Book Review: Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders

24972267Title: Passing The Torch

Author: L.L. Sanders

Genre: Horror, Novella

Age Group: Young Adult and Up

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Deep in the Arizona desert live a girl and her dad, burying secrets—and bodies.
Mesa Kingston’s first memory of burying a corpse was at eight years old. Back then it had been the carcass of a large lizard her dad found that they buried in the backyard of their isolated cottage. At age fourteen, the body of a young lady accompanied the reptile’s remains, and ever since, an accumulation of female bodies began to grow. Now, the only way Mesa can stop the haunting screams of the dead is by drowning them out with flames. Or is there more to the blaze than even she can perceive?

Passing The Torch is a very short but dark novella about Mesa Kingston, a young girl living with her father. They often go to her father’s cabin to spend some time away from civilization. Yet, Mesa has memories of her father burying young women underneath the cottage. Each year, more and more women cry out to her from beyond the grave, and now, age eighteen, Mesa has decided to do something about it.

For such a short story, the author did a good job of fleshing out the characters. Mesa was intriguing. The other characters, police officers, her dad, were all sketched in a few short lines, but it worked.

The book is a novella, so it’s very short, and I wouldn’t have minded to read a full-length novel on this topic. As such, I found it an okay read but not long enough – too many details were missed, and it was slightly too abstract. Despite that, I did enjoy it and found it disturbing, in a good way.

Book Review: The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

27405533Title: The Night Parade

Author: Ronald Malfi

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .
They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .

Once again, Ronald Malfi’s writing totally blew me away in The Night Parade. This author knows how to write, how to make the words shine on the page, how to craft a story that stands out from others, and stays with you, long after reading.

David Arlen’s world has fallen apart. Wanderer’s Folly, a disease that causes daydreams, nightmares and delusions, is wrecking the entire world, turning people into zombie-like creatures, and eventually killing them. The disease spreads randomly, and no one knows how you get infected. What they do know is that the cure is hidden somewhere inside the body of David’s wife.

But now she’s dead, and the doctors who hurt her, now want his daughter Ellie, who holds the same miracle cure. But David isn’t willing to give Ellie up, not even for the good of mankind. They flee across the country, chased by the disease that strikes randomly, haunted by the remnants of human civilization.

Ellie is a wonderful little girl. She’s nine, and sometimes she acts like a child, sometimes more like an adult – but for her, it makes sense to act that way. She’s a very kind, loving, gentle child, and she touched my heart. David too was an intriguing character. Being the adult he’s left to make the tough choices, and since the book is told from his POV, we spend most time inside his mind, which I did enjoy – he was complex yet relatable.

The book isn’t exactly scary. For horror, it’s rather tame: you don’t get gore (not that much at least) or supernatural over-the-top scares. What you do get is a slow build up of dread. Even though it’s not scary, you do grow scared. The author manages to pull the reader into the story with such excellence that you become part of the story, you feel the dread David feels, your anxiety grows as things are revealed. You can’t just sit and relax: you have to keep on turning the page.

I already look forward to reading my next Ronald Malfi book.

Author Interview with Lisa Beth Darling

3c2printcoversmallHow long have you been writing?

Nearly 46 years, I started writing when I was in the 4th grade.

What is your favorite genre to write?

I don’t really have one, all of my stories center on a close relationship of some kind be it in a contemporary romance or a paranormal/mythological based book, there’s even a family drama, which we’ll discuss here in a moment. I like writing about people more than places or things.

Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

I’d probably like to try my hand at something historical from the Victorian Era a romantic mystery.

Please tell us about your book.

My latest novel, “Prodigal Son” is the fourth and final installment in the Sister Christian series. Here, Hannah Rice is well on her way to having her guardianship lifted and of course, her brother, Richard Mason, isn’t all that keen on the idea as he’s come to respect and love his sister and doesn’t want to let her go. However, letting her fly free into the arms of Nick Jackson is inevitable and Mason eventually comes around to that fact. If it weren’t for the shadowy figure stalking Hannah all would be well.

Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Within the Sister Christian series, my favorite character is Hannah Rice. She’s had a very hard life, but she’s sweet and vulnerable and nothing ever gets her down for too long. My least favorite is a character that hardly has any lines or makes much of an appearance at all because he’s dead at the start of the series, his name is James Rice, he’s the father of Hannah and Richard Mason. He was a very dastardly fellow with no redeeming qualities at all.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Although this is not a “Christian” or “religious” series, Hannah, despite all of her trials and tribulations, is still a devout Christian and her brother is a staunch atheist. I did my best to keep the focus on the characters in hopes that it wouldn’t come out preachy or cliché in some manner. It was a fine line to walk through four books.

What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I used to have a strict writing routine but then my husband moved away for work and only comes home in the weekends. I’m still getting used to this change. When I do write, I have to have my iTunes, a hot drink, a cold drink (potent, please), my cigs and my candles burning.

How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

“Prodigal Son” took about a year as do most of my novels.

Can you tell us about your editing process?

Once upon a time, I wrote with pen and paper and just flew through whatever story I was writing. Then I moved to a typewriter and did the same thing. Then the computer came along and brought me all these green and red squiggly lines. They’re maddening! I find myself adjusting/editing everything as I write rather than just forgetting about that and concentrating on the story itself. Editing is for when the story is done it’s not an as you go process. Yet, I can’t help it and it often gets me stuck in Editing Mode when I should be in Writing Mode. Once I do get to The End, I go back and read it, edit it, and then send it off to my lovely beta readers who will edit it more. They send it back, I drop in their edits and finally the book is done.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t give up on yourself, don’t let fear and self-doubt get in the way of telling your story. Once it’s done, rewrite, edit, submit, and don’t let the rejection slips get you down. It’s not a reflection on you or your story.

Why should everyone read your book?

Unlike most of my other novels, which are dark and full of sex and violence, the Sister Christian series is rather heartwarming and inspirational. It has its twists, turns, and dark family secrets, but in the end, with any luck at all, the reader will walk away from each installment feeling as though there’s some hope left in the world.

If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and VC Andrews.

What inspired you to write your book?

The Muse, all stories come from the Cosmos to pick their writers.

Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

Not yet, although I’ve been working off-and-on and several stories none of them have stuck just yet, I’m not the kind of person who can write more than one story at a time. After “Prodigal Son” is out in the world I believe we’ll be getting back to one of my favorite characters, Ares God of War, but with something outside of my OF WAR series.

Author Bio

Lisa Beth Darling is 49 years-old, lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of 30 years, Roy and is mother to their two daughters.  She is the author of more than fifteen novels along with several short stories and non-fiction books. When she’s not writing she likes to garden and is an avid movie buff.




Twitter: @lb_darling



Prodigal Son-Sister Christian Finale

When the Hour is Darkest Love and Faith Can Conquer All.

In the final installment of the Sister Christian Series, the Court has demanded a hearing regarding Hannah’s capacity. Hannah and Nick are falling deeper and deeper in love. Looking forward to a bright future together they begin planning their life together. A shadowy stranger from the past has set his sights on Hannah and her 3.5 million dollar trust fund. Is he really Rick MacNeill, the son Hannah thought died in the terrible fire at Saint Anne’s? Is he someone sinister? The last of the family secrets come to light in this roller coaster ride of suspense, love, betrayal, and faith.

Short Excerpt

“Oh, what am I doing?” She asked her reflection but it had no answers. “He’s so much better than I am. Just like Rick.”

The woman in the mirror just stared at her with a mixture of fear and bewilderment.

“This is crazy!”

Still her reflection only mimicked her.

Somewhere she heard a voice so real that it made her turn around then throw open the bathroom door to peer into the bedroom and the hallway to the living room.

Love is Crazy, it’s not sane, Hannah, it’s not logical. But it is real.

“Mama?” Hannah whimpered as she gazed into the empty living room, “Mama?” Holding tight to the gold locket around her neck she hurriedly ran her thumb over it. A week before her tenth birthday, she’d been sewing a quilt with her mother and asked her how she’d know when she was in love. Mama had said that love was crazy, it wasn’t sane, it wasn’t logical, but it was real and

You’ll know it when your heart beats faster than a hummingbird’s wings.

Every time she saw Nick or talked to him on the phone, even when she sent him emails on her vacation and then waited for his reply, her heart beat so rapidly she thought it would burst in her chest. That was at least as fast as hummingbird’s wings. “I think I love him, Mama,” she whispered to no one, “how do I know if he loves me?”

To that, there was no ghostly answer as it wasn’t a topic they’d discussed that day as they sat quilting outside, under the big oak tree, in the bright sunshine.

