BOOK REVIEWS

HERE IS WHERE REVIEWS ARE POSTED!

CLICK HERE for the most recent review!

Soare S. ★★★★

Posted 06/19/20

 

Caught within Time by Jason Moser is a great book. I like how Jason portrayed the whole book-like a painting, every color was blended perfectly. Though, it was short but it was action-packed. The good part was that it didn't left me hanging. It was a good read.

Kaye G. ★★★★★

Posted 6/22/20

Holy hellion! Jason doesn't miss a beat delivering this skillfully composed bombshell laying out one killer storyline and gripping plot, welding this gem together sleek, shiny and tight. Anarchy, escapades and havoc run amuck, kicking this bad boy into a raging tempest, blasting it into a tailspin with a life-altering finale. Carrying the load and dispensing limits, imparting this action packed, hard hitting, pulse racing, heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, page flipping, block buster, blasting this baby to life beautifully. Vexing mishaps and unsettling circumstances, swirl with the intimidating trials and challenging tribulations, racing alongside the thrilling twists and wicked turns, putting our characters through their paces, testing them in ways they could have never imagined. Coiled, knotted and tightly woven, displaying the explosive ups and agonizing downs, grounding in it's simplicity and awe inspiring in it's depth. The dynamics and countenance in layer upon layer that you peel back with each page your drawn into this web so deep until everything else ceases to exist. The realism and authenticity of the characters as their on point personalities blend and connect along with the graphically detailed scenes, paint an epic backdrop that makes the storyline pop. Fantastic job Jason, thanks for sharing this bad boy with us.

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

Emily S. ★★★★

6/24/20

 

This story is an engaging tale of a group of close friends and cousins that go exploring an old abandoned house in their neighborhood. They are lured there by a dark entity and held in space outside of their normal reality. The challenges the children face will keep you on edge and reluctant to put the book down. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to lose themselves in a great tale.

KAYE. ★★★★★

6/29/20

 

Mischief afoot! Emily unleashes one thrilling rollercoaster delivering this action packed, nerve racking, nail-biting, hard hitting bombshell, riding through full throttle with a vengeance, kicking the gates of hell wide open, blasting this baby to life spectacularly. Shenanigans, escapades and mayhem call the shots, rousting the drama, intrigue, turmoil, danger, mounting suspense and intense situations along with a boatload of sinister deeds, you have one mind-blowing experience. Bracing the burdens and towing the line, delivering this pulse racing, heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, page flipping dynamo, wrapping this baby up sleek, shiny and tight. Bumbling through the intimidating trials and challenging tribulations, alongside the dangerous twists and wicked turns, drawing our characters closer than they could have ever envisioned. Crushing the boundaries and pushing the limits, displaying the strong suits and short straws, slamming this baby into overdrive, launching it into a frenzy with astonishing impacts, drawing our characters closer than they could have ever anticipated. The characters are realistic, intriguing and authentic with depth and qualities that add just enough flaws for diversity, transforming into amazing personalities. The scenes are so vividly detailed and descriptive it gives the illusion you were right there in the middle of ground zero with them. Fantastic job Emily, thanks for sharing this bad boy with us.

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

JACK K. ★★★★★

Posted 6/29/20

 

This story is a horror story. Although I normally do not read horror tales, I got sucked into this one because of the creative premise. Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a good and enthralling read with a number of creative aspects (and a nice 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.

The top three things I liked.

The story captures attention immediately. After all, it is pretty hard to put down a story that begins “I was fifteen when I found my mother’s body washed up on the beach.” The author certainly got my attention with THAT! The author continued to keep my attention throughout the tale, with deft descriptions that built tension in a well-architected way.

It is a complete story! Electronic publishing has created a plethora of stories that are “book 1” of something (i.e. beginnings without endings). However, the ending is often the most challenging part of writing. It is getting rare to see a complete story with a compelling introduction, a solid body, and a nicely resolved conclusion. This one had all those elements, and they were executed well. The conclusion also has a twist that (quite frankly) I didn’t see coming (and I won’t give away here).

The premise was original: Now, as a caveat, I usually read science fiction, not horror – so it is possible that this premise is more common than I think. However, I found the premise very original and clever. It had the nice feature of linking the horrifying elements with a ubiquitous presence, which was very imaginative. I suspect the goal of a horror writer is to keep the reader spooked by something commonplace for a couple of days as the result of the story (i.e. the shower scene in Psycho). This author succeeded admirably in that (again, I’m trying to avoid spoilers on this one).

