Please be sure to view my "Review Policy" page for updates before submitting a request for review.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Apologies

I would like to apologize to all you authors that have been patiently waiting for me to read and review your work. I had to take time off to deal with a personal issue that has taken me a while to come to terms with. I promise you all that I will get back into the swing of things here real soon.

I hope you all understand.

Jason

Monday, August 19, 2013

Brethren: A Gripping Tale of Counter Espionage

Author: Leonard Leventon
Book Format: eBook (Nook)
Obtained: From author for fair and honest review
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 94
Published: April 1, 2013

Synopsis:

Allan Capstein agreed to traffic the package from New York to the French Riviera. He'd agreed in exchange for free airfare, hoping to vacation from his growing accounting firm. When he delivered the package to Mademoiselle Marie Du Berge, a beautiful and talented Cannes film star, his memory of New York slipped into the Mediterranean. What he hadn't agreed to was being led hook, line and sinker into a counter espionage ring set on assassinating a crazed Middle Eastern despot.

Review:

I was given an eBook copy by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Allan Capstein owns a successful accounting firm in New York City. One day he decides that he is going to take a vacation to France. When he is approached to take a package with him and deliver it, in exchange for free air fare, he thinks it’s kind of strange, but agrees to it anyways. After all, what can it hurt, right?

Upon arriving in France, and at the packages destination, Allan meets the beautiful Mlle. Marie Du Berge. This chance encounter turns out to be a match set up by the heavens as they spend virtually the rest of his vacation together. They enjoy each other’s company, and even make plans for her to return to New York with him.

However, there is the mysterious package that Allan was asked to deliver. When Marie seemed to be disinterested in it, it caught Allan’s attention and made him wonder, even more, what the package contained. Does he really want to know? Especially after he finds out that it wasn’t by chance that he was asked to deliver it, but he was chosen? Moreover, who exactly chose him? The answer to that question surprises even Allan.

This was a very interesting, but quick, read. I was able to get into the story fairly quickly, and the author had me curious as to what was going to happen from one page to the next. One of the only problems that I had with this book was the amount of French it contained. It really seemed to me that about every other paragraph had, at least, a partially French sentence. It is not that I minded it too much, I understand that the story was set in France, but it has been almost 20 years since I studied the language and it made parts of the story a little hard to follow.

Other than that, it was a good story. The characters were easy to follow and distinguish. The author built them up enough that I was able to envision each of them. There was a fair amount of suspense, and I think that the author did a great job with who he put in as the “Middle Eastern despot.”

If you are looking for a good, quick read, I would suggest you giving this book a look.

Available From: Barnes & Noble, Smashwords


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Poisoned Waters Blog Tour




Poisoned Waters is set in the 1950s on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. Helen Gardener is murdered during the voyage. The novel follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by the death of Helen Gardener. Was it merely an accident? Mr Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone. Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen’s murderer? This is the first chapter to, Poisoned Waters.

“I trust everyone. I just don’t trust the devil inside them.” Troy Kennedy Martin

