VIRAL by M.A. Barrett is one of the best books of 2016 and is an absolute MUST READ. 

Title: VIRAL

Author: M.A. BARRETT

Genre: FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FICTION, LGBTQ, SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Length: 260 PAGES

Publisher: KIN(D) PRESS

Release Date: NOVEMBER 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9983602-5-6

Price: $15.99 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

This may not be a very professional way to start a book review, but HOLY CRAP!!!! This book is AWESOME!!!

Scarlet Battell, an ex-reality television show producer is not only an anti-heroine, but she is a hopelessly flawed and ultimately believable character.

Scarlet, or Scar as she is known may have once been an up and coming hotshot tv producer, but now she lives a hardscrabble life as a waitress – barely making enough money to pay the rent on her crappy little apartment.

Trying to find some way to reclaim her previous persona and her position behind a camera, Scar comes up with the idea to do a bit of investigative reporting. However, when she is confronted with the choice between intervening to save a coworker from a horrific attack or recording the event as evidence, Scar chooses the more cowardly option.

That action (well, inaction actually) begins to haunt Scarlet whose conscience begins to scream at her – eventually leading to an all-out breakdown.

This book flashes between two timelines; Scar’s past life as a story producer on the reality show The Real Real Life and her new reality as a waitress struggling just to pay her re t, which is as far away from her old life as it is possible to get.

VIRAL is one of the best examples of exactly what to do right when using flashbacks in a story. M.A. Barrett has some serious writing chops and they are used to perfection in this book.

My favorite quote from the book is:

 “…there is no truth, unless I tell it.”

 The reason I picked this quote as my favorite is because it speaks not only to the book itself, but also to the way people seem to view the world today.

 The invention of cell phone video, combined with the public’s strange fixation and fascination with reality television is, in my opinion, NOT a good thing. People seem to try to experience their ’15 Minutes of Fame’ through videotaping events (usually they are taping something rather than actually helping the victim). I was raised better than that.

This book touches on so many topics relevant to today’s readers that it is almost eerie in its ability to inspire the desire to talk about it with other readership. If I could pick any book that I have read in the past year as a Book Club selection, VIRAL would be my choice.

There are a multitude of “What would you have done?” scenerios that will bring out lively discussions, as well as many other talking points which include (but are not limited to):

* The videotape everything phenomenon that is sweeping our world

* Money and the fact that those who have a lot of it seem to be able to get away with saying and doing just about anything they want to (just ask Donald Trump if you disagree with me)

* The value of “Spin” and how putting the right spin on a situation can sway public opinion and can even create reality from nothingness

* What would you have done in Scar’s situation? Would you have helped if you knew that it would likely have not done any good and would probably have ended up with you becoming a victim as well?

I could go on and on with more discussion ideas, but I think you get the point.

The character of Scar is brilliantly rendered. She is complex and at times she makes the wrong choices in life. But, this just makes her seem more real. At times readers will find themselves angry with her, but ultimately it is difficult not to cheer her on.

This book should be added to every adult’s TO READ list.

I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I will be adding VIRAL to my list of the Top 25 Books of 2016. The fact that this is author M.A. Barrett’s debut novel is astounding and I can’t wait to read her next book.


**Due to scenes and situations of an adult nature, I recommend that VIRAL be read by those 18 and older.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

 M.A. Barrett is a writer, photographer, screenwriter, and poet. Her works have appeared in the New York International Film Festival, The Academy Awards, and in publications such as the Huffington Post, The April Perennial, Visibilities Magazine and IN OUR OWN WORDS: A Generation Defining Itself. She lives in Boston with her wife and French Bulldog.

Her debut novel, Viral, is now available anywhere books are sold online.

To learn more about this amazing Indie author, you can click on the following links:

GOODREADS 

MEDIUM      

TWITTER      

PICTARAM    

INSTAGRAM      

AMAZON 

BARNES & NOBLE    


NEW RELEASE “PATHOGEN” by Jessica L Webb is a riveting, terrifyingly realistic mystery with multiple sensational twists. A 5 Star, Must Read thriller.

Title: PATHOGEN        

Series: DR. KATE MORRISON MYSTERIES #2

Author: JESSICA L. WEBB   

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, MEDICAL THRILLER, LGBTQIA

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: BOLD STROKES BOOKS

Release Date: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62639-832-0

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Canadian author Jessica L Webb has written a medical thriller worthy of fans of Robin Cook.

