About Mae Clair

Hi, I'm Mae Clair, an author who writes tales of mystery and suspense, flavored with folklore. In addition to writing, I'm an avid reader who loves discussing books and anything writing related. I'm also passionate about cryptozoology, legends, and cats!

Book Review Tuesday: Guns of Perdition @JessicaBakkers, What We Forgot to Bury, Marin Montgomery


Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy Book Review Tuesday! It’s July, which means pool time for me, and plenty of reading. I’m happy to share two exceptional books, the first of which held me enthralled for two straight days. I may have finished it one if I didn’t need to sleep…


Gun of Perdition
by Jessica Bakkers

For a debut novel, this author knocked it out of the ballpark. I’m not much for kick-ass heroines, mainly because they come across as, well…contrived, but Grace Dyer is in a league of her own. Not only is she is a strong protagonist, but she’s backed by a number of equally strong, unique, and highly memorable characters.

Jessie is a clean-up boy in a saloon, minding his own business, when Grace strides in off the dirty trail and turns his world upside down. From that first explosive confrontation, the reader is sucked into the story, caught up in one astounding encounter after another. Soon, Jessie is hunting nightmarish creatures at Grace’s side as she searches for the conniving and sadistic “darksome gunman.” Joined by a wolf companion (who is far more than he seems) and a handful of others they encounter on their way, Grace and Jessie’s path leads them through towns where innocents are not always innocent an evil-doers, not always evil.

There are plenty of grays in this grim world which entwines the grit of the Old West with Biblical prophecy, Native American folklore, beastly creatures, poker hands, and battle lines drawn between good and evil. It’s a melting pot that grabs you right from the start and never lets go until the mind-blowing, staggering conclusion.

Of special note is the author’s grasp of period dialect, so perfect you can almost feel the spit and vinegar of trail dust falling off every word. Jessie’s character undergoes an amazing story arc, but each of the unique characters has their own moments to shine. As much as I loved Grace and Jessie, Kaga was the standout for me. To discover what made him–and the others–so special, you need to read this wildly colorful and entertaining story. One of my best reads of 2020!

5 Whopping Big Stars

AMAZON LINK

Genre: Dark Fantasy > Dark Fantasy Horror > Western Fantasy Horror


Book cover for What We Forgot to Bury shows single family home isolated on field of loose soilWhat We Forgot to Bury
by Marian Montgomery

This book is told between the alternating viewpoints of the two lead characters. Elle is troubled teen, close to flunking out her senior year of high school. She has a terrible home life, living in a filth-infested apartment with a drunk foster parent who gambles away her assistance checks. Elle’s father, a man with a history of domestic abuse, is in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Charlotte has a beautiful home in a gated community. Her workaholic husband is often absent, and her own dark past has left her wary of others. During a horrible storm, Elle knocks on Charlotte’s door for shelter. She knows all about Charlotte’s past, convinced that it contributed to ruining her life. Once Charlotte allows Elle into her house and her life, the reader is treated to both sides of the coin, and no one is who they seem.

Charlotte and Elle dance around each other, never fully trusting, while maintaining all the earmarks of a growing friendship. Soon Elle is left questing everything she thought she knew. In addition, she finds herself in an unexpected situation that leaves her vulnerable, her future uncertain. Again, Charlotte is there to help, solicitous, while still maintaining an underlying edge of distrust.

Occasionally, the behaviors of both characters require a stretch of the imagination, but the plot is twisty and engaging. There are HUGE surprises in store at the end. My only quibble is that when the revelations come, they strike like a thunderbolt—quick and done. I wish there had been more build up to the final cards being played. It all happens so fast. That aside, this was an inventive and suspenseful read and the ending was jaw-dropping. Well done!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Domestic Thrillers


I love when books deliver surprises and twists at the end. Both of these novels did that in abundance. Kudos to the authors for keeping me entertained!

Guns of Perdition – The Armageddon Showdown Book 1 – #BookRelease

Woohoo! I’m jazzed to share this debut release of an author I’m sure will continue to do amazing things. I’ve been friends with Jessica Bakkers for a few years now and have been eagerly awaiting the release of Guns of Perdition. It ticks all the right boxes for me. I pre-ordered the moment it became available and have it high on my TBR. This is the first time Jess has been on my blog with a release, so I hope you’ll roll out the red carpet for her 🙂

Guns of Perdition – The Armageddon Showdown Book 1 
is now available for purchase.

