Let me start by saying that Concrete Stilettos is not your typical YA. Main character Taz Elizabeth Green is seventeen years old, but she knows a lot more about the world than a regular teen that age. She strips in Philadelphia, but she dances because she loves it, not because she needs money. She’s considered a genius, and her adoptive parents sent her off to UCLA, unaware of the double life she’s leading. But Taz’s life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Her parents were murdered when she was twelve years old. She uses dancing as a way to escape from this.
When her friends encourage her to find more purpose in life and she meets Curran Kilman, an UPS driver who delivers to her cousin’s store, which she helps managing, Taz wants nothing more than be with him, and she thinks he might be “the one”. But just when life seems to improve, Taz finds out she’s being followed and her life may be in danger…
I never knew what to expect next, making this an enjoyable read filled with unexpected twists. I loved Taz. She’s a complicated character, with different emotions and feelings, but she’s also realistic and easy to connect with. I liked Curran too, although I did prefer Taz of all the charcters.
If you love a book that keeps you guessing and makes you feel invested into the characters, then I recommend Concrete Stilettos. I had no idea what to expect when I started reading, but it was a pleasant surprise....more
I wasn’t sure what to expect from The 13th Brigade, but the book pleasantly surprised me. Ren hasn’t always had it easy. Belonging to one of the most powerful families that ever lived has its upsides, but its downsides too. She used to be married to one of the greatest teachers in history in her past life… But in this life, she’s still struggling to find out just who she is, and who she wants to be.
In this second installment, Ren, Josh, Mike and the Tor each have their own battles to fight. Ren especially has to battle the Tor Princess Avira, who wants Mike for himself. She also has to do some soul-searching to find out what she wants, who she wants, and the person she wants to be. Earth is in danger, and it’s up to Ren and the 13th Brigade to rescue Earth’s inhabitants, but it might come at a terrible price.
With great writing that flows very fast, I was immediately drawn into the story. Ren is an amazing character. I could instantly connect with her, feel her pain, her struggles, her confusion. The plot was great too and always kept me guessing. I don’t want to give too much away, but I loved the addition of past lives, the whole thing about Bloodstones, and basically just everything about the book.
If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, I highly recommend The 13th Brigade!...more
In The Journals of Bob Drifter, protagonist Bob Drifter isn’t your ordinary substitute teacher. People around him keep on dying, for a very good reason, but this could make Bob’s life surprisingly complicated when the cops become suspicious of the high amount of dead people that cross his path. When his secret becomes endangered, Bob struggles to accomplish his task, fulfill his mentor’s wishes while at the same time protecting his students and just about everyone else.
What a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read. It’s an amazing, fast-paced book that doesn’t slow down until the end. Bob is an intriguing character, very brave, cares a lot about others, and I also loved the fact he’s a teacher. The world building was intriguing and I enjoyed getting to explore this world.
If you love paranormal thrillers, I highly recommend this one....more
In Fanatics, NYPD detective Flo Ott has to play bodyguard for U.S. Senator Cecil King, after a terrorist cell declared their intention of murdering him. Like that’s not bad luck enough, she also has to investigate the homicide of a hip-hopper who was sort of a celebrity but managed to lead a double life of sorts. With two jobs so outrageously different, Flo struggles to balance both of them. But when both cases connect, she learns things she never thought possible… Unfortunately, Flo has garnered the attention of a fanatic, who will stop at nothing to destroy her.
I was completely absorbed the moment I started reading. The pacing is really fast, and the book just flies by. Flo is an interesting character, and she can definitely stand her own. Too bad she never catches a break, though. I felt sorry for her when tumbled from one problem into the next.
Would recommend to thrillers fans, has a few surprising twists and is well-written....more
Wicked Jackal is one of the installments in the Woodland Creek series, a collaboration of 30 authors, who each wrote a shifter story. I particularly enjoyed this novella. It has some hot and steamy scenes, but it also offers an intereresting story and intriguing protagonists.
After running away from her fate of getting married off to a Prince of a rival pack, Anastasiya changes her name to Tasia and settles into a new life at Woodland Creek, Indiana. What she doesn’t know however is that her supposed husband-to-be has followed her there. Unfortunately Alex isn’t the only one who is searching for her. Her father made a lot of enemies, and Alex is determined to keep Tasia safe, which becomes very complicated as Tasia values her freedom above all… But can she keep on resisting him?
