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Book review: D.M. Barr’s Slashing Mona Lisa (@AuthorDMBarr )

Camarin Torres, investigative journalist. Or at least that was the dream. She wanted to reviewmake a difference, be a champion for the underdog, and yet with university just a few weeks from over, she was the only person without a job lined up. That was until fate intervened with an unexpected encounter. But still, she had a vision of her future, and Trend, the guilt pumping, judgemental, you are how you look, magazine was so far from who she was and what she stood for. But it was a job, and the new owner seemed intent on remaking the image into something she could align herself with. In her own time she works on her story, the Blubber Be Gone murder, determined to expose the killer and give them a voice, little does she know how dangerous a path she walks.

Slashing Mona Lisa is a well conceived, well constructed, murder mystery by D.M. Barr. Be prepared to be taken on an emotional journey of haters, shamers, and murder. You meet Camarin, and soon are rewarded with a deep insight into her character and motivations, the characters are as vivid as they are unique, from the cockney speaking Rachel, to the sassy room mates struggling to make rent. There is no end to the thrills in this book. The investigation is beautifully scripted, creating tension, danger and, with more and more bodies being discovered the deeper Camarin digs, urgency. This is one book you will not want to put down, you will find yourself wanting to see what happens next. Romance, love, danger, suspicions, murder, and mystery, all combined in one hell of a tale that also serves to make you more aware of the intolerances this world displays, and maybe, just maybe, realise the extent to which your own actions can affect others. A clear message in a gripping story.

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Book review: A.M Martin – Avery (@AM_MartinAuthor )

Avery had been happy, excited, full of joy and wonder. She was her father’s Rainbow girl reviewbecause she filled his world with colour and beauty. Until something stripped the beauty from her. Locked away physically and mentally she still sees the rainbow colours, but now they are from other people, she sees their emotions through ribbons, the very things she has locked away are on display. But she doesn’t care, she has escaped it all, neither happy nor sad about the empty vessel she has become. Until Jeff takes her home, a place where secrets and confusion will hold her in their grasp, a place she will need to embrace everything to survive. Her family had a secret, and as she comes to learn of the hidden world of shifters and bonds she finds a greater purpose, a reason to maybe try to tear down the defences she has so desperately fortified.

Avery is the first book in A.M Martin’s Wolf Rage series, and it will sink its claws into your imagination. Written in alternating character first-person perspective you are given a clear and vivid picture of the inner thoughts of key characters at critical times, sometimes even reliving the same scene through different eyes. There are some interesting and original ideas that are bound to please and leave you wondering what next? More questions form from answers as Avery’s own uniqueness brings about change and perhaps even a balance.

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Book review: James Musgrave – The Spiritualist Murders (@englishmajorpub )

Clara was one of only two women practising law in San Francisco, as such she had a lot reviewto prove, but she also had good instincts. Instincts that saw her befriend Adeline, a young woman she found in distress. When finally she returned to her senses, Adeline confesses to witnessing a murder, in fact, of the witnesses called she was the only who witnessed it happen, and yet she was refused the right to testify, why? Because she not only witnessed the murder, she heard the thoughts of the one committing it. The killer was set free, and Clara is determined to use Adeline and her perfect recall along with her ability to channel other people’s thoughts and memories to get to the bottom of what happened. But how can you prove something when your evidence is only the word of someone who could be called crazy? You search for evidence of course, but Clara must be careful, the killer believes he can control anyone, but why commit these acts in the first place, is it to show their power, or is there something else afoot?

Written in a style suitable for the era James Musgrave’s The Spiritualist Murders:  Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries book 2 delivers an intense and vivid scene of San Francisco in the 1880s. While I can’t speak to historical accuracy due to unfamiliarity, the feel of the work if very authentic to the time. Musgrave possesses an enjoyable narrative that will appeal to a mature audience, as well as those who enjoy a well-worded and conceived plot. As a murder mystery, you are of course asking yourself the how and why, and the spiritual twists gives this book a little something extra. Controversy, challenges, sexism, manipulation, and agendas both concealed and visible drive the mysteries and the characters forward in a novel that is bound to please lovers of the genre who are looking for something just a little bit different.