Chapter 1 Pearl Moon
26th August 1955 Friday Evening The crystal chandelier of the Diamond Royale’s Grand Hall glistened, showering raindrops of light all over the room. American swing, fast gaining popularity in post-war Europe, filled the air with a festive atmosphere. Passengers aboard the luxury ship bound for New York swayed to the beat of a live band, as they sipped blood-red wine, and savoured the taste of lust on another’s fleshy lips. While most clustered together in fits of giggles and chuckles, Sylvia strayed to the side, with a cigarette between her fingers. The smoke danced up towards the ceiling as if trying to escape from her crimson lips. The smell of nicotine was pungent and it seeped through the black satin gloves she wore. Sylvia didn’t know why she had bothered to come aboard this cruise; it was full of hot air and nothing more. The Grand Hall was littered with generals, lords, ladies and other members of the elite. The men whose eyes danced in her direction blubbered with loose and deeply intoxicated smirks. The desire to butt out her cigarette against their pupils grew. Out from the crowd, a robust man caught her eye. Within seconds, he advanced towards her. Sylvia averted her eyes and took a long drag on the cigarette. “My sweet pearl, Sylvia,” The man leaned in towards her; his cheek felt like sandpaper and she could smell his abhorrent breath. “Dance with me.” “Markus, liebling, I still need a drink.” Sylvia excused herself, hoping her husband would stop bothering her. His thin lips caressed her neck and his thick fingers found her buttocks. She resisted the urge to burn him with the cigarette. After he pawed her with squeezes, sloppy kisses and German pet names, Markus agreed to fetch drinks. Without avail, Sylvia walked in the opposite direction. She just wanted to escape from her demanding husband for a few minutes. Crossing to the other side of the ship, she flicked the butt away and pulled another out of the case she had nuzzled between her breasts. On edge, Sylvia’s fingertips trembled, struggling with the lighter as the brisk wind made it difficult to light her third cigarette of the night. “Need help?” A hazy voice with a heavy accent asked from just over her shoulder. His accent was strikingly familiar. “Ja, alstublieft.” Yes, please. Sylvia responded in Dutch. The young man’s eyes lit up. He couldn’t have been older than twenty five, nearly two decades younger than her husband. She quickly scanned his fitted suit and steely grey eyes. Taking her cigarette and lighter, he lit her cigarette before handing it back to her. Extending a hand in thanks, she was taken off guard when he raised her hand to his lips. He held her gaze for longer than necessary as he brushed his lips across the top of her hand. “Can I help you?” she asked, unnerved. “May I have this dance?” Before he waited for her reply, he had already pulled her close. “I am a married woman,” Sylvia pulled her hand away, unsure about his intentions. “Sylvia!” She barely heard Markus over the music. She twisted out of the young man’s touch to see Markus shoving his way through the crowd towards them, a glass of wine in each hand. The flash of anger she saw upon his face dissolved the moment he turned to the man before her. “Ah, you have met my beautiful wife, Sylvia Wrinkler. Liebling, this is the new accountant I was telling you about, Mr Jacobus van Tiel.” Sylvia stared at Jacobus under heavy black lashes. There was something in that man she didn’t like. Everything about his appearance was sharp, rigid and stern, similar to Markus but without the sagging stomach and jowls. Markus handed her one of the glasses as he sipped from his own. When he lowered the glass, the wine left a dark red sheen on his top lip. Sylvia tried again to excuse herself, feeling uncomfortable. But her husband gripped her wrist and the diamond bracelet she wore bit into her skin like a row of teeth. Her escape thwarted, Sylvia stood still and forced a dazzling smile.
*
Benjamin held open the galley doors as he slid inside with an empty platter. Working as a waiter for the Phillips family, the sinfully wealthy hosts of the cruise, was less than an enjoyable experience. He needed money and this was the first job he was able to achieve that paid him a reasonable salary for the week the cruise lasted. The heat of the kitchen swept over him and he frowned. “Those honkies don’t stop eating. They’re like pigs,” Mary growled underneath her breath as she passed him by. Ever since they had met, she had stuck to him like a fly. They shared the same dark chocolate skin and childhood discrimination, but he didn’t share her fierce hatred for the people they were serving. Growing up in London during the 40s meant that he did bear the scars of racism. Many people of both colours had provided him good experiences and subsequently snatched him away from the all-consuming hatred. Colour didn’t matter to him but it did to Mary who spat on their food. That young woman who had barely reached twenty knew a lifetime of obscenities. Benjamin followed what his mother had told him. He had to keep his head low and try to not attract attention. He had to be grateful for what others gave him and he was trying his best to keep his job, earning his pounds. While at times he felt like reporting Mary, he couldn’t. They were connected whether it be by colour or age or something greater. Hurriedly arranging more servings of caviar, Benjamin heard someone calling his name. The barmen needed an extra and Benjamin begrudgingly agreed, hoping he wouldn’t lose his break. While he was serving wine, spirits, and beer he noticed the mass of people congealing together. Several men were gobbling their appetisers, licking their thick fingers, and grinning with oily lips. Benjamin tried to stay as invisible as possible. He served the customers with a soft voice and shy nods. A man in his forties arrived at the bar demanding two glasses of their finest wine. Without hesitation, Benjamin prepared the drinks, but as he put away the wine bottle it knocked over one of the glasses. The sound of smashing glass pierced Benjamin’s ears and he cringed with the expectation of a beating. The flustered barman came over, prepared the second glass, and took it over to the middle-aged man, who, in the midst of the loud band, hadn’t heard the accident. “How long can it take?” the man groaned, his German accent clouded his words. “You’re all pathetic. I don’t know why they bothered hiring you people.” The German man walked off, leaving no tip, but instead a twisted smirk. Benjamin’s heart fluttered. It wasn’t the middle-aged man who had caught his attention, but the woman he was advancing towards. His eyes lit up, the weight on his heart lessened and fleetingly he smiled. She was beautiful, her snow white skin glistened and honey-gold hair cascaded down her back. He wondered how sweet she would taste.
*
Harold massaged his aching fingers. His British companions shared clever puns over their glasses, chuckling. The occasional spray of saliva was also shared. Harold sipped from his own drink but had not achieved the level of drunkenness his colleagues were currently at. On top of having a high tolerance for alcohol, Harold always seemed to either give up paying for expensive drinks or was unable to stomach much more than a few glasses. The friends spoke in barely coherent babbles of what was once the reputable English language. He had studied with them at the same stuffy university; business had been their chosen area before they all diverged into specific streams. Their current usage of language suggested they hadn’t even completed their high school education. The stench of cigarettes and alcohol was suffocating him. Taking his turn to leave, Harold moved off into a different direction. His old colleagues had barely noticed him leave. The moment he had detached himself from them he felt much more relieved. The loud noise was deafening and rather than degrade his senses he drifted to the doors that would lead him outside. A young waitress with a stony expression took his glass. The doors were opened for him by the young boys who stood by. Harold gave them respectful nods which they returned. The wind bit at his neck and shaven face while tousling his dark blonde hair. His emerald eyes were squinted in protection against the wind. Harold moved out onto the deck of the cruise ship and touched the railing. It was so cold that he retracted as if he had touched something hot. The chilling weather outside was causing him to shiver and shake. Was there a storm coming? He was still young, merely thirty, and yet he was acting and feeling like he was eighty. Wasn’t that the age when you left parties early, lost interest in getting intoxicated, and your muscles ached? Wasn’t eighty the age when you were meant to be widowed? Trying to restrain the burning tears streaking his eyes he looked over the side of the ship. It was difficult to do so, the floor was slippery. He caught a glimpse of the heaving black waters that the boat sailed upon. Harold turned around, resting his sore back against the railing, catching his breath. It was hard to breathe out in this weather and the penetrating winds were only growing stronger. A shadow scattered across his vision. As soon as he raised his gaze, tears leaked from the red rims of his eyes. “Harold,” her familiar voice cooed. “Be gone!” he yelled, shutting his lids tightly. These phantoms that haunted him showed no mercy. They sunk their teeth into his fleshy mind when Harold least expected it. The tender caresses of his wife brushed past his cheek. Harold’s hands aggressively pushed it away, only to encounter nothing but air. Slam! He felt the cool floor smack hard against his tailbone. The floor polished with an icy sheet had been pulled out from under him. The pain that shot through his body expressed itself through miserable groans from his chattering lips. Harold let his body lull; the back of his head hit the ground. His eyes drifted to the brightly spotted sky. The sound of pleasurable sighs and sloppy kisses broke the silent night. A couple who thought they were alone found somewhere to hide on the abandoned deck of the cruise ship. Giggles erupted from the woman. Husky groans echoed from the man. Rather than torturing himself further, Harold closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see their sublime experience. He wallowed in his own self-pity.­­ Heat from the love made by the couple did little to extinguish the cold that was penetrating Harold’s suit. When Harold raised his hand to the back of his head he felt something warm and sticky. Hushed moans continued to be heard, not far from him. It was hard to see in the darkness. Darkness was encroaching on his vision. Before he had another moment to consider his actions, a shriek pierced the night air. The scream was not one heard in the middle of making love but one that burst through a woman’s lungs in fear and pain. Harold scrambled to his feet, trying to place the location of the scream. He knew it wasn’t from the couple he had been eavesdropping on. The sound came from a different direction. The dark, gloomy deck of the ship tilted dangerously. Harold grasped onto the railing but felt his feet gave way. Harold stumbled toward the location of the scream that had sliced his mind like a knife. The back of his head throbbed. Why couldn’t he hear the sound of footsteps? Why weren’t there lights on? “Help! She needs help!” Harold tried to yell but only managed to whisper. His vision blurred before everything went black.

