Friday, June 28, 2019

Review: Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a true story about a team of modern day explorers who find a lost civilization in Honduras.  The story begins with a history of other explorers who heard the stories and went off to Honduras in search of the White City.  No one ever finds anything of substance.  The author's team, which consisted of Honduran soldiers, archaeologists, doctors, writers, and scientists, use LIDAR (pulsed light that measures reflections) to find areas in Mosquitia that might have once been inhabited. They find many things, including etchings on rocks and a jaguar stone which was later excavated. 
Jaguar Stone
His team has so many perils to worry about such as disease, infection, looting of their discovery, and getting lost.  When Douglas returns back to the U.S., he and his whole team became deathly sick.  Most of them get treated in the nick of time.  
Doctors believe they became infected by sand flies with leishmania.  There are different kinds of leish.  The most severe form eats away your face. The disease doesn't get a lot of medical attention because it's not very common in America nor is particularly a money maker in the medical world.
The exploration team underwent several infusions until reaching remission.  Once sort of health, they head back to Honduras again!
My Review: Love all of Douglas Preston's work-he's an awesome writer especially when teamed up with Lee Childs.  This book is an incredible story, but at times, very academic and dense. Still loved it, but would only recommend it to people with an interest in archeology.  5/5 Stars


VBT Tours Presents: Section Roads by Mike Murphy




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Coming of Age / Mystery / Humor
Date Published: June 8, 2019
Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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When attorney Cullen Molloy attends his fortieth high school reunion, he doesn’t expect to be defending childhood friends against charges of murder… 

In a small town on the high plains of Eastern New Mexico, life and culture are shaped by the farm roads defining the 640-acre sections of land homesteaders claimed at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Cullen and Shelby Blaine explore first love along these section roads during the 1960’s, forging a life-long emotional bond.
  
      As junior high school band nerds, Cullen and Shelby fall under the protection of football player and loner, Buddy Boyd. During their sophomore year of high school, Buddy is charged with killing a classmate and is confined to a youth correctional facility. When he returns to town facing the prospect of imprisonment as an adult, Cullen becomes Buddy’s protector.


       The case haunts the three friends into adulthood, and it isn’t until their fortieth reunion, that they’re forced to revisit that horrible night. When a new killing takes place, Cullen, Shelby and Buddy find themselves reliving the nightmare.

  

         Murder is an easy thing to hide along old country section roads.




Advance Praise

“An ambitious, evocative small-town tale located somewhere between Peyton Place and The Last Picture Show.” –Kirkus Review

Read the Full Review



About the Author

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Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produces the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. They love baseball, fiction, cats and sailing. They split their time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona. Mike enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

VBT Presents: Kendall by Daphne Hargrow



Romantic Comedy, Chick-Lit
Date Published: May 15, 2018

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She doesn't have time for a relationship,

but maybe she could swing a one-night stand.

After all, he's just a stripper,

so no need to worry about the future... or a broken heart.



Kendall has it all: a soaring law career, a bank account filled with cash, and an apartment overlooking the Chicago River. Her life couldn’t get any better; at least that’s what she thinks before she hosts a bachelorette party for her younger cousin, Ruthie.

What starts out as a low-key soiree quickly turns into an evening of debauchery when two strippers show up unexpectedly. During their act, Kendall can’t keep her eyes off the dark and stoic Giovanni. Fueled by too many Moscow Mules and ignited by the male form, her suppressed desire smolders.

With the prodding of her older cousin Freya, Kendall pursues a one-night stand with Gio. But when she realizes she wants more, Kendall is forced to reexamine her priorities as well as her lifelong definition of success.


Kendall's story is the first installment of the five-book romantic comedy series THE LONELY SPINSTERS CLUB.





Daphne Hargrow is a romance writer, avid reader, and novice yogi. She has also published a few young adult novels under a different name. When Daphne is not writing, thinking about writing, or reading about writing, she watches YouTube conspiracy videos and dreams of the day when she, too, can join the ranks of the Illuminati.



