Archive for February, 2018

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This is my own version of a weekly book haul and all things new on fuonlyknew.

I’m also linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly @Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Sunday Post

Some chit chat.

It’s been a gorgeous week as far as the weather. Temps in the 70s and finally some sun peeking through. Makes me all excited to start digging in the dirt. LOL

You might remember me posting about green stuff on December 31st. This plant is glorious!

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And after the freeze on January 7th.

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Look here. It’s coming back and I can only hope it’s even bigger this year!

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 My banana tress are looking quite sad. But, once the spring weather is here to stay, you’ll say big changes.

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I’ll keep you updated as I get to work on them and show how they progress.

Other than that, just reading more and watching the telly. Plus, starting on the dreaded spring cleaning.

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My new books this week.

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And here are some FREEBIES for ya. Click on the covers to get your copies. Remember to make sure they’re still free before you hit that buy button.

Legend of the Jade Dragon (Chintz 'n China Series Book 2) by [Galenorn, Yasmine]  Halo of the Damned by [Rae, Dina, Rae, Dina]  The Survivors Book I: Summer by [Dreyer, V. L. ]

The Picture Frame: An Occult Horror Novel by [Wright, Iain Rob]  Paranormal Case Nine by [Montalvo, Califia]  Bone Dust and Beginnings (Alexa's Travels Book 1) by [White, Angela]

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This weeks reviews. Click on the covers to view them.

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Other posts on my blog this week.

Romance Is In The Air ~ Liz Isaacson ~ Showcase and Giveaway

Visionary X Starlight ~ Valentine’s Day ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

Curiouser and Curiouser by Melanie Karsak ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

Romance Is In The Air ~ Taylor Hart ~ Showcase and Giveaway

The Dream Waters Series by Erin A. Jensen ~ Spotlight and Giveaway

Romance Is In The Air ~ Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Poisonous Dream by Yumoyori Wilson ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

Romance Is In The Air ~ Stacy Claflin ~ Showcase and Giveaway

A Paranormal Thriller ~ Death Theory by John D. Mimms ~ Review and Giveaway

Romance Is In The Air ~ Nichole Van ~ Showcase and Giveaway

The Poison Of Woedenwoud by K. Ferrin ~ Blitz and Giveaway

Freakin Fridays #64 ~ Predatory Animals

A Life Of Shadows by Kristen Banet ~ Giveaway Blitz

A Girl Called Monster ~ Spotlight and Giveaway

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Leave your link and I’ll come visit you.

Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE.

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A Girl Called Monster
by Paige Lavoie
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
 
Where she came from there were no windows. The sounds of buzzing
equipment and the doctor’s shouting rang through her ears daily. It was too
uncomfortable to call home and too familiar not to be. Like it or
not, she was an experiment.
Filled with childlike wonder and innocence, she took pleasure in
stories, imagining what it would be like to live in those pages.
A longing growing deep inside her.
She knew she’d never have that life… Not in the lab. Not with
them studying her every move. So she decided to do something terrifying.
 
 
 
 
Paige Lavoie is a writer, comic artist and self-proclaimed queen of silly
faces, with a passion for bring her characters to life with the power
of storytelling (including the undead ones) Paige spends her days
hiding underneath a parasol in sunny Orlando FL. and frolicking
through bustling convention centers, theme parks and farmers markets
with her husband and their fluffy dog named Oliver.

 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE



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A Life Of Shadows
Kristen Banet
(The Redemption Saga, #1)
Publication date: February 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Supernatural, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

Sawyer Matthews knows how to put one foot in front of the other, to keep moving while the nightmares haunt her, and her own failures taunt her. She’s become a master at doing awful things with good intentions, terrible things for the sake of those who need her. She’s long given up on being the hero, trying to find peace in no longer being the villain.

When her past comes back and she finds herself caught by the International Magi Police Organization, she’ll have to revisit her own personal hells and finally confront the very monster that made her what she is. The very monster that has already killed her once before.

Will the “dead” Magi assassin Shadow finally come out of the dark to begin a fight for a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves? Or will her nightmares drag her back into the shadows that have defined her life?

*This is an Urban Fantasy reverse harem series of full length novels where the leading lady doesn’t have to choose from her romantic interests. This series will have M/M content.
These books are rated for mature audiences, 18+ due to violence, language, and sexual themes.
This series deals with several triggering topics including, but not limited to, suicide, child abuse, rape, and PTSD.*

Goodreads / Amazon

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Author Kristen Banet

Kristen Banet has a Diet Coke problem and smokes too much. She curses like a sailor (though, she used to be one, so she uses that as an excuse) and finds that many people don’t know how to handle that. She loves to read, and before finally sitting to try her hand at writing, she had your normal kind of work history. From tattoo parlors, to the U.S. Navy, and freelance illustration, she’s stumbled through her adult years and somehow, is still kicking.
She loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections—trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.
She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.

Check out her social media to catch what’s going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.

Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Goodreads

 

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

Welcome to Freakin Fridays, where I share my reviews of books that scare you, thrill you, and get those endorphins pumping.

Today’s book has so much going on. Can’t wait to share!

