Wait… I’m in another Anthology!

Hey guys! As you know, I’m also working towards becoming a full-time author. In order to do that, I’ve been writing like mad and have been in two anthologies this year. Well, I’m happy to announce that it’s actually going to be three now! The book is titled The Forest of the Dark and it’s an Enchanted Anthologies anthology edited by Angie Wade.

Release date: November 20, 2018

A collection of paranormal stories by nine authors. What happens in the Forest of the Dark? 

Even in the face of evil, there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love. ~ Rena Marin, Heart. 
Being the first victim of a serial killer sucks….for him ~ M. Rain Ranalli, Demon’s Lullaby. 
One kill was not enough to sate it, my vamp side yearned to make blood rain and play in the puddles ~ Jenee Robinson, Outcast. 
If you chase after dark legends, don’t be surprised if you become one. ~ C. J. Laurence, Black Forest Gateaux. 
The cry of a child is like a sirens call, but if you enter the woods, you will fall. ~ Ellabee Andrews, The Boy in the Blue Coat. 
When a predator of the night finds they have become the prey.. Does she run? Or does she stay and fight for what is rightfully hers….. Her forest. ~Erica Andrews, Willow. 
He’ll never go hungry again. ~ Casia Courtier, The God of the Forest 
Many choose to dangle from the limbs but the limbs are what entangles. ~ J. V. Stanley, The Hanging Tree. 
Don’t look for movement in the shadows, watch for the shadows that move. ~ Lorah Jaiyn, Shadow of the TreesMy contribution to the anthology is, “The God of the Forest”. It was inspired by the slender-man stories, but with my own little twist.

My contribution to the anthology is, “The God of the Forest”. It was inspired by the slender-man stories, but with my own little twist.

The other stories are just as creepy. Here are their teasers too!

The Forest of the Dark is available on Amazon and you can pre-order it right now! Just click on the Amazon link below and pre-order it. If you can’t right now or the book doesn’t interest you, that’s cool too. It would be just as great if you tell your paranormal/horror pals about it.

AMAZON / GOODREADS

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TRAILER BLAST: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword. 

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.   

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

 

Praise for JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK

A mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Lord of the Rings” … RECOMMENDED ―School Library Journal

“Keenly descriptive and eloquently written with touches of sixteenth-century language, the story takes the reader into the world of monsters controlled by a diabolical villain, and into a land of mystery and magic beans.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

“Mary Ting managed to surprise me at every turn, even though I must have read this story a million times as a kid. The most impressive surprise was the creation of a girl protagonist who is so much better than the original Jack. Then she brings in the boy, Jack, as the love interest. Sheer genius and a great idea. The writing is great. The plot is good, and the various themes woven throughout the story make it a very compelling tale.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

Mary Ting writes with an adventurous heart, a clever pen, introducing young readers to a classic that meets fantasy, shedding light on the family devotion and a love story that buds to completion by the end. This short novel comes as a highly recommended read for parents and young adults that prefer fantasy fiction with a Christian-based theme and a creative perspective. Mary Ting is one of those writers to notice and watch. ―Kingdom’s Review  

 

THE TRAILER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Ting is an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM MARY TING

WEBSITE: http://www.tangledtalesofting.com/
TWITTER: 
@MaryTing
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4388953.Mary_Ting
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/authormaryting

GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 1 Winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CLICK HERE

Happy Birthday, Bro!- A Word Crawl

As you probably have figured out, I am on a Word Crawl kick. I have written another one to share with the class. I hope you guys enjoy it and it helps with your writing! I’m probably going to use it myself now.

 

Happy Birthday, Bro! – A Word Crawl

 Hey you! It’s been a while since you went on that quest with the cat. After you saved Bast from that little illness, the cat took you back to your apartment. It has been a while since you’ve done that quest and, to be honest, you’re starting to get a bit bored. You begin to wonder if there will be any more adventures for you in the future.

Write 150 words to get out of the apartment to get rid of this boredom.

 What’s this? You open your door to find an unusual letter on the ground. It is actually a large leaf, but it has your address on it and a stamp. You pick it up and read what it says.

Hey, bro! We have a birthday party happening soon! You should join us- your Sasquatch pals.

