Jul 172018
 

SELECTED by J. Allen Wolfrum
Genre: Political Thriller
Published by Indie
Publication Date: Dec. 8, 2017
ISBN13: 9781981498970
ISBN: 1981498974
Pages: 326
Review Copy From: Author
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 5 stars

**Stop by tomorrow for Q&A with J. Allen Wolfrum**

Synopsis (via GR)

Former Army helicopter pilot, Susan Turner is Selected as the next President of the United States. In order to avoid a nuclear war, she must overcome personal demons and learn to navigate the murky waters of international diplomacy.

Five years ago, the Dove Revolution changed the political structure of the United States. The President, Senate, and Congress are no longer elected by the public, they are Selected at random every two years.

A shadow organization known only as The Board, advances their sinister agenda by taking advantage of their anonymity and Susan’s tendency to make brash decisions. Blackmail, espionage and murder are all in play as The Board manipulates geo-political events to spark a war between the Soviet Union and the United States.

With the help of her former Squadron Commander, General LeMae, Susan Turner attempts to lead the nation through these turbulent times while battling her own internal demons. Susan is a battle-hardened war veteran but she must learn what it takes to be a world leader. Nuclear war and the future of the human race hang in the balance.

Even when the President is selected at random, politics is still a dirty business. Opponents plan their attacks from the shadows, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

My Thoughts

This hasn’t happened in a while:
Debut novel + 100% engrossing + read in one sitting = 5 stars!!

Democracy is no longer in America. It’s now The Dove Revolution, where the President, Senators and Congressmen are selected for a 2 year term. And Susan Hunter, former Army Lt. Col. has been selected to be the next President of the United States. A great honor but she is going to decline, that is, up to the last minute, when she accepts the position. However, The Board of Pacific International, a conglomerate of big companies interested in Eastern European manufacturing, raw material, and transportation have bigger plans and one of them is to use Susan Hunter as collateral damage without her knowledge.

The world is watching as the U.S. and the Soviet Union teeter on war as highly sensitive documents are leaked and attacks on U.S. soil are unleashed. Are the Soviets behind the bombings? Are the documents false? Can President Hunter prevent a nuclear war? Or are those that are behind the bombings succeed in their plan?

A riveting story that I could not put down! At times, I found myself holding my breath due to the heightened missions described! This book was one hell of an intense read! Powerful!

I am hoping, hint, hint Mr. Wofrum, that a sequel is on the horizon! I will be looking for more work by this author! Recommend? Absolutely!!! I’m sure, like me, you will be captivated!

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for J. Allen Wolfrum. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Jul 092018
 

Bad Time To Be In It

by David Burnsworth

on Tour July 9 – August 10, 2018

 

Bad time To Be In It by David Burnsworth
 

Synopsis:

The past is never past. Sometimes it repeats itself. And sometimes it comes back to pay a visit. Blu Carraway, flush with cash and back in business, never had it so good. Or so he thought.The reality is his love life is in shambles, his business partner is spending too much time with women half his age and not enough time on the job, and someone close goes missing. Blu’s business partner goes off the rails, his friends show their true colors, and he realizes that getting closure sometimes means walking away from everything. With a case from the past gone wrong twice, a loved one in trouble, and an unanswered marriage proposal, it’s a bad time to be in it for Blu Carraway Investigations.

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

4 stars

Blu, of Blu Carraway Investigations. and his partner Mick Crome are back! And that means only one thing, a lot of action!

This is the 2nd book in this series, see my reviews for BLU HEAT, a prequel and IN IT FOR THE MONEY.

Blu and Mick are hired by Mr.Jansen, as he feels someone is following him. At the same time, Mick’s girlfriend goes missing. The days are going by and they are no closer to following Maureen.

So their friends join them in the search. A journalist that works with them, Harmony, joins the Mayor on his boat and word comes that the Mayor’s body has washed up but no sign of Harmony.

Are these disappearances and Jansen connected in some way? Where are the women? The group ramps up in finding who has kidnapped.

After reading the previous books in this series, I knew that would be non stop action. And because of that, I was turning the pages as fast as I could because I knew there would be an explosive ending if they found Maureen and Harmony.

This book did not disappoint. Another great read by David Burnsworth! And with a cliff hanger at the end, I’m so excited now knowing that this series will be continued. Now I have to try to wait patiently for the next book!

