Thriller

Grift by: Jason Mosberg

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Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

 

 

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My Review

Piper is a 17 year old con-artist in Las Vegas living in a top floor penthouse in the Treasure Island hotel near the strip with 4 young con-artists, their mentor and surrogate father, Max, and her 14 year old sister, Sophie.

Piper and the rest of group work for Max by luring tourists from their money using various scams and in turn Max provides a place to live and coaches them in their respective trade. Piper works by exploiting men as a high-end escort. She seduces men into a hotel room and takes their money without providing any service. While her roommates spend their money on whatever their heart desires, Piper saves all her money so she can leave Las Vegas and give her sister a more normal life.

One evening, Piper comes home to a beaten and bloody Max, thousands of dollars missing and her sister kidnapped! The ransom demanded puts the group in a frenzy – can they con enough money to save her?

I enjoyed this book. While I believe the plot in this book, in one way or another, had been done, I was excited to see a twist with the main character being a young female. When I began reading, I had a distinct feeling of reading a fairy tale with the characters coming from nothing, finding Max and then having everything they could ever want. However, that feeling is short lived as the characters join together to bring Sophie home. The story had potential: a strong lead character, a love interest, internal conflict, external conflict, but falls short with supporting character development and overall execution.

The additional roommates and even Max himself fall seem like ghosts, appearing only to help further Piper’s cause of rescuing her sister. Having an illustrated back story for the group would have helped the reader feel the familial relations rather than being told (“show don’t tell.”)

Which leads to my next point, execution. When writing a story with a twist or mystery, it is important to leave proper bread crumbs of foreshadowing and misleading clues to keep the reader guessing. Unfortunately, with this book the plot was a bit transparent.

I still enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations as the group fought to collect $1,000,000 in 36 hours. It was exciting and well thought out. A promising beginning for Jason Mosberg.

-JL

Penny Greenhorn’s HARBINGER is a Home Run!

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Destined to break an age-old curse, Claire Buchanan Duke is plunged into danger, and there’s only one person capable of saving her. Soon she finds herself entwined with the black sheep of the blood-drinking community, an ill-tempered assassin with little interest in protecting her. Can Claire escape her fate?

Summary (as on Goodreads):

Claire Buchanan Duke has a hankering for blood, but she’s different from those cursed creatures that drink it. Unsure of what she is or where she comes from, Claire tries to get by the best she can. But the visions don’t help, and her latest is the worst yet—a picture of her death. Destined to break an age-old curse, Claire is plunged into danger, and there’s only one person capable of saving her. Soon she finds herself entwined with the black sheep of the blood-drinking community, an ill-tempered assassin with little interest in protecting her. Can Claire escape her fate?
An urban fantasy with a twist of Celtic myth and romance, Harbinger is a stand-alone novel set in a world of the Cursed and Chimera.

AMAZON  |  SMASHWORDS

About the Author:

Penny Greenhorn sleeps by day and writes by night. She’s like an owl, no, a superhero! She even has a secret identity, concealing herself behind a pen name. Yup, totally a superhero. Minus the powers… and spandex, she never wears spandex. She doesn’t really save anyone either. Okay, maybe she’s more of an owl. Owls are cool.
Check out Penny’s work: the Empath Series, the Fiona Frost Trilogy, and her stand-alone urban fantasy, Harbinger.

**Adelaide Confused is the first book of my Empath series.  It is free online, as is Fledge, the first novel in my teen science fiction trilogy.

They can be found here:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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Interview with the Author
Penny Greenhorn:

  • What kinds of books do you like to read?
Definitely genre fiction.  Science fiction/fantasy, especially urban fantasy.  Right now I’m finishing up the last book of Kim Harrison’s Hollow Series and I’m pretty bummed about it.  It’s the end of an era.  😦
  • Is this your first work in fiction? and/or what other books have you written or are planning to write in fiction?
I’m currently working on the third book of my Adelaide Series.  It’s about a grumpy empath that lives on an island.  Also, I have a teen science fiction trilogy which is centered around Fiona Frost, a girl from a dusty faraway planet.
  • What advice is invaluable to a beginning author?
Stephen King said you should write a book each season, taking no longer than 3-4 months.  Therefore if you procrastinate, Stephen King will be mad at you.  Don’t procrastinate.
  • What is your biggest challenge with writing?
 Procrastination.
Thank you Penny for the short and sweet interview and sharing your wonderful work with me!
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My Review

Claire Buchanan is an anomaly in the in the cursed world. She displays abnormal strength, heightened smell and sight, craves the taste of blood, but surprisingly doesn’t need it to survive. Duncan, a half-cursed man, takes special interest in Claire and begins providing her with his blood. When he is called away by his Curse-Maker, he entrusts Claire’s well-being to Emile, the presiding Sealed of Harbinger.