Set in the province of British Columbia and with the main character being in a lesbian relationship, this book reflects the world we live in today which is a refreshing change.

This is the second book in the Dr. Kate Morrison series, however, it can easily be read as a stand-alone thriller. I have not yet read TRIGGER which is the first book in this series and during reading I never felt I was missing anything.

Kate is an ER Doctor in a downtown Vancouver hospital where she more often than not deals with patients who are on the lowest rung of the social ladder. So, when she receives an invitation to liason with the local RCMP on an investigation into a potential bio-terrorism threat she accepts the challenge.

Her decision means that she will be investigating alongside her girlfriend Andy who is an RCMP Sergeant. The two head to the ultra-exclusive town of Hidden Valley where homes sell for tens of millions of dollars and the people who live in them think they deserve special treatment.

As the pair start to learn more about the virus that seems to be randomly striking victims from all age groups and all walks of life, they start to wonder if the bio-terrorism threat might actually be real.

But who would want the residents of Hidden Valley to get sick and in some cases, to die? And why? What would prompt someone to do something so strange?

Set in the gorgeous province of British Columbia, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is fast-paced enough that the action never seems to lag and yet contains enough medical information to make it seem eerily realistic.

I hadn’t heard of Jessica L Webb before discovering this book on Netgalley, but I am positive that it is a name I will not soon forget.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars and highly recommend this book to readers over the age of 18 (some scenes and situations are graphic and not for the faint of heart). 

I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from Netgalley

  • TRIGGER
  • Book One of the Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery series 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jessica Webb spends her professional days working with educators to find the why behind the challenging behaviors of the students they support. Limitless curiosity about the motivations and intentions of human behavior is also a huge part of what drives her to write stories and understand the complexities of her characters and their actions.

When she’s not working or writing, Jessica is spending time with her wife and daughter, usually planning where they will travel next. Jessica can be found most often on her favorite spot on the couch with a book and a cup of tea.

Visit the following links for more information about Jessicaa L. Webb

AT BOLD STROKES BOOKS   

GOODREADS        

TWITTER    
        

  • Repercussions 
  • Coming July 2017


  • Troop 18
  • Book 3 of the Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery series
  • Coming in March 2017 

STUPID by Kim Firmston is a Young Adult book that will get you talking

Title: STUPID

Series: SIDESTREETS NOVELS

Author: KIM FIRMSTON

Type of Book: PAPERBACK

Genre: YOUNG ADULT CONTEMPORARY FICTION

Length: 208 PAGES

Publisher: LORIMER & COMPANY LTD.

Release Date: 2014 

ISBN: 978-1-4594-0611-7

Price: $9.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Martin wishes that everyone would quit calling him stupid.

Just because he isn’t on the honour roll like his younger sister doesn’t mean he’s stupid.

No matter how hard he tries, Martin just can’t seem to improve his grades at school.

Martin’s father constantly belittles him; calling him lazy and stupid. As it would with any teenager, this devastates and frustrates Martin.

Out one night videotaping he captures surprising video of someone jumping from roof to roof at an abandoned brewery. When security spots the person on the roof, the two teenagers  team up to help each other escape.

From that night on, Martin and Stick becomevgood friends. Asking Stick what he had been up to that night introduces Martin to the world of parkour (free running).

Seeing correlations between Stick’s jumps, flips and tricks and the way words move around the page when he tries to read, Martin decides to make a movie that will prove he isn’t so stupid after all.

I love the fact that this book addresses issues that other authors are afraid to take on – like the fact that parental verbal abuse can be as bad (and sometimes worse than) physical abuse.

That topic alone would be enough to tackle in a single book, but not for Kim Firmston. Her writing is absolutely fearless (kind of like Stick when he is doing parkour.)

Additional topics talked about in very realistic ways include: learning disorders, dyslexia, ADHD, the foster system, the sale of ritalin in high schools, depression and the frustration of giving something your absolute best effort and still coming up short.

If a reader cannot find a way to relate to either Martin or Stick then they must have been brought up in complete isolation from others.

This is the second book I have read by KIM FIRMSTON and I am now officially a fan. I love the realism in her books and I love that she is not afraid to bring up hard topics. Her books are perfect for Young Adult Reading Groups and in fact, I think that it sbould be required reading for parents of teenagers.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I received a free paperback copy of this book from the author but this in no way influenced my rating or my review. All opinions are 100% my own and 100% honest.

