Sunday, September 24, 2017

Riker's Calling by Rico Lamoureux - Book Review

Riker's Calling by Rico Lamoureux is fast-paced thrilling crime-mystery novella with a mastermind of a villain. Brilliantly wicked!

Bullied in his teens, 21-year-old Jeremy Riker looks to become a police officer to do some good and stop bullies. But an injury renders him slightly deformed and obliterates his dreams of joining law enforcement. Despite extensive training, he is denied the opportunity to join law enforcement several times. So he becomes a kind of vigilante and considers opening his own private investigations (P.I.) firm with his friend and mentor Max.

Highly trained in martial arts, spotting bad guys, and a host of other skills, Riker is seen as the perfect person for law enforcement despite his injury.

"I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the past several hours had been anything but random. Someone out there knew my history."

Unknown to Riker, a killer, named The Spyderco Killer because of the Spyderco (a kind of knife) he leaves in his victims' backs, has set his eyes on him but continuously eludes him, until he – the killer – decides to go on a killing spree, hitting close to home for Riker.

Although the novella is called Riker's Calling, there are only two instances where the narration is from Riker's perspective. We get the killer's views, movement, and action, but in the third person.

One of the things I liked about Riker's Calling is Lamoureux's way of giving the reader information through a variety of sources such as a news anchor, tweets, and people talking about events. We even get bits of Riker's history from the killer's perspective.

I thought the novel was a bit gritty at times, especially since the killer slashed his victims' throats but there was a little more than just throat slashing.

"Fifteen cigars – nine with red bands, to represent the past nine years of silence and therefore the nine victims to come, and six with yellow bands, for any collateral damage that might occur."

The novel spans almost two decades but starts in the present time with bits of flashbacks and Riker and the killer playing cat and mouse.

I liked Riker's narration, especially how relatable he was, using examples from crime series like Law & Order, and mentioning notes on crimes and criminals. The irony in the novella was mind-blowing at times!

Overall, Riker's Calling is meticulously connected; it's brilliant! Lamoureux is lauded for his twists and for creating a genius killer. It is definitely a five-star action-packed must-read.

"Truth is rarely blossoming with flowers. More often than not it's cold, it's hard, and if you're not in alignment with it, it'll smash you to pieces."

Note: I received a free copy of Riker's Calling from its author in exchange for an honest – overdue – review.

Note 2 to readers: There is a significant amount of profanity and curse words.

Connect with author Rico Lamoureux via Goodreads and Twitter.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 71: Bookworms' World

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

I came across the image below by pure chance via Twitter. I have no idea who made it but it felt like the perfect prompt (I hope you'd feel the same).

Prompts 72 and 73 will be Halloween-themed.

Well here goes...

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby by Jenny Lundquist - Spotlight & Giveaway

The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby

Violet Barnaby searches for the joy in life after losing her mother in this sweet and funny follow-up to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.

Violet Barnaby is a having a blue Christmas. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and to make things worse, her dad has just married Melanie Harmer, a.k.a. the meanest teacher at Dandelion Hollow Middle School. But on the day Violet and her dad are packing up and moving into the new house they’ll share with Melanie and Melanie’s two children, Violet finds a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, asking Violet to enjoy Christmas, along with a Christmas Wish List—things her mom wants her to do during the holiday season. On the list are exactly the kinds of things Violet doesn’t want to do this year, like Be Someone’s Secret Santa; Give Someone the Gift of Your Time: Volunteer; and Bake Christmas Cookies.

Violet shows the letter to her friend Izzy’s Aunt Mildred, who calls a meeting of the Charm Girls, a club Izzy and Violet belong to along with their friends, Daisy and Sophia. Aunt Mildred decides she will give them each a charm to put on their bracelet if they do all of the tasks on the Christmas Wish List, which Violet is not too happy about. She’d rather forget about the list completely, but feels compelled to honor her mother’s wishes.

And when Izzy’s crush confides a big secret to Violet, Violet feels like she is stuck between her best friend and the boy who she just might have a crush on, too…

Praise for The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby

"[an] emotionally perceptive novel of grief and recovery." - Kirkus

You'll fall in love with Violet and love every minute of living in her wondrous world! - Stephanie Faris

Author Jenny Lundquist

Jenny Lundquist was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, where she spent her time unsuccessfully learning how to surf. When she was younger, she wanted to be either a rock star or a published author. After she taped herself singing and listened to it on playback she decided she'd better opt for the writing route. Jenny is the author of multiple YA and Middle Grade titles including Seeing Cinderella, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone, The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby and the forthcoming The Carnival of Wishes and Dreams (2019).

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 10/10/17

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Magora: The Bridge in the Fog by Marc Remus – Book Review

"Creativity is as blurry as the line between fantasy and reality. It is not written in stone."

