Friday, March 22, 2019

Review: Of Gods and Sorrow by Christine Rains



Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Description:

“Stopping the undead will seem like child's play when the Cult of Ammut comes calling.

Even after losing most of her adopted family, Erin Driscol continues to console clients at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. Keeping the funeral business working smoothly is no longer the walk in the graveyard it used to be. Grieving demons are fighting in the halls. Eyeballs are showing up in teapots. And a so-called psychic and member of the Cult of Ammut claims Erin's boss Cort is a god. All Erin wants is a friend to lean on and a sense of normalcy. But as the cult kills people and repeatedly attacks the funeral home, she must stand strong or lose Cort to the Lake of Fire.”

Author:

“Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She's married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he's Batman. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has one novel and several novellas and short stories published. Her newest urban fantasy series, Totem, is complete at nine books.”

To learn more about Ms. Rains you can visit her blog or follow her on Facebook.

Appraisal:

Erin Driscol continues her service at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home with the only surviving son, Cort Putzkammer. Cort is overwhelmed with the business and grief from losing his family. When the Cult of Ammut discovers Cort has the blood of Ammut, they believe that their god, Ammut has returned. This secret cult will do everything they can to possess their god.

While Abdiel, head of security, tries to head off the cult, Erin is there to help. However, she wants to make friends with Ri, a Futakuchi demon about her age. As the bodies of people, and demons who are deemed not worthy by the cult start to pile up Abdiel and Erin are left with no real clues. Until Adriana Tessler an Azebaan demon and skilled investigator joins with them.

The plot twists are an emotional rollercoaster, and the story is complicated by misinformation. On this journey Erin learns more about herself and Abdiel. He is an Allu demon who are brutal unemotional assassins, but there is more to Abdiel than meets the eye. It’s a delight to watch him develop more human feelings. He made me swoon. But back to the book, the big showdown was full of action and death, at times it looked dicey for our heroes. Could they rescue Cort, who was under the control of the cult in a magical trance between life and death? 

Of Gods and Sorrow is an excellent second book in this series. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us next. I have an emotional connection with all of characters connected to Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK
  
FYI:

Of Gods and Sorrow is book 2 in Ms. Rains, OF BLOOD AND SORROW Series. Adult language, there are several F-bombs dropped.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Review: The Antiquities Dealer: a David Greenberg Mystery, Book 1 by Ed Protzel



Genre: History/Mystery

Description:

The Amazon blurb says: “When Miriam Solomon, the love of David Greenberg’s life, phones him at his antiquities gallery in St. Louis, the black hole at the center of his heart shudders. Twenty years earlier, Miriam had inexplicably run off to Israel with his best friend, Solly, a brilliant but nerdy young scientist. Now she tells David that Solly has committed suicide and she needs his aid on a secret research project Solly left unfinished: to acquire the one remaining nail from the crucifixion of Jesus. Is she telling the truth? And why does that nail have such significance?” (One wonders that anyone would need to ask why a nail from the Crucifixion would have significance. But blurbs – even my own – are not strangers to hyperbole …)

Author:

The author has lived much of his life in St Louis, which figures largely in this book. He lived for a while in the Gaslight Square area of that city, among its wackier citizens, some of which colourful characters have probably found their way into this book. He writes with authority of students working their way through college by gambling (including playing chess). As well as this novel, he has published the first two parts of his DarkHorse trilogy of novels and the third is due out this year. He spent several years producing screenplays in LA, looking for the big break which never quite came. He has a Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Appraisal:

This book hits the ground running. David Greenberg, the narrator, is a cultural, urban Jew of the darkly witty and ironical sort. It quickly becomes apparent that he has no self-control where Miriam is concerned, so of course he agrees to help her acquire The Significant Nail. I cannot tell you why she needs it, as that would be a massive spoiler. But trust me when I say the reason is a doozie. As is the McGuffin constructed out of the chess Game of the Century played between Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne in 1956. There is also (of course) a secret society in Israel which runs its own university, possibly a Second Coming, and a red-neck Christian preacher who is quite happy to use strong arm tactics to meet the potential New Jesus. There is, as you can see, plenty of plot.

