November 4, 2016

The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings

__________B O O K__R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     From the first page to the last, this book offers a magnitude of fun, humor, and awesome storytelling. I knew within three chapters that I was going to love this book, but I had no idea until I read further in just how much that love would blossom. The Longest Con is entertaining, and engaging. There are so many elements to love about it. I mean Michaelbrent delivers all this stuff to the reader, even in the beginning, and then, suddenly, you're sucked into a hole of master mystery. If I wasn't laughing out loud, I was "Oh shit"-ing or "Oh my god" -ing. It was awesome.
     Michaelbrent is such a charming and hilarious character. There were so many times I wanted to high five him. Not to mention, it's clear he knows his craft. Side note, the footnotes are equally as humorous; whatever you do, don't skip them, those are a must read too. The whole novel is fluid, and easily read. You'll turn one page to the next without even realizing how much you've read until you're at the last page.
     When I wasn't reading it, I thought about it. When I was reading, I didn't want to put it down. So yeah, this is a five star book, without a doubt. Michaelbrent has earned another fan.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Longest Con
A U T H O R: Michaelbrent Collings
P U B L I S H E R: Michaelbrent Collings
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 6, 2016
I S B N: 978-1536873283
Fantasy, Humor

Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.
Would you like to know - I mean, REALLY know - what they're doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain't just writing.
See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that...
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.
Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.
Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.
I'M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.
It's not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you'd never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.
Luckily, though, you don't have to guess.
JUST READ THIS BOOK.
And get ready to have . . . your . . . mind . . . BLOWN.*
* Disclaimer: your mind may or may not be blown.




AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY

October 25, 2016

Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     When I read this was a collection of stories about the end of the world, I knew I would enjoy it. Each of these stories are incredibly creative. Some of them blindingly so - you think you know where some of the authors are going. . . but no. So make no mistake, while all the stories follow the same theme, they are all very, very, different.
     I don’t review the stories individually. Normally, I list my favorites, but I can’t give any in this case because all of them were great in some way, shape, or form. A majority of them had me wishing they weren’t shorts. And of course, like all good anthologies, it gives you a list of authors to hunt down and read more of. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology.
     Not reading this anthology is only depriving your readerly brain of some very imaginative reads.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny
A U T H O R: Stephen King; Greg Bear; Ramsey Campbell; Joe R. Lansdale; Carmen Maria Machado; Mark Samuels; Erica L. Satifka; Brian Stableford; Ray Bradbury; Arthur C. Clarke; W.E.B. Du Bois; Kurt Vonnegut
P U B L I S H E R: Dover Publications
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 21, 2016
I S B N: 9780486802312
Anthology, Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy


"This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!"—Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction.
These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and their works are Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke's "No Morning After."
The first-ever apocalyptic fantasy about global warming, "The End of the World," appears here, in translation from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. "The Pretence," by Ramsey Campbell, questions the nature and structure of everyday life in the aftermath of a doomsday prediction. In addition, thought-provoking stories by Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Greg Bear, Erica L. Satifka, and others offer an end-of-the-world extravaganza for fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy.

*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

August 27, 2016

One Man's Purpose by Stephen D. Senturia

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     There was nothing for me to relate to in the book. I'm not a man. I'm not a professor. I didn't pursue a higher education, and should I have, there wasn't a chance in hell I would have made it into a brilliant college like the one Mr. Quint teaches; the entire setting of the story was completely foreign. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the shit out of this novel. I became so immersed into Martin's life, that eventually, I didn't care that I couldn't relate. I found myself thinking about Martin Quint every time I stop reading. I wanted to see how it all turned out for him, and hoped through the book that he landed on his feet, not his ass.
     It's well written, which I expected, and shouldn't come as a surprise to any reader. The novel is littered with tons of technical terms; as a result, I feel a little smarter after reading this book. (Thank you, Professor Senturia.)
     In the end, I'm very happy I accepted the book to review. I didn't expect a story that would hold me, yet that is exactly what One Man's Purpose did.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: One Man's Purpose
A U T H O R: Stephen D. Senturia
P U B L I S H E R: Friesen Press
P U B L I S H--D A T E: November, 2015
I S B N: 9781460274699
Literary fiction, General fiction (adult)


