ISSUE 9 | APRIL 2017
Cris & Clare Meyers Anna James Christine Rees Nancy DeRosa Amy Hale Ben Hammott Rhonda Frankhouser
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Featured Author Isabel Jordan
Comprehensive Review Dance of the Butterfly Scott Carruba
Short Story Blind Trust
by Paul Moore
Peloquin New Feature!
Author Giveaways! Anna James
Ben Hammott Win an eBook!
Uncaged Fang-Freakin-Tastic Myra’s Horror Blog Amy’s Bookshelf
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Playing with Fire • Reviews of Playing with Fire, Fly by Night
Interview • Stay Connected • Preview from Keeping Her Guilty Secret • Reviews of Keeping Her Guilty Secret & A Love Worth Saving • Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Preview of The Hidden Legacy • Review of The Hidden Legacy • Author Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Food for Thought, Second Course • Reviews
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Shadows of Jane • Reviews of The Shadow Trilogy
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Ice Rift • Reviews of Ice Rift & Ice Rift Salvage • Author Giveaway
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Return to Ruby’s Ranch • Review
Issue 9 | April 2017
comprehensivereview ScottCarruba Uncaged in-depth review of Dance of the Butterfly
with Andy Peloquin
How Uncaged helped and what he’s been up to since we last chatted with him.
Excerpt from Semi Broken
Joan Cimaglia gives us a sneak peek of Nightclub in Elm Tree
Blind Trust 51 Paul Moore
authorgiveaways 24 Anna James
29 Christine Rees 2 Winners!
6 Editor’s Desk 7 Bargain Bin 34 Best Seller Lists 79 New Releases 80 Uncaged Reviews 94 Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews 98 Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews 102 Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
63 Ben Hammott 3 Winners! Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Welcome to Issue 9, April 2017 - Uncaged Book Reviews! This month, dig in to our featured authors: Cris & Clare Meyers, Anna James, Christine Rees, Nancy DeRosa, Amy Hale, Ben Hammott and Rhonda Frankhouser I can’t thank them all enough, for sharing their talents with us. Fang-Freakin-Tastic also brings Uncaged a feature author with Isabel Jordan! We also have a wonderful short story for you this month from Paul Moore, called Blind Trust.
Celebrate our Featured Authors with giveaways from Christine Rees, Anna James and Ben Hammott. Enter to win some great prizes and you may just find a new favorite author! Uncaged brings a new feature to April’s edition, with Catch Up, where we will catch up with a past Featured Author and see what has happened since they were here. This month, we will Catch Up with Andy Peloquin! A second new feature this month, is our Comprehensive Reviews. This is a down and dirty, in-depth review of a book, all the nitty gritty nuances brought to you by Kaitlin. This month she dives into Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba. There are also reviews from Uncaged, Fang-Freakin-Tastic, Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews and Amy’s Bookshelf! Uncaged now has a Facebook Share page - you may share websites, books and promotions (keep it related to books please) once per day, per member. Conversations are encouraged! Our reviewer Jennifer is your wonderful moderator. Authors can now submit a Short Story, and in return, I’ll give space for either a full page ad, or a 1-page Sneak Peek of a book for an approved story. You can read more about that here. Because of the amount of work on our small farm, from May-September, there will only be 6 Featured Author slots per month during this time. Get your requests in early. And that won’t be all! There are a lot more new features coming. I will soon be offering free web features for those that support Uncaged through advertising. The Featured Authors that are promoted in Uncaged, is a FREE service to authors. The only requirements being that Uncaged has read at least one of the author’s books, and that I ask that the authors share the magazine with their networks. Read about that HERE. Uncaged is supported through advertising. Please see the Advertising in Uncaged tab on the site for more information on how you can advertise in the magazine and support the Uncaged mission to promote authors.
All inquiries: UncagedBooks@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org So thank you and enjoy the April issue of Uncaged Book Reviews!
Bargains, Free Reads & Giveaways On any day, you can go to Goodreads and find author giveaways. Great way to discover new authors and enter to win free books, both print and eBooks.
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This site will sniff out all the free eBooks being offered on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon. Choose the site you’re looking for in the drop down list. I’ve found many new authors in Amazon’s freebies, but sometimes searching can be daunting. This site helps narrow down the search. http://www.freebooksifter.com/ FreeBooksy.com
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If you’d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Nightclub on Elm Tree Nightclub on Elm Tree Joan Cimaglia Fantasy
Meet the memorable characters of a special and secluded place high up in the elm tree for private members only. Enjoy the array of unique and dazzling personalities and learn about what really happens as they commingle at their Copacabana nest during the summer nights underneath the stars. From the chatty spider to the cautious owl to the abstinent praying mantis, discover a secret world and thriving entity that exists right outside your door.
About the Book Written as a poem in four-line stanzas, the story is about the multitude of memorable characters that retreat to the their hot spot in the elm tree where they can let their hair down and live the lush life together. Miss Spider, a veteran of the tree, narrates most of the story during her encounter with Mr. Owl, a newcomer, as she introduces him to each of the characters, while adding her spin on the story behind them. From the loopy hummingbirds and flamboyant dragonflies to the holy praying mantis and ominous hawk, we get a glimpse of each personality that colors the tree with their own
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uniqueness. The story poem is intended to open up minds of young readers, allowing them to unleash their imagination and arrive at their own interpretation of content, characters and social messages.
US Review of Books “Mr. Owl’s getting antsy and just might fly the coop, so Miss Spider better speed it up and dish him out the scoop.” This is a delightful poem about the secret lives who visit the elm tree after dark. The title is a clever play on the well-known film, Nightmare on Elm Street. While this is no horror story, it does take place in the oft-times brutal world of nature, where survival of the fittest dictates fate. The story starts off with the narrator introducing the beautiful elm tree that rests just outside her door. From there, the readers are given a private peek into the covert beings that visit the tree. The cicadas, in adorable scarves and big smiles, start the poem off by celebrating happy hour. Evening falls and we are introduced to Miss Spider greeting the night owl, who laments about his travels and hidings from thieves and ne’er-do-wells. Happy to find a friend for the night and desperate to keep the owl’s company, Miss Spider cheerfully delivers commentary on the nightlife around her. She begins with the flamboyant, brightly-colored butterfly and continues on to the night beetle, who meets with some investors. Yellow jackets, bullfrogs, and blackbirds (to name a few) follow. The illustrations reflect the poems with clever whimsy and are sure to make children and adults alike smile. The “Phantoms of the Darkness,” for
example, are big, wide eyeballs hovering in the night sky. The queen bee flaunts her stuff in a pink tutu while the other (male) bees admire her. The sweet turtledoves celebrate their wedding anniversary together in an adorable basket perched on a branch in the elm tree, and Mr. Grasshopper will inspire courage as he dares to drop to one knee and ask for his love’s hand in marriage. Other animals bring to attention the virtues of patience; the Mockingbird is once again flying solo while he awaits his lover’s decisions. This is a particularly good lesson in the current atmosphere of immediate gratification and personal technology. Before the narrator leaves us, she gives the reader a final lesson about gratitude with the praying mantis who is spellbound by the full moon. This is a beautiful image for the readers, encouraging all to pause and consider the beauty of the night sky. Finally, Miss Spider leaves Mr. Owl to ruminate over the stories she has delivered. Mr. Owl realizes that “there are none so blind as those who cannot see.” Overall, this is a unique and crafty book that encourages the reader to slow down and consider the nature around them. It’s a busy world up in the elm tree and it takes patience and unconditional love to be invited inside. The author explores themes of respect and inspires a celebration of the individual. Each one of the night beings have their own agendas, and none are more or less important than any of the others. And while some of these animals and insects are joyful and playful, others might be a little cranky or even lonely. No matter what kind of personality each of them have, all of the night beings are respected by Miss Spider. Inclusion is an important theme in this cheerful book.
About the Author Joan works for Corporate America but enjoys writing about fantasy and fiction in her spare time. She loves books, nature, poetry, the ballet, her surrogate cockapoo, Daisy, and the sense of ridiculous. Her stories and poems are inspired by the simple beauty of her surroundings and the subtle humor of everyday living.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Cris & Clare Meyers Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Playing with Fire Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Cris & Clare Meyers Cris and Clare Meyers are co-authors of urban fantasy. A pair of former English majors that got married shortly after graduating, they’ve been avid readers all their lives, and writers for over half that. In 2015, they took a path that some might call crazy and decided to write a series together. Playing with Fire, their debut novel and the first in the Criminal Elements series, was released in 2016. A blend of magic, shapeshifting, and the thrill of the heist, the series features a band of criminals who play by a supernatural set of rules. In a business where stealing, lying, and danger are normal, magic ups the ante.
C Uncaged was able to talk to Cris and Clare Meyers, a new writing team off to a great start in the urban fantasy genre.
Uncaged: So, instead of heroes that are fighting crime and evil in the paranormal genre, you instead give us the thieves – even though they are criminals to an extent, they are still fighting evil that is worse than they are. What inspired this story for you both? C&C: In a way, the characters did. The main characters of Playing with Fire came from a theoretical discussion over dinner. How we got on that particular subject didn’t stick with us, but the invisible thief and fire-slinging mercenary did. It was something different. As you pointed out, these aren’t your typical heroes, and exploring that side held a certain appeal. And since we’ve always enjoyed heist movies and at that point had concepts for two criminal characters, it felt like the perfect opportunity to see where it led. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all?
C&C: We read them most of the time. It’s interesting to see what people have to say about our stories, our characters. That being said, no, it doesn’t impact the story being told. Uncaged: As a writing team, how do you split the
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| CRIS & CLARE MEYERS | writing? It was very seamless, do either of you have strengths that the other doesn’t and visa versa that you use to an advantage? We write and edit as we go—Most of the time, one of us will write a section before handing it off. The other will then edit the new section before writing their own. That cycle continues throughout. There are also times where we’ll sit next to each other, writing and editing lines as they come to us. We’ve found that either method helps us blend our writing, as well as giving us both equal grasp of each character’s unique narrative voice—especially important since we alternate narrators throughout the series. It’s less that one of us is better at one aspect than the other, and more that just having that second authorial perspective working alongside you is an advantage in itself. Uncaged: How many books are you planning on in this series? At the moment, we anticipate the series will be either six or seven books. The final count will depend on how some of the later stories play out when we get there. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series?
acters and more stories to look forward to. We’ve always had a hard time picking favorites, but a couple of our ‘go-to’ authors are Benedict Jacka and Jim Butcher. Uncaged: What are some things you do when you aren’t writing? Like most authors, we do a lot of reading when not writing our own stories. We also enjoy going to live theatre and traveling, though we don’t get to do either of those as often as we’d like. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? The second book in the Criminal Elements series just released at the end of March. And we will be showcasing both published books at the Brain2Books Cyber Con in April. We’re also already working on book three of the series, which we are tentatively planning to release by the end of the year. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? We’d start by saying thanking them for supporting our work and hope they’ve enjoyed the stories we’ve published so far. After all, we’ve got several more books planned for the Criminal Elements series, so there’s a lot more story to come. We’re looking forward to it, and we hope they are too.
Lately, we’ve been reading a lot of fantasy with some sci-fi mixed in, and a lot of that by indie authors. We read a lot based on recommendations, and since getting involved with the indie community, our pool of recommendations has grown considerably. Most of what we read is part of a series. Finding a good series offers more than just a good book; it gives you time to really get to know the charIssue 9 | April 2017 |
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Enjoy an excerpt from Playing with Fire Playing with Fire Cris & Clare Meyers Urban Fantasy The rules are simple: Get in. Get out. Get paid. Loner Renee Devereaux is a thief with a lot to hide, and trust is a risk she rarely takes. Stone Anders is a mercenary and hitman, but being a hired killer isn’t fitting like it used to. But while they are criminals, they are anything but common. Renee and Stone are Talents, and their supernatural powers give them an edge in a high stakes business where one wrong move could be their last. It’s always just one job, and everyone scatters— sometimes in less than favorable circumstances. For Renee and Stone, that’s business as usual. But things change. A chance at revenge draws Renee and Stone into a job they know they shouldn’t take. The job: Steal a dangerous magical artifact before it can be used. Along with the deadline, they’ll have to deal with a loudmouth hacker with problematic connections, a rookie who still believes in ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ and a professional liar with a cat’s curiosity. Worse, something just doesn’t feel right. But this is their job. They have a reputation to maintain, a paycheck to earn, and a score to settle… Excerpt That was when they would make their move. 16 | UncagedBooks.com
Renee’s little taser spell would take care of some of the guards, and Stone himself would deal with two more. They would be in between the moving patrols so, if everything went right, the rest of the guards would be out of position to interfere. Until then they just had to stay down and out of view. … Or at least, that’s all they should have needed to do… Dammit. A car had just pulled up, and four people—three guys and one woman—jumped out. “We’ve got new players,” Stone whispered, turning to Renee. She immediately leaned around him to look for herself. “Merde,” she muttered, her eyes following the newcomers’ movements. “Hold a moment.” Rook’s voice came over their headsets again. “Wait, what?” “Give us a minute,” Stone ordered. He looked back towards the warehouse door. All four had fanned out and had positioned themselves at various points along the front warehouse wall. Perhaps Isaacs had arranged some Talented security after all. They certainly didn’t look like normal security guards, but they were clearly expected. Neither of the two guards at the door seemed surprised by their arrival. Hell, from their reactions, this wasn’t the first time these four had shown up. He glanced back at Renee, who was watching them and frowning. “What is it?” He wasn’t picking up on any Talent from the new arrivals, but he was far enough away that he probably wouldn’t. “We assumed they’d have magic defenses. We planned for this.” Renee’s eyes narrowed as she studied the four, shaking her head. “But those are not Talents.” “Are you sure? What the hell are they doing here otherwise? He’s already got security grunts,” Stone asked. He wasn’t exactly skilled in rituals and the like, but it certainly looked like they were setting up some sort of defensive magic over there. She raised an eyebrow at him. “I am. They are… pretending. Badly.” “I hate to interrupt you guys, but wanna tell me
| CRIS & CLARE MEYERS | what’s going on in there? I mean, if it’s not too much trouble,” Rook interrupted again. Renee didn’t say anything, instead returning to her study of the pretenders and letting him handle Rook. At the very least, they’d missed their first shot; they’d have to wait until the next guard switch. Much as he didn’t like Rook, Stone had worked with worse people. Though Rook was definitely in the top five jackasses he’d worked with. “We’ve got four new faces out here. It looks like Marcus is putting on a show for everyone. How’d we miss these guys? They’ve been out here before; the guards obviously recognize them.” “I did my job. I spent hours out there, mapping out security and checking for any magic on site,” Grace answered over the headset. “This is not magic. It is a play… for a captive audience,” Renee said. Her eyes never left the group by the door. “A show for the benefit of anyone watching…” There was a pause before Rook’s voice came back over the channel. “Dammit, you’re right.” “Did he just admit I was right?” Renee asked, turning momentarily to glance at Stone before looking back at the performers. They might not be real Talents, but that didn’t mean they could be ignored either. “Don’t get used to it,” Rook retorted. Stone shook his head. “So what’s the call? If we pull out now…” “Then we won’t necessarily get another shot, I know.” Stone glanced over at Renee and then back to the troupe. Variables were a problem, even exceptionally weird ones like this. The actors might not mean anything, but they were also one big question mark. He wasn’t in the habit of burning a job just because a single unknown entered the picture. “What do you think?”
Uncaged Review Playing with Fire (Book One, The Criminal Element Series)
This urban fantasy is a fun read, and different from most on the market. Most of the time we have the heroes saving the day, but in this series, we have very unique thieves, and the jobs that they do are complex and well written, with interesting characters that are not really “good guys” but they are better than the ones they are stealing from. Toss in some abilities known as Talents, and shapechangers, and you have a very interesting and well thought-out world. We meet Renee and Stone, both Talented and both very good at what they do. Renee has been on her own for a quite a number of years, moving around, doing jobs on her own, until Stone – a mercenary and an ex-hitman. After a job together in which Renee goes against her own rules and saves Stone. They form an alliance, and a romance (I guess – this is not an “in your face” romance by any means, you just pick up bits and pieces here and there). When they are teamed up with a rag tag group for a job, the intricacy of the writing shines. This is a very cohesive writing team. You cannot tell where one begins and another stops. There is some humor, but this is more of a plot-driven story, than a character-driven. Some of the strategy, although well written – was a bit long winded. This is a really good debut novel, but I’d like to see better character development and interaction to bond with the characters better. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Uncaged Review Fly by Night (Book Two, The Criminal Element Series)
The second book in this series brings back the characters from book one, but this time it’s written in the first person narrative of Rook, the computer hacker that seemed to get everyone in trouble in the first book. But this time, someone is out to kill him – and almost kills Medium in the process so he is forced to ask for help from Grace, Renee and Stone, who are still having a problem with him from the events of the last mission. On top of all that, Rook who is already a crow shapechanger, is having vicious headaches – hearing voices and noises that the only way he feels like he can calm down is by heavy drinking. But he’s really manifesting a Talent of empathy. Getting it under control is a whole new story, and he’ll need Renee’s help so he doesn’t go insane. As the narrative is written in Rook’s POV, there is a ton of sarcasm, swearing and his un-winning attitude in this book. The book is still heavily plot driven but there is a lot more character depth this time out. But if they were going to narrate from one character’s POV, Rook was the perfect choice. The action ramps up and the strategy is well thought out, much like the first book. But I liked this one even better than the first. After the first book, I wasn’t sure Rook would ever be accepted back into this crew, but you will find yourself rooting for him. Reviewed by Cyrene
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Fly by Night Cris & Clare Meyers Urban Fantasy The game has changed. Rook is a wisecracking hacker, a shapeshifter who prefers the name ‘were-crow,’ and former underling to a Talented crime boss. But as supernatural powers go, he’s no heavy hitter. After a job blew up in his face, Rook thought the worst thing he’d have to deal with was criminal unemployment. But when he starts losing his mind to mysterious voices, being broke takes a backseat. And once his apartment goes up in smoke, Rook knows he’s in trouble. Out of his depth and trying to dig his way out of a hole not entirely of his own making, Rook must put his survival—and his sanity—in the hands of people who have their own mysterious reasons for helping him. With trust in short supply and time ticking down, Rook will need to find a way to make this uneasy alliance work before even more of his life goes up in flames.
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Keeping Her Guilty Secret Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR | When you want to relax with a contemporary romance, look no further than Anna James. Uncaged is thrilled to have her here this month. Uncaged: The first two books in The Forever Yours Trilogy, are very nice romances, and even though they are shorter in length, they cover a lot of ground. What inspired this series for you? Did you get any inspiration from real-life circumstances or people? Anna James writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels with strong, confident heroes and heroines who conquer life’s trials and find their happily ever after. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), CTRWA (Connecticut Romance Writers of America), and CORW (Charter Oak Romance Writers). Anna is married to a wonderful husband who spends countless hours picking up the slack around the house so she can pursue her dream of writing, is the proud mother of five fabulous children, and a big, loveable rescue dog the entire family adores. Although she’s lived in several locations throughout her life she now calls Connecticut home. When not writing, reading, or plotting, she can be found spending time with family and friends.
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My inspiration for writing a series came from my love of reading books in a series. I love catching glimpses of the characters from previous books and seeing where they are now. As for real-life inspiration, the series is about three sisters and I am one of 3 girls in my family, but that’s where the comparison ends. I can say that one of the things I wanted to do when I was younger is design wedding gowns (Nicole Bradford’s dream – Book 1), and I have done a lot of sewing over the years, BUT after making my daughter’s wedding dress 2 years ago, I can honestly say I’m glad I went a different route! While the dress turned out great, and I’ll do another if either of my other daughters ever wants me too, it’s definitely not something I want to do for a living! Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read my reviews and I’m thankful that readers take the time to post their thoughts. It means a lot to me. It’s hard to say they influence my story because their reviews are for a book that’s already published, but I try to keep their thoughts in mind as I create new stories. Uncaged: When should readers expect the last book in the trilogy to release? Can you give us any hints about the storyline on that one? I’m not sure when book 3 will release. As for a
| ANNA JAMES | hint of the storyline… If you recall in book 1, Kate (the youngest Bradford sister) has the opportunity to study in Italy for a semester. She met sexy Rafe D’Onofrio. Book 3 is their reunion after circumstances tore them apart. Uncaged: Do you see yourself writing in other genres besides contemporary romance? Yes! I love romantic suspense and have written a few. BANKING ON LOVE is available now on Amazon. Two more, THE BUSINESS OF LOVE and CHASING MEMORIES will release later this year. I’ll be sending out news on when soon. If you’re interested in receiving news on new releases, contests and giveaways please sign up for my newsletter. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I love romantic suspense, paranormal and contemporary romance. Some of my favorite authors include Nora Roberts, Kimberly Kincaid, Sara Humphreys, Julia Gabriel, Ann Clement, Jael Wye, Victoria Hanlen, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jamie Beck, Laura Kaye… and the list goes on and on. And yes, I love reading books that are part of a series. Uncaged: What are some things you do when you aren’t writing? I’ve recently become hooked on restorative yoga and practice as much as possible. As always, I love spending time with my family and friends.
the lookout for THE BUSINESS OF LOVE and CHASING MEMORIES in the coming months and CHASING SECRETS, book 3 in the series, later this year or early 2018. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading my books. You guys are the best!