Definitely recommend!!

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Henery Press
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 9781635113587
Series: Blu Carraway Mysteries #2
Purchase Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo

 

Read an excerpt:

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Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Belize City, Belize, August, mid-Monday

Paco squinted as he stared out over the courtyard, the afternoon sun a brilliant blaze. Sounds of local women selling vegetables, cheap pottery, and trinkets to tourists filled the air. The clinking of dishware. Some of the vendors were lucky enough to have an umbrella or canopy to shield them from the burning heat. Most weren’t.

The pavement baked Paco’s feet through his cowboy boots.

He lifted his straw hat, one with an orange band he’d bought from a local Mennonite child, and wiped his brow. The air tasted of salt, dust, and tamalito grease.

His two partners, a Belizean Creole called Lin and a Jamaican named Peter, were already in position. Lin nodded at him from the other side of the square. Paco checked on Peter and found him fifty meters due east scoping out the three young women they’d come for.

Well, really it was just one of them they wanted. The other two women were going to be a bonus. The contract was to grab the woman with the family name of Kincaid, make a phone call when they had her at their hideout, and then do whatever they wanted with the other two. And eliminate any resistance.

The stupid chicas had only one guard with them. Some tall, middle-aged Bufon Paco guessed was half-Cuban, half-gringo, who wore sunglasses and dressed in light-colored fatigues and military style boots. He looked fit but was most likely nothing but an easy target. In the three days Peter, Lin, and Paco had tracked the women, the man with the sunglasses always kept watch from behind.

The past two nights Paco had dreamt of shooting the man through those sunglasses.

Using the sleeve of his shirt, Paco wiped his forehead one more time and then replaced his hat. He watched Peter wait until the women and the man passed and then fell in behind them.

God, the women were beautiful. Suntanned white girls in their early twenties. Perfect teeth. Curled, long hair. Linen blouses, short shorts, and sandals. After he shot their protector, his dreams ended with tying each of them to a bed, the fear in their eyes giving him immense pleasure.

And today was the day his dream would come true.

Paco watched the group pass through a crowd of old people in bright clothes unloading from a tour bus.

Except Peter didn’t emerge behind them when the women came through the other side of the gray-haired mass.

Neither did the sunglass-wearing guard.

Paco smiled and thought, good, Peter took him out already.

He nodded at Lin who gave him a thumbs-up.

The women perused another row of vendors.

He and Lin followed, coming from opposite ends.

The women were just ahead. Paco caught sight of their toned caderas and thanked his god again for tight American shorts. He picked up his pace as he threaded through the crowd.

After about forty meters, something didn’t seem right any more. He should have caught up to them by now. And Lin should have joined him.

Paco stopped, checked his phone. No messages.

Looking around, he thought he spotted the women turn down an alley.

Where were Peter and Lin?

It didn’t matter.

He had to get the woman now. Especially with the guard out of the picture.

Paco knew he could handle her by himself, even if the other two females had to die to make things easier. He sprinted after them, cut down the alley, and found himself alone with nothing but a dead end. The only noise he heard was the market from which he’d come.

An abandoned car on blocks with its hood open mocked him. Dust kicked up from his boots as he skidded to a stop. Paco turned around. No one had followed him.

He turned back and looked straight down the barrel of a revolver.

His eyes would not—could not—keep from staring at the black hole in front of him that brought death. Where in the hell did this come from? There had been no sound.

A man’s voice said, “Esto es donde dar la vuelta y a pie.” (This is where you turn around and walk away.)

Thinking fast, Paco said, “Que buscaba para mi hija.” (I was looking for my daughter.)

The thumb of the hand holding the revolver cocked the hammer back.

Anyone else would have soiled his pants at this. But Paco knew the man had made a very big mistake. Other peoples’ mistakes, and Paco’s awareness of them, were how he had survived this long. The cocked pistol an arm’s reach from his face had caught him off guard. If it had been five feet away, the perfect distance for control,he would have had a problem.

But this close—

Paco swung an arm at the hand with the pistol and ducked the other way, all in one motion just like he’d done before.

Except another gun fired.

Paco felt an inferno of heat and lead tear through his leg. He screamed and crashed to the ground.

