Monday, October 21, 2013

"13 British Horror Stories" by Rayne Hall (5 Stars)

* * * * *
13 British Horror Stories
by Rayne Hall

Genre: Horror

* * * * *
Just in time for Halloween! This collection of short stories was masterfully written. The author has incredible insight into what spooks, creeps, and thrills, with a true talent for setting the atmosphere.

In this book, she has included illustrations to go with each story, black and white and brilliantly fitting the mood.

If you'd like to read this collection, pick up your copy at amazon HERE. You can also find them included in Thirty Scary Tales by Rayne Hall.

Have a safe Halloween, boils and ghouls!

"Six Scary Tales - Volumes I, II, III" by Rayne Hall (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Six Scary Tales, Volumes 1, 2, 3
by Rayne Hall

Genre: Horror

* * * * *

I received these three books in exchange for my honest review. As I have just recently finished Thirty Scary Tales by Rayne Hall, I already was well acquainted with the short stories in these 3 collections, so they are fresh in my mind and this gives me an opportunity to pick a story from each to talk about.

Unlike with Thirty Scary Tales, there isn't the addition at the end of each short sharing the author's personal experiences that were the impetus of each story. Nonetheless, all of these tales were masterfully written. And so many of them remind us that what goes around, comes around.

In Volume 1, I had two favorites, "Double Rainbows" and "The Black Boar". One of them was a hearty helping of getting what's coming to 'im, while the other is about being careful what you wish for.There is another story in this collection called "Burning" that was especially hard to read. You'll know what I mean when you read it for yourself.

In Volume 2, my favorite is "Black Karma", a tail of redemption with a twist. I love the superstitious, religious, cultural belief that inspired this short and it made me crave a full length novel based upon it. Maybe the author is listening...?

In Volume 3, "The Colour of Dishonour" stood out for me, a story of guilt and how it can eat you alive. It's also a story of greed and how it can destroy. This is one man whose blood on his hands cannot be hidden.

If you'd like to purchase these great reads for yourself, you can find them on amazon. Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.

Good reading!

"Thirty Scary Tales" by Rayne Hall (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Thirty Scary Tales
by Rayne Hall

Genre: Horror
* * * * *
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and was very pleased that I did. I don't generally read many short story anthologies unless I've been reading related work by the author; they often seem too short to me and don't always wrap up the tale in a way I'm happy with. I'd seen a few teasers of Rayne Hall's work before and decided this was a great opportunity to give her a shot.

As the author states in her introduction, fear is personal. What might scare one person may not even get a thrill out of the next. I admit that I haven't been scared by a book in ages (save anxiety you feel when you worry a character you like will be offed). Probably I read too many horror stories! That is why I take my hat (if I wore one) off to the author for giving me a sweaty chill when I read "The Bridge Chamber". The claustrophobic in me imagined this a little too well!

Rayne Hall's grasp of relating atmosphere is superb and I really fancied the small additions at the end of each short story, giving you a little insight into where her ideas came from for each. This lady sounds like she's lived a colorful life, to the reader's benefit for sure.

If you'd like to read this collection, you can pick up your own copy at amazon or learn more about it at goodreads.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"H.E.L.L. Substation: The Last Stand of Gary Sykes" by Philip A. McClimon (5 Stars)

* * * * *
H.E.L.L. Substation: The Last Stand of Gary Sykes
Book 1 in the H.E.L.L. series
by Philip A. McClimon

Genre: Zombies!
* * * * *
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and I give it a delicious 5 stars! First of all, things go down almost right away, which I love. Second, the realization of what's coming happens in a place I can't remember reading as a location in other books - a power station. Third, and what really set the mood for me, was the dialogue. I found it to be entertaining without losing believability.

Gary Sykes is a nerd. We meet him whilst he is engrossed at work in his Dungeons & Dragons, a blast from the past for me! He's working his shift with Beverly, a clerk who is holding down two jobs since her husband's disabling injury, and two knuckle-dragger engineers named Reggie and Mack. They think it's same-old, same-old but Beverly can't reach 9-1-1 to report an accident and when their manager, Jason Johnson arrives... things start to get real.

This book wasn't long but it sure was sweet and Philip A. McClimon has earned himself another fan!