–  IT TAKES GRACE TO HUNT WHEN IT’S DARKSOME

Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace with her pearl-handled revolvers and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.

Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.

The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.

Join the Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict…the Armageddon Showdown.

WHO IS JESSICA BAKKERS?

Author, Jessica BakkersI am a creative writer with over twenty years of writing experience. I am a speculative fiction writer, and have written in the genres of fantasy-romance and paranormal-romance, however my genre of choice when it comes to writing for myself is dark fantasy where I can allow myself to fully explore the anti-hero characters that pepper my stories. I dabble at poetry and have written professionally for clients locally and internationally.



My debut novel, Guns of Perdition, The Armageddon Showdown Book 1, is a dark fantasy, weird western adventure through a twisted Wild West.

My major love affair is with the written word, specifically creative writing. I allow myself to indulge and rendezvous with this secret lover whenever time allows…and then we make beautiful poetry together!

FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Website | Facebook: The Written Word | Twitter

I’ve been following Jessica’s progress with this novel on her blog throughout her writing journey. I am so excited it’s now available for purchase and recommend you go forth and ONE CLICK. Then be sure to share using the buttons below.

A huge congrats and a Snoopy dance to Jess!

New Release: The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger #historicalfiction

I am super excited to have my friend, Noelle Granger, on my blog today with her historical release, The Last Pilgrim. I’ve delved into her Rhe Brewster Mystery Series and have found the stories intriguing, but I have to say, I am soooo looking forward to sinking my reading teeth into Pilgrim. I’m in awe of the research Noelle has put into this book. Even more, her background—and how it melds with the content of the book—is astounding. I hope you will give her a HUGE welcome, as this is the first time she has been featured on my blog. Drum roll, please!


Book cover for The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger shoes girl in colonial dress standing on shore looking to clipper ship at seaMy thanks to Mae Clair, one of my favorite writers and very talented, for hosting a promotion for my new book, The Last Pilgrim.

This book was a labor of love (and sweat and tears) for the past four years. It began with the realization that the women of the Mayflower have been much overlooked. Their contributions – backbreaking labor under terrible circumstance – insured the survival of the colony.  Colonies begun in the New England region in the 1700s did not survive without women. It was a close call, but I managed to finish the book in the quadricentennial year of the landing of the Mayflower on the New England coast.

I am biased, of course. I grew up in Plymouth and my parents volunteered me to portray various girls and young women in the Pilgrims’ Progress each week during the summer. Townspeople garbed as Pilgrims walked up Leiden Street, the oldest occupied street with the same name in the US, to the church at the base of Burial Hill, where the town’s original fort stood. They enrolled me in a summer class at the Harlow House – also called the Old Fort House because it was built with the timbers of that original fort. How wonderful to stand inside that ancient house and breath in the smells of history from the wooden beams and the fireplace!  There I learned to make candles; wash, card, spin and weave wool; cook in the fireplace – many things that were daily tasks for the women.

In high school, I was chosen to be one of the first guides, now called re-enactors, at the newly built Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of the original village. This village was a few doors down from where I lived on Warren Avenue, and I used to drive there in costume in a Model T Ford phaeton (my first car). I had my picture taken many times in the Plantation parking lot, a real clash of eras!

To be a guide, I had classes on Saturday and was given a thick notebook crammed with information on the times, the houses, the furnishings, the colonists etc. to digest. Needless to say, I was tested before I was accepted for the job.

I loved it! I guess it was a foretelling of what I would do for the rest of my life – teaching – because I got great satisfaction in telling the Pilgrim story and showing the visitors the house to which I was assigned. Often I was sent to the Fort, because I knew quite a bit about the cannons, which were fired off once a day. I have lots of memories of the tourists and their reactions to the village, both good and bad.

