Characterization

A science fiction noir that wraps the razor wit of Raymond Chandler around the extraordinary vision of Philip K Dick – Nineveh Editions.

This is a dystopian thriller about the power of words and the worlds they can create. While a company has found a way to reduce formulaic text into a power source, the laws have evolved to ensure that anyone who harbors old literature or creates new material is put down. Non-conformity is a risk, and asking questions may cost you your life, as Billy Stringer learns. The story moves at a blistering pace and provides many surprising twists along the way, as well as some delicious prose of its own. Captivating and timely, with a perfect bittersweet ending.

Review by Sandra Ruttan

A clueless conman, a stubborn succubus, and an evil god who won’t shut up. It turns out living nightmares almost never appreciate a good joke.

Anyone who likes magical realism in the vein of Neil Gaiman or Christopher Moore will love this well-written, fast-paced adventure loaded with humor. Hero Forged has a little bit of something for everyone–action, adventure, comedy, tragedy, gods, and monsters, and even some romance. Readers looking for a neatly categorized tale with a straightforward, predictable plot might find this fast-paced, imaginative adventure uncomfortable, but the writing and fun plot could even pull them in.

Review by Hero Forged

Scheduled for Review on September 24, 2018

A mild mannered historian, a ruthless power hungry witch and an old man with a remarkable secret. When their lives intersect the results are deadly. The Guardian: A tale of love, revenge and magic.


After three mutilated bodies are found, Alaska State Trooper Dan Patterson fears a serial killer is stalking women on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Will he be able to catch the killer before he flees the island or before he strikes again?

In this era of cost-cutting to maximize publisher profits by minimizing expenses it’s hard to find a book that is typo-free. As an author I’ve also had the experience of having someone else involved in the book’s creation insert a typo or misspelled word into what becomes the final copy. Overall, there aren’t many issues with mechanics in this book. Commas are overused and inserted in a few places where they shouldn’t be, but if that would deter you from enjoying a story there may not be many books out there that you’ll find readable.

Before I get into the meat of my evaluation, I want to state that I finished this book and was happy to do so. I wanted to read to the end. I was reading early in the morning and late at night. What I see here is an author that has tremendous potential. Whether that potential is fully realized will depend on how well the author receives constructive feedback. It was very hard to decide how to rank this book because I really feel that this is an author who, in a book or two, could be amazing with the right developmental editing.

The issues:

There’s a lot of unnecessary repetition. Putting my editor’s cap on, I’d guess that as much as 15% of the book could have been removed by trimming repetitious sections. I’m primarily referring to repeated descriptions and information, In some cases the same information is presented multiple times. Some of the dialogue is inflated and is more about retelling factors of consideration than it is about revealing character or advancing the story.

Writing books with police investigations is its own challenge, however, and Patterson seemed very willing to share details of the case with just about everyone he interviewed. This ties in with another issue; a lot of case-related information was repeated interview after interview. Cops tend to keep information to themselves to control the public’s awareness and to allow suspects to incriminate themselves. They don’t volunteer casually and the repeated information could have been reduced significantly.

An example of the problems with the procedural aspect can be found in contradictory information. In some places it is stated that one of the victim’s was almost three months pregnant. Then she’s referred to as having been two months pregnant. Detail matters. How many weeks old the fetus was determines when the fetus was conceived, and that narrows the time-frame for identifying who the father was. Lack of specifics isn’t something police like to work with if they don’t have to because they aren’t looking to widen their suspect pool; they wanted to know who the father was and they would use whatever information was within their grasp to be able to identify him.

If that was one example it might not be worth mentioning, but here’s another. When one of the victims is found, the person who found it references how they don’t think they’ll “ever get the image of blonde hair, a pink parka, staring eyes and a slit throat out of her head.” That’s at the 16% mark for Kindle readers. But at the 28% mark we have the revelation that three of the victims “all had straight shoulder-length black or dark-brown hair, but Deanna Kerr… had blonde hair.” Since Deanna’s body was not found at the 16% mark, but Amy Quinn was, that means her corpse went from blonde to brunette.

While this may seem nitpicky, it’s the kind of thing that could, and should, have been caught in a developmental edit. It’s also the kind of thing that will drive some procedural readers crazy, because some of them are trying to piece clues together to figure out who the killer is, and when they’re given inaccurate or contradictory details in the investigation it makes all the details given lack credibility and leaves them unable to play along with the cops. And these aren’t the only inconsistencies in the investigative details.

There is also a point of view problem throughout the book. For example, Patterson interviewed Deanna’s parents alone and observed the mother in a housecoat. When Patterson and Morgan go back to talk to the parents, we have Morgan’s perspective referring to her being in a housecoat again. At times, knowledge of what’s going in multiple characters’ minds is presented. It’s hard to be 100% sure who’s information you’re getting.

Character narrative can reveal things about them and there were a couple things that baffled me. One was Morgan’s detail for fashion, down to knowing what type of hip and knee waders everyone was wearing and what the woman’s brand was. This is likely a case of the author inserting knowledge to try to produce a sense of realism and credibility in the setting; the issue is that the FBI agent isn’t from Alaska who is the POV character at that time so it seems odd. He doesn’t reference what type of jeans people wear or who designed other items of clothing so it didn’t seem fitting that he would be so particular about the waders people were wearing.

The other referred to a character that, honestly, could have been completing removed from the book. Jane’s sections are told in first person narrative, while the rest of the book is third person multiple points of view. This would suggest Jane is our protagonist, because of the emphasis on her character through writing style, but she isn’t an active part of the investigation. And when you’re at a funeral and your thought is that it’s “a depressing afternoon” with an exclamation mark tacked on the end, it may reveal something about your character the author didn’t intend. It was notable that her heart didn’t ache for the pain the parents and friends of the victim were in, but that she was more focused on the fact that it was a depressing experience. Ultimately, Jane was inconsequential to the story as a whole. If the book hadn’t repeated unnecessary information it may have been read better as giving a wider perspective on events. As it was, we didn’t need her in the story and having her few sections be from first person perspective when the rest of the book was third person narration put undo emphasis on her as a character. This is listed as part of a series. I haven’t looked to see which characters recur. It doesn’t read like a typical series, which is fine, but this may have been a case of keeping a character around who wasn’t necessary to the story.

 

This may not be fair to mention, so take it for what it’s worth. I write police procedurals so I have a lot of experience with them. From the very first second that a certain character was introduced, I knew they were the killer and I was right. But I was left with one question I had that wasn’t answered in the book. It may be have been an issue of me connecting dots that weren’t meant to be joined or an oversight and I’m not sure which.

I do want to see more from this author. And I did find the book to have many enjoyable aspects, such a characters I was interested in spending time with and a setting that is well developed.

Review by Sandra Ruttan

It’s 1966. Angie Finley has a lot on her plate – the Women’s Right’s Movement, school integration, the Vietnam War, a cocky anti-war activist, a sexy jock. The 1960s comes alive in this novel about a teen-age girl struggling to make sense of the social upheaval around her.

Strong writing and story-telling by a capable author who transports the reader back to the 1960s with depth, clarity and humor. Angie is a witty, likeable protagonist who has a heart for others and a mind of her own. She is a feminist being raised by a mother who has a 1950s view of women, which frustrates Angie. While the story deals with meaty topics of racial injustice,  women’s rights and the Vietnam war, with clever brush strokes, as the story goes on, it also begins to touch on several other social issues, which makes it feel, at times, as if the author has thrown in ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. It then focuses less on Angie’s story and borders on becoming more of a diatribe on every cause out there. Also, the character arc was a bit disjointed at times. Angie behaved in a passive-aggressive manner with her family and boyfriend, regarding her own life, but showed bravery and courage when dealing with the plights of others, even people she didn’t know very well. This led to moments where Angie’s actions and those of her mother, didn’t feel believable. There were also minor characters that were introduced in the beginning and crucial to the ending, but because they did not appear in the middle of the book, or did not appear much after that, it was hard to remember who they were. This caused the climax and ending to lose a bit of steam.

Overall, a well-told, engaging story with a strong sense of time and place. Fans of Historical Young Adult novels or novels dealing with social issues, will enjoy this book.

Review by A Daffodil for Angie

Scheduled for Review on October 15, 2018

Lady Changeling – to defeat a monster from her past, she must completely destroy the man she loves. A mix of high fantasy and gothic romance with a touch of Lovecraftian horror.


When an act of mischief goes terribly wrong, Sky is thrown from the Island into a strange and terrifying new world. Hunted for reasons she doesn’t understand, she is forced to use every bit of her wit and cunning to survive. But will it be enough as her murderous pursuers close in?

Those who like fantasies full of unusual creatures and heroes who must grow up in order to face their challenges, will enjoy this middle-grade novel. The main conflict of the story does not start until a few chapters in. The author has a way of starting a scene with a new place and new characters and then backtracking to fill in who the characters are and where they are, which some may find a bit confusing. However, the reader will soon understand what is happening and will be able to jump right back into Sky’s adventure.

Review by Melody Delgado

Attracted to the exotic mystery of Warlord Era China? Relish forbidden love in the midst of revolution? Adore political intrigue and heroes/heroines overcoming impossible odds to survive only to be betrayed by someone close and trusted? Then you’ll love The Dragon Of Hidden Treasures, Book 1!

Those who read romantic stories full of adventure and intrigue will enjoy this story. The reader is immediately pulled in from the very first page. Excellent writing, with attention to details, that makes the characters and setting leap off the page. The characters are vivid and unique and the story feels original also. The story is also full of twists, turns and betrayals.
 
There were a few spots that could have used a few editing brush strokes to make the women more believable in their actions at the beginning. At times, Kathryn and her mother figure, or Amah, seemed a bit too accommodating, even for the times, and perhaps could have  protested the actions of the male figures more. But this did serve to show the reality of the times and location, where women had little say in anything, including their own lives. At other times, the pace was so fast, the main characters had to solve problem after problem.

