March 24, 2017

Alpha Wolves by D.J. Swykert

Alpha Wolves is a touching and memorable historical romance novel and second of the Maggie Elizabeth Harrington Books written by D.J. Swykert.

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington is guilty. She is guilty for being happy over the funeral of James Stetter, the person who sent away Tommie, the love of her life.

It has been ten years since Maggie and Tommie ran away with a pack of wolf cubs to save the animals from a bounty hunter. Consequently, Tommie was sent East to study while Maggie was left in Central Mine, Michigan, to face the implication of their misadventure. To her rescue was Jeremy Paull, the strong and kind friend who never left her, who defended her and made her feel protected and special.

Maggie knows Jeremy Paull enjoys her company as much as she enjoys his. She also knows that she loves Jeremy but not as much as she loves Tommie. And now, Tommie is back for his father’s funeral, and when it comes to Tommie, Maggie is helpless.

This is a bitter-sweet story of love in the real sense of the word. Told in the first person perspective of Maggie Elizabeth, this is a very intense book that depicts a strong and intelligent woman who is torn between two men she deeply loves and her courage to deal with the situation she finds herself in.

Worded and phrased casually, the story is written in an easy to read style and the descriptions of Central Mine, Michigan can be easily visualized. The plot, though not exceptionally unique, is at some points suspenseful and becomes even more so because of an unpredictable turn of events near the end of the story. The author created a set of admirable and relatable characters among which my favorite is Jeremy Paull, the kind, strong and dependable man who loves deep and true.

However, in addition to some noticeable typo errors, I found the emphasis on Maggie’s love for Tommie repetitive and redundant. Still, this is one enjoyable story and I like it a lot.

Congratulations to D.J. Swykert (@djswykert) on such a great book! For more books by the author, visit DJ SWYKERT.

March 13, 2017

Coffee-Drunk or Blind by Elle Knowles

Coffee-Drunk or Blind: An Alaskan Homesteading Adventure is a poignant book by Elle Knowles. It is a memorable account of her family’s courage to try homesteading in the, then, newly admitted state of Alaska. It is a compilation of letters written by the author’s mother, Helen Knowles, and some short narratives by the author and her siblings as they recount their own memories of that specific time in their lives so many years ago.

In June 17, 1959 at 6am, with only $1000 and a credit card, Vernon and Helen Knowles together with their four young children Debbie, Naomi, Lindy and Chip, began their journey in their ‘two bedroom house trailer behind a truck, with a camper built onto the bed’ from Oakdale, Louisiana towards Alaska to take advantage of the Alaskan Homestead Act. After 4040 miles and several motor troubles, the family finally arrived in Alaska in July 1, 1959 at 8:50 pm.

This is a memorable, touching, inspiring, entertaining and sometimes amusing story of a family’s courage, love, and faith in themselves and in each other. The book is a chronological presentation of letters written by Helen Knowles mostly to her sister-in-law Letaine. I, personally, attribute the success of this book to these letters. They are thoroughly detailed and vividly descriptive in their accounts of the family’s life and situation in the wilderness.

Halfway through the book, I realized why the author worked hard to complete this book. This is not just a simple compilation of their memorable time in a faraway place. This is their legacy, and reading it is a kind of time travel, a journey in time and place where people dig their own well, where having a telephone connection, even only with a few people, is a reason to be excited, where reading a book to the children is the only form of amusement and where a child wakes up and sees a moose in the front yard.  Undoubtedly, the Knowles experienced hardships in Alaska but those same hardships made them what they are now.

At the end of the book, I felt jealous and envious of the Knowles. I envy them for their adventures, but most importantly I envy them for their memories.

Despite a few typo errors and a couple of dangling modifiers, I enjoyed the book a lot. Congratulations to Elle Knowles (@knowleselle) on such a great book. For more of the author’s books, visit Finding MyselfThrough Writing.

March 7, 2017

City of Hidden Children by Victoria Randall

City of Hidden Children is Book 3 of the Children in Hiding Series written by Victoria Randall.