You can’t help but be excited about this. It’s been a while since you last went to a party. In fact, it was the party you held to get that Sasquatch hair. How cool is it that you get to see them again? Not only that, but you get to do it outside of questing. That’s awesome! Uh oh…. There’s just one problem with this… you don’t have a birthday present.

Do a 5 minute sprint to decide whether or not you are going to give the Sasquatch a present. Because, just what do you give a Sasquatch?

  •  If you have written less than 80 words, you think it’s best to not bother with a present. If anything, your presence should be enough. Write an extra 100 words if you’ve changed your mind about not giving a gift. If you haven’t, head over to THE PARTY.
  • If you have written 81+ words, you are a great guest for parties, especially birthdays. Of course you want to give the Sasquatch a present. It’s just not cool if you don’t.

Since you’ve decided that the gift is the best idea, what are you going to give the Sasquatch? Sprint for another 5 minutes as you try to think of options.

  • If you have written 40-80 words, you aren’t that great at gift giving. You decide that a humor birthday card with a gift card to Supercuts is the best option.
  • If you have written 81-100 words, you have thought of an amazing hair barrette and head band. Who cares what gender the Sasquatch is, when it comes to hair you must always be fashionable.
  • If you have written 101+ words, your brilliant mind went to the most obvious gift. You decide a shampoo and conditioner set that is cruelty free and all natural would be perfect for your fuzzy tree hugging friend.

Now that you have the gift, you’re ready to see your Sasquatch friends. Go you! Making friends and having a fun time is great. Call up or message a fellow writer and set up a writing war. Try and beat your friend’s word count in a 20 minute sprint. If you lose, that’s okay, you had some fun. If you won, you are awesome! Take a 5 minute break after your awesome writing party. (If you can’t get a hold of a fellow writer to sprint with, that’s okay. Sprint against yourself with two 10 minute sprints. If you can double the last number, consider that a win and take a 5 minute break.)

 THE PARTY

 You’ve made it to the Sasquatch birthday party and boy is it crazy. Do a 5 minute sprint to socialize with your buds.

 If you went to the party WITHOUT A GIFT, the Sasquatch are happy to have you there, but disappointed. You have the choice to Write 500 words to get a gift or Minus 3 minutes to the following sprints.

 It’s time for some entertainment! Are you going to have Music at the party or Nature’s Call? Sprint for 10 minutes to see what you’ve chosen.

  • If you have written 80-150 words, you chose NATURE’S CALL. The party isn’t as crazy as it could be, but sometimes just socializing with friends is best.
  • If you have written 151+ words, you chose Celebrate your awesome writing skills and friendship with a favorite song. Dance, sing, and just enjoy this moment.

It’s time to open presents! Yay! Sprint for 5 minutes as you watch the Sasquatch open its gifts (minus 3 minutes if you didn’t bring anything).

  • If you have less than 40 words, the Sasquatch aren’t too pleased with your ability to party alongside them. They are questioning whether to invite you to future shindigs. Write 150 words to convince them to let you in another party.
  • If you have written 41-80 words, the Sasquatch are pleased with your party skills and would like to have you around again. They also think you need help loosening those fingers. Write 75 words since you understand that sometimes you need to work on relaxing.
  • If you have written 81+ words, dude! You are probably the coolest cat in the forest! Go have a fun time with your Sasquatch pals. They loved the way you moved and grooved, how you brought the perfect gift, and you knew all the words to their songs. That’s pretty badass. Go have a party right now to celebrate. You did great.

 Man, that was some party. Take a break and have a good time with your writing. I’m proud of you, pal.

Book #95: The Remnant by Channing Whitaker

In this suspense-filled, neo-monster, horror novelette, a writer named Gene Winfield discovers an ominous, handwritten book among the belongings of his late, adventurer aunt. As Gene reads, he becomes captivated with the volume’s account of a savage, unearthly creature. In spite of the book’s warning, with his writing career failing, Gene can’t resist the inspiration. Near the roaring fire in his aunt’s otherwise cold, empty manor, Gene begins a story of his own, but will he unleash more than his imagination…

I received an audio code through Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation made in exchange for this review.

Now that that’s out of the way, The Remnant is a short horror/suspense story. It starts off just before the death of Gene’s aunt and then follows Gene through his process of her estate and his failing writing career.

