Phoenix McKay is your typical super student/problem child ever since her mother’s death 18 months ago. Now, thanks to her disconnected daddy and outstPhoenix McKay is your typical super student/problem child ever since her mother’s death 18 months ago. Now, thanks to her disconnected daddy and outstanding grades, Phoenix has landed in the prestigious Barinkoff Academy. The Academy has one simple - albeit slightly odd - rule: ALL students must be off campus and in their dorms by sundown. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Phoenix has just broken this rule when she finds that she has no idea what to expect to next. Taste has a creative story line, definitely one I’ve never read before. My only complaint with the plot was the ending. The plot was so creative and intense. Then all of a sudden, it was done. Just like that. Evangelista could have done so much more with it all. The characters, individually, were great. They each had their own voice and were very engaging. It was when the characters came together that things became rather dry. I was so excited for the romance. I thought there was bound to be passion and heat and...there wasn’t. It was lukewarm rather than hot and steamy. In all honesty, the lack of fire, heat and spark is enough to keep me from reading this book again. Even though I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can still remember all the characters as if I actually knew them in real life. I easily could have fallen in love with Taste if only it weren’t for the lack of heat and lack of true ending....more
I wasn’t prepared for Dummy, A Memoir, at all. In all honesty, it reads more like a movie novel than a memoir. The experiences that Patten lived throuI wasn’t prepared for Dummy, A Memoir, at all. In all honesty, it reads more like a movie novel than a memoir. The experiences that Patten lived through, were shocking and amazing. Knowing, as I was reading, that these actions and events actually took place gave everything an edge that I don’t believe it would have had if it were a work of fiction.
The honest, frank, and often no nonsense tone which Patten uses to tell about his life experiences, which would terrify most adults - let alone children and young adults - just shows how remarkable it truly is that not only did he manage to come out on the other side but he did so with minimal scaring and lasting damage. Instead opting to take what could be learned, however big or small the lesson may be, and filing it away to build on it later.
As someone on the Autism Spectrum, this is the first time I’ve ever knowingly read a novel, of any genre, by someone else on the Spectrum. It was reassuring to me, even as an adult, to know that I wasn’t alone. It also gave me hope that if Patten could overcome everything he'd been faced with and had thrown in his path, then maybe there's still hope for me to find my way as well.
I would absolutely recommend Dummy to anyone. While it would definitely help those who are not on the Autism Spectrum to gain a greater understanding of what life can be like for those who are, I wouldn’t just recommend it for them. Anyone can and will enjoy Dummy.
I received a free copy of Dummy, A Memoir, written by David Patten, to read and review. I am in no way committed to writing a positive review; all reviews are my own thoughts and opinions. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”...more
Secrets, written by Liz Schulte, is the first in the Guardian Trilogy. Set in St. Louis, Missouri, Secrets, is the story of Olivia Martin and how manySecrets, written by Liz Schulte, is the first in the Guardian Trilogy. Set in St. Louis, Missouri, Secrets, is the story of Olivia Martin and how many seemingly random occurrences all wind up intricately woven together in the end.
Olivia is a shy photographer who happily exists in the shadow of her best friend, Juliet. She has her “perfect” apartment, her “dream” job, her best friend and her mother…life is “perfect”. Then fate intervenes and she meets Holden Smith. Suddenly, Olivia’s “perfect” life is not quite what she had envisioned and Holden is the only one she can count on, the only one with answers. Or is he?
Secrets is a brilliant novel. It had my attention and held me firmly in its grasp from the very first line. I am sincerely in love with the beginning of the Guardian Trilogy. It does not happen very often that I read a novel and find myself so engrossed that I lose all sense of time while reading. Likewise, it is rare that when I do have to take a break from reading, all I can think of are the characters in the book and wondering where the plot line will go from here.
Secrets, by Liz Schulte, is that novel.
If you read Secrets and find you do not have the sequels, Choices or Consequences, yet (although they are available!) and you are looking for a similar novel to read, give Five, by Christie Rich a try. It is a different type of paranormal but just as emotionally griping and easy to lose yourself in.