I loved both characters, and their chemistry was undeniable. The writing was great, and the story was fast-paced and engaging. Fans of shifter stories will love this....more
In typical fantasy fashion, two young boys’ birth set forth an ancient prophecy in The Children of the Blessing. Renn and Avaris are vastly different, the first wanting to be a farmer and the second a warrior, but their lives will forever be determined by fate and destiny rather than ther own choices. Magic and terrifying creatures rip their homes apart. Renn needs to cross a continent to receive training from the Lore Masters and Avaris wants to save the surviving members of his tribe and destroy the creatures that harmed them. But an evil warlock wants the two of them to join with him… or die. With their lifes threatened at every turn, and danger lurking around every corner, this story sure keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
I loved Renn and Avaris, but Avaris was my favorite character of both of them. The characters both had a lot of depth and personality. The world building was excellent, just complex enough to be entertaining but not too complex so one wouldn’t understand it. While the book has some familiar fantasy tropes, it puts them in an original jacket and always manages to put a twist on them.
A great start to a fantasy series that I’m sure will be epic....more
World War One, as gruesome as it is, is also quite fascinating. It shows the darkest side of human, but at the same time shines a beacon of light on the bravest souls the world has ever known. In 1917, with the war already raging for a few years, and no victory for the Allied forces in sight. But one battle turns this around, and is followed by hundred days leading up to victory.
The story is told from the POV of two Australian soldiers. The first is Martin Ward, a lieutenant working alongside the Major-General, and he sees the odds turn in favor of the Allies. The other is Alec Morey, a gunner who gets severely injured in Flanders and has to watch the Australian forces reshape history from back in Australia.
Now, I’m from Belgium, so perhaps that’s one reason for my fascination with World War I. I’ve seen most of the historic landmarks mentioned in this book. I’ve visited Passchendaele more than once, and the atmosphere there can still conjure up pictures of soldiers fighting. The most interesting part for me about One Hundred Days was the historical detail, not just the story but how accurate it is and how accurate the details are.
An amazing story about how war eventually toppled in favor of the Allied forces, and how victory was ensured. If you enjoy fiction set during World War I, then I highly recommend this book to you....more
I previously read and reviewed the first book in the series, Regina Shen: Resilience, and after reading it, I looked forward to starting the second book in the series. Regina Shen: Vigilance takes place two years after the events of the first book.
Mo-Mere believes Regina is ready to jump the Barrier Wall, and start looking for her sister. After two years of training, studying and honing her survival skills, now is the time for Regina and Colleen to be reunited and to find some answers. Except, well, what did you expect, things don’t go as planned. For Regina, she’ll have to remain vigilant and find out who she can trust and who she can’t – but the same counts for the other characters too. DeMarco is still after her, and will do whatever it takes to capture her. Regina’s quest to find her sister brings her to university, close to where they’re holding her sister – but will she able to find her and save her?
I thought this book was more thrilling even than the first, and I already enjoyed that one a lot. The ending was very surprising, and I actually had to re-read it; I hadn’t expected some of the plot twists.
I loved Regina in the first book, but I liked her even more in this one. She’s grown as a person, she’s more determined than ever, and she knows how to keep her head cool in dangerous situations.
The new characters were an excellent addition too, especially Ester. A solid sequel to the first book, and a great addition to the series. Can’t wait to read the final part....more
Love’s Tug of War is the story of 41-year-old Paula, who is a talented comic art who gets the chance of a lifetime. She gets to work together with Jeb Cotner, a famous satirist who needs an artist for the Honky Tonk Man comic strip. Although a bit worried at first, Paula dives into the adventure, heading to “cowboy” country along with her own comic book character, Abby Press. But this adventure brings Paula more than she bargained for, as she meets two handsome brothers, neighbors of Jeb, and both of them stir desires within her that she thought long forgotten.
As the title suggests, the book focuses on a love triangle, but all characters are three-dimensional, and the triangle is actually interesting. Not like sometimes when it’s obvious the author has a favorite – here both options are explored. Paula is an amazing person, and I loved her comic book character, Abby Press even more. Witty, resourceful, clever and kind, both Paula and Abby are awesom.
I really thought Paula deserved a happy ending. The addition of a comic book artist in a cowboy country is a good twist, and unique for this genre – I certainly haven’t read a book with this plot, or this cast of characters (comic artists and cowboys) but it’s an interesting mix. Good writing too, and all in all, a very enjoyable contemporary romance novel....more
Kellynch follows the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, two characters who were facing happily ever at the end of “Persuasion”. Kellynch picks up three years after that, focusing on the young couple who just secured the Kellynch estate. Unfortunately life is not all that “happily ever after” made it out to be, friendships are tested, support comes from those least expected and love is tested one again.
