun about having a person around who controls your every move. So why do these heroines seem to find that endaring?

I found Lily and Carter’s story rather boring here. We find out a bit more about the Ticks, about who is behind all this, and life in camp. Those are the interesting tidbits. There’s a few tick attacks, some action moments, but all in all, the book falls for the same trap a thousand other books have fallen into before: the love trap. Suddenly the Lily/Carter romance is more important than how the world has gone to hell, and than surviving in a world full of Ticks. Right.

Mel and Sebastian now, I found their story a lot more intriguing. I was afraid Mel would become a dull, run-down-the-mill character now she lost her autism thanks to changing into a vampire, but luckily that wasn’t the case. Vampires here are pretty terrifying, and that’s just about the best part about them. Sebastian was still awesome because I had trouble figuring out his endgame, which made him about ten times as intriguing as the rest of the characters.

I’m going to read the third book for completion’s sake, and because I want to read more about Mel, Sebastian, and maybe even Lily. Carter is a douche, and I wouldn’t mind if he got killed off in a random Tick attack.

Writing was okay, as usual, but there’s a lot of switching between first and third person POV, and present and past tense. Overall, the book didn’t flow that well.

Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Agben School

The Agben School 2Title: The Agben School
Author: Jo Sparkes
Publisher: Oscar Press
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback

Purchase at AMAZON

Agben had stood for a thousand years. A mysterious school housing more than students, it was the seat of the powerful Women of Agben, and the center for harnessing the potency of herbs. Few knew all that transpired within the walls.

And now Marra stood at its gate.
Friends and support stripped from her, the fragile life she’d built for herself now lay in tatters. And the source of this evil hunted her like a deer culled from the herd.

The gateway before her was her only hope.

For as the city itself crumbled, all depended not on a prince trying to save his people, nor the valiant men who’d brought them this far.

Everything depended on finding a magic powder in the vaults of Agben itself.

Everything depended on her.

Book Excerpt


Mik was all of ten years old, and had responsibility.

That’s what his mother had told him this morning, when it was time to open the shop. His grandfather was ill, and needed care from time to time.

“Just keep it closed for the morning,” Father had suggested.

“Not with four ships in port,” Mother had snapped back.

So it was his job to mind the shop.

He’d done everything before, of course. Poured out the herbs, wrapped them in paper. Kept them close to himself until the customer paid in coin. “A poor little Mid Isle shop taking credit would go broke in a month,” his mother smilingly explained to any who asked.

Yes, he’d seen it all and he knew what to do.

Until the pretty girl walked in. Maybe 16 years old, he guessed. Maybe more. Her clothes weren’t as nice as many before her, but nicer than some. She had that desert air about her, down to the sandal shoes, but her hair was long in the Missean fashion, not the short cut of the Flats.

She didn’t seem Agben. But she didn’t seem not Agben, either.

It was a dark red hair, braided down her back. When she turned in the sunlight from the door the red flashed at him. Little wisps escaped and curled around her face, making her seem too soft.

Women of Agben were never soft.

Mik realized that responsibility did indeed have weight, just as his father said. He was feeling that weight on his shoulders this very second.

The girl looked over the shelves carefully, and he didn’t interrupt her.

And then she turned to him, and smiled. The smile alone was almost enough to prove she wasn’t Agben. Almost.

“Illsmith,” she said. “Do you have any?”

Mik nodded. “In the back, Miss. How much do you want?”

“Just a handful, please.” Her eyes were blue, he saw, but not the faded blue of his mother and baby sister. Hers were a deep blue, like the sea’s depths as evening fell.

He hurried to fetch her Illsmith.

“And Musk Oil?” she called after him.

Ahh hah! The pretty girl must be of Agben, Mik realized. Illsmith was a desert plant, and Musk Oil from the Great Continent. Those two went together, he knew, to rub on sore muscles and strained shoulders. He knew because one of the Agben women had told his mother so when his father had hurt himself pulling in the big swoopfish.

Mik grabbed a tiny glass bottle of oil – all of ten copper, he told himself – and then the crock of Illsmith. Returning to the girl, he set both on the counter, and produced a paper for the Illsmith. “Twelve copper,” he told her as plucked out a good handful of the herb and wrapped it proper.