There are a few infelicities in said plot. I found these irksome: the twin assassins with identical birthmarks; that people kept attempting to flee to safety in cars which they knew carried tracking devices placed there by their enemies; the ease with which Swiss bank account details were acquired and bandied about. There is an increasing flabbiness as the story approaches its endgame, leading to some implausibilities (a bit of a surprise as this is Protzel’s fourth novel: it makes one wonder what sort of editing is provided by Touchpoint Press). But by that time I was sufficiently intrigued by what was playing out to skip over the less well-focussed bits.

This is the second history and mystery using the Crucifixion story which I have read this year. It is fruitful ground for fiction writers. Both novels are thought-provoking and relevant in the twenty-first century. Inevitably there are nods to Dan Brown here, in the arcana and the sudden flashes of imaginative and unpleasant violence, although the protagonist is both wittier and more passive than Robert Langdon (and the violence is less extreme).

The McGuffin is well used and well explained in the story. It is explained again, unnecessarily, in an addendum to the story. The standard (presumably) chess notation used in both renditions did not format readably on a Kindle using the file I was working from.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: Judi Moore

Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words

Monday, March 18, 2019

Reprise Review: Memoirs from the Asylum by Kenneth Weene

https://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-from-the-Asylum-ebook/dp/B004FN1VL0/?tag=bisboanpa-20


Genre: General Fiction

Description:

Several streams of narrative flow together in this panoptic examination of life, death, and all the madness in between.

Author:

A New Englander by birth and disposition, Ken Weene was trained as a minister and psychologist and has worked as both an educator and psychotherapist. Now in semi-retirement, he lives with his wife in Arizona.

Check out Mr. Weene’s Amazon Author page for more of his books.

Appraisal:

I must admit that I didn’t have very high expectations going into this. Like most books by unfamiliar authors, I could only hope for the best while preparing for the worst. Luckily for this cynic, however, Memoirs from the Asylum turned out to be well worth the time spent reading it.

The title seems purposefully ironic. Merriam-Webster defines “asylum” as “an inviolable place of refuge and protection,” but could such a place actually exist? With 58 chapters divided between a mental institution and the equally mad world beyond its walls, this book would seem to answer “no.” In the narrator’s repeated references to his raging uncle’s depiction of a foundering ship, forever unfinished upon its easel, the overall message seems to be that “there is no asylum, no sanctuary, only the endless gray of the tossing seas of the endless paintings of our endurance.”

Paradoxically, the only asylum to be found anywhere is within the patients themselves, even as they become prisoners to their own tormented thoughts. Regardless of their individual limitations and psychoses, they can each take solace in whatever measure of freedom still exists in their heads – provided it hasn’t been completely cut, shocked, or drugged out of them already.

Marilyn for instance, the resident catatonic, hasn’t moved a muscle in years. Instead, “she sits inert in her room. She stares at the crack in the wall opposite her bed. She stares at nothing, and she sees the world.” It is a world inhabited by her childhood sweetheart, her dead mother and brother, and their beloved family dog, taking turns in each others’ roles while perpetually morphing into penises, balls of excrement, and various other objects across a range of fantastical scenarios.

The scatological motif is fitting, given how the patients are typically treated – like crap. One callous orderly “look[ed] more like he should [have been] working in a steel mill or chopping down trees,” the narrator tells us. “but there are no mills, mines, or forests, not around here. We’re the industry, the factory: human waste management at its most medical.”

If they’re not written off or forgotten altogether, the patients are routinely abused by those in position to do so. This is what inevitably happens wherever power is exercised over those with few, if any, rights as human beings. With the exception of one empathetic doctor and a handful of workers, most of the staff seem more interested in pushing pills and preparing budget reports than providing any kind of real care.

Mind you, the patients aren’t the only loons in this bin. Everyone else gets to go home at the end of the day, but given the pathological nature of the world outside, it comes as no surprise that they all have certain “issues” of their own. Everyone is crazy, but everyone knows this deep down. The world itself is an insane asylum, but once again, there is no point in telling this to those of us forced to live in it. Weene is adept at showing this, though, and he does so with a panache that would make the narrator’s departed cousin, Stan, whoop for the sheer joy of it.