bannerblogtour copy
This post has been part of the Poisoned Waters Blog Tour. Poisoned Waters is a thrilling mystery set on a trans-Atlantic cruise where a murderer walks amongst passengers.
preview on Amazongoodreadsmark copy

Poisoned Waters

Book Title: Poisoned Waters
Author: Ermisenda Alvarez
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From author in exchange for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 223
Published: August 1, 2013 by Ermilia, LLC

Synopsis:

Bloody mistakes, ugly scars, and beautiful lies. A tale of corruption.

Helen Gardener is murdered on a trans-Atlantic cruise. The Diamond Royale sails from Southampton to New York with her murderer aboard. Set in the 1950s, Poisoned Waters follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by her death. Was it merely an accident? Mr. Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone.

Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen's murderer?

Review:

I was given an ePub copy of this work by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. It was because it is a thriller/crime/mystery novel that I had decided to accept this piece of work as I do enjoy that genre.

As the Diamond Royale Cruise ship makes it way from Europe to New York some unfortunate incidences occur. A woman is stabbed on the deck; another woman comes to her aid to try to help her. A gentleman hears the attack happen, but is unable to see who is involved as he has his own accident. Another couple is on the deck, but they do not want to get caught doing what they were doing, so they both run off in different directions as they were forbidden by society to be together.

The woman who was stabbed, Helen, dies. The woman who came to her aid, Patricia, is detained for questioning. The gentleman who had his own accident, Harold, turns out to be a crazy man. And the other couple, Sylvia and Benjamin, tries to keep their secret love affair just that…a secret.

Mr. Phillips, the owner of the ship and banker, had requested for Michael, one of his current employees and one that desperately wanted to be a partner in the bank, to investigate the murder of Helen, and to retrieve something stolen from him that was very valuable. And, he wanted the investigation completed by the time they docked in New York.

During the investigation, other murders and attempted murder occur and someone is detained. Michael believes that he has caught the murder. Mr. Phillip wants the thief caught as well. Michael catches the thief. He has completed his tasks…or has he?

I cannot lie; the start of this book was a little difficult to follow. I had come very close to putting this into my CNF (could not finish) pile. But, I am glad that I stuck to it. I gave it 3 stars because of how confusing and difficult the start was, and because I didn’t feel that “connection” that I look for when reading. Once I got past chapter 6, though, it all seemed to flow together and was quite an enjoyable read.



Available From: Amazon


bannerblogtour copy
This post has been part of the Poisoned Waters Blog Tour. Poisoned Waters is a thrilling mystery set on a trans-Atlantic cruise where a murderer walks amongst passengers.
preview on Amazongoodreadsmark copy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Squirrels & Puppies: Dark Morality Tales

Author: Russell A. Mebane
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From author for fair and honest review
My Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 226
Published: October 18th, 2012 by Lulu.com

Synopsis:
The book is a collection of 14 short stories of speculative fiction. Five center around cute animals who end up doing some strange things. Six stories are basic science fiction tales set in possible futures and worlds. Three of the stories are set in a future where Black people of all nationalities have come to financially and politically dominate the Western Hemisphere and influence the world. I arranged the stories so that the lighter-toned stories are near the front and the darker stories are towards the back. All of the stories have a moral to them.

Review:
I received an ePub copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Well, typically I summarize a book before I give my actual thoughts on it. But, since this book is a collection of short stories I would be here forever summarizing them all. I do not have that kind of time, and I am sure that you do not want to sit through it all.

Now, as the synopsis says, all of these stories have a moral to them. This is honestly one book, collection of stories, which I would not recommend for those that have a small, closed mind. Each story, in its own way, is very deep and deals with issues we all face today.

I really like how the author took some of the issues and twisted them a bit to have a little fun with it. For instance, the red squirrel that had the “affair” with the human, I took it to be a play on interracial relationships. I could be wrong, but that is what my take on it was. Not everyone agrees with those relationships and people tend to look down on those that are in them. Just like the characters in the story.

Of the 14 short stories, I would have to say that my two most favorite were “Sexual Killing Machine” and “The Black Section”. Sexual Killing Machine is about a couple that does not want to conform to what society tells them to do. They want to find lasting love and live a long happy life. In the end, after they do live their lives the way they wanted, they decided it was time to succumb to the natural way of life. But, it was all for nothing.  

The Black Section is about how the world’s population of blacks is no longer oppressed by whites, but, in actuality, it is now the whites that are oppressed by blacks. It tells a story about how some want to treat the whites badly and essentially, possibly, wipe out the entire race. However, the person that made it possible for the blacks to be the world majority spared the white race, and all the other races, did not want for them to be oppressed.

Like I said, the author did a wonderful job on these stories. I am glad that I decided to give this book a look. And, I would suggest that anyone with an open mind, and even some of the small minded people out there, to pick this book up and give it a read. It might open your eyes a bit.