Some people frowned when the price was mentioned, but this girl merely pulled coins from a pocket and counted it out.

Mik stooped low, to open the box his mother had told him he shouldn’t know about, and snatch the pretty bauble inside.

He carefully wrapped it in a soft cloth, the kind used for fragile glass on long trips. And then presented it to the girl.

 “What is this?” she asked, starting to lift a wrapped corner.

Mik stopped her as old man Tanner strode into the shop. “Take it,” the boy whispered.

“Mik, my boy,” Tanner grinned, looking around for his mother. The old man always wanted advice on a new ache. “Your mother not here this morning?”

The girl hesitated, still staring at him. He snatched up the coin she’d placed on the counter, and tugged the step ladder over to just beneath the Stomach Cure jar.

“That’s right,” Tanner told him. “Just a swig, my boy. Just a swig.”

Mik felt the pretty girl’s eyes on him. Surely she knew no one else was supposed to see that thing. Surely she knew to stick it in her pocket and pretend it didn’t exist.

The girl gave him a last frown, but said no more. By the time he’d wrangled the tonic down from the shelf, she’d gone.


Book Review: Forecast by Elise Stephens

Forecast Elise StephensTitle: Forecast
Author: Elise Stephens
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Calvin isn’t a teenager, not really; instead, he’s spent his life trying to protect his mother and sister from his alcoholic father. Calvin keeps a knife close and sleeps with one eye open, even years after his father has left the family. A summer vacation spent at their late grandfather’s estate promises him and his sister the chance to leave their problems behind.

Instead of blissful freedom, they find the old house harbors secrets at every turn, like a mysterious stone door in the forest with rumored powers to give its entrants the gift of future-seeing. When Calvin faces the return of his seemingly-reformed father, he throws himself through the door to receive the gift of foresight. But the door offers more doubt than certainty, and the future he sees is riddled with disturbing confusion. With a revenge-obsessed lawyer hunting him down and a secret society out to control him, Calvin must figure out how to stop what he’s started before he loses what he holds most dear.

As he battles the legacies of his past and the shadows of his future, Calvin must accept help from unlikely sources, give trust he never thought possible, and learn that the greatest challenges lie not in the things to come, but in the present moment.

I wasn’t sure what I’d think about Forecast, based on its descritpion, but I ended up enjoying the book more than I thougth I would. Calvin is one of the most realistic protagonists I’ve come across in YA literature. He knows hardships, he knows troubles, he knows what it’s like to get hurt, to protect others, what pain feels like. His reactions to things are so incredibly realistic I expected him to crawl out of the pages any minute.

Calvin made this book come alive, but an equally as intriguing character is the estate of Calvin’s late grandfather. The house harbors many secrets, and is so impressive it’s almost a character on it’s own. By passing through a mysterious stone door in the forest, Calvin receives the gift of foresight. However, the future isn’t clear, and there’s more doubt and confusion than clarity. Calvin struggles with his new power while trying to get away from the people hunting him down.

While Calvin was my favorite character, I enjoyed the other characters as well, in particularly, Cleo. The dynamics between the two siblings were spot-on and entertaining.

Forecast is a rollercoaster ride of plot twists, emotions and an unexpected ending. Add in solid writing, and you know you’re in for quite an adventure. Recommended to fans of YA fantasy.



There is a tour-wide giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card, along with these books:

 Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar (by Nicole Y. Walters)

A Kingdom’s Possession (by Nicole J. Persun

Doublesight (by Terry Persun)

Always and Forever (by Karla J Nellenback)

Moonlight and Oranges (by Elise Stephens)

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Book Tours: Book Spotlight Psyche-Soul-Ology

Psyche-Soul-OlogyTitle: Psyche-Soul-Ology
Author: David Roberts
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 202
Genre: Psychology
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Psyche-Soul-ology: An Inspirational Approach to Appreciating and Understanding Troubled Kids is a companion text to At the Mercy of Externals: Righting Wrongs and Protecting Kids, 2nd Edition. Dr. Roberts presents a spiritually based application of his theories and the Roberts FLAGS Model detailed in his first book. His use of the term Psyche-Soul-ology focuses on the importance of addressing both the minds and souls of troubled kids. Of utmost importance is the need to look beyond the obvious external behaviors and problems of every kid, making an effort to see who they truly are relative to their unique potential for redirecting their lives. By looking into each kid it is possible to discover their uniqueness and encourage them to understand who they are intended to be, rather than who they are becoming. Dr. Roberts stresses the importance of complicating factors serving as obstacles to the progress of low income, disadvantaged kids. He focuses heavily on professional ethics and the need for both extreme compassion and full competence when working with troubled kids and their families. Both of these books are vital for parents and professionals if we are to fight against social injustices associated with poverty and other complicating factors.

