Monday, December 27, 2010

The Second Half of Life (Sionna Cailey)

Overall: 3.6
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2.7/5
  • Believability: 3.8/5
The Second Half of Life by Sionna Cailey

Tequila, magic and rock & roll set the stage for midlife rebellion when Aidan, Kathy and Diana decide that witchcraft is the only way to rev up their boring small-town lives. They discover the secret of a demon that grants your heart’s desire and magical wishes always come with a high price tag – can they afford it? A wicked, Wiccan Romance...

Genre: Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Smashwords
Other Links:
author website



In an ongoing effort to assuage their dissatisfaction with life, Kathy, Aidan, and Diana – the so-called "Committee of the Disaffected" – dabble in one activity after the other. Their quest for that elusive something, that sense of purpose or meaning, eventually leads them to dabbling in witchcraft. At first, I was uncertain as to whether or not this would all be some major hoax, an instance of their minds convincing them that they were indeed commanding things. Then, the demon appeared.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm a bit behind at the moment, since I'm in the midst of applications for residency programs. Unsurprisingly, book reviews are easier to write than career-related essays and cover letters! I much prefer the former.

Have a happy holiday! I will post the next review as soon as everything is turned in.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Miracle Inspector (Helen Smith)

Overall: 4.6
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Believability: 4.5/5
The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

A dystopian thriller set in the near future. England has been partitioned and London is an oppressive place where poetry has been forced underground, theatres and schools are shut, and women are not allowed to work outside the home. A young couple, Lucas and Angela, try to escape from London - with disastrous consequences.
Genre: Thriller
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website



The third of Smith's works to be reviewed on the site, The Miracle Inspector is by far her best. While the tone and style are indisputably hers, the storytelling takes a compelling turn that makes the book more absorptive than either Alison Wonderland or Being Light.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Right Path (Debra L. Martin and David W. Small)


This book is a novelette leading into the Dark Future series by authors Debra Martin and David Small. It serves to whet the appetite as it describes a post-war future of scorched earth, broken buildings, violence, and beggars. Our focus is on a handful of individuals, one a cripple and the other an orphan, navigating through this mess as they find the so-called "Right Path."
  • Overall: 3.8   ҉
  • Plot: 4.2/5
  • Originality: 3.8/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 4/5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Being Light (Helen Smith)

Overall: 3.9
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 4/5
Being Light by Helen Smith

When Roy Travers doesn’t come home his wife begins to suspect he has been abducted by aliens, and she enlists the help of a private detective to find him. But Roy was not taken by aliens. The truth is far stranger.
Genre: General Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website



In Being Light, we continue with the adventures of Alison, Taron, and Mrs. Fitzgerald from Alison Wonderland, adding in a host of new characters who are somehow intricately linked to one another through circuses, elephants, and familial ties.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Erich's Plea (Tracey Alley)

Due to a high number of grammatical errors, I was unable to complete enough of this novel  to be able to write a review in good conscience. The story itself might have been quite interesting, but I was distracted by run-on sentences, misused semicolons, and the occasional addition of an apostrophe after the word its. At 43%, I called it quits.


My apologies for not having a full review to post this week. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Flaming Dove (Daniel Arenson)

Overall: 3.1
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2.5/5
  • Believability: 2/5
Flaming Dove by Daniel Arenson

Outcast from Hell. Banished from Heaven. Lost on Earth.

The battle of Armageddon was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.

In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn't want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy... or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila's only war is within her heart--a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood.
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
">Nook
Paperback US | UK | DE
Hardcover US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

In the aftermath of Armageddon, Earth is a desolate battlefield where angels and demons continue to fight tooth and nail for the ravaged land. In the midst of this chaos is Laila, a being half dark and half light who wants nothing more than a place to rest. With her, we find out what happens when this wish goes unanswered.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dead to Writes (Cathy Wiley)

It's another murder mystery, and once again, my gut feeling gave an erroneous assumption. Thankfully, Cassandra Ellis and Detective James Whittaker were not so easily misled.
  • Overall: 3.4 ҉
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Believability: 3.5/5

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life in the Slow Lane (Thomas Sullivan)


This book marks the first work of nonfiction that I've reviewed for this blog. With Driver's Ed an activity long-forgotten, it was intriguing to think about it from the instructor's point of view. Sullivan just happens to have first-hand experience.
  • Overall: 3.5 ҉
  • Content: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Credibility: 5/5

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Author Interview: Dorothy James

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dorothy James, author of A Place to Die: An Inspector Georg Büchner Mystery, along with assorted books and articles on German and Austrian literature. She is currently working on her second novel, a continuation of the adventures of Inspector George Büchner.

Publications:
A Place to Die: An Inspector Georg Büchner Mystery

Other Links:
Book Review: A Place to Die: An Inspector Georg Büchner Mystery
Vienna Mysteries

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mr. Darcy's Diary (Amanda Grange)


To an avid fan of Jane Austen's works, the idea of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's point of view was appealing. It bears reiterating, however, that the book was in fact written centuries later by a different author.

  • Overall: 1.8 ҉
  • Plot: 2/5
  • Originality: 2/5
  • Language: 1.3/5
  • Believability: 2/5

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fantasy Kingdom XXI (Lisa Anne Nisula)

When I first saw the title, as well as the cover, my mind immediately flew towards Final Fantasy role-playing games. As it turns out, I wasn't far off the mark!

