Monday, December 31, 2018

December's Book Reviews & Previews

Welcome to the December edition of Book Reviews and Previews.  This month, I reviewed some historical fiction, an alternate history novel, and a steampunk novella.  There is also a preview of a book that will be released on February 12.

Happy New Year,

Sister Witch: The Life of Moll Dyer (Legends of the Family Dyer Book 1) by David W. Thompson

Excellent Historical Fiction with Some Paranormal Spice

Sister Witch is the story of perhaps Maryland’s most famous witch, Moll Dyer.  The novel portrays her as a courageous and determined woman with opinions and beliefs far ahead of her time.  I found myself cheering when she took an unpopular, progressive stand, but also cringing when she took another step toward what I knew to be her fate.  Certainly, she had some unusual beliefs, such as in her ability to create love potions or protection spells.  But they were harmless … at least until other people discovered she held those views.  And when that happened, the woman became the target of suspicion and then, hatred.  Over the course of the story, she was held accountable for everything from still births to season-long droughts.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

A Disturbing Alternative History … With a Tension-Filled Story to Match

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets offers us a stark look at a disturbing, alternative history.  Set in 1890s Boston, the world is run by ‘Great Houses’, families devoted to wealth and power at all costs.  The gap between the haves and the have-nots, a concern in our world, has become enormous, with the poorest – the Irish on the south side of Boston – living in appalling poverty.  A rigid, class system, right down to the ‘uniforms’ people wear, defines life.  Free speech has become “… a quaint notion and rarely applied to anyone except those in power.”  And justice?  When a number of these poor disappear, the police simply look the other way.  After all, it’s only the Irish.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

The Steampunk-Electric Puppy (for curious adults only) by PanOrpheus

A novella for which the phrase ‘needless to say’ is never appropriate.

“Cady Miller was 10 years old and in the 4th grade! Needless to say, it was the 25th Century and she lived on the Earth.”

So begins the novella, The Steampunk-Electric Puppy, a story for which the phrase ‘needless to say’ is never appropriate.  That’s because if there is one thing to expect from this book, it’s to be ready for the unexpected.  Sure, as steampunk, its futuristic technology is implemented in equipment reminiscent of nineteenth-century, steam-powered machinery.  And its fashion is the mix of top-hats and tails accessorized with goggles and gears that you might anticipate.  But other than those mainstays of the genre, you never know when the science, technology, and politics of the past will be superimposed on the future … or vice versa.  The result is a complex mix of fact and fiction that feels familiar even when its fantasy and strange even when it’s part of our past.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (to be released February 12)

A Locked-Door Murder Mystery in a Poorly Conceived Alternate History

The Psychology of Time Travel provides the reader with an alternate history in which four women scientists develop time-travel technology in 1967.  Fifty years later, a fifth woman discovers an unidentified body inside a locked room and becomes obsessed with solving the case, while a sixth woman worries that the dead woman is her grandmother and launches her own investigation.  While this seems considerable grist for a tense, suspenseful mystery, the book falls somewhat short of that goal.  Part of the reason is suggested in the two-sentence summary above – there are a lot of characters (more than just these six).  Additionally, the chapters are short, moving among these individuals and across time periods in an unpredictable sequence of flash forwards and backs, making the story feel choppy.  And finally, the mystery isn’t maintained.  By the midpoint of the book, the victim is known and at three-fourths, the perpetrator.  The rest is tying up loose ends, which is rather dry.  This book is available for pre-order on Amazon:  My complete review can be found on Goodreads:

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Feed that New eReader

Get a new eReader over the holidays?  Looking for some bargains to fill it?  Try these limited time, Kindle Countdown deals!

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 1-2-19
Killer in the Retroscape:  A Near-Future Mystery
By Bruce M. Perrin
Sci-Fi, Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

When Doug Michaels finds his friend dead in 2068, he builds a mental landscape, a retroscape, to find the killer.  But as the suspects appear, they disappear almost as quickly.  It's not the aftereffects of an illness sensationalized in the media as the “zombie pandemic”.  It's not an evil artificial intelligence intent on taking over the world.  It's not his friend's machine intelligence wife, Julia, even if she can't even remember his final days.  But when his retroscape is complete, Doug finds the killer ... in one of the most unlikely of places.

