Sunday, June 30, 2013

Double Click / Lisa Becker


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Chick-Lit

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

“Lisa Becker had endured her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates, many of which inspired Click: An Online Love Story. She is now happily married to a wonderful man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach [California] with him and their two daughters.”

Description:

Double Click picks up the lives of the characters in Becker’s novel Click: An Online Love Story six months later.

“Are Renee and Ethan soul mates? Does Mark ever go on a date? Has Shelley run out of sexual conquests in Los Angeles? Will Ashley's judgmental nature sabotage her budding relationship? Through a marriage proposal, wedding, new baby and unexpected love twist, Double Click answers these questions and more.”

Appraisal:

I loved this sequel to Click: An Online Love Story almost as much as its predecessor. Much (probably most) of that difference probably goes to personal taste. I liked Renee’s continuing saga and, as in the first book, this is done as a series of emails between her and her closest friends. It also has significant story threads for each of those friends. Ashley, who I found the least likeable of the bunch, gets much more time in the spotlight and Cassidy, a love interest for Mark, inserts herself into the group. I found Cassidy almost as irritating as the characters did and while she provided plenty of ammunition for the others to get snarky, between her and Ashley I was shaking my head and cringing a lot more. And when I read this quote of Cassidy’s online dating profile, I had to admit to myself that I am a Grammar Nazi:

i’m looking for a smart, successful and energetic man to spend time with.   but, my job can be very demanding, so patients and understanding go a long way.   if you think your …

However, not liking this book as much as I did Click … doesn’t mean I didn’t like Double Click. I did. In spite of his taste in women, I still enjoyed Mark, and the story thread involving love ’em and leave ‘em Shelly made up for Cassidy. In fact, I had a hard time putting this book down, too, and finished it almost as quickly as Click.

FYI:

Limited adult language and situations.

Would advise reading  Click: An Online Love Story first. While it might be possible to read this as a standalone, I suspect you’d miss some of the back story that would add to the enjoyment and complete understanding of the characters if you did so.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.


Rating: ***** Five stars

Saturday, June 29, 2013

31 Days to Life / S.A. Cameron


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Suspense

Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

S.A. Cameron is a young adult author writing under a pen name for this book.

Description:

Abducted from her high school parking lot, sixteen year-old Kyra is held captive, forced to go along with the wishes of “John” (her disguised captor) to survive. Released on the thirty first day, she finds that adapting to normal life is a struggle, especially while John is at large and still watching her.

Appraisal:

31 Days to Life is a suspense novel, but the premise is much different than most because the biggest, most obvious risk the protagonist faces is over early. The ongoing risks are harder to gauge. They’re real, but we have no idea how real. The author included a thank you at the beginning of the book acknowledging “guidance of those with firsthand knowledge of sexual abuse,” and I suspect that guidance is reflected in Kyra’s reactions to much of what happens after her release. 31 Days to Life is a good read, not only for the suspense, but the sympathetic portrayal of an abuse victim and the ongoing repercussions they may suffer.

FYI:

Some relatively mild adult themes. This might be aimed at a young adult audience and, at least in my opinion, would be suitable for that audience. Some parents might feel differently, at least for the younger part of the demographic.

Format/Typo Issues:

I reviewed based on an ARC copy and can’t evaluate the final product in this area.


Rating: **** Four stars

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Soul Gene / Lynn Demarest


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Science Fiction

Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

“Lynn Demarest was a newspaper reporter in South Florida in the 1980s. He then became a computer programmer. The Soul Gene is his debut novel.”

Description:

“Geneticist Bailey Foster's improbable discovery bolsters her own uncertain spirituality and changes the world.

Twenty-somethings Bailey Foster and Susan Griffin work as researchers for Bayner Genetics, a medical research lab owned by a non-scientific woman who was given the company by her dying parents. When the owner's daughter announces she is gay, she tells Foster and Griffin she wants them to find a cure for lesbianism.

