Bestselling Author Tosca Lee’s upcoming book THE LINE BETWEEN is destined to win awards and become a Best-Seller ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE LINE BETWEEN

Author: TOSCA LEE

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER

Length: 384 PAGES

Publisher: HOWARD BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 29, 2019

ISBN: 9781476798622

Price: $25.00 USD (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

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MY REVIEW:

There are several themes that run throughout this story and each would have been awesome on their own, but by combining these themes into a cohesive and compelling read is what sets this book apart and. elevates it from a great book to a truly excellent one.

This book is the story of Wynter. It begins when she is a five year old child taken by her mother along with her older sister to live in the New Earth commune. She grows up in the Doomsday Cult (although the residents don’t view it as a cult). The leader, Magnus, is seen as a prophet of God and the members of the group strive for perfection in everything they do, all in an effort to obtain a moment’s notice from him.

When Wynter is a grown up, 22 year old woman, she is expelled from the group’s walled compound and she is terrified.

She has no idea how to exist in regular society. Fortunately for her, her mother’s former friend held out hope that Wynter and the rest of her family would one day leave New Earth and she takes Wynter into her home.

The author does a brilliant job of depicting a former cult member and the difficulties they face when trying to reintegrate into modern society. It made me think of the “Lost Boys” in Utah who were expelled from the FLDS.

Wynter has barely had time to start feeling like a normal person when her life is thrown into a state of chaos once again.

Meanwhile, modern day society is experiencing an outbreak of rapid early onset dementia which quickly spreads nationwide. People are scared of getting sick (this reminded me of the SARS epidemic that we experienced here in Ontario, Canada a few years ago).

Wynter’s sister, a high-ranking Cult member, shows up at Wynter’s door with files, a thumb drive and some biological samples. She enlists her help to get the samples into the proper hands before the prophet realizes where they went.

Poor Wynter. Readers can’t help but sympathize with her situation. When she meets ex-marine Chase Miller, she doesn’t know what to think, but she needs his help so she has little choice but to trust him.

The action in this book is non-stop. For the reader it seems as if you are in a runaway car hurtling faster and faster and the brakes do not work.

I found this story so engrossing that I read the entire 384 pages in a single twenty-four hour period.

Doomsday cults, a terrifying new contagion that is spreading so rapidly it seems that the entire nation will fall ill, a mysterious and enigmatic “Prophet”, Preppers, CDC involvement,. murder, mystery, and more are all contained within this coming-of-age tale that is the first in a new series.

Releasing in January of 2019, THE LINE BETWEEN is destined to become a BEST-SELLING book. If you only choose one book to read in January, it should be this one.

Prior to reading the ARC (Advance Review Copy) of THE LINE BETWEEN, I had no experience reading books written by Tosca Lee. Now, I have all of her previous works added to my ‘To Read’ list.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Recommendation: READ THIS BOOK – IT IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign).

A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband. You can find Tosca hanging around the snack table or wherever bacon is served.

Tosca’s highly-anticipated thriller, The Progeny (May, Simon & Schuster) is available now!

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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WHISPER ME THIS by Kerry Anne King which is now available is a brilliantly written thriller that is Unputdownable – Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ are not enough

Title: WHISPER ME THIS

Author: KERRY ANNE KING

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 349 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 1, 2018

ISBN: 9781503901957

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Single mother Maisey Addington has always fallen short of her own mother’s expectations—never married, a bit adrift, wasting her high IQ on dead-end jobs. The only thing Maisey’s sure she’s gotten right is her relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter, Elle…until a phone call blows apart the precarious balance of their lives. Maisey’s mother is in a coma, and her aging father faces charges of abuse and neglect.

Back at her childhood home, Maisey must make a heartrending life-or-death decision. Her confused father has destroyed family records, including her mother’s final wishes. Searching for answers, Maisey uncovers one unspeakable secret after another when she stumbles upon a shattering truth: a twin sister named Marley.

Maisey’s obsession with solving the mystery of her sister forces her to examine her darkest memories and triggers a custody battle with Elle’s father. Will Maisey’s love for her daughter be strong enough to break a cycle of abuse and create a new beginning for them all?

MY REVIEW:

**** WARNING ****
This book contains instances of domestic violence. If that is a trigger for you, I suggest that you skip this novel.
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This book “… stirs the emotions in your belly like a spoon stirring cream into a coffee cup…”

Maisey grew up in a home that was ruled by her iron-willed mother. It is no wonder she moved away, placing several States between herself and her childhood home. She loves her parents, she just knows that raising her daughter in Kansas City has been the best decision she has ever made.

Maisey and her daughter, Elle get along famously. In fact, despite what her mother sees as wasted potential, Maisey knows she has done something right – she has raised Elle with all the love anyone could ever wish for.

A single, life-altering phone call brings back all Maisey’s feelings of inadequacy. She has to fly home. Her mother is gravely ill and her father is confused and evasive. The police mention the possibility of domestic abuse or at the very least, neglect.

Back in her childhood home, Maisey unearths a life-changing secret; she has a sister. One that neither her mother or father ever spoke of.

Just as she is coming to terms with the fact that her mother had lied to her for her entire life, Maisey discovers more secrets and lies.

This book is one of the most realistic descriptions of spousal abuse I have ever come across. Author Kerry Anne King has a background in Mental Health Counseling and also as a nurse. She has obviously come into close contact with survivors of abusive relationships, because she does a brilliant job of describing the insidious way that abusers can get inside the head of their victims.

This book is an emotional roller coaster and readers will be taken along for the ride of their lives.

Maisey may initially come across as a weak character, but as readers learn more about her, perceptions change. Whether those perceptions are hers or the readers remains to be seen.

I could not help but be swept up in the drama of Maisey’s story. The plot moves along at the perfect pace and there is rarely a dull moment. The characters are so realistic that they could easily be your neighbors in reality.

With topics such as single parenthood, divorce, custody issues, alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, elder care, domestic violence, secrets, lies and more, there is barely a person on the planet that will not be able to find something or someone to relate to within the pages of “Whisper Me This.”

Written with some of the best character building I have read in a very long time, this book is an absolute MUST READ.

I will be thinking about this book for a long, long time and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. **

QUOTES I LOVED:

“My thoughts and feelings are so jumbled and bruised, I can’t begin to know what I think or feel.”

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“How … can [someone] sing so beautifully while packing around so much venomous hate?”

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“What I should do and what I will do are two different chickens…”

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“A frisson of fear. And a big old bucket of nausea.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kerry Anne King is the author of the international bestselling novel Closer Home.

Licensed both as an RN and a Mental Health Counselor, she draws on her experience working in the medical and mental health fields to explore themes of loss, grief, and transformation, always with a dose of hope and humor.

Kerry lives in a little house in the big woods of the inland northwest with her Viking, three cats, a dog, and a yard full of wild turkey and deer.

She also writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry Schafer.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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THE PARIAH CHILD and the EVER-GIVING STONE by Natasha D. Lane will draw you in right from the first paragraph. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE PARIAH CHILD and the EVER-GIVING STONE

Author: NATASHA D. LANE

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

Cover Design: BENLIN ALEXANDER

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: MARCH 22, 2018

ISBN: 9780999697719

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

When Sarah was four, she promised her mother she would be a good girl — a proper young lady in their small country town — and that she would ignore the creatures who appeared to her and whispered in her ear of things unknown. But like all creatures of myth and legend, they won’t be ignored forever.

Now thirteen, Sarah is attacked by a wolf with poisonous black fur and strange, human-looking eyes. With the help of a few unexpected friends, she manages to survive the attack but soon discovers the creatures have returned. They want Sarah to find a powerful gemstone and bring it to them in Lyrica, their magical homeworld.

Her new friends urge caution, however. There may be more monsters like the black wolf. And the creatures themselves are frightening. Can Sarah trust them? Stuck between reality and imagination, her mother’s wishes and her own desires, Sarah faces an impossible choice – break her promise or do nothing to save a world in peril.

MY REVIEW:

I was provided with a free copy of THE PARIAH and the EVER-GIVING STONE by author Natasha D. Lane.

I receive literally hundreds of review requests every month and I only choose a few to read and review. The synopsis of this book along with the unique title intrigued me from the moment I saw it.

From the first paragraph in this novel, I was hooked. It begins with: “Sarafina danced barefoot in the field, the afternoon Montana sun warming her skin and the grass tickling her tiny feet. Around her, small patches of glittery light flew here and there. These were her friends. They were much smaller than her with translucent wings and shimmering bodies coated in gold.”

How could anyone resist reading further? 50 words and I was enthralled. I immediately wanted to know more about Sarafina and about why she was alone, without any real friends. And what were the glittery patches of light? Were they real? Or something out of Sarafina’s imagination?

I love it when a book grabs my attention and imagination right away. It is one of the best feelings in the world to begin a new book, it’s as if you are embarking on a new adventure.

The prologue sets the tone for the entire tale. Sarah – age four – is a happy child who speaks to trees, fairys and other creatures. However, her mother wants her to be a ‘proper’ young lady and to ignore the creatures that speak to her. Sarah’s mother takes her somewhere to scare her and upon returning home, gathers Sarah’s books and burns them. Anyone reading this story who loves books they way I do, will immediately and forever hate the vile woman who is Sarah’s mother. The way she terrorized Sarah before burning her books will make your blood boil – remember, at the time, Sarah was only a tiny four year old child – barely out of toddlerhood. Want to know what the witch (with a capital B) did? You’ll need to buy the book to find out.

