June 25, 2019

Two Minutes to Midnight by Willow Salix



Two Minutes to Midnight is a titillating paranormal romance and the first in The Carpe Noctem Series created by Willow Salix.  

Topaz Thompson is a practicing Wiccan. She teaches Mythology and Folklore at Athena’s Academy, a school that specializes in things weird and wonderful. When she is sent to investigate a self-professed supernatural being, Topaz is more than willing to go. What she discovers, however, is more than she hopes for.

In addition to the proof of existence of the most elusive supernatural creatures, Topaz finds something else, something beautiful and magical, something that she has found difficult to come by as evident by the string of failed blind dates she has been recently.

This is a very interesting book that offers a different take on the legends of the night walkers. Though the subject is far from unique, the theme of true and undying love, in addition to a fair amount of unexpected twist and turn of events, is enough to keep the reader’s interest. Sex scenes are described in vivid detail and the characters range from fascinating, to intriguing, to endearing. Though the ending seems a bit anticlimactic, I find in necessary and understandable.

All in all, I enjoyed this book more than I expected I would. It is interesting and entertaining. It is also quite an easy read. However, other readers may find the sex scenes a bit too much, more, in fact, than the description and profile of the supernatural creatures being featured in the book. It seems like the author focused more on the erotic part of the story than the peculiarities of the night walkers, which I believe was part of the selling point of this book. Though this is not necessarily a bad thing, it may leave some readers a, somehow, dissatisfied feeling as far as the paranormal aspect of the book is concerned.

Still, this is an enjoyable book and is worth reading.

Congratulations to Willow Salix (@willowdragoncat) on such an entertaining and enjoyable book. To know more about the author, click HERE.

June 13, 2019

Why Jihad? by Dr. Howard Shin



Why Jihad? : Religious Violence in Islamic History, Theology, and Jurisprudence is an interesting and educative book about Muslims, Islam, and Jihad written by Dr. Howard Shin.

The book has fourteen very interesting chapters in addition to the Introduction, Conclusion, and Bibliography, and tries to explain the root-cause for Islam’s prevalent violence. In consistently academic tone, the author discusses the conflicting views on Jihad and elucidates the readers by explaining Jihad as defined by the Qur’an, the Hadiths, the Islamic Jurisprudence, and the pre-modern Sufism.

The author shares a brief history of the Messenger of Allah and the proliferation of Islam in Asia, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula and features the most prominent proponents of Jihad.

This is, generally, a scholarly-written book, apparently well-researched and well-referenced. In carefully worded explanation understandable to laymen and, probably, to non-Muslim readers, the author explicates the difference between Greater Jihad and Lesser Jihad and hints at the ultimate implication of armed Jihad in the future of the world making the book a ‘must-read’ for diplomats and politicians.

However, this is not an easy read. Other readers may find it too academic and, somehow, overwhelming. It requires focus, undivided attention, and genuine interest in Jihad, Islam, and the Muslims in general. Moreover, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book, mostly typo errors, which detract from the overall reading experience.

Congratulations to Dr. Howard Shin on such an interesting book! For more books by the author, click HERE

June 9, 2019

Jealous of the Way He Treats Her by Can'Di



Jealous of the Way He Treats Her: A Revenge Story is an erotic urban fiction written by Can’Di.

Jasmine is deeply in love with Derrick. After a painful break-up with her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Jasmine is determined to make her relationship with Derrick work. On his part, Derrick is just as in love with Jasmine as she is with him. However, he wants more which he can get from somewhere or someone else especially if that someone else is just around.

Jasmine’s best friend Lykeysha is more than what she is in Jasmine’s eyes. She is ambitious. She knows what she wants and she has what it takes to get it, even if what she wants belongs to someone else.

Marcus lost Jasmine because of one night of indiscretion. Now that Jasmine is with someone else, all he wants is for her to be happy. He loves her more than she knew and he is willing to be anything she needs him to be, a friend, a lover, a protector. However, there is something about his life that he could not tell her.