Magora: The Bridge in the Fog by Marc Remus is the third instalment in the six-book Magora series. Unlike the first two, which can be read as standalones, The Bridge in the Fog requires background from previous books. In fact it starts right in the middle of the action!

The Bridge in the Fog has a darker and eerier setting and feel as opposed to the first two books. Once again, Holly and her three friends Brian, Rufus, and Amanda, go back to Magora, world of art and painting and where they attend school. They travel to Magora through a painting.

There are several ideas running through the story. Holly, a Gindar, which is like a bloodline for master painters, wonders if the evil Cuspidor, an unfinished Gindar, is her father. It scares her but it seems she is not the only one thinking that. Other students in her school have the same thought.

Unfinished are paintings that were left incomplete by their artists, which means they roam in the form of pencil lines and need blood to become 'finished'.

"If a painter makes up something exclusively from his mind, it is creativity in its purest form."

In the meantime, Holly learns that one of her favourite professors isn't teaching this year and sees her as depressed. With a little digging, Holly learns that professor LaPawnee is sad because the bridge to her world has been closed.

More questions arise about Holly's grandfather, Grandpa Nikolas, who was the reason she had discovered Magora in the first place. Even though he had passed away, Holly learns that he may have created doubles from the real world, so she goes in search of her grandfather's double.

Magora: The Bridge in the Fog flew, rather than flowed, at a much faster pace than its predecessors, with tons of twists and turns. It was an absolute thrill! And I loved every bit of it!

In his newest instalment, Remus adds expands his cast of characters and races, adding more to the world of Magora and increasing the mysteries.

There were parts in the book when I was literally mumbling to myself "No Way!" and pretty much addressing the author in my mind. There were times when I was gaping and rereading parts just to be sure I read correctly. It looks like Remus has got lots of tricks up his sleeves and I can't wait to get my hands on the remaining three books!

The Bridge in the Fog is about a hundred pages shorter than books 1 and 2, and the pace is much faster.

As with the first two, Remus adds notes or quotes about art, writing, and creativity at the beginning of each chapter. The reader is still unsure who is saying these words, or whose thoughts they are, Holly's, the author's, or someone else entirely. It is worth noting, however, that these quotes take on a more personal aspect in Magora: The Bridge in the Fog.

"You might think creativity is something special, something that is far beyond your reach. But I believe that creativity is in every single one of us."

Holly's self-doubt continues in the third instalment. Even though she is certain now that she is a Gindar, she still doubts her artistic abilities and herself in general. This aspect gives the protagonist a lot of realism, and makes the reader connect with her.

I was hoping to see more of Brian, the sarcastic one in the group. I liked his creativity. He always makes me laugh.

I haven't felt a thrill for a series in a very long time, not since the Harry Potter books were still in the publishing process.

With Magora: The Bridge in the Fog, you won't be able to put it down! Trust me!

Overall rating: Definitely 5 stars!

(Note: Book 4, titled Magora: The Uprising is coming sometime this fall. Who knows, may be October? I have my fingers crossed!)

In 2017, I've read the first three books in the Magora series and I look forward to reaching the fourth.

The Magora series has so far won 12 awards! I can bet on more to come.

Check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews of Magora: The Gallery of Wonders (book 1) and Magora: The Golden Maple Tree (book 2)

Connect with author Marc Remus via Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nadaness In Motion's writing progress & updates for August

As each month passes, I continue to learn new thing about my writing abilities. August was the second month for me making a commitment to myself.

In July, I joined Camp NaNoWriMo, and while I didn't meet my writing target, I did something I wasn't able to do before: I started the story that's been in my head for over a year. I began the first draft.

In July, I realised that I couldn't write every day. Despite this revelation, I made a mistake in the second month, in August. I told myself I couldn't write much during the weekdays then suddenly I realised it was the 20th of the month and I hadn't written a single word in Darya's story! (I had only completed a short story right on the deadline then got lazy and engrossed in life!)

I wanted to slap myself for leaning on my inabilities and hindering my progress.

I reprimanded myself, dragged my laptop and started writing.

In August, I had planned on 10,000 words for Darya's story, I achieved 50.5% or 5,058 words of that target, up from 4,000 words in July. I hit a milestone for myself. I made progress.

By the end of August, I had completed:

·        Two short stories
·        Two poems
·        Four book reviews
·        I also started some other bits and pieces.

Excluding the book reviews, an article, and poetry, My total word count for August was 12,608 words. I loved that number!

I need to make a few commitments and remind myself with a few things:

·       I'm setting another 10,000 words for Darya's story for September
·      I don't have to write 1,000 words a day, but any number of words per day is good for any project
·      I asked my friends for word banks to help me write, I've used two, there are lots more and these are great ways to write
·   These writing attempts will help me later as I join NaNoWriMo in November, where the target is 50,000 words per month, five times my current target.

