Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire (Marc Johnson)

Overall: 2.4
  • Plot:2.9/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language:2/5
  • Believability: 1.8/5
Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire by Marc Johnson
For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.

Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world.

Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.

Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.

In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn...
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK
Nook
Other Links:
author website



Following the literary model of the unlikely hero, Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire introduces us to a poor boy whose moral convictions lead him into the path of greatness. A "do or die" situation awakens latent powers within him that start his quest to become stronger than he ever thought possible. Good timing, too, since he is soon called upon to save his world from malevolent forces that threaten its very existence.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Russian Renaissance (Ian Kharitonov)

Overall: 4.2
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4.1/5
  • Believability: 3.7/5
The Russian Renaissance by Ian Kharitonov

Constantine can no longer hide in Europe. As he discovers a century-old secret, he must flee back to Moscow, chased by assassins.

Only one man can save him. Eugene Sokolov: an officer in the world's most elite rescue unit, a martial arts legend… and Constantine's brother.

They face an enemy unlike any other. In a game run by a KGB spymaster, the fate of Russia will depend on their survival.
Genre: Thriller
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK
Nook
Paperback US
Other Links:
author website


A conspiracy theorist's dream, The Russian Renaissance ties together history, suspense, action, and a brief environmental interlude as three main characters are drawn together by forces beyond their control. As Constantine attempts to solve a centuries-old mystery, his brother, Eugene, tries to protect Asiyah from the demons that chase them both. Amidst heavy artillery and merciless manipulation, all three of them become involved in a revolution that may very well change the course of Russia's, and Kazakhstan's, future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The War Is Language: 101 Short Works (Nath Jones)

Overall: 3
  • Content: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2.5/5
  • Credibility: 3/5
The War Is Language: 101 Short Works by Nath Jones

The War is Language: 101 Short Works is a compilation of ultra shorts that culminates with absurdest letters to a fake advice columnist. These pieces exist at story's amorphous limit of spoken word and deconstruction.

As a whole, this high-impact triptych of prose poetry and flash fiction probes identity in experience. The first and second sections of the book explore memory and dichotomy respectively by focusing on the impressions of a woman and a soldier as 21st-century Americans. The book’s third section, letters to a fake advice columnist, is a sarcastic interaction with an absurd existential authority figure. The book calls into question our post-post-modern establishment of anti-authority conformists.

The War is Language: 101 Short Works is the first in an e-book series, On Impulse, which explores the spectrum of narrative.
Genre: General Fiction,
Humor, Nonfiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK
Nook
Smashwords
Other Links:
author website

The War is Language is a collection of short pieces, ranging from absurd, fictional vignettes to stories from the author's own life. There are thematic elements tying individual sections together, though the work as a whole is designed to make one question the bandwagon approach to rebellion and the way that we see the status quo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Opposing Inertia

Hello, my lovelies! It's been a while, so I thought I'd pop in a blogger's note to let you know that yes, I am still reading. It's been a crazy two weeks, involving a collective twenty-one hours of driving (solo), two rambunctious tykes (not mine), a job interview (scary), and lastly, a new job (fabulous). After over three months of post-graduation unemployment, I can't even begin to describe the relief. Just thought I'd share the good news. With the economy being the way it is, maybe it can offer someone else hope.

Now the bad other news: over the next few weeks, I'll be packing up my life and moving across several states. I'll still be reading and blogging whenever possible, but it's going to be a hectic time. Please bear with me during this transition. After two and a half decades of school, joining the rest of the grown-ups in the workaday world is a large and wonderfully terrifying step.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Death Line (Geraldine Evans)

Overall: 4.1
  • Plot: 4.5/5
  • Originality: 4.5/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 4/5
Death Line by Geraldine Evans

Jasper Moon, internationally renowned ‘seer to the stars’, had signally failed to foresee his own future. He is found dead on his consulting-room floor, his skull crushed with a crystal ball and, all, around him, his office in chaos.

Meanwhile, Ma Rafferty does some star-gazing of her own and is sure she can predict Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty’s future – by the simple expedient of organizing it herself. She is still engaged on her crusade to get Rafferty married off to a good Catholic girl with child-bearing hips. But Rafferty has a cunning plan to sabotage her machinations. Only trouble is, he needs Sergeant Llewellyn’s cooperation and he isn’t sure he’s going to get it.

