Category Archives: Promotions

Review: Code of Conduct

Code of conductCode of Conduct: A Thriller (Scot Harvath Book 14) by Brad Thor.  This is a NY Times best seller in the Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Category.  Brad Thor is a well known bestselling author of the Scot Harvath Thriller series.  His next book, entitled Foreign Agent, debuts June 14th.

What I liked.

The thriller genre is not as attractive to me as others I prefer to read more often.  So I tend to be more demanding.  I’ll often judge this type based on whether I feel compelled to skip ahead while reading (a bad sign).  However, some would argue that the death knell for similar stories is when you put the book down and awhile later discover you haven’t picked it back up.  Phrases like ‘page turner’ are key to separating the wheat from the chaff in this regard.  Needless to say, Thor definitely does pass muster with this book.  What need I say?  There is a broad, ambitious story, involving the fate of mankind.  Thor has mastered the art of maintaining tension and interest as characters navigate through conflicts that challenge their morality, their determination, and their intelligence.

Because of an epic scale that spans the globe, multiple groups of characters are introduced and reintroduced.  Thor weaves these stories at a pace that allows you to keep track of who’s who, without bogging down the action. And there is plenty of action.  As is typical of the genre, the violence ramps up towards the final climactic ending, and you will be ready when the time comes.

One perceived weakness of the genre is the balance of substance.  Here we’re found wanting if it appears to be ‘all action, no talk’.  Thor adds meat to the prose by interspersing political philosophy: it isn’t just good verses evil, but government bureaucracy verses individual liberty.  So the conflict between ideas is just as entertaining as the cage fight spectacle.

What I didn’t like.

A story of this scope and style often treads lightly on character development.  While there is enough there to like the good guys, and dislike the bad guys, I was still left wanting.  Scot Harvath is a very well developed protagonist and you’re left with no doubt about his reasons why or raison d’etre, s’il vous plait.  Not so much for the people around him.  They are more or less two dimensional.  For example the two prominent female characters are stereotypical archetypes.  But that probably won’t bother the target demographic.

I had a similar issue with the villain.  He had to be the nicest serial killer you ever met.  What’s up with that!  He leads a great life until he suffers a bad loss.  Then he reads a bad book?  So he goes crazy?  Thor has quite the cautionary tale about being careful with your bedside reading choices!

What you should know.

For thriller and suspense lovers, this is definitely the ticket.  With respect to the amount of violence, think early Schwarzenegger, if you want a movie comparison.  Warning:  know that these series can be highly addictive.  You may find yourself up late at night and suddenly sleep deprived (and neglecting significant others a la Harvath).  Take your time.  There are plenty more where this came from if you haven’t read any of his novels before.  If you have, don’t worry, you can buy a copy of Foreign Agent and get your fix this summer.

Recommendation:  Must Read


Jewelry For Justice

By Emma Borquaye, A21 UK Prevention, Awareness, and Education Coordinator

Marina De Buchi is a jewelry designer living in London with a passion to see human trafficking abolished in the 21st Century. At 20 years old, she is already active in doing what she can to help by giving 10% of all proceeds from her jewelry brand to A21.

As she lays out the dainty gold bracelets in front of me at the table, she talks through the meaning behind each one in The Freedom Collection;

“The bird is called beyond fear lies freedom, so you can look at it and know that you can get through whatever you are facing. The key says ‘unlock your dreams,’ but it can be unlocking freedom, unlocking anything! Whatever it means for that person.”

Unlock Your Dreams

Divert the mainstream.

Consider supporting this project.

monica byrne

durham (1)

So the Wired culture column Wired didn’t want to publish? I’m taking it elsewhere. Right now, it’s not a question of whether the column would have a home, but where. That’s a great thing.

But Wired, being Wired, had money. Most of the places offering to host the column can’t pay the rate that Wired could. But writing is how I make a living, and I already do plenty of it for free. So to make the column good, I have to make enough money to justify the time I devote to it.

So here’s my deal with you:

(1) A professional rate would be $500 for 1000 words. Patreon takes 5% and credit card and transfer fees add up to around another 5%. So if we reach $550 per column, I launch the column.

(2) For a year, I promise no less than one column a…

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How To Make a Blog Post!