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Predatory Animals

by Gabriel Beyers

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Genre:  Horror / Paranormal

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My Review

After reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. A near death experience and psychic connection to three mysterious dogs. A haunted forest where strange things stir. Disappearing people. And something evil in the mix. Right up my alley.

The mystery and magic behind the three dogs was probably my favorite part. When Casper Brown nearly drowns, he suddenly has a psychic connection to three dogs that mysteriously happen to follow each of his three children home on the same day. How strange! And these dogs are smart. They can do all kinds of things a dog shouldn’t be able to.

It’s simple for Casper to be curious about the recent disappearances. His life is already strange and he’s formed a bond with the two men who rescued him, one being a police officer. Not wanting to go into a lot of details, I’ll just say the two guys made this story even more entertaining.

And what’s a good horror story without some villains. This has some character’s you’ll love to hate. The Pummel family is the town’s staunchest benefactors and their large cat sanctuary is very popular, but they have some secrets. When Casper and his two friends threaten their nefarious endeavors,they show their true colors.

I want to talk about the cover art for this story too. The vibrant colors and shadowy figures are spectacular. Once you read this book, you”ll see how much the picture tells the story.

I could go on and on. What’s with the weird stand of pine trees and the strange noises heard there? And just who or what is Uriah? So many questions and so much nerve wracking suspense and action. There are so many things I wish I could share. You are in for some scary and amazing surprises in the town of Shadeland.

4 Stars

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Synopsis

IN THE TOWN OF SHADELAND, PEOPLE ARE VANISHING.

After suffering a near-death accident, Casper Brown awakens with a strange new connection to three stray dogs recently adopted by his family. Casper’s nights are filled with dreams of the dogs’ activities; at times he can even see through their eyes. And what he witnesses has him worried for his family’s safety.

AN ENIGMATIC EVIL IS HIDING, WAITING TO STRIKE.

The Pummels are the most beloved family in town. Though their wealth, philanthropy, and charisma form a cloud of mystery about them, their work with the town’s exotic cat rescue center has captured the heart of the people. But the Pummels are guarding a secret. One they will kill to keep quiet.

ITS HUNGER IS INSATIABLE.

Shadeland is a town of shadows, where hunters hide in plain sight and prey scurry about unaware. But a new predator has been unleashed. One unlike any this world has seen.

ITS SURVIVAL IS OUR DOOM.

Amazon / B&N

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This counts towards my They Call It Puppy Love Challenge.

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

For a list of free eBooks go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

 

The Poison of Woedenwoud
K. Ferrin
(Magicfall, #3)
Publication date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Magic is draining from the world threatening everything, the tatters of her own family, the warlocks, and the Mari alike. Ling and her companions search desperately for the key to ending it all, but warlocks dog their every step. Meanwhile, Ling, isolated and afraid, struggles against a rising tide of darkness far more threatening than anything in the Darkling Sea.

Goodreads / Amazon

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Enjoy this glimpse inside:

Ling slammed the book closed and tossed it to the bed next to her before moving across the room and staring down at the woman lying there. Ling could remember nothing of her, of what they’d been through together, of ever having met her. But there were pages and pages of writing in the grimoire detailing all of it. There was more of Fern in those pages than anyone else. They had become allies and friends as they’d made their way through the vagaries of this never-ending war. Ling marveled at that even now. She’d been so certain she’d never have such a relationship again, but the abuse she’d experienced because of what she was had stopped at the borders of Brielle. Even Fariss didn’t hate her for what she was, though his desire to destroy her was no less.

Ling ran a finger lightly along Fern’s blue-scaled cheek. Warm, dry, a hint of roughness beneath her finger. She needed to talk to someone about what she’d read, what she’d been through, the hate and anger she was feeling. She wished fiercely that Rudy were here with her. Or, more accurately, that he had stuck by her side as she would have done for him. But he’d said nothing and done nothing as Laera had tried to kill her. His face had been twisted with anguish, but what good did that do her? He’d done nothing, lifted not even a finger to help her. She wanted to punish him too.

Perhaps Fern was the only friend she had anymore, but she didn’t feel like a friend. Ling dropped to her knees and rested her head beside Fern’s ravaged shoulder. She tried to dredge up something, some memory of their time together, some feeling for the woman lying on the bed in front of her, but there was nothing.

Of the others, she barely knew Dreskin, and even if that hadn’t been true, he’d brought Celene aboard this ship. Celene, the mother of the man who’d raped her. Her daughter Amalya too, a girl who was physically close to Ling’s own age, but mentally still a child.

Dreskin had been there; he had yanked Fraser off her and had dragged him up to see the captain. He knew what sort of man Fraser was, and had brought that woman aboard anyway. He was no friend of hers.

Captain Drake had helped her, and continued to help her, but she’d also allowed Ling to walk out into Marique with Fariss. Drake had known what Fariss was capable of, but had said nothing to stop Ling from leaving with him. Ally she might be, but she was hardly reliable.

And not one of them understood what it was like to be cut so perfectly adrift from everything you knew and from everything you were. Only Fern knew what it was like to be so different, so hated for that difference, and so completely alone. Ling was the only changeling in the world who thought and felt and looked so completely human. Fern was one of the last two Mari in the world, and may actually be the last if Alyssum had succumbed to her injuries. She and Fern were the only ones in all the world that completely alone.