If you'd like to see why I enjoyed it so much, find out more at Goodreads or pick up your own copy at amazon. Have fun!

"A Touch of Evil" by C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp (2 Stars)

* *
A Touch of Evil
Book #1, The Thrall series
 by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

Genre: Urban Fantasy
 * *
Oh I so hate giving bad reviews, so I'll start with the good. First, I liked the idea of the Thrall. It was a different take on vampires, making them not vampires at all, which was fine by me. And I did think the story was pretty well written, but I bought it as an advertised paranormal romance and I really didn't get that at all. Yes, there was a guy, but... I didn't feel any romance and it certainly wasn't central to the story. In fact, it probably could have cut out the guy (a werewolf fireman) altogether and it wouldn't have made much difference.

I'd label this an urban fantasy (a genre I greatly adore), but not a paranormal romance (which was why I bought it) and sadly, it didn't excite me to read more. Hopefully, it was just a slow start. The publisher misrepresenting the beginning of a series that could have a lot of potential was a big turn off for me because I kept looking for the romance. Maybe if I'd gone into it with a different expectation, it might have earned one more star. =(

**I was not asked for my review, but I gave it!

Learn more about this book at Goodreads and find it on amazon.

"The Sity" by Curran Geist (4 Stars)

* * * *
The Sity
Book #1, The Sity series
by Curran Geist

Genre: Dystopian/Sci-fi

* * * *
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and my initial feel for the story was intrigue with a dose of disorientation. I really was drawn to the grit and dirt and the concept of a human race reduced to ashes beneath the oppressive weight of an alien species. A repulsive, depraved alien species. It seems that the aliens have enslaved humans for their brutal entertainment and no homo sapien is safe. If you can find any still alive inside the Sity.

We meet Victor first, a beaten down shell of a boy with no memories, put on display for the alien Kuljik. The action happens fast as Victor's memory sparks, just enough to give him the strength to escape his captivity. He soon joins Carina, a girl who also has no memory of her past but seems to share a mysterious power with Victor. Together they will struggle against injustice, abuse, and oppression. They will meet others, search for truth, and seek revenge.

My issue with the book was that it did a lot of switching around, from time and space to inner dialogue, to memory sequences and dreams. I found it a little confusing at times, especially in the first handful of chapters. Hang in there though. It's worth it!

"The Sity" is a deeply thought provoking horror, a science fiction page-turner that I wouldn't recommend to young readers about a future I wouldn't wish on any sentient race.

To learn more, check it out at Goodreads and then pick up your copy at amazon.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Born of Oak and Silver" by Marie McKean (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Born of Oak and Silver
Book #1, The Caradoc Chronicles
by Marie McKean

Genre: Fantasy
* * * * *

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review and I have to say, WOW. This is a fantasy that begins in the 1900s in Strasbourg, on the border between France and Germany. We get a little background first, just a sweet treat, and then we meet our main protagonist, a boy named Daine.

The author brings the reader along, from Daine's birth on, chronicling his life as a happy boy with simple, humble, loving parents and an adopted grandfather, onward through the lessons he learns into his adulthood. I don't want to say much more (Druids! Fae! Tragedy!), as it really would be giving too much away, I feel, but this was a magical and tragic tale that doesn't complete with the end of the book. It looks like a sequel will be had, and it needs it! I don't believe we're done with Daine yet!

This book truly does deserve every point of its 5 stars.

If you'd like to purchase your own copy, and you do, visit amazon or the author's webpage, and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"The Vicious Deep" by Zoraida Córdova (5 Stars)

* * * * *
The Vicious Deep
Book #1, The Vicious Deep Series
by Zoraida Córdova

Genre: YA Mythology

 * * * * *

"The Vicious Deep" is one of those books you can't put down. The author is a woman writing from the POV of a teenage boy who turns into, much to his dismay, a merman (or mer dude, as Tristan prefers to be called), and she pulls it off beautifully! You could absolutely believe a teenage boy is telling his story and that was a big part of the magic of this book for me. Add in mythology, humor, some romance and you have a glowing winner in my humble opinion.

Buy your copy today at amazon!