Fans of fast-paced romantic suspense, adventure stories, war dramas and the works of Amy Tan will enjoy this novel. There are disturbing images as well as scenes of graphic violence. This is also book 1 in a series, so the ending is not resolved.

Review by Melody Delgado

Ten-year-old French singer Nicolas de Beaulieu seems to have it all in the rigours of the 1930s, but as he grows up, he becomes no stranger to grief. World War II begins and Nicolas and the girl he loves find themselves in deadly peril, hunted by the Nazis.

Those who like plot driven suspense novels that cover many years, include a number of characters in the plot, or readers of sweet historical romance, will enjoy this story. It is reminiscent of THE SOUND OF MUSIC in that it is a story of a musical family who must interrupt their lives in order to deal with the war and also contains a love story as a subplot.

This story is not for those who enjoy character driven novels, as one of the weaknesses was character development. The story was told from multiple points of view so it was difficult to know who to root for. There was also a bit of confusion in the first few chapters because the point of view changed so often. Once the novel was in full swing, a few chapters in, it was easy to see where the story was headed and the story line and characters were easier to keep track of.

Review by Melody Delgado

Suspicious of the real reason for her mother’s disappearance Esme Silver goes searching for clues in the enchanted world of Aeolia. In her quest for answers she learns much about herself and the value of friendship and family.

For fans of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Harry Potter”, you will find something enjoyable to read in this book. But with more focus on the protagonist’s personal growth, her family and an emphasis on her introduction to the enchanting world of Aeolia, this is a more heartwarming and whimsical story young fantasy readers will surely love.

Review by Kate Ashley

Followers of The Pure are vanishing from Earth. It’s rapture, the faithful say. To the government, the disappearances are merely human foul-play. Investigation by Federal agent Reiko leads her to a diseased world, where she uncovers the ultimate fate of those raptured. The truth is far from heavenly.

This book is not just about religion and politics at a macro-scale. It also looks deep inside us. For those looking for a thought-provoking read jam-packed with action scenes set in a futuristic world, give this book a try.

Review by Rapture

Paul Tomenko knows about the improbable. A sweepstakes winner and renowned counterculture writer by age 19, he’s traveling to God’s library to preserve eternity. If that wasn’t hard enough, his two lovers must become involved as well. But the trio discovers the job can turn someone’s soul inside out. Literally.

Readers who enjoy science fiction with a humorous and slightly irreverent bent will enjoy this fun tale with a unique take on metaphysics, cosmology, and religion. The universe and characters Felyk has created are thought- and laugh-provoking. The sometimes convoluted and unevenly paced plot might hinder those looking for a fast, easy read.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Widow Maggie is pulled out of her shell when she meets actor Levi Martin.

The novel is well-written from start to finish, with fleshed-out, likeable main characters. A good, solid read for the romance genre. Fans of Sweet Romance, as well as those who like sneak peaks  into the lives of the rich and famous, will enjoy this story.

Review by Melody Delgado

A newspaper publisher receives a scandalous proposal from her wealthy ex-boyfriend. Will she accept his proposition and save her family’s business? Constant Craving is an allegory for the newspaper industry, with sexytimes.

Constant Craving is a powerful contemporary romance, not just because of the connection between the couple but the backstory was deep enough that any reader can quickly dive into and connect with.

A recommended novel to those who enjoy contemporary romance with a great balance of steam and depth.

Review by Constant Craving

The Book of Ralph is an uncanny adventure that uses humor, philosophy, and an alien invasion to explore the down to Earth concept of humility.

The Book of Ralph is an exceptionally humorous and thought-provoking novel, and its blurb certainly delivered and more. Its comedic elements are wonderfully unexpected, much like the crimson message that geared this whole story to start.

Review by Kate Ashley

PI Charlie Miner, freshly revived from his own murder, and Homicide Detective Dave Putnam follow a series of murders mysteriously described by a psychic.

This story will appeal to people who like gritty crime fiction with a touch of the supernatural who appreciate character development.

Review by Sandra Ruttan

Scheduled for Review on August 20, 2018

The sky is full of elephants. Hares live on the moon. A paradise threatened by an alien being, and a promise to help it home. Only then will harmony be restored, and the human song renewed. Custodians of earth must not fail in their task, else all will be consumed.


Lia Davies is a small town business owner sleepwalking through life until she enters the world of the Paldimori. Chaos is the powerful leader of his people who prides himself on his control. They collide at every turn, but will Lia live long enough to explore the passion they ignite?

Readers who enjoy a well-crafted story with fantasy and supernatural elements with lots of intrigue and humor will enjoy the story in Waking Chaos. But, beware: the terribly cheesy sex scenes will either make you throw up in your mouth a little bit or laugh out loud. Five stars for the well-written intrigue, action, and plot but -1 for the cheesy sex scenes that strip any hint of romance or eroticism from the story for a total of 4 stars.

Review by Waking Chaos

Lawyers arguing a case on opposite sides disagree on most everything, except the love they both feel for their dogs, a Boston terrier and a Jack Russell terrier. Loneliness and their dogs bring them together in a surprising way on Valentine’s Day.

Love on Trial is a quick light and sweet read about two lawyers and their pups who happen to fall in love.

A recommended read for those who enjoy light, contemporary, and clean romance about puppy love, swallowing your pride and following your pups first love.

Review by Love on Trial

Two comedians go to war over a stolen joke premise.

This “tale of friendship and its discontents” (as the author puts it) may not be for everyone. Fans of comedy, and those that enjoy stories of how relationships can be so strong and so fragile at the same time will enjoy it. At times it was confusing as to which characters were talking or doing the action, but this book has great qualities in the way of plot development and characterization that really hit it out of the park.

Review by Wrecking Balls

College senior Jackson Dowd goes to Montréal for a lost weekend, meets a handsome drifter named Benoit, and finds himself plunged into the strange and violent world of feline shifters.

According to the acknowledgement at the end of the book, when Andrew J. Peters started writing the books between these covers, the author had decided to “queer” the vampire and werewolf craze in the “delightfully narcissistic tradition of” those who had come before. Shortly after starting, however, he seemed unsatisfied with the neon pink paintbrush he’d been slapping across the canvass. He began researching the deeper history of feline mysticism and Native American two-spiritism in an effort to create a richer and more unique universe for his shifters to frolic and slash each other in.

I’m happy to say that he succeeds.

Review by Werecat: The Trilogy

Scheduled for Review on August 27, 2018

Alison Hayes needs to find a path. The chaos that has been her childhood is about to explode and she has to find a way not to repeat the mistakes her mother has made. There has to be a better way to live.


Claudia’s ready to take a chance on love, but everything about Toby contradicts her family’s traditions and values. Toby has the girl he’s long dreamed finally within his reach. But one last secret hides in the dark corner of his past. The one that could undermine it all.

Although the first half was slow, it all makes up for the heart-wrenching second half of the novel. This is a great read for those looking for a light read packed with enough emotions.

Review by Keeping Claudia

Ethan and Tilly Wolfe are special. A cruel, devastating kind of special that causes death and destruction in equal measure. Nobody is safe. Not even those who love them. This is the story of an experiment gone hideously wrong, and the lives of two children trying to put it right.

The Wolfe Experiment is an emotional rollercoaster packed meticulously in a science fiction thriller package. The balance between emotionally charged scenarios and action scenes made this novel an overall page-turner. If science fiction and thriller novel is something up your alley and you like an exhilarating book you don’t want to put down, give this one a try.

Review by The Wolfe Experiment

As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Light Dawning is dark, unapologetically so. Not just in subject matter, but in tone. A patina of helplessness and hopelessness infuses each page, aided by artful prose and sympathetic characters.

Though filled with magic and monsters, Light Dawning is not about escapism. There are no heroes, only people making hard choices to stay alive. There are no noble sacrifices, only senseless deaths and desperate murders. In short, if you’re looking for jolly dwarves and sarcastic elves, maybe look elsewhere.

However, if strong writing and palpable mood is your thing, by all means settle in.

Light Dawning doesn’t shy away from the grotesque, but I assure you there’s no gore porn fainting-couch shockers here. Ty Arthur uses blunt and graphic imagery in service of crafting his harsh world and immersing you in it. Light Dawning is no horror wannabe, it’s solid fantasy, just painted with a more serious and sombre pallet than many are used to.

I’d say that is perhaps the books weakness as well as its strength. If the relentlessness of Arthur’s world seems a bit heavy going, I sympathise. This is not an isolated battle in a wider fantasy scenario, with hearth and home waiting elsewhere. You are trapped with the characters in a merciless, terrifying siege.

This almost seems a shame at times, as Arthur’s mythos is rich, and could certainly be better explored from a wider variety of view points. However, Arthur sticks to his guns. This is boots-on-the-ground survival, and is too busy navigating the trenches to spend much time looking at the stars.

Dive into this book if you like heroic fantasy, but have a taste for something harder.

Review by Light Dawning

RED EARTH is ground zero for Max Bowman – as he uncovers a shocking secret that will rock his world forever—forcing him to cross an unthinkable line.

For readers who enjoy gritty novels like those by John Grisham, or those who love great humor jam-packed with lots of action scenes like the children’s fiction series by Rick Riordan, or all of the above, you will find an exciting and wonderfully enjoyable experience reading this book.

Review by Kate Ashley

Oliver is biding his time in a soul sucking internship when he accidentally becomes a superhero. If he can survive the endless training sessions, the generic but tight suit, and getting thrown through the occasional wall, he might just have time to stop the bad guy from enslaving the world.

Here’s the great thing about SuperGuy… the premise smells like KickAss and the Greatest American Hero combined, but it’s neither. It  comes out as something better.