Ling reached out and wrapped her fingers around Fern’s hand. She didn’t remember anything about this woman, but she did feel a kinship with her nevertheless. An odd sort of one, based entirely on words she didn’t remember writing in a book she never remembered seeing before, but it was there.

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Author K. Ferrin

K. Ferrin spends her days surrounded by engineers, technology, and humming machinery, but her evenings are steeped in magic, myth, and adventure. She writes fantasy, loves gardening, and eats way too much pie. She lives at the foot of the Colorado Rockies with her husband and two pooches.

Her novels include the stand alone YA fantasy novel Magicless, as well as Across the Darkling Sea, and A Dying Land, the first two books of a series. You can find her online at www.kferrin.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

 

Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van

An ancient curse, fractured at the birth of three brothers.
Two strangers helplessly drawn to each other.
A love story two hundred years in the making.

Claire Raythorn arrives in Florence, Italy, shattered, alone, and anxious to rebuild her life—preferably one without men. But she soon finds herself hunted and haunted— literally—when a mysterious stalker dressed like Mr. Darcy from BBC central casting appears in her photos. And only her photos. Who is this man? And what does his ghostly presence mean?

Dante D’Angelo simply wants to safeguard his brothers, despite the family curse that hounds his vision. But then Claire Raythorn walks into his life, untouched somehow by his curse. Soon, everything Dante thought he knew about himself starts to unravel, dragging Claire down with him.

Set against the lush backdrop of Florence, Italy—both past and present—Claire and Dante fight for a future together. But, first, they must uncover their shared past . . .

The thing I like about Van’s writing is that she builds up the love between hero and heroine in plausible increments. I think that’s why I always end up reading her novels in one sitting until the early morning hours; I know that in the NEXT scene the characters are going to finally realize their love. But then you get to the next scene and you simply want more and more. And I mean that in the best possible way.

 

 

I’ve always thought Italian cities are like guys I knew in college:

Rome—the hot frat boy I was dying to go out with (and I did, and it was awesome). But, turns out, everyone dated Rome.

Naples—Rome’s frat house roommate. The guy on no sleep and his tenth can of Red Bull. No one messed with him cause he knew people who knew people . . . catch my drift . . .

Venice—the dreamily gorgeous philosophy major. Brilliantly eccentric but exotic enough that no one quite knew what to make of him.

Milan—the second-year MBA student who was big on power-ties and power-lunches. Basically, the organized guy who held everyone else together.

And then there was Florence.

Firenze, to those who knew him.

Quiet and unassuming. When we first met, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

But Firenze . . . he was a subtle seducer. If I asked, he could talk for hours about art and history. But, generally, Firenze simply listened. Peaceful. Steady. Ready to shoulder my sorrows.

Firenze is the guy I never got out of my system.

I hit the ground floor and took two steps toward the large wooden front door.

How would the next few weeks play out? Like being a contestant on Survivor? The Great Race?

A male voice stopped me. “Just the person I was waiting for.”

I closed my eyes.

Nope. Things were shaping up to be The Bachelorette.

Honestly.

Pasting on my polite grin, which truthfully was more of a grimace by this point, I turned around.

“Mr. D’Angelo.”

“Dante, please.” He stepped out of the shadows at the base of the stairs. A window in the stairwell illuminated half of him. Even that half was huge.

Whereas I looked down on Pierce and was eye-level with the Colonel, I had to look up, up at Dante. At five ten myself, it takes a lot to make me feel short. But he somehow managed it. He had to be at least six four and linebacker-wide. Did he play football in high school?

His dark, wavy hair had been smoothly slicked back when he arrived earlier. But I had watched it creep forward as the morning went along until a section of it came loose, swinging down to kiss his jaw. My fingers itched to brush it back.

Dante was the type of man I had always had a sweet tooth for. Until I learned, oh-so-painfully, how bad for my health they could be.

 

 

Love’s Shadow by Nichole Van

Branwell D’Angelo . . .
Six years ago, I fell in love with Lucy—my brother’s girlfriend. Stupid of me, I know, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to reason.
Six years, I’ve lived on the sidelines. Seeing him love her, be with her, bask in her sunshine . . .
I watched her break his heart and then cleaned up the shattered pieces of him she left behind.
She’s the one woman I can’t have but still the only one my soul wants.
Now she’s back in our lives and needs the unique help only us D’Angelos can give.
He’s not emotionally strong enough to face her. So he’s sending me instead . . .

When tragedy strikes Lucy Snow on a visit to Italy, she can’t bring herself to call any of the D’Angelo brothers for help. There are consequences for falling in love with your ex-boyfriend’s brother. But Lucy desperately needs Branwell’s paranormal skills and his gift of Sight. And if seeing him will negate at least three years of therapy? Well, it’s a price she is willing to pay.

Thrown together in a desperate bid to save an innocent life, Branwell and Lucy struggle against their shared past, only to realize that something even more dangerous is reaching through the weight of time to stalk their every move . . .