This is an intriguing and suspenseful book about envy, jealousy, revenge, and true love. The conflict is introduced early in the story which makes it a page-turner. Though the plot is not extraordinarily unique, the twists and turns of events make the book different from other stories with the same premise. Characters are well-developed and relatable and the readers would find it easy to connect with each of them. With her twisted way of looking at things, Lykeysha is every bit the villainess. She is despicable and, somehow, pitiful in her pathetic view of her self-importance.

Admittedly, I enjoyed this book more than I expected. It is interesting and unpredictable in that it is difficult to guess what would happen next. However, other readers, especially non-native English speakers, may find the use of the vernacular language a bit difficult to follow. Moreover, scenes of sex and violence may not be suitable for young readers.

Congratulations to Can’Di on such an enjoyable book!

June 2, 2019

Kendle's Fire by Ryan Field



Kendle’s Fire is a touching and memorable book about friendship, family, and self-acceptance written by Ryan Field.

Kendle is a smart, handsome, and gay ex-Marine who looks every inch a straight guy. As far as he is concerned, he is a man. He acts as a man. He thinks as a man, and he never wants to be anything or anyone else aside from who and what he is.

However, just like any man, or woman, for that matter, Kendle has secrets, preferences and fetishes, which he could not talk about with just anyone but only with those people who are closest to him and accept him for everything he is. Among those people is his best friend Dale. Though Kendle and Dale’s relationship has no specific definition that is understandable to the public, what they have is something special.

Trying to figure out which way his life would go, Kendle applies for a new, albeit, an unlikely job which leads him to meeting a new guy and opens up new possibilities for him to consider. However, as unpredictable life is, an unfortunate event takes place that shakes the foundation that Kendle is trying to build.

This is a touching and memorable book. Though the plot is seemingly common with gay fiction, being discriminated and difficulties fitting in, what makes the book special is the depiction of the ultimate realization of what someone wants. The author successfully illustrates something very important which is the fact that some people do not want to be what they are not, just to be acknowledged and accepted. They want to be accepted for that they are. That, for me, is a very powerful message.

The book is told in a consistently conversational tone that makes it an easy read.  In addition, the author creates a set of delightful characters including Dale, Walter, and Kendle’s mother. Kendle, for me, is the ultimate protagonist. He knows what he is. He knows what he wants. And he chooses to live his life in his own terms.

Except for some noticeable errors, I enjoyed this book a lot.

Congratulations to Ryan Field on such an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

May 26, 2019

Old Baggage by Toni Kief



Old Baggage: It’s Never Too Late for a New Beginning is an interesting contemporary fiction written by Toni Kief.

It seems like an ordinary day for the Donovans, with Brad being his usual abusive self and Elizabeth playing her usual submissive role. What makes this day different, however, is that Elizabeth finally, after forty nine miserable years of marriage, fights back.

Surprising even herself, Elizabeth pulls out her suitcase and walks out of the only life she has ever known. However, contrary to what Brad thinks that she is a helpless, dependent, and stupid old woman, Elizabeth has so many cards up her sleeve and she has the astonishing strength and courage to use them to start a new life. But first, Elizabeth has to deal with a painful secret in her past before she could settle wherever she chooses and live her life on her own terms.

This is a very enjoyable book with sixty two chapters and told in the first person perspective of an amazing and remarkable old woman. Though the plot seems familiar with the protagonist, a victim of domestic abuse, having enough of the shitty life she has, the preparations Elizabeth has made as she waited for ‘the day’ would pique the interest of the readers, especially the female readers. Moreover, how she faces her new life, taking one baby step at a time away from her old, will make the readers cheer her on as she finds her way very slowly but with unwavering resolve and childlike wonder for the things she could actually do that she never imagined she could.

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot. The plot is delightfully unpredictable and there are so many endearing characters. First of them, of course, is Elizabeth herself, the brave, kind, funny, and smart old woman who proves that age really doesn’t  matter and that every day is an opportunity to start a new life. And though I was expecting a different conclusion to the story, I still find the ending satisfyingly conclusive.     