Enjoy an excerpt from Keeping Her Guilty Secret Keeping Her Guilty Secret Anna James Contemporary Romance Passion ignites between Nicole Bradford and Max Paradis the moment they lay eyes on each other, but despite the sizzling attraction and Max’s to-die-for kisses, Nicole is reluctant to get involved. She’s been burned by love before. Carlo had been her ideal mate but the dream became a nightmare when his drug-smuggling past was revealed. Now all Nicole wants is to get on with her life and keep the secret she’s been hiding for the last six years.
Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future?
Still, how can she resist the handsome and sexy Max when he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a man? And what will she do when Carlo returns and threatens to expose her ugly past?
My Forevermore series will continue! Be on
Nicole will have to trust Max with the truth if she Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | wants to win his love and get Carlo out of her life for good. If she doesn’t, Carlo could destroy everything that matters most to her. Excerpt He came closer and the heady scent of his cologne invaded her senses, making her lightheaded. She sucked in a deep breath and tried to steady her pounding heart. Yep, a whole lotta trouble, here. A smart woman would walk away. Nicole Bradford was a smart woman. Yes siree. She didn’t move. Instead, she reached out and stroked his cheek. His soft skin made her fingertips tingle. His lips parted. Blood roared through her ears, drowning out reason. Want—no, need—raced through her. Rising up on her tiptoes, she brushed her lips over his. Max pulled back and stared, probably as stunned by her action as she but before she had time to say anything, he crushed her against his strong, muscular body. His mouth moved over hers, devouring its softness. Wave after wave of pleasure crashed over her. The rational part of her brain begged her to stop this madness. She’d only met the man moments ago. But, oh my, the taste of his mouth and the feel of his hands in her hair and his citrusy scent— A sudden noise had her jerking away from him. Turning, she found her boss, Reed, standing in the doorway. Max uttered a soft curse. 22 | UncagedBooks.com
Reed chuckled. “Well, it looks like you two have met so I’ll spare you the introduction.”
Uncaged Review Keeping Her Guilty Secret
(Book One, Forever Yours Trilogy)
When you don’t have the time, or you just want to pick up a nice shorter read to break up your day, this book will satisfy that urge. A sweet romance, with a bit of mystery to it and not overly long, easily read in a couple hours in an afternoon. Nicole has been taking care of her two younger sisters since their parents died. Working two jobs and selling off items of her parents to pay for their education and putting herself last has been her normal for six years. One of her sisters, Ashley, is set to be married to the man that Nicole works for, and when Nicole meets her boss’ brother Max, sparks fly. But there will some highs and lows, and some secrets that will need to be told and taken care. And nope, you aren’t getting them from me. It’s a nice story, I was easily attached to the characters, even though it could have used more descriptions and there were a couple points that seem to jump a bit in the time frame, but the rest of the story was seamless and enjoyable. Reviewed by Cyrene
A Love Worth Saving
(Book Two, Forever Yours Trilogy)
Book two of this trilogy, brings back our characters from book one, and we learn more about Reed and Ashley, whose engagement helped spur on the romance of Max and Nicole in the previous installment. But the romance between Reed and Ashley was not as it appeared on the surface,
| ANNA JAMES | and if they can finally admit that they love each other and can save their marriage, well, that may be a hard sell. Another shorter story, and it was great to get to know both Ashley and Reed, and great to see characters come back from the last book. Both of the books in this series will satisfy the romantic in the reader, and give a nice afternoon break from reality. Reviewed by Cyrene
A Love Worth Saving Anna James Contemporary Romance Reed McNamara doesn’t love his wife, Ashley. Why invest emotionally when love doesn’t last? Theirs had been a mutually agreed upon fun and games while it lasted affair . . . until Ashley got pregnant. But tragedy strikes when Ashley miscarries and the sole reason for their marriage is lost.
the bank’s records. Ethan fell for Rachel 13 years ago, but she chose Ryan, his best friend since childhood. Now, after Ryan’s sudden and tragic death, Rachel is alone again. Seeing her brings back feelings Ethan believed died a long time ago. Worse, giving in to those feelings threatens to expose a secret Rachel should never know, one that involves Ryan and the past and might endanger her life. Rachel Sullivan is stunned when Ethan Montgomery suddenly returns to New York City after years away in Europe, and, heaven help her, those feelings she once had for him, before she had to marry Ryan, are back and stronger than ever. But being with Ethan is a conflict of interest and threatens to annihilate everything she’s worked toward over the last few years, including her independence and painstakingly rebuilt financial security destroyed by Ryan’s death. Will circumstances force them to once again sacrifice their true feelings, or will Rachel and Ethan conquer the odds and give love a second chance?
Reed must conquer past hurts and learn to believe in love again. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose Ashley, and miss out on a love worth saving. Banking On Love Anna James Contemporary Romance When Ethan Montgomery is forced to return home to run the New York City branch of Montgomery International, the last thing he expects is to find is that the Board of Directors have hired forensic accountant, Rachel Sullivan, to review Issue 9 | April 2017 |
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Sign up for Annaâ€™s newsletter between March 1 - 31, 2017 On April 1st, Anna will choose 3 new subscribers, to win their choice of prize! Newsletter Link Here. Choice of prizes below!
eBook or Audible!
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Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from The Hidden Legacy Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Christine is a 23-year-old Western University graduate and Sheridan College alumni, YA book writer and lover of all literature. Also an admitted movie addict, animal lover, brunch enthusiast and avid reader. Her first novel, The Hidden Legacy, is available now!
christinerees.com Christine Rees’ debut novel is The Hidden Legacy, an original young adult with paranormal elements. Uncaged:In your book, The Hidden Legacy, you take us back to high school. I have read several books now with the “gifted” slant and I’m sensing a trend in this direction. What inspired this story? Several things. The concept of teenagers coming into power is a fairly common theme in YA literature, but I think it is the different interpretations and styles that make each story have its own voice. I developed the idea for The Hidden Legacy 26 | UncagedBooks.com
in my second year of university. When stressed about school and tedious studying or long essays, I drifted towards fantasy, paranormal and suspenseful concepts. An escape from the mundane real world at times. I can’t tell you the exact moment I felt inspired to write this story because there were so many factors. From listening to stories about personal experiences with the unexplainable or the loss of a parent, I felt connected to the idea. Having the element of “gifted kids” made my writing feel freer, especially when I was completing school assignments at the same time. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I read every single review of my book because I love hearing what people have to say. What did they like about it, what didn’t they like, or maybe something they wish I had done differently, etc… I listen to their opinions because I can learn from them. Story writing is fluid. Yes, there are styles and structures you follow to an extent, but there is always room to improve and grow with storytelling. Anyone is welcome to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon. :) Uncaged: How many books are planned for this series? Originally this series was intended to be a trilogy; however, I am thinking there will only be one more book added (a concluding sequel). Uncaged: An underlying theme I felt reading the book, is that you need to accept and love yourself for who you are. Was this something that you deliberately had in mind or did it come organically? I am glad that theme came through. I believe everyone should love themselves because none of us are perfect by the rigid definition we have
| CHRISTINE REES | of “normal.” We all have our quirks, or as in The Hidden Legacy, special abilities and qualities that make us unique. Although I did not intentionally mean for the theme to come through, it is a strong belief of mine so I am not surprised it is transparent in my writing. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I mostly stick with YA fiction (specifically dystopian, fantasy, suspense and mystery genres). Right now I am reading “Passenger” by Alexandra Bracken who happens to be one of my favourite authors. “The Darkest Minds” by Bracken was so well done that it’s a regular recommendation to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels. Another author I am fond of is Ellen Hopkins who uses poetry to tell her stories in a way that brings a lot of emotion into her rather dark and realistic storylines. Lastly, I always give credit to Meg Cabot because “All American Girl” is the book that truly spawned my love for literature. She is a huge inspiration since each new series she comes out with is impressive and different. My favourite books are usually set in trilogies because I feel like they give you the most in a story and are wrapped up before it becomes too much for the reader. Although, there are definitely some stories I desperately wish had just one more book of, so I can keep reading about those characters, I typically prefer series that are about 3-4 books long.
Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I love to write at my desk surrounded by my favourite colour: mint. However, I do enjoy writing at local coffee shops, especially ones connected to book stores. I definitely listen to music while I write. As unusual as it may sound, music helps me navigate through my story. If I need to express anger or describe a fight scene, I might use rock music to help produce that. Music helps me to better envision my story as it progresses and I change song choices based on whatever emotion or scene is happening in that moment. Whether it needs something sad or extremely uplifting, I find that music helps to unlock that emotional side of writing. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I am working on many projects at this time. I am co-writing a guidebook with a college professor, which is definitely a little different, but I’m really enjoying it. I am also working through the editing process for a new dystopian series that I am very excited to share with all of you when it is ready! Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Thank you so much for your support and constant encouragement. It is truly a privilege to write stories that readers enjoy.
Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy a preview of The Hidden Legacy The Hidden Legacy Christine Rees Young Adult/Paranormal The curse of premonition follows Faye Lithyer, forcing her to witness death—over and over again. When Faye moves in with her grandmother in Astoria, Oregon, her visions grow stronger. Faye watches a new friend fall victim to a murder in the not-so-distant future and becomes obsessed with preventing it from happening. However, Faye’s insecurity has her undecided whether she should tell her friend about their impending death or hunt down the murderer before it’s too late. Faye will be faced with an epic choice that threatens to expose her abilities. Will she choose to save her friend from a monster or risk becoming one herself? Preview Unaware of my true surroundings, I felt my nails digging into the dirt. When my eyes adjusted I realized that I was on my hands and knees. Tears splattered the ground below me and my fingers were scratched from the rocks mixed in with the dirt. A few nails were broken too. Visions stole energy from me and this one was worse than most. I was weak and nauseous from the sudden intrusion. I gripped my stomach to hold back the overwhelming need to vomit. After a few minutes the feeling subsided. I looked up in recognition. This was where it was going to happen. That girl would be killed right 28 | UncagedBooks.com
here. I pulled myself up using the railing for support when I realized what this meant. Never before had a premonition happened on the site of a murder. Until now.
Uncaged Review Faye is an outcast at her school, and after her father dies, her stepmother takes her to live with her grandmother. Plagued by the gift (or curse) of premonition, Faye feels like she’ll never fit in anywhere. Having visions of people that she’s never met dying will not really draw people to you. But when she gets to her new school, and begins to make friends – and then finds out that she’s not the only one with abilities. But the abilities that draws these kids together, could be what rips them apart too. Her latest vision is seeing her new friend Rachel, dying. For the first time she knows the person and they are still alive. But she needs to get to the bottom of it to save Rachel’s life, and she’ll need all the help she can get. I’m not giving anything away, but this book is a home-run on all fronts. It started a tad slow, but when it picked up, it really picked up. I had a hard time putting this one down. The characters are likable, and the mystery and the twists that the book takes, surprises both the reader and the characters. I only predicted a couple things that happened in the book, and the pace was never let up. Great start to a series and I’m looking forward to the next one. Write Ms. Rees, write. Reviewed by Cyrene
| CHRISTINE REES|
Win a signed paperback copy of The Hidden Legacy with a bookmark from Christine Rees! Enter at Goodreads HERE. Enter between April 2 - June 11, 2017 2 Winners!!
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Dance of the Butterfly Dance of the Butterfly Scott Carruba Dark Fantasy
A modern dark urban fantasy, telling of two powerful families who uphold a secret duty to protect humanity from a threat it doesn’t know exists. Though sharing a common enemy, the two families form a long-standing rivalry due to their methods and ultimate goals. Forces are coalescing in a prominent Central European citycriminal sex-trafficking, a serial murderer with a savage bent, and other, less tangible influences. Within a prestigious, private university, Lilja, a young librarian charged with protecting a very special book, finds herself suddenly ensconced in this dark, strange world. Originally from Finland, she has her own reason for why she left her home, but she finds the city to be anything but a haven from dangers and secrets.
Uncaged Comprehensive Review by Kaitlin Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba is a book that includes elements of mystery and fantasy. It is a complicated book, and a very intelligent one; it is also very intelligently-written and edited, with a well-thought out storyline and equally well-thought out characters. I could go on for pages about how beautifully Scott did in the more technical aspects of his writing. His verbiage was elaborate and careful, each word a part of a bigger whole, easily envisioned. A lot of books suffer too much description, and some suffer 30 | UncagedBooks.com
not enough; Scott managed to tread that line very carefully, which I felt helped the book progress at a steady, but not sluggish pace. I may have found a single, easily-overlooked error, but no more. Whoever combed over this book in its editing stages did well, and a good editing job can be a very big deal in maintaining intelligence throughout the story. Additionally, it seemed to be very well-researched, which I also appreciate. The first two characters you are introduced to are Skothiam Felcraft and Lilja Perhonen. Before you even know their names, you know exactly what kind of people they are from their behavior and the observations of other characters. Skothiam is a scholar and a philanthropist, and secretly- a demon hunter. He is smart, resilient and calm, and throughout Dance of the Butterfly, he remains the same steady character. Lilja is, right off the bat, no-nonsense; she is very perceptive and she’s also a badass who is more than capabale of defending herself. She isn’t some hapless and helpless damsel waiting to be saved by some valorous white knight with sparkling teeth and good hair- no, Lilja is a heroine in her own right, and in Dance of the Butterfly, I feel that she is the one who takes center stage. Throughout the book, you are given glimpses of side characters and things happening elsewhere. At first, much of this seems unrelated, though you could certainly assume it would all come together in the end. You aren’t sure who the vigilante is, what will happen to them, what any of it has to do with the protagonists, or what a tweaked-out university dropout has to do with any of it. For a majority of the book, you are given only vague hints as to what is going on, and as someone who can usually predict the storyline of a book, I was genuinely impressed. I couldn’t foresee the outcome of the book, and gained suspicions about the nature of the characters and events at a pace that felt very
measured and deliberate on the author’s part. Scott Carruba strung me along, and I appreciate that. Many good books have a predictable outcome, but in my opinion, it takes a great book to so smartly guide the reader. As an aside, something I did not necessarily expect from the book going in was romance or sex. However, I can’t help but appreciate the relationship that forms between Skothiam and Lilja; the foundation of it is built on mutual interest and trust, without unnecessary, petty drama that is often used as a narrative tool to push characters into an unrealistic and forced romance. They are together because they are both consenting adults, and they stay together because they want to and are honest with one another. Something I really didn’t anticipate was the inclusion of BDSM, which I usually dread just because many authors do not know proper BDSM etiquette or even what it really is. However, with this book, I was pleasantly surprised. The protagonists experimented with it themselves and were very candid with one another; communication is the most important thing in any sexual relationship, but it is even more important in BDSM. Skothiam and Lilja establish a safeword, and at no point is either of them subjected to or forced to perform something they genuinely do not want to do. Now, by the time I reached the end of the book, I knew that its conclusion would decide whether or not it got a four- or five-star rating from me, and Scott Carruba did not disappoint me. It wasn’t the most flamboyant exit the story could have had, but I had hoped that it wouldn’t be, as it would have seemed uncharacteristic of the book itself. I almost feared that the ending would be too anticlimactic, but knowing that Dance of the Butterfly is the first book of a series, found myself very satisfied. It wraps up its loose ends and hands them to you in a neat little package, but sets up perfectly for a sequel. Additionally, when the shocking truths are revealed, none of the involved characters seem out
of place nor do they respond in an overdramatic fashion. Something many books suffer is overdramatic reactions when characters discover the others’ secrets, and I am glad that the author maintains the same intelligence and level-headedness in his characters as they deserve and have been shown to exhibit throughout the rest of Dance of the Butterfly. Overall, I think this book is an excellent read, and I couldn’t praise it enough. Scott Carruba is an exemplary author who writes a fascinating and detailed plot that holds the attention of the reader. Somehow without fail, he manages to walk the thin line between fantasy and reality, marrying both in a very believable fashion. I would absolutely recommend this book, and I would also recommend that more authors follow Scott’s example.
Born in Houston, Texas into the temporary care of a bevy of nuns before being delivered to his adopted parents, Scott discovered creative writing at a very young age when asked to write a newspaper from another planet. This exercise awakened a seemingly endless drive, and now, many short stories, poems, plays, and novels (both finished and unfinished) later, his first book, “Dance of the Butterfly”, has been published.
scottcarruba.com Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Best Seller Lists Week ending March 26, 2017
IndieReaders.com Best Selling Hard Cover
New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hard Cover 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
THE SHACK by William P. Young SILENCE FALLEN by Patricia Briggs DANGEROUS GAMES by Danielle Steel BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty A MAN CALLED OVE by by Fredrik Backman 6. THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts 7. BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN by Maya Banks 8. A DOG’S PURPOSE by W. Bruce Cameron 9. EXPECTING TO DIE by Lisa Jackson 10. CROSS THE LINE by James Patterson
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan Cole by Tijan The Werewolf Tycoon’s Baby by Celia Kyle Bad Boys Unboxed II by Various Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy When An Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow The Leigh Koslow Mystery Series, 4 & 5 by Edie Claire 9. The Irish Cowboy by D.W. Ulsterman 10. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
Barnes & Noble Best Selling Fiction
Amazon Best Selling Fiction Kindle eBooks 1. Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff 2. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan 3. Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman 4. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart 5. A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr. 6. The Second Oldest Profession by D.W. Ulsterman 7. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil 8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 9. A small Revolution by Jimin Han 10. The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles Vicious Circle by C. J. Box If Not for You by Debbie Macomber Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See 7. Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel 8. Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White 9. The Devil’s Triangle by Catherine Coulter 10. Man Overboard by J. A. Jance
Interview Excerpt from Gateway to the Past The Last Bucelarii Book 3
| CATCH UP |
Andy was a Featured Author in the October, 2016 issue of Uncaged. He is the author of The Last Bucelarii series, a dark fantasy set in a medieval world that is engaging and mesmorizing. This month, we are finding out what’s been happening with Andy since his feature. Uncaged: You were a Featured Author in the October 2016 issue of Uncaged Book Reviews. How was your experience being in the magazine? I loved the layout, and the design of the magazine made my cover and text POP. Amazing work of art! Uncaged: What kind of response did you receive? I got quite a few people interested in my works, including a few sign-ups for my newsletter and a few purchases. Sadly, not quite the millions of adoring fans I was dreaming of, heh. But it was such a great way to reach a new set of people I would never have been able to get in touch with on my own. Uncaged What can you share with us that you’ve been working on since the last time we chatted? Well, it’s been quite the busy six months (since August 2016)! In that time, I’ve released the first book of a new series, Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1); finished and am gearing up to publish the third book in my existing series, The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past; and have written the first drafts of both Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 2) and Queen of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 36 | UncagedBooks.com
3). I’ve also composed a few short stories, outlined new novels (including a dark fantasy murder mystery featuring the characters from both series), and more. Uncaged: Will you be attending any events this year to meet your fans? I attended ConDor Convention at the beginning of March 2017 and had SO MUCH FUN that I’m looking around for more events. I want to attend Comic Conventions and Book Festivals in my area (Southern California), but it’s all a matter of finding a place to go. But I’m the kind of author that thrives on meeting people face to face, so I’m going to do my best to get out as much as I can. I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels. Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
Enjoy an excerpt from Gateway to the Past Gateway to the Past Andy Peloquin Dark Fantasy The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past The Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria. He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans. Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories. Excerpt The Hunter peered out from behind the silent wagon. Good. No sign of Kellen or Graden. He’d have to keep an ear out for the caravan guards, but he should have plenty of time. The patrol had a lot of ground to cover. Grunting, he shifted the heavy load on his shoulder and darted out from the row of shelters, hurrying toward the outcropping of boulders he’d chosen specifically for his task. He ducked behind the boulders and hurled his burden to the ground. A grunt and muffled cry came from the bundle, and something squirmed within. He’s coming to. Good timing. The Hunter pulled back the canvas, and moon-
| ANDY PELOQUIN | light shone on Rill’s pale, sweat-soaked face and wide eyes. Blood oozed from a wound on the bald man’s temple. The Hunter hadn’t bothered to be gentle. “W-What?” Rill’s eyes darted around, and his gaze fell on the Hunter. “What is this?” The Hunter struck the man hard. “Justice.” Rill made to cry out, but the Hunter stuffed canvas into his mouth. “Ironic, isn’t it?” His fingers twitched a corner of the thick cloth. “You spend every waking hour stitching up canvas. Fitting that it will serve as your funeral shroud. There was more than enough of it around your area to wrap you up.” The bald man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled something through the mouthful of fabric. The Hunter shook his head. “Better you don’t speak. Nothing you say can change what’s coming. Best you die with a bit of dignity. Watcher knows you had little enough while you lived.” Soulhunger, sensing blood, pounded louder in his mind, and the demon added its eager demands. “I never understood men like you, knocking around your women.” He squatted on his haunches. “Just doesn’t make sense.” Rill tried in vain to shout through his gag. The Hunter narrowed his eyes. “Did you know there is a special hell reserved for your kind? Those who take advantage of the helpless.” He slipped Soulhunger from its sheath, and held the glinting blade before Rill’s eyes. “You may tell yourself she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want.” He leaned forward, and his voice dropped to a low growl. “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.” Rill’s eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned pleading. The Hunter shook his head. “Save your excuses for the Long Keeper. You’ll be with him soon enough.” Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| CATCH UP | With a vicious smile, he drove Soulhunger through the canvas and into the man’s chest. The gag muffled Rill’s scream, but the dagger’s shriek echoed in his head with mind-numbing force. Soulhunger’s gem flared, red light bright in the darkness. The Hunter grunted as a finger of fire etched a line in his chest. Power coursed through him, setting his muscles twitching, flooding him with life, and pushing back the voices in his mind. Slowly, the brilliance leaking from the gemstone faded to nothing, and Rill’s screams of agony and terror fell silent. The Hunter basked in the stillness of the night. A soothing breeze washed over him, the chill soothing the burning of his new scar. Glorious silence echoed in his head. The voices had been sated. He had peace, for a time. He straightened and stared down at the bundled corpse. Perhaps the Long Keeper will have mercy on you. An image flashed through his mind: a pitiful figure huddled at the entrance to Rill’s tent, covered in filthy rags and reeking of blood and coitus. Rill’s desire to punish Gwen had made it easier for the Hunter to slip in, knock the fat bastard out, wrap him in his own canvas, and slip out unnoticed. The man’s absence wouldn’t be discovered until morning. Few would care. He took a deep breath, relishing the cool scents of the desert at night. He would wait a few minutes until he was certain Graden and Kellen had passed, then he would dispose of the body, bury the canvas, and slip back into camp. Without the voices shrieking and pleading in his mind, he might even be able to catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the morning breakfast bell. Tonight would be a good night. ~~~~
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Don’t miss the first two books in the series:
Blade of the Destroyer (Book 1) Andy Peloquin Dark Fantasy 5 Star Review from Uncaged The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin:
Ruthless, Unrelenting, Immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death. When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past? Lament of the Fallen (Book 2) Andy Peloquin Dark Fantasy The Hunter of Voramis is no more. Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective; travel North to find her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories. When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii. From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is...what he really is.
