Book Review: Heir of Arcadia by Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins @DebAdams_Writer @Kim_Writes

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Title: Heir of Arcadia
Authors: Deborah Adams & Kimberley Perkins
Publisher: Rocket City Publishing
Publication Date: July 24, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure

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Heir of Arcadia
Deborah Adams & Kimberley Perkins
Rocket City Publishing, July 2020
ISBN 978-1-7325071-8-0
Hardcover

From the authors—

Can Collins and Quinn call a truce long enough to survive?

Quinn’s hectic job as a special agent keeps her busy, but never busy enough to tamp out her inconvenient attraction to CEO billionaire Julian Collins. He is usually the biggest pain in her side, but he can also be recklessly charming. When Collins asks her to open a secret investigation into his company, she worries that extra time alone with him might test her resolve to stay away.

Julian Collins always dreamed of being on Arcadia, a fictional world from his favorite video game. But lately, he’s been seeing things from the game in real life. He feels like he’s losing his mind, and now is not the time to go crazy. His company is going to be split into a dozen pieces if he can’t discover the secrets hidden in the Special Projects division.

After three years of quasi-friendship, Collins and Quinn have honed arguing into a true art form. As far as he’s concerned, she’s off-limits, but also quick-witted and sexy as hell. She’s the perfect person for the job.

As Quinn and Collins delve deeper into their investigation, secrets will lead them to things no one on earth can explain. Will they discover that searing hot kisses can be even more fun than well-placed insults when a whole new universe is spread before them?

Julian Collins is a man with two jobs, essentially, one as the very young CEO of the company he took over when his dad died a few years earlier and the other as guardian of his little sister, nine-year-old Serah. This young man has been through much more turmoil than most people ever see but he’s doing the best he can in both roles even though he’d much rather be playing a video game, Arcadian Fortress. After having left the running of the company up to others for too long, he’s now attempting to save it from being split up and he has suspicions about what might really be going on. Meanwhile, he’s having hallucinations, apparently seeing things in real life from the game.

Collins needs an investigator’s help and he trusts one person for that, Quinn Lehi. In her view, Collins is a highpowered playboy but, my word, the man was hard to ignore and he was Serah’s brother so she had to put up with him for the sake of the child they both adored. When Collins asks for her help, she agrees to investigate the Special Projects division of the company…and the adventure begins.

You might think a story focused on the inner workings of a giant corporation would be pretty boring but, in the hands of these two very creative authors, boring is not the word to describe this fast action adventure with vivid, charming and not-so-charming characters and a plot full of twisty turns. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.

About the Authors

DEBORAH ADAMS and KIMBERLEY PERKINS are authors of the Award-Winning Waypoint series. They are friends and coworkers sharing a love of coffee, literature, and teenagers saving the world. Both live in Huntsville, Alabama, working by day for a contractor supporting the Department of Defense, and by night writing spectacular adventures. For more information about Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins go to www.adamsperkins.com.

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Book Review: Zon by Maureen A. Miller @MaureenAMiller @YABoundToursPR

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Title: Zon
Series: Beyond #5
Author: Maureen A. Miller
Publisher: Maureen A. Miller
Publication Date: June 22, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Zon
Beyond #5
Maureen A. Miller
Maureen A. Miller, June 2020
ISBN 979-8639843747
Trade Paperback

From the author—

With a father from the planet, Ziratak, and a mother from Earth, Zon’s challenges are galactic. Zon doesn’t possess superpowers, though. If anything, he’s a bit of a klutz.

In Ziratakian folklore, the tale of the Temple of the Monarch has been passed down for generations. As legend has it, a series of miniature globes lead to the temple’s gate.

Folklore…nothing more.

Except, Zon knows of a cave with small globes in it. And with one clumsy mishap, he triggers the gate–opening a portal to other worlds.

A trip through this vortex transports him to Earth, where the first human he encounters is a young woman with challenges of her own.

This is a brand new saga, and a new generation. There is no need to read the BEYOND series. However, for readers of the series, you will enjoy this continuation of the epic science fiction adventure.

Zon is not your usual teenager having an identity crisis—his crisis comes about because he’s what we used to call, very crudely and meanly, a half-breed and that’s how most people see him. What makes him truly different from the kids we see around us is that it is his Earthling side that’s foreign. Zon is the son of an Earth-born human and a native of the planet Ziratak. Zak and Aimee are handsome people and well-respected but Zon, unfortunately, is not seen in quite as generous a light.