A large, military boot kicked him in the face. It jolted his focus off the pain in his leg for a second and onto the sunglasses of the man from his dreams. Paco spotted a second pistol in the man’s other hand. He hadn’t seen the second gun because he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the first. The man had outsmarted him.

The man smiled down at him and said, in Spanish, “Who hired you?”

The pain flooded back. Paco seethed out a “Piss off.”

The man with the sunglasses put his large boot on Paco’s injured leg and stepped down hard.

Paco had never felt pain so great in his thirty-three years on this earth. He tried to scream, but nothing came out. He swam in a horizon of white noise.

The pressure on his leg let up. The boot kicked him in the ribs, ripping his concentration away from his leg once more, long enough for him to breathe.

“Your two friends won’t be joining us. Tell me who hired you. Do it now. I won’t ask again.”
Paco’s mind recovered enough from the pain to formulate a last desperate plan. He slipped a hand behind his back and pulled out a derringer.

Before he could aim it, the man standing over him blasted his hand from two feet away. And Paco felt a different twinge of pain that almost matched the firestorm in his leg. He lifted his hand to where he could look at it. Two of his fingers were missing.

Then he saw nothing.

Chapter Two

Charleston County, South Carolina, August, mid-Monday

DAY ONE

Mick Crome sat on a stool at the inside bar of the Pirate’s Cove on the Isle of Palms. He finished off a second pint while staring at all the liquor bottles lined up on the shelves in front of him. They had a habit of staring back. Maureen, his sometimes girlfriend and bartender a hundred miles north up in Myrtle Beach, was pissed off at him. He couldn’t chill and watch her tight rear end as she poured drinks tonight. Maybe not tomorrow night, either.

The current bartender serving the beers, a friend named Brack Pelton, wasn’t exactly his type. At six feet and with a perpetual suntanned complexion, Brack looked like he should be tending bar in the Bahamas, not owning two watering holes in the South Carolina lowcountry.

Pelton asked, “You want another one, Mick?”

Even inside the place, the smell of the Atlantic Ocean directly behind him cleaned out his sinuses. The song streaming on the bar’s sound system, “Paradise City” by Guns and Roses, was a real classic.

Crome nodded, hooked a boot heel on the bottom rung of his stool, and pulled a vape pen out of the breast pocket of his weathered leather vest.

He couldn’t figure out what exactly he’d done wrong with Maureen but was sure it might have something to do with the two women he traded vodka shots with the night before. Mainly
because neither of them was Maureen. Maureen hadn’t taken too kindly to him cancelling their date so he could follow a lead only to end up getting drunk and crashing at another woman’s pad. She didn’t believe him when he’d tried to explain that nothing had happened. The lead was legit, but even he knew he should have just gotten the information over the phone.

What did people say in times like this? C’est la vie?

Whatever.

Pelton set a fresh pint of draft down in front of Crome. “Haven’t seen you or Blu around in a while. How’s it going?”

The kid, Pelton, meant well. If Crome hadn’t taken a liking to him, and if he hadn’t watched a video of the kid, empty handed, take on an armed giant of a man and win, he might have picked a fight with him just for fun. But the kid had saved his best friend’s daughter and was an unofficial partner in the private investigation firm Crome co-owned. Unofficial because just about everything Crome did was unofficial. The official side was handled by his main partner, Blu Carraway.

Crome said, “Blu’s on a security job. In Belize, the lucky bastard. Should be back in a day or two.”

A voice from behind him said, “Hi, Crome.”

It was female and familiar. Damn.

Anyone else would have been a welcome change to his wandering thoughts, a defense mechanism he used to avoid thinking about Maureen.

Hell, Maureen in her most pissed-off state would have been a welcome companion compared to—

The female voice interrupted his thought. “Aren’t you going to invite me to sit down?”

Crome saw the smirk form on his own face reflected in the mirror behind the bar. He also saw the strawberry-blond curls, red lipstick, and tight dress of his newest problem. “It’s a free country.”

Harmony Childs pulled out the stool next to him and sat. “That bad-ass biker routine won’t work on me, Sugar. You’ve seen me in my underwear.”

Twenty years his junior, nuttier than a pecan tree, driven, and drop-dead gorgeous, Harmony was the very cliché of Kryptonite for him. She was also one of the two women he’d traded shots with last night.

