Friday, 19 December 2014

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis




The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the fa├žade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.


BOOK EXCERPT:    

“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:

    Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
    A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
    Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
    The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
    A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
    My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Links:  website:  http://www.joancurtis.com

Blog: http://www.joancurtis.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joanccurtisauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joancurtis

MuseItUp Publishing Author’s page: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/455-joan-curtis - https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/455-joan-curtis


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Book Review -- The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis


The Clock Strikes MidnightThe Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a powerful tale that weaves an emotional story on a thriller - mystery premise. Janie, living a happy and blissful life in Savannah, is devastated to learn that she has a terminal illness, a malignanty tumour. Having been told that she has just 3 months to a year left to live, Janie decides to put the rest of her life to good use. She has an unshakeable purpose in mind - avenging her mother's death and making the killer pay for the misery he caused. She heads back to her home town to confront the killer, her step dad Ralph, who has recently been released from prison for the crime. Janie is in for a rude shock to discover how her sister Marlene has now morphed into who her mother once was - with a serious drinking problem and her entire life in ruins. Meanwhile, Ralph starts threatening Janie and Marlene to make them take their words and evidence againts him back. Does Janie manage to sort Marlene out and handle Ralph, is what the book takes us through.

Although the primary theme is that of a thriller, the emotional elements in the book are heart-wrenching. Janie's characterisation was fabulous. Although broken herself, when seeing that her sister is shattered and wasting away, the way she quickly bundles up her sorrows and takes charge is remarkable. The character was strong and fragile, brave and scared, all at once. The pace of the book kept the reader's interest alive.

Overall, this was a remarkably good book and I would recommend this to lovers of emotional dramas.

My rating for this book: 4.5 stars

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Tale of Treasures by H.F. Parkhurst




A four hundred year quest for a mysterious lost treasure; bloodthirsty Pirates; plundering Conquistadors; noble Indians; and a sinister and secret religious Order are the tantalizing ingredients stirred together in the turbulent, steamy, and exotic Spanish Main, of yesterday and today.


To the rhythmic background of classic R&B soul music, Harry Carlton and his new love Helen are unexpectedly thrust into a violent encounter with ruthless and malevolent forces and a rogue’s gallery of dastardly villains. These two, near their fifties, are not kindly white-haired grandparents ready to sit sedately in rocking chairs. Instead, they confront danger with bravery, and battle dishonesty and injustice with valor. They discover a priceless, lost artifact treasure of the ancient Indians of South and Central America. In the struggle to return the treasure to its rightful owners, they must outwit the assortment of murderous villains, and stay alive.


BOOK EXCERPT

September 1597

Impatient shouts from angry Spanish overseers mixed with the sharp crack of their whips. Snake-like lines of filthy, emaciated, near naked Indian slaves, almost unrecognizable as men, staggered across bowed gangways to the six ships moored at the stone quays. Their whip-scarred backs bent as they struggled under heavy barrels and chests. Sweat, tinted red with blood, dripped from the Indians as they labored by the flicker of torchlight into the growing darkness of the humid, tropical evening. Below decks of the Santa Maria de Castile, the galleon flagship of the six-ship flota, two men met in the closed confines of a fetid, airless cabin.

“Vicealmirante Don Francisco, the loading shall be completed by midnight. The ships will be ready to sail with the morning tide.”

“Excellente, Alonso,” Don Francisco replied. “Are those two insufferable priests satisfied with the storage of their cargo?” Seated comfortably behind a cluttered, ornately carved, dark oak table, the aristocratic Don Francisco sipped a glass of red wine while the handsome, broad-shouldered Felipe Alonso, Capitan of the Santa Maria, stood. Not of noble lineage, Felipe suffered the indignities of superiors like the Vicealmirante, in order to command a fighting galleon.

“Si, Vicealmirante. Padre Xavier and Padre Tomas will bless our journey and the ships when we sail.”

“They do not sail with us?”

“Padre Xavier informed me he and his fellow priests will remain. Their sacred work of converting the heathen natives to the one true faith is not completed.”


AUTHOR INFORMATION:

H.F. earned double finalist honors in 2011 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. Born and raised in the northeastern United States, he’s lived in the south, southwest, and mid-west of the US, as well as Asia, Australia, and Europe. A student of traditional Chinese martial arts for the last sixteen years, he practices daily. After forty years as a successful, international architectural interior designer of offices and hotels, he sought a new creative outlet.

In a turbulent time of global conflict, he seeks to be an ardent voice of reason speaking against illogic and the darkness of injustice, violence, and hatred pursued by the irrational and fanatic zealot faithful, worldwide.  

An Objectivist, his novels reflect his commitment to logical thinking and the right of free people to rationally choose a destiny in their own best self-interests. He enjoys spinning outrageous tales based on his fertile imagination and real life experiences. Married, he lives with his wife in Florida. Currently projects are two novel series: an Epic Fantasy and an Action/Adventure. Also in the works are sci-fi novels and short stories.

