Category Archives: IndieAuthor Book Reviews

Book Review “After Death” by Eric J. Guignard

Personal Rating System:
PlotS  – ****
Grammar/Editing *****

On a review site:
4 stars

Wow. This book of Anthologies is intense! Who hasn’t wondered what happens to us after death? Does our soul go on? Are we reborn? Is it just endless emptiness?

It seemed I was always reading this at night. In the dark. I guess I like to torture myself, because some of the anthologies are just plain creepy. Like “Boy 7” by Alvaro Rodriguez doesn’t sit well right before bed.

Most of the anthologies were good, some not as good as others. Of course, what I found insightful or scary you might find boring and vice versa, so that is the good thing about having such a great variety of stories.

Some of them were so good that I thought a whole novel could be written around the storyline. The two that come to mind are “The Resurrection Policy” by Lisa Morton and “Acclimation Package” by Joe McKinney

Overall, it is such a great collection I can’t imagine being without it. This is the type of book you could easily gift at Christmas (or Chrismahannaqwansika :P) to any book lover.

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BLURB:

Death. Who has not considered their own mortality and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires? What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?

Does our spirit remain on Earth while the mortal body rots? Do remnants of our soul transcend to a celestial Heaven or sink to Hell’s torment? Are we offered choices in an individualized afterlife? Can we die again in the hereafter? Is life merely a cosmic joke, or is it an experiment for something greater?

Included within this critically acclaimed anthology are answers to these queries alongside tales and suppositions relating from traditional ghosts to the afterlife of e-coli. Explore the afterworld of an Australian cowboy. Discover what the white light really means to the recently departed. Consider the impact of modern, or future, technology on the dead. Follow the karmic path of reincarnation. Travel from the 999th level of Fengdu’s Hell to the gates of Robot Heaven.

Enclosed are thirty-four all-new dark and speculative fiction stories, individually illustrated by Audra Phillips, and exploring the possibilities “after death.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction by Eric J. Guignard
Someone to Remember by Andrew S. Williams
Boy, 7 by Alvaro Rodriguez
Sea of Trees by Edward M. Erdelac
The Last Moments Before Bed by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Resurrection Policy by Lisa Morton
High Places by John M. Floyd
Circling the Stones at Fulcrum’s Low by Kelda Crich
I Will Remain by David Steffen
Tree of Life by Aaron J. French
The Reckless Alternative by Sanford Allen & Josh Rountree
The Thousandth Hell by Brad C. Hodson
Mall Rats by James S. Dorr
Afterword by Ray Cluley
Like a Bat out of Hell by Jonathan Shipley
The Overlander by Jacob Edwards
Forever by John Palisano
My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur by Bentley Little
Robot Heaven by Jamie Lackey
Beyond the Veil by Robert B. Marcus, Jr.
Prisoner of Peace by David Tallerman
A Feast of Meat and Mead by Christine Morgan
Be Quiet At The Back by William Meikle
Cages by Peter Giglio
Hammerhead by Simon Clark
Marvel at the Face of Forever by Kelly Dunn
The Unfinished Lunch by Trevor Denyer
I Was The Walrus by Steve Cameron
The Devil’s Backbone by Larry Hodges
The Death of E. Coli by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer by Emily C. Skaftun
Acclimation Package by Joe McKinney
Hellevator by Josh Strnad
In and Out the Window by Allan Izen
With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts by John Langan

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Book Review! “Prodigy of Rainbow Tower” by Charles E. Yallowitz

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – ****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing ****

On a review site:
5 stars

This is the second installment for this series, you can read my review of the first book  HERE

I have always loved reading a series more than standalone books, and a series like this just reminds me why. I love to fall in love with characters and go on looong journeys with them.
I missed Luke and all of his friends in between reading the two books. Especially Fizzle! I love Fizzle =)

In this book Luke has graduated the Academy and is off on his first adventure. Nyx joins the crew to add extra spark to the group. I personally loved Nyx and hope maybe her and Luke will eventually end up together….hint hint…

In the first book Luke was very immature and I commented that I hoped the author planned to mature his character through the series. I am happy to report I was right! Luke has grown so much over the past two books.

