Tag Archives: review

Review of “Touch of Smoke” – Karissa Laurel

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

About ½ way through Touch of Smoke and my mind was teeming with questions.

How did Nina die?

What was Owen’s part in Nina’s death?

What’s up with Rikki’s nightmares?

How can Owen afford everything he’s buying?

Who’s the mystery man in the black ball cap, polo shirt and khaki shorts?

I had many more questions and I needed answers. I wanted to know more about Rikki’s life — past, present and future. And it wasn’t just Rikki’s story that I wanted to know more about. Was Owen a good guy or was he a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I pressed on to the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, looking forward to getting some answers.

 

In the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, I got most of my answers. Owen finally opened up and told Rikki his deep, dark secret. A secret I won’t share because it would reveal too much about the plot.

I will admit that Rikki did annoy me at times except during the battle scene. During that section, she impressed me and then I thought…. Maybe this chick is all right after all.

As for Owen: I loved him, from first introduction to the very last page. As the legendary Salt-N-Pepa would say…

 

What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
Gotta say it again now
What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
He’s a mighty mighty good man

 

Technically, Owen is more than just a man BUT to learn more you must purchase a copy and find out for yourself!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, super heroes and Star Wars. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. In the summer she’s camping, kayaking, and boating at the lake, and in the winter, she’s curled up with a good book.

 

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Review of “Dying for an Invitation” – Theresa Braun

~~ Under 50 pages ~~

Dacie returns to Romania where she’s ready to coax her invisible childhood playmate to reveal himself to her. Tension and passion fire up between them. Dacie’s mother spouts cautionary advice regarding the supernatural; however, Dacie shirks the warning as nonsense born from local legends. A lost letter lands in Dacie’s hands, suggesting the powers of the undead might have a grip on the family lineage. When her mother dies, so do the answers. And, Dacie needs the comfort of her unseen companion more than ever…

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I truly believe vampires are not real. But, what if they are? What if they watch us, biding their time until they make us one of them? What would you do to protect your home and your family?

Dacie grew up in Bran Village (Transylvania). There, people absolutely believed you must be careful of the strigoi (vampires). That’s why they took extreme measures to make sure the dead stay dead.

Theresa wrote about the staking of the heart, burying them face down and burning the deceased. What she added and what I never heard before was mixing their ashes with holy water and then drinking the concoction. I guess if it works and I was a believer I would say bottoms up.

She also wrote about the importance of garlic, thorns along a home’s threshold, and how easily a vampire can seduce their victim. As for Dacie, her fate was set years before she returned to Bran and came face to face with her invisible, childhood playmate.

While Dacie was attempting to figure out the past, Theresa gave us a history lesson regarding Vlad Tepes. It was a most interesting tale and proved very important to Dacie’s fate and the fate of others.

Like I said, I am not a believer in vampires BUT I have no plans to visit Romania/Transylvania just in case I’m wrong and the fanged monsters are really there waiting for me like one waited for Dacie.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤1/2 

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Review of “The Night House” – J. C. McKenzie

What would you pay for your freedom?

Caught by a powerful lord from the alternate realm of Arkavia, Taya’s offered the chance to avenge the dead, save her home world, and win her freedom.

Her days of stealing supplies and surviving among the remnants of Earth are over, but can she afford the price of Lord Thane’s deal?

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Thane clenched his jaw, took two giant steps forward and bent to catch her by the middle. When he straightened, he threw her over his shoulder. His gauntlet armoured fingers dug into her thighs. His swords’ hilts stared back at her, tempting and teasing. Her fingers itched to wrap around the smooth leather and yank one from its sheath.

If you’re going down, go down fighting, her dad’s life motto played in her memory.

If only her hands weren’t bound. Instead, she flopped uselessly as Thane strode toward the gate. His shoulder dug into her stomach and her face smacked against the cold metal back plate of his black armour. She had a perfect view of his ass. Fitting, since he acted like one.

