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The Last Humans, by Steven M. Moore

 

What would you do if it was the end of the world? Penny Castro is the unlucky lotto winner to survive the apocalypse. A bio terror attack on the US has gone wrong, and the attacker didn’t calculate the jet stream dumping toxins worldwide. Hazardous chemicals deployed by missiles lead civilization to a rapid demise. 

When Penelope Castro, ex-navy diver, goes underwater for the sheriff’s department, she has no clue everything will change when she surfaces. Picking through the puzzle of what has happened to the world is only part of the major challenges she will face. Food, water, shelter and cannibalism are some of her immediate obstacles .

I like this author’s website and newsletter, so I wanted to test out his latest novel. I am not a fan of doom and gloom and worried I would not enjoy this story.  After reading the sample, I had to download the book. Passages such as… “Spotted Mulholland drive. Remembered how it used to look like a string of pearls at night with traffic moving along it—white pearls anti-parallel with bright red rubies like some starlet’s million-dollar necklace.”

The authors depiction of a strong female character paired with the post apocalyptic California landscape gave a gritty sense of urgency to find out what caused the meltdown and how survivors could sustain the aftermath. 

I found Penny’s character unbreakable, at times cynical, yet believable. I found myself cheering for the under dog and wanting the Last Humans to find enough hope to survive. There is a hint of romance, intrigue, government conspiracy and inspiration for a new start. No spoilers here! You’ll Just have to read it for yourself. 

A thoughtful, expansive look into what could very well be our future. Don’t miss, The Last Humans.

Belle Ami’s, The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio

 

The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio - A Time Travel Thriller (Out of Time Thriller Series Book 2)

Belle Ami has done it again! I couldn’t say enough good about book one, but book two is a continuation of this intriguing story. Blending past, present and now future, Angela and Alex are on a new journey that is just as fascinating as the first.

Art history, time travel, romance and the ability to overcome fear are some of the high points of this second novel in the Out of Time Thriller Series. I loved the descriptions of Rome, Naples, Florence and the California West Coast. I have walked the cobbled streets of Italy and knew the writer had truly been there. Her breath taking descriptions of the landscape and the exotic food were just a few of the high points that engrossed me in this adventure.

I loved delving into the rich history of Caravaggio’s life of art, chivalry and the love of his mistress. Don’t miss the twists and turns that expose the inner core of Alex and Angela’s eternal love in the hunt of another famous masterpiece.

Check out Yvonne Rediger’s newest release!

Charlotte “Lottie” Fistbinder is cocky on the outside and guilt ridden on the inside. With the changes in the hierarchy of the Vancouver Island Clan, her shapeshifter alpha promoted her to head of security, and now the safety of the entire pack is on her shoulders. Trouble is, she’s not sure she’s fit for the job. She worked alongside a whacko and never knew it until it was almost too late. What other serious threat is she missing? So, she’s thrilled when her alpha brings in help to train her and the security team…or is she?

Zavier Koering is intrigued by Charlotte the moment he sees her file picture. Meeting her for the first time at night in the woods, and in the flesh, is everything he’s hoped for. Especially their first kiss. She’s beautiful, feisty, and gives him as good as she gets. But he has a job to do before he can get her between the sheets. Then her pack is threatened, and all hell breaks loose.

Werewolf Nights, by Mari Hamill

For Indie April, I wanted to show my support by picking two novels to read and review. Author Mari Hamill Tweeted her book to me and I couldn’t resist a book with such a cool cover. Here is my review…

Who knew love could be so hairy! This is a fun, love story filled with plenty of curious events, twists and turns. True love is never forgotten. Hardworking bakery owner, Catherine, finds herself caught up in several fascinating love affairs after a long stint alone as a widower. She takes one for team Wereville, giving up her day job to become a local Hollywood film’s leading lady. Punchy, mysterious and entertaining, Werewolf Nights has a fresh bite on romance.

The Lost Kitchen, by Miriam Green

 

 

The Lost Kitchen is a book of recipes, poems, and a heartfelt story of a woman working through the pains of losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know what I would think about the layout of this very different book, but it flows incredibly well. Mixing all the ingredients of the three subjects together, the author bakes up the perfect complex map of what it’s like to be with an individual battling Alzheimer’s. Miriam’s love and respect for her family is immense, and she tells the reader just how to weather the storm of loss, savoring the days for what they are.

 If you know someone, or have a loved one who has this illness, you will identify with Miriam’s plight. I lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s. This book touched my heart, made me laugh, cry and contemplate the meaning of each poem. (Frog in My Throat is one of my favorites.)I am not a huge fan of poetry, but I loved these funny, heartfelt, meandering sentiments that truly described the confusion and frustration of all given parties. I even bought another copy of the book for my sister in-law as a gift. I found it very therapeutic and inspiring to read.

With scrumptious recipes that have awakened my desire to try new things, Miriam Green makes things seem simple. Warm and inviting Cauliflower soup, Bubalehs, to peanut butter-chocolate cake, she shares recipes from across the Atlantic while describing her exotic location in Israel. I’m not Jewish but found her explanation of the food and culture interesting. The book is filled with enticing chapters of food, family, and  how her faith related to cooking. With humor and strength, Miriam shares the warm memories of her family together, in the kitchen of their past and present.