At some point I decided to write a book about the women and I came across the name of Mary Allerton Cushman, who was four years old when she and her parents sailed on the Mayflower.  This remarkable woman lived to the end of the 17th century, and as the daughter of Isaac Allerton, a colony leader, and then the wife of Thomas Cushman, who became a leader and Elder of their church, she was in the middle of colony history.

Mary lived to age 82 and bore eight children, all of whom lived (and, most remarkably, she lived) to marry others in the second generation of the original Old Comers. She saw and experienced it all – the horrible voyage across the Atlantic, the winter of dying, the starvation and deprivation of the following year until the first crops came in, the interactions with the Native Americans, the wars, an earthquake, epidemics, and a monstrous hurricane.

The Last Pilgrim was written as an homage not only to Mary but to all the women of the colony. I hope I did them proud.

*****

The Last Pilgrim: The Life of Mary Allerton Cushman captures and celebrates the grit and struggle of the Pilgrim women, who stepped off the Mayflower in the winter of 1620 to an unknown world – one filled with hardship, danger and death.  The Plymouth Colony would not have survived without them.

Mary Allerton Cushman was the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower, dying at age 88 in 1699. Her unusually long life and her relationships with important men – her father, Isaac Allerton and her husband, Thomas Cushman – gave her a front row seat to the history of the Plymouth Colony from its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in New England to when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Mary’s life is set against the real background of that time. The Last Pilgrim begins from her father’s point of view – she was, after all, only four when she descended into the small living space below deck on the Mayflower – but gradually assumes Mary’s voice, as the colony achieves a foothold in the New England’s rocky soil. Hers is a story of survival – the daily, back-breaking work to ensure food on the table, the unsettled interactions with local native tribes, the dangers of wild animals, and the endless challenges of injury, disease and death.

What was a woman’s life like in the Plymouth Colony? The Last Pilgrim will tell you.

*****

The Last Pilgrim can be found in paperback or as an e-book on Amazon

It can also be ordered through your local bookstore from Realization Press.

*****

Author, Noelle GrangerNoelle Granger is a Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. After forty years of research and teaching undergraduates and medical students, plus earning her EMT licence, she decided to turn her hand to writing and created the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, set in Maine.

Having grown up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the author worked as one of the first reenactors at Plimoth Plantation when it opened, which is where the idea of writing a book to honor the Pilgrim women took seed. This stayed with her over the years, resulting in The Last Pilgrim, the story of Mary Allerton Cushman, the oldest surviving passenger on the Mayflower.

The author has also written for Coastal Living and Sea Level magazines and several times for the Bella Online Literary Review. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and a Maine coon cat who blogs, and she spends a portion of every summer in Plymouth and in Maine, researching for her books.

*****

You can find more of her writing and musings on her website: saylingaway.wordpress.com; on her mystery author site: na-granger.com; on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/noelle.a.granger and https://www.facebook.com/nagranger/; and on Twitter @NAGrangerAuthor.

Again, thank you, MC, for offering me your blog site to promote my book!

Book Review Tuesday: This Last Chance, Songs of Heartstrings, Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine @dlfinnauthor @mhurdle112 @teagangeneviene

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHi, friends. If you live in the U.S., I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday. We had relatives on hubby’s side visit from out of state. I’m still freaky about the social distancing thing, but I am venturing out more these days—visiting family, and going to stores. We even went to a restaurant for the first time. Not sure I’ll do that again, but we wanted to get together with a friend who is leaving for the summer. I have to say the restaurant did a good job with social distancing and sanitizing.

And now for the latest round of book reviews . . .


Book cover for This Last Chance by D. L. Finn has glowing red eyes looming above angel wingsThis Last Chance
by D. L. Finn

I really enjoyed the combination of mystery and supernatural elements in this book. On the mortal realm, the story revolves around Amber who is determined to discover who murdered her sister. In the spiritual realm, angels and evildwels battle for control of human souls. At the center of that conflict is Nester, an evidwel who suddenly finds himself questioning his beliefs. Toss in a remote location, plus a group of potential suspects trapped under one roof by a snowstorm, and you’ve got a tense and intriguing plot.

