Tag Archives: suspense

Infested by Carol Gore (Book Review)

Swarms of powerful mosquitoes sucking victims dry. Insatiable horseflies feasting on living flesh. Huge roaches with a ferocious bite. No tent is safe at the Green Swamp Zip-Line Adventure and Campground. Camp manager, Casey Lovitt, and entomologist, Dr. Phillip Edwards, must go up against powerful business interests and cover-ups from the local sheriff’s department to stop the deadly infestation. And with the busy tourist season fast approaching, time is running out. Will Casey and Phillip stop the onslaught of hungry bugs, or will the bodies continue to pile up among the long-buried secrets of the Green Swamp?

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

 

Besides arachnids, I’m not overly fond of most bugs or insects. Before reading Infested, I didn’t suffer from myrmecophobia (fear of ants), pteronarcophobia (fear of flies), or scolopendrphobia (fear of centipedes). I do have a fear of spiders, but arachnophobia is a pretty common phobia. However, after reading Infested, that’s all changed. I now suffer from entomophobia, fear of ALL bugs. 

I don’t care if it’s a ladybug or butterfly, I’m going to be cautious of everything for a long while. 

After you read Infested, and I implore everyone to read it, you’ll understand my previous statement. No insect should be the size of a teacup poodle. No gator should be taken out by an insect or multiple insects. And, no way should pests be the predator while the humans are the prey

Infested will make your skin crawl, but that means Carol Gore completed her mission. She wrote a story that’ll leave a lasting impression with the reader. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤❤

 
 
 
 
 
 
Carol Gore examines the absurdity of life on earth by writing horror and humor, sometimes at the same time. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Fourteen HillsPunchnel’s, and Dark Moon Digest. Aside from writing, she’s a yoga enthusiast, a painting hobbyist, and a lifelong voracious reader. She lives in the rural south with her husband and two sons.
 

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The Crown for Castlewood Manor: My American Almost-Royal Cousin Series by Veronica Cline Barton (Book Review)

The English ancestral manor of Cherrywood Hall is ready to compete for selection in an upcoming British TV period drama series: the grounds are manicured, the mansion is polished, and the servants are poised. American heiress Gemma Lancaster Phillips has crossed the pond to help her cousin defeat the three other stately homes vying for the prize.

What Gemma doesn’t realize is that this competition is life or death, and someone is taking that challenge literally. The occupants of one home are killed in an automobile accident, and murder becomes a frequent occurrence at the other locations. Who is behind the mayhem? Selection would be a major coup for both the estate and the community. At first the other contestants seem to be likely suspects, but no one is quite certain as the tragedies continue. Could it even be Emma’s beloved cousin Evan, the surviving heir to the Lancaster fortune, or Kyle, his best friend and estate manager? With the Royal family in attendance at each event, the puzzle becomes a crucial one for Scotland Yard, and they enlist Gemma’s help to solve the mystery.

When the competition’s winner is announced on New Year’s Eve, will Gemma’s future be forever tied to her ancestral past?

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

Wow, royal families really know how to throw a party. No matter where the competition events were being held, pandemonium was soon to erupt.

Shots fired. Drinks poisoned. Suspicious car accidents.

Who was the killer and was he or she working alone?

This was not a simple murder mystery book. Veronica Cline Barton (the author) will have you guessing right up until the end when Chief Inspector Marquot explains all the motives behind each illegal act.

BTW: I would be shocked to know any reader was 100% correct in all the who’s and why’s of this multiple murder mystery.

I do have some bit of advice before you crack open this book. Grab snacks!

Veronica mentioned food so many times that I was starving by the time I finished the book. 🙂

Good luck, super sleuths!

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:❤❤❤❤

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Veronica Cline Barton earned graduate degrees in both engineering and business and has had successful careers in the software and technology industries. Her lifelong love affair with British murder mysteries inspired her to embark on a literary career. The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor are the first and second books in what she calls her My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. When not traveling and spinning mystery yarns, she lives in California with her husband, Bruce, and her two cats, Daisy and Ebbie.

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Lottie Loser by Dana L. Brown (Book Review)

It’s been twelve years since Lottie Luce ran away to Indiana, three weeks before her classes were to begin at IU, to avoid a confrontation with her best friend, and secret love, Nick Greyson. On the night she’d believed he was going to tell her he wanted her for more than a friend, Lottie caught Nick in a compromising position with her long-time nemesis, Ashley Marshall. The hurt and humiliation were more than she could bear.

Now a product of personal reinvention, Charlotte Luce is the youngest, and first female market president of Olde Florida Bank, and her life is nearly perfect. That is until Nick comes home to Anna Maria Island, hoping to save his father from financial ruin, and Charlotte’s carefully created world stands still.

Lottie Loser vacillates between the present, and the memories of the young girl who thought she had found love, lost it, and is now forced to examine the decisions she made, as well as the chemistry she and Nick still share.

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

 

For the most part, Lottie Loser was a story about two people forgetting their troubled past and starting anew. This book was charming, like Nick Greyson, until it wasn’t. I don’t mean that negatively. An out of the blue banking mystery unfolded and everything changed. Charlotte’s life was affected the most. Twelve years ago, Charlotte was hurt by Nick’s actions. Present-day, she’s smack dab in the middle of those same feelings.

When Lottie’s life could be more complicated, someone makes a confession that shocks the hell out of her. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, wait until you read the cliffhanging ender. The entire story was fabulous, BUT chapter 73 was off the charts good. (Being sort of vague to avoid spoilers)

I did knock a point off for the frequency in which she time jumped from Then to Now. At times, it messed up the flow of the story. Other than that, there weren’t any major storyline issues. I think romance readers will enjoy this story. I sure did.