Through these "reports" if you can call them, I aim to remind myself of my achievements, keep an eye on my progress, take note of my mistakes, and hope that may be someone else will benefit from my experiences and write as well.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hexen's Cross by J. Kowallis - Cover Reveal

Today, I'm taking part in a cover reveal for Hexen's Cross by J. Kowallis. The cover just blew me away! Can't wait to get my hands on this book.

Hexen’s Cross
J. Kowallis
(Hexen Series, #1)
Publication date: 1 February 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal

The magic calls her. 
A prophecy binds her. 
The ancestors guide her.

Dr. Taran Grim, a young professor of occult studies, knows the written history of witches better than anyone in her field. And she should. She’s one of them.

After a mysterious stranger arrives at her office inquiring about the mythical staff of Woden, Taran’s curiosity reveals a millennia-old prophesy directly tied to her. The answers wait in Bryden, England and the only person who can help her gain access to the hidden valley is the descendant of Ruhmactir, and a member of the shape-shifting Geri clan: Collens “Coll” Donovan.

But the Donovans have secrets of their own, and Taran’s underdeveloped magic is wreaking strange havoc on her life. If she can’t manage her magic and strike a truce with Coll, they’ll fail to prevent the prophesied event known as Deireanhexe: the end of the hexen race.

Author Bio:

J. Kowallis, the only girl of four children, grew up in northern Utah with a head full of wild stories (most often unreal). At the age of 9, she wrote her first poem, a dedication to E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. It was so intriguing, her Third Grade teacher requested to keep the original (THAT is a true story!). Between living in fictional worlds, she managed to graduate from Weber State University’s creative writing program. She now lives in Utah with her Mini Schnauzer, Etta, and spends most of her time still bouncing between this world and the fantastical while enjoying delectable über-dark chocolate and lavender baths. She enjoys dreaming about, flying to, and writing about distant lands (real or unreal).


Friday, September 8, 2017

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan – Book Review

Book: Lies She Told
Author: Cate Holahan
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books 
Date of Publication: 12 September 2017
Number of pages: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683312956

Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Cole has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing her down in both her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the same river and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion of Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Intense! Is the first word that comes to mind while and after reading Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. The novel kept me on edge from start to finish.

Lies She Told is about Liza, a suspense writer, whose first novel becomes a bestseller, but her subsequent books barely make anything worth mentioning in her career. Now, she asks her editor for one-month extension to write a book, without an outline.

Added to that, Liza's husband's best friend and law partner, Nick, has disappeared, straining Liza's relationship with her husband at a time she is looking to conceive. Things go from bad to worse when Nick's body is discovered bludgeoned to death and Liza's husband is arrested for his murder.

There are two parallel worlds in Lies She Told, the first is Liza's, while the second is that of the main character in her work-in-progress, Beth, who recently had her daughter Victoria and suspects her husband is cheating on her.

Liza says that she bases her stories on real people, while changing their names and making a few additions. As the book progresses, the reader can't help but notice how true that is. Some events are repeated, even some quotes taken out of Liza's friends' mouths.

"I don't invent my characters. I steal them from my surroundings. To be a writer is to be a life thief. Every day, I rob myself blind."

I enjoyed the parallelism between the two worlds. Liza makes up for what she doesn't have through Beth. When the novel begins, we learn that Liza is taking experimental drugs to conceive; in the story, Beth has done the same but was able to have Victoria. Similarly, Liza's mother passed away, but Beth's is alive and well.

I liked the development of Beth's character, which, in a way, is reminiscent of Nora in Henrik Ibsen's The Doll House.

Bit by bit, Beth begins invading Liza's world, making comments in her mind, or rather Liza thinks what Beth would say in certain situations. Sometimes, Liza attempts to shut her character out of her head, and other times, Beth reprimands her author for her decisions. I liked this a lot, as well as the arguments between Liza and her character.

"I've created a character that would be far more adept in this situation than I am. I need to think like her."

I couldn't tell if the pace in Lies She Told was fast or slow because of the constant suspense. I also liked the use of quotes at the beginning of the book, and at other parts in the book.

There are many memorable and beautiful quotes, images, and phrases throughout the book. The dialogue is nicely included in both narratives. I liked Liza's notes on writing, which can act as writing tips to readers and writers in general.

"My emotions don't vacillate between happy and sad like a pianist alternating between major and minor scales. They're stuck in a discordant chord."

One of the things I disliked, however, was that I felt that Jake, Beth's unfaithful husband, did not get what he deserved at the end of the book. I also wanted to know if Beth's story would be Liza's newest bestseller.

Every time I put Lies She Told down, I kept trying to remind myself that both Liza and Beth were just characters, that this was all fiction. They were just too real.

