Thursday, October 4, 2012

Head Games by Kevin Alex Baker



Published synopsis:

Aspiring actor Jordan Patrick is rapidly realizing the world has no use for another theatre student. Desperate to prove his talents have value, he agrees to work for Dr. Foster, a psychologist who secretly hires performers to infiltrate the everyday lives of his patients, and then stage situations which advance their therapy. Once they're in, Foster's players trick his clients into situations designed to make them confront their issues.
This part-time job becomes Jordan's toughest role yet as he's assigned to follow an eccentric patient named Julie, lie his way into her life, and help Foster rebuild her trust in men.

Review:

Some people, no matter how big their problems are, are afraid to see a psychologist. On Wilder Campus, they should be. On the surface, Dr. Foster’s theories are sound. Why spend years trying to get resistant patients to change when there’s a faster way to get them to help themselves; and get off the therapist’s couch in weeks or months instead of years. All it takes is a few well planned interventions to help them face their problem and move forward. They have no idea these actors have infiltrated their lives simply to facilitate change, so no one gets hurt. When the patients have made significant enough improvements, the actors simply fade into the night. No harm done. Right?
But what happens when someone makes it too personal? When the lines between acting and feeling become blurred. What happens when no one knows who to trust anymore?
In Head Games, Kevin Alex Baker weaves a web of intricate lies, plot twists, and humor so well, the reader gets caught up and doesn’t want the book to end. But it has to so you can find out what’s really going on. You’ll read every page eagerly as a professor’s head games turn a college campus into a nest of deceit, love and murder. Not necessarily in that order. This review asks a lot of questions and so will you as you turn the pages, looking for that key clue that will make everything make sense.
I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book five stars.

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Enhance your exports by William Peskett




Published synopsis:

‘This is a serious business book. If it’s cheap laughs you want, stick with “In Search of Excellence”.’ So begins this satire of 21st century life disguised as a science-fiction guide to doing business on other planets.
Follow Dave Smart, business studies lecturer, as he leads three business colleagues on a tour of discovery to the Smiling Disc star system, 19 light years from home. Their main purpose is to investigate business practice on Kalista-mm, the larger of the system’s two planets, and gather material for Dave’s new book, ‘Doing Business on Other Planets.’
Visits to a sulphur mine, a old-established bank and a drinks company give the Earthlings surprising insights into the business practices of aliens who have developed along somewhat different lines from us. It’s not only that they have big moustaches and white blood, or that they drink sulphuric acid and lay eggs. The inhabitants of Kalista-mm are the epitome of political incorrectness, and are disarmingly honest about their shortcomings.
Of course, the main benefit of studying a way of life very different from ours is that it teaches us more about ourselves. The group’s observations provide plenty of scope for taking cruel swipes at many of things we hold precious about our own dear planet: government, big business, justice, democracy, climate change, science, religion and do-gooders generally. It all adds up to a hilarious jaunt around a little-known quadrant of the galaxy and a satisfying dig at many of our own sacred cows.

Review:

It’s a dedicated man who will travel to another planet when it takes nineteen years – one way – to get there. Dave Smart is that guy. Ever seeking a new way of doing things, he travels to Kalista-mm to learn about their culture and business practices. Unfortunately, what he learns is that no one should emulate those practices. Ever.
The aliens on Kalista-mm are absurdly nonchalant about worker safety and benefits, the environment and everything else that would make Earthlings cringe. Unless you happen to be in such professions as politics, big business or banking.
In William Peskett’s novel, Enhance Your Exports! Doing Business on Other Planets, he expresses his concerns, and the concerns of many, regarding the fate of our world if certain practices are continued. This often witty diatribe against the state of the world leaves very few topics uncovered. He touches on mining practices, air pollution, environmental issues, employee rights and pay, accountability in business practices, government response times, weapons of mass destruction, chauvinism, government bailout of the financial industry, and the list goes on. If you made it through this much of the list, you will have found the thing that made me give the book a lesser star than I would have liked.
I think Mr. Peskett was too ambitious for one book. Where his writing portrays these situations humorously and his perceptions were often dead on, there were simply too many of them. The reader is overloaded. As the book nears the end, the effect becomes lost because the reader has so many things to be outraged by that it becomes difficult to keep adding to the list. I think that Mr. Peskett is an excellent writer and I applaud his efforts. I simply wish all of the world’s woes were spread out over more than one book.
I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three stars.


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Bras, Boys and Blunders by Vidya Samson


Published synopsis:

What’s a girl gotta do to get her first bra, her first kiss, her first love?
If you thought the Middle East was all about fatwas and burkhas, think again. Join the fun as Veena, a naive teen from India, bungles her way through adolescence on the island of Bahrain. Laugh out loud as she deals with the intricacies of stubborn bras, crazy parents, racist classmates, first love, and the No-No Club, an abstinence club that degenerates into the Yes-Yes Club.
If you’ve ever struggled with body image issues, ever wanted to be different from what you are, ever wanted a hot guy or girl you couldn’t have, or if you just want a good laugh, this novel is for you, whether you’re nine, ninety, or anywhere in between.


Review:

Are teenagers the same everywhere? If that question means ‘do they all have the same insecurities’ then the answer seems to be yes. Veena at fifteen is, in her opinion, woefully inept at anything that doesn’t involve being the smartest student in the class. She doesn’t know how to get the boy she likes to notice her. She is looking for a cure for what she sees as her boy-like figure, and her family could star on ‘Are You the Biggest Bunch of Dysfunctional People in the World’ and easily take home the grand prize. In other words, she’s a typical teenager.
The island of Bahrain is a tossed salad of immigrants looking to find a better life than they had in the country they left behind. Veena’s school is multicultural with students from different parts of the world uniting under one roof, which should be a good thing in a perfect world. Instead, it brings under a microscope the prejudices that still abound over country, morals, skin color and religion. In her world, the Arabs, whites, Indians, Pakistanis and other races did not leave their prejudices behind when they left their native countries. And Veena feels the brunt of that every time she speaks in her Indian accent.
So how can she be a normal teenager? If she likes a boy, she can’t talk to him privately because she could be expelled from school. She can’t have friends over without fearing that her pessimistic mother might drive them to suicide. She can’t even get a bra without her mother having a major meltdown. But, through it all, Veena is still able to experience her very first kiss from the boy who doesn’t care about any of that. All he cares about is her.
Vidya Samson does an excellent job of showing the world that regardless of prejudices and hostilities, a teenager is a teenager. No matter where they are in the world, they’re all looking for answers to some of life’s most basic questions. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book four stars.