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Book review: Diana J Febry – Twisted Truth (@DianaJFebry )

Another boring fluff piece for the local rag put Megan on the trail of the story of a reviewlifetime, or at least that was the promise. The idea was to rejuvenate the image of a nursing home, but the staff weren’t the only ones to know of her upcoming visit. Through deception and carefully planned timing, suggestions of foul play are handed to her. Implications of a covered up crime involving people of such standing that the messenger feared there were few places he could turn. The seed of corruption runs deep, and there are those who would do anything to keep their secrets buried. Megan is determined to uncover the truth, but she’s going to need help, not only to uncover the mystery, but also to stay alive.

Twisted Truth by Diana J Febry is a gripping murder mystery that will keep you on your toes. Subplots and events really add to the feel you are part of the setting. Diversions, red herrings, hints, cover ups, and fabricated reports all add to the engagement, drawing you in, making you want to piece together what really happened, is everything as it seems, an innocent accident, or is someone covering up the truth for their own gains? And if so, what exactly are they hiding. Well written, captivating , with well-developed characters, this is a murder mystery you won’t soon forget.

available on Kindle Unlimited

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Book review: Jessica Dazzo – Super Me (@JessicaDazzo )

Faye had never felt like an ordinary teenager, but on her seventeenth birthday she reviewbegan to feel even more like an outcast. All her life she had worked, scrimped and saved every penny after paying the bills and buying the groceries for her and her mother. She never went out, brought new boots, or had much fun, all so she could buy herself a car and no longer had to take the bus to school and work. The day finally came to use it, and it was that day everything started. Humiliated by the actions of her brave new self she speeds away, destroys the car, but more concerning, she’s now seeing and hearing things that just aren’t there. Then there’s the string of obsessive boyfriends around her mother and her own confusion about the new people entering her life. Faye is a teenager all right, but she is about to discover she is so much more.

Super Me by Jessica Dazzo is probably best classed as a paranormal point horror book. Faye is a stubborn, determined character with the emotional ups and downs expected from the average teenager. Drama, questions, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal come together to form a young adult read that will keep you turning page after page until you get the answers you seek, why is Faye seeing and hearing these things, what secret is Lucan guarding, and why is she having a reoccurring nightmare? With a cast of believable characters, settings, and happenings you’ll be sure to enjoy watching events unfold. As the first book in the series it offers enough intrigue to tempt readers into picking up the next book when it is available.

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Book review: Joey Paul – Walk a Mile (@MsJoeyBug )

Hetti’s first day in the police started with murder. With her first scene came her first gut reviewinstinct. As the days progress more murders occur and there’s a nagging feeling she just can’t shake. The suspects beat the BF scans, something with a 99% accuracy not only that, but each time the suspect has been using a WAM, Walk a Mile, accessory. Her gut won’t be silent, she is certain there is a link, but she’s not even a week in, who would take her theories seriously, and how could she even prove something that had so many failsafe to prevent this could be flawed, or worse, being used deliberately as a tool for murder? Can she connect the dots and find the perpetrator before they set their sights on her?

I first came across Joey Paul’s work in her Dying Thoughts series, when I saw she had written Walk a Mile, I couldn’t help snapping it up. I am so glad I did. Here we meet Hetti, the main protagonist who is juggling complex relationships, family life, and a new career, to top it all off she’s connecting impossible dots, making enemies of both friend and families, not to mention the people in her new police career that have taken an instant dislike to a rookie being placed on the task force.  Walk a Mile is set in a time more progressive in both technology and views, but not so far that you can’t see where such things stemmed from. It is written in an expressive and engaging first-person narrative wrought with danger, questions, and a quest for truth. If you’re looking for a crime thriller that’s a little different then here it is, but be warned, once you’ve experienced Joey Paul’s writing, you’ll be hungry for more.

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Book review: Shane Lassetter -Veterans Affairs (@OutlastZombies )

John had lost both his parents to scum, and the law never brought justice. He lost his reviewmother first, his father raised him as best he could, and inadvertently gave him a passion for gaming, and a means to obtain his next contract. World of Warcraft was just that, a place where John could be contacted to continue his own war of the world of scum, those the law could not bring to justice. His military training had been part of his plan, giving him the skills he would need, and his passion for writing presented just the excuse he needed to travel. A writer by day, an assassin as the need arose. He could not bring back those lost, or undo the wrongs already committed, but he could stop them from happening again.

