Teen Killer Club by Lily Sparks #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.

I’m not sure what this says about me, but a camp that trains teens to be assassins had me requesting this before even reading the whole description.

The action begins almost immediately as Signal and another teen are introduced to the other campers.  For convicted murderers who have the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profiles, most of them seem so…nice.  Having been framed for a murder and lacking even a hint of a killer instinct, Signal is absolutely a fish out of water and is pretty helpless with the assigned tasks.  Speaking of tasks, the first one is how to dispose of a body without it being detected – and that’s when I was all in.  Bizarre?  Absolutely.  But a practical skill for assassins.

I’d expected the teens to be sent out on missions pretty early in the story, but they don’t happen until the last part of the book.  The rest of the time is spent on training, trying to recover Signal’s sketchy memories of the murder she was accused of, strange happenings around camp, and a prominent love triangle.  I’m generally not a fan of this trope and honestly didn’t see the need for it, but that’s just me and a personal preference.  Other reviewers seemed to enjoy it.

With an action-packed, brisk ending, don’t look away or you’ll miss some things.  I suspended my disbelief with the big reveal as some of it seemed to come out of left field, but I was also frustrated because many questions are left unanswered, particularly one central character’s backstory.  It’s set up perfectly for a sequel, but nothing in the title indicates one is in the works.

Dark, cultish, action-packed, and morally gray, Teen Killers Club is an engrossing read – just maybe not the best selection for more squeamish readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BadMoonRising The Alexanders 1911-1920 Vol 1 by Allan Hudson #thriller #historicalfiction

Part of the fun of Bad Moon Rising is meeting new authors and learning about their books. Today’s author is making his debut with BMR. He writes crime fiction, thrillers, and has published a collection of short stories. The book that kept him awake was written by – you probably guessed it – Stephen King. Welcome Allan Hudson!

Has a movie or book scared you so much that you couldn‛t sleep? Which one?

I remember reading It by Stephen King. While it didn’t keep me up all night, it caused me to wake and feel like Pennywise the clown was watching me, as if he was in the room. It was the only book that really scared me.

Name three items you’d take to spend the night in a haunted house.

I would take a cross, a hunting knife and the most comfortable running shoes I own.

Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?

Definitely something furry, slimy is way too eerie. I could live with something furry and moving rather than something icky on my hand.

Do you write to music?

No, I don’t. When I write I need total silence. I find music too distracting. On the other hand if I am only doing research, I like having music in the background.

What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?

When one of my major characters receives word that her brother died in Europe during the First World War, I wanted to write a scene where the family was at the funeral but with no body to say goodbye to. It was difficult to put myself in that situation as it has never happened to me or anyone I know.

What are you working on now?

I have two manuscripts on the go. The first is my follow up story of the original Det. Jo Naylor adventure. In the first – Shattered Figurine – she discovers crimes too close to home. After dealing with people searching for her and the aftermath of her father’s crimes, she flees Canada. In the second of the series she is on the run… but once a cop, always a cop.

I am 80% finished of the third Drake Alexander adventure. He and his team of vigilantes are on the hunt for two brothers that terrorized the French country side twenty years ago. They have very few clues to go with and as soon as they start looking, someone is hunting them.

In the turbulent waters off Saltcoats, Scotland, Danny Alexander dies in a boating accident. He leaves behind a wife, seven children and no hope. Dominic is the middle child. With a broken heart, his mother is forced to leave him with his bachelor uncle, Duff. None of them are happy with the decision.

Eleven-year-old Dominic Alexander must earn his keep. There are no free rides. Yet despite the difficulties, he finds his place in the structured world of his uncle and overcomes his loneliness.

Fortune and misfortune follow the young man until adversity forces him to make a decision that will affect the rest of his life. Is emigrating to Canada the answer?

Purchase Links

Amazon

Kobo

Author Bio

Allan Hudson was born in Saint John. Growing up in South Branch he was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a school teacher. He lives in Cocagne with his wife Gloria.

He has published the Drake Alexander Adventure series. Dark Side of a Promise, Book one. Wall of War, book two. He has a collection of short stories – A Box of Memories. He also published, Shattered Figurine – a Det. Jo Naylor Adventure.

His newest work is an historical fiction of the Alexander family, originating in Govan, Scotland. The Alexanders. Vol. 1 1911 – 1920. It will be published in August, 2020

The second in the Jo Naylor series is ready for editing and will be published in late 2020 or early 2021. Also in the works is the third Drake Alexander Adventure.

His short story – The Ship Breakers – received honourable mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation short story contest.

His short story – In the Abyss – also received Honourable Mention in the 2020 WFNB short story contest.

Other short stories have been published on commuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog – South Branch Scribbler. 