Available From: Amazon, Barnes &Noble


Monday, July 29, 2013

Killing Matt Cooper

Author: John Cassian
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From author for fair and honest review
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 52
Published: April 15th, 2013 by Smashwords

Synopsis:

A harrowing and erotic glimpse through the eyes of a serial killer, KILLING MATT COOPER chronicles all the things that makes a monster tick; and the twisted form of love that he is seeking. KILLING MATT COOPER's unnamed narrator details a swirling maelstrom of misogyny, violence, sex, and fantasy -- all the things that he believes will lead him back to his Love. If you're a fan of "American Psycho" and "Dexter," this is the book for you!

Review:

I received this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

A serial killer is on the loose. He picks out his victims from a list he keeps in his head. The victims he chooses? They are women who cheat. He picks the women who remind him of His Love, who happened to be his first victim. Although he does not have sex with them, he wants each of his victims to go out having the best orgasm of their life. He is very careful with how he gets rid of the bodies, and he feels his method is foolproof, that is until the FBI is brought in to investigate an incident at his dump site, and bodies are found. Will he be found out? Will the beautiful lead investigator figure out it is him? Only time will tell.

This was an interesting novella, to say the least. As many others have said about it, it is a quick read, and one that is difficult to put down once you start reading it. With it only being 52 pages, I was able to complete it in less than a day. However, when I was done, I was left wanting more. I feel as if there is, or could be more to the story.

Aside from that, if you are not one for reading “rape” stories, then I would suggest you pass on this. The author does get a little specific about a couple of his victims. But, at the same time, it is not too erotic.

Available From: Barnes & Noble, Smashwords


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Frostwalker

Author: Brandon R. Luffman
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 240
Published: May 7th, 2013 by Createspace

Synopsis:

There’s something in the woods behind Jake Marsden’s house – and someone wants him to find it. A strange dream shatters his sleep, night after night, and a compulsion to find the dark presence in the forest wars with his logical and ordered nature. What’s a geek to do?

When his small hometown of Wynn falls under an ancient curse, Jake will find himself in a battle against creatures worse than any he’s faced in a game. Playing for keeps, it will be geek versus god in the fight to stop an evil force bent on destroying everything he holds dear.

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth – If They Live Long Enough.

Review:

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Jake is having some really strange dreams. These dreams keep calling him out to the woods behind his house. When he wakes, he feels that he knows exactly where this spot in the woods is at, but when he tries to find it, he can’t. Not because he is unable to find it, but because he is not physically able to continue on in the dark woods.

His dreams, and lack of sleep, are starting to affect his work. But, it’s a good thing he is his own boss and the only other person he has to worry about at work is his secretary, Nancy. Over breakfast at the office one day, he realizes his attraction to Nancy, but now he has to weigh the pros and cons of making a move on his employee.

Jake’s best friend Eric, and Eric’s girlfriend Wendy, convince Jake to ask Nancy to come along with them to do some Christmas shopping. During the trip to the mall, Jake and Nancy realize they have a lot in common, and begin to really hit it off. Because of this trip they start a new, romantic, relationship.

But, strange happenings begin to occur as the weather worsens in their rural North Carolina town. As the snow flies and unnatural beings begin to attack them they are forced to run and try to find a way to save themselves. When they team up with a Native American, John, and his Grandmother, they learn a familiar story about their people and a battle that happened a long time ago. It was too familiar for Jake, as he felt he was living the exact same story.

Will Jake’s story end the same as the story of the tribe? Will these evil beings take over the town? The state? The world? Is this new romantic relationship going to be able to grow, or will something else step in the way and kill it?

This was a good, paranormal, story. It seemed like something straight out of the X-Files. I was hooked from the beginning and had a really hard time putting it down. I felt that the storyline flowed along perfectly, and the editing was really good. And, the way the story ended almost seems like the author might have a sequel in the works.

Available From: Amazon, Barnes &Noble, Smashwords


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mariachi Murder

Author: D.R. Ransdell
Book Format: PDF
Obtained: From author in exchange for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 2 Stars
Pages: 236
Published: April 30, 2013 by Dark Oak Mysteries

Synopsis:

Andy Veracruz is content with his life as the leader of a mariachi band, but when his lover is accused of murder, he has no choice but to defend her. In the process he faces the loss of his strongest loyalties as well as his entire career.

Review:

I received a PDF copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Andy is a man in his late 30’s enjoying his life. Although he has a “girlfriend” he is not yet ready to settle down and give her the family she wants. At work, where he plays in a Mariachi band late into the night, the very beautiful Yiolanda, his boss’ wife, catches his eye more and more.

When his boss, Rolando, asks him to keep an eye on his wife as he has to attend a family function in Mexico, Andy’s life takes a turn he could have never seen coming. He begins following her around, in his boss’ absence, throughout the streets of Squid Bay, CA and into Las Vegas, NV.

In Yiolanda’s wake of travel there are three murders and Andy is convinced that it is at her hand. She continues to claim that she had not been in Nevada, and without actually saying it, that it was not her that murdered those people. As Yiolanda begins to fear for her life more and more, she turns to Andy to help save her, and tries to seduce him as a way of saying “thanks” and to keep him helping.

Andy believes that he has solved the murders, as all of his leads point directly back at Yiolanda. But, is he really able to trust his gut that it was her? Or, was it really someone else?

This was really one of those books, to me at least, that a reader could really tell it was a new author. It was really a slow and dry beginning. It took about eight chapters for the story to actually flow and become interesting. Usually, when it takes that long, it is because the author is using those beginning chapters to character build. But, that was not the case with this book.

I would have to say that this book was “alright”. I was able to get through it, but was disappointed that it was told in the first person. To me, it was also unbelievable that someone would go through so much to play detective on their own, especially when dangers presented themselves as they did in the story. Also, there were other instances where the author changed scenes without warning. For instance, when Andy first followed Yiolanda to Nevada, he was talking to the wife of one of the murder victims. At the end of the conversation, the very next sentence, he was back at his apartment in California. Then the chapter ended.

