#BookReview “When the Children Come” by Barry Kirwan

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5/5 Stars!

When the Children Come pulled me right in from the first page. No introductions or descriptive narrative. Kirwan dropped me right into the action.

Nathan, a military vet who never wanted children, is ironically guarding over two-hundred of them. He’s their protector and possibly last chance for survival… as long as he stays awake.

The story pulls back to explain how Nathan and the children came to be hiding in the abandoned school, and who they’re hiding from.

I enjoyed this page-turner, reading it quickly, and ending up frustrated I’d have to wait until fall for book 2! HA!

Nathan is a great protagonist/hero. While he appears to be negative in the beginning, his backstory explains the guilt he feels for the lives lost during his three tours in Afghanistan—and his PTSD.  But with the words of his late CO playing on repeat in his head, Nathan pushes on to be the protector and leader he doesn’t want to be but knows he has to be.

Lara and Raphaela, two women connected to NASA in different ways, are amazing sources of counsel and support for Nathan. Kudos to Kirwan for continuing to write strong, confident female characters. Nathan wonders more than once how he came to be surrounded by women smarter than him. However, it will take smarts and the Special Forces training Nathan has tried to bury to fight an enemy they know nothing about.

My favorite character though is ten-year-old Sally. After her brother is murdered, Sally runs for her life, straight to Nathan who lives in the same apartment building. Though he doesn’t know the child, her fear and his gut instincts tell him something is wrong. The streets are too empty for New Years Day. The adults who begin to gather are angry. And there are no children. Along with Lara—Nathan’s New Year’s Eve blind date—he takes the child and flees the city in search of help and answers. Each leg of the journey brings no answers and more hopelessness, but Nathan can’t help but notice as their situation becomes more dire, Sally matures, adding things overlooked or unspoken to the adults’ conversation.

When the trio meets up with others searching for answers while trying to survive, the ten-year-old becomes the unspoken leader for the children, and that’s how Nathan treats her as he and others train the children in basic survival skills to protect themselves and to kill. They know if adults fall asleep it’s kill or be killed when they wake up.

It wasn’t lost on me that while adults fought over race, politics, and authority, there was no dissension between the children. They didn’t separate by race or gender. There were no outcasts, no labeling. Without the societal burdens adults choose to carry, the children share one focus… to survive. However, as chances of survival shrink and the enemy reveal themselves, the children’s focus turns to revenge. War is coming, but it takes time to plan and train because it will be winner take all. They’ll only get one chance to take down an enemy that’s growing in number, more advanced… and not human. It’s ironic the group’s best chance for survival and victory is also not human.

I’ve read and enjoyed first contact stories before, but the unique plot and realistic characters of When the Children Come make it a memorable book that goes on the re-read shelf.

Enjoy!

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Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

Praise for When the Children Come…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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#ReviewTour “Eye for Eye Trilogy (Talion Series)” by JK Franko

On Tour October 19 – December 31, 2020

Eye for Eye Trilogy by JK Franko

If you like smart, fast-paced thrillers with unexpected twists, then you’ll love J.K. Franko’s Eye for Eye Trilogy!

“REALISTIC & CHILLING!” – Mystery Thriller Week

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Talion Series Review

5/5 Stars!

Eye for Eye

A childhood secret is the catalyst for two sets of parents to extract their own brand of vigilante justice. However, the perfect crimes aren’t so perfect and more lives are at risk when lack of trust and feelings of betrayal surround the couples.

Tooth for Tooth

There’s no such thing as a perfect murder and the karmic consequences of actions kick in doors like an L.A. SWAT team. What began in book 1 as vigilante justice/retribution has flipped to survival of the fittest—or craftiest, in this case—as two of the four bad actors don’t make it to the end of book 2.

Life for Life

The story’s narrator, the therapist who treats Roy and Susie, is more present in book three, and just as messed up as everyone else. There are no good people in this story. Some are simply more desperate than others. It makes me wonder if a young girl had lived instead of died at summer camp thirty-plus years ago, how different these lives would be. Or would they?

Franko does a superb job with character development and powerful personalities leap from the pages. (That trial judge! Whew!) I highly recommend the Talion Series.


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Eye for Eye

Amazon | Goodreads

“NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”
~ THE SUNDAY TIMES

Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

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The Trial of Joe Harlan Junior

Amazon | Goodreads

A college Halloween party. A night of fun, dress-up, and laughter. But for Kristy Wise, it quickly became a night of horror.

Now, Joe Harlan Junior, entrepreneur and son of a prominent senator, is at risk of losing everything as he stands accused of a crime he insists he did not commit.

Yet the facts are undisputed: Kristy was drugged, and she did have sex with Joe.

But was it consensual?

Read the story. Listen to the testimony. Is everything that happens next justified?

YOU decide.

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Tooth for Tooth

Amazon | Goodreads

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted. 

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Life for Life

Amazon | Goodreads

What would YOU do if someone threatened your family?

Roy Cruise and his pregnant wife Susie barely survived an assassination attempt in their own home. The police now have them under surveillance. Meanwhile, Kristy Wise is a loose cannon—she knows too much and is trying to “set things right.”

What goes around comes around. And in this case, Roy and Susie may have pushed things too far. There are too many dead bodies. Too many foes plotting against them.

Roy and Susie must outwit the police and neutralize their enemies once and for all. If not, their days of retribution may end behind bars… or six feet under.