Social Media

http://www.southbranchscribbler.ca

Twitter – https://twitter.com/hudson_allan

Facebook author page – https://www.facebook.com/southbranchscribbler

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/allan-hudson-918751126/

#BadMoonRising The Tower in the Mist by Deby Fredericks #darkfantasy #thriller

Happy Saturday! Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend. Grab a cup of coffee if that’s your beverage of choice (it’s a stiff cup of hot chocolate for me), sit back and enjoy the interview with today’s author. She’s a repeat visitor to Bad Moon Rising and may surprise you with her answer to the movie that kept her up at night. Welcome Deby Fredericks!

Has a movie or book scared you so much that you couldn‛t sleep? Which one?

The Chuck Norris movie, Silent Rage. A mentally unstable man is experimented on and effectively can‛t be killed, but he‛s an insane killer now. Good job, mad scientist! That one kept me up at night.

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn‛t break down?

My priority would be to get out of that whole situation, so I‛d take the car. Assuming I could get there…

Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?

Furry. Even if it bit me right away. No slime for me, thanks! 

Do you write to music?

Yes, I have a couple of Pandora playlists. One has exciting music from movies and games to keep me in the mood. The other has quiet piano tunes for when I‛m feeling stressed about my progress.

Which comes first for you — plot or character?

For me, I have to know what the story is ‟about‟ in order to get started. I often come up with the character and the situation simultaneously. ‟This kind of character has this kind of problem.‟ Then I start to explore the world they‛re in and last I begin to build the plot. I‛ll typically have a short string of two or three plot events planned before I begin writing.

What are you working on now?

I‛ve published three novellas in my dark fantasy series, Minstrels of Skaythe. The next step is to collect those in one paperback, which I hope to have ready by this Christmas.

Zathi’s job is to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into a cursed forest. Together, warrior and mage will face deadly beasts and grapple with decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten magic. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.

Purchase:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QL476BJ

Draft2Digital: https://books2read.com/u/3nK1Mo

Author Bio

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000. 

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes, bringing her to 15 books in all. Her latest is The The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies.

Social Links

website:  http://www.debyfredericks.com

blog:  http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com twitter: http://www.twitter.com/debyfredericks

#BadMoonRising Cusp of Night (Hode’s Hill Series #1) by Mae Clair #suspense #supernatural #TuesdayBookBlog

Yesterday I mentioned inspiration can be triggered by a variety of things. One of my questions gave this author an idea for a book (yay me!). Having read the series featured today and many of her other books, I have no doubt whatever comes out of that idea will be just as compelling. If supernatural suspense is your drug of choice, I can’t recommend this series enough. Welcome Mae Clair!

Hi, Teri! I’m super excited to be participating in Bad Moon Rising again this year. Thank you for arranging this awesome event, one where I always discover new books and new authors.

I’m bringing along Cusp of Night, a spooky tale that includes a haunted house, a 19th century spiritualist, seances, a mysterious creature, and dual mysteries—one set in the present and one in the 19th century. The book has over 100 reviews on Amazon, so readers can do plenty of poking around to see what others are saying about my supernatural mystery.

As always, you came up with a great assortment of creepy questions and writing-related questions to answer.  I had fun with these!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

When I was a teenager, there were two books that terrified me—The Shining by Stephen King, and The Amityville Horror. When people think of The Shining, most remember the creepy ghost twins or the woman in the bathtub, but the moving topiary bushes were what kept me up at night. I still get goose bumps when I think about them.

Every movie adaptation I’ve seen of The Shining has fallen short of eliciting the fear I felt while reading. Today, the book remains one of my all-time favorites by King.

And then there is <shudder> The Amityville Horror. Knowing it was supposed to be true, pushed the terror element into the stratosphere. I devoured half the book in one afternoon, but was so terrified, I threw it in the trash without finishing it. Bleeding walls, clusters of flies, and a pig with glowing red eyes staring through the window at night—no thanks! I would have nothing to do with the movie either.

Would you rather use a Ouija board or participate in a séance?

This is a tough question because Ouija boards are not something I want to mess with, but going to a séance would be just as bad. Between the two, I’d opt for the séance. At least there, I wouldn’t be the one summoning the spirit. Strangely, while writing my reply for this question, I was hit by a great idea for a book. Thanks, Teri!

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

Definitely the car. Hopefully, it would come with a full tank of gas which would get me far away from the ghouls, zombies, ghosts, and assorted nasties. The gun would only have so many shots, and bullets don’t work on all creatures anyway. The short version—I would rather flee than fight a bunch of supernatural thugs.

Do you write to music?

Only instrumental. I’m one of those authors who can’t abide distractions when I write—no TV or music with lyrics. I have a flatscreen television in my office, but I only use it for listening to a spa-type music channel.

