In The Color of Love, Daisy is a struggling artist working as a bartender. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her work noticed, and cozying up to Mike, an agent with strong connections in the art work, seems like the perfect plan of action. Mike too has ulterior motives when he tries to seduce Daisy – but neither of them expected to feel something real.
Daisy and Mike are both realistic characters, but I found it easiest to connect to Daisy. I know how tough it is for artists to find the right connections and get their work noticed.
I’m glad the characters grew and changed a lot throughout the book. They needed some growing up, and some maturing, especially when it comes to romance and love. The plot was engaging, and the writing style was fluent and fast-paced....more
In Destination Mexico City, Jena Hughes has the perfect life: succesful career, beautiful home, handsome husband… except lately, she doesn’t find joy in any of it. She complains about the tiniest things, she’s unhappy about her life and job which keeps her on the road for week after week. She barely spends time with her husband.
Her husband too is a goal-getter, focused on his career, his job, and the two of them seem to be drifting apart.
Then destiny intervenes, and a wrong turn in the airport leaves Jena with the opportunity to leave her cares behind for a week, and reflect on her life, who she is, and what she wants. But in questioning that, she and Justin might start to question their relationship too…
This was a fast-paced, inspiring read about self-discovery, struggles, and love. It’s a very true to life account of how romance works, especially with people who have been together for a while.
Justin and Jena are both very intriguing characters, and their interactions were engaging. The author did a good job bringing both characters to life, and making them sound realistic.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance novel; it offers an inspiring story and realistic characters....more
Monsterland is a theme park filled with monsters – any monster lover’s dream come through. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, you name it, and the park has them. Wyatt Baldwin, high school student, movie buff and monster fan never expected to get invited to the grand opening of Monsterland. But then luck (or destiny, depending on how you look at it) intervenes and they get to visit Monsterland on the grand opening. What could possibly go wrong?
Monsterland focuses on monsters and families, and it basically reads like Jurassic Park, but with monsters. Of course you know something will go wrong the moment Wyatt steps through those doors, but still, it’s an engaging, surprising read. Wyatt and his brother have a new stepdad, so the family dynamics are slightly troublesome. They’re trying to make it work, which is admirable. The family dynamics play an important part of the book, and help sketch the personality of our main character.
The book is filled with adventure, fast-paced escapes, and great writing. A perfect read for horror fans – I didn’t find it that scary, but it was very entertaining nonetheless....more
I quite enjoyed Mark Edwards’ writing style in the previous book I read by him, Follow You Home. While I thought the plot in that book was slightly exaggerated, I did enjoy the author’s fluent writing style, and found his ability to craft believable, realistic characters impressive.
The Devil’s Work is another intriguing thriller in which Mark Edwards once again, proves that he knows how to write. The book reads fast, and despite being just below 400 pages, I had to finish this one in a single setting. Sophie is a realistic, easy to connect with character. She’s a Mom to four-year-old Daisy, married to Guy, a freelance writer, and she’s dreamt of working in publishing all her life.
I have to say that one of the parts I enjoyed the most about the book was no doubt the publishing angle. As an author / publicist, Sophie’s job is just about my dream job, and all the talk about children’s books, marketing plans, really made me feel at home. Sophie’s marital struggles, and her increasing anxiety as someone starts stalking her and strange accidents start happening is very believable.
The trips down memory lane to Sophie’s past at university were interesting too, and helped turn her into a more rounded, fleshed out character. I instantly had an idea who was behind it, but that didn’t make the book any less suspenseful.
So what’s keeping me from rating this a five? Again, the sheer over the top level of everything that’s happening. A stalker at work I can buy, easily. Someone from Sophie’s past coming back to haunt her, sure. But everything mixed in (I don’t want to give out spoilers, but there’s a lot more to it than that) and it just seems unrealistic. Enjoyable and engaging, sure, but not very credible.
Despite that, this is an excellent read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers....more
DeMatteo Santiago is the Alpha of one of the largest prides in North America. He’s young and successful, has a large family, and a devoted lover, but his lion side is worried with finding his perfect mate. When he finds his mate on opposite sides of the courtroom, it’s like a dream come true. He’s finally found his mate! But when ex-lovers, siblings, hunters, all come into play, he realizes finding his mate was the easy part: living long enough to be together is the tough part.
I enjoyed the whole lawyer/attorney angle. DeMatteo is a divorce lawyer, and his mate Sean turns out to be a lawyer too. Being a lawyer too, I thought this was very intriguing, and I loved the whole side of it. Lawyers don’t usually work well as couples, but they did so here. Sean and DeMatteo are very intriguing.