The books themselves seem to be maturing as well. This book has much better fight scenes and seems to be a little more on the mature side than the first book.
Almost like the Harry Potter series. The books start out so young and innocent, but by the last book – watch out!

Overall, this is a series I am happy to be adding to my library and I can’t wait until the next one is out! I also can’t believe what a steal they are. Both books are only .99 cents. I am not sure if this is permanent or temporary so go get them while you can.

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BLURB:

The action-packed, humor-filled, dramatic sequel to ‘Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero’.

Battling through a demonic assassin and an army of monsters, Luke Callindor has survived his time at Hamilton Military Academy. Now, Luke and his friends must leave the safety of the academy to escort Duke Solomon’s heir down the L’dandrin River and into the safety of the city of Gods’ Voice. Joining them for this journey is Nyx, a powerful caster apprentice of Rainbow Tower. With her talent for combat magic and her short temper, Nyx will prove to be a challenge for Luke and all of their enemies.

Who will survive the harrowing trip down the L’dandrin River? And, who will be the one to break Luke’s trust?

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Book Review! “Angel’s Gate” by Andrew J. Rafkin and Louis Pagano

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – *****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing *****

On a review site:
5 stars

OK – so after reading this book I feel like I need a strong drink! I was so emotionally invested in the characters and what was going on, it almost reminded me of Ocean’s 11…which is a movie, but you know how it goes 😛

This is the story of four friends who have bigger dreams than pockets. Since they work in airport security they decide to smuggle in drugs. They get the biggest baddest gangster around involved and things take off from there!

This is listed as a true crime, and almost a *conspiracy theory*. Is it in fact true? Who knows!
I don’t doubt it is, along with many other things the government will never tell us about.

Fact or Fiction, this story is well written and non-stop action!
Highly recommend.

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BLURB:

Based on a true story of: The GREATEST heist-NEVER TOLD!
In 1983, the rapidly growing city of L.A. and beachfront communities were active in the illicit drug trade, successfully operating through Angels Gate Lighthouse, and LAX, the gateway to the City of Angels. This true story is a recounting of the largest monetary heist in history, carried out by four local surfers, and August Taracina, a successful marijuana smuggler.
The heist progresses with only minor hitches, until they open the bags of loot. Much to the  thieve’s chagrin, there is no cash, no gold, nothing but financial instruments, unable to be cashed.
While still in command of one of the larger marijuana smuggling operations on the West Coast, August begins a whirlwind, worldwide tour with his connections to organized crime, the Medellin Cartel, and international bankers, as he attempts to fence the items.
Other gangs, along with their treachery and murder, as well as FBI Agent Nick Cutler’s team, the Treasury Department, and Interpol pursue him. During this maelstrom, August devises an incredible plan to satisfy everyone’s interest and fulfill their dreams.
Now, all he has to do is MAKE IT HAPPEN!

 

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Book Review! “Sequela” by Cleland Smith

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – ****
Plot   – ****
Flow – ***
Grammar/Editing ****

On a review site:
 4 stars

This book is INCREDIBLY unique.

With so many books bordering on the *same ol’ same ol’* storylines it is refreshing to read something incredibly original.

That being said, there were some holes which kept it from being five stars.

First off, the beginning was really hard to follow. I don’t usually read the blurbs of books because I feel sometimes they give to much away.

With this book, after reading a few chapters I was looking at the blurb to figure out what was going on!

For example, I would have liked a little more background on WHY the upperclass/elite wanted to infect themselves with modified sexually transmitted viruses as a fashion statement.

Maybe it was a crazy superstar? Like a Lady GaGa who made it popular and people followed?