However, I did feel that, as the book progressed, and the author caught her groove, that the book became more interesting and showed signs of being a really good piece of work. It looks as if this is going to become a series. If so, I am figuring that the stories will only get better.

Available From: Amazon, Barnes & Noble


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Blood Seduction

Author: Pamela Palmer
Book Format: Nook Book
Obtained: Barnes & Noble Free Friday
My Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 232 on the Nook (384 in paperback)
Published: May 29th 2012 from Avon

Synopsis:

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can't do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red.

Review:

My wife found this book as a free Friday offering from Barnes & Noble a while ago. After reading what it was about, I decided to add it to my reading list. Especially since I have been reading a lot of vampire stories lately, I figured that this would be a good addition. I am really glad that I did.

Living in Washington, D.C., Quinn Lennox is starting to realize that there is something different about her. She is having strange happenings when she goes through “shimmers” on her way to and from work. There are times that she is even able to see what appears to be another world.

After her brother’s, Zack, friend, Lilly, goes missing, they set out to find her. She notices a beam of light and can see the other world inside of it. As they approach it Zack notices Lilly’s pen on the ground and reaches for it. Seeing how close he was to the light, Quinn tries to pull his hand away, but instead they are both pulled into the darkness of what they soon find out is Washington, V.C.

Quinn and Zack are separated shortly thereafter. Zack taken by one vampire, and Quinn taken by Arturo. It is soon realized that she has some powers and is figured to be the savior of this vampire world. But, her only concern is finding Zack and Lilly and getting the hell out of there. But, does she have the ability to actually pull it off?

This was a really interesting read for me. It was kind of a typical vampire story meets Fifty Shades of Grey meets Harry Potter meets Gladiator meets Sci-Fi. The author takes a lot and ties it all up into this nifty little story.

I rated it 4 stars because it was actually able to pull me into the story to where I could actually picture what all was going on. Something that makes me really enjoy reading, to be honest. However, it was not able to catch my emotions. That would have made it a 5 star read. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel to this, A Kiss of Blood, when I get a chance to get my hands on it.

Available From: Barnes & Noble, Amazon


Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Foundlings

Author: R.M. Garcia
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From author (through Smashwords) in exchange for a fair and honest review.
My Rating:
Pages: 464
Published: June 23, 2011 by Createspace

Synopsis:

Donnie aimlessly drifted through the past year of his life, and often wondered if it was worth the effort to just keep trying. The events of the past year had left him near broken. That all changed the moment Abbie walked into his life. She was like an angel sent to lift up his soul from the darkness it now existed in. For a moment his future seemed brighter with her in his life, and he started to believe he could be happy. They never expected how much their lives would change once they are dragged into another world. A world of shadows which within exists a society hidden in plain sight; a world wroth with danger, where they aren’t welcomed at all. They are forced into this world of Vampires, where then find themselves little more than orphans, nothing more than Foundlings from the start. Donnie and Abbie now find their love and faith tested to their very limits, while someone or something else watches, waits and hopes.

Review:

The author provided me with a copy of the book for a fair and honest review. Just by the synopsis the author provided I was intrigued and looking forward to reading it. Then, he told me himself in an email, and I quote, “Don't worry though, my book is nothing like twilight, I know there are a lot of vampire lovey dovey stories out there now. Mine should be different enough to stand out in the genre.” I will agree; it does stand out!

After Donnie endured a really rough and trying year; losing both of his parents, and all but giving up on life himself, he meets the beautiful and elusive (when it comes to relationships) Abbie. Although he is smart has a problem with history, and Abbie happens to tutor the subject, so he signs up for sessions. This was the break he needed, and soon they fell in love.

After high school, Abbie went off to college and Donnie became a mechanic. Things were great, until Abbie went to Florida on a vacation trip she won. It was supposed to be a weeklong “girls” trip with her friends. However, someone had different plans for her. She was given the choice to be turned into a vampire, or have all those that she loved be killed. She chose to become a vampire. After doing so she went back home and hung herself to give the impression that she was dead and there was even a funeral.

Donnie, however, did not believe that the events were true and he set out to find the truth. This was when his spirit guide leads him to “the spot” where he crashes his car and falls to his impending death. As he is dying his beloved Abbie appears. She sees that he will not live, and in a state of frenzy, she decided to feed from him.

In the aftermath of the feeding, and to Abbie’s surprise, Donnie soon awakes. Neither of them can believe it, and soon they find out that Donnie is not a typical vampire himself. Donnie vows to protect Abbie once they learn that she is in danger and is being hunted by the “bloodline” that turned her. Little did either one of them know the war that was about to ensue.

I honestly did not know what to expect when I was getting ready to read this novel. I think I was expecting more of a vampire horror type novel, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. I truly could not, nor did I want to, put this book down. It had me captivated from the start.

I wanted to give this book a 5 star rating, but the reason why I didn’t is because there were too many errors; additional words in sentences and the in chapter “scene” change breaks was not used until the later chapters in the book, which made some parts of the book a little confusing. Some of it could have been because of formatting issues, but some were probably editing oversights.

Aside from that, like I said before, this book was able to draw me in and get to my emotions in multiple areas of the story. Because of this, this book, and this author, has quickly become one of my favorites. I cannot wait to sink my eyes into the next installment of the series.

Available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Origin of the Sphinx

Author: Raye Wagner
Book Format: PDF
Obtained: From author in return for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 56
Published: June 6, 2013 by Studio Opolis LLC

Synopsis:

In Ancient Greece, the invocation "May the Gods watch over you" was more than a spoken blessing. It was an entreaty for divine benevolence.

When Damon sees a beautiful woman alone, far from civilization, he can’t help but be drawn to her. But his life–as it should have been– is altered and twisted by the immortal touch of deity.

Damon’s daughter, Phoibe, is raised to be wary and distrustful of the gods.

