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Showing posts from 2017

Review: Wilder (Guardians Book 1) [#paranormal]

Wilder by G.K. DeRosa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great story. Protagonist easy to identify with. Antagonists not so much. In fact they were rather cardboard cutout. Warmed up to Vamp Bros over time. A little bit youngish with the general tone and language - suitable for tweeners if they're not squeamish at all. Speaking of which it's really clean and not too gory.

The Guardian Club seemed a bit stand-offish. Want to see more Dani.

Minor cliffhanger, and I might break down to get the next.



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Review: Stealthy Steps (Nanostealth 1) [#scifi]

Stealthy Steps by Vikki Kestell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won't dock this one points for horrible science, or overbearing "stop the storyline for a few pages" preaching, or for a few unrealistic characters. It's a decent enough story.

It's odd the way most everyone is like monotone voice "oh, hey, invisible, wow, so now what?" - seriously?

I'm not convinced that this totally unskilled newbie can defeat the US Gov by any description of her skillz or motives.

But still, fun story. Next books? Probably not. I'm glad she ended as she did. Good enough.

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Review: A Rip in Time (Tainted Blood 1) [#fantasy]

A Rip in Time by Jeff Gunzel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As far as stories go, it was better than average. The girl who might have been the protagonist was a bit of a mystery, from her as well as us. Good job of protecting her history and abilities from us. The men were a bit caricaturish, but maybe that's just the genre, where everyone fits an archetype.

The woodlands nation was Tolkien-esque, which might not be a compliment. I try not to read fantasy too much, which might be influencing my review. If I were more experienced in fantasy, I might see this from a different perspective.

Wait, there are other books? This book did not convert me to become a hard-core fantasy reader, so nope. But if this is your cup of tea, totally, go for it and enjoy.

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Review: Gretel [#horror]

Gretel by Christopher Coleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great story. Most of the characters pretty well fleshed-out, except poor Hansel. Interesting world, maybe a bit like ours, but with a few futuristic twists (robot cars). Everyone has decent motivation, and the pace increases up to the end, drawing me into a binge read to finish the book. Fortunately it could be read as a stand-alone if you assume everything is just done-done. Reviews of Part 2 are iffy, so not sure what's next for me.

Very minor editing issues, but nothing to deduct from the 5 stars. Adult themes, but nothing graphic.

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Review: The Twelfth Keeper #paranormal

The Twelfth Keeper by Belle Malory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. The story was well done and engaging. The characters were simple to empathize with and like. My only real complaint would have to be the quickness and simplicity with which the story was wrapped up.

There was a lead-in to the next book, but it wasn't a cliff-hanger. You could easily read this as a stand-alone.

My thoughts here on reviewers feeling left out of the world-building process. I prefer a world that leaves out the big picture and presents the little details in a natural flow. Taking time out of the story to explain the process by which cars evolved into self-driving would have been a drag on the flow. People don't naturally pause the action while thinking to themselves "I remember back about 50 years ago when the first ..." but rather in the action say "Car: take me someplace"



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Review: Diesel - a short story #horror

Diesel: A Short Story by Zachariah Wahrer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

15 minutes to read. Maybe I'm just slower than the other kids. A few odd choices of words (or mistakes) but nothing you can't read around if you've been reading modern self-published authors for a while.

The story? Interesting enough. Characters are caricatures. Unexpected turn of events. Classy enough effort to destroy the evidence. Potential lead-in to a vigilante series.

Why 3? It's just middlin'. Nothing too exciting, and in spite of my having lived this myself numerous times, I wasn't able to really identify with the protag. Just not enough time or words there I think.

Like I just alluded to, this is real. It happens. I have experienced this exact same type of prejudice and bullying while riding my bike in Missouri. Apparently all the locals are super fit from drinking vast quantities of beer while ranting about having been on the football team 40 years ago. Yeah. Athletes they are. Legends in …

Review: Half a Huntress [very short, werewolf]

Half a Huntress: a werewolf shifter romance story by Emma Daze
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Just. Don't. Do. It.

It's a trap!

It's about maybe 10 pages long. Limited backstory of protagonists. Single incident. And we're then told "Buy more books to find out what happens"

Talk about cliff-hanger. If I'd had a bit more time to care about anyone, it might be a consideration, but the cliches are thick and there's no compelling reason to continue.

Unless you are so totally hungry for human-were love stories that you'll put up with this in order to read one. Which might happen over the next handful of books.

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Review: The Gratitude Revolution [inspiration, selfhelp]

The Gratitude Revolution: How To Love Your Life and Be Inspired By The World Around You by Laura Moreno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This took a while longer to read than expected. If you spend the time on each of the sections of this book, you'll probably spend a lot of it. It's pretty comprehensive to see all the various forms and means and ways to express and feel gratitude.