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Raising Wild Ginger by Tara Woolpy




Published Synopsis:

Parenting is hard. That's what Edward Rosenberg has always assumed although his only experience with children has been as the drunken uncle. Now the love of his life, Sam DaCosta, is yearning for fatherhood. Edward's been sober for years. He and Sam are in a good place. Why rock the boat? On the other hand, how can he deny Sam his dream of a family?
Then they meet Ginger. At twelve she's been through more than either Edward or Sam can imagine. She's seductive, secretive and dishonest. But somewhere between stealing his cash and alienating Sam, Ginger manages to wind herself into Edward's heart. Can the three of them create a family? Or will Ginger blow them all apart?


Review:

Edward and Sam are a committed gay couple who seemingly have it all. Nice house. Great careers. Amazing friends. But, Sam is unsettled. His biological clock is ticking and he wants to be a father. Unfortunately, Edward's not too keen about being tossed into the murky realm of parenthood but is open to exploring foster care through their attorney and close friend, Henry. And for Henry, the uncanny timing of his and Edward's conversation could not have come at a more perfect time as he already knows of a 12-year-old girl, Ginger, who desperately needs a good home.

After Edward and Sam sift through a wad of red tape to become foster parents, Ginger is finally introduced into their lives. The transition is anything but smooth. Acting as a buffer, Sam is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ginger, the victim of severe sexual and physical abuse, nearly pushes Edward to his breaking point as he contemplates sending her away to what would amount to her seventh foster home. Sam, however, is determined to keep Ginger and ultimately takes on the role of mother and father while Edward glowers in the background.

Edward eventually comes around and Ginger slowly starts to settle in to her new home. Sam breathes a big sigh of relief, but continues to keep one eye open in case Ginger has a slip up and starts acting out again. As the saying goes, all's well that ends well and "Wild Ginger" concludes with a very happy ending.

I give "Wild Ginger" four stars. It's a very sweet story that gently unfolds to reveal Edward and Ginger's journeys of self-discovery as Edward learns that history does not have to repeat itself and Ginger discovers she can recreate herself to leave her dark past behind. "Wild Ginger" also shows that it really does take a village to raise a child. "Wild Ginger" is tactful and beautifully written, and is sensitive to what otherwise could be very touchy subjects. Kudos to Tara Wooply for crafting such an unusual story.

I thank the author for a review copy.



Purchase Wild Ginger here:


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Torn by Dean Murray


Published synopsis:

Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn't matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn't about his shadowy world.

Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she's a victim, then he's running out of time to save her. If she's bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that'll cost him everything.

Review:

Sure, Alec Graves is a shape shifter but he’s also an entrepreneur, a father figure, a leader, a soother, a fierce enemy and a guy falling in love for the first time. That’s a lot to fit in around high school classes and homework. Feeling the pressures build, Alec knows things are going to come to a head soon. The signs have been there for months now.

Torn by Dean Murray takes readers into Alec’s world and holds them there as the story unfolds. He shifts into a wolf but that doesn’t make him a werewolf. He’s in high school but that doesn’t make him any less responsible for the lives of the shifters under his care. Most importantly, he has a conscience. He doesn’t take his role in the world lightly. Trying hard to please everyone, he eventually learns that sometimes you just have to do what’s right and let the pieces fall where they will.

Caught in a world hidden from humans, Alec does his best to do what shape shifters are supposed to do – protect the very same race they are hidden from. That becomes more and more difficult as the threat from his rival pack escalates to dangerous levels. He will soon find out who is really on his side and who is not.

Dean Murray weaves a tale of love and friendship, and of loss and war that leaves scars, both emotionally and physically. I found myself wrapped up in this world where taking the moral high ground is dangerous and falling in love may be even more so. The writing is engaging and the characters feel real. Mr. Murray has painted a world that I don’t think I’d want to live in but I certainly enjoyed looking in on it. In a world full of stories about shape shifters of every kind, this one will stay with me. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book five stars.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

(un) Dead by Trinidad Giachi



Published synopsis:

Lord Hurlingthon contacts him, requesting his abilities to solve a deeply personal mystery: Hugh Hurlingthon is two hundred and thirteen years old and can't die.

Or so he claims.

Saussure will have to discover if this man is telling the truth, and if so, why he can't cease to exist. Along the course of this investigation, Richard Saussure will question his beliefs while attempting to come to terms with his own past.

Review:

Richard Saussure has a reputation for getting to the truth of things. But this case is leading him down paths he’s not sure he wants to follow. How can he figure out if this old man who looks like he’s two hundred and thirteen years old really is that old? Relying on help from people who don’t necessarily work on the right side of the law, Saussure painstakingly puts the pieces in place until he is sure he has found the answer.

(un) Dead by Trinidad Giachino is a well thought out, intense mystery with twists and turns that makes guessing the outcome difficult. The story itself is smooth and the detail is intricate. A good deal of work obviously went into making this book the suspenseful read it is.

I will admit I had trouble liking the main character. A lot of this is because I didn’t really have enough backstory for him. What,exactly, turned him into a guy who hardly anybody likes and left him basically a shell of a man? It is alluded to and I’m pretty sure I pieced it together correctly, but coming into his life at this juncture did not make me feel compassion for him. He may be a good detective but his people skills when dealing with those willing to help him, granted some of them at a cost, left him wanting in my mind. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book four stars.


Purchase (un) Dead by Trinidad Giachino

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Across Eternity by Aris Whittier


Published synopsis:

Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he'd dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.

Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.

For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love.