**I was not asked to review this book, but I just had to. =D

"A Body Displaced" by Andrew Butcher (5 Stars)

* * * * *
A Body Displaced
Book #2, Lansin Island series
by Andrew Butcher

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

* * * * *

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and here it is. I LOVED, loved, really loved this book. This is the second book in the Lansin Island series, A Death Displaced being the first, and as much as I enjoyed the first book, I got hung up on a few details. I did NOT have that problem with this book.

We rejoin our characters, Nick and Juliet, less than a year after the events from Book 1 to find that they have both been dealing with things in very different ways. Nick has moved on with life, gotten back together with an old girlfriend, and come to terms with what he can do. Juliet hasn't been as healthy, falling apart where Nick did not as she tries to come to terms with her own abilities and some shocking new discoveries.

Things quickly spiral out of control and mayhem comes knocking once again at their front doors! It seems that Nick and Juliet can't get away from each other as their lives collide for another thrill ride, taking you, the reader, with them.

Pick up your copy of A Body Displaced at amazon, and read my review of Book 1, A Death Displaced and start the journey from the beginning! You can also learn more by visiting the author's website.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Wow, so when I started this blog, I didn't expect that I would be reviewing books, or using this blog to post them. I'm finding it's a great way to meet people and to keep this blog active. However, I don't want to turn the blog into just another review site and I don't want to *make* another blog just to post reviews on. What's more, I'm not posting big, novella-length, in-depth reviews like other book reviewers so I'm going to keep my blog as is. A place I can put down my thoughts as well as post some reviews.

Why review books at all? Because reviews are really important to authors and I want to help out where I can. Hopefully when I start seeking reviews actively, I'll get the same kindness. =) Some of my reviews were asked for, some not, and I make a note in either case in each review that I post here, to my blog.

I do think that I will revise my blog to make it easier to find my reviews versus my personal what-up posts. Just not sure yet how I'm going to do that. Thinking I might do something cute and rate my books using crows instead of stars. *grins* And I know I need to do a banner, just need to grab a few minutes to whip one up.

What's cool tho, is that I'm writing nearly every day and Agent B and I have been getting a lot done and expect to meet our self-imposed December deadline for publishing our "love in the time of zombies" novel, our third self-published book. However we are doing this one right. We're hiring an editor and are in the process of working with a professional book cover designer so that we can also make available print copies. Very exciting!

I've also made the commitment to review another 10 books so my reading schedule is FULL right now, yay! I will be posting 2 more reviews tomorrow, on Andrew Butcher's second book in his Lansin Island series and the first book of the Vicious Deep series by Zoraida Cordova.

On a personal note, in two weeks my hubby-pie goes on vacation and we pick up our youngest daughter's service dog and Halloween is approaching. Busy but in a fun way. That's how it should be. =D


"The Last Alive" by H.L. Wampler (4 Stars)

* * * *
The Last Alive
by H.L. Wampler


* * * *
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and my initial thoughts upon opening it were that I was going to have to dock a star for lack of formatting. On my tablet's kindle reader, there was zero formatting, as if the publisher uploaded a .txt version of the manuscript. I didn't want this to affect my overall review so I wrote the author and let her know there was an issue, to which she immediately contacted her publisher and gifted me a revised copy, which I was thrilled about, both for the quick response and the updated book. Star NOT removed! =D

The book itself takes off right from the start, with the main protagonist and heroine, Emma, whose sister is dying in the hospital. Said sister is pronounced and Emma, confused and in shock, finds herself suddenly and horribly running for her life. All thanks to her sister miraculously waking from the dead and biting a nurse.

Emma bumps into a young doctor named Nathan, who is understandably slow to believe that Emma's sister could possibly be undead, and joins Emma on her mad dash to freedom.

The Last Alive alternates between Emma and Nathan's escape (and budding attraction), to the present time -where Emma and her best friend Meaghan leave the relative safety of the compound they have lived in for the last few years, in order to find and rescue a missing Nathan.

Want to know what happens? You bet you do- pick up a copy and find out!

You can read more about The Last Alive at Goodreads, or buy a copy, print or kindle ready, at amazon.

