May 24, 2020

The Roots Have Dug into My Heart by Peter Fugazzotto

The Roots Have Dug into My Heart is a touching horror and paranormal novella written by Peter Fugazzotto.  

After a disastrous evening at a bar that ends in a creepy auditory hallucination seemingly coming from the tall marsh grasses, Jessie wakes up with a terrible hangover made worse by the fact that her daughter, Maya, is missing. Racked by guilt about her inability to watch over Maya, Jessie goes through the marsh in search of her daughter vowing to never neglect her again. Naturally, she is overjoyed when Maya is found, seemingly, shaken but relatively unharmed.

However, Jessie’s elation is short-lived as she senses something different with her daughter.  Aside from the smell of the swamp that Jessie can’t seem to wash off Maya, her daughter becomes uncharacteristically quiet. Maya also seems to lose her appetite even for foods she normally loves.

Amidst her desperate need to be a better person and the best mother she can be, and the suspicion that there is something terribly wrong Maya, Jessie finds an unlikely ally. Armed only with very little information and unconditional love for her daughter, Jessie and her friend set out for the marsh to find out the truth once and for all.

This is a scary, suspenseful, and touching story about a bum of a woman who struggles to be the best version of herself. It depicts how someone overcomes her self-destructive tendencies for the most important person in her life. It portrays clarity in the middle of confusion and courage in the middle of fear. It displays the amount of determination needed to win the prize of redemption.

Though the story appears to be simply about an irresponsible mother who lost her child to paranormal entity, there is so much more than that. It tells of the difficulty of a person to rise above adversity with her only beacon of hope snatched away from her. It also shows the tendency to prejudge someone by the way he or she lives. Most importantly, the book features the multidimensionality of the world we live in and that things are not the way they seem.

This is a relatively enjoyable book. Relatively in that, some readers who are not into horror stories may not choose to read it. I, myself, am not a horror book enthusiast. As a reviewer, however, I find the book well written and easy to read. Jessie is very well depicted as a person who blames everything and everybody else for her unpleasant situation making her very relatable. Moreover, the author is able to maintain an eerie mood right from the beginning down to the last page. Finally, though I prefer a different ending to the story, I find the conclusion quite satisfactory.

Congratulations to Peter Fugazzotto (@PeterFugazzotto) on such a well-written book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

May 20, 2020

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria by J.M. Bergen

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria is a fantastical, an action-filled, an adventure-filled, and a magic-filled, young adult fiction, and the second book in The Elandrian Chronicles created by J.M. Bergen.

It’s summer vacation and Thomas Wildus and his friends Enrique and Akhil are doing what normal and ordinary boys do during vacation, having fun and hanging out, with girls. However, a mysterious message, a glimpse of a familiar, albeit frightening, face, and a visit from his mentors cut the summer fun short. Now, Thomas and his friends are back to the training room and preparing for a quest for a magical object and a confrontation with the ‘Sumerian’.

As magical as, as suspenseful as, and, probably, even more action-filled than the first book, this second installment introduces more characters both good and evil and presents more rigorous training, both physical and mental, for Thomas and Enrique. The author also offers surprising twists and unexpected turns of events that make the book even more interesting. Fighting and chasing scenes are depicted in vivid and minute detail and the conclusion is quite satisfying. However, I find some of the descriptions too gory and too violent for young readers.

Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Congratulations to J.M. Bergen (@JMBergen1) on such a great and enjoyable second installment. For more books by the author, click HERE.

May 15, 2020

Madam Tulip and the Serpent's Tree by David Ahern

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is the fourth in the Madam Tulip Mystery Book Series created by David Ahern.

With the help of her now relatively-famous best friend, Bella, Irish American actress Derry O’Donnell dons her Madam Tulip persona as part of the grand birthday celebration of a famous pop singer. Up in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds herself amidst the members of a musical band, each with his or her own preoccupation. A pushy manager intent on keeping the band together, a high-strung singer visibly upset by the sudden disappearance of a beloved and revered friend, an anxious songwriter keeping something from fellow band members, and a charming sax player fascinated by Vikings.        

Ever professional and discreet, Madam Tulip is privy to information pertinent to the future of the entire band, information that may explain the whereabouts of a missing shaman.

As exciting and as funny as the previous three books, Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree features the private lives of famous and very promising musicians. It depicts their lives behind the glitter and adoring fans, their pain, their fears, their insecurities. But most importantly, for me, the book portrays the humans inside the celebrities, their longing for love, belongingness, and acceptance.

The book is, as all the other books I have read by David Ahern, funny and lighthearted. It is, first and foremost, an easy read. It is exciting and suspenseful, with carefully and vividly described scenes. In addition to Derry, Bruce, Bella, Jacko and Vanessa, the author includes a variety of characters that the readers would easily relate with. Though the ending is not as conclusive as I wish, it is no doubt satisfying.

Congratulations to David Ahern (@DaveAhernWriter) on another enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.  

February 29, 2020

A World Beyond by Marc Remus

A World Beyond is the sixth and final installment of the magical, fantasy, children’s book series Magora created by Marc Remus.