The book comes to a rather predictable conclusion, but that’s probably just because there’s no other conclusion to be drawn. Upon his release, it doesn’t take our narrator long to rediscover all of the awful, maddening things that led him to commit himself in the first place. What keeps him going is “the possibility of something better, of something however fragile rising from momentary glory, from a lavender and apricot moment of joy.” The book isn’t quite as flowery as all that, or even as dismal as the image of the foundering ship mentioned earlier. It’s a lot of different, contrary things, but what else should we expect from a book about insanity?

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: Memoirs from the Asylum by Kenneth Weene was a nominee in the Contemporary Fiction category for B&P 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran June 26, 2012

Format/Typo Issues:

The Kindle version I read could do with a major formatting overhaul.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: Arthur Graham

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint



Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery/Speculative Fiction

Description:

He was only supposed to be a job. Why can't she walk away?
Colton Davies, an ex-Marine turned cop, stumbles across a damsel in distress while working the beat and rushes to her aid. Unbeknownst to him, Kristen Trevelyan isn’t an old classmate who accidentally locked her keys in the car, but a spy working for a classified agency. She’s tasked with getting close to the police officer, but she never anticipated how close they’d become.”

Author:

Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She recently won the Top Ten Handmaid's Challenge on Wattpad where hers was chosen by Margaret Atwood herself. Along with her husband and black lab, she spends a lot of time with her skeletons -- don't worry, they're just Halloween props.”

Appraisal:

Basically, this is a story of two broken people, in their thirties, looking for love and acceptance, which neither think they deserve. Lies and pride on both their parts get in the way of their relationship.

Ms. Mink has developed a war torn culture in which to weave racism, betrayal, espionage, intrigue, and romance. Then she throws in a large threatening fantasy element. This aspect becomes the fundamental storyline, which everything revolves around. Kristen feels like the weight of saving the world lies solely on her shoulders. Colton feels like it is his duty to try to protect Kristen, which is almost laughable. But, Colton has issues with Kristen that he won’t let rest. Colton spoke a little about being a Marine. However, towards the end of the book Colton said he was in the Army. Now that I’m getting picky I have to add a few other word oddities the author chose to use. Noses were describes as; puckering, curling, crumple, and crinkled inward. My nose can’t do any of those things. Also, here a few sentences quoted that I came across:

“…her lips began to crumble into what looked like tears.”

That didn’t stop the woman from cranking her ruby red lips wide in a blinding smile.”

Colton whiffled his lips while falling back into the seat.”

Colton moaned while reverberating his forehead against the mirror.”

Which was probably why he’d been suckered to his couch for the past three months.”

Shrugging with a small swagger on her lips…”

“…and she smiled in her stomach.”

There is a decent, multi-faceted story here, but it requires a thorough editing job to polish up and remove the thesaurus puke.

Buy now from:     Amazon US     Amazon UK

FYI:

Undercover Siren is book 1 in Ellen Mint’s, Inquisition Series. This novel contains graphic sex scenes, violence, and lots of gore.

Format/Typo Issues:

Besides the regular missing, extra, or wrong words, are the problems I listed above in my review. The copy I received to review needs a good editor.

Rating: ** Two Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 160-165,000 words

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Reprise Review: The Stars Twinkle Brightly by Mary Fam



Genre: Illustrated Children’s Book

Description:

“The story of an eight-year-old boy who discovers he has cancer. The author transforms an otherwise unpleasant topic into an uplifting and useful resource for parents and children dealing with cancer. The boy’s triumph over cancer leaves the reader feeling joyful and comforted and serves as a testimony to the power of perseverance and love. The story promises to provide a positive perspective on the many negatives of childhood cancer. The illustrations give life to the boy’s courage and determination in a colourful and cheerful way!”

Author:

“Mary E. Fam, an Educator, has taught students of all ages locally and abroad. She also serves her community as a Youth Mentor. In addition to her Master's thesis/dissertation ‘The Social and Academic Effects of Bullying’ (Fam, 2006), Mary has published various articles on teaching tools that promote student success and been involved in curriculum development at elementary and secondary levels. She is a member of numerous educational organizations that specialize in professional development for teachers and excellence in Education.”

Appraisal:

I gave The Princess, my nine year-old granddaughter, several children's books to read and then quizzed her about them afterwards. Two were Mary Fam's books, The Idea Tree and The Stars Twinkle Brightly. As soon as I mentioned the first of these in our Q&A session, she smiled and with excitement in her voice said, "I really like this author."