The slapstick and violence are actually tastefully minimized. The superhero cliches are handled well with perfectly selected, coordinated lampshades. I can’t stress how well the internal logic of the superhero and government relationships are handled, but then all the relationships are handled super well. Every human interaction is funny but without cost to the internal logic of this universe’s rules. You can believe in everyone in this story.

It’s rare for me to find a novel where the humor is handled so deftly and so consistently. It’s a smooth ride of smirks and chuckles and if there’s a flaw in the story, it might be that there are no big superbelly laugh payoffs. But, it’s not really that type of funny.

I like the romance in the story and I like that it’s soft and not a heavy plot point. I like that the girl he is seeing is a better and stronger superhero than he is. I like that he respects her and that he goes to her for help and (most especially) I like that he does it without whining.

I like that all the women in this book are strong; even if that strength might be getting other people to do their work for them. This is important, because this is a part of the present bureaucratic process; it isn’t women being bitchy. It’s just how offices often work. One woman deftly handles realigning responsibilities with  legit advice and ego buffing and we get to see her internal logic. Another woman is treated as an unreachable  goddess, so she selectively uses that to get men to do her bidding (said bidding is restricted to moving plants and office furniture), but we do not get to see her internal thinking. Beside Roger, there are only two efficient productive office staffers, and they are women… one works for the Mayor (Lily) and one reluctantly works for SuperGuy (Emma). They get their share of humor, too, and none of it at the expense of their personhood.

But mostly, I like Gray Matter, the villain, even if he feels, well gray… he’s almost a generic villain, which might be expected in a foil to a generic hero whose symbol is a bar-code and whose most outstanding feature is a randomly too noticeable crotch. I’m hoping that the next villian is much more colorful and outrageous and breaks all the rules that the author expertly set up.

Will there be a sequel? I assume so. It’s one of the rules.

There is always another issue coming out. I look forward to it.

Review by SuperGuy

Two cousins are leaving the protection of their underground bunker, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth. On the other side of North America, a young survivalist is leaving the seclusion of his cabin in the woods.

I would highly recommend this gripping post-apocalyptic thriller to anyone who has a thirst for the genre, and to anyone who wants to read an action-packed, thought-provoking book. The first part of the book builds the tension up superbly, like a horror film, tipping you to the edge of your seat, whilst also dipping back into the past to explain what has brought the world to this point. The second half of the story is almost sad in its gory inevitability. Humans have not had enough violence or death, and the war continues. I was fully involved with the characters and rooting for them to come through. Very much looking forward to reading the next installment.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

It’s impossible but it’s on-screen. He’s captured—on camera—the scene of his own death. He has only two options: succumb to his fate the footage foretells or fight—to the death if need be—for his very own life.

The End is a book you can read in one day, which is exactly what I did. Not just because it is short, but because you simply cannot tear yourself away from it. For me, this book was a little nugget of perfection. Trevor is an ordinary young man, working hard to provide for his pregnant wife. At the weekend though, he tests his mountain biking skills to the maximum, in the mountains of Utah. Back at home, Trevor watches the footage recorded on his Go-Pro camera and is shocked to witness his own death. How his own death could be recorded on the camera, and what this now means for Trevor and his family, provide a nail biting rush to the finish. A thoroughly engaging and vivid read with a spectacular twist. Everything about this book persuaded me to keep reading; the characters, their motives, the beautifully described mountain bike scenes, and the desire to know how Trevor’s death got onto the camera. I highly recommend this accomplished book to anyone who enjoys action and adventure stories, and for anyone looking for a quick, but fully engrossing and satisfying read.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

The Existence of Pity is a story of flawed characters told with heart and depth against the beautiful backdrop of Colombia. The daughter of missionaries, sixteen-year-old Josie Wales feels torn between their beliefs and the need to choose for herself. But she isn’t the only family member with secrets.

The Existence of Pity will appeal to young adults as well as adults. Well-written and thought provoking, it’s the kind of novel that will have readers thinking about Josie’s dilemmas even after they’ve completed the book. It is rather tame compared to the more strident YA novels out there—no mean girls, teenage promiscuity or intense parties. Readers looking for that kind of enticement won’t find it in this novel. What they will find is a sixteen-year-old’s thoughtful search for her own identity in a conflicting and sometimes hypocritical world.

Review by The Existence of Pity

A phone call in the small hours after midnight lands Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch in a lethal game where nobody can be trusted and everybody wants him dead. That includes the caller, an old flame with a violent temper and a terminal knack for larceny and betrayal.

The Right Wrong Number is filled with the latest and greatest of Nesbitt’s Quentin-Tarantino wit mixed with everything gory, despicable, irreverent, and plenty of sex. Indeed, a great combination of mystery and a plain laugh-out-loud read—guaranteed to be a favorite for noir enthusiasts.

Review by The Right Wrong Number

Nur attends a language school and falls for a classmate. But why? is he funny? Smart? Who knows? She can’t understand him, or her own feelings…yet.

This book is recommended for readers looking unique stories about underrated characters. It is also recommended for teens who may be considering college in the Boston area, due to its detailed and thoughtful depiction of the region. However, some readers might be turned off by the thick writing style. This book is not recommended for readers who prefer streamlined, fast-paced writing.

Review by The Year of Uh

The secrets of the past have been unearthed and with them, lives torn apart, exposed, and laid to waste. An ancient bloodline struggles to survive the chaos, violence and warped beliefs fostered over a hundred years.

Highly recommended, energetic and vibrant shape-shifting fantasy series. You will need to have read the first books to get to grips with this one, but this is a series worth diving into. Diego’s pack are forced to deal with evil Senator Flynn in this installment, after kidnapping his daughter Selene in book two. This book is very much Selene’s story, and we learn much more about the shape shifting cats and their Pride and legacy. The book ends on an explosive note, with Regina’s past coming back to haunt her and teasing us into wanting to read Book Four. Anyone who enjoys shape shifters, vampires, and character driven fantasy, will love this steamy series.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

“this strikes me as a finely crafted story…I rate it as a superior novel and recommend it to anyone who appreciates the challenge of an unflinching mystery. Certainly I was repeatedly surprised.” —Multiple NYT bestseller Piers Anthony

Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi fan, hard-boiled detective stories, or mysteries, this book will appeal to you. Yes, it crosses genre lines, but in such a seamless manner and with such elegant prose, even purists of any one of those genres will be satisfied. But, don’t grab this if you’re looking for a cozy mystery. The violence isn’t gratuitous but some of it is graphic. The superb writing and editing (the few errors stand out because of their paucity), and complex plotting of The Last Detective make it a great read for anyone who enjoys an exciting who-done-it.

Review by The Last Detective

Rhiannon Kossi is sure that she’s been lied to about her childhood. Seeking the answers to long forgotten questions, she is mysteriously taken from her quiet, simple life on a Montana cattle ranch and thrust into a new, violent world where she is forced to either fight or die.

If you can read any high fantasy novel and enjoy it, give THE EMPRESS OF VENTRA a try. Otherwise, you might be disappointed. 

Review by The Empress of Ventra

After her father dies, seventeen-year-old Sky moves in with her estranged aunt in British Columbia. She soon discovers disturbing abilities and a hidden heritage but she must relinquish the tight control she has on her mind to embrace her powers. And accept an elk into her life.

For those of you looking for a YA novel that is a breath of fresh air and does not focus on the romance part, Hidden Dawn is a perfect choice. While the pacing could be too slow on some parts and the main character is not the likable type at first, it makes up greatly for the author’s exquisitely delicate maneuver with character development and the stunning imagery that is constantly present all throughout the novel.

Review by Kate Ashley

During a time when there was more change and unrest than any other period in Egyptian history, 12-year-old Ankhesenamun became Queen over the most powerful nation of the ancient world. She was more than just a pharaoh’s wife. When sacrifices had to be made, she gave with everything she had.

For fans of historical fiction, specifically that based on the ancient Egypt civilization, and readers who like stories based on an untold figure in history, this book may just find you delightfully surprised.

Review by The Forgotten: Aten’s Last Queen

Given an impossible choice–kill a stranger to save five other strangers–what would YOU do?

If you like psychological horror and books that make you think as well as scare you, this book is for you. The author is a true professional and this reader can tell that he knows his craft, his pacing and character development. The book never lags. The characters live and breathe and feel very intense emotions that draw you in and make you sympathize. The internal monologue is handled deftly as well, without bogging down the reader in Chris’s agonizing decisions, but giving us enough to allow us to experience this with Chris. It’s a great read and would please anyone who can stomach some violence and uncomfortable situations.

Review by Kill Someone

Second edition of best selling war novel–incorporates veterans’ comments and new historical information. Young man comes of age during bloody combat and aftermath of war. Accurate history, engaging story, the bad and the good, warm and funny.

Public Information was a highly enjoyable, detailed read on the Korean War. It gives the reader a real sense of what it was like in the war with lovable characters to root for and a great feeling of years gone by. History buffs and fans of war fiction will love this novel, but the war scenes are not very graphic and the novel incorporates enough humor to make it accessible for a wider audience. A very solid, albeit long, read.

Review by Public Information

It’s a dangerous game to love your slave. When your whole species is enslaved – and it’s the humans who are acting like the monsters – how far would you go to free your family?

Light is a British vampire, who has been captured by the ruthless Blood Club, an underground society who deal in vampires, training and selling them as slaves for the rich. Defanged and ‘trained’ into a life of subservience to his new ‘owner’ Grayse, Light feels a long way from the rebel he once was. From the start though, he realises that Grayse, whose father owns the Blood Club, is not like her family her at all. An attraction grows, family bonds are tested, and as Light writes his diary to Grayse, detailing the horrendous abuse he has suffered, the two of them devise a daring plot of rescue and revenge. A shocking and at times uncomfortable read, this dark book leads us deeper into the world of vampires and their enemies, and sets the story up for book three.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on March 27, 2017

Dying ancient inveterate gambler Stanley McCloud places a huge bet that he’ll reach his next birthday … but evil bookie Maggy McCulloch has second thoughts as the big day approaches.