Meanwhile, Claire’s abnormalities reach new heights as she begins having visions of the past and future, and ultimately foresees her death. Using her vision, she fends off an attack from a half-cursed and finds her frenemy, Veronica, has broken into her apartment begging for her help. Ultimately the two both need the same person. Emile. After creating a bit of trouble, Claire meets Emile and describes her attacks. He takes special interest and concludes her situation may be more than just a random occurrence and refers her to Arthur, a half-cursed with a chip on his shoulder. The mystery behind the attacks, the disappearance of Duncan and Claire’s family tree begin to unfold.

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! Penny Greenhorn has taken what I had anticipated to be just another vampire novel and has made it unique and entertaining. Each character gives life and unique look into the world of paranormal blood sucking novels!

The story is told exclusively from Claire’s point of view. For me, first person can make a book flat and lacking in range, but the supernatural elements create an entirely different depth bringing thousands of years into one action filled story. It reminds me of the intricacies of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, except Penny Greenhorn does this in one book as opposed to Rowling’s series of seven.

While the plot was griping, the pacing and momentum of the story falter minutely in chapters 11 and 12 with Arthur’s interrogation of Claire and the third attack. In this part of the book the attack scene is superfluous and our introduction to Arthur was too long to have not warranted any new information. However, this scene being our first experience of Arthur was crucial to the development of his character. I would not have had the same love for Arthur if we met him first at Duncan’s apartment. So in my opinion, I’ll take the interrogation and leave the third attack.

Arthur and Claire are a pair of well developed characters and provide a refreshing and unique personalities. Claire is a stubborn, quick witted loner and Arthur is an equally stubborn and sarcastic independent Half-Cursed. Together they make a hilarious duo as they explore an entirely new world filled with goddesses and the chimera while they decipher the origin of Claire’s attacks.

While a couple of chapters may have lacked over all it was very enjoyable read. The characters are provided enough back story to be believable and sufficiently sate my need for explanation and progression in the plot. I was very impressed with Ms. Greenhorn’s first book and look forward to watching her writing career develop.

New Paranormal Read – “Where Dead Bodies Lie”

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Where Dead Bodies Lie (The Body Dowser Series, #1)

Release Date: 12/16/14

For as long as I can remember, I have been told to
follow three important rules;
Always guard my ability. Never share my secretAnd pretend to be normal.

However, those three little rules don’t make my life easier. I still find dead
people and deal with strange visions. Not to mention, an attraction to a boy
who doesn’t exist. Whenever we cross path’s he mists away like smoke on a
mirror. He drives me crazy, that Kaff Cooper. As a flock of dead crows fall from the blackened sky, Kaff becomes the only one
who can see the truth straight to the dark underbelly of who I actually am.

My hands feel the pull to extract the forsaken, the lost, the forgotten. It comes as naturally as breathing and there is no stopping it.

 

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Teaser 1

He laughed and his smile lit up the space we shared. I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d look like shirtless. His chest so broad, his arms muscular, his hair even wilder, and his brown eyes a shade darker and deeper to swallow you whole. I bet he broke a lot of hearts.

“You’re wondering how I managed to stay in school all this time and not get kicked out.” He glanced at me then returned to the road in front of him. “I think it’s because I ditch class. The school kicks the bad stuff under the rug.”

“So the school forgot about you?”

“Yep.”

And I forgot deodorant. I was sweating like a pig. “I don’t think that’s it. You’re hard to forget.” Ugh. Why did I say that?

He hesitated, then smiled. “You too.”

Ohmygawd. “How much longer until we get to school?”

“Five minutes, tops.” He drove on and we didn’t speak after that. It was a relief on my part. Underneath all the civility was an undercurrent of attraction. It had always been there but I never admitted it to myself until now. I mean, why would I like a guy who, inadvertently, robbed me of high school? I mean, I wound up dead in a hole.

And Don’t forget the…

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Teaser 2

A coldness nipped at my fingertips and no matter how hard I shook my hands, the mist clung to them. I heard a cracking sound and looked up at ceiling lights as they exploded, sending shards of glass spraying everywhere.
Students screamed, covering their heads. Another fury of wind swept in through the window.
Papers flew, stools toppled, and lab vials burst.
The door flung open and panicked shouts filled the air as a stampede of bodies flooded out into the hall. I felt nothing as if I were standing in the eye of a storm, detached from the riot a few feet away.
“Let me out!”
“She’s crazy!”
“Shit, move your ass!”
“I can’t breathe. She’s killing us!”
Moments later, the door slammed shut. I was all alone and the room melted away, exposing water lapping at the legs of chairs. A flicker of shadow crawled up from the floor. I could only make out her form a few feet in front of me. She was standing in the middle of the room, her head bent down, face hidden by a mop of wet black hair hanging over her face. Her image flapped and unfurled like a flag in the wind. I climbed down from the desk and leaned against it
as the girl floated toward me on a current of air. I shrank back, trying to understand what I’d done. What was she going to do to me?

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