New Reviews

Check out these new reviews:

Under Fantasy – Moorigad – a 4 Sparkler review for this epic fantasy

Under Mystery: A 4 Sparkler review for “Crimson at Cape May” by Randy Overbeck. A paranormal mystery from 1999 Cape May

Under Romance: “Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms” – a three star sweet contemporary

Under LGBTQ – “Half a Cowboy” – a five star book from Andrew Grey

Spotlight: Randy Overbeck

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. With his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast. One resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help.

He can’t refuse. 

Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers her murder is connected to a far greater horror. But can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the killer’s next victims? 

Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher and school leader. For more than three decades, his educational experiences have included responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent and he’s lived the roles of many of the characters in his stories. An accomplished writer, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers as well as in fiction, with his third published novel. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Reviewers have been generous in their praise of the work.  

“A haunting, yet fast-paced whodunit that captures the reader’s attention from page one. A wonderful book!”—Alexandra Ivy, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Delivers an unpredictable mystery along with a powerful look at people…Completely engaged by the intrigue.”—Long and Short Reviews

“With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing…I highly recommend it.” ★★★★★Literary Titan

“It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece

“The well-plotted storyline keeps a steady pace through two-thirds of the book and then gradually ups the ante, adds tension, grit, drops more pieces of the puzzle then explodes.”—V. Williams, Rosepoint Publishing

randyoverbeck@authorrandyoverbeck.com

www.authorrandyoverbeck.com

@OverbeckRandy

FB: Author Randy Overbeck

Purchase Links

Barnes and Noble

Bookbub

Check out Vicky’s 4 Sparkler review of this book on the Mystery page.

Spotlight: Misty Simon

A Faire to Remember: Magically Suspicious Mystery Book 1 (Magically Suspicious Mysteries)

There’s something afoot at the faire…
Running a Renaissance Faire that employs and houses a bunch of misfit paranormals means Verla Faeth is well-acquainted with mischief and mayhem. So when her ex, Finn Taragon, shows up unannounced with a puppy in tow as a token of peace, she’s prepared for almost anything. Except tripping over a dead body, finding out the dog is a Cerberus, and apparently, she’s moved from wanna-be seer to crosser-of-the-dead.
Finding the murderer will be hard enough, but having Finn move in next door to her might just be her undoing.

Purchase: Amazon

About Misty:

Misty Simon always wanted to be a storyteller…preferably behind a Muppet. Animal was number one, followed closely by Sherlock Hemlock… Since that dream didn’t come true, she began writing stories to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time. She knows how to hula, was classically trained to sing opera, co-wrote her high school Alma Mater, and can’t touch raw wood. Never hand her a Dixie cup with that wooden spoon/paddle thing. It’s not pretty. Touching people’s hearts and funny bones are two of her favorite things, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at misty@mistysimon.com.

Links: http://www.mistysimon.com

Amazon

Spotlight: Cherie Colyer

Blurb: Death isn’t the end for eighteen-year-old Avery Williams, and her final resting place isn’t beyond the Golden Gates. No, the Queen of the Damned has plans for her and, unbeknownst to Avery, fought hard to gain possession of her soul. As Hell’s newest succubus, Avery is expected to siphon life from the living. It only takes a long, meaningful kiss, but for a virgin like Avery, kissing guys she barely knows isn’t something she’s comfortable doing. Avery focuses on the upside of her fate—she’ll be returning home, or so she thinks. When the Queen of the Damned cuts her off from her old life, Avery is determined to find a way back to her family and friends, even if it means facing Hell’s fury if she’s caught.

About the author:

Cherie Colyer is best known for her young adult, paranormal romance thrillers, including the Embrace series (featuring witchcraft) and Challenging Destiny (a story about outsmarting heaven and hell.) She usually has several book projects in the works. She lives in Illinois with her family. Sign up for Cherie Colyer’s newsletter and get a deleted scene from the Embrace series.

Website: https://cheriecolyer.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cherie-Colyer-author-250631921629169

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherieColyer

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cherie_colyer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5288487.Cherie_Colyer

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cherie-colyer  

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ImvzED

Barnes&Noble: https://bit.ly/2K00UND

Apple: https://apple.co/36oOrKQ

Excerpt:

His laughter bellowed out of the small bathroom. “You’re going to have to loosen up if we’re going to be living together.”

“Do not!” I called back.

The shower started, but he’d left the door open. “Succubi are supposed to be promiscuous. Not shriek at the sight of a naked man.”