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Monday, June 24, 2019

Review of Netflix's The Society


The Society is about a group of seniors who head off to for a school field trip, but never make it.  The bus driver brings them back to their high school in the middle of the night, and then the story begins.  The town is deserted.  No Internet.  No pets, except one.  No people.  However, there is a grocery store, water, and electricity.  Chaos begins and the class president rises among the crowd.  
The teens, like most of us, want to grab everything they can for survival.  The class president, armed with the football team for muscle, takes over the grocery store and food rations are enforced.  Because of the uncertainty of the electricity, multiple teens live under one roof to share the resources.  The discomfort creates resentment, and resentment leads to a murder, and murder leads to a new kind of justice.  I don't want to give the entire story away.
My Review: This is much more than a story, at least for the first season.  It's more like a lesson on how act when the SHTF.  In some respects, socialism seems to be the only solution in keeping this new society from self-destruction.  I loved the story, loved the kids, and can't wait for the next season.  I especially recommend this for teens, but believe people of all ages will appreciate it.
5/5 Stars

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

VBT: Eternal Wanderings by Danielle Ackley-McPhail


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Urban Fantasy / Celtic Fantasy
Date Published: April 1, 2019

Publisher: eSpec Books (Paper Phoenix Press imprint)


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Mortal. Immortal. Musician. Mage. 

On a journey from the boroughs of New York to the heart of Tir na nÓg, from innocence to the deepest darkest crevices of her soul, Kara O’Keefe found power and strength in the discovery of self. But with that peace came a hard truth. As a bridge connecting many worlds, none of them held a place for her.

She must find her own way, forge her own path.

To honor a vow to Granddame Rose, a matriarch of the Kalderaš Clan, Kara joins the Romani caravan, only to find herself even more of an outsider than before. While she strives for acceptance, and to honor her vow, little does she know she has once more become a lure to an ancient and deadly enemy, drawing danger into the midst of her unsuspecting hosts.

Once savior of the world, Kara must now save herself and the innocents around her.

She has come into her legacy, but where will destiny take her?

****

Based on the Eternal Cycle Series of Novels:

Yesterday's Dreams

Tomorrow's Memories

Today's Promise

****

Includes six bonus short stories.



About the Author

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Award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. In 2014 she joined forces with husband Mike McPhail and friend Greg Schauer to form her own publishing house, eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com).
Her published works include six novels, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court, The Redcaps’ Queen, and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo collections Eternal Wanderings, A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, Transcendence, Between Darkness and Light, and Eternal Wanderings, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Gaslight & Grimm, Side of Good/Side of Evil, After Punk, and In an Iron Cage. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

In addition to her literary acclaim, she crafts and sells original costume horns under the moniker The Hornie Lady, and homemade flavor-infused candied ginger under the brand of Ginger KICK! at literary conventions, on commission, and wholesale.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail and three extremely spoiled cats.

To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com or www.especbooks.


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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Movie Review: Rocket Man

Rocket Man is a loose biography about Elton John's early life and rise to stardom. The movie begins (and kind of ends) with Elton at an AA meeting. Instantly, the story picks up with his interest in the piano as a young boy.  Song by song, the audience watches him grow up and become a big star.  Like many rock stars, he has a strained relationship with his parents that gives him numerous insecurities despite his enormous talent.  Early in his career he meets a parasite who he falls in love with and gets hurt.  The fame and fortune lure him into sex, drugs, alcohol, and even bulimia.
Taron Egarton is amazing as Elton John, and I hope he gets recognized next year at the academy.  Some of the many things I loved about this movie are interesting musical numbers, vulnerability of the main character, and the happy ending. Spoiler Alert: Elton John is presently sober and has been sober for twenty-eight years!  His life went from a hazy rerun of self-indulgence to a meaningful family and even more fascinating career. The movie didn't go into his later years, for example the Lion King or Sir Elton John.  This is a rock-a-mentary that shows how circles of dysfunction can be broken. The movie also focuses on Elton's longest friendship, co-writer Bernie Taupin. I recommend this movie to all music lovers, but caution parents in taking younger children.  There are some semi-racy gay sex scenes and drug use.  BTW-My fave Elton John songs are probably The Border Song, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, and Yellow Brick Road.  What are yours?  5/5 Stars


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

VBT Presents: So Fight I by Daniel Gibbs




(Echoes of War Book 3)
Military Science Fiction

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Colonel David Cohen risks everything in an all-or-nothing battle to turn the tide of galactic war.

Coalition intelligence has discovered the League’s center of gravity—a deep space logistics base that supplies the enemy's entire war effort. The CDF assembles its largest fleet ever for a decisive attack. For the first time since the war began, the Terran Coalition and their Saurian allies have the means to drive the League from their home turf.