I loved the claustrophobic atmosphere created by the snowstorm, and the characters (both human and supernatural) present a varied and interesting group. Nester is a standout, as is Ed, an angel. The quips between them are priceless. This Last Chance fuses mystery, spiritual warfare, even a hint of potential romance. When the climatic scenes—on both planes—happen, there are more than a few surprises in store. An engaging read!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Supernatural Thriller > Paranormal Suspense


Book cover for Songs of Heartstrings, a collection of poetry by Miriam HurdleSongs of Heartstrings
by Miriam Hurdle

The author of this collection of poetry and short snippets takes us on a journey through life—her life—as seen through the music of words and photographs. She shares experiences through marriage, parenthood, the loss of loved ones, even cancer treatments. Heartfelt and often spiritual, the book resonates with strength, love, and faith.

There are multiple poems and snippets that touched me, but a few that really stood out are Cocoon-Butterfly, A Tribute to My Dad, and Gratitude for Being. Each reader will no doubt find poems that speak to their heart. Although this collection is a reflection of the author’s life, the beauty and spirit of the work brings something for everyone.

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Religious and Inspirational Poetry > Personal Growth and Christianity


Book cover with cute illustration of woman in steampunk dress with pink umbrella and a duck by her skirtFiona Finch and the Pink Valentine
by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

This is a cute, whimsical novella that is sure to leave you with a smile. The characters are fun, the story highly imaginative, and the descriptions dazzle like a kaleidoscope of vibrant color. Fiona Finch is a young woman with a fondness for pink.

Her brother, Steele, is an inventor whose mentor carries a heart full of unrequited love for the woman he let get away thirty-five years ago. Toss in a scene-stealing duck, a masquerade party, and a pink valentine, and you have all the elements for a light-hearted romp with threads of romance. If that isn’t enough, the ending with Quellie the duck will have you grinning ear to ear. Simply delightful!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Steampunk > Holiday Fiction > Fantasy


That’s it from me for today, but I hope you are enjoying plenty of summer reading!

Just a Note

Please pardon my absence over the last two weeks. I have missed visiting your blogs and sharing on my own. I will be back online next week and look forward to catching up. A special thanks to my Story Empire colleagues for covering comments on my post last week while I was engaged elsewhere.

For those in the U.S., I wish you a happy Fourth of July weekend ahead. May it be filled with family, friends, and good times! And to all my friends, regardless where you are located, happy writing and reading. May the muse be kind, and your summer (or winter) filled with excellent books. Chat soonest! 🙂

A WIP and A Short Story #amwriting

If you’re looking for a Book Review Tuesday post, it will be back next week. I have several book reviews to share, but I thought I’d do something different today. It’s been a while since I popped in to chat writing—so here I am. 🙂

I still haven’t cracked open my current WIP, but I’m starting to feel the siren call. Before I wade in, I need to restudy the story and characters. It’s been a while since the pages have graced my screen. Right now, I’m envisioning this work as a stand alone, but it has series potential if I decide to expand it. Like most of my books, the genre is mystery/suspense, but the folklore elements are rooted in an old legend rather than the supernatural.

I started walking and jogging during our shelter-in-place time, which has been great for thinking through plot entanglements. I also had a new character pop up during a stroll. He’s been waging a campaign for inclusion, and even though the details are vague, I think he’s going to win.

Desk with an open notebook with writing, old books stacked to the side

While the WIP is currently languishing, I did finish my short story submission for a murder mystery anthology. Once more, I’m doing something a little different. No supernatural threads. Surprised?

Instead, I drummed up a Medieval setting, a winter gala attended by multiple members suspects of the nobility, and a puzzling murder.

A Winter Reckoning is a rework of an unpublished novella I wrote in the mid 90s. The original word count came in just under 32K. The core of the story was a murder mystery, but there were also a lot of unrelated plot entanglements. I cut everything that didn’t tie to the murder plot and reduced the word count by half. What’s left is the guts of the story. My critique partners have provided feedback, I’ve tweaked a few things, and it’s ready to send. I did what I’d hoped was a final read through over the weekend, but I ended up doing more fine tuning. Mostly word choices and some phrase restructuring. That means I need to let it sit for another week or two and take one final look.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on my WIP. I had such a clear vision of this book before becoming sidetracked by NaNo last November, when I took a detour to work on a different project. That book is still singing a siren call as well, both competing with the other. I need to figure out how Craig Boyack manages to work on two stories at one time and maybe that would solve my problem!

old typewriter with sheet of paper that reads Write Something in large text

That’s the latest from me. I wish you happy writing—and happy reading. Look for more book reviews next week, and a few guests authors to pop in later in the month. As much as I love doing my book reviews, I thought I should mix them up with something different for a change. Eventually, I may get back to a semi regular blogging schedule, along with the return of Wednesday Weirdness!