However, though the paranormal part seems to make the story interesting, I, personally, believe that its exclusion wouldn’t make the book less so. Moreover, I noticed some errors within the entire book that detract from the overall reading experience.

Congratulations to Toni Kief (@tonikayk1) on such a great book! It is a depiction of woman empowerment at its best.

For more books by the author, click HERE.   

May 15, 2019

Obsession Made Me Do It by Nychol Munroe



Obsession Made Me Do It is an intriguing urban fiction and the first in the three-book series of the same title created by Nychol Munroe.  

Founder of the Brix and Brix Realty, one of the most notable real estate brands in Miami, Iman Brix is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur. With a thriving business and an overprotective husband, Iman seems to have a wonderful life. That is until she discovers something about her husband. More than the betrayal itself is whom he is doing it with that breaks Iman’s heart into a million pieces.

Not someone to give up that easy, Iman is determined to fight for what is rightfully hers. She steps up and reaches out to someone who, she believes, wants the same thing she does. Iman is yet to find out what her actions would lead to.

An intriguing urban fiction that features African Americans, the book has fifteen chapters with a healthy amount of erotic scenes. By placing the conflict at the beginning of the story, the author makes the book a real-deal page-turner. Though the premise is seemingly common, the twists and turns make the plot excitingly unpredictable. The predominant use of the vernacular language among the characters makes the story sound realistic.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It is intriguing, exciting, and suspenseful. I find the characters easily relatable with their flaws, weaknesses, wrong decisions, and wrong choices in life.  

However, readers who prefer more conclusive endings may find the cliffhanger a bit off-putting, otherwise, they may move on to the second book in the series.

Congratulations to Nychol Munroe on such an exciting book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

May 9, 2019

Under the Sun by Andrew Gilmore



Under the Sun: Discover Your Calling and Live a Meaningful Life is an inspiring and encouraging book written by Andrew Gilmore.

The book is written to help the readers discover their purpose in life. The author begins by defining life and leads the readers to life’s ultimate purpose. He, then, enumerates four reasons why we are not living our purpose, four steps to living an excellent life, four traits we must engender to live a purposeful life, and three steps to unearth what we are meant to do. He also presents three biblical case studies to emphasize his points, that of Joseph, Daniel, and Paul.

This is a great book. It is written in a consistently conversational tone making it an easy read. The humor and the sprinkle of sarcasm give the book a lighthearted feel to it that makes it even more likable and interesting. By sharing his personal experiences, the author makes the steps practicable and the goal of living a life of purpose easy to accomplish. Moreover, the inclusion of biblical characters makes the readers feel more accepting of their flaws and more forgiving of their own failures.

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot. I recommend it to readers who enjoy books about personal growth.

Congratulations to Andrew Gilmore (@TheAndyGilmore) on such a great book! To know more about the author, click HERE.  

April 30, 2019

Third Eye: 7 Techniques to Open Your Third Eye by Andrew Black



Third Eye: 7 Techniques to Open Your Third Eye Chakra, Fast and Simple Techniques to Increase Awareness and Consciousness is an informative book written by Andrew Black.

The book has thirteen relatively short chapters. It defines the Third Eye and describes its location, discusses the benefits of opening the Third Eye, offers techniques and exercises on how to open the Third Eye and sharpen psychic abilities, and introduces aura and various aura colors.

Among the various ways to open the Third Eye the author offers include chanting, mindfulness, and use of crystals. In addition, he also presents ways to take care of the chakras such as yoga, breathing exercises, and proper food. Moreover, he discusses the Eightfold Path to find happiness.            

Personally, I find this book very interesting. Basically, it is an easy read. Apparently, the author endeavors to make the explanation easily understood. By sharing his own experiences, he makes the book sound personal and makes the readers feel more at ease in reading such a mystical subject. He makes the topic sound common and non-magical. He is also very honest and straightforward regarding skeptics and non-believers as well as those overly expectant. The techniques are simple and doable and the exercises are described carefully and in detail.