During their murder investigations, Inspector Rafferty and Sergeant Llewellyn discover a highly incriminating video concealed in Moon’s flat, a video which, if made public, could wreck more than one life. Was the famous astrologer really a vicious sexual predator? Gradually, connections begin to emerge between Moon and others in the small Essex town of Elmhurst. But how is Rafferty to solve the case when all of his suspects have seemingly unbreakable alibis?
Genre: Mystery
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Hardcover US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website


Originally published in 1995, Death Line is the third installment of the long-running Rafferty and Llewellyn detective series, recently re-released in electronic format. This time, they set about solving the murder of Jasper Moon, a well-known "seer to the stars". With high profile clients, wealthy business partners, and disgruntled employees all under suspicion, it's up to this duo to discover the truth behind this theatrical man's death. Along the way, they'll face their own prejudices and learn the value of an open mind.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

33 Days: Touring In A Van, Sleeping On Floors, Chasing A Dream (Bill See)

Overall: 4.4
  • Content: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language:3.7/5
  • Credibility: 5/5
33 Days: Touring In A Van, Sleeping On Floors, Chasing A Dream by Bill See

For 33 days in the summer of 1987, Divine Weeks set off on tour in a beat up old Ford Econoline Van, sleeping on strangers' floors, never sure they'd make enough gas money to get them to the next town. This deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks' first tour of the U.S. and Canada.

Liberated from alcoholic upbringings and rigid cultural constraints, all they have is their music and each other's friendship. The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism.

They set out on the road to discovery to drink in all they could and maybe sell a few records. They grew up instead.
Genre: Nonfiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website


In the summer of 1987, LA-based band Divine Weeks went on its first (inter)national tour. Instead of limousines and entourages and fancy hotels, however, they lived out of the back of an increasingly fetid van, slept on strangers' floors, and, on occasion, begged for food. Yet for the band, it was more than music: it was an opportunity to live. Lead singer Bill See's 33 Days lets us share in the experience.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today (Stacy Juba)

Overall: 3.4
  • Plot: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4.2/5
  • Believability: 2.7/5
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today by Stacy Juba

Should we dig for the truth when Pandora's Box is a coffin of buried secrets? For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson's killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself.
Genre: Mystery,
Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Paperback US | UK | DE
Smashwords
Other Links:
author website
Kris Langley, an editorial assistant, stumbles across an unsolved murder while researching old editions of the Fremont Daily News. Drawn in by the similarities to a personal tragedy, she launches her own investigation, hoping for a featured article and the opportunity to bring closure to a grieving family. Even twenty-five years after the fact.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dreamwalk (Sarah McManus)

Overall: 3.5
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 3/5
  • Believability: 3/5
Dreamwalk by Sarah McManus

After the death of her mother, eighteen year old Chloe Hawthorn is haunted by terrifying nighttime hallucinations. Determined to take control of her dream journeys, she uses them to find Shane Anderson, a charming and troubled musician whose online videos have been holding her in thrall. She finds him in the Dreamtime, sweating out heroin detox in a run-down rehab center.

Chloe sets out to find Shane in the waking world and discovers her dreams have been taking her into the past. Horrified, Chloe realizes Shane doesn't survive his addictions. In order to save him, Chloe must master her Australian mother's legacy — the secret of walking the Dreaming through time. But what price will Chloe pay for this Dreamwalk and will she save Shane only to lose him forever?
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website



Dreams of falling are a common enough occurrence, but for Chloe Hawthorn, the experience is far more vivid than the physical sensation upon waking: for years, her dream self has fallen from skyscrapers, planes, and the like. With her move to New York City, however, these imaginings take a decidedly strange twist as she finds herself befriending another lost soul as she sleeps. What follows is a quest, borne of teenage love, to discover what happened to Shane and, ultimately, to save him.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Author Interview: Tara Woolpy

Publications:
Releasing Gillian's Wolves

Other Links:
Book Review: Releasing Gillian's Wolves
Bats in the Boathouse Press
Giveaway: Releasing Gillian's Wolves (ends 31 Aug 2011)

A Brief Apology

Hello, faithful followers! I just wanted to post a formal apology for the lack of updates recently. For the past few weeks, I've been occupied with passing licensing exams and job hunting, the latter activity continuing to be an unfortunate preoccupation. Apparently there aren't as many pharmacist positions open as there used to be.

In any case, I will endeavor to resume my previous pace in terms of book reviews and the like. An interview with Tara Woolpy will be up shortly, and in the spirit of rewarding your continued support, I am extending the giveaway for Releasing Gillian's Wolves through the end of the month.