My name is Viktor Engel Warden, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more to this world than you might suspect. There are things that slither and pass unseen through the night, and it’s my job to stop them. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

The Wanderer Awakens is an ambitious urban fantasy that pits the hero against everything from mythical wraiths to nano-modified super beings. The science-fantasy mythos behind the novel is broad and rich, and the discovery of it is the backbone of the novel. However, told in first person from Victor’s point of view, the exposition is parcelled out with a sardonic and likeable narrative voice, meaning that the potentially diverting concepts are always firmly anchored to the plot.

Speaking of narrative style, Viktor Warden lends a light hearted noir-ishness to the novel, with his regular snarky witticisms juxtaposed with the moody descriptions of the New Orleans backdrop. Viktor’s secret past, his fantastic abilities and the atrocities of his enemies are peppered with mauling sincerity and dry sarcasm. For all that he is a super-powered battler of ancient demi-gods, Viktor is a very human, very approachable protagonist, who sets a conversational tone that makes the story accessible and keeps the pace clipping along.

Other than the sarcastic badinage, The Wanderer Awakens also revels in its action sequences. The novel is packed with bone crunching melee fights that are sure to satisfy those looking for ruckus in their reading. Explosions, chases, gun fire and brutal fist fights are never more than a chapter away.

The novel’s thriller-like pace may be viewed as a double edged sword by some. As mentioned, the concepts are highly fantastical, but the street-level grit of the action demands a running start, and author Ken Lange assumes you’re already buckled in when he puts his foot down. Those readers unaccustomed to science fiction and fantasy in a real-world setting might find themselves left in the dark— with fantastical revelation after fantastical revelation, this is not safe territory for those without the right compass. But for those of you already familiar with urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers, you’ll quickly settle in and enjoy the ride.

The Wanderer Awakens is a treasure trove for those who enjoy intricate fantasy concepts, and it’s framed with a sufficiently down-to-earth narrative that drops the occasional nudge and wink to the reader. It is a novel that confidently walks the fine tightrope between sincerity and over-seriousness, and between good fun and silliness. This results in a story that shoots for the stars while keeping its feet firmly on the ground.

If you like to read about wise-cracking, ass-kicking heroes going toe-to-toe with the fantastically monstrous, you wont go far wrong with The Wanderer Awakens. It’s a fast-paced, hard hitting supernatural adventure, with only a few elements that might make it unsuitable for YA audiences.

Review by The Wanderer Awakens

Seventeen-year-old Max suffers agonizing apocalyptic visions. He soon finds the visions weren’t just in his head. There are three others who have shared those same thoughts. Like him, they are something more than human… and they’re all in danger from the government forces hunting them down. As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

 

The Enemy Within has everything you’d expect in a YA fiction novel. The central mystery is engaging, the main cast members are endearing and have some funny dialogue, and the main character Max deals with his isolation in a very relatable way. The book is also very tightly written. Every line of dialogue and plot set piece serves a purpose with not an ounce of fluff. All the elements of the book fit well together as well, leaving the reader with a short, but overall very solid read.

But this novel’s greatest strength is also it’s greatest weakness. The Enemy Within has everything YA fiction lovers want, and that’s about it. The book doesn’t innovate in any significant way. While everything is more than competently executed, seasoned YA fiction readers will find themselves spotting genre cliches and tropes on almost every page.

But despite that flaw, The Enemy Within held my interest straight through to the end. While it does nothing new, this book is a fun read, and that’s what counts.

While the opening chapters are practically brimming with teen angst, it dies off soon afterward. Nothing terribly graphic happens and the author writes in a straightforward and descriptive style that should be easy for most readers to keep up with. The Enemy Within would make a great introduction to YA fiction, and please any YA fiction lovers as long as they come in with reasonable expectations.

Review by THE ENEMY WITHIN

John Fisher, is a Park Police officer. His office is a Dodge Durango. The dark legends and creatures have always been around, and after the civil rights movement they’re legal. When someone breaks the law on Federal land, it ‘s John’s job to bring them in, vampire, were, or other…

One of the most marvelous things about this novel, is how the prose reads like the observations and experiences of a detailed orientated cop without actually feeling that it was written by a cop who writes up so many reports that it’s second nature. I certainly got the feeling who John Fisher was, even if he’s not someone I’d be buddies with. Of course, part of that is I like my were-critters to be sexy. Cool. So, if you are looking for Anita Blake like Weres, John Fisher isn’t one of those.

But what John Fisher is, rough and yet smarter than he’d like you to think, he is in a totally realistic way. The supporting cast carries this verisimilitude across the book with only two clunkers of minor characters. I’m referring to two total twits in suits that remind of cops from an accidentally deadly traffic stop. Yet, in this first person narrative, it is realistic that John holds them in such disdain that they do not actually come across as realistic.

The dialogue is witty when John is not trying to be witty, and often not when he’s trying to be. The other characters often have better dialogue, which is amazing to me.

It’s almost a police procedural, which I enjoy when done correctly (and this was). When a book isn’t going to be a straight procedural, I like to have seen more romance and more introspection. But, true to type as a military man, just kinda says he blows his top and rushes through through the moment until he is out of emotional upheaval. It’s realistic… just not as satisfying as it could be.

I’m interested in reading more in the series. If William Lehman can adjust the mix a little, John Fisher could become quite the popular hero. Or Anti-Hero.

Review by Harvest of Evil

The very core of the Pack is threatened by Diego’s carefully protected secrets and the past he has tried to forget.

The next instalment in this darkly, enigmatic shape-shifting series, this book picks up six months after Loyalties ended. Everything seems rosy, with Angelina and Cole set to marry alongside Regina and Harry. Events take a dramatic and sinister turn when two of the pack are kidnapped, and Diego and the team have to work out by whom and for what reason. An altogether darker book that the first, Uncivil Wars both unravels the secrets of the past, and potentially blows apart the futures of all involved. A juicy read for anyone who enjoys well-plotted, character driven fantasies.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Top cellist Julia James has begun a whole new life- happily married and expecting her first child. She is finally poised to have the life she’s always dreamed of and she is finally able to put the past behind her. 

 Unfortunately, the past isn’t quite done with Julia yet.


A novel filled with music, hope, romance, and a hidden darkness that could leave you in anticipation of what could happen next.

Those who enjoy romance with a touch of thrilling psychopath tactics from the antagonist, this book could be an excellent read for you. Otherwise, should be avoided by those who enjoy light-hearted romance novels.

Review by Rhapsody

Scheduled for Review on March 27, 2017

John Powers, former autonomous operative for Department of Defense undertook orders to terminate a senator believing that the order came directly from the president himself. Now, in Washington, D.C., the Secretary of Defense and D.I.A. agree to take the necessary steps to tie up any unraveling loose ends.


A humorous satire on fundamentalism as a pair of gay kissing cousins in Texas rescue their transgender nephew from the hillbillies of Arkansas.

This story has heart but there are some flinch worthy moments in the first fifth of the book. Carl Jr. is hamming it enough to make a drag queen blush and it served more exposition than comedy. The cast of family members that account for Carl’s bitterness and distrust are just too thick with too similar names to take or to fully recall after the failed elopement to Ireland.

And when we do meet the family he distrusts so, they come en masse as a gaggle of clucking hens. By the end of the family gathering, I knew none of them… except that the seed is planted in Carl’s head that some of them aren’t as bad as he maybe thought.

Carl Jr and Bubba Gene bloom once Carl Jr. put aside chasing his glory days and begins investigating and experimenting with the pie recipe. Carl’s business mind is impressive and I enjoyed watching him pursuing all the variables. Bubba Gene has a minor supporting role, guiding Carl with well placed revelations and support. It was not comedy gold, but it was wonderful writing.

Watching Carl Jr. build a support network from scratch for his cousin’s sister and her child, made me believe that Carl Jr was more than the drama queen stereotype he appeared in the first third of the book. It also made believe in J.H. Hayes’s ability to create real people.

This seems more like a lighthearted memoir than the promised humorous satire on fundamentalism. Sure, there’s the obvious Christian hypocrisy you find in the bible belt. That’s funny in the sense that it’s the 21st Century and we still have to deal with this shit. And getting past the middle age hump is always good for a laugh no matter the orientation, but I wanted more.

I wanted a Texan Armistead Maupin, fair of me or not.

If the author returns to these characters, I would like to see more conflict, and not just confrontations like we had at the end of the book. The best parts of this novella was watching Carl Jr rise the challenge he put in front of himself (and I’m not asking for more Viagra moments). Carl figured out the problem, set out to fix things, discovered how to fix things, and threw money in the right direct.

Which, of course, is a perfectly great way to deal with real life problems.

But its not a great way to unfold a story.

The preacher man was never seen. Sherleen’s combative and abusive ex might as well be a ghost. Randi never calls Carl Jr out for using females pronouns on himself, in third person, never using SHE for Randi. Randi stays “nephew” even after Randi comes out to him. Other than a few imperfect pies and four wasted Viagra pills, Carl suffers no setbacks. Sure, the river scene was funny and embarrassing for the “kissing cousins,” but its totally not connected to the plot in any way.

Review by Gravy In The Pie

Mysterious aliens hold the secret to unbridled power and a young woman’s destiny, but Victoria the Blade will defy fate to seek revenge.