Friday, October 11, 2013

"Tangled Tides" by Karen Amanda Hooper (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Tangled Tides
Book #1, The Sea Monster Memoirs
by Karen Amanda Hooper

Genre: YA/Mythology/Paranormal Romance

* * * * *

I'd been looking for a mermaid book for awhile and was really pleased with Tangled Tides, a fun and magical dip into many mythological creatures. Sometimes it went a little off the deep end with the fantastical but the author does state she is a big fan of Disney so that explains why! I'm giving it 5 stars because it was a great bit of escapism with romance and conflict, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

**I was not asked by the author to review this book, I just wanted to! It's hard to find a good mermaid book, so maybe some other mermaid fans will appreciate my little thumbs-up. =D 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Leviticus" by Daniel Seltzer (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Book #1, When We Were Gods Trilogy
by Daniel Seltzer

Genre: Sci-fi
* * * * *
The author was looking for some honest reviews in exchange for a free copy of his book and I happily obliged! This is the first book in what will be a trilogy that examines some pretty controversial subjects as we begin a new era where science is God. Technology is going places only dreamed of, making America an unrivaled super power, its citizens never again wanting for anything because everything is attainable.

Protagonist, Levi Furstman, as well as the reader, is forced to try and answer the weighty question of whether or not we should, just because we can. After all, if there is nothing to work for, what do you have to achieve? And if you can live forever, who will hold you accountable when there is no judgement day?

Leviticus is not a light-read book. It is about scientific achievement and moral debate. I didn't always see the point of certain chapters but eventually it became clear as the story progressed. You may not always understand the science of it, but you won't be able to help it when your mind wanders; when you ask yourself, is this right?

You can learn more about this book at the author's website and purchase a copy for yourself at amazon.

"The Bloodlines Project" by J.A. Rogers (4 Stars)

* * * *
The Bloodlines Project
Book #1, The Bloodlands Trilogy
by J.A. Rogers

Genre: YA Dystopian

 * * * *

The author of this book was looking for people to review her story so I contacted her and then went to download my copy (it was being offered for free that day) from amazon. I dug right in, intrigued by the storyline and I have to say, I was not let down but I *was* surprised. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I mean that in a good way.

"The Bloodlines Project" follows 14 year old Nena as she is about to embark on a new life adventure, a life of bliss that she has earned for doing her part in The Plan. Only things don't go at all as they are supposed to and she is kidnapped on her way to The Heart, where she expected her whole life to change. And they're changing alright, but it's nothing like Nena expected.

I was a little worried about the age of the main character but got over that pretty quick. The book has good pacing and some surprises that will keep you reading!

Get your copy today, available for Kindle purchase at amazon.

Friday, October 4, 2013

"Sarcophagus" by Anthony R. Williams (3 Stars)

* * *
by Anthony R. Williams

Genre: Monsters!

* * *
 I thought the book was imaginative and interesting and I especially liked the portrayal of Adrian and Jeremy but it was often distracting and disrupted the flow when you came across one of the very numerous errors. A good proof read is in order. Heck, I'd do it for the author for free, just to see the book flow better. It's worth the read. =D

Learn more HERE at Goodreads!

**I wasn't asked for my opinion but I gave it! =D

"Until the End" by Tracey Ward (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Until the End
Book #1, Quarantined Series
by Tracey Ward


* * * * *
 I absolutely, positively loved this book. It had smarts, humor, and most appealing to me, a protagonist who had serious issues even before the whole world tried to eat her.

Alissa has a mental health condition that makes life hard to navigate. Add zombies and the end of the world to her plate and she's screwed. Or is she?

I'm not going to give any more away but if you're a lover of a great read, a zombie book with a unique voice, and boys with bats, then this is the book for you! 

To purchase a Kindle copy for yourself, find it HERE on amazon.

** I was not asked to review this book, I just wanted to!

"Love and Decay" by Rachel Higginson (5 Stars)

* * * * *
Love and Decay
Kindle Serial
by Rachel Higginson


* * * * *

Love and Decay is described as a Dystopian Romance about Zombies. I was not asked to review this series and I'm not going to go into much detail, but I will say that it's a phenomenal, fun read and that you should definitely check it out! My only complaint is that each episode is so short. I'd have much preferred it all be in one complete novel.

To learn more, find it HERE on Goodreads.

"Six Moon Summer" by S.M. Reine (3 Stars)

* * *
Six Moon Summer
Book #1, Seasons of the Moon series
by S.M. Reine

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

* * *

 I had a hard time rating this book because it had some really great parts to it and a surprise or two, it was generously offered for free at amazon, and I totally intend to read book 2, in all I wasn't 100% captivated with the main character.