“A compelling mystery set in a superbly-constructed future world.”
    - A Wishing Shelf Book Review

Amazon  Amazon UK (99p)

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 1-1-19
Double-Sided Magic (Legacy Series Book 1)
By McKenzie Hunter
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

I have to hide in plain sight and pretend to be just human. I’m pretty good at it. I live a simple and somewhat normal life, and I work in antique acquisitions. Everything’s going fine until a dangerous and enchanted dagger that was once in my possession is stolen. I didn’t think things could get any worse until I woke up next to a dead shifter, fae, and mage, without any memory of the past twenty-four hours.  Considered guilty of murder by most of the magical community and humans, I must work with Gareth, the sexy and dangerous leader of the Supernatural Guild. If he’s as good as rumored, it’s only a matter of time until he discovers the truth about me—then being found guilty of murder is the least of my worries.


Start Date: NOW  End Date: 12-31-18
Slave to Fortune
By DJ Munro
Historical Fiction (Young Adult)
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

Tom Cheke’s world is turned upside-down when he is kidnapped from his home by Barbary corsairs during an audacious night raid. Sold into slavery in seventeenth-century Algiers, Tom carves out a promising, new life only to have it shattered once more. Another twist of fate throws him into the hands of a Scottish knight of the Order of St John and into a turbulent world of ciphers, spies and assassinations. 

This is a remarkable account of how a young man comes of age, grasping life from the setbacks of fortune. It is a tale of friendship and reconciliation, of intrigue and deceit, in which trust is betrayed and deep-rooted beliefs and values are cast into doubt.


Start Date: NOW  End Date: 12-30-18
The Bigfoot Blunder (A Charlie Rhodes Cozy Mystery Book 1)
By Amanda M. Lee
Supernatural Suspense
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

The truth is out there … maybe.
Charlie Rhodes has a lot going on. The recent college graduate just landed her dream job. That’s right. She’s a bona fide monster hunter. No, you read that right. Charlie has joined the Legacy Foundation, and her actual job is to find something new, wonderful and scientifically unique.  Her first job as the junior member of the team involves a biggie. It seems Bigfoot – no, the one and only Sasquatch extraordinaire itself – may have killed a woman in Hemlock Cove, Michigan. Within hours of landing at her new job Charlie finds herself traveling to an odd little town in the middle of nowhere to discover if Bigfoot is real.


Start Date: NOW  End Date: 12-30-18
The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery (Adventures of Zelda Richardson Book 2)
By Jennifer S. Alderson
Historical Fiction (European)
Usual Price: 1.99  Sale: 0.99

Missing masterpieces, Nazi blackmailers and a pesky amateur sleuth.

When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.  When two women claim the same portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.


Start Date: NOW  End Date: 12-30-18
The Stories She Tells: A psychological page-turner with a shocking and heartbreaking family secret
By LK Chapman
Psychological Thriller
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

When Michael decides to track down ex-girlfriend Rae who disappeared ten years ago while pregnant with his baby, he knows it could change his life forever. His search for her takes unexpected turns as he unearths multiple changes of identity and a childhood she tried to pretend never happened, but nothing could prepare him for what awaits when he finally finds her. 

Appearing to be happily married with a brand new baby daughter, Rae is cagey about what happened to Michael's child and starts to say alarming things- that her husband is trying to force her to give up her new baby for adoption, that he's attempting to undermine the bond between her and her child, and deliberately making her doubt her own sanity.


Start Date: NOW  End Date: 12-30-18
The Knight Advocate: A Colt Valentine Arcane Justice Novel
By Jason Rose
Paranormal Suspense
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

As a San Francisco Public Defender, Colt Valentine thinks he’s seen it all, heard it all, and knows it all. So, when a well-dressed man claiming to be a sixteen-hundred-year-old Vampire suddenly appears, offering Colt a job at a private law firm and claiming things that go bump in the night like Vampires, Witches and Weres, are not only living among us, but live under their own legal system, Colt is skeptical. That is, until he sees a video of a human family being savagely murdered by something Colt never imagined existed, not even in his darkest nightmares.


Check all prices before purchase.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kindle Stuffers

Stuff your stockings ... er, your eReader with these limited time, Kindle Countdown Deals.