It’s brave to write a sequel to a Jane Austen book, and Kwen D. Griffith doesn’t only take on the task, he succeeds at it too. He managed to make the characters believable, both as a continuation of the characters in “Persuasion” and as people living in the 1800s. The settings are described in detail, the writing is solid, and overall, it’s a very enjoyable experience to read this book.
The first chapters are a little slow, but then the pacing picked up and the rest of the story flowed nicely. Would recommend this to all Jane Austen fans....more
I loved Inconceivable, a new spin on the Cinderella story. Zach Brady is handsome and charming, but he might not be the Prince Charming Allie’s been looking for – especially not since their first encounter turns out all wrong, and since Allie’s stepsister, Adrienne is more than a little interested in Zach. But thankfully Allie has a not-so-conventional Fairy Godmother to look out for her: a Fairy Godmother who is actually male, has tattoos, and is overall pretty cool. As Angelo sets out to help Allie conquer Zach’s heart, the Fairy Godmother and his charge might both find more than they were looking for… The blurb sums it up best, really: “sometimes if the shoe fits, the pair could be all wrong”.
I loved Allie. Like Cinderella, she’s charming in a cute, sweet way. Despite what life throws at her, she’s friendly but she doesn’t always look on the bright side, especially not at first. She grows a lot as a person throughout the book though, becoming a better version of herself.
Making fairytales contemporary doesn’t always work well, but Cherrie Mack nails it. All the characters are believable (even a biker Fairy Godmother) and the plot was great. At a little over a 100 pages, it’s a fast read....more
Unbelievable follows Kevin, or Kev, a young guy who wants to make a change and improve his nation’s agricultural and industrial initiative. Unfortunately life doesn’t always go as planned, and Kev often finds himself lured into bad situations, like getting involved with drugs and the drug trade selling a drug named “Ambrosia”. I don’t want to spoil the book, but a large part of it is about bad choices and learning from one’s mistakes.
Kev is a bit of an ambiguous character – while he tries to do good, he often does the wrong thing. It took a few chapters for me to start liking him, but once I did, I really enjoyed his story and the trials he went through....more
In A Debt to be Paid, Gillian Foster has been seeing shadowy figures ever since receiving a strange letter in the mail. In an effort to save her daughter Meg and herself from what these figures have in store for them, she kidnaps her daughter and travels halfway across the country, only to find out shadows are not that easily outrun.
Twenty years later, Gillian is in a psychiatric facility and hasn’t spoken in ages. Meanwhile, Meg is struggling to make a life for herself working in a bank. But when the same shadows turn up after all these years, intent on hurting her, she starts to wonder if her mother was suffering from psychosis all those years ago, or if the shadows were real all along.
Although the story doesn’t sound that original – a woman seeing shadows, everyone thinks it’s mental illness but the shadows turn out to be real – it didn’t bother me that much, since the writing was great and managed to pull me into the story. The character dynamic worked well too, although I didn’t care much for the love interest. It read too much like insta-love and ultimately he didn’t add much to the story. It would’ve been better had the focus stayed on Meg and her relationship with her mother.
The plot is fast-paced and the novella never slows down. It was over before I realized it. A solid read, not the most original story, but the writing and characters make it worthwhile....more
n Darkness Rising, Marty Weaver has been bullied his entire life, and not just by his peers, but by ust about everyone. His past was filled with tragedy, and the only source of light in his life is his love for Jennifer, the first girl who ever seemed interested in him, and who might even love him back. Second to that is his love for poetry – he’s been writing poems as a way to get rid of the pain he feels over his past and over being bullied. But when he drives to a nearby lake and runs into three sadistic killers who want to kill him, shoot it on camera, and have some sadistic fun while doing so, something dark erupts from within Marty, and the demons of his past have come back with a vengeance. One may ask themselves te question who is more twisted that night at the lake: the killers, or Marty.
For a novella, this book packs a whole lot, and brings an awful lot of depth to its main character, Marty. He is so realistic one could almost picture him as a real person. In comparison, the killers are too thin, too easily falling back into stereotypes. We’re given little reason as to why they’re doing the killing (well, we are giving a reason, but not what would bring them to do such a thing) and they seem just too evil just for the purpose of being evil, not for any deeper reason.