It was true; he had seen her in her underwear. But not out of her underwear, thank God, or he and Maureen wouldn’t have lasted this long.

Harmony said, “Don’t tell me you’ve still got a hangover. I’d hate to think you couldn’t hang with us, given your propensity for bars and liquor.”

She really was beautiful. And she’d matched him shot for shot, unless the bartender was feeding her and her friend water instead of Citron. But that couldn’t be because he’d watched all their shot glasses get refilled from the same bottle.

“Not on your life, Dolly,” he said.

Pelton came over, grinned at the young woman, and said, “What’ll it be, Ms. Harmony?”

If Pelton’s wife caught him doing anything more than casual flirting, she’d string him up by his testicles. Especially if it was with Harmony. Or her cohort, Tess Ray. Which reminded Crome, when there was one, the other wasn’t far behind.

Tess pulled out the stool on the other side of Crome and sat. “Sorry I’m late. There was another double homicide in North Charleston.”

Shorter than Harmony, with shoulder length blonde hair that fell in layers, Tess wore dark-rimmed glasses, a business dress with no sleeves, and medium heels.

She’d been the second woman from the night before. Two women to one man, a bottle of vodka, and all he had to show for it was a nasty headache, a stiff back from the couch he’d crashed on alone, and a pissed off girlfriend. Must be his lucky day.

Crome opened his mouth to say “howdy” but got cut off before he could start.

“It would be nice if your partner was around,” Harmony said.

“You guys make good copy. Maybe you all could give us something besides gang violence to report on.”

Harmony and Tess were eager-beaver news correspondents who’d recently gone independent.

Tess asked, “So when is Blu due back in town? Soon, right?”

Every damn woman who’d ever laid eyes on Blu Carraway fell in love with the bastard.

Again, Crome opened his mouth to speak, and again got interrupted. This time by the other local lady killer, Pelton’s dog, Shelby.

At the sight of the chow-collie mix, Harmony and Tess both slid off their stools and swarmed the mutt. The damned canine seemed to be eating it all up, dancing around between them, his wagging tail high in the air.

The song ended, and in the lull before the next one began, Crome checked his iPhone, the one that felt like an old-fashioned pair of handcuffs restraining him from freedom. The one that came with the business of running a private investigation firm. The one that his partner had made him take.

He’d missed a call.

The number wasn’t familiar, but whoever had called left a voicemail. He listened.

It sounded like Maureen. “Mick? I’m in trouble. Please help—”

A man’s voice cut her off. “Listen Crome, it’s payback time. You took from me so I’m taking from you. I’ll be in touch.”

His phone showed a text message. He tapped to open it up and stared at a picture of a scared Maureen with a gun to her head.

Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” started playing, blowing a hole through the world.

Excerpt from Bad Time To Be In It by David Burnsworth. Copyright © 2018 by David Burnsworth. Reproduced with permission from David Burnsworth. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Bad Time To Be In It by David Burnsworth. Copyright © 2018 by David Burnsworth. Reproduced with permission from David Burnsworth. All rights reserved.

 

David Burnsworth

Author Bio:

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Bad Time To Be In It (July 2018, Henery Press) will be his sixth. Having lived on Charleston’s Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


 

GIVEAWAY:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for David Burnsworth. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 4 winners of one (1) print OR eBook copy of David Burnsworth’s Bad Time To Be In It. The giveaway begins on July 9, 2018 and runs through August 11, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Jul 052018
 

THREE DAYS MISSING by Kimberly Belle
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Published by: Park Row
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
ISBN-10: 0778307719
ISBN-13: 978-0778307716
Pages: 352
Review Copy From: Author
Edition: Signed TPB
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

When a child goes missing, two mothers’ lives collide in a shocking way in this suspenseful novel from the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie .

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night.

When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.

Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.

Racing against the clock, their desperate search for answers begins—one where the greatest danger could lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.

My Thoughts

After reading THE MARRIAGE LIE, I couldn’t wait to start this book and it didn’t disappoint.

The news that is any parent’s nightmare, your child is missing. That is the news that Kat woke up to as police were banging on her door.

Ethan is on an overnight camping trip with his class, with one of the students being the Mayor’s son, Sammy, and who bullies Ethan all the time.