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-17-18

In the Space of an Atom

By Bruce M. Perrin
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
Jeremy Reynolds has been listless for a while.  First, his girlfriend dumped him and he was in a funk.  Then, he quit his job.  Yes, Jeremy was doing little and caring less.  But recently, he has found something that energizes him, something that gives him direction.  It’s called, running for his life.  And after he accidentally involves beautiful Diane Stapleton, MD, the two of them match wits with the killer in chases that take them where no one else has been … in the space of an atom.

Amazon US |  Amazon UK (just 99p)

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-15-18

Captive by [French, Colleen]Captive

By Colleen French
Historical Romance
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
Escape into an unforgettable love story from bestselling author Colleen French about a young English lady and the Native American warrior who captures her ... a woman and a man from different worlds who find passion in a divided land ... two bold hearts bound by one thrilling destiny.

Amazon US

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-14-18

Quantum Space (Quantum Series Book 1) by [Phillips, Douglas]Quantum Space

By Douglas Phillips
Science Fiction
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
High above the windswept plains of Kazakhstan, three astronauts on board a Russian Soyuz capsule begin their reentry. A strange shimmer in the atmosphere, a blinding flash of light, and the capsule vanishes in a blink as though it never existed.
On the ground, evidence points to a catastrophic failure, but a communications facility halfway around the world picks up a transmission that could be one of the astronauts. Tragedy averted, or merely delayed? A classified government project on the cutting edge of particle physics holds the clues, and with lives on the line, there is little time to waste.
Amazon US

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-14-18

When The Jaguar Sleeps: A jungle adventure (The Curse Of Inca Gold Book 1) by [Kalis, J.A.]When the Jaguar Sleeps

By J.A. Kalis
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
A plane crash in the Amazon jungle...
A desperate struggle for survival ...
An unexpected discovery.
A dream holiday turns into a nightmare when two young men are stranded in the Amazon rainforest after their plane crashes. Desperate to survive, they decide to set off on a daring journey through the 'green hell'. Despite the harsh environment sucking their strength away, they push on until they enter a territory inhabited by isolated Indian tribes hostile to outsiders and where probably the fabulous treasures destined for the last Inca emperor Atahualpa's ransom, are hidden. Soon, unexpected dangers arise.

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Kelly's Koffee Shop (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series Book 1) by [Harman, Dianne]Kelly's Koffee Shop

By Dianne Harman
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: 0.99
A diary. A secret. A murder. A goddaughter who led a double life.

The residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip.  Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen, her goddaughter. The townspeople can’t believe what’s happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. Kelly identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?

Please verify all promotional prices before purchase.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Love Crime/Mystery/Thriller eBooks?

Then enter for a chance to win 20 or more of them!

You could win:

Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather (Amazon's #1 Computer Security Thriller)

The History of Things to Come by Duncan Simpson

Her Final Word by Willow Rose

Vanished by Dan Petrosini

Killer in the Retroscape by Bruce Perrin

And 15+ other, great reads

Two grand prize winners get all 20+ eBooks
20+ others win individual eBooks
All winners chosen randomly

Enter now to December 10:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November's Book Reviews & Previews

Happy Holidays and welcome to the November edition of Book Reviews & Previews.  This month, we have reviews of a fantasy, a couple of thrillers, and even a how-to book.  Hopefully, something for everyone. 

Red Wrath (Blood of the Masked God Book 1) by Gerhard Gehrke

Superhero Abilities with Supersized Character Flaws Make this Book Fly

Once superheroes were unswervingly virtuous, while supervillains were, without exception, rotten to the core.  It was all so simple – pure good vs. absolute evil.  But that hasn’t been true for a while, with even Superman, the archetype for all superheroes, turning evil multiple times, sometimes from necessity, sometimes from choice.  Author Gerhard Gehrke in Red Wrath focuses on that gray area where a superhero (Chronos) who is adored by the masses also has a dark, alter ego.  And the main character, Lily (aka Jade or Red), is obsessed with getting even with him after he killed her parents in one of his dark fugues.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