Martin Quint, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cambridge Technology Institute, is at the top of his professional career. Beloved as a teacher and internationally lionized as a researcher, he enthusiastically embraces his academic overload. But with a baby on the way, a voyeuristic computer specialist posting things in public that shouldn't be, and a critical tenure case for a junior female colleague hanging by a thread, life throws more at Martin than he can juggle.


AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY

July 1, 2016

The Devourers by Indra Das

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     This book was an interesting and unique read for me. I’m not much into werewolves, of any type, however, this isn’t really a werewolf story, at least not in the sense I’m used to. They are not the only characters either. There is a rack of different fantasy through the pages of this book. It’s deep, thought provoking, dark, and even a bit gory. The writing is phenomenal, and the tale (overall) is very simple, but it’s not a fast read, at least it wasn’t for me.
     I finished this book a month ago, but have been taking some time to try to think of how I’m going to rate it. At first, I was going to give it three stars because while it is a good book, it’s just not my cup of tea. There is a lot going on this book, a lot of social topics, a lot of strange fiction, and a lot of everything else.
     Now, a month later, I realize that I have to give this book four stars. I think of it randomly – certain scenes, certain emotion, and certain characters have left a residual presence behind. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a heavy, vivid, intense fantasy. Someone who is looking for something different.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Devourers
A U T H O R: Indra Das
P U B L I S H E R:Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine/Del Rey
P U B L I S H -- D A T E: July 12, 2016
I S B N: 9781101967515
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy


On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man's unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger's behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins. From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok's interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent. Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.


AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

June 21, 2016

Beneath The Fall by Aaron Safronoff

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★

     This book is one of the most beautifully put together books I’ve had in my hands in a very long time. The illustrations are remarkable works of art, that not only give you give a direct link into the author’s mind, but show you how fantastic Barra's world is.
     Barra is lovable, and her journey is one of great personal growth. I felt her relationship with her mother was very true to the nature of the story, and her character. Her friendship with Tory and Plicks stood out above all else to me, and the trio was a joy to read on the page. Both types of relationships added much to the story.
     However, the story over all runs a bit slow and dry at times, and because of this, I had a really hard time getting Laila to read the novel to the end. The things she complained about were the names of some of the creatures and places. They are often hard to even sound out. She is like me in the sense that she gets caught up on little things like that. Personally, I’ve walked away from books because of it, and might had this one, had I not been given a copy for an honest review. Though, I’m glad that we pushed through and saw Barra to her end.
     Laila also complained about it being too long, but it wasn’t the length she had a hard time dealing with - the child finished reading a bigger book before this, and is reading one now - I believe it’s the pace of the story that she was really complaining about.
     In saying that, I do recommend this book for those who like fantastical fiction. Truly, it is. And those who enjoy soft paced stories. I’m uncertain if we’ll continue to read on this series or not. I'm far more likely to than my middle grader.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Beneath The Fall
S E R I E S:  Sunborn Rising (Nº 1) 
A U T H O R: Aaron Safronoff
P U B L I S H E R: Neoglyphic Entertainment
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 5, 2016
I S B N: 9781944606008
Fantasy, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade

Cerulean is on the brink of collapse. The decay wasn't fast, it wasn't obvious, but now the world stands on the precipice.
Woven forests floating on an ocean around a star, Cerulean's once vibrant treescape has grown dim over generations of arboreal life, and the creatures of the forest have forgotten the light.
Barra, a young, willful Listlespur, finds her late father's hidden journal, and reads about his discovery of Cerulean's brighter past and the mysterious plague he believed has all but destroyed it. He warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words...
Together with her two best friends, Barra will rekindle her father's legacy and traverse the Great Forest to relight her world, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.