A fire breaks out behind one of the cabins where both Ethan and Sammy are staying. After the chaos, the teacher and chaperones realize Ethan is missing. The police are called and a massive hunt commences to find Ethan, thinking he may be lost in the woods. But the minutes and hours are ticking by and then they realize this is no lost boy but a kidnapping. Who would want to kidnap this 8 year old. Could it be his father, who is estranged from Kat and has been accused of spousal abuse? Kat is suspicious that it might be him but why? Or is it a random person? But who and why?

Hours into the search, the Mayor’s wife, Stefi, receives a phone call saying they have her son Sammy with additional threats. Thinking it has to be a mistake because it is Ethan that is missing not Sammy, she rushes to the campsite wanting to see Sammy with her
own eyes.

There are so many twists and turns in this story that I tried reading as fast as my heart was pounding. I kept going back and forth as to which character I thought could be the kidnapper and why.

Another page turning thriller by Ms. Belle!! She is now on my “authors to read” list. I highly recommend but make sure you have enough time to read it because you won’t want to put it down!

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Jul 012018
 

Three Shoeboxes

by Steven Manchester

July 1-August 31, 2018 Tour

 

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester

Synopsis:

Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

 

Details

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: June 12th 2018

Number of Pages: 285

ISBN: 1611882605 (ISBN13: 9781611882605)

Purchase Links:   AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, & Goodreads

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

I wanted to share my review again because I feel it has such an important message

5 stars

He has done it again! Steven Manchester, as I have said in the past, is the master storyteller in matters of the heart. But this time, he raised the bar even higher.

THREE SHOEBOXES is a raw and emotional read, of a family that is dealing with P.T.S.D, depression, anxiety and severe panic attacks, and how it not only affects the person afflicted but those that love and care for him. A realistic look at the struggle and the power to overcome.

Mac Anderson, husband and father of 3, starts having intense episodes of anxiety but not sure why. These episodes begin to increase not only in severity but also in frequency until they are totally consuming him. As he turns inward, he starts to self-medicate, which results in angry outbursts, alienating his wife and children and jeopardizing his job. And to the lowest point of being arrested for domestic assault.

A story that will have you so frustrated with Mac one minute and rooting for him the next. A somber realism of the effects of mental illness that still holds a stigma today.

What’s in those THREE SHOEBOXES? You will have to read this exceptional novel to find out. But a warning, have the tissues close by.

An intense and compelling read of a serious disease and the triumph of faith, will, determination and love.

Having read many of Steven Manchester’s books, I truly believe his writing is like a fine wine. It only gets better with age.

Steven Manchester brings home the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for THREE SHOEBOXES.

I can’t stress enough what an extraordinary and powerful book this is!!!!!! Highly recommend!!!!

Check out my reviews on his previous books:
TWELVE MONTHS, GOODNIGHT, BRIAN, THE ROCKIN’ CHAIR, PRESSED PENNIES, ASHES, and THE THURSDAY NIGHT CLUB

Stop by tomorrow for my interview with Steven Manchester

 

Pre-publication endorsements:

“Compelling and emotional, Three Shoeboxes takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey through some of life’s toughest challenges, always with the ever-present sense of the transforming power of love and hope. Three Shoeboxes is Steven Manchester at his finest.” – Carla Neggers, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, Harbor Island and Echo Lake

Raw, moving and brutally honest—Steven Manchester takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Grab your tissues for this heart-wrenching story—better yet, grab a box full!” – Tanya Anne Crosby, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, The Girl Who Stayed "

Three Shoeboxes is a compassionate, accessible portrait of a vitally important topic, PTSD, how it affects the sufferer and the family—and how to find hope and healing." – Jenna Blum, NYT & International Bestselling Author, Those Who Save Us and Storm Chasers

Three Shoeboxes is terrific writing. Manchester’s protagonist’s life becomes nightmarish, his rage palpable, and his ultimate redemption breathtaking. It was enough to bring this reader to tears.” – John Lansing, #1 Bestselling Author, The Devil’s Necktie

 

Read an excerpt:

Mac jumped up, panting like an obese dog suffering in a heat wave. His heart drummed out of his chest. Startled from a sound sleep, he didn’t know what was wrong. He leapt out of bed and stumbled toward the bathroom. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. There’s something wrong, he finally thought, I…I need help. He searched frantically for an enemy. There was none. As he stared at the frightened man in the mirror, he considered calling out to his sleeping wife. She has enough to worry about with the kids, he thought, but was already hurrying toward her. “Jen,” he said in a strained whisper.