Thank you for putting up with my dereliction of duty. Updates are a-comin'.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

No Good Deed (MP McDonald)

Overall: 4.3
  • Plot: 4.3/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 4.2/5
No Good Deed by MP McDonald

Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them. He learns that not only can he see the future, he can change it. Then the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings. Thousands die. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Taylor isn't urban hero. It's enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.
Genre: Science Fiction,
Thriller
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Other Links:
author website


"No good deed goes unpunished." "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Mark Taylor learns the truth of both these adages when he tries to warn the government about the 9/11 attacks. His suspect knowledge comes from a magical camera, one that shows him future tragedies and forces him to dream about the circumstances in detail. In his attempts to prevent a major disaster, he unknowingly lands himself with enemy combatant status and faces seemingly endless interrogations to force a confession that he cannot make.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse (Jan Hurst-Nicholson)

Overall: 4.3
  • Content: 4.3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Illustrations: 5/5
Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse by Jan Hurst-Nicholson, illustrated by Barbara McGuire

When Mr Woodland Mouse mysteriously disappears, Constable Mole is quick to enlist the help of Leon Chameleon, Private Investigator, whose expertise enabled the Pigeon Valley police to solve the case of the missing canary eggs.

After organising a search, Leon realises that there is only one creature in the valley who can spring the captured mouse from his prison. But just when he thinks Mr Woodland Mouse is safely on his way home, the plan goes horribly wrong ...
Genre:
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Other Links:
publisher website


When Mr. Woodland Mouse is kidnapped, Constable Mole recruits private investigator Leon Chameleon to assist with the case. What follows is a forest-wide search and a complicated rescue mission that pulls together animals from all levels of the food chain.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Giveaway: Releasing Gillian's Wolves

Enter to win a paper and/or an electronic copy of Tara Woolpy's debut novel, Releasing Gillian's Wolves! Written by the daughter of a former senator, this novel combines food, family, and personal healing.

Book Summary:

The wife of an adulterous politician must choose. Why has she stayed? What would finally make her go?

Thirty years ago Gillian married Jack Sach, now a United States Congressman. Through the years she’s remained faithful. He hasn’t. Ever. She cooks to soothe herself and others, takes care of her mother-in-law, gardens, sneaks off to the studio to explode with angry paintings and tries to keep Jack’s dalliances secret, even from their two grown children. As she nears fifty, her friends think she should leave but she lingers, bound by inertia and fear of the effect media coverage of a divorce would have on her family.

Gillian shares a trust fund with Edward, her gay neighbor and best friend. Their grandfathers made a fortune together and left it to the two of them. Over the years, in support of Gillian’s marriage, the trust bankrolled Jack’s many successful campaigns. Not particularly interested in politics, Gillian survives by ignoring everything outside her kitchen, garden and studio. Edward has his own ragged past filled with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol. Through the course of a summer, Gillian’s marriage continues to deteriorate while Edward’s life finally starts to improve. He’s sober, stable and has found life-changing love with Sam, a Biology professor at the local university. Their happiness shines a stark light on Gillian’s loveless marriage. Finally, when Gillian meets Jack’s latest conquest, twenty-year-old Ashley, she’s forced to confront the rot at the core of her relationship. Is it too late for happiness?


Additional Links:
Book Review: Releasing Gillian's Wolves
Tara Woolpy's author website

Contest ends 31 August 2011. Winners will be notified by e-mail.


Entry Form

Name  E-mail Address  

Preferred Format (Choose up to two)
Paper
Paperback
Electronic
EPUB (Nook, Sony)
MOBI (Kindle)
PDF

Bonus Entries (+1 each)
I follow Hide and Read (RSS, NetworkedBlogs, etc.)
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Releasing Gillian's Wolves (Tara Woolpy)

Overall: 4.5
  • Plot: 4.3/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language:4.5/5
  • Believability: 4.3/5
Releasing Gillian's Wolves by Tara Woolpy

The wife of an adulterous politician must choose. Why has she stayed? What would finally make her go?

Thirty years ago Gillian married Jack Sach, now a United States Congressman. Through the years she’s remained faithful. He hasn’t. Ever. She cooks to soothe herself and others, takes care of her mother-in-law, gardens, sneaks off to the studio to explode with angry paintings and tries to keep Jack’s dalliances secret, even from their two grown children. As she nears fifty, her friends think she should leave but she lingers, bound by inertia and fear of the effect media coverage of a divorce would have on her family.