The plot is original though, I have to credit that, and I didn’t know what to expect half the time. The prose is haunting in a good way, and as a whole, the novella is definitely impressive. If you’re a fan of horror that doesn’t shy away from some gore, then give this book a shot....more
In At The Sharp End of Lightning, we meet two protagonists whose stories are, at first, seemingly unconnected, but who soon turn out to be connected in several ways, even if they’re not from the same world. Einion Alban is a Welsh boy who got shoved off a cliff by an unknown assailant and got rescued by a man and his dog. Einion grows up with a disease, and against the backdrop of a world dealing with climate change and a society that doesn’t seem to concern itself with what happens to Mother Nature, let alone our planet. He has a guardian sea sprite in a parallel universe, and forges a bond with the sprites through dreams.
The other main character is Yalara, a sea sprite looking for her lover, who discovers her world is in danger. She also discovers her connection to Einion and why they’re connected. While mostly fiction, the book deals with several relatable themes: climate change, to find out the meaning of our existence.
I enjoyed the explanation of the “thinness” between worlds, and how it is that Einion can cross it. The characters are original, and the author does an admirable job creating characters with interesting personalities, instead of stereotypes. The world-building was solid, and especially the sea sprite world, Oceanlight, was very vividly described. The book borders on the philosophical sometimes, which I didn’t mind at all. It didn’t slow down the narrative, and in fact,made the book more interesting.
Fans of fantasy and magical realism should give this one a shot. I definitely enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the sequel....more
Unholy Bargain is an unique, entertaining supernatural thriller about the spirit of an assassin who stalks his victims, possesses a human host, and then murdes his victims. Because he’s just a spirit, he can’t be easily detected, and the police is powerless to do anything about it.
Deputy Sheiff Nate is head over heels for his new girlfriend, Kaitlyn Spencer, a beautiful, lovely New Age philosophy teacher. When Kaitlyn’s life is threatened by an unseen force, with no motive or reason to kill her, which stumps both the police and Nate as he desperately wants to protect her – which can get a little tricky when you can’t see your foe. And while Nate will stop at nothing to protect the woman he loves, even if it means slowly coming to terms with how his down-to-earth view isn’t always spot on, the assassin will stop at nothing to kill Kaitlyn…
As you can see from my short recap, the synopsis is awesome, and the premise is refreshing and original. The author does an admirable job of making all characters have interesting personalities, even the villain. It’s definitely not just good vs. evil – it’s a lot more complicated than that, in fact.
At first, I struggled with seeing Kaitlyn and Nate as a couple since they didn’t seem to have that much in common, but the more I read on, the more I realized those differences were what made them work.
I’d highly recommend this book to all fans of supernatural thrillers. I didn’t think it was that scary, but it was definitely a pageturner!...more
After reading and reviewing The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth, which I thought was an amazing read, I just had to read her second book. The books aren’t related, nor are they part of the same series, but they do have some of the same qualities. Both books have a magical surrealism theme going on, making the reader question what is real and what is just in the character’s minds. I love those types of books, so naturally, I loved this one too.
The book starts out rather cryptic. Noelle and her best friend Alf take on summer nightshift jobs at the infamous Boy Meets Girl Inn – a place where several decades ago, some grisly murders happened. Murders that included the perp eating people. Yep, they’re that horrific. So Noelle and Alf go to the inn hoping to find signs of a haunting, and of course, to invite all their friends (and the kids from school they just want to impress) to the Anniversary – of the murder, of course. Or of the last murder to be precise. But while some strange things happen, like the bathroom light turning on all by itself, Noelle doesn’t really get scared. She has al ot more to worry about – for instance, the diary she started, and that now seems to have a life of its own. Then there’s her Dad’s illness, which makes it almost impossible for him to go out or take care of himself, and leaves her in the tough position of having to be his personal nurse twenty-four/seven. Then there’s also the sore spot on the back of her head. She’s been touching it for years, sometimes even scratching it, but the last few weeks, the pain has been getting worse, and going into patterned space (which usually helps) doesn’t do the trick anymore….
The book has an unique format. We start out with an introduction to the case – apparently the bodies of Noelle and some of her friends were found after a massacre at the inn, and Noelle’s diary is the only piece of evidence that might explain what happened. A film maker bought the diary from a retired detective, in an effort to turn it into a movie. Then we get Noelle’s diary, and from then on, apart from some annotations (like the title suggests), it’s Noelle doing the talking.