Which comes first for you – plot or characters?

Characters. They randomly pop into my head and demand I find a plot for them. As an example, Lucinda Glass, the spiritualist in Cusp of Night, hung around in one form or another for a few years before I found a story to suit. Then there is Madison Hewitt, who grew from a single line in End of Day. Suddenly, my lead character had a sister in a care facility for the emotionally disturbed. Who knew? Certainly, not the author!

Describe your writing space.

I’m fortunate to have a dedicated office in my house for writing. I have a desk with an iMac computer, two bookcases, and an electric fireplace for ambiance. The smaller of the two bookcases is for craft books and topics I’ve researched; the larger for fiction—including several signed hardbacks from my favorite authors. I had canvas prints made from a few of my book covers for hanging on the walls (Cusp of Night is one), and there are black cat silhouettes above the closet and entrance doors. My own black cat, Raven, usually hangs out with me when I’m working.

This was fun, Teri. Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend. 

 Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

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Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp #bookreview #YA #thriller

Before we get into the book review, I just wanted to let you know I’ll be doing a virtual book signing tonight from 5:45 pm to 6pm CST on the Penned Con Fan Page on Facebook HERE  Authors are scheduled every fifteen minutes throughout the day, so if you’re looking for new books or enjoy games and giveaways, drop by.  Hope to see you there!

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp comes a shocking new thriller about a group of friends tied together by a game and the deadly weekend that tears them apart.

FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.

Are you ready to play?

The description for this book immediately grabbed me.  Another book I read by this author was extremely compelling, so requesting this one was a no-brainer.

LGBTQ representation in this novel is magnificent, along with autism and disability representation.  These characters are brought together by a RPG (role playing game) and spend three years together playing the game.  Throughout that time, their relationships with each other have their ups and downs, and with college on the horizon for some, this will be the last time they’re able to play together.  Soon after reaching the cabin, the craziness begins.

One of my favorite things about this novel is the strong friendships between some of the characters and the unconditional support they offer each other – especially since some don’t have the best home life or have experienced traumatic events.  When they find themselves in the middle of some seriously creepy happenings, none of them abandon each other to save themselves.  Five alternating POVs also allows the reader to learn more about each character.

This will be difficult to say without spoilers, but what I struggled with was the reveal of the person behind everything.  It came as a suprise, but just didn’t ring true for me – it seemed unrealistic, and I felt let down after such a suspenseful buildup.  During tense scenes where I couldn’t wait to see what happened next, occasionally heavy internal monologue took over and went on for several paragraphs, which took me out of the story.

Even If We Break is a thriller, but it’s also very much a coming of age story with some beautiful passages containing thought-provoking concepts.  It’s not my favorite novel by this author, but I wouldn’t hesitate to read her future books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Calling #Horror, #Thriller, and #Paranormal #IndieAuthors for #BadMoonRising

It’s that time again – Bad Moon Rising is coming!  Thirty-one authors for thirty-one days in October.  If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal/supernatural books and would like to be featured, send me an email.  FREE publicity, book sales (hopefully!), new authors to follow, and more books added to the TBR – what’s not to like?

Each post will feature one of your releases, a blurb, author bio, social media links, buy links, and a short interview.  If you’d like to include a giveaway or have alternative ideas for your post, I’m always open to suggestions.

This is the sixth year of Bad Moon Rising and spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’d like to be included, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com.

I’ll be traveling today, so I probably won’t be able to get to emails until tomorrow.

LV48 (Cassie Tam Files #3) by Matt Doyle #bookreview #scifi #LGBT

New Hopeland City may be the birthplace of Tech Shifter gear, but it isn’t the only place that likes to blend technology with folklore. Now, a new nightmare is stalking the streets…

When PI Cassie Tam is attacked on the way home one night, she expects the police to get involved. What she doesn’t expect is to be forced into acting as bait to lure out a lunatic in a tech-suit that’s literally out for blood. But past actions have consequences, and doing so may be the only way she can get a clean slate from the city’s law makers.

If only that didn’t mean having to face down a wannabe vampire.

This is my third Cassie Tam book, and the author’s imagination continues to amaze me.

Although each novel introduces new futuristic technology, the descriptions are detailed and so well done that it’s easy to visualize.  The drawings near the end of the book help explain the tech even more.  This time around Cassie faces a “light vampire” – which explains the title.  I love me some vamps, but these aren’t the traditional vampires seen in most novels and and movies – no spoilers here.  Cassie is wrangled into working with the police department on the case and, although not crazy about the idea, she makes the best of it and and dives in head first – which is a trait I admire.  That and her snark – I always appreciate witty snark.

