Monthly Archives: November 2018

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Wicked Deeds

Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham
Wicked Deeds (Krewe of Hunters, #23) by

Heather Graham (Goodreads Author)
50275498

Amy Caudill‘s review
A romantic getaway for a just-married couple, an historic Baltimore restaurant, and a murder makes for a typical beginning for this 23rd installment of the author’s Krewe of Hunters series. The series focuses on a team of FBI agents, all whom possess to some degree abilities to see, hear, and interact with the dead, and use these special “gifts” to unravel murders that local police and other agencies cannot solve.

What sets this novel apart from the rest of the series is the strange dreams, followed by waking encounters, with the ghost of a most famous historic personage, Edgar Alan Poe himself. Poe is a regular visitor to the Black Bird restaurant, which is dedicated to his life and work, and is the home of The Blackbird Society, a Poe fan group. When the restaurant becomes the scene of the murder of another, modern famous author, Poe volunteers to assist agent Griffin and historian and future-agent Vickie with the case.

As the members of The Blackbird Society insist on “helping”, Griffin and Vickie cope with multiple séances, more murders and disappearances, and a trip to a house that could have come straight out of a Poe short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” As they unravel the clues to the modern murders, Vickie finds strange links between the modern cases and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Poe’s own death, which the ghostly author cannot consciously recall.

I thought this novel was by far one of the most engaging books by author Heather Graham I have read in some time. The premise of the story, while in lines with the successful series, contained more originality and twists and turns than some of the prior books in the series. Her protagonists are always likeable, but it is rare that the multiple secondary characters and antagonists, such as socialite and would-be seer Liz Harcourt, are portrayed with such depth of development. The characterization of Poe himself was equal parts comic-relief and intrigue that makes the reader ponder the various theories concerning his mysterious demise.

The only issue I had with Wicked Deeds is in the final chapter, which seemed overly drawn out and forced in length. While it was nice to see the characters have some closure, this particular scene seemed a little superfluous, especially after the level of excitement that preceded it. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book, and give it five stars, with recommendations for any reader who enjoys paranormal/urban fantasy/murder mystery/romantic stories.

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Pre-Christmas Sale

blur celebration christmas cookies
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hello busy readers and pre-Black Friday shoppers!

Have you ever wished you could step outside of reality for a little while, take a breath and simply will yourself somewhere  that is more peaceful, or more exciting, somewhere where you can be anything you can imagine, or experience an adventure you’d never dare to dream in real life?

The main character in my book Virtual: can you be sure what’s real?, Amanda, has the chance to do exactly that, through a marvelous trip into Virtual Reality.  Join Amanda and her teammates and opponents, especially the sexy Rex Cade, as they experience excitement, adventure, betrayal, and untold dangers as they uncover a plot to take control of this new world.

 

I’ll be running a promotion for seven days starting this Wednesday, November 21st, on my book Virtual: Can you be sure what’s real?

This e-book makes a great stocking stuffer, or a quick read when you get a chance to relax!  Just follow the links here:

Check out these wonderful reviews on my work:

From Graciela Sholander: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RNVO43UWX78KU/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B076DJNHT6

From Robert Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RPYU1Z3D57U4I/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B076DJNHT6

Have a great holiday, and make sure to take some time for yourself!

First Contact, an Original Flash Fiction

It’s been awhile since I posted much original fiction, save for the poetry contest last month, so I thought I’d share this little story that’s been taking up space on my desktop.  This is just a strange idea I had- what if humanity’s first encounter with extra-terrestrials didn’t go quite like we expected? Enjoy!

Are we actually alone? Photo by fabiogis50 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

First Contact, by Amy Caudill

When the visitors came they did not appear in front of the U.N. or another world center.  The sleek, ovoid craft, which NASA sensors determined was made of materials originating from outside our solar system, was first recorded as visible on June 21st, 2023, in the forests of Maine. The craft sat down in a clearing at 9:23pm EST.