Foster bristles -- homosexuality is not an illness -- but Griffin, who is herself gay, cheerfully accepts the assignment, knowing all along that she'll use the opportunity not to cure lesbianism but to secretly study her passion: Junk DNA.

The merging of Foster's personal search for spirituality with Griffin's scientific findings leads them to a discovery that will change people around the world, no one more than Foster and Griffin themselves.”

Appraisal:

This is my favorite kind of science fiction. Set in contemporary times and the real world as we know it, but with the twist of some new discovery or invention. The story becomes a thought experiment in how that new discovery might change the world. The Soul Gene takes place on the boundary of science and spirituality, yet for me managed to not trip any of the normal triggers that the second subject often does for me, where I’ll feel like the author is trying to lead me to a specific answer rather than letting me decide for myself. With interesting characters and a compelling story, The Soul Gene is both a good read and a fascinating thought experiment.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.


Rating: **** Four stars

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Toad's Scrotum, a guest post by Lance Manion, author of Homo sayswhaticus

Just because you've never gone back in time don't assume that's true for everybody. I realize that there are certain laws of physics that seem to indicate that it's impossible but you have to remember that this is the first and only time you'll be taking this ride through reality so to presuppose that the rules are the same for everyone is a bit shortsighted.

Now before you get all in a twist just know that the only person that goes back in time in this story is Gary and it's ok because there is no danger that he will upset the time/space continuum ... or whatever it is that everybody seems to worry about in situations involving time travel and the dangers thereof. There is no such thing.

It's like saying that there are things you can't do near a black hole. We simply have no idea what that list would be.

Let me tell you a few essentials about Gary.

When Gary went back in time he was 38. The year he left was 1998. The year he arrived at was 1980.

Gary was a failed musician. In 1998 anyway. He was the lead singer of a band called The Toad's Scrotum. I doubt you ever heard of them. They got together in 1980 with the intention of taking the world by storm playing New Wave music. They bought electronic drums and the kind of keyboards that you played like a guitar and enough hair gel to allow a man to slide from New York to Los Angeles without stopping if he got a good running start.  They released their own album in the fall of '84 entitled Perpetual Emotion Machine with a picture of the five members dressed in assorted tight pants and skinny ties. To support the release they toured a few neighboring states and rented a smoke machine and enough strobe lights to make a choking horse look cool.

In '86 they opened for The Motels and Adam Ant. In '87 they got opening gigs with Flock of Seagulls, Falco and Kajagoogoo. It was a good year. Near the end of it they released another album with the unfortunate title of Going Into Nobody's Business For Ourselves.

In '88 the drummer left and was replaced. In '89 the guitarist left. In '90 the drummer that replaced the first drummer left along with the bass player. '91 saw everyone who had replaced the original members depart except for the keyboard player who died suddenly of an allergic reaction.

The Toad's Scrotum played on. Gary would not quit. While musical tastes changed the Scrotum sound did not. Every night was 1980.

And then it was 1980.

Again.

In order to keep things moving allow me to mention that Gary went to bed every night from about 1995 onward wishing that he would wake up and be back in 1980. That's not to say that he willed himself back in time or that there is magic somehow involved in this tale, only that it bears mentioning. He had imagined it at least a thousand times and each of these imaginings he saw his band climbing to the top of the charts playing the greatest New Wave hits one after another.

When he awoke in 1980 and realized that he no longer had a receding hairline and a mortgage that was under water he almost fainted. Once the initial shock wore off he went straight to work.

He got the band together and they spent a couple weeks learning a whole new set list. The other band members had no idea what was going on. They just thought Gary had a crazy burst of inspiration. Like everyone on the planet in 1980 they had never heard this new bunch of material but they sensed a certain excitement in their lead singer as he booked their next gig.

Finally the night arrived to unleash these songs on the world. And by the world I mean a dance club called The Melody down by the interstate. It held 100 and was always filled to the rafters with kids with spiky hair and torn jeans.