I felt like we were thrown into the futuristic timeline without enough world building.

However, the characters were well developed, and although they weren’t always like-able they were very real. The plot was good, and even though it was so “out there” still very believable.

Overall it was a unique book and  anyone who enjoys science fiction with a TRUE science spin would enjoy it.

BLURB:
 
Kester Lowe is the next big thing in viral fashion. For the price of a Brinkov suit you could be wearing one of his exclusively engineered STVs. And once you put it on, almost everyone will want you…


At least, that’s the plan. Alexis Farrell will stop at nothing to make her new designer a star, but not everyone is a fan; those offended by what he represents, those he has betrayed, his own suppressed ambitions and forgotten promises – Kester is racking up enemies and they are about to come together in an attempt to destroy him.

 

Sequela is a solid debut from a fresh new voice in science fiction. Set in London in the 2080s, it follows the story of virologist Dr Kester Lowe as he rockets to fame as the first fashion virus designer.
As events unfold, the reality of Kester’s fame and desirability bring him to crisis point, forcing him to deal with the consequences of selling his services to the highest bidder and reawakening his ambition to use his scientific talent to the greater good. A potent mix of nanotechnology, terrorism and sexual politics.

 

Book Review! “Ripple” by E.L. Farris

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – *****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing *****

On a review site:
5 stars

It is incredibly hard to find words to explain a book like this. 

As a mom to four amazing little girls, I had a very hard time reading this book. Especially in the beginning, when Helen was just finding out what was going on.

I have never personally been the victim of sexual abuse. Or abuse of any kind really. It breaks my heart to read books like this KNOWING how real it is. Knowing that right now there are little girls suffering this kind of life.

I really liked the character of Helen. Put in her situation, I’m pretty sure I would do the same thing!

Phoebe was amazing as well. Strong yet fragile all at the same time.

All of the characters were great and the story was flawless.
You definitely won’t see the end coming!

Of course this book is great for anyone who was/is a victim of abuse and those who work with them, BUT it is also a must read for EVERYONE in my opinion.

Thanks to the author for writing such a great story.

Download “Ripple” NOW!

BLURB:

A Lyrical Book of Healing

When high-powered attorney Helen Thompson discovers that her fifteen-year old daughter has been sexually assaulted, she takes drastic measures.

Finding herself in trouble, Helen must relinquish control and put her faith in a process she knows to be flawed. As a team of lawyers, therapists and women from a safe house help Helen and Phoebe find hope and healing, a sociopath lurks, waiting for his moment to strike.

A lyrical, dark fairytale that will resonate with fans of women’s literature and psychological thrillers, RIPPLE delves into the nature of evil, without seeking to provide final answers to the issue of what makes a human commit evil acts. And while the author takes readers to scary places, she ultimately shines a light on the human condition and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit in the face of great tribulation.

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Book Review! “Fang Chronicles: Mandy’s Story” by D’Elen McClain

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – ****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing *****

On a review site:
5 stars

The one thing that makes a paranormal romance stand out among all the others is great characters.

This book had some AWESOME ones.
Mandy was great. Although she is young she mated to a Kodiak bear named Honey about a year previous.
She got tired of waiting for him to notice her (in fact, he was pretty much downright ignoring her!) so she decided to kidnap him and force the situation.

If that sounds hilarious, it is!
That is just the beginning of the funny situations Mandy gets herself into. Attacking her mates father, before she knew it was his father, was another great scene.
All in all, in was a great read.

Mandy’s story is not the first in the Fang Chronicles, but it is the only one I have read so far.

It read fine as a standalone book, but I am sure there are things I didn’t pick up on.
If you want to read it in order, “Fang Chronicles: Amy’s Story” is first and it is FREE! So go get it and read them all.

 

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BLURB:

Mandy’s Story is a standalone, humorous and little bit kinky side story to the Fang Chronicles series.