For some other comments.

The story was written in 1st person, which can sometime backfire. However, it worked very well with this particular premise. It allowed for a level of innocence in the descriptions which helped build the dramatic tension. It also personalized the various experience in a way that would have been much more difficult with different writing style.

In addition to the clever premise, there were some unusually clever scenes. The one with the whale struck me in particular. It would not have been obvious to me as to how to feature a whale in a horror story – but (amazingly) it worked! (I will leave it to your imagination as to how the author did this …)

Gchat M. ★★★★★

Posted 7/5/20

 

When she sings up to be the ship's librarian, little does Lucy know that she will have to play amateur detective as well. As the cruise ship rolls along on it's voyage, the list of accidents and suspects goes on increasing. Will Lucy be able to solve the mystery before they reach their destination.

A not-so-serious who-done-it read.

TAMARA D. ★★★★★

Posted 7/15/20

 

Its not often that I need to utilize the dictionary when I read a book like this, yet this author had me reaching for it numerous times. Thank you for that!

Emma and Toby confused me for quite some time in the beginning of the book. Its great that the author keeps you on your toes as you work your way into the story.

I really enjoy the history that is peppered throughout this book. Bringing the past into the present in so many ways is a great way to keep it interesting.

I enjoyed this book and would like to follow these characters through the next phase of their lives.

This book was kindly provided to me by the author for me to give an honest, unbiased review, which I was very happy to do. This book will not disappoint. Enjoy :)

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.

CARLYNNE T. ★★★★

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.

MOSETTA P. ★★★

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.

MOSETTA P. ★★★

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.

SCAROLET E. ★★★★★

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.

MOSETTA M. ★★★

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.

CARLYNNE T. ★★★★★

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!

DEBBIE G. ★★★

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.

TAMARA D. ★★★

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.)

TIFFANY ★★★★★

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.

MOSETTA P. ★★★

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!

jack k. ★★★★★

Posted 4/27/20  

 

This is an interesting piece of historical fiction centered on the head-on collision of a passenger train and a coal freight train in Dotsero (Colorado) on January 15, 1909. The “wrapper” narrative is an era-appropriate description of a young woman (Hannah) marrying to get out of Iowa coal town poverty, traveling by train to her new life with her new husband (Ethan McShane) on a farm in Colorado, and being one of the passengers affected by the accident.

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 number of things that I liked about this book.

To begin with, the book had a number of rich descriptions about the early 1900s and the lifestyle of that era. The author did a good job of portraying the cost of items, the mix between home-made and purchased items, the clothing styles, the level of manufacturing, and the like for the era. The author also did a good job of portraying the differences between various classes of society (i.e. Hannah as the daughter of a poor coal miner, versus Ethan McShane as the son of a well-off farmer).

The author also did a good job of dramatizing the wreck itself, both in the details of the actual wreck and its aftermath, and in the details of the various individuals involved. Her descriptions of the lives of the various key individuals (the conductor, the engineer, the nurses, and so on) provides a richer background for the story than just the bare outlines available from the newspapers of the era.

Amazingly, in spite of being a story about a horrific train wreck, the story has an overall optimistic feel.

The author also mentions a personal connection to the story in the afterwards.

However, there are some things for readers to be aware of.

The book has a slow build-up. The first half of the book is focused on character set-up (roughly chapters 1-6) and situation set-up (roughly chapters 8-12). The train wreck itself doesn’t occur until around chapter 13. This can leave readers doing a bit of “thumb-twiddling” around chapter 10 or so.

The book is primarily about the lifestyle of the era itself and the human relationships surrounding the train wreck. It is not about the engineering technology or management of the rail system of the early 1900s. As such, individuals interested in the engineering details (descriptions of the locomotive itself, engine design, track technology, etc.) should look elsewhere.

