Month: June 2019

LAUNCH DAY: Mistaken Identity Crisis (w/ GIVEAWAY ENTRY LINK)

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The 4th book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries is officially released today, June 30th, 2019: Mistaken Identity CrisisDeath in the Cable Car. It is currently available on Amazon in either physical print or electronic formats. Stay tuned for more information about future audio book and foreign language translations through the publisher’s new partners. It’s an exciting time to be part of Creativia, who will be officially changing their name this summer to Next Chapter Publishing. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s currently going on with this book.

Ever taken a ride on a cable car? Why not try one now!

Overview of MISTAKEN IDENTITY CRISIS

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer in order to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove.

As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he’ll have to make a few ruthless sacrifices.

Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat begins to settle in Wharton County.

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Show Your Love For The Series & Author!

GIVEAWAY LINK VIA GREAT ESCAPES

ON-GOING BLOG TOUR

I’m excited to share the plans for the blog tour through Great Escape Virtual Blog Tours from June 21st through July 3rd. You can learn more via the book’s dedicated page on the site.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 21 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

June 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 24 – Books Direct – MAP & CHARACTER LIST POST

June 25 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

June 27 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

June 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 1 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

July 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

July 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 3 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

Check out the whole series!
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Broken Heart Attack: .99 Download from 6/28 thru 7/2

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Broken Heart Attack, the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, will be available for only .99 as a Kindle purchase from 6/28 thru 7/2. You can purchase via Amazon here.

Overview:

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright?

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Key Info:

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Fishnets in the Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea by Michele E. Northwood

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Fishnets In The Far East: A Dancer's Diary In KoreaFishnets In The Far East: A Dancer’s Diary In Korea by Michele E. Northwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The majority of my reading centers on fiction; however, autobiographical books enter the queue every so often. This week, I’m reading and reviewing ‘Fishnets In The Far East: A Dancer’s Diary in Korea’ by Michele E. Northwood. If there ever were a topic I knew nothing about, this would take the cake… so it’s quite the fun experience to relive someone else’s life when it’s completely new to me on every possible level. One thing is for sure, even if I couldn’t personally relate to the events Michele has gone through, she is a wonderful author who can clearly bring to the surface the emotions of a very complex period in her life.

With almost two decades of her life completed, a brave young woman sets forth to join a dance troupe that’s leaving for six months in Korea. She know little about the country or the people that will be in her close circle of acquaintances and possibly friends, and must somehow entertain an entirely different culture of people. Oh yeah, I forgot… this took place a few decades ago, so it’s not quite as modernized as many of us might know today. WOW! I give this woman credit for taking a huge risk, and while she’s here to tell the story, it’s clear to any reader who invested in this story, her life was not at all easy during that time period.

Without delving into cultural differences, I’ll make a bold statement and say: “Men sometimes are idiots.” What a bunch of crazed lunatics put Michele and her dance sisters through was absolutely ridiculous, but for us readers, it will bring lots of hilarious and yikes moments. Northwood cleverly shows us how she survived, not in any typical manner, as collecting one’s salary and getting from place to place might result in your unsuspecting death. Kudos to the author for being able to relive these absurd (only because of what her fellow dancers and the Koreans did to her) moments long enough to dazzle us. I kept thinking… “hmm… I might have been put in prison if someone tried that with me!” There’s a lesson here… and thankfully, Northwood survived to share it with us.

While the tale is written in chronological order, and not at all like journal entries, it easily felt like we had glimpses into key moments of that six-month experience: some were positive and powerful, others were heartfelt and worrisome. When Michele’s sister considers going to join the troupe, I might’ve tried to jump through the pages to stop her! Thanks for that moment, Northwood… you pulled me into your story and made me want to change reality.