 

Oh. My. Gosh! The feels! The feels are real my fellow bookworms! My emotions were all over the place while reading this book! I laughed, I yelled, I got teary eyed, I growled in frustration, I let out little dreamy sighs and fell in love right along with Branwell and Lucy. I can’t even begin to describe the amazingness of this book! One of my favorite parts of this book are the sour “punny” bears! *giggles* Oh! I can’t forget about that epilogue! Love… love… LOVE! And talk about swoony! *dreamy sigh* I had the hardest time putting this book down! I have discovered a love/hate relationship with real life. Haha.

 

 

“Wait, wait. Don’t move,” a woman’s voice said.

I froze, fork hovered over a particularly decadent piece of strawberry laden gooey-ness.

I lifted my head and encountered the most amazing eyes. Blue-green and wide-set. The smell of lemon-verbena and sunshine drifted over me. That fiery red hair tumbled around the gentle curve of her jaw. Window-light sculpted the arch of her rosebud lips.

Freckles. Freckles everywhere. Stars dotting her skin.

She was . . . stunning. Magnificent. Breathtaking in an unconventional way.

Maybe it was the jet lag, or the sugar and caffeine hitting my system in a knockout one-two punch.

But . . . it jolted me hard. That bolt of lightning.

This girl . . . woman . . .

Something about her tugged at me. A siren call of wedding bells and growing old hand-in-hand.

Then I noticed her t-shirt—The Empurr Strikes Back scrawled underneath Star Wars-themed, anime kittens.

Yep. That sealed the deal.

I was going to fall in love with her. So hard. So fast.

“So what’s your brand of crazy?” she asked.

After a pause, I went with, “I won’t eat anything green unless it’s a vegetable.”

She cocked her head, processing.

A beat.

“Green M&M’s? Skittles? Gummy bears?” she asked.

“Nope. Leave ‘em all in the bag.”

“Green frosting? Sprinkles? Mold?”

“Nope. Nada. And please, no.”

“So why no green?” she asked, genuine, sincere.

I pondered options and then went with, “Non-vegetal green things are the charlatans of the food world.”

“That’s about the best sentence I’ve heard all week.” She gave that giggly, wispy laugh of hers. “What about avocados? I mean, they act like a vegetable, but they’re really a fruit.”

“Masquerading vegetables get a pass. So do herbs.”

“What about kiwi?”

“The jury is still out on kiwi. They’re something of a Franken-fruit, to be honest . . . all that fuzzy hair and the tiny, crunchy seeds.”

She laughed again. “Please tell me you have no Irish heritage. You would destroy any St. Patty’s Day celebration.”

“None.” I smiled, shaking my head. “Though, I did have an Irish roommate once. He thought I was, and I quote, ‘A wee bit mad.’”

 

 

Lightning Struck by Nichole Van

Chiara doesn’t like Jack. Jack doesn’t like Chiara.
The story should end there.
Except . . . maybe Chiara finds herself daydreaming far too often about Jack. And maybe Jack finds Chiara aggravating in an adorable sorta way.
Maybe Jack and Chiara find themselves falling in love.
The problem, of course, remains.
Jack is a ghost.
And Chiara is not.

Jack Knight-Snow has had a bad year for losing things. So far he has lost a ship full of ancient treasure, his family, his friends, his title, his lands and money, his fiancé, the century into which he was born . . . oh, and his physical body. Worse, feisty Chiara D’Angelo might just finish the job and make him lose his mind.

For her part, Chiara simply wants to help Jack get his body back and move on with his life. She doesn’t want to like his snarky humor or his gorgeous eyes or the way he accepts her exactly as she is. She’s a hot mess when it comes to romantic relationships. Case in point . . . she’s developing feelings for a ghost.

But tackling the problem of Jack’s ghostliness is not straightforward. Soon, Jack and Chiara find themselves embroiled in a mystery which creates more questions about the D’Angelo brothers’ gifts of Second Sight. Set against the backdrop of Tuscany, Italy, Jack and Chiara race to uncover answers about the past before becoming history themselves.

 

Nichole Van has hit paydirt yet again with this latest Brothers Maledetti book! Chiara’s story has swoonworthy romance that is 100% clean, as well as laugh out loud humor and superb storytelling to make up this amazing, unputdownable book! Although you don’t have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I’d highly recommend reading them to get further backstory on the D’Angelo family and their talents. Nichole Van is one of the few authors on my “instant-buy” list and this latest installment is another reminder why. Five stars just don’t seem enough.

“Jack, we’re all concerned about you,” I said the words carefully, keeping my tone flat and not screechy like I felt. “We’ve been concentrating on trying to find answers for your ghost-like state, but I think the constant focus is hurting more than it’s helping. It’s like picking at a scab over and over, never allowing it to heal. Maybe it’s time to take a step back from our research.”

Jack paused, giving me his best Regency-era, Lord Knight stare.

I had a love/hate relationship with that stare—I hated that I kinda loved it. It was snooty with an edge of dry sardonic humor, and it challenged every womanly impulse in my body to kiss it off his face.

Not that I would do that, of course, even if it were possible. But the urge was there.

“Would you prefer me to continue my exploration of modern names?” he asked.

