Book Review: Earth Quarantined by D. L. Richardson

Earth Quarantined
Earth Quarantined, Book 1
D. L. Richardson
D L Richardson, November 2018
ISBN 978-1-64467-535-9
Trade Paperback

From the author—

World peace came with rules. We’ve just broken them.

In the year 2055, millions of humans were wiped out by a deadly virus known as EMB-II, a bioweapon strain of Ebola that could not be stopped. The need to get off the planet and into space was never stronger. Before the ships could be launched, First Contact was made. A dozen spaceships arrived, carrying twelve Criterion Advocates – peacekeepers of the universe – and thousands of Criterion soldiers, aides, workers, and engineers. To stop the virus getting into space, Earth was placed under quarantine and work begun to save the planet and humanity. Through tough control measures, world peace was achieved.

The year is now 2355. The virus is gone. Humanity is eager to get into space. Yet the Earth is still under quarantine. The Criterion are lying to us. What they don’t know is that we’re lying to them.

Kethryn Miller is an award-winning actress, but nothing will prepare her for the role she’ll take on when a strange woman who shouldn’t be alive turns up in the city, threatening to expose the lies that have kept peace on Earth for 200 years.

With shades of The Hunger Games—individual states, controlled by a central power—Ms. Richardson has come up with a nifty idea. Aliens saved what was left of humanity after a worldwide virus wiped out most of us and we accepted their help, having very little choice at that time. For 300 years since, humans have been living in quarantined colonies of a sort and have become accustomed to the twice-a-day reconnaisance by patrol ships that are manned by humans who work for the aliens. There are 100 states, each comprised of several cities, and people long ago became used to the aliens’ oversight, even population and resource control that are supposedly at the direction of mankind.

Now, though, some are beginning to question the status quo, especially since the Criterion have withheld the long-promised technology for space travel and their control of all aspects of human existence is wearing thin. At the same time, a woman destined to become president of her state has just learned something that could turn her entire life on its ear and alter the course of her state’s reality.

Told from several points of view, humans and aliens, the story moves along quickly as tension builds, leading to an unknown future, different from anything humans have experienced since the arrival of the Criterion. Short chapters keep the pace lively and I found myself reading faster and faster, eager to find out what would happen next. Now, I’m eagerly anticipating Book 2, Earth Arrested.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.

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An Excerpt from Earth Quarantined

Derek followed Aries out onto the balcony, biting down on the pain that raced up his leg from his ankle. Long periods of sitting aggravated his ailment, and today’s meeting had been long.

“I suspect I know what message your minister received,” said Aries. “I also suspect I know what you will ask, but the decision is out of my control. These are the laws that mankind created.”

Aries was always to the point, a trait Derek liked about her. It saved a lot of time, but it also reminded him that she wasn’t human. Some called the Criterion emotionless. Not true, he thought. They’d just had millennia to contain their emotions.

“You denied Justine’s application to have a child,” said Derek. “For the third time.”

“If she possesses an impure gene, she cannot have a child. That is the law.”

“She’s getting treatment for her condition. A treatment you recommended.”

Aries sighed. “These are human laws we uphold, not ours. Must I remind you that all the leaders sat around a table and decided which of their policies would save the human race. We are not the leaders of your world.”

“Some days I’m not so sure.”

She turned to face him. Her liquid eyes hardened as if they’d iced over. The tendrils on the back of her head lifted, which happened whenever she got angry. In twelve years, he’d gotten to know her well.

“When we arrived,” said Aries, in a self-righteous tone, “your species was dying, your planet destroyed, and while I place no faith in hope as a cure, is it not fair to say you had lost all hope?”

She gazed at him, seeking an answer, and as he stared into her face, he realized that she suddenly appeared old. And this realization made him feel old. They were both being replaced. Neither was ready for it. Both had work to finish. And nobody cared.

Derek sighed. “I don’t want to argue with you, but can’t you make an exception just this once? Show compassion. The ministers are your direct link to the citizens and they’d have a better time believing the Criterion are a compassionate race if you showed it. At least once in a century. If not for Justine, then do it for me. Think of it as my last request in my official capacity as President.”

Aries tilted her head. “Would you ask me to sit idly by while you returned your world to its ruined state? All it takes is one diseased gene and the chain is broken.”

“It’s just one act of kindness.”