Review:

Logan has spent his whole life loving one woman. A woman he knew lifetime after lifetime. A woman he has to find in this lifetime before it is too late. Eventually, fate finds a way to bring them together.

Amber has had a tough life. Absentee parents, the death of her sister and massive debt have made her not trust easily. But when her eyes meet Logan’s, she has no choice but to fall head over heels and give him both her heart and her trust.

Across Eternity by Aris Whittier is a book about true love that spans lifetimes. Two souls are destined to find each other each time they live, no matter how long it takes. The premise is sweet and the characters are lovable, but as I read more and more of the story, I found myself growing less attached to them.

The idea of fated love is a favorite of mine. Two souls burning only for each other with a passion that can set eternity on fire is as desirable as it is hard to imagine. I found the beginning of Across Eternity drew a picture of this passion that made me want to read more. I was hooked. As I moved ahead, it seemed as if the passion ebbed. The story became somber and I couldn’t help but feel that Logan was willing his own fate. Even though this is explained at the end, I was still left with a feeling that he wasn’t playing fair. It made the ending for me anticlimactic. Amber’s character was also somewhat of a mystery to me as I read on. She started as a strong, independent female lead, but she walked away from her life without a backward glance. What happened to her debt and her day to day life? This really wasn’t explained. Even when we’re swept away with love, there are still loose ends that have to be tied up.

All in all, Across Eternity is a sweet novel about two souls destined to be together forever. A nice smooth read for a rainy day. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book 3 stars.


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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Supervillain The Concise Guide: Take Your Shot at World Domination by Ras Ashcroft


Published synopsis:

Are you tired of living a humdrum life? Is there little to look forward to except a dead-end job and more news headlines that remind you of your insignificance in the world? Do you think the future of humanity depends on your potent leadership skills? Well forget about the nonsense of running for political office and become a supervillain instead.

Fancy degrees and qualifications are not required. With this concise guide, you will learn all the basic tricks of the trade. Ease into your first seedy business, create a large organization with interests in finance, media and politics, and build a powerful military force. Eventually you will launch your crusade to rule the entire planet.

Take your shot at world domination – and hit the bull’s-eye.

Review:

Sometimes we want more out of life. And for some, that includes world domination. Thank goodness Ras Ashcroft has written a step by step guide to accomplishing just that. Of course, you have to become a supervillain along the way which includes cheating, scamming, lying, killing and, of course, a safe haven on the moon. If that sounds like something you would like to do, then definitely pick this guide up.

In this tongue and cheek step by step guide, Ras Ashcroft does more than use his dry wit to teach one how to become a supervillain. Reading between the lines you will find that many of things he recommends are already happening in the world. Media empires are controlled by the rich. The finance industry is morally and financially corrupt. Businesses large and small are sometimes led by less than upstanding citizens who are looking to get ahead by scamming the average person. It’s a scary world sometimes and Supervillain The Concise Guide simply points out some of the scarier parts of the real world in a way that we can laugh about. Though we may feel uncomfortable later that we know this is going on and very little is being done to stop it. Perhaps it will take a supervillain to round up all the less than super villains. It would be much easier if the world only had to take down one.

All in all, this is a well written, funny book that is definitely worth picking up – even if you’re not looking to become a supervillain. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book 4 stars.


Purchase Supervillain The Concise Guide: Take Your Shot at World Domination by Ras Ashcroft

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys' Book of Bitingly Funny Lists by Noel Boivin and Chris Lombardo


Published review:

Humor writers Noel Boivin and Chris Lombardo follow up their definitive compendium of drunken feats, The Man Who Scared a Shark to Death (Penguin, 2007), with Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys' Book of Bitingly Funny Lists.

Here the authors, who one reviewer of their first book called "fast and funny with the facts, without the morality", present a completely new and unapologetically irreverent take on the list book genre.

Tastes Like Human answers questions people didn't even know they wanted answers to like: Who are the Top Horniest Cult Leaders of All Time? What are the Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Return Things? Which incidents qualify as the Top Acts of Karaoke-Related Violence?

All of that and much more, including etiquette tips on matters as diverse as how to use an ATM machine without seeming like a complete prick, a guide to conduct when meeting Queen Elizabeth, and fighting suggestions the next time your mouth makes an online payment for which there are insufficient funds in your credit account (ass, in keeping with the analogy) to pay for.

Chris and Noel, AKA, "The Shark Guys" are the creators of the popular humor site TheSharkGuys.com. Links from their site have appeared on dozens of popular websites including Mental Floss, Sports Illustrated, Cracked, IMDb, and FARK.

Review:

What can I say that isn’t said above? Most importantly I can say – I really did want to know which serial killer shared my zodiac sign (pisces). It turns out that I do care about ATM etiquette. But I probably could have lived my life quite happily without having read about the top 10 exploding animals, though. After reading Tastes Like Human The Shark Guys’ Book of Bitingly Funny Lists by Noel Boivin and Chris Lombardo, I discovered that I cared about many things I hadn’t really given much thought to in the past, and I learned some other things along the way that I won’t mind forgetting in the near future (back to the exploding animals here).

Whether you want to learn about people who shouldn’t win the lottery or famous last words that could use a do-over, this is the book for you. Join the Shark Guys as they are alternately cheeky, rude, way too informative and educational. You will definitely find something in this funny book of lists that you didn’t know that you cared about but come away from it glad that you know it now. I thank the authors for a review copy and I give the book 4 stars.


Purchase Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys' Book of Bitingly Funny Lists by Noel Boivin and Chris Lombardo

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Diary of a Small Fish by Pete Morin


Published synopsis:

When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury, everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. Then the FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives him a clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.

Paul is already dealing with the death of his parents and divorce from a woman he still loves. Now, with the support of an alluring grand juror, Paul must expose the vindictive prosecutor’s own corruption before the jury renders a verdict on his Osso Buco.

Review:

It’s just a game of golf. A game of camaraderie that creates bonds that can last a lifetime. Right? Or is it really an evil tool used by some to bring about the destruction of our political system one hole at a time?