I bit my lip, unsure how to reply. It was a decent threat.

Jack had gone through this whole phase where he mocked contemporary celebrity names.

Example: Brittany Spears.

It had been days of, ‘Pardon Siri, but who are the Spears of Brittany?’ and ‘Are Brittany Spears similar to Celtic weaponry from northern France?’

“I have yet to understand why Ryan cares so much about goslings,” Jack continued. “Does he have a fetish for young poultry?”

See?!

Honestly.

 

 

Author Nichole Van

Nichole Van is a writer, photographer, designer and generally disorganized crazy person. Though originally from Utah, she currently lives on the coast of Scotland with three similarly crazy children and one sane, very patient husband who puts up with all of them. In her free time, she enjoys long walks along the Scottish lochs and braes. She does not, however, enjoy haggis.

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/9/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

Death Theory by John D. Mimms Tour Banner

Death Theory

by John D. Mimms

On Tour February 1st thru Match 31st.

36675410

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal
Published by: Draft 2 Digital
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781537849713

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My Review

After losing his parents. Jeff Granger is in search of answers. Did they continue to exist after death? He must know. Having no luck after trying several different paranormal investigation groups, he decides to start his own. The applicants are a strange lot, but beggars can’t be choosers. And soon his need for answers has him tempted to push beyond what is moral.

Mysterious and forbidding events shadow Jeff’s investigations. Whether human or something else, he can’t stop. This is something I look for in a paranormal mystery, the sharing of the unknowing with the characters.

The further you read, the darker it gets. Something else I need in a good paranormal thriller and my need for some boo was met. The author slowly built the atmosphere, keeping me on edge.  And while the story didn’t scare me, it did give me some thrills.

I also need believable characters. I don’t have to love them. I don’t mind if I hate them. I just need them to  have all the flaws a real person would have. I sure got some doozies with Death Theory. Shouldn’t be surprised as, with people investigating the paranormal, you get all types. When things started going sideways, I had some good suspects if it turned out the mayhem came from a human source.

The idea of some kind of life after death has always intrigued me. It would be nice to know we don’t just stop being. That’s what first drew me to this book and there were some interesting approaches to getting answers.

I did enjoy Death Theory and will be reading more of what the author has to offer.

4 Stars

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Synopsis

Mankind’s greatest fear is also its greatest obsession. What awaits when we shuffle off the mortal coil of this world? We all have our beliefs based on faith or science, but both struggle to provide a tangible answer. Perhaps it is possible to prove the existence of the soul, to prove it goes on after death. Following the violent death of his parents, Jeff Granger seeks reassurance that they have moved on. After recording what he believes to be his mother’s voice at the site of the accident, Jeff’s obsession throws him into paranormal research. Realizing that most people are doing it just for fun, Jeff forms his own group. He is joined by Debbie Gillerson, a school teacher; Aaron Presley, a mortician; and Michael Pacheco, a grocery store manager. Even though they are all investigating the paranormal for very different reasons, they are all trying to fill an emptiness in their lives. The deeper they probe paranormal theory, the darker their results. The only way to truly test the ‘Death Theory’, as theorized by Aaron, is to monitor a person’s energy at the moment of death. Horrified by the immoral and unethical application, the group dismisses the theory. A darkness seems to follow their investigations and the police become involved. A former colleague of Jeff’s, a self-proclaimed demonologist, believes a demonic force is attached to the group. The police are not so sure. Evil comes in many forms as the small group is about to discover.

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

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Excerpt

Death is the closest thing to omnipotence we will experience in our brief time on this planet. It is an all-encompassing power, binding everything, and providing a cold certainty to an otherwise uncertain existence. The firm grip of this assurance reaches much further than the extinguishment of life; it greedily claims the hope and happiness of those who remain. It is a definite ending, but is it also a provable beginning?

Prologue

Linda Granger did not see death coming.

Sleep shielded her from the unfolding horror. The looming headlights and the panicked screams of her husband were beyond her conscious state. When her head shattered the windshield, the dream about her son ended, sending her into what’s next. Linda was gone before the car rolled seven times and wrapped around a large oak tree. Her husband, Stephen, was not as fortunate. He died two minutes later. Linda had fallen asleep from emotional exhaustion. She died with regrets.

Chapter 1

Jeff’s sheets were drenched in sweat. He strained to hear because he wanted to continue the conversation he had been having. The bass drum of his pulse throbbed in his ears, making hearing impossible. He sat up and glanced about frantically. Where had she gone?

As sleep gave way to the waking world, dread filled him. He remembered the terrible truth. These muddled conversations with his mother had become nightly occurrences since his parents’ accident. The last words he shared with his mother were over the phone, and they were harsh. The next time he picked up the phone, mere hours later, it was the Missouri State Police asking him to come to the hospital. It has been over a year since the terrible night, yet the pain had not gone away. In some ways, it grew worse.

Jeff rolled on his side as tears streamed down his cheeks. In his dream, he told his mother he loved her. He wondered if she could hear him. Somehow, he believed it might be possible. His grieving heart longed for a way to communicate with his late parents.