Aries sighed. “I couldn’t unlock the fertility inhibitor chip even if I wanted to. It’s interfaced with the host’s body and designed not to activate in the presence of unhealthy genes. The Order Of Harmony hold the overriding codes, not me.”

“You’re the Order Of Harmony.”

“I am one member of a much larger organization.”

Derek paused. He’d always considered the residing advocates had the ability to unlock the fertility chips. If not, then who did?

************

About the Author

D L Richardson writes speculative fiction, which encompasses science fiction, light horror, supernatural fiction, and fantasy. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering in her yard waging war on weeds, watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, playing her piano or guitar, curled up on the couch reading a book, or walking the dog.

Website // Facebook // Twitter
Blog // Goodreads // Email

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Giveaway

The author is giving away to one lucky winner
one
$15 giftcard. Easy to enter. No purchase
necessary. And you can
choose between
Amazon, Kobo or Barnes & Noble giftcard.

Enter the drawing here.

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A Trio of Teeny Reviews

Trimmed to Death
A Bad Hair Day Mystery #15
Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press, September 2018
ISBN 978-0-9985317-6-2
Trade Paperback

This is a series I’ve been enjoying ever since the author came to our store and, if I recall correctly, met with one of our book clubs. Nancy may have also participated in a big mystery authors gathering we hosted but I honestly am not sure about that and my records from back then are gone, burned up in a computer surge. At any rate, we go back to at least 2000 or 2001 and I haven’t missed a book since. There’s a reason for that—these are really good books with a protagonist I like a lot and, unlike some amateur sleuths, Marla Vail has a brain.

This time, hair salon owner Marla has entered a baking contest at a farm festival and joins in a scavenger hunt during the wait for the judging. As you might expect, Marla finds a body in the strawberry field, a competitor in the contest. Naturally, she’s compelled to investigate, especially after a friend asks her for help. Fortunately, her husband, Dalton, is tolerant of her stepping in even though he’s the investigating detective.

As Dalton says upon seeing the body, “Good God, Marla. Not another one.” Not a surprising comment after so many bodies over the years but at least he’s used to Marla doing her sleuthing thing 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.

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Bono
The Amazing Story of a Rescue Cat Who Inspired a Community
Helen Brown
HarperCollins/ABC
ISBN 978-0–7333-3804-5
Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-4607-0797-5
Ebook

Look at that cover—is that not just about the cutest cat you ever saw? Of course, that’s what I say about pretty much any cat I see, especially rescues, but there’s something about Bono that really catches the eye, right?

Helen Brown has written about cats before or, rather, cats and her own life, telling tales about how these little beasties have influenced her and made her life so much more complete. This time, Helen was talked into fostering a cat for just one month while visiting New York City but Bono turned out to be not at all like the sweet, docile sweetie she envisioned; instead, Bono was an opinionated, demanding guy with special needs, badly in need of a forever home.

Needless to say, Bono and Helen develop a fierce fondness for each other and their story is one of love and the search for Bono’s forever home. I cried and I smiled and fell in love with this beautiful Persian as I’m sure you will.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.

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Darkest Before the Dawn
A Sgt. Windflower Mystery #7
Mike Martin
Ottawa Press and Publishing, October 2018
ISBN 978-1-988437-13-2
Trade Paperback

There’s something about Canadian police procedurals that really appeals to me and I can’t really put my finger on it. Sure, I love the whole idea of red-jacketed Mounties on their grand steeds—who doesn’t?—but those guys don’t show up all that often and most of the procedurals are with cops and detectives that could just as easily be found in Phoenix or Cleveland. I do know one thing and that’s that Canadian police procedurals tend to have a gentler tone, easier on the psyche than many American books of the same subgenre.

Now, as it happens, Sgt. Windflower really is a Mountie based in a small village in Newfoundland. Even tiny towns in remote places have their issues with crime and, not surprisingly, this one is also dealing with the dissatisfaction of its youth. Still, life is pretty pleasant until Winston and his colleagues are faced with a a rash of violence and financial crimes and he starts looking into potential connections to the Dark Web.