Sarah’s mother knows that she is seeing and hearing from magical creatures but forces Sarah to promise to ignore them. What else can a four year old child do but agree?

As Sarah ages the creatures appear and ignoring them becomes impossible when she is attacked by a wolf with human eyes.

It soon becomes apparent that the creatures are real and that they desperately need Sarah’s help or their world may end.

Sarah is faced with a difficult choice. Search for the magical gem that will save an entire world, or ignore their pleas and stay home. No matter what she chooses, her life will never be the same.

Filled with creativity and magical creatures, this book will appeal to lovers of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

Author NATASHA D. LANE has a gift for world-building as well as for creating believable characters. This story will tug, not only at your imagination, but also at your heart.

I rate this novel as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am adding it to my list of recommended reading.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natasha Lane enjoys reading a wide variety of genres, but fantasy has always been dear to her heart. After a brief stint in romance, Natasha’s returned to fantasy and currently has two works in the making. She plans on releasing her first fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” March 22, 2018.

Natasha hopes one day to be a well known published author, whose writing informs as well as entertains her reader.

Besides being a book worm, Natasha is a documentary junkie, rom-com addict, health advocate, entrepreneur, and chef (in her own way).

She currently resides in Baltimore, MD. Despite where life may take her, one thing is certain. Natasha will always keep writing.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL by Kate Mascarenhas features Strong female characters and is a unique tale. Coming in February 2019 – Mark your calendars

Title: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL

Author: KATE MASCARENHAS

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: CROOKED LANE BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 12, 2019

ISBN: 9781683319443 (Hardcover)

Price: $26.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

All Dioramas were created by the author.

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DESCRIPTION:

In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Traversing the decades and told from alternating perspectives, The Psychology of Time Travel introduces a fabulous new voice in fiction and a new must-read for fans of speculative fiction and women’s fiction alike.

MY REVIEW:

“We need fictional and real role models for women in science.”

The year is 1967. Margaret, Barbara, Grace and Lucille are all very different women, but they have one massive commonality – together they discovered time travel.

“Margaret was a baroness turned cosmologist. Lucille had come from the Toxteth slums to make radio waves travel faster than light. Grace – who never gave the same account of her history twice – was an expert in the behaviour of matter. And the last was Barbara: the baby of the group.. She specialized in nuclear fission. All four women were combining their knowledge in a new, and unique, project.”

When they were ready to debut their time machine to the Press, one of the women has a breakdown on national television. The others force her off the team to protect what they see as the integrity of their invention. Of course, this means that despite her contributions, one woman is left in obscurity while the other three team members go on to become famous.

Fast forward fifty years. Time travel has become BIG business.

Someone leaves a mysterious newspaper clipping for Ruby Rubello’s “Grandma Bee,” (Barbara who was the woman forced off the original team.)

Ruby becomes obsessed with the information contained in that article. This leads to fascinating and sometimes sinister events.

Because this is a time travel novel, it skips between multiple people and multiple years. It could easily have become confusing and difficult to follow for the reader, but author Kate Mascarenhas has somehow kept that from happening.

What I love the most about THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL is the fact that all the lead characters are female and, not only that, but they are from varying races and of diverse sexuality.

Despite the fact that this is her debut novel, the author is able to keep the story flowing perfectly despite multiple characters and multiple timelines which would be a challenge for even a seasoned author. This bodes well for her future projects and I can’t wait to discover what she comes up with next.

I rate this book as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I recommend it to readers who love a good mystery as well as those who are interested in time travel and in books containing strong female characters.

QUOTE:

“Life’s better with a few risks than a lot of regrets.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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#NetGalley

 

 

JEM: A FOREIGNER IN PHILADELPHIA by Delaney Green is a captivating book with wide appeal. 5 Stars are just not enough.

Title: JEM: A FOREIGNER IN PHILADELPHIA

Author: DELANEY GREEN

Genre: FICTION, FANTASY, HISTORICAL FICTION, PARANORMAL FICTION

Length: 364 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: MAY 25, 2018

ISBN: 9780998263311

Rating: 5 OUT OF STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thirteen years before the Revolution
Apprentice physician Jem Connolly sets sail for the New World to escape Patch—an agent for a Dark power that wants to drain Jem’s inherited magic, Second Sight—and to fulfill the prophecy of her mentor in magic, Granny Kestrel, that Jem will find her destiny in America. In London, 14-year-old Jem studied with Ben Franklin; in the Colonies, Jem will stay with his wife, Deborah, and their daughter, Sally. When Jem’s ship lands in Philadelphia, she expects to find out right away what she’s supposed to do with her life. Instead, she clashes with a rude frontiersman, doctors the crew aboard a quarantined plague ship, battles a practitioner of voudon, and meets a mystic who takes her on a journey into a world that shimmers beneath our own, a world that connects to Jem’s visions. Jem wants to find her destiny—but where is she supposed to look?

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BEN FRANKLIN – Photo Obtained from Wikipedia

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MY REVIEW:

I would like to start my review with a heartfelt thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book. It is the third book in the JEM Series and Book Two was wonderful. You can read my review of that book by clicking HERE.

I am certain that one of the key reasons that set Delaney Green apart from other historical fiction writers is her meticulous attention to detail, to research and to historical accuracy. Sure, other writers do research, but Delaney Green goes to extreme lengths to ensure that her stories are authentic down to the smallest details such as what plants grew in Philadelphia in the 1760s and what the locals referred to them as.

Jem is a wonderful protagonist. She is a smart, sassy young woman who is at turns both fearless and vulnerable. By incorporating both Jem’s knowledge and desire to be taken seriously as a physician at a time in history when most young women were concerned only with marriage prospects, the author reminds readers of just how far women’s rights have come in the past few centuries. Imagine knowing you are just as intelligent (if not more so), and just as knowledgeable as a man but being laughed at or dismissed purely due to gender – it is galling and thankfully rare in modern times, but is a daily occurence for Jem. I admire her perseverance and dedication to healing the sick.

This book is an absolute pleasure to read and the story pulls you in, grabs both your heart and mind and won’t let go.

Due to her phenomenal research I not only enjoyed the story for itself, but also learned many fascinating historical facts.

I rate this gem of a book (pun intended) as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am not sure I have the words to convey just how highly I recommend this book. The subject matter will appeal to a readers with a wide variety of interests and tastes. Lovers of historical fiction will not be disappointed. Readers with interest in the paranormal and with magic will also find Jem’s story enchanting. The same goes for those who are looking for stories containing strong female leads. I could go on and on, but I believe I have made my point, which is… THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Delaney Green writes short and long speculative fiction.

She is the author of the Jem books, about a girl with Second Sight who grows up in the years between the Seven Years’ War and the American War of Independence.

Green’s short mystery story, “Tsunami Surprise,” appeared in Bouchercon 2014: Murder at the Beach.

She has been a reporter, a copy editor, a professional actress, a Broadway theater concessions manager, and a farm laborer.

Green studied theater at Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vermont, and taught English for 25 years.

She lives in the American Midwest.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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Eden Robinson’s TRICKSTER DRIFT releases October 2018 and it is a 5 Star phenomenal book. If you only read one book this year, it should be this one.

Title: TRICKSTER DRIFT

Author: EDEN ROBINSON

Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 385 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7343-6 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7345-0 (Ebook)

Price: $32.00 CDN (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Following the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Son of a Trickster comes Trickster Drift, the second book in Eden Robinson’s captivating Trickster trilogy.

In an effort to keep all forms of magic at bay, Jared, 17, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: now he’s being stalked by David, his mom’s ex–a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And his mother, Maggie, a living, breathing badass as well as a witch, can’t protect him like she used to because he’s moved away from Kitimat to Vancouver for school.

Even though he’s got a year of sobriety under his belt (no thanks to his enabling, ever-partying mom), Jared also struggles with the temptation of drinking. And he’s got to get his grades up, find a job that doesn’t involve weed cookies, and somehow live peacefully with his Aunt Mave, who has been estranged from the family ever since she tried to “rescue” him as a baby from his mother. An indigenous activist and writer, Mave smothers him with pet names and hugs, but she is blind to the real dangers that lurk around them–the spirits and supernatural activity that fill her apartment.

As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic, whether he hates it or not–he sees ghosts, he sees the monster moving underneath his Aunt Georgina’s skin, he sees the creature that comes out of his bedroom wall and creepily wants to suck his toes. He also still hears the Trickster in his head, and other voices too. When the David situation becomes a crisis, Jared can’t ignore his true nature any longer.

MY REVIEW:

I only discovered Canadian Indigenous author Eden Robinson’s writing just over one year ago, when I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her at the 2017 F.O.L.D. (Festival of Literary Diversity). Eden read from SON OF A TRICKSTER, answered audience questions with the patience of a Saint, allowed us fans to have our photographs taken with her and autographed copies of all of her books until I am sure her petite hands must have been more painful than Jared’s experience in the cave with the river otters … and she did all this with a beautific smile on her face.