With respect, dignity and love, Miriam Green’s book is inspiring, humbling and teaches that we are all humans with the same essential needs. Savor the moment you are in and find a place in your heart to remember with love.

Dear Maude by Denise Liebig

Dear Maude is a fascinating adventure that resonates in most women’s fantasies—finding tall, dark and handsome, with a trip back to the time of Downton Abby. Twists and turns around every corner, make it an addictive read. I found myself getting in my car more often to listen to this Audible book. The reader was great. I wasn’t sure what I thought for the first ten minutes or so. I think it took a few minutes for the reader to find her groove, but the story was amazing, and the reader was fabulous once I got into the story.

 The author does a great job of describing the emotions of a young college student and the reasons that make her commit to this specific journey. I loved the warmth of Emily and the love she had for her family and respect of others. Her quirky thoughts, yet steadfast actions, propel the story along with great interest. I liked that the beginning was laid out over many chapters, showing the life of Emily and her relationship to Sophia. It threw me for a loop wondering how the time travel would possibly fit in. Then when the TIME came, I was thrilled to embark upon the adventure.

I keep a Kindle book and an Audible going at all times. I picked this book out of a long list of Indie author books for my support of #IndieApril. I love time travel, great characters and a story that keeps you guessing. I look forward to reading more from Denise Liebig.

Review of Dun an Doras by G Tarr

This book takes place in a village in Ireland where people are dying. A motley group including a werewolf, magpie, banshee, cop, and troll join to solve the murder mystery and find the culprit.

I love books that include mythology and folklore. This book has them in abundance. The story is intriguing and the characters well-described. I think my favorite was Enzo, the magpie. The addition of a sentient inanimate object tickled me.

Dun an Doras would have benefited from extra editing. There were several places where I wasn’t sure who was speaking and I saw some head-hopping. This book has light scenes interspersed with very dark ones. The lighter ones allow the reader to get to know the characters better. The dark ones illustrate how dangerous and horrible their foe is.

I enjoyed the tale and am curious to see other books by the author.

Review of Prelude (Borderlands Book 0) by Charles Gull

Led by Captain Ganse, a group of soldiers patrol the Borderlands. They are tasked with protecting the Homelands and other countries of the Rationalle by destroying the mindless, brutal Spawn of the Realm of Chaos.

Prelude, Book 0 of the Borderlands series, is comparable to Grimmdark meets Bronzepunk—two subgenres I’m unfamiliar with. Loving fantasy, I was excited to try something completely different.

Between the forts, brave fighters, derring-dos, and circle-the-wagons vibes, this novella reminds me of the old frontier movies. (Quite a compliment, since I’m a big John Wayne fan.) The further the company travel, the more dire the danger. Will they all make it back? Will any of them? The vivid descriptions of the land and the monsters encountered paired with the first person, present tense point of view makes for an intense sense of urgency that works extremely well.

Gull caught me by surprise a couple of times with interesting plot twists. (Kudos, sir.) The world-building is top notch and the characters well fleshed out. The ending is a cliff-hanger, so I am anxious to read Book 1. I found Prelude a riveting tale of survival, conquest, and heroism and strongly recommend it.

Review of Stone Storm by Jenna Moquin

 

During a blizzard, a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is alone—or is he?

Confession. I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to bottom—TWICE.

Even without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child, my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I felt all those years ago.

Moquin has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t read this at night.

During a blizzard, a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is alone—or is he?

Confession. I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to bottom—TWICE.

Even without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child, my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I felt all those years ago.

Moquin has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t read this at night.

 

 

 

Review of The Month of April by Chad Ard

In The Month of April, the main character, April Boyd finds out her mother has died and returns to her hometown with her girlfriend, Abby. Her mother left instructions to cremate her body, take the ashes to New Orleans, and scatter them in the river in front of the Jackson Brewery. Inside a box of personal items, they discover an account April’s mother had written about her trip to New Orleans the year before April was born.

 

They read about how April’s mother, Dani met the love of her life in the Crescent City. The account, entitled “The Month of April,” chronicles the couple’s brief time together and what transpired afterwards during Dani’s time in the military.

 

Though grief-stricken after reading the sad tale, April understands her mother better and feels closer to her. Caring for her girlfriend and emotionally moved, Abby encourages April to take steps to bring closure to the tragedy and together, they investigate the occurrences and right twenty-year-old wrongs.

 

As a fan of epistolary books, I especially enjoyed the sections of Dani’s story.  The setting descriptions transported me to a city I’ve briefly visited, but never had the opportunity to tour. Ard’s admiration of Raymond Carver is evident in his writing. I would characterize this novella as dirty realism. The sparse, unadorned prose conveys the author’s meaning succinctly. As a poor, unwed mother, Dani epitomizes the kind of characters which populate the genre.  I found the dialogue somewhat flat, however, that too, could be attributed to an aspect of realism.  I do not typically read this style of writing and the fact that I found the first few pages too compelling not to finish reading the novella says much about this author’s exceptional writing ability.