May 15, 2016

The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

T I T L E: The Service of the Dead
S E R I E S:  Kate Clifford(Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Candace Robb
P U B L I S H E R: Pegasus Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 2, 2016
I S B N: 9781681771274
Historical Mysteries

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses. But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Kate Clifford is a strong and bold female protagonist who struggles to maintain an independent lifestyle at a time when options for women were either rare or nonexistent. Her brother is constantly trying to get her to remarry. She grew up on the northern border of England near Scotland where her family was involved in a blood feud with a Scottish family. Growing up under those circumstances, Kate developed skill with a bow and a dagger. She always has her two wolfhounds with her and they are no docile pups.



     Though this era is fraught with political intrigue, it does not take center stage in this story. The author does a great job of melding historical facts with fiction in this story. As well as incorporating family drama with the politics of the time. I look forward to seeing where the author will take this series.
     Kate's household also has some interesting characters. Her cook has a violent past, there is a thief that is generous, a servant with a wicked smile, and two charges that are bastards. Kate Clifford brings together a household in a time when England was filled with strife and struggle.
     I am quite eager for the next novel in this series and what adventures it will bring for Kate.

4 STAR

A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

May 14, 2016

A Second Daniel by Neal Roberts

T I T L E: A Second Daniel
S E R I E S:  In the Den of the English Lion(Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Neal Roberts
P U B L I S H E R: Booktrope
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 28, 2015
I S B N: 9781513704913
Historical Mysteries



London 1558. An Orphan from a far-off land, is renamed "Noah Ames", and given every advantage the Royal Crown can bestow. London 1592. Now an experienced barrister, Noah witnesses what appears to be a botched robbery outside the Rose Theater, a crime he soon suspects to be a plot against Queen Elizabeth herself. Steadfast in his loyalty to the Queen, Noah must use every bit of his knowledge and skill to lure her most disloyal subject onto the only battlefield where Noah has the advantage-a court of law-though in doing so he risks public exposure of his darkest secret, a secret so shocking that its revelation could cost him everything: the love of the only woman who can offer him happiness, his livelihood, even his life.



     I do love a great historical mystery and this one was very enjoyable. It is set in Tudor England at the time of Queen Elizabeth I which is one of my favorite historical periods. It is a good blend of both true life events and fictional ones.
     The same goes for the characters as well. I really liked the fact that the villain in this one was Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex who was real and had been one of the Queen's favorites before losing his head. Although, he hasn't fallen quite far yet in this story, he is definitely racing down a path to meet his destiny with the executioner's ax.  
     The other characters both real and fictional have depth and are interesting. Besides Noah, I really liked Jonathan and the four Jesters as well Sir Henry Neville. In the beginning, I wasn't quite sure if I liked Marie, but she grew on me as I progressed the through the story.
     There just is just enough suspense to keep you turning the pages and just enough wit and humor to make this one very enjoyable. There is even a chase scene and a bit of action thrown in. This book will keep you wondering what is going to happen next.
     All in all it was a fun read and I do recommend it to those that love both historical fiction or mysteries.



4 STAR


A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

May 5, 2016

A Lady in the Smoke by Karen Odden

T I T L E: A Lady in the Smoke
A U T H O R: Karen Odden
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing-Alibi
P U B L I S H--D A T E: March 29, 2016
I S B N: 9781101886403
Historical Mysteries



Following a humiliating fourth Season in London, Lady Elizabeth Fraser is on her way back to her ancestral country estate when her train careens off the rails and bursts into flames. Though she is injured, she manages to drag herself and her unconscious mother out of the wreckage, and amid the chaos that ensues, a brilliant young railway surgeon saves her mother's life. Elizabeth feels an immediate connection with Paul Wilcox—though society would never deem a medical man eligible for the daughter of an earl.
After Paul reveals that the train wreck was no accident, and the inspector who tried to prevent it dies under mysterious circumstances, Elizabeth undertakes a dangerous investigation of her own that leads back to her family's buried secrets. The more she learns, the more she must risk. Not only are her dowry and her reputation at stake; Paul's very life hangs in the balance when he is arrested for manslaughter. As the trial draws near, and Parliament prepares for a vote that will change the course of the nation, Elizabeth uncovers a conspiracy that has been years in the making. But time is running out for her to see justice done.