This book has to be one of the best books I’ve read in the genre in a long time. The author is extremely skilled in all areas that make for a compelling story. The characters are realistic, likable (except for the evil Korng which is the point) and sympathetic. The plot is fast-paced, with no lag where I wanted to stop reading. The world building is very well done, coloring in all the areas that make each new setting feel real. Finally, her craft is excellent. Justice is obviously a skilled master with many years of writing under her belt and a good editor. Anyone who likes reading in the adult fantasy genre will appreciate this book. I do want to warn readers, however: anyone sensitive to sexual abuse should avoid reading this book. They might find Vic’s treatment very disturbing and upsetting. The situation doesn’t last that long and is necessary to build the character, but could upset some readers who find that sort of thing unreadable.

Review by Katie French

Can a Latina U.S. President reform a corrupt financial system before the system itself destroys her? “An unusually deep plot for a political thriller…An enthralling protagonist at the heart of a gripping tale. A suspenseful–and topical–tale of White House intrigue.” — Kirkus Reviews

Those who regularly read political thrillers or crime thrillers will enjoy this book.

 

Review by The Latina President

Gary is writing what he is convinced will be a best-selling self-help book, despite his own conspicuous lack of success.

Hilarious in its complete embrace of faith-over-substance approach to success and wealth, Gary’s Guide to Life will have readers cringing and laughing at this witty sendup of the Self-Help aisle. If you’re a fan of Dr. Phil types and take your self-help gurus seriously, you might not appreciate this rollicking satire. For everyone else, you’ll want to step in and give Gary a good shake for being so very blind to what’s blatantly obvious to the reader, but you’ll also root for him to succeed at being successful because he is so endearingly naive.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

In rural Depression-era Alabama, 14-year-old Ruby Graves must face poverty, racial barriers, and a pastor bent on her destruction in order to find the faith she needs to unlock a mysterious gift of healing.

Don’t let “Christian novel” stop you from diving into the first book in Jennifer H. Westall’s Healing Ruby series. Yes, the story includes quotes from scripture, references to God, and a whole lot of praying, but these elements are squares in a patchwork quilt of skillfully expressed details that make this historical tale engaging, moving and illuminating.

Westhall has created well-drawn characters and dialogue so natural that it makes the reader feel like an eavesdropper. The plot’s (very) occasional lags are worth overlooking because of the reflective residue it leaves behind, giving Healing Ruby staying power that lingers long after the final chapter ends.

Review by Healing Ruby

The ill thought out attempt on Tulee’s life was a mistake, a terrible mistake. There’s an old Biblical verse in Galatians saying “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. That never was more true than during those three months in Tyson County, never.

While holding to a Christian undertone, The Passing of Tulee Main is one story that has the potential of capturing the interest of quite a large audience.

Review by Anita Lock

Will Lita’s stint in the dark and gritty underworld of adult entertainment put her on a path that secures her future…or will it swallow her whole, destroying everything she never knew she wanted?

This book is recommended for fans of New Adult literature who are more interested in coming of age and platonic relationships than romance. Though the book is about sex workers, it is not a sexy story and not recommended for fans of erotica.

Review by Amanda McSweeney

There are three people in this affair – and two of them aren’t human… A hidden paranormal London lies beneath our own. Escape into the supernatural world of the Blood Lifers. A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.

A unique book told from the point of view of a vampire addressing his dying wife, whilst looking back on the drama they’ve left behind. Quirky, amusing, frightening and dark, Rebel Vampires, Volume One offers a brilliant story, with plenty of twists and turns, romance and gore. For anyone who already enjoys vampire or supernatural horror style stories or for anyone who is just looking for something a bit different, a bit edgy, something that will amuse you, frighten you and take you on one hell of a journey into love, death, humanity, and monsters, then I highly recommend this book.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on March 6, 2017

When Gabrielle is invited to her thirty-year high school reunion, she’s confronted with the demons who followed her out of the 70s, when she was Gabbie, Geek Goddess, hoi polloi to The Beautiful Ones. Those demons, though, didn’t turn out to be whom she thought they were. mm. Funny, that…


These stories are about the cliff—the tipping point—the instant we must roll the dice or succumb to the status quo. Burch’s characters face life with courage and humor in a tenacious search for meaning and fulfillment.

A Book of Revelations delivers the voyeuristic aspects of social media sans FOMO (fear of missing out) thanks to Burch’s stellar ability to place a reader inside the characters he’s created. His short stories have an epic feel because of his exquisite use of language and penchant for deftly wielding details. (Prepare to be compelled to reread  details like “her right blinking flashing as she turned left” multiple times.)

Lately, there’s been no shortage of research on the benefits of reading floating around in the “soundbite-osphere,” everything from reduced stress levels and higher happiness quotients to better sleep and elevated empathy. (This inc.com feature rounds up nine of them.) As for the latter, being immersed in the worlds masterfully created by Burch may result in an almost immediate boost in understanding.

The eavesdropping sensation they induce is mesmerizing, and the stream of unexpected revelations are, too.

 

LINK FOR ARTICLE ABOVEL  http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/9-ways-reading-fiction-can-make-you-happier-and-more-creative.html

 

Review by Yvonne Lieblein

This post-apocalyptic fantasy follows one girl’s journey of self-discovery in the midst of a battle between the offspring of fallen angels. She is thrust into a conflict where she alone has the power to stop an event more disastrous than the end of the world.

Dominion of the Star is an engaging journey through an intricate world. Readers who like symbolism or mythology in their novels will enjoy this work. Additionally, those in search of complex motivations and unlikely characters will find this a fascinating read.

Review by Dominion of the Star

The Last Great American Magic reimagines the legend of Tecumseh, a physically gifted warrior, and his twin brother Rattle, a wickedly smart but lazy prophet. Growing up, the boys are rivals, but in adulthood they reconcile to form a confederacy of Native American tribes and fight the advance of settlers.

THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN MAGIC is a worthy read and holds broad appeal for any who enjoy historical or literary fiction, romance and even fantasy. It is a beautifully written, quality novel and worthy of the title TOP PICK.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

“A woman discovers that she’s the reincarnated spirit of an Inca warrior in this imaginative debut novel . . . An often elegantly crafted story that explores the love between parents and their children and how people come to terms with the loss of loved ones.” –Kirkus Reviews

To Swim Beneath the Earth should delight readers who enjoy literary fiction and appreciate beautiful language. It’s a novel that pulls the reader completely into its world. Those who enjoy mystical fiction will certainly relish Bensman’s inventive plotline, psychic phenomenon and past lives. It may not be a good fit for readers searching exclusively for fast-paced action but will certainly satisfy those who revel in a rich story told with detail and depth.

Review by To Swim Beneath the Earth

She lost everything. Everything but the memories of a past she refused to let go of. Now it will take a herd of wild horses to drag her back to life where she’ll learn a valuable lesson from a very unlikely hero.

A timely must read by all! Once you open it, you won’t be able to put it down. Heart wrenching and eye opening, it will make you angry and hopeful at the same time.

Review by Anita Lock

The people of LonePine, Wyoming, like most small towns in the American West, know about heartbreak and economic despair. And ever since the undead showed up, they know about terror too. That’s why every pickup radio, every jukebox in every saloon, and every portable radio is belting out classic country.

With a fast pace and a well-developed world of vampire intrigue, THE COWBOY AND THE VAMPIRE is a perfect easy read for lovers of all adventure novels. More than a romance and breaking the stereotypes of both cowboys and vampires, this is a must-read if you enjoy unique fiction and fast-paced plots.

Review by The Cowboy and the Vampire

When the worlds of Johnny and Jamaal collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, setting them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

A disturbing yet highly recommended must-read, especially during current troubling times.

Review by Anita Lock

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

A unique twist to the demonic realm, paranormal audiences are certainly in for a treat with this first book in a promising new series.

Review by Anita Lock

A sequence of interconnected novellas of dark, Lovecraftian fantasy. Stories of people who find themselves at the borders of reality and discover heroism – or horror.

Flinging a respectful salute to Lovecraftian lore, the novel carefully recreates the poetry of familiar cosmic horror and secret history, and scatters easter eggs about liberally. But Robert DeFrank is no copy cat, and he overlays his stories on Lovecraft’s cherished backgrounds in his own confident, elegant (and to be honest, much more accessible) way. Here is good horror, written well, and for genre afficiandos that alone should be enough to click the purchase button.

The tales of Star Winds at Dusk are anchored around a respect and dedication to building a solid supernatural mythos, providing the cozy depths to lose oneself in that is so necessary to a good horror tale. Though the book is filled with outlandish beasts and no small amount of the occult, Robert DeFrank pulls off that Lovecraftian trick of presenting the inexplicable with academic credulity, and really pervades the sense that a world of the inexplicable lies close by… for those that know how and where to look.

All this talk of H.P Lovecraft may be off-putting to some, but those of you who don’t know their Shoggoth’s from their elbows won’t feel put out. Star Winds at Dusk isn’t a fan fiction, and at the core of the cosmic musings is a solid thread of story filled with intriguing characters. It’s an original twist on time-tested concepts.

I thoroughly enjoyed Star Winds at Dusk. It was pleasingly intriguing, sometimes disturbing and shot through with a quiet dread and tension you’d expect from a seasoned horror writer.

Review by Steve Wetherell

The 1950s. In a small Tennessee town Jamie Logan stars in his high school’s musical and begins a journey that could take him to the pinnacle of the opera world. Jamie has a voice beautiful beyond belief. His desire to sing becomes his reason for being. Will that be enough?

You Are My Song creates a nice closure to a great trilogy! There is no doubt that the largest draw of readers will come from those who are musically inclined—whether instrumentalists or listeners. Yet Jordan incorporates so much more than the opera scene to grab the attention of anyone looking for a captivating read.

Review by Anita Lock

Private Investigator, John Abernathy, must determine if a man in a photo is really Elvis, an obsessed fan, or something more.