I like this one

One Page At A Time

Step 1: Make a blog help-for-wordpress

Step 2: Make an intro….I guess


Step 3: Panic (because you’ve now realized that you have no idea what to write about)…sorry panic

Step 4: Run to Shayla for help–sorry


Step 5: Feel bad, I guess, kinda, sorry.

Step 6: Curl into ball like Crona

crona's corner

Step 7: Drown sorrows in chocolate chipschocolate-chips

Step 8: 🎉Ta Da!🎉

Maybe, eventually, I don’t know something happens. You get creative. Sorry, not much help. It’s a post though.

Help-Me-Please (Just because this is cute…and fits my thoughts after being forced into this-sorry)

Hope you guys like it!


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A Blatant? Plug for BLOGLOVIN’


After my initial experience with this new (to me) iPhone/iPad App, I thought I would share what I’ve learned.

First of all if you are unfamiliar with the Bloglovin’ service I would describe it as website that helps you find and follow great blogs.  With the Apps, I am an Apple lover so please forgive my bias, I found it to be very convenient and fun way to get caught up inside the blogosphere.  My caveat to this is a certain reticence to use Apps over my preference for Safari or Google Chrome on the web.  I just feel that too many Apps are lacking to such a degree that it isn’t worth the bother.  Know what I mean?

Anyway, here’s what I found:  There are four master pages titled My Feed, Popular, Search and Me


A+, this really doesn’t seem like an App, it has a web-like feel to it.

A+, even better – there is a web option that allows you to view the blogs on the web!

B+, there is a handy menu button which drops down to reveal all your favorite blogs in My Feed.

B+, I like the handy share tab there too.

B+, the popular posts offer a terrific way of finding good blogs when you are pressed for time.

B+, great images.

C+, searching for blogs is clean, without advertisements and extraneous distractions from what you really want, to read blog articles.

C+, as an added plus the ‘Me’ page allows you to create your own blog.


C-, there is a feedback link to get input from users, though the response to users seems to be less than ideal

C-, some of ‘features’ are a little tricky to use and the instructions are not as ‘simple’ as I’d like.

As an avid supporter of WordPress for all the reasons you might imagine, I would say Bloglovin’ Apps are in the category of the “next best thing” and rate them as “recommended”.

Happy Blogging!

Movie Review: Ex Machina

It took Ex Machina for me to break a hiatus. While it entertains as well as it provokes thought and dialogue, this film strikes that delicate balance which every great science fiction seeks to achieve.

Graphic Policy

ex_machinadAn artificial intelligence dealing with emotions is something we all have seen before! Films like Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner and Spielberg‘s AI are the ones which come to mind at 1st & most recently in Wally Pfister‘s directorial- flop, Transcendence. Yet, in my opinion this film stands all together in a different arena. Unlike others this film is more of a dialogue-driven psychological thriller that slowly works it’s way under your skin. This serves the story well, cramping up the tension as an age old Sci-fi plot-point emerges (as covered by the trailer): how will a sentient machine feel about having its plug pulled. The film has a simple story dealing with a deeply complex and philosophical topic: namely what makes humans human, you know the feelings & emotions. The story follows Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), an employee at BlueBook, the world’s ‘leading search engine’…

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New Mystery by Walter Mosley

Photo By: LAnthony

Having read the first four Leonid McGill Mysteries; All I Did Was Shoot My Man, When the Thrill is Gone, Known to Evil, and The Long Fall, I was excited to see this new entry in print.

If you aren’t familiar with New York City Private Detective McGill or haven’t tried any of Mosley’s 49 works, you are in for a treat.  While his genre repertoire tends towards the hard-boiled, there are plenty of diverse offerings for the casual reader.

For more about the author you can check out his Facebook page


Murder At Cirey

A freshly reviewed mystery

Brayton's Book Buzz

Murder at Cirey_Cheryl Sawyer_Cover and text

By Cheryl Sawyer

Cheryl Sawyer_authpic

NOTE: Before I proceed with the review I wish to compliment Ms. Hingley on her email request. It was one of the main reasons I chose to accept this book for review. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I hesitate when it comes to historical mysteries even if they include real people. However, the email that introduced Ms. Sawyer and her book to me was a fine example of how, I think, request letters should be written. It made a fine attempt at connecting with the reviewer and gave a bit of her writing history, then gave an extended back cover blurb about the book. It also gave me a link to her website. So often I see a short one or two sentence email with the casualness of, “Hey, would you want to read and review my book?” No intro, no blurb, and the author…

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