     A Lady in the Smoke was a bit different but a great mystery. It seemed to be a combination of two genres - Literary Fiction and Historical Mysteries. I found that fascinating.
     I have never really been interested all that much in the history of railroads whether in England or the United States and so haven’t given them much thought. However, I found the historical information in this story to be quite interesting. I haven’t read any tales in the past that included any such material so in that sense I found it to be a bit different than the norm.
     The feel and flavor of the Victorian age was executed quite well. From what I have read in the past on this era it was very accurate.
     The mystery itself was intriguing. The characters had depth and dimension. Overall, a very enjoyable read. I will be on the lookout for more to come from this author.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

May 3, 2016

The Dragon Round by Stephen S. Power

T I T L E: The Dragon Round
A U T H O R: Stephen S. Power
P U B L I S H E R: Simon and Schuster
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 5, 2016
ISBN: 9781501133206
Fantasy

A swashbuckling adventure with a dark side for fans of George R.R. Martin and Naomi Novik—when a ship captain is stranded on a deserted island by his mutinous crew, he finds a baby dragon that just might be the key to his salvation…and his revenge.
He only wanted justice. Instead he got revenge.
Jeryon has been the captain of the Comber for over a decade. He knows the rules. He likes the rules. But not everyone on his ship agrees. After a monstrous dragon attacks the galley, the surviving crewmembers decide to take the ship for themselves and give Jeryon and his self-righteous apothecary “the captain’s chance”: a small boat with no rudder, no sails, and nothing but the clothes on his back to survive on the open sea.
Fighting for their lives against the elements, Jeryon and his companion land on an island that isn’t as deserted as they originally thought. They find a baby dragon that, if trained, could be their way home. But as Jeryon and the dragon grow closer, the captain begins to realize that even if he makes it off the island, his old life won't be waiting for him and in order get justice, he’ll have to take it for himself.



     Normally, I’m not much on stories with a nautical theme, however, I was lured by the dragon. I am also a fan of George R R Martin and Naomi Novik, so I couldn’t wait to read this book. And it was good, I didn’t love it, but it was good. I just didn’t really find that the comparison to those two authors was a correct.
     The writing was done well. However, it got a bit confusing with all of the characters and there wasn’t really one that I liked very much, except for Gray the dragon and she didn’t speak. In some parts, fighting the crabs in particular, reminded me a lot of Land of the Lost.
     In my opinion the world was sort of dark and depressing, with the main focus on making money. I realize that the city was a merchant town, but it was just hard for me to feel much for the world or the characters. Now, even though I’ve said that, I do feel that both the world and the characters have a lot of potential to develop into something much more than they currently are. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t really one that stood out, not even the main character.
     Having said all that I do think that those readers out there that really enjoy sailing and ships will really enjoy this book. It just wasn’t quite my cup of tea.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

March 30, 2016

For the Love of Old Bones by Michael Jecks

T I T L E: For the Love of Old Bones
A U T H O R: Michael Jecks
P U B L I S H E R: Endeavor Press
P U B L I S H--D A T E: March 4, 2016
I S B N: 9781530379118
Historical Mysteries