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Food for Thought, Second Course Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
I reside in Westchester, NY. I am married with three children and I have a Boston terrier named Rocky. I graduated from Suny Purchase: with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I am on the committee of the Pediatric Cancer Association. I am a volunteer for the Villages in Pleasantville, NY working with teens and mentoring. I have served as a parents advocate for children with learning disabilities for Special Education.
directed by Chip Hourihan who also wrote and directed the feature film; “Frozen River,” in 2010. I have done book presentations and signings at various elementary schools and bookstores presenting my children’s book; LAZY ROBERT and my women’s fiction; THERE’S No Place Like Home. In November I did a presentation and book signing at Limelight, NY with Booksmart, NY. I volunteer at the Harrison, NY Animal Shelter.
I had been on the board of the principal search committee in 2004 for Purchase Elementary School. I had been the head chair of the House Tour Journal which is the biggest fundraiser for LMK middle school. I have been on the “Food Detectives,” on the Food Network Channel twice. I had a featured role in the short movie,”Twist,” 40 | UncagedBooks.com
| NANCY DEROSA | Nancy DeRosa sits down with Uncaged, and her Food for Thought series is a series that should not be missed out on. Uncaged: In Food For Thought, you’ve written a very realistic story, with characters that are flawed, likeable and fun. Do any of the characters take after any people in your real life? My characters take after me in many ways and I think many readers will see themselves in this series. Although the Food For Thought Series is fiction and not about any real person, I think most of us have made mistakes in our relationships with others and in our career choices. Many of us have questioned how we can choose higher in our dealings with family and friends. It’s an everyday struggle to balance love, friendship, family, and children, along with work responsibilities. It’s a juggling act and I try to write this series in a funny but very real and relatable way. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read my reviews and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to write one whether favorable or not. I learn from everything regarding my writing and I am truly interested in what readers think of my book. Uncaged: How many books are planned for this series? I have two more planned; “Just Desserts and After Dinner Drinks,” I may go on after that as well. I want my readers to connect to my characters and follow them all the way to senior housing if that’s where they chose to live when stairs are hard to climb. I suspect I will have numerous tales to share at all stages of their lives. Uncaged: The descriptions of the food in these books are so mouth-watering. Are you a cook
yourself? I love to cook, I love having people over. One of my favorite nights of the year is Christmas Eve. I have a huge crowd of friends and family to my home and cook everything from fish dishes to pasta and it’s always a warm and special evening. Of course the wine always makes it extra special! What gave me the concept for the Food ForThought series is often when we spending time with friends and family, food is close at hand and big part of the celebration. That’s what I write about. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I just finished the book; “When breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi. It is about a young surgeon’s true account of being diagnosed with cancer. His bravery and grace moved me so deeply and I highly recommend this book. I am eclectic in my tastes. I loved the “Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I laugh out loud when I read any of Andy Cohen’s books. They are so entertaining and fun. Jodi Picoult is always good and relevant and I enjoy mysteries, historical romance and pretty much anything with a good story. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? l always sit in a quiet place in my sunroom when I write. The sun filters in and I love watching the birds perch on my red maple leaf tree right outside of my picture window. I feel most peaceful working on my books in this room. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future?
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | I am working on “Just Desserts” and it should be ready soon. I also am working on a concept for a new novel about a family that has everything until their lives unravel in quick succession and how they cope, progress, and put their lives back together again stronger and wiser than before. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I just would like to say thank you so much for reading my work. I feel anyone who opens my books are sharing a part of their life spending time with me. It’s what prompted me to write in the first place, I love connecting to my readers and I appreciate them immensely!
Food for Thought, Second Course Nancy DeRosa Romantic Comedy Emma Craven’s excitement over marrying a chef is dimmed when her fiancé, Gary Parker, decides to open up a new restaurant. Against her better judgement, Emma soon finds herself the manager of The Green Spruce Grill. Her grades for her teachingdegree courses plummet. Her wedding plans are fraught with complications. And she now finds herself trying to please her family, friends, and Gary—all the while putting her own desires on the back burner. Making matters worse, Gary’s family shuns her, no matter what she does to try and win them over. Her dreams are slowly fading away, and she feels powerless to stop it. Desperate to halt the avalanche her life has become, she struggles to stand up for what she really wants. But her journey of self-discovery is more like an obstacle course—and if she can’t find the courage to stay true to herself, Emma risks losing not only the man she loves, but her self-respect and everything important to her as well… Excerpt
Enjoy an excerpt from Food for Thought, Second Course 42 | UncagedBooks.com
Emma had a bad taste in her mouth and she hadn’t even sat down with Gary’s family for their first holiday dinner. Was this a bad omen of things to come? Many hours and more traffic jams later, they finally pulled up to Gary’s childhood home. It was beautiful, just the sort of house Emma always hoped to own someday. It was a traditional white colonial, classic center hall, with black shutters. The cobble pathway curved up to the front steps in a most inviting way. A big red sleigh and three reindeer wrapped in tiny
| NANCY DEROSA | white lights welcomed tem on the front law. Emma gave a squeal of delight. “Gary, you didn’t tell me you had lied in such a charming home. I love it. I can’t wait to see inside. It’s so late they’re probably on dessert by now.” Emma felt panic stricken. Gary Laughed. “Don’t worry, they wouldn’t eat without us.” Emma grabbed her overnight bag and practically skipped up the pathway toward the front steps. She rang the doorbell and waited in happy anticipation. A small women with light blonde hair answered the door. She looked at Emma with limpid wet eyes. She didn’t greet her, nor did she smile. Feeling uncomfortable, Emma turned around toward the street and waited for Gary to rescue her. Gary greeted his mother buoyantly, “Merry Christmas, Mom.” Gary’s mother’s face suddenly lit up. “hello Gary.” Gary proceeded to pick her up, swinging her around. Emma smiled as she watched them. When he finally put her down,, she beckoned them in. “Mom,” Gary said as he put his arm around Emma. “Meet your future daughter-in-law. Emma, this is Carol. Mom, this is Emma.” Gary stood between them, beaming. Emma put her hand out to grasp hers. “It’s nice to meet you Carol.” Carol’s eyes flickered for a brief moment. Emma could swear she saw something unpleasant in that flicker. Just as quickly, it was gone. “It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Carol said as she let her hand slide limply out of Emma’s grasp. “Come in. Let’s have a drink before dinner. You must be freezing and weary after that long trip. A nice glass of wine will warm you.” “Hello Emma, I’m Frank, Gary’s Dad,” Frank said in a friendly greeting. Walking up to Emma, he gave her a wet kiss on her cheek.
Emma liked him immediately He had the same reddish gold hair as Gary and the same warm smile. Gary’s sister Julie and her husband Dennis were in the foyer with their young daughter. Julie was also small like her mother with the same cold distant look in her eyes. Emma suddenly had an uneasy feeling as they all awkwardly stood in the foyer.
Uncaged Review Food for Thought, First Course (Book One)
Normally, I am an action-loving reader. Edge of my seat, taking me out of my own world and into a new and exciting, even a fantastical one is my happy place. Character and dialog driven books are normally harder to pull off for me. But I have to hand it to the author, a tale of friends and family, and love and heartbreak, really grabbed a hold of me. Five women, whose friendships are what we all want in life, whom meet every Saturday night for dinner and drinks, keeping up with each other’s lives and a bond that keeps them together. We center around Emma, who can’t remember the last date she’d been on, has an okay job, great friends and a family she loves. When she meets a chef, Gary, she begins to see a chance for love, until his ex fiancé enters the picture. A charming story, with likeable and realistic characters that you easily get attached to. Toss in some laugh out loud moments and some quirky moments that will keep you smiling with the hit and miss romances and you have a great recipe for a story that will stay with you for a while. My only complaint is with all the food that is served in this book, I was hungry constantly. I’m already mapping out new restaurants.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Uncaged Review Food for Thought, Second Course (Book Two)
I want all these ladies as my friends. Every last one of them. Specially Emma. They are real, they have their own flaws and they mess up and then they own up to it. In the second installment, Emma and Gary are engaged, getting ready to open The Green Spruce Grill. Emma is trying her best to help with the opening of the restaurant and still going to school for her masters to be able to teach. The conflicts are tossed at Emma and she’s getting more and more overwhelmed and Gary seems to have tunnel vision for the restaurant to the point I wanted to club him or kick some sense into him. Will it work out? You will have to read it. And you will love these books. The author takes you on a journey into some everyday lives with real emotions, some roadblocks that are obstacles everyday people will come up against, and how one group of friends and family deal with it through love, laughter and good food. But seriously, get yourself some carrot sticks and celery to munch on while reading these books. You’ll start hungering for foods and planning restaurant destinations.
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Food for Thought, First Course Nancy DeRosa Romantic Comedy Emma Craven’s four single friends join her at the table in their quest to find love, selfrespect, and, above all, great food. Emma and Murry’s Grill chef Gary Parker have much in common. He loves to cook, she loves to eat—a match made in heaven. Or so Emma thinks at the onset until trouble arrives. Gary’s former girlfriend comes back on the scene, reed thin and confident, and wanting him back. Gary’s rejection shakes Emma’s belief in herself, making her question what she has to offer in a relationship. Determined not to become a bitter and disillusioned harpy like her boss’s wife, Emma decides to get over Gary and move on with her life. But that’s easier said than done, especially since every new man she meets and every bite of food she eats reminds her how much she misses the handsome, charismatic chef.
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Shadows of Jane Reviews
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Amy Hale’s Shadow Trilogy is a nice addition to the paranormal new adult universe. We welcome her to Uncaged. Uncaged: “Gifted” characters seem to be trending in the genre right now, what inspired this story for you? Are any of the characters inspired from people in your life at all?
Amy Hale is a best selling author, mother, and wife living in Illinois. She started her writing career in 2003 with non-fiction and educational pieces, but decided to take the leap to fiction in 2014. She’s the author of the paranormal series The Shadows Trilogy, as well various books in romantic contemporary, suspense, and humor. She attends several signings and events throughout the year and loves meeting her readers face to face. Her husband and kids are the center of her universe, although her cat believes otherwise. She also loves reading, music, and photography. When she’s not writing or reading, Amy can be found watching Mystery Science 3000 movies with her kids, or enjoying the scenery fly by from the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
authoramyhale.com 46 | UncagedBooks.com
When I started this trilogy in 2015 I wasn’t paying attention to trends, so I’m happy that the timing seems to have lined up with what is popular now. As often happens, this story came to me in a dream. I woke up with just one small snippet of a scene where Jane’s having a bad dream and her gifts are manifesting while she thrashes under the covers – that scene ended up in the first book. I built the entire trilogy around that one scene. As for characters inspired by people – not on this trilogy. Although I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find a person or two that are similar to at least one character in the story. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read them all. Sometimes that’s not a good thing. LOL But I do want to know what people like and dislike about my work. I try to keep constructive criticism in mind as I work on the next book. If it’s something that doesn’t jeopardize my personal style or the integrity of the story, as I envision it, I’m happy to consider reader feedback as I write. I don’t make any promises, but I’m happy to listen and try to understand the view point of the reviewer. Uncaged: I noticed on your website, you’ll be attending a few events in 2017. How inspiring is it to meet your fans? What do you take from those events? I love the events. Meeting readers is probably the best part of my job. Especially when it’s an event
| AMY HALE | where we can hang out afterwards and share a meal or grab a drink and I can really get to know people. Spending time with readers always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. I get to hear firsthand how my work has made a difference for someone. It also helps me learn what readers will likely relate to in my stories. And I always walk away from events with new friendships. I return home feeling very blessed. Uncaged: When you are writing a series, like The Shadows Trilogy, do you write continually on one series until you finish, or do you break and work on other projects in between? I took breaks with The Shadows Trilogy. As much as I love Jane and Colt, after staring at their story for months on end, I needed something new. So, I wrote in a different genre in between each part of the trilogy. It was a nice change of pace and it allowed me to come back to the trilogy with a fresh perspective. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I like a variety of genres. I’ll always be a fan of the regency historical romances. I’ve been fascinated by the Victorian era for as long as I can remember, so the regency books allow me to indulge that fascination, with some added spice. :) I also love contemporary romance, comedy, thrillers, paranormal fantasy, and suspense. Some of my favorite authors are Julia Quinn, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, Denise Grover Swank, Eric Asher, and John Green. I do enjoy a good series, although like most I get antsy waiting for the next book if it’s not already out. Especially if the last book ended on a cliffhanger. I don’t mind cliffhangers because they really give me something to look forward to learning when the next
book releases. Uncaged: What are some things you do when you aren’t writing? Reading and music have always been a huge part of my life. I love photography, so that’s something I try to indulge in as often as I can. I also love watching horrible movies with my kids. Our favorite family activity is to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Rifftrax as they mock the worst of the worst Hollywood can throw at us. On nice days, you’ll likely find me on the back of my husband’s motorcycle as we try to get away from it all for a few hours. He’s my favorite person ever and any time with him is time well spent. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I’m currently working on three books at once – all different subject matter. I don’t know which one will be finished first, so it’s hard to say what to expect next. It could be a fun and romantic cowboy series, a heart-wrenching standalone romance, or my first attempt at YA. We’ll have to wait and see which one takes over my mind first. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I want to thank my fans for sticking with me as I learn to improve my craft. You’ve all been amazing and have kept me going when I was unsure of what to do next. I hope I’ll eventually get a chance to tell ALL of you in person and give you a muchdeserved hug.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy an excerpt from Shadows of Jane Shadows of Jane Amy Hale Paranormal Romance/New Adult Colt Henderson is a man who lives for the moment. His past has taught him that life is unpredictable and often disappointing. A confirmed bachelor, he believes that love only exists in fairy tales. She’s lost, scared, and can’t remember a thing about her past or her identity. She senses all is not as it should be, but without her memory, how does she know what to fear and what to trust? Because of her status as a Jane Doe, she names herself Jane and works to put her life back together. In the process she learns that she possesses unique abilities that certain people will kill for. Fate throws Colt and Jane together, but they both have a lot to learn about forgiveness and acceptance. Colt’s determination and Jane’s remarkable gifts will send them on a journey they never expected. To survive they will need each other, but sometimes facts are scarier than fiction, and the truth is better left unknown. Excerpt She ran. She ran as fast and as far as her legs would carry her. Stumbling through the trees, she squinted and wiped the rain from her eyes. Exhaustion had begun to overtake her limbs and she was unsure of how much farther she could go. She stopped, doubled over, and grasped her trembling knees for support. Her breath came in 48 | UncagedBooks.com
short, shallow gasps as she attempted to recover from the exertion. Her lungs burned and it felt like they would explode if she didn’t slow down. Despite her need for rest, her mind screamed at her to keep going. She needed to get away. She had to put as much distance as possible between herself and them. The faint sounds of running footsteps from somewhere behind her spurred her into action once again. As she dashed through the dense forest, she frantically searched for somewhere to hide. There was no way she could continue to outrun them. Eventually she would be caught. Her only hope was to hide away and pray they passed her by. The idea of spending the night in the forest was terrifying, but she was even more frightened at the thought of them taking her back. She would never go back. Ever. Her pace slowed as she noticed a large brush pile. She quietly worked her way past several fallen branches and peered into the mound of limbs and twigs. Hidden behind it was the mouth of what appeared to be a small cave. It didn’t look to be very spacious, but she hoped it would be enough that she could disappear from sight until the hunting party had moved on. With any luck, they’d never notice the modest cavern. To her dismay, luck hadn’t been on her side for years. She pulled just enough of the pile out of the way that her slight frame could scamper back into the darkness, then she reached forward and did her best to pull the limbs back in place. Scooting further back into the cold, bleak cavity, she settled herself in between an icy dirt wall and a large rock. Her legs drawn to her chest, she pressed her cheek to her knees and closed her eyes. She was soaked to the bone and would probably end up with hypothermia. But if she was going to die, it would at least be her way, and not by the sadistic hands of those hunting her.
| AMY HALE |
Uncaged Review Shadows of Jane
(Book One, Shadows Trilogy)
This is an original storyline, and it kept a pretty good pace. I have to say though, that I did not connect with the characters very well, especially in the first part of the book. I couldn’t picture them in my mind, I had only read brief tidbits of what they looked like – so it was hard to piece together. It’s hard to feel a connection to a book without that for me, so at times I struggled with that aspect. With that said, the storyline is good and very engaging and keeps a good pace. Colt is a young man who has a commitment issue – mainly due to his own past, but when he runs into a girl that has no idea who she is, he is drawn to her and has problems staying away from her. When they begin to find out that she has some “gifts,” they try to unravel the mystery of who she is. This is the first in a trilogy, so I’m sure we will get more information soon, but with Jane’s abilities and how they progress and grow in the book, I really have no idea what she is. It reminds me a bit of the TV show Heroes. When Jane is again kidnapped by people who have experimented on her, we get to see more of these gifts emerge. I think this book wraps up its own arc well enough, and gets ready for book two – without leaving you on a major cliffhanger. Reviewed by Cyrene
that escaped from The Curators at the end of book one. But their lives are still in danger, trying to stay ahead of the ones that are trying to find them. This book jumps into the fast mode much quicker than the last one and the story caught a hold of me much quicker. Jane learns more about her gifts, and there is more danger, more betrayal and a lot more action. My one complaint in the book, is the lack of descriptions of the characters. I still am not getting the detail I’d like so I can picture them better, but I did grow a bit more attached to several characters, but still not so much with Colt. For some reason, he doesn’t click with me as much as the others. Toss a few head spinning surprises in at the ending, which actually is what pushed this book up a half a star, and you won’t be able to wait to get to book three.
Shadows of Deliverance (Book Three, Shadows Trilogy)
The ending to this trilogy is a good one. Jane has been captured by The Curators and is slowly losing her memories of Colt and all that she loves. Colt and the ragtag team of gifted will have to work fast to save her and Elana. This book wraps up nicely, all questions are answered, the ending is satisfying, and the trip to get to the ending is a page-turner. The best thing about this trilogy? All three books are now out, so you can read without waiting – and you’ll want to.
Shadows of Deception (Book Two, Shadows Trilogy)
In the second book of this trilogy, Jane and Colt are working on rounding up more gifted people Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Shadows of Deception Amy Hale Paranormal Romance/New Adult With the head of The Curators removed from power, a new leader has stepped in and relocated those imprisoned within its grasp. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, and they still want Jane and the power her gifts can bring them. Jane and Coltâ€™s next mission is to free the gifted, but this may be their toughest challenge yet. To win this war, they will put everything on the line. Even with the help of friends, what lies ahead will be difficult. Can Jane and Colt salvage their relationship while making personal sacrifices at the same time? Shadows of Deliverance Amy Hale Paranormal Romance/New Adult Their leader has been captured and they know not her fate nor how to help her. In the final book of The Shadows Trilogy, Colt and his friends will face the unknown and battle the unseen. Willing to do whatever it takes to bring Jane and Elana home safely, the gifted and average alike will stop at nothing to see their mission through. Bringing down a horrific and abusive organization in the process will satisfy not only their longing for true freedom, but also their desire for revenge. However, one wrong move could cost them everything. Jane is within the enemy camp and struggling to keep her sanity. She knows the difference between fiction and reality, but for how long? The end is near, and the victor will either save the world, or leave it in pieces. 50 | UncagedBooks.com
Ulterior Motives Amy Hale Romantic Suspense Despite being wealthy, Ellie Manchester has had a rough life. She witnessed her mothers murder at age seven, but did not see the man responsible. Plagued by nightmares, and a drunken father, Ellie has grown up to believe that she can only rely on herself. When her father dies in an accident, she becomes an heiress of sorts... and a target. Tanner Paxton was a tough and tumble kid who turned his penchant for getting into fights into a successful security business. He loves his work but does not have time for much else, especially relationships. When he is hired to protect Ellie, against her will, he not only finds himself embroiled in dangerous chaos, but falling in love with the most stubborn and beautiful woman he has ever met. But love may be a weakness that can get them both killed. Letters From Jayson Amy Hale Romantic Comedy Lindsey is ready for a change. Shallow relationships and a dead end job have left her longing for more, so when a rare, but difficult opportunity presents itself for a promotion and temporary change of scenery, she jumps at the chance to try something new. Jayson wants a quiet place to finish his current project. With one missed deadline behind him, he doesnâ€™t have time for distractions and interruptions.
| SHORT STORY |
Uncaged is proud to welcome a wonderful short story from Paul Moore.