The opening riff of I Ran (So Far Away) began to pump out of the speakers. The spotlight hit Gary. I Ran (So Far Away) was now a The Toad's Scrotum song.

The song ended with polite applause.

Love My Way came next followed quickly by Blue Monday. If it were possible for someone to die of joy than Gary would have expired then and there. His smoke machine belched forth and his strobe lights began to work their collective asses off.

It was only after a spot-on rendition of It's My Life that Gary realized that people weren't going crazy. They were listening and talking and clapping and drinking but no more or less than when he was playing his own material.

"Are you out of your god damn minds?" he asked them. "This shit is awesome. Don't you hear what we're playing here?"

Even his own band mates thought this was a bit arrogant of him.
He thought to himself he'd better turn it up a notch.

"This one is called Relax" he said and waited for the great swelling of applause that never came.

He played the extended dance mix. Of course, as it was the first time it had ever been played nobody knew that and thought of it only as the way Relax was supposed to sound.

The song ended to a smattering of hands banging together and beer bottle rattling.

"Are you shitting me?!" Gary asked a little too pointedly. "That was Relax!"

At least a couple hundred eyes looked at him with a little confusion and at least a couple of those couple hundred wondered when they were going to play a Toad's Scrotum song they knew.

"Listen. These are great songs" he continued, trying to have some patience with the crowd. He took a deep breath.

"Ok. Brace yourselves. I'm pulling out the big guns."

And with that The Toad's Scrotum launched into a version of You Spin Me 'Round (Like A Record) that would have had Dead or Alive bouncing their heads up and down in appreciation.

In his head Gary had already thought about what he was going to do for all the bands whose songs he was going to steal. How he was going to make it up to them.

He needn't have worried.

One of things that has not been brought up so far is the fact that Gary had a crushing lack of charisma as a lead singer. He'd never been a bad songwriter, he'd always been a bad frontman.

This point would have been hammered home had there been anyone watching the show from 1998 but, alas, there wasn't. TTS ended up playing She Blinded Me With Science, Cars, Goody Two Shoes and Turning Japanese before ending the set with The Safety Dance. Despite spending an inordinate amount of the song forming the letter S Gary was unable to get anyone else in the crowd to follow suit.

"That went well" noted one of the other Scrotum members in the makeshift backstage area after it was over.

Gary just glared at him.

"Maybe we should have played some of our old stuff" suggested another band member.

"Yeah" agreed the first, "We should have ended with Perpetual Emotion Machine."

This might be a bad time to mention it but Gary did in fact mess up the space/time continuum and by year's end had killed the entire New Wave movement.


Thanks Gary, you dick.

For more from Lance, visit his website.

You can get a copy of Lance's book, Homo sayswhaticus, from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

#Free for your #Kindle, 6/27/2013

The author of each of these books has indicated their intent to schedule these books for a free day for the Kindle versions today on Amazon. Sometimes plans change or mistakes happen, so be sure to verify the price before hitting that "buy me" button


Witch Weigh by Caroline Mickelson




A Man Called Blue by EC Sheedy



Author's interested in having their free book featured either here on a Thursday or a sister site on a Monday, visit this page for details.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Brief History of Time Travel / John Rasor


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Non-Fiction

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

John Rasor is the author of three books, Roadkill, How Lost Got Lost, and A Brief History of Time Travel. He grew up in California during the 50s and 60s, served in the armed forces, and had a professional career in manufacturing and aerospace. During his later years he enjoyed a job as a Hollywood messenger where he mined interesting inside information for his time travel book. He recently moved to Arizona to be near his adult children and grandchildren.

For more, visit his website.

Description:

A Brief History of Time is like an encyclopedia of time travel stories providing brief summaries of books, movies, TV shows, and short stories that use time travel in their plots. The book includes classic time travel stories such as H.G.Wells’ The Time Machine and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to literary works like Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The book also delves into TV series like “Star Trek,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Lost,” and “Fringe” picking those shows highlighting a time travel adventure.