Paul Forte is an honest guy who served his time as a politician voting his conscience. So what was the harm in playing a few (read a hundred or so) games of golf with lobbyists who never asked him for anything? They didn’t affect his votes. Right? Looking at a prison sentence because of charges brought on by a vindictive enemy he didn’t even know he had a connection with, Paul has to figure out the answer to that question. Is his conscience truly as clean as he has convinced himself it is?

Whether it is considering his somewhat gray past, exposing grand scale misuse of federal funds or figuring out how to love someone new when his life is falling apart, Paul faces it all with courage and strength. He also shows an intense vulnerability that endears him to readers. You will find yourself wanting to be on his side regardless of what side of the green you fall on in regards to the issues of lobbyists and politicians. Paul knows how the games are played and he finds out who his friends really are as he searches for answers and support. He also learns that sometimes the love of a quirky and extremely honest woman can get you through some of the toughest times of your life.

Diary of a Small Fish exposes layers of corruption in the government that we all suspect are there. But do we really want to know if they are there or not? Do we just want to cheer the television screen when a ‘dirty politician’ is indicted, or do we want to have to think about the politics that may be behind it? Is that guy corrupt – or are the guys attacking him the corrupt ones? To put this in perspective in our daily lives consider the medical field and drug sales. Physicians are no longer supposed to receive gratuitous gifts from sales reps. That very expensive pen advertising a specific drug that your doctor is using, which was given to her by a sales rep, on some level makes you feel the drug it advertises is effective and recommended by her. Should she be indicted for using it if she prescribes that drug even if she feels it is the right one for you? What if she plays golf with the sales rep? What if she takes a vacation on the drug company’s dime? When does it become an indictable offense? The same goes for politics. Sometimes, a game of golf is just a game of golf. Just as the pen your doctor is using could simply have been the first one she pulled out of her desk that morning. While still acknowledging that there is indeed corruption in the world of politics, perhaps some of it does comes down to perception – how it looks to the masses and how that perception can be used to advance careers.

In this look at the behind the scenes world of politics, Pete Morin shows some of its ugly underbelly but there is an undertone in his writing that gives one hope that maybe there are a few good politicians out there. The more I got to know his characters, the more hope I felt. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book five stars.


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Monday, April 2, 2012

Doodling by Jonathan Gould


Published synopsis:

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually, he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels) as Neville wanders through an asteroid field, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.

Review:

When the world is going so fast you can no longer keep up with it, you sometimes have to simply let go. That’s what Neville did. He let go.

Floating out into space to an asteroid field, Neville finds others who for whatever reason had also let go or had fallen off. There he might find a place for himself. If he can just stop the impending destruction of it all.

Can the concept of religion be reduced to the worship of kitchen appliances? Can self-centered, oblivious people be led towards caring about the greater good? Can those who only want to float through life experiencing the happy moments and ignoring the bad be convinced to look at the bigger picture? According to Jonathan Gould, all of these things can happen.

In Doodlings, Jonathan Gould creates the story of a man who just wants to live a simple life. He wants to be able to enjoy the small joys and stop having to run all the time. People are so busy trying to keep up with the world that the little things in life are all but lost.

But as much as Neville wants this simple life, he has trouble finding his place amongst the asteroids. All that changes when the unthinkable is about to happen and he is driven to prevent it. He convinces those with differences in how they worship and who or what they worship to work together. He helps some of the characters see past themselves. Others, he must accept the fact that they are simply incapable of being helpful on their own and figure out how to make that work for the greater good. As for himself, he figures out there is more to him than he once thought. He may have not been born to lead, but he proves that when there is a need, he knows how to step up to the challenge and save the day.

In a Douglas Adams style where the absurd can happen and does, Doodlings is a short story about hope. Maybe there is hope that one day, despite our differences, we can slow the world down and work together to solve its problems. I would certainly like to see that happen. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book 4 stars.


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Sunday, April 1, 2012

On How the Cockroach, After Having Died, and After a Short Conversations With Saint Peter, Entered the Gates of Heaven by V. Campudoni


Published synopsis:

Can a cockroach enter into Heaven? Will Saint Peter allow it? In the tradition of Psalms, Socrates, Solomon, and Seuss, "On how the Cockroach..." tackles the canons of our catechisms, the perceptions of our realities, the emblems around our necks, and, perhaps, the dark recesses of our prejudices. An illustrated dialogue.

Review:

Everyone is welcome in heaven, right? Or do we have to meet a physical standard? Or maybe prove that we have a soul? Or practice the right religion?

In his short story, On how the Cockroach, after having died, and after a short conversation with Saint Peter, entered the Gates of Heaven, V. Campudoni points out that there is a lot of hypocrisy in religious standards and who must abide by them and who doesn’t. Once upon a time, the rules were fairly simple. There were givens such as women who wore red were sinners and would not be allowed into heaven. Everyone knew that. Today, there are so many religions and sects that there are a myriad of reasons why people can, or cannot, enter heaven. The reasons even within one religion or sect can change over years or over the course of a conversation if the old reasons no longer apply or the argument is not working. So, in the end, if the cards are stacked against you, can you simply deceive your way in?

This cute and thought-provoking story definitely merits 5 stars. I thank the author for a review copy.


Purchase On How the Cockroach, After Having Died, and After a Short Conversations With Saint Peter, Entered the Gates of Heaven by V. Campudoni

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shades of Night by R. G. Porter


Published synopsis:

A vampire who has sworn to keep humans safe.

A woman who holds a secret.

A conspiracy no one is aware of.

Nothing to lose but their world.

Krystoff has sworn to bring the vampire renegades to justice, no matter the cost. That is until he meets Alexandria and he begins to question what he knows.

Soon, Alexandra and Krystoff begin to uncover the plot the renegades have put into place and the consequences it will bring. Together they must unravel the clues of the past to stop the renegades before it is too late. If they don’t hurry, all of mankind could be lost.