And so she must choose–

If Phoibe marries a mortal, she risks eternal solitude for a moment of love.

If she follows her heart, she risks spurning a god.

The gods are powerful, and their knowledge is vast.

But the gods…

The gods are far from perfect.

Origin of the Sphinx is a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, the Sphinx. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series.

Review:

The author contacted me and requested a review of this novella. I do not know much about Greek Mythology, so I decided that I would give it a look.

Damon is a mortal that happened upon Hera – Queen of the heavens and goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires – one night and they ended up spending the summer together. The following year Hera returns, after leaving without a word at the end of the previous summer, and hands him a child, Phoibe. The child turns out to be his, but is a demigod.

When Damon falls for another woman, and decided to take her as his wife, Hera returns and lets her know that as long as they have Phoibe they will never be able to have children of their own. So, they send her to live with a local weaver, Priska, to be raised.

When Phoibe reaches womanhood she has to decide between a mortal, Isaak, who she absolutely adores and if very much in love with. Or, Apollo – God of light, music, arts, knowledge, healing, plague and darkness, prophecy, poetry, athleticism, manly beauty, and enlightenment – who she also found herself falling for.

After some thinking Phoibe finally makes her choice…little did she know that her choice was going to have dire consequences.

To me, this is a nice, refreshing novella. The author did a good job in developing the characters and story line. I feel that this story could be enhanced and turned into a really good novel as well. I rated it 4 stars because it was able to draw me in and keep my attention all the way through.

Available from: Amazon

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Money for Blood

Book Title: Money for Blood
Author: Darry Fraser
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 209
Published: May 19, 2013 by Steam eReads

Synopsis:

When Joseph McInerney returns with his millions to his childhood home on Australis Island, he hopes to capture something of the simple days of his youth. What he doesn’t bank on is his dysfunctional family, his friendly grocer, the publican or the hostile population of his hometown having their say when he finds the love of his life, the fearless but prickly Cloudy Bannon. The island is then hit by a series of murders and Joseph is about to find out that all the money in the world can’t always get you what you want, especially not the woman you love.

Review:

I was contacted by the publisher to see if I was interested in reviewing a romance novel. Since I never really read a romance, other than the paranormal/vampire romance, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I decided on Money for Blood because the synopsis caught my attention and seemed to be one that I could really get in to.

Joseph returns to his home town after winning $15 million and being away for a few years. His return is not very well accepted by the rest of the town, and not even his own family. They all believe that he has alternative motives.

One of the local women, Cloudy, catches his eye and he tries everything in his power to get her to be interested in him. However, due to previous disastrous relationships, Cloudy has pretty much written off all men. Joseph does not know what he has to do to make her realize that he is just interested in her.

When tragedy begins to strike everyone in Joseph’s life, including Cloudy, he is beside himself and is trying to cope the best he can. Realizing that he is going to have to deal with these situations on his own, he decides to just walk away…or is he really going to be alone?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book. In the beginning it was a little difficult to read as the author had a lot of thoughts and happening smashed together. However, once the story really got going it was really a good read, and one that I did not want to put down. I was expecting a little more “romance” throughout the story, but was pleased with it being more of a suspense novel.

I rated it 3 stars because I felt that it could have had more, or been focused more, on either the suspense or romance side of the genre. I felt that the author wanted it to be a really hot and steamy romance novel, but feel that she really did not know how to get it there, or was afraid to go into more detail with the romance sections. But, she is a really good suspense story teller.

Available at: Amazon

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Tale of the Fisherman's Daughter

Author: Paul K. B. Mercer
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: From Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
My Rating: 2 stars
Pages: 338 on my Nook (662 according to Goodreads)
Published: November 19th 2012 by Itoh Press

Synopsis:

A young Italian woman will go to any lengths to achieve her goals, even if that means committing cold-blooded murder from the unknown and powerless to the highest levels of government. Is there anyone who will dare stop her reign of terror and bloodshed? How many will be found dead before they discover who she is? Will the power she has amassed grant her freedom?

Review:

I chose this book from a list offered by the publisher for review. Based solely on the synopsis, I felt that this book was going to be exciting and full of action and adventure. In the end, I was right, but then again, I was wrong.

The main character, Angelina, left home at 19. She was tired of living as a peasant, working on an olive farm and living in a small fishing village in Italy. She felt that there was a better life for her out there somewhere, so she told her father goodbye and left, without saying a word to her mother. Soon thereafter, she was in the wrong place at the right time and ended up joining a Mafia family. After proving her worth, and proving that she would do “anything” to get ahead, she was soon one of the top members of the “family” and the Mafia Boss’s lover.

When disaster strikes the “family,” when the top henchman suddenly remembers what happened to him and his real family years ago, all of the “family” is murdered, except for Angelina. After escaping the tragedy, she goes and has her face surgically altered, and successfully changes her identity and becomes Victoria. In order to test her new look she revisits her home village and shows up at her father door. She learns that her mother died years ago, and that she has a little brother.

After confirming that her new identity is good, she sets off for the United States, which is where her new identity is from. Upon arriving in America, she seeks out one of the Senators that is running for President (he was also a target of the Mafia earlier in the book) and weasels her way onto his campaign staff. During this time she has a fling with the sitting President, who happens to be a bachelor, and finds out that he will run for a second term if there was no other choice. Upon hearing this information, she kills the Senator and kind of forces the President’s hand in running for the second term. Where, soon after, he takes her as his wife.

Being the First Lady is not enough for her. However, she finds that her further goals and want of power will be hard to come by for her secret is trying to reveal itself. And, soon she realizes that all the power has her about to crack up.

I gave this book 2 stars, but I honestly believe that it could have been 4 stars, easily. I liked the plot, the action was good, and the author was able to keep my interest for the most part. However, what made me give it a lower rating is because of a few mistakes I felt the author made in writing this book.

One: He dedicated an entire chapter to building up a character whose only purpose was to be killed off the next time he was mentioned.