Gillian shares a trust fund with Edward, her gay neighbor and best friend. Their grandfathers made a fortune together and left it to the two of them. Over the years, in support of Gillian’s marriage, the trust bankrolled Jack’s many successful campaigns. Not particularly interested in politics, Gillian survives by ignoring everything outside her kitchen, garden and studio. Edward has his own ragged past filled with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol. Through the course of a summer, Gillian’s marriage continues to deteriorate while Edward’s life finally starts to improve. He’s sober, stable and has found life-changing love with Sam, a Biology professor at the local university. Their happiness shines a stark light on Gillian’s loveless marriage. Finally, when Gillian meets Jack’s latest conquest, twenty-year-old Ashley, she’s forced to confront the rot at the core of her relationship. Is it too late for happiness?
Genre: Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Paperback US | UK | DE
Kindle and Nook versions to be released later this month
Other Links:
author website


Whereas many works of women's fiction center around main characters in their twenties or thirties, Releasing Gillian's Wolves focuses on a quinquagenarian with a green thumb, artistic talent, and closet full of "Congressman's Wife" clothing. For decades, she's dealt with her philandering husband's bad behavior by painting in her studio, working in her garden, and taking care of friends and family, including the mother-in-law whom her husband routinely neglects. Jack's newest paramour, a twenty-something intern, proves to be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. After thirty years of marriage, she finally makes a stand for herself.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms (Mark Whiteway)

Overall: 4.3
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Believability: 3/5
Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms by Mark Whiteway

Ail-Kar, a white-hole portal from another universe, rains meteoroids onto the surface of the planet Kelanni. But the so-called "lodestones" behave according to different physical laws, transforming Kelanni's society. With the aid of the fearsome Keltar in their flying cloaks, the Kelanni are being put to forced labor to mine the lodestones.

Shann, an orphan with a fiery disposition, witnesses a battle between a Keltar and a stranger bearing a similar flying cloak. She tracks down the stranger, and learns of the technology behind the Keltars' power, joining him on a mission to free the slaves and cut off their supply of lodestones.

Meanwhile Keris, a Keltar, is sent on a mission to track down the rebels. She is attacked by a flying creature and saved by the enigmatic Chandara. At their Great Tree, she learns that a mysterious "Prophet" is out to destroy the Kelanni people. Their only hope is a powerful instrument hidden in the distant past.

Pursued by Keltar, the party will encounter bizarre creatures, ancient technologies and terrifying dangers. Finally, they must seek to cross a massive storm barrier in order to reach the other side of their world, where a world-shaking revelation awaits.
Genre: Fantasy,
Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Paperback US | UK | DE
Other Links:
author website


In this stunning work of fantasy fiction, we are introduced to a theocratic society and a unique use of the concept of negative matter. In an act of brilliant irony, the Prophet has been using the Kelanni people and money to fund the development of a weapon to annihilate them. One of his top Keltar, an elite soldier, stumbles upon his plan and begins an unwilling journey with four others to save the people she has sworn to protect. With former allies breathing down their necks, they race against the clock to save their people and defeat a false god.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Giveaway: Matchmakers 2.0

Enter to win an e-copy of Matchmakers 2.0, a Novel Nibbles title by Debora Geary. Perfectly portioned for your lunch break of your morning commute!

Book Summary:

Have you ever wondered who really does the matches for those online-dating sites?

Mick - Guppy scientist and victim of her self-inflicted dating adventures.
Miri - Astrology whiz and promoter of steamy sex for the greater good.
Derrick - Data genius and life idiot.

Meet the match team at Matchmakers.com, the web 2.0 online-dating service with a personal touch.  Can Mick lead her team, find a guy, and finally win Match the Loser?


Additional Links:
Book Review: Matchmakers 2.0
Debora Geary's author website

Contest ends 1 July 2011. The winner will be notified by e-mail.




Entry Form



Extra Entries (+1 each)
I'm on Debora Geary's mailing list

I'm friends with Debora Geary on Facebook

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Contest: Character Challenge

Calling both readers and writers! In honor of my upcoming blogoversary, I'm hosting a character-based guest post challenge.

The Contest

Have you ever read a book and wanted to be one of the characters? Well here's your chance. Write a guest post using his or her words! Be creative, and most importantly, have fun!

To Enter

      Choose a book (your own or someone else's).
      Choose a character.
      Write a guest post from that character's point of view.
      Send your entry as a Word attachment to alice(at)hideandread.com.
      • Please use "Character Contest" in the subject line.
      • Be sure to specify the character/book and any relevant information (eg. Harry Potter before or after he discovered the wizarding world).
**All submissions must be received by 27 July 2011**

The Reward

The top three winners will have their entries posted on this blog at the end of July. They will also be offered the opportunity to write a guest post of their own. All other entrants will be given an honorable mention.

Ready? Set? Write!