Book Review Tuesday: The Accident, Wall of Silence, Bad Habits @TracyBuchanan @judypost

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Happy Tuesday, friends!I have a new roundup of books for you. I’m still sharing reviews of books I read during April quarantine, along with a newer title. Lately, I’ve been immersed in a single series (Harry Dresden), but we’ll chat about that in the weeks to come. 🙂

In the meantime, I hope one of these fabulous novels tickles your reading fancy.



Book cover for The Accident by Natalie Barelli shows woman from back walking up stepsThe Accident
by Natalie Barelli

I believe I’ve found a new auto-buy author, if the rest of Natalie Barelli’s work is anything like The Accident. Katherine is a shining star on a fast-track career, plus a single mom with a teenage daughter. She becomes friends with Eve, who worms her way into Katherine’s life and her place of employment. When the two have a girls’ night out, Katherine wants to call an Uber, knowing she’s had too much to drink. Eve talks her into driving, pointing out the roads will be deserted. Halfway home, Katherine strikes a pedestrian on a lonely road. Eve convinces her they need to get back in the car and take off. It’s a decision that will become a nightmare for Katherine as her life spirals out of control. But as each day passes and she wrestles with what happened, she realizes Eve is not at all the person she originally thought.

The book gets very twisty very quickly. I blew through it in two sittings, glued to the pages. It’s fast-paced, does require a stretch of credibility in a few places, but is pure popcorn enjoyment. Part soap-opera, part Lifetime movie, it sucks you in quickly and doesn’t let go until the thoroughly satisfying ending. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, this is an excellent read. I’m already scouting out more books by this author.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Women’s Psychological Fiction


Book cover for Wall of Silence by Tracy Buchanan shows closeup of trees in forest with title  laid overtop imageWall of Silence
by Tracy Buchanan

Wall of Silence presents an interesting mystery and an interesting concept. Melissa Byatt has an ideal life with three wonderful children and a popular husband who is running for a local office. She lives in an upscale “forest” community, with neighbors who look out for one another. Her childhood was less than ideal, but she’s risen above it and has so much for which she’s grateful.

One day she comes home from a bike ride to find her husband stabbed, her three children clustered around him with the knife. It quickly becomes apparent one of them is responsible, but which one and why? When the police arrive, Melissa decides to protect her children at all cost. With her husband, Patrick, in a coma waffling between life and death, Melissa must unravel what happened to so drastically alter her perfect family.

As the book progresses, the reader gains insight not only to the Melissa’s children, her in-laws, and her childhood, but also the neighbors in the community of Forest Grove. A neighborhood Facebook group is used for back and forth chit-chat (and gossip) to advance the story, which I thought was a brilliant and intriguing move by the author. Slowly, old secrets, suspicions and grudges come to light, and many are not who they seem at first glance.

There were times I was thoroughly aggravated by Melissa’s behavior, and the behavior of her children, much of which contributed to the slow build of the story. This is not a book that moves at a fast clip but a mystery that falls into place bits and pieces at a time. The tension is constant and there is always some new nugget of information to keep the reader flipping pages. I found this an intriguing mystery and would definitely read more by this author in the future.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: British and Irish Literary Fiction > Psychological Fiction


Book cover for Bad Habits by Judi Lynn shows shows bloody revolver in background, cute redhead in foreground on a laptop, yellow Bentley behind herBad Habits
by Judi Lynn

There is a lot of heart in this story. To be sure, there is mystery too—murder, drugs, a crime to solve—but the characters themselves bring an entirely different dimension. Lux hasn’t had a great upbringing or childhood, but she’s independently wealthy. She finds the loving environment she lacked with her own parents with her best friend Gabbie’s family, including Gabbie’s brothers. She’s especially drawn to Keon, a chef, and soon realizes what she feels surpasses simple fondness.