One thing I can tell you about Eden Robinson is that she has the most distinctive and infectious laugh of anyone I have ever met. From that day forward, I have been a dedicated fan of her writing and I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of TRICKSTER DRIFT.

I would like to thank #NetGalley for providing me with an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of #TricksterDrift

Firstly, Eden is a hugely talented Indigenous author from British Columbia, Canada. Secondly, she has a talent for writing about realistic situations and infusing them with supernatural and Indigenous aspects.
Thirdly, this amazing woman has the ability to draw the reader so deeply into her story that several hours of reading go by in what seems like the blink of an eye.

One of my favorite quotes from this book comes from Chapter 36, in which Eden describes the tectonic plate upon which North America sits. The quote reads like this:

“The speed at which the North American plate crawls across the planet makes glaciers seem like rabbits on Red Bull.”

If you only have time to read a single book this year, I cannot stress highly enough that you need to chose Eden Robinson as the author to pick.

I rate TRICKSTER DRIFT as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers aged sixteen and up.

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/3266774/

Photo Credit –
Chris Young of The Associated Press

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Want to meet Eden Robinson? If you live in Ontario, Canada anywhere near the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), you will have that chance coming up on:

Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 130 Navy Street, Oakville L6J 2Z4

Cost: $25

Description of the event:

“Multi-award winning Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist Eden Robinson discusses her work in intimate conversation at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, including her latest novel Trickster Drift. Q&A and book signing to follow. Books will be available for purchase, courtesy of A Different Drummer Books.

To purchase tickets, call the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office at 905-338-4161.

This event is part of the Lit On Tour programme.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

EDEN ROBINSON IS AN INDIGENOUS CANADIAN AUTHOR, who has been recognized and praised both nationally and internationally for her amazing works of fiction.

Eden hails from the Kitimat region in the beautiful province of British Columbia, Canada.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

GOODREADS

CANADIAN ENCYCLOPAEDIA

AMAZON

CHAPTERS
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/contributor/author/eden-robinson/

WRITER’S TRUST
https://writerstrust.com/Awards/Writers–Trust-Notable-Author-Award/Past-Winners/Eden-Robinson.aspx

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/25830/eden-robinson

Photos:

Author Eden Robinson, a member of the Haisla Nation, pauses on the forest trail to the Octopus Beds, just south of Kitamaat Village, BC, June 21, 2012. (Photography by Robin Rowland)

A DIFFERENT DRUMMER BOOKSTORE

RED RIBBONS by twenty year old author Hanne Arts is a 5 Star MUST READ for all young adults (and their parents.) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: RED RIBBONS

Series: The Sequel to JUST PERFECT

Author: HANNE ARTS

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR, MENTAL HEALTH, EATING DISORDERS, DEPRESSION

Length: 192 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-97784-5504

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

As Christina’s eighteenth birthday approaches, she finds herself struggling in recovery. Facing Filip’s recurring depression and Miriam’s increasing presence in her father’s life, she attempts to take reigns over what she can control – food. It is thus that she starts eating less and less, again opening the door to her eating disorder. But can she get her life back on track a second time, and why is it so difficult to accept the help she is given? “Red Ribbons” is a heart-wrenching tale of acceptance and denial, love and loss, mental illness and the road to recovery.

MY REVIEW:

Hanne Arts may be young in years, but she writes with the talent of a consummate professional.

RED RIBBONS is the sequel to her phenomenal debut book, JUST PERFECT. You can read my review of her first book by clicking HERE.

RED RIBBONS draws the reader back into Christina’s world. Having reached out for help and getting treatment at the end of JUST PERFECT, we find that she has not lived happily ever after and that in fact, she is struggling more than ever.

Christina’s depression and anorexia are once again severe and as her eighteenth birthday comes closer, she may not live to make it to age 19. She realizes that “{She} was a puppet to {her} weight’s strings.”

The story unfolds with such realism that it is impossible for the reader to remain aloof. I was once again drawn deeply into the emotions Christina was experiencing.

Mental illness is finally starting to be looked upon like other illnesses and the stigma attached to it is slowly abating, however, there is still a long way to go.

It is books such as JUST PERFECT and RED RIBBONS that are helping to let teens and young adults know that they are not alone in their struggles and that seeking help shows strength rather than weakness.

I rate RED RIBBONS as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I applaud Hanne Arts for continuing to bring awareness to the topics of depression, anorexia and mental illness. I can’t wait to read her next novel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GOOGLE+

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Check out this awesome BLOG TOUR, VIDEO, and REVIEW of the One of a Kind Memoir TILTING by Nicole Harkin” It is a 5 Star Read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: TILTING: A MEMOIR

Author: NICOLE HARKIN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS

Length: 200 PAGES

Publisher: BLACK ROSE PUBLISHING

Received From: BLOG TOUR HOSTED BY: RACHEL’S RANDOM RESOURCES

ISBN: 9781612968926

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

We only learned about our father’s girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.

Overhearing the nurse tell Linda–since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name–about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren’t there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event–unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted.
Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn’t see for many years.

In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist’s fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.

Purchase Links:

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View the Book Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1niSUWsuA

MY REVIEW:

This candidly written memoir will draw you in and have you feeling like you grew up alongside the author. It will alternately tug at your heartstrings and make you so angry you could just explode.

Author Nicole Harkin has a knack for uncovering and relating her family’s life and history in a humorous way, yet, even through the humor you can sense the deep hurt she felt both as a child and as a young adult. Quotes, such as the one below demonstrate a frank openness that is startling in its honesty.

“I didn’t feel like I was part of my family. We were a group of individuals who lived together under one roof.”

With the shocking revelations she uncovers and the benefit of hindsight, author Nicole Harkin invites readers to examine alongside her every aspect of her life.

Readers would easily forgive her for condemning both of her parents for the way in which Nicole and her siblings were raised, and would especially forgive her for any ill will toward her philander father. Yet Nicole Harkin rises above and tells her story in such a way that those people she could have easily portrayed as villainous, seem less hateful and more just as hopelessly flawed human beings.

I applaud the fact that the author waited until both her parents passed away before releasing this memoir. It shows that no matter how screwed up her family was, she still somehow learned empathy, compassion and integrity.

This is a terrific read which just might make you reexamine your own family’s dysfunctions and begin to see them in a more positive light. This exceptional memoir also reminds readers that no individual, and indeed, no family unit is perfect – no matter how it appears from the outside.

I rate TILTING as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and will be adding This book to my list of recommended reads.

*** Thank you to RACHEL’S RANDOM RESOURCES for providing me with a free softcover copy of this book.***

EXCERPT:

One of the most telling parts of the book is the following excerpt:

“We sat around and retold funny family stories, like the time years earlier when Dad had forgotten Montana [the author’s youngest sibling] at the store.

Don’t all parents forget their children in stores sometimes?

No.

Oh. Interesting.

That day, Jenny [a friend] and I had just gotten out of the hot tub in the old house. Linda [the author’s Mother] kept yelling for Montana to come and get lunch. We sat down to a sandwich in our swimming suits. Uncle Frankie, Dad’s brother, was there too.

‘Frankie, have you seen Montana?’ Linda asked.

‘No.’

‘Jack, have you seen Montana?’ she asked.

Just then the look of recognition ran across Dad’s face. A millisecond later he was headed towards the front door yelling,’ Call the hardware store’.

Unfortunately, even in our small town, there was more than one hardware store.

Dad found Montana crying hysterically. Dad told Montana he could get any toy he wanted. ”

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QUOTES

“My family operated like six little planets occasionally intersecting and interacting with one another.” (Page 93)

“This crisis stripped everything to its absolute essence. We were a family trying to survive a crisis of physical, financial, and emotional proportions.” (Page 94)

“I’ve read that women either pick ‘dicks’ or ‘dads’. The dicks are the fun guys who aren’t ready to settle down and parent. The dads are men who are natural caregivers and helpers, who are ready to be parents. The women in my family are drawn to the dicks, but the dicks – even when they become dads – cause the most trouble.” (Page 106)

“We sat around and retold funny family stories, like the time years earlier when Dad had forgotten Montana [the author’s youngest sibling] at the store.
Don’t all parents forget their children in stores sometimes?
No.
Oh. Interesting. ”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. She works as a writer and family photographer.

As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism.

Her work can be found in
She works as a writer and family photographer.

As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism.

Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography.

She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin.

Her photography can be seen on her website. To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

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NIGHTMARE’S EVE BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Title: NIGHTMARE’S EVE

Author: STEPHEN H. PROVOST

Release Date: FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Genre: HORROR, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Received From: XPRESSO BOOK TOURS

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

SYNOPSIS:

A collection of 16 short stories and 10 dark poems in the tradition of “The Twilight Zone.”

Trapped for eight centuries in a space no larger than a shoebox. What would you do to escape? How far would you go to rid yourself of that parasite in your brain that feeds off the worst of your nightmares? What if the person closest to you were fated to die – and you were powerless to stop it?

What if your savior were also your greatest fear? Would you trade years of your life for a chance at redemption? Would you slay or spare the dragon whose eyes gaze up at you pleadingly in the final moments of its life?