Death and deceit stalk the bleak moorlands of medieval Devonshire in this captivating collection of short stories from the acclaimed author Michael Jecks.
THE CORONER’S TALE
In the remote Devonshire town of Crediton, a young girl is found dead in an alleyway, raped and murdered. As the local Bailiff and a visiting knight investigate the crime, it comes to light that the bailiff holds an incriminating secret – one that has the potential to place this agent of the government on the wrong side of the law.
FOR THE LOVE OF OLD BONES
A group of monks journeying from Launceston Abbey across the wild wastelands of Dartmoor are waylaid by brigands. During the brawl, their abbot is put to death at the blade of a knife, but the murderer neglected to steal his money filled purse. When the local bailiff discovers that the group are conducting a holy relic overseas to France, he begins to suspect that there are murkier motivations at play.
THE AMOROUS ARMOURER
A blacksmith is found dead in his lodgings, the door locked from the inside. As the town’s meticulously minded bailiff goes about his investigation, a veritable rogue’s gallery of culprits drift in and out of focus - but the guilty party is the least suspect of all.
A CLERICAL ERROR
One of the king’s forresters lies dead in a gully on the moor, his head smashed in with a rock, and the only witness to the murder being the forrester’s loyal mastiff, who stands vigil over his master’s body. As the list of suspects increases with every local rivalry which comes to light, the outcome of the case will surprise all involved.
DANCE OF DEATH
1348, the year of the Great Death. Refugees flood into the city of Exeter from the plague-ravaged countryside surrounding the city. A man and a young boy from the village of Rookford arrive separately, yet both share knowledge of a horrifying secret and come to the realisation that even in these times of turmoil, the past is inescapable.




     I’m always looking for great medieval mysteries to read as I’m a huge medieval history buff. So, when I found this collection of short stories on Netgalley I jumped at the chance to read it. I’m glad I did. It was a fantastic collection.
     Michael Jecks does a great job of telling these and portraying the setting in this time period. You feel as though you are there and walking along right with them. This is a fantastic work. All of the tales in this book are well written. The characters are well rounded and developed well.
     This was my first introduction to Sir Baldwin. I haven’t read the Templar Series. However, after reading this collection I plan to change that and read the whole series which have now been added to the top of my “To Be Read List”. My only complaint was that the book ended before I was ready to stop reading.

4 STAR

A M A Z O N                     G O O D R E A D S


March 25, 2016

Much of Madness by S. E. Summa

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     This book was quite the pleasant read with lots of little surprises in a supernatural world. It captivated me from the very first chapter and held me through to the end. The only reason this book gets 4 stars rather than 5 is because I felt the beginning and middle were much, much stronger than the end. To be honest, I didn’t like the last three chapters. I felt this awesome story fell short an equally awesome ending (or until next book). However, even in saying that, I’ll read book two. While the characters weren’t of the human variety, they were very relatable, and very likeable. Honestly, there isn’t one I can say a bad thing about, including the progression of their story.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Much of Madness
S E R I E S: The Conexus Chronicles (Nº 1) 
A U T H O R: S. E. Summa
P U B L I S H E R: Inkmancy Press
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 29, 2016
I S B N: 9780997295412
Fantasy

Seraphina Pearce doesn’t know what’s more frustrating: her magic’s affinity for death, her best friend’s transformation into an albino Sin Eater, or that simply touching a guy she loves means someone’s headed to the morgue.
After a sin-eating job goes awry, she casts a risky spell and butts heads with a handsome stranger in order to win an infamous grimoire.
Marceau L’Argent is the last person she should confide in because the occult cat burglar has a mysterious past, and he’s made it no secret he also wants the grimoire. He recognizes her dark magic and offers his unique help as a rare curse breaker. If all that weren’t enough, Marceau causes butterflies in her stomach—a feeling she’d long thought dead. Seraphina was only trying to break her curse—not piss off Death himself.