The plot is rollercoaster-fast, and a few of the twists took me by surprise. I can’t wait to read the second book....more
No Quarter: Dominium – Volume 1, is the first book in a six-part series that starts in 1689, in Port Royal, Jamaica. I love pirates (just about the biggest Pirates of the Caribbean fan ever here, I can even quote entire lines from the movies) and since it mentioned pirates and based on the blurb, sounded like it would be a fast-paced damsel in distress type of story, I couldn’t wait to read it. Needless to say based on my four star rating, I certainly wasn’t dissapointed.
Atia and her sister Livia are sold into slavery, and seperated. Atia is liberated thanks to sugar merchant Capitaine la Roche, who has a bloody past that keeps catching up with him. La Roche has a colorful army of cohorts and friends, and they all bring an unique aspect to the table, and add a lot of depth and realism to the book. When there’s a sclart fever outbreak, Atia and La Roche must run to keep themselves safe.
The past plays a large part in the book, as it keeps catching up to people – not just La Roche, but also Atia, her father, and just about everyone else.
The writing is excellent, and I felt drawn into the story almost right away. I look forward to reading the second book in the series; I’ll definitely check it out when I have some time....more
What a fast-paced, thrilling adventure set in space. Jane Benedict’s father wakes her up and orders her to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, he’s dead and Jane and her brother Will are wards of the United Earth Corporation. They manage to escape and flee across the galaxy across the Solar Vortex, a Freetrader smuggler ship. With the crew fighting against the United Earth Corporation, Jane learns more about her father’s mysterious cargo, and how it connects to the fate of an entire race.
I really liked Jane. She’s clever, brave, and she grows a lot throughout the book. The other characters were intriguing too, but Jane was my favorite. The author did a phenomenal job with the world building and setting in this scifi novel – the setting isn’t overly complicated, and as a reader, you can easily connect with the characters and follow the story.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series....more
The Cabin was… Well, a dissapointment doesn’t even begin to cover it. This book is filled with nopes, no, not in a thousand years. We get situations like teenage drinking (which I’m okay with – here in Europe drinking beer is legal from age sixteen and up – but these teens drink randomly and for no reason. We also get random drugs, random just about everything.
And then we get murder. Random murder too, if you ask me, even when it’s all said and done. Long story short, a couple of friends head to a cabin, and drink so much they pass out, and next morning, two of them are dead. Turns out the others were drugged, and one of them is the killer. Then starts the MC’s quest to find out who killed her friends.
Mackenzie, our main character, is an impossible character to like. She has no personality. She’s stupid, clueless, and very whiny. The other characters don’t have real personalities either, except maybe Blake. The others might as well be talking cardboard figures.
The murder mystery is predictable and dull. The dialogue is cringe-worthy, and the writing is bland. It doesn’t sketch scenes, it doesn’t put the reader into the narrative. I almost stopped reading after chapter one because of how annoyed I was with the sloppy writing. I kept reading because it was an ARC, but if it had been a library book, I’m pretty sure I would’ve given up and just returned it.
The whole story is ridiculous. Dialogue, plot, not to mnetion the ending which is just plain hilarious because it’s too weird. Way too weird to be plausible.
Erasing All Doubt is a prequel to the Doubt Series. I read it before starting the rest of the series, but you can also read it after finishing book one, to get better insights in the characters – it probably works best that way, but I enjoyed getting to know the character’s history prior to starting the first book too.
DeMatteo, the main character, is a lion shifter, and Alpha to the largest pride in the United States. The novella chronicles how he meets Hugh; another shifter orginally from Ireland, a man hiding some horrible secrets related to his past. It’s a solid introduction to the series, and if you’ve finished book one and still have some questions, it helps fill up explain some of the character’s histories and connections....more
When I started reading Haunted Bridges, I was really curious. I had thought the book would tell stories of the hauntings related to the bridges, focus on the background/history of the bridge, tell readers the location of the bridge, and ideally also provide some witness accounts, or the author’s first hand experiences.
Uhm, not so much. First, the book is really quite ambitious. It focuses on more than 300 bridges, but only shares a page at most about each bridge. The stories are repetitive and boring, so much so that it would be better if the author focused on 2-3 bridges per chapter, and then just added in a paragraph along the lines of “(insert numerous other bridges) share a similar story. You can visit them at (insert locations)” or something like that. Now, it’s basically the same after the discussion of a bridge or two, and I found myself skipping entire pages.
The book has zero thrill factor. It’s actually quite boring. The information is short, and you scarcely find more than you would have found by a quick Google search. More information on a smaller number of bridges would be a lot more interesting.
This book is an example of where the author chose quantity over quality, providing the reader with a dry run-down of haunted bridges that makes for a dry, dull read. I didn’t finish this one, just skimmed through it....more
When I saw Nessie on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I read Nick Redfern’s previous books Chupacabra Road Trip, and gave it 4 stars. In that book, I thought the author did an admirable job of getting to the bottom of the mystery, providing both plausible, scientific and less plausible, supernatural, explanations for the origins of the Chupacabra. I also really enjoyed reading about the author’s own investigation visiting the “crime scenes” where the chupacabra had hurt animals, and talking to locals.