Every beastkind knows you don’t mess with a Kodiak bear—everyone that is except Mandy, the wolf-pack Alpha’s sister. When Mandy hears whispers that the bad attitude bear, Honey, has chosen a mate, she takes matters into her own hands because her wolf decided months before that Honey was hers. If drugging, kidnapping, and making him live in a feral cage won’t work she’s planning to give Honey a little bad attitude of her own.

The bear clan is ferocious, deadly, and their fighting skills coveted by other beastkind. With war on the horizon, Honey has little time for games or courting much less more than a few grunts of acknowledgement to a young she-wolf who seems to be everywhere he looks. When he wakes up in a feral cage at the hands of that same exasperating she-wolf… all bets are off.

If anyone thought bears and wolves don’t mix, they’ve never seen Mandy on a mission. She refuses to give into the sexy he-bear when he tries to seduce her out of her tight little assets and himself out of the cage she’s locked him in. Two can play that game and in the end Honey will learn, they both need to win, or else.

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Book Review! “Strawberry Wine” by Lee Adams

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – ****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing *****

On a review site:
5 stars

This book is AWESOME. I loved it. I found myself connecting to the characters on a deep level and I know I will be thinking about them for a long time.

It had every element I could want from this genre, along with a few plot twists I didn’t see coming at all.

The main character, Tanya, just can’t escape her past no matter how hard she tries. Even though 10 years have passed, it still comes back to haunt her.
The question is, can she forgive her old friends and begin a new great life?

The beginning hooks you and doesn’t let go.
It is a great read and I highly recommend!

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BLURB:

Ten years have passed since Tanya Smith’s last summer at Laurel Lake–the summer of Marie. Today Tanya is a confident, successful music promoter–a far cry from the naive seventeen-year-old who showed up at the lake full of rosy notions of first love, lifelong friendships, and evenings spent sipping strawberry wine on the shore. That September changed everything, and as far as Tanya is concerned, there’s no going back. That is, until a mysterious phone call from Marie’s lawyer brings Tanya face to face with the past. Suddenly she finds herself returning to Laurel Lake and to everything she left behind there. Will the dark secret that haunts the lake break her heart all over again? Or will Marie’s legacy be the key that unlocks the future Tanya gave up on ten long years ago?

 

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Book Review! “Beginning of a Hero” by Charles E. Yallowitz

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – *****
Plot   – ****
Flow – ***
Grammar/Editing ****

On a review site:
4 stars

What a great little fantasy book! I have always loved fantasy. I think the very first series I ever read was the Belgariad by David Eddings.
Although it has it’s differences I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Belgariad while reading Legends of Windemere.

The main characters are alike. They are both young and full of themselves.
I can only imagine how much Luke Callindor will grow though the series.
It is also CHOCK FULL of interesting characters! They are all such different creatures than are usually in books.
I can’t decide if my favorite character is charming halfling Nimby or or childish but wise dragon Fizzle.

Although this is written in Second Person, it didn’t really bug me. That could be because a lot of the books I read are in First Person. 

So, two things that could be a turn off in this book is the Second Person point of view and the fact that it takes a little while to *get going.*
I would strongly suggest giving it a go anyway, even if the beginning is hard. It is a GREAT start to what has to be a great series!
Plus, at .99cents it is a total steal.

Download “Beginning of a Hero” NOW!

BLURB:

Take a step into the magical world of Windemere where history is forged by brave adventurers.

Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke has set out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.

Luke gets his chance when he convinces a royal messenger to hire him to protect the heir of Duke Solomon. This future leader is secretly attending Hamilton Military Academy, an esteemed school run by the former mercenary, Selenia Hamilton. It is a dangerous secret mission requiring that Luke pretend to be an average student while keeping an eye out for any sign of danger. Unfortunately, Luke has no idea which student the heir is and a demonic assassin is already several steps ahead of him. Finding himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, the young warrior realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.