Since the story is short, it would be hard for me to make a long review that doesn’t spoil the rest of it to you. Suffice to say that for a pretty basic premise, the story lent itself to be suspenseful. The evil itself was just enough to keep you wanting more. There is also a twist ending that may or may not be easy to figure out.

I would read more from Channing Whitaker.

Final Rating: 4/5

Bast’s Quest- A Word Crawl

So far during this year’s NaNoWriMo, I have learned that I am a person who might need to free-write to keep the creative juices flowing. I have found myself doing a lot of it this year and in the process of it, I wrote a Word Crawl. Yep, I just wrote a Word Crawl.

I actually didn’t know about them until this year and couldn’t find one that really pleased me. So, I decided to make my own. I’m counting all my blog posts and random free-writes for this year’s word count and honestly, it’s been very helpful in keeping my brain moving. That said, here is my word crawl and I hope you all enjoy it!

Bast’s Quest- A Word Crawl

You step out of your apartment and see a cute kitty at the end of the carpeted hallway of your apartment complex. It is sitting there like a cat statue, staring at you. You notice a bright heavenly light is encircled around the feline. This is weird because as far as you know, the landlord hadn’t put in a roof light and there are no windows to cast light over the cat.

Do a 1 minute word sprint as you walk towards the cat.

  • If you have written less than 40 words, you walk around the cat to get out of the apartment building. The cat is displeased by this and attacks your ankle. As you are bleeding in pain, the cat commands you to kneel: “Bow before me peasant!” WRITE 100 WORDS AS PENANCE.
  • If you have written 40+ words, you kneel before the cat and bring out your hand. The cat sniffs at it and allows you to pet the top of his head. As you are caressing his fluff, he purrs softly to you that come out as actual words: “Good, Peasant. You are suitable for this quest.”

Do a 5 minute sprint as you listen to the cat’s quest.

You have learned that the cat’s mistress, the Egyptian goddess Bast, is having a tough time. She’s sick and needs someone to gather the ingredients for her healing potion. There is a problem though, each ingredient is being safeguarded by dangerous creatures and only one hero can obtain them.

For some reason, the cat has deemed you as that hero. Do you accept your new role or back off?

If you accept that role, write 150 words as you gather up your essentials for the arduous journey ahead.

If you decline the offer, do a 20 minute sprint.

  • If you have written less than 400 words, the cat is angered by your decision. He smacks you in the face with claws out. “You will obey me, Peasant! If you do not, you will suffer greater deaths than my prey.” Continue to write until you have reached your 400. You will be going on that quest even if it kills you.
  • If you have written 400+ words, the cat is disappointed, but impressed at your silver tongue. “That is fine, Peasant. I shall find a different hero who is more equipped at this quest. Thank you for your time.” Write another 100 words if you decided to change your mind. You are free to do whatever you want if you decided to leave.

You have decided to take on the quest. You have your provisions in your suitcase and the cat has instructed you to get into your car. Where are you going first? To Providence, Rhode Island. The first ingredient is a tentacle from a sea monster.

To use your GPS, do a 2 minute sprint.

  • If you have written less than 40 words, you have gotten lost somewhere down the trip. You have to pull over and ask directions. The cat is not pleased about this. “You imbecile!” He hisses. He has smacked you in the hand for your lack of progress. And yes, the claws were out. Write 100 words as you heal and get the directions you need to please your new overlord.
  • If you have written 40+ words, not only is your GPS working but you are somehow able to figure out how to get there before it instructs you. Is this the magic of the cat? Reward yourself on a good job. Take a mini walk, get a drink, and then get back down to business. You have a sea monster tentacle to obtain.

“You have reached your destination.” Your GPS says to you. You sigh in relief. The cat purrs and stretches out the kinks in his muscles. “Be sure to not kill the monster, Peasant. We do not have time for his kin and I do not wish to waste what time we do have in this hellhole.”

Do a 10 minute sprint as you find out where the sea monster resides and prepare to take its tentacle.

It appears that the sea monster likes to frequent an inn on the boardwalk. He is currently staying at one right this moment. You decide to visit the inn. But, how are you going to get the tentacle? You have three choices on how to do this. Do you: A. Ask the sea monster graciously for a piece of one of his lesser loved tentacles, B. Attack the sea monster as he walks down the boardwalk, or C. Wait until the sea monster sleeps before you attack.