These are the questions that run through the mind when twilight fades and eyelids grow heavy. Fight the onset of sleep. Thrash beneath the covers in futile defiance of what lies beyond. This is the between-time of Nightmare’s Eve, those brief but lingering moments between the waking world and the abyss. It will have you. It’s only a matter of time.

MY REVIEW:

The first word that comes to mind after reading this awesome collection of horror poems and stories written for Young Adults, is WOW.

Not only will you be entertained by reading this book, you will also be challenged. How could you be challenged by a work of fiction? The answer to that lies in the way the stories and poems are told.

Readers are challenged to look inside themselves and to determine what they would do if placed in the character’s shoes.

I love this type of book. I especially love it when it is written for Young Adults. It forces the reader to REALLY think about what actions they might take and what the consequences of those actions could be.

I rate NIGHTMARE’S EVE as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

** Thanks you to XPRESSO BOOK TOURS for providing me with a free copy of this book. **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (“Fresno Growing Up” and “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street”), novels (“Memortality” and “Identity Break”), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GIVEAWAY:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

Win a signed Copy

Enter HERE

Giveaway Ends: June 14, 2018

  • Signed copy of Nightmare’s Eve

RELEASE DAY IS TODAY for FISH-BOY – AN INUIT FOLK TALE by Vanita Oelschlager – 4.5 STARS 

Title: FISH-BOY    

Subtitle: AN INUIT FOLK TALE    

Author: VANITA OELSCHLAGER

Illustrator: MIKE BLANC      

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, MULTICULTURAL BOOKS, INUIT STORIES

Length: 25 PAGES     

Publisher: VANITA BOOKS    

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018 – TODAY 

ISBN: 978-1-938164-20-0 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1- 938164-21-7 (Paperback)

Price: (HARDCOVER) $15.95 USD

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

DESCRIPTION:  

The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures.  The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. 

Fish-Boy is an origin story involving an odd young boy who has a big heart. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers.  But he has a way… and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.

MY REVIEW:   

I have always been fascinated by folk-tales and those told by Aboriginal or Inuit storytellers are some of the very best.

 There were two main reasons that traditional Inuit stories were told. Firstly, stories were used to explain the world around them, and secondly, they were used to teach traditional values to the next generation.

The cover of this book is so beautifully illustrated that I was immediately drawn to it. I believe that children will be drawn to it as well. In fact, the illustration of the boy with the puffin on his head brings to mind Disney illustrations. Mike Blanc is obviously a very talented individual.

FISH-BOY is the story of “… why there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands of the far North.” 

It is the story of a lame Inuit fisherman who one day saw a fish that was unlike anything he had seen before. “It appeared] to have a head like a man and feet behind its tail.” To the fisherman’s surprise, the fish spoke to him saying, “Do not spear me. I am not a fish. I am Fish-Boy … I have no parents, and I am very lonely. I want you to be my father.”

The fisherman was lame, but he had found a way to survive. He wasn’t sure what use an armless Fish-Boy would be, but out of kindness, he took him in and Fish-Boy became his son.

This act of kindness changed both their lives for the better and the pair had amazing adventures.

You will need to read this book to discover exactly what adventures they had, what trials and tribulations they faced and to discover how their story finally reveals the reason that there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands today. I promise that this is a story worth reading.

I love that this book not only tells the story of Fish-Boy, but also includes details of traditional Inuit life. Also included at the back of the book are definitions of some of the story’s less commonly known words.

In addition to being a fantastic story, another wonderful thing about not only this book, but all books published by Vanita Books is that they donate ALL net profits to “charities where people help people help themselves.” Ten percent of the net profits for FISH-BOY will be donated to The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis, the other ninety percent will go to other charities. 

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

* Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

VANITA OELSCHLAGER is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet.

She is a graduate of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at the University of Akron.

She and her husband Jim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. Vanita also won the Congressional Angels Adoption Award for the State of Ohio in 2007 and was named National Volunteer of the Year by the MS Society in 2008. 

To learn more about this author visit the following links:  

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

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TWITTER  
FACEBOOK        

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CHAPTERS     

 
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 

MIKE BLANC is an author and an award-winning illustrator of children’s literature.

His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration.

He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandchildren.

To learn more about this amazing illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE       

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TWITTER             

LINKEDIN      

AMAZON    

CHAPTERS     
         

VIBRANT AWAKENING BLOG BLITZ and AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

Title: Vibrant Awakening

Series: The Prismatic Order, #1

Author: Tiffany Ransier

Publication Date: April 30, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

I’m Rose, the quiet loner girl.
I’ve lived a normal life.
Moving from private school to public school was never supposed to change my life this much.

Being the president of a new club, finding the boy of my dreams – Trevor, making more friends than I’ve ever had in my whole life, and unfortunately my own personal bully
Life was pretty ordinary until…

My body starts to change.
And I’m not the only one.
Strange things happen to all of us.

People are going missing and then their bodies appear.

Someone is watching my friends.

Someone is watching me.

Waiting for the perfect moment to strike…

Life can never go back to being normal.

About Tiffany Ransier

Tiffany Ransier is a multi genre author.

She loves diving into different worlds and making theories about books and shows. You will find her work incorporates that.

She lives in SoCal with her parents and younger brother. Her boyfriend is James Ransier, another author. They are the parents of an adorable Siberian Husky/Shiba Inu named Peg.

When she’s not writing stories or reading, she’s going to school to become a doctor – an ob/gyn.

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THE PICTURE by ROGER BRAY – BOOK REVIEW and EXCLUSIVE VIDEO CONTENT

Title: THE PICTURE

Author: ROGER BRAY

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Bio – I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.
Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.
So here we are, two books published and another on track.
Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

22nd April

  1. Sandie’s book Shelves

  2. Jazzy Book Reviews

  3. Books From Dusk Till Dawn

  4. Reflections of a Reader

  5. Rae Reads

  6. Pam Funke’s Book Reviews

  7. EmmaTheLittleBookworm

23rd April

  1. Carole’s Book Corner

  2. Audio Killed The Bookmark

  3. Writing from the Heart

24th April

  1. Jen Med’s Book Reviews

  2. Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog

  3. Hayleys Reviews 10

25th April

  1. Books, Life and Everything

  2. Whispering Stories

  3. What Cathy Read Next

26th April

  1. Nesie’s Place

  2. Katie’s Book Cave

  3. Amie’s Book Reviews

    27th April

    1. Chat About Books

    2. JBronder Book Reviews

    3. Just Books

    28th April

    1. Dash Fan’s Book Reviews

    2. Reading for Pleasure

    3. booksaremycwtches

    29th April

    1. Bound 2 Escape

    2. DanCrossBookBlog

    3. Book Lover’s Booklist

    30th April

    1. Cosy Books

    2. Beyond The Veil

    3. Me and My Books

    1st May

    1. Wise Words Book Blogger

    2. Bertyboy123

    3. Short Book and Scribes

    2nd May

    1. Donna’s Book Blog

    2. Random Things Through My Letterbox

    3. Jessica’s Reading Room

ISAN BOOK BLITZ and GIVEAWAY

ISAN
Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.

SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into our quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her “better.” To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

When the bodyguard with the gun directed the weapon at Roxy, something dangerous ignited in me knowing my team would be next. This foreign existence in my core wanted blood. It wanted death. It wanted destruction. I became a monster. Helix transformed me into a shallow shell to servitude—a perfect model of ISAN assassin.

I pulled my gun from the side of my boot and took aim. The bodyguard who had shot Roxy’s team went down first, followed by the others.

Don’t look at their faces. Don’t make eye contact. But I did look at their faces, and I did make eye contact.

Each guard held my foster father’s cruel face, his steel malevolent eyes. I saw the man who ripped the happiness out of my soul, who towered over me into submission, and molded me into a terrified little girl. For a heartbeat I froze, knees buckling, heart palpitating with trepidation and regret. I became that little girl. A rat, he had called me, and beat me until I stopped crying from missing my mother.

No more. No more. I am no longer that petrified girl.

Then, one after the other, as hunger for revenge drove me, as if each of the men was him, I shot them until they were all down.

 

Author Bio:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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EVOLVED by N.R. WALKER BOOK BLITZ and $50 Gift Card Giveaway

Evolved
N.R. Walker
Publication date: April 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

By the time my intercom sounded at nine fifteen the next morning, the butterflies in my belly felt more like stomping elephants. I buzzed the delivery team through and waited for the elevator to ping down the hall.

Breathe, Lloyd, I reminded myself.

My apartment was a spacious two-bedroom luxury unit on the top floor of the complex. Polished concrete floors, high ceilings, a bookcase as one entire wall, and floor-to-ceiling windows on the north-east facing wall. I liked the clean lines, minimalistic furniture. Well, I didn’t just like it. I needed it. Clutter and closed spaces made me anxious. My ex-boyfriend had found my apartment cold and clinical, but I found the whites and greys soothing, peaceful. Then again, he’d found a lot of things about me clinical…

The knock on my door startled me, even though I’d been expecting it. I opened it to find two men and a rather large crate. The first man smiled. He was wearing grey suit pants and a navy sweater. He showed me his ID. “Mr Salter, my name is Myles Dewegger. We have a special delivery.”

“Yes, yes, please come in,” I said, standing aside in invitation.