On the whole, Darkest Before the Dawn and, I believe, the whole series, is a feel-good kind of story. Sgt. Windflower and his family, including Lady the Collie, have a happy life. Winston, a member of the Cree tribe, has dreams that he ties to his First Nation status and sometimes interprets in his criminal investigations and those investigations are good puzzles. At the same time, we get to spend a lot of time with the family and with Sgt. Windflower’s fellow officers, not to mention the townspeople. All in all, this was an exceedingly enjoyable read and I intend to go back to the beginning of the series.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave Blog Tour

This is one of those authors I’ve always meant to read but never got around to it. Kim’s review of First Grave on the Right has convinced me I need to stop pussyfootin’ around and get started on the Charley Davidson series 😉

By Hook Or By Book

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I can’t tell you how excited I am to be participating in this blog tour (Thank You St. Martin’s Press!). At the same time I’m crushed that Summoned to Thirteenth Grave is the final book in the Charley Davidson series. Seven years ago, the first book in this fantastic series was published and I immediately became a fervent fan. As part of this tour I chose to reread First Grave on the Right and review it.

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Synopsis:

This whole grim reaper thing should come with a manual.

Or a diagram of some kind.

A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring…

View original post 614 more words

Tribute to Stan Lee: An Inspiration for The Every Man or Woman and Writer—and a Giveaway!

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net
Website: http://mysterylady.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

“Lauren Carr does a good job of moving the quirky storyline
along nicely with an abundance of witty dialogue.  And you
have no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys
are until the end.” – Every Free Chance Book Reviews

Yesterday, I got the type of news that makes you stop whatever you are doing and take note of that moment.

Instantly, I knew that years from now, when someone mentions the event, I will recall instantly what I was doing (updating my website AGAIN!) when the news flash came across my computer screen announcing—

Stan Lee passed away.

No, I am not a comic book fan. I was never one of those kids who waited breathlessly for the next issue of SpiderMan or Avengers. As a matter of fact, I much preferred Scooby Doo to Spiderman on Saturday morning.

I discovered Stan Lee much later—as an adult and writer struggling to get my first book published. It was when Spider-Man with Tobey Maquire was released. My son was four years old and I thought it would make for a fun family outing.

I was more fascinated with the movie—and the subsequent action hero movies released by Stan Lee—than my son.

Until Stan Lee came on the scene, superheroes started out as super. Superman was born super. Batman was born rich—his super power. Yes, he suffered adversity, but he was still above average. And Wonder Woman? She was an Amazon. Like any woman could hope to compete with that.

These superheroes’ extraordinary circumstances placed them above the rest of us. They were super powerful, extraordinarily rich, and morally superior to us as well as their arch enemies. Unlike the rest of us, you could trust them to always do the right thing. At least that was the way I saw it with my limited exposure to them.

The rest of us, those of us who had been born into ordinary circumstances or suffered setbacks, those of us who didn’t have big bucks and superhuman strength, could never hope to be extra-ordinary.

Stan Lee changed all that.

Peter Parker was a bullied science geek who became the friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Just like any of us would have done in that situation, he gave in to pride, which resulted in gentle Uncle Ben’s death. Instead of throwing in the towel, he learned his lesson (With great power comes great responsibility!) and set out to make things right.

Sitting there in the movie theatre, the writer in me saw myself in Peter’s role. An ordinary writer, fighting against the big bullying publishing machine, trying to get noticed by the lovely readers (My version of MJ.), and making serious mistakes along the way.

In spite of their mistakes or setbacks, Stan Lee’s heroes keep on trying. That is what makes them super heroes.

Like Steve Rogers. A scrawny young man who wanted more than anything to defend his country during World War II. He was told time and time again that he couldn’t do it. But he refused to take no for an answer. He refused to go home and settle for anything less.

It was his refusal to back down, his refusal to give up that made him Captain America.

Stan Lee’s creations did more than entertain millions upon millions of comic books, television, movie, and even video fans. They inspired us to never give up on our dreams. To keep on trying. To learn from our mistakes and keep on fighting for what we believe in.

That night, this writer walked out of that movie theater with a new resolve to keep on pushing. My first book was published two years after being introduced to Stan Lee’s Spider-Man.

Stan Lee’s stories and characters did more than entertain. They inspired the ordinary person to search inside ourselves for the super hero that’s in each of us and proudly show off our superpowers to the world.

For that, we salute you, Stan Lee.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To enter the drawing for two ebooks by
Lauren Carr, Crimes Past and Spring Thaw
,
just leave a
comment below naming
your own personal superpower. The

winning name will be drawn on
Monday evening, November 19th.

 

Book Review: Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran—and a Giveaway!

Glitter Bomb
A New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery #15
Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran
Berkley Prime Crime, October 2018
ISBN 978-0-451-48954-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus’ float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.

Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe-member’s death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder….and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.

Just as New Orleans scrapbook shopkeeper Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, are gleefully getting into the Mardi Gras festivities, all hell breaks loose when the Pluvius parade’s King Neptune float explodes with a huge plume of glitter. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus Meechum goes flying and lands practically in front of them, battered and shaken but alive, unlike the captain of the krewe, Hughes Wilder, who’s quite dead .

Very soon, evidence points towards a deliberate bombing and Shamus begs Carmela to investigate before he gets arrested by Carmela’s boyfriend, Detective Edgar Babcock. It seems that Shamus has a good motive because he made a dodgy investment with Wilder, CEO of a hedge fund, and used bank funds to do so but there are several other potential suspects. Against her better judgement, and not because she’s overly fond of her philandering ex, Carmela agrees to look into who’s the real Neptune Bomber with Ava’s excited assistance and despite Edgar’s objections (useless, as he well knows from previous investigations) and a pond full of hungry alligators.

Scrapbooking tips and delicious recipes help make Glitter Bomb as charming and fun as the earlier books in the series and I’m already counting the days till Carmela’s and Ava’s next adventure.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.

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To enter the drawing for a print copy
of Glitter Bomb, just leave a comment below.
Two winning
names will be drawn on Sunday
night,
November 18th, for one Advance
Reading Copy
and one hardcover copy. This
drawing is open to the US and Canada.

Book Review: My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace

My Whole Truth
Mischa Thrace
Flux, October 2018
ISBN 978-1-63583-024-8
Trade Paperback

I’ve struggled with this review for a few weeks, because I was stunned. Speechless. Now, I accept the fact that I will never find and assemble accurate words to aptly address my deep desire for everyone to read this book. But, I can’t keep not telling you about My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace. So…

Starting this story is a bit like having a bucket of ice-cold water dumped over your head. From out of nowhere. That steal-your-breath, shocking feeling, fused with white-hot anger, stayed with me. Quite frankly, still simmers. Perhaps, because this Realistic Fiction plot is so current, it is almost creepy.

The scenario certainly sets me off, but there’s a brilliant balance with the sincere and effortless strength and support that Seelie receives from her friends. And because they are adolescents, situations can only stay serious for so long. Even from her hospital bed, merely moments after being attacked, Seelie stays true to teens everywhere by easily ignoring simple ‘stay still and quiet’ instructions. And she calls her friends, not a parent. Although, she is not wrong there.

If everyone had a best bud like Lyssa, there would be no more bullying. The ultimate antihero, I couldn’t help but cheer a little bit whenever she stepped out of line. From the minute she arrived in the emergency room, all the way to the end of the tortuous trial, Lyssa stuck by Seelie’s side.

Whereas, Seelie’s mother stayed busy with her restaurant, as usual. Since she wasn’t in the hayloft at the time, Mom couldn’t be expected to actually know what happened anyway. She does recall that Seelie has always been rude to Shane, while seemingly everyone else in the entire town adores the judge’s son. And maternal ambivalence is only the tip of the iceberg.

Reviewed by jv poore, October 2018.

Book Review: The Bloody Black Flag by Steve Goble

The Bloody Black Flag
A Spider John Mystery #1
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books. September 2017
ISBN 978-163388-359-8
Trade Paperback

Avast landlubbers! Author Steve Goble introduces a new detective in this first book of a new series. Spider John Rush, a former pirate, is trying to find his way back to his wife Em and his son Little Johnny, now age eight. Spider had served on a whaling ship and then on a pirate ship. Now he signs on to a ship sailing to Jamaica, in hopes of making some money, with his friend Ezra Coombs.

Ezra and Spider were on Lama, which went down in a storm.  Ezra’s grandmother had been hung as a witch and his mother also. Spider’s gram had been burned. It was a bond they shared. The two escaped from Boston ahead of an angry mob.  Ezra is accused of being the son of a witch by a tattooed crew member named Tellam from Salem.

Ezra is found dead on deck, with a flask beside him, murdered in cold blood by a shipmate. But which one? In this adventure on the high seas, set in 1722.  Spider uses his skills of observation and the tools of his trade as a ship’s carpenter, to discover the murderer. A clever twist on the amateur detective character—fans of historical mysteries and seafaring tales will enjoy sailing with Spider John and the crew.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, October 2018.