I received a free copy of Secrets, written by Liz Schulte, to read and review. I am in no way committed to writing a positive review; all reviews are my own thoughts and opinions. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”...more
Second Time Around, written by H.A. Caine, is a very brief romance novella of only 33 pages. However, H.A. uses those 33 pages skillfully to tell theSecond Time Around, written by H.A. Caine, is a very brief romance novella of only 33 pages. However, H.A. uses those 33 pages skillfully to tell the brief story of Jamie and his roommate, John. John has thrown a party for Jamie who is finally realizing his dream of opening his own bakery, Delightful Sins. While at the party, Jamie meets one of the owners of the nearby home improvement shop, Matthew. Jamie finds himself smitten but he’s relatively certain that Matthew believes he is a woman.
Second Time Around is a very quick read that was very entertaining. It definitely left me wanting more and wondering what happens next. Not to say that she leaves it with a cliff-hanger because H.A. wraps the story line up nicely, it’s just that I found myself fully involved in the plot and with the characters (yes, even in 33 pages!) that I wanted more. For me, that’s a sign of a good author.
I for one, was very pleased with Second Time Around and even if H.A. Caine doesn’t choose to continue with this story later down the line (I have no idea if she will or not.), I will definitely watch for more from this author in the future. ...more
Puppalicious and Beyond, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, is a collection of essays/blog posts taken from Hutchins’ personal blog, which focuses on HPuppalicious and Beyond, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, is a collection of essays/blog posts taken from Hutchins’ personal blog, which focuses on Hutchins, her family and their various menagerie of pets - canine, feline and hares alike. It also introduces the reader to excerpts of Ms. Hutchins' first fiction novel, the initial novel in the Katie and Annalise Series, Saving Grace.
When I began reading Puppalicious I wasn't sure how Hutchins was going to manage to fill an entire book with short stories and essays with tales of her pets without running out of material or boring me to tears. Not only does she pull it off, she does so with wit, humor and a level of sincerity that brought forth the full emotional pull of parenting both actual children and "fur babies." To say that I was impressed, is quite simply an understatement. I loved every moment of Puppalicious!
While I certainly love and appreciate Pamela's ability to pull at my heart-strings (poor, poor Petey!), I must admit that it was the tales of her husband, Eric, that had me laughing so hard I cried. At one point, while reading at 3 a.m., unable to put Puppalicious down I was also trying desperately to stifle my laughter so as not to wake the rest of my household. Trust me when I say, you'll never look at frogs the same way again and that's okay.
There isn't a single person I know who wouldn't enjoy reading Puppalicious and Beyond. It isn't geared toward any one audience over any other. It is an equal opportunity amusement book, a quick read and a general "feel good", good humor break from the world that everyone needs from time to time. I strongly recommend that everyone purchase a copy and get reading!
I received a free copy of Puppalicious and Beyond, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, to read and review. I am in no way committed to writing a positive review; all reviews are my own thoughts and opinions. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Clark Kent Chronicles, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, are a collection of essays/blog posts taken from Hutchins’ personal blog, www.pamelahutchThe Clark Kent Chronicles, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, are a collection of essays/blog posts taken from Hutchins’ personal blog, www.pamelahutchins.com, which focus for the most part on her Asperger’s/ADHD son, Clark Kent.
Pamela Fagan Hutchins is a wonderfully funny, intelligent, and honest mother whom just so happens to be blessed with a son with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. Her honesty was refreshing and in each essay, she made me feel that much less alone. While Hutchins was quick to share her brilliant insights into the joys of the world of special needs parenting, she was just as willing to share the difficulties with often humorous out-comes.
Overall, I cannot say that I have a single complaint about The Clark Kent Chronicles. I love how even though Hutchins’ uses their given names for her other children, she still sticks with the nickname she dubbed “Clark” with when her blog began. I love how while reading Chronicles I felt for the first time that I was not the only parent out there fumbling in the dark. There are many, many of us all in the same room fumbling to raise our children, tweens and teens with special needs together. Then to make a great book even better Hutchins’ is kind enough to include a list of any and all resources for parents of children with ADHD for high school, coping and college that either she could think of or knew existed.