I loved the unique format, and I think that, along with the author’s unique writing style, is what worked for me the most. The story isn’t all that original – a haunted inn, a murder/massacre – but the author adds so many cool and fun elements that it reads unlike anything I’ve read before, making it unique. We get the sore spot on Noelle’s head, and wonder what the connection is. Is Noelle seeing ghosts, or is she going crazy? Then in her diary, Noelle says some pretty intense stuff, and again, the reader is left to wonder. The book has a high level of gore though, but for me, I didn’t really mind, if anything, it made Noelle appear more realistic that she talked about gory stuff too.
If you don’t mind books that’ll have you scratching your head (hopefully not on a sore spot, like Noelle) and leave you baffled at the end, and have a high creep factor and some gore, then you should absolutely, definitely, no doubt in my mind, read The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated). It’s amazing. ...more
In Search of the Paranormal is an interesting book. It wasn’t as scary as some of the accounts I’ve read of other ghost hunters or mediums, but to me, that made it sound more realistic. I’m willing to buy a lot of things but when a book sounds like a mesh-up of The Exorcism and Poltergeist and claims all those events are real, then I start questioning the author’s mental state. However, that’s not the case here at all. Mr. Estep tells us about the hauntings in a very down to earth way, and even though he goes out investigating a lot himself, the accounts of the events appear realistic and not over the top. You don’t get more than a few shadows and strange noises during his descriptions, and that makes the book more believable.
That the cases don’t seem exaggerated is a huge bonus. In some cases, the author even admitted they found nothing. From my own experience, it’s often the case that one finds nothing during a ghost hunt. Another good addition was how the background and history of the place was described before the author went into detail about the investigation. I particularly enjoyed reading about the history of the Tower of London – I have visited the place too, and knew some of the history already, but it was great to catch up and be reminded of those little tidbits.
Although not fear-inducing or spine-chilling, the book reads like an honest account of what ghost-hunting is truly like, without exaggerating or embellishing things, and I have to give the author a lot of credit for that. The writing was a little wonky here and there, and some of the explanations of how the devices worked were repetitive, but overall, this was an enjoyable read. If you want to know what ghost-hunting is really like, I recommend this book....more
Although an avid fan of monsters, hauntings, and just about anything paranormal, I have to admit my knowledge of the chupacabra has always been limited. So when I was presented with the opportunity to read and review a book focusing on this mysterious beast, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Nick Redfern starred in several TV shows and documentaries and has now written a book about the chupacabra. He spent over ten years looking for the creature, and collected several eye witness accounts for documentaries, as well as investigated several theories. Since reading the book I’ve been planning to look up some of his documentaries but didn’t get around to it yet. Either way, the writing style is fluent and easy to read. The author details ten years of investigation chronologically and then expands upon several theories. Is the chupacabra an alien? A mythological creature? A diseased version of an animal we know? A dinosaur that survived? A genetic mutation by the government? A genetic mutation that happened purely by accident? Or is it something else? All theories are explored and investigated.
The author also provided some photographs, and makes the distinction between the Texas chupacabra and the Puerto Rico chupacabra, which I thought was a good insight. Chupacabra Road Trip had some humor too, and overall it was a pleasant read on the topic and I learned a lot about chupacabras (maybe even more than I had ever hoped to learn!)....more
For what’s supposed to be a novella prequel, Hanover House is quite a long read. It’s roughly 200 pages, and I felt more like I was reading a full-length novel (and let’s face it, most 200-page books are considered full-length novels, I’d say) rather than a novella. For a book that serves as an introduction to series, it also read more like it was an actual book all on its own. It had a plot, engaging characters, and it told a whole story. So why this is a prequel novella and not just book one of the series, I have no idea.
Anway, on to the plot. Evelyn Talbot, Dr. Talbot as most people know her, is a renowned psychiatrist who works with the criminally insane, in particular psychopaths. She’s quite obsessed with her test subjects. Even when she gets injured by one, it only makes her more determined to figure out what drives them. This obsession started when she was sixteen years old, and when her best friends got murdered by a psychopath posing as her boyfriend. Jasper. A boy she trusted and loved, and who ended up locking her in a shed for days, torturing her and eventually tried to kill her. While Evelyn escaped alive, so did Jasper, and he’s still on the run. Evelyn hasn’t felt safe ever since.