The second man wheeled through the crate. He was dressed all in black with a military style haircut, and he looked as though he belonged in a SWAT team. He was a rather large man, with bulging muscles and perfect skin, and I had to study him for a second. No, he was human.

“Nice place,” Myles said, looking around the large, open living room. “Are we all right to do this here?”

I closed the door and took a breath to steady myself. I wasn’t accustomed to having strange people in my house. “Yes, of course.” I followed him and stood next to the couch. “I thought Mr Kingsley might have attended the delivery. I assumed incorrectly, it seems.”

“Sasha’s a busy man,” Myles said with a smile. “Though if you’d prefer, I can call him and you can speak to him.”

“No, it’s fine,” I said. I was now staring at the crate. Oh boy. It was well over six feet tall, three feet wide. Shaun was inside. He was right there. I swallowed hard.

Myles read me. “Let’s introduce you, shall we?”

I nodded. “Yes, please.”

Myles and his helper, whose name I didn’t know, undid the crate and removed the front panel. My heart almost stopped. Inside, Shaun stood, packaged-in perfectly so as not to be damaged in any way. He was dressed in a dinner suit. A charming navy piece with a light blue shirt underneath his blazer, top button undone. His black hair was exactly as I’d ordered; short sides, longer on top, professional. His skin was warm ivory with a subtle hint of blush on his cheeks; his lips were pink and a perfect cupid’s bow. His eyes were closed, his lashes long.

He took my breath away.

The big delivery guy stepped in and unstrapped Shaun, then lifted him out. Right, that explained the need for muscle. Then he quickly wheeled the crate back to the front door, making the room neat again, leaving Shaun standing perfectly still in my living room.

Myles glanced at me. “Everything look okay?”

I nodded and had to focus on speaking so I could make actual sound. “So far, yes.”

Myles smiled as he took out a small hand-held screen I recognised from the SATinc office. It was a control panel. He tapped on both screens, I entered in a personal code, and Shaun was officially added to my Wi-Fi.

It was becoming so very real.

Myles seemed completely unfazed and oblivious to the fact that I was in the middle of a monumental life event. He went on a spiel of specifications and diagnostics, developmental robotics, neural networks, artificial consciousness, proprioceptive sensors, and spatial cognizance, but all I could do was stare at Shaun.

Breathe, Lloyd.

Myles stopped speaking when he realised I wasn’t paying attention, and his pause made me look at him instead. He continued, “I’ll activate him, then we’ll require him to study your face for a few seconds. He has facial recognition, so once he recognises you as his custodian, he’ll be able to identify you anywhere.”

“Okay.”

“So if you’re out in public and you become separated, he will be able to find you.”

For the strangest reason, I found that comforting.

“And your voice. He’ll recognise that anywhere.”

I smiled at Shaun, though he still had his eyes closed.

“Are you ready?” Myles asked.

I nodded.

Myles held the small black screen toward me. He entered in a code and spoke clear and loud. “Please re-enter in your Wi-Fi code,” he said, averting his eyes while I entered my security code for Shaun’s wireless access. Then Myles added something else, and watching Shaun, he said, “Activate.”

Shaun opened his eyes.

They were the exact shade of blue I’d asked for. But he just stared blankly.

Myles entered in more codes, then spoke to me. “Please stand in front of him until I tell you to move.”

I did as I was instructed. Shaun was approximately an inch shorter than me, and he was even better close up. Being this close to him sent a curl of anticipation through me.

I could hear Myles tapping on the screen and then Shaun’s eyes focused on me. He was scanning my face, and then he looked down to my feet and up my body. It set my blood on fire.

Then Myles handed me the small screen and said, “Please read this out loud to him.”

I let out a breath and looked Shaun right in the eye. “My name is Lloyd Salter. I am your custodian, and this is your home.”

Myles took the control again and clicked on the screen a few more times, and something in Shaun changed. I saw it, the very moment it happened.

He became aware.

His gaze fell on me. “Hello, Lloyd,” Shaun said. His voice was a deep baritone, with a tenor that curled in my belly.

“Hello Shaun,” I replied. My voice was barely a whisper.

And then, throwing my world completely off its axis, he smiled. Not a perfect smile, but slightly lopsided in a very human way. If a simple smile could complete my existence, it was done. He was stunningly perfect.

“It is very nice to meet you,” Shaun said.

“Likewise,” I replied. I couldn’t stop staring at his eyes, and I swore the corner of Shaun’s lip twitched in an almost smile.

“Is that normal?” I asked Myles. “He’s so… human.”

Myles grinned. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? How real they are?”

I nodded, staring back at Shaun. So very real.

“As I was saying before, he has the spatial awareness and object manipulation skills of a surgeon. He can lift heavy objects with ease, but he can also hold the finest, most delicate glass object with precision. He has social intelligence; he can recognise and interpret, process and simulate human affects and empathy. He is, without doubt, the most advanced A-Class synthetic android in the world.”

Shaun tilted his head a little while he studied me, and I stared right back at him. So remarkable.

“He’s been uploaded with extensive knowledge of all requested data,” Myles said, holding the screen out for me to see. I glanced at it but couldn’t take my eyes off Shaun for long. Myles continued anyway. “Literary histories, world current affairs, everything you asked for has been preloaded, but he can access any information you require. If it’s on the web, he can find it, and he can discuss, converse, debate whatever you want.”

Wow.

“Now, as for the personal companion aspect,” Myles went on. Personal companion aspect was synthetic speak for sex. “All lubricants must be silicone based, not oil based, though I’m sure you’re aware. He can self-clean but he might like it if you help him.” I looked at Myles and he winked. “Yes, he has likes and dislikes. Though he’s been pre-dispositioned to your psych evaluation so there are no conflicts. He enjoys conversation, attention, praise…, touch. Sex.”

My heart rate took off.

Breathe, Lloyd.

Author Bio:

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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GHOST BOYS by Multi-Award Winning Author JEWELL PARKER RHODES takes on the issue of unarmed children being shot by the police. A 5 Star Book and one of the best Middle-grade Fiction stories I have ever read.

Title: GHOST BOYS

Author: JEWELL PARKER RHODES

Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 224 PAGES

Publisher: LITTLE BROWN PUBLISHING

Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018

ISBN: 9780316262286

Price: $9.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.

MY REVIEW:

With the current social and political climate in the United States, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the growing list of young, black men being killed in confrontations with police, this book is a timely one. This book was in part based on the police shooting of 12 year old TAMIR RICE.

Jerome, a twelve year old African American boy is shot in the back by a white police officer. Sound familiar? It should. This horrifying situation occurs all-too-often in modern day America.

This book is not only engaging and compelling, it is also necessary. I wish there was no reason for a book like this to be written, but sadly wishing does not make change.

Action makes change.

Knowledge leads to change.

When Jerome (as a ghost) realizes that even though he had always lived in Chicago, he didn’t know much about his city and it’s offerings and opportunities, he thinks: “Wish I’d known the world was so much bigger and better than my neighborhood.” I found this both very telling, and very sad. This may seem a trivial quote from the book and one that is non-essential. I do not see it that way. I see it as just another part of the dysfunctional whole.

Knowledge leads to change.

The first step to changing the fact that young black men are being murdered (yes, murdered – it is murder when a person is shot with no provocation) is to make people aware of what is happening. When people are aware, they can choose to do something about it, even if that something is just making sure to pass the word on to more and more people.

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes has crafted a tale that, while written by a black woman, will resonate with both white and black readers. She has taken her story straight from the headlines of National News agencies. This book is important NOW.

When Jerome dies, his ghost stays in the city he was murdered in. The only living person who can see him is a white girl who is the same age as Jerome. Her name is Sarah. This white girl, however, just happens to be the daughter of the man who shot him.

How is that for a twist in the story?

Jerome should hate her and her whole family right? But, wait a minute.
She is NOT responsible for her father’s actions. She is only twelve years old and she really wants to help Jerome in any way she can.

Both Jerome and Sarah can see other ghosts. One ghost in particular decides to talk to them and to help them with their quest for justice. That lonely spirit is none other than the ghost of Emmett Till. Together maybe they can make a difference.

Adding actual historical figures to this story makes it even more impactful.

Reading this book is also the perfect way for parents to start discussions with their children about what is currently happening to young black boys (and a few girls) in today’s society.

It is sad that this topic is still an issue, and it is also completely unacceptable.

It was 1955 when Emmett Till was abducted, beaten, and murdered by two adult white men. His supposed crime? Whistling at a white woman. In 2017, fifty-two years after Emmett was murdered, the woman in question, admitted she lied about Emmett whistling at her. She tried to justify her actions by saying that it was just the way things were back then. Bull Spit.

I applaud Jewell Parker Rhodes for tackling such an emotional topic and writing about it from multiple perspectives. This could not have been an easy book to write.

I rate GHOST BOYS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE WHO CARES ABOUT OUR SOCIETY, as well as to everyone who cares about Human Rights. Black, White or Brown; it doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is. All that matters is that you are a living, breathing human. It is EVERYONE’S moral obligation to do whatever is within their power to eradicate racism and discrimination in our society. This may seem like a monumental challenge, but as it says in GHOST BOYS:

“Can’t undo wrong. Can only do our best to make things right.”