AMAZON  * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS

February 17, 2016

Greylady by Peter Moorwood

T I T L E: Greylady
A U T H O R: Peter Moorwood
P U B L I S H E R: Endeavour Press
P U B L I S H--D A T E: January 15, 2016
I S B N: 9780099261612
Fantasy

When going to war, hire allies stronger than your enemy. Not stronger than you.
Otherwise getting rid of them can be a problem.
That was how the Horse Lords came to Alba, and how they came to rule it. That was how Bayrd ar’Talvlyn rose from a mere captain's rank to become lord of his own clan. And that was how the Art Magic became a part of life and death for the Horse Lords, sowing the seeds of conflict for years to come.
Bayrd ar’Talvlyn is known for thinking too much. In a heavily militaristic society, thinking too much can lead to problems. But Bayrd is smart and is not afraid to share his ideas to help his people.
As a deeply honourable man and a well-trained soldier, Bayrd has the desire to lead his people and gain status among them. However, when Bayrd shows signs of having a talent for sorcery, he learns how dangerous a gift that is to have among the Albans.
Bayrd soon finds the success he has been looking for. But all is not well in Alba. The land has been stolen from its native population at the point of a sword – and any resistance is crushed in the invaders’ iron fist.
But now, they’re learning how to fight back: with sorcery…
Bayrd’s curse of magic has now become his greatest asset to his people.
His quest to find a native sorcerer and enlist him in the Horse Lords’ plight will take him to the far reaches of this land. But as he searches for the sorcerer, he will discover things about himself that he never thought possible…



It can sometimes be hard to find good fantasy these days and I admit that I can be pretty picky when it comes this genre. However, I really enjoyed this book. It had all of the things that I really love in fantasy.
The characters were well developed and had good dimension. I found some of them very likeable, while some were despicable, but in a good way. Besides great characters, it had lots of action as well. Those are the scenes that I really like in a fantasy and this one did not disappoint. They were well done and vividly written which enabled me to see them play out in my head.
The writing overall was fantastic and the world building superb. I do recommend this one for fantasy fans everywhere. I would certainly like to read more.



4 STAR


A M A Z O N                      G O O D R E A D S

February 16, 2016

An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

T I T L E: An Unattractive Vampire
A U T H O R: Jim McDoniel
P U B L I S H E R: Inkshares
P U B L I S H--D A T E: March 16, 2016
I S B N: 9781941758649
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Jim McDoniel’s debut novel, An Unattractive Vampire, is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile—also known as the Curséd One, the Devil's Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors—awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he’s just too ugly—modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. With the help of pert vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?



     While I may not have laughed out loud when reading this book, I did smile or chuckle frequently.
     It was a great concept and executed very well. I found I even liked Yulric Bile...a lot, which is more than likely a lot more than he would have wanted. Simon was a terrific character and his antics reminded me of the Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys, which is a good thing since I loved that movie. I could see that eight-year-old pulling off his stunts very clearly in my head as I read. Amanda was also lots of fun.
     There may have been just a slight touch of cheese from time to time, but it wasn’t really all that much and very tolerable. That is not always the case in stories of this type. The satire of this book was, however, refreshing and fun to read. I would recommend this book to those who like different versions of vampires other than or in addition to the pictures painted of them in romance novels. I enjoyed this book enough to give it four stars.


4 STAR

A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


February 15, 2016

Green Eye by Vena Cork

T I T L E: Green Eye
S E R I E S:  Rosa Thorn(Nº 3)
A U T H O R: Vena Cork
P U B L I S H E R: Endeavour Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 6, 2016
I S B N: 9780755324084
Mysteries


Danny Thorn has enrolled in Billings College, Cambridge.
After the tragic events of his unsettling past, including the death of his father, Danny was happy to blend in at university.
But, his involvement in a production of Othello opposite the beguiling Stella, sees Danny drawn into the hedonistic lifestyle of university.
On the surface it may seem enviable but right now, Danny can see little to be jealous of.
While Stella doesn't seem to be interested in him, his ex, Julie, won't leave him alone.
But as the term progresses, getting a date for the May ball will be the least of his worries.
A rapist, who's been preying on female students for months, is still at large, and the Othello cast are not beyond his reach.
A potentially deadly case of the green-eyed monster, jealousy, is about to rear its ugly head, and Danny may just find himself unwittingly caught in the middle.
All too soon Danny finds the May week, the height of the Cambridge social calendar, spirals into terror, chaos and murder.


