Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab

Barnabus Missing Scarab

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

A good mystery has the power to engross us all- sort of like a car wreck. We can’t help but look at every angle even when all we want to do is to pull ourselves away. A great mystery not only captivates you, it immerses you within the world of the characters and keeps you guessing right up until the end. Detective stories have been a staple in mysteries since around 1841- when Edgar Allen Poe published The Murders in the Rue Morgue in a magazine; however, the most iconic of names that come to mind in a detective mystery is Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and known to the public in 1887. The draw of Sherlock Holmes is the quick wit, the banter between him and Dr. Watson, and their infallible deductive skills that catches the correct perpetrator in the end. Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab is a great mystery that reaches for the mighty torch that Sherlock Holmes carries- and it’s one that I believe the torch can rightfully be passed on to.

Barnabas Tew has made it his life’s mission to be a great detective like his hero, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Reading the first tale of the adventures of Holmes and Watson as a boy made quite the impression on the young Barnabas- so much so that it marked his chosen career path. He spent all his schooling to pursue being a real life Sherlock, thinking that he would quickly rise up as the detective in Victorian London. A decade, and a string of attempts to solve a case later, Barnabas is still looking for the one case that will shoot his career on a fast track. Wilfred, his loyal assistant, knows that Barnabas is well intentioned but they still haven’t had any luck with their cases- usually someone ends up dead before they can solve the case successfully. To try to bring his employer out of his slump, Wilfred suggests that they attend the new exhibit at the museum- the Egyptian Mummy. Spending the day at the museum helps to get Barnabas’ mind off the failed cases that he has taken on, but as a result, the pair completely lose track of time and find themselves locked inside of the now closed museum. In their search for a person or an unlocked door to leave, Wilfred and Barnabas come up to some strange happenings. When Barnabas comes to, he finds himself being ferried across the River of the Dead, on his way to meet Anubis in the ancient Egyptian Underworld. Barnabas’ services have come highly recommended to Anubis from a former client of his and Anubis is convinced that Barnabas is just the right guy for the job. Khepre, the scarab beetle god that is responsible for rolling the sun across the sky and allowing nightfall to come, has gone missing… and he could be facing dismemberment. With Khepre missing, the Underworld is stuck in a perpetual high noon that will leak into the world of the Living if he cannot be found. Will Barnabas and Wilfred be able to find the missing scarab? Will they be able to solve the case and apprehend the perpetrator before it’s too late? Pick up a copy of Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab and find out!

When I first saw this book, the cover immediately drew me in. The figure of Barnabas with the pocket watch, the candelabra and Victorian designs in black and white with just a splash of color intrigued me- it’s definitely not something you see every day. I started reading it and was deeply drawn into the world of Barnabas- his struggles are something that everyone can relate to on some kind of level (not just about the detective work). When he is introduce into the ancient Egyptian Underworld, I knew that this was my kind of book. I love everything to do with ancient Egypt (I’ve always been drawn to it though I’ve never figured out why) so I relished the fact that Barnabas is set in the ancient Egyptian world. There was the perfect amount of comedic relief to the characters that makes this book stand out in so many ways. Most mysteries are done in serious tones- as most story lines such as those should be- but with Barnabas, it helps to make the affection that you develop for the characters that much more special when you add in the unintended comedy between Wilfred and Barnabas (though completely intentional  from Columbkill to make the characters seem more real). Columbkill Noonan will do for Barnabas what Doyle did for Sherlock. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading Noonan’s work, but it most certainly will not be the last. I look forward to the next book in the Barnabas Tew series, where the two will be attempting to solve a case for the Norse God, Odin.

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Simple Machines

Simple Machines

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Are you ready to bring things to the next level? If so, then look no further because if you continue on, you will miss one of the best reads that you will come across- and the mad world of Chrome Valley. Chrome Valley is a fictitious world created by Andrew Mackay where his stories take place in; a place that cranks the clockwork of his imagination while bringing in small nudges to his other books and characters. The more you read Mackay’s work, the more you will see his world fold together in each books’ pages and it makes him stand out from the rest. If you like grotesque extreme horror, comedies, love stories or a great thriller, then the works that come from Mackay’s mind is what you are looking for- he has a little bit of everything for whatever mood you might be in for. If you read Simple Machines– which let’s face it, you probably will- then you should read Mackay’s other book, Versus– it’s a necessity to read after Simple Machines. Why am I such a fan? If you have read Andrew’s work, then you will understand why I call Mackay a “God of character development” because he owns the world of Chrome Valley and punches you in the gut with the madness and excitement that he brings to his readers. I assure you that if you have never read anything by Mackay before, you will bow down to his feet screaming ‘we’re not worthy’-as if you were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World– after you read Simple Machines.

