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Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

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The Missing Factor: A Jim Factor Novel by Daniel C. Lorti

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That Which Remains

That Which Remains: A Novel of Ghosts and Murder (Hometown Ghosts and Legends Book 1) by Terry Daly Karl

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Two Journeys Home

Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (Derrynane Saga) Book 2 by Kevin O’Connell

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Spots: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune by Simon Plaster

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Exhumation: An Epic of Existentia (Acts of the Sojourner Book 1) by S. A. Chapman

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The Way of the Dhin

The Way of the Dhin by John L. Clemmer

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Walk Shepherdess, Walk

Walk Shepherdess, Walk by Barrett Cobb

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The Day Momma Made Me Dance

The Day Momma Made Me Dance by Patrice Brown

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Dead Wrong (Jason Justice Mystery Book 2) by Ralph Zeta

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Dead WrongJason Justice is a “simple” divorce attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is content with his position and his status. However, he seems to have a predilection toward getting involved in some more mysterious intrigue than would be thought for a divorce lawyer.

He goes to meet a potential client who happens to be a celebrity of note in the area. He doesn’t know what it is about, but assumes Milton Lowry wanted to discuss a divorce as that was his specialty. When he arrives at the designated location, he finds a BMW in front of an old mansion in the middle of the Okeechobee Lake region. There is music playing but nothing else to indicate other people are present.

Naturally, Jason investigates. He comes upon the apparent murder of Mr. Lowry but is knocked unconscious before he can aid.

Thus, begins a great mystery. It is neither obvious nor easy to determine who did what to whom and for what reason.

Jason is an unlikely investigator, but with the help of his private investigator, Sammy Raj, and a few other unlikely participants he seeks justice for Mr. Lowry.

Mr. Lowry comes from money, lots of money, from land investments all over southern Florida. His father was “Bull” Lowry. Apparently, the nickname was more than just a convenient shortening of a name. “Bull” spent a lot of time spreading his genes among many women in the area. The speculation is that there are upwards of 20 offspring that do not fall under the legitimate inheritance laws. Then the story gets more convoluted with the illegitimate children and their mothers getting involved.

Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Hidden SeaProffering a literate jolt to the senses, miles Arceneaux’s Hidden Sea gives readers food for thought with its rich and captivating narrative of human trafficking in the Gulf of Mexico. Albeit this is a work of fiction, the story is based on the reality of sea-faring enslavement, which occurs within the South Sea of China. Readers will find this entertaining story stocked with a bevy of colorful characters artfully immersed in a briny mix of adventure, humor, political corruption and pirates, set in the Gulf of Mexico. Written by a trio of well-honed authors, known as Miles Arceneaux, writing as one voice, this makes the fifth addition in their series of Gulf Coast thrillers.

The Missing Factor: A Jim Factor Novel by Daniel C. Lorti

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

The Missing FactorArms dealer Jim Factor has a great life, a thriving business, a loving wife, and an affluent lifestyle. The one time engineer has always run a legitimate arms business, until he is approached at a convention in Europe with a steal of a deal. Carlos Sengretti would like him to act as a moderator in negotiations with a client and will make him a large sum of money. After some discussion, Jim agrees to assist Sengretti with his deal and they decide on a payment amount. Jim believes he will just be a consultant and once the deal is finished, his services will no longer be needed.

Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Soon after the business is completed, Jim receives a phone call warning him of potential danger. The illegal deal has gone sour, and now he is suspected of leaking the deal to the United States Customs Service. His life is at risk and Jim must immediately leave the country without a trace. He cannot even tell his wife anything about the deal gone wrong, nor can he tell her where he is going. He quickly gathers cash and some clothing and leaves his housen eventually ending up at the bus terminal where he makes his escape to another city.

That Which Remains: A Novel of Ghosts and Murder (Hometown Ghosts and Legends Book 1) by Terry Daly Karl

Reviewed by Ray Palen

That Which RemainsSet in the upper Western New York State town of Akron, located outside of Buffalo, is the Akron Hotel. This is the location for this outstanding, atmospheric story. To refer to THAT WHICH REMAINS a horror, supernatural or mystery tale would not be enough of a description. This novel contains all of those elements and more.