Author Bio

Dr. Roberts, a proud father and grandfather, is also a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and college instructor, trained in California and living now in his home state of Alabama. His education, training experiences and worldview make him unique, and he is recognized as an expert with troubled kids and families.


David is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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July 21

3 Partners in Shopping


July 22

Between the Covers


July 23

Review From Here


July 24

Beyond the Books

She Writes

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Plug Your Book

I’m Shelf-ish

July 28

Literal Exposure

The Dark Phantom

July 29

The Writer’s Life

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I Heart Reading

The Zen Reader

July 31

Literarily Speaking

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August 1

As the Pages Turn

All Inclusive Retort

Book Review: The Farm (The Farm #1) by Emily McKay

13542868Title: The Farm (The Farm #1)

Author: Emily McKay

Genre: Vampires, Dystopian, Young Adult, Paranormal

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

I wanted to enjoy The Farm more than I actually did. I picked up the book after heading home from university, and I craved a good read. The Farm was all right, but mostly it was meh. Surprisingly, considering the book had the super-awesome premise of two girls escaping a farm where people are kept for their blood, which is being fed to vampire mutants.

Lily and Mel, our two main characters, live in a world overrun by mutant vampires called Ticks. They’re stuck inside a blood farm, along with several other kids their age, because their blood is most appealing to the Ticks. However, they need to escape fast, because they’re reaching the age of maturity – and no one knows what happens to people who do. They just vanish. Lily doesn’t want that to happen, so she and her mentally handicapped sister Mel, need to escape. Except that’s not as easy as it sounds. Even letting Mel in on the escape plan is a hassle.

The best part about this book, no doubt, was the relationship between Mel and Lily. They have an unique connection. Lily is often frustrated with Mel, who has all kinds of quirks, but she loves her sister despite all that, and Mel loves Lily too, although she doesn’t always understand why Lily does the things she does. I enjoyed the chapters from Mel’s POV the most. The author obviously did her research, and she told Mel’s side of the story in a clever, interesting way.

What was not that convincing though, was the male love interest. Carter. He’s apparently all that, and then some, and Lily has fallen for him ever since she first met him – and apparently the insta-love is mutual. But Carter, if anything, is just ‘meh’. He’s not interesting. He’s not alluring. And he hides way too many secrets. Why Lily trusted him even after he admitted to keeping secrets from her, is beyond me. Also, the chapters from Carter’s POV bordered on being boring. His POV seemed repetitive, and not necessary at all – he didn’t offer anything new to the table.

I would’ve preferred if the story had focused on Lily’s and Mel’s POV only. I disliked Carter, and I found him a liar, who kept things for Lily ‘to protect her’, which never works, and the book owuld’ve worked better without him. Sebastian was all right though, at least he had a reason for being a pretentious jerk (which I won’t explain, because it would be a spoiler).

All in all, not as enjoyable as I hoped, but an okay read nevertheless.

Book Review: The Thunderstone (The Houses of Storem #1) by Pj Belanger

Cover1-ebook-3Title: The Thunderstone (The Houses of Storem #1)

Author: Pj Belanger

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Empowered by jewels with various magical qualities – wizards, gemnuns, gemmonks and sapphires – along with the Lords they serve, combine to make up the HOUSES OF STOREM, inhabited by dwarfs, icelanders, elves, catpeople and hillpeople who must unite against the evil ONYX KINGDOM.

It is an adventure that finds an odd group of travelers trying to save the life of a wounded girl who is being pursued by trolls, ogres, pirates, hurks and histians – up rivers, through magical forests and mystical wizard towers, all because she may be the key to preventing the evil one from taking over the DIAMOND KINGDOM.