What did she expect? Preferential treatment for a captive? How was she any different than any of the other slaves brought through this portal?

Thane walked unhindered through the thick air. The blue haze cleared. The buzzing stopped.

She wasn’t dead.

Thane pulled her down from his shoulder and set her on her feet in the snow in front of him. Over his shoulder, the other men walked through the gate leading the horses.

Cool air brushed her skin. The winter breeze contained exotic scents of Arkavia, smelling of pine, but different, more floral.

Thane watched her expectantly.

“I may have overreacted.”

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

In The Night House, death surrounded Taya for much of the story. At the start of this book, Taya lost her friends to a magical blue wave. This blue wave turned many people to ash and made all electronics useless. It was almost the perfect weapon against our civilization.

Taya, now she wielded a weapon that I thought was absolutely brilliant. She stumbled upon two swords that had flashes of blue and white light, which travelled in bolts of lightning from the pommel to tip of blade. Not just anyone could harness its power but Taya could. Whether she was swinging a sword, staff, or knife, Taya impressed me with her fighting skills and her quick thinking. She wasn’t a woman anyone should underestimate.

Thane, from the House of Jericho, was a multi-layered character: fierce, loyal, a great leader and loving. He was likable and so were the soldiers that followed his commands.

I think it’s worth noting, J. C. McKenzie wrote tremendous battle scenes and in these scenes we were able to see the camaraderie between the soldiers. We saw teammates become family, foes became friends, and unbreakable bonds form between many key characters. 

Through J. C. McKenzie’s gift of storytelling, readers will fall in love with Taya and Thane as they defy all odds and making their coupling work. Together, they are unstoppable.

 

I highly recommend reading this book. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Review of “Earth Sucks: the Fringeants” – Heather Chambers

It’s the apocalypse.
And Feng has a knack for pissing people off.
There are certain things you come to accept when Earth comes closer to its expiry date, like being invaded by bloodthirsty creatures you didn’t even know existed. 
He just wanted to find his family. Now he’s being hunted.
With the love of his life dead, his family missing and every surviving human on the run, Feng is feeling a bit grouchy.
The death, he expected. Her? Not so much.
Meet Diem, an adorable alien healer with boundless curiosity and a glowing crimson mouth. She grew up on stories of Humans but never thought she’d meet one. Now that the opportunity has surfaced, she wishes she never did.
Something far more sinister is at play.
The mystery surrounding the fate of the disappearing humans is not all that it seems. What Feng and Diem discover will change everything. For both sides of the war. 
But will it allow them to get out alive?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

This story, overall, contained a lot of information. We learned why the Fringeants were here on Earth, why they hated us, the purpose of their body’s light, the significance of the light’s color, and the lengths they’d go to protect their people. It was almost overwhelming keeping up with everything in the book.  

However, despite the overload of information, I will say Heather Chambers (the author) created very unique aliens. They could change their appearance with a pill, attend markets to trade goods, and they also sought out a soul mate. They were like us, fighting to survive. And, like us, they weren’t all bad.

Diem, Fringeant healer, didn’t like violence. She assisted a human (Feng) on more than one occasion and she seemed lonely. She just wanted to be accepted, like many Earth dwellers do. I liked her, even when she hit Feng with books and a frying pan. In her defense, she was scared and trying to defend herself.

The first 200 pages did point out how the Earth was drastically altered from how we see it today in real life. Heather pointed out what could happen if we don’t protect our planet: acid rain, undrinkable water, mutant plants and animals, cities in ruins and the list went on. I’m not sure if Heather actually believes in aliens BUT I do believe she was emphasizing the importance of taking care of Earth before if becomes uninhabitable. I agree, we should protect and preserve our planet for many generations to come.

 

The next 200+ pages……. 

 

We pick up right after Drachn (Fringeant) shocks the hell out of Feng with a startling and almost unbelievable revelation. The second half of the story also revs up the torture into submission scenes. The Fringeants use water torture, whips, remove body parts, pour hydrochloric acid down throats, and use room 191 to have the humans face their upmost fears and painful memories.  