Author Terry Daly Karl is a resident of Akron and clearly knows the territory. She imbues her story with rich detail while at the same time using a modern-day time-frame to tell a tale that contains the rich elements that have made up classic ghost stories for centuries. THAT WHICH REMAINS includes ghost hunting, séances and a murder mystery which includes an other-worldly character as a potential suspect.

The novel opens with an employee of the Akron Hotel, Jenny Shenandoah, cursing as she has to travel to the upper floors of the Hotel which she firmly believes to be haunted. She believes she sees a ghost and runs to the Hotel Manager Steve and bartender Joe for protection. When the small team investigates things further on the 3rd floor they do not find a ghost. Instead they find the corpse of one of their missing employees, Wendy Kulbrick.

Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (Derrynane Saga) Book 2 by Kevin O’Connell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Two Journeys HomeAt a little over six-feet tall, long raven hair, intelligent beyond her years and Irish, all describe the beautiful Eileen O’Connell as she returns to her home in Ireland after spending almost six years in the court of Empress Maria Theresa. Her duties in Austria are as nanny and friend to two of the young princesses, Archduchesses Maria Carolina and Maria Antonia. Part of her task is also to prepare each of them for their royal lives of the future, hopefully queens.

Many years ago, Eileen had been raised in western County Kerry in Ireland. Her family had earned their wealth by investing in illegal commercial maritime trading activities.
After her sixteenth birthday, Eileen’s family had arranged for her to marry a man, over fifty-years her senior. Unsurprisingly, she had hated being his young wife in this arranged situation, but within seven-months of the marriage, she had learned to love and cherish him. His death was a shock to her. The obvious solution for a wealthy young woman of the 1760s in Ireland is to be remarried.

Exhumation: An Epic of Existentia (Acts of the Sojourner Book 1) by S. A. Chapman

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Exhumation – Acts of the Sojourner – Act 1, An Epic of Existentia Chapman is writing an epic series about a mystical land of creatures, humans and many beings in between. The premise is worked out in the Act 1 of the Acts of the Sojourner.

Pious is an officer and head of the organization that provides some of the warriors for one group of the large city, Sanctuary. Act 1 is apparently all about his adventures as he sees his life changed from one of order and structure to one of chaos, trouble and loss.

Sanctuary’s politics are very subtle, stressed and with many machinations going on in all levels of existence for the people who abide there. There are Four Focal Towers that rise above Sanctum the center of Sanctuary. There are many factions, many of which are basically at war with each other in and outside of the houses of government and throughout the districts of this city.
There are numerous maps, illustrations and sayings that flesh out a campaign environment. All of the action and plots come from almost random directions. The plots interweave and twist and turn without apparent guidance. This goes on throughout the book and this is the first Act. There can only be a sense of wonder at the imagination that spawns such a complex and convoluted tale.

Spots: A Tale of Star-Struck Misfame and Misfortune by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Spots by Simon PlasterSpots by the talented author, Simon Plaster, is his latest satirical novel featuring a small-town reporter, Henrietta, who is from the actual small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. In Spots, Henrietta travels to Oklahoma City, where the novel is primarily set, to report on the days leading up to a TV awards show in which awards are given to the best actors/actresses in TVCs, or TV commercials, otherwise known as “Spots.” Because of this, other than Henrietta and her mother, Wynona Sue, many recurring characters from Plaster’s other novels in the series are not featured in Spots, but that is more than made up for with his cast of new characters, including ones from famous commercials, like William Shatner, the insurance gal, Flo, and the two guys who currently are in commercials for Sonic.

The Way of the Dhin by John L. Clemmer

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Way of the DhinPosing an intellectual convergence of science fiction, fact and possibilities, John L Clemmer’s The Way of The Dhin delivers with its futuristic tale of A.I. sovereignty, alien contact and the mystery of the technology they left behind.