Don’t miss this, the first in a series that brings Birl, Eauxsage, Hadden, Chellie, Nugs and Tem together for the first time.

The Thunderstone was an intriguing epic fantasy novel with an important role for jewels with magical qualities. I liked the whole jewel thing, I’d never read anything of the sort before, so it was an original spin to the regular fantasy concepts. The book is fast-paced from start to end, following a group of travelers who try to save the life of a wounded girl being pursued by trolls, ogres, pirates, and lots more. The pacing never slows down, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.

We slowly get the background info on the world, and the Onyx Kingdom and Diamond Kingdom. There are no info-dumps, instead the information is revealed gradually.

Birl, aforementioned wounded girl being pursued by just about everything wicked out there, is an intriguing character. She has a sparkly personality, and was easily my favorite character. The other characters in the group of travellers were intriguing too, and they each had a different personality, background story, and were complex enough to be entertaining. The characters were also quite original, not your standard fantasy cast. Tem was probably my second favorite character – I liked his laid back personality.

The prose is clear, and the descriptions are short and to the point. An original epic fantasy recommended to all fans of the genre. I look forward to reading the second book in the series.

Book Tours: Guest Post The New Reality

The New Reality banner

I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for “The New Reality”. Enjoy. I’ll leave the word to the author now.

Fact is More Interesting than Fiction

Many people have asked me if there was a big transition from being a physician and researcher to becoming a writer. It certainly is a reasonable question. There does seem to be a substantial difference between frantically running around seeing patients and sitting quietly behind a computer typing out a fictional novel. In fact, I sometimes wonder how I made the switch.

However, when I sit back and think about what I see or read during the day, the transition seems almost natural. In my practice, I come into contact with incredibly rare diseases, illnesses that have yet to be named, and medical conditions that just boggle the mind. Also, as a researcher, I am at the forefront dealing with the latest technology, medical devices and thought leaders. It may seem glamorous, but it certainly isn’t. However, what I see during the day could lead to endless ideas for great fictional novels.

Plus, because I deal with so many different people in a week, I come into contact with a wide variety of personalities. Some have interesting quirks, others are simply captivating, and a select few have dispositions only their mothers can love. When I created the characters for The New Reality, I had the luxury of picking and choosing different personality traits for my characters that made them both believable and interesting.

Mark Twain wrote, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” Fortunately, I did not have to distort the facts to create The New Reality. The facts, themselves, simply are distorted and interesting enough. In my novel, a deadly virus, not unlike the MERS virus recently highlighted in the news, mutates and creates havoc onto an unprepared world, creating pandemic like conditions. With a scenario mirroring our own current society, the book outlines what would happen if this deadly outbreak occurred in a corrupt world inundated with debt, crumbling medical institutions and reprehensible leaders.

Though fiction, The New Reality is based upon facts and foreshadows the possible deleterious consequences of the technological, monetary and ethical follies of today’s world. In the end, The New Reality may become our reality if we as a human race cannot resolve the problems that we created.

About the Author

Stephen MartinoStephen Martino holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a neurologist in New Jersey. When he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to educate the local community and healthcare professionals on the signs, symptoms and treatment of stroke. THE NEW REALITY is his first novel.

For More Information

About the Book

The New Reality 2Alex Pella, an acclaimed neuroscientist and the hero of the new medical thriller, THE NEW REALITY, finds himself racing across the globe to find a cure for a rapidly spreading illness threatening to end all of humanity. To combat this worldwide pandemic, Pella and his colleagues must use modern science in an attempt to decipher a code hidden by God within the original pages of the Bible.

THE NEW REALITY is the first book in a projected trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist Stephen Martino. With his mixture of medicine, politics, biblical riddles, and futuristic science, Martino joins such masters of the medical thriller genre as Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook.

Martino’s villain is a deadly retrovirus accidentally unleashed on the world in the year 2080, a time when no country is financially equipped to deal with such a disaster. It’s up to Pella and NIH expert Marissa Ambrosia to lead the search for a cure while fending off an elite foreign military unit sent to stop them. The scientists, guided by an ancient code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, traverse ancient lands in an attempt to solve a biblical riddle and save humanity from total extinction.

Martino says he wrote THE NEW REALITY “more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown’s) THE DA VINCI CODE or (Crichton’s) JURASSIC PARK. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.”