  • If you chose A, do a 5 minute sprint as you explain to him why you need this lesser loved tentacle.
    • If you have written 40-80 words, he laughs in your face. Write 100 words in order to gain the confidence to either try again or do a different route.
    • If you have written 81-100 words, he takes into consideration your plight, but tells you that there is a price for his tentacle. Write 250 words to pay for the tentacle.
    • If you have written 101+ words, the sea monster is impressed with your fervor and passionate plea. Not only does he give you a tentacle, but he gives you his business card. He may need a word-smith like you for a future adventure.
  • If you chose B, do a 10 minute sprint as you attack the sea monster for his tentacle.
    • If you have written 40-80 words, he laughs at your puny attempt in an attack. The cat appears and has to heal you now. Write 400 words in order for the cat to heal you so that you can try again or a different route.
    • If you have written 81-100 words, the sea monster is impressed that you made the idiotic attempt at attacking him. He still wins the fight, but he might give you the tentacle… for a fee. Write 300 words to pay for the tentacle and to heal.
    • If you have written 101+ words, you have beaten the sea monster and have gotten the tentacle. Use this time wisely and haul ass. He isn’t pleased.
  • If you chose C, do a 15 minute sprint as you wait for the night to fall.
    • If you have written 40-80 words, the sea monster has been woken up the moment you stepped into his room. He has found you and is upset that you interrupted his beauty rest. Write 500 words to get away from him and get the courage to try again or go a different route.
    • If you have written 81-100 words, the sea monster has been woken the moment you have obtained a tentacle you have two choices:
      • Write 400 words to lull the sea monster back to sleep and hightail it out of there.
      • Write 100 words to explain to the sea monster why you are there and have taken the tentacle. He will give it to you, but for a price. Write another 250 words to pay for the tentacle.
    • If you have written 101+ words. You have gotten the tentacle and made it out of the inn unscathed. The cat is impressed with your work. He allows you to pet him as he compliments you on your work, “Very good, Peasant. You truly are suitable for this quest.”

Congratulations on getting the tentacle. You now have two more ingredients to get: A vampire fang and a hair from a Sasquatch. Which one are you going to get first?

  • To go to New Orleans, Louisiana for the vampire fang, write to the next 1000. Vampires are nasty little buggers and you need to be prepared.
  • To go to the National Redwood Forest in California, write 550 words. The Sasquatch are strong, but not as mean as the vampires.

NEW ORLEANS, LA

You have made it to New Orleans and man is it cool! Well, it’s actually hot, but it’s a cool place to be. Take a 5 minute break to experience the city. You see a whole bunch of different people walking around having a great old time. The cat is walking down the sidewalk like he owns the city and he probably does. He is talking to you as he walks.

“The sea monster is a baby compared to the vampire. You need to be on your guard. You may want to get some wooden stakes for this one. Or garlic. But you definitely need to make sure you don’t kill a living vampire. Those are humans who drink blood.” He weaves under people’s feet, causing them to trip and almost fall. He doesn’t care and he doesn’t expect you to either. Don’t bother taking care of them. You’re on a mission.

“Remember, we don’t have the time for you to mess around. Get the fang and get out. If you end up killing a living vampire and go to prison, I’m not paying for your bail.”

Do a 10 minute sprint as you search for the blood-drinking undead and get the garlic and wooden stakes.

  • If you have written less than 80 words, you have accidentally found a living vampire. Quick! Write another 100 words before you end up staking them. After that is done, you have sufficiently scared the living vampire into giving you the location of the real vampire’s lair. Be proud of yourself, you aren’t in prison.
  • If you have written more than 80 words, congratulations! The person you’ve been following was actually a living vampire, but they do know a real vampire. They take you to the vampire’s lair. You’re going to need to do some quick thinking. Do you bring the wooden stakes or the garlic with you?
    • If you have chosen the wooden stakes, you’re in luck. For the following sprints, be sure to add an extra 3 minutes to your sprinting time.
    • If you have chosen the garlic, take off 3 minutes to your sprinting time for the following sprints.

You now have your weapon of choice and follow the living vampire to the vampire’s lair. Do a 5 minute sprint as you sneak to the vampire’s coffin.