Scarolet e. ★★★★★

Posted 4/30/20

Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers by Christy J. Breedlove is a wonderful story written by a brand new author for me to read. I loved reading this story and can not wait to read more from this author. I highly recommend this story to all.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Travis p. ★★★★★

Posted 4/30/20

 

This was an interesting read. I had read the first book but it had been a while and it took me a few pages to get into the story since I didn't immediately remember the characters. The story is easy to follow so even if you haven't read the first book you should be able to understand the story. A small town, Stone Hill, has been taken over by a cult. Monsters roam the streets at night and the cult has control over who enters or leaves the town. A few people are fighting to be free from the cult. This is the story of those people. The cult leader has supernatural powers and the group must fight him. There is no sex but there may be language. I would not recommend for children since there is a lot of violence. The book does not end on a cliffhanger but does seem to set up for a sequel. I hope there is a sequel because there are still a lot of questions about the origin of the monsters. There are some horror elements but this is more of a supernatural action story.

GCHAT M. ★★★★★

Posted 5/14/20

 

Sean is a model, suffering from cystic fibrosis. His life goes through ups and downs as he copes with his health, his family, his relatives and his ghosts.

A bitter - sweet read.

Kaye. ★★★★★

Posted 5/18/20 

 

ONE UNBELIEVABLE JOURNEY!!!
Superb! Mary brings all the feels, unleashing this beautifully composed piece of perfection, laying out one arresting storyline and gripping plot, pouring out the heart and soul with on point realism so rich and vivid, wrapping this little fella up seamlessly. Quirky mishaps and surprising circumstances, alongside the intimidating trials and challenging tribulations, noting the startling twists and sleek turns, jolting our characters off kilter, testing them in ways they could have never imagined. Satisfaction is an understatement, exposing such intensity and precision, riding those churning emotions and imparting one heart soaring wonder. Rolling with the drama, intrigue, turmoil, spiraling suspense and precarious situations, along with a boatload of determination, you have one life-changing culmination. Braided, bound and entangled, showcasing the explosive ups and agonizing downs, grounding in it's strength and awe inspiring in it's depth. You feel everything the characters feel, you become part of the experience instead of on the sideline. The characters, banter, dialogue, interactions and charged atmosphere along with relatable qualities and individual traits, blend and flow, transforming into genuine charismatic personalities. The scenes are so colorfully descriptive to give you a full understanding and realism that blend and flows smoothly. Fantastic job Mary, thanks for sharing this little guy with us.

Jack k. ★★★

Posted 5/28/20  

Frankly, I have significant mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it has a clever premise and some well-executed scenes (particularly in the latter half of the book). On the other hand, the conclusion is disappointing and there are some editorial and structural issues with the writing.

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 top three things I liked.

The starting concept: The “children” themselves are humans transformed to near immortality by the actions of the “blue orb”. This is an interesting starting concept as it allows for storytelling centered on the interaction of the “immortals” with regular humans. (After all, a lot of the excitement of the Greek myths is pretty much the same thing – immortals interacting with normal humans!)

The tension between the good guys and the bad guy. The “immortals” (perhaps inevitably) are split into “good guys/gals” (Zemty/Usaphis/Mehit etc.) and the bad guy (Ashkulid). The “bad guy” is really “bad”, having gotten into the habit of killing his own children in order to replace them (as they age and he doesn’t). However, unlike most cops and robbers stories, these particular immortals are extremely hard to kill (detached body parts will reassemble and the like) and thus the task of immortal “good guys” chasing and dealing with an immortal “bad guy” is imbued with some significant limitations on just how you get rid of the “bad guy” (no, you just can’t shoot him, stab him, drown him in the sea, or the like).

Historical asides: The origin of the “immortals” permits some interesting historical vignettes to add color to the story.

The top three things I found challenging (note there are significant spoilers in the following):

I found the conclusion disappointing. Of all the places I expected the book to go, having the immortals end up in “therapy” (sponsored by other immortals, no less) was unfulfilling. The key tension in the story is the conflict between Usaphis and Ashkulid (with a distinct focus on Ashkulid’s unethical killing his own children) and I expected something innovative in the conclusion that would pull together all the disparate threads of the story (like his kids figure it out, set a trap baited with Mehit, dismember him, and use his body parts for the foundation of a temple shaped like a pyramid, or something). But no. Therapy.