Steam Queen by Jack Hessey

Overall: 2.8
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 1.8/5
  • Believability: 2.5/5

Steam Queen by Jack Hessey

Europe is a dangerous, virtually lawless place. Armed bandits prowl the railway lines in their armed Steam Locomotive looking for easy marks, and heavily armed mercenary engines travel from town to town looking for work in a world where every day is a struggle for its civilians.

Erica, an emotionally disturbed girl from England finds herself joining one of these mercenary teams. What follows is a trek across Europe to where two mighty cities, each representing a different way of life, stand on the verge of a war which will shape the way Europe develops.

On one side are the Steam using traditionalists of St Vith, led by the charismatic and cunning General Roosje Cuvelier. On the other, stands the mighty Winterscheid Diesel Empire under the iron fist of the merciless Kaiser Sigmund Eisenburg.

Two vicious armies, treachery from her own allies and the world’s deadliest super-weapon are just a few of the dangers that Erica must face in her journey.
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Other Links:
author website



In Steam Queen, the opening scene introduces us to Erica, an eighteen-year-old with the megalomania and proclivity towards violence of a sociopath. In spite of her self-righteous and self-centered administration of justice, however, she also feels a deep love for her father. This devotion is what lands here with the Steam Queens, a mercenary team that hunts down targets via locomotive. With a new assignment, they find themselves caught between a female general with a disregard for consequences and a kaiser who has an almost fanatical love for diesel engines.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reinvention

Hi folks. My blog-o-versary is coming up in a month or so, and I need to decide whether or not to renew my domain name. At the moment, I'm contemplating rebranding this blog, since "Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews" is a bit of a mouthful (and rather tedious to type). Since the blog is relatively young, I figured it would be easier to make any changes now rather than later. Thoughts / opinions / advice please!

Also, in case you're wondering, yes I'm still reading Steam Queen. The file I'm reading is a PDF, which is why it's taking a bit longer. (Incidentally, this is why I stopped accepting PDF files for review.) I've also been packing up the apartment and overloading the recycling bin. Just call me a one-woman moving machine!

One more housekeeping detail: the giveaway for The Marlowe Conspiracy, Raven's Heart, and Vestal Virgin ends tonight. Make sure you drop by the giveaway page and enter!

Okie dokie that's about it. It's back to the paper shredder for me. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Matchmakers 2.0 (Debora Geary)

Overall: 4.4    ҉
  • Plot: 4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4.8/5
  • Believability: 3.8/5
Matchmakers 2.0 (A Novel Nibbles title) by Debora Geary

Mick - guppy scientist and victim of her self-inflicted dating adventures.
Miri - astrology whiz and promoter of steamy sex for the greater good.
Derrick - data genius and life idiot.

Meet the match team at MatchMakers.com, the web 2.0 online-dating service with a personal touch.

Can Mick lead her team, find a guy, and finally win Match the Loser? Enjoy a little humor, a little romance, and occasional trivia about guppies.

Matchmakers 2.0 is humorous romance with a chick-lit flavor.
Genre: Humor,
Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Other Links:
Novel Nibbles


Debora Geary proves that a good story can be delivered in a small package, or rather, a "novel nibble". In roughly 20,000 words, we follow the antics of Derrick, Miri, and Mick, a quirky group of matchmakers with very different approaches towards the process. This year, Mick finds herself pulled into the fray and discovers what it's like on the client end of Matchmakers 2.0.

Letterbox Look-see (May 2011, Part III)

Hi everyone! Here's the final installment of mailbox items for May. This is the last batch of review copies that I'll be receiving for a while, so I hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Be Our Guest!

Good afternoon (evening?) everyone! Today, I had the opportunity to write a guest post for Two Ends of the Pen on books and first impressions. Here's an excerpt:

There is a scene in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont in which an older woman is dressing up for dinner with complete strangers. As she adds a few finishing touches, she murmurs to herself, “First impressions.” Two simple words that summed up her entire mindset. First impressions are the same reason why we wear suits to job interviews and agonize over first dates. What we often forget, however, is that the concept extends beyond the physical into the realm of silent text. When facial expressions and innate charisma are taken away, we are stripped down to vocabulary and syntax; our only weapons are a message worth sharing and the tools with which to do so.

Click here to see the full post. Be sure to stop over and show Deb some love!

P.S. The giveaway for Raven's Heart, Vestal Virgin, and The Marlowe Conspiracy is still going. All three are some of my favorites since I started this blog, so you definitely want to enter. See the giveaway page for details.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kissing Kelli (Kathy Carmichael)

Overall: 2.9   ҉
  • Plot: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 3.3/5
  • Language: 3.8/5
  • Believability: 2/5
Kissing Kelli by Kathy Carmichael

Rodeo champion and wealthy rancher, Bobby Gray Nelson, is used to women setting out to lasso him. But when he meets feisty Kelli Palmer, she refuses him on every count. He's always up for a challenge and is determined to woo this beautiful veterinarian who he thinks could be his soul mate.