Except for several noticeable errors, I enjoyed this book a lot.  

Congratulations to Andrew Black on such an interesting and informative book!

April 23, 2019

The Aura Reading Handbook by Loren G. Tindall



The Aura Reading Handbook is an informative and helpful self-help book written by Loren G. Tindall.

The book begins by describing ‘aura’ as the field of vital energy that surrounds all matter, or anything we would consider to be of this physical world. She, then, moves on and gives a brief background on aura including concepts and theories, frequency of auras, interaction of auras, and practicable exercises to increase rapport, protect aura from psychic vampires, and cleanse auras.

The author takes time to discuss chakras which are the centers of energy that receive, transform, and distribute the universal life force throughout the body. They are the sources of energy perceived as the colors of the aura. Among the important topics that the author includes in the book are the Classic Aura Color Scheme (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Silver, gold, white, black, gray, and brown) how to sense auras, identifying the colors in your aura (by asking, dowsing, and calculating), programming aura for a better future, using aura to improve love life, using aura to improve heath, and using aura to attract prosperity.

This is a great book. It is written in conversational yet instructive tone which makes it easy to read and understand. The exercises are clearly explained making them quite practicable. The explanations are concise and straightforward. Quite possibly, the information presented in the book is strategically limited to avoid information overload but enough to pique the interest of the readers. If that is the objective, then, it works for me.

Congratulations to Loren G. Tindall on such an interesting book!    

March 31, 2019

Transcending the Maya Matrix by Omar M. Makram




Transcending the Maya Matrix: Using the Seven Simple Steps: Our Innate Guide to Co-Creation and Self-Realization is a helpful book about spirituality written by Omar M. Makram.

The book is divided into two parts. Part I is divided into two chapters and Part II is divided into seven chapters.   

It is written to teach the readers how to uncover their Innate Guide. According to the book, the Innate Guide is the force that guides the Universe. It is in everything. Therefore, it is inside us. We can tap into its knowledge and be guided by its wisdom.

The author offers seven principles to unveil the Innate Guide. He calls these principles ‘The Seven Simple Steps.’ The seven simple steps include intention, awareness, authentic expression, allowing, receiving guidance, inspired action, and realization.

This is a great book. It is helpful and enlightening. It is well-written, well-researched, and well-referenced. Terms are clearly defined, steps are carefully described, and examples are given for better understanding and application. Most importantly, it is respectful of readers’ beliefs and does not impose its concepts on anyone.

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book immensely. However, this is not an easy read. It requires focus, undivided attention, and a great deal of interest in the subject matter. Moreover, other readers may find some explanation a bit ambiguous, and though the author, apparently, endeavors to make this book as user-friendly as possible, some parts require rereading and careful consideration.

Congratulations to Omar M. Makram (@Intentbeings) on such a great book! It is helpful, encouraging, and life changing. To know more about the author, click HERE.  

March 28, 2019

Art of Essential Zen by James Henry




Art of Essential Zen is an informative and helpful book written by James Henry.

The book is for readers who want a life that is full of balance, happiness, and serenity. It has five relatively short chapters that give an overview of the Zen lifestyle, teaches Zen rituals that will help the readers, explains the Art of Awareness, and guides readers on how to find Mindfulness. At the end of the book the readers may expect to learn how to gain self-knowledge and reach self-awareness and to increase concentration and focus. They may also expect help in their personal relationships, emotional stability, and going through moments of intense anger.

This is a very helpful book. In this day and age of haste and clamor, when everything is fast-paced, half-done, and stressful, this book teaches the readers how to find and be in the state of silence through the Zen lifestyle. Zen lifestyle is living in a constant state of peace.

I love everything about this book. It is an easy read and, ultimately, reader-friendly for beginners like myself. Everything is explained in simple and understandable English devoid of technical terms and jargons. The rituals are practicable and easy to follow and the instructions are as simple as they sound in that, they can be easily performed.

Congratulations to James Henry on such a great self-help book! I love it and I intend to continue practicing the Zen lifestyle. I strongly believe that it will help me achieve my goals in life.     

