CLICK HERE for the most recent review!

JULIA W. ★★★★

Posted 11/23/20


This was a good start to a promising series. I dig the idea of these humanoid insect species and their mysterious kingdoms. For some reason I imagined them being the size of actual insects but I don't know if that was the intention :-) I really liked the main character who is a strong woman who doesn't back away from a fight. The story ends on kind of a cliffhanger and I would love to see how it continues. So if there will be another installment, I would love to read it.

DEBBIE G. ★★★★★

Posted 11/23/20

I thought this was an exceptional book. It is an exciting and fun read. Even though the beginning of the book had parts that I thought tended to drag along some, I could not give this book less than five stars. You soon learn that every incident reflects something that will take place later in the book. The characters are definitely quite the individuals, each with a unique personality. The little town had a lot going on and the humor throughout the story had me laughing out loud. Would I read more books by this author? Yes, I look forward to it. Do I recommend this wonderful story and this author? Absolutely, without hesitation.
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and this is an honest review.

TAMARA D. ★★★★

 Posted 11/25/20


This is quite a moving story. The characters are well thought out, very well described and easy to connect with. The hardships that each of the main characters face bring a tear to the eye, and make your heart break for them. The sexual innuendo and tension between the main characters is well described. This book is one that is easy to lose yourself in for a few hours.

RHONDA D. ★★★★★

Posted 11/25/20


Caveman Humans, with intelligence and being the hunted of alien invaders. This is a good paced story. The only thing that took away from it is that it ends in a cliffhanger. Me and cliffhangers are such frenemies. Definitely look forward to more in the Decoy saga.

DONNA S. ★★★★★

Posted 11/30/20


Maldene by Mark Anthony Tierno is a masterful piece of storytelling. The world building is exceptional (descriptions bring the world to life in your minds eye) and the character development is excellent. This is an adventure that is thrilling, will keep you glued to the pages. and one not to be missed. ( Reviewed on Amazon, Goodreads & Bookbub)

JACK K. ★★★

Posted 11/30/20


To be honest, this is one weird story. To attempt to categorize it, it is dystopian science fiction with a healthy side-serving of horror. There is a good deal of parody in here as well.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

What I liked about this story?

The parody and cynicism around organizations. For example, in the letter describing Hajogana’s promotion to Deputy Governor, his qualifications are listed as: “Of all the candidates that the Supreme Board provided for me, you are the only one who is not: a raving p’wunari addict … an obsessed dancer … an easily-distracted astronomer … a marauding motorcyclist … a drooler … a shoe-licker … a speaker who pretends to be eloquent … a pyromaniac fire mutant … etc.” You’ve got to give the author credit for THAT imaginative list! The book had several more examples of obvious parody (as well as some places where I wasn’t sure if the author intended parody or not … but created it anyway).

Bonjakon. There is a sub-story that starts about ¾ of the way through the book and features a young boy (Bonjakon) who will potentially inherit the governership from the evil and sadistic Vannikon. In a lot of ways the sub-story around Bonjakon is the best part of the book, being vaguely reminiscent of such classics as T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King.” There are a couple of nice scenes in the Bonjakon story (which includes everything from killer spores to shapeshifters, by the way), and one of my favorites was around the nightmares. Basically, Bonjakon is plagued by nightmares (many of which have rational foundations in this nightmarish alternate world). Hajogana first asks him to draw the monsters in his nightmares. Then he motivates the young boy into drawing his response to the monsters. Later on, the boy successfully conquers his nightmares by evoking the drawn responses to overcome the dream monsters.

The world-building around various failed aspects of society, which intertwines general descriptions of decay against a continually changing background of strange and unusual aliens. “Eight ladies were foul-mouthed Nandegakkovians who smoke and drank away”, “the bearded one of the two cyclopes spat and threw a ball of paper at his head”, “the clones later damaged the armored nobles suits, releasing poisonous fumes that suffocated them and the last survivors”, “Her drool seared unto her sister’s hand, stinging it and forcing her to release the Vice-Governor”, and so on. The author is unusually imaginative about his creation of aliens, and also unusually imaginative about interlacing these aliens with descriptions of a failed society.

What did I have issues with in this story? A couple of things.

The plot is incredibly chaotic. First Hajogana is a pilot, then he is selling appliances at a water park, then he gets tortured for dropping some tiles. After an amazing healing session, there is this odd sidebar with a dance with mecha imitating earth wights (these turned out to robots), which then develops into a strange battle with fireworks. Another mortal injury, another amazing healing session. At this point he gets promoted to Deputy Governor. Huh? Then we have this odd scene in the train where all the pink subservient clones get turned into demons by a rock band. So do the grey clones, by the way. Note that sometime later in the book, Hajogana (as the Vice Governor) would attempt to rescue this same rock band. This was so counter-intuitive I went back and checked. Yes, it was the same band. Why are we rescuing a band that turns clones into monsters, we ask? No clue. It goes on like this, by the way. Every once in a while you read a book where (once you have finished) you have to go back and read the Amazon synopsis of the book to figure out the plot of what you just read – and this book falls into this category.

There is not much character development. Yes, the book IS significantly devoted to world-building, but the downside of this is that the Hajogana character just bounces from one Scary Bad Situation involving lots of alien blood and guts to another Scary Bad Situation involving lots of alien blood and guts. While Hajogana periodically makes some speeches about fixing society’s issues and developing a properly running economy, it was unclear to me whether this was character development – or political parody. (I’m leaning toward the second.)