Kelli Palmer doesn't believe love is in the chute for her. She's devoted herself to the animals she cares for and the family she adores. So when her sister claims dibs on the handsome cowboy, Kelli reins in her attraction and tells him to skedaddle.

Losing is not an option for this gorgeous cowboy. He comes up with a 5-step plan to place his brand on Kelli's heart.

The problem is, he can't even make it to the first step. Never fear, though. He's got a Plan B.

Can Kelli stand her ground -- even after his toe-curling kiss?
Genre: Women's Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Paperback
Other Links:
author website


In this lighthearted romance, cowboy Bobby Gray Nelson sets out to win the heart of veterinarian Kelli Palmer, a woman with distant ties to royalty and a strong sense of family. Her loyalty to her sister Lori is the wedge that drives these two apart, as Kelli's sister had the dubious privilege of going out with him first. With a motley band of sick animals in tow, however, Bobby Gray is determined to succeed in the end.

Promise Kept (Brandy Hunt)

Overall: 3.3
  • Plot: 3.4/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 1.8/5
  • Believability: 3/5

Promise Kept by Brandy Hunt

In a world full of the relics of the past and the toys of the future, Lila Howell is a psychic who struggles to remain ethical in the face of her government's demands. Finding her to valuable to force into the role the Security Ministry wants her to take, the government allows her to take the job she was trained for, archival historian. In this role, she is still controllable and they can still use her gifts.

Currently, her government is demanding that she use her job, interviewing people for the Passing Project, in order to retrieve information from Susanne Newton. Susanne Newton is in her nineties and is something of a hero in the formation of the current regime, the New Dawn. This regime insists that Susanne Newton is keeping information from them and has been for years.

Lila must make a decision between keeping her life or reaching for something more. She is being pressured on all sides to made a decision between the ethics that go along with her gift and the life that Susanne describes. Will she make the right decision?.
Genre: Fantasy,
Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Smashwords
Other Links:
author website


After the Passing, or the fall of the American government, a period of warlord rule was finally broken by the death of the last warlord and the establishment of the New Dawn government. Lives are heavily controlled, from food rations to intelligence tests for job placement. To avoid repeating the series of events that led to the breakdown of the previous government, archivists like psychic Lila Howell are sent to obtain "passings", or life stories, from the elderly who lived through the chaos. Susanne Newton, a legend in her own right, is Lila's latest assignment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life As We Know It

Truth: life constantly moves forward, whether or not you care for its speed or the number of obstacles complicating your ride. This is one of those blockade-ridden portions of the journey. I'm graduating pharmacy school in less than a week, and with that, I am searching for employment, studying for boards, and preparing to move as soon as that first part pans out. With all of this madness going on, I'm putting a temporary moratorium on accepting books for review.

With that said, I will still be posting reviews to this site. The goal is to reduce the amount of time that I spend sorting through e-mails, reading book samples, organizing e-books, and the like. It's surprising how many minutes are consumed by each task!

Wish me luck! Hopefully everything will go back to normal soon. In the meantime, the May Mix-Up Giveaway is still running through 10 June. Be sure to enter! All three e-books are seriously that good.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover (Gleb Toropov and Cleone Cassidy)

Overall: 3.9   ҉
  • Content: 3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4.8/5
  • Illustrations: 3.8/5
Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover by Gleb Toropov and Cleone Cassidy

Little Miss Mary receives an unwelcome visitor in the grotesque shape of a huge, hairy monster. However, instead of being petrified by the apparition, Mary decides to help the hideous beast by giving him a makeover. In the process, it is Mary who undergoes the biggest transformation.
Genre:
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle
Hardcover
MP3
PDF
Other Links:
book website
Meet Little Miss Mary, an eleven-year-old with a credit card in one hand and a designer purse in the other. Tired from a long day of shopping, she is awakened by a monster climbing out of her closet. His unkempt visage and terrible body odor prompt her to initiate a makeover for the endearingly clueless beast.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letterbox Look-see (May 2011, Part II)

Hello, friends! It seems that my Review Queue has seen a lot more activity in the latter half of May. Here's what I've received in the past week and a half:


8 (Michael Mullin)

Overall: 4.5
  • Content: 5/5
  • Originality: 4.2/5
  • Language: 5/5
  • Illustrations: 3.8/5

8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin, illustrated by John Skewes