She stirred but didn’t open her eyes.

The constricted chest, sweaty face and shaking hands made Mac wonder whether he was standing at death’s door, cardiac arrest being his ticket in. I have to do something now, he thought, or I’m a goner. “Jen,” he said louder, shaking her shoulder.

One eye opened. She looked up at him.

“It’s happening again,” he said in a voice that could have belonged to a frightened little boy.

Jen shot up in bed. “What is it?”

“I…I can’t breathe. My heart keeps fluttering and I feel…”

“I’m calling an ambulance,” she said, fumbling for her cell phone.

“No,” he said instinctively, “it’ll scare the kids.”

She looked up at him like he was crazy.

“I’ll go to the emergency room right now!” Grabbing for a pair of pants, he started to slide into them.

Jen sprang out of the bed. “I’ll call my mom and have her come over to watch the kids. In the meantime, Jillian can…”

Mac shook his foggy head, halting her. “No, I’m okay to drive,” he said, trying to breathe normally.

“But babe,” she began to protest, fear glassing over her eyes.

“I’ll text you as soon as I get there,” he promised, “and then call you just as soon as they tell me what the hell’s going on.”

Jen’s eyes filled. “Oh Mac…”

He shot her a smile, at least he tried to, before rushing out of the house and hyperventilating all the way to the hospital.

I’m here, Mac texted Jen before shutting off the ringer on his phone.

The scowling intake nurse brought him right in at the mention of “chest pains.” Within minutes, the E.R. staff went to work like a well-choreographed NASCAR pit crew, simultaneously drawing blood while wiring his torso to a portable EKG machine.

As quickly as the team had responded, they filed out of the curtained room. A young nurse, yanking the sticky discs from Mac’s chest, feigned a smile. “Try to relax, Mr. Anderson. It may take a little bit before the doctor receives all of your test results.”

For what seemed like forever, Mac sat motionless on the hospital gurney, a white curtain drawn around him. I hope it isn’t my heart, he thought, the kids are still so young and they need…

“Who do we have in number four?” a female voice asked just outside of Mac’s alcove.

Mac froze to listen in.

“Some guy who came in complaining of chest pains,” another voice answered at a strained whisper. “Test results show nothing. Just another anxiety attack.”

No way, Mac thought, not knowing whether he should feel insulted or relieved.

“Like we have time to deal with that crap,” the first voice said. “Can you imagine if men had to give birth?”

Both ladies laughed.

No friggin’ way, Mac thought before picturing his wife’s frightened face. She must be worried sick. But I can’t call her without talking to the doctor. She’d…

The curtain snapped open, revealing a young man in a white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around his neck.

This kid can’t be a doctor, Mac thought, the world suddenly feeling like it had been turned upside down.

“Your heart is fine, Mr. Anderson,” the doctor quickly reported, his eyes on his clipboard. “I’m fairly certain you suffered a panic attack.” He looked up and grinned, but even his smile was rushed. “Sometimes the symptoms can mirror serious physical ailments.”

Mac was confused, almost disappointed. So, what I experienced wasn’t serious? he asked in his head.

The young man scribbled something onto a small square pad, tore off the top sheet and handed it to Mac. “This’ll make you feel better,” he said, prescribing a sedative that promised to render Mac more useless than the alleged attack.

“Ummm…okay,” Mac said, his face burning red.

The doctor nodded. “Stress is the number one cause of these symptoms,” he concluded. “Do you have someone you can talk to?”

Mac returned the nod, thinking, I need to get the hell out of here. Although he appreciated the concern, he was mired in a state of disbelief. I’m a master of the corporate rat race, he thought, unable to accept the medicine man’s spiel. If anyone knows how to survive stress, it’s me.

“That’s great,” the doctor said, vanishing as quickly as he’d appeared.

My problem is physical, Mac confirmed in his head, it has to be. He finished tying his shoes.

Pulling back the curtain, he was met by the stare of several female nurses. He quickly applied his false mask of strength and smiled. A panic attack, he repeated to himself. When put into words, the possibility was chilling.

The nurses smiled back, each one of them wearing the same judgmental smirk.