  • If you have chosen garlic:
    • If you have written 40-80 words, the vampire has smelled the garlic and has awoken. He attacks you and you are now dying. Write 200 words in order for the cat to heal you. He won’t be happy, but you have a job to finish. Try the sprint again.
    • If you have written 81-100 words, the vampire has smelled the garlic and has awoken, but you were quick on your feet. You’ve not only punched the vampire in the face, you’ve also kicked him! Look at you, you badass! A fang has fallen out of his mouth. Write 100 words in order to find the fang and get out of the lair quick.
    • If you have written 101+ words, that vampire is so tired he didn’t even open an eye at the smell of your garlic. You shove the garlic into his mouth and he starts coughing. A fang has been blown clean out of his mouth and you catch it. Quick! Get out of there!
  • If you have chosen the wooden stakes:
    • If you have written 40-80 words, the vampire wakes just as you have the stake to your chest. He grabs at you before you can get him. Write 200 words in order for the cat to heal you. He won’t be happy, but you have a job to finish. Try the sprint again.
    • If you have written 81-100 words, the vampire screams as you are pushing the stake into his chest. His loud voice has broken your eardrums, but you have successfully killed him. Write 100 words to get the fang out of his mouth. The cat is pleased and heals you for your hard-work.
    • If you have written 101+ words, the vampire sleeps through his death. There is a soft gasp as he opens his mouth. You quickly grab the fang and put it in your pocket. Walk out of his lair like the badass you are, you deserve it!

Great job at getting that fang! It was a toughie. If this was your last stop, head over to Bast’s house. If you still have to get the Sasquatch hair, head on to the National Redwood Forest, but watch out! They are a lively bunch those Sasquatch.

National Redwood Forest, California

You are now traveling the heavily wooded back roads of the National Redwood Forest. These trees are HUGE. Take a little 5 minute break to experience the majesty of these old trees. The cat is sitting in the passenger seat of the car and instructs you to drive to a little campground. The campground is free and not filled with tourists. He is talking to you as you sit in the car.

“Now, the Sasquatch are actually a peaceful bunch, but they like to party. Don’t bother with a fire because they won’t come over, but if you have some good music, then they might come to join you.”

Do you decide to turn on the music or let nature’s call lead the Sasquatch to you? Do a 5 minute sprint as you make your decision.

  • If you have chosen music, put on your favorite song or a song in your WIP playlist and sprint to the time of that song.
    • If you have written 40-85 words, the Sasquatch have heard your song and have joined the party. Write an extra 100 words to convince one of them to give you a lock of its hair.
    • If you have written 86+ words, the Sasquatch have heard your song and have joined the party. Not only do you get a lock of hair, but they also invite you to visit again! Party with them for 5 minutes, you deserve this break!
  • If you have chosen nature’s call, do a 5 minute sprint.
    • If you have written 40-85 words, the Sasquatch are bored with your stagnant ways and haven’t bothered to join you. Write 100 words to turn on the radio and get that lock of hair.
    • If you have written 86+ words, the Sasquatch have come to check you out. They think you’re pretty chill for a human. They give you a lock of hair and a piece of advice: “Sometimes you got to dance it out and sometimes you just need to breathe and take in life.”

Congratulations! You have gotten the lock of hair from the Sasquatch. If this was your last ingredient, head over to Bast’s House. If you still have the vampire fang to get, good luck on your adventure!

Bast’s House

The cat is very pleased with your work. He understands that you are tired, but he knows that there is no rest until the quest is over with. Now that you have your three important ingredients, take a 5 minute break to gather up something to drink.

“Good job with what you have done. Here is my lady.” The cat introduces you to a sickly woman. At first she seems like a normal person who is sick in bed, but on quick notice, you find that she has adorable cat ears and a tail. She doesn’t look well though. You need to get that potion made and quickly!

Do a 20 minute word sprint as you gather the ingredients and brew Bast’s potion for her.

Bast drinks the potion and slowly regains a healthy color. She looks at you and nods her thanks. The cat purrs and jumps into his mistresses lap. You are rewarded for a good quest’s work. Go and have a fun time you amazing writer! You just saved a goddess. Not many people can say that!

Book #94: Insidious by Victoria Evers

Alternate cover edition for ASIN B01N4H9MNN
For all editions see here

All Kat Montgomery wanted was a fun night out on the town. What she got was a death warrant. As it turns out, the quaint little hamlet of Mystic Harbor, Maine houses more than sandy beaches and adorable B&B’s. Beneath the New England charm rests a deadly world where shifters, demons, vampires, and angelic hunters all vie for power. 