I am looking forward to reading Kim Firmston’s next book called BOILED CAT which is to be read while also experiencing it’s website at the same time. It sounds like a lot of fun. (Don’t worry, its not a horror. BOILED CAT is the name of a rock band.

ADD “STUPID” TO YOUR GOODREADS ACCOUNT BY CLICKING THE LOGO BELOW: 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

WHO is this so called KIM FIRMSTON?

Kim says she is a real life mutant – though one without any cool powers. When she is not writing or cursing obvious villain mistakes, she warps young minds in her Reality is Optional Creative Kids’ Programming, at WordsWorth Writing Camp and through the ACS Dramantics Theatre Camp, among other places. 

Her short story, Life Before War, was short listed in the 2008 
CBC Literary Award and published in FreeFall MagazineReturning Home, was published in the Alexandra Reader Anthology. Her children’s plays (many of which were co-written with children) have been produced across North America, the Calgary Fringe Festival, and as far away as the UK and Egypt. She has published six YA books which can be seen here, has been the Writer in Residence for Open Book Toronto, toured Labrador as part of TD Book Week, and was even interviewed on CJSW.


Kim is dedicated to sharing writing with children of all ages including those not able to write yet and promoting youth who wish to make it their career. 

Other websites where you can find Kim: 


http://www.boiledcat.com/

amazon.com/author/kimfirmston

DARK LANDS: REQUIEM by Lyn I Kelly will take readers to a world unlike any other 

Title: DARK LANDS: REQUIEM

Series: THE DARK LANDS CHRONOLOGY: BOOK ONE

Author: LYN I. KELLY   

Genre: SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 203 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Release Date: 2015 

ISBN: 9 8-1-4834-3423-0

Price: $15.94 CDN (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Seventeen-year-old Webb Thompson and his younger sister Sundown awoke to find themselves not in their own beds, but in a bizarre landscape with field upon field of grass stretching in all directions. The sky was black overhead and it seemed like a storm was moving quickly toward them.

They have awoken in the Dark Lands; a place between the world of the living and the land of the dead. Are they alive? Are they dead? Or, like the place they find themselves in, are they something in between.

They soon discover that the Dark Lands are entrenched in a battle between good and evil. To make matters worse, Webb and Sundown have hidden powers that will be needed if the evil Dark Man is to be stopped.

Author Lyn I. Kelly has crafted an intense supernatural thriller populated with new and interesting creatures as well as with many fascinating characters.

This book will be enjoyed by readers who loved the Harry Potter series and those that want a Young Adult book with some “bite” to it.

The landscape of the Dark Lands is as diverse as it is terrifying. In a land where the good guys (the Glorians) must maintain a delicate balance. It is their job to ensure that the Dark Man and his minions never breach the walls of their fortress nor tip the scales so that evil outweighs goodness.

I enjoyed the book and found the characters to be believable. Webb is a typical teenager insofar as he is impulsive and has a hard time reigning in extreme emotions – especially anger.

Think about it! Wouldn’t you be pretty angry if you woke up to find out that you were dead and that you would never see or speak to your family and friends ever again?

Webb must learn to control his anger lest the Dark Man use it to take control.

The storyline moves along at a decent pace and although I found certain elements of the story to be predictable, I still enjoyed the read.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers ages 12 and up. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

Lyn I. Kelly is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. Writing since the age of eleven, he has been published in Diamond Comics, Newsweek and more. 

When he’s not writing or spending time with his wife and four children, he is also a marathoner. Kelly resides in Keller, Texas. Dark Lands: Requiem is his first novel.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

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FACEBOOK   


To purchase this book click on the Indiebound logo below:

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The Lines on Nana’s Face by Simona Ciraolo

This book has now officially been added to my TBR (To Be Read) list and I wanted to share this terrific review with my blog readers.

Two in a Tepee

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Over a lifetime we tell thousands of tales. We recount happenings. We define and refine truths. We construct ourselves out of memories. Flashes of events. Snippets of fragile celluloid clipped and taped together to create a singular work. Our story. A history of who we were, and are, and how we wish others will remember us someday, when we are no longer.

When our voices fail, sometimes our faces reveal what we are unwilling or unable to speak. They act as a repository for memory — a counterbalance for the ephemerality of emotion. A smile line here, some crow’s feet there. Gravitational folds. Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids. They will tell your secrets — of worry and loss and heart swells and unchecked gladness. And as illustrated by Simona Ciraolo in The Lines on Nana’s Face, small children will not miss an opportunity to probe them.

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Nana doesn’t mind the lines on her face. In fact…

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