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome, a family member, family friend or you know a child/tween/teen with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome I recommend this book. Hutchins will entertain you while giving valuable insight into the workings of a special needs mother and all that it takes to help our children along pass the obstacles of life. Heck, even if you lack a single tie to anyone with ADHD and/or Asperger’s Syndrome and you are simply looking for a good book that will make you laugh; I recommend this book. Hutchins will not disappoint you.
I received a free copy of The Clark Kent Chronicles, written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins, to read and review. I am in no way committed to writing a positive review; all reviews are my own thoughts and opinions. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”...more
Deadly Addiction, written by Kristine Cayne, is an outstanding novel earning a solid 5 out of 5 stars. Before reading Cayne’s Deadly Vices series, I hDeadly Addiction, written by Kristine Cayne, is an outstanding novel earning a solid 5 out of 5 stars. Before reading Cayne’s Deadly Vices series, I had never read an actual romantic thriller/mystery. I had read plenty of romances with a slight plot twist to keep things interesting and keep the novel from revolving around love, sex, and “soul mates”. Never have I read romance novels written with the talent and skill that Cayne possesses.
First off, I need to say that the characters are brilliant. Cayne gives the opportunity to get to know the characters through many different sets of eyes, as the story is told through many different viewpoints. Typically, this isn’t something I am a fan of; however, she pulls it off without creating confusion.
Each character is unique and has many different layers, creating believable individuals who stir the most basic of human emotions. Rémi Whitedeer and Alyssa Morgan were by far my favorite characters. I loved them individually – their struggles and inner-demons, as well as their triumphs and compassion. I also love the way the two played off each other.
The way that Cayne told each character’s back-story a little bit at a time, rather than all at once in the beginning of the novel or upon introduction was a refreshing change. It left a slight air of mystery about the characters and helped them to feel more life-like.
The final aspect of Deadly Addiction that I want to mention is, honestly, just how addicting this novel is! Much like it’s predecessor (which I was thrilled to find Addiction wasn’t a literal sequel to Obsession), Addiction is a fast paced, romance and action packed novel; however, not to the point of being over-whelming. It’s attention grabbing and once it has your attention it doesn’t let go until the final pages. While the action and suspense is definitely there and there are your standard lulls in the adrenaline and the romance also helps to break up the thrill seeking, adrenaline-rushing. These lulls help the novel to find that perfect medium between “nail-biting suspense/mystery” and “sappy sex-driven romance” novel. What you find in the end, is sheer perfection and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to make it until the next novel comes out....more
Ria Milanez and her best friend, Paula Arnolds, are preparing to start the final step of their young adult lives…their educations at the University ofRia Milanez and her best friend, Paula Arnolds, are preparing to start the final step of their young adult lives…their educations at the University of Magic. While Ria is looking forward to her education, she especially excited by the ideas of making friends, attending parties and dating…someone with the same magical inclination as herself, of course. Paula has a completely different set of plans laid out before her. She is looking forward to the opportunity to study individuals with the “magic disease” and she has her eye on one individual with the magical disease in particular, Adrian Liandre, a fellow classmate. Paula may believe that Adrian is safe, good looking and all things dreamy in the universe. Yet, it’s Ria who finds that she may need Adrian’s help and understanding in ways which she isn’t entirely comfortable with, nor does understand them.
When I first started reading Dangerous, Book One of the Elemental Preservers Series, written by Alycia Linwood, I really wanted to like it. The plot idea was original and intriguing and I was excited to have the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately, my desires and expectations were way off the mark on this one.
Ms. Linwood has the potential to make this a good series. About two-thirds of the way through the novel, the plot finally began to smooth out and become the outstanding novel I knew it could be. Prior to that point, it was a roller coaster of inconsistent writing and too little show vs tell.
For the first two-thirds of the novel, I really wanted to like it. I wanted to be able to write a glowing review. What I got, was a novel set in a high school/junior college, which felt like it was a repeat of high school for me. It was drawn out, tired and just painful at times with cursing, frequent excessive drinking, which of course led to getting drunk. All of these things came together to create a novel that was juvenile and felt forced.
