Sunday, March 31, 2013

Haunted by Gena Showalter (REVIEW) After Moonrise - Part 2


Haunted

Author: Gena Showalter
Category: Supernatural Thriller
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: Approx. 184

After Moonrise is made up of 2 short stories: Possessed by P.C. Cast and Haunted by Gena Showalter. Both novellas are set in the same world and centered around a Psychic Detective type of agency called After Moonrise. This review is for Haunted.

Description: An artist goes to her neighbor who is a detective for help because she thinks she witnessed a murder. The detective and the artist are both experiencing blackouts and work together to figure out what they are forgetting.

In Short: This novella is much darker than the other After Moonrise story, Possessed. It is full of twists and turns and makes for a chilling read. Just when you think the mystery is solved the story takes an unexpected turn and you realize it isn’t over yet. If you decide to read this book prepare yourself for a lot of drama sadness.

Pros: This book has a really surprising and heart breaking story. I thought this book was very well written. The characters were very well flushed out especially considering the length of this novella. I really liked the strong heroine and the valiant hero. I thought the romance was believable and well done. I also appreciated that though the story is very dark and about a serial torturer and killer it wasn’t overly gory.

Cons: This was a pretty good book but now that I know about all the little surprises I don’t think I would want to reread it in the future. I generally don’t like books to be too sad and this one was pretty sad and didn’t have a heart warming ending that maybe would have helped eased the sadness. There were a few scenes that I didn’t care for but I wont go into detail because of spoilers. Both of the After Moonrise stories had sort of bittersweet endings that some will find happy and others not so much. 


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Possessed by P.C. Cast (REVIEW) After Moonrise - Part 1


Possessed

Author: P.C. Cast
Category: Supernatural
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 3 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: Approx. 125

After Moonrise is made up of 2 novellas: Possessed by P.C. Cast and Haunted by Gena Showalter. Both novellas are set in the same world and centered around a Psychic Detective type of agency called After Moonrise. This review is for Possessed.

Description: A woman seeks help after her twin sister is murdered. She goes to a psychic who specializes in finding murders by tracking negative emotions. Together they search for her sister’s killer and attempt to save her soul from annihilation.

In Short: This supernatural novella has a dark plot with some unique ideas. The concept is interesting but there were some bizarre and even uncomfortable developments. I thought this novella was just OK. It isn’t a book I would want to read again someday.

Pros: This book had an interesting plot. I feel like maybe if this had been a regular length novel or at least a little longer the story could have grown into something a little more believable and been less rushed. I did think that the mystery elements of this book were good. It was interesting how the ghost was giving them little hints to find her killer. I do enjoy P.C. Cast’s writing style.  

Cons: The romance element of this book was a little unusual. Like most of the other reviewers for this book I found the sister “taking one for the team” to be weird and it made me uncomfortable. I also thought their romance happened too fast making it less believable to me. I’m really not a fan of “insta-love” because I generally have the feeling that it isn’t based on anything real and therefore wont last. I also thought the general premise for the book was a bit cheesy. I didn’t get into the ooey gooey happy feelings stuff. There was also a lot of unnecessary swearing in the beginning. I’m not usually that annoyed by cussing but who drops F-bombs in front of clients like that? Very unprofessional of the psychic detective main character. I also really couldn’t get into the male main character of this story. Him being so moody and only able to experience negative emotions (until the happy girl comes along) was just so unrealistic even knowing his back story. They have to make him experience joy in order to help them. Unfortunately the only way they can think of to make him experience joy is sexually. I thought certainly there are other ways to make men feel happy. That definitely wasn’t the deepest and most thoughtful solution.




Friday, March 29, 2013

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (REVIEW)


Haunting Violet

Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Category: YA Supernatural Historical Fiction Mystery Romance
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: 368

Description: Violet is a 16 year old girl forced to help her wicked mom who is a fraudulent medium. Violet doesn’t believe in ghosts until she starts to see them every where. She meets the ghost of a girl who died one year ago and starts to investigate her murder with the help of her friends. 

In Short: This book is a wonderful blend of genres. A young adult book set in Victoria Era England with a supernatural themed plot driven by romance and a murder mystery. This book sucks you into its world and the imagery gives you the feel of watching a spooky movie with brilliant special effects. This book is a unique and fun read!