Blind Trust by Paul Moore
She first started to notice her eyesight was going in her last year of school. Even with lights on in her bedroom during the day it was still dark. “I’m paying the bill here young lady and having lights on during the day is both a waste of time and money,” her father moaned in a light hearted way. Kirsty fell on to her bed and started crying uncontrollably. “What’s wrong princess? This isn’t like you, not at all,” he said and pulled her gently towards him and she cuddled into his chest. It took a good couple of minutes for her to regain some sort of composure. “Dad, I’m sorry to say but I’m going blind,” “Just because you have lights on during the day?” he replied obviously confused by the entire situation. His daughter wasn’t one to make a fuss, she just got on with it like her parents so it was serious as far as he was concerned. Her mother joined them after she heard Kirsty sobbing. “At first I thought it might just go away, blackness on either side of my eyes but instead of going away it’s only got worse. Shapes are even becoming a problem. I won’t be able to see at all soon and I’m scared I really am!” her tears started to flow again but not as much as before. “We’ll make an appointment with the doctor for you and soon have you sorted darling,” her mother said trying to comfort her. “Will I need an operation? Will I? I don’t even like hospitals, that’s where people go to die like Granny did. What happens if the operation doesn’t work? Then I’ll be blind for like forever!” her fear turned to anger. Kirsty was angry at her body, angry at herself for not saying something earlier but the thing she 52 | UncagedBooks.com
was angry at most were her eyes. Her beautiful amber eyes that turned a lighter shade of orange when hit by the sunlight. The eyes that were letting her down and she didn’t have a clue why. “Stay with her will you, I’m going to call Donald, I’ll use the old pals act if I need to but I’m sure if I explain the situation I won’t need to,” her father said to her mother as if Kirsty wasn’t in the room at all. “I’m still here you know! You can ask me Daddy,” Kirsty said and her father knew she was worried, it was rare she talked to him like that, she was normally very polite. “I’m sorry princess I wasn’t ignoring you and should have included you,” His daughter looked at him for a few seconds, at least that’s what he thought but she was looking at the shadowy figure by the window just behind his head, it moved from left to right then vanished literally into thin air! Kirsty started to blink really fast which only made her mother and father worry even more! “Are you all right princess? Something in your eyes?” her father asked. “Malcolm give her a chance, she’s got a lot on her plate,” her mother said. “Excuse me for being concerned as to Kirsty’s welfare,” he snapped back. “Sorry I got something in my eye,” the teenager lied as she tried to work out just what the hell she’d seen. “Let me make that call,” her father said and left the room without giving his wife a second look. “Daddy will sort it darling, you know he will, try not to worry,” “Easy to say Mother, sorry but I can’t help it,” Kirsty said feeling more than sorry for herself. Wendy Abbey listened to her daughter’s fears for nearly ten minutes, offering a comforting word here and there. Malcolm told his wife and daughter they had an appointment with a specialist three days later. Three of the longest days in all of their lives, Kirsty hardly slept. Wendy blamed it partly on moving house. The family only moved in three months before and she had a bad feeling about the house after only a week!
| PAUL MOORE | The appointment was at eleven but the teenager woke up just after four in the morning, she felt her right shoulder being pushed gently, when she opened her eyes she didn’t see anyone yet didn’t feel alone. Her portable television in the corner suddenly sprung to life! The light piercing her eyes as she heard a song she recognised on the music channel she’d left it on. Kirsty pulled her hair back and tied it in a bun using a hairband she’d had on her wrist. She leaned forward to turn the television off but before she wasn’t even half way the TV turned itself off. After a moment she lay back down, she rested her head in the middle of her pillow, her strawberry blonde hair flowed down to her shoulders. Her eyes were wide open scanning the ceiling. She was paralysed with fear from the neck down, even blinking took a great deal of strength and effort. Time stood still, all she heard was silence till the morning chorus of bird song. Wendy tip toed into her daughter’s room and saw her sleeping peacefully, she didn’t want to disturb her but didn’t have a choice as they had an appointment to go to. “Kirsty,” She had barely touched her daughter’s leg when she jumped up startled. “No!” Kirsty opened both her eyes at the same time but couldn’t see a thing! “Kirsty what’s wrong?” her mother couldn’t hide her anxiety, her daughter looked terrified. Kirsty put her arms out to try and feel where her mother was and their hands were joined together, her mother joined her on her bed and they embraced. For the first time since she was eighteen months old her mother had to dress her. Her father helped her to the car, her mother sat in the back with her. The journey was a living nightmare, Kirsty was in pure darkness. Sounds came and went in a flash, her head began to thump while her heartbeat was doing double time. “Just going to find a parking space princess,” her father said. Kirsty didn’t think her heart could go any faster but it did.
They’d arrived at a private house in the heart of London, two roads from Harley Street. They were sat down in a Victorian style room by a young woman with perfect hair and make-up. Kirsty was placed on the middle chair with her parents either side of her. She heard one of them then stand up, “Benjamin so grateful you could fit us in at such short notice,” her father said to a man dressed in a dark navy blue three piece suit with a brilliant white shirt and conservative blue tie. “What‘s the old boys network for? Mrs Abbey you’re looking quite splendid and this must be Kirkby,” Benjamin said on a charm offensive. “Kirsty,” the teenager said and even though she couldn’t see him she took a disliking to him, she couldn’t put her finger on why, getting her name wrong didn’t help. “My apologies Kirsty, one’s remembrance with names is one of my rare weak points. My name is Benjamin Clark and I’m an ophthalmologist or in layman’s terms an eye specialist. Now can you tell me what’s happening to your sight at the moment,” the man said standing so close to Kirsty she could smell his minty breath. “I wish I could but I’m blind! It’s all black, all I see is flipping black!” “Language Kirsty!” her father said sternly. Benjamin put up his hand and let out a little smile, “It’s perfectly fine Malcolm, she is obviously distressed which isn’t really a surprise,” Again Kirsty felt as if she was invisible, why didn’t he talk to her, she was the patient after all. “What can you do for her?” Wendy asked sounding just as frightened as her daughter. “We can start off with a few tests to see what we’re up against. Kirsty when did it all go black, I mean complete darkness?” Benjamin asked sounding a bit more friendly. “It first started a couple of months ago and has got worse really quickly. When I woke up this morning all I saw was blackness and that hasn’t changed,” she felt her eyes getting very moist but was determined not to cry. “Well we better take a look then. Now we’ll go next door but we only have room for you and me and one parent I’m afraid, which one would you like to join us?” the eye specialist asked. “Mother can join us,” Kirsty said, she was the Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| SHORT STORY | calmer of her parents. Malcolm was actually quite relived when she didn’t say him. “If you could help your daughter next door please Mrs Abbey?” Benjamin asked. The tests took just under twenty minutes then all three of them rejoined Malcolm who was sitting down. He looked at his old school chum’s face and braced himself for bad news. “That didn’t hurt Kirsty now did it?” Benjamin asked with a false smile that both parents could see. The teenager shrugged her shoulders. “Well I’m not sure how to tell you this but as much as I’ve tried I can’t actually find anything wrong and I mean truly, I’m, well I’m at a loss I really am. The sight tests were all failed as I expected but on closer inspection of both the eyes I can’t find anything wrong. Do you mind if I can get my colleague to have a look? A second opinion is always best but in this case very much needed,” Benjamin said and looked as confused as he sounded. Kirsty’s parents nodded in agreement. “So I’m some kind of freak then?” Kirsty asked but it was more of a statement. “Not at all my dear, we are all unique, just some more unique than others. Excuse me a moment,” Benjamin said then picked up the phone receiver on his desk and tapped in a couple of digits. It was the only up to date thing in the Victorian office. He turned and whispered into the mouthpiece. “We’ll get this sorted princess don’t you worry,” her father said as he put a hand on his daughter’s left shoulder. For once Kirsty didn’t believe the man she’d always looked up to. “My colleague will join us very shortly and we can hear his opinion,” Benjamin said still trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. “Can you give us some idea as to what we are dealing with here? Like is it temporary or permanent?” Wendy asked. Before the question could be answered a gentle knock came from the door. “Please come in Adam,” Benjamin called out and the door opened to reveal a man in a dark grey 54 | UncagedBooks.com
suit with an open neck blue shirt. He had a black bushy beard and a blonde head. The man’s cologne drifted straight to Kirsty’s nose and she broke into half a smile, he smelt great! “You know Dr Humphrey of course,” Benjamin said and Malcolm shook hands with the man who had a lived in looking face. The Abbey’s had bought the house they lived in from the fifty-five year old doctor. Adam Humphrey wasn’t pleased to see them again but acted as if he did. Benjamin explained the situation and his colleague nodded. “Might I suggest we transfer to my consultation room where we can explore the problem in more depth,” Dr Humphrey said, he sounded like legendary Welsh actor Richard Burton. “Kirsty we’re just going to move to another room,” her mother said to her. “Mother I’m blind not deaf,” “Yes, yes of course, sorry darling,” Kirsty’s mother replied feeling guilty. Just a couple of minutes later the five of them stood in another Victorian room but this one felt more like a miniature library, books everywhere. “So Kirsty I’m going to shine a bright light in your eyes so it’s important you are settled and relaxed,” The teenager slowly nodded. Malcolm and his wife stood at the back as a machine on wheels was brought into the middle of the room where Kirsty was seated. It looked like a small thin filing cabinet. Dr Humphrey pulled out a small drawer and turned it upwards revealing two circles, just below it a chin rest. “Kirsty I’m just going to put my hand under your chin and lead you to the position we need for the machine. You have nothing to worry about,” Dr Humphrey said trying to reassure the patient who just wanted the entire experience to be over. “Answer the doctor please darling,” he mother asked calmly, it’s not how she felt at all. “Fine, OK, let’s do it!” His hand felt cold on Kirsty’s chin as he helped her sit on a wooden chair. He pulled the machine in
| PAUL MOORE | front of his patient and slowly placed her chin on the black plastic rest. “So Kirsty I’m going to shine a light into your eyes at the same time and I want you to tell me what you see and feel OK?” “Uh ha,” with her chin settled on the rest and she was full of apprehension, that’s all she could reply. The machine was turned on and moments later Kirsty could see light, dim at first but soon it became clear, as white and bright as she’d ever seen. She felt as if she had been pulled back with a great deal of force, then pitch black as she heard her mother scream! A ghostly black figure appeared to escape first from Kirsty’s left eye and then her right! It hovered for a moment and both the doctors and Kirsty’s parents could see two big blood red eyes staring at them. Kirkby opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t. “Everybody leave, I’ll take care of this,” Dr Humphrey said firmly without taking his eyes away from the floating ghost. Malcolm grabbed his daughter’s hand first then his wife’s and headed out the door without saying a word. “Adam you should come as well,” Benjamin said as he edged his way to the doorway. “She always comes back, I can’t get rid of her it doesn’t matter what I do,” “Adam you really need to leave,” his colleague insisted then felt an invisible force push him out the door and it slammed behind him then locked. “What do you want from me? Are you going to haunt me for the rest of my life? It was an accident! It wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t my fault,” the doctor insisted, he was nearly in tears. It was his fault, he’d operated on a teenage girl thirty years before when he shouldn’t have, he was still drunk from a party the night before. His hand slipped which caused his patient to lose her sight. It was covered up as Dr Humphrey’s father had powerful and influential friends. Lesley Porter, the patient couldn’t live in the dark and so ended her life. The last letter she wrote was to Dr Humphrey, she promised him she’d haunt him for the rest of
time, a promise she kept. Life returned to normal for the Abbeys while Dr Humphrey took early retirement, he ended up in a mental institution after telling anyone that listened he was been plagued by a ghost with big red eyes, a ghost that only appeared in front of him.
About Paul Moore I first started writing children’s stories and after a while crime, short stories mainly. Due to ill health a manual job is out of the question so I challenged myself to write a book which I did. This is my second book after three novellas.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Ice Rift Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Ben was born in England, but currently lives in Germany. He loves to laugh and make others laugh, something which he is particularly good at. He is a joker, a hoaxer and someone who loves mysteries, especially if they involve a long lost treasure. Apart from writing he likes nothing better than to be travelling in his motorhome around Europe seeking out mysteries and hunting for long lost treasures, which invariably lead him below ground to explore caves, caverns and old mines. These then become ideas he can use in his books. Currently based in Germany, if he is writing a book with a location in Europe, he will often drive to the area to get a feel of the place, the smells and sounds of the streets, the people and the landscape, and will write down descriptions for later use. Benâ€™s research into the mysteries he has sought to solve is so thorough he often discovers snippets of information no one else has. His research has been used in many documentaries and his hoaxed discoveries detailed in his Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar book were featured in a Hollywood movie.
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If youâ€™re looking for a good SciFi-Thriller, look no further than to Ben Hammott and the Ice Rift books. Uncaged: You did an amazing job describing the alien life-forms aboard the ship. How did you come up with so many very original and very menacing creatures? From my vivid imagination and in part looking at Earth animals and changing them to make them look alien and vicious. I also, especially for Ice Rift - Salvage, looked at parasites as magnified they are horrific and alien. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? When I release a new book I will check for reviews as its good to receive feedback and find out what readers think. Also readers looking at it fresh may spot a plot hole that I can then rectify. Other than that I do check reviews occasionally, perhaps a couple of times a month.
| BEN HAMMOTT | Uncaged: I put this series into the SciFi/Horror genre, and I’ve read that you do a lot of research for novels, what kind of research did you do for these? The descriptions for the Antarctic are so realistic, have you been there yourself? Unfortunately I have not yet visited the Antarctic, though I would like to. To find out what conditions and hardships are experienced in the Antarctic I contacted scientists and people that had been there, as well as a manufacturer of extreme weather clothing. All were very helpful. Uncaged: You like to solve real-life mysteries and some of that research has been used in documentaries. Can you tell us how your love of researching mysteries came about? Yes, who doesn’t love a mystery? I think from an early age mysteries and the unknown had always interested me and fed my imagination. I first started tackling mysteries when I saw a documentary on TV about a lost treasure hidden by a mysterious French priest that was connecter to the Knights Templar. This all happened about 100 years ago, so relatively recent compared to many other mysteries out there yet to be solved, and also close in France. I had a motorhome so I set off to try and solve it. Though I failed, it was great fun. I met lots of new adventurous friends and we spent many hours exploring the French hills and mountains looking for the treasure’s hiding place, which included exploring many caves and tunnel systems. Some of these we discovered and were the first to venture inside. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series?
casional humorous book. I like reading Matthew Riley, Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, and James Rollins, to name a few. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I most often write at my desk and will occasionally listen to music on low sometimes. To help me visually describe scenes I might listen to sound effects or atmospheric music. For example, if I am writing a creepy scene I might play creepy music complete with creaking doors, thunder and lightning, etc. or the sounds of a deserted forest or graveyard, or another scene might be set on the streets of Paris, so I will listen to a Paris Street scene sound effect. The internet is a glorious thing as it has almost everything you might need. I also record the sounds of any locations in the book that I visit and take photos and video to help describe it later. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Lots more exciting books are in the pipeline, including the one I am currently writing set on the distant Earthlike planet of Kepler-186f discovered by the Kepler telescope. A small group of humans visit the planet to find out if it is suitable for Humans to colonize, but obviously, not all goes to plan and they soon discover they are not alone. I am also writing the next book in the Butler Chronicles and book 2 of Dead Dragons Gold. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I would say thank you for your continuing support as without them I would not be writing.
I don’t have a favorite genre, but I tend to read action adventure thrillers, sci-fi, horror and an oc-
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy an excerpt from Ice Rift Ice Rift Ben Hammott SciFi/Thriller In Antarctica everyone can hear you scream! Humans have always looked to the stars for signs of Extraterrestrials. They have been looking in the wrong place. They are already here, entombed in a spaceship beneath Antarctic ice for thousands of years. The ice is melting and they will soon be free. A huge rift in the ice is discovered in Antarctica that stretches for 18 miles, (29 km) and 820 feet (250 meters) apart at its widest point. When environmental scientists enter the ice rift to check out an anomaly on NASAâ€™s satellite scans of the area, they discover something far more life threatening than the raging blizzard trapping them in the rift. They are unarmed and unprepared for their ensuing fight for survival. Excerpt OF ALL THE SPECIES on the planet, none were more feared than the female creature that dwelt in the mountain. Though in part, this was due to her vicious nature; what made her such a feared and expert hunter was her extraordinary ability to mimic the sound and form of any animal she heard or encountered. She could be anyone or anything. The Mimic wielded her gift with murderous intent to draw her victims close and never failed to ensnare a victim. The drone of night creatures flitting through the air and distant howls, screeches and wails that sounded like spectral bloodhounds on the scent 60 | UncagedBooks.com
of prey, announced the waking of the planetâ€™s nocturnal predators and stirred the Mimic from her slumber. A young, six-limbed creature, covered in shaggy hair and small horns atop its stubby head, leapt sure-footed from rock to rock and paused to stare into a cave entrance. Though the dark opening was filled with such a foreboding darkness it almost had substance, the creature ignored the danger. It was hungry. It looked at an enticing bush adorned with blue berries and succulent orange leaves outside the entrance, bounced over and bit off a fruit laden twig. The distant scrape of claws on rock from inside the cave, signalled the approach of the feared mountain creature. Two red eyes appeared amidst the tangible gloom shrouding the cave entrance and focused on the animal. The Mimic changed her appearance and oozed from the cave like a pestilent shadow that crawled from one world to the next to spread putrid blight and savage death. The shadow of death cloaked the animal. Constricted and choked, the pain-wracked animal was unable to escape or cry out. After a few moments the killer released its victim. It had devoured everything except the bones, which collapsed into a lifeless heap. The thing of indistinct form, neither man nor beast, rose from the ground and morphed into a creature nightmares would be hesitant to welcome. The Mimic gazed up at the bright fireball streaking through the night sky. At first, her interest assigned it little consideration; it was only another rock falling from the heavens. Though she had often wondered where they came from and what beast was powerful enough to throw them such a distance, they posed no threat and were thus ignored. She was about to direct her gaze elsewhere, when something unusual happened; the sky-fire changed direction. That had never happened before. The object turned in a wide arc, straightened out, and veered toward the mountain where the Mimic lived. When the sky-fire became lost from
| BEN HAMMOTT | her sight, the Mimic sought out a higher view point. She clambered up the rocky mountain and perched atop a large boulder. Her eyes focused on the strange object that no longer glowed, skimming above the forest canopy. The trees creaked in protest from the wash of the object that pulled leaves and twigs from their branches and carried them in its wake. Frightened shrieks from disturbed tree-dwelling beasts accompanied its passing. The frantic sound of rustling foliage grew louder as the object approached and rose to match the contours of the steep mountain in its path. Though the Mimic was wary, she experienced no fear as she stared at the underside of the object as it sped overhead. The lights peppering its base reflected in the Mimic’s eyes when she turned to follow its path over the mountain. So fascinated by the extraordinary object was the Mimic, she barely noticed the storm of debris that washed over her. She had spotted things inside the strange object from the sky―something alive! The Mimic momentarily pondered what she had witnessed. She knew it didn’t originate from her home world and was something she had not laid eyes on before. Curiosity caused the Mimic to postpone her hunt until she investigated the new arrival. She bounded across the rocks and disappeared over the mountain. *** The co-pilot glanced at the captain and let out a relived sigh. In the holding area behind their enclosed cockpit, three men depended on the small cargo vessel and their flying skills. The captain studied the control console. A relieved smile formed on his lips at the lack of any warning lights; evidence the ship had survived the tremulous entry through another planet’s atmosphere undamaged. It was the part he and the crew hated most about these planetary missions. It was their seventh. The creaks, groans and rattles of protest the aged vessel emitted during every stressful arrival on a new planet, were a constant
reminder of the hard and hectic life the old craft had endured. Each entry could be its last, killing all those on board. However, if he and the crew were honest with themselves, whatever the danger, they enjoyed visiting new worlds. It broke up the monotony of their five-year shift out of stasis until the next group took over. The captain gazed out of the control room’s viewing ports at the dark landscape speeding past below the ship. The red glow of molten rock, flames and hot ash spewing from the crowns of distant angry volcanoes lit up the night sky. It was this volcanic activity, spread across half the planet that made this world unsuitable for their primary mission: a new world suitable for colonization. They were here because a scan of the planet they had named DX666, had detected a large beast that would provide a welcome change in diet for the crew aboard the mother ship currently orbiting the planet. In the craft’s forward lights, the captain glimpsed flashes of the greens, reds and browns of the verdant forest that covered a huge area of the planet’s surface and the home of the thing he sought. He switched on the spacecraft’s landing lights and searched for a suitable place to set down. He spied a clearing in the forest and pointed it out to the copilot. “Put us down there, Seb and remain with the ship while the rest of us go hunting.” He climbed out of his seat and strode from the room. *** The Mimic paused on the tip of a rock outcrop that stretched precariously out over a sheer drop, and watched the flying object swoop down like a giant graceful bird. For a few moments it hung in the air above a clearing in the forest before it slowly descended to the ground, raising a cloud of dust and forest debris. Keen to examine the anomaly closer, the Mimic dived into the void and plummeted toward the ground. Her outstretched arms morphed into hellspawn wings and she glided through the air in a
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | gentle curve to the forest far below. She dipped through the canopy and weaved between ancient trees. When she glimpsed the thing ahead, she swooped up the trunk of a thick tree and landed softly on a branch. Her perch groaned slightly as her wings morphed back into arms and she walked towards its tip. She moved aside a branch so she had a good view of the strange object and watched four life forms emerge on a strange object that floated above the ground and head into the forest. Though she wondered why they were here, she wouldn’t follow them; they would return. She was interested in what they left behind, the thing that flew. She glanced into the sky lit with dawn light and fading stars and wondered where the new arrivals had come from, because they weren’t from her world. Were there other worlds in the sky? If there was, she wanted to visit them. Her eyes wandered back to the object that could take her there and waited for her chance to sneak inside.