Now Dangerous had its share of issues, I’m not denying that; however, there are positives as well.
The main characters are very likable and easy to relate to. Ria is up-tight, slightly boy-crazy with her priorities in the right order – friends, boys, studies. Her best friend, Paula, is Ria’s polar opposite in every way. Paula is studious, easy going, and while she does set her sights on one boy, she will never be mistaken for a boy-crazy teenager. The only thing I wish I had more of where the characters are concerned was background. I wish I knew more about them – where they came from, what they like, what they don’t like, what makes them tick (besides boys or studying). As much as I liked the characters and could relate to them, I also felt as if I hardly knew them.
Then for that final third of Dangerous, I simply couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t find enough time to read. I wanted more! It felt like Ms. Linwood had finally found her voice and knew exactly what she wanted to say. The dialog became more natural and flowed easily with the context of the novel itself. As if someone had flipped a switch, the novel suddenly clicked. It all came together. In my opinion, the final third of the novel is what saves it from mediocrity. If not for that magical piece (pardon the magic pun), the novel would have been a shell of what it could have been.
As for the sequels, I’ll likely read the next one for a few reasons. First, I want to see where she takes things from here. Most importantly, I’ll read the second novel to see if Ms. Linwood manages to maintain the momentum she found in the end of Dangerous and carry it over into Book Two. If she can carry it over, there is hope for the series. If she loses it, I likely won’t read past Book Two.
If you are looking for a paranormal novel with magic, witches, wizards and all other things magical, then I would suggest you check out the Harry Potter series, if you haven’t read them already. Also if you are an older teen or a young adult (early twenties), then you might enjoy the House of Night series by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast. It’s also about magic but it tends to have some rather intense situations that aren’t really appropriate for teenagers or younger teenagers. Overall, it’s a fantastic series and I highly recommend it.
I was given this novel by the author to read and give an honest review....more
For Lyla Mercer, life couldn’t possibly get any better. She has a best friend and a boyfriend who love her and a newly secured spot on the Varsity CheFor Lyla Mercer, life couldn’t possibly get any better. She has a best friend and a boyfriend who love her and a newly secured spot on the Varsity Cheerleading Squad. Yup, life is darn near perfect. Until a freak, car accident murders her father on her “perfect day”. That one tragedy sets into motion a chain of events that Lyla never could have imagined. The question is, is she ready to accept all that she’s about to learn?
When I started to read A Marked Past, written by Leslie Deaton, I was immediately taken with how skillfully she was able to capture not only my attention but my emotions, as well. From the first sentence of chapter one, I was hooked. However, I wasn’t expecting such an emotional roller coaster ride right from the start. I found myself so wrapped up in the plot and the emotions of Lyla’s story that I actually had to put the novel aside for a few days and take a break because reading it was leaving me ‘emotionally raw’. (Yes, I can really be that big a sap.) Sappiness aside, I have never had a novel affect me that quickly.
The only issue I really had with A Marked Past were the frequent typo’s which occasionally made reading the novel a bit more difficult. However, they were honestly more of an annoyance and slightly unprofessional in appearance than anything else. And truly, in the grand scheme of all things novel related if that’s the only complaint I have (and it is!) then there isn’t much to worry about.
Typo’s aside, I was hooked and invested from line one; I couldn’t wait to sit down each night and read on to uncover more of Lyla’s story. While parts of the plot were fairly easy for me to figure out before they were revealed; there were still plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing and on my toes.
I found it to be a quick read. The slower a novel is, the more likely it is to lose my interest and A Marked Past was the perfect speed for me. The plot kept moving pretty quickly only slowing down in a few spots and even in the ‘slow spots’ the story held relevant information concerning plot line or characterization.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A Marked Past. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, probably numerous times, which I often do with novels I particularly enjoy. I’m already anxious for the next book, A History Renewed: Book Two of The Mercer Legacy, so I can see how the next ‘chapter’ of Lyla’s life unfolds.
If you are a fan of the House of Night series, written by P.C. & Kristin Cast, A Marked Past (The Mercer Legacy) is a good match. Especially if you found the House of Night series to be a bit more ‘R’ than ‘YA’, A Marked Past is definitely a good place to start.