Appraisal:

I’d expect fans of time travel to love this book. Those who are unable to suspend disbelief (since we all know time travel is impossible), obviously won’t. For fans, it will remind them of old time travel favorites, possibly send them off in search of movies, books, and episodes of TV shows they haven’t seen, and fuel their imagination as they consider what rules or conventions for when and how time travel is “possible” work best for them. (The author’s rule is that the writers of a book, movie, or show have to be consistent, although he tends to be forgiving when they stretch their own rules.)

I came at this from somewhere in the middle. I’m not a big science fiction fan, which is where time travel is most often found. Yet I have no problem suspending disbelief when it does. I’m not much of a TV watcher or movie buff either (and both of these are a large share of what is covered). Although, for me, there were times when the book drug, as the author discussed the plot of one more movie or TV series episode and how time travel fit in, most of the time I found the book interesting and entertaining for three different reasons.

The first is his passion for the subject as well as a sense of humor about it. Passion is contagious and his love for time travel came through. As an example of the sense of humor, here is Rasor’s explanation of science fiction.

Science fiction differs from fantasy in that science fiction is based on science, but with corners cut or gobbledygook substituted for true scientific facts.

The second was he got me both thinking about fictional time travel, both in the different ways it is depicted and what approaches I find most believable and entertaining, but also what a wide variety of approaches to time travel there are.

That variety is part of the third. While I claim to not be a science fiction guy, Back to the Future has to be considered science fiction, yet it is among my all-time favorite movies. Although I might be termed the anti-Trekie (I’ve never understood, or at least gone along with, the tendency of my fellow geeks to love this series), this was a reminder that science-fiction isn’t just travel through space, whether in this galaxy or one far, far away. And many instances of fictional time travel are neither science fiction, nor what you probably think of when you think of time travel. For example, the movie Groundhog Day (another favorite). I was surprised how many instances of time travel were a part, whether large or small, of books, movies, and TV shows that I’d classify as comedy, romance, or something else far away from science fiction, with that one little exception.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a long list of shows to go check out on Netflix.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.


Rating: **** Four stars

A Brief History of Time Travel / John Rasor



I'd like to welcome our newest pal, Michael Thal, who does the first half of a double shot today for his debut. Read what BigAl has to say about the same book later today. Michael is the author of The Legend of Koolura, available from Amazon US (ebook or paper) and Amazon UK (ebook or paper).


Reviewed by: Michael Thal

Genre: Non-Fiction

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

John Rasor is the author of three books, Roadkill, How Lost Got Lost, and A Brief History of Time Travel. He grew up in California during the 50s and 60s, served in the armed forces, and had a professional career in manufacturing and aerospace. During his later years he enjoyed a job as a Hollywood messenger where he mined interesting inside information for his time travel book. He recently moved to Arizona to be near his adult children and grandchildren.

For more, visit his website.

Description:

A Brief History of Time is like an encyclopedia of time travel stories providing brief summaries of books, movies, TV shows, and short stories that use time travel in their plots. The book includes classic time travel stories such as H.G.Wells’ The Time Machine and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to literary works like Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The book also delves into TV series like “Star Trek,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Lost,” and “Fringe” picking those shows highlighting a time travel adventure.

Appraisal:

In a folksy first person writing style, John Rasor delves into the world of science fiction, specifically all literature, movies, short stories, and TV programming that features time travel in its plot. Rasor writes brief summaries of each work providing readers with his personal opinion of each work. This technique is reinforced later in the book when he reiterates a few of his favorites in his “Ten All-Time Favorite Time Travel Stories.” His number ten is Dean R. Koontz’s novel, Lightning, while number one is the entire five seasons of “Fringe”. Again, Rasor provides in-depth analysis of each, which is often repetitive.