Zon does have one very good friend, JOH, and the two are inseparable, JOH being an android who understands his young companion very well. JOH is a good listener and he helps Zon get through his angsty times. One day, the two discover a portal to other worlds, eventually one that happens to be Earth on a different plane, and Zon and JOH’s excellent adventure begins. Naturally, they meet a girl, Cassy, and Zon will have to make a crucial choice that will affect the rest of his life.

Zon is a charming, lighthearted science fiction tale with an appealing plot and truly likeable characters, most especially JOH and it’s refreshing to have a teenaged boy as the protagonist. Also, if I ever get to experience having an android for a friend, I hope he or she will be half as interesting and funny as JOH. 😄

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.

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An Excerpt from Zon

Zon picked up on another sound. Hoofsteps. Footsteps. The tread of some unimaginable creature.

He spun, confused by the acoustics. As he swung back, he distinctly heard the approach from his right. Wrenching the utility beacon off his belt, he retreated a step towards the whirling shadows in the grove of trees.

A creature crested the hill, it’s blue beak the first thing visible.

“Oh!” It cried, lifting its head and freezing.

Zon swallowed, his legs paralyzed between flight and fight.

“You scared me,” a soft voice claimed. “I’ll just–go–”

The blue beak pivoted, although now he recognized it wasn’t a beak at all. It was a headpiece of some sort. The word eluded him, but he remembered seeing one before.

“Wait,” he called.

The figure halted, but did not look back.

“You speak–” he hesitated, assessing the slight profile, “—English?”

The hat snapped back and brown eyes narrowed under the shade of the brim.

Baseball hat! That’s what his mother called it.

“Uhh, yeah.”

The figure cocked its head.

She.

Not it.

He was pretty sure it was a female, but the slim figure was cloaked in oversized garments, and the long hair was pulled back by a twine, which was something the males on Ziratak did.

The brown eyes slid down his body.

“Your pants are moving,” she observed with a slight blush.

A nagging thump against his thigh alerted him that JOH was trying to get out. Zon slapped his hand down to still the motion.

“It’s just my droid.” He shrugged uncomfortably.

“Droid? Oh, your drone? Were you flying it?”

Her head tipped back and he saw a pale throat.

“Good day for it,” she murmured, and stared curiously at him.

English.

She was talking to him in English.

And she looked mecaw–human.

Zon took another glance around, hoping that his body eclipsed the swirling portal behind him.

“Is this Earth?” he asked, searching the trees, but not seeing any buildings.

The girl’s eyes flared in alarm. She stumbled backwards.

Inside his pants pocket, JOH demanded attention, his incessant vibration driving Zon crazy. He pulled open his pocket to give the droid a stern look. JOH’s animated face was replaced with a string of text.

This IS Earth!

Childhood alarms registered in Zon’s mind. The last time he came to this planet he was quite young. But he remembered his mother’s caution.

Don’t say you’re from another planet.

Most of the people on Earth don’t know much about intergalactic travel. They don’t know about life in other galaxies. And what they don’t know–scares them.

Remember, you are half Earthling.

On Earth your name is Jon. It is for your protection.

Half Earthling.

All that it meant was he was a Gorzot…again.

Encouraged that the female hesitated in her flight, he tried for a more reasonable approach.

“Umm, just kidding,” he fumbled. “I’m not from here.” Where’s here? “I’m visiting.”

A tentative glimpse over her shoulder, and the woman–girl–she looked young–more like his age–finally turned back to face him.

“I can tell.”

He felt awkward under her probing gaze, but he always felt awkward when anyone looked at him for too long.

“How can you tell?”

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About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!

Find more about Maureen at www.maureenamiller.com

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram // Bookbub

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Signed copy of Beyond (US only)
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Book Reviews: The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas and Twinepathy by C.B. Cook @sherrythomas @BerkleyMystery

The Art of Theft
The Lady Sherlock Series #4
Sherry Thomas
Berkley, October 2019
ISBN 978-0-451-49247-0
Trade Paperback

Once upon a time, Sherry Thomas created the first of a retelling of the Sherlock Holmes adventures and, my word, what a charming series this is so far. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are a delightful pair and they channel the original Holmes and Watson with a feminine aplomb that makes Sherlock himself much more accessible.

Charlotte is a successful detective, having solved numerous cases, but she’s going to have to become something of an art thief this time. The target is a particular very valuable painting but it’s the documents secreted on the back of the painting that she needs to obtain; if she can’t do so, her client will be ruined. Charlotte recruits her usual partners in crime, so to speak, and the merry band sets off to attend a masked ball and art sale at a certain chateau in France. Charlotte is the true brains of the group but she couldn’t pull this off without the able assistance of Stephen Marbleton and Lord Ingram, not to mention her sister, Livia, and the pragmatic Mrs. Watson.