I received a free copy of A Marked Past, written by Leslie Deaton, to read and review....more
Svala would do anything for the love of her life, Viggo. This is something that has held true for ages. But what will Svala do when confronted with thSvala would do anything for the love of her life, Viggo. This is something that has held true for ages. But what will Svala do when confronted with the possibility that all that she holds true, may not be as it appears?
Nordic Fairies is a very brief 39 page novella written by Saga Berg. However, he handles the length of his novella and the future continuations in a rather unique manner. Berg suggests that if the reader enjoyed Nordic Fairies they simply follow Berg’s Facebook page. In doing so, the reader is then notified every time there is a sequel released. Allowing them to chat with fellow fans and keep apprised of updates all in the same spot.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Nordic Fairies before I began. It truly takes a gifted author to weave a tale with enough depth – of both plot and characters alike – within the confines of 39 pages. I was cautiously optimistic and Saga Berg delivered on both fronts.
Berg’s main characters are well thought out. With plenty of depth, both in the present situation and in just enough back stories to help the reader fully connect with them without feeling like they are living in the past. He is incredibly descriptive, with an attention to detail that really helps to bring the characters and places alive.
When I had finished reading, Nordic Fairies, I found myself hungry for more of the story. The initial installment of the Nordic Fairies story is about as long as a chapter in a book, which leaves me curious as to how long the story in its entirety will be. No matter the length, I know I will be on the edge of my seat awaiting my Facebook message(s) informing me of each new addition. (I was given a copy of this novella by the author to read and review.)...more
It all started innocently enough for Dr. Nicole Salem, just another day “at the office”. If your office happened to be, the Deserts of Egypt and you hIt all started innocently enough for Dr. Nicole Salem, just another day “at the office”. If your office happened to be, the Deserts of Egypt and you happened to be an archeologist working in the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple. That’s when things go from “just another day” to “staring down your own destiny” in the blink of an eye. Leaving Dr. Nicole Salem with a destiny she didn’t know was possible and enemies coming from all sides. As she learns what is to be who is she is, Sekhmet’s Light.
Akhet, The Inundation is book one in Sekhmet’s Light Trilogy written by H.L. Reasby. Reasby is a talented author with a firm grasp of both conversation and descriptive narrative. She is very detailed in her descriptions of characters and settings, which gives the reader a feeling of being included in the story. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Egypt; however, H.L. Reasby’s description left me feeling as if I could smell the air of the market place.
Her description of her characters covered every last detail so flawless that I felt as if I knew them nearly as well as I know myself. I also appreciated the ‘Dramatis Personae’ in the end of the book. I’ve read other novels where the authors have tried to include something similar before the novel even began and all it did was serve to confuse me for the first few chapters because I didn’t know who to look for. So Kudos for that!
If I’m honest, as much as I enjoyed Akhet, The Inundation, I had one major issue. The novel as a whole left me feeling a bit “time warped”. Basically, what I mean is this, so much would happen in a few pages that it felt to me as if 20, 30 or 40 pages had been read. In fact, I had read maybe 10 pages. At other times, things would move at a slower pace and the opposite would occur. I felt sure that 10 pages had been read; when in fact, I had read 40 pages or more. You would think that the two would cancel each other out. They don’t. They left me feeling like I was reading for hours at a time and hardly making any progress at all. A book that should have taken me a few days to read, took me 10 days.
Overall, “time warp” issues aside, I enjoyed Akhet, The Inundation. I mean yeah, it took me longer than usual to read but in the end, it did what it should and that’s get me hooked. I’m now invested in Dr. Nicole Salem’s life. I want to see how she handles this new twist destiny has thrown her way. I want to see if she beats the bad guys. I want to see if the girl can have her destiny, save the day and maybe find love too....more
For two star-crossed lovers, two soul mates Madeline “Maddie” Pearce and Rayn Yarrister life is looking pretty bleak. Rayn is imprisoned for breakingFor two star-crossed lovers, two soul mates Madeline “Maddie” Pearce and Rayn Yarrister life is looking pretty bleak. Rayn is imprisoned for breaking a scarred covenant of Vesturon and since he happens to be the first born son to the Vesturon’s leader, things really couldn’t look grimmer. That is until the remaining Yarrister children, with the help of Maddie, decide the time has come to fight for love, a new future and maybe a few changes to the old ways. Unbeknownst to them all, this is only the beginning and destiny has so much more in store.