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Book Review Children of Swan by Coral Walker

ChildrenofSwan_CoverTitle: Children of Swan
Author: Coral Walker
Genre: YA fantasy/scifi
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

It seems that nothing could be worse than waking up one morning to find their parents have disappeared and their young brother Bo bawling his eyes out, but for Jack and Brianna, the squabbling teenage sibling rivals, the worst is yet to come.

Much to the bafflement and distress of their children, Marcus and Zelda have actually returned to their home planet, Cygnore. Marcus and Zelda, the runaway prince and princess of Bara and Rion, had a life on Earth. For twelve years, they lived happily and peacefully under the name of ‘Goodman’.

Bo is kidnapped. In hot-headed pursuit, Jack and Brianna plunge into a wormhole that takes them to Taron.  Little did they know their impetuous arrival in Taron has placed the lives of their parents in peril. Locals catch them and bring them to an arena. In bewilderment and dismay, Jack finds himself fettered to a wall and examined by a smouldering-eyed and blue-skinned young woman of Bara, Lady Cici.

Lady Cici, the daughter of Lord Shusha, has come to the arena for one and only reason — to have them killed. She is to be engaged to Prince Marcus, their father, and she cannot afford their existence to jeopardize Marcus’ life and her forthcoming engagement.  She must have them killed, and the arena, where slaves routinely fight to the death, is the perfect place.

In Children of Swan, three siblings wake up one morning to find their parents gone. Jack and Brianna are two teenagers, but their brother Bo is much younger, and needs their care. Especially when they find out their parents returned to their home planet, leaving them alone.

Matters grow even worse when Bo is kidnapped. Jack and Brianna usually don’t get along – typical sibling rivalry – but they’ll have to learn to work together to save their little brother. A wormhole takes them to Taron, in pursuit of their brother’s kidnappers, but going to Taron endangers the lives of their parents – and themselves.

Jack and Brianna are placed in an arena where they have to fight for their lives.

I quite enjoyed the story, especially from the moment Jack and Brianna arrive in Taron. It’s a violent world, with slaves, death, arenas, torture, and reminded me of the Roman Empire back in the day. The siblings have to fight some fantastical creatures, and the book is an excellent blend of fantasy and scifi. I was impressed by the world building.

One tiny thing is that I had trouble connecting to the characters. For me, they didn’t really grow or change throughout the book. However, this is only book one in the series, and I’m sure they’ll do lots more growing up in the next books. I look forward to the sequel.


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Waiting on Wednesday (51)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerley anticipating. These can be debut novels, sequels, eBooks,…as long as they aren’t released yet.

Click HERE to view all my ‘Waiting on Wednesday‘ posts.

I’m waiting for…

Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy

In the third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, Mare is forced to play a psychological cat-and-mouse game with an old and deadly enemy, where the stakes are not only the future of the Red Rebellion but the sanctity of her own mind.

Add on Goodreads.

I loved Red Queen. Glass Sword not so much, though. Yet I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this series. What are you waiting for today?

Book Review: The Boston Strangler by Gerold Frank

30845340Title: The Boston Strangler

Author: Gerold Frank

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the Edgar Award: The definitive true crime account of Boston’s most notorious serial killer—and the exhaustive manhunt that ensued in the wake of his rampage.
On June 14, 1962, twenty-five-year-old Juris Slesers arrived at his mother’s apartment to drive her to church. But there was no answer at the door. After waiting a half hour, Juris shoved his way inside. He found fifty-five-year-old Anna Slesers lying on the kitchen floor, dead, the cord of her housecoat knotted tightly around her neck and turned up in a bow.
Between 1962 and 1964, twelve more bodies were discovered in and around Boston: all women, all sexually assaulted, and all strangled—often with their own pantyhose. None of the victims exhibited any signs of struggle, nothing was stolen from their homes, and there were no signs of forcible entry. The police could find no discernable motive or clues. Who was this insane killer? How was he entering women’s homes? And why were they letting him in?
More than a gripping chronicle of an American serial killer on par with Jack the Ripper, The Boston Strangler is a shocking story about what happens to a city under a siege of terror. Drawn from hundreds of hours of personal interviews, as well as police, medical, and court documentation, author Gerold Frank’s grisly, horrifying, and meticulously researched account was awarded the Edgar for Best Fact Crime.

