Book Features, Giveaways

Book Spotlight: Road To Nowhere by Evan Shapiro

Road to Nowhere
by Evan Shapiro
Genre: Cli-Fi (climate fiction), SciFi, Mystery, Thriller, Satire
Is humanity on a Road to Nowhere?
What forces are at play behind global warming and its threat to every
species? Is humanity irrevocably heading down a Road to Nowhere?
This near future page-turner, weaves conspiracy, murder, genius and love
into a fast-paced ride across the globe, through the absurd and beyond.
Patrick, Kirby, Ancient and Costas thrust us into the world of corporate
juggernaut, PetroSynth, where science, politics and corruption jostle
to determine our future. How can so much power over our planet be in
the hands of so few?
This book is the stuff of modern mythology, an exciting adventure with
intricate personalities leaving the reader in a state of agitated
‘not knowing’ until the very end. Can we succeed (we are all in
this one together) or will the corporates and their minions win out
only to abandon the planet in crisis? A racy and worthwhile read
capturing the zeitgeist of our times.”
Ian Cohen – first Green MLC, NSW Parliament and Author of ‘Green Fire’
What makes this debut novel from Evan Shapiro a thoroughly engrossing read
is that it is hard to pigeon hole into any particular genre. Part
science fiction, thriller, mystery and romp. A fun and at times
gritty ride. It’s a page turner written with insight, irreverence and
is an apt observation of humanity’s capacity for suffering and
destruction, yet with potential to make a positive change.
G King
Road To Nowhere’ gives us a thought-provoking glimpse into an
uncompromising future that brilliantly juxtaposes futuristic hedonism
with the bare fundamentals of human frailty.
M Jury
The second of four children born to would-be bohemians, Evan grew up on a
diet of independent cinema, junk TV, Shakespeare and chocolate
biscuits. As a toddler he drank Dettol and shampoo and stuck forks
into power-points. Growing up he was often reminded by his family
that he was lucky to have survived past the age of five. While his
parents blamed him for being dangerously active and carelessly
inquisitive, he lays the responsibility squarely at their feet for
repeatedly leaving Dettol, shampoo and forks within his grasp.
He likes to define the resulting confusion from his upbringing as his
‘perspective’ which he now relentlessly channels into works of fiction.
These day’s he likes to prod people instead of power-points. He lives in
Sydney and divides his time between co-parenting, fixing his father’s
TV settings, changing his mother’s light bulbs, graphic design work,
writing and meditation. He claims to have found the secret to perfect
parenting, but as the answer is endless patience he’s not sure it’s
any use to anyone.
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Bookish News

First Lines Fridays #13

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. I first saw this on Life of A Literary Nerd  and decided this would be fun to start adding to my blog. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

*Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page

*Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

*Finally… reveal the book!

There were certain things Emmy’s mother didn’t really need to know. Trivial things like whether Emmy had clipped her toenails or that she’d stepped in something sticky at the park.


The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel

This was a cute mystery that was entertaining with twists and turns. Emma was a well developed character that I couldn’t help but invest in. It was a great middle grade read.

Amazon Description

The first in an exciting new series, this suspenseful debut brings readers on a journey filled with secrets, mystery, and unforgettable characters.

With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who’s a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she’s sure she won’t fit in.

But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in the attic of her home—medallions that belonged to her father. Her father who may have gone to Wellsworth.

When she arrives at school, she finds the strange symbols from the medallions etched into walls and books, which leads Emmy and her new friends, Jack and Lola, to Wellsworth’s secret society: The Order of Black Hollow Lane. Emmy can’t help but think that the society had something to do with her dad’s disappearance, and that there may be more than just dark secrets in the halls of Wellsworth..

Have you read Julia Nobel’s debut novel? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.


Book Review: Gretchen by Shannon Kirk

Title: Gretchen

Author: Shannon Kirk

Publication Date: July 23, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 3=Okay Page Turner

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Gretchen by Shannon Kirk starts out with Lucy talking about the Ninth Place they’ve move to and having to start all over again. She feels her mother is being too paranoid and hope she’ll be able to have a normal life, especially after meeting Gretchen and her father. Lucy and her mother move on Gretchen and her father’s property. Lucy feel she has a new friend but soon finds out there’s more to Gretchen and their home then she suspects.

This book was a thriller about a young girl being on the run with her mother. It seemed to be the focus of the story until I got toward the end of the book and realized Lucy’s mother’s secret. The book is also about Lucy’s friendship with Gretchen, who seems to have some issues, which shocked me at the end of the book. I enjoyed the twists in the story, but it was a slow read and seem to drag on, making it hard to connect to any of the characters. I will try more of this author’s work.