In this book-, no let me correct myself on that- this glorious masterpiece that shines in gold, lies an alternate world within a world where we continue to see the master work in the form of the most realistic characters. So realistic, in fact, that they could be your neighbors. Our male lead- Xander Manning- is working on the biggest breakthrough of his life by working on his artificial intelligence, Mavis. On one of the most important days of his life, he is challenged when his wife Charlotte breaks the dire news that she wants a divorce. Xander is stronger than most male characters as he strives to continue onwards while his distractions get the best of him. Chloe Armstrong, the ultimate female character of all, is Xander’s biggest distraction after he meets her at a party for the reveal of Mavis. The adventure of a lifetime is presented to Xander, which will make him choose life or choose to fold. Will Xander bring himself to the brink of madness with his world in a complete whirlwind? Mackay keeps you guessing until the answers are finally revealed. Many lives cross through the pages of Simple Machines that you will beg for more in this epic thriller/ love story. We are all simple machines… or do we complicate our lives to hide that we are simple when you strip everything away? Find out for yourself in this groundbreaking masterpiece.

We continue to be readers in Mackay’s world of fiction in one of his best works yet. We have followed him through comedy, horror and even the grotesque and extreme as Andrew guides us in a world of his own making- just as James Cameron did with Avatar. This world is very different though as it is a highly realistic world- drawing inspiration from the daily activity around us- and uses the best character developments with clashes of twists, thrills and the most epic ending that Mackay purposely guts you with. I think of Mackay as sitting on a throne as he molds the characters in his stories, watching and waiting to see the reaction from society as he preys upon your fears, tears and desires. I will say this with 100% honesty, Simple Machines is the best work of fiction that I have read all year. Andrew Mackay ends 2017 with a big bang with this one and deserves a huge round of applause for this masterpiece that outshines all others.

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

They say that time heals all wounds but death is never an easy thing to accept. We all know that one day, it is a fate that we will all have to accept, but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with. The death of a loved one can leave a dark hole in your life that never completely goes away; you learn to live your life the best you can without them. Many of us wish that there were a way to communicate with those who have passed from this Earth- to be able to talk to them one more time, to know that they are truly okay. What if your loved one was murdered; how would you be able to cope with that? When we hear paranormal, we usually tend to think about ghosts and things of that nature; but the definition of ‘paranormal’ is defined as “denoting events or phenomena that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding”. What would happen if you suddenly had a link to your loved one who was killed, to find out what exactly happened on that fateful night?

Samantha Williams, or Sam, works for the Oregon Tribune on the crime beat section. One fateful night she is dispatched to the scene of a major pile-up accident where she finds that her whole world has come crashing down on her- her parents both perished in the accident. Months later, as she’s at her Grandmother’s picking through some things that belonged to her parents, she finds her cousin’s old vanity mirror (her cousin, Emily, was brutally murdered in her own home when Sam was just a kid). Things are going good for Sam- she’s got a new home and a new boyfriend- then she starts seeing flashes of her cousin’s murder in the old mirror. When she tries to tell her best friend (who is her roommate) and her boyfriend, neither of them can believe what she is saying. Until one night when she sees Emily’s killer striking again, this time as it happens. With an inexplicable link that only appears to Sam, time starts running out as Sam realizes she is his new target. Will the police be able to catch this maniac before it’s too late? Will Sam be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Emily that devastating night many years ago? Pick up a copy of Mirror, Mirror today and find out for yourself.

Mirror, Mirror is the first book by Jessica Jesinghaus that I have read, and it gripped me tightly and would not let go. From the start, it is captivating as you are pulled into a world that is seemingly unreal with Sam. The link that she is given is one that many people would both be scared to have yet yearn for. To be able to see your cousin’s murder over a decade ago would make a lot of people think that they are going crazy, but Sam uses the knowledge that she is getting to be able to make strides in finding out who Emily’s killer really is. This book is a well written mystery/thriller that will put you on the edge of your seat as you go along on the ride with Sam- making you want to turn the pages in one sitting to find out if your thoughts on the identity of the killer are who you think it is. If you’re looking for a gripping and spell-binding ride, then Mirror, Mirror is for you.

Convenience

Convenience

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

If you don’t know who Andrew MacKay is, shame on you; but, it is not too late for you to read the work that comes from his genius mind that lies inside the pages of his books. I’d like to welcome you to another mind-altering book created by MacKay. He has written many books that range from comedy to horror and thriller; but Convenience is definitely in a category all of it’s own. It shifts to the left, the right and slams through to hit the water beneath. I have read books from MacKay about school shootings and terrorism, enjoyed being inside the mind of a coma patient, been inside the mind with a brain tumor and God knows what else will happen when it comes from MacKay’s mind. But, I believe Convenience is one of the best works of his to read so far. If you are a fan of Andrew’s, then Convenience is for you. Now, let’s dip inside and I’ll tell you a little.