Holly O’Flanigan and her friends Amanda, Brian, and Rufus follow the evil Duke of Cuspidor and his army of Unfinished into a painting and enter a whole new world where a small group of creatures, the Cenamels, are hiding somewhere. These creatures are protecting a very powerful, magical item that may tip the scales in favor of Cuspidor and may cause the destruction of Magora.

Equally important to Holly as the future of Magora is the possibility of finding the double of her grandfather, Nikolas, who may hold the answers to Holly’s questions. Little does Holly know that there are far more shocking secrets waiting to be discovered.

More intense, more exciting, and more suspenseful than any of the previous five installments, this book offers fiercer and more matured Holly O’Flanigan. Moreover, it features more page-turning chasing scenes and more rousing battle scenes as well as scenes displaying advanced magic.

However, though I, immensely, enjoyed this final book in the series, it leaves me with a tiny pinch in my heart. First, I find Rufus’s participation very minimal compared with Brian’s and Amanda’s. Second, there are too many “how’s” and “why’s” that keep playing in my mind. Finally, I want to know more about what happened after. It seems like the author deliberately left it at that to give the readers the freedom to imagine how the story might have played out. If that were the case, then, the author successfully did just that.

Congratulations to Marc Remus (@MarcRemusArt) on such a great book! Though it would, undoubtedly, be enjoyed by young and old children alike, some scenes may be too horrid for very young children. For more books by the author, click HERE.             

January 15, 2020

Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Order of Seven is an intriguing, suspenseful and mind boggling ancient historical fiction book by Beth Teliho.

Devi has been having strange and recurrent dreams. Orphaned at a young age, Devi and her brother Nodin are adopted by kind and wonderful parents. However, despite the loving environment they grew up in, Devi and Nodin have special abilities that they would never understand unless they find out about their biological roots. While Nodin has empathic gifts, Devi has visions and an attachment to a particular tree.  

Now, at eighteen years old, Devi’s visions and dreams are getting more vivid and more detailed, and her need to connect with her tree is getting more frequent. With the help of a friend and a newly-met energy healer that makes her heart flutter, Devi takes a step, previously inconceivable to her, and discovers a shocking revelation not only about herself but also about the world.

This is a very interesting, intriguing, suspenseful and mind-boggling book that integrates myths, legends, and ancient history with modern and contemporary setting by featuring teenage characters and modern technological devices. Characters are well-developed with distinctive personalities. However, though the likely favorites are Devi and Baron, mine are Ben and Mapiya. They are my type of modern mystics. Quiet but powerful.

Congratulations to Beth Teliho (@beth_teliho) on such a very interesting and entertaining book. For more books by the author, click HERE.     

December 16, 2019

Rose Hill by Pamela Grandstaff

Rose Hill is a suspenseful crime and thriller novel and the first in the Rosehill Mystery Series created by Pamela Grandstaff.

The peace and quiet of the pretty, little town of Rose Hill is disturbed when the murdered body of their most obnoxious citizen, Theo Eldridge, is found in the veterinary clinic. Upon investigation of the case, Police Chief Scott Gordon finds that there are too many people with scores to settle with Theo, and though his murder in not altogether unwelcome, it is, somehow, a relief. As the investigation progresses, the number of possible suspects rises up. Moreover, Scott realizes that his beloved Rose Hill is not as quiet and as pretty as it seems.

This is an exciting crime and thriller novel. It features multiple subjects including murder, blackmail, friendship, kinship, and illicit relationship, among others. By portraying the victim as a totally despicable and dishonorable person, the author elicits mixed emotions from the readers: extreme dislike, if not hate, for Theo; sympathy for Chief Gordon, empathy for particular characters like Ava, Sean, and Enid, and overall excitement for the case to be solved.

Though the premise is far from unique, the glimpse in the life and personality of each character is enough to keep the readers interested. Character development is well-done and complete with realistic manner of speaking and choice of vocabulary. Finally, though I find the ending a bit anticlimactic, it opens doors for possibilities and more promising books in the series.

Congratulations to Pamela Grandstaff (@RoseHillMystery) on such a great book. For more books by the author, click HERE.

August 23, 2019

U-10 by Sam B. Miller II

U-10 is an exciting and suspenseful science fiction thriller by Sam B. Miller II.

While on a mission to remove Insurgents from dusty settlements on the hills of Afghanistan, Lt. Ty Lavender and the rest of the Orion Squad stand witness to the thundering crash of an unidentified flying object. After finding a strange satchel and a box of cards from the crash site and getting rid of a few Insurgents sneaking on them, Lavender and his men leave and get into position around the perimeter of the crash site. Shortly after, a group of people wearing full coverage combat gear arrives and takes over the crash site.

Meanwhile, the lone passenger of the UFO is watching from a distance, near where his escape pod has landed. Extremely confident that the inhabitants of this planet are too primitive and too intellectually inferior to understand advanced technology, the passenger feels apprehensive when he sees the U-10 draped over the shoulder of one of the humans. Little does he know that there are much more to the humans than he knows.