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Book Review! “Pretty From a Distance” by Cat McCarrey

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – ****
Plot   – *****
Flow – ***
Grammar/Editing ****

On a review site:
4 stars

Pretty From a Distance is the story of a women who has been a victimized her whole life.
Because of things that happened to her as a child, Glory chooses the wrong man and he uses her past to control and threaten her.
He tells her he will go after her niece if she ever leaves him for a very specific reason.

If this sounds like the same old story of abuse, you would be wrong. It has a very strong story line with very vibrant characters. Some are likable – some aren’t!

You will find yourself being drawn into the story from the very beginning and turning the pages a little too fast to see what happens next.

The ending was explosive and I didn’t see it coming at all.
Definitely worth reading. It gives an insight into domestic violence that I haven’t really seen before.

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BLURB:

In 1999, Glory Morgan is fast approaching her fortieth birthday. Her boyfriend Vince Cole controls every aspect of her life, but she remains bound to him because of his threats to harm her young niece. As they travel the country year after year in a camper with no water or electricity, her despair continues to grow, as does her alcohol use…until Vince unexpectedly gives her the opportunity to choose their summer destination. Emboldened, she picks a small town in New Mexico, a choice that will change the course of their lives dramatically.

Encountering a vibrant community filled with eccentric characters including a Vietnam veteran, a psychic, and a man who had been abducted by UFO’s, she finds herself falling in love with the local bartender Doug Baylor. Inspired to assert herself, Glory slowly sees hope and joy return to her life and begins to stand up to Vince. As tensions escalate and Vince finds a lover of his own, a shocking event irrevocably changes their world forever.

Exploring the depths of abuse with compassion and honesty, McCarrey’s debut novel is an intense, warmhearted, and sometimes humorous story about the redemptive power of love and community. McCarrey deftly exposes the wounds of the past as these experiences play themselves out in our lives in a relentless pattern of symmetry—until one seizes the power to actively change them. Wondrous, evocative, and full of inspiration, Pretty from a Distance is a deeply moving passage into the lives of people caught in an interweaving dance of dependency and control.

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Book Review! “Shattered” by April Adams

Personal Rating System:
Character Development – ****
Plot   – *****
Flow – ****
Grammar/Editing ****

On a review site:
5 stars

This book is absolutely great. Mystery, Magic, a handsome elf 😉

The heroine awakens in this book with no memory of who she is, and she has no idea WHERE she is!
An elf named Glenn finds her and rescues her.
Together they try to figure out who she is and why there are dark forces that hunt her.

I forgot how much I enjoy reading a book from *another world*. As much as I love Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, Historical, etc. etc, it just can’t quite compete with a whole new world!

I can’t forget to mention that the author did a wonderful job of developing the characters and creating vivid pictures in your mind.

To sum it up, I enjoyed this book immensely! So much so that I looked and found out the second book is out 😉
I will definitely be putting that on my “To Be Read” list immediately.

 

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BLURB:

When the battered woman wakes on the frosted grass, the only thing she remembers is the blood-thirsty cult offering her as a sacrifice in a ceremony gone serendipitously wrong.

She has no name, no past, and seemingly no future as her swollen eyes slide shut for what she hopes is the last time. Glenn Elambil, a handsome elf, rescues her, bringing her from the brink of death into a life she never could have imagined. She finds herself on a different planet, a world where magic is as natural as drawing breath.

It’s not all wizards and wonder, though. The War Lord, the god of the cult that tried to kill her, is coming. Those on the side of evil hunt her with dark magic and darker intent. The good powers of the world need her to do some favors for them, and to top it off she’s got a growing, complicated infatuation with Glenn. The key to her future lies in her past, which might be easier to find if her mind hadn’t been shattered and reprogrammed by the cult. She must face it all and dive head first into her own psyche to find what is lost if she has any chance of survival.

Shattered, book one in The Legends of Rune trilogy, is a contemporary fantasy unlike any other.

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