To learn more about shootings in the United States, visit FATAL ENCOUNTERS – A website

FATAL ENCOUNTERS is creating an impartial, comprehensive, and searchable national database of people killed during interactions with law enforcement.

QUOTES:

“Uproar. Panic. Stomping. Cameras flashing. ‘No photos,’ asserts the clerk. Reporters are shouting questions. Community action are demanding justice. Ma, Pop, and Gramma huddle, cling and cry.”

“Sarah already sees me. Better than her Dad ever did.”

“When truth’s a feeling, can it be both?Both true and untrue?”

“People tell the dead, ‘Rest in peace.’ I haven’t any. Rest or peace.”

“Wish I’d known the world was so much bigger and better than my neighborhood.”

“Can’t undo wrong. Can only do our best to make things right.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adults, two writing guides, and a memoir, but writing for children remained her dream.

Now Jewell has published four children’s books: Ninth Ward, Sugar, Bayou Magic, and Towers Falling. Her fifth, Ghost Boys, will be released in spring of 2018. She’s also published six adult novels, two writing guides, and a memoir. When she’s not writing, she’s visiting schools to talk about her books with the kids who read them, or teaching writing at Arizona State University, where she is the Piper Endowed Chair and Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. She has won multiple awards for her writing.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

BARNES AND NOBLE

INDIEBOUND BOOKS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

iTUNES

MORE BOOKS BY JEWELL PARKER RHODES:

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GHOST BOYS was partly inspired by the death of TAMIR RICE.

Who was Tamir Rice? And, what happened to him?

Tamir was at Cudell by midmorning on the Saturday he got shot. Usually he’d play basketball or Ping-Pong or games on an old phone that could connect to the rec-center Wi-Fi. But his friend had an Airsoft pellet gun his dad bought him at Walmart, a replica of a Colt 1911 semi-automatic. It was supposed to have an orange tip on the barrel, except it stopped working once and Tamir’s friend took it apart and fixed it but couldn’t get the orange part back on. They traded, Tamir and his friend, a cell phone for the pellet gun, but only for the day: Tamir knew he’d catch hell if his mom found out he was playing with a toy gun.

He shot BBs at a few car tires in the parking lot, showed his friend how they didn’t go straight. He knew enough to put the gun in his backpack when he went inside the rec center, though. He was there almost every day, never caused a problem and wasn’t going to start.

Samaria gave Tamir and his sister turkey sandwiches and fruit when they came home for lunch, and a few dollars to get chips and juice from the corner store. Then they went back to Cudell. Tamir was inside the rec center for a while, then outside, back and forth for more than an hour. On the sidewalk out front, he played with the pellet gun, drawing and pointing at pretend people and, sometimes, real people. No one seemed alarmed, though. Everyone knew Tamir, knew he was a kid, knew he was playing. Even if they didn’t, Tamir didn’t appear menacing: A man named Joe who was 81 and came to practice with an old-timers’ basketball league saw Tamir pointing his gun at the ground only a few feet away and just ignored him.

A little after three o’clock, a guy with a tall-boy showed up in the park to wait for a 3:30 bus downtown. He didn’t know Tamir. He saw a baby-faced guy, five feet seven, almost 200 pounds—Tamir was a big kid—pulling a gun in and out of his pants. Acting all gangsta, he thought. The man called 911 at 3:22. He was a little slurry, but not frantic. He politely asked the operator how she was, then told her he was sitting in a park. “There’s a guy in here with a pistol,” he said, “and, you know, it’s probably fake, but he’s, like, pointing it at everybody.” The operator asked him where he was, exactly, and the caller repeated what he said the first time: “The guy keeps pulling it in and out of his pants—it’s probably fake, but you know what? He’s scaring the shit out of me.” He described Tamir’s clothes and then reported the guy with the pistol had moved to one of the swings on the playground. “Probably a juvenile, you know?” Finally: “He’s right nearby the, you know, the youth center or whatever, and he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants. I don’t know if it’s real or not.”

The 911 operator’s notes were passed to a dispatcher, who requested a squad car respond to Cudell park. She said there was a black male sitting on the swings, and she described his clothing. “So he keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people,” she said.

Another dispatcher cut in. “How many calls are we getting for that?”

“Nah, just the one so far.”

She left out the words probably fake and probably a juvenile, and categorized it as a Code 1 call, the highest priority.


At a church a mile south of Cudell, officer Frank Garmback was finishing up a false-alarm call with his partner, Timothy Loehmann, a probationary rookie who’d been on the force for about nine months and only patrolling the streets for about three. Garmback, in fact, was Loehmann’s field-training officer, responsible for teaching him how to become a proper police officer.

That was something at which Loehmann had failed multiple times. Almost two years earlier, he’d resigned from the police department in suburban Independence, which was going to fire him if he didn’t. In less than five months—most of which he’d spent at the academy—he’d been caught twice lying to his superiors, and he’d had his weapon taken away after a weepy breakdown on the shooting range. That was about a woman.

Being unable to separate his personal problems from the job, Deputy Chief Jim Polak wrote, “leads one to believe that he would not be able to substantially cope, or make good decisions, during or resulting from any other stressful situation.”

Emotional immaturity is the phrase Polak used in a five-page memo listing all the reasons Loehmann shouldn’t be a cop. “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies,” he wrote.

But Loehmann kept at it. He applied to four other departments but got no offers. In September 2013, he failed the written exam for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. Three months later, the Cleveland Division of Police gave him a conditional appointment. On March 3, 2014, he was hired as a patrolman.

Garmback drove. Cudell was a straight shot north on West Boulevard, across Madison, and into a parking lot separated from the playground by knee-high wooden posts. But Garmback took a different route, to a narrow block that dead-ends at the park. There were no posts there, only a few spindly trees.

The squad car bumped over the curb. The swings were empty. The only person anywhere nearby, in fact, was sitting at a concrete picnic table under a gazebo a few yards beyond the swings. He was not fiddling with a gun. He wasn’t doing anything at all.

Garmback did not stop.

Tamir stood up, took a few casual steps around the table.

Garmback braked. The squad car slid on wet grass dusted with snow. When it was even with Tamir, before it had stopped, Loehmann got out and fired. The muzzle of his gun was less than seven feet away.

Tamir collapsed.

Garmback radioed that shots had been fired. Black male down. Send an ambulance.

He and Loehmann did not help the boy on his back on a slab of cement, his small intestine spilling out of the hole in his abdomen. For four minutes, Tamir lay bleeding alone.


Survillance cameras recorded the entire encounter. Had Garmback and Loehmann been a couple of local gangbangers in a Toyota, that video would have been enough to convince a grand jury that there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, most likely aggravated murder. It happened so quickly, and with the shooter approaching the victim, that a claim of self-defense would have been laughable.

But police officers are not held to the same standards as civilians, nor should they be. They are expected to insert themselves into potentially volatile situations, to confront bad guys with weapons, to stand between chaos and public order. They will at times, even if only for a heartbeat, genuinely fear for their lives or the lives of others. There is a library of case law giving officers wide leeway on the use of deadly force. But these two guys drove up and shot a kid. And it’s on video. “What we have is objective evidence that they summarily executed this child as fast as humanly possible,” says Jonathan S. Abady, one of the attorneys representing Tamir’s estate, mother, and sister. “There is nothing Tamir could have done to not get shot that day.”

“It was almost like they were trying to blame me,” Samaria Rice said. “They were talking to me like I was a bad mother, like I gave him that BB gun.”

Maybe a jury would never convict them, and maybe McGinty would somehow believe the shooting was justified. But the major evidence to make that initial decision—whether to seek an indictment or not—was plainly visible. Weeks passed and McGinty did not make a determination one way or the other. Winter came and went and then most of spring. In early June, the sheriff’s department gave McGinty’s office a 211-page summary of its investigation. A week later, a sitting judge, ruling on a petition from eight perturbed citizens, issued a non-binding opinion that there was probable cause to charge both officers with crimes, including murder (Loehmann) and negligent homicide (Garmback). “After viewing [the video] several times,” Judge Ronald B. Adrine wrote, “this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly.”

Still, no decision from McGinty.

Finally, at a meeting in the beginning of summer, almost seven months after Tamir was killed, Abady and his colleagues asked what was taking so long. An assistant prosecutor, according to Abady, said McGinty was trying to be “fair and thorough.” He also said he was trying to find experts who could tell a grand jury whether the shooting was justified.

That is highly irregular. For one, experts rarely testify before grand jurors. The bar for an indictment is so low that any prosecutor with a functional ability to speak in complete sentences can clear it. Two, if an expert believes killing Tamir was legally permissible, what’s the point? If the prosecutor agrees, why waste the grand jury’s time?

But set all that aside. Stipulate that fairness and thoroughness require experts to testify. There are many well-credentialed and prominent scholars who study police procedure; credible ones are not difficult to find. Who, Abady wanted to know, are those experts upon whom McGinty would be relying?

“People,” Abady was told, “who you’ve never heard of.”


The first two experts McGinty hired were a prosecutor from Colorado and a former FBI agent wh ko now an associate professor.