She’s determined to open up a facility in Alaska, where she’ll put a bunch of psychopaths together and research them. The local community, especially Sergeant Amarok, the police trooper in town, aren’t too keen on her building the facility. But when she tries to convince the locals and ends up in a bar with aforementioned Sgt. Amarok, she discovers feelings within herself that she never thought she could feel, not after what Jasper did to her.
Let’s start with the good. The plot isn’t too bad. It’s what convinced me to read the book in the first place, and the idea of a facility solely occupied by psychopaths, and a woman so scarred by her past she’s devorted her life to discover more about psychopaths? That sounds amazing, if you ask me. The author obviously did some research into the mind of psychopaths too, and that shows while reading. The writing is all right.
But the characters. At first, I rather liked Evelyn. She showed tenacity. Drive. Her past had scarred her, but she hadn’t given up. But then, the moment Amarok walked in, everything went wrong. Now Amarok isn’t a bad guy as such (and he’s a real champ when compared to most of the other guys portrayed in the book). On his own, he’s not bad. Typical cop persona. BUT the main problem here is Evelyn’s past. She’s never had a boyfriend. She herself claims she’s been scarred beyond repair. Yet all it takes to undo all that damage is one drunken night at a bar. Sure enough, she’s not really ready to give in, and Amarok and Evelyn never really make it past first base, but still, that’s an awful lot of progress for someone who spent twenty years dodging relationships and men in general.
It wasn’t insta-love, and heck I can usually manage insta-lust, but not with a character claiming to be as damaged as Evelyn says she is. That’s just plain character assassination there, and Evelyn lost a lot of credibility then.
Either way, as I said, it’s definitely not a bad read. It wasn’t as unique as I’d hoped, and I had some issues with the characters, but it’s an enjoyable book all the same. I’ll pick up the rest of the series to see what happens next to Evelyn, although admittingly more to read about her psychopaths than to read about Evelyn herself....more
Nation of Enemies is set in a futuristic environment both hostile and terrifying. The U.S. government mandated all citizens to implant biochips containing their medical information and an ID number…and then they made the information public. Set in 2032 with the country deeply divided, on the brink of a civil war, and with new presidential elections looming, the murder of the Liberty Party’s presidential nominee sets forward a chain of events no one could’ve foreseen.
The concept of citizens whose lives are dictated by their MedID numbers, basically a new kind off caste system, was original and unique and provided an interesting backdrop for this futuristic thriller. The characters are well-developed and three-dimensional, and not everything is black and white. On the one hand stands liberty and on the other security, and unfortunately society can’t live without either of these. The books offers a few different main characters, but Taylor was my favorite. The cast is diverse, and allows the problems to be looked at from different angles.
Highly entertaining with solid writing and an interesting ambiguous view on certain matters, this was an enjoyable book....more
In Deadly Lullaby, a father and son have a lot of issues to go through before they can make amends. Babe Crucci has just been released from prison. He used to be a professional hitman, but now he just wants to make up with his estranged son, Leo. Unfortunately that doesn’t go as easily as he hoped, especially not since Leo is a LAPD detective and doesn’t want anything to do with his father’s past.
Leo isn’t all rainbows and sunshine either, though. He has some gambling debts, and his father decides to help him out. Unfortunately what should be child’s play turns into a nightmare, and Babe’s sins come back to haunt him. At the same time, Leo dives into the investigation of a protestitute’s murder, which ends up giving him some unlikely friends…and some horrible enemies.
I really felt for Babe and Leo. Their relationship was so strained, and it was easy to see why but I still hoped they could make it work somehow. I don’t usually enjoy thrillers that focus on gang-related crime and crime lords that much, but I did enjoy this book. The writing is excellent, and the family relationship offers an interesting angle.
I would recommend this to everyone who enjoyed a good thriller and doesn’t mind some violence....more
In Mr. Nasty, we meet with Tommy Wallace, a movie extra who had the nasty habit of watching “Video Nasties”, banned VHS cassettes back in his teen years. When a fellow extra is brutally murdered, Tommy happens to be on site, and he recognizes the “Video Nasty” VHS tape left behind at the crime scene. The detective who investigates the case, Slade, is instantly wary of Tommy and plans to keep a sharp eye on him.
Tommy tries to get rid of his own collection of “Video Nasties”, a task which grows more pressing as he’s once again an extra on set when another murder happens. And when the unthinkable happens and those “Video Nasties” turn out all too real, Slade and Tommy must combine forces to stop them, or die trying, which sounds more and more likely with every passing page.