After finishing Survival, written by A.M.Hargrove, even with all of its issues, bumps and blips along the way; I found myself invested, invested with Maddie Pearce and Rayn Yarrister, invested with as much of the Yarrister family that had been introduced thus far. I had fallen in love with Maddie’s quirks and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how she and Rayn would get past it all. But that’s just it, I wanted to know. So issues, blips, or bumps along the way or not, I picked up Resurrection and jumped right in.
I jumped right in and started reading and I found myself pleasantly surprised.
The reoccurring flashbacks that were and an issue in Survival? Gone. The Point-of-View jumping from character to character? That’s not entirely gone but it is handled in a much gentler manner. I can’t tell you how freeing it was to see, or not see for that matter, that these two major issues were gone like a bad dream. Without these two blips, speed bumps in the road if you will, it allows Resurrection to have the space it needs to open up – both in character depth and description of location and plot.
I won’t give away any spoilers, that’s not my style, but I will tell you this. I connected with the characters of Resurrection in a way that I wasn’t able to connect with them in Survival. It didn’t matter what type of emotionally charged situation any of them were going through, I felt as if I were there sharing that time with them. All of A.M.’s characters became a bit more 3-Dimensenial in Resurrection.
The characters weren’t the only thing to become more 3-Dimensenial. A.M.’s decsriptions of Vesturon were beautiful and detailed. I could feel Maddie’s reactions to Vesturon – the good, the bad, the indifferent. It was wonderful. It felt as if I were there with her; experiencing everything through her eyes and various, other senses for the first time.
My only qualm about the book is when the differences between how things are done one Earth and how things are done on Vesturon are explained. Rather than continuing on the journey and exploration that Maddie has already begun, it feels cold and mechanical. Almost as if A.M. was looking for a way in which to take up space and fill up time. So something that could have been very curious and full of wonder for both Maddie and the reader had turned cold and clinical.
That aside, I believe Resurrection to be a fantastic journey where many of the loose-ends from Survival are neatly tied up. And a few new ends are left dangling, leaving the reader to wonder, “Where will we go from here”?...more
Madeline “Maddy” Mariah Pearce has had a difficult life. Beginning with the loss of her mother at the age of 11 followed by the loss of her father herMadeline “Maddy” Mariah Pearce has had a difficult life. Beginning with the loss of her mother at the age of 11 followed by the loss of her father her senior year of high school. Now, leading right up to the present, when an unknown man has her in his sights and is simply waiting for the perfect moment to strike. What Maddie doesn’t know, is that horrible tragedies can lead to wonderful, life altering experiences…If only you have the faith to take that chance, believe and perhaps learn to love again.
Survival, written by A.M. Hargrove, is a paranormal romance. At least, that’s how she has it classified. Truthfully, it probably belongs straddling the fine line between paranormal romance and suspense thriller, if such a line exists.
When I began reading Survival, it was unclear how it was classified as a paranormal romance. Eleven chapters in and I was nothing short of incredibly confused. There wasn’t a shred of paranormal anything to be found. There was, however, plenty of back story, flashbacks, point-of-view changing and suspense thriller action to leave me scratching my head and wondering if I had somehow chosen the wrong book from my bookshelf.
Back stories and flash backs can be wonderful tools. Especially flashbacks, they are a creative sort of way to tell…oh wait, they tell more back story. And therein lies one of my biggest issues, the back stories and the flash backs were repetitive. We already had the back story to explain Maddie’s past, why did we need to hear about her telling her roommates and having flash backs her first day of college? (Side note: Who does that anyway?)
The point-of-view changes were also more of the same. First, we experienced a situation through Maddie’s ‘eyes’. Then it was retold in third person through another character’s ‘eyes’. It was more of the same. It left me feeling like A.M. Hargrove knew she needed to write something there but she wasn’t sure what; so she went with what she (and the reader) already knew. Never mind the fact, that the POV changes were disconcerting until you got used to them.