It would only become obvious much later that this was in fact their intended destination, and not a navigational error as officials would initially speculate.

Quickly the governments of the world began jockeying with personages from various media outlets for position to witness this most historic occasion.  Numerous military units took up position, ready to control crowds or wipe out invaders, as needed, if signaled from a command center positioned a safe distance away.

When the ship opened along a hidden seam and lowered a ramp to permit egress, the representatives of world governments, military components, research scientists, and members of the press, were naturally shocked at the appearance of the extra-terrestrial visitors, but in a manner that was completely unexpected.

The other-worldly visitors who descended from the vessel did not resemble any fanciful or movie variation of alien life forms. In fact, the group appeared as nothing more or less than creatures of earthly origins, but those popularly dismissed as figments of myth and legend.

One member of the alien delegation, of unknown gender, was over seven feet tall and covered with brown fur; another appeared to be female, stood at most two feet high, and had pointed ears and transparent wings that fluttered as she walked down the ramp.  The third member of the alien party, apparently male, was nearly as short as the second, squat, and possessed a long, red beard that nearly touched the ground.

“We have traveled from a distant system to treat with the leaders of this planet,” the fairy-like being said, in a recognizable form of Standard English.  “We wish an exchange of knowledge and perhaps raw materials.”

A U.N. official replied, “We welcome you in peace.  We would be glad to introduce you to our governments, and discuss terms of exchange with you that could benefit us all.”

“We thank you for your words but are uncertain why you are approaching us.  We assumed these forms to honor the most advanced species native to this planet,” the furry alien delegate claimed.

“We expected to meet with the caretakers of this world.  We have long observed your planet and are aware of the damage your race has caused, more so than any other indigenous population,” the bearded delegate added.  “We were uncertain as to your function, but inferred you to be an encroaching species.  May we ask where the beings are who are responsible for the welfare and security of this planet?”

As the representatives of government struggled to voice an answer to the aliens’ query, the billions watching live via satellite feeds were already assigning blame, none of which they claimed for themselves.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Prince of Fools

Prince of Fools by Mark  Lawrence
50275498

  Amy Caudill‘s review

Prince Jalan Kendeth is a pampered, self-centered rogue, a scoundrel, a womanizer.  He’s hardly hero material, which he will tell you himself, except that when trying to escape one battle he accidentally led a charge into another one, a feat that made his people call him hero and his enemies call him devil.

When Jal tries to escape an enchantment the mysterious “Silent Sister” has placed over an opera house full of patrons, he literally runs into a fierce Norse warrior named Snorri Snagason.  Both men are impacted by the failed curse, which causes them harm either if they part ways or make direct contact with each other.  Effectively bound together until they find a way to reverse the curse, Jal joins Snorri on a mission to rescue his kidnapped family.  The fact that he’s wanted by the local crime lord has nothing to do with it.

Jal and Snorri begin a quest that leads through wilderness, barbarian towns, mountains filled with undead soldiers, and ruins of “ancient”civilizations as they draw ever closer to a fortress planted on the edge of a glacier, the “Bitter Ice.”  What they find there, and what they are willing to sacrifice, may determine the fate of the world.

This story is told mostly through the point of view of Jal, who paints a picture of a dark, unforgiving world, where the value of a man can be measured by the sharpness of his steel or the gold in his pocket.  The narration is occasionally broken up by the storytelling efforts of Snorri, whose flashbacks reveal hints into the larger plot.

This latest installment into the author’s Broken Empire universe started off a little slow, but picked up momentum about a third of the way in.  The suspense kept me practically on the edge of my seat towards the end of the story, and I was still guessing all the way up to the final chapter.

Though this book is the first of a trilogy, and is part of a larger universe, it still had enough resolution to be read as stand alone, which is a plus to me.  For all of these reasons, I award this book 4.5 stars, and recommend it to anyone interested in the fantasy genre, as well as fans of paranormal and dystopian stories.