Of course, the Humans fought back. No animal wants to be caged up.

The population of Earth has dwindled down to almost nothing but the final page was a sign of hope.

Before you purchase Earth Sucks: the Fringeants, I must warn you there are some intense exchanges between the Fringeants and the Terrants (humans). However, Heather did add humor and tender, loving moments here and there. I grinned when Feng was teasing Diem about reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The Sun and the Moon story was very romantic. And, I smiled every time Feng called a fellow prisoner Mr. Rogers.

In a world where there was no reason to laugh, Heather Chambers gave the characters and me a reason to smile.

Recommend: Yes!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Heather Chambers is a 19-year-old Canadian writer with a knack for exasperating English teachers and dreaming up the macabre. Sarcasm and horror have been her splash-pad since she first learned to write. She brings a keen awareness that one only has to look outside to see it resides not only in fiction. However, some people have closed the curtains. Her debut novel, Earth Sucks , brings teen characters and What Ifs to life for Gen Z readers who want their own writers to throw a wet cat on those blinds. 

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Review of “A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat” – Bernard Jan

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can’t understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout… and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don’t find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I’m afraid I won’t survive.

“I don’t regret anything. Marcel was not only my cat, he was my everything. My brother, my friend, my world shrank in a soft gray-striped furry ball.”—Bernard Jan

Powerful. Emotional. Honest.

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

If you’ve ever loved and lost a pet then A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat by Bernard Jan will make you cry.

A couple years ago, I lost my best friend. He brought me so much joy and watching his body deteriorate broke me. I watched him slowing stop eating and drinking. I witnessed his hind legs give out. There were so many doctor appointments, so many meds, all to prolong his life.

Pets become a part of our day. They listen while we talk. We might pet them for comfort. They are our constant when everything else seems out of control. When they die, life seems to stop. We mourn them like we would a human. We miss their face, the sound of their voice, moments we could’ve had together if we weren’t so busy, and moments we’ll never have since they are gone.

Like Bernard, I never thought I’d ever get another cat. I too felt like I would be betraying my buddy. It took a while but my children convinced me to get another one. We eventually adopted two rescue cats.

I know one day I will have to make the decision to prolong life or put them down. There’s no reason to let a loved one suffer because we can’t or don’t want to let them go. Don’t let them live in agony.

There are some days I still swear I hear my buddy, see him out of the corner of my eye. I don’t get too sad anymore because I think he would be happy I have learned to love again.

Bernard, your words brought me many tears. The photo of Marcel made me cry even harder. Despite all these tears shed I must say thank you because it warmed my heart to see the love another person had for his own furbaby.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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My pen name is Bernard Jan. I am an author – a novelist and a poet – from Croatia and I have released two indie books in English. 

“A World Without Color” is the honest true story of the three last days I spent with my cat while “Look for Me Under the Rainbow” in unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada and warms the hearts of young adult and other readers concerned about our planet and its treasures with the idea that change is needed, change is possible, and change will come. 

My first books have been written at the beginning of war in Croatia in 1991, amidst the air alerts and illusory attempts when I wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is alright with the world.

In my lifespan I have written and published five novels, two novellas, one book of poems and an essay in Croatian. Four of my manuscripts, together with my book of poems, are translated into English.

My passion for entertainment resulted in my becoming a partner of Tom’s Music Place, which was established in 2009 by my friend Thomas Carley Jr. with the goal to respect the music.

My need to help others came to the fore during my volunteering years: first in advocating for environmental protection, and then my volunteering, activism, work and advocacy for animal rights to the present day. I did some volunteering for the refugees, too, because suffering does not know about the borders and when it comes within your reach, in your yard, you simply have to do something.

As part of my animal advocacy activities, it has been a great honor and pleasure to translate “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust” by Charles Patterson into Croatian language. I guess that makes me a translator, too, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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