“Well, I’m not most succubi, and you’re not a man,” I retorted.

My jaw dropped when I opened the closet and found it stuffed with clothes. The things on the right were obviously Cole’s. A hint of his cologne wafted from them. The left side, however, was crammed with juniors’ jeans, skirts, tops, sweaters—everything I could possibly want and not department store knock-offs. Designer brands that I used to dream of owning.

I fanned through the various items, wishing I had time to try them all on. If my best friend knew the road to Hell was stocked with the best clothes, she’d purchase a first-class ticket.

“So I’m not a man?” Cole asked from behind me.

He leaned against the doorframe, wearing a towel that conveniently hung low enough to emphasize his six-pack abs and the muscles leading to…you know. He didn’t bother to dry off either. His chest glistened with water droplets.

“I have parts that beg to differ,” he added.

Spotlight: Glenda Thompson

Texas Ranger Noah Morgan has his life together—with a great job and the girl of his dreams. Too bad it’s all based on a lie. A single phone call threatens to bring it all crashing down. After an irate citizen complains shoddy workmanship has left him with a booby-trapped driveway, and the local sheriff’s office is too busy to respond, Noah takes the call. The investigation of local scam artists uncovers a human trafficking ring. Noah fights to avoid being swept back into the sights of his murderous family—people he escaped at the age of seventeen. Can he keep his past a secret or will his carefully crafted life come to a violent end?

Available from Amazon.

Glenda Thompson is a sixth-generation Texan with Scottish roots, I can ‘bless your heart’ with the best of them. As a former emergency medical technician married to a south Texas Lawman, I’ve used insider information from both our careers as inspiration to build my Broken world of Texas Rangers with hidden pasts and dark secrets. When I’m not busy embarrassing my children or grandchildren by dancing in the middle of a country road during a rainstorm, I can be found huddled in my writing cave with Darlin’, my law enforcement technical adviser/husband, working on another story in my Broken universe or the Wild Rose Press Wylder series. Other days, I’m writing my weekly column for the Pleasanton Express News or scribbling articles, short stories, or poetry… anything to keep the words flowing. When I’m not writing, I’m cuddling with my fur babies, chasing Grands, or creating digital art. You can keep up with the future crazy cat lady’s hijinks on Twitter @PressRattler, Facebook Glenda Thompson, Author, or Medium.

Or sign up for my newsletter.

New Year = New Reviews

I just finished reading a fantasy trilogy – Moorigad: the Dragon Collection – a 4 Sparkler epic fantasy with dragon shapeshifters and a carnival that is alive. You’ll find my review in the Fantasy section.

In the “Romance” section, we have two novellas by the same author. “The Suffragette’s Vow” and “Between Two Beaus” – two 4-sparkler novellas that take place in Oregon in the late 1800s. Short, quick, clean reads with interesting imagery and characters.

And Teresa has two new movie reviews up on her movie page.

Enjoy!

Spotlight: McKenna Dean

McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally, she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

  1. What made you decide to become a writer?  I don’t know if anyone really decides to become a writer. I think storytelling chooses you. From my earliest days, my family read to me, and I became an avid reader as a result. I think it’s only a small step from being a voracious reader to wanting to tell your own stories. At first it was because I loved certain stories and characters so much, I wanted to spend more time in their universe. When I ran out of stories about these characters, I wrote my own. As I grew older, I put away writing as a realistic career goal, and set about getting a degree and earning a living. But the storytelling never entirely went away. It lived, overgrown and neglected, behind a locked door in a secret garden. Dormant, wild, and untamed. Mostly nettles and thorns. I stumbled upon the key one day, opened the door, and began hacking at the nearest bramble bush. Over time, I cleared enough briars away to recognize the layout of the original garden, and realized it had been there all along, waiting for me to return.
  • What advice would you give an aspiring author? Realize that becoming a successful author is a lot like winning the lottery. Most writers won’t become a household name, nor will writing allow you to quit the day job in most cases. If you invest in good editing and excellent covers, you’ll probably spend more than you make. The odds of you reaching financial stability and fame are slim. And yet, if you don’t buy a ticket, your odds of winning are zero, right? So write your stories. Don’t do it because you seek fame and fortune. Do it because you have a story to tell. Write the story that excites, inflames, or amuses you. Don’t write to market, unless the “market” is something you love. Because if you don’t love what you’re writing, it will show in every line, every sentence. Write because you want to tell yourself a story. Make it the story you want to read. Write for the people who seek escape in one of your tales. Write for the reader who needs to set aside a bad day at work, who longs for a break from their chronic illness or pain, who is struggling to get through a difficult time, or seeks respite from the responsibilities of their job or their families. The odds are against you hitting the jackpot. But you will touch lives along the way, and not only will those readers treasure what you offer, often they will provide words of encouragement and support when you need them most.
  • What genre do you write in and why? I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy because as much as I love romantic stories, I want the “and.” Romance and shifters. Romance and mystery. Romance and suspense. I love the worldbuilding that comes with these genres and the scope for increasing the stakes in any given story. As I said in my bio, I like putting my characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier. That’s because I like seeing how difficult situations bring out the best or worst in characters and their relationships.
  • Do you do an outline or just start writing?  I’m definitely more of a panster than a plotter. If I outline a story too heavily, it feels as though I’ve already written it. A deep outline becomes a story killer for me. There are few surprises left and less opportunity for the story to take me in unexpected, inspired directions. But as I’ve begun writing more series, with a story arc that continues over several books, I’ve come to see the value in plotting. So I guess you could call me a “plotster.”
  • What do you do for fun when you are not writing?  I’m strictly an amateur with a point-and-shoot style camera, but I love taking photographs and enjoy sharing them on my blog. I enjoy long rambling walks in the woods with the dogs and horseback riding. But there’s nothing I like more than hunkering down on the couch on a blustery day with a book. I’m a homebody at heart.
  • Please tell us where we can find out more about you and where we can buy your books. Please list website or blog site if you have them.