This is the previously untold story of the previously unknown 8th dwarf, named Creepy. He was banished to the basement for being different and , well, weird. Yet he played a vital - and of course previously unknown - role in the popular tale of Snow White (whose title character is an intruder Creepy refers to as "the Maid").
Genre: Humor,
General Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook


In a tongue-in-cheek approach reminiscent of James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times, this satirical rendition of Snow White is a new kind of bedtime story—one intended for grown-ups (or young adults, as it were).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Death Has A Name (Jerry Hanel)

Overall: 3.5   ҉
  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Originality: 4.2/5
  • Language: 2.3/5
  • Believability: 4/5

Death Has A Name by Jerry Hanel

There is a Truth that exists. It is active. Alive. Fighting to make itself known. It's not my truth. It's not anyone's truth. It is The Truth.

There are times when select individuals can see and interact with The Truth, but Brodie Wade has been able to see and interact with it since he was a child, and it has scarred his mind and body. But it also gives him the ability to know things that he shouldn't know by nature, thus he has taken employment as a psychic detective.

Working together with Detective Phil Dawson, Brodie must summon all of his will to go head-to-head with The Truth to solve the latest string of murders. It appears that Dominick Fredrickton -- the Midnight Killer -- has returned from the grave, beheading the unfortunate few that get in his way.

The Truth confronts Brodie and tells him that he must protect the Third Key, but he is unsure what -- or who -- that is. If Death gets its hands on the Third Key, the world as we know it will cease to exist
Genre: Mystery
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Paperback
Smashwords
Other Links:
author website

Brodie Wade is unlike the typical example of a "psychic detective". For one thing, he is neither debonair nor overtly creepy. For another, The Truth, a strange combination of a spiritual realm and an abstract concept, is more of a handicap than a gift, one that has physically tortured him and inadvertently removed him from a loving mother's care. In a twisted form of symbiosis, it has also put a roof over his head.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Demon Queen and the Locksmith (Spencer Baum)

Overall: 4
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 2.5/5
  • Believability: 3.4/5
The Demon Queen and the Locksmith by Spencer Baum

In Turquoise, New Mexico, a small group of hippies believe that the mountain north of town emits a constant, resonant hum that is only audible to a chosen few. They call themselves the Hearers, and the fact that fourteen-year-old Kevin Brown has never trusted them makes it all the worse when his own ears begin to ring, and he comes to realize "The Turquoise Hum" may be much more than a sound."
Genre: Science Fiction,
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Paperback
Other Links:
author website

The so-called "Turquoise Hum" is an unique phenomenon, one that is not quite spiritual and not quite corporeal; it is a signal inextricably interwoven in the lives of individuals the world over. Kevin Brown's father is one person whose existence has been touched by the Hum. He is a Hearer, one who was able to follow this combination of life force and echolocation to find his way to a small town in New Mexico.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Letterbox Look-see (May 2011, Part I)

Hello, my lovelies! If you're looking at the timestamp, yes I am posting on an early Saturday morning. Kiddies have their cartoons, and I have my books. Here's the first batch of books that I received this month:


Sound Proof by Barbara Gregorich

Publishers Weekly called Frank Dragovic, who first appeared in Dirty Proof, “an enlightened detective” and “a charming, savvy narrator.” Now Chicago private eye Dragovic is back, working undercover at Midwest Music Madness, a folk festival targeted by a thief. The corn is high in Iroquois County, the food deliciously Midwestern, the music old-time tunes and songs. But sour notes abound, and theft of musical instruments soon crescendos to murder. Working undercover as a carpenter, Frank finds himself repairing corn cribs and pigpens in the July heat. At the same time, he must determine the thief and murderer — difficult to do while surrounded by suspects playing fiddles, banjos, guitars, autoharps, hammered dulcimers, bowed psaltries, and rhythm bones.


Shared Emptiness by John Brinling

A portrait of the harrowing despair and remarkable courage of a middle-class family tormented beyond endurance by a mindless act of violence.

Chris Carter, at 24, a medical student, had it all. Good looks, intelligence, a winning personality, a loving family. His girlfriend, Louise, was his dream girl, and he had everything ahead of him, everything to live for….

Until he was mugged after walking Louise home from his sister’s birthday party—and his world and the world of all those who knew him was changed forever.