Uncaged Review Ice Rift What a trip this book is. First time back on the ice since she lost her fiancé three years ago, Jane is assigned a job in the Antarctic investigating an ice rift. NASA has also requested an investigation on an anomaly on their radars, located near the rift. Jane and the crew take off and decide to scale down the rift, and what they find is not anything anyone expected. When they find a cavern in the ice, and enter the tunnel, they discover a hell that not all will survive from.. I can honestly imagine this book as a movie. In the tradition of alien movies, this one takes a scary turn for our crew, and you are at times on the edge of your seat and may be biting your fingernails. This book never slows down, and the 62 | UncagedBooks.com
author’s creative vision never lets up, and doesn’t hold back. If you enjoy a good SciFi/Horror romp, this is a good choice. It kept a great pace, and I never felt the need to “skip ahead.”
Ice Rift - Salvage Well damn, we are back on that ship. This time out, NASA is bringing in the military to help them salvage the technology from the ship, before it sinks into the ocean forever. And guess what, those monsters are still onboard. Jane and Jack are coaxed back, Richard is given no alternative and Lucy is still stuck on the ship. But for reasons different for each of them, they are all back at the rift. This is an action packed story, some parts may seem a bit overly explained, but it’s really well written. You really need to read the first one in this series, Ice Rift, to get the full impact of these books. Many things are not explained in book two that are brought over from book one, so I would really not consider this a standalone. But if you like a good SciFi Thriller, these books are a great choice. This story could continue…there is always EV1L.
| BEN HAMMOTT | Ice Rift Salvage Ben Hammott SciFi/Thriller
imagine to steal two paintings that contain clues to the long lost inheritance of Jacobus Drooge.
The spaceship entombed in the huge iceberg calved from the Pine Island Glacier drifts towards the warmer air and ocean temperatures of the South Atlantic. The race is on to claim the alien technology before the ice melts and releases its hold on the trapped alien vessel.
Win a copy of Ice Rift in the eformat of your choice!
The mission: Board the spaceship and salvage as much alien technology as possible before the doomed vessel sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
April 1-22, 2017
The obstacles: A disintegrating iceberg, a collapsing spaceship, an armed Russian salvage force intent on claiming alien technology for themselves, an approaching storm, and the biggest obstacle of all—the spacecraft’s alien inhabitants. The aliens have another mission—survival—and when opposing species clash, there can be only one victor. The Lost Inheritance Mystery Ben Hammott Suspense Thriller A Victorian mystery adventure revolving around the search for a lost inheritance worth millions. The two rival miserly Drooge brothers, a butler, a murderous hunchback, a shadowy assassin, a fashion senseless burglar, a beast named Diablo, strange henchmen, an actor who once had a standing ovation, and many more oddball characters, all conspire in ways you couldn’t possibly
Email Ben Hammott with “Ice Rift Giveaway in the subject line to enter! Don’t miss out on this SciFi Thriller! CLICK HERE Ben will pick up to three winners! Issue 9 | April 2017 |
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Rhonda Frankhouser Interview Stay Connected Excerpt from Return to Rubyâ€™s Ranch Review Author Giveaway
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Stay Connected Rhonda discovered she had a knack for storytelling after she was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. To avoid dwelling on her own mortality, she sat down with pen and paper and got out of the way of her subconscious mind. Words and characters poured out of her from some hidden place inside her soul. Her first novel, MY LAST DAY, gained the representation of agent Ben Camardi, at Harold Matson Company in New York. This is a heart wrenching tale of a young woman seeking love and closure on her last day of life. Her second and third novels, HEALTH NUT CAFE and RETURN TO RUBY’S RANCH, were quick to follow. Each story has a contemporary romantic flavor, a solid family dynamic and a paranormal twist. RETURN TO RUBY’S RANCH, debuted with five star reviews on Amazon and SoulMatePublishing.com in November 2016. HEALTH NUT CAFÉ is due out in 2017. ESCAPE FROM RUBY’S RANCH, Book 2 to the Ruby’s Ranch Series, is currently under the pen. Rhonda lives in central California with her Kisa, (Knight in Shining Armor), their beautiful and talented daughters, their handsome Labrador, Dutch and two mischievous Pugs, Geddy and Ruby. When she’s not writing, she’s supporting hospice patients as a volunteer coordinator, playing golf with her husband, or reading the latest masterpiece from one of her favorite authors. Rhonda is a member of the RWA – PAN community and the local chapter, Yosemite Romance Writers.
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rhondafrankhouserbooks.com Welcome Rhonda Frankhouser to Uncaged! First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Thank you so much for the honor of being a feature author in Uncaged. This is the most exciting time in my life and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with such amazing stars in the writing world. Uncaged: When it comes to contemporary novels, westerns are a good bet with me. You did a nice job on ranch background, have you lived on a ranch or do you have family that do? What inspired this story? I grew up surrounded by horses, fields of alfalfa and lots of animals who were my friends. I used to sing and read to them and thankfully, they never complained. That little house wasn’t as grand as the ranch I depict in my book. We didn’t run cattle or have ranch hands but it was my Ruby’s Ranch. There’s actually still a wooden arch over the driveway that reads Ruby’s Ranch. The characters and the drama in my story are far removed from reality, but that search for home and for family is all based on an intrinsic need to return home. I’ll always miss Ruby’s Ranch.
| RHONDA FRANKHOUSER | It’s hard not to be inspired to write a story about this kind of surreal place. There was just so many things I loved about it and so many things I miss about it, I couldn’t get around putting some interesting characters there and letting them figure things out. We actually did have a spiritual presence there. I’m not sure if it was because I was a child and didn’t know to be afraid, but that presence was soothing to me, just like Augie is in this story. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I actually do read my reviews, even though I’ve been warned against doing so. So far I’ve been blessed with great reviews, lots of kindness and insight. Since I’m continually trying to hone the ‘craft’ of writing, I do try to take constructive criticism to heart – without letting negativity creep in. I’m still fairly new at this game, so I admit that criticism makes me cringe, but I’m getting tougher. The Amazon author ranking has way too much power over my moods. Uncaged: There were some great twists and turns in this book, and the mysteries surrounding the characters and the ranch is fresh and original. Were any of the characters inspired by real life? Hearing my story is fresh and original is the greatest compliment I can get, so thank you for that. I’ve definitely been inspired by the strong women in my life, though no one person or trait brought these characters to life. Ruby’s stubbornness is all me, I admit. I think everyone, unfortunately, has a ‘character’ like Ray MacCallister in their life and I know most of us pray for a Billy MacCallister to come along. The twists and turns all came as much of a surprise to me as it did my readers. I do my best writing when I get out of my own way and just let the characters tell the
story. I didn’t know what was going to happen until they led me there. Uncaged: What genres does the future bring to your writing? Will you continue to write suspenseful mysteries? I like to create and solve puzzles, so those elements will probably continue to be a mainstay in my future work. I think everybody likes a good mystery. I also love to see strong characters find love. The whole process of learning about each other and accepting each other for who they are is fascinating. I’ll never be able to write cookie cutter romance. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I was a philosophy, pre-law major in college, so I bounce around with different genres and moods. I’ll read something serious, like Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts, then go to Frances Mays, Under the Tuscan Sun, then back to On Writing by Stephen King (my all-time favorite book about the craft of writing), then re-read Kathryn Harvey’s Butterfly series. I’ve read the Notebook and The Horse Whisperer so many times I almost know them by heart. I just love good writing, no matter what genre it is. I’ve read a hundred Nora Roberts’ series and love them all. She’s a genius at capturing and holding the reader’s attention. Uncaged: What are some things you do when you aren’t writing? I have lots of loves, with too little time. I’m still working my day job in hospice care. I’ve been involved in end-of-life care for thirteen years, and I can’t imagine ever leaving it completely. I honestly don’t know how people care for loved ones nearing the end of their journey without the help Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | of hospice. It’s true, there are angels here on earth and they do this work. Other than working full time, my husband and I like to travel some, read a lot, play golf and cook great meals. We spend lots of time with our dogs and family, and with each other as much as possible. I’m blessed to have found my Knight in Shining Armor, so I love just being with him. He’s my best friend. Uncaged:What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I have a second new release coming out in 2017, tentatively titled, Health Nut Café. It’s more of a contemporary, paranormal romance set in a beach town. All the main characters have a connection to the little café. This, so far, is the book love of my life. The characters, Becca Clemmons (owner of the Health Nut) and Jonathan Parker (owner of the new antique bookstore that moved next to the café), work together to solve a mystery that makes them understand their uncanny connection. There is a lot of suspense happening around that journey. There are some awesome secondary characters that could hold the book all on their own. They will charm the socks of the reader. There’s a good chance this too will cause maybe two spin-off stories. Maybe even three. I’m currently working on Book 2 of the Ruby’s Ranch Series, Escape to Ruby’s Ranch. It’s the prequel to Return to Ruby’s Ranch, and it’s already full of intrigue. I’m having a great time learning how things got so messed up at Ruby’s Ranch in the first place. The series is set to be three, maybe even four books that follow all the matriarchs of the ranch. It’s great fun to write. 68 | UncagedBooks.com
I have plans to publish my first book as well, entitled My Last Day. I wrote this book many years ago after a cancer scare. It’s a story of closure for a young woman on the last day of her life, but I’ve since started to add a different dimension to the manuscript. I’ve added the perspective of her husband as well as a look into their next life together. Though it seems like a sad premise on the surface, it gives infinite hope that soulmates do, in fact, reincarnate to be together in a new life. I just can’t leave this story alone. Everyone needs to read it and find that peace. I have lots of others in the works bubbling as well. Once I open my creative door, it’s hard to keep ideas from coming through. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I can’t give enough thanks to those who have brought me to this place in my writing journey. Friends and family who read my original pieces and convinced me that, maybe I did have what it takes to become a published author. Then to those who’ve purchased and read my book, and hopefully future books, there is no way I can show enough appreciation for the support and kind words they have shared with me. Thanks so much to all who have left your wonderful reviews as well. Their words have brought encouragement and pride to my heart. I hope they continue to enjoy my work in the future.
Enjoy an excerpt from Return to Ruby’s Ranch
| RHONDA FRANKHOUSER | Retrun to Ruby’s Ranch Rhonda Frankhouser Contemporary Western Romance/Ghosts Ruby Lattrell inherited Ruby’s Ranch after the death of her grandmother. Before she can begin to live her own life, she has to answer the questions that have haunted her for the two decades since her father dragged her away from the only true home she had ever known. What really happened to her beloved mother? And what drove her poor Granny Rube insane? When Ruby returns to the ranch, her chance at true happiness comes in the form of a handsome cowboy named Billy McCallister—who has loved her since they were kids. Will the truth about her mother come between them? In the end, Ruby finds all of her answers with the shocking death of someone dear, and a surreal family reunion that will give the reader unrelenting hope for happy endings. Excerpt The old, beat-up Chevy pickup came to an abrupt stop about a foot from the back of Ruby’s prized Jeep. She scowled with disapproval as the driver shoved open the door and dropped to his booted feet before the engine even had a chance to shut off. “Help you, miss?” he asked, with a slow, deep twang, wiping the dirt from his hands with a handkerchief he’d pulled from his back pocket. She squinted against the midday sun a little harder now as his voice rang a touch familiar. She watched him for an over-long moment, the mother cat twisting her lithe body around his legs in greeting. Sweat glistened on his tanned, muscular arms as he bent to pick up the kittens that
came out to join their mother. She smiled. There had to be something special about a man who elicited the love of animals. He was at least six foot two, and built like he could lift a hundred pounds straight over his head with no problem at all. A smudge of dried mud followed the line of his strong, stubbled jaw. He could be the most handsome man Ruby had ever seen. Not a sophisticated, city kind of handsome. More a Russell Crowe, gladiator, kind of handsome. The irritated scowl returned to his face after he put the tiny, tabby kittens down, almost like he’d just remembered he wasn’t pleased about being pulled away from something important. This made him all the more interesting. Part of Ruby was glad she’d been such a bother. The day just became more intriguing. “They’re adorable. And they seem to like you.” She tried to break the awkward silence. Curious, soulful green eyes peered out from under his dusty Stetson hat. He gazed first at her wellworn Justin cowboy boots, then slowly up her long legs to the khaki shorts, pausing momentarily at the denim shirt she had tied loosely around her waist, showing just a hint of pale skin. His gaze stopped momentarily at the mess of red-blonde hair she’d pulled away from her face, before he finally met her eyes. Ruby held her giggle as he finished his perusal, not wanting to make him self-conscious since she’d recognized him. Billy MacCallister. Had to be. My, how he’d grown from the runny-nosed brat who used to follow her around so many years before. He’d been the pain-in-the-butt, kid brother of her best friend. But, this grown up Billy MacCallister was a whole different creature. Mercy, he’s definitely a full grown man now. Ranch life looks good on him. “So,” Ruby avoided his eyes to keep him at a disadvantage for just a bit longer. She reached down to pet the dogs again, calming them. “How’s your sister these days, Billy?” Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | He stopped wiping the dirt from his jeans and searched to get a better look at her face. “What’s the matter, Billy? Think you’re seeing a ghost?” A smile crossed her lips. “Ruby?” he asked, quietly at first then louder. “Ruby?” This time with unashamed excitement. Billy took two long-legged strides toward her, tilting his hat to get a better look. “Well, look at that, it is you.” Before Ruby had a chance to respond, he lifted her off the step and twirled her around, not caring at all that she now wore half the dirt he once had all over him. The enticing scent of musk shampoo, salty sweat, and horses swirled around her, drawing her in. How could a man smell that good after working in the mud? It took all her strength to keep from leaning in and making a fool of herself. He smelled like home to her and she had to admit, it felt good to be held. “Billy, good grief, put me down.” She tugged at her shirt to keep it down, embarrassed. The pups jumped up, anxious now to play, as Ruby tried to gain composure. Not an easy task when being twirled around by a handsome cowboy. “Ruby Lattrell, it’s so good to see you. How the hell are you?” The honest joy in seeing her poured from him. “Oh my God, you look fantastic!” He set her down and brushed the hair away from her face, looking her over now with those same hungry eyes he’d had as a love-struck kid. She glanced away, self-conscious. When she finally mustered the courage to gaze up at him, she couldn’t help but return his infectious smile. There was no worry there, or pretense. The tiny lines around his joy-filled eyes showed only that he knew how to smile. How to laugh. Something she’d forgotten how to do a long time ago. “Well, that’s certainly more of a welcome than I expected.” She stepped back to get some space and a better look at him. He had to be coming up on thirty now. Strapping. Still driving his mom crazy with that unruly chestnut hair tucked behind 70 | UncagedBooks.com
his ears, no doubt. Same innocent, broad smile that held secrets. He continued talking and following her every move, anxious to know everything all at once. Where had she been? How had she stayed so perfect? Finally, he realized she hadn’t said a word. He stopped then, smiled that secret smile again, his eyes slowly filling with concern. “Ruby, I’m sorry I’m just going on. How are you? Are you all right? Oh Lord, I’m so sorry about your grandmother.” Ruby flushed when he caught her staring. “Oh, I ah, I’m fine. Thank you, though. I can’t believe she is gone. This place will be really weird without Granny Rube here.” She took a step back toward the door, gathering herself, hoping she’d find the key in the usual hiding place so she could make a graceful exit. “You don’t act fine.” He caught up with her, supporting her elbow like a real southern gentleman. “Let’s get you inside.” Ruby didn’t protest. She kind of liked the fuss he made. This was someone she’d known for nearly all her life. It felt good to know he’d missed her. “Just wait till Claudie finds out you’re home. She’s going to just die.” He reached behind the rusted iron pot for the key and turned it in the lock. “She’s not living out here anymore. She’s got a place in town. Married a nice city guy who moved here from Arizona, Mike Calloway. They bought old Fike’s Market and fixed it up real nice. Doing real well with it. She likes living in town so much better than out here.” He kept talking as he closed the door behind them. The familiar smells of the house hit Ruby first, distracting her from what Billy was saying. Gingerbread cookies, Pledge furniture polish giving off an ever-present hint of lemon. Ruby stopped in the entry, closed her eyes, and visualized her mother and Granny Rube laughing in the kitchen, handmade aprons tied around their waists, shoving cookies in that old Wedgewood oven, sharing private giggles.
| RHONDA FRANKHOUSER | Ruby stood for a long while as she replayed the memories over in her mind, only vaguely aware Billy had gone silent and held a supportive hand at the small of her back. “Welcome home, Ruby,” he whispered, his sweet eyes searching hers. She didn’t know why, but just then she couldn’t keep herself from turning and wiping the dust from his cheek, feeling more true compassion from this one understanding look than she’d ever felt before. “Thanks, Billy.” She realized suddenly her eyes filled with tears. “Thanks for making me feel so welcome. I’m glad to be home.” She felt as if she’d stepped back in time. She was just a teenager when she left home almost two decades ago. Nearly everything in the house remained in the same place. The fireplace room still held the same worn velvet couches and mahogany side tables. The faded ivy wallpaper she’d helped Granny hang curled at the corners where moisture and age had gotten to the glue. The heirloom rug passed from her grandfather’s family, now worn and fraying around the edges. The same photos capturing a more innocent time continued to be displayed on the dusty riverrock mantle. Yellowed images of Granny Rube’s parents looked too small and frail to have endured such a rough pioneer life. Next to that picture, Ruby saw the photo of her Grandpa Mac, taken only days before he was trampled to death by his prized bull, Heathen. Ruby picked up the tarnished frame and held it close, realizing only now how handsome a man her grandfather had been, tall and lanky, his deep set eyes full of the devil. Reminded her of her mother. “Granny used to say it served him right to get taken by the one beast on the ranch that was ornerier than him.” Ruby wiped the dust from the frame and replaced it back on the mantle in the exact place it was before. “Momma told me Granny put Heathen down herself with a twelve-
gauge shotgun the night he killed Grandpa Mac, but I still don’t know if that’s true. She had such a flair for the dramatic, it was hard to tell fact from fantasy.” “Your granny was a good woman, Ruby,” Billy finally offered, a measure of respect in his voice. “Always remember that. She helped me out more times than I can count.” “I’m just sad I missed so many years with her. All I have are old memories of how things used to be. Silly stuff like, I remember when she calmed Jake and me during those hell-raising thunderstorms, and chased us into the pond when we were driving everyone nuts because we were so bored.” Ruby turned away from the photos and took in the room once again. “She always had time for us. I can’t believe I let her die alone.”