Posted 12/03/20


Intricate Deceptions by Jennifer Rayes is book one of the Intricate series. All of the elements of suspense, romance, danger, and deception are effortlessly detailed in the story. The book opens with the abduction Gaia. When she awakens after having been drugged she finds herself in a dark cell with a small child. She befriends Emily and vows that she would get both of them out together. Emily gives her a charm bracelet and says "That way you can remember me if we get seperated." One day two men come for Emily. Despite Gaia's efforts to stop the men, Emily is taken away from the cell. Later that day Gaia is taken to Barry's office. She quickly learns he was the head of human trafficking. She has been sold. She attenpts to free herself but one of her captor's thugs beats her until her "buyer" appears and intervenes. Gaia passes out. When Gaia awakens she is in an extravagant palace. Prince Raoul had saved her. Due to amnesia, Gaia learns that she was actually a princess and he is hiding her from people wishing to cause her harm. Gaia pleads to Raoul to find Emily but finds out that he had no intentions of helping her. As the story progresses, a colorful cast of characters are introduced into the story. Gaia is swept away by a pirate that actually takes her back home to her parents. She begins to have flashbacks of memories and discovers she is engaged to Salim. Who is Salim? How did Gaia get abducted to begin with? Why does the pirate captain wish to help Gaia? What happened to Emily? The only way to answer these questions is to read this amazing book. The ending sets the book up to have the sequel seamlessly pick up and thicken the plot. I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys a page turning, action filled suspense novel. This is for mature readers as there are themes involving rape, death, drugs, and some profanity involved.

TRAVIS P. ★★★★★

kaye. ★★★★★

Posted 7/23/20

Excellent! Kat hit the ground running with this incredible treat, winding through broken paths and weaving secrets best forgotten, raising the stakes and keeping it real, holding you riveted on a razors edge and frozen to your seat, wrapping this baby up sleek shiny and tight. Building walls and expanding boundaries, laying out one action packed, hard hitting, pulse racing, heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, page flipping, block buster, blasting this jewel to life brilliantly. Toss in drama, intrigue, turmoil, danger, spiraling suspense and perplexing situations along with a boatload of torment, you have one jaw dropping adventure. Traversing the intimidating trials and challenging tribulations, noting the deadly twists and shocking turns, testing our characters in ways they would have never anticipated. Shenanigans, escapades and havoc run amuck, blowing this baby into the eye of the storm, kicking it into a frenzy with a life-changing culmination. The characters are complex and genuine with traits and qualities that add depth and diversity, transforming into charismatic personalities. The scenes are strikingly sharp with abundant details and descriptions that feel as though you were transported to ground zero with them. Fantastic job Kat, thanks for sharing this fabulous gem with us.

I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story.

Abigail. ★★★★★

Posted 7/23/20

It's the first time reading a book from Kat Caulberg but from page 1 I have been absolutely hooked. I love supernatural love stories with adventure and drama and Kat definitely delivers on all of the above. The love story between Toby and Emma is also beautifully told and this is a must read for anyone.

EMILY S. ★★★★★

Posted 7/27/20


This book was awesome. I love the intricately woven details and descriptions that the author used to create this beautiful story. It really piqued my interest with the folklore and the tension between the characters is almost tangible. I would highly recommend this book. I will be reading more from this author. I was given an advanced copy of the book with no expectations of reviews.

JACK K. ★★★★

Posted 7/27/20


Covenant of Blood begins with the quote “This one is for the boys. It’s a little for the girls too, a little bit, but mostly it’s for the boys”. That’s an excellent overall summary of the book. It is an epic adventure of battles and politics, heavily weighted toward the battles. Note, however, boys means adolescent boys, not children. I would not suggest this for an 8-year who is enchanted by King Arthur stories. Saying this another way, if this was a movie, it would have an R-rating.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

The book cycles between the viewpoints of four major characters. Goraric, Lord Riva, Bene, and Rosairus. Goraric is a Sarisinian soldier (but with Ahren ancestry) who can see the power of the witches. The story opens as he meets (and is ensorcelled by) the witch Malyred. On the way home from this encounter, he meets a group of soldiers who have burned his home, killed his clan and taken several young girls for light entertainment” – before they are killed of course. This will set the course of his actions for the remainder of the book. Lord Riva is Sarasinian and the second-in-command to Virgilio, the “Old Lion”, and his job is to expand the northern frontier using the best armies in the world. For a change of pace, Bene is an academic on field study in eastern Renderos, seeking witches and their powerful artifacts. Finally, Rosarius is a cadet (or something like a cadet anyway) at the elite military school, the Bastion, in Sarasinia. Overall, the story revolves around the relationship between these individuals and the powerful witch Malyred.

For things I liked?

The author is unusually adept at writing battle scenes. They just come alive, with a vividness and authenticity that is unusual for fantasy. While I had actually never thought about this until I read this book, most fantasy stories are quite sterile about their descriptions of battles. Yes, heads are chopped off, and the like – but there is a certain remoteness. Not this one. You can smell the excrement, taste the blood, and hear the screams of the dying. Think of the movie “Blackhawk Down” (or perhaps the first two minutes of “Saving Private Ryan”) but with unusually good descriptions of taste and smell, and you’re getting the idea. It is uncommon for a book to come across more vividly than a movie for battle scenes, but this one succeeds.

The author manages to sneak in some parody here and there. Probably the best example is chapter 15, with the parody of a management training class. The author has set up a scene where two disreputable sycophants (Dannis and Tavaris) have acquired the job of teaching a management training class at the military school “The Bastion”. While the idea of parodying a management class by placing it in the context of a class given to barbarian soldiers is not something that would have occurred to me, it turns out to be hysterically funny. The author gets some good jabs at various “management training school” concepts, ranging from “mission statements” to “safe spaces”. While the author didn’t go so far as to have the military cadets build chains out of paper (or similar team-building exercises common to management training classes) there was enough fabulous parody to keep any survivor of a management training class chuckling.

The plot has a unique “undead” component. Quite frankly, for the last few years, there have been a surfeit of books about the undead (vampires and so on). However (avoiding spoilers on this!) this book takes a unique and interesting approach to this generally well-traveled road, and readers are likely to appreciate a new perspective on this old topic.

For things that I felt were less successful

The plot is slow-moving and difficult to follow. Now some of this is excusable, as the author’s vivid writing style is distracting, and it is easy to lose the plot amidst all the details of the battle scenes. However, this is one of those books that, when you reach the end, it is challenging to summarize the high-level plot in a few sentences.

The language is coarse. Quite a bit of this coarseness is valid and in context, as the author is describing barbarian soldiers in a harsh and unforgiving world, who would appropriately use coarse language. That being said, my sense was that the coarse language was over-emphasized. In particular, the sections with Bene were not noticeably more refined than the sections with the soldiers, and that seemed out-of-context with academic “research project” nature of that part of the story.