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Eye for Eye Trilogy Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by: Talion Publishing
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 1050
ASIN: B08KSCHTRX
Series: Talion Trilogy #1
Find out more or get your copy:

Amazon & Goodreads

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Read an excerpt from Eye for Eye:

When I try to piece together how this whole mess began, a part of me thinks it may have started over thirty years ago. At least the seeds were planted that far back, in the early 1980s. What happened then, at that summer camp in Texas, set the stage for everything that was to come.

Odd, how something so remote in time and geography continues to impact me here, today.

Sometimes I try to imagine her, how she felt—that eleven year-old girl—as she ran, stumbling and tripping through the woods that night. I try to put myself in her shoes. When I do, I wonder if she was frightened.

Did she understand the consequences of what she’d gotten herself into? I imagine it felt otherworldly to her, like a dream. But not a good dream. No, one of the bad ones—the ones that make your heart machine-gun as you try to outrun some dark thing that’s chasing you. But the faster you try to run, the slower you go, your legs feeling leaden, clumsy, useless.

Panic sets in. Tears of frustration form. Fear takes hold and won’t let go. You open your mouth to scream but realize, to your horror, that you’re paralyzed. It’s not that you can’t scream; you can’t even breathe. Not a dream—a nightmare.

Then again, all that may simply be my imagination. It could just be me projecting what I might have felt onto Joan. Maybe she wasn’t scared at all.

True, it was dark out. The night smelled of rain, but there was no lightning, only the far-off rumble of thunder hinting at a distant storm. There were no trail lights, no visibility but for the moon peeking out intermittently from behind a patchwork of clouds. But, Joan had been down this trail before. She was running toward the main cabin.

She had been at Camp Willow for almost two full weeks. She had been up and down that trail at least ten times a day, every day. Of course, that was during the day, and always with her buddy, or a camp counselor (the children called them troop leaders). Joan had never been on the trail at night. And never alone.

Maybe I imagine Joan was scared because, as an adult, I believe that she should have been. I would have been terrified.

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Excerpt from Eye For Eye by JK Franko. Copyright © 2019 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

 

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Author Bio:

JK Franko

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaways!

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Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be Six (6) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko (US and Canada Only); and Two (2) winners will each receive 1 ebook edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko. The giveaway begins on October 19, 2020 and runs through December 21, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#Review “The Best Man” by Winter Renshaw

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5/5 Stars!

Fate? Destiny? Coincidence?

Do we choose our life’s journey… or are we characters acting out a script written for us?

The Best Man is not a paranormal story, but it made my mind wonder.

A chance meeting between Cainan James and Brie White is just that. A few minutes in a bar. Cryptic conversation. A prophetic parting. They go back to their lives without even exchanging names.

A near-death car accident finds Cainan waking from a coma six months later, asking for his wife. The only problem is he isn’t married. He heals and returns to his law practice with the visions of the mystery lady in his head. Cainan’s sister, Claire, is convinced he’s still traumatized by the accident and wants him to get help. Cainan is ready to agree with her until he meets his mystery woman.

Engaged to his best friend, Grant.

As the story unfolds, nothing is what it appears to be. Analytical Brie and Pragmatic Cainan ignore the simmering connection between them for obvious reasons. Rethinking her decisions, Brie has to make choices that have nothing to do with Cainan, while all of Cainan’s decisions are because of Grant.

What happens when the couple realizes they may know each other better than either of them know Grant?

(Insert speeding car in parking to mow Grant down. Read the story. He deserves it.)

Engaging and bittersweet, The Best Man is about relationships and does a great job of delving into several, especially between siblings and friends. It also deals with misplaced loyalty, manipulations, and betrayals. But not where you think. Pay attention!

However, it shines brightest as the connection between Brie and Cainan is explored and explained. Well, as much as the unexplainable can be explained!

I enjoyed this read. It didn’t fall back on insta-love, broody males or females making bad decisions simply because. It focused on people, the part they play in our lives, and the consequences of life choices.

Or are they choices? If you hear the Twilight Zone theme… just go with it.

Enjoy!

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SYNOPSIS

I didn’t know her name, but I heard her laugh, tasted her lips, felt her warm skin as I held her in my arms. Together we watched our young children playing in the sand, the warm ocean lapping the shore behind them as the setting sun painted the sky. She was my soulmate and this was our life, our beautiful forever …
Then I woke up—alone in a hospital room, connected to wires and machines.
There was no wife. No kids. Not a single soul waiting for me. That life I dreamt of … never existed.
I’d been in a devastating wreck, a nurse told me when she rushed in. Comatose for weeks. I’d have a long road to recovery, but I was going to make it.
From that moment on, the dream haunted me. I saw that woman’s face every time I closed my eyes, searched for her in every crowd, ached to be with a stranger I felt I’d known my entire life … and I swore that if I ever found her, I’d do anything to make her mine.
Anything.
Then I found her.
And it was both the best and worst day of my life because the woman of my dreams … was about to marry my best friend.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: No cheating, no love triangles. That’s all I’m going to say … 😉

Purchase

Amazon

Goodreads

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This Criteria Makes For a Good Book Review

 

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by Doug Lewars

Book reviews are a fact of life. If it’s your book being reviewed, they’re nice if they’re positive and decidedly unpleasant if they’re negative. Every book is going to have a few negative reviews. That’s a fact of life because people are different, have different interests, enjoy different things, and will relate to your work in different ways.

In addition, you will probably want to, or at least be expected to, review someone’s work and that can be tricky. Explaining to an author that his command of the language would make a pre-school child squirm with embarrassment is not likely to win you any friends; and he or she might take a run at your work purely from a spirit of tit-for-tat.

 

via This Criteria Makes For a Good Book Review