Uncaged Review Completely not what I expected when I picked up this novel. A contemporary western, a romance and a mystery all in one. Ruby has inherited her grandmother’s ranch, a place where she had nice childhood memories of, but after her mother disappeared, her father took her and her brother away. Now an adult, and her father in a home for illness, she goes home to the ranch, with plans to stay and bring the ranch back. Her neighbors, and best friends, Billy and Claudie are there to welcome her home, and in Billy, she may find the love that she has looked for all her life. But the mysteries and the ghosts from the past will need to be laid to rest before Ruby can begin her life. This is a cleverly written, feel-good story that is never boring, and the mystery is a pretty good one with some surprises and twists that you won’t expect. Great weekend read. Reviewed by Cyrene
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
featureauthor Isabel Jordan
Stay Connected Excerpt from: Semi Broken
Available for Pre-order
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
The normal: Isabel Jordan writes because it’s the only profession that allows her to express her natural sarcasm and not be fired. She is a paranormal and contemporary romance author. Isabel lives in the U.S. with her husband, ten-year-old son, a senile Beagle, a neurotic Shepherd mix, and a ginormous Great Dane mix. The weird: Now that the normal stuff is out of the way, here’s some weird-but-true facts that would never come up in polite conversation. Isabel Jordan: 1. Is terrified of butterflies (don’t judge...it’s a real phobia called lepidopterophobia) 2. Is a lover of all things ironic (hence the butterfly on the cover of Semi-Charmed) 3. Is obsessed with Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and Dog Whisperer. 4. Hates coffee. Drinks a Diet Mountain Dew every morning. 5. Will argue to the death that Pretty in Pink ended all wrong. (Seriously, she ends up with the guy who was embarrassed to be seen with her and not the nice guy who loved her all along? That would never fly in the world of romance novels.) 6. Would eat Mexican food every day, if given the choice. 74 | UncagedBooks.com
7. Reads two books a week in varied genres. 8. Refers to her Kindle as “the precious”. 9. Thinks puppy breath is one of the best smells in the world. 10. Is a social media idgit. (Her husband had to explain to her what the point of Twitter was. She’s still a little fuzzy on what Instagram and Pinterest do.) 11. Kicks ass at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. 12. Stole her tagline idea from her son. Her tagline idea was, “Never wrong, not quite right.” She liked her son’s idea better. 13. Breaks one vacuum cleaner a year because she ignores standard maintenance procedures (Really, you’re supposed to empty the canister every time you vacuum? Does that seem excessive to anyone else?) 14. Is still mad at the WB network for cancelling Angel in 2004. 15. Can’t find her way from her bed to her bathroom without her glasses, but refused eye surgery, even when someone else offered to pay. (They lost her at “eye flap”. Seriously, look it up. Scary stuff.)
| ISABEL JORDAN | known. And none of that matters when she’s in his arms. But when a threat from her past emerges to destroy the new life she’s worked so hard to forge, Seven knows she’ll need to rely on her killer instincts to protect the future she longs for with Lucas. She can only hope she doesn’t lose what’s left of her humanity—and Lucas—in the process…
Enjoy an excerpt from Semi Broken Semi Broken Isabel Jordan Paranormal Romance Wolf shifter Lucas Cooper is usually up for any wild mission Harper Hall throws his way. But impersonating a doctor and breaking a woman out of the psych ward at a supernatural prison? That’s a little crazy even for him. Until he sees her. One look into her haunted blue eyes and every protective instinct he has flares to life. He’ll do anything to save her. Not that it’ll be easy. Break her out of prison? No problem. Convince her she’s not broken, undeserving of love, and incapable of redemption? That might be trickier. She’s 754821 and she’s a perfect killing machine. A nameless Sentry cleaner raised from birth to destroy paranormal threats, she’s the thing monsters fear. But then Lucas rescues her and everything changes. According to him, she has a family, a home, a purpose. To Lucas, she’s not just a number; she’s Seven, and she’s beautiful. They’re nothing alike. He’s warm, open, easy to talk to. Her? Not so much. Violence is all she’s ever
Excerpt Seven didn’t back down as he advanced on her, though. He stopped when they were toe-to-toe and she had to crane her head back to meet his eyes. He had a million questions for her, but he was still too pissed off to formulate many words at the moment, so he settled for, “Why?” Her eyes narrowed on him. “What difference does it make? As long as you have your space.” Lucas fought back another growl. Would that word haunt him for the rest of his ******* life? “I never wanted space. I said we needed space. And besides, the kind of space that has you fighting vampires every night in a ******** cage? Yeah, neither of us needs that space.” “None of these creatures are a danger to me,” she said, sounding entirely too reasonable for his liking. “And I needed…” “You needed?” he prompted. “To hit something,” she finished. “Finding out you’re in love with Harper made me…angry.” Jesus, how had he ****** everything up this badly? “I’m not in love with Harper. I thought at one time I was…but I’m not.” Her eyes searched his with that laser-like intensity Issue 9 | April 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | he’d come to expect from her before she murmured, “Truth.” He nodded and leaned toward her, putting his hands on either side of her head against the wall behind her. “I won’t lie to you, Seven.” Her chin came up, her warm breath feathering across his cheek, her mouth only a heartbeat away from his. She lifted shaking hands and laid her palms flat against his chest. He nearly groaned out loud at the feel of those cool, delicate hands on his overheated skin.
her lips. “**** it,” he muttered. Then he kissed her.
Don’t miss these titles Semi Charmed Isabel Jordan Paranormal Romance
She swallowed hard. “If you don’t want her, then why don’t you want me?” Surely he hadn’t heard her right. “You think I don’t want you?” Her gaze lowered to her hands on his chest. “I’m nothing like Harper. She’s…open and funny and beautiful. I’ll never be like her. I’m—” “If you say broken I’m gonna be pissed,” he said, fighting to keep from yelling at her. “You’re not broken. You’re perfect. So ******* perfect that it hurts not to touch you. Do you get that?” Her eyes lifted to his and widened, and he was caught. He couldn’t have looked away if his life depended on it. They stayed like that for way, way too long, frozen as if they were seeing each other—really seeing each other—for the first time. He took a deep breath and the warm, slightly sweaty and entirely too sexy scent of her skin made him lightheaded. Her hands slipped down to his stomach as his chest moved. He couldn’t hold back a hoarse groan. Get out, he told himself. Remember what Vi said. She needs space. Get out while you still can. She let her gaze drop to his mouth and she licked 76 | UncagedBooks.com
Psychic and paranormal PI Harper Hall isn’t that surprised when her business partner skips town. Really, she can’t help but feel it’s her own fault for trusting a guy named Romeo in the
But if Harper wants to consult for the police on a high profile case, she’ll need a new partner-- preferably one with some supernatural skills of his own. Enter Noah Riddick, a slayer left jobless by the legalization of vampirism. Riddick’s dark secrets and shady past have forced him into exile from human society--an exile he was completely comfortable with until gorgeous and exasperating Harper waltzed into his life. Now, all too aware of how…unlifelike his life has truly been, he agrees to partner with her (as if saying no to Harper Hall was ever really an option). Fighting vampires, making immortal enemies, engaging in semi-sadistic interrogation techniques, staging daring rescues…it’s all in a day’s work for this paranormal odd couple. But falling in love? Well…that’s a little trickier. Even for the SemiCharmed Harper Hall.
| ISABEL JORDAN |
Semi Human Isabel Jordan Paranormal Romance
Semi Twisted Isabel Jordan Paranormal Romance
Harper Hall finally has everything she ever wanted. Thriving paranormal PI business? Check. At least some control over her psychic ability? Check. Smokin’ hot ex-slayer fiancé?
Dying really has a way of making a girl rethink her life choices.
But Harper’s plans to grab the first ordained Elvis impersonator she can find and marry Noah Riddick on the Vegas strip—sans drama—are shot to hell when her old business partner shows up and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. And if she tries? Well, let’s just say she might not live long enough to regret it. In the course of their elopement from hell, Harper and Riddick find themselves entangled with the paranormal mafia, dodging creepy vampire ménage action, and participating in the supernatural equivalent of Fight Club. First rule of paranormal Fight Club? There are no rules. And, oh yeah, don’t die. Seriously, what’s a girl gotta do to get her happily ever after?
Mischa Bartone was a runner. Running from anything that made her feel too much was kind of her thing. But not even an expert runner like Mischa could escape death. And when the only man who’d ever made her consider not running brought her back as a vampire…well, let’s just say she didn’t exactly handle it gracefully. Giving the love of his life immortality didn’t go exactly as Hunter had hoped. As if having her push him away wasn’t punishment enough, he also ended up in prison for turning her without her written consent. And after months on the inside with no contact, he could only assume she was well and truly over him. So what if the memory of her consumed his every waking thought? That was his problem; he’d deal with it. Time to stop chasing Mischa Bartone once and for all. But when Mischa and Hunter are thrown together on a case for a very pregnant Harper Hall, sparks fly—and it doesn’t take Mischa long to realize that letting Hunter go had been a huge mistake, the biggest of her life (er, undeath?). Time to stop running and fight for what—and who—she wants. So, all she has to do is go undercover in the Miss Eternity vampire beauty pageant, find a couple of missing former contestants, stop a sicko stalker with a penchant for floral metaphors, complete her court-mandated vampire therapy sessions, and win back the man (er, vampire) she loves. In heels. And a skeezy pageant swimsuit. Easy, right? Yeah, not so much Issue 9 | April 2017 |
New Releases April Release Dates - A Selection
The Chosen by J.R. Ward Red Sister by Mark Lawrence Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett Defy the Stars Claudia Gray Marlena by Julie Buntin Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel Saga Volume 7 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples All By Myself, Alone by Mary Higgins Clark Kingâ€™s Wrath by Nina Levine All You Need by Lorelei James Southern Fried by Tonya Kappes Where the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin Ends Here by M. Robinson
The Thing About Love by Julie James The Fix by David Baldacci Fast and Loose by Stuart Woods Missing by Kelley Armstrong Any Day Now by Robyn Carr The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
April 25 Blade Bound by Chloe Neill Snared by Jennifer Estep Legion by Julie Kagawa Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole Golden Prey by John Sandford Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout Ride Rough by Laura Kaye The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Razr by Larissa Ione The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli Twist by Kylie Scott Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Publishers and authors: If you would like a new release in these lists, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews A Perfect Plan
Alyssa Drake Historical Romance Samantha Hastings lived a quiet, peaceful life on her family’s country estate. With no man to order her around and no stifling society rules to follow, she considered herself blessed. However, when her brother’s ship sinks during a short trip to France, Samantha receives a request from her sister-in-law to return to town and manage the late Earl’s finances. Suddenly thrust into society, Samantha faces an unfamiliar world and a pair of very familiar green eyes. Lord Benjamin Westwood never intended on following through with his rash promise to his best friend. Now, with Edward’s death, Benjamin becomes the unwilling guardian to Edward’s bratty little sister, who has grown up considerably since the last time they met. His intention to marry her off to the first available suitor is thwarted when he finds himself falling for Samantha’s unique demeanor. He lights upon the perfect plan; a marriage of convenience, giving him the opportunity to romance Samantha without distraction.
Uncaged Review: Samantha Hastings lives with
her sister in law after the tragic death of her brother. After a certain amount of time has passed Samantha and her sister in law are hoping to find themselves each a husband. She meets Lord Benjamin Westwood, one out of a set of brothers who are both twins. Real ladies man Benjamin is to advise Samantha of any promising marriage suitors, of course without falling for her himself but that won’t happen as he isn’t the type to settle down. There’s some major plot twists that happen in this book a marriage proposal, the dead come back to life, and more. I do love a good period drama story. But when there’s a hint of murder to go along with the romance and social dances, it makes it even more interesting to read. Can’t wait to read more to see what happens next with Miss Hastings and company. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Historical Romance/Victorian Mild violence, sex, mild language
Survive at Midnight Kayla Krantz Thriller/Horror Pre-order Available Death doesn’t always bring peace. With memories of her dead family and friends haunting her, Luna Ketz tries to untangle her life from the hold Chance has had on her over the past four years, but it’s harder than she thought. In death his secrets are revealed, plunging Luna into the mind of the man who ruined her life. Thoughts of her soon-to-be-born baby only bring to mind its monstrous father. Haunted by a new set of dreams, Luna fears her baby will grow up to be a carbon copy of him. She battles to keep hold of her sanity as she loses a grip on the world around her. The dead begin to speak, and she can’t possibly ignore them. With Chance whispering evil deeds in her ear, she treads a trail she never thought she would venture and must rely on her worst enemy to help her conquer her biggest trial yet—herself.
Uncaged Review: Luna fears Chance again in this new journey they have together. Only this time it’s not just herself she has to worry about it’s her baby’s. Luna is made pregnant by Chance after the night he attacked her in her bedroom. Chance suddenly grows a change of heart by Lunas sudden outburst that she’s pregnant only it’s too late he commits suicide. Leaving a note for Luna and even having the nerve to leave her some stuff in a will. Luna begins to lose grip on reality by hearing and seeing Chance’s ghost. Making her a little bit crazy as Chance was. Will she turn out to become just like him? I really liked this story and it was interesting to
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read. All about Chance’s reasons for being the way he was. Also a little background of his family was a nice touch. I enjoyed the fact the writer choose to make Luna a little insane and darkly twisted the further you got in the story. The only issue I had with this book was the conversations that Luna had with Chance while her mother was around. Why didn’t Rose, Lunas mother, ever comment on this? The fact that Luna was talking to herself. Luna had done this a lot throughout the book and was happy to see that another character in the book picks up on this and asks Luna what’s she doing and who is she talking too? Despite the book having the one annoying flaw. It is a very good read. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Thriller/Suspense/Horror Violence, self-harm
Liefdom: A Tale from Perilisc Jesse Teller Dark Fantasy A zealous guardian in a peaceful city, Gentry Mandrake is a fairy unlike any other. Cast out and hated for his differences, his violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul. He hunts for belonging while fighting to protect the human child bound to him. Explore the mythical realm of The Veil, the grating torture of the Sulfur Fields, and the biting tension between power and purpose in this wondrous struggle against a demonic wizard and his denizens. Can Mandrake overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?
Uncaged Review: We enter the mythical realm of the veil, where a fairy guardian called Gentry Mandrake is fighting to help save Thomas, a human child bound to him. Gentry must do battle with a powerful wizard and company. I found this book quite hard to get into from a new reader to Jesse Teller work. Although the storyline was impressive, the lack of knowledge of the characters in this book was a letdown for me. It did have plenty of gore and violence. If you are used to reading Jesse Teller’s other books and know of the background of the characters that would make up the mythical realm of the veil, you will love this book. I did like the sound of the wizard in this book and if there was a book all about this character i would certainly read it. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Dark Fantasy Violence, sex, language, rape
Erotica For Women Liberty Stone Erotica Erotica for Women is for adults only. Erotic sex with explicit sex for women. Meredith finds herself in a wild, taboo sexual adventure filled with hedonism, self discovery, lust and desire. This a sex story for adults. 18 years or older.
Uncaged Review: Ruby is looking for a good time, no strings attached sex. After a not-so-fun night with a random guy from Tinder, she’s called into her dad’s office the next morning. Told to grow up and settle down or no more trust fund she
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews agrees to working for her dad. Even though the money sucks she gets a shiny new apartment. The mail arrives and there’s a rather cool invitation to a masquerade party, where people can have fun and go wild. I think the storyline is quite dangerous and fun. Liberty Stone always likes to push the boundaries in her stories. But what I really enjoyed was that Ruby is pleasantly surprised at the end with who she hooks up with. The ending is very sweet and happy and made me smile. A great read. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Erotica Sex Scenes
Didn’t Get Frazzled David Z. Hirsch, M.D. Contemporary/Medical Medical student Seth Levine faces escalating stress and gallows humor as he struggles with the collapse of his romantic relationships and all preconceived notions of what it means to be a doctor. It doesn’t take long before he realizes not getting frazzled is the least of his problems. Seth encounters a student so arrogant he boasts that he’ll eat any cadaver part he can’t name, an instructor so dedicated she tests the student’s ability to perform a gynecological exam on herself, and a woman so captivating that Seth will do whatever it takes to make her laugh, including regale her with a story about a diagnostic squabble over an erection.
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Uncaged Review: I related to this book having worked in the medical field for over thirty years and many of those with interns and residents. The book takes you through the years of being a medical student via the escapades of Seth Levine. It is laced with humor and at times of heart wrenching decisions and lessons to be learned. You will enter the life of Seth and his cohorts written in vignettes which follow the years he spent in medical school. It kept me reading, yet it is written so you can enjoy it in bits and spurts. The vignettes represented by each chapter enabled me to delve into the small slices of the life of a medical student. I did find some of the connections disjointed and I felt like I was missing something between one chapter and the next in a couple of the places. Overall, it was easy to follow along as Seth worked toward becoming a MD. Throughout the book, I became attached to the motley group of students Seth was friends with while understanding his uncertainty of what he wanted in the future. You go through the heartbreak of a relationship going sour and the recovery phase with a rebound romance. Following him through his rotations gives you a peek into how medical students evolve from students to doctors with increasing autonomy. There are many “truths” throughout the book. He truly didn’t get frazzled as he learned those truths. My favorite was his stint on the psych ward. I’ll leave it for you to read but, I will say he had the correct evaluation of our society today. Reviewed by Barbara
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Contemporary/Medical Mild language
Things Only the Darkness Knows Anthology/Various Horror ~ A collection of horror stories and poems by eleven authors and poets Have you ever wondered what goes bump in the night? Or what goes through the minds of cold-blooded killers? You can find out in this collection of dark and controversial stories and poems. Trigger warning: Some of these stories contain graphic violence, murder, suicide, and strong language. Thirty frightening and brutally honest short stories and poems. Not for the faint of heart. Uncaged Review: Spooky tales from a slightly dark twisted version of Cinderella. To a killer on Twitter. Or an adoption gone wrong. Killer holidays and haunted GPS Systems. I think if you like your stories a little dark and mysterious. This book is for you to read in the darkness or not. But things only the darkness knows will creep in to bed with you. You have been warned. I have read a few of these types of stories. By some of the writers involved in writing this book, on their own individual books. They are worth a read. A very good book. Reviewed by Jennifer
The Council Kayla Krantz Epic Fantasy The Council is the governing Coven over the Land of Five, a region entirely inhabited—and split apart— by witches with varying powers. Lilith Lace, a witch thought to be born powerless, happily resides in Ignis, the Coven of Fire, until she suddenly develops telekinesis, an ability only seen in some witches born in Mentis, the Coven of the Mind. When The Council finds out about her odd development, she’s taken under their wing and is finally told the truth—everything she’s learned about the Land of Five, herself included, have been nothing but lies. Uncaged Review: Lilith is a witch who at first thoughts you believe to be powerless, until on her graduation day at the arcane ceremony. Iris White turns up creating havoc. She is one out of a lot of witches who call themselves the elementals, a group of witches who use black magic. Lilith is unsure about her life after speaking to Iris who tells her that what she’s been led to believe by her coven and her parents is all lies. Lilith must find out once and for all who she really is. If she can piece together what really happened. To her as a child that left her living the life of a cripple. She will find out the truth. This is only book one in what I believe is to be a series of books. So we are really just learning who everyone is in this book and their stories. It was an enjoyable read and the subject of the storyline being witches. I only hope book two holds a lot more action in it between the good witches and the bad ones. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror
Mild language, sexual assault, drugs
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Uncaged Reviews Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Fantasy/Witches/Paranormal No major warnings
Tales of the Mysterious and Macabre Simon Parker Horror/Shorts
Delve into the mind of a serial killer, bathe in the darkness and solitude that is Hell, fight the undead and unleash the demons. Tales of the Mysterious and Macabre will rip its way into your subconscious and mess with your perceptions, taking your mind to places unexplored and showing you the roots of your fears.