Veterans Affairs is the first in Shane Lassetter’s A John Parks Novel. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Sometimes it does the soul good to see the bad guys brought to justice, and the imaginative ways in which it can be achieved, not only through John’s training, but also through things he has watched and sought inspiration from. Veterans Affairs runs at a steady pace as we meet John, learn of his past, contacts, friendships, and plan, as we are drawn into his hectic life and building relationships. There is some great character and plot development which lead me to believe that this could be an enjoyable series for many books to come. Justice, judgement, vengeance, love, and Warcraft, what’s not to like?

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Book review: Johanna Craven – Bridles Lane (@JohannaCraven )

Isaac returned home to find his families’ graves had expanded further, he thought he reviewwas alone, until he heard of his sister, Scarlett, at the children home. He planned to leave her, thinking she would have a better life than he could offer, and yet he took her home. The problem about returning to his father’s land was he also obtained his debts, debts that were to be repaid via smuggling. Scarlett helped where she could, but on the night the dead ship arrives on the beach, things take a turn. Everyone knows a dead ship brings ill fortune, people turn to God and prayers, while Scarlett attempts to shelter the sole survivor, if anyone knew he had lived, his longevity would be limited. Unbeknown to her he has his own agenda, and she is just the person to help her fulfil it.

Bridles Lane is a historical fiction written by Johanna Craven. Written in the present tense it makes you feel as if you’re there watching history unfold. The characters are believable, three dimensional, each with their own stories and concerns. The plot revolves around the strong-willed Scarlett, as well as a small cast of well-designed characters. The writing is very atmospheric and easily draws the reader into a time of religions, fear, and superstition. This will keep you entertained and engaged beginning to end.

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Book review: Joey Paul – Dying Thoughts – Sixth Change (@MsJoeyBug )

Tara’s life had been full of change. She was nearly an adult now, she was willingly reviewattending higher education, she had friends, a goal, but there were a few things she could not change, her gift to see a dying person’s last moments, and the toll Adam’s actions and her past experiences had taken on her. Now, at college, she finds herself once more faced with horror as members of her social circle are drugged and abducted, barely escaping. It takes her to a place in her mind she would rather not be, a place she must willingly venture if she is to uncover the ones responsible. The abductor’s game is evolving, but so too is Tara’s gift. Can she overcome her fears and learn what she must before something even more terrible happens?

I have read every book in this series to date, and I have to say they just keep getting better. The Dying Thoughts series is easily one of the best examples of the first-person narrative I have ever encountered, and just as Tara ages from book one to six, so too does her monologue, and outlook, something clearly reflected in the ever-maturing voice written by Joey Paul. Trouble seems to find Tara everywhere and book six is no exception. New friends, new troubles, and new visions await, and the clock is ticking. This is an amazing series, but the books also work well as stand-alone, anything you need to know is skilfully recapped, and you’ll find it hard not to be pulled along with the vivid and unique characters who drive this adventure.

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Book review: Joshua Mason – Steam Whistle Alley (@WhistleAlley ‏ )

Jacob was a gamer through and through. Over the years he had made a name for himself in testing and bug finding in new VR games, so when he saw someone dancing down the reviewstreet, thrusting and parrying he recognised the moves. But what he didn’t know was why someone was doing them in the middle of town, instead of being secured in their rig. He’d heard of over indulgence causing difficulty separating in mind to real life, but something told him there was more to this. Boy was he right. The man had been bait, luring Jacob to exactly where the new Augmented reality game developers wanted him, their door. Alpha testing is in session, and with a prize for the winner beyond their wildest dreams, prancing around the streets looking a fool is the least of his concerns. Then again, when he first donned his goggles, he had no idea what he should have been fearful of. But he was about to find out, everyone is playing to win, but for some their prize is something completely different. Jacob must keep his wits about him, if he hopes to survive in tact.

Steam Whistle Alley is an excellent example of both Litrpg and steampunk writing. The AR is a fully immersive and interactive steampunk style overlay on a futuristic setting. I have to admit, this book had me hooked from the start. Action, adventure, danger and peril all presented in a tight story written with great imagination and flair. Beautiful descriptions will leave you in awe, while the futuristic technologies are to a degree that will sate a sci-fi lover, yet not overwhelm someone who doesn’t follow that genre. I loved how Jacob was a retro gamer, many of the things referenced are in my own collection. It is clear Joshua Mason has a passion for both gaming and writing, and it is one clearly evident in their work. A gripping fun adventure, and a brilliant start to what looks to be a promising series.

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