Jeff rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. It was impossible. He eventually got up and opened the blinds. It rained last night and a steamy mist shielded the street from view. This was the perfect morning to stay in bed and he almost did if not for two things. His sheets were soaked and he was excited about today. Even though he needed extra sleep, since he would be staying up all night, he just couldn’t hold back the excitement of investigating with his fourth paranormal group in as many months. Missouri Spirit Seekers claim to do purely scientific investigations, but the three previous groups he joined did as well. He hoped this time would be different.

They would be investigating Pythian Castle tonight, the most ‘haunted’ location in Springfield, not too far from Jeff’s alma mater, Missouri State. The castle was a very cool historical site, but to Jeff, it was another opportunity to find answers for life’s greatest mystery -death.

Although the investigation was still twelve hours away, nervous anticipation consumed him. He hoped this was not another séance based, sage burning, ghost hunt like most of the others. His previous groups were as far away from science as one could get.

Jeff brewed a pot of coffee and microwaved a bowl of instant oatmeal, before sitting down to watch his recording of the show which started him on the path to paranormal investigation. He viewed it often, but it had become a ritual to watch on the day of an investigation. If Jeff were counting, this would be his eighty-third time to watch.

The show starred two men, who were electricians by trade, investigating haunted places using the scientific method. They gathered measurable scientific evidence in their investigations. In this particular episode, they were investigating the catacombs underneath an old church in Baltimore.

What peaked Jeff’s interest were the Electronic Voice Phenomenon the men captured on their digital recorders. He wondered if EVP’s are actually the voices of the dead. The guys on the show didn’t commit one way or the other, they just presented the recordings.

“You up above,” a disembodied voice said.

“The way through,” another one whispered.

The most eerie utterance of them all said, “Come down here among us.”

Jeff’s reaction was the same every time he watched; chills intermingled with hope and fear ran up his spine.

Jeff reached into a box under the coffee table and retrieved his digital recorder. He held it in his hands as if it were an object of holy veneration. Jeff recorded his own EVP one night several months earlier at the scene of his parent’s accident. Short, incredible, and heart-breaking; his mother seemed to call his name from beyond. The EVP was still on his recorder, even though he had backed it up to a dozen sources. He would never delete it from any device. Never.

A loud thud rattled the blinds on the front door. Jeff jumped, almost dropping the recorder. His alarm lasted only a moment when he recognized the sound of the newspaper carrier’s rattle-trap station wagon puttering up the street. He peeled back the blinds in time to see the tail lights disappear into the mist. Jeff was still in his underwear with a gaping fly, but he figured his rural setting, coupled with the fog, would spare him any indecent exposure charges.

Jeff scooped up the paper, almost losing his balance on the wet concrete, and then backed through the door. He plopped down on the sofa and began to unfold the massive log of news. He was heading straight for the sports section when an article caught his eye. The title read:

Springfield … the Most Haunted City in Missouri?

The Kansas City Royals box scores could wait. Jeff dove right into the article. The ghosts of Phelps Grove Park, Bass Country Inn, Drury University, Landers Theater, Springfield National Cemetery, University Plaza Hotel, and Pythian Castle were all mentioned prominently by the author. Jeff had investigated Phelps Grove Park with one of his previous groups. One of the members claimed he saw the infamous spectral bride near the bridge, but Jeff had no such luck. He never had success when it came to firsthand experiences. Either everyone else is lying or perhaps Jeff is walking ghost repellent. He didn’t think they were lying, at least not everyone who made a paranormal claim. His recording of his mother was enough to keep faith in the paranormal.

He read the claims of Drury University with great interest. There were allegedly several ghosts, in a few buildings, which had taken residence there since the school’s founding in 1873. The saddest one was a little girl who died in a fire. Her phantom laughter could be heard from time to time in one of the women’s dorms.

Jeff enjoyed a good ghost story since he was a kid, but these were more than merely a
spectral yarn. Each story offered a small glimmer of hope.

He didn’t read about Pythian Castle; there was no need. He had spent so much time researching it the last couple of weeks, he could recite the history word for word. The shadow spirits who allegedly resided in the basement intrigued him the most. They had been reported so often over the years, there was little doubt that something unusual was occurring in the depths of the castle.

Jeff finally checked the box scores, lamenting another loss by his favorite team. He scanned the comics before tossing the paper on the floor. He trudged to the bathroom and took a long, hot shower. Afterward, he put on a fresh pair of boxers and a T-shirt before stretching out on the couch. He fell asleep watching Netflix. If he dreamed of his parents again, he did not remember.

Jeff arrived at Pythian Castle an hour before dusk. The rainy morning had given way to a perfectly clear early evening. The ghostly apparition of the full moon glowed in the eastern sky as the sun began to dip. The large tower on front of the castle cast a long shadow over his truck as he pulled in and parked. He ascended the stone steps onto an expansive porch where a very large woman with a mystical fashion sense met him at the front door.

“Hello … Jack?” she said.

“Jeff,” he corrected. “You must be Swoosie.”

Swoosie half-nodded and half-bowed. She reminded him of a fortune teller he visited one time, just for kicks.

“Would you like a charm for protection tonight?” Swoosie asked, reaching into a velvet bag and retrieving what appeared to be a tiny silk pillow.