SOARE S. ★★★

Posted 7/27/20


Black Dog Rising is a nice story set in England. It was intriguing but after reading it I found out that I'm not a big fan of ghosts. Still, it was really good.


Posted 7/27/20  

I absolutely loved this story. It is very well written and keeps you engaged throughout. The characters are well developed, complex and interesting. The world building and the scenery are very descriptive and you can picture yourself there. This is a slow burn fantasy/fae romance with darker aspects to it that take it out of the realm of general romance. If you like fae or fantasy romance, you'll love this book!

GCHAT M. ★★★★★

Posted 7/27/20


A government contractor and a mythology expert must team up, when a nightmare from the past threatens world peace.

A thrilling action - adventure with sudden twists and turns.


Posted 7/30/20

Although I don't usually like romances, Black Dog Rising offers a nice paranormal story.


With a bit of a slow start (I read the first chapter twice for clarity), Black Dog Rising overcame my disdain, and produced a very good unearthly story.

Emma Aubrey almost stumbled into the arms of Toby Deering.  He saved her from a mugging when she took refuge in the doorway of his Inn.   Set in England in a place called Ninestone Downs, Black Dog Rising made me want to continue reading.  I must admit I skipped all the mushy parts and focused on the spooky aspects.  I did enjoy the "history."   I lived in England for a time.  I knew what a Black Shuck was.  I love hearing tales about the English Fae and such.  At times the writing style threw me out of the story, but it was easy to return.  The ending had a great twist that I did not expect, and I was truly surprised.  All and all a good read. 

Leilani A. ★★★★

Posted 8/5/20


This was a good book. Different from another I’ve read by the same author. The ending seemed a bit forced, kind of feeling like it was left hanging, perhaps? Although as I think about it, it makes more sense since this is book 1 of a series. Anyway, give it a try. I’m looking forward to reading more of the series.

I received this book in a free promotion.

Jack K. ★★★★★

Posted 8/17/20

The Mortgage Loan Process is an extremely detailed and comprehensive book, perhaps best characterized as: “Everything you need to know about mortgages, but didn’t know enough to ask!”

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

Although the author describes it as a “Humorous, sarcastic walk through a dry, boring topic for beginners”, I would disagree at some level. It is certainly valuable for beginners (more on this below). However, it is even MORE valuable for those of us who have been through the mortgage process before (and particularly for those whose experience with mortgages predates about 2010). In my own case, I found myself repeatedly turning pages and making comments like “THAT is why they do that!” or “I never thought about THAT!” or even “WHEW, I’m glad that didn’t happen to me!”

Now, let me cycle back to “beginners”. On one hand, I would absolutely recommend that “beginners” to the mortgage process read this book. On the other hand, it may terrify them. However (back on the first hand again) the entire mortgage process will likely terrify a beginner ANYWAY – and it does make sense to be prepared. Certainly, if a “beginner” can make it through the book without panicking (or deciding to rent for the rest of their lives!) it will set them up for the process better than about 80% of the people out there who already have mortgages.

Is the book comprehensive? This book was MUCH more comprehensive than I anticipated when I originally read the abstract. It covers every phase of the mortgage process AND quite a few phases of the home purchase process. I certainly anticipated it would cover the application, the various types of mortgages, assets, credit score and the like (which it does). However, it also covers such topics as the home inspection, dealing with pest issues, home warranties, and even such practical things as “When should you reserve the Uhaul?” In many ways, it is “one-stop shopping” for the entire process of purchasing a home. Additionally, the book also deals with some specialized concerns (for example RVs and mobile homes, condos versus townhouses, and getting a loan to build a house on an empty lot).

Is the book accurate? Unlike the author, I’m not a mortgage expert. Certainly, those parts that matched my own personal experience seemed both comprehensive and accurate. However, quite frankly, much of the material was beyond my experience; and thus readers should look for reviews from realtors or other mortgage experts to really assess the accuracy.

Any other comments? This book is mostly targeted for urban or suburban purchases of single-family residences. It is not targeted for rural purchases (wells, septic tanks, water rights, in-holdings, and similar rural issues are not discussed in any detail). Similarly, it is not targeted for commercial purchases (apartment complexes, hotels, motels, spas and the like).

KAYE ★★★★★

Posted 8/19/20

Speechless! Ryan laid this baby out in all its stunning wonder with this blow your mind compelling tale of all the horrors and triumphs leading the way, hooking you from the start and reeling you in for the duration, melding this gem together seamlessly. Observing the harrowing trials and imposing tribulations, alongside the heart pounding twists and startling turns, testing our characters in ways than they could have never anticipated. Disadvantages are heightened and exploited, baring the harsh facts, deep feels and fiery fiascos, shifting this baby into overdrive, slamming it into a frenzy with a life changing culmination. Countenance and perception in layer upon layer that you peel back with each page your drawn into this web so profoundly until everything else ceases to exist. Entwined, combined and tightly woven, exposing the crazy quirks and defying bents, putting our characters through their paces, testing them in ways they could have never imagined. The characters, interactions and charged atmosphere along with relatable qualities and individual traits, adding depth and diversity, transforming into outstanding personalities. The scenes are abundantly descriptive with colorful details that blend and flow, creating a majestic backdrop that's so rich and lively it feels like you can just reach out and touch it. Remarkable job Ryan, thanks for sharing this little jewel with us.

I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story.


Posted 8/21/20


Arianna and her husband, Eirin, have been in love and married for more than 50 years. Although I like a fast-paced adventure, I enjoyed the interaction between the couple. I rather read an adventure that shows a story than one that is telling the story. Spoiler alert: I like Warders in most of the games I play and stories I read. I think one of my favorite parts of this story is when The guy thought he had removed Cookie's hand only to have it reattached. I love the confusion of the torturer when the "victim" disappeared. My least favorite aspect is the use of females as "breeders".

emily s. ★★★★★

Posted 8/21/20


I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me of my teen years and my own struggles with young love. It was well written and it holds your heart captive as you ride shotgun through the author's challenges and heartbreaks. I especially loved her appreciation for the muscle cars of the 70s and 80s. I highly recommend taking this book for a test drive.

I recieved an advanced copy with no expectation of review.