What a great way to share your past! Not only entertaining but equally as eye-opening, this was a fascinating read. I’m excited to find out what happens in the next edition of the series… when Michele goes to Japan – a culture I know more about but at the same time wonder… might things get better or worse for her? Imagine knowing her in real life and seeing what your friend went through to become the strong and admirable person she is today? A definite recommend for a different style of book that might be a perfect summer read to broaden a reader’s horizons about life in the real world.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Black Sparrow by A.J. Griffiths-Jones

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Black SparrowBlack Sparrow by A.J. Griffiths-Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Black Sparrow is a thrilling adventure that completely surpassed my expectations… and that’s only because the plot was so tightly woven and the characters were so incredibly complex, it just floored me in a super positive way. This was the second book I’ve read by A.J. Griffiths-Jones, and while I really enjoyed the first one, this was truly a fantastic and memorable read of a different level. I definitely recommend this to those who like international connections, religious beliefs buried in character’s logic, and tons of surprises in the story.

There are several main characters that connect to two primary travelers on a flight to Paris. One is a young Muslim girl who longs to be with her French boyfriend and to escape the clutches of her very religious and overprotective parents. Another is a man nearing retirement who must finish one last contract before he can decide where to spend the remaining years of his life. They notice one another at the airport and again on the plane, but what they don’t know at the time is how connected their lives will be for the subsequent week. Throw in a hotel owner, the young French boyfriend, the extended Muslim family, and a couple of other people who fill out the story, and you will truly not know what to expect. This is an adventure I will not forget anytime soon!

This wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t tell you how much the Muslim girl’s family thoroughly annoyed me beyond any reasonable expectation. I understand different religions have different beliefs, and I respect it. I recognize that there are extremists who fail to understand the delicate balance to a successful life. I get that there are still men in this world today who think they can control women. But all of it can still develop an intense hatred for the way some of these people behave — and thanks to the phenomenal style of delivering these character’s emotions and motives, Griffiths-Jones successfully pulled that utter frustration and anger from me. She created such tension and drama, I wanted to leap into the book to hurt these people.

As if that wasn’t enough, the torture of some characters was simply brilliant. After several chapters of thinking someone will suffer a certain type of pain — BAM — you’re thrown for a loop and down a different awful pathway. I hated it and loved it at the same time. Hated it because of the end result, loved it because I didn’t want to put the book down. All-in-all, this story will take you up and down several peaks only to slap you with the truth in the end. It’s often difficult to keep things under wraps for voracious readers, but this time I didn’t see the end coming.

Part of me believes that I was so engrossed in the story and the wonderful writing tone that I didn’t want to think about what would happen… I just wanted to experience it as the words hit each page. That’s the kind of story and book that makes you thrilled by an author’s talent. A strong recommendation for me on this novel. Be prepared, there are some extremes, and while the author is merely choosing characters and beliefs that aren’t always the reality, it definitely happens and represents the truth of what some people experience even in today’s modern society. Sit back and enjoy it… and let your passion develop for a multitude of reasons. It’ll be the kind of read that prompts you to shake the book or tablet like a madman at times!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart

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The Proximity of StarsThe Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart
The Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart is a science-fiction novel that pushes readers to think about alliances, friendships, family, and loss. I’d come across this book via Goodreads when I saw the author’s comments on other books, then decided to add it to my TBR. I’m not normally a reader in this genre, so it’s often a new experience for me when I do take one on. I’m glad I had a chance to read this one, as it’s less about sci-fi on several levels and more about relationships. Of course, there’s the necessary alien, technology, and futuristic stuff, but I never felt overwhelmed.

Sometimes funny, sometimes telling a moral, this story has lots of angles and things to consider. I enjoyed the writing style, including the times when it almost poked a bit of fun at the traditional path of aliens invading the Earth. Sometimes people are at war on their own planet, and at others, they move to the moon! When the author revealed the intricate connections between the different ‘sides’ and killed off a few beloved folks fairly soon in the story… I knew it would be different. I look forward to more from the author in the future.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Allow Yourself to Be a Better Person by Balroop Singh

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Today I am sharing a review on a fellow blogger’s book. If you are interested in Balroop Singh’s advice, personal experiences, poetry, and other wonderful content, please check out her blog @ https://balroop2013.wordpress.com/

Allow Yourself To Be A Better PersonAllow Yourself To Be A Better Person by Balroop Singh
As a follower of a blog written by Balroop Singh, I decided to purchase one of her non-fiction books this month: Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person. In this self-help and advice collection, Singh provides readers with ~100 pages of her thoughts and research on how to live a better life. By sharing personal stories of her own life and those of people she’s met, Singh offers ways for readers to consider changing behaviors so that they are happier and stronger individuals.