Chapter Twelve, everything changed.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. When I reached Chapter Twelve and finally found out how it was a paranormal romance; I was shocked. Then I laughed. Of all the theories I had formulated in my head, I didn’t see this one coming. Looking back now, at the synopsis, I can see it. But when I initially read it, I didn’t get this vibe.
I have one final minor issue. Please stop using the phrase, “Shut up!” I know that people often have ‘catch phrases’, which we use far more than we probably should, however; for me, it’s one thing to hear it from a person on a regular basis and something else entirely to read it, a lot.
In the end, I gave Survival, by A.M. Hargrove, 2.5 stars (rounded up to 3). I would have liked to give it more but there were just too many issues, however; it did capture my attention. I am now invested in the story. I need to know what happens to Maddie, no matter how I feel about Survival, which is the sign of a good author. That nagged at me for a while though.
Why if I didn’t care for the main story line, was I so invested? Why do I feel that A.M. Hargrove has a talent for this? Then it hit me. A.M. Hargrove is trying to fit into a mold, which is popular right now. Paranormal romances are all the rage since Twilight hit the scene. I think she has missed the mark and may very well miss her ‘calling’. The parts of Survival I enjoyed the most were the suspense thriller portions. She wrote those exceptionally well. She captured the emotions of everyone involved. She described things in perfect detail without repeating or back-tracking. It was engaging and everything a suspense thriller novel should be which left the paranormal romance portions of Survival lacking. I think if A.M. Hargrove were to try a different genre like the thriller suspense half of her book, she would be dead on and the novel would likely be a huge success. (I was given this book to read and review.)...more
Five is a coming-into-her-own/paranormal romance novel written by Christie Rich. As Rayla Tate is just beginning to figure out who she is and what sheFive is a coming-into-her-own/paranormal romance novel written by Christie Rich. As Rayla Tate is just beginning to figure out who she is and what she may want out of life, she also finds that life and the fae may have alternate plans in store for her.
When I first began reading Five, I wasn’t a fan. Christie Rich was incredibly detailed and descriptive when giving the reader as much of the back story as possible, without giving away any plot twists and turns that may be in store later on. While those are typically both good things to have in a novel, they just seemed to make the first few chapters sluggish and slow-moving. However, I later found myself reflecting back on every “sluggish and slow-moving” detail as I read-on.
Once the momentum picked up, it kept up a steady and engaging pace throughout the rest of the book. I found myself hanging on every detail, every description…essentially, everything that had irked me in the beginning now had me hooked. Christie Rich’s characters are very relatable and emotionally well-developed. She also has an ability to describe a setting and make you feel as if you are actually there, right next to the characters. I found myself experiencing the emotional ups and downs right along with Rayla as her life unfolds before her.
In the end, I found that I didn’t want Five to end. In fact, I have to keep stopping myself from going back and checking the end of the book…just to make sure I didn’t miss anything or there wasn’t more to read that I somehow over-looked. For me, that's the sure sign of a truly great book, when it has the ability to get its hook in me so effectively that I convince myself there is more there, that I missed something. I know one thing; Christie Rich has made a fan out of this reader. And I know where I’ll be, on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next “Christie Rich novel” to be released.
“Love should be the great leveler: The thing that obliterates all other emotions into the insignificant rubble they are.” Rayla Tate, Five, written by Christie Rich, Chapter Sixteen, page 170...more
Jim Gannon understood when he became a Secret Service agent and protector of the President of the United States of America and his family that there wJim Gannon understood when he became a Secret Service agent and protector of the President of the United States of America and his family that there would be certain sacrifices. He also knew the risks – to himself, his friends and co-workers, his family and his boss - when he took the job. He just never thought he would actually have to face any of those things head-on.
In Donald B. Keelan’s historical fiction/thriller novel, Conspiracy on the Hudson, the reader is taken on a thrilling ride full of mystery, intrigue and espionage. To be honest, all you have to say is ‘historical fiction’ to grab my attention. Conspiracy on the Hudson grabbed my attention further when I learned it was set in World War II. I am a huge World War II fanatic, so I was really excited to read this novel. While the plot was amazingly well thought out and detailed. There were a few issues that continually detracted from the appeal of the story itself.