Two: He did another deep character buildup for a character that was only in the book to eventually support one of the candidates running for president.

Three: Although I know this is a work of fiction, some events should be researched more and be portrayed a little more accurately. The author was claiming that America’s Presidential inauguration happened right after the vote in November when it isn’t held until January of the following year.

Four: The pacing of the book was off, I felt. There were some chapters that were too long, uncomfortably long. And there were some that I felt were rushed. I actually felt that the final 8-10 chapters were a little rushed.

With that being said, I feel that, with a little more editing and condensing, this book could have been an extremely good bit of fiction. When the pacing was good, it was a page turner that I did not want to put down.

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Q&A With Nikki Rae


Q: The main character in your story, Sophie, suffers from a very rare condition, an allergy to the sun. Why did you choose solar urticaria? Do you know anyone who really has it, or anything similar?

A: Sophie had always been allergic to the sun. No one really knows what it is, but Solar Urticaria is the closest they can come to an actual diagnosis. I thought I was really brilliant, making up something so complex, then a friend of mine read Sunshine, and asked how I knew about her condition. Haha. She had this disorder all along and I didn’t even know about it.

Q: It is believed, by some, that authors incorporate some personal experiences into their writings; are any of the situations with Sophie based on anything that you personally went through?

A: Yes. I’m one of those people that just can’t help it.  Parts of my life, my past, my character, always seep into my stories.  Some of it is intentional. I use it to heal from things that have happened to me, or to better understand a situation. But most of it isn’t done on purpose. I’m sure if I gave the series to a therapist, they’d have some interesting comparisons between the books and my life to tell me about. ; )

Q: In Sunshine, Sophie gets physically ill whenever a male figure come in contact with her, with the exception of those that she is really close to, but in Sun Poisoned she does not. How do you explain the change in character of her character?

A: In book one, Sophie gets physically ill when men she doesn’t know invade her personal space. During the course of Sunshine, she tries to get past that, especially with Myles. In Sun Poisoned, she still gets a little uncomfortable with male strangers, but she’s trying to move forward and not be that person anymore.

Q: Sophie obviously loves music, and can play anything on her piano by ear; are you a musician? If so, what instrument? If not, what made you decide to give this unique talent to Sophie?

A: No. I can’t play anything. Not for lack of trying (I’ve tried guitar and piano NUMEROUS times and failed). I’ve always admired musicians. Sophie’s talent was inspired by one of my idols, Amanda Palmer. I gave Sophie this talent because she is so closed off. She needed something to express herself, a space where she felt secure and not afraid to feel. Music was the perfect choice for her.

Q: Through previous discussions, you have told me that there is going to be a third book to this series; are you finally going to reveal what really happened to Stevie? I felt this was a very important part of the Sun Poisoned storyline, and that there is more significance to it.

A: Yes. Many things are going to be revealed in book three: what happened to Stevie, why Sophie’s past comes into her life again, and a lot more. There’s also going to be more questions because of how book two leaves off. Of course, no question is going to go un-answered, but Sophie’s going to face a lot more complications. Not just in her personal life, with everything.

Q: What can you tell us about the new book? Are you going to introduce new characters, or are they going to stay the same?

A: I’ve started a little bit of the new book. I can say that it’s already more intense than the other two. It’s a little more urgent. There are strange new things happening while Sophie’s trying to figure out the stuff that has already been going on. Sophie is changing, and more than in just one way. Myles is also changing. We find out a lot about him, and some of it shocked even me.

 Though I still don’t know a lot about it, I can say that it’s probably going to be my favorite yet. Myles also has a few chapters in his point of view, which is interesting and revealing many things he’s been hiding, to say the least.

So yes. Book three is going to be intense.

Q: How many more books do you see in this series?

A: I’m actually not sure. Usually, by the time I’m half way through a rough draft, I’ll have an idea of whether I can wrap up the story in one more book or if I’ll need more time. Right now there’s only three, but there may be four. I’d like to say that I can’t see it running for more than four books, but you never know.

Q: Is there anything else that you are working on?

A: Always!

I’ve been working on short stories a lot in school. I’m working on a long-short-story that’s set in the same world as Sunshine, called The Donor, and I’m really in love with it and can’t wait to share that too.

In addition to that, I’m working on a spin off book. Two characters we meet in Sun Poisoned, Evan and Ava, are getting their own story that takes place before anything in The Sunshine Series happens. It’s going to have more horror elements, and it’s probably going to be for a slightly more mature crowd. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about a story. There are times that I have to stop writing to take a breather. I’m excited to share it. : )

Q: Are you planning to release these books in paperback, and, if so, do you have any idea as to when it might be?

A: Yes, yes, yes. I have been dreaming about paperbacks FOREVER.
Sunshine is going to be out in paperback by October (hopefully sooner!), and I'm aiming for Sun Poisoned to be in paperback by Christmas, but nothing's set in stone yet.








Sun Poisoned

**WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN THIS REVIEW**

Author: Nikki Rae
Book Format: ePub (Nook)
Obtained: from author as Beta & for review
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 250
Published: June 28, 2013 by Nikki Rae



Synopsis:

“Sophie’s life has changed. She’s moved to New York, she’s playing music for new people, and she’s making new friends. Then there’s Myles, and the fact that he is now her boyfriend—and everyone knows it. There are a lot of new things to take in, but Sophie has no problem adjusting.

She’s not exactly normal, living in a half-human, half-vampire world, but she’s finally, truly happy. But some parts of Sophie and Myles’ old life still hide in the dark, waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

Sophie’s having nightmares again, but they aren’t about her; Myles is hiding something that she’s not sure she wants to know.

And one lie will change everything.

No matter how hard she tries to cover up the marks her monsters have left behind, they never truly go away, and Myles’ monsters are no different.

Once again, Sophie’s caught between life and death, but this time, only she can save herself.”