Review:

Krystoff is a hunter of vampires. Not all vampires, only the renegades who are a threat to humankind. But his job is getting harder lately. Something is going on, there’s an evil lurking in the shadows, and he needs to figure out what it is before it’s too late for the human race.

Alexandra is tormented by dark creatures who want something from her and they will stop at nothing to get it. Even with her magical defenses firmly in place, she is finding it more and more difficult to keep herself safe. Until she meets Krystoff and she is inexplicably drawn to him despite the fact that he is one of the creatures she has been guarding herself against. When the two meet, their hearts collide but so do their stubborn, independent minds. If they are going to keep the world safe, they need to learn to work together first.

Shades of Night by R.G. Porter is a refreshing tale of old school vampires. In Krystoff and Alexandra’s world, vampires can shape shift, fly and even turn into mist when necessary. They are sexy and strong and know how to handle a sword. The Fae are magical, mystical beings who hold knowledge that must be kept secret at all costs. That means aligning themselves with certain vampires if necessary.

When I first began Shades of Night, I was instantly hooked. The story was exciting and the characters strong and powerful. I was sure that I was reading a five star book. As the book continued, I found that I was not able to hold that thought. There was a lull in the book when the dialogue seemed to become circular and the characters kept beating their heads against the same walls. In an effort to make Alexandra a strong, independent and powerful character, R. G. Porter sometimes made her seem unapproachable and even pigheaded when it came to Krystoff. His love and attraction took him over almost from the first moment, but there never seemed to be a strong connection between him and Alexandra. She never seemed to have the depth of emotion that he did. I never really felt that they were destined to be.

The ending of the book clinched my need to give the book a lower rating. The final climax was a bit anticlimactic. The characters seemed to be in little more peril than they had been in other confrontations. I read this expecting there to be more to it and then suddenly, I was on the last page without a clear picture of what exactly was accomplished and where the characters are left in regards to the dangers around them.

I believe that Shades of Night is a good start to what I hope is a series. The writing is gripping and for the most part flows naturally. The plot is designed to make a sequel a distinct possibility. I would be curious to read the next book to see if some of these issues are dealt with in a more concise way. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three and a half stars.


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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Space Trucker's Dossiers by William D. Russell


Published synopsis:

It's the first week of summer break, and fifteen-year-old Mark McBrantly and his three friends are already in trouble. While breaking into an abandoned motel, they discover a box containing six mysterious files. Mark takes it upon himself to investigate the documents and soon learns that the world is a much different place than what he previously thought. A world where:

An alien takeover is thwarted by an insane, homeless man.

A dead detective's lingering spirit can only be set free by the person responsible for the death of his daughter.

The haunting of a house in an affluent suburb creates an incestuous relationship, and, a potential school shooter.

A suicide doctor discovers a direct pathway to heaven and hell without religion.

Chupacabras and Bigfoot are the work of alien fairies determined to protect the world's forests.

A supercentenarian with just one wish; to be able to die.

Though each attempt to understand the strange files feels like a step backwards for Mark, it is in reality, one step closer; one step closer to understanding the whole chaotic world and one step closer to the Space Truckers--a secret intergalactic organization with just two objectives: to maintain the delicate balance of the universe, and to recruit new blood. What Mark doesn’t know is; he’s being tried out for the position.

Review:

Mark McBrantly is a kid who is just floating along through life. He’s still friends with the kids he grew up with even though he doesn’t really enjoy their company as much as he used to, but it’s what he knows. He’s content to slide by, taking the easiest way out whenever possible. Setting goals and achieving them is not on his to do list.

Until a red box full of mysterious files falls into his hands. Files that don’t make sense. In his world of finite things, it’s not possible that there are aliens or ghosts or people who can live centuries as long as they wear a magic charm. But, maybe the world is bigger than he thought it was. Setting out to learn as much as he can about these strange individuals, Mark learns a lot about himself along the way. One of the things he learns is that he has a lot left to learn.

In The Space Trucker’s Dossiers, William D. Russell takes on a huge challenge. How to fit the mysteries of the universe into the head of a teenage boy. Or at least, the knowledge that the mysteries exist. Russell’s main character grows and matures dramatically as he faces the unknown and the challenges set before him. Though some of the story is a little rushed, such as the ease in which he gets people to share their stories, and then finds the necessary solutions quickly, this is still a book with a strong foundation. I do admit, it took me several chapters to really get into the book. Some of the secondary characters are abrasive and unsympathetic, such as his childhood friends. This doesn’t change throughout the book, but it does become apparent why they were created to be this way. Mark has to learn that what mattered in childhood doesn’t always stand the test of adulthood. Sometimes, to find our future, we have to let go of parts of our past – the parts that hold us back, keep us from discovering who we really are.

Throughout the book, Mark makes some choices that turn out well, and some that don’t. When trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong in the crazy new world he’s thrown into, he finds the line blurs pretty easily. But, each experience brings with it more proof that Mark has what it takes to help maintain balance in the universe. That’s why the Space Truckers want him. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book 3 ½ stars.


Purchase The Space Trucker's Dossiers by William D. Russell

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Truth About Cats by Molly Brandenburg


Published synopsis:

Get ready, get set, MEOW! Are you ready for the truth? Can you even handle the TRUTH? For cat cartoon enthusiasts, the truth has arrived, in cartoonist Molly Brandenburg’s THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS. It’s the funny, furry, follow-up to Brandenburg’s first book of cat cartoons, EVERYDAY CAT EXCUSES, the hilarious exploration of the inner life of cats, published by Sterling Books in 2008. Brandenburg’s cartoons are also currently a regular feature of the political website Restoringtruthiness.org. THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS is a random series of cat cartoons that explores the major issues of the kitty universe, including theological concerns, sleeping in piles of other cats, and the real question of who exactly has first dibs on the kibble bowl. The book also introduces Frankie the cat, the loveably soulful cat with his eyes on a Hollywood career. In a series of lively line drawings, Frankie’s story is revealed, as this weight-challenged black and white cat finds his status on the home front threatened when a tabby kitten moves in and takes over his special place on the bed. Small issues, perhaps, to humankind, but to a feline, finding the right place on the owner’s bed is big time stuff, to be sure! THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS reveals all this and more. It’s sure to be the cat’s meow for cat lovers of every age...The truth is out there. And it’s sure to have a lot of fleas.