*This book was provided by the publicist on behalf of the author for review purposes only.


Book Features, Giveaways

Sneak Peek of Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom

Lizzie Borden
by Elizabeth Engstrom
Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller
Did she do it?
A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman
stood accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in a
crime so heinous that it became a benchmark in human tragedy.
A hundred years later, the Lizzie Borden case still resounds in the
imagination. There are those who staunchly defend Lizzie’s
innocence while others vehemently declare that she did it, and that
the murder was justified.
In Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant novel, the dark psychology of the
Borden household is laid bare. Lizzie, her sister Emma and their
parents Andrew and Abby Borden, are sharply illuminated—as are the
paranoia and concealed hatred that secretly ruled the family.
Domestic violence and dysfunctional families are not inventions of
modern times.
Every door in the Borden house is metaphorically locked, and each room holds
the terrible secrets of its occupant…Engstrom skillfully and subtly
builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the
anticipated savage denouement.” —Publishers Weekly

Kathryn answered the door dressed in a stunning wine colored gown, trimmed in black lace. A white cameo gleamed at her throat, her hair was done up with a twist and it shone in the gaslight. She even had a touch of lipstick on, Lizzie noticed, and some rouge.

Lizzie hugged her hostess, and the first feeling of inadequacy of the evening came over her. If there was one thing about Kathryn that truly intimidated Lizzie, it was Kathryn’s diminutive stature. Tiny, she was, almost like a fairy. Lizzie felt like a moose next to her.

Kathryn kissed her lightly on the lips, then chattered away gaily as she took Lizzie’s cape and hat, and the two women went into Kathryn’s correctly appointed sitting room. Lizzie glanced into the dining room on her way past, and saw the table set for two. Wonderful. An intimate evening.

They shared a cup of tea and talked first about the good work the WCTU was accomplishing, then gossiped politely about some of the members. Lizzie became more and more relaxed. When Kathryn left the room to check on the progress of dinner, Lizzie had the profound realization that Kathryn had invited her to her home for no other reason than she enjoyed Lizzie’s company. There was no committee work to be done, there was not a dinner party with an odd number of guests, there was no other reason. Kathryn had invited Lizzie because she wanted to share a dinner with her.

Lizzie blushed in spite of herself and sipped her tea.

Kathryn returned and they talked of art, a subject Lizzie knew as little about as Kathryn was well-versed. They talked Fall River politics for a moment, then general Fall River news and personalities, and then it was time for dinner.
Kathryn had roasted two squabs and served them with an orange sauce, small freshly-dug carrots that she’d overwintered right in the ground, and a portion of goat cheese that she’d purchased last Saturday at the market. This spawned a discussion of cooking, another thing in which Kathryn was accomplished and Lizzie not.

But the holes in Lizzie’s training did not confuse her this night with holes in her personality. Kathryn’s life had taken different directions, and had led her down different paths. Lizzie did not feel more or less fortunate (except in looks and body) for once. She just felt different, and for the first time, instead of dwelling on her own insufficiencies, she reveled in Kathryn’s accomplishments and queried enthusiastically about her life.

After dinner (Lizzie ate her entire bird down to the bones; Kathryn barely ate a half breast), Kathryn gave Lizzie a thorough tour of her kitchen, and then her artworks, which spread about the house. Lizzie had long admired the art which hung on Kathryn’s walls, but as she’d only been at the house during a meeting, she’d never had opportunity to view each one in its glory. Each painting, sketching and drawing had a little story about where it came from, the artist, and how and where Kathryn had acquired it. Lizzie was totally charmed with this little tiny, beautiful woman and her enthusiasm.

Eventually, the tour landed them back in the sitting room, where Kathryn sat on the settee next to Lizzie.

They talked about Europe, and compared notes on what they had seen in common, and as Kathryn poured a fresh cup of tea, her hand touched Lizzie’s, and it stayed there.

Lizzie was surprised at how warm it was, how soft and warm, and without thinking, she took Kathryn’s tiny hand in both of hers. Emma’s hands were harsh and bony, Abby’s hands were fat and bloated, Father’s hands were horny and hairy. This little perfectly manicured hand was warm and gentle. Tender. Lizzie turned it over to look at the palm, ran a finger down the center of it, and when she looked up, Kathryn had a most peculiar look in her eyes.
T he expression on Kathryn’s face reminded Lizzie of days long ago when she would sit in the window seat at the farm and look out the window, dreaming of things to be when she finally became an adult. She longed to be a housewife with a dozen children. She longed to have a protector, a provider, one she could kiss and hug, one she could sleep next to on a cold night. She longed to make her own decisions and not be driven instead by a ruthless older sister, she longed. . .