Every once in a while, it’s good to pick up a book like this; much of the content are things we know or have been taught over the years, but that we also forget. Singh adds context and value behind the words, ensuring we have example and clearer understanding of different interpretations. We know not to take our anger out on others, but we do it still… sometimes unwittingly, and at others, on purpose. Singh reminds us why, shares alternative approaches, and provides a way of reacting to our own emotions with a twist.

I enjoyed reading this extension of her blog so that I could be reminded of a few things that are always a benefit to our lives. It’s obvious that she took a lot of time to craft the structure and advice, and she should be commended. I’m glad I took a chance on reading her book and recommend it to others who are struggling to find a bit of light or think differently about some problems and painful situations in their life.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Death Among Us by Stephen Bentley (editor of the anthology)

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Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short StoriesDeath Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories by Stephen Bentley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favorite book genre is mysteries. With so many wonderful authors and series, it’s often difficult to decide what to read next, especially when you’re looking to expand your horizons with something new. That’s often why I’ll turn to an anthology of short stories, as collections allow you to sample a dozen or so writers who hold a vast array of experiences and styles. This month, I took a chance on one called ‘Death Among Us,’ published in July of 2019 and edited by Stephen Bentley. In this fantastic collection, readers are exposed to ~10 authors who have each contributed 3 stories. What’s even better is that the three stories are generally connected to one another, so it’s almost like reading a mini novella several times over.

Prior to each author’s stories, there’s a lively and informative intro about what readers are getting themselves into. The writer will tell us if the stories are connected by the same character or a similar murder plot, a continuation of the previous tale but with a twist, or something even more dastardly and thrilling. I enjoyed this aspect of the anthology, as often in these types of books, each author only has a single story. With three, we get a better feel for their voice, style, and tone. The collection kicks off with the award-winning editor’s ‘The Rose Slayer’ stories, where homicide cops trace a killer who leaves behind a calling card. It spoke to me for many reasons, but to watch the transition from the first to the second and the last story, I felt like I could understand the motivation and operating procedures / boundaries of the heroes (and possibly the serial killer too!).

Another favorite is Robbie Cheadle, an author who’s participated in another short story collection that I’ve read as well as written many children’s books with her sons. What a vastly different style across her entire inventory of books and stories… to kick off with, in ‘Justice is Never Served,’ we have a woman who murders babies! Then there are the chimney sweeping killers (not what you’re thinking either!)… Cheadle delivers just the right amount of gore and thrills without going over the top, as the topic could be quite difficult to swallow. The best parts of her three stories are how they are all based on some sort of true story… which makes the tale even more horrific. She’s definitely cultivated her talents in these three tales, and I hope to see a full-length horror novel from her one day.

In addition to these two clever authors, I found many new writers I plan to follow. All of the stories were strong, none left me bored or confused. It’s a vibrant collection of twisty horrors, delicious death plots, and witty dialog among killers, cops, and victims. There are even a few lines of paranormal / fantasy / science-fiction being crossed, enough to make us afraid to enter a dark room in the future. Between those chills, and the crazy over-arching theme of what happens to both good and bad children in this book, it’s a prime candidate for anyone who wants to be frightened or read about something over-the-top, devilish, and evil.

If you’re up for a seasonal read, I’d recommend buying now and reading an author every few days in the month of October. Death and Halloween go so well together, and this is definitely one to keep in mind for pushing the envelope with creativity, complexity, and dark drama. That ‘side serving of revenge’ we often hear about… is the prime motivating factor in so many of these stories… and who doesn’t like to see someone get their just desserts?

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.