There are so many ways you can keep up with me and my stories! If you just want the latest book release news, I’d suggest following me on Amazon and Bookbub.

If you’d like a free copy of Snowfall, a short novella set in the Redclaw universe, you can sign up for my newsletter! I don’t send newsletters out often, but when I do, I usually include freebies and sale listings, too.

I tend to blog regularly, so if you like slice of life stuff, as well as sneak peeks into what I’m working on or the research that goes into writing historical pieces, you can check out my website and sign up to receive notices of new blog posts.

They’re back and the fun–and trouble–is just beginning! Join Bishop and Knight as they pose as a married couple to root out the strange disturbances occurring in an upscale suburban neighborhood! 

Bishop’s Gambit (Redclaw Origins Book 2)

Newly minted secret agent Rhett Bishop would rather face down a horde of angry wolf shifters or her father’s former mob contacts than accept her current assignment: pose undercover as a suburban housewife, complete with a husband, slippers, and pipe.

But after the debacle of her previous mission, Rhett has a lot to prove.

To redeem herself in the eyes of Redclaw Security, and to carry out her mission without distractions, she must table her budding relationship with Peter Knight while the two of them uncover the secrets of Forest Grove.

Armed with her trusty ray gun, her unique little dog, and Knight’s brains, Rhett is confident she can handle whatever the suburbs can throw at her.

Until they lob a curve ball.

Available from Amazon and these other retailers.

New reviews and a new page

I have two new reviews for you to check out, and we’ve added a new page!

The reviews:

MIND Diet for Beginners – under “Nonfiction” – a really good book for starting out on this particular way of eating.

Bishop Takes Knight – a rollicking 5-sparkler paranormal romance/mystery that was so much fun to read!

And the new page – Teresa has taken on comparing movies with books. Her first reviews are for Agatha Christie’s mysteries. See what she has to say about the movies vs. the books.

Spotlight: Kalan Chapman Lloyd

Small town girl turned big city lawyer Lilly Atkins finds herself with nowhere to go but come after she leaves her cheating fiance at the almost-altar. So she heads home to Brooks, OK, and that’s when her big adventures really begin…. Called the Stephanie Plum of the South, Lilly Atkins has grit, gumption, and just the right amount of glam. Saddle up and follow her and her posse through the first three books of Kalan Chapman Lloyd’s The Misadventures of Miss Lilly series.

Purchase here: Amazon

Kalan Chapman Lloyd is an award-winning author and attorney from Oklahoma. She enjoys big hair, Supreme Court Decisions on Intellectual Property, hats, the sound of construction and the feel of brand new sweatshirts. Kalan and her husband, Grant, enjoy parenting their strong-willed, left-handed children. She is a Junior League dropout. For more information: https://www.rebelleposse.com/

Spotlight: Natalie Damschroder

Phantom Power

Keegan Belcastro has always loved a mystery, even when it got her into trouble. When research for a school paper leads her to a haunted mansion full of desperate phantoms, learning who they are and how they came to be trapped there evolves into a quest for their freedom.