Rylie is a pretty typical teen having a hard time adjusting to her parents' divorce and is shipped off to camp for the summer, something she is not happy about. While she's there, she experiences bullying and social awkwardness, decides not to willingly participate in any activities, and then gets attacked while out in the woods alone.

This first book of a series follows Rylie's struggle to not become a werewolf and it did keep me reading but the angst had me more irritated than sympathetic and thus reflected my 3 star rating. I will, however, be on the lookout for book 2. 

You can purchase Six Moon Summer for free on kindle at amazon, and read more about the book HERE at Goodreads.

**I was not asked to review this book, I just did because I wanted to. =)

"A Death Displaced" by Andrew Butcher (4 Stars)

* * * *
A Death Displaced
Book #1, Lansin Island series
by Andrew Butcher

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

* * * *

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and overall I was pleased with this start to a new series! The writing is professional and I felt it to be engaging, the story switching POVs every other chapter from Nick (a rather unambitious lad working part time for a New Age shop) to Juliet (an ambitious restaurant owner).

It starts with an averted accident that will forever change both characters in profound ways, from seeing ghosts to seeing the future. There's some scary mind-control and a murder along the way and yes, there were more questions asked (as there should be in a series!), many more questions were answered, and while parts of the story sometimes felt weighed down and slow moving, it was definitely worth following to the end. In particular, I like that there was some growing going on with Nick, especially and I look forward to witnessing more as Lansin Island continues in book 2.

Because of the occasional slow pacing and my strong dislike of way too many secrets and lies being kept and told by the main characters (and because I wanted to shake Juliet until her teeth fell out... Give the guy a break, lady! ;) ), I gave A Death Displaced 4 stars.

You can purchase A Death Displaced at amazon, currently free for Kindle! And check out Andrew Butcher's website HERE for more information.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Riddle in Stone" by Robert Evert (5 Stars)

 * * * * *
 Riddle in Stone
Book #1, Riddle in Stone series
by Robert Evert

Genre: Dark Fantasy

 * * * * *

 This is the first book that I will call the beginning of my book reviewing career. *grins* I actually selected it for my To-Read list at Goodreads and the author contacted me to thank me for my interest. After some very nice back and forth chatting, I decided to purchase the book and offered to review it when I was done. My review is as follows.

 I found Riddle in Stone to be an enjoyable, dark and gritty, no holds barred fantasy with an intriguing, all too human protagonist. Edmund could be you at the start, just an average joe. He's overweight, he stutters, and he feels like there's something more to life beyond his small world.

In a desperate rush to become something grander and thus more attractive to the woman he loves, Edmund the Librarian sets out to recover an ancient artifact...

I give Edmund (and Riddle) 5 stars for being human. He's not always likeable but he's real. In a world of fantasy, this can sometimes be overlooked or just plain forgotten. But not here. Oh, and I love you, Thorax!!

You can read more about Riddle in Stone at Goodreads and purchase it at amazon.

Book Reviewing

So probably everyone knows what a book review is, where a reader can offer their opinion and rate a book for others to see. It can help anyone interested in the book in many ways, such as seeing if its popular or poorly received, part of a series (sometimes it won't be clear what number in a series it may be and reviewers will often clarify) or maybe even the seller's description of the book is misleading. Reviews can be extremely helpful, for the reader as well as the author!

Many don't judge a book based on its reviews, or not solely on them, which is what I tend to do, because after all, a review is a person's personal preference. Someone is going to love the book you hated and vice versa, which really rocks when you think about it. But even so, reviews are a tool that can be absolutely vital to the success of a book... and they are a bear to get!

Relying on readers to write a review is like hoping there won't be celery in the tunafish. There WILL be celery 9 and a half times out of 10 unless you politely ask the cook not to sully your sandwich. I hardly ever leave reviews on Amazon and while I always rate a book on Goodreads, I don't always leave a review. Honestly, before I started trying to sell my own books, it barely even crossed my mind. Then I waited, and waited... and waited... I even hoped to see some "eh, it could have been better" reviews if nothing else, just to see that someone had an opinion. One of our books has had 2k downloads (most from free promotions) and only two reviews. What?? =(

Ok, so I had to do some serious looking into this review business.