Start off by saying Thank You for everything that comes as a blessing in your life, even those disguised as challenges. You'll be glad you did.

Several of the exercises or tasks outlined could take weeks to achieve if you give it your full attention. Some of them could become lifelong habits. Give it a shot.

Minor editing issues but nothing you can't read through, some maybe not even noticed.

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Review: Devil in the Countryside [historical fiction]

Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rare for me to give a 5. I also don't normally like Historical Fiction quite so much. This was a very engaging book. Difficult to set down for very long. But alas, I do have a job ...

This chunk of history is a sad period in our European heritage, and it seems fairly presented not to take sides. There are no real obvious exclusively good or bad characters or groups. It is a war, after all, and the victor, should there be one, will rewrite history to suit their marketing position. (in this case while battles were won and lost, ultimately it resulted in an uneasy truce as it played out over the centuries)

The wrap-up could have been skipped. Writing excellently edited. There is a very interesting tidbit of activity in the wrap-up that subtly hints at a different interpretation of events in the book. Very interesting indeed.

The author clearly states there is a probable sequel, and I might have to keep my eyes open for it…

Review: The Better Smoothies Book [smoothies recipes]

THE BETTER SMOOTHIES BOOK : For Health and Weight Loss and Diet: Healthly Blender Smoothie Mixes For Good Healthy Shakes. Be a Health Drink Smoothie Pro! by Sally Primrose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars for a recipe book? Sure enough. It's concise, clear, easy to understand and the choices of smoothie are pretty yummy looking. I've been making my own smoothies for quite some time, and I loved especially the ones with a shot of protein powder. Those are my favorites for sure. I won't review the tastes of the smoothies, since that's all personal preference, but I think the author did a great job here in presenting them.

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Review: Dark Beginnings Lance Brody Book 0 [paranormal]

Dark Beginnings by Michael Robertson Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was okay enough. I finished it without much struggle or forcing myself to. There were some oddball word combinations, like thinking faster than typing kind of issues. There was a slightly annoying level of explicit foreshadowing as "what he was about to see in the next three paragraphs would change his life forever" and such. To me that's a break in the narrative that boots the reader out of the story.

About the story. I think it's meant to lead you gently into the actual series of books, being a Level 0 novella. I glanced at the hint of the next book and won't be getting it. There's no compelling reason for Lance to go on his mission. It's kind of handed to him without his active participation.

That being said, if you want a non-scary "ghost story" to kill an hour or two, it's pretty okay.

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Review: Patenting Peter [dystopian]

Patenting Peter by Jason Werbeloff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked it way too much for what it was. The ending was catchy enough to pull it all together in spite of numerous shortcomings. If this is a hint of "Defragmenting Daniel" I might push that up a few notches in the reading queue. Not keen on the world in this dystopia, nor the people in it, but if it all implodes into chaos and despair, all is not lost.

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Review: Survival Aptitude Test - Sound [dystopian]

Survival Aptitude Test: Sound by Mike Sheriff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you read it as a standalone and assume that the ending is just the way it is, without reading the teaser for Book 2 (available now via email for most people who can install the app) you'll be a happy camper, like I was.

Our poor hero takes a beating and keeps on ticking, and I was mildly disappointed he didn't get the big payoff after all that, which of course would have really made this a standalone, right? Since there is an obvious Book 2 that shouldn't count as a spoiler. It would be illogical for a Book 2 had there been any other result.

Since it was "FREE" and I am technologically skilled enough to get it without the app, I have Book 2, but haven't started it yet. Not sure if I prefer just riding along with the ending of Book 1 or not yet.

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Review: Princess Dracula [vampires]

Princess Dracula by John Patrick Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a really good story once you squeeze past the intro. I'm not sure that's really relevant though. The "hint of next book" at the end seems a bit overblown, and I'm not sure if it will matter or not. I wasn't interested enough to pursue it. The whole rabbits and squirrels thing was way overemphasized. I really wanted to see her go full vamp and clean out a village. Alas...

So, 4 stars? Yeah, it was a good enough story for me. YMMV.


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Review: Passenger 66 [self-proclaimed thriller]

Passenger 66: A Psychologically Thrilling Short Story With a Seat Grabbing Twist by Tralandice Hogan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm not quite sure which book was read for the higher reviews. The stilted language, unrealistic airplane events, unrealistic physics, unrealistic crash scene, and non-seat-grabbing-twist all add up to a 1-star in my book.


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Review: Death Becomes Her [vampires, shifters]

Death Becomes Her by Michael Anderle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two. Words.
Kick. Ass.