CRISPR by Lincoln Cole

An intricate plot woven around a potential, technological nightmare

In terms of doomsday scenarios, editing human genes with horrifying, heritable results has to be near the top of the list.  That, in a sentence, is the scientific terror featured in Lincoln Cole’s latest technothriller, CRISPR.  And in case you think this is all in the imagination of a creative author, note that if you search for CRISPR in Amazon books, his fiction will appear right alongside the laboratory manuals and academic tomes on this gene-editing methodology.  There’s more truth to Cole’s fiction than we might want to admit.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

City of Endless Night (Agent Pendergast series) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

A Familiar Formula that Fails to Yield Drama this Time

City of Endless Night is the seventeenth installment in the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  It follows a formula found in several of their earlier works, as FBI Agent Pendergast faces a previously unknown type of foe, which has been shaped by forces in the gray area between science and the supernatural.  But unlike the monsters he pursues in the museums and caves of earlier books, Pendergast’s adversary in the City of Endless Night seems little more than a man.  An intelligent, cunning, and extremely disturbed one, but a man nonetheless.  There is science run amok in the book and it was apparently intended to provide the ‘disfiguring’ stresses on this individual, but it never achieves Preston and Child’s trademark blend of the bizarre, the natural, and the paranormal that keeps the pages turning.  Basically, the story ends up being a murder mystery.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

Now, something for would-be authors out there:  A Wordy Woman's Guide for Writing a Book by Dawn Husted

A Guide for Succinct Guys, Too!

I admit to being drawn to this book initially by the title – just what kind of guidance does a ‘wordy woman’ need to write a book?  Don’t get lost in subplots?  Of course, I suspected the title was intended to be catchy rather than descriptive of the intended audience.  And after reading it, that’s true – succinct guys could use this guide as well.  The work is, simply put, a solid, beginner’s guide for writing a book.  See the complete review or get more information on Amazon:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Feed Your eBook Reader - Black Friday Edition

Get limited-time prices on these great reads.  As always, please verify all prices before purchase.

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 11-29-18

Of Half a Mind

By Bruce M. Perrin
Psychological Thriller
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
When you talk to yourself, there's but one voice.
Psychologist Sam "Doc" Price had always held that principle to be true ... at least under normal circumstances.  But as he studed the work of Dr. Ned Worthington, a brilliant but troubled neuroscientist, he discovered a device that created a reality that was anything but normal.

Amazon US |  Amazon UK (just 99p)

Start Date: 11-27-2018End Date: 12-04-2018

Glitter, Greed, and Gatecrashers

By Emily Selby
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: 0.99
The church fete has closed for the night and everybody is looking forward to another day of fun, except one uninvited guest... Katie finds his lifeless body, covered in glitter in the storage room. Will she find who's done it? Book 3 in the series

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-25-2018

Homicidal Holiday (Gainfully Employed Mystery Book 1)

By Sam Cheever
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: 0.99
It was a simple holiday getaway…a chance to regroup and figure out how to move forward after losing the man of her dreams…then she witnessed a murder on the beach…

Start Date:  NOWEnd Date: 11-30-2018

Books and Brews (Back Room Bookstore Cozy Mystery Book 1)

By Susan Harper
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: New Release Sale: 0.99
Monica Montoya is the new owner of the Back Room Bookstore, an ordinary bookstore with a back door to the supernatural realm. With the help of a little magic, she seeks to bring the killer to justice. Can she keep her secret and protect her friends?

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 11-29-2018

Best in Show

By maria grazia swan
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: 0.99
Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has. Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for herself, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 12-31-2018

The Bow of Destiny (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1)

By P. H. Solomon
Fantasy-Urban Fantasy
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: 0.99
Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.This unique epic fantasy will keep you turning pages as Athson discovers his destiny is both inconvenient and unavoidable. Athson has seen things that aren't there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the mage who serves Magdronu the dragon. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, Athson's not sure it's real. 'Solomon has his own signature touch that gives us not only something original and unique but will leave many fantasy readers waiting for more.' --- Fantasia Reviews, 2016 Book of the Year

Monday, November 5, 2018


My fourth book, Killer in the Retroscape:  A Near-Future Mystery is now live on Amazon!

“A compelling mystery set in a superbly-constructed future world.”
    - A Wishing Shelf Book Review

In 2068, Doug Michaels finds his friend, Josh Unger, dead in his home.  When law enforcement concludes his death was a suicide, Doug is dumbstruck – what could explain such a violent death in a future where such actions are unimaginable.  Trying to unearth a killer, Doug creates a mental landscape of Josh’s past, a retroscape, starting in the mid-2030s.