As Keon and Lux grow closer, they find themselves caught up in a web of trouble revolving around Keon’s brother, Tyson. The cast of characters is large, but there are many standouts, including Pete, a cop who’s attracted to Gabbie. I also liked Ian, who found himself in difficult situations even as he tried to do the right thing, and his sister, Shelly—a fifteen-year-old learning the value of self-worth over game-playing and manipulation.

The mystery ties together neatly at the end, but it is the warmth among the characters that brought me a special smile when I finished the story. I also have to mention that I really loved the addition of Lux’s yellow Bentley as a cute aside. Although this story is complete, the book has all the earmarks of an engaging series. A pleasure to read.

5 Stars
Amazon Link
Genre: Amateur Sleuths > Women Sleuths


Although I did a minimal amount of writing during shelter-in-place months, books were my friend. I still have a few more to share before I catch up to the present. You just can’t go wrong with books. Here’s hoping you’ve had a few entraining tales to distract yourself as well! 🙂

Writing a Different Type of Story #InSearchofMcDoogal

eReader displaying the book cover for In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair lays atop keyboard, mouse and glass of water nearby

In Search of McDoogal is a short book—a 90 minute read. As a result, I’ve only done a small blog tour for the story. Today’s stop is the last. I am visiting my SE colleague and friend, Harmony Kent, with a post about writing a different type of story. I’m out of my genre realm with this one, but it was fun to experiment.

Hop over to see what the post is about. And while you’re there, poke around Harmony’s blog. She is a talented author and lover of books, and I know you’ll enjoy following her.

Harmony, McDoogal, and I hope to see you THERE!

Book Review Tuesday: Jonah, The Apartment, A Forgotten Murder @JanSikes3, K. L. Slater, @JudeDeveraux1

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy Tuesday, and welcome to the first Tuesday of June. Although the weather is still in the “iffy” category, I’m thrilled that hubby and I have finally been able to open our pool. I haven’t ventured into the water yet, but I’m counting on warmer days where I can enjoy sunshine, a relaxing raft, and good reading. With that in mind, here are a few books that snagged my interest over the last two months.


Jonah
by Jan Sikes

Although this is a short read, it’s packed with a strong message about overcoming obstacles, seeing oneself as you truly are, and accepting change. Jonah, a prisoner, is banished to inhospitable island. He’s angry, bitter, and miserable. Over time, he meets a young boy named Titus and begins to receive mysterious “gifts” that make his hardscrabble life easier. But along with gifts of food, he receives a book about self-change and a blank journal. It’s up to Jonah to write his own story, a new one—but can he change? Can he put the past behind him?

I liked the way his relationship with Titus grew, while at the same time Jonah embraced change, sometimes without even realizing it. When he makes a thoroughly unselfish decision, the payoff is unexpected. I loved the author’s use of magic and family. Also of note were excellent descriptions that brought the harsh dangers of the island to life.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: 90 Minute Short Reads > Fantasy and Science-Fiction Short Reads


The Apartment
By K. L. Slater

Freya and her young daughter, Skye, are in dire straits and need an affordable place to live. When she encounters Dr. Marsden at a coffee shop, he mentions a vacant apartment he is leasing in an upscale property called Adder House. The rent is unbelievably affordable, and Freya believes her prayers have been answered.

But once she and Skye move in, she finds herself subjected to odd noises, even odors. Items are moved about in the apartment, and Dr. Marsden seems obsessed with security—to the point of wanting to install security cameras in her unit. The other tenants, though few, are odd, even disturbing. And though Dr. Marsden insists Freya is the first to occupy her unit, she learns of a woman who lived there previously and committed suicide.