Pros: I love the way the book is written. It is narrated by the main character who is funny and clever and is always saying and thinking witty things. I thought the main character was very likable. I really enjoyed that she was the one to solve the mystery and she didn't need a love interest to save her. Because of the way things are worded you can clearly picture them. The ghostly scenes are creative and scary. The romance elements were natural and believable. The book is really well paced and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire thing. 

Cons: This isn't really so much of a criticism but this book had a lot of big words that I didn't know (like laudanum and flibbertigibbet). Luckily reading this on my kindle app on my iPad means I can just poke the word for a dictionary definition. So on the plus side I learned a few new words. The only bad part of that was if you don’t have a dictionary handy a lot of times the sentence the words were in didn't give you any clues to their meanings so you might feel like you are missing out. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

10 Shades of Sexy (Short Stories Reviewed)


10 Shades of Sexy

10 Short Stories from a collection of different Romance Novels

Please note the following ratings are for the short stories and not the complete versions of the books. Also these ratings unlike my usual reviews are solely based on my personal feelings and not on their quality. Most of the ones with low ratings are just stories that didn't tickle my fancy and/or I found them boring. The following ratings are out of 5 stars. 







His Forbidden Touch by Shelly Thackeri 
5 Stars 









After the Fire by Kathryn Shay 
2.5 Stars









Heaven’s Fire by Patricia Ryan 
1.5 Stars










Just Perfect by Julie Orton 
3.5 Stars








The Games by Patricia McLinn 
3 Stars










Taken by the Cowboy by Julianne MacLean 
5 Stars









Lips that Touch Mine by Wendy Lindstrom
5 Stars








Justin: Tales of the Shareem by Allyson James 
2.5 Stars










Hidden Crimes by Emma Holly 
2.5 Stars










Trust Me by Lori Devoti
2.5 Stars






The best:  His Forbidden Touch – Though I gave a few of the stories 5 star ratings this one was my favorite. From reading this short I imagine that the full length novel could have a great story with an interesting journey. The characters even in the short version are well developed and seem likable.

2nd Place: Taken by the Cowboy – I’m a fan of “time-traveling” historical romances (Like Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander books) which makes this short story a close second. Although you don’t get a whole lot of back story in this short I believe that this book could have a really interesting story. I don’t read many westerns but I would definitely be interested in reading the full length version of this novel. I imagine this book would be full of danger, action and adventure.

Last Place: Heaven’s Fire – The reason I didn't like this story is because it is unrealistic and the female lead’s personality changes too drastically in a short amount of time. In the beginning she seems to be near death and completely traumatized after being assaulted and nearly raped. Then after the doctor visits you find realize her injuries are only minor scratches that will not even leave scars. It’s understandable that she is so shaken up but how she’s goes from near catatonia to instantly banging the male lead is unbelievable. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout (REVIEW)

Cursed

Author: Jennifer Armentrout
Category: YA Fantasy
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: 304

Description: Two years ago teenager Ember was killed in a car accident. Her little sister brought her back to life. Now anything living Ember touches dies. She meets a mysterious boy named Hayden that tells her she is gifted and that he can help her control her gift. She wants to trust him but his father may have nefarious motives for helping her. 

In Short: Overall this is a great book. With elements of romance, mystery and sci fi it makes for a very interesting read. I would put this book in the same category as books like Twilight and I think teenage girls especially would love it.

Pros: This book has a unique story with a lot of creative elements. There are a lot of interesting “gifts” and the way the characters use their gifts is interesting. The main character is likeable and I really admire the way she looks after her little sister. The story moves along at a good pace and has a lot of activity. I really got a kick out of all the little clues and secrets. The characters are all really well developed and you can sympathize with even the not so nice ones. There were a lot of surprising developments in the plot.  

Cons: Unfortunately I figured out who the bad guy was within the first few scenes he was in. I thought the clues were quite obvious but judging by the Amazon reviews for this book many readers may still be surprised at the end. Because I already knew who the baddie was I found the ending to be a little anticlimactic. Also it was over too quickly in the sense that the danger started and ended within a few pages. I think the danger in the ending could have been drawn out a little to be more suspenseful. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dollar Tree Book Haul

So if you didn't already know this you can get books at Dollar Tree! Assuming you have one in your area and it sells books. These books only cost $1 and you can occasionally find good ones!