With his jacket tucked under his arm, Mac started down the hallway. Sure, he thought, I have plenty of people I can talk to. He pulled open the door that led back into the crowded waiting room. That is, if I actually thought it was anxiety.

Mac sat in the parking lot for a few long minutes, attempting to process the strange events of the last several days. Although he felt physically tired, there weren’t any symptoms or residual effects of the awful episodes he’d experienced—not a trace of the paralyzing terror I felt. And they just came out of the blue. He shook his head. How can it not be physical? He thought about the current state of his life. Work is work, it’s always going to come with a level of stress, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. He shook his head again. I just don’t get it. He grabbed his cell phone and called Jen. “Hi, it’s me.”

“Are you okay?” she asked, the worry in her voice making him feel worse.

“I’m fine, babe.”

“Fine?” she said, confused. “What did the doctor say?”

“He said it’s not my heart.”

“Oh, thank God.”

Her reaction—although completely understandable—struck him funny, making him feel like the boy who cried wolf.

“So what is it then?” she asked.

He hesitated, feeling oddly embarrassed to share the unbelievable diagnosis.

“Mac?”

“The doctor thinks it was a…a panic attack.”

This time, she paused. “A panic attack?” she repeated, clearly searching for more words. Then, as a born problem solver, she initiated her usual barrage of questions. “Did they give you something for it? Is there any follow up?”

“Yes, and maybe.”

“What does that mean?”

“He gave me pills that I’d rather not take if I don’t need to. And he suggested I go talk to someone.”

“Talk to someone? You mean like a therapist?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.”

“Oh,” she said, obviously taken aback. “Then that’s exactly what you should do.”

“I don’t know…”

“Is there something bothering you I don’t know about, Mac,” she asked, “because you can talk to me, too, you know.”

“I know, babe. But there’s nothing bothering me, honest.” He took a deep breath. “For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the anxiety attack diagnosis.”

“Well, whatever you were feeling this morning was real enough, right? I could see it in your face. It wouldn’t hurt anything for you to go talk to someone.” She still sounded scared and he hated it.

“Maybe not,” he replied, appeasing her. In the back of his head, though, he was already contemplating how much he should continue to share with her—or protect her from. “I need to get to work,” he said.

“Why don’t you just take the day off and relax?” she suggested.

Here we go, he thought. “I wish I could, babe,” he said, “but we have way too much going on at the office right now.”

“And maybe that’s part of your problem,” she said.

“I’ll be fine, Jen,” he promised. “We’ll talk when I get home, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Love you,” he said.

“And I love you,” she said in a tone intended for him to remember it.

***

Excerpt from Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester. Copyright © 2018 by Steven Manchester. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, the national bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Connect with Steven at: stevenmanchester.com | Twitter – @AuthorSteveM | Facebook – @AuthorStevenManchester

 

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Jun 282018
 

PREORDAINED by David L. Wallace
Genre: Paranormal Crime Thriller
Published by: David L Wallace
Publication Date: April 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 346
ISBN: 0997225726 (ISBN13: 9780997225723)
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 3

Synopsis

Art Somers is a detective in close-knit Murrell’s Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. A serial killer has shattered his peaceful existence by abducting multiple twelve-year-old boys within his county. Young thugs, backwater drug dealers and the occasional murderer are the most Art’s had to deal with, but now he must apprehend a predator who FBI profilers can’t find.

He discovers he has a tie by blood to the case and uncovers evidence that calls into question his long held spiritual and supernatural beliefs. Abraham, the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God. Art must now make a choice – sacrifice his soul to save his son.

“A riveting and intriguing read.” – Clarion Review

“Original and engaging.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“A gripping detective story.” – Kirkus Reviews

Ann’s Thoughts

Excellent story which badly needed editing correctly. However, that said, if you can get over this it is a compulsive read.

Art has a difficult job trying to solve these murders. How many young boys will be victims before the killer is discovered?
What about the paranormal visions Art experiences? How will he cope? To make matters worse Art has a 12 year old son who could possibly be the next victim. Art’s girl friend Angela helps him but this is not easy as she believes in the supernatural while Art doesn’t.

This has a lot of potential to be a great story if more attention to detail and editing were applied. I would have liked to give five stars but unfortunately in all honesty, it has to be three.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

Ann received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for her honest review.