KAYE ★★★★★

Posted 8/27/20


Enthralling! Lisa brought out the heavy artillery, locked and loaded, raising the stakes and keeping it real, hooking you from the start and reeling you in for the duration, launching this baby to life flawlessly. Continence and dynamics in layer upon layer that you peel back with each page your drawn into this web so deep until everything else ceases to exist. Revelations are heightened and exploited, unveiling the facts, feels and fiascos, booting this baby into the eye of the storm, slamming it into a frenzy with a life changing culmination. Observing the taxing trials and thrilling triumphs, alongside the daunting twists and intricate turns, testing our characters in ways than they could have never anticipated. Sparks fly as drama, humor, intrigue, secrets, turmoil, mounting suspense and intense situations along with a boatload of revelations, you have one thrilling adventure. The characters, interactions and charged atmosphere along with relatable qualities and individual traits add depth and diversity, transforming into outstanding personalities. The scenes are abundantly descriptive with colorful details that blend and flow, creating a majestic backdrop that's so rich and lively it feels you were transported to ground zero with them. Remarkable job Lisa, thanks for sharing this little guy with us.

I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story.

KAREN S. ★★★★

Posted 9/01/20


This is a very good storyline with intrigue, deception, and complex characters. I did not read the first book in this series but there is enough information to read without confusion. This book started out at a reasonable pace but slowed right down making me a little reluctant to continue, but I'm glad I did. I voluntarily read an ARC and this is my honest review.


Posted 9/01/20


Treif Magic (The Book of Ze'ev 1) by John Baltisberger is an awesome story that I have loved reading. I can not wait to read more from this author. I highly recommend this awesome story that I have really loved reading.

I read a complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of this book & am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review.

AF. ★★★★

Posted 9/05/20

This novel is mostly about dialogue. If you get into the dialogue, then you get into the book. If you like the dialogue, then you like the book. There is a phrase that matches well the novel as a whole:
“And their deceptions. I mean, I love them all, but I hate them. Do you understand? …If you do, please explain it to me.”
It’s a paranormal romance for teens, happening in a witches’ coven, the occult kind, sometimes strange and confusing, with some old mysteries going back to the Sumerian period. The characters talk and act with the exuberance and nonchalance of sixteen-seventeen-year-old adolescents. With some explicit sex. Everything happens in reality and in a dream-like world, inside Kate’s mind, guided by Amica, a mystic raven. There are good entities and bad entities, and many things that keep you guessing.


Posted 9/08/20

New Celestial starts as a slow read that grows on you. I generally dislike books that use LY adverbs on each page to tell a story. It throws me out of the story and the editor in me cringes. But, in the first quarter of the book, I began to care about the characters and wanted to see what would happen in this paranormal story with a training school for fifteen-year-olds. Lili, a Mexican American girl learns that she is special and not just weird. Like most teens, she feels she does not belong. In this world, New Celestials are born to humans on earth. There is a struggle between good and evil and an acknowledgment that there are light and dark energies in all of us. I find that helpful in anything written for teens. It reinforces the concept that we all have discordant emotions on a spectrum. I found James to be transparent. Spoiler Alert!… I was sad to read about the murder of Nora, Lili’s loyal friend. I like that the story ends on a cliffhanger. I am planning to read the next book.

JACK K. ★★★★

Posted 9/14/20


This story is a science-fiction story intended for the young adult audience. It is somewhat a coming-of-age story, but with some twists. There were a lot of things I liked about the story, BUT also some things that I was uncomfortable with. More on this below.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

Another disclaimer: I am probably half a century older than the desired audience for this book. Keep that in mind.

Things I liked.

The story was quite creative. There are a LOT of dinosaur science fiction stories (particularly since Crichton hit a home run with “Jurassic Park”) and this is a VERY hard space to find a new creative voice. The authors’ have certainly done so with the musical angle and the band-centric storyline.

There was a well-defined story arc for Rhonda (this wasn't part 1 of something, it's a full story). (view spoiler)

The details on the dinosaurs. The authors’ did their homework on the dinosaurs. Every couple of pages, I’d go “No, I don’t think that is right” and I’d look it up – and it would be right. The absolute winner in this category by the way was thagomizer. I hit that and said something to effect of, “NO WAY – that is from Gary Larson” and looked it up on Wikipedia. Lo and behold, “A thagomizer is the distinctive arrangement of four to ten spikes on the tails of stegosaurid dinosaurs” and “The arrangement of spikes originally had no distinct name; the term was coined in 1982 by cartoonist Gary Larson in his comic The Far Side, and thereafter became gradually adopted as an informal term within scientific circles, research, and education.” I'll be darn! We learn something new every day.

Some snippets of reality. Sometimes science fiction stories get a bit sanitized. Not this one. There were insects, odors, sweat, blood, diarrhea, and defecating in a hole in the woods (for starters).

Things that I had some discomfort with.

Some inconsistencies in portrayal of crimes. (view spoiler)

Killing the rex. There is a scene in the book where Rhonda and her friends hunt down and kill a Tyrannosaurs rex. I found this scene very weird. From the point of view of the characters, they have just been shipwrecked (or the space-age equivalent), their space-station has been blown up for reasons they don’t yet understand, they are attempting to survive on a planet full of dinosaurs with a minimum of survival gear, AND they have no idea of when they will be rescued. So, in the midst of this very difficult survival situation, they elect drop everything and elect to hunt down and kill a Tyrannosaurs rex for no apparent reason? WHY?

Poaching. There is a scene in the book where Rhonda encounters a large number of skinned raptor carcasses. The scene is very reminiscent of descriptions of bison hunting in the American West during the late 1800’s, where vast numbers of bison were killed just for their skin and tongues and the carcasses were left lying on the ground to rot. It turns out that Norine is responsible for this action. While Norine is portrayed as a bit of a “bad-ass” (from Lyell and all that) and thus this poaching was consistent with Norine's character, I found it curious that Rhonda didn’t react to Norine’s poaching. This seemed inconsistent with Rhonda’s love for TeenyRaptors and her eventual career direction as a naturalist. Yes, this might have worked if Rhonda had taken a stance against Norine opposing the poaching of the raptors, but Rhonda doesn’t. Along the same lines, the story concludes with a comment that Rhonda herself “also had a nice gig selling feathers, teeth and hides to collectors”. Again, this is a very conflicted position. A naturalist selling feathers, teeth and hides? This seems disturbingly like Jane Goodall selling gorilla hands.