February 28, 2019

Inspire by Sara Wellington



Inspire: Start the Journey towards Your Happiness, Dreams, and Desires is an informative, helpful and inspiring book written by Sara Wellington.

Divided into sixteen relatively short chapters, the book is about how to be inspired in order to achieve goals and find happiness in life. The author discusses the effect of inspirational words and enumerates sources of inspiration including aspiration, successful people, strong desire, and love.

Moreover, the author explains the ultimate effect of fear in a person’s life. She also brings up the most important question of all which needs to be answered in order to achieve success and happiness.  

Overall, this is an enjoyable book. Basically, it is an easy read. It is informative, helpful, and inspiring. It is also interactive, thereby engaging.

However, I find the subject somehow overused, and considering the shortness of the book, I didn’t find anything new or special that would make this book stand out from among thousands of books already written about this subject. Moreover, there are too many noticeable errors within the entire book that I recommend another round of editing.

Congratulations to Sara Wellington (@SaraWellington4) on such an enjoyable book. For more books by the author, click HERE.  

February 26, 2019

Reclamation by Brysen Mann



Reclamation is an exciting and suspenseful science fiction book and the second installment of The Xeno Manifesto Book Series created by Brysen Mann.

Deep beneath the peak of Mt. Rainer, Frank Smirnov is perplexed. He is overwhelmed by the magnitude of his discovery. Everything he knows about himself and the world is undermined by the enormity of the undeniable facts staring him in the face. As per practical advice from a friend now departed, he doesn’t trust anyone, not Zachariah Allmas whom he ended up with, and not even the mythical creatures who are keeping him safe, for now.

If he really is the one foretold to save mankind, he has no idea how exactly he is going to do it. Right now, he needs to find out more about the Committee which is hell-bent on terminating his existence, and the best way to start is with the man who knows the Committee better than he or anyone he knows, for that matter, does.    

Meanwhile, Felix Belette gathers all the Team Leaders. Their directive is to find the traitor at all cost and bring him to Belette alive, so that Belette could extract every shred of information from him in the slowest and most agonizing process. Little does Belette know what awaits him when Zach is finally found.

This is just as intriguing and as exciting as the first book, The Xeno Manifesto. Unlike in other book series that usually introduce subplots, this second installment stays consistent with the first book and simply moves the plot forward. It is unpredictable with exciting twists and turns that though not altogether shocking are surprising enough. Scenes and settings are thoroughly described including the special abilities of the mythical creatures. The book has a satisfactory ending and promises a more exciting third installment.

Admittedly, I enjoyed this book a lot. However, I find the pacing of the plot slower than that of the first book that very little is added to the story. Moreover, there are too many noticeable errors within the entire book that detract from the overall reading experience.

Congratulations to Brysen Mann (@brysen_mann) on another exciting book!   

January 30, 2019

EMP by JS Donovan



EMP: No Power is a suspenseful thriller and Book 0 of the Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Series created by J. S. Donovan.  

It seems like an ordinary day for Sergeant Harper Murphy. However, just when she is about to hang up the phone after an unpleasant call from her husband, everything goes off, phone, lights, air conditioner. Apparently, there is a momentary power outage.

A look outside the window, however, makes her assume the worst. It seems like the entire Washington, DC is eerily quiet, a sign of an EMP attack.   

As Harper goes about her duty to her country, she thinks about her teenage son, Eli who is somewhere out there in the middle of this chaos. As she rightly assumes, things will turn really bad, and Harper has to get to him before bad turns to worse.

This is a fast-paced and suspenseful post-apocalyptic thriller that features a woman torn between her duty to her country and duty to her family. It perfectly portrays the mayhem that would result from an electromagnetic pulse attack. Moreover, it depicts how familial love prevails and everything else comes second when a cataclysm occurs. Furthermore, it highlights the sacrifice a parent is willing to make for his or her offspring.

The author successfully creates a set of well-developed and relatable characters especially Sergeant Harper Murphy. Though the ending is a cliffhanger, with this book being part of a series, it has a kind of closure that makes the story satisfactory.