Bert, her gargoyle familiar, has to be one of my favorite characters.  He’s protective and kind of moody, but you gotta love him.  Cassie and Lori also have some nice scenes together in their new-ish relationship, but I wouldn’t have minded more.  Some new characters are also introduced, and I hope to see more of them in future books.

While there are action-filled scenes, the pacing waned a bit for me in the middle.  I guessed who the villain was early on, but it took longer for it to click with Cassie and friends than expected.  Still, I’m a fan of this thrilling sci-fi series, and it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

This gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.

What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…

When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected–and that she knows what happened to her.

Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?

If you’re looking for a compelling beach read, I got you covered.  I Killed Zoe Spanos will keep you in that beach chair for hours.

This is my first time reading this author, but it absolutely won’t be my last.  I was glued to this book from the beginning and conjured up tons of theories about what was happening during the course of the story.  Even then, only part of one of them turned out to be correct by the end.

Martina’s podcast is a clever way to introduce backstory – what happened with Zoe, who the suspects were, what the police did or didn’t do, etc., and it gives the reader a peek into her head since her POV is shared along with Anna’s.  The alternating chapters between past and present made me even more curious to learn how the characters got from point A to point B, and it’s one of my favorite storytelling techniques.  With such an intricate plot, I can just imagine the story boards the author must have created.

Although it works well with the story, I had to suspend my disbelief a tad with the way the investigators handled Zoe’s case.  Still, I devoured this book in two days.  Pay close attention near the end – things move fast and a lot of questions are answered.

With a heavy dose of red herrings and twists to keep you guessing, I Killed Zoe Spanos is a must read for mystery/thriller fans.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

Eden, Eli, Marwan, and Ilanka barely know each other beyond having a class or two together. But when they are all summoned via messaging app to an empty classroom after school, they find a small cube sitting on a desk. Its sides light up with rules for them:

Do not tell anyone about the device. Never leave the device unattended.
And then, Take me with you . . . or else.

At first they think it’s some kind of prank or a social experiment orchestrated by the school administration. Still, they follow its instructions until the newly-formed group starts to splinter. Nobody has time for these games–their lives are complicated enough. But the device seems increasingly invested in the private details of their lives. And disobeying its rules has scary–even life-threatening–consequences . . . 

This is my third book by this author, and I’ve enjoyed every one of them.

Several reviewers mentioned they were under the impression this was more of a mystery/thriller, but it’s absolutely a sci-fi/thriller – totally my kind of book.  I flew through it in two days.  These four, very relatable teen characters have distinctive personalities, and each is coping with their own complicated problems.  They come from diverse backgrounds and situations, so why they’re thrown together is a mystery to them.  The way they learn in such a short time to depend on each other and offer support was a strong point for me.

And the device!  It’s multi-faceted, and over the course of the story is mysterious, helpful, intrusive, and insidious.  I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, but my need to know what was going on made it a struggle to close this book.  Although the reveal is satisfying and even jarring, I did feel as if the problems the characters faced in their personal lives were wrapped up with a pretty large bow at the end, but I seem to be in the minority on that opinion.

This is a completely engaging read with unnerving sci-fi aspects and one I recommend.  I’ll be looking for more books by this author in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Hunting November (Killing November #2) by Adriana Mather #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Surviving a few weeks at the world’s most lethal boarding school was one thing. But now comes the real test: Can November Adley find her missing father before her enemies find her? Subterfuge is the name of the game in this thrilling sequel to Killing November, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch.

After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. Along with fellow student (and heartthrob) Ash, November follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest treasure hunt of her life. The first clue is in her hometown, where old friends beckon and unexpected enemies lurk around every corner. The second clue is in Europe, where revelations about her family’s history will plunge her into an international web of deception, lies, and intrigue. The third clue is deep in enemy territory, surrounded by the most skilled assassins and master strategists, and where everyone wants her and her father dead. Can one girl with limited training infiltrate a centuries-old organization that is powerful enough to topple empires? November only knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to save her father . . . or die trying. 

Killing November was one of my best reads last year – high stakes, untrustworthy characters, a school for assassins.  The year waiting for this sequel was a long one.

This book picks up right where the other left off.  November and Ash leave the school in search of her father, who’s left complex clues for her in different locations across the country.  Talk about tense situations – death could literally be waiting for them around every corner, and some of the people they come across would just as soon slit their throats rather than speak to them.

Pacing may leave you breathless, and the action is almost nonstop.  But not everything is serious – some lighter, humorous moments are sprinkled throughout the story along with romantic elements.  Twists and surprises abound, and the big reveal near the end left me gaping.  I absolutely didn’t see it coming.

This series is incredibly addictive with ultra-high stakes, a complex plot, and untrustworthy characters that worm their way into your heart.  I get the feeling this is a duology, but I’d sure love another book.  Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.