Here is a list of books we have gotten from Dollar Trees recently:



The Chocolate Lovers' Club 

by Carole Matthews

Description: There’s one thing that Lucy Lombard can’t live without, and that’s chocolate—creamy, delicious chocolate. Sharing her obsession are three other addicts: Autumn, Nadia, and Chantal. Together they form a select group known as The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. Whenever there’s a crisis, they meet in their sanctuary, a cafe called Chocolate Heaven. With a cheating boyfriend, a flirtatious boss, a gambling husband and a loveless marriage, there’s always plenty to discuss...



Ghoul by Brian Keene 


Description: There is something in the local cemetery that comes out at night. Something that is unearthing corpses and killing people. It's the summer of 1984 and Timmy and his friends are looking forward to no school, comic books, and adventure. But instead they will be fighting for their lives. The ghoul has smelled their blood and it is after them. But that's not the only monster they will face this summer...



Level 26 by Anthony E. Zuiker

Description: Law enforcement personnel categorize murderers on a scale of twenty-five levels of evil-from the naïve opportunists starting out at Level 1 to the organized, premeditated torture murderers who inhabit Level 25.

But to an elite unnamed investigations group assigned to hunt down the world's most dangerous killers, headed by Steve Dark, a new category of killer is being defined....

 Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich


Description: According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground.

Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.



The Wheel of Darkness

by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Description: FBI Special Agent Pendergast is taking a break from work to take Constance on a whirlwind Grand Tour, hoping to give her closure and a sense of the world that she's missed. They head to Tibet, where Pendergast intensively trained in martial arts and spiritual studies. At a remote monastery, they learn that a rare and dangerous artifact the monks have been guarding for generations has been mysteriously stolen. As a favor, Pendergast agrees to track and recover the relic. A twisting trail of bloodshed leads Pendergast and Constance to the maiden voyage of the Britannia, the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner---and to an Atlantic crossing fraught with terror.



And from the sale bin at Walmart:



Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Description: The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane relentlessly bears down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades—with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.




Keep an eye out for our reviews of these books.







Monday, March 25, 2013

Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualtieri (REVIEW)


Bill the Vampire

Author: Rick Gualtieri
Category: Comedy/Fiction (Vampires & Geeks)
Suitable for: 16+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: 343

Right when I read the dedication: “To Spike, a good cat” I knew I was going to love this book. In that spirit I would like to dedicate this review: To Angel, a cool cat. Yes I too named my cat after a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Admittedly Spike is cooler but whatever…

Description: Hapless nerd, Bill Ryder wakes up to find himself dead (poor bastard) but it gets worse! Unfortunately he is even less popular in death than he was in life and now he must fight to maintain his un-life before he becomes extra dead.

In Short: I was LOLing from start to finish! This unique vampire tale features a cast of interesting characters, a likeable hero as well as an action packed plot fraught with danger and comedy. The story is an original take on vampires and a refreshing change from all of the sparkly romantic vampire books.

Pros: This book is very well written and incredibly funny. The story is unique and creative and full of a lot of little details that make it extra special. I especially love all the goofy little nicknames the vampires have. I really appreciated that this book had a good conclusion. Even though there is a sequel this book had a complete stand alone story. The plot is fast paced and full of action. I never wanted to put it down.

Cons: I found no faults with this book.

Warning: This book contains mature language. I rated this book as suitable for ages 16+ because I figure the swearing isn’t any worse than what teens will hear in the hallways in high school. But just be warned, its there. Oh yea, this book is also violent but no worse than a Jackie Chan movie.



Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Voyage by Ivana Vianno (REVIEW)



The Voyage

Author:  Ivana Vianno
Category:  Sci Fi (Science Fiction - Aliens) (short)
Suitable for:  Adults
My Rating: 2
Pages: 102

Description:  This is a short story about a man who is abducted by aliens and travels around with them. He experiences communication problems and experiences their way of living.

In Short:  A man is abducted by aliens and has new, strange and sometimes funny alien experiences.

Pros: It was kind of funny.

Cons: There was no plot. It was pretty stupid and had a lousy ending. The main character was unlikable and hard to understand.  The author failed to explain why things happened the way they did and went the way they did, so it left the reader confused and with a lot of questions.

Fortunately, I got the kindle edition of this book while it was free on Amazon. 