A world where magic is the greatest weapon. 

Magic that Kat now possesses.

After that one fateful night, she can feel the changes beginning to take hold of her. Only problem, she doesn’t even know what she’s turning into. With threats hiding in plain sight, deciphering the lines between friend and foe is nearly impossible. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Kat learns her only real ally rests in the one person she can’t stand: Reese Blackburn, an insufferably handsome magician whom the town fears most.

Kat’s very soul is at stake, and destiny doesn’t seem to be playing out in her favor. Can these two unlikely partners challenge fate itself before it’s too late?

First, I should begin by telling you that a friend recommended this book and boy am I glad she did. It got me from the first chapter and kept me going.

I’m a bit oversaturated by the young adult age of reads I’ve been doing lately, but this one was just a step above the average YA read. In fact, I guess you could call it a New Adult. It has a darker feel than normal paranormal romance YA.

It’s honestly been a long time since I’ve had a “book boyfriend” and this book not only brought me one, but two. I was kept on my toes trying to figure out one thing only to be turned around with the twist. The world Evers crafted in this series is in depth and is only a taste of what’s to come in later books.

I also listened to this in audio. So, the narrator isn’t bad, but the narration speed itself can be considered slow. That said, all you need to do is speed up the process and the story itself keeps going.

Like I said before, the first chapter got me fast. You are pulled into the story from an accident that feels like it came out of a Jeepers Creepers movie. A bus full of students and everyone goes missing. Not only do you find out what happened to them, but it fits so well with the rest of the narrative that you are left wanting more.

All in all, it was a very good beginning to a world I definitely plan on returning to.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #93: Fatal Agreements by Ashley Fontainne

Whispered rumors tickled the ears of the residents of an entire town for decades about the disturbing secrets of the old Halstead House, dating all the way back to the early 1920s. Most people didn’t believe them. Several people will soon discover they should have listened. 

Three years after struggling to cope with the death of her beloved father and escaping an abusive relationship, Samantha Chapman decides it’s time to return to her hometown of Hot Springs. She buys the ramshackle Halstead House, eager to transform the dilapidated, abandoned piece of history into her new law office and residence, hoping it will be the start of a brighter chapter and a safe haven to escape her personal demons. 

Instead of newfound freedom, things take a dark turn when the resurrection of the old home reveals the disturbing secrets hidden within its walls. When youthful transgressions of numerous people come to light, including ones some members of the Chapman family are desperate to contain, it reveals the sins of the past. They collide with the grave mistakes of the present, creating a perfect storm of chaos and death for not only the Chapman family but others as well. 

Some will survive. 

Others will get burned. 

Sam and her loved ones realize some family secrets should have remained buried. 

I received an audible code via Audiobookboom for an honest review. What follows here is my honest opinion and I wasn’t compensated for this review.

I actually love Southern Fiction. It is a favorite literary genre of mine since college. Final Agreements very much follows the Southern Fiction genre. Aside from being set in the South (United States in case anyone needs to know), the book deals with family secrets.

Some of the secrets you actually learn really early on, but there is still an underlying suspense on how everything will be resolved. Really, the book is more about the family dynamic than the issues they are dealing with.

Since I listened to the audiobook, let me talk about the narration. The narrator herself wasn’t bad. There were times where the accent or the voice changes confused me as to who was speaking at the time, but the narration itself wasn’t bad.

The prose of the story was well put. When something is supposed to spur the suspense of the story, the reader is pulled in. It isn’t a book that is hard to follow though there are parts I felt that were just a bit like a soap opera and semi-resolved rather quickly in the story. That said, none of the characters themselves felt too out of their normal personality.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book Tour: Death By The River by Alexandra Weis and Lucas Astor

Some truths are better kept secret.
Some secrets are better off dead.
Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.He is also a psychopath.A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.