When The Princess said, "I really like this author," she was talking about both books. This one received an A++ from her, as well as getting the nod when asked to pick her favorite of the two. When I asked her favorite part, I was surprised that her answer was the beginning. She then quoted the first line of the book from memory, "The stars twinkle brightly when the night is quiet and calm." It makes sense that catching the attention of a young reader from the beginning matters at least as much as with older readers and there was something about this opening line that hooked her.

However, the story, about an eight year-old diagnosed with cancer, obviously interested The Princess as well. She related to the challenges the protagonist of this story went through to some she'd gone through, and she commented in comparison to the girl with cancer in this story, her experience hadn't been so bad.

When I read it, I agreed; it was a good story, and would be especially well suited to a child of this age who is going through this experience or knows someone who is. (The author went through this when a child, which lends authenticity to the story.) If The Princess' reaction is a good indication, the target audience is also capable of relating the story to their own lives and experiences.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Although I noticed at least one word using UK spelling conventions (colour) and there might be others I missed, it didn’t seem to be an issue for The Princess, which is how it should be. I’ve noticed that she, and I’m guessing many young readers, who are still developing skills in spelling and constantly increasing their vocabularies through their reading, don’t get hung up on such trivial matters as they focus on the story and work out what words they haven’t encountered before are and what they mean.

Added for Reprise Review: The Stars Twinkle Brightly by Mary Fam was a nominee in the Children’s Books category for B&P 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran October 25, 2012.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl with input from The Princess

Approximate word count: 2,100-2,200 words

Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Where Are They? by Steven Lazaroff Mark Rodger



Genre: Non-Fiction/Astronomy

Description:

“Does Alien life exist out there? The purpose of this book is not to take one side or the other in that argument. It is to explore the present state of knowledge and to say where humanity now stands on the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. Because there isn't the slightest doubt: that is a question that has occupied humans since they became human, and it's a question that shows no sign of going away.

And if there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe - where are they?”

Author:

“Lifelong friends, Mark Rodger and Steven Lazaroff have studied, researched and debated the Fermi Paradox, the possible existence of extraterrestrial life, and the SETI program that is searching it out. Amateur UFOlogists, historians and explorers, they have applied their research skills and passion to attempt to explain, in layman’s terms, the hunt for life amongst the stars, and to attempt to explain why Humanity may not yet have had contact with alien life.

 Steven Lazaroff lives in Montreal, Quebec.

 Mark Rodger is from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 Both are unapologetic Canadians.”

Appraisal:

As the description points out, the question that has occupied humans since there have been humans is whether we are alone in the universe. Are there other intelligent beings living out there somewhere. The authors explain the science and theories in an understandable way that a normal person should be able to easily grasp. Of course, as is often the case, even the basic question isn’t as straightforward as we might think. What does it take to qualify as an intelligent being? If we found robots that possessed artificial intelligence that was on par with our own, would that count? And if we did find something like that, how could those robots have come into existence to begin with? All good questions. Read the book and you’ll get some possible answers to these and many others you might not have even thought of yet.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Smokey Eyes: Cold Cream Murders by Barbara Silkstone



Genre: Cozy Mystery/Humor/Woman Sleuth

Description:

Olive and Lizzy’s Cold Cream shop on the beach is jumping—business couldn’t be better. But when land shark mogul Brent Toast is found floating in the Starfish Cove marina, with his sneer-side up and a knife in his chest, the prime suspect—among his many enemies—is his brassy daughter-in-law. Can Olive & Lizzy save their friend or will this be the end of the Loud Mouth of the South?”

Author:
Barbara Silkstone's most current series is Florence Nightingale Comedy Mysteries...The Giggling Corpse, The Killer Corset, and The Cheeky Coroner. Cozies all.

Silkstone is the best-selling author of both Regency Pride and Prejudice variations, including the popular the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. All her books are light-hearted adventures based on Jane Austen's timeless tales of love denied and love discovered. ‘Feel good’ tales to warm your heart.

She is also the author of the Wendy Darlin Comedy Mystery series. Five coffee-snorting tales that combine cozy with outrageous adventures.”

For more from Barbara, visit her website and her Facebook page.