Until they dive head first into the League of Sol buzz saw.

The fleet is forced to retreat after a disastrous engagement to assess their wounds and honor the dead. As the names are read and prayers recited, David can no longer avoid the ultimate question in the face of triumphant evil—why?

However, his internal battle must take a backseat to a war that waits for no one. The crew of the warship Lion of Judah develop a risky plan in a last-ditch offensive to take out the League station.

Or die trying.

In the battle between good and evil, is victory at all costs worth the price?

Previous Books in the Series

(Echoes of War, Book 1)


Corporal David Cohen thought he’d left war behind.

He was wrong.

The Terran Coalition faces repeated and brutal attacks from the repressive League of Sol. To defend his home planet, David trades his dream of becoming a rabbi for a battlefront in the far reaches of space. When particle beams fly, his courage under fire brings quick promotion. But in the lulls between battles when he must confront his soul, David finds a different enemy: the ghosts of those killed under his command.

Yet in war, it’s kill or be killed—and the enemy shows no mercy.

David must square the tenets of his faith against his responsibility to crew and country. If he fails in his command, billions face enslavement by a ruthless regime. Now it’s an all-out fight for the galaxy’s freedom.

Because a man’s greatest foe lies within.

If you love Babylon 5, Safehold, and Destroyermen, you must read Echoes of War, a military sci-fi series that will take you to the heart of duty, sacrifice, and the unseen scars of those who serve.






(Echoes of War, Book 2)


David has won the battle – but the war is far from over.

Colonel David Cohen has one goal: drive out the League of Sol. After a string of successful engagements, the warship Lion of Judah is ordered on a goodwill mission to assist neutral border planets long caught between sides of the galactic conflict.

What David finds on Monrovia sends shockwaves of horror through the Terran Coalition.

Monrovian citizens of all faiths are being rounded up and sent to reeducation camps, while others are being exterminated to cleanse the population as the planet seeks to join the communist League. Mass graves of thousands of exterminated men, women and children dot the landscape.

David vows to use whatever means necessary to stop the holocaust.

To face down the overwhelming brutality of the League, David will need more than the prayers of the faithful.

He’ll need a miracle.





About the Author

Daniel Gibbs is the creator of the Echoes of War universe. An idea that was born nearly twenty years ago, has finally come alive. A former computer engineer, Daniel loves all forms of science-fiction. His first novel was recently released to Amazon, and he is hard at work on the next five novels in the beginning EOW series. With mountains of ideas and notes for additional novels, Daniel will be busy for years to come bringing his universe to life!

With many years of experience supporting the military as an IT engineer, Daniel hopes to bring an authentic lens to military science fiction, especially around the tribulations and trials of those who serve.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

VBT: Torn in Two by Vincent Morrone



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Book 2 in a three part series.
Suspense/Romance
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Date Published: 05/13/19

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In small towns, secrets are like bodies. People kill to keep them buried.


Detective Ollie Miller has a new partner. A man once framed for murder, who's now haunted by dark secrets. When the remains of five corpses are discovered, Detective Miller realizes there is a monster among them.

The woman he loves, Ashley Duncan hides her past. Abused by her sadistic, alcoholic father, Ollie will need to show her a man's touch can heal her tortured soul.

But can he protect Cole Duncan, a traumatized child who will once again come face to face with a killer? Because in a small town, a monster called Jericho watches them all.


Book 1 in the Series


Drew Duncan swore he’d never go back to Ember Falls again. After he was wrongfully charged with his high school girlfriend’s murder, he waited for a trial that never came. When he was released from jail a year later, he left everything behind. But when his sister is murdered, Drew is forced to return to the hometown where he and his sisters were brutalized by their alcoholic father.

Once back, not even his training as a Marine and point man for McAlister Security prepares Drew for what he must face--a surviving sister who refuses to forgive him for abandoning her, a nephew who trembles when he enters the room, and an entire town that thinks he got away with murder. To protect his nephew, Drew will face his most terrifying fear. Going home.





About the Author

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Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs. Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.

As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say? Vincent would love to hear from you at Vincent@vincentmorrone.com


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The Bifurcation of Dungsten Crease

    Science Fiction Date Published: March 15, 2021 Publisher: Del Sol Press In the course of a morning, Dungsten Crease resurrec...