EMILY S. ★★★★★

Posted 9/14/20


I absolutely loved this read. The characters are vivid and I instantly felt a kinship with Emily. The emotions this book will have you feeling are similar to the hurricanes it frequently mentions. I highly recommend this gut wrenching and tear jerking read.The temple, under pastor John, continues to control everything in town. The monsters continue to terrorize the streets. The other leaders of the temple are trying to oust pastor John. The key to everything lies in a alien artifact. Will Michael be able to uncover the mystery of the artifact, while keeping his family safe.

What is new about this sequel, is more of the graphic action.

JVLES. ★★★★★

Posted 9/18/20

I must admit that I did not expect much and mainly picked it up because the blurb sounded kind of cute. All my expectations were blown through the roof though...into the middle of a far away galaxy onto a dinosaur planet I might add. This was such a good read! I love that the main character is this wonderfully kind young woman who has the chance to grow into her strength in this rather long story. I love long books where authors give their worldbuilding and the character arcs enough time to develop and not rush through these rather important parts of storytelling. This is an adventure story and a coming of age story with a good balance of silly and serious moments. I had to laugh so hard sometimes about Rhondas infatuation with the boy band Park Picnic. If you like long reads with excellent worldbuilding, strong heroines and funny side characters, pick this up. You won't regret it. Fair warning though: You might be obsessed with the idea of a pet dino afterwards.


Posted 9/22/20

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed, the story world was interesting and the writing was well done. There is a lot of dialogue in the book, but it moves the plot forward. I would high recommend this book to any fantasy lover!


Posted 9/24/20


Between the description and the reviews, I feel you've heard enough about the book. Anymore would spoil it. I wasn't impressed with Paris. I found her to be ditsy, immature and not a good match for Greg. Greg is a high school principal, he is organized, mature and beyond tolerant with Paris. I didn't feel these two characters were a good match. The other characters in the book were good. This book is a clean read without the hot and steamy. I think with adjustments in Paris's character, the book would probably be more believable. A review of course is simply the opinion of one reader. I would suggest readers read this book and develop their own opinion. I received a copy of this book via Vibrant Reviews and this is a voluntary and honest review.


Posted 9/24/20


These characters are very superficial so far. There isn't much depth to them. The baseline of the story has potential, but I'd like to identify with the characters somewhat before committing to continuing on with the series. Also, some of the language in the person to person contact within the book is worded in such a way that it seems rather young in my opinion. Also, why block out swear words in an adult book?

I have been gifted this book to read and review by the author. This has not impacted my review in any way.

JACK K. ★★★★★

Posted 9/28/20


This was delightfully creative and imaginative. Among other things, it is a fantasy novel starring a banker. Yes, you read that correctly! A BANKER. Not a warrior, not a king, not a wizard. While this may not appeal to all readers (this is not a "Sword of the South" type novel!) I personally found it a delightful and fresh approach to fantasy.

The overall story arc describes a business transaction between our banker (Kelstern) and a dragon (Alkazarian) for the purpose of extending the dragon’s wealth beyond the traditional gold/jewels/whatnot of a traditional dragon’s hoard into the realm of paper money. Within that primary story arc are a number of smaller arcs, each focusing on some specific financial endeavor (transport, mining, energy, and so on). The overt conflicts in the story are generally between our hero and his various financial enemies in the town. However, there IS more going on here than meets the eye, and story has an elegant (and unexpected twist) at the end.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

There were a lot of things I liked about this story. For example:

Portrayal of the dragons: Dragons are quite overused in fantasy, and it is challenging to write something that has a fresh feel. In spite of this, the author did a very good job of portraying the various dragons in the story without resorting to overly-used clichés. (I did have to laugh about the “smoking” habit of the dragons, however.)

The finance theme is nicely interwoven with the rest of the story: As an example, when Kelstern is bargaining for a mule and cart after being attacked by footpads, part of the bargained price is that he writes the farmer owner an affidavit for a tax rebate based on the fact that his primary crop is not a luxury item, but rather an item of staple consumption. (I suspect that this particular financial transaction is a “first” for a fantasy novel.)

The sub-themes are thoughtfully chosen. These include: conventional transportation, transportation by sea, mining, and energy (i.e. the “dragon’s-eyes”). Each of the various sub-themes has a reverse or two (ships are impounded, the mine is flooded, the dragon-eyes are lost in a fire, and so on) and Kelstern “soldiers on” against these issues in a very determined way. Both the sub-themes and the frequent reverses tend to give the story a strong (and painful ...) sense of reality.

Creative and non-standard ideas: In addition to the overall creativity of a fantasy story with a banker hero, there were a number of other unconventional ideas scattered throughout the book. As two examples, the sea-going ships built to run the Kraken’s Teeth are coated in an alchemical anti-friction coating and the “dragons-eye” (which among other things are a power source) are charged with water (the fantasy version of a portable fusion reactor?). There is also something very clever going on with ice, which I will leave for the reader to find.

Some things I struggled with:

One thing I struggled with in this story was the level of frustration experienced by the hero, particularly in the latter third of the book. It started to feel somewhat like the biblical tale of Job. The hero would work and work - and then everything would come unglued. He’d then take a deep breath, and work and work - and then everything would come unglued again. While things do work out in the end, there IS a lot of angst in the latter third of the book.

There are some issues here and there with word choices. After I finished the first draft of this review, I looked at some other posted comments, and noticed varying levels of the same concern. From my perspective, this story was fresh enough and creative enough (and the issues minor enough) that it did NOT detract from my enjoyment of the story. (Note that I received an ARC for this around 9/19/20, and earlier reviews may be working from earlier and less polished drafts. Note also that the issue is at a low level - I've certainly seen material from the "name-brand" publishers with the same level of issues.)