During a time of revelation and turmoil on earth with A.I. grown to the point of hive mind singularity, governing much of what humans once managed for themselves. By virtue of their governance the need for manual labor was significantly reduced with A.I. providing everything for their human charges; food, water, shelter, power and transportation, making life easy for humans to basically exist. However, hot spots of rebellion surged, as many humans did not completely trust A.I. intentions and sought to somehow overthrow their advanced existence.

Walk Shepherdess, Walk by Barrett Cobb

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Walk, Shepherdess WalkBarrett Cobb’s childhood was filled with literature and songs. As a young child one tune stayed with her, almost as a lilting lullaby.

Eleanor Farjeon wrote both the words and melody which were first published in Nursery Rhymes of London Town in 1916 and adopted by the American Girl Scouts evolving the little tune into a folk song reflecting to the world a different time, place, and culture for most of the world.

As with most folk songs, throughout the years the song has been modified slightly with the tune and alternative words. This book focuses on the original version. The book is based on a basic three-versed four-lined poem. Some of the vocabulary could be difficult depending on the past experiences of the readers. The story was written with sheep wandering through the nearby hills and uses words, not always commonly spoken in today’s city culture. Some words need to be introduced such as shepherdess, ebony, ram, ewe, fleece, wether, and shan’t. The book explains that a wether is a lead sheep which could be compared to the game Follow-the-Leader.

The music is beautifully performed by the author, Barrett Cobb and can be downloaded through the website listed in the book. The melody is an easy tune which quickly can be a haunting selection, staying with you for days. The simplistic tune is sung by Barrett, who has a beautiful, well-trained voice adding accompaniment harmonies, flute and piano into a memorable performance.

Twelve gorgeous watercolor paintings perfectly parallel the story in poem form as the story progressing reinforcing the poetic story.

After a few readings, it is easy for a young prereader or early reader to sing the melody as the pages are turned with the pictures reinforcing the words.

At the conclusion of the tale, a narrative explaining the poem assists in further demonstrating the theme being jealousy and how to appropriately recognize and turn this into a positive life lesson.

Barrett Cobb is a painter, singer, flutist and now a visual storyteller turning a childhood folk song is an enchanting life lesson for everyone.

The Day Momma Made Me Dance by Patrice Brown

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

The Day Momma Made Me DanceAs any parent will attest, deciding how best to properly discipline a child is far from easy. It is truly a daily struggle and requires a careful mix of patience, sternness, and most importantly, love. In her new picture book, entitled The Day Momma Made Me Dance, author Patrice Shavone Brown offers her own perspective on the correct way to discipline one’s children.

Brown comes to this book with years of perspective and first-hand insight. A self-described visionary, motivational speaker, and go getter, Brown is also the single mother of two children. Immediately from the dedication, she positions her underlying viewpoint for the project: “A mother is strong when her children are weak, a mother stands when everyone else sits, and a mother loves unconditionally from the beginning of birth to the end.” This philosophy of tough love resounds throughout the book.

The River and the Ravages by J. M. Lawler

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The River and the RavagesThe River and the Ravages by J.M. Lawler touches on universal themes from a predominantly female perspective. This fiction-romance tells the story of a girl coming to terms with her true self, while being pulled in opposite directions by competing forces.

The core relationship explored by J.M. Lawler seems to be that between mother and daughter. Aaliya only felt truly understood by her mother, of whom’s recent passing threw the world off-balance. Freeing burning emotions is not something that comes naturally to her; instead she keeps the pain to fester inside. In her desperate desire to find a way to cope with a seemingly unbearable loss she recklessly throws herself in different directions, into the arms of a lover or into the hard labor of saddle making. The way to redemption and acceptance is crookedly paved, but this makes the journey all the more interesting and relatable.

Blood Memory Society by D.A. Field

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Blood Memory SocietyWho would have believed that Dr. Will Dunbar, would be involved in a national emergency of far reaching proportions.