The book has a great premise. 39 videos got banned in the UK in the 1980s and a killer reenacting murders from those videos and then leaving tapes behind, that’s just plain genius. The writing is solid for the most part, except that it drags a little. The character exposition, which takes up about half of the book, takes entirely too long, especially considering neither of the main characters turns out to be very sympathetic. Slade is arrogant and a jerk, and Tommy is obsessed with woman, falls in love with every woman who risks to give him the time of day, and ultimately I just couldn’t connect with either of them.
The second part is filled with good, old-fashioned gore, and despite being gruesome, it’s also easily the most enjoyable of both parts. Just not for the faint of heart, though.
So all in all, definitely not a bad read, but the characters are hard to sympathize with....more
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading RUN Ragged. A book focusing on a world where women having taken control? That sounded right up my alley, but I already saw many ways the book could go wrong. However, it didn’t fall into any of the pitfalls I’d conjured in my mind – if anything, it was a surprisingly original and intriguing read.
Rhia is a strong and independent sea captain who is unwillingly trapped in The Center, a re-education facility. The facility was build to help people fit into the rules of this new society. You can already guess how wrong that went. Torture and brainwashing and manipulation, and while the warden believes she’s doing the right thing, Rhia knows that what’s happening at the facility isn’t right in the slightest. She stands up against the system, although it might cost her everything she ever held dear.
It’s an insightful look into the price humanity is willing to pay for peace, and the lone rebels that dare to stand up against the system. Rhia is an engaging character, complex and easy to relate to, and the author did an admirable job creating this futuristic world so keen on peace it often forgets basic human rights.
It’s hard to classify the right audience for this book. I’d say just about everyone. It touches on some tough subjects while still being supsenseful and entertaining....more
First of all, Reawakening is a great book. Let that be said. But if you want to fully enjoy it, I recommend reading the series in order. I didn’t, and it’s a lot more confusing that way, believe me. I’m now going to read book one and two as soon as I find some time, and then re-read the third book. But I didn’t have time before I needed to review this book. C’est la vie.
Anyway, Hellsfire is a wizard who brought down the Great Barrier dividing the northern and southern lands. Unfortunately this caused his beloved, Princess Krystal of Alexandria, to become cursed. And the northern and southern lands aren’t exactly the best of friends either. Hellsfire has been working with the Elemental Council to rebuild the land and find a way to break the curse. Just when time is running out for Krystal, Hellsfire learns that Premier, his nemesis and the wizard responsible for the curse, is heading to the Burning Sands to steal the Jewel o f Dakara.
Upon that, Hellsfire leaves for the Burning Sands, but there he learns about demons, deadly secrets, and things that threaten more than just Krystal’s life.
Reawakening is filled with so much suspense and action, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but Hellsfire finds himself in so many complicated, life-threatening situations that I just had to keep reading. Whenever I thought they were safe for a moment, something else happened, and often something totally unexpected.
Excellent writing, brilliant world-building and interesting characters, especially Hellsfire. I’m looking forward to diving into book one and two and to get to know these characters better....more
Last year, I read and reviewed Heidi Siefkas’ debut novel, When All Balls Drop. I enjoyed Heidi’s down-to-earth writing style, the short quirky chapters (vignettes) and the author’s sassy humor. Starting the sequel, With New Eyes, I was worried that this great mix wouldn’t convince me the way it did the first time…But I needn’t had worried.
After having the rug pulled under her feet and having to rethink life in general, Heidi wanted to make a new life for herself, a life she could live on her own terms. That involved jumping out of a plane, traveling alone to South America, revisiting her childhood home, and lots more. Heidi’s new life is exciting and thrilling, but it’s also a struggle sometimes to reinvent oneself. The author isn’t afraid to focus on that too.
I liked how the general focus was on finding new perspectives and being brave enough to be open for new experiences. Truly inspiring....more
Regina Shen: Resilience is the first book in a trilogy focusing on Regina Shen, a young girl who is forced by the World Federation to live on the outside of the Wall. Aforementioned walls were built to hold back rising seas due to climate change and to protect the world behind the walls. Like that wasn’t bad enough, a hurricane raging overhead seperated Regina from her family, and she’s now completely run out of luck. Meanwhile, the Federation agents claim she has unique DNA that could save mankind – except that Regina doesn’t trust the Department of Antiquities at all, especially not after what she’s read in the forbidden books she gathered from sunken cities. So now Regina must fight to stay alive while looking for her family.