It is the year 2055, thirteen years after Willa, with the help of Thomas Sawyer, successfully rescued her then four year old daughter Katy from Renton Children’s Center, home of unlicensed children. Unlicensed children are those born without the necessary but very expensive reproductive permit also called ‘baby license’ under the No Unwanted Children Act.

After a series of disturbing and recurring nightmares and the discovery of an old picture taken in the Children’s Center, Katy starts to have flashes of blurred memories of two long lost friends. An unexpected encounter strengthens Katy’s resolve to go back to the center. Her naivety and inexperience lead her to believe that she can simply go to the center, find her friends and take them away from that dark and cruel place. She has no idea of the extent of the depravity waiting for her in the center where unlicensed children are not even considered humans but garbage that can be tossed about and dispose of.

Though not as suspenseful as the first two books, this is much more intense and more poignant. The description of the place, the corruption of those in charge, the depiction of cruelty and atrocity and the portrayal of hopelessness and helplessness are done in vivid details that twist the hearts of the readers.

Apparently, however, it seems that the author focused more on the plot as Katy is the only developed character in this book and plays a part bigger than that of all the other minor characters put together. Though Katy is too stubborn, too impulsive and too naïve for my type of main protagonist, she proves herself a worthy heroine with her sharp tongue and steely determination to save her friends and other children in the center.

Just like the other books in the series, this is casually worded and easy to read. However, though this book can be a standalone, I recommend that readers check out the first two books and read the series in proper order to get acquainted with and appreciate the important characters.

Again, my congratulations to Victoria Randall (@Entlover27) on such a great book and a wonderful book series! For more information and updates on the Children in Hiding Series, click HERE.    

March 5, 2017

Bad War by Summer Cooper and Stephen Kingston

Bad War is a military paranormal romance written by Summer Cooper and Stephen Kingston.

After getting seriously injured in Vietnam, Zebadiah Rasnake is sent home to West Virginia. Though he knows he still has two more years of military service, he is happy to be going back to his family: his mother, his beautiful wife Mary and their unborn child to their modest house up in the woods.

As soon as Zeb gets off the bus, he senses something off with the way the bus driver and the other passengers look at him. Limping and in terrible pain, Zeb takes the three-mile long walk to their house bursting with anticipation for the reunion. As he neared, however, there lingers a strange burned out smell that makes Zeb feel uncomfortable. But the moment he sees Mary standing at the gate, Zeb rushes to her arms and everything else is pushed away to the back of his mind.

This is a short and eerie book filled with nagging mystery and sizzling love scenes. The entire book is written in easy-to-read style with vividly described scenes and predominantly vernacular dialogues. The plot, though not exceptionally unique, is interesting and attention-grabbing. The subtle hints to the mystery keep the readers going and wanting to know more.

However, due to the shortness of the book, there seems to be not enough space for ample backstories to solidify character development and explicate events. Still, it is one interesting and entertaining book about love that transcends death and mocks the living.

Congratulations to Summer Cooper and Stephen Kingston on such a great book! For more books by Summer Cooper, click HERE.  

March 1, 2017

Yuri and The Legend of The Seventh Sea by Denis Boytsov

Yuri and The Legend of the Seventh Sea is a touching story written by Denis Boytsov.  

Yuri is a curious young fish that lives in the lake near the sea. One day, he learns about the legend of a paradise called the Seventh Sea. However, nobody knows if the Seventh Sea does exist. All of those who set out to find it never make it back. So, naturally, Yuri wants to go and nothing his parents and his brother say can make him change his mind.

This is a beautiful story about extraordinary courage and determination, facing everything that comes your way no matter how big or small, and always finding a way to go on. It is a story of faith, that is, believing something you do not see. It is also a story about friendship and family as Yuri meets new friends on his way to the mythical place. Most importantly, this is a story about love and contentment. The book depicts and once again proves that there is no place like home and that home is where the heart is.

The book is not only a perfect reading material but also a helpful tool to teach young children about virtues. It is beautifully written except for some noticeable typo errors. All the major characters are relatable especially Yuri, the curious young fish. The ending, though expected, is very satisfying.

Congratulations to Denis Boytsov on such an amazing book! 