There’s a great deal of fun to be had in this latest tale but the reader who’s new to the series should probably start with the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, to enjoy the books to the fullest. If you’re like me, you’ll fall head over heels for Charlotte and company.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Twinepathy
IDIA #1
C.B. Cook
CreateSpace, July 2016
ISBN 978-1535201551
Trade Paperback

Twin sisters Brooklyn and Albany have always hidden their telepathic abilities, believing they’re alone in the world in that sense, until a small child shows up on the doorstep, a child who seems to be suffering from total amnesia. Before they can even begin to come up with a plan—although they instinctively know they need to hide the child from their older brother and parents for the moment—two strangers appear literally out of thin air and the world as they know it changes in an instant.

It turns out that superheroes do really exist, with various powers as Data and Blaze explain; Data is a glorified mind reader and is the head of a secret agency of superheroes, the International Defense and Intelligence Agency, while Blaze specializes in teleportation and illusion. Before this first meeting is over, the sisters have code names, and they’ve learned that the little girl, dubbed Maddie, is not the first victim of memory loss. Now, Albany and Brooklyn set out to solve the first mystery—who is Maddie and what is her story?

Twinepathy is a fun tale for anyone who enjoys superheroes and adventure mixed in with a puzzle and I recommend it for a few hours of entertaining distraction from our all too real world.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Book Review: The Maven Knight by Matthew Romeo @housemontegue

The Maven Knight
The Maven Knight Trilogy #1
Matthew Romeo
Matthew Romeo, December 2018
ISBN 978-0-578-42878-9
Trade Paperback

Mr. Romeo reaches out and pulls the reader right into a frenzied chaos with his Sci-Fi/Fantasy, The Maven Knight. Immediately invested in the action, in spite of not even knowing who is good and who is not, the dust settles soon enough to show that we have a small group of prisoners en route to their proper punishment.

Or so Sarina assumes. She groggily awakens to find her hands tied and tethered. A quick glance around shows the strangers surrounding her are similarly bound. Sarina doesn’t remember anything past tending bar at a banquet, but cannot fathom doing anything to get herself into this situation. Sure, she’s keeping a secret, but certainly not worthy of this retribution.

Talir, on the other hand, cannot specifically pinpoint his “crime”, but is oddly not particularly surprised to find himself in this predicament. Perhaps his cherished Maven armor, his last remnant of his father, is providing some comfort.

As the apparent criminals start to size each other up, their convoy is shot down. Soon, six people are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no reason in the world to want to work together. Except their lives may depend on it.

The saga unfolds from two separate points of view. What initially appeared to be a random sampling of ne’er-do-wells, now seems to be a carefully selected group. But to fully figure out the reason each person was chosen, secrets must be spilled and certain actions will require sincere apologies if there is to be any hope for survival.

Reviewed by jv poore, May 2020.

Book Review: Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith @ericsmithrocks @InkyardPress

Don’t Read the Comments
Eric Smith
Inkyard Press, January 2020
ISBN 978-1-335-01602-7
Hardcover

It’s tough for me to write a review for a book I love more than mochas. But, I can’t not share my ardent admiration of Divya, the sensational Glitch streamer in the center of Eric Smith’s spectacular Realistic-Fiction-YA, Don’t Read the Comments.

Initially, I find it incredibly cool that this high-school student enjoys playing almost as much as she treasures the comfort and camaraderie of her followers and fellow gamers. Impressive that she is making money while doing it. Intensely delighted discovering why.

The man she’d prefer not to refer to as her father, has happily taken everything they built as a family for himself. And his mistress. Divya’s mother is finishing classes and working two jobs, so the payments for trying and talking about gnarly new gadgets makes a significant difference. Her first con appearance might even allow for new furniture.

Bekah, Divya’s best bud and imperative part of D1V’s streaming success and popularity, has designed swag to sell. Appearing on a panel will broaden their audience, as well as put them in close proximity with current fans. It is a great opportunity.

Divya’s mother is not so sure. Pride and gratitude war with worry. Some of the comments she’s seen have been downright mean. Apprehension turns to angst as the trolls’ words turn from taunting to threatening. Harassment intensifies as the con date gets closer.

Even Bekah is ready to bow out. Disappointing, yes, but certainly something Divya understands. And yet, Divya already knows that she will attend. She will be scared and alone, but the trolls will not win easily.

There is one person that remains positive and supportive. If only he wasn’t a fan she’d bumped into online. Aaron is constantly dodging desk-duty at his mom’s medical practice to work on a new game he is creating. He is grateful, though a bit perplexed, that his father has been so supportive and willing to cover for him. His mom will not even listen. Perhaps if he had received any form of payment or contractual agreement from the “friend” he was working with, she would be a bit more open. And, maybe Divya and Aaron have more in common than moms that just don’t understand.