This humorous mix-up of Elvis and aliens conspiracy theories has great characters who, despite coming straight from central casting, are perfect in their roles. If you’re looking for realism or a straight-man somewhere in here, you won’t find it. Also, readers who are offended by off-colored or risqué humor might want to pass–graphic (and funny) descriptions of John’s detective work chasing cheating husbands and some Elvis artwork might be more than they can handle. But, if bawdy humor and over-the-top situations are up your alley, this will make you chuckle and keep you turning the pages.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Robert has Asperger’s Syndrome and endures a myriad of awkward moments in his quest to meet a nice, normal girl.

Stim was a delightful, insightful, and often funny read that pulls at the reader’s heart. It will appeal to those interested in Asperger’s Syndrome and those just wanting to understand the myriad of challenges and unique experiences associated with being different. Highly recommended!

Review by Stim

Alien conflict abounds in a page-turning adventure.

Although H.A.L.F.: The Makers is intended for teen and young adults, Wright incorporates a flavor of Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes into her writing style, which makes it very appealing for older readers as well.

Review by Anita Lock

Imagine the perfect hero: handsome, tall, courageous, loves his father. Meet Prince Dietrich, the exact opposite.

This isn’t the first review to compare The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich with watching a train wreck and won’t be the last. There’s something fascinating in an embarrassing way about not being able to pull away from a story with such despicable characters. The writing is excellent and Ljubuncic keeps the reader walking a tightrope between wanting the “dashing prince” to succeed and wanting him to get his comeuppance. The author’s ability to keep the reader turning the pages despite so few not- despicable characters, is truly a feat to behold.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Although a work of fiction, Agony of Being Me is loosely based on actual events and the traumatic & tragic aftermath experienced by an awkward teenage girl who is forced to mature way before her time. Follow Zoe and Jesse through their erratic journeys, poor choices and triumphs. New Adult.

A gritty and hard-hitting exploration in young adult voice and characterisation. Not for the faint hearted, strong issues are dealt with and experienced from the teenager’s points of view, and the narrative voice is excellent.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on December 26, 2016

A preteen discovers she’s a witch when a fight with a school rival turns both magical and nearly fatal.


Abandoned by her parents at age three, and tossed away by the only Pack she has ever known, Regina Capalini has one last chance to impress her new Alpha or be left to fend for herself as a rogue wolf, a sentence that will surely end in death.

Loyalties is a captivating and explosive start to an intriguing shape-shifter series. This first book does a fantastic job of putting everything into place, leaving us thirsty for more. The plot involving shape-shifting humans is complex, but at no point does the writing leave us behind. It twists and turns at a galloping pace, and the characterisation is excellent. However, for readers who are not keen on extended and graphic sex scenes, this may not be the series for you!

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Crowley is back…here along the Hudson River with the Sacred Order of the New Golden Dawn.

By Summers Last Twilight, with only a few omissions of the more graphic descriptions, could have easily been billed as a Stranger Things style YA adventure. As it stands, with plenty of sex and violence throughout, the novel is an unapologetic thrill ride for those who have a taste for the supernatural.

Review by Steve Wetherell

Julia MacAllistair, a young singer, had always believed in the power of music. But she never imagined that music could literally take her places–that is until she played the music in the box. Will Julia ever see her home again? Can she return from her Song Journey?

The Song Journey is a beautiful and intriguing story of time travel, love, loss and family, with an invigorating backdrop of social history and music. Singer Julia MacAllistair receives a unique gift from her great-grandmother Etty before she dies. Five sheets of music which are able to transport her back in time. Five adventures await her, where she will meet members of her own family, and face danger in war torn Vietnam, as well as true love in 1940’s New Zealand. A beautifully evocative and visual book about the power of music, with a wonderfully strong narrative voice and characters to remember. Readers who enjoy romance, adventure and historical novels will enjoy this book immensely. 

Review by Chantelle Atkins

An epic tale of love, loss, and redemption, The Blue Hour traces one woman’s struggle to survive in the wilds of 1860s Oregon, as she simultaneously navigates the hidden wilderness of the human heart.

Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. 

Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.

 

Review by Yvonne Lieblein

Scheduled for Review on March 20, 2017

The last train. A father’s anxious wait. A desperate search for his missing daughter. A London nightclub . Bloq.


Veronica Farrell is a young, successful American businesswoman who blends in easily with London’s hip, millennial crowd. At least, that’s what she wants you to believe.

Protector is an interesting romantic thriller, which should appeal to people who enjoy both genres. There are plenty of steamy moments between the two main characters, Jude and Veronica, who are both members of a mysterious clan of people who become ageless at thirty. The clan is at war with itself however, and has split into two factions whose disagreements have become deadly. Veronica and Jude should be enemies…but are helplessly attracted to each other.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

The same rare brain cancer that nearly killed Tarpon Springs celebrity-in-residence Jonathan Christakos years ago is back to finish the job now that he’s on the wrong side of 40. How Jon navigates his last six months is anyone’s guess, but everyone knows that he’s long overdue a miracle.

Patterson’s captivating story draws readers into the fascinating Tarpon Springs. Aside of the factual aspects of this historic place, Patterson does a stellar job keeping his plot light by incorporating fantasy and spirituality to a topic that can be considered rather dismal—dealing with terminal illness and imminent death. A great mix of fact and fiction that is laced with hope and love, Epiphany Man is a perfect read for those looking for a fresh approach to fantasy literature.

Review by Anita Lock

In 1940, on a continent already battered by war, a terrifying new enemy has conquered much of Europe before turning its sights on Britain. All that stands between the unstoppable Black Legion and invasion is Briley and a handful of brave pilots. Can Briley and her friends turn back the Legion?

As far as war adventures go, Darkest Hour shoots straight and fires true, hitting all the targets you’d expect. Though the story is a little slow to start, it’s not long before the reader is dropped smack bang in the middle of nail biting dog fights and terrifying blitzes. The action in this book is definitely its strongest suit, and despite its YA leanings, no punches are pulled. When it comes to high flying suspense, Briley makes Biggles look like a crusty old crop duster.

The Alt. history setting allows for a steam punk re-imagining of post Great War Britain, where pirates ride air ships and Sky City takes the place of the now destroyed London as the nation’s capital. If anything, the steam punk potential of the novel’s environment is underplayed. There are tantalizing hints at a different world that are rarely expanded on, and most of the technology isn’t far removed from what you’d expect from a World War 2 era story. I might say that these things being only casually addressed is forgivable in light of the story’s quick pace, but I think its more accurate to say that the alt.history/steampunk packaging of Darkest Hour serves only as an excuse to tell an exciting war story without getting bogged down too much in realism.

When the bullets aren’t flying, Darkest Hour mostly focuses on the familiar YA path of a youngster embarking on a hero’s journey, and the heroine’s encounters with sexism and classism make up just as much of the story as her encounters with pirates and spies. Briley’s arc is a satisfying one, and the novel lives up to its name as she faces down personal and national tragedy with grim resolve. There’s no question the book is written for younger audiences, but Russo makes no bones about the horrors of war, and the story has the kind of stakes most thriller audiences would appreciate.

Above all you’ll find that Darkest Hour is a balanced tale. If you don’t appreciate a young woman’s melodrama, there’ll be a fistfight along any second now. Likewise, if you’re dizzy from dog fights, there’ll soon be a budding romance to bring you back down to earth. It’s a story that welcomes all.

Darkest Hour is a swinging haymaker of a tale, maybe lacking a little in nuance, but certainly landing the punch. I recommend this for younger readers and those of you nostalgic for the days of the Red Baron and plucky young Brits giving two fingers to Jerry (I assure you that last sentence actually means something.)

Review by Steve Wetherell

David and Matt were content to keep their suspicions about Scott to themselves until a simple trip to the library set them on parallel trajectories where even the most careful plans have unexpected consequences that can rock a community and reverberate long after they’re gone.

A page turning psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. An interesting and debatable subject matter; would you kill a killer before they killed? Something similar to the moral question about whether or not you would go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby. Also a brilliant and convincing portrayal of small town life.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

She wants love, he wants the gold medal. The lines between love and obsession are blurred in this blend of dark romance and psychological thriller that combines the heat of Fifty Shades of Grey, the twists of Gone Girl, and the warped reality of Black Swan.

Rising romance author Lauren Rico spins a gripping tale of loss, love, and lies in book one of the Reverie series. A true storyteller, Rico grabs the attention of her audience from the get-go. Twisty and tantalizing, Reverie is bound to be a favorite among romance buffs with a love for classical music.

Review by Reverie

Scheduled for Review on January 30, 2017

Ensign Maya Davis must foil a plan to eradicate a benevolent intelligent race during humankind’s first interstellar mission.


Ed Earl Burch is an ex-Dallas homicide detective tormented by memories of a dead partner and a killer snuffed before Burch could track him down. He’s a burnout, living drink by drink. Then Carla Sue Cantrell points a Colt 1911 at him and says the killer is still alive.

The first book in the Ed Earl Burch series, The Last Second Chance isn’t for everyone. Audiences who get a thrill out of Quentin Tarentino’s flicks will no doubt find Nesbitt’s plot captivating from beginning to end.

Review by Anita Lock

Paco Jones is a half-Mexican kid, newly transferred to a private school where he’s called ‘Taco’ and ridiculed daily. So when he falls for Naomi, a beautiful classmate, what hope is there? Through dumb luck and some clever moves, Paco soon finds himself center stage amidst a middle school mess.

The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones is for readers who enjoy coming-of-age novels where the outcast rises up against all odds. Biracial teens should especially identify with this book. Carrillo even dedicates the book to them: “To the bicultural or biracial kids out there who have gone through the pain and confusion—along with the curiosity and beauty—of navigating the world and their identities without ever fitting neatly into one category.” In truth, all teens, no matter what their identity may be, will find valuable lessons in Carrillo’s charming little novel.