Nightcry by Gregory M Thompson

Set in the present in a Midwestern small town, Nightcry is about Grant Sykes, who has returned to his hometown of Ilton to run the local paper. Soon, people start to die and fingers point to him--it doesn't help the evidence continues to amass against Grant. He thinks the deaths may have something to do with a supernatural being that killed his parents years ago, but the local Police Chief has other theories. Grant recruits the help of a ghosthunter to investigate the suspected banshee while Grant figures out means to prove his innocence


Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

Ves Asirin wins a trip to the Tower of Parlen Min. There, with 19 other children, he competes in the Sword Challenge; a series of puzzles and tasks, for $12 million. As fantastic and glorious as the tower seems to be, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his destiny ... if he can escape 'The shadow'.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garbage! Monster! Burp! (Tom Watson)

Overall: 3.3   ҉
  • Content: 4/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 2/5
  • Illustrations: 3/5
Garbage! Monster! Burp! by Tom Watson

A monster at the bottom of a hill eats all of the garbage generated by the town on top of the hill. This provides two important benefits: The monster is happy with plenty to eat and the town stays nice and clean. Unfortunately, as the town grows, so does the amount of garbage the monster must consume. He gets bigger - and he starts burping. This is, as you can probably guess, a bit unsightly and stinky. In the end, the kids figure out how to solve the problem - despite the nasty mayor's doubts and objections.
Genre:
Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle
Nook
iBooks
Other Links:
BigDifBooks.com

With all of the recent fixation on "green living", it is unsurprising that children's literature should start to reflect this trend, if only because the youth are the ones who will live in the world we create. The monster at the bottom of the hill makes the repercussions of our actions easier for younger minds to grasp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Giveaway: May Mix-Up

Enter to win a copy of one of these fantastic reads! Whether it's fantasy, drama, or espionage, there's something here for you. Just fill out the entry form below and pick your prize!


Format E-book
Copies 1
Links:
SummaryRaven's Heart by Matthew and Stefanie Verish

An exiled man wonders if he should forsake his new life and risk returning to his homeland. A troubled girl seeks redemption for a terrible crime she has committed. A solitary tracker breaks an oath in order to communicate with an infamous, supernatural criminal. A vagabond thief chances leaving behind the world he knew for an unknown destiny. An unlikely cast of characters, they are thrown together by chance, or perhaps by fate, willingly embarking upon an eccentric wizard's mission to recover a magical stone: Raven's Heart. A piece of the "Stone of Undoing", Raven's Heart is deadly. Though the stone has the ability to unravel the very essence of magic, it brings Arcturus, Kariayla, Hawkwing, and Jinx together in a mission beyond individual ambition that could determine the fate of the world in which they live.

Book Review
Author Interview
4.8   ҉

Format E-book
Copies 1
Links:
SummaryVestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak

Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman Empire.

Book Review
Author Interview
4.6   ҉

Format E-book
Copies 1
Links:
SummaryThe Marlowe Conspiracy by MG Scarsbrook

1593, Elizabethan England : In a turbulent time of wars, famine, and religious persecution, Christopher Marlowe struggles to balance his life as England’s most popular playwright with his duties as a government spy.

Suddenly, when he falls under suspicion of atheism, a capital crime, Marlowe fears his many powerful enemies have launched a conspiracy to have him executed...

With only a few days to clear his name, he quickly enlists the aid of a young William Shakespeare – one of the few friends he can still trust. Together, they race through Marlowe’s tangled life of crime, espionage, and noble connections to expose the conspiracy and save him from the hangman’s noose.

But will anything save a man as troubled as Marlowe?

Book Review
Author Interview
4   ҉

Contest ends 10 June 2011

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Chromatics Attack (Karen Carr)

Overall: 4.6   ҉
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Believability: 4.5/5

Chromatics Attack by Karen Carr

Twelve-year-old Emison prefers reason over impulse, but when her mom turns into a shadow and vanishes through their apartment wall, Emison’s well-ordered reality changes. She embarks upon a journey into a mysterious shadow world, where she encounters an evil gang of color scientists called the Chromatics.

Emison must navigate the strange new world and her own insecurities to rescue her mom from the evil gang. Emison’s plan unravels when she changes into a flat-black shadow, and descends into the pitch-black land of darkness. To succeed in her quest, she must trust her friends and follow her instincts, which have always been wrong.
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK | DE
Nook
Other Links:
author website


In a remarkably original work of middle grade fiction, Carr introduces us to the so-called "shadow world", one in which colors are duller, blacker, and eerily luminous, save for those made of one arbitrary substance: plastic. As a twisted version of our own reality, this alternate dimension, if you will, is one whose residents were never intended to cross over into the Chroma (color) world. Unfortunately, Emison's mother did.

Letterbox Look-see (Apr 2011, Part IV)

Hello everyone! A bit late, but here's the final set of books that I received in April:


 

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