Posted 10/06/20


On His List wa an A+ on my list! The book started out with witty memorable one-liners that brought a smile to an’OL SCROOGE (Christmas is NOT my favorite time of year). Somehow the author brought out the Christmas Spirit in me showcasing a Christmas message of working together and small miracles.

JACK K. ★★★★

Posted 10/12/20  


This is not a science-fiction story in the usual sense. It is a pseudo-autobiography, or perhaps more accurately - a modern day “Tall Tale” story. It starts in a perfectly reasonable and factual way (as a “folksy” autobiography of Thomas Hay, born on April 15th 1943) … and then slowly slides into a UFO abduction story. Like any good “Tall Tale” much of the fun of the story is trying to figure out which parts are fact and which parts fiction.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

There were a lot of things I liked about this story. For example:

Frequent clever humor poking at well-known tropes for each era. As just one of many examples, there is a Russian trawler scene with the line “It definitely wasn’t a fishing vessel, as we has suspected all along, even though everything about it looked fishy”.

Clichés and their ilk. The author has a lot of fun injecting clichés and idioms at regular intervals in the story. He also has a lot of fun having people (particularly Monroe) misquote them. (I’m reminded of 2010 with “easy as cake” and “a piece of pie” – imagine a whole book along the same lines.)

It has a soundtrack. Well, not quite… However, the author punctuates key sections with the lyrics from well-known songs of each era. I found that this worked pretty well for me (I’m not all that much younger than the author, so the lyrics really did trigger the song in my head). As a caveat, younger readers may be mystified from time to time.

Some cleverness with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. The reader will immediately recognize a number of science-fiction elements in common with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Examples include the spacecraft coming in groups of three, use of music to deliver Morse code, and the like. The author cleverly explains this by reversing the time sequence and putting the movie later in time than the events in the book. “I swear, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg must have been abductees too, because their movie two years later, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, featured a carbon copy of our device.”

However, there were some things I struggled with. For example:

Dream and/or unconscious sequences are used to the point of distraction. The base story (without the dream sequences) already has several time loops in it. More specifically, there is the original character (Tom), the cloned version of the original character (Tom-Tom), equivalents for the wives (Karen and Caren); a first time loop where the clones are substituted for the originals, and a second time loop where that substitution is reversed because of the short lifespan of the clones. This is already pretty complicated! However, on top this were multiple (4? 5?) dream/unconscious sequences involving such topics as Monroe being an alien, the aliens “consuming” humans, Monroe pulling out Tom (or possibly Tom-Tom’s) teeth, and a variety of fire-fights involving lasers, aliens, and the like. Frankly, I got lost in all the reverses. Even when I went back and looked more closely at the book while writing this review, I was not confident I’d correctly untangled the story line from the repeated dream sequences. While one can certainly say that dream sequences are a valid writing technique, I would counter that the real impact of the story is in the “Tall Tale” nature of the narrative, and the frequent reverses generated by the dream sequences are distractions from that narrative.

Fiza. There were a number of sexual episodes discussed in the story, and I had some issues with the ones involving Fiza. At a high level, Tom enters into a sexual relationship with Fiza (a Saudi woman), a relationship that starts in the presence of her brothers, and evolves into a relationship where “the force of our love making soon knocked us onto the floor” and “we scratched and clawed like two wild animals in heat”. Fiza and Tom marry, and then Fiza is kidnapped by her family and returned to Saudi Arabia. Tom then learns later that she was sold into slavery into a Bedouin Tribe and suicided by being bitten by a king cobra (note that king cobras are not commonly found in Saudi Arabia). Putting it simply, there is some dissonance in this narrative. To begin with, the narrative is likely fictional. Since a Saudi woman requires the approval of the King to marry a foreigner (and the Saudi culture has numerous issues with Saudi’s marrying non-Islams) it is nearly inconceivable that the brothers would allow this relationship to even start – much less end up as a marriage. More fundamentally, should the author have actually have experienced this situation in real-life, one would assume the whole thing would be pretty traumatic (having one’s wife kidnapped and eventually commit suicide would seem to be a life-altering event) and thus likely to not be discussed in a generally lighthearted story. Given all this, the Fiza narrative appears to be largely or fully fictional. Unfortunately, a fictional narrative creates the impression that the story arc was intended as some sort of parody, and (given the cross-cultural concerns about honor-killing and the like) it comes across as tactless and impolitic rather than funny.


Posted 10/12/20

The Author of this story states that it is based on a true alien abduction. Based on his selection of music that he chose to feature, I am assuming he and I are in the same age-group. The lyrics made me feel nostalgic, and I thought back to my own first trip to California.
I found the story interesting but, as an editor I was distracted by a number of misspelled words (like using jest for just), cliché usage, and grammar issues (I HATE ‘ly adverbs in fiction writing). There is also the issue of telling the story rather than showing it.
I enjoyed the protag’s encounter with his wife, Fiza, and I was not surprised when she disappeared. And, I love how his book is related back to The Anunnaki Chronicles by Zecharia Sitchin.
I really liked the story. I read it twice and it was more enjoyable after I completed my basic review, since I did not have to be so judicious. All in all a fun read.

ERICA O. ★★★★

Posted 10/21/20


I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is different. The FMC has been through the ringer and I believe there are some secrets there that will come out. This society that she is part of is horrid. It is completely backwards and seriously messed up. The Wild Lands.... that sounds like where she should be. The "villian" is horrible, he makes my skin crawl. Honestly the structure of this "lawful" society makes my skin crawl. The FMC is pretty complex. Definitely read this book. It is absolutely fantastic!


Posted 10/22/20  


The book was very graphic and I would only recommend adults read this. The details were a major strong point, especially when it came to character and scene descriptions.

Six contestants from all walks of life were chosen to play "the game" as a reality series. The group is brought into carnival arena where they are briefed about the contest. The winner is the person that finishes all the puzzle challenges first or 14 days have passed. Added to the contest are PonPon bunnies. If they are encountered, only candy prevents them from transforming into gruesome monsters that will rip the contestant apart!

There are some issues that need to be addressed in the book with being able to understand what is occurring. The timeline is difficult to follow and the character Quin has a fe and fir that I can't tell if they are parts of the personality or if they are physical extensions of the Quin. There is over explanation of some back stories but nothing detailing what the supposed profiles contained. The losing contestants where dismembered or fell to other fates- this made the book very similar to The Hunger Games series.