  • Overall: 2.9 ҉
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Believability: 2.5/5

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kindle Blogging

Hi everyone,

While I finish reading this week's book, I thought I'd post a link to a review posted by The Kindle Blog Report for this site. Click the button below to see it:

Also, I have set up Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews for Kindle subscriptions. You can click on the button in the right-hand navigation menu or below:


Enjoy! And now, back to reading.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Author Interview: Helen Smith

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stay Within the Lines

Hello everyone,

After much indecision, I decided to post my review for Rock Star's Rainbow after all. I had a very difficult time getting through it for the reasons stated in the review itself. There was an internal, ethical battle as to how far I could push myself, and quite frankly, it's unpleasant to read when you're forcing yourself to do it.

That brings us to the point of this announcement: PLEASE READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES if you intend to submit your work. There is a reason why they're there. This exception was made primarily because they weren't stated as clearly at the time when the author first contacted me, so I did it out of fairness. Now that they're clearly posted, however, I ask that you abide by them. It will save us all a great deal of time and heartache.

Thank you for your cooperation. My apologies for sounding like such a curmudgeon, but it had to be said.


Rock Star's Rainbow (Kevin Glavin)

I was of two minds when it came to reviewing this novel. On the one hand, I committed to reviewing it, and I believe in honoring one's commitments. On the other, it was far too graphic for me to finish reading. In the end, I decided to give it a go. (Note that this review is only based on 60% of the book.)

  • Overall: 3 ҉
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Believability: 3/5

The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered, Baby Brigade (Deborah Diesen)

Overall: 4
  • Content: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 3/5
  • Illustrations: 3/5
The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered, Baby Brigade by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Tracy Dockray

Join a crowd of cranky babies as they take to the streets!

The babies turned east at the corner of Main saying, “goo-goo” and “ga-ga” and “Out of our way!”

These babies have had it!

No more mashed peas!

No more bibs!

No more frilly clothes!

Their demands are loud and clear—but are their moms and dads ready to listen?
Genre:
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Hardcover US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website

This week, we're going with a children's book by Deborah Diesen, author of The Pout-Pout Fish. This book has a different publisher and a different illustrator from the ones she works with for that series, though.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Choose Your Own Romance (Christina Crooks)

I agreed to do this review about a month ago, so I decided to give it a bump. Here we go:


  • Overall: 1.5 ҉
  • Plot: 0.5/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 1/5
  • Believability: 1.5/5

Friday, September 10, 2010

Minor Delay

Hi everyone! I spent my evening adding a contact page, creating a Twitter account, and adding pretty icons to the sidebar for this blog. As a result, this week's book review will be a bit late. I'll do my best to put it up soon! In the meantime, I've posted the summary for Choose Your Own Romance on Currently Reading.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Redesigned Page

Hello everyone! Stimulated Outlet underwent some major cosmetic surgery this morning. The style was completely redesigned, and I added some nifty new features and pages.

You can now search for books by genre or by rating using the links on the sidebar. If you look at the menu at the top of the page, you will find that there is now an explanation of my review criteria, as well as a second page that provides a concrete set of guidelines for review submissions.

I also fixed the original post dates for Not What She Seems and The Book.

Thanks for visiting! I hope that you enjoy your stay.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Alison Wonderland (Helen Smith)

Overall: 3.4
  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Believability: 2/5
Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

After her husband leaves her for another woman, twentysomething Londoner Alison Temple impulsively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her philandering ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so desperately needs to move on with her shattered life.

At the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation, she spends her days tracking lost objects and her nights shadowing unfaithful husbands. But no matter what the case, none of her clients can compare to the fascinating characters in her personal life. There’s her boss, the estimable and tidy Mrs. Fitzgerald; Taron, Alison’s eccentric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-struck, poetry-writing neighbor; and—last but not least—her psychic postman. Her relationships with them all become entangled when she joins Taron for a road trip to the seaside and stumbles into a misadventure of epic proportions!

Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, this humorous literary novel introduces a memorable heroine struggling with the everyday complexities of modern life.
Genre: Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website



I came across this novel in one of the forums, and the name had me sold. (Mildly narcissistic, I know. My apologies.) Final breakdown is as follows:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enchanted Darkly (Tarrant Smith)

Instead of sleeping early tonight, I gave into temptation and decided to read another novel prior to working up patients for six am rounds. A few hours later, I regret not opting for rest, or perhaps a designer latte in the morning.

  • Overall: 2.3 ҉
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 1/5
  • Believability: 2/5

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Book (M. Clifford)

Overall: 4.8
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4.5/5
  • Believability: 4.5/5
The Book by M. Clifford

It begins, “Don’t read The Book.” All information, past and present, is controlled by The Book, a handheld digital reading device that exists in a paperless, sustainable, dystopian future that looks shockingly similar to our own. Among the multitude of Book lovers, we find Holden Clifford, a simple sprinkler fitter who is content with his small life. Through his favorite story, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden discovers an inconsistency between the digital version and a rare paper page, preserved in the form of “recycled” wallpaper in the bathroom of his favorite Chicago bar, The Library. His quest for answers leads him quickly beyond the page to discover a secret library of books and a man named Winston who explains the subtle, potent censorship of every story ever written.

Equipped with excerpts from unedited novels, alongside a group of like-minded readers called the Ex Libris, Holden dedicates himself to freeing the world from the grip of the Publishing House. His heroic mission draws him hastily into a dangerous scheme to overthrow the Editors of The Book and save the last remnant of printed words left on the earth. As his mission unfolds and a haunting reality about the government’s capacity to outwit the minds of the public begins to reveal itself, Holden is forced to accept that the only way to succeed may be to sacrifice himself and the one thing they love more than life – books.
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle USUK | DE
Nook
Paperback
Other Links:
author website


An afternoon intended for reading about diabetes was quickly supplanted by a book that I just could not, for the life of me, leave unfinished. Here is the final breakdown:

 

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