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wormhole by Richard Phillips (REVIEW)


Wormhole (Rho Agenda #3)

Author: Richard Phillips
Category: Sci Fi
Suitable for: 18+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 539

Description: In this action packed conclusion to the Rho Agenda series a black hole threatens to destroy the world. Our brave heroes plan their mission while the evil Dr. Stephenson attempts to finalize his mysterious master plan.

In Short: This is the best book of the Rho Agenda triology and an amazing conclusion to an awesome series. This deep, involved story has elements of not only Sci Fi but also mystery and romance. I was thoroughly engrossed in this book from page one and never wanted to put it down.

Pros: As you read this book you start to see how well planned out the whole story is as all the pieces fall into place. This book also stands alone better than the 2nd book in the series. In one chapter the events leading up to this point are expertly summarized as an NSA agent puts the pieces together of her own investigation. If you haven’t read the first 2 books or have forgotten what happened that summary will get you caught up. The characters in this trilogy are well developed and the heroes likeable. Throughout this book series you see their unique personalities and abilities grow and evolve. I was especially thrilled when the alien back story was revealed. For the last 100 pages nothing could have gotten me to put the book down. I really didn’t know how it was going to end and there were so many possibilities that left me on the edge of my seat until the very end. This book is intelligently written like the previous two and the science elements are so well described that they are easily understandable and believable. I also appreciated that this book is much less gory and violent than the previous two.

Cons: I found no issues with this book. 


Friday, March 22, 2013

Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells (REVIEW)

Lust, Money & Murder (Books 1, 2 & 3)

Author: Mike Wells
Category: Thiller/Suspense/Crime/Mystery
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: 293

This review is for 3 novellas (each about 90-100 pages) Lust, Money & Murder (Books 1, 2 & 3)

Description: Born in the worst suburb in Pittsburgh, Elaine Brogan is bright, beautiful and bold. When her father is falsely arrested for passing counterfeit $100 bills, Elaine vows to become a Secret Service agent and track down the man responsible. Elaine soon finds herself thrown into an adventure that takes her halfway around the world, from dark and mysterious Sofia, Bulgaria, to Moscow Russia, and finally, to Milan, Italy. In the end, will Elaine find the love and happiness she truly seeks…or will she turn to a life of obscene wealth, power and corruption?

In Short: I was blown away by this book. This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Reading this book I laughed, I cried, I gasped, and I swore. It has an intricate story full of exciting events, tense situations, sad scenes, funny scenes, twists and turns, and a great ending. The tenacious heroine is likable and you cheer for her as she seeks her revenge.  

Pros: This book is paced perfectly. It is loaded with action and never slows down. I have found from reading books by Mike Wells that he doesn't waste your time with fluff and he produces a satisfying ending for his books. The settings are well crafted and easily transport you into the book. I loved seeing her entire journey from her childhood through the execution of her plan to become a secret service agent and then through her quest for vengeance. If you like thrilling tales full of mystery, suspense, love, betrayal and revenge you will love this book!

Cons: There is nothing bad I can say about this book.

Like many series these books do not stand alone and you will want to read the entire series in order to get the full story.

You can find the first book, a freebie teaser kindle edition on Amazon.

Buy the full set of 3 books for kindle currently only $4.99 on Amazon.

More by Mike Wells: Read my review of Wild Child 

Find Mike Wells on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeWellsAuthor
Visit Mike Wells' blog: http://www.thegreenwater.com/

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book by the author for an honest review.



                

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by D.G. McIntosh (REVIEW)



Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Author:  D. G. McIntosh
Category:  Thriller/Horror
Suitable for ages:  Adults
My Rating: 3 ½ stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 231

Description:  This story is set in a church in Maine in the middle of a blizzard. There is an evil spirit in the church that is killing off members of the congregation. A Private Investigator makes it his mission to get revenge on the demonic presence to avenge the deaths of people that he was close to.

In Short:  The story was really scary. The characters were well developed and likable The story keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to see what happens next. However, if you are put off by endless writing mistakes you will want to skip this one.

Pros: The setting was well written and made me feel like I was there. The plot was very good and I never wanted to put the book down. If this book was turned into a movie, it would be a very scary movie and I would love to see it.