I applaud the shock and entertainment factors in the overall story so I would rate this a 4 star book. I deducted 1 star for the mentioned technicalities.

KAYE. ★★★★★

Posted 10/26/20

Blazing britches! Rochelle delivers with this delectably scrumptious deep dish delicacy, serving up some simmering truths, decadent decisions and relentless pursuits, unleashing one helluva wild ride, keeping you riveted and frozen to your seat, catapulting this gem to a whole new level. Shenanigans, mayhem and havoc run amuck, dissolved restrictions and crashed limitations are scattered and exploited, exposing the fun-filled facts, daring debacles and electrifying escapades, putting our characters through their paces, bursting this baby to life brilliantly. Add all the drama, misgivings, underlying currents, humor, intense situations and thrilling intrigue, along with a boatload of revelations, make for one sensational masterpiece. The characters, dialogue, interactions and charged atmosphere along with relatable qualities and individual traits add depth and diversity, transforming them into lovable personalities. The scenes are strikingly sharp with abundant details and vivid descriptions creating an elaborate backdrop that makes the storyline explode. Fantastic job Rochelle, thanks for sharing this bad boy with us.

I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story.


Posted 10/27/20


I was my first attempt at a novel from J. C. Gemmell and this book struck me as being extremely dense. This book was sent to me as an Advance Reader Copy against an honest and fair review. I have to admit that I am a SciFi lover and I quickly realized it was not a novel on could or should rush through, the world created as well as its representation are complex with several stories or characters if not destinies running at the same time if not in parallel, one needs to be fully concentrated when reading it. It is well written, the plot(s) are captivating but personally I found it difficult to feel or even less fall for one of the other characters, there was perhaps too much to grasp for one novel. I would advise reading it because of some interesting perspectives over a possible future of mankind.

CYNTHIA G. ★★★★★

Posted 10/28/20


Great Story Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2020 Pleasantly Surprised :) Jessie and Josiah’s story was captivating, funny, well written. Loved the play on names throughout the book – very clever. I was rooting for Josiah the entire time. Maybe we ALL have a little call girl in us just waiting to come out... I totally agree - Great Job

jean-charles g. ★★★★★

Posted 10/29/20 


This book was sent to me as an Advance Reader Copy against an honest and fair review.
It was my first attempt at a novel from J. C. Gemmell and this book struck me as being extremely dense.
I have to admit that I am a SciFi lover and I quickly realized it was not a novel one could or should rush through, the world created as well as its representation are complex with several stories or characters if not destinies running at the same time if not in parallel, one needs to be fully concentrated when reading it.
It is well written, the plot(s) are captivating but personally I found it difficult to feel or even less fall for one of the other characters, there was perhaps too much to grasp for one novel.
I would advise reading it because of some interesting perspectives over a possible future of mankind.

CYNTHIA G. ★★★★★

Posted 11/2/20  

This was a quick one but a great story nonetheless. It pulled me in right away. Very vividly portrayed. The halls of justice come to life


Posted 11/04/20


The story was character-driven, with Zaztice (Zaz) as the main protagonist. Zaz is a firm believer that justice should always win. She works as an intern at a law firm where she is constantly criticized by Nera, one of the more prominent attorneys. Every day, after work, Zaz meets up and has dinner with her best friend Thea. Thea gives her a statute of Lady Justice and Zaz goes home. That evening, as she goes to bed, the statute begins to glow. The following day, Zaz begins to notice colored clouds around people. When Nera enters the office, her appearance has changed into a vile monster. Zaz sees a black cloud around her and is terrified. Nera begins to berate her but the office manager intervenes. When she meets up with her best friend, she discovers that Thea's belief of magic may not be too far off. A series of mythical events follow and Zaz is given the choice of standing her ground or possibly disappearing into a dark abyss. This is a good story that would be appealing to young readers interested in Greek mythology and fantasy stories. The pacing is fast, with a few twists mixed in that kept my interest easily. I am rating this a 3 out 5 stars. The formatting needs to be looked at, the division of the page break for the chapters appears in the middle of sentences. There are a few grammatical errors but they don't detract from the overall story. The ending is a cliffhanger and this could easily become a series story.


Posted 11/05/20


Cynthia Gonzales offers the story Destiny. The story of Claire, a young girl whose world is destroyed by the death of both her parents within a week of each other. Forced by this circumstances, Claire becomes a ward of her father’s sister, Emily, moves away from her friends, and leaves her home state of Colorado. Reading the dedication I was sorry to see that the author’s parents died within a week of each other in real life. There are some parts of this story that are touching as the author evokes genuine emotion. It is at these points that she shows the story in a way that it is vivid and memorable. Claire and Louie are fated to be together. We follow Claire and Louie as they grow up and Claire loses her virginity to her best friend. The ending was a bit predictable, yet satisfying. As an editor, I have difficulty focusing on a story that has writing flaws. I find myself wanting to step out of the story and make corrections. In one instance, note the difference in spelling this one character’s name in an early part of the story. "I'm Alison Romero, are you new here?" Allison stuck her hand out, and Claire shook it nodding (p. 16). The change in spelling pushed this reader out of the story and forced me to go back, re-read, and at least look for a logical reason for the difference. At another point the author said that Claire and Louie were drinking wine coolers and in the next sentence she changed it to beer (page 66). Further I was distracted by the overuse of “ly adverbs” and the “telling” rather than showing in the story. Another issue with this story is the “head-hopping”. It caused a misunderstanding, for a few seconds, in some cases. In addition, there are instances of faulty parallelism. By the end of the story some of the “head-hopping” had stopped and the author maintained her point of view.

JACK K. ★★★★

Posted 11/09/20


This is an epic fantasy novel. It is somewhat a mix between a modern-day version of Homer’s Odyssey and a video-game. The novel features a group of heroes who progress through a lengthy series of adventures, each one quickly following each other, like beads on a string. Each adventure has a new set of “bad guys”, a new exotic setting, ever more complex magic, and ever more sophisticated demonstrations of swordcraft and the like.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.