I expected something similar from Nessie. A run-down of historical research, the author’s own investigation on site, talking to the locals and some other Nessie specialists, and offering a wide range of explanations, from the plausible to the less plausible.
Unfortunately, the author lost me almost right from the start. He focuses on the regular explanations (Nessie being a dinosaur, some type of unknown animal, and so on) for a very brief timespan, maybe a chapter at most, and then jumps straight into the supernatural. It’s not even that I mind the supernatural as an explanation for Nessie – it’s that I doubt it’s the only possible one. Also, the book goes into so many different directions, always jumping back to names mentioned chapters prior, and telling stories that have little, or nothing to do with Nessie.
For example, the author devotes several chapters to Alastair Crowley, who spent some time in a house near Loch Ness, yet only said one or two things about Nessie – yet the author thinks this warrants a lot of page time, in regards to the Nessie investigation. There’s also mention of several other wizards/ warlocks, similar to Crowley, who may or may not have had anything to do with Loch Ness.
The author likes to explain everything away by blaming it on the supernatural. You can’t take a decent photograph of Nessie? Must be paranormal. Nessie appears different to several people? Must be a) there’s several Nessies and b) it’s paranormal. The list goes on and on. The author also refers to high-strangeness, and to how some people’s lifes were forever influenced after they investigated Nessie, as if something paranormal warned them to stay away.
Then there’s also a chapter on UFO’s, men in black, and really, there’s no end to all the strangeness mentioned in the book. It was over the top. Is Nessie paranormal now, or is she an alien?
I expected this book would debunk some theories regarding Nessie, and investigate some other theories, or the author’s own theory, but it focuses primarily on the paranormal theory, and hardly tries to debunk the others. After reading it, I don’t know much more than I did before – I still don’t know what Nessie is, but my money is still on a prehistoric monster / animal we simply haven’t encountered yet, rather than a paranormal shape-shifting kelpie....more
After watching season one of Outlander, I was in the mood for some Scottish historical romance, and Lori Ann Bailey’s novel, Highland Deception, certainly fit the bill. Maggie Muray fled her home to avoid a political marriage to a man who not only she doesn’t love, but who is also abusive. Maggie decides that the only way to escape is to run away, and join a convent, despite secretly dreaming of someone who will love her and cherish her.
Maggie escapes, and along the way, she meets Lachlan Cameron, whose honor binds him to see her to safety. Lachlan has a bad history with women, and thinks most of them are liars and deceivers. Yet he swears to protect her, and the more time he spends with Maggie, the more he realizes she’s a free spirit, has a lot of charm and wit, and is nothing at all like he feared she would be.
This was a fun, fast-paced and very romantic highlander romance that entertained me for quite a few hours. I really enjoyed this book, and the writing was excellent. I’m sure fans of the genre will love this....more
John works at the sanitation department. He gets his fair share of strange clients, but what Seymour Willis tells him is the strangest thing he’s ever heard: the man claims his house is breathing. John goes anyway, bringing a buddy along. The book was written in the seventies and it shows (based on the stereotypes mentioned, and the attitudes toward women, minorities, etc) but the plot and storyline translate well, even in today’s era. Also, if you imagine it as a 70’s flick, it works surprisingly well....more
What a nailbiting pageturner. Aubrye Lynd’s 6-year-old nephew goes missing while under the care of his grandmother. The grandmother receives a ransom note that she chooses not to share with the FBI, with a terrifying ultimatum. Aubrey doesn’t know who to believe, or who to trust, and the key to solving the mystery of who is behind the abduction is buried in the past – her parents’ past. A thrilling, suspenseful, well-written book....more
A gripping gothic horror centered around the Stubb family, who reminded me of the Adams family. The writing is reminiscent of turn-of-the-century writing, and provides an atmospheric, eerie vibe to the book. The story was very intriguing and I loved the weirdness....more
I absolutely adore the Graveyard Queen series, so I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the fourth installment on Netgalley, and I knew I had to read this. The author did an amazing job of describing Charleston, in particular the cemeteries Amelia worked on restoring. I also really enjoyed the riddles, and the romance between Amelia and John Devlin in this book. ...more
The plot was decent, but I didn’t care that much about the characters. Not all of the characters were as developed as they could’ve been, the relationship between Sarah and Jack was weird, they didn’t act like a married couple at all, and Sarah’s behavior was often unrealistic. The ending was worth it, though, and it was a pleasant read nonetheless. ...more
An original, fast-paced novel about the past, the secrets of the past, and how they can come back to destroy everything else. Olivia is searching for answers, but those answers might put her life in danger. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re looking for a spine-chilling thriller, then I recommend this book....more
A traumatized girl with a dark past. A traumatized guy with a dark past, which made him cold and distant (yet he’s also incredibly hot). Roamnce happens, but there’s also a love triangle of sorts, and while the plot is okay but not that original, the writing was annoying. The story was filled with so many awkward situations, immature humour, and things that were so over the top they were impossible. Most of the characters were idiots....more
Spooky rather than downright scary, but since it’s for middle graders, that works fine. A lot of mystery, excellent characters, definite chills, and so many amazing twists. Very unpredictable, and one of my favorite reads this year....more
In Building Your Author Platform, author Tiffany Shand talks about her journey as an author, and the importance of having an author platform to sell your books, even as a fiction author. The book is a short read, only 28 pages, but it offers valuable information, and some helpful tips.