That was the expression in Kathryn’s eyes. Longing.

Lizzie flushed and looked again at the tiny hand she held in her own.
“Lizzie?” Kathryn spoke so softly, that even in the silent room, Lizzie was not sure that she had heard. She was suddenly shy, and almost afraid. Her heart pounded louder than Kathryn’s tiny word. Eventually, she looked up into that beautiful face, and Kathryn’s lips were gently parted, and she moved closer and closer, until Lizzie could smell her hair as well as see right through it, and she could smell the closeness of Kathryn, freshly bathed and powdered. She could smell Kathryn’s breath, warm, scented with tea and cinnamon, and then Kathryn’s lips were on her own, soft, so soft.

Then she was gone, and Lizzie found her eyes closed, so she opened them, and saw Kathryn, who was flushed and laughing, both of them embarrassed, and the small hand slid out from between Lizzie’s and helped the other hand hold the trembling teacup.

Abby settled back into her bed, the fear of the dark shadows gone, the anger at Andrew gone, the worry over Lizzie having another headache gone. All that was left was that creeping feeling of doom.

It had been intensifying lately, that feeling. That terrible feeling that something was about to happen. The present status could not remain so for very much longer; everyone seemed to be strung just a little bit too tight. And when people are just a little too close, just a little too crowded, well, things begin to happen.

Like jewelry and money disappearing and reappearing in the barn.
A shiver ran through Abby. It was such a violation, that little robbery. It was such a slap in the face by some member of this household. That was a day she almost gave the ultimatum to Andrew: We move or they move. But the tensions had eased some after that, and of course, there had been no repeating offenses, nor had Abby any reason to think there would be. The point, whatever it was, had apparently been made.

The thought of the robbery was inseparable from this feeling of dread that she had, this moving black shadow that was just a little darker than the dark, when nothing was there. The robbery was an omen, she thought, of ominous things to come, and if she were a real wife, and a real mother, she would insist that Andrew take her out of this house and save them all from themselves.

But she was not a real wife, and Andrew knew that, and she was not a real mother, and both Emma and Lizzie knew that.

So she would make do, as she always had, spending her time with Sarah and her many troubles, and the occasional birthing that came along in her little circle of acquaintances, and she would hope that when the end came, whatever it may be, that it be swift and sure, silent and without warning.

Abby whirled around, but there was no one there. She could have sworn that she heard someone behind her.

She shook the pillow down into the case, plumped it up right—not the way that silly Bridget did it—and laid it nicely on the bed.

She smoothed it down, stood up and listened.

Bridget had answered the knock at the door, and Abby had waited for the call. She was expecting to be called a second time to the birthing, but had decided not to go. Mr. Borden would definitely not approve.

She went back to the task at hand, smoothing the pillow.

She whirled. There it was again, a presence. This time, though, she almost heard breathing. But there was nothing there. Nothing.

The hair prickled at the back of her neck and stood up along her arms. She rubbed it down, and walked around the foot of the bed.

Elizabeth (Liz) Engstrom grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (a Chicago suburb
where she lived with her father) and Kaysville, Utah (north of Salt
Lake City, where she lived with her mother). After graduating from
high school in Illinois, she ventured west in a serious search for
acceptable weather, eventually settling in Honolulu. She attended
college and worked as an advertising copywriter.
After eight years on Oahu, she moved to Maui, found a business partner and
opened an advertising agency. One husband, two children and five
years later, she sold the agency to her partner and had enough seed
money to try her hand at full time fiction writing, her lifelong
dream. With the help of her mentor, science fiction great Theodore
Sturgeon, When Darkness Loves Us was published.
Engstrom moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1986, where she lives with her husband Al
Cratty, the legendary muskie fisherman, and their Duck Tolling
Retriever, Jook. Liz holds a BA in English Literature and Creative
Writing and a Master of Arts in Applied Theology, both from
Marylhurst University. A recluse at heart, she still emerges into
public occasionally to speak at a writers conference, or to teach a
class on various aspects of writing the novel, essay, article or
short story. An avid knitter and gardener, she is on faculty at the
University of Phoenix and is always working on the next book.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!