This book is spooky and suspenseful. There is nothing supernatural, but the steady infusion of creepiness inspires chills. With each chapter the tension rachets higher as Freya discovers more and more about the building and the woman who lived there previously. There are also scenes devoted to a wet nurse and her young son who were involved in medical experiment in the 1930s, which factor into the story. It’s all very bizarre and unsettling, and the author does an excellent job of creating a sinister aura, especially as related to Adder House and its inhabitants. This is my first book by Slater, but I will definitely seek out other titles. I found this story riveting.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thrillers


A Forgotten Murder
By Jude Deveraux

I want to thank Kim of By Hook or By Book and Tessa of Tessa Talks Books for reviews that enticed me to pick up two of these releases. If you love books, these are two book bloggers you should be following. Both are excellent reviewers. I have other titles on pre-order, my wish list, and in my TBR queue on the recommendations of these ladies.
All three of the releases above helped me pass unsettled hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re looking for escapism, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

New Release: Bounty Hunted by Judi Lynn #UrbanFantasy #ParanormalMystery #ShortRead

Hey, friends! I am super jazzed to be showcasing a new release in a series I positively love! Judi Lynn is a good friend and a USA Today Bestselling Author. I love her Jazzi Zanders cozy mystery series, but I’m also thoroughly gone on her urban fantasy series set in Muddy River. I’m particularly drawn to the extraordinary mix of supernaturals in these books. I asked Judi to drop by and give us some background. Please give her a warm welcome, and get ready to one-click. Every release in this series garnered five star reviews from me and Bounty Hunted is no exception.


Cover for Bounty Hunted by Judi Lynn shows sexy young man, arms folded, leaning against wall in alley

My wonderful blogging friend, Mae Clair, invited me to her page today to let me promote my newest Muddy River short read, BOUNTY HUNTED.  Thank you, Mae!  I not only value Mae as a friend but I admire her writing, so I’m thrilled to be here.

Muddy River is located in southwest Indiana, near the banks of the Ohio River.  And NO MORTALS ARE ALLOWED.  Supernaturals have learned the hard way that when mortals fear something, anything, they’re dangerous.  Many Muddy River residents traveled from the east coast to Indiana to escape the witch hunts, vampire hunts, and various other supernatural hunts that plagued Salem and other settlements.

Hester Wand, the high priestess of Muddy River’s coven, lost everyone in her family to the witch trials in Salem.  Raven Black, a fire demon, left his home when the first signs of trouble started in his area.  Derek Fang, a vampire, fled New York, but he ran to get away from his jealous succubus lover, Allure.  Everyone who came to Muddy River came to find a safe haven, so they decided to work together to protect themselves.

Hester and her coven bespelled wards that no enemies could pass and planted them around the entire area.  The Fae cast an illusion spell so that mortals couldn’t see Muddy River.  And as they all settled in the town and found jobs, they learned to like each other.  So much so, that they mated between their original species.  Derek, who opened a bar in town, mated with Prim Tallow, a Fae, and they adopted a young girl, who’s a witch.  A young half-vampire/half-Siren developed a crush on Cein, part Phoenix.  Lir, a Druid, fell in love with Birch, a young witch who graduated from Hester’s school of magic.  And Deputy Sheriff Brown, a shifter, mated one of the members of Hester’s coven.  It’s rare to find a pure blood anywhere in the area.

They all believe that Muddy River’s safe until a bounty hunter comes to town to capture Derek and take him back to Allure, who’s finally found him again and wants him back.  What no one considered is that bounty hunters are only doing a job.  The wards don’t consider them true enemies, so they don’t block them.  But everyone in town makes it clear that Muddy River takes care of its own.  If someone attacks ONE of them, they attack ALL of them.  Allure won’t back down, though, so a battle is inevitable.  And this time, Hester and Raven decide to take the battle to her in New York.  The odds against them are horrible.  But if they let Allure intimidate them, who’s next?

Hester and Raven won’t have to battle alone.  Allure might have an army, but they have friends.  Some of Muddy River’s most powerful supernaturals volunteer to go with them.  And they have a plan.

Before I leave, I want to thank Mae one last time for sharing her blog with me.  And thanks to everyone who stuck around to visit with me.


Sound good? Trust me, it’s a winner. You can check out my 5-Star review for Bounty Hunted HERE. It’s a short read you can devour in one sitting. Ready to escape to the town of Muddy River? Go forth and one click . . .

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

You can connect with Judi at the following haunts:

Author Bookbub page: As Judi Lynn | As Judith Post
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