In THE NEW REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation.

The Bible Code, Martino explains, does exist and was discovered by Dr. Eli Rips, a mathematician in quantum physics. The code has been confirmed by mathematicians at Yale, Harvard, and Hebrew University, as well as by peer-reviewed mathematical journals and the Pentagon. The code, Martino continues, is found in the original Hebrew version of the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Torah, and only in its untranslated, Hebrew form.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE NEW REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation if they are not properly addressed today.”

For More Information

Book Tours: Guest Post Murder at Eastern Columbia

Murder at Eastern Columbia banner

I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for “Murder at Eastern Columbia”. Enjoy.

Guest Post

“Murder at Eastern Columbia,” the first James Murray Mystery, takes place in downtown Los Angeles in 1931. It’s unique in many ways. Perhaps the most unusual aspect is that it’s really two novels in one: chapters about the daily life of the main character, James Murray, alternate with chapters from the novel James is writing. These two novels, while different, follow a similar path, converging at the end.
The main character James creates for the novel within a novel is an unnamed investigator. He’s neither a detective nor a policeman; just a guy who “likes to help out,” created in the mold of the typical everyman who was a staple character of film noir movies favored by Hollywood in the 1940s.
In those films, an unsuspecting salesman or husband or store clerk finds himself involved in a murder, shady deal or blackmail scheme. He’s usually the pawn of a dame, or a femme fatale or a “nice” girl, in an adventure that takes place in the darkest of nights in the seediest sections of downtown [fill in name of city here].
I love film noir — especially when the story takes you down an unexpected path, where the person you thought was the main character suddenly disappears only to be replaced by someone completely different. These are the kinds of stories where Lucille Ball plays an unsuspecting secretary, Ralph Meeker seeks a suitcase that contains a certain glowing something, or Robert Ryan stands there with a clenched jaw.
I tried to bring that gritty, dark quality to the novel within the novel — the unexpected, the unknown and the unpredictable. I filled this part of the book with a rich cast of characters including a notorious gangster, a gorgeous raven-haired dame, the beautiful young boy whose love was his undoing, a young doctor whose specialty is cancer research, the cleaning lady with a secret addiction, the struggling piano player who just wants to keep his nose clean, the gum-popping pawn-shop clerk and the sultry Chinese apartment manager who tries to hide behind the mysteries of the Orient.
The tradition of a rich cast of supporting characters continues in the second James Murray Mystery called “Sabotage at RKO Studio,” and the third book called “Abduction at Griffith Observatory.” I plan to give life to more of the unusual and unexpected for at least two more books in the series.
So, come along for the ride — but be careful: it’s a long way down from the observation deck atop the brand new Los Angeles City Hall!

Author Bio

Christopher Geoffrey McPhersonIn more than three decades as a professional writer/journalist, Christopher has covered myriad subjects and interviewed thousands of people from the famous to the unknown. He brings his years of experience to each one of his novels.

Every work is different. Through reading his novels, you can visit the American home front in the 1940s, a future San Francisco wiped out by a killer earthquake, a romantic love affair in post-war Paris in the 1920s, a future planet where the major industry is making babies — or an exciting detective series set in 1930s Los Angeles.

In his career, his work has appeared in daily newspapers, monthly magazines, extensively on radio and the occasional dalliance with television. He has written advertising copy and radio commercials — and continues to write.

Christopher is currently working on a series of novels that take place in 1930s Los Angeles called “The James Murray Mysteries.” Books in the series are “Murder at Eastern Columbia,” “Sabotage at RKO Studio” and the newest “Abduction at Griffith Observatory.”

Other works featuring his byline include “The Babi Makers” — a science fiction tale about a world where the most important resource is babies; “Sarah & Gerald” — a novel about Paris in the 1920s; “Forever – and other stories” — a collection of short stories; “The Life Line” — the novel of the big one that levels San Francisco; “News on the Home Front” — a novel of two friends during World War Two; and “Mama Cat” — a book for children. Also, several short plays, a few radio plays and a boatload of radio documentaries.

For More Information

  • Visit Christopher Geoffrey McPherson’s website.
  • Connect with Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Visit Christopher blog.
  • More books by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson.
  • Contact the author.