Website: http://www.hfparkhurst.com
http://www.twitter.com/hfparkhurst

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dpB00MZDS60Q

Book Review -- Tale of Treasures by H.F Parkhurst


Tale of Treasures by H.F Parkhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a gripping tale that touches upon many genres at once - fantasy, adventure, action, mystery and thriller. Harry Colton, the protagonist is a rugged and tenacious middle ager, nearing his fifties. He and his beloved, Helen, get caught in a mire of seemingly unrelated incidents. Once they shake themselves out of immediate danger, they stumble upon what seems like an ancient artifact. Clueless initially, they soon realise how priceless and precious the artifact is. The artifact is a powerful player in the story - with many different characters all at its pursuit for over centuries, the artifact has managed to elude the grasp of the evil till date. Are Harry and Helen able to overcome the obstacles, and keep the artifact out of reach of the villainous minds, is what the book takes us through.

The plot progresses so briskly that many a time, the reader has to just sit back, take a deep breath and continue - I mean it in a very good kind of way. For a plot of this nature, involving many threads, many genres and many series of challenges, a dragging plot would have been a fatal factor. The author has skilfully managed to engage the reader's interest throughout. That said, I wished at many times that there were fewer characters to deal with, and more time to dwell on the thoughts, idealogies, attitudes and takes on life of the two protagonists. I'm a big fan of deep characterisation, and this book doesn't leave much scope for that. That said, I do love the way the author has managed to wipe out the generic stereotype of having young, dashing and breathtaking protagonists.

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable and I would recommend this to lovers of adventures.

My rating for this book: 3.5 stars

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Harbinger by Lee French and Erik Kort







Title: Harbinger
Series: The Greatest Sin #2
Author: Lee French and Erik Kort
Publication Date: October 2014
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis
Adjusting to her new life as a soul-bound agent of the Fallen has Chavali pushing herself harder than ever before. Between learning to fight, dealing with idiots, and climbing stairs - lots of stairs - she has little time to waste on thoughts of the future. Or the past.

When another agent fails to report in, Chavali is sent on the mission to discover her fate. Ready or not, she saddles up for a new adventure with new dangers.

The search takes her to Ket, a coastal city slathered in mystery. There, she faces ghosts from her past and demons of her future as she seeks answers. All she seems to find are more questions.

Plague, murder, lies, espionage...this city harbors much more than meets the eye, and maybe too much to handle.


Buy Links



Lee French lives in Olympia, WA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with one dragon and absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don't get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest





Erik Kort abides in the glorious Pacific Northwest, otherwise known as Mirkwood-Without-The-Giant-Spiders. Though the spiders often grow too numerous for his comfort. He is defended from all eight-legged threats by his brave and overly tolerant wife, and is mocked by his obligatory writer’s cat. When not writing, Erik comforts the elderly, guides youths through vast wildernesses, and smuggles more books into his library of increasingly alarming size.

Publication Date: October 2014
Series: The Greatest Sin #2 
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000
Giveaway: $15 Amazon/B&N G.C. or Book Depository Book Spree!

Adjusting to her new life as a soul-bound agent of the Fallen has Chavali pushing herself harder than ever before. Between learning to fight, dealing with idiots, and climbing stairs - lots of stairs - she has little time to waste on thoughts of the future. Or the past. 

When another agent fails to report in, Chavali is sent on the mission to discover her fate. Ready or not, she saddles up for a new adventure with new dangers.

The search takes her to Ket, a coastal city slathered in mystery. There, she faces ghosts from her past and demons of her future as she seeks answers. All she seems to find are more questions.

Plague, murder, lies, espionage...this city harbors much more than meets the eye, and maybe too much to handle.
- See more at: http://www.masqueradetours.com/2014/10/new-signups-harbinger-greatest-sin-2-by.html#sthash.Zg8BKrsh.dpuf

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Book Review -- Harbinger by Lee French & Erik Kort


Harbinger (The Greatest Sin #2)Harbinger by Lee French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the second instalment of the Greatest Sin series. Having not read The Fallen earlier, I was apprehensive of whether I would be able to relate to the plot or the characters in Harbinger. My fears proved pointless, because the book is a good stand-alone piece by itself. Yeah, I do admit that reading through The Fallen would have given me a firmer grip on Chavali's character, but the authors make no mistake in having Harbinger speak for itself in terms of the plot and characters.

The story revolves around Chavali, who is an agent for The Fallen. When another agent Elise goes missing, Chavali is assigned on the mission to bring her back. She encounters Harris, who is set out to rob Chavali and her partner. When Chavali leads him back to The Fallen, Harris ends up becoming an agent for The Fallen too. Portia and Colby are the supporting characters in this tale of adventure and survival. Chavali seems blissfully oblivious to the overtures of Harris and Colby, which is quite amusing to the reader! The plot has many sub-layers - what Chavali encounters in Ket for example - all the misery, deceit, murder and danger. The characters are etched as well as they can be, given the busy and tight plot. There are so many things happenings that there are no pages in the book to room deep thoughts on the characterisation. Although one does get an insight into Chavali and her righteousness, why does Chavali so strongly refrain from getting interested in anyone, could have been dealt with in more detail for instance.

Overall, this was an interesting story and I would recommend this to lovers of fantasy adventures.

My rating for this book: 3.5 stars

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