Cons:  The vulgar language in this book was a huge turn off to me. The whole book was full of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. In some sentences I couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say. This author would greatly benefit from an editor.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wild Child by Mike Wells (REVIEW)



Wild Child


Author: Mike Wells
Category: YA Fiction
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review:  Kindle
Pages: 106

Description: Best friends Briana and Kyle decide to have a relaxing day out on a lake. A horrific accident turns their beautiful day into a nightmare. For the next few days they struggle to keep Briana safe and alive while also keeping the secret of the green water.

In Short: This book made for a shocking read! The story is really creative and thrilling with an amazing ending. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat as you eagerly devour this book in one sitting.

Pros: The character development in this book is incredible. Even though it’s short the characters are created so expertly that you really care about them and what happens to them. The story is fast paced and loaded with action. The book is well written and flows smoothly. I really could not predict how everything was going to go down. It is really important to me that books have a good ending and this book goes above and beyond in that sense. I will be thinking about this awesome story for a long time.

Cons: I have no issues with this book. All I can say is, "I want more!" 

This book is currently free for Kindle on Amazon.

Find the Author Mike Wells on Twitter
Visit the blog by Mike Wells






Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Immune by Richard Phillips (REVIEW)

Immune (Rho Agenda #2)

Author: Richard Phillips
Category: Sci Fi
Suitable for: Adults Only
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 613

Description: This book takes up right where first book in the series: The Second Ship leaves off. A Sci Fi tale set in modern day times where scientist have discovered a crashed alien space ship and are making the alien technology available for the public. This is a violent story of the people struggling to change the world and those trying to save it.

In Short: This book is the 2nd book of the Rho Agenda trilogy. In this installment the teens begin to accept their obligation to help humankind and encounter many difficulties in their efforts to take down the bad guys. You also see the global effects of the discoveries of the spaceships and the subsequent releasing of the alien technology to the public.

Pros: Like the first book it is very intelligently written and well researched. With the author’s knowledge of the topics in the book and the way everything is worded you can very easily imagine everything. I really enjoyed the advancement of the heroes abilities and they way they use their abilities. In the last part of the book the action really begins to heat up and left me excited to find out what happens next.

Cons: This book is much darker than the first and a bit depressing to read. Our heroes suffer a lot of unfortunate events and you get no emotional payout when things go right until nearly the end of the book. The book is very long and a lot of it involves global political issues, conspiracies and violence which I generally find boring. It wasn’t drawn out even though it was long because a lot was happening it just wasn’t events that I enjoyed reading about. I also didn’t like the recurring theme of the bad-guy psychopath rapist mostly because I felt that whole conflict was getting redundant. Though there are no actual rape scenes it is implied. If violence/gore/torture is a nonstarter for you, you should definitely avoid this series.(trigger warning)

Note that: This book is not a standalone book and unless you read the first one before picking up this one you will be missing out on a lot of story and be pretty lost. 

Parents Guide: This book contains adult content, violence, gore and torture. 





Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Post by Author Mark Williams


Today I have the honor of introducing a guest blogger. 
The Following is a post by the Debut Author: Mark Williams

The Advantages Of Writing               
                                                         
            I believe, as well as most of the American populace, that writing is very advantageous. For me personally, I can vouch for it. It relaxes me, tranquilizes me and acts to take my mind (momentarily) at least off of other things going on in life and around me. Among other things, for instance, writing is educational and informative.
            When I attended a community college-several years back, taking a course in anthropology and another in computers-I was surprised by how much that writing was implemented in the classroom, still and how important it continually still was. Just as much as I was assigned to study, and how I was assigned to study the computer-its programs, and its methods of storing information, I was also subjected to writing-diligent writing, in order to begin to understand the class which I had enrolled myself in. As for my computer class, fortunately, writing was not an intrinsic part of it-which involved more-so, minor discussions. As the outcome and (I personally think) because of the level of my writing skills at the time, I received a high grade in the Anthropology class and a very low marking in the computer class. I personally believe if my writing skills, at that time, had not been refurbished, then I would not have done much better in the Anthropology class.
            Since then, however, I have gotten better at writing and have come to enjoy and respect it more. I've come to view writing, more, as entertainment and not so much as a task to be absolved or completed. Therefore, I conclude, writing can either be an advantage, or disadvantage. It can either be a gateway into unlocking doors of information or either be a gateway locking you in from that information. 

                                                                                                                                    M.W.

Find Mark Williams' book The Puzzle of Grandpops on Amazon