I dig how this book gets the typical teen as well as reaching students that truly have roles and responsibilities outside of school. I’ll be adding this to several classroom libraries.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2020.

Book Review: A Bottle of Rum by Steve Goble @Steve_Goble @SeventhStBooks

A Bottle of Rum
A Spider John Mystery #3
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books, November 2019
ISBN 978-1-64506-003-1
Trade Paperback

Spider John Rush and his sidekick Odin are pirates in the process of retiring from the business. What with one thing or another, Spider John has decided to become an upstanding member of society. No more riding the bounding main, pillaging and killing. Or so he says. Odin not so much. But when the innkeeper where they do their serious drinking is murdered right under their noses, they can’t help becoming involved. John has discovered the murder weapon to be a throwing knife he made and gave to a young pirate friend named Hob. Hob became enthralled with the notorious Anne Bonny and sailed away to further adventure in piracy. The thing is, Spider John caught up with the murderer, and it wasn’t Hob. So where is his friend, and why did that man have his knife?

A naturally noticing and curious man, Spider John means to find out. Perforce, Odin goes along with him, bellyaching all the way.

Soon they find themselves in a predicament at what seems to be an asylum for the insane and the sick. There is a cemetery with several fresh graves, as well.  Since they only ever see one of the patients, a young woman obsessed with death, John doesn’t know for certain if Hob is shut up somewhere within the creaky manor house or if he inhabits one of those graves. And when confronted with Half-Jim, a one-armed, one-legged, all the way crazy pirate who’d as soon kill a man as look at him, finding Hob becomes a real problem. Apparently, Half-Jim has set his sights on Spider John to add to the body count.

The dialogue is wonderfully written for an entertaining bunch of foul-mouthed pirates. The action proceeds at a goodly pace. I often forgot this was supposed to be a mystery as I got wound up in the actions of the worst bunch of ruffians a reader ever met. A fun read.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, January 2020.
https://carolcriggercom.sitelio.me/
Author of Five Days, Five Dead, Hereafter and Hometown Homicide.

Book Review: The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer @nfischerauthor @InkyardPress @The_FFBC

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Title: The Speed of Falling Objects
Author: Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

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The Speed of Falling Objects
Nancy Richardson Fischer
Inkyard Press, October 2019
ISBN 978-1-335-92824-5
Hardcover

From the publisher—

From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more-more athletic, charismatic, attractive-life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

To enjoy a book, I don’t necessarily have to like the protagonist and that’s a good thing because I had a bit of trouble liking Danny. Sure, she had a disability but, after 10 years, you’d think she would have learned to accept the loss of her eye with a modicum of grace but not so much. Granted, bullies have made her life uncomfortable and she’s had to cope with an absentee father but there are a lot of people worse off than she is so my empathy for her was limited. Having said that, she doesn’t hold a candle to her father when it comes to being a narcissistic douchebag and he actually made me feel a little kinder towards her. At the very least, we see Danny gain some maturity during the coming ordeal and I did appreciate that.

The setting for the core story, on the other hand, was pretty darned great. I love disaster/survival tales and, for sheer terror, you can’t do much better than the Amazon rainforest. I just can’t imagine having to deal with all the dangerous critters, the enormity of the landscape, the fear that survival is not a given.

Bottomline, while I really couldn’t care much for any of the primary characters, the plane crash and its aftermath saved the day, so to speak, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read The Speed of Falling Objects.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2019.

About the Author

I’m a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles including: The Golden Globe, Lyric’s World and Promises (Junior Jedi Knights Trilogy) for LucasFilm (Berkeley Press), Feel No Fear, The Power, Passion and Politics of a Life in Gymnastics (Hyperion), Monica: From Fear to Victory (HarperCollins), A Journey: The Autobiography of Apolo Anton Ohno (Simon & Schuster), Nadia Comaneci: Letters to a Young Gymnast (Basic Books), and Winning Every Day with Shannon Miller (Bantam Books).

I’ve written for a circus, a graduate school, tried my hand at waitressing (I was terrible!), baking carrot cakes (I was messy but good!), and been lucky enough to ultimately do what I love – write.

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our mostly wonderful (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla. When I’m not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with my two guys, who both make me laugh for different reasons and are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

If you want to learn more about my latest novel, When Elephants Fly (publication date September 04, HarperCollins/Harlequin Teen), please visit my website: www.nancyrichardsonfischer.com

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram

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Win a copy of the SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS
by Nancy Richardson Fischer (US Only)

Starts: 25th September 2019
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