Preliminarily, the novel is quite stylized and relies heavily on traditional fantasy tropes. In no particular order there are attacks by sexy young maidens turning into evil fanged creatures, attacks by sentient trees, attacks by wraiths (not to mention kobolds, manticore, lizards, sea creatures with tentacles, a wide variety of dragons of various types, animal-faced monsters, rubbery monsters, flying monsters, demons, ghosts, walking skeletons, wind elementals, various undead creatures, and so on). Along the same lines of commonly used fantasy tropes are a wide variety of magical swords, magical gems, magical wands, enchanted statues, golems of various types, fire demons, dragon eggs, an invisibility cloak, flying wizards, bags whose insides are larger than the outsides, magical lyres, cages with shrinking walls, talking horses, flying horses, living human statues, hawkmen, cat people, spiders, gypsies, and so on. There are also castles, elven villages nested in trees, libraries, flying boats, conventional boats (and less conventional boats), along with island estates, trans-dimensional portals, voids, and the like.

What I liked about this story? The originality. Although the author used a number of common fantasy elements, he tended to provide creative new twists to them. A couple of examples.

The snow dragon. After several run-ins with dragons of various types, our heroes find and tame a snow dragon. While snow dragons do exist in fantasy literature, they are much rarer than the usual sort. This particular snow dragon had the curious feature of snacking on precious gems (how they tamed the dragon, by the way) which I thought was a clever twist to the usual dragon-camping-on-the-mound-of-jewels approach.

The priest (Candol) “praying” by flipping a coin. Yes, the coin CAN land on the edge. I loved this. It is a clever and somewhat satirical approach to the traditional role of "priest".

Kilinir (female) and Kor-Lebear (male). These were a pair of assassins, and were a somewhat creative melding of stereotypes around fantasy assassins and fantasy ninja. As an aside, this was perhaps the most progressive pairing in the story, as neither individual seemed terribly constrained by gender stereotypes (or any other stereotypes, as near as I could tell).

Additionally, I liked the killer slime mold (there was a killer moss as well), killer flying plants (Freels), the “weapons closet”, the sentient water, a sea-monster which is a living hydrogen flame-thrower, an intelligent castle, a fantasy shopping mall, the “goo” attacks, an attack with flowers, and the Pugen Power cat.

What did I have issues with in this story? A couple of things.

The story does not have a strong overlying plot. The heroes simply move from adventure to adventure. Yes, there is a “bad guy” (Miro) but he seems to mostly serve the function of generating minions for our heroes to fight whenever they need something to fight. There are also some weird interludes (climbing the mountain, for example) that seem to serve no significant function in the story arc.

There is not much character development. With the possible exception of Sabu and Schanter/Lorel the characters tend to be very stereotypical and stylized.

I wasn’t wildly excited about the Hevon gems. The Hevon gems appear at various points in the story. My issue with them is that they seem to be “get-out-of-jail” cards for our heroes whenever they are in a tough place (a new set tends to appear whenever things look dire).

Our heroes don’t seem to get hurt. They DO get killed (and frequently resurrected) but there seems to be no in-between state. They are either in perfect physical shape and well-fed – or they are dead (and generally resurrected soon later). Yes, I agree the genre is stylized, but STILL.

I also had some “scientific” objections to some things. While this IS A fantasy tale, if an author is going to go to the trouble of naming parts of the spectrum invisible to humans, they are fair game for other types of scientific issues.

The first of these was around mountain heights. While I could not scale from the map in my version of the book (too fuzzy), from various descriptions, Maldene seemed about twice the diameter of Earth. However, the mountains were described as up to 100,000 feet. I don’t think this works. Mountains get taller when planets are smaller, not bigger. Everest at roughly 30,000 feet is Earth’s tallest mountain. Olympus Mons at roughly 85,000 feet is the tallest mountain on Mars. Mars has a diameter of 4212 miles, earth is 7917 miles. Unless Maldene is a VERY light planet (which would not be consistent with gold, gems and the rest of it) something doesn’t make sense here.

The second of these is with respect to the whirlpool. The whirlpool is described as 3750 miles by 1500 miles (about 6X the size of the Mediterranean). However, our heroes were able to circle around it in several kevs (weeks) and cross it in “a mere two rises”. I don’t think this works either. It seems to imply a speed substantially faster than any known sailing ship.

TRAVIS P. ★★★★★

Posted 11/16/20


This was an interesting story. Part horror, part science fiction with a little bit of romance thrown in. Raven, the main character, goes on a camping trip with some friends hoping for some scary Halloween excitement. The campsite is in some "haunted" woods near a ghost town. The story feels a lot like an 80s slasher flick and there are a lot of elements from slashers but there is more to the story. There might be a monster in the woods. Everyone might not make it to the end of the story. This is not a deep thought classic story but it isn't meant to be. It's for entertainment and it is entertaining. This is not a story for children.


Posted 11/21/20 


This was a fast book that had all of the elements of suspense that any mystery reader could enjoy.
Gema Fox has just graduated from college as a fashion designer. She returns to her small town home to assist with her parents' small business in clothing designs and alterations. Gema has a surprise waiting upon her arrival. She had created a new designer wedding dress that had caught the attention of a fashion reality show. Alika Sells and her film crew offer to promote the store and soon offer a heavy sum of money to produce an episode featuring A Finer Stitch. Gema and her parents accept the offer.
As crews are setting up and getting ready to film, Gema stumbles across Alika having an arguement with Iniko. Iniko was upset that she wasn't in charge of production and storms off. When Gema is asked to find Iniko, she finds somebody else....their body.

The book is fast paced and events unfold quickly. The story lacks physical character details- the descriptions of the people are mainly of how their personalities were presented. This was a unique feature of Roman's writing style. The only thing I disliked was how fast the book ended


Posted 11/23/20  


It was a cute read. As I mentioned, short and sweet. I really enjoyed it, despite wishing it would have been the longer book I had expected, instead of a novella.

I received a free copy for an unbiased review.

EMILY S. ★★★★★

Posted 11/23/20


Initially I thought that the book would be the same ol thing. However, I read it in one night. I was so engrossed in finding out the details of the grandmother and if the two main characters could find their way to one another. I highly recommend this funny and wild tale.

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