I first heard about The Boston Strangler – the man, not the book – through a true crime TV show, the name of which I can’t recall. However, even back then, I was wary of Albert DeSalvo being the murderer. DeSalvo wasn’t a good guy by any means, but capable of such murders? And why? Anyone who investigates the strangler case knows that it’s a weird one: eleven (or thirteen) murders by strangling, using nylon stockings tied around the victims’ neck.

The first victims were middle-aged to elderly women. The second group of victims were young girls, twenty-somethings. Killers don’t just change their target victims overnight.

Gerold Frank’s book is an in-depth investigation of the murders. He starts by describing the victims, what happened to them, possible suspects, and the first half of the book reads very well. The cases are gruesome, so the book isn’t for the squeamish or faint of heart, but it provides an interesting insight into the profile of a man capable of such killings. Psychiatrists, profilers, people used to working on serial killings, all come up with a profile that doesn’t even closely resemble the man eventually charged with these murders.

Then for the latter half, the book focuses on Albert DeSalvo, his confessions, the trial that confined him to stay in Bilgewater Hospital for the rest of his life.

The book has a phenomenal wealth of information, now just from the victims, the alleged killer, the police forces, but also from psychis who were brought in to work on the case, regular people in Boston describing the fear that gripped the city, and more. The writing flows well, at least for the first part. I found that the second part dragged on much longer, and became slighty repetitive.

Either way, if you want to get a more in-depth knowledge of the killings that haunted Boston from 1962-1964, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Teaser Tuesdays (55)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Books and a Beat. In this meme, we grab our current read, open it to a random page and share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page with our readers.

Click HERE to view all my ‘Teaser Tuesdays‘ posts.

Here is my teaser:

“When Moll was taken, on that day, she said something to me before she went. I’ve never told you before. It just sounded so odd.”
Kate’s eyes snapped open, bright pearls in her orange sandy face.
“She said, ‘Daddy, can we pay the ghost?'”

~ p. 7 Pay The Ghost by Tim Lebbon

What’s your teaser for this week?

Promo Post Graham and Giveaway

Book Excerpt

Graham.v6I’m coasting through town and hit the red light right beside the damn grocery store. Off in the distance, I spot a girl getting out of a powder-blue car. “Son of a …” Beeep! Yeah, some asshole behind me is honking because the light’s green. I flip him off and turn into the one place I should probably avoid for life.

Zooming into a spot next to her car, I park and get out. She hasn’t noticed me. She’s hunched over, digging out something from inside her trunk.

“Why are you still here?” I ask.

She flinches. I watch as her back stiffens, and then she turns those baby blues that I swear possess the sea onto me. “I … had to. Why are you here?” Her tone is defensive.

“We’re not talking about me right now. We’re talking about you. Did you not get your trust fund or something?”

She lowers her lashes. “That’s my business.” She shuts her trunk, slings a backpack over her shoulder, then turns away from me. I grip her arm to stop her from leaving. With a fiery glare, she snaps, “I’ve got to go to work.”

I don’t loosen my grip but, instead, snort. “Been working here long then?”

“I don’t have time for pop quizzes. I have to clock in.” She jerks herself from my grip and begins to walk. “Good-bye, Graham.”

“I’m not finished.”

She pins me with a piercing stare. “Well, I am.” Then she stomps off into the store.

I run my fingers through my hair. That damn girl. I want to kiss her and bend her over her car. I want to nail her to the wall and make her scream my name. And why the hell do I also want her to be in that ugly-ass cashier uniform? I’ve got no idea, except that she makes it look hot as hell.

I check the time on my phone. Shit. I need to be at my appointment in twenty minutes. Guess I’ll have to talk to her later.

About the Book

Graham Nichols’s main goal in life is to forget. Getting high, completely wasted, and running through a string of sexy blonds daily helps him achieve this task. But one night of partying lands him in a heap of trouble and sent back to the confinements of his hometown. Things can’t possibly get worse, right?

Sarah Morris can’t seem to run fast enough away from her past. She’s spent months trying to amend her ways, and is doing a pretty good job. She’s getting good grades, isn’t acting like a spoiled brat, and even works at the local grocery store. The last thing she needs is a distraction.

Enter Graham Nichols, the one mistake Sarah can’t escape.

Buy on Amazon.

Author Bio

Natalie Decker is the author of the bestselling YA series RIVAL LOVE. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a huge Denver Broncos fan, loves football, a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and misses her dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!