First, I want to say that Keelan is very gifted when it came to his descriptions of settings and characters. I could easily visualize the various settings in the novel. It was fantastic to feel that involved and drawn in. Because of Keelan’s talent with describing settings and characters, I couldn’t wait to find more time to read and discover what would happen next.
As enthralled as I was with the plot of Conspiracy on the Hudson, for me, there were two issues. The first issue I had was the ‘Cast of Principle Characters’ in the book. I’ve come across similar additions in other novels before and actually found them to be quite useful. Keelan’s ‘Cast of Principle Characters’ is different from the others and honestly, his placement made it downright confusing. He chose to place it before the novel. It is the first thing you read. Before you’ve even begun the novel, you have the entire list of characters in your head. You don’t know how they fit together, or even where they belong in the story line; however, you already know of their existence and their role within the plot. Now obviously you have the choice to skip the list and begin the novel but if it’s there, in the beginning; personally, I’m going to read it. Whereas if it’s there, at the end, as I’ve seen in other novels, and I know I can consult it if I need to, then I’m okay.
My second issue was the dialog. It felt completely inconsistent to me. There were times when the dialog flowed easily and felt as if it fit perfectly within the context of the story. Then there were times when the dialog just felt severely…lacking. Almost as if, it was forced. In those moments, when it felt forced and fake, it seemed to take on an almost juvenile quality. Instead of intelligent adult conversation, it felt like everything had been ‘dumbed down’ and simplified. Like Keelan didn’t know how to say, what he wanted and so it trying to write something it all came out simple and juvenile. During those moments, an otherwise completely addicting novel became almost painful for me to read.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Conspiracy on the Hudson. I found that even though it had its problems, it was a novel that I devoured pretty quick. Even though, in the end, I found myself torn between not wanting the story Keelan had so skillfully laid out for me and excited to finish it because I knew there was a sequel, Secret of Camp David. I remained torn throughout the end of the novel; however, I am still really looking forward to reading Secret of Camp David, so I guess that’s the best review of all. If I’ve finished the first book and I’m dying to read the second, Donald B. Keelan must be doing something right.
I received a free copy of Conspiracy on the Hudson, written by Donald B. Keelan, to read and review. I am in no way committed to writing a positive review; all reviews are my own thoughts and opinions. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”...more
When Michael Maquire sets out to find a bit of adventure and change in the arms of a female prostitute, he winds up pleasantly surprised when things tWhen Michael Maquire sets out to find a bit of adventure and change in the arms of a female prostitute, he winds up pleasantly surprised when things take a very different turn and he finds himself with a "rent boy", James Campbell. Michael is even more surprised when he and James discover that maybe there's not only Something Different, but also something more...
That was the first word that came to mind when I finished Something Different. I was floored. When I first agreed to read and review Something Different, I first checked out what other genre of books S.A. Reid had written. Her books all seemed to be right up my alley, romance and “cozy mysteries” as she calls them. That’s what I was prepared for, a “cozy mystery” or perhaps your stereotypical romance novella. Boy, oh boy, was I surprised.
I’m going to be completely honest here; the first 10-15 pages are not what I’d call your stereotypical romance novel. Something Different starts out a little faster with some graphic sexual encounters, that I wasn’t prepared for. Though graphic, they weren’t written distastefully. Nor were they written in a “frilly, froo-froo, over-the-top girlie” style either. They were, what they were, a few encounters between two people with the possibility and potential for more. S.A. Reid’s obvious talent shown through in every scene and every exchange, making her characters seem all the more real. As if, they truly were people I could bump into on the street.
In end, when I reached that last line of Something Different, and had my “Wow” moment, I was thrilled book. Something Different definitely lives up to its name. It is “something different”. From beginning to end, S.A. Reid delivers a well-written novella about life, love and learning how to get the most out of both; consequences be damned. And in the end, without realizing it, romance is what I got; it just wasn’t delivered in the package I was expecting. ...more