It is highly recommended to read this book with a pen and paper nearby as you’ll want to jot down stories you’d like to read or watch. This reviewer suggests skimming through sections that would spoil stories you wish to enjoy for personal entertainment—Rasor’s primary purpose of writing this tome.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bad Book / K.S. Brooks, Stephen Hise, & JD Mader


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Satire/Parody

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

Three people who write a bunch. Want more?

K.S. Brooks has written everything from thrillers to children’s books (I count eleven , not including those where she was a coauthor or contributing author, which adds another handful – the number of fingers on Honey Boo Boo’s hand if you count this book).

Stephen Hise is the author of the suspense novel Upgrade and has contributed to several others including Creepier by the Dozen, a short story anthology written by Hise, his son, and his daughter. He’s also the founder and (with Brooks) the co-administrator of the Indies Unlimited website.

JD Mader has two novels to his credit, a short story collection, and a collection of essays to scare any dad-to-be, You Hate Me Because I’m Pregnant (a survival guide for expectant dads). He’s also contributed to and co-written several others.

For more, visit the individual websites for Brooks, Hise, and Mader.

Description:

“The name’s Case. No first name. He is a man among men and therefore only one name is sufficient. Women want to smack him – men want to smack him, too, just harder. Join Case on his epic travels through multiple literary genres as he ruins horror, space-adventure, noir detective, spy-thriller, westerns, classics of literature, pop culture icons and more with his own unique panache.”

Appraisal:

Humor may be dependent on the reader, but if you can’t laugh at this book, you must have had a funny-bone-ectomy as a child. The laughs started with a disclaimer that begins …

Bad Book meets or exceeds the recommended daily allowance of vowels and consonants, and is safe and effective when used as directed. Use of Bad Book in any manner inconsistent with its intended purpose nullifies its warranty, which is neither expressed nor implied.

… and finishes with, “If you experience an erection that lasts more than four hours, congratulations.” It only gets better from there. As the hero (villain, idiot, or at least protagonist) Chase bounces from genre to genre the authors poke fun at every one with references to the wild (or is it mild) old west and even the books J.K. Rowling wrote before The Casual Vacancy.

I felt a tap on my shoulder and tottered around to see some geezer dressed in a long gown and a pointy hat like that old dude in that book about that weird little kid that goes off to some magical school to find a ring. What’s the name of that thing again – “Hobbits Take Manhattan,” or something like that.

How could you go wrong for less than a dollar to get your own copy of the Kindle Edition. (Hurry, they may try to cash in on the critical acclaim and bump the price up to three digits. Even split three ways, they’ll be hundredaires in no time.)

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues


Rating: ***** Five stars

Monday, June 24, 2013

Origins / SJ Parkinson


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

“Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. He has written a newspaper column on computers and been published in several magazines.”

For more, visit the author’s website.

Description:

“At a remote French Foreign Legion fort in the middle of the Algerian desert, Sergent √Čtienne Martin drinks himself numb every night. A paratrooper, talented soldier, and respected Non-Commissioned Officer, the alcohol is his way of escaping the oppressive atmosphere of the camp. Under the iron hand of Colonel Rochon, no breach of the rules is tolerated and fear rules the base. Anger, frustration, and desperation are the norm as Martin endures the last three years of his contract. Morale plummets, and desertions are frequent. Life inside the fort walls becomes an endless grind. Martin discovers millions of Euros have been taken from the fort accounts for personal gain. His duty demands he report this to his superiors. Discovering how widespread the conspiracy is, Martin must decide whether to stand against hopeless odds, or run to fight another day.”

Appraisal:

Typically, when I sit down to write a review I have a pretty good idea how many stars I’m going to award the book, but review my notes first to make sure I’m not missing anything. This book was an exception. I was waffling, mainly because of two issues that, as it turns out, might have received more weight in my thinking than they deserved, despite liking the book overall.