This is a sweet ride of a book that begged me to keep reading it in spite of work, sleep, etc. I totally dug the protagonist and might actually get the rest of the next dozen books in the series. That would be the first time in over a year that I've gone on with a series. It's really that good.

Interesting take on the vampire mythos. Can hardly wait to see if Area 51 makes a guest appearance here. And where do were's come from?

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Review: Lost Shadows [post-apocalyptic]

Lost Shadows by Nathan Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You could read it as a stand-alone and miss nothing if you blow off the low-key pass-off to the next book. Clean, no romance at all. A 10-year old thinking with properly used semi-colons in sentences? Suddenly appearing in a 23 year-old body with the full intellect of 10 year-old? Minor plot inconveniences, but you can ignore them and read it as a comic book. Decent editing.

All that being said, I did really enjoy the book so 5-stars.

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Review: The Edge of Life [horror paranormal]

The Edge of Life by Joe Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent little story. Keeps you on your toes. Much like the protagonist, you don't really know exactly what's going on. The frantic need to eliminate seemingly random people by horribly killing them, at the risk of not restoring your slaughtered family to life while not truly believing it's possible.

You can really feel it. You'll enjoy it, for sure.

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Review: Children of Atlas [science fiction]

Children of Atlas by Dustin Porta
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

To me it seemed very convoluted and disjointed. I started skimming ahead looking for something to like. The protagonist seemed likable enough to start, but soon the empathy failed and there turned out to be multiple protagonist lines and eventually I started hoping everyone would just die. Sorry about that.

I know several people out there like this kind of story, but I'm not one of them. Written well enough, just no characters to latch onto and get the feels for [for me anyway].

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Review: Princess of the Damned (Skeleton Key Series) [paranormal romance]

Princess of the Damned by Wendy Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great story. A little slow to start, with mostly wooden characters, but it warmed up quite a bit by the end and was extremely satisfying. Nothing was explained with any backstory, but you didn't really want or need any. Clean paranormal romance. A bit of violence, but not over the top. Well worth the time to read.

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Review: Half Breed, A SciFi Absurdity

Half-Breed: A Science Fiction Absurdity by Scott Michael Decker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is surprisingly good. Kept me reading all the way to about the end, then I got distracted.

DISCLAIMER: If you don't "get" furries or the obsession with them, you may not like this book much.

Not sure what furries is? Look it up. In the context of furry-human getting it on. Okay, back? So yeah.

The ending kind of leaped in with a Deus Ex Machina wrap-up, but it was okay. Still left it open to several more books.



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Review: Worst Kind of Monster [short]

The Worst Kind of Monster: A Short Horror Story by Shaun Hupp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As far as books go, yes, it was written well enough, kept you guessing pretty far into the book, had a slightly unexpected ending, and was probably a good showcase of the writer's other work.

If you're not comfortable enough reading a character from out of the 60's, violence against women, kids and racially motivated violence, you might not want to read this.

Why only a 3? IMHO it could have been about 3x longer, explored the protagonist a little bit more, and had spent time with creating some flaw, weakness or guilt in the "Monster Killer"

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The Man From Taured

The Man From Taured by Bryan W. Alaspa
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmmm, where to begin. For one thing, until the story changes POV, it's pretty good. That's about 40% or so into the story. The rest of the book though was really slow. Agonizingly. I ended up skimming just to find out if everyone really does die. Sadly, no.

I'm not quite sure what it is. It's not horror, or paranormal, or steampunk, or scifi, though there are brief moments of each.

It might have been cool to turn each of the POV's loose and write a series of shorter books in chronological order without trying to turn each into a channeled entity or whatever. Yeah.

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Review: Fallen Angel: Dawn of Reckoning

Fallen Angel: Dawn of Reckoning by J.L. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read it as a stand-alone. It's really easy to identify with the protagonist, but everyone else is cookie-cutter low-dimensional. Be that as it may, the story kept me reading and it felt too short.

At the end there are a couple samples from the books this is supposedly an intro for (this is #0) but they seemed to have no direct connection aside from "book zero shows the creation of this paranormal group as a way-out-there backstory for those who might need it" and they didn't attracdt my interest at all.

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Review: Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle: How To Be Healthy, Lose Weight, Burn Fat, Get Lean and Build Muscle Without Life Sucking by R.J Strife
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're totally new, or just curious about Intermittent Fasting, this is a good 30,000' view. If you're vaguely familiar with IF, this shows a couple of optional protocols to follow. If you want in-depth info, this isn't the book, though author does touch on some concepts on long-term use.

If you take some of these ideas and do some of your own research, you will quickly be able to make your own decisions.

A handful of relatively minor editing errors.

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