Review:

Coming into this book, I did not really know what to expect. I knew that Sophie was moving to New York to pursue her dream in music. And, that she and Myles were going to be a couple. But, I really was not anticipating the slight twists and turns that their relationship was going to take.

Getting the full-time gig at Club Midnight proved to be a blessing and a curse for Sophie. She got to play music with her friends, Boo and Trei, and also got an invite to play with club favorite headliner Honus. But then, after spending a little time with club owner Evan’s girlfriend Ava, she learned some secrets that would begin to change her life, and her relationship with Myles.

When Sophie spends a little time with Ava, she learns that she was attacked by Michael as well, but that she is infected with his blood. This infection causes excruciating pain, and there is no way for her to be cured, and she will eventually die. This is what Michael tried doing to Sophie at the end of Sunshine. She also learns that where she lives, the club, and many of the area establishments are “protected” areas. Places where Michael cannot go.

After learning this information, and realizing this is the reason why she is where she is now, is enough to damage a lot of the trust she had in Myles. She now knows that Michael is still alive, after she was made to believe he wasn’t, she begins to worry about her safety, and the safety of her family and friends. When tragedy strikes, and Stevie, her brother Jade’s boyfriend, is killed in a car accident, she believes it is her fault. That because he couldn’t get to her, Michael got to Stevie instead.

It is because of this tragedy, however, that the defenses are weakened, and an opportunity is made for Michael to get Sophie out of the “safe” zone and away from Myles. When he gets her alone he attacks her again. This time it is believed that he will be successful. Now that she is infected with his blood she has to choose between being turned in order to live, or allow the infected blood to kill her. But, she is not willing to make this decision until she gets a chance to talk to Jade one last time.

I must say that Nikki did a better job on this one. There was a couple times, to me, where the story seemed to go a little off topic, like when Jack shows up. What was the significance of that? But she was able to pull it right back together. Once again the storyline was able to keep me interested, but it was not “gripping” like I feel she is capable of making it. There are a few unanswered questions, that made me feel a bit jaded when the book ended, in which I hope will be answered in a third book of the series, if there is one. We will have to wait and see.

Available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Naero's Run

Author: Mason Elliott
Book Format: Epub, Nook
Obtained: From author as random give away
My Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 422
Published: 2012


Synopsis:

“2595. Ten years after the Fourth Spacer War with the rival Gigacorps. Naero Amashin Maeris works in her Clan's merchant fleet, dreaming of owning her own ship and developing psyonic powers without going nuts. After tragedy strikes her Clan in the Unknown Regions, agents from the Corps stalk her. They believe she holds the key to something priceless anddeadly: Lost tek secrets from an ancient, godlike alien race. Soon Naero's over her head in a white hot intrigue of raiders, assassins, and warring interstellar fleets. Even worse, the greatest dangers might yet lurk deep within herself. And Naero's run has only just begun to heat up. Go on the run with Naero.”

Review:

I was a little hesitant at first to even start this book. I have never been a big fan of sci-fi whether it is a movie or a book. However, since the author was kind enough to award it to me through a random give away (I honestly did not know he was going to give away copies of this book until he contacted me). So, I figured that I would give it a look-see and I am glad that I did!

It all starts out where Naero is a Leftenant on her Aunts fleet while her parents are off exploring the outer edges of their galaxy. She is about to come of age, 20 years old for her people, and has yet to develop her powers and is afraid of being a “nub” – one of her kind without powers. She decides to use pills, injections, even a stimulator helmet, during a training session to attempt to bring out her powers. But doing so seems to have brought on an adverse reaction, and still no powers.

Shortly thereafter she, and her brother Janner, learn that their parents exploration fleet was destroyed by enemy forces. They soon learn that the reason was because their parents found a highly powerful weapon created by an ancient, extinct, race. But, nobody could figure out if they actually did find it, and if they did, where did they put it?

It was soon found that the code for this powerful weapon what somehow split and engrained in the DNA of both Naero and Janner, and their enemies would stop at nothing to get the code, including starting another all-out war. Now it was up do Naero to find a way to keep herself and Janner safe and alive until her people could figure out how to combine the two strands of code to see what it actually possessed. But, she would soon find that it wasn’t just her enemies that she had to watch out for.

This was a very intriguing book for me. As I said, I do not typically read sci-fi, but the writer was able to keep me wanting more. It had the right amount of action, romance, and horror. It kept me guessing what was going to happen next, and most of the time I was wrong! I had a hard time putting it down.



Available From: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sunshine

Author: Nikki Rae
Book Format: ePub - Nook
Obtained: From Author as gift
My Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 330
Published: 2013

Sophie “Sunshine” was anything but a typical teenage girl. Suffering from a rare condition, solar urticaria, she lived her life the best she could. She only had a couple of real friends, Boo and Trei (who happened to be brother and sister), until a young man, Myles, came into her life.

Sophie was not one to get close to new people, let alone a male suitor, and it tended to make her physically sick when someone attempted to get close to her – for unspeakable reasons. After getting kicked out of her mother’s house and moving in with her brother, Jade, and his boyfriend Stevie, she began to allow herself to get closer to Myles and a “friendship” began to emerge.

Myles knew that there was something about Sophie that she was not telling him. No matter how many times he asked, she would not let him know. When weird things started happening to Myles, it was Sophie that started asking questions. Myles finally decided to fill her in on the fact that he was dead!

Now that she knew, it was up to Myles to try to find out what she was keeping from him, and to keep her from the dangers that were heading her way.

This is not a bad “love story” written by a new author, as this is her first, self-edited and self-published novel. It has its flaws, but it also is able to keep the reader interested. It does tend to run along the same storyline as some other similar novels, but it also sticks to the typical – girl meets boy, girl tries to show no interest in boy, boy won’t go away, girl starts to fall for boy – storyline.

I would recommend for everyone to get a copy of this novel and give it a read.

Available From: Amazon, Barnes & Noble