I found the number of characters excessive. There are 11 immortals in the Gold group, 5 immortals in the Silver group, 3 immortals in the Bronze group (that makes 19 immortals), the two primary characters (Kate and Harmon), a number of committee members who are “good guys” (Omar, Darkling, Randolph), other good guys (McFarland), committee members who are “bad guys” (Brownridge), several supervisors for Harmon, Harmon’s family, Kates family (which turns out to overlap other characters as Kate’s biological father is an immortal), a variety of secondary characters (sheriffs, marina operators, etc.) and many others that I forgot to make notes on. This problem is exaggerated by several of the key immortals having different names at different times in the story (the immortal Zemty is Briggs, Kate’s father, a WW II pilot, Reese (and/or Reece) - and I think had at least one more identity that I forgot to write down). While this genre DOES tend to have more characters than many other genres (witnesses, sheriffs and the like) this still seems excessive.

There are POV challenges: The author switches point of view (POV) frequently. Unfortunately, the author often signals a POV switch simply with the pronoun “he” (no proper name) followed by some action. While the author may be doing this as a mechanism to increase mystery with the immortals, I would debate the success of this strategy (note also chapters like C35 where this issue also appears with regards to non-immortal characters). Unfortunately, with about 30-something male characters in the story; the reader frequently has to stop, backtrack, and puzzle out where the POV went, before moving forward.

Mark m. ★★★★★

Posted 06/02/20

 

Having never read a Amish vampire novel before, I was impressed by it. With interesting characters and spectacular writing, this had me hooked from cover to cover. Will I read more from this author, yeah, probably.

Leilani A. ★★★★

Posted 6/7/20

 

This was a great read, as I already mentioned, it sucked me in from the beginning! Only one complaint, too much vulgar language, especially when and where it wasn't needed.

Alison. ★★★★

Posted 6/7/20

 

This will be the most unique book you will read this year. The story is built around the idea that there are children of Cain that are still after hundreds of generations cursed by the same curse that God put upon Cain, but those generations have separated themselves from the world not only to be as devout followers of the God in Heaven but also to separate themselves from the world to protect the world. As the story develops you see individuals struggle with beliefs that are the foundation of their lives, some accepting those beliefs unconditionally and others turning toward the world. In the end, the final message could be that we are all made in the image of God and however shattered that image has become, God still has the power to love, heal and forgive.


Who would ever have thought you could have found that in a vampire story?

Mark M. ★★★★★

Posted 6/13/20

 

This was a unique book overall. Interesting from beginning to end, it paves the way to read more from this writer.

Mark M. ★★★★★

Posted 6/13/20 

 

I enjoyed this. With unique characters and spectacular writing, this book had me hooked from beginning to end. For these reasons I’ll continue to read future books by this author.

KAYE. ★★★★

Posted 6/13/20  

 

Superb! Mary brings all the feels, unleashing this beautifully composed piece of perfection, laying out one arresting storyline and gripping plot, pouring out the heart and soul with on point realism so rich and vivid, wrapping this little fella up seamlessly. Quirky mishaps and surprising circumstances, alongside the intimidating trials and challenging tribulations, noting the startling twists and sleek turns, jolting our characters off kilter, testing them in ways they could have never imagined. Satisfaction is an understatement, exposing such intensity and precision, riding those churning emotions and imparting one heart soaring wonder. Rolling with the drama, intrigue, turmoil, spiraling suspense and precarious situations, along with a boatload of determination, you have one life-changing culmination. Braided, bound and entangled, showcasing the explosive ups and agonizing downs, grounding in it's strength and awe inspiring in it's depth. You feel everything the characters feel, you become part of the experience instead of on the sideline. The characters, banter, dialogue, interactions and charged atmosphere along with relatable qualities and individual traits, blend and flow, transforming into genuine charismatic personalities. The scenes are so colorfully descriptive to give you a full understanding and realism that blend and flows smoothly. Fantastic job Mary, thanks for sharing this little guy with us.

TRAVIS P. ★★★★★

Posted 6/14/20

 

This was an interesting story and I can honestly say I was not sure where the story was going. A drug addicted veterinarian makes a huge mistake and has to pay the price. The price in this instance is either years in prison or one day in rehab. Naturally rehab seems like the easier choice but rehab is not what you think. This version of rehab is virtual reality. Time is different in virtual reality and very realistic. I thought the story was well written and well researched. The story ends so there is no cliffhanger but there could easily be a series of rehab books.

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