Uncaged Review: A collection of short stories of horror, the paranormal and some hauntings. Simon Parker isn’t your typical horror writer. He likes to write about a mixture of different things, from people selling there souls to the devil for a best-selling book, or a younger man trying to survive his family-handed business before it goes down the toilet. One story that stayed with me should it ever happen in real life is Pet. The world turns upside down after a fever hits the world, turning people into zombies - one man struggles to continuing living. There’s all sorts of cool things in this story such as people wanting to buy zombies as pets, or buying zombies as cage fighters. Simon isn’t just a talented writer. He is an artist with his own business in horror art and collectibles. He’s a family man at heart and has been lucky to have his paper mentioned in the local paper. For fans of anything mysterious and creepy this book is for you. Reviewed by Jennifer
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Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Horror Violence, gore, abuse, sexual activity
The Old Man and the Princess Sean-Paul Thomas Cozy Mystery Would you believe a strange old man if he kidnapped you off the streets and told you that you and your dead parents were from another planet? Is the old man, really, who he says he is? And is he telling Sersha the truth about who she is and where she is truly from? An eccentric old Irish man, who claims to be ‘not of this Earth,’ kidnaps Sersha, a young, headstrong, Irish foster girl, from the streets of Galway and tries to convince her that her life’s destiny is tied to a mystical cave in the Scottish highlands. But with strange and suspicious, underworld figures, violently on their trail, Sersha, struggles back and forth with the old man’s real identity and his far fetched intentions to whether he truly is genuine in his wild and fantastical beliefs. Or is he really just some mad and demented, old fool, having a mental breakdown in his twilight years. Uncaged Review: Warning: This book was written in the Irish vernacular. For US buyers, be prepared for the unusual spelling and lilting language of the Irish. With that said, this was a book which kept you guessing as to who was telling the truth until the very last chapters. It opens with the old man dreaming, seeing a father and son on the beach where the father is reading to the son, but he is unable to remember the title of the book. When it
comes time to leave, the boy runs away from the father to a spot where he can see this mysterious cave before going back to the real world. The next scene has the old man believing his life has been too long. He is in a secluded log cabin on the shore, dress in a black flea market suit, smoking a cigar, an old dog lying in the corner. It takes him a few minutes to recognize the old dog as he muses on the expected person(s) to come for him. An intruder makes a scuffling noise as he comes up behind to old man before raising a gun to the back of his head. The old man lets the intruder know he heard him and goes to take a last puff on his cigar. When the gun clicks, the old dog barks, then attacks. The intruder kills the dog, angering the old man who attacks the surprised young man, beating him unconscious. After burying his dog, he stuffs the assassin into the boot of his auto and takes off, aware he will never return to the cabin. Sersha is a teenager who is attempting to get a spot on a dance team. She is living with a set of foster parents. She is street wise and comes across has brash and hard. When the old man kidnaps her, she verbally shows her anger, even when he calls her Princess. He tells her she is a Princess from another world and he is taking her there to be with her real parents where she will rule her kingdom. This is a case where the Stockholm syndrome is shown by how Sersha comes to care for the old man as he convinces her of needing to go to Scotland to get her home to her kingdom. With that said, I’ll not give you any of the other twists and turns of the plot of this book. You go from laughter to tears, to fear during their journey. You aren’t sure as to the truth for Sersha or the old man until the end of the book. Once you get the cadence of the speech, you can’t put it down, wondering if this is sci-fi or reality with a twist. I’m not telling which it is, you’ll have to read the book. The only other warning is
for the violence in the book. This book would not be suitable for tweens and younger. Most teens will have seen worse on TV and video games. It is an enticing story and one I’d recommend for those who like suspense with a good twist. Reviewed by Barbara
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Cozy Mystery No major warnings
Serpent’s Tooth Toni V. Sweeney Horror
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll… and Demon Worship. At first, it seemed like the screenplay of a romance… A famous rock star disappears…twenty-five years later; a former fan discovers he’s still alive. They fall in love and marry and he takes her to the ranch where he’s hidden for a quarter of a century, but there the love story degenerates into a tale of horror… Once Travis Brandt, aka Hildebrand, the most famous singer of the 80’s, takes Melissa Powers to his ranch in the Nebraska sandhills, everything takes on a sinister tinge. Travis’ assertions as to why his former marriage was destroyed, and his decision to disappear at the height of his career sound false to his new wife, as does his refusal to have children. When Melissa discovers she’s pregnant in spite of her husband’s careful attempts to prevent it, she learns Travis’ secret…a tale of rags-to-riches, the story of a youngster Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews from Nebraska who became the idol of millions, but wanted more; of a young man who bartered his soul to the Powers of Darkness in return for fame. Uncaged Review: Travis’s Brandt had a good life and a failed marriage. A music career and some acting behind him, now in his fifties he finds himself getting married once again. To a woman he met on a cruise they live happily until his wife announces she’s pregnant. This is when the trouble starts Travis will have to come clean. About a deal he made in once upon a time in the eighties. The storyline is fun to read lots romance with a little cult and magic thrown in. But towards the end of the book the story felt a little rushed to me. Also there some moments when u find yourself blushing as you read it. It ends in a cliffhanger. So I’m thinking one, what happens to Travis’s wife as we forget about her after the baby is born. Two, what happens next with the way the book ends, will there be more? It’s worth a read but it’s like a film made for TV never to return. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror
Sexual activity, language, demon cult worship, sexual activity with adopted son and cousin.
Philip Harris Dystopian/Fantasy War has raged for over 160 years, the reasons for the conflict long since forgotten. Violent gangs roam the streets of a city in chaos, preying on the innocent and the careless. Friends die. Family die. But there are worse things in the darkness. Worse things beyond the curfew.
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Uncaged Review: This is a short story, and the reason I like short stories, is I can get a feel for the author’s writing, and to see if it’s something I want to read more of. This is set in a dystopian future, where a war has been raging for over a hundred years, and the reasons for the fighting are no longer remembered. We follow one man’s journey from childhood. It’s a dark world, and there may be more reasons than just the war for that curfew… This is a good short story. I would like to read more about this world, if the author ever goes there. The scenes are well described and even in a short amount of space, you get a good feel for the character and the world. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Violence
Alan Jones Crime Suspense/Noir The tortured corpses of young alcoholics and drug addicts are turning up in Glasgow and only Eddie Henderson seems to know why. When he tries to tell the police, his information is ridiculed and he’s told to stop wasting their time. One officer, junior detective Catherine Douglas, believes him, and together they set out to discover why the dregs of Glasgow’s underbelly are being found, dead and mutilated.
Uncaged Review: A crime book set in various places of Scotland. Vet Eddie is investigating some horrible cat murders until he learns that the killer is also hunting down people with drugs or alcohol abuse problems. He teams up with a junior detective Catherine Douglas and to get to the truth they
come across the method the killer is using which is to mix an ingredient with a bottle of Blue Wicked. This is the first book I’ve read by the author. It is such a good storyline well written. Not just of the human side but of the animal side too. Being an animal lover myself it was hard to when he describes what happens to the poor cats. But this is a problem that people should be aware still exists animal cruelty. I think Alan Jones makes a good point with this book. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Crime Suspense Animal cruelty, gruesome deaths, sex, drugs
Love in Montana
Chance Carter New Adult/Coming of Age When a girl loses her father early in life, it leaves a hole in her heart. It takes a special kind of man to come along and fill that hole. Sam Jones is riding a train through Montana when he meets the girl he thinks of as his she-wolf. The fierce look in her eyes reminds him of a wolf, and her ferocious nature in the bedroom proves him right. Now the only question is, can he tame her
Uncaged Review: Chance Carter has lots of full novels out. But he is also writing a romance story every week. Featuring a American state each week and a man trying to find love. This is book seven in the list. We meet Sam a boy who was featured in Chance Carter’s first ever book Bad Boy Daddy. Its Sam’s turn to shine as he’s all grown up now. Sam is on a busy train ride he notices a young beautiful women who he has nick named Shewolf. Although
normally shy, he takes a chance and strikes up a conversation with her. This is the classic tale of boy meets girl. This book was a fun easy read. Being a fan of Chance Carter books it was nice finding out what happened to a boy who was just a child in Chance Carter’s first ever book so long ago. For readers who are new to this author’s work, The American Boyfriend Series can be read in any order. Reviewed by Jennifer
Splatterpunk’s Not Dead Various Horror Anthology
From the creator of Splatterpunk Zine comes Splatterpunk’s Not Dead, an anthology consisting of 8 horror stories, ranging from new upcoming writers to genre favourites, featuring new fiction by Jeff Strand, Adam Cesare, Shane McKenzie, Nathan Robinson, Robert Essig, Brendan Vidito, Saul Bailey and Paul Shrimpton.
Uncaged Review: A short booklet called Splatterpunk that is done so well. It’s built itself a loyal fan base which progressed into a bunch of writer’s coming together to make this book. For fans of splatters gore and horror. We meet all sorts of crazy characters in this book, from people improving their cars to make them deadly with actual weapons, to a lonely old man finding a magical book behind his wall to having it all go wrong. One story in itself deserves 5 stars is Beware the Beverage by Jeff Strand. With me being a big fan of energy drinks find this story really amusing. A Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews new craze has people buying Rocket Ship energy drink by the truckload. Its key ingredient being Martian blood gives the drinker’s super energy that can do other humans harm. The population dwindles due to humans killing each other. They can’t even get the drink banned and the Martians have had enough. So they decide to come down to earth to teach the world a lesson. Even the end of the story is funny. Kinda puts you off energy drinks. This is a real short book but it should have something in it for everybody to read. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror
Violence and gore
The Empress of Tempera Alex Dolan Mystery/Suspense
Good art can make a person cry; great art can make a person kill. Paire Anjou came to New York to be an artist, but thus far has only achieved an artist boyfriend—the enfant terrible of the art world, Derek Rosewood. On her way to his show, where his controversial paintings will be on display, Paire sees an older man on the sidewalk, looking into the window of the Fern Gallery, gazing intently at a painting, and sobbing. As Paire approaches him, the man stabs himself in the chest. The painting that inspired the suicide is a one-off for the gallery—the last-known surviving work of a dissident Chinese artist named Qi. An empress, dressed in red, sits imperiously and stares out at the viewer. Paire is but one of the people who stare back, joined by hundreds, from around the world, flocking to the Fern Gallery to observe and obsess over the Empress. The
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Empress inspires lust and panic, rage and greed. When Paire starts digging into the backstory of the painting, and its artist, she unravels a tale of profound betrayal and a vengeance that spans generations.
Uncaged Review: Paire Anjou gives herself a new name and look to study art in New York. She has the perfect job and is going out with an artist Derek Rosewood, whose paintings are getting shown at the Fern Gallery. There’s also another painting getting showcased called The Empress. This painting is unlike anything anybody has seen before. It turns people into murderers. Paire is obsessed like the others with this painting. The storyline surrounding the painting and Paire Anjou background history, was very interesting to read. I would have liked to have seen a peek at this painting myself. But the characters in the book were very well thought out and interesting. The way one of the characters meets his end was a great way to have someone die. I really enjoyed this book and it was a dramatic read. An art heist gone wrong meets murder with the criminally insane. What’s not to love in this book. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Violence, murder, sexual activity
TL Clark Contemporary Romance Sophie’s first love followed by hatches, matches & dispatches
Uncaged Review: Sophie has just finished her exams at school and was hoping to get into a college to study to be a journalist while spending some time with her boyfriend. Until her parents tell her there all moving to Newcastle as her dad has s new job. Sophie after a while copes and grows up where she is faced with many more problem in love. Until she meets a handsome stranger. This story has lots of ups and downs. You can’t help but feel sorry for Sophie as you read all about her life. But it’s all part of growing up and living life. A very heartfelt story of betrayal, love and loss. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sexual activity, cancer issues
Uncaged Review: Jennifer Ranger has the perfect boyfriend and she loves her job as a teacher. It’s plain to see she cares about her student’s. As she is concerned about one boy in her class Ryan Tegian. He is withdrawn and is obviously troubled. Ryan is having a hard time at home he’s not long lost his mother. His father is a heavy drinker and his abusing him. Ryan is forced to go to therapy and talk about his problems. But the Dr. in charge isn’t what she seems. We read about Ryan and Jennifer’s unraveling as people. This is a complex read and shows just how fragile humans can be when faced with everyday problems and there mental health is at risk. The motives behind some of the key characters are interesting to read. This book will leave you saying to yourself i didn’t see that happening. It does feature some character’s from Sarah’s other novel The Volunteer. But this can be read together or as a standalone book. Reviewed by Jennifer
Sarah Northwood Psychological Thriller Jennifer Ranger’s life is finally heading in the right direction. Her teaching job gives her the power to make a real difference in her students’ lives, and her relationship with her boyfriend, Greg, is better than ever. After a long, exhausting day, Jennifer heads out to find the last thing she ever expected under the windshield wiper of her car. After that, everything begins to unravel and she’s plunged into a world of paranoia and darkness. Will Jennifer ever emerge from this new life of fear, or will she lose everything? Out of the ashes, a killer rises....
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Torture and murder, sexual situations
Ring of Truth
Jaclyn Weist Contemporary Romance Erin doesn’t have time for a relationship. After six years of late nights and mind-numbing assignments as a marketing executive with the billion dollar Silver Script Ad Agency, she finally landed the coveted Smithson Jewelers account--which means her love life will have to wait a little longer. When the actress at the first commercial shoot upsets the director, Erin finds herself cast as the leading lady alongside Jake, a handsome up-and-coming actor, who rescued her cat from the streets and stole her heart. Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Flustered, she walks away from the shoot wearing the diamond ring, leading her mom to believe she’s truly engaged to Jake. Both are desperate enough to get their parents off their backs, that they run with the lie. Now Jake and Erin have to figure out how to admit their story is false without hurting their parents or destroying the friendship they’ve gained with each other.
Uncaged Review: A nice easy going romance. Everything seems to fall into place a little too easily, and unrealistically. Erin, goes to the local shelter to pick her escapee cat, and the person behind the desk, is a out-of-work actor, country boy Jake, who is trying to make it in the big city. Erin then lands a huge jewelry account, and needs a male actor fast - and when she runs into Jake again, she pretty much hands him the job. I like a good romance, but there wasn’t much in the line of obstacles in the way for this couple. There wasn’t any development of the characters, so I never felt much of a connection with them. With Jake’s country background, none of that really came out in the rest of the book, except where he goes home to visit. I didn’t feel he was a very strong character, and although I liked Erin and her friend Carissa - I never got attached like I should have. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult/New Adult No major warnings
Tony-Paul de Vissage Dark Fantasy While Humans multiply into Earth’s dominant life-form, the Tree of Man sprouts another prolific branch—the aventurieri, winged, nocturnal hunters with a dietary need for blood. As legends evolve about them, Mankind’s half-brothers live their twilight lives in the Carpathians’ shadowed heights, where they develop their own civilization,
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laws, and religion--and a prophecy of a savior paradoxically betraying his people . When one of their kind murders another, his son’s demand for revenge expels him into the outside world of 18th century Europe. Marek Strigoi’s existence, as well as that of his species, will be forever changed as he seeks his father’s killer. When both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell can stand in the way.
Uncaged Review: Marek Strigoi’s and his family are Aventurien Vampires. Who hide among society from the humans trying to blend in. Marek Strigoi’s father and mother are murdered by Mircea Ravagio. To make matters worse Mircea held Marek and his family hostage and kidnapped his baby sister and replaced her with a human baby girl. Marek and his family are hell bent on revenge and want to get their own sister back. So they began a plan to track down Mircea and his wife and kill them. I feel a little unsure of this book as it had some interesting characters. There was some parts I loved of the book and I liked all the mischief Marek and his family get up to on their hunt for revenge. But other parts of the story were quite long and boring. I know this is just book one in what is to be a nine part series, featuring Marek and his family and their adventures. It also ended on a good cliffhanger but I’m not sure if I’m a fan just yet. Only time will tell. Some of you out there will love this type of book. Sexy Vampires set in the 1800s breaking women’s hearts and looking for fights. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Violence, Sexual activity, language
The Pharaoh’s Cat Maria Lang Historical Fantasy
The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death. The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.
Uncaged Review: A lovely tale set in in Egyptian times of a cat who has magical powers bestowed upon it by the Egyptian God Bastel. The cat now has the ability to talk and walk. The Pharaoh finds himself amused by the cat and they soon become best friends. The Pharaoh’s uncle is unhappy about this and plot’s revenge against the cat. Tragedy strikes and the high priest and the cat find themselves on the run and thrown into the 21st century New York. This is my favorite read so far of this year. Not only is the storyline so interesting to read, it had loads of humor and I loved how the story was told by the cat’s point of view. I only wish this was cat was real and I could meet him. I really hope this author continues to bring lots of books out. Reviewed by Jennifer
Addict of the Wasteland Jon Cronshaw Dystopian
The addict leads a desperate life, stealing and robbing to pay for his next fix. When the addict arrives at a settlement to hawk some stolen books, its leader offer him something he did not expect: the chance to get clean. The addict must resist the temptations of a world without hope and live under the strict rules of settlement. And even having help on his side may not be enough…
Uncaged Review: This short story is a prequel to the upcoming novel, Wizard of the Wasteland, and it’s a free read by signing up for the newsletter. It’s a good short story – a dystopian world where many are addicted to a drug called plez. An addict finds temporary sanctuary but he’ll have to kick his addiction to stay. A lot happens in a short amount of time, and the author does a good job with it. It also did a good job getting my interest up for the main novel coming in 2017. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Drugs and addiction, mild violence
Uncaged Ratings: Adult No major warnings
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Uncaged Reviews Wrathbone and Other Stories Jason Parent Horror Shorts
Looking back over thirty years Will examines his friendships, the frailty of life and how your world can fall apart in the blink of an eye.
Introduced by Kealan Patrick Burke Terror follows those who let it into their hearts
Uncaged Review: A short collection of dark tales from a gifted storyteller. From a gentlemen who loses his mind after watching a murder of a president at the theater. To lawyers who have voodoo dolls made of them. I think the best story in this twisted collection is For the Birds. A dark tale of a parrot called Joji that loves meat. The stories in this book are all dark twisting and page turning. I would highly recommend you do not eat any food while you are reading this. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Review: In this story we are introduced to Will and how he came to be in prison. We meet Will and his three friends and how they cope with life. Each friend has problems from childhood to adulthood. This a story very much based on friendship and how far that goes. Will’s friends and him generally make up the bulk of this story. I thought this story was a great read and was surprised to read how your life could change from just one wrong choice. The ending was even a surprise I didn’t see it coming. It was really interesting to read a little of prison life. This book is worth a read. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Drugs and alcohol, talk of rape
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Violence, Sexual activity, language
Ross Greenwood Crime Suspense Will has drifted through life paying little attention to the decisions he made or the consequences of his action. From his prison cell he finally understands how his casual descent into serious crime threatens to destroy everything.
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An Imperfect Engagement Alyssa Drake Romantic Suspense
Kidnapped by the man who murdered her father, nearly beaten to death and severely poisoned; so far, Samantha Hastings’ engagement to Lord Benjamin Westwood has been tumultuous at best. The killer revels his venomous, revenge plot had assistance, forcing the Hastings and Westwood families to reach out for help, but can they trust every friend? Samantha develops a risky plan to draw the accomplice out of hiding, but this scheme may cost her more
than she is willing to sacrifice. The masked ball approaching and Samantha may not survive until her wedding day because - by the end of the evening - at least one person will die....
Uncaged Review: We follow Samantha adventures once again as. She finally finds out who was responsible for her father’s murder and many more. Samantha is kidnapped and barely escapes with her life intact. But Samantha and company find out that the killer of her father isn’t working alone, so they must try to find out who it is and stop them. This is a rollercoaster of a read and we find out lots more information in this book. I highly enjoyed it and had laughter at some of Samantha witty remarks. As the book ends in a cliffhanger I find myself counting down the days until I’m able to read what happens next. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Review: Emma works at a research center trying to find a cure for cancer. Emma doesn’t want to get in a relationship as she is still a bit sore. From the last one. Emma’s a bit of a worrier her inner voice is always working overtime. Emma meets Robert at the research center. They are both shy but strike up a conversation one day. Then Emma slowly start’s to trust Robert. This book has a lot of key life issues in it. It’s even brave enough to touch on Mental health and self-harm. There’s a lot of dark twists and turns and Emma has to overcome a lot in this book. But who said life is ever easy. I’m glad I read this. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Mental health issues, self-harm, death
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Mild violence, sexual activity
Sarah Northwood Medical Romance Every day is a fight against the darkness for Emma and she certainly can’t handle a relationship. She already has a full time job dealing with her lifetime companion anxiety but when she meets the man in the corner her whole life is turned upside down. Who do you trust when everything you knew is wrong and you can’t even trust the voice within?
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Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Nevermore M. Stratton Gothic Suspense Raven Pallas ran from her past. Easton Poe had a past he couldn’t escape. When Raven gets her dream job on Nevermore--a private, remote island--she can relax for the first time in years. As the person in charge of the island and making sure the buildings are kept in perfect condition, especially the large English manor house, is her ideal job. Using her unique skillset learned from her father, she has forgotten more than most men knew of construction. The memories of Easton’s wife’s brutal murder haunt him still. Escaping the mainland and Poe Distilleries, he’s holed up on Nevermore, alone with only memories of his Lenore to keep him company. For almost five years, he has driven away all the other caretakers his twin brother had hired to make sure he was safe on the remote island.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I really really love this author. Her books have NEVER let me down. They are thrilling and surprising. They keep the reader guessing throughout the entire book and just when you think you know who has done what, she throws another curveball at you. I can’t get enough of M. Stratton’s books. Nevermore is a loosely based twist on the story “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. You will see the obvious similarities as you read through it. Personally, I was never one for poetry, so I actually enjoyed Nevermore more than I did The Raven. Don’t judge me. There are characters named after some of the elements in The Raven, and similar wording in places. There is also a poem of sorts scattered through, which is put together
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in the end in one piece for the reader to enjoy all at one time. Raven is on the run; from what, we aren’t told until the end, but own Poe Distilleries, started years ago by his great (or great-great?) grandfather, Edgar. Easton is a recluse living on the family island, which had been used primarily for vacation in the past it seems. He has all but abandoned the family business to his twin brother, Bryce, and family friend Henry to run in his absence. Raven is hired to go out as a caretaker to Nevermore since Bryce isn’t confident in his brother’s abilities to take care of himself despite having run off numerous previous caretakers. When things start to get weird on the island is when the story really takes off. There are so many weird coincidences, you can’t quite figure out if the person is after Eason or Raven. There are opportunities on both sides for things to go south. While this book doesn’t necessarily show some of the insanity of Stratton’s previous characters and books, it is still a very good read and great for anyone looking for a mystery/thriller with the hopes of light implied romantic undertones. Very well written and interesting, Nevermore is definitely a book worth checking out.
Onyx Webb, Book 5 Waltz & Fenton Horror/Suspense Haven’t Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One. Readers of the series will see the web tighten in this book, the past and present are slowly starting to catch up to each other and shocking connections continue to be made.
Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I cannot get enough of this series. Every episode brings us closer and closer to all of the dots connecting. I haven’t decided if I’m going to be relieved or sad when everything is finally revealed. I want to know everything, but that means it has to end. Fenton and Waltz continue to blow my mind with their creativity and ability to design such a well thought out and complex story while keeping everything easy to understand. With all the different storylines and where they are intersecting and jumping around, any other author would have me shaking my head in confusion. These authors do an amazing job of making everything clear. Onyx Webb is one of the most addictive series I have ever read. We are shown glimpses into the character’s pasts and personalities, secrets are being revealed in every episode and with every question answered, we get another to ask. I really think this would make an amazing movie, and it’s rare I say that about a book. Overall, I love this series and I think everyone should read it.