The first of these was an introduction which, in my mind, drug on forever. It was an explanation of the French Foreign Legion and the historical context of when this story takes place. I guess I really am one of those people who it is best to grab from  word one, because it turns out the introduction was five short paragraphs. A total of less than 300 words. I think a reasonable argument could be made for relegating the introduction to the afterword section (and good arguments to the contrary), but in any case, this as an issue was obviously way overblown in my mind.

The second issue happens to be one of my pet peeves, which I saw several times and is illustrated by this example:

“Yes, sir. Good-bye.” Click.

What purpose does the “click” serve (other than to grate on my nerves)? I’ve seen this in other books and react to it the same as I do to fingernails on a blackboard. If the speaker had slammed the phone down, threw the phone across the room, or even gently laid it in its cradle, it would subtly impart something about the character’s state of mind that might not have been communicated during the call. There are other scenarios where how, why, and when a phone caller hangs up matters. But in the vast majority of cases (like this example and I think all of them in this book) the dialogue tells us the call has ended. After “good bye,” the reader understands and isn’t going to be wondering, “did he hang up the phone yet?” Frankly, I’m surprised the author’s editor didn’t catch and purge these extraneous clicks.

I’ve now burnt way more words on two things that, in my mind, were much bigger than they should have been. However, other than cringing at the end of every phone call, I enjoyed the book. Although Origins is being advertised as the first book in Parkinson’s The Legionaire series, it was released after Mask of the Pharaoh, now considered book #2, so for those like me who read that book first, it is like a prequel. While reading Mask of the Pharaoh I thought the history of Stephen Anderson, the protagonist, would make a good story, and this is that story. It’s intense. Takes place in some interesting foreign locales which come to life for the reader and, for those new to the series, is an excellent starting point. Turns out the complex and interesting back story that was hinted at in Mask of the Pharaoh does make for a good story.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues


Rating: **** Four stars

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fusion / Imogen Rose


You may remember seeing this reviewed a month or more ago. Fredlet will explain why you're seeing it reviewed again in her review.

Reviewed by: Fredlet

Genre: YA/Paranormal

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

“Globetrotter Imogen Rose is Swedish by birth, went to college in London (where she received a PhD in immunology), and is now a Jersey girl. After her eight-year-old daughter insisted she write down her stories, Rose wrote the first of her Portal Chronicles series and decided to let it out into the world. The response was so positive that she’s continued with the series, and started two other series.”

For more, visit Rose’s website.

Description:
“This is the final book of the Portal Chronicles series. That, apparently, brings a conclusion to the time-and-dimension-hopping adventures of the two Arizonas,  Arizona Stevens and her alter ego in another dimension, Arizona Darley.”

Appraisal:

Since I became an avid reader at age 10, I have been a binge reader, and lover of series. Every free minute, weekends, and vacation time was devoted to reading as many books as I could fit in. This continued through my 38 years of teaching and first year and a half of retirementDuring the summer of 2010, I discovered the Portal Chronicles by Imogen Rose. I ripped through the first two books, and fell in love with the story and characters. I’ve always been intrigued with time travel stories, but had not read much YA or paranormal fiction.  I eagerly awaited the next two books in the series and ripped through those as well. Finally, in March of 2013, the last in this adored series was released while I was on vacation, and I had the same plan to read quickly to the end. That did not happen.

I read the prologue to Fusion and found myself stopping to think back on all of the characters…what they had gone through, how they had grown and changed, and what was going to happen to them in this final book. These characters had been living vividly in my brain for so long; they seemed real to me. I wanted to know the outcome, but was reluctant to reach the end and let them go. So, I stopped reading until I got home. Then, I read the first chapter and put it down again…contented to wait for more. I continued reading this way, until I finally finished the book two months later. I felt the way Lauren, Ms Rose’s daughter, must have felt when she was waiting for the next installment of the story to be written for her. This is not to say that I won’t be prone to binge reading anymore, but I am glad to discover that reading can be just as satisfying done slowly over time.