Review:

Molly Brandenburg’s The Truth About Cats is a cute, line illustrated look at the life of a cat. In this book, you can learn to read a cat’s expressions, figure out what your cat is thinking about you, and see how a cat can make a name for himself in Hollywood. And along the way, you will even find yourself laughing out loud here or there. This light-hearted book is a nice quick read on a rainy day with your cat curled up in your lap. I thank the author for a review copy and I give it three stars.


Purchase The Truth About Cats by Molly Brandenburg

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Visions by Sara Daniell


Published synopsis:

"Every guy I seem to date ends up resembling the reeking material that janitors and plumbers both deal with on a daily basis. You get my metaphor. In summary, it is safe to say that my dating life really, really sucks." --- Holly

It is Holly's first year in college and the most exciting thing in her life is her classes. She doesn't have any luck with dating and doesn't have many friends.

Her life is terribly boring until she receives a text message from a unknown person. Life as Holly knows it will forever change by responding to that one single text. She isn't too thrilled but will soon find herself falling in love with a complete stranger from another world.

Review:

Who is this strange guy that is texting Holly? And why is he standing outside her dorm room window? The answers to these questions send Holly on an adventure that will change her entire life.

Sure, Luke is hot, but he also seems crazy. He expects her to believe that he’s from another world and that both of their lives are now in danger because he fell in love with her without ever meeting her? Yes, he does.

Against her better judgment, Holly goes along for the ride and soon finds that Luke isn’t crazy or psychotic. He’s actually pretty lovable and she’s falling fast. But can she let go of everything else in her life to be with him?

Visions by Sara Daniell is an amazing story of magic and romance. The plot is original and a fresh new take on paranormal adventures. The characters are relatable and sympathetic; the reader feels their pain and their triumphs every step of the way. I found myself rooting for Luke and Holly’s love until the very end and I was sad when I reached that last page. Sara Daniell has created a world that I want to revisit soon. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the trilogy. Visions is a five star book that shouldn’t be passed up.


Purchase Visions by Sara Daniell

Friday, February 3, 2012

8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin


Published Synopsis:

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").

Review:

Fairy tales have changed drastically over time. The brothers Grimm told stories that were much darker than the tales that are told today. Possibly, as time went by, their tales that often dealt with death and danger were not needed as much as they once were. Or, we simply reject the idea of fairy tale having anything other than a happy ending nowadays.

That certainly is not the direction that Michael Mullin takes his version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Getting back to the roots of what fairy tales were supposed to do, he tells the tale of Creepy, the 8th dwarf. Creepy is different from his housemates. His sense of humor, the way he does things and even his silence is looked upon as too much for the other seven to bear. Different is bad. He must be dealt with.

Locked in the cellar, Creepy is the only one privy to what really happened between Snow White and the disguised queen. And Snow White doesn’t necessarily come off as the sharpest tool in the shed. With kindness in his heart, and minor grumbling on his lips, Creepy does his best to help her out. But, even though purported to be pure as the driven snow, innocent and guileless, Snow White has her own issues with first impressions and judging a book by its cover. Read how Michael Mullin changes this classic story into one that teaches that even beautiful princesses can be afflicted with prejudice if not taught that ‘different’ can be a good thing. I thank the author for a review copy and I give this story 5 stars.


Purchase 8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ashlyn's Radio by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty


Published synopsis:

When her mother is hospitalized after a mental breakdown, Ashlyn is crushed to have to leave Toronto to go live with her grandmother in Prescott Junction, Maine, where nothing happens. Nothing except for the ghost train that rolls through on the rusted lines on dark nights – the one the townsfolk pretend not to hear as it comes to claim troubled, lost souls. Ashlyn scoffs at the idea ... until she witnesses it herself, with its evil, seductive conductor and the wailing of souls trapped on board. The string of unexplained deaths by the tracks throughout the village's history (Ashlyn's father included, before she was even born) lends credence to the tale. As frightened as she is at the conductor’s pull, more terror awaits when the antique radio in her grandmother’s basement comes to life. Ashlyn’s grandmother tells her the radio is a Caverhill curse, and can’t be destroyed or discarded. It keeps coming back, and it keeps broadcasting "reports" of events yet to happen. Her grandmother begs her to stay away from the radio, but Ashlyn cannot help but listen. And to her horror, it tells her she is bound to board the ghost train. Ashlyn will need the help of her newfound friends – the troubled Rachel and the very sexy Caden – if she is going to get through the coming horrors with her sanity intact and her soul unclaimed.

Review:

What could possibly be worse than having your mother have a complete mental breakdown and be institutionalized? Or being forced to leave behind all your friends in Toronto at the beginning of your senior year and move to a Podunk little town in Maine with a grandmother you barely know? Ashlyn Caverhill finds out.

Prescott Junction isn’t just a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere. The town is deserted at night, and people do stay in their beds after dark, but sleep is hard to come by when a ghost train intent on stealing souls rumbles through town several nights a week. Add to that an indestructible radio that only Ashlyn’s family can hear – it predicts the future, but only the sad and tragic future – and suddenly, Prescott Junction is far from a boring little town. Unless a seductive, skeletal ghost train conductor can be considered boring.

Ashlyn is thrown into a situation where she may be the town’s only hope. As if that isn’t enough, her new best friend, Rachel, believes that she is next to board the train. Abused, lonely and self-destructive, Rachel believes it may be her only chance to escape the hell she lives in. Caden, Ashlyn’s sexy new boyfriend, cares about them both and will do whatever he can to keep them safe.