S. Lamar Sims, the prosecutor, was familiar to McGinty already: He’d spoken at a March 12, 2015, forum on deadly force hosted by McGinty’s office, focusing specifically on how difficult it is, legally, to indict officers. Two months after that, in May, Sims had explained on a local Denver TV channel how he believed killings by police should be evaluated. “Often we will learn things, facts, after the incident that a reasonable officer did not know, or could not have known, at the time,” he said. “The community may react to facts learned later. For example, looking around the nation, say you have a 12- or 13-year-old boy with a toy gun. We learn that later. The question is, what did the officer know at the time? What should a reasonable peace officer have known at the time when he or she took the steps that led to the use of physical force or deadly physical force?” That, he said, “is a difficult thing for a lot of people to understand.”

Kimberly A. Crawford, the professor, was a supervisory special agent in the legal instruction unit at the FBI academy for 18 years. In that role, she co-authored a report that defended a sniper in the shooting of a fleeing woman during the Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992, which a Department of Justice task force later criticized in part for interpreting legal standards on deadly force in a manner too favorable to law enforcement.

Both Sims and Crawford focused only on the instant immediately before Loehmann fired, which, in their view, was the only legally relevant issue. Neither spoke to Loehmann or Garmback, but how was either officer supposed to know Tamir was a kid and the gun he might have had was a toy? Of course, stopping a few feet from Tamir gave them no time to learn either of those facts. But since they did, Crawford reasoned, “it becomes apparent that not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one.” Meanwhile, to question that tactical decision, Sims argued, “is to engage in exactly the kind of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ the case law exhorts us to avoid.” (Crawford called it “armchair quarterbacking.” In her analysis, “Whether the officers’ actions were courageous or foolhardy is not relevant to a constitutional review of the subsequent use of force.”)

McGinty released both of those reports to the public by posting them on his office’s website at eight o’clock on the Saturday night of Columbus Day weekend. Zoe Salzman, an attorney who works with Abady, remembers the time because she got her first phone call from a reporter at 8:01. That would suggest the reports were shared with the media before they were posted. They were not, however, shared with Samaria Rice or her attorneys. “They gave us no heads-up that those reports were coming,” Salzman says. And by the time they returned from the holiday weekend and began to adequately critique the reports, the news cycle had moved on.

A third report, from a former Florida sheriff and consultant named W. Ken Katsaris—whom McGinty had hired to testify against a police officer in a previous case—was released on a Thursday in November. He, too, found the shooting justified. That perspective was not shared with Samaria Rice or her attorneys before it was posted. McGinty, in a statement released with the Katsaris report, said that he was being open and transparent and most definitely wasn’t drawing any conclusions but rather laying off that responsibility on the grand jurors. “I have faith in the people of this county,” he said, “to fulfill their sworn duty to make a correct and honorable decision.”


By the middle of November 2015, almost a year after Tamir was killed, McGinty still wouldn’t say whether he thought either officer should be charged with a crime. But he had presented to the grand jury—and released to the public—the opinions of three experts that, in clear and confident language, absolved Garmback and Loehmann.

At a political forum on November 5, McGinty had also introduced another element into the public narrative his office was crafting: Samaria Rice was trying to make a buck off her dead boy. When he was asked about criticisms Abady and others had made of the Sims and Crawford reports (Katsaris wouldn’t be released for another week), he answered, “Well, isn’t that interesting. They waited until they didn’t like the reports they received. They’re very interesting people, let me just leave it at that. They have their own economic motives.” He later tried to walk that back, saying he’d meant Samaria’s representatives were gold diggers. In a way, that was even worse, as it implied she was too stupid to realize she was being manipulated by greedy lawyers.

At that same forum, McGinty also invoked the sacred secrecy of the grand-jury process. “We want to encourage people to come in, be able to tell the truth, without intimidation, in the search for the truth,” he said. That would seem in obvious conflict with his vows of transparency, but no matter. As part of that search, he’d invited Samaria’s attorneys to go find their own experts on police shootings.

That’s how Roger Clark, the retired cop who got the toy gun stuck in his face, became involved. If a prosecutor presenting his own experts to a grand jury is uncommon, bringing in experts hired by the victim of a shooting is unprecedented. “It puts the victim in the unusual position of having to be the advocate,” says Earl Ward, one of the lawyers for Tamir’s family. “No, unusual is too light: I’ve never heard of it. In my 30 years of experience, this is the first time.”

In more than 20 years, Clark had testified once as an expert before a grand jury, but never as one retained by the dead person’s family. And Jeffrey J. Noble, another consultant hired on behalf of Tamir, had never done so at all. He was a cop for 28 years, retiring as deputy chief of the Irvine, California, police department in 2012. He wrote chapters for police textbooks on tactical recklessness and the notorious code of silence among officers; co-wrote a book on internal-affairs investigations; and, as a consultant, has reviewed hundreds of use-of-force cases. As a cop, he also used deadly force.

Noble knew Clark only by professional reputation and in fact had disagreed with him in another use-of-force case. But he agreed that the shooting of Tamir was unjustified, and for the same reasons. McGinty’s experts focused only on the fraction of a second when Loehmann fired: a police officer only a few feet from a five-foot-seven 195-pound person who matched the description of a man reported to have a gun who was reaching into his waistband. If all of that were true—though the part about where Tamir’s hands were and what they were doing is in legitimate dispute—it was reasonable for Loehmann to fear for his life, according to Sims, Crawford, and Katsaris.

But the few seconds before that, Noble argued, were just as important, both legally and practically. Under accepted police standards, Loehmann never should have been that close to Tamir that quickly. When they entered the park, the officers saw, or should have seen, one person, alone, not threatening anyone. There was no need for Garmback to rush him. “Reasonable police officers responding to a man-with-a-gun call,” Noble wrote in his report, “would have stopped their vehicle prior to entering the park to visually survey the area to avoid driving upon a subject who may be armed. This serves not only to protect the officers, but also serves to protect others who may be in the area and provides both time and distance for the officers to evaluate the situation and develop a plan.”

Noble’s function, admittedly unusual, was simply to give the grand jurors another learned perspective. Neither his opinion nor those of Clark, Sims, and the others could be used to convict or acquit anyone. “As an expert,” Noble says, “my job is to educate.” A grand jury is not contentious. Witnesses are almost never cross-examined, and normally there’s no time, anyway. A typical grand jury in Cuyahoga County churns through 50 cases a day, mostly on little more than the word of a police officer. Noble expected to present his findings, answer a question or two, and be done.

Noble was retrieved by assistant prosecutor James Gutierrez and led to the grand-jury room, where 14 jurors sat in comfortable chairs around tables arranged in a U. Gutierrez took a seat in the center. Matt Meyer sat on Noble’s right. Noble was sworn in. Then, he says, “it devolved pretty quickly. It was an attack from the minute I walked into the room.” Noble says Gutierrez and Meyer tag-teamed him with questions, talking over each other and him. Early on, one of them declared more than asked, “You’re getting paid to be here, right?”

“Hey, wait, your experts are getting paid, too,” Noble said.

“You don’t know that.”

He says he was asked if it “would be in the family’s best interest if there was an indictment.” He was reminded, as if he were a simpleton, that the grand jury had to be exceedingly conscientious. “Justice is about proving that some are not guilty,” Meyer said. “These officers have rights, too.”

Well, yes, but it’s not the prosecutors’ job to prove that to a grand jury. “I’ve never had to fight so hard to defend myself in the midst of a presentation,” Noble told me. “And I’ve definitely never seen two prosecutors play defense attorney so well.”

The hostility toward Noble, he realized, was part of a piece, reducing him to a character—hired gun for vengeful family and greedy lawyers trying to ruin brave cops—in a story that had already been laid out for the grand jurors. Tamir, as would later happen with Clark, repeatedly was referred to as an active shooter. Sandy Hook and San Bernardino (which had happened five days earlier) were both invoked. Video was projected of Tamir playing with the pellet gun earlier in the day, juxtaposed with video of kids playing basketball inside the rec center. For Loehmann and Garmback, only what they knew in a single blink of time was relevant. But for the dead kid, his entire day was fair game, as was what other people were doing inside a nearby building.

It was not difficult to figure out the prosecution’s theory of the case, which was really a defense theory. Near the end of Noble’s testimony, one of the grand jurors, a white lady he guessed was in her late 50s, had a question. “You’re from California, and maybe they do things differently out there,” she began. “But I’m a mom, and I would have wanted the police to protect my kid if he was playing in the rec center that day. He could have gone in there and killed all those people playing basketball.”

The woman was very sincere. “She was not being mean-spirited at all,” Noble said. “What I got out of that was the emotional level they’d been brought to.”

That Tamir could not possibly have killed anyone seemed beside the point.


Loehmann and Garmback were not required to testify or answer any questions from prosecutors. No target of a grand jury can be forced to do so. Even if he was ordered to appear, he could still invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at any time. As a practical matter, then, a prosecutor won’t invite a grand-jury target to appear. Why allow him to make a self-serving statement if the prosecutor can’t cross-examine, can’t poke holes in his story, can’t point out contradictions and inconsistencies, can’t pick at his credibility? How could the grand jurors realistically judge the veracity of those statements? On the other hand, a target has no real incentive to appear, either: Why risk saying something stupid that can be used against him later?

But at the beginning of December, both Loehmann and Garmback agreed to testify—sort of. Each man brought with him a written statement dated November 30, 2015, more than a year after Tamir was shot dead. Each officer read his statement to the grand jury.