I was disappointed that I did not finish the book in time to review it for the blog tour stop at Books & Pals; Al and ?wazithinkin’s reviews were an awesome double shot! It was a fitting and satisfying ending to this series, leaving the door open to some characters crossing over into one of Ms Rose’s other series. I fell in love with Rupert, so I am hoping he is one to show up again. When I found out that there was going to be a supermoon June 23rd, it reminded me of the beautiful cover for Fusion, and prompted me to ask about a third review for the book to be posted. So, here it is; a review for a super series on the date of the supermoon. Thank you Ms Rose for leading me to a new way of reading, introducing me to such well developed, intriguing characters, exposing me to exciting paranormal events, and leaving me with the wish that I could find them all again.

FYI:

Each of the books in this series relies on information from the previous book, so to experience the full enjoyment of the characters and understand the plot details, I recommend reading the books in order.
There is a small amount of adult language included.

Format/Typo Issues:

None found.


Rating: ***** Five Stars

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heartbalm / Malachi Stone


Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Adult/ Contemporary Fiction

Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

Malachi Stone is an attorney practicing law in Southern Illinois. He is the author of ten novels and a book of short stories.

Description:
“In this darkly comic novel, a sex-addicted attorney in uneasy recovery suffers a major relapse when he hires a sexy secretary, making himself the target of her insanely jealous biker ex-husband, a seven-foot ogre street-named ’Snuggle.’ Ricky's latest client is also his twelve-step sponsor, a psychotic who thinks Walmart is slipping Sani-Flush into his medication and who is charged with committing public indecency at the Santa Claus parade. When Ricky impetuously joins in a threesome with a convenience store clerk and her friend, his life problems multiply.”

Appraisal:

Rick Galeer, Attorney at Law, whose primary area of practice was child advocacy, is a sex addict, alcoholic, and methamphetamine abuser. He has been clean for two years, when he falls off the wagon things start going wrong and spirals out of control in a big way. The web of chaos and deception that Ricky finds himself in with  friends, clients, thugs, and a rather nasty detective is cleverly written. The story is told from Rick’s point of view and all of the characters, there are several, are well written and developed as the story progresses. The way each of their stories are woven together was entertaining and sometimes humorous, while at other times tragic.

Rick is a smart man but he listens to the wrong head and finds himself in life-threatening situations. There are several plot twists as the story moves forward getting deeper and deeper into depravity. When Rick finally starts using his brain and remembers some wise advice he slowly starts putting the pieces of this puzzle together, but nobody’s life will ever be the same.

I had a few problems with this book on an editing level. When I came across words like pitcher, ast, and waren’t I decided these were intentional misspellings the author used to convey how his characters sounded when they spoke. I hope anyway because I accepted them as such. However, one of the characters nickname was Drey and I found this character referred to as Drew seven times though out the book. Here is a sample of the way Drey spoke:

"Life sure ain't fair. But you can't never tell, can you? Like for instance this one old dago that still stayed in Washington Park"-she pronounced it Washinton-"even after the niggers got so bad, he was like the next-to-the-last white man left in town, he walks the streets lookin' like a total hobo, with patches on his ass, wearin' this ole busted out World War Two jacket, you'd pitcher him standin' in a cheese line or hangin' around on the sidewalk waitin' for the food pantry to open up? I ast a friend of mine and as it turns out, that ole duffer was the head of the local mafia. Can you believe it?..."

On a believability level, I was willing to suspend my disbelief to allow Rick to speak with his jaw wired shut because he was the main character and he had a lot to say. I loved the dialogue between Heart, his secretary, and him but how do you manage to eat Hamburger Helper with your jaw wired shut?  Is that possible?

FYI:

“This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.” I should also add this book contains racist remarks, sexual situations, and very profane language. I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this book; I think I need to go find a nice book with some unicorns or fairies and a nice quiet corner.   

Format/Typo Issues:

There are a small number of editing errors outside of the language style that some of the characters spoke.


Rating:  **** Four Stars