About the Book

Murder at Eastern Columbia 2Los Angeles. 1931. Your name is James Murray. You are a clerk in the Junior Boy’s department at the swankest new department store in downtown. You want to be a writer, but there’s a Depression on. Suddenly, you find yourself trying to solve the murder of your best friend. Will you be able to find the murderer before it’s too late?

“Murder at Eastern Columbia” is two novels in one: two parallel stories, featuring two heroes, working two murders in two different versions of 1930s Los Angeles. Join James and his alter ego as they each try to solve the murder of the girl with sorrel-colored hair. Follow the twists and turns until the climactic scene atop the tallest building in all of LA: the brand new Los Angeles City Hall.

For More Information

  • Murder at Eastern Columbia is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Download at iTunes.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Read more about the James Murray Mysteries.

Book Review: The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash

hangingtreeTitle: The Hanging Tree

Author: Michael Phillip Cash

Genre: Ghosts, Novella, Horror, Dark Fiction

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Enter a world where spirits roam the earth in Michael Phillip Cash’s haunting new novella, The Hanging Tree. Set amid the eerie backdrop of Long Island, an area famously steeped in old legend, two young would-be lovers contemplate their future while visits from those who have come before them reveal the lure of fate…and the power of free will. At seventeen years old, Arielle’s relationship with her parents is slowly deteriorating. Angry and defiant, she is at a loss on how to cope with the tumultuous situation in which she finds herself. Arielle’s only comfort is Chad, an eighteen-year-old young man who seems to truly understand her struggles. Arielle and Chad meet beneath the low-hanging branches of what the local community has nick-named the “Hanging Tree”. An ancient and majestic landmark, it has long been rumored that the tree is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts span various centuries and vary wildly in age, but each one of them has one thing in common: their deaths are all somehow connected to the tree itself. As Arielle and Chad commiserate over their current situation and their precarious nature of their future, the spectral inhabitants of the Hanging Tree witness their conversation. One by one,the ghosts begin reminiscing about their own lives-and deaths- as they examine the inner demons with which their human forms long struggled. An eerie meditation on the oft-overlooked power of choice, Cash’s The Hanging Tree will stay with readers long after they turn out the light.

The Hanging Tree had decent enough prose, but the story itself was too familiar for me, it lacked originality. A couple of teenagers find themselves beneath a haunted tree, and are being watched by the specters occupying The Hanging Tree. While the teens face difficult decisions, the ghosts talk about their own lives and perils, and the reader finds out more about the origins of the tree, and the specters.

The ghost’s stories were a tad predictable, but at least they were more original than the overall premise. The old woman was my favorite ghost. She had an intriguing story to tell, and she had a fiesty personality. I enjoyed finding out more about the tree, and only figured out why the tree was cursed toward the end, although the reason was not very surprising.

The writing was okay, and the story was decent enough. I would’ve liked to see more original elements, but all in all it was an enjoyable read. Not scary though, so don’t go in expecting a chilling horror story. It does involve ghosts, but it’s rather tame.

Cover Reveal Party Rouse Me


We’re hosting the cover reveal  for contemporary romance “Rouse Me”. Take a look at the cover…

Rouse Me_ebook

About the Book

Alyssa Summers is not the kind of girl who cheats. Sure, she’s prone to over-indulgence. She spent years spiraling out of control before she checked herself into an eating disorder clinic. But she’s under control now. She spends her days locked in the prison of her apartment, waiting for permission from her fiancé, Ryan, to resume her acting career.

And then she meets Ryan’s business partner, Luke Lawrence. Tall, handsome, and disarmingly direct, Luke is the perfect temptation. There’s something so appealing about him, and it’s not just his big, brown eyes or his hard body. He’s witty, confident, completely apathetic to her engagement.

Alyssa knows Luke is after more than friendship, but she can’t resist his pursuit. The more time she spends with him, the more she wants him. But Ryan has done so much for her. How could she betray him? Even if she wants Luke more than she’s ever wanted anything. Even if this is the first time, in so long, that she’s wanted anything at all?


Author Bio

Crystal Kaswell is a novelist and screenwriter who writes love stories for grown ups. When she isn’t writing, she’s drinking tea, playing board games, or riding her beach cruiser around Los Angeles.



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