“No, thanks … I’m good,” Jeff said. He couldn’t help smirking a little.

Swoosie noticed.

“Suit yourself,” she huffed. “Spirits can pick up on those less experienced in this field. They tend to prey more on them.”

“Good,” Jeff said. “Maybe I will get some good evidence.”

Swoosie narrowed her pudgy eyelids and motioned for a man who was milling about awkwardly, studying old pictures on the wall.
“Preston,” she called with a snap of her fingers.

He was a middle-aged man with a greasy ring of dark hair circling a large bald spot. His clothing was a mish mash of suit pants and a Molly Hatchett T-shirt. The shirt and pin stripe pants were riddled with stains.

“How are you?” Preston asked breathlessly. It seemed his pot belly was a strain for him to carry.

“Fine, Preston,” Jeff said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Oh … I think Mr. Leach is preferable,” Preston said. “I could be your daddy.”

“Not likely,” Jeff thought.

“I’m putting the two of you together tonight since you are both new to this,” Swoosie said. “You know … strength in numbers.”

Both men’s puzzled expressions testified their bewilderment of Swoosie’s logic as if to point out that it would make more sense to put them with an experienced investigator.

“I’m a fairly experienced investigator,” Jeff said. “Tonight, makes my twentieth investigation.”

Swoosie’s condescending smile let him know she still considered him a novice. She turned and then waddled over to a sofa in the foyer where her daughter and a couple of other men waited. Their familiar banter showed them to be a clique.

“Okay, Mr. Leach,” Jeff said. “Where should we start?”

This group didn’t set up night vision cameras or environmental equipment as he hoped. Each member was only armed with a flashlight, digital recorder, and maybe a camera. Jeff was sure most of them carried a silk charm pillow in their pocket.

“I think they want us to go the basement,” Mr. Leach said impatiently. “Didn’t you hear what Swoosie said?”

Swoosie was much larger than Mr. Leach, yet she seemed a bit more agile as he watched his partner shuffle down the corridor.

“Okay,” Jeff mumbled before following him down the stone stairs to the basement.

They picked a far corner in the dark, dingy basement, and then set their digital recorders on a wooden table. The musty smell of old buildings had become synonymous with ghosts in Jeff’s mind. Even though he knew better, he sometimes entertained the idea of it being a ‘ghost
odor’.

The sun was beginning to set through one of the basement windows, so they agreed to wait until full dark before beginning their session.

“Hey … you know this used to hold POWs during World War Two?” Jeff said, nodding at the old cells across the room. The iron doors had been removed many years ago on all but one.

“It was an orphanage at one time, built by the Knights of Pythias,” Mr. Leach countered.

“Really?” Jeff said, a little confused at why an orphanage would be more interesting than a POW prison.

“Yeah, can you imagine how many kids died here?” Mr. Leach mused.

Jeff’s stomach twisted. His partner seemed a little too gleeful about dead children.

“Yeah,” Jeff said distantly. He watched the last rays of the sun disappear behind the shrubbery outside. When it was completely dark, he said, “Well, shall we get started?”

Jeff jumped when a flashlight beam flared in his eyes.

“Can I ask you something, Jeff?” Mr. Leach asked, lowering his flashlight.

“Sure.”

“How did you get into paranormal stuff?” Mr. Leach asked.

“Curiosity,” Jeff began and then anger began to simmer. He didn’t know why the question upset him so, it was benign and practical. Perhaps it was his partner’s tone. “It’s really nobody’s business,” Jeff snapped.

“Fair enough,” Mr. Leach said. “What did your fiancée say about it?”

Jeff glared at Mr. Leach in the darkness. How did he know he had a fiancée?

“What makes you think I had a fiancée?” Jeff asked, pointedly.

“I know things,” Mr. Leach replied. His coy response echoing from the darkness sounded like the prelude to a horror movie.

Jeff was angry. Mr. Leach seemed to have no boundaries. Jeff’s fiancée was a sore spot. She had been a former fiancée for almost a year.

“Why don’t you tell me her name?” Jeff said, a little too loud. Shushes hissed from deep in the darkness as his voice echoed off the stone walls. It seemed the whole building heard his question.

There was a very long pause. Jeff almost thought he was alone until the answer startled him.

“I can’t see that,” Mr. Leach answered. “Only events and feelings.”

“What are you … some kinda Jedi Master?” Jeff asked.

“I’m psychic,” Mr. Leach wheezed. His last word echoed about the basement, bringing more shushes from around the building.

“Oh,” Jeff whispered. He had encountered these people before; every paranormal group seemed to have them. Out of the dozen or so self-proclaimed psychics Jeff had known in his life, there was only one he believed legitimate. An old shut-in, who he delivered prescriptions to while in college, told him some interesting things about his life that came to pass a short time later.

“So, where is my fiancée?” Jeff asked.

There was a long silence before Mr. Leach replied flatly. “With another man, I’m afraid.”

Jeff didn’t say anything. He knew she was with another man now. Lurid images filled his head as to what they may be doing right now. Acid boiled in his guts and his heart began to pound. He didn’t expect this answer; he was looking for more of a geographical location. She had been with this schmuck for six months, two weeks, and three days, but he wasn’t counting.