I would recommend this book to all authors, the ones who already have an author platform but want to expand it, and author who are just starting out....more
Some excellent insights into writnig horror, based on thirteen interviews from some of the best horror writers out there. Since I know most of the TV series the writers worked on, I was very intrigued to read more about their thoughts and insights. An enjoyable, engaging book that fans of those TV shows will no doubt love....more
A recounting of some of the infamous, and less well known murders haunting California in the last thirty years. Some of the cases were intriguing, but the information was short and not as extensive as I had hoped. It did lead me to find out more about the cases that intrigued me the most, and it’s a fairly decent guide. I would’ve preferred more details on the crimes, and less history of California, though. ...more
I really liked this book. As a firm believers in the supernatural, and a fan of true crime, I knew I had to read this one. And it was interesting, even for people who don’t believe in the supernatural at all. A lot of serial killers (in any case, at least the sixteen cases presented here) turned to the supernatural to explain their crimes, or cover them up. Some claimed to be vampires, others acted on behalf of the devil, or even on behalf of God. It’s an interesting study, and as a criminology student, I enjoyed it all the more....more
In Vile: Peeking Under the Skin of Murderers, author Benjamin S. Jeffries investigates 21 serial murderers throughout history, from Jack the Ripper to Albert Fish. There seems to be no real reason why some murderers get included and others are left out, except perhaps the gruesome nature of their crimes – only the most vile killers get their case featured in this book.
Each chapter focuses on a different murder. Despite only being a few pages long, the chapters do pack the most interesting info about the case, and quickly dives into the murderer’s past, their psychology, the people they targeted, and how they eventually got caught and were tried. Most of the cases were familiar to me, but I did learn some new facts, and for the ones I already knew, the book refreshened my memory.
Some chapters were stronger than others. I wasn’t particularly fond of the Jack the Ripper chapter – the author did a far better job describing the crimes in which the murderer was actually caught than he did with this unsolved case.
The quick one-paragraph profiles of murders of the past at the end of the chapter were a nice addition, but I didn’t always see the link between that murderer and the case presented, and some paragraphs didn’t really say much while others summed up events nicely. Overall, a good read if you want to know more about these horrible serial murderers, and it inspired me to look up more about some of the cases I wasn’t familiar with....more
In Running to Stand Still, Jamie Benson is eager to leave town and start a new life in Chicago. In seven months, that’s a plausible reality. But while working at her father’s bar, she meets Collin, a boy who is honest, sincere, and all the things she’s longed for and never knew. He makes her feel safe. He gives her a reason to stay. But with all the sins of the past still haunting her, can she get past what happened, and move on?
Collin and Jamie both tell the story. The POV switches every chapter, but it works well that way, and allows the reader to connect to both of them. Jamie certainly had a tough life, and I felt for her. She was easy to relate to, despite the hardships, and despite often distancing herself from others. Their romance was very sweet and heart-warming, and I was cheering for both of them.
A book about second chances, about love blossoming against all hope, about believing in yourself and others, and about the past, and how it can haunt people, and how hard it is to let go of the past. An amazing book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre....more
This is an amazing book, and very suspenseful. Adrienne Whitman and Avril Whatley were both taken from their families under eerily similar circumstances. Detective Shawn Whitman, Adrienne’s father, senses his daughter is still alive when Avril goes missing, but if he wants a chance at rescueing her, he’ll need to work together with Avril’s immediate family.
The story put me on the edge of my seat. The author is an amazing storyteller. The characters feel very real.
I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys a dark, thrilling novel....more
An okay story. The writing style was clumsy at best, and the characters weren’t very likeable – they were rather bland, and didn’t always act in character either. I did like the story, and the addition of a blended family. It wasn’t that thrilling, but I did enjoy it....more
Gossip Girl, if slightly darker. Private school girls, designer clothing, but also cringe-worthy dialogue and whiny monologues. Most of the characters are stereotypes come to life, and the “twist” and the end was actually very predictable....more