Review by Candi Sary

She’s feisty, adventurous, and in trouble. He’s the last person she expects to rescue her. Will she choose to protect her heart or trust the only man who ever rejected her?

If you’re a fan of star-crossed lovers, clean stories, or modern-day romances, this novella will appeal to you. The author takes the reader on a journey detailing what it means to let go of your past in order to forgive yourself and others, as Sammie, the main character, has to do just that. Her romantic interest isn’t left out of the loop as far as needing to grow up a bit and give Sammie a second chance. There were moments, because of Lucas’s stubbornness, that he seemed not quite right for her, and like she should go ahead and move on. But in the end, DRAWN TO YOU delivers a quick, sweet read for those looking for a fun, short, romantic story.

Review by Drawn To You

When a bookstore owner and a billionaire meet at a literary event, a flirtatious reading of erotica blossoms into something deep and tender in the steamy Florida heat.

A definite read to those who are longing for something hot and sexy enjoys a little bit of drama but not too much, and something short and spicy

Review by Nada Qamber

Angel of Song is a historical romance set in France during WWI. In the hell of trenches, the Allied soldiers sacrifice their lives to hold their posts against insurmountable odds. Looking for inspiration, the French believe they’ve found a secret weapon from an unlikely source, the Angel of Song.

The third tale in Anna Rouen’s MASTER OF ILLUSION series can also stand alone, and for readers drawn to historical fiction, intrigue and romance, ANGEL OF SONG is a novel hat trick. Rouen weaves many layers into the fabric of the story — from Angelique’s journey of self-discovery and the complexities of love and loss to the chaos of war and the transformative power of music. While a bit slow at times, ANGEL OF SONG’s well-developed plot and rich character relationships will keep readers turning pages with anticipation.

Review by Yvonne Lieblein

“The Shining” meets “House of Leaves.” A horror movie fan discovers a box of pictures buried in his basement that lets him spy on his friends.

Lurk is a fresh and clever horror with a well-written cast of memorable characters. With a measured balance of mystery, suspense and reality bending horror, fans of the genre will find themselves breezing through this book in one or two sittings. It’s a real page turner, relying as much on the psychologically disturbing as its moments of grotesque imagery and supernatural creep.

Certain parts recall a young Stephen King, and the use of an unreliable narrator being influenced by the restless dead may ring familiar to fans of The Shining. However, good horror is often in the telling, and Adam Vine tells a fine tale. His depiction of Drew, from whose perspective the events unfurl, is particularly note worthy. Struggling to find his place, Drew is a study on the social outsider in the millennial age, a young man who tries to find solace in youthful crutches as his friends grow up around him, trapping him in a cycle of bitterness and frustration.

Lurk is at its surface a good horror with some genuinely disturbing scenes. But it is the depth of characterisation that sets it apart from its peers. While the cast at first appear to be typical teenage horror fodder, they each reveal wisdom, cynicism and an almost tragic self-awareness of how little, and how much, their formative years actually matter. Lurk is an exploration of youth, friendship and coming of age, wrapped in an eerie, sometimes brutal, horror story.

 

Review by Steve Wetherell

It was the 75th year of Alberoth when the AsZar summoned the Guardians. There was an imbalance in the lands of Faélondul. The Zaxson, Draizeyn Vereux, conspired to exterminate the infestation in Nazil. He planned to eradicate the humans.

The Rise of Nazil: Secret of The Seven is an epic heroic fantasy that combines the romantic with the brutal. Though filled with the sincerity you’d expect from a world of might and magic, the book is also filled with graphically described scenes of rape and torture. It is a tale certainly not for the faint of heart, and while fans of darker fantasy may be well inoculated, more casual dwellers may question the taste and necessity of the more disturbing scenes.

That being said, the tale is a good one, and you’ll be drawn in by the darkly fascinating court intrigue of the Nazil, and the steamy forbidden-love romance that serves as the stories catalyst.

Aaron-Michael Hall builds an involved fantasy world, populated by richly drawn characters with conflicting desires and complex relationships. Much of the story focuses on these relationships , and there’s a lot more drama and dialogue than swords and sorcery. That being said, the book builds to an epic final battle, where all the wrongs and doubts of the tale come to a satisfying and brilliant crescendo.

With great dialogue and characters you can’t help but feel drawn to, Rise of the Nazil will prove a satisfying page turner for those with a love romantic fantasy fiction, and offers up a few grizzly surprises for those comfortable in Game of Thrones territory.

Review by Steve Wetherell

Welcome to SPERO HEIGHTS… a little town where supernaturals who have lost their bump in the night go to recover. Tucked in the wooded Ozark Mountains, the humans are rarely cause for concern, but the citizens of Spero Heights have enough past to go around.

A strong paranormal page-turner, perfect for a weekend read. The start of a series, but ends without a cliffhanger. Look for more from this author.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

A usurper razes a nation searching for a missing queen. A city witch fights for her life against the necromancer holding her prisoner. And a faraway village refuses to yield to the threat of destruction, with devastating consequences. Will anyone be able to pull Prenitia from this darkest of times?

With a compelling cast of characters, each with believable motivations, the story feels grounded- less like a fairy tale than one might expect given the genre and backdrop. For fans of softer heroic fantasy, with emphasis on the dramatic rather than the fantastic, Prenitia: The Fate of Vultures is a satisfying tale with well drawn characters and fun dialogue. It’s well suited for readers of all ages, and will probably be most at home with a YA audience.

Review by Steve Wetherell

When humanity can only reproduce via IVF, who really controls the future?

This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys a dystopian style adventure. It has plenty of action, thrills and plot twists to keep a fan of most genres on their toes. The characters are interesting and believable, and the story is well written and paced. Towards the end, the action intensifies, with several disturbing plot twists meaning I was very reluctant to put the book down.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

An overwhelming conspiracy – an underwhelming hero. Max Bowman, aging ex-CIA desk jockey, may be lacking in secret agent skills, but he’s positively brimming with bad luck as he accidentally steps into a massive military conspiracy centering around a missing war hero who just happens to be the son of a celebrity general. Now he’s on a road trip into the heart of America’s darkness – where he has to confront some ugly truths about the country – and himself.

Dark Sky is a fast paced and action packed detective style thriller. It keeps your interest in both the plot and in the characters. As well as the physical journey to the mysterious Dark Sky complex, there is the inner journey both Max and Jeremy undertake; the examining and letting go of the past and the attempt to make amends with estranged family members. Max Bowman is a great and believable character and once you’ve got to know him, you will be grateful there are further adventures to come in the series. An enjoyable adventure for fans of action, adventure and detective stories.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Undergrad nursing student Jordan must discover what’s more important: making sure the girl he loves life isn’t wasted, or remembering how to live his. Wait! is a story about acceptance, learning to trust and in turn love while facing life’s unexpected difficulties.

A great read for readers who enjoy New Adult College Romance, and for those who enjoys a bit of drama in the midst of the sweet romances.

Review by Wait!

Scarlett Rossi hasn’t trusted anybody since that one traumatic night in college. That is, until lovable Vance Holloway set his sights on breaking down her walls. One friendship will be tested. One kiss will change everything. And one secret will tear them apart.


A bounty hunter and a military officer must form an unstable alliance under the looming threat of galactic war.

Perfect for science fiction fans, especially those looking to dive into a new series. Both Lissa and Lance are compelling characters, and it is worth taking the time to get to know them. A great book.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

Nichole is struggling to deal with keeping her family together and taking care of her young siblings. Richard is trying to decide what is important in his life after making many mistakes. Can they overcome and get a second chance?

This book is a good read, and anyone who enjoys a contemporary storyline with modern issues, such as prejudice, addiction and social inequality will enjoy the themes and ideas examined here. It is also driven nicely by the well rounded characters.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

A young but veteran recon pilot in WW2 finds the fate of the greatest invasion in history—and the life of the nurse he loves—resting perilously on his shoulders.

With this book, Grasso firmly establishes credibility as an alternative-history and action-adventure writer. East Wind Returns vaguely echoes Harry Turtledove’s alternative fiction novels, but unlike Turtledove, Grasso never slows down and never bores the reader. While his research and technicals are impeccable, Grasso doesn’t bog you down in excessive detail. It’s this pacing that gives East Wind Returns its breakneck speed. Not only does this book move quickly, but it has a high degree of quality in its characters and plot presentation.

Review by Brian L. Braden

When Hollywood agent Buddy Price dies, he discovers God plans on pulling the plug on everyone if we can’t learn to get along. Buddy convinces God to let him fix things and gets a second chance, but he’s probably the last person we’d want to depend on.

This is a great read for anyone, and especially those who enjoy a great send up of pretty much everything. If you’re serious about your religion, or get offended by cartoon-like characterizations of your deity, you might want to steer clear of this since believers, get the same dose of skepticism and satire as the nonbelievers, and God wanders through the kitchen in a plaid bathrobe.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Help isn’t always the easiest thing to give, and it can be even more difficult to accept…

Cole’s human-interest story is definitely not a light read. Focusing on one man’s dysfunctional life and family, Cole’s plot presents life in the raw. Weaving in constant tension resulting from a lifetime of strife, readers may capture an overriding dystopian ambiance to Cole’s plot—and rightfully so since aging has its difficulties. Although well written and highly thought provoking, Ripples Through Time will not appeal to all, especially those who are faint of heart.

Review by Anita Lock

It’s 1854 in the American West and Didier Rain – rogue, poet, and would-be entrepreneur – is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a child-bride to the sect’s prophet across a frontier fraught with perils, comedy, and carnal temptations.

Kindall pulls out all the terminology stops in his latest read. Although a fascinating read laced with allegory and human interest, Delivering Virtue’s highest appeal will be toward seasoned readers, especially English literature aficionados. Others may enjoy the tongue-in-cheek comments, but miss nuances of European literary legends.