 

Praise for DEATH BY THE RIVER

“… a thrilling psychological work … Catching the current vogue of teen psycho and revenge tales like Bates Motel and 13 Reasons Why … a horrifically brilliant book … Beau Devereaux could have easily been a clichéd psycho, but the plot constructed around him and his development during the novel really shone as a masterpiece of character creation … much in the style of Dexter or Hannibal.” ―K.C. Finn, Multi-Award-Winning Author

“Rare is the story that simmers and rises to a boil so naturally and constantly that the reader manages to be repeatedly shocked … a full-speed rollercoaster that doesn’t slow down until the final page. Employing an evocative setting, powerfully defined characters, and taking along hard look at the darker side of human desire, this novel will catch your breath and hold it until the very end. RECOMMENDED” ―Michael Radon, US Review

“While the authors have written a chilling story here, there’s more to Death by the River than thrills. It’s actually a fascinating study into the effects of good and bad parenting on children. Do it badly and parents, children and society as a whole pay the consequences. This book is not just an exciting read; it’s a sobering one.” ―Viga Boland, Retired high school English teacher and Author of No Tears for my Father: Viga’s true story of incest 

“While the story follows compelling characters, it also plunges readers into an intriguing setting. It is ironical that the horrors are taking place along the river that runs so close to a seminary, an establishment that should evoke a powerful sense of God and reverence for life. The characters are sophisticated and readers will learn to honestly hate the villain of the story — he is well imagined and developed with skill. In a subtle way, the authors allow his crooked mind to reveal itself. Like most serial killers, he is a charmer and an intelligent young man, but beneath the cool surface is a cauldron of simmering evil. Weis and Astor have written a riveting crime tale with strong psychological underpinnings. Death by the River is ingeniously plotted, written in gorgeous prose, and featuring a strong conflict that propels the narrative forward. The suspense intensifies as the story moves on, with the reader always feeling as though something awful could happen at any moment, and this feeling grows in intensity until the explosive climax. A real thriller!” ―Romuald Dzemo, Readers’ Favorite

“A suspense-filled thriller steeped in equal parts atmosphere, insanity, and revenge.” ―Mary Ting, Award-Winning Author of ISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network

Weis and Astor have created something so dark, edgy, and gritty, it will stay with you long after you close the book.” ―Julieanne Lynch, Dragon Award Finalist: Horror (2018)

“… a crime thriller that pulls readers into the twisted mind of the protagonist and holds them engaged till the exhilarating finish. The writing is flawless … Death by the River is psychologically engaging, emotionally rich, and utterly absorbing.” ―Christian Sia

MY REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from one of the authors via Jean Book Nerd Tours for an honest review. There was no compensation done for this review and everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone.

Death By the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is a young adult thriller that reads like a movie. That’s right, I want this into a film. It is written in two main viewpoints though there are two other characters that have their print time. The two main characters are Leslie, an observant young woman who feels that there is something wrong with her twin’s boyfriend, and Beau, the boyfriend of Leslie’s twin and a guy who isn’t what he seems.

The other two are Leslie’s twin and boyfriend: Dawn and Derek, but they aren’t seen as much as Beau or Leslie.

When it comes to my favorite viewpoint in this book, I would have to say it is Beau. Don’t get me wrong, he is a scary dude. Seriously scary. But I loved the evolution from a boy trying to keep his anger under control to the monster he becomes in the end. His sections read like the evolution of a serial killer. I found that intriguing and because of that, he was my favorite viewpoint to read.

That isn’t to say Leslie’s sections weren’t interesting. They were. It gives the reader a view of possible things a person should look at when determining if the person they know is a good person. When Dawn has her own moments, you see that as well and I can only imagine that this might be a similar view as women who are in dangerous situations with the people they love.

The book itself is well written and pulls the reader in. Though it is young adult, it doesn’t read like that. I know that might not make sense, but there is sexual content and you can almost feel Beau’s anger. There is a way in how an author chooses what words or how it is written that makes a book just feel a bit older than the audience of their characters. This isn’t a cutesie book. This is a book that is dark, triggering, and moving.

In all, I highly recommend for readers.

Final Rating: 5/5

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.

Lucas Astor, Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Weis and Astor’s first collaboration was the multi-award-winning Magnus Blackwell Series.

 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM ALEXANDREA WEIS AND LUCAS ASTOR
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Book #91: Cannibal Cheerleader by Tiffany Drake

Chase is only sixteen, but she can kill a camp counselor with a bow and arrow from a hundred yards. She knows nineteen different ways to prepare hitchhiker. And she can shake a mean pom pom.

Chase is a cannibal, and when she’s violently uprooted her from her primitive, isolated mountain life and dropped into modern society, three ordinary high school cheerleaders discover her incredible knack for their sport. Fortunately for the girls, Chase wants to sink her teeth into cheerleading almost more than she wants to sink her teeth into them.