February 28, 2017

Brainwalker by Robyn Mundell and Stephen Lacast

Brainwalker is an exciting science fiction fantasy novel written by Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast.

When Ms. Needleman rejected his initial idea for his science project, Bernard has to think of something else. To his consternation, his father, brilliant scientist Floyd Knifton, disagrees with his ideas. Since his mother’s death several months ago, disagreement between father and son has been frequent. Bernard wants his father to be more supportive while his father wants him to control his impulses.

After a disastrous science class which ends up at the Principal’s office, Bernard finds himself in his father’s office at work where he learns that there is something even more serious than his science project. Bernard panics, flees towards the particle accelerator and gets accidentally transported through a wormhole and ends up inside his father’s brain. There he meets creatures inhabiting his father’s left brain hemisphere. These creatures are in the verge of extinction because of the imbalance of mental energy which is trapped in his father’s right brain hemisphere.   

This is a fast paced, exciting and action filled novel that depicts how the brain functions. By animating the parts of the brain, the authors show how it works and explain why a person behaves a certain way.

The writing style is perfect for young readers, easy to read and understand. The authors are able to keep the story interesting and suspenseful up to the last chapter by gradually disclosing new information. Descriptions of the setting, inside a person’s brain, are detailed and creative while dialogues between characters are very realistic. Though only Bernard and his father are given enough back stories, the rest of the characters are easily relatable and the readers will find themselves rooting for the good guys.

All in all, this is a very creative, entertaining and informative story for young and old readers alike.

Congratulations to Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast on such a great book! For more information on this book, visit BRAINWALKER.

February 24, 2017

Embellished by Karen Glista

Embellished is Book 1 of the Chronicles of Orian written by Karen Glista.

In the midst of a terrible hurricane in Galveston, Texas, Travis and his critically ill sister Bekka, together with three others are magically transported to the beautiful but dangerous world of Orian, while playing an online game. Orian is inhabited by various races aside from humans. There are the Stouts, the Vaetters, the Kytes, the Eutracians and the ferocious and beastly creatures called the Vadarcs.

As soon as Travis realizes what happened, his first thought is to find a way back where they come from and leave the dangerous world they find themselves in. However, Bekka does not feel the same way, because she arrives in Orian in the best of health and with no sign of the dreadful disease that already claimed her mother’s life.

Will they find a way back to Galveston before they all fall prey to any of the dangers lurking in every corner of Orian?

Aside from the obviously great premise, this book has an amazing plot with unpredictable twists and surprising turns of events told in easy-to-read style. The descriptions of the setting are vividly detailed and so do the various scenes from fighting scenes to love scenes. The ending is a combination of resolved conflict and introduction of a new adventure for Book 2.

However, I can only name a few of the characters who are particularly likable, Randar and Ana, probably Travis but his role is smaller than I expected. Moreover, though the characters are mostly teenagers and the introductory subject is online gaming, the scenes of gore and violence as well as the detailed love scenes may be suitable for more matured readers.

Congratulations to Karen Glista (@ElizabethGlist1) on such an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, visit Karen Glista Books

February 19, 2017

The Dark Companions by M.A. Kassel

The Dark Companions is a dark fantasy thriller written by M.A. Kassel.

Every child in Ursyca is partnered with a monster, a dark companion, at birth. On the child’s 16th birthday, a showdown takes place between him and his dark companion. While the monster feeds on his fears and nightmares as it grows, the child prepares for the fateful day. It is either he wins and takes control of the monster or he is eaten alive.

Sid is a young ore digger who wants to be a powerful Subduer. He feeds his beast with his pain and misery hoping to subdue and control it and save his sister Eyleen from being eaten by her monster. On the day of his showdown, however, something goes terribly wrong and Sid has to leave his village to look for help. Meanwhile, the obsessed and bloodthirsty Count Kalderan is intent to find every Subduer in the land to increase his power.

This is an action-packed and adventure-filled dark fantasy novel that will keep you reading. Written in easy to read style, various scenes are carefully and vividly depicted. Chasing, fighting and battle scenes are presented in details and the different types of monsters are described complete with various abilities.