Half-way through the book I knew this was a five-star read. Finishing it, I confirmed my expectations. Lies She Told gave me palpitations while and after reading. No book has ever done that to me!

Overall, Cate Holahan's Lies She Told is a must-read psychological thriller, but it's not for the faint of heart, with its constant suspense, and will give you a hard time separating fiction from reality.

"Blurring fact and fantasy is my trade. I am a con artist. A prevaricator. I make up stories. So why does he think this one is real?"

Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Lies She Told by Cate Holahan via Lori Great Escapes Book Tours in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour.

About The Author
Cate Holahan, author of the acclaimed psychological suspense novel The Widower's Wife, is an award-winning journalist and a former television producer. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Connect with Cate Holahan via her Webpage, Facebook, and Twitter.

Purchase Lies She Told by Cate Holahan via Amazon and B&N

Keep up with the rest of the Lies She Told Tour for more Book reviews, Interviews, spotlights and Guest posts here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 70: Midnight Magic

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Researching a Book in a Far-Flung Setting by Amy M. Reade - Guest Post

Today, I'm featuring cozy mystery author Amy M. Reade in a guest post on how to research for a book in a "far-flung setting" with bits and pieces from her new mystery novel Highland Peril.

Who is Amy M. Reade?
Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Researching a Book in a Far-Flung Setting
by Amy M. Reade

          My newest release, Highland Peril, is a mystery set mainly in the Scottish Highlands, though there are parts of the story that take place in London. I was lucky enough to visit Scotland and England while I was researching the book, but that doesn’t mean that an author has to visit a setting in order to write about that place evocatively—it just requires the author’s willingness to immerse himself or herself in research to learn more about the far-flung setting than just its topography and its major cities. And though I’ve geared this post toward authors of mysteries, the same advice holds true for authors of all stripes.

          There are some tried-and-true things an author can do to research a setting without visiting. The first place most people look is Google.

But not me—I go to the library. And specifically, the travel guide section. Whether a novel is set in Alaska or Timbuktu or Portugal, you’ll almost always be able to find a travel guide geared toward the place you want to write about. Borrow the books, take them home with you, and really pore over what they have to say.

Are there out-of-the-way places that might be perfect to stage a murder?

Would it be easy for a criminal to escape from, say, a crime scene somewhere along the Amalfi Coast in Italy? In other words, is there a lot of traffic congestion? Are there easy ways out of town? Would the bad guy need a boat to get away?

What is the nightlife like? Is it sleepy, so witnesses to a crime are limited in number, or are there people all over the place at all hours of the day or night?

Does the place you’re researching have a ghost tour business? Even if you’re not writing paranormal, it can be good to know if there are a lot of people around who believe in ghosts. A savvy criminal could really use that to his or her advantage.

Once I’ve gleaned all the information I can from the travel guide(s) I’ve chosen, it’s time to look for other books on the subject of traveling through a particular country or region. For example, I’m working on a book right now set in London. Not only did I use a London travel guide, but I also found books such as Weird England (by Matt Lake) and London Under (by Peter Ackroyd) that were both interesting and useful.

I’ve also found it very helpful to listen to news podcasts from a particular area I’m writing about (so far, I’ve set all my books in places where English is the primary language). It helps me get a good idea not only of the accents that are common in the region, but also the idiosyncrasies of the dialect. But the podcasts are useful for more than just language—they’re also good for learning what’s important to the people who live in the place I’m writing about. Here’s a good example of that: as I write this, there are cities all over Europe that are experiencing danger and damage to their infrastructure because of the stress put on them by tourists. A good motive for a concerned citizen to kill a particularly obnoxious tourist? Maybe so.

So, to summarize thus far, travel guides, then books written about your setting, then podcasts. After I’ve exhausted these, then I turn to Google. I like to use Google to search for information about a place’s history, its food, its music, and its vital statistics, such as population and racial diversity. If you’re writing an historical novel, you might not want to leave the history to Google—you might want to read a book or two about it. But for my general purposes, a history search on Google will suffice.

After you’ve synthesized everything you’ve learned about a certain setting, it’s up to you to decide how much of that learning you want to be evident in the book. Without succumbing to the dreaded information dump, you can infuse your novel with your knowledge in subtle ways, making it obvious to the reader that you’ve done your research.

          I urge you to try these approaches to research. Using the method I describe takes time, yes, but it also helps you to put a certain indefinable authority behind your words. And don’t be surprised when readers think you’ve visited the setting of your book.

Highland Peril Synopsis:
Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view…
Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.

Genre: Mystery
(2nd in Series)
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (5 September 2017)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516100187

As part of the tour with Lori Great Escapes, there is a tour-wide giveaway. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Connect with author Amy M. Reade via her WebsiteBlogGoodreadsAmazonFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

Purchase Links for Amazon and Barnes & Noble