Convenience is filled with the reality of a worker named Willy Gee. Willy works at the Kaleidoscope Shopping Centre in Chrome Valley. He is one of the most important people that works there other than your security guards; Willy is a supervisor of the facilities of Kaleidoscope. Yes, it was a big shock for me as well. Willy has been doing this type of work for a very long time, making sure he is on top of cleaning every hour, on the hour. He checks every cubicle and checks both the men and women’s restrooms to clean. It is that we don’t know what happens that really terrifies us. Are you ready to dive in the toiletries and roll in the filth of the cubicles with Willy Gee; bringing the madness and chaos that is waiting to reveal itself inside? Well, what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy of Convenience today… and welcome to a shift in Willy’s world.

I have written a few reviews about Mr. MacKay’s work, but I have to say that this book touched me on a different level. Andrew has brought the ability to see inside of a normal working person at a mall and bring the craziest, most bizarre story that makes you shake your head and ask yourself, what did I just read? It is an experience that MacKay brings you with every book he writes, taking something completely normal and bringing absolute chaos by telling you the deepest, darkest secrets of it- connecting you to his stories. MacKay is skilled and clever in his word choices and layouts of his books, which results in the best stories, hands down. He brings a strong connection to the world of his imagination and you, the reader; but he also connects his books to each other in some way. It is fantastic and not something you see very much of. I look forward to his next release, as always, filling my bookshelves with Andrew MacKay’s work with each book that comes from his messed up mind.

 

The Seventh Seed

The Seventh Seed

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

When you hear ‘conspiracy theories’, people typically tend to think of the crazy people who like to wear tin foil hats that spew out all kinds of things. “Big brother is watching you”, “Aliens do exist” or “Big pharmaceutical companies have the law in their pocket”, things of that nature. What if, though, there was more to those so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ than meets the eye? What would you do if you found yourself inside of a massive public cover-up to keep the public from knowing who did what? I’m not a stranger to conspiracy theories, my husband loves them, and over time I have seen some wild ones; however, the story in The Seventh Seed by Allison Maruska provides the ultimate government and big pharmaceutical company working together cover-up.

The Seventh Seed is a standalone sequel to The Fourth Descendant, and in this book we follow Javier, who has gained some knowledge that LifeFarm- an all in one pharmaceutical and agricultural company- desperately wants to keep hidden from the public’s eyes. He has discovered a new type of insects and bugs that are pesticide resistant; but, it’s what they have evolved into that has causes for concern. The new superbugs are carriers of a virus that has no vaccine available. Javier tries to do the right thing in informing someone but it goes the opposite of how he envisioned it. Now he is being held captive and awaiting to be transported to a holding facility. After an incredible escape, he now has to find his way to a lab to look at the specimen’s that he has to create a vaccine. Along the way he meets some unlikely allies. What will happen to Javier and the Allies? Will the vaccine be the key to bringing down the corruption… will the vaccine even work? Pick up a copy of The Seventh Seed by Allison Maruska today, and find out for yourselves!

The Seventh Seed is the first book that I have read from Maruska, but it will not be the last. When I first started reading this book, I had no idea that this was a sequel because it read very well as a standalone. The story line is perfect, in my opinion, because conspiracy theories are tough to write in a convincing way- but Allison nailed it. It had the perfect balance of theory, people who question what they’re told and those who wish to do something about it. Timing is everything when it comes to taking down a big company like LifeFarm, one that has the government in their pocket; but the catalyst comes from an unlikely source, throwing long awaited plans into action that could possibly change the way things are, forever. I look forward to going back to read the first book, to find out where the chain of events in The Seventh Seed started at.

All John Winter short stories available today.. FREE!

Giveaway Promo 5

As our giveaway is nearing an end- you’ve still got until 12:00 am Eastern US Time to register if you haven’t already- we’re partnering with our featured giveaway author, John Winter, to make all of these shorts we have featured throughout the week available TODAY 9/10, FREE! Go grab your copy from the links below, and go ahead and register for our giveaway too- John joins our other AWESOME authors and has some books for our lucky winners… Are you going to be one of them?

Enter the giveaway here!

For the shorts, click here for Amazon and here for Amazon UK!

A Long Way Home by John Winter

ALongWayHome

Today’s FREE short story is A Long Way Home by John Winter; available today 9/8- Sunday, 9/10!

Description:

Set in a bleak future where climate change threatens to bring about a new ice age, a father sets out, against the elements, to fetch medicine to save his daughter’s life.

It doesn’t take him long to realise that the storm has a life of its own.

 

Get your copy here or on Amazon UK here!