Taking her under their wing and keeping her past a secret, the cheerleaders enroll Chase in school, knowing her prodigious talents are just what their squad needs, even if her appetite isn’t. But old habits die hard—Chase’s journey through normal teenage life quickly leaves a trail of blood and bodies, and the local police chief begins to pursue her with a ravenous thirst.

With local law enforcement closing in and her own gruesome nature working against her, is there any way Chase can keep her cheer dream alive? Or will she lose her new friends—and her life—just as she gets her first taste of high school? 

Oh my god. I am seriously in love with this book. I grabbed this book purely for the title and the blurb. I knew with a title like Cannibal Cheerleader the book was either going to be funny or be one of the worst books around. And, believe me, I love reading horrible books (there will be more on that in future blog posts).

But this book was amazing. AMAZING.

I’m not shitting with you. I loved every second of this book. It screams of horror tropes, gore-tastic ways of dying, and made me pee I was laughing so hard. This isn’t a book for a person who thinks they are going to get a horror. This is a book that is written by someone who knows their way around a B-rated horror slasher flick and decided to turn the tropes into a handstand.

I have to say that I have no doubt Tiffany Drake knew she was writing a book that wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously. There is absolutely no way. The humor in this book is set in a way that the audience isn’t explained what is going on. Instead, there are quite a few moments where the reader is supposed to infer on what has previously happened. And that is masterful.

I’m serious. I love this book. I want this book to be made into a horror comedy just so I can watch it over and over again and giggle as I do. Am I going to be reading book two? You’re damn right I will be!

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #90: The Night of the Screaming Horses (Dead Air Episode 1) by Carrie Ryan, Gwenda Bond, and Rachel Caine

Explore your true crime obsession in a whole new way with Serial Box’s latest multimedia innovation in storytelling from three of today’s hottest storytellers, Gwenda Bond, New York Times-bestselling author Rachel Caine, and New York Times-bestselling author Carrie Ryan.

“Fast-paced, captivating, and completely surprising, prepare to stay up way too late—you won’t be able to put this down.” -Megan Miranda, New York Times-bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger

This is episode 1 of Dead Air, where M is for midnight, Mackenzie…and murder.

Mackenzie Walker wasn’t planning on using her college radio show to solve a decades-old murder, but when she receives an anonymous tip that the wrong man may have taken the fall, she can’t resist digging deeper.

It doesn’t take long for Mackenzie to discover gaps in the official story. Several potential witnesses conveniently disappeared soon after the murder. The victim, a glamorous heiress and founder of a Kentucky horse-racing dynasty, left behind plenty of enemies. And the cops don’t seem particularly interested in discussing any of it.

But when the threats begin, Mackenzie knows she’s onto something. Someone out there would prefer to keep old secrets buried and they seem willing to bury Mackenzie with them. Thankfully, she’s getting help from a very unexpected source: the victim’s son, Ryan. The closer she gets to him, however, the more important it is for Mackenzie to uncover the truth before he gets buried alongside her.

Read or listen to the ebook and audiobook of the serial novel Dead Air, and then check out Mackenzie’s podcast for a uniquely immersive experience. Does the truth lie in the serial, the podcast…or somewhere in-between?

I found out about Dead Air from a Goodreads newsletter. I love serials and I love Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy. Since I hadn’t read much from Ryan since then, I wanted to go ahead and try the first episode of this serial fiction. Besides, it has to do with the idea of a college student who is DJ-ing for her university’s radio station and is interested in true crime. I’m a true crime buff myself so the premise pretty much check-marked a bunch of my likes.

For the first episode, it wasn’t bad. It grabbed me and it did feel like a murder mystery was about to unfold. That said, it does feel like the first episode in a tv series and only gives the reader a taste of what’s to come. The reader joins Mackenzie in seeing the scene of the crime, go through the process of getting the police reports, and meet with the family of the victim. Nothing is solved yet, but the taste of something more to come is there in the end.

What is great is that there is a podcast that accompanies the fiction and honestly, if you listen to it, it definitely grabs you. I might actually just continue the story with the podcast style versus the book, but the book will give you those small details to the narrative. In all, it does make for an interesting experience.

Final rating: 3/5