Admittedly, I enjoyed reading this book. However, though not totally cliché, the subject of EMP attack is not totally unique either, that some readers may consider this book just among the many. Moreover, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book that sadly detract from the overall reading experience.

Congratulations to J. S. Donovan on such a nice book!

January 5, 2019

The Woodspeople by Marc Remus



The Woodspeople is the fifth installment in the exciting and magical Magora Book Series by Marc Remus.

This is Holly’s and her friends’ final year at Cliffony Academy of the Arts. However, there are more pressing issues in Holly’s mind than which independent study classes to take. First, there are those unfortunate incidents concerning one of the professors and the Head of the High Council. Second is her discovery of the Hidden Hill. Third is the horrible condition of the former Unfinished Holly has completed. Fourth and not the least is her search for three Woodspeople whom she thinks survived Cuspidor’s attack and whom she believes can shed some light on the mysterious life of her grandfather, Nikolas.  

While the new members of the High Council are busy finding ways to protect the island from Curspidor’s army, Holly has her own preoccupations. There is Cookie’s suspicious behavior, then a note that leads them to the possible whereabouts of the Woodspeople they are looking for. There is also her discovery of the reason behind Rufus’ too grown-up attitude. Apparently, this is going to be a busy year for Holly and her friends.   

This is the exciting fifth installment and mind-boggling continuation of the Magora Book Series. The suspense and excitement begin at the first chapter of the book and never stopped until the last page. Overwhelming revelations are uncovered such as secret doors and decoys. In addition to the Anches which were introduced in the fourth book, another new creature, Quadler, is featured. The never-ending suspense and shocking revelations make the book a real page-turner. This, however, can be a little exhausting.

Needless to say I enjoyed this book immensely. For a die-hard Magora fan like myself, everything is getting more and more exciting. However, I’m not much into cliffhanger ending but for this one I’m happy to make an exemption. At this point in the series, I’m having mixed emotions. I’m deliriously excited about the ending but I feel somehow sad to say goodbye to Holly, her friends, and the entire fantasy world of Magora.

Congratulations to Marc Remus (@MarcRemusArt) on such a great fifth installment! I’m so looking forward to reading the last book. I’m kind of keeping my fingers crossed, but I don’t understand why J . For more books by the author, click HERE!

January 1, 2019

My 2019 Book List

I have read 118 books in 2018. Just like the previous years, most of them are by independent authors and are self-published. As a professional book reviewer, sometimes I feel like reading books become ‘work’ which, technically, in my case, is true. So, when writing reviews becomes too tedious and stressful, I read for fun. The following list is that of books that I chose to read for personal amusement.

1. Surprise Me by Sophia Kinsella
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
3. Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by
4. Acceptable Risk by Robin Cook (reread)
5. Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts (reread)
6. Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
7. IQ84 by Haruki Murukami
8. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
9. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
10. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
11. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (reread)
12. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (reread)

That looks like a short list, doesn’t it? Well, if you want, you may add your book to that list. Here is the list of the books I read and reviewed in 2018. Mainstream books, however, are not reviewed. They are popular enough as they are and some are even overrated and don’t need reviews for promotion.

15. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
18. The Witch’s Journey by Elaanie S.
24. Brand Real by Vasken Kalayjian
29. Nightmares, The Lost Lullaby by Jason Segel
30. Pillow Talk: The Legend of Lorelie Begins by Daria J. Wagoner
36. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
39. The Manifesto Murders by Nick Airus
57. Angels among Us by Hannah Conway
59. Gone by Michael Grant
60. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
61. Revival from the Shoulder by Paul Juby
69. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
76. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
83. Beyond Wealth to Long-Term Prosperity by Naseem Mariam
99. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
116. I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn
117. The Woodspeople by Marc Remus
118. Of Zots and Xoodles by Zarqnon the Embarrassed

If you want to add your book on next year’s list, you may CLICK HERE. The blog author, however, reserves the right to refuse books that are beyond her field of expertise.