Win a $10 Amazon gift card and eBook copy of GRAHAM.

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Book Tours: Starter Day Party What’s Left Of Me

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for contemporary romance “What’s Left Of Me”. Enjoy the tour!

Tour Schedule

July 26th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

July 26th: Promo Post @ Stormy Night Reviewing

July 27th: Promo Post @ Passionate Encounters

July 29th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

July 31st: Promo Post @ Underneath the Covers

August 2nd: Promo Post @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

About the Book

WhatsLeftofMe_jacket2 Title: What’s Left of Me

Author: Jennifer Loring

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Recovering from years of living the superstar hockey life wasn’t easy, but now Aleksandr Volynsky finally has everything…

 He’s married to the love of his life, expecting a daughter, and has a new job as an assistant coach with his old team, the Buffalo Gladiators. His happiness is short lived, however, when a sexual assault allegation surfaces, and Alex is forced to cooperate with an investigation for a crime he didn’t commit.

Stephanie Hartwell is juggling her dream job with marriage and motherhood, but she’s not convinced she’s doing any of it well…

 Stephanie’s stress level goes from bad to worse when she’s diagnosed with a serious illness. Battling declining health and the critics who question her commitment to Alex in light of the allegation, she makes a decision that could change their relationship forever.

Alex is afraid he’s about to lose everything—especially when he sees Stephanie’s friend kiss her…

Devastated that his life is spiraling out of control again, Alex turns to his friend, Natasha, a Russian pop star. Convinced that Stephanie and her friend Brandon are having an affair, Alex resumes his self-destructive behavior.

What Alex doesn’t know is Stephanie has been conducting a secret investigation of her own. She learns the truth behind the sexual assault—a truth no one, especially Alex, expects.

With everything now out in the open, can Stephanie and Alex commit to a fresh start for the sake of their daughter, or will the ghosts of their pasts finally tear apart everything they have left?


Author Bio

IMG_1625 copyJennifer Loring’s short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies, including Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales from the Lake vol. 1 and Black Mirror Press’ Snowpocalypse. She has also published a novella, Conduits (DarkFuse, 2014), and two novels, Those of My Kind (Omnium Gatherum, 2015) and Firebird (Limitless Publishing, 2015). What’s Left of Me (The Firebird Trilogy #2) releases in July 2016. Three novellas are forthcoming for 2016 as well. Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds.








Amazon Author Page

Buy the book on Amazon.

Book Review: A Knight with Grace by Laurel O’Donnell

O'Donnell, Laurel- A Knight with Grace (final)Title: A Knight with Grace
Author: Laurel O’Donnell
Genre: Historical Romance
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Grace Willoughby defies her father’s orders to marry Sir William de Tracy and escapes with a friend. She has no intention of wedding a cursed man, a man ostracized from the church, a man who would only doom any future children they might have to the fires of Hell. She prays for a knight to rescue her.

Excommunicated and outcast for a horrible crime in his past, Sir William de Tracy searches for forgiveness. Marriage has never crossed his mind until Lord Willoughby commissions him to retrieve his fleeing daughter and honor the dying wish of his father by marrying Grace.

But things are not as they seem. And when an assassin tries to kill Grace, William must choose between his soul and the woman he has come to love. Can William and Grace overcome their past and find the redemption and love both are so desperately seeking?

In A Knight with Grace, Lady Grace Willoughby is quite sure of the fact she does not want to marry Sir William de Tracy. Her main reason for not doing so is that he’s a cursed man, ostracized from the church. He’s been excommunicated because of a horrible crime in his past, and Grace wants nothing to do with him.

William on the other hand, is desperate for redemption. When he’s ordered to retrieve Grace, and an assassin tries to kill her, William realizes he has growing feelings for the woman. And Grace too starts to feel something for William. Can they overcome the past, and find love together?

I didn’t want to spoil too much of the plot, but there is a lot of intrigue going on and secrets that could hurt William and Grace’s relationship, let alone the assassin out to hurt her. The writing is fast-paced and flows really well. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop.

The author did an amazing job crafting both Grace and William and making them realistic and enjoyable characters. They also had a lot of chemistry. The setting was detailed, and it was easy to imagine yourself being there as a reader.

A suspenseful, thrilling historical romance that I would recommend to all fans of the genre.