Among its landmarks are:
-  An illness, sensationalized in the media as the “zombie pandemic”.
-  A mysterious phrase uttered at the attack on a government official.
-  Josh’s machine-intelligence wife, Julia, who may hold the secret … if she can only remember.

In the end, determining guilt in a retroscape littered with suspects tells Doug more about humanity, technology, and himself than he ever could have imagined.

Pick up your copy today:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October's Book Reviews & Previews

Rather than posting each book review (and stuffing the inbox of those on my email distribution with 2-4 messages a month), I thought I'd collect a month of reviews and post them as a group.  To keep the post short, I'll only give you the first paragraph, then a link if you're interested in the rest of the review or seeing the book on Amazon.  So, here's October.

Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo:  I posted this review before I decided to do this summary, but here's the link if you missed it:

Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

A Fan’s View of the Pressure Cooker that Is Professional Baseball

With so many excellent books on baseball written by veteran players and coaches, you might wonder why you’d read one by a spectator?  And admittedly, sometimes the thoughts or words of the fictional characters in Empty Seats sound a bit more like the hyperbole of a fan than the analysis of a player, e.g., “Bobby sends a fireball his way, and slugger-boy doesn’t even see it until it’s landed in Russ’s mitt and the umpire calls it.”  But the story’s not about baseball strategy or history; it’s about broader themes in life.  One, for example, is the sense of belonging provided by sports.  When the team wanted to visit an injured player and the hospital was limiting visitors to family members, one coach summed it up well, saying, “Can’t chew see that we come from the same mother? Mother beisbol!”  See the complete review on Amazon:

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

Two (or Three?) Strong Women Protagonists Make this Story Work

With the title, The Banker’s Wife, you would expect the individual in that role (Annabel, wife to banker Matthew Werner) to play a major role.  And she did.  But she knew little of her husband’s work and his oft-notorious clients.  So, she became our view into the dangerous world of offshore banking, where everyone from dishonest politicians to brutal dictators hid their money.  Although intelligent and obviously brave, Annabel spent much of the book running for her life.  Annabel’s co-protagonist is a journalist, Marina, drawn into the situation by colleague and largely unaware of Annabel and her husband.  In terms of a solution, Marina was more the instrumental.  But I suppose ‘the journalist to a banking whistle-blower’ doesn’t make for a very catchy title.  In any case, much of the book alternated chapters written from these two women’s perspectives.  See the complete review on Amazon:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Untangling the History Behind the “Reign of Terror” for the Osage Indians

In what author David Grann called a “curious provision” to the agreement between the Osage Indian Tribe and the US government, the Tribe claimed all rights to “…the oil, gas, coal, or other minerals covered by the lands.”  It was curious because the lands forming their reservation in northeastern Oklahoma were considered virtually worthless.  That is until oil was discovered there in 1897.  And in a matter of a few years, that black gold made the Osage some of the richest people on earth, changing their lives forever … but not for the better.  See the complete review on Amazon:

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Cover Release & Early Praise for Retroscape

Final preparations for the November 5 release of Killer in the Retroscape:  A Near-Future Mystery are well underway, including a final version of the cover.  Hope you like it!

I also received the first editorial review of the book and I'm pleased to share it.

"A compelling mystery set in a superbly-constructed future world."
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review,

More of the Review:  "I loved the film, Bladerunner. I also loved the story it was based in by Philip K. Dick. You see, I find the future; what might or might not happen fascinating. In terms of Electric Sheep, Earth's life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war and robots (skin jobs) are hunted down by Bladerunners. Now, Killer in Retroscape is very different to Philip K. Dick’s novel in terms of ‘what the future holds for mankind’, but I still thought it had a lot in common.

Like Electric Sheep, this novel is sweeping in scope. As the Author Note at the end says, Killer in the Retroscape looks at machine intelligence, engineering, medicine and, amongst other things, psychology all in a world set in 2068. Pretty impressive! But, has the author managed to do all this and still offer the reader a thrilling plot and interesting characters to follow?

Well, I’m delighted to say…YES! In fact, I was thoroughly absorbed in the novel.”