I will start by saying that this book did hold my attention to a certain degree, but unfortunately, not completely. There were times that I actually had to force myself to keep reading and get through it because the story was moving too slowly and bordered on boring. Those instances occurred more frequently than I would have liked. Since I thought that the storyline held so much potential, I muddled through the difficult parts in hopes that it would improve. Unfortunately, it fell short of what it could have been. So much more could have been done with this plot and often felt forced.

I also became confused quite a lot because the point of view switched without warning, literally from one paragraph to the next. Not only did it switch from character to character but from third person to first person as well. I wish the author would have decided on one or the other, then spun the tale from there. There was never any chance to really get to know the characters when written in this manner. They felt flat and uninteresting. I believe some of them had more potential but weren't really given the chance to develop as they could have.

I must also add that in spite of this, I did like the ending because it took a twist that was a bit surprising. I will give this one an "A" for effort since I did like the ending as well as the premise for the book even though it could have been executed better than it was. It also held my interest enough to earn three stars.




3 STAR


A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

February 12, 2016

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

 So wow. Where to begin?
     This novel about children of various ages had me weary to begin. I don't normally read book about kids, and I most definitely stay clear books about sick children. But this novel came highly recommended by a good friend of mine, one whose taste I trust. And while it took me eight to ten chapters to really get into, I'm glad I stuck with it.
     Eventually I forgot I was reading from a young teenage boys pov, because page after page this novel hits you with a ton of emotion, from a lot of great little characters.
     Let me repeat that and say it more clearly; there is a TON of BIG emotions in this novel.
     Also, Toby's vocabulary would rival my own pirate mouth. But it suits him, to the very last page. There were a few places in the book that felt a little sluggish, but the next chapter makes it up, and then about halfway through the book, it's boom time, and it was from that point on that I couldn't put it down. When I reached the end, I was devastated and sad. Sad because it was over, devastated because the ending was perfect.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Death House
A U T H O R: Sarah Pinborough
P U B L I S H E R: Titan Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781473202320
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Literature fiction (adult)

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House: an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They're looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it's time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium.
Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.
Because everybody dies. It's how you choose to live that counts.


AMAZON  * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS

February 7, 2016

The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

This book was a lot of fun to read to Laila, and I'd highly recommend it for middle grade aged children. All throughout this book Laila showed an immense interest in its storyline. She complained at night when I only read one chapter, and still complained when I started reading two. She wanted to take time to talk about what we had just read, and uncovered continuously as we made our way from one chapter to the next. To be honest, out of all the children’s books I’ve read to her since I started reviewing books, on several occasions, she told me this was her favorite- even if the storyline was a little “dark and twisted”. Last night, I let her finish on her own. When that child brought my Kindle into my room, she looked a little bummed with her shoulders slumped and her feet dragging. I asked her if it was bad, and her exact words were, “No, it is over.” 
     I couldn’t help but laugh. It tickled me to death that she experienced her first book affair. Naturally, because I can empathize, we cuddled on my bed and talked for a few minutes about how she felt about the ending itself and if she felt satisfied overall. She went on and on about the book - what she just read and the entire novel. When I looked and saw this was part of a series, I thought the child was going to fall off the bed with delight. I must get my hands on these books for her collection, and so she can follow the series.
     Since she had so much to say, I decided to let her write her very first book review on her own.

L A I L A:
     I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book made me feel like I was part of the story. There was so many twisters that I hardly knew what was going on. (That is a good thing) Even though I’ve finished it, when it comes out, I’m going to buy it, and read it over and over again. I’m so excited for the second one. This book is so awesome, I’d rate it 100 stars. (That’s even better than 5 stars.) I never want it to end. 