“Does that shock you?” Mr. Leach whispered.

“You’re the psychic … you tell me,” Jeff barked. “Look, I just want to focus on the investigation, can we do that now?”

More shushes ensued followed by a booming female voice asking them to be quiet. Swoosie had some lungs.

They were so engrossed in their argument, neither man noticed the single cell door slowly swing open and a black shadow dart down the passageway. The air grew thick and uncomfortable, but both men thought it was from their awkward conversation.

Mr. Leach didn’t answer. A moment later, Jeff heard the beep of a digital recorder turning on. The small red recording light resembled a one-eyed demon in the complete darkness. Jeff knew he hurt the guy’s feelings, but he didn’t care. Mr. Leach had trodden on areas of Jeff’s life where he wasn’t welcome. In fact, no one was welcome. His fiancée had been the last living member of anything resembling family for Jeff. She had tried to get him to see a shrink to cope with his parent’s death, but he refused. Thus, the wedge between them was forged.

On the surface, Jeff seemed to recover. He tried to move on with his life. His preacher once told him that time is a river, washing away all pains and transgressions. Yet, for those who grieve, time is often an ocean. It ebbs and flows, sometimes exposing the pain lurking beneath the surface of our consciousness with each experience.

“Truth,” Jeff thought.

He finally turned on his digital recorder and began to alternate questions with Mr. Leach.

Is anyone with us?”

“Are you angry?”

“What is your name?”

“How old are you?”

“Why are you here?”

“When did you die?”

They repeated this process several times in different areas of the building. They never heard anything. Hopefully, there would be some evidence on the recording.

Jeff found it difficult to focus. Of course, he was tired, yet it was much more than fatigue. Mr. Leach had upset him, there was no denying it. The thing bothering him the most was the image running through his head; His fiancée and some faceless man with a Chippendale’s body were in bed together. He tried to push it aside and focus on the reason he was here. When he turned his thoughts to his parents, it did not help. He kept seeing the make-shift white cross memorial at the site of his parents’ crash. The same cross where he had recorded his mother’s voice. It wasn’t only the mental image distracting him. His mother’s one-word response echoed in his head after every EVP question – “Jeff”. A few times he thought he heard her voice coming from the darkness – “Jeff”.

Jeff knew it was fatigue, it had to be. If not, Mr. Leach would have heard something.

Jeff left Sunday morning frustrated. He sat in his truck and watched the last act unfold in what had been an all-night circus. Swoosie, her daughter, Mr. Leach, and a few other men sat in folding chairs arranged in a circle on the front lawn. They had asked Jeff to join them, but he respectfully declined. They burned sage while performing a cleansing ritual.

“We can’t have any spirits following us home,” Swoosie’s daughter proclaimed. “This’ll keep ‘em put.”

The obese Swoosie sat with her back to him. Her butt dangled on either side of the stressed chair as the legs sank into the soft and dewy sod. She swung a burning leaf around her head, making her resemble an elephant trying to douse the flames of a burning tree.

Jeff realized the only way he would get anywhere is starting his own team. He turned the ignition, causing his lights to fall on the group. They turned and glowered as if he farted and belched in church. He smiled and waved as he shifted the truck into gear.

Missouri Spirit Seekers,” Jeff muttered as he left the gate, “seems more like shit seekers.”

***

Excerpt from Death Theory by John D. Mimms. Copyright © 2017 by John D. Mimms. Reproduced with permission from John D. Mimms. All rights reserved.

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Author John D. Mimms

John D. Mimms

John D. Mimms is a business owner, paranormal researcher and author. John served as the Technical Director for a TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) family paranormal research group in Central Arkansas. During his four-year tenure with the organization, he helped supervise over 100 investigations and wrote more than sixteen technical articles. Paul Bradford, of Ghost Hunters International fame, read one of John’s articles titled A Christmas Carol Debunked live on the air of the Parazona Radio program on Christmas Day 2009. John also wrote a definitive technical/training manual, which is a comprehensive guide on equipment usage, investigation protocol and scientific theory for paranormal research.

In 2009 John decided to couple his knowledge of paranormal phenomena with his lifelong love of literary fiction. John’s first published work, The Tesla Gate, is the first installment of a
three-part, heart-wrenching, sci-fi/paranormal drama.

Book 1 of this unique, ground-breaking story released July 2014 through Open Road Media. In January 2016, Open Road Media released The Tesla Gate Book 2: The Myriad Resistance. Book 3: The Eye of Madness is slated for release September 27, 2016. Though fictional, the trilogy is based on scientific, paranormal theory.

Publishers Weekly declared about The Tesla Gate in the March 3, 2014 issue “…touching sci-fi story that takes the reader on an unlikely road-trip adventure…a fast read with some entertaining ideas and a real emotional core in the relationship between father and son.”

The Examiner proclaimed in June 2014: “Entertaining as well as poignant, this book is extremely imaginative in its basic premise as well as the many colorful and emotionally compelling events that take place.”

John resides and writes on a mountaintop in central Arkansas with his wife and two sons.

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