Ashlyn’s Radio by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty, is a unique look at curses, the supernatural and real life issues such as abuse. The characters in the book face not just a ghost train and a doomsday warning radio, they also have to face the real life issues of prejudice, depression, fear, physical and emotional abuse, and falling in love. Wilson and Doherty do an excellent job addressing all of the above. With the exception of being too blasé in the beginning of the book about the idea of cutting to deal with anger, depression and pain, I believe they did a good job of getting into the teenage mind. I was happy to read that the act of cutting is taken more seriously later in the book. Speaking as an adult, the abuse issues were also hard to read without wanting to shake the characters and want them to do something about it, to stop it. But, in situations like that, most teenagers don’t have the slightest idea what to do when a friend is in this kind of trouble. That’s not a problem with the book. Ashlyn’s Radio simply points out a societal squeamishness to address the problem head on, leaving children at a loss as to how to help or get help.

Overall, Ashlyn’s radio is a wonderful read with just enough eeriness to keep it interesting, and enough memorable characters to make it lovable. Though the issues in the book could have made this book a sad journey, Wilson and Doherty were able to keep it a light, entertaining read while still getting their points across. I thank the authors for a review copy and I give the book 4 ½ stars.


Purchase Ashlyn's Radio by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Merzetti Effect by Norah Wilson


Published synopsis:

Delano Bowen has been a medical doctor for a very long time. More than 170 years, in fact. For much of that time, he’s been searching for a way to reverse the curse foisted on him by a vampress who sought to own him. With the emergence of medical technology, he now also aims to develop a vaccine to protect the vulnerable from predation by rogue vampires. After a century of searching, he thinks he's found the key to his vaccine – a surviving descendent of the Merzetti family. The Merzettis were virtually hunted to extinction over the years by rogue vampires who feared the anti-vampirism properties in their blood.

A foundling, nurse Ainsley Crawford has no idea that she carries a genetic gift, and Delano aims to keep it that way. He must keep her close, and ignorant, for he can leave nothing to chance. He manipulates events to ensure her unwitting cooperation. But when Delano's arch enemy Radak Janecek mounts an all-out assault to destroy Delano and the fruits of his research, Delano is forced to draw Ainsley even closer to protect her. Inevitably, the attraction that has sparked between them from the first flares hot and urgent. Ainsley sees no reason why that attraction shouldn't be consummated, but Delano knows succumbing to it is not just ill-advised; it could literally be the death of him.

Review:

Vampires aren’t all bad. Most of them live productive lives working right next to us at their night jobs while, for the most part, leaving humans alone. It’s not those vampires Delano Bowen is after. He’s after the rogue vampires, like the one that turned him all those years ago against his will. The ones who prey on the innocent and see humans as nothing more than a lower species in the food chain. In order to stop them, he has to track down the last descendent of a powerful bloodline and prove that the Merzetti effect is more than a scary bedtime story for vampires. And then, he has to determine how willing he is to sacrifice his feelings for her to further his cause.

Ainsley has her own troubles in the human world. Forced out of her job as a trauma nurse, she must find another one ASAP because people she loves are counting on her. Which is the only reason she agreed to meet Dr. Bowen at night for her job interview. And walk through a dark alley to get to his office. She had no idea that short walk was going to irreversibly change her life. Thrust into a world of vampires, she faces danger, lies, assassins, betrayals and love. Now, she has to figure out what scares her the most and what she’s willing to do to protect the human race. And her heart.

In The Merzetti Effect, Norah Wilson gives the reader surprises, plot twists, and a romance that will get your heart pumping loud enough for the nearest vampire to hear. The tension between Ainsley and Delano is there from the beginning, but both struggle against it. Some times more than others. But, when making love may be tantamount to a death sentence, that’s a lot of motivation to resist each other.

I enjoyed the fact that Norah Wilson made Ainsley a strong character; one who is willing to do whatever it takes for the ones she loves. Often, in romances, especially those about vampires, the female character is made into a victim who must be rescued. Ainsley is thrown into a situation that does make her a victim, but she does not have typical victim qualities. She doesn’t fall apart at the first sight of danger, she doesn’t back down when she learns she has been betrayed. Instead, she bolsters who courage and trudges on, willing to meet the danger head on if she must. Being scared is no reason to be a coward or not get the job done.

Delano is written as the epitome of scientist. He is always looking to the greater good, even if that means sacrifices have to be made along the way. He has surrounded himself with humans who have sworn their allegiance to his cause and it has been his single-mindedness that has gotten him this close to finding a cure. Now, if he can only keep his hands off the cure, everything will be fine. Apparently, that’s asking too much.

If you are looking for a fast-paced story that will make you wish your own vampire was waiting for you in the next dark alley you pass, pick up a copy of The Merzetti Effect. It’s the next best thing to finding your own paranormal romance. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book five stars.


Purchase The Merzetti Effect by Norah Wilson

Thursday, January 5, 2012

His Fifth Avenue Thief by Abbey MacInnis


Published synopsis:

Two years prior, Irishman Aaron O'Connel took his life from rags to riches. Chance and wits have kept him alive in 1850'S New York City. But no amount of money or success can bring his love Cathlene back from the dead. When a thief sneaks her way into his mansion, the last woman he expects to find absconding with his belongings is his long lost wife.

Abandoned on New York's shores, a widowed, penniless, and ruined Cathlene O'Connel was left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar world. Fear and circumstance drove her to a life of thieving in order to survive, but her heart risks the biggest danger of all when Aaron hands her a scandalous proposition: A son in exchange for her freedom.

Now that he has her back, Aaron doesn't intend to let Cathlene slip between his fingers. He'll do whatever it takes to regain her trust and love. But when an enemy from Cathlene's past resurfaces, Aaron not only faces battling for Cathlene's heart, but also her life.

Review:

Abandoned by a husband who jumped ship, one who convinced her to give up her society life in Ireland and travel to this new land, Cathlene O’Connel has had to shed her life as a lady and become someone she hardly even recognizes. Desperate to save herself from the life that most destitute women fall into, she takes to thieving to keep herself off the streets.