Garmback’s was self-serving, Loehmann’s was self-aggrandizing, and both raised serious questions. For instance, both said they did not see Tamir seated at the picnic table until they were at least even with the swing set—that is, until they were a few yards away from the supposedly armed suspect they’d been sent to investigate. Were they always so lax in their visual surveillance? Both also agreed Garmback said, “Watch him, he’s going to run,” and that they were afraid Tamir was going to run toward the rec center. What, exactly, made them think Tamir would run? And if they believed that, why did Garmback approach from an angle that would almost force Tamir to bolt in that direction? Why not position the cruiser between Tamir and the rec center? Why stop next to him at all, instead of driving away from what might be a mortal threat?

Loehmann, meanwhile, testified that in his few months on the job, he’d already been “involved in many active-shooter situations.” Really? How loosely does Loehmann define “active-shooter situation”? Do shots actually need to be fired? By the common definition, the last active shooter in Cuyahoga County was a man who shot his wife and daughters in a Cracker Barrel in 2012.

Loehmann said he and Garmback repeatedly yelled “Show me your hands” as they approached Tamir. (Garmback acknowledged the windows were up, which would have made shouting orders pointless.) “As car is slid [sic], I started to open the door and yelled continuously ‘show me your hands’ as loud as I could,” he said. “The suspect lifted his shirt reached [sic] down into his waistband. We continued to yell ‘show me your hands.’ I was focused on the suspect. Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn’t fire. I still was yelling the command ‘show me your hands.’ ”

Loehmann said he’d been trained to leap out of the car “because ‘the cruiser is a coffin.’ ” He said he tried to get to the back of the cruiser. He said he and Garmback “were still yelling ‘show me your hands.’ With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active.”

That’s when he fired twice.

The most obvious of the many questions Loehmann’s testimony raised was: How does that version square with a video showing that Loehmann pulled the trigger almost immediately after opening the car door? How fast can he yell “Show me your hands,” and how much time will he give a suspect to comply?

There may be plausible, even credible, answers to those questions. But none of them were asked. Instead, after reading his statement, each officer invoked his Fifth Amendment rights.

That could not possibly have been unexpected.


Thanksgiving Weekend 2015, Earl Ward was told by Meyer that McGinty’s office had hired a video expert to enhance and analyze footage from cameras around Cudell park, and that his report was going to be released—once again, the Saturday of a holiday weekend. But there was nothing new in the analysis, Meyer said, nothing of any consequence revealed in the enhancements.

That appeared to be true. The two videos weren’t so much enhanced as synced and broken down into stills. The images were still grainy. They did not show Tamir pointing anything at the police, or even getting anything out of his trousers. But to McGinty’s expert, who specializes in the software used to record video and in teasing out information hidden in the small variances between pixels, they clearly showed Tamir reaching into his waistband an instant before Loehmann shot him.

To Jesse Wobrock, an expert in biomechanics hired by Abady’s firm, they showed that Tamir had his hands in his pockets when Loehmann fired, and that the upward movement of the boy’s arms was a reaction to getting hit with a bullet, not a prelude to it.

To a layman, they are Rorschach blots. Stare at a still image long enough—as opposed to watching it flash past in a half a second as part of a moving series—and the brain can be convinced either way. But McGinty’s version requires believing that a 12-year-old child rushed by two police officers reflexively reached for his toy gun. Wobrock’s version requires only accepting that a body will jerk when it gets shot.

And there was, to Wobrock, one new thing in the enhancement. When others had reviewed the raw video, they’d calculated that 1.7 seconds elapsed between Loehmann getting out of the cruiser and firing. After seeing the individual images, Wobrock cut that to less than one second.

Wobrock appeared before the grand jury after Abady publicly complained about the way Noble and Clark had been treated. “My experience was probably more gentle than the others’,” Wobrock says. “But they were acting in a way like they were defense attorneys for the cops. Their line of questioning had to do with attacking me professionally.”

Meyer asked the questions. He showed images from the shooting, and videos that demonstrated that a person can pull a gun and shoot in less than half a second. He controlled those with a remote he’d stuck in his pants. “Today I have a remote in my waistband,” he joked with the grand jurors, “and not a gun.”

Mostly, Wobrock says, he was asked about his background in deciphering video code. He does not have any. Wobrock is an expert in forensic biomechanical engineering and kinematic analysis—how the body moves and reacts, particularly when it is being shot, beaten, or otherwise traumatized. “But if you have two eyes,” he says, “you can see what was going on in the video.”

Meyer brought up the civil suit pending in federal court—“Basically,” Wobrock says, “that the mom was looking for money out of this thing”—which cast Wobrock as just another hired gun for the money-grubbers. Who could trust his opinion, this academic who didn’t understand video-compression coding?

On the Monday after Christmas, McGinty announced that the grand jury had declined to indict either officer and that he had recommended no charges be brought.

The key evidence, both McGinty and Meyer said, was the enhanced video.

“You could actually see him draw his gun on this film,” McGinty said.

Meyer, meanwhile, focused on a gray dot on the gazebo floor after Tamir had collapsed. That was the gun, he said. “For it to have fallen on the ground, it would have had to have been in Tamir’s hand,” he said. “Which means he would have had to have pulled that gun out.”

Those are both extremely debatable assertions. And neither, curiously, was mentioned when Meyer contacted Earl Ward a month earlier. Back then, there was nothing of any significance at all in that enhanced video.

Samaria Rice was the last witness to appear before the grand jury. She waited in the hallway of the courthouse while her daughter answered questions. Samaria didn’t want to tell me what her daughter was asked or how she answered, only that she was shaking when she came out. Her daughter had been there that day. Look at the video: Garmback and Loehmann watching a boy bleed to death, and she enters from the left. There’s no sound, but she’s screaming. “They killed my baby brother,” she shrieks. Garmback grabs her, takes her to the ground, handcuffs her, puts her in the back of the cruiser that’s next to her dying brother.

Samaria was still at home then. She was putting groceries away when two kids from the neighborhood banged on her door. “The police just shot your boy in the stomach,” they told her. She ran to the park, and the police told her she could stay with her daughter or go to the hospital with her son.

What could she do? She rode in the passenger seat of the ambulance.

The last time she saw Tamir alive, he had tubes stuck in his arms and his tongue lolled out of his mouth. And then he was dead. He was wrapped up like a tamale, she remembers, only his face showing, and she wailed and she sobbed and she tried to kiss him good-bye, but a police officer held her back. Her boy’s body was evidence and couldn’t be contaminated.

She sat before the grand jurors as a character in a script already written: Tamir had been acting all gangsta that day, Tamir had pulled a gun on the cops, Tamir could have killed everyone in the rec center. Any mom would have wanted the police to protect the children playing in the rec center and the park. Three experts said the police had no choice, said killing Tamir was a reasonable thing to do.

And Samaria? She was suing the city for wrongful death. Samaria wanted money. Samaria had a record: The day the police killed her son, she was on probation for selling weed. It didn’t matter that Samaria refused to ever live in the projects, that she’d moved to a white suburb so her kids could go to better schools and only moved back so her kids wouldn’t be the only black ones in class. It didn’t matter that she worried so much about her youngest two that she’d only recently let them off the porch to play.

The prosecutor asked her if she knew Tamir had a toy gun that day.

He asked her where he got that toy.

“The look he had on his face, it was almost like they were trying to blame me,” she said. “I’m saying in my head, Why are they talking to me like that? They were talking to me like I was a bad mother, like I gave him that BB gun.”

One of the grand jurors asked her what Tamir had been like. It was not an insincere question. But what does a mother say about the boy the police thought needed shooting? That he liked to draw and paint and make pottery at the rec center? That he helped his mother sweep and mop? That he liked the ice cream and French fries at McDonald’s and Cool Ranch Doritos and cereal, even if Samaria wouldn’t buy him the sugary ones?

Or that he wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns? Not even that cheap bright plastic one at the Dollar General?

What does any of it matter now?

Samaria wasn’t surprised that Garmback and Loehmann weren’t indicted. A prosecutor doesn’t spend a year laying the groundwork only to screw it up at the end. Maybe it wouldn’t sting as badly if McGinty had been forthright about it, if he’d made a decision and owned up to it and explained it, instead of dribbling out some parts and burying the rest in legal secrecy and ducking behind anonymous citizens, muddying rather than clarifying. But maybe not. No one was indicted, and no one would be.

Samaria knew the settlement was coming, and she wished it wouldn’t be public, thought maybe she should move away, to Charlotte or Lexington, another city where people won’t bother her at the gas station, at the store, on the street. People—strangers, a Cleveland police dispatcher—want to take selfies with her. “Once they recognize my face, it’s ‘Oh, let me give you a hug,’ ” she says. “Throwing themselves on my body, getting all in my personal space.”

They mean well. But still. Sometimes they say, “Oh, you’re that boy’s mom.”

Sometimes they say, “Oh, you’re Rice’s mom.” And sometimes, because enough time has passed and memories have gotten foggy and all the stories begin to blur together, people stop and stare and try to remember. “Oh,” they’ll say, certain but not really, “you’re Trayvon Martin’s mom.”