Vampires of the Caribbean Various Fantasy/Anthology Dead men DO tell tales! There’s no need to dig for treasure in this anthology of 10 short stories by today’s hottest fantasy authors. Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Vampires of the Caribbean is a collection of shorter stories by a group of authors with great imaginations. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This book covers many different kinds of Vampires, from many different backgrounds thanks to the variety of contributing authors. I personally loved Nikki Jefford’s contribution, A Vampire’s Life for Me, because it gives the reader a little bit of Fane’s life pre-Alaska. It was cool to see a different side of him when he’s not being influenced by Aurora Sky or the red headed she devil, Valerie. They go on a little adventure investigating the recent deaths of several vampires in the area and we get to see plenty of Fane’s sense of humor even if some of the people around him don’t necessarily appreciate it. We also get a glimpse into Joss’s background, though not much. Overall, this is a great anthology. There is a little bit of something for every vampire lover out there and I can’t argue with the tropical settings! Each author has plenty to bring to the table to make you want to keep turning those pages to find out what happens next. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a variety of Vampire mythologies.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Suburbia Christian Alecci SciFi/Dystopian On Sun Drop Court, everyone’s lawn is perfectly manicured and emerald green; their fences painted white. Anyone can see from the outside what a perfect Suburbia it is. Each neighbor waves and brilliantly smiles as they pass each other by...but what is hiding behind their closed doors? What secrets are buried so deep that some would kill to keep them covered? A deceased resident’s journal has arisen from 1995 and now, almost ten years later, that journal coincides with modern-day horrors that are destroying the once ideal Suburbia. Paint on your smile and come visit Sun Drop Court...but once you know its secrets, you will be lucky if you are ever allowed to leave.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I have never been so glad to not live in a neighborhood featured in one of my books before in my life. What appears idyllic on the outside in Suburbia is most definitely disgusting and rotten on the inside. It makes you wonder what is really behind the curtains in some of the more affluent neighborhoods, or even your own neighborhood for that matter, as madness isn’t decided by income level. Suburbia is one of those books that stays with you. Once you start reading, you feel like you absolutely cannot wait to figure out the mystery of just what the hell is going on. You know it’s something sinister, but not to what extent or who is playing what parts. I’ll admit, I didn’t clean my house or make dinner for the two days it took me to read it. The story is convoluted in a way that isn’t even
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the slightest bit confusing. In many books, the author tries to mix things up so much so you don’t solve the mystery too soon and it causes confusion. This is more of a clear convolution where you can see where everything connects just the way it should without getting more details than necessary to continue the story and keep you wanting more. Suburbia has some fairly disturbing scenes which may not be suitable for all readers. Please keep that in mind. This book is really well written and put together. In some ways it reminds me of the neighborhood in Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross’s book, Mother, which I also adored. I would highly recommend Suburbia to anyone looking for a good read with lots of twists and plenty of secrets just waiting to be uncovered.
Lockdown Various Horror/Anthology Lockdown Anthology A collection of ten terror-filled zombie short stories from some of your favorite zpoc authors. When the zombie apocalypse hits, you want to be prepped, ready, and around people you know you can count on. Now imagine the exact opposite… The outbreak has just begun and you’re trapped at work, the building is in lockdown and you only have your fellow co-workers to watch your back. Would you survive, or would the bitch woman on reception be your downfall? Could you really fight the dead with only your meagre
office supplies, or is your hidden skill-set going to be vital to yours and everyone else’s survival? If the zombie virus was within your customers, could you kill them? After all, the customers always right… right? Well that’s what the heroes and villains in this anthology have to decide. Some floors will thrive… Others will try… And some will only have their screams to comfort them in their final hour.
Overall, Lockdown is an exciting anthology, providing the reader with a variety of scenarios and stories that are relatable to for the most part. It makes us really think about what the perfect place to have been caught in the apocalypse would be, and what could go wrong if you are. I do find myself wondering what happens next for all of the stories.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Lockdown is a cool zombie Horror anthology featuring a couple of my favorite zombie authors. The basis of the anthology is there is a 13 story building which is supposed to be one of the most secure buildings in the city of Chicago that is placed on lockdown after an attack of some sort in the lobby. The stories are what are happening on each floor as the lockdown is occurring. I think it’s a fun way to set up an anthology. One of the things I liked about Lockdown was the setup. With any office building, there is usually a variety of businesses contained within. In this building, there are things from tattoo parlors, to robotics labs, to apocalypse prepping, to a seemingly mythological porn studio. I think it adds to the variety of situations each floor is placed in and gives the reader plenty of different scenarios they could find themselves in had they been in that situation. On occasion, there are references within the stories linking them to other stories in the book. I liked that as well. I thought it was a cool way to keep everything connected. My favorite story was Merry Maids by Kate Cord. It was pretty twisted. Some of the stories have a bit more humor in them than others.
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Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
The Wolfman Nicholas Pekearo SciFi/Paranormal Marlowe Higgins has had a hard life. Since being dishonorably discharged after a tour in Vietnam, he’s been in and out of prison, moving from town to town, going wherever the wind takes him. He can’t stay in one place too long-every full moon he kills someone. Marlowe Higgins is a werewolf. For years he struggled with his affliction, until he found a way to use this unfortunate curse for good--he only kills really bad people. Settling at last in the small town of Evelyn, Higgins works at a local restaurant and even has a friend, Daniel Pearce, one of Evelyn’s two police detectives. One night everything changes. It turns out Marlowe Higgins isn’t the only monster lurking in the area. A fiendish serial killer, known as the Rose Killer, is brutally murdering young girls all around the county. Higgins targets the killer as his next victim, but on the night of the full moon, things go drastically wrong. . . Myra’s Review: There are rare times when you read a book that stays with you after you’ve finished it. Haunts you. This was such a read. I kept thinking about the main character, Marlowe, and what he went through. And how beautifully the 98 | UncagedBooks.com
author created this world. Marlowe is a werewolf. Unlike many such stories, he was not bitten, but born a wolf shifter. He has finally settled after many years of wandering, into the quiet environment of a small town. This is new for Marlowe, who spent all his adult life running from his curse, moving from town to town. What changed, was his odd friendship with the sheriff of the town, and realizing he could actually help people in his werewolf form. He watches for stories in newspapers about criminals and then “sets” his inner wolf after these human monsters during the full moon. Marlowe has been torn up inside for years by the werewolf’s regular slaughter of innocents. Now he has found a way to channel the beast to do good. Vigilante extraordinaire! One serial killer stumps Marlowe. He is a particularly grisly murderer, targeting young women. The werewolf can’t track the killer at first and it’s a mystery why. When he finally discovers the man in his human form, it is quite funny and satisfying how he lets the wolf loose to take vengeance for the murdered women. What really got me was how Marlowe thought he was a disgusting, irredeemable creature. But still, the author was able to convey that in spite of Marlowe’s self-hatred there was good in him. And you feel really sorry for him.
The author was a volunteer policemen and it showed in his writing. It was real and gritty. It is really sad that he was killed at a young age while fighting crime. You can see parallels in Marlowe and his desire to help people, and the author’s desire to do the same. The editor writes a foreword praising the talent of Pekearo and how the world will never know the pleasure of further works from him. He planned on making The Wolfman a series. If you love werewolf stories I highly recommend you read this wonderful addition to the genre.
Day by Day Armageddon J. L. Bourne Horror/Post-Apocalyptic Armies of undead have risen up across the U.S. and around the globe; there is no safe haven from the diseased corpses hungering for human flesh. But in the heat of a Texas wasteland, a small band of survivors attempt to counter the millions closing in around them. Survivor, Day by day, the handwritten journal entries of one man caught in a worldwide cataclysm capture the desperation—and the will to survive—as he joins forces with a handful of refugees to battle soulless enemies both human and inhuman from inside an abandoned strategic missile facility. But in the world of the undead, is mere survival enough?
Myra’s Review: The main character, unnamed, (I’m going to call him Joe because this is hard to write without a name) is surviving the zombie apocalypse inside an abandoned strategic missile facility (Hotel 23) with a handful of survivors. We find the group recouping after successfully fighting off an attack by marauders. This is the 2nd book of the series. The hero flies a Cessna to rescue Dean and her grandson after he finds a stashed note from them. Next, he rescues several soldiers stuck inside a LAV surrounded by the dead. They are led back to Hotel 23 with pillows over their heads so as not to discover the hideout. The soldiers leave after they rest. Shortly after, soldiers from the same unit find the survivors and demand they leave. It is a military facility and they want it back. Joe figures out the unit doesn’t have an officer in charge as they claim, and he does the only thing he can – comes out. He is an officer and was trying to survive the insane world as a civilian. Once he accepts his military duties once again, Joe becomes a proficient leader. He, soldiers and civilians rescue other military in trouble. The group comes under attack from a rogue military group, but manage to survive with their wits and courage. This book is written in journal style from the main characters view. It is more telling than showing, but works since it is journal entries. I could tell this was written by a soldier before I read the bio. I always appreciate it when someone has the knowledge needed to convey a story such as this. A recommended read for zombie fans.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Them: Invasion M.D. Massey Horror/Post-Apocalyptic The action-packed prequel to M.D. Massey’s THEM Paranormal Zombie Apocalypse Series! When a surprise nuclear attack forces Aidan from hiding, he finds the world to be a much different and more deadly place. Now he’ll traverse a post-apocalyptic landscape populated by violent redneck looters, rogue military factions, and an army of hungry undead... Myra’s Review: I like 3rd person stories better than 1st person, but from the beginning pages of this book, I was grabbed by Aidan’s tale, and couldn’t put it down. The character speaks like a normal guy, reminding me of men I’ve known. As I read through the story, I saw there were paranormal elements creeping into the zombie plot line. But, I didn’t mind, because it was done in a way that made sense to me as a reader entrenched in Massey’s fantasy world. Aidan is an honorable man, tough, but with a haunted past which includes PTSD. He is not afraid to forge forward even when he has panic attacks. Realizing he cannot rescue every person he runs across, he makes some tough decisions, just like triage in a battle field MASH unit. Aidan helps when he can and moves on if he can’t. He is on a mission; to rescue his mom and dad who live outside Austin. Aidan was at his family cabin when everything went down, so he was protected. But now he wants to bring his parents back to the secure location. Aidan runs across his parents inside a makeshift community. They have a big problem; a vampire sneaking in and grabbing people. The hero de100 | UncagedBooks.com
cides to go hunt the beast, after it kidnaped a little girl. It takes a lot to kill the monster and I see the setup coming for the future when Aidan becomes a vampire hunter. Which is a cool concept. The world is hard enough to survive in with zombies, and the vampires create more havoc. I love it when I can tell the author was prior military, and all the soldiers encountered are not psychotic or being cruel for no good reason. I love it when the hero is a soldier and acts honorably during an apocalyptic event. So, for those who love these type stories, this is a great addition to your zombie disaster reads. I suggest zombie readers not be hardline about the paranormal elements and give this book a chance. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Dark Transference Anita Intenzo Supernatural/Ghosts There is a battle being waged at Anita’s house and the combatants aren’t alive. The once docile, dormant ghostly residents of Anita Jo Intenzo’s 1800’s property are now enraged over the recent “dark trespassers” that have joined their household. These sinister entities were unknowingly transported along with hundreds of ancient artifacts left to Anita by her deceased friend,Paul Jaeger, an anthropologist. A disruptive force transferred with the “trespassers” dark nature soon becomes apparent when violent poltergeist activity begins on Christmas Eve 2009, only two months after
Anita settles Paul’s estate. She has a sickening realization that her home is now what Paul Jaeger’s house once was-Haunted! With the help of paranormal investigator Laurie Hull and deliverance minister Bill Bean the spiritual battle lines are drawn against some of the darkest evil the world has ever known. Who will win this battle of wills with their sanity intact?
nations. Note this is a nonfiction novel, a true account of real events reported by the author. It does not have the natural flow of a fiction work, but needs to be enjoyed as the nonfiction work it is. An open mind would help while reading this book, or a belief in paranormal events. My family experienced some strange things at the Victorian house we owned in LA, so I believe Anita’s story.
Read this compelling sequel to Anita’s popular and successful debut book, Estate of Horror, which was the inspiration for the episode “Portal of Doom”, aired on A HAUNTING TV show on Destination America in December 2014 and an enhanced episode “Demonic Possession: Episode 2” on September 2015. Myra’s Review: I didn’t read Estate of Horror but as I started reading Dark Transference I saw right away it was a standalone read. References throughout the story to happenings at Estate of Horror helped me not feel lost as the events unfolded. The author gives accounts of ghostly phenomenon and poltergeist activity at her home. Unfortunately, ghosts have followed her from the home of her friend, Paul, where Estate of Horror took place. Anita is the executor of Paul’s estate. After Paul died, she has boxes of items from Paul’s house stored in her basement, until she can figure out what to do with them. There is a real mystery involving the Nazi’s, the SS and Paul’s father who seemed to be a part of this group. Anita’s son, Chris, is also a part of the scary events taking place in their home, including dark dreams that give them clues to past deeds. The author also speculates on the origin of the ancient artifact that seems to cause the paranormal emaIssue 9 | April 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Grappling for Position Melynda Price Contemporary/Sports This battle of wills is about to go below the belt… Willow Scott is sweet, innocent, and untouchable. She’s the epitome of everything MMA fighter Regan “Rapscallion” Matthews has always wanted but will never have. She deserves more than a scrapper from the wrong side of the tracks—the Scott’s charity case. Unfortunately, Regan’s best friend’s little sister is all grown up and she’s tired of playing by the rules. With a shot at the Welterweight title finally within his grasp, Willow is a distraction Regan can’t afford. But this willful woman is determined to make him tap-out. Amy’s Review: This book was action-packed, and the action scenes were well written and detailed. It is a suspenseful book, in the case of wondering which emotion will come to play next. Reagan is a very in depth character, something about him especially the rough and raw side of him was intriguing. I didn’t read the books that came before this one, but I don’t think it was necessary to enjoy this book. I’m still not sure how I feel about Willow, but she is an intricate part of the story, and Reagan’s self worth. A mix of different genres, but that’s the best kind of story.
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A New Dawn Ted Tayler Suspense/Crime A rogue cosmetic surgeon causes the deaths of several patients. Drug dealers target even younger children, and the school gates become the latest point-of-sale. In the sixth adventure of the series, Olympus agents confront domestic crises which carry them across England, Wales, and the Irish Republic in pursuit of their prey. The action is intense; danger only a moment away. Larcombe Manor adjusts to the arrival of baby, Hope, as New Year celebrations began at the Project’s HQ. In the first months of 2014, Phoenix must consider the future. Can he continue to risk his life in the field, now he has a daughter? Amy’s Review: I love a good series. More than that, I love it when I can follow characters with different adventures and watch as the writing of the story grows, and the characters, also grow. A good writer writes. A great writer continues to grow in writing, in story telling, and bringing more change and depth to the characters. A New Dawn is one of those stories and something at Olympus Headquarters is changing. Manor has a daughter, and that puts notions in his head about life and safety and their future. She’s perfectly named Hope. But that’s not the only issue at hand, and there are more journeys for the agents of Olympus. Filled with action and thrilling suspense, just waiting for danger to jump out.
I Bought the Sun for a Dollar Gary Starta Contemporary Can anyone actually buy peace or happiness? Perplexed by the loss of job and fiancé, Timothy Ray makes a symbolic purchase of the sun for a dollar to try to right things in his slightly off course career trajectory. When he stumbles upon a brilliant, cascading sunrise and then a chance meeting with a statuesque blonde he feels his life is about to change for the better but his new girlfriend is a spy, working for a contracted data mining firm.
Amy’s Review: I like Starta’s writing style and have read many of his books before. Each one has a unique twist and this is no different. This one is a complex and enjoyable mixture of sci-fi, romance, mystery, suspense and just plain hopeful. The characters have such a depth to them, that they work very well together, even those who are at odds with each other. Timothy is oblivious to some things that only the reader knows, but it’s part of that charm of the story that leads to the intrigue. It’s definitely a page turner that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and wanting more even when it’s finished.
My Abigail David Kummer Psychological Thriller Abigail had a secret She was different... but I loved her. But after it ended, there were no words to describe her. No way to make sense of it all. Something so sweet, so loving, so gentle... in the end, it was all terrible. In this gripping, psychological thriller, Caleb meets the girl of his dreams. Abigail is pretty, funny, and she cares about him like nobody ever has. But underneath her appearance is a monster that nobody can control... and nobody knows about. Amy’s Review: This story will definitely keep you glued to each word of every page. It’s a thrilling, and I emphasize the word thrilling, story about Abigail. There is something special and creepy about this story, and about Abigail. This story can be dark, and unsettling, but there is something about Caleb’s friendship with Abigail. Some parts of the story didn’t quite fit together, but it was filled with twists and turns, and unpredictability. Kummer is a young writer who is honing his craft, and I expect good things to come from him and his stories.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Who Wants to be President R.B. Pook Political Thriller The book that Washington insiders do not want you to read! Duncan Bernard develops an idea to select a presidential candidate using a reality TV program and sells the idea to the HMT’s Janice Coltrane. The plan includes creation of a political party, the HOME Party. When Washington leaders realize the potential of the idea, they do everything in their power to stop the movement. The pair navigate their way through obstacles and attacks and as Duncan’s idea unfolds, it sparks an unstoppable grassroots movement. With the help of a veteran FBI director and his ragtag army, Americans take back their country and restore Honesty, Oversight, Morality and Ethics in the USA. Amy’s Review: With the rough past Presidential campaign, this is the perfect book to read, no matter who you did or didn’t vote for. This book take the reader on this Thrilling ride and journey into politics, namely Presidential politics. There is something about Duncan that makes the reader stay tuned until the very end, and I love the insertion of Janice. The story is well written, the characters have charm and depth, and are there to either love or hate, but they all make the story. “There is a lot I do not know, but one thing I know for certain is that this is a unique opportunity for the American people to reclaim their government and their country and restore it and its good name, here and around the world.” (If only ...) A highly recommended book!
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Leaving Panama’s Paradise Julie Bawden-Davis Multicultural Suspense Raised in the Canal Zone, Panama, Jesse McMillan never planned on leaving the tropical paradise. But signing of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties in 1977 catapulted him from the American territory to California, where he became an investigative reporter. Exposing a Southern California crack cocaine epidemic in 1989, Jesse finds himself enmeshed with an elusive Mexican mafia drug cartel figure. Panama also makes news when the US upends the country hunting down its military dictator, Manuel Noriega, for drug trafficking.
Amy’s Review: This is the first book I’ve read of Bawden-Davis, and the writing creates a beautiful and amazing story. I like the premise of the story, where Jesse is in entangled with the cartel during his investigation for that one major story, and then dances with romance with an old flame, which has yet to burn out. Danger, action, romance, and suspense. This read was definitely a page-turner. The cover doesn’t do it justice, but gives a nice insight into what could definitely be paradise.
Broken Chains Emiliya Ahmadova World Literature
NADI Loren Walker SciFi/Young Adult
As a moving piece of motivational fiction, at the heart of Broken Chains by Emiliya Ahmadova lies the core inspirational issue: How can one best live with a deep sense of inner freedom and independence? In setting up an intriguing novel of romance and family saga, the author starts with an encounter between the parents of the protagonist that leads to a brief affair and an unwanted pregnancy. Esmira, the mother, raises her daughter alone under difficult circumstances. Once an adult, Silvana must confront the horrors of abusive relationships on her own.
Two weeks after the Kings Canyon massacre, the crew of the Arazura is splintering apart. Haunted by what she witnessed, Sydel makes a fraught connection with a mysterious newcomer, CaLarca, who teaches the young woman about her abilities, but harbors dangerous secrets about both their pasts. Brothers Renzo and Cohen must deal with the aftermath of their father’s sudden death, while their sister, Phaira, struggles with her drug addiction, grief, and the presence of a former advisory while traveling as a bodyguard. As pressure mounts to make an arrest in the Kings Canyon case, and as a separate, unidentified danger draws closer, the foursome must work through their deep-rooted issues, learn to trust each other, and come together in the wake of new enemies.
Amy’s Review: For an author whose first language is not English, this book is pretty well written. There are a few stumbles but nothing that cannot be overlooked, as the story is pretty intense. It is a story about generational abuse, and it is as sad and painful as it sounds, but the story is very compelling. It also brings out a light that shows there is hope even when the life being led is dismal. A heartbreakingly inspirational story about a subject that is more true than fiction.
Amy’s Review: NADI is the sequel to EKO, and though it’s not required, it’s better to read the first one before reading this. However, this is a great fantasy and the story continues. A family dwelling on the pain of the past, needs to deal with the present and the future. There is a new character introduced, and the reader, along with the characters, are wondering if they can trust her. Mystery and suspense, while dealing with past demons. All in all, a great story. I look forward to more stories in this series, in hope that there will be more to come.
Issue 9 | April 2017 |
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Featuring authors: Cris & Clare Meyers, Anna James, Christine Rees, Nancy DeRosa, Amy Hale, Ben Hammott, Rhonda Frankhouser and Isabel Jorda...
Published on Apr 1, 2017
Featuring authors: Cris & Clare Meyers, Anna James, Christine Rees, Nancy DeRosa, Amy Hale, Ben Hammott, Rhonda Frankhouser and Isabel Jorda...