Appraisal:

Nancy Nemo, a local restaurant owner, buys herself a sailboat for her fiftieth birthday. Olive finds herself on the boat's maiden voyage around the cove, which should have been a fun time, everyone else is having fun. However, Olive is sure she’s going to end up as shark bait as all of her water phobias swirl in her mind. After making it back to the dock Olive discovers she left her bag on Nancy’s boat and has to return to retrieve it. With a misstep boarding she finds herself clinging to the side of the boat. When Brent Toast’s body floats by with a knife in his chest, Olive finds her voice to scream. Brent Toast is a money hungry land mogul with many enemies.

Ms. Silkstone introduces a few new quirky characters as she weaves Olive’s cold cream business with her armature sleuthing savvy, and her psychological finesse to clear Jamie Toast of her father-in-law’s murder. Smokey Eyes is a multi-layered story as Kal, the local detective, advises Olive to stay clear and let him handle the investigation for her own safety since word has gotten out that she may have seen the killers eyes through the fog. With Lizzy and WonderDog at her side, Olive ignores Kal’s advice. Tension builds as pieces of the puzzle come together as Olive eliminates suspects as only she can. In the midst of murder mystery there seems to be a problem with Nonna’s cold cream recipe. In her haste to reproduce the cold cream, Olive overlooked a key ingredient that turns Nonna’s miracle cold cream into a magical cold cream.

Ms. Silkstone has a delightful way of playing with words that make her stories entertaining and easy to read. Her characters are realistic, intelligent, and loveable. With exception to the evil-doers who are shrewd and not so easy to spot. If you enjoy clever, smartly written cozy mysteries you are sure to find Ms. Silkstone worth your time. As a bonus there is a Smokey eyeshadow recipe at the end of the book.

Buy now from:    Amazon US     Amazon UK
FYI:

Smokey Eyes is Book 2 in Ms. Silkstone’s, COLD CREAM MURDERS series.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Reprise Review: I Coulda Caught That Pass! by John Pearson



Genre: Sports/Games/Humor

Description:

“An inside look at one fantasy football league. A fly-on-the-wall perspective of ten scrappy managers/everyday Joes – more obsessive than some, less obsessive than most. A touching story of one triumphant champion and nine complete losers.

Prepare to step into history.

And by ‘history,’ I mean ‘completely unspectacular events that have happened in the recent past.’”

Author:

An engineer turned elementary school teacher, John Pearson writes humor. His teaching experiences provided fodder for his first two books, Learn Me Good and Learn Me Gooder. For more, visit Pearson’s blog

Appraisal:

I joke that I’m not a sports guy and, although it hasn’t always been that way, it is mostly true. However, I am a game player. I wasn’t sure whether this book would do the trick for me or not. It is the story of a single season of play from the author’s fantasy football league. Would a non-football fan still like it?

As with Pearson’s prior books, the entertainment and pleasure in the reading is in the humor: for example, when he applauds two of the fantasy teams near the end of the season for “maintaining the fake integrity of this fake sport,” he finds humor everywhere and it comes through in his writing. Some jokes may fly over the head of non-football fans, but for someone who hasn’t paid much attention to the personalities and happenings in the game for several years, I was surprised at how much I still understood. Having never played fantasy football and with only a vague idea of how it worked, I was still able to understand the rules of the competition and the rationale behind most of the strategy, which appealed to the game player in me. But most of all, there was a conflict (no matter how fantasized it was) to be resolved, and a constant stream of laughs as Pearson and his friends made their way through the season. I’m convinced that John Pearson could take anything and make it funny.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Added for Reprise Review: I Coulda Caught That Pass! by John Pearson was a nominee in the Humor and Satire category for B&P 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran October 11, 2012

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

Monday, March 4, 2019

Review: The Clown by E.M. McCarthy



Genre: Crime/Satire

Description:

“Only in Pittsburgh can a guy walk into a bank and come out a folk hero.

Jeb Jefferson loses his job, and the perfect solution to his economic reality is unconventional, illegal, and uncompromising. Jeb's clown is a smart, methodical bank robber. He gets away with it until his girlfriend begins to suspect him. She tries to leave him, and still, Ariel can't leave him completely. Her childhood friend, Scott, has his own set of problems made worse because he's in love with her.