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Lost Twin 
S E R I E S: Scarlet and Ivy (Nº 1) 
A U T H O R: Sophie Cleverly
P U B L I S H E R: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 3, 2016
I S B N: 9781492633396
Middle Grade, Children's Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…
When shy Ivy’s troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to “take her place.” But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school’s true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?
Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn’t about to disappear without a fight. She’s left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy’s going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She’s got to.
But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they’ll do anything to keep their secrets buried…

     

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY

*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

February 4, 2016

A Man of Genius by Lynn Rosen

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

     This is no ordinary novel, and is in no way for ordinary readers. Upon reaching the last page, I was stunned wordless as I tried to wrap my head around the entire story, what it all meant (to me) and how the hell I was going to condense the emotion into a review.
     But I can't.
     What I will say is that the strings of this story are woven together extraordinarily well. From the beautifully worded architectural scenes, and the thoughtfully crafted characters, to the unique story telling, this novel is a masterpiece.
     I'm going to read it again, and hopefully, one day, own it for my own collection of well crafted literature. 


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: A Man of Genius
A U T H O R: Lynn Rosen
P U P L I S H E R: Una Publications
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 15, 2016
I S B N: 9780997073812
Literature fiction (adult)

Samuel Grafton-Hall is a man of genius who demands reverence from all. A renowned architect, his point of view is not universally shared by students, critics, and colleagues - but this is of little consequence to Grafton-Hall, for he revels in his misanthropy.
Immune to the barbs of the masses, Grafton-Hall also suffers no qualms about his personal peccadilloes and perversions. An unrepentant womanizer, Grafton-Hall leaves colleagues, friends, and lovers deeply scarred from having known him.
And then there is the murder. The question of guilt is of less consequence than the question of whether the gift of genius makes one irreproachable.


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

February 3, 2016

Secrets in the Stones by Tessa Harris

T I T L E: Secrets in the Stones
S E R I E S:  Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries (Nº 6)
A U T H O R: Tessa Harris
P U B L I S H E R: Kensington Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 23, 2016
I S B N: 9780758293411
Historical Mystery



Within the mysteries of the body, especially those who have been murdered, 18th-century anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone specializes in uncovering the tell-tale clues that lead towards justice…
Newly released from the notorious asylum known as Bedlam, Lady Lydia Farrell finds herself in an equally terrifying position--as a murder suspect--when she stumbles upon the mutilated body of Sir Montagu Malthus in his study at Boughton Hall.
Meanwhile Dr. Thomas Silkstone has been injured in a duel with a man who may or may not have committed the grisly deed of which Lydia is accused. Despite his injury, Thomas hopes to clear his beloved's good name by conducting a postmortem on the victim. With a bit of detective work, he learns that Montagu's throat was slit by no ordinary blade, but a ceremonial Sikh dagger from India--a clue that may be connected to the fabled lost mines of Golconda.
From the mysterious disappearance of a cursed diamond buried with Lydia's dead husband, to the undying legend of a hidden treasure map, Thomas must follow a trail of foreign dignitaries, royal agents--and even more victims--to unveil the sinister and shocking secrets in the stones…

   
     

     This is the 6th installment in this particular series. Even though I haven’t read any of the previous books, I had no problem following along at all. I will be reading the previous books however, as I would like to know more about these characters.
     This historical mystery is filled with lots of murder and mayhem along with twists and turns that you didn’t see coming. Just when you think you have it figured out, something else happens and you find that maybe you don’t have it figured out after all. Those types of mysteries are fun to read. This book doesn’t disappoint.
     I enjoyed all of the characters, but it did take me just a bit to warm up to Thomas. I think that is because as I mentioned earlier I haven’t read the other books. However, once I got into the story, I found how much I really did like him. My favorite though is Lady Lydia. But, I found all of the characters to have depth.
     The writing was done as was the story line. An intriguing mystery and a great read. Four stars on this one. Can’t wait to read more.


4 STAR


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