In addition to the great plot is a set of well-developed characters, some exceptionally admirable and endearing while others are totally disgusting and loathsome. Though I particularly like Zee for her adventuresome spirit, I like Sid the most. I admire his determination and strength of character. Moreover, the story is made up of seemingly unending trials and unexpected turn of events faced with the most unlikely allies.

However, I found the description of Eyleen more fitting for a little girl instead of a teenager. Moreover, there are several noticeable errors which include misspelled and missing words. Finally, there are some obscene languages as well as violent and gory details which may not be suitable for young readers.

Though I prefer a different ending, I still enjoyed reading the entire book.  This is a great story of 'camaraderie, compassion and sense of sacrifice' and I recommend it to all fans of dark fantasy.

Congratulations to M.A. Kassel on such an amazing book!

February 12, 2017

The Whiteland King by Adrian G. Hilder

The battle for Valendo against Pragius and his undead army continues in The General’s Legacy, Part 2: The Whiteland King (The General of Valendo Book 2), written by Adrian G. Hilder.

Leaving his two mages to help defend Dendra Castle, the Archmage of Valendo takes his daughter Petra on a mission to Nearhon. With only thirty four men including the Silver Warrior , the Archmage and his daughter, and other members of the original Valendo unit, the young general, Prince Corylus, the grandson and protégé of the legendary general of Valendo, rode to Nearhon to face King Klonag, the Whiteland King. Unbeknownst to Prince Cory, his beloved Julia is King Klonag's visitor in Bytper Castle.

This is a fast-paced and action-filled fantasy book with a touch of humor and romance. It combines the wisdom and experience of the old and the tenacity and strength of the young as Prince Cory fights side by side with his grandfather’s old warriors and friends.

The writing is quite engaging with realistic descriptions of the beautiful, snow-covered Whiteland and amusing dialogues particularly between the veteran warriors. The story has a subtle touch of mystery as the author successfully hides a cunning spy in the midst of the assemblage.

In addition to a set of memorable characters, the plot is neatly tied up after a climactic and intense battle. It is followed by a satisfying ending but one that leaves the readers excited in anticipation for the next book in the series.

I just noticed, however, that Petra’s role was very minimal compared to her character description and backstories. I was expecting to see more from her than was actually in the book. Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and I recommend it to fans of fantasy novels. However, though I believe that this book can be read as a standalone, I strongly suggest to read book 1 first to fully enjoy book 2. 

Congratulations to Adrian G. Hilder (@AdrianGHilder) on an amazing second book in a series. You may click HERE for more of the author’s books.

February 10, 2017

Come on Home, Children by Victoria Randall

Come on home, Children is Book 2 of the Children in Hiding Series written by Victoria Randall.

The year is 2042. Under No Unwanted Children Act, anybody who wants to have an offspring is required to acquire a reproductive permit also called a baby license. Otherwise, the pregnancy is illegal and punishable by law.  

Is has been four years since Willa escaped from Renton Children’s Center. She lives with Adele, an older woman who took her when she was pregnant with her daughter Katy. Katy is now a smart nearly four-year old girl and Willa dreams of finding a stable job and a better home for them.

Willa’s hopes and dreams are shattered when she comes home to find Adele’s house locked, with Adele in jail and Katy under the custody of the Bureau of Population Management. She is willing to give everything she has and do everything she can to get Katy back. Being a non-person entity herself, Willa is powerless alone. But with loyal friends and a powerful ally rallying behind her, Willa dares to step up and reinvent herself to rescue the most important person in her life.

Unlike the first book in the series, Get on Board,Little Children, this has a slower pacing and is less suspenseful though just as intense and exciting. Moreover, the plot is a little more extreme while the romance part gives the book an entirely different appeal to readers, especially to those who enjoy a bit of heart-tickling scenes.

The characterization is great with the main protagonist, Willa, portrayed as a tough and strong woman and a patient and loving mother while her daughter Katy is a very smart and a very brave girl. The minor characters, which are given short but enough descriptions for backstories, each plays an important role. Casually worded throughout the entire story, the book is easy to read and understand.  

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the first one. Congratulations to Victoria Randall (@Entlover27) on another great book! For updates on this series, click HERE.