Just as the trio grapples with where everything is headed, the city of Pittsburgh is terrorized by The Clown. The police can't stop him. Then the copycats make it even worse. The real problems begin when the politicians get involved in crime and punishment. Will Ariel stay with Jeb? Will Scott tell her how he feels? Will Jeb be caught? A Heist Thriller set in Pittsburgh.
The social impact of joblessness in modern Pittsburgh is the perfect incubator for the perfect crime spree.

Twenty-one points-of-view characters tell the story from every angle (even the Three Rivers have an opinion). Part crime thriller, part satire/comedy, and part romance, The Clown is a play-like novella.”

Author:

“E.M. McCarthy has an Education degree from Penn State. Her recent novella,The Clown, was a Staff Pick on Write On by Kindle in Humor. E.M. likes to garden, read, cook, and watch Pittsburgh sports.”

Appraisal:

The concept is an interesting one to consider, ridiculous, yet clever too. Commit armed robberies and other crimes dressed as a clown. You’ll stand out in a crowd, but what are the odds that anyone will be able to identify you later? Start a little crime spree and soon legitimate clowns will look suspicious, copy cats will come out as well. Maybe you’ll get away with it.

The book description even tells you the culprit is a guy named Jeb. Well, the main culprit at least. And that’s fairly clear near the start of this novella. It’s a quick read, with short, easily digestible sections, each of them having an ever-changing character providing the point-of-view for that section. Jeb, his girlfriend Ariel, and Scott, a bar owner with a stutter who has had a thing for Ariel since they were kids, are the characters we see the most. But there are plenty of other minor characters that provide their point of view, some random people who become involved in the crime spree. Some of the characters aren’t even human, with the City of Pittsburgh where the story takes place and the Ohio River both providing a point of view. Yes, it’s different, but not as strange as it might sound. Along with wondering whether Jeb is going to get caught, if the clownish crime spree will continue, we’re also kept guessing as to whether Ariel and Jeb are going to last as a couple. If Scott gets his wish, the answer to that last question will be a definite NO. A fun read and interesting change of pace from the norm.

Buy now from:           Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words

Friday, March 1, 2019

Review: One Night by Deanna Cabinian



Genre: Coming of Age/Contemporary Fiction/Young Adult

Description:

“Since Thompson got dumped on Valentine's Day he's been miserable. He wants Caroline back and shows up at the Tiki House on Elvis Presley night, hoping he'll run into her.

Instead of running into her he meets Johnny Lee Young, Hawaii's favorite Elvis impersonator. As luck would have it, Johnny needs a temporary assistant and Thompson eagerly accepts the offer, hoping it will distract him from his painful breakup. He soon finds out Johnny has a secret heartbreak of his own and embarks on a journey to help him find the one who got away.”

Author:

“Deanna Cabinian is the author of One Night and One Love. When she isn't working or writing she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and their Havanese dog, Cuba.”

One Night is Ms. Cabinian’s debut novel.

For more information on Ms. Cabinian check out her website or visit heron Facebook.

Appraisal:

Thompson Lake is a seventeen year-old high school junior who describes himself as a scrawny AP class nerd. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and despite living in paradise he is miserable. His first girlfriend, the love of his life, has dumped him and he can’t stop obsessing about her. She consumes his every thought, and now she’s gone. Even though she cheated on him, he would take her back.
One Friday evening after work Thompson goes to the Tiki House for Elvis Presley night, hoping he'll run into her. Instead he is struck by a song that Johnny Lee Young, Hawaii's favorite Elvis impersonator, sings about the heartbreak of losing the one you loved. Thompson feels like Johnny understands his pain and he starts a conversation with him. Now he’s showing up at all of his gigs just to talk with him. They slowly develop an honest and respectful relationship. Thompson sees Johnny as the big brother he never had.

In One Night, Thompson embarks on a mission to find Johnny’s lost love. The plot is character driven, engaging, honest, and well written. All the characters are well rounded, likeable, and their dialogue is genuine. I found it easy to get swept away in Thompson’s journey, and the quest he inspires in Johnny. One Night is an impressive debut novel from Deanna Cabinian, whether you love Elvis or not you will fall in love with Johnny Lee Young.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

One Night is book 1 in Ms. Cabinian’s THOMPSON LAKE Series. Elvis fans will find One Night highly entertaining.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words