This is an exciting and suspenseful, fast-paced and easy to read science fiction thriller. The plot is unpredictable and offers a series of twists and turns making the book a real deal page-turner. Though the concept of an alien aircraft crashing down the desert seems quite trite and overused, the introduction of U-10, a survival tool with multiple uses involving single-use cards that produce advanced and sophisticated but disposable weapons, is enough to put sci-fi fans on the edge of their seats. Characters are provided with sufficient back stories to make them life-like which makes it easy to visualize them as real people. Moreover, the author creates the perfect protagonist in Lt. Ty Lavender, the smart, brave, compassionate, and loyal soldier and leader. More than the vividly described scenes, I love the depiction of human attributes including loyalty, concern, and compassion as well as zealotry, greed, and narcissism.

Congratulations to Sam B. Miller II (@SamBMillerII) for another great book! For more books by the author, click HERE!

August 8, 2019

Brooding City by Tom Shutt

Brooding City is an intriguing and exciting paranormal thriller and the first book in the Brooding City Series created by Tom Shutt.

Detective Arthur Brennan works at Odols Police Department. Unbeknownst to his partner and to everybody else, however, he is a former Sleeper. Sleepers are individuals who can enter the dream of others and drive them to madness. They are people with extraordinary gifts and live among ordinary people.

Meanwhile, young Jeremy Scott discovers something special, albeit scary, about himself. He can access other people’s memories. With his newly-found gift, he finds out something that shakes his being to the core.

This is an interesting, intriguing, and an easy-read book. It explores the dream realm and subtly integrates it to the waking world. The story has two main plotlines, one features Detective Brennan who is presented with a murder case involving drugs, and the other features Jeremy Scott with his newly-discovered gift. The author creates intriguing characters including Detective Brennan himself, Uncle Rick, and Old Benjamin.

However, though the plot is, understandably, vague with this book being the first installment, I still find it difficult to stay interested. It is just not easy to stay focused when the scene shifts every other chapter and the details are given in painstakingly gradual manner. Moreover, it is hard to connect with the characters. Despite the backstories, I still feel that something is being held back which makes connecting with the characters not easy. Finally, the ending is inconclusive which could mean the reader has to read the next book to enjoy it fully.

Still, this is a very intriguing book and some readers may find it enjoyable. Congratulations to Tom Shutt (@TomShutt) on such an interesting book. For more books by the author, click HERE.

July 26, 2019

The Chosen by Michael Mood

The Chosen is the first book in The Compendium of Raath Series created by Michael Mood.

Young and abused farm girl, Wren Hartfield, runs away from home. Helping a caged ape earns her a burning symbol on her forearm and most unlikely friends. Otom Aldenburg is a self-exiled Monk haunted by his past. He survives an attack on the Kilgane Monastery by monstrous creatures. Krothair Mallurin is an orphan who dreams to be a Kingsguardian. He is sent to apprentice under the legendary sword master. Halimaldie D’Arvenant is a successful businessman who is about to discover something he was never willing to believe before. Then, there is Cleric Domma of the Sunburst Temple whose power allows her to discover who attacks a patient under her care.

They are the Five Mages of Raath, a place where magical powers are earned for doing good deeds. Each of them travels to the Temple of Sin’ra for instructions from God.

This is an exciting and suspenseful book of magic and adventure. It has a consistently steady pacing and an unpredictable plot. Scenes are described in vivid detail and the suspense is maintained until the last pages of the book. Though the ending is, understandably, cliffhanger, common to books in series, it gives a certain feeling of closure to the readers. Most of the characters are endearing and all of them are intriguing making the readers want to read more.

Congratulations to Michael Mood (@michaeldmood) on such a great and enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

July 16, 2019

Life First by RJ Crayton

Life First is Book 1 of the Dystopian Series created by RJ Crayton.

Kelsey Reed just gets marked. She is found to be the best match for a man in Virginia with failing kidneys. According to the law of Federation of Surviving States (FoSS), what was left of the former United States after a pandemic that wiped out 80 percent of the population, the government is to take one of Kelsey’s kidneys and give it to the ailing man.

Kelsey has no problem sacrificing a part of her body, but, if she does, it must be on her own free will and not because it is mandated by law. So, she decides to escape. In order to do that, however, she needs to take out her life monitoring system.

Kelsey knows she cannot do it alone. She needs the help of her boyfriend, her best friend, a shady doctor, and other individuals who, unexpectedly, turn out to be on her side.

Told in the first-person perspective of Kelsey Reed, this is a fast-paced, exciting, and suspenseful dystopian thriller that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats. The plot is very unpredictable with plenty of surprising twists and unexpected turns of events. It is made more exciting and interesting by a combination of medical and court drama. Scenes are described in vivid detail and dialogues are fitting. In addition to the exciting plot, the author creates a set of interesting characters, some of them quite endearing. Though the obvious favorite is Kelsey, I find Luke Geary the ultimate hero while Susan Harper is the brave and devoted best friend.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the book immensely. I find it thought-provoking. It questions how much the readers value their freedom to decide over their own body. It is interesting, exciting, and suspenseful. It is a great first installment for a book series.  

Congratulations to RJ Crayton (@RJCrayton) on such an enjoyable book. For more books about the author, click HERE.