Shane Bitrec has been Keegan’s next-door neighbor and best friend for most of her life. High school graduation is going to mean big changes that she’s been trying to prepare for all year. But drifting away hasn’t been as easy as she thought, and when Shane gets involved in her quest, it disrupts more than just her independence. Confrontation gives rise to unprecedented feelings that threaten everything they’ve meant, or could mean, to each other.

When transitioning the spirits to the afterlife proves more dangerous than Keegan expected, Shane’s constant presence becomes both a vital tool and an emotional minefield. Investigating the mansion’s darkly complicated history leads to Keegan becoming tied to the energy of the house and its phantoms. Their desperation threatens her life, and only Shane can protect her. But who will protect him?

Buy Now

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Excerpt:

The property sloped toward the back of the house, and latticework covered the foundation, hiding the door Keegan had found the first time she came to Orchid Manor. There was no way she should have been able to find it. She hadn’t even been looking for a way in, just circling the abandoned house to study the architecture while she thought about points for her school paper. Something whispered in her head to pry at one spot. There were concealed hinges in the lattice, and when she worked the old wood out from the tangle of wild strawberry far enough to see behind it, there was a carved wooden door, grime making the orchid in the center of it hard to decipher. The knob turned easily for something that had obviously not been opened in a long time, and she hadn’t been able to stop herself from going in.

That knob was stiffer now, metal grinding and swollen wood protesting as she slammed her shoulder against it to get it open. But the front door was deadbolted and the back entrance inaccessible, so this was her only way in. She stepped into the dim chamber and shoved the door back in place before pausing to get her phone out of her thigh pocket. The flashlight illuminated the empty, tiled space that could barely be called a room, and she picked her way across the chipped floor to the open arch on the other side. From there, it was an easy run up two flights of stairs to a plain hallway that formed a T with a wider, grander central hall. She didn’t pause but went straight through and turned right, into The Room.

They were all there, waiting for her, smiling.

“Good morning!” she called, scanning them to see who would respond. Usually only one or two did, and the others acted like she wasn’t there, drifting around in faint, faded outlines of their original selves. Today half of them had normal color—so much she could barely see through them. But one was downright glowing.

Adame. She was so bright for someone so small. Keegan looked around herself, making sure no one had drifted close enough to be stepped through, and moved to Adame’s side.

“I have something for you,” she told the young girl.

“You found it?” Her voice shook, vibrated across Keegan’s skin, before her brain translated the waves into words.

“I did!” She slipped the small item from her other thigh pocket, wrapped in a lace-edged handkerchief that had been her great-grandmother’s. It seemed way more suitable for the occasion than a bandanna or rag.

But Adame’s eyes were locked on Keegan’s, deep brown pools full of a sorrow she hadn’t expected.

“My brother?”

“Oh.” It came out a whisper, and she understood. “No, Ad, I didn’t see him. I went when no one else was there.”

The girl sank low, arms wrapping around herself. She couldn’t cry, but Keegan sensed her sobs. She held out her arms, wanting to comfort Adame, but she didn’t come closer. She seemed beyond comfort, beyond hope—beyond saving?

For a second, Keegan almost bolted. This was too much. What if she couldn’t help like she wanted to…ever? She had to leave. The responsibility was too much for a seventeen-year-old kid who hadn’t even gotten her driver’s license yet.

But she didn’t go. Even as her mind and the blood rushing through her body urged her out, something stronger kept her in place. The item in her hand seemed to chill her skin through the cloth. She slowly unwrapped it, held it out.

“I got what you were looking for, Adame,” she said softly. “Here.” She held her breath as the girl drifted to her feet and slowly over the rug to Keegan’s side. She reached her hand out. Almost there.

“What the hell are you doing?” someone yelled from the doorway.

Keegan jumped and turned, the item in her hand falling to the floor. Adame blinked out, followed by all the other people in the room.

Shane stood, one hand gripping the door jamb, the other in a half-raised fist.

And he stared at Keegan as if he’d just seen her murder someone.

About the author:

Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance, with an emphasis on romantic adventure. She has had 31 novels, 11 novellas, and numerous short stories published by several publishers, most recently with Soul Mate Publishing, Entangled Publishing, and Carina Press. She also writes young adult paranormal adventure as NJ Damschroder. Learn more about those books and more here.

Natalie grew up in Massachusetts, and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, she does freelance editing and proofreading. She and her husband have two grown daughters, one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)