Aaron O’Connel lost the love of his life, his wife Cathlene, two years ago. He has searched desperately for her to no avail. When chance brings her to him in the form of a thief, he knows that fate has given him a second chance with her. If only he can convince her that he did not abandon her. It breaks his heart to see the hardened shell she has put around herself to survive, and he is determined to find a way to make her stay. Even if he has to create a fantastical compromise to make it happen. He needs time to figure out what she is hiding from him, and how to make her love him again.

His Fifth Avenue Thief by Abbey MacInnis is a novella about love, betrayal and sacrifice. These two characters, so much in love at one time until fate intervened, wrenching them apart, desperately want to be on the same path again. But learning to trust once more is not easy. Love is a fragile thing, easily bruised and destroyed, regardless if it was a series of misunderstandings and the intervention of others that caused its demised. Abbey MacInnis’s characters are strong, determined and not easy to trust. Perfectly understandable considering their recent past. She has given them a depth that many romance characters lack. They do not rush back into each other arms right away, they think and reason, and try to lead with their minds instead of their feelings.

Readers are brought on an emotional journey that has you wanting desperately to let them find a way to be together again, yet appreciating their reluctance. Even though the rags to riches aspect of the novel seems a little much, the interactions between Cathlene and Aaron make this novella an excellent story of hope and forgiveness. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book four and a half stars.


Purchase His Fifth Avenue Thief by Abbey MacInnis

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Savannah Storm by Corin Castro


Published synopsis:

SAVANNAH STORM is the first of a trilogy set in this fabled city of romance and adventure right here on our own southern doorstep. Greed, lust and the struggle with nature as much as historic charm and the scent of gardenias is still alive and waiting for those who choose to seek them.

Savannah is an old city, a city of secrets and shadows. Nearly three hundred years of storms and wars have left her scarred but still standing. When a modern pirate sails into her harbor and McGuire Knight's successful life will he bring the same destruction and pain his ancestors did when the city was young? Can McGuire overcome her own past and its shattering secret to meet this dangerous Spanish sailor with the passion neither can deny? Will her hard won courage be enough to help her break her ties with a second man who isn't at all what he seems and has the power to destroy her world in a different way? In the quest they share to guard the past McGuire and Juan will need more than history to protect them from the danger to their hearts and their lives in today's Savannah.

Review:

McGuire Knight didn’t expect Juan to walk into her life. She had a plan. Settle down with a nice man, who would be a good father, and have kids. Not willing to risk her heart again, she feels this is the only way to go. Until he showed up. Now, she is discovering that passion and love are too important to live without.

Juan has been a shadow of himself since his wife died giving birth two years ago. Losing everything in one day, he merely goes through the motions of living, sure he will never again feel the way he felt about her. Then he walks into an animal shelter and meets McGuire. Everything changes. His soul wakes up again, and maybe he love does still exist for him.

Circumstances bring them together again and again, and it takes neither of them long to realize love at first sight is a strong thing. Life is not always accommodating for it, though. Major obstacles in their lives are trying hard to make their budding romance fizzle before it really gets started.

With good friends willing to intervene when needed, and shady characters trying to accomplish their own ends, this book makes for a good read. A sucker for love at first sight, Corin Castro’s Savannah Storm caught me right away. McGuire is a likeable character who deserves to find true love. Juan is sexy and intense. A strong combination in any romance novel. The secondary characters are interesting, if sometimes a bit stereotypical or obvious, and have been set up nicely for the next books in the series.

There was a drawback for me, though. Throughout the interactions between McGuire and Juan, there is an undercurrent of violence and dominance in their lovemaking. It is subtle; just prominent enough to rub me the wrong way. Passion should be intense, it should take the characters where they have not been before, but for me, that doesn’t include the edge of pain. Well written, Savannah Storm is still a romance worth picking up and it will leave you curious to learn what happens to the other characters in future books. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three and a half stars.


Purchase Savannah Storm by Corin Castro

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault


Published Synopsis:

Damien Magneson's life is anything but normal. He is part of an innocent vampire family, helping to promote peace, all while secretly working alongside the local government to track and eliminate supernatural threats that may harm society. However, when Damien meets target Aderra Fayre, who is part of a potentially sought-out and labeled family of serial killers, he feels he must protect her. Damien's life changes dramatically, now living in a world filled with constant drama, violence and sacrifice.

Review:

Damien and his family are not ordinary vampires. They are assassin vampires working with the government to keep humans safe from supernatural threats. Until now, Damien has had to sit on the sidelines while his parents, brother and sister tracked down, and often killed, the bad guys. Now, his training is complete and it’s time for him to step up and stand next to his family in this fight against evil.

Unfortunately, things don’t work out according to plan. His very first target gets the better of him and his sister ends up badly hurt. He falls for his next target, Aderra, a suspected serial killer who also happens to be a vampire. Strange, since the government had led him to believe that his family was the last line of vampires in existence. Now, he has to figure out who he can trust, and how to save the day, all while avoiding a certain pesky reporter determined to take them all down.

In Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault, readers are drawn into a world where the government not only knows about the supernatural world, but also sanctions kills against any creature who proves to be a threat to humans. I always enjoy the premise of vampires being the good guys ridding the world of evil, and I believe the story has a solid foundation to build from.

There were a few things that would have made me enjoy the story a little more, though. There wasn’t a lot of information about the vampires that made me relate to them as individuals, or as a group. I did not know enough of the history of each individual to make me feel as if I knew him or her on a personal level, allowing me to get truly involved in the story. I wanted to know more about what they did from day to day, what they ate, how they managed bloodlust, or all the ways that they were different from humans. Also, Damien’s character seemed a bit immature to be an assassin. Often, his interactions with his parents felt as if he was a petulant child who needed to be watched more closely, rather than be sent out as a trained killer. This said, I would enjoy watching his character grow and mature through a series.

I also found the dialogue to be a troubling area, at times. It tended to bounce back and forth between being a bit long, and at other times, I felt things moved along faster than they should. For example, there was very little dialogue before Damien is convinced to trust Aderra and her family of admittedly evil vampires.

I did enjoy the overall story and feel that the foundation is one that could move in many positive directions. I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three stars.


Purchase Stone Cold: A Vampire Novel by Mike Denault