Review by Anita Lock

What if humanity’s greatest talents were concentrated into the hands of a lucky few? More specifically, in only sixteen people? Some would seek to serve themselves. Others would seek the help the world. And others still, to rule it.

Maybe you decide to dig into THE SIXTEEN BURDENS  because its (awesome) cover catches your eye. Or it might be the awards and slew of 5-star reviews that lure you in.  Either way, you’ll only need to read a few paragraphs to know your instinct was spot on. David Khalaf’s debut novel and the first book in THE BURDENS TRILOGY is an eclectic literary mashup — mystery mixed into urban fantasy with a backbeat of Hollywood’s Golden Age. While connecting the dots would be a tall order for a less talented raconteur, Khalaf delivers an engaging adventure grounded in the wondrous complexities of self-discovery and the power of friendship. Bonus: Francesca Baerald’s stellar illustrations.

Review by Yvonne Lieblein

A Mormon missionary, Jared Baserman, goes insane on his mission. Interests both virtuous and malevolent cozy up to Jared to make use of his “gifting.” But why in the hell would God choose someone as slope-shouldered as Jared—someone so unreligious, so strange? Is Jared really touched by God?

John Draper’s irreverent approach to spirituality is nothing less than downright refreshing. His unique debut maintains a nice balance between the holy and the profane from beginning to end. Offering his audience an intriguing and provocative read, A Danger to God Himself is perfect for those who appreciate reading about hypocrisy in organized religion while at the same time are doing a bit of soul searching. Comes highly recommended!!

Review by A Danger to God Himself

Vincent with sadistic right hand man Frankie, seeks to expand his interests with his own brand of gangland psycho terrorism. Music obsessed James leaves school determined to do life his way, dreaming of glory in a gang with guitars. As two worlds collide, will dreams become nightmares?

This book will appeal to readers who enjoy gangsters and crime thrillers, as well as dark humor. It does, however, have a lot more to offer than that. There are unique and believable characters, and two intriguing story lines which keep you hooked and guessing as to when they are going to tangle. Anyone who enjoys coming-of-age style stories would also enjoy this book, not to mention anyone who thinks of themselves as a music fan. Also for fans of very British books/films. It is described as Goodfellas meets The Commitments, but felt more like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels meets The Commitments.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Alaana’s Way: The Calling is an epic fantasy with a unique arctic setting. Surrounding the story of Alaana who must go through the process to become the new Shaman for her tribe.

I can say so many great things about this novel, from the dialogue to the sweeping scenery to its solid editing. While I think Altabef succeeded bringing this ambitious vision to life, there were a few minor issues. Sometimes the switch between settings could be a bit jolting and confusing. Also, he often switched character perspectives from paragraph to paragraph, making the blending of the spiritual/physical characters difficult to sort out.  It tended to slow down in a few places, too. While Alaana’s interactions with her family, tribe and spirit creatures were fascinating (and well written), about halfway through the book I wanted the overarching conflict to reveal itself more clearly and the story to progress.

This cross-cultural fantasy epic may not be for everyone, but THE CALLING is my kind of book. Original in both scope and execution, I highly recommend it.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

Rhidauna by Paul E. Horsman is a compelling and fast paced fantasy story that takes you on a thrilling, action packed horseback adventure across a country filled with powerful magic, greed and treachery.

For lovers of epic fantasy and sword and sorcery, Rhidauna is an enjoyable read with great world building and lots of adventure reminiscent of the Belgariad by David Eddings. Well-written and plotted, it delivers what readers of the genre would expect and keeps the reader turning the pages. For lovers of epic epic fantasy, Rhidauna might be a bit short, but overall a very good start to a series. Recommended.

Review by Jennifer Ellis

DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.

Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, with a gritty edge will enjoy this novel. The characters are extremely well written and believable, and the dialogue is perfect. Despite the serious matter, the book is also very humorous, visual and vibrant to read.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in? Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers.

The book is beautifully written. The history is magnificent, and if you want to learn about occupied Paris from the perspective of persecuted Jewish families and Resistance fighters, this book is a fun way to do so. 

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

Stumpy McCabe is forced back into the deceitful world of prize fighting to save his family and to chase away the nightmare that has tormented him for decades. Navigate through Trenton, NJ’s crime-infested backstreets and alleys with Stumpy as he obsessively defends the integrity and honor of his legacy.

With Strings Attached is for readers interested in a crime novel with likable characters, vivid descriptions and a close look at the underworld. Though a bit slow-paced with its detailed writing, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy this street-smart, Jersey novel.

Review by Candi Sary

Molly Peterson is a frazzled mother of two who is recruited by a super spy agency to infiltrate the PTA at her son’s elementary school. This book is a send up of motherhood, the PTA, comic books and spy novels. Its underlying message: life is better when you have superpowers.

This is a fun, fast read filled with enough gadgets and wisecracks to satisfy fans of “Get Smart” type thriller-spoofs.  Readers looking for well-crafted mystery with depth, plausibility, and edge-of-your-seat excitement might want to look elsewhere. Despite swinging from predictable (the villain) and implausible (the solution), Codename Cupcake is well-written and filled with plenty of humor, making it a good choice when looking for a lightweight diversion.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Thomas wakes up in a blood-drenched basement room, with no memory of how or why he got there. Spencer has the answers, and now he must train Thomas to follow the rules of being a vampire. Can Thomas to master his new powers, before he’s turned from predator into prey?

Cooke has a deft hand with realistic dialogue that serves her well here. Her most graphic scenes are slightly spartan in their description; side stepping any concerns of a gore fest. In fact, the most violent scenes are tastefully skipped over right to their blood drenched aftermath. Occasionally, she may linger over a throat closing scene or two. But some of us do find trying not to choke a bit sexy. *cough*

I found the characters more than a bit compelling. I might have liked to have gotten more into the head of William as I find some of his “growth” in the course of the story a bit suspect. It’s also more August and Spencer’s story than Thomas’, the catalyst of the tale. But then, I think Cooke would have slipped more away from horror and into dark urban fantasy if she’d given us that.

I recommend this book for horror fans who don’t need the full CSI checklist in the aftermath of a kill and for dark urban fantasy fans looking for something with real emotions and not YA level romance.

Review by Teeth

They say, “The third time’s the charm”, and for sixteen-year-old Brooke Day, they had better be right. She’s been here before, twice in fact, and so has the darkness awaiting her return.

A great read for paranormal enthusiasts who enjoy a little bit of everything, especially romance.

Review by Anita Lock

A GROUP OF RUNAWAYS. A HORRIFYING VIRUS. A single drop of blood, and now 16-year-old Mary is one of the infected. Unless she can stop the virus and save her friends, the new monster in town might now be her.

Germination is a relatively short tale, meant as a primer for a larger series, and in this respect it is successful. However, the story also satisfies as a self-contained tale, and will serve well those of you looking for a quick read.

If strong female leads are what you’re after, the heroine, Mary, is fiercely independent, and a self-styled protector of her fellow street kids. After being exposed to infection she is horrified to discover that her identity, and her values, are slowly succumbing to a burgeoning and unreasoning aggression. This development is much of what is interesting and refreshing about this zombie tale– it is not a bunch of kids fighting off the undead with improvised weapons, as you might expect, but rather one girl’s struggle to retain her humanity.

As a stepping stone into the post-apocalyptic world of The Feast of Weeds series, Germination certainly plucks at your curiosity, and as a stand alone tale it satisfies and engages.

Review by Steve Wetherell

Ezekiel Clemens is a famed evangelist who harbors a deadly secret. On the day of one of his largest televised meetings, he encounters a stranger that rattles his life and sends him on a journey of repentance where dark secrets are revealed, faith is tested, and lives are forever altered.

The appeal of Between Lions and Lambs is in the flawed and very believable characters and the tragic tale of the making–and breaking–of evangelical preacher Ezekiel Clemens. The multitude of basic English-usage and writing errors, however, leaves the reader feeling somewhat abused by the author. He clearly cared more about publishing than writing, or its essential partner, editing. Readers who don’t mind reading something closer to a first draft than a publication ready story might enjoy this, but don’t expect any polish in the story’s telling. It’s not there. Four stars for an intriguing plot and interesting characters, but one star for the poor quality of the writing, averaging out to 2.5.

 

Review by Between Lions and Lambs

Following a series of bad judgements, Nicolas Keszthelyi finds himself alone and pursued by the police in the depths of the French countryside. In a final attempt to secure his freedom, he writes to the police and lays out his side of the story…

People Like Us is an intelligent (in some places brilliant), well-written and entertaining novel. It reads like a cold white wine, not sweet but dry enough to make you pucker your lips in anticipation of the next sip. Perhaps it might go well with courgettes.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

When a mysterious figure is spotted dancing in an empty field, two children investigate. They’ll be led to a place far beyond their imagination, the cloud home of OLGA. Magic weapons, white tigers, cat-faced moths and giants on motorcycles… Ted Kelsey’s quirky children’s novel features illustrations by Dillon Samuelson.

Olga will enchant readers young and old. At times reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and at others of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, fans of fantasy and adventure will find both excitement and comfort in the novel’s pages.

Review by Genevieve Shifke Ali

An alcoholic mall Santa and a coke-dealing stripper get tangled up with a fairy-worshiping suicide cult. The Atheist’s Prayer is a dark comedy about religious beliefs (or lack thereof), which follows an eclectic group of people as their lives and religious beliefs are shaped by a tragic event.


Brian L. Braden
Votes: 2 Not eligible for review
Underground Title

BLACK SEA GODS transforms recently re-discovered Black Sea legends, possibly the root of all Eurasian mythology, with ancient Chinese mythology to create an unprecedented epic fantasy series. Find out more about this series at www.blackseagods.com