The best thing about this book, hands down, is the world building. I liked the idea of barrier walls, of how the world is dangling on the brink of extinction, the climate changes that happened, and so on. The world Regina Shen lives in is anything but friendly for the people inhabiting it (which gets kind of scary if you think of it as a futuristic version of our planet). Add in the bonus of no books existing in this dystopian world (oh no, no books!) and you get an intriguing setting for this first book.
Regina Shen is tough. Tougher than most main characters, especially teens. She’s a survivor through and through, and no matter what life throws at her, she manages to get through it. As the title says, she’s resilient, our Regina, resourceful, clever and determined. She’s complex and feels like a real person, and I couldn’t help but cheer her on.
I won’t spoil the ending, but it definitely made me curious for the next book....more
The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions shows sci-fi romance at its finest. Ro Bernard, a former member of the Midnight Scorpions, a band of mercenaries, is struggling to keep a roof over her head and some food in her belly. When she meets Karin Cassels, whose son died at the hands of the Scorpions. Ro and Karin come up with a plan to kill Dane Zedek, the leader of the Scorpions and a scientist of the insane variety, save Ro’s lover who has been turned into a hybrid thanks to aformentioned crazy scientist and take down the Scorpions once and for all.
Ro and Karin enlist the help of Reggie Quinn, who agrees to join in exchange for loot. Reggie’s morality is questionable at times but that doesn’t stop Ro from feeling attracted to him…
I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll just say that it did held a few interesting surprises and that I genuinely enjoyed it. The author has a casual writing style and even though it’s science-fiction, there are no page-long descriptions or explanations of how things work. It’s quite fast-paced too. The characters were great, especially Ro. She was complex and had a lot of different emotions vying for attention in her mind; although she still loved Callum, she felt attracted to Reggie, and it complicated matters for her, but made it all the more interesting for the reader.
An enjoyable read from start to end, with engaging characters and an interesting plot mixed with sizzling romance....more
Cherry Lips is a whimsical, romantic, hilarious fairytale with the strangest bunch of characters you could’ve ever imagined. Our main character, Cerise, is an apprentice herbalist who happens to be the manufacturer of a cherry lip-stain that is anything but ordinary: it’s an aphrodisiac that makes the wearer irresistible. When the queen finds out about this magic lip-stain, she wants it for herself, and to use it to seduce her husband so they can have a child.
In order to retrieve the lip-stain, she sends her brother-in-law to befriend Cerise and spy on her. But that decision might backfire when Blaxton falls head over heels for Cerise…And what ensues is a hilarious tale of cats, magic and fairy godmothers who aren’t at all like how you’d expect a fairy godmother to be like.
The characters are amazing, especially Cerise. The world-building is solid and fun, without being too complicated, and it allows the reader to easily dive into the story. If you like stories with a whimsical side, you’ll love Cherry Lips.
This collection includes three books: Nightlife, Hazardous Material and As The Worm Turns. Each book is a stand-alone but together they form an interesting and enjoyable horror collection.
In Nightlife, Beth is a bartender at a local nightclub who has some boyfriend issues – he wants her to drop her job and move in with him. But Beth has little time to think about her relationship when her best friend disappears and strange things turn up in her basement. Then she encounters Jack Jackson, a vampire hunter, and finds out she has a vampire problem (called Night Angels) on her hands. These vampires are scary and deadly, and rather than drink blood, they feed on lifeforce.
It’s an interesting book, and I really liked Beth. She was a strong character. The vampires (Night Angels) are a good addition too, and although not really creeping me out, I did have some chills while reading this.
Hazardous Material focuses on Jarrod Foster, who discovered an old video game arcade and starts playing one of the games, Polybius, with disastrous consequences. This is a prequel novella to Nightlife, and as such it’s rather short, but it does a good job of setting the scene, introducing us to the characters, and wrapping up the story.
And then there is As The Worm Turns, the sequel to Nightlife. Jack and Beth leave town to start over, but unfortunately the horrors they once faced seem to have followed them to their new town.
I loved how the focus was on the horror and not on romance or the like. The action, despite the story involving paranormal creatures, seemed very realistic. The writing is solid, the characters develop and grow throughout each book, and every once of these books managed to give me the chills at least once or twice. If you like supernatural horror, I recommend you check out this series....more