Story continues in Call Me Charlotte (already available for purchase)!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Award Winning author, Dana L. Brown, went from Bank to Books with her debut novel, Lottie LoserA long-time banker and graduate of the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management, where she earned the distinction of Certified Financial Marketing Professional. She attended Ball State University, and majored in business.

The mother of three daughters, she lives with her husband in Indiana, but loves traveling to the laid-back lifestyles on the beaches of Florida. Lottie Loser is her debut novel.

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Troika: A Supernatural Short Story by Bibiana Krall (Book Review)

A normal day in the Deep South turns into a nightmare, as Chantal discovers that beauty and terror trace the fault lines between life and death. She fights to understand why a good woman, her friend Aida is stricken with a debilitating illness that steals her mind and reason. When Aida’s terrifying visions are revealed, what price does it have when it’s shared with Chantal? 

 
 Take a walk on the dark side, where existence is fragile and knowledge of the after-life can cross over and become frighteningly real and physically dangerous to anyone who knows the truth. Make it a summer to remember with a fantastic new story from Black Calyx Books!
 
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Dementia is a scary illness. It weakens the mind and body. People with the affliction are aware their time is limited, and there’s no cure. Loss of motor function, loss of memory, and hallucinations are just a few symptoms a person faces with this terrible illness. Again, it’s a sad and frightening illness.


Bibiana wrote about the fears and heartache of having Dementia from a sufferer’s point of view and a friend’s as well.


She focused a lot of time on hallucinations. Were the three people Aida saw real or the result of her disease? To avoid spoilers, I won’t say either way.


I will say this…


When you sense evil or death breathing down your neck, real or imaginary, it’s a real mind F—K. You can’t help but live in constant fear. And fear, as we discover, is like food for vile creatures.


After I finished this short story, I read the “Afterword.” In my opinion, I think Bibiana Krall should’ve put the “Author’s Note” before the actual story. Knowing this story was loosely based on real-life events increased my score. Before the “Afterword,” Troika was a solid three stars. After I read the “Author’s Note,” my score jumped a point.


Also, before the story began, Bibiana had an “Epilogue.” An epilogue goes at the end of a story.


Other than those two things, I wouldn’t have changed anything else. It was a quick, to the point, read and had just the right amount of spookiness to keep me engaged. No gore, only a story that embraced the word FEAR.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 
 
 
Bibiana Krall is the author of seventeen titles on Amazon, a former international travel expert and luxury insider, she has lived the adventurous life she writes about. Her novels and short stories highlight kickass, female protagonists in character driven stories that utilize social narratives.
Winner of a ‘Pay It Forward Scholarship’ from Wilkes University CW, Bibiana Krall has been called a, “Lyrical maven and literary wordsmith.” @Goodreads Learn more about Bibiana’s books, watch cinematic book trailers.

Become Literati and subscribe to her free blog, news, inspiring articles and occasional recipes at https://www.bibianakrall.com

YouTube: Bibiana Krall Books | Barefoot Films
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Escape by L. A. Davenport (Book Review)

To escape first you have to set yourself free

John, a doctor grieving for the loss of his wife, is recuperating at a glamorous resort in the Eastern Mediterranean, where he falls for Jasna, a brilliant and beautiful young hostess. When she is brutally murdered, John is the only suspect.

To clear his name and find her killers, he teams up with Charles, the elderly hotel manager seeking justice for the death of his granddaughter. They are pitched into a ruthless world of people-trafficking, prostitution, drugs, mafia and murder, where life is cheap and no-one and nothing is what it seems.

Will they gather the evidence in time to stop the killers, or be the next victims in the seemingly endless cycle of violence? And can they trust the police, or are they part of the web of corruption that reaches into every part of life, trapping everything in its threads?

Escape is the debut novel by L. A. Davenport that plunges you into a darkly glamorous world in which John has to overcome his grief and obtain justice for Jasna and the women made victims of modern slavery.

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

 

John, a recent widow, goes to a resort in the Eastern Mediterranean to get away from his sorrow. However, his escape from reality comes with dire consequences. The resort is serving more than fine food and drinks. The gang running the area has its hand in everything, and almost everyone is under their control. John isn’t though, and he proves to be tougher than anyone ever suspected. Petrov, the gang leader, sure did underestimate the middle-aged doctor (John).

Suspense, violence, mystery, love, friendship, and sadness… Escape sure had a lot going on.

 

As for the mystery aspect of this story, it wasn’t so much as who killed the ladies, but how would the gang be taken down.

L. A. Davenport broke up Escape into nine parts, with each section having three to eight chapters under them. I’ve read stories with 1-3 sections but never nine. Each part also began with Chapter One. That means, there are NINE of them. That seemed odd to me. Why start each part with Chapter One?! While the story was pretty good, this unusual setup seemed unnecessary and made no sense at all.

 

Now, let me talk about John’s love for his deceased wife. It was apparent her passing tore him up. He spoke to her portrait often. Yes, there’s no doubt in my mind he loved her, loves her still, but this is where things turn south for me. He fell in love with another woman, Jasna, quite soon after his wife died. He didn’t  know Jasna. Yes, she was a nice woman, but he didn’t really know the real her. I think he was confusing infatuation with love. 

John also spoke of this ‘demon’ inside him, which wanted John to do bad things. I assumed the demon would come into play later on, maybe a surprise twist, but it did not. That was a bit of a letdown.

 

Even though I had issues with some details of Escape, I do love when the underdog gets the upper hand. If you do as well, then buy this book.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤1/2

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L. A. Davenport is an Anglo-Irish author.

He sometimes lives in the countryside, far away from urban distraction, but mostly he lives in the city. He enjoys long walks, typewriters and strong black coffee.

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