While diving in the Bahamas, Dr. Dunbar, Will, is summoned to Washington by a friend’s desperate plea for assistance. When he sees his friend, Colonel Ross Chapman the years seem to disappear between now and then, when they were both at West Point.

Although Dr. Dunbar is about to become the head of reproductive medicine at the Mayo Clinic, his friend is able to sidetrack him into working on this issue.

For the first-time Dr. Dunbar hears of a secret organization, The Blood Memory Society, that the government has been running since the beginning of the government in the United States. In the current case, the society has been renamed the Inherited Memory Society.

Camino Island: A Novel by John Grisham

Camino IslandReviewed by Allen HottCamino Island is a very interesting story by one of the top story tellers of the day. John Grisham writes about law in some fashion or another but the real fashion of his writing is just plain good writing. He gets your interest and keeps it throughout by using great description, good dialogue, and little if any sex or profanity.

Five bad guys steal some priceless original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. The originals are worth many, many big bucks and these five not only carry off the crime but know who and where to put the manuscripts to keep them safe for a period but also to make their value go even higher.

However they, like most criminals, are not perfect and make several big mistakes which cause them big problems. But they have done the job well enough that no one knows where the papers are so that is in their favor.

When They Come for You (Harper McDaniel) by James W. Hall

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

When They Come for YouThis novel really has it all. It starts quickly with the main character’s husband and newborn being brutally murdered by a mysterious villain watching the family from afar. Instead of folding and succumbing to her grief the heroine, Harper McDaniel decides to get even.

She quickly unlocks the potential mystery of why her husband was murdered and chases his story across the world. Harper quickly gets involved researching in the high stakes world of chocolate and child labor, and enlists the help of her brother and mafia boss grandfather.

Massacre Pond: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Massacre PondPretty interesting story about a young game warden in Maine who gets involved in some things that seem to be a distance away from the normal game warden’s job. Mike Bowditch, the warden, is called to the scene of a really weird crime. There have been six moose shot dead on the estate of Elizabeth Morse. The moose appeared to have been shot and though, not dead immediately, died fairly close to where each was found. And the remains were not together but within a considerable walking range of each other.

Elizabeth Morse is a very wealthy animal rights activist who has settled into this area of Maine and is buying property with the plan to create a National Pak which she plans to give to the government. The residents are vehemently against the park idea. They feel it will definitely hurt their opportunities to make money in lumber and other areas. They also believe it will hinder their recreational habits which mainly consist of hunting wild game.

This is a Bust by Ed Lin

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

This is a BustA mystery wrapped around a character’s internal struggle to do better for himself.

Robert Chow is the main character in the Ed Lin novel titled This Is a Bust. Chow is a tormented soul similar to Connelly’s Harry Bosch. He is a beat cop who because of his ethnicity is pigeon holed into a role as a glorified public relations officer.

The novel does a good job introducing us to the character who is battling the internal demons of alcoholism and Vietnam. While the novel falls into the mystery genre it is more about Chow’s relationships and his battle with his demons, and the author does a good job highlighting those.

Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Paradise ValleyVery interesting story of an investigator, Cassie Dewell, of the Sheriff’s Department in Bakken County, North Dakota, who is chasing down a real killer. The killer ,known as the Lizard King, is an independent truck driver, and Cassie first came across him earlier when he had somehow beaten a possible conviction on a technicality. She receives word that he is back out and moving.

Cassie decides the only way to catch him is to set a trap and have him somehow get scheduled to make a pickup in her local area. She feels certain that if and when she does he will have a prostitute stashed away in his truck. This is what he has always done. He frequents truck stops and picks up the lizards (prostitutes) who work the stops. The prostitute is later found dead.

With the help of the Sheriff they get everything arranged and when his truck pulls in to make the pickup they are there and ready to get him. However they quickly discover he has another talent which is working with explosives! As they get closer to the truck it blows apart in a monstrous devastating explosion. The cab and most of the truck is demolished. Because of the damages the FBI and a local County Attorney became involved and immediately began to question Cassie’s maneuver.