Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: The Child

The Child
The Child by Keith F. Goodnight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fiction with Lovecraftian/paranormal overtones
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who enjoy Lovecraft and Sci-fi and think they'd be groovy together
Book Available: November 5, 2013 in Paperback and Kindle; December 3, 2013 in MP3 Audiobook
Trigger Warnings: orphaned and abused children, murder, violence

My Thoughts: So, I'm reading this thing, and there's a fairly hard-science-fiction element to the story, but suddenly it veers off into almost Lovecraftian territory! To say I was delighted was an understatement. I do like science fiction, and even hard science fiction, but to have the genres suddenly cross like that is always a happy surprise to me.

The rating is based on the fact that while I liked the story, it didn't blow me away. It was an enjoyable and interesting idea, it was fairly well executed, and the ARC was in good shape, so 4 stars (I liked it) but I am not in a raving frame of mind, you see? Still, it's a cool idea. Even more interesting, it appears that the author plans a series around this, although where it will go from here I am not completely sure.

This is probably going to be a fairly polarizing book, and it will definitely not be for everyone. People who like science fiction will probably be annoyed with the Lovecraftian aspects; fans of Lovecraft probably won't like the science in the story. But there is a group of people, like me, who like both concepts and think that putting them together in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcrazy-quilt story is just the ticket to make their reading day. So, if that is you, then check this out.

Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Dave Harris is a scientist living aboard the Alley, a military space station where he carries out hyperfield experiments. The technology to harvest energy from hyperspace saved humanity from extinction thirty years ago, and Dave’s research is at the cutting edge of hyperfield technology. Just as Dave’s experiments make progress, an accident engulfs the Alley in a whirlwind of chaos and mysterious forces, leading Dave to a disturbing discovery: his work has uncovered the energy behind psychic powers—something horribly dangerous for a mindless machine to be spreading amongst the humans in the Alley. While the hours slip by, crew members are going insane at a frightening pace and Dave’s mind becomes clouded by horrifying visions. As he sorts through the aftermath of the disaster, Dave realizes that it wasn’t a singular event and if he can’t fight the impending madness, there is one certainty: the Alley will be destroyed, along with everyone in it.

View all my reviews

@Rhemalda Publishing and J. Marie Croft Cover Reveal: "Love at First Slight"

Fiction | Romance | Historical | Regency | Jane Austen Sequel

Publication Date: 
October 1, 2013

“It may not be universally acknowledged, but the unvarnished truth is that a young widow in possession of a good fortune is not necessarily in want of another husband.”

In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, all the gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married. When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport nee Bingley, speculation—and prejudice—runs rampant.

William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent future reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye even though he is beneath her station. However, his opinion of her was fixed when she slighted him at the Meryton Assembly. As her ardour grows, so does his disdain, and when she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely ….

Rhemalda book page
Goodreads (add to shelf)

About the Author:

J. Marie Croft, a Nova Scotia resident and avid reader all her life, discovered Jane Austen's works later than others but made up for lost time by devouring the six novels and as many adaptations and sequels as she could find. In the midst of reading prodigious amounts of Austen-based fan-fiction, she realized, "Hey, I can do that." In her spare time, when not working at a music school or on a wooded trail enjoying her geocaching hobby, she listens to the voices in her head and captures their thoughts and words in writing. Her stories are light-hearted; and her motto is Miss Austen's own quote, "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." J. Marie Croft is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada) and admits to being "excessively attentive" to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. She can be contacted at

@MaraValderran #Book #CoverReveal "Heirs of War" by Mara Valderran

Isn't that a great cover! However, this is more than a cover reveal. I'm going to give you some information about the book, tell you about a great giveaway by this author, tell you a bit about the author and even provide you some links, isn't it exciting?  So, off we go.

First of all, be sure to add this book to your shelves over at Goodreads (if you're still brave enough to be there).  Don't be worried if the cover over there looks a bit different; at the time I'm setting this up there is a "keeper" cover up there to help preserve the mystery until this reveal.  You can also stalk the author on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog by clicking on these links.

Oh, wait, did I mention a giveaway?
Right. You can sign up to win a paperback or e-book copy of the book, a poster, a $25 Amazon gift card, or a character named after you in book two! So, just slick anywhere in the sentence outlining the prizes and you'll be taken to the post you need.

So, I don't know about you, but looking at that cover makes me very curious as to what this book is all about, doesn't it you?  Are they sisters?  What is the deal with their fire and ice?  So, let me just help with that curiosity by providing the blurb for you here.  First of all, let me tell you it is a New Adult fantasy, and one that looks pretty interesting to me.

Heirs of War blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told she is part of the prophecy foretelling five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them. After she is attacked by magic-wielding assassins, she finds she can't argue with reality.

As their enemies strike, the girls are taken back to their world and discover the ties binding them together. Rhaya has always had an uncanny knack for reading people, but can’t seem to unravel the mystery tying her to Isauria, the new friend she bonded with instantly. For years, Isauria has been dreaming of Terrena, a girl living her life on the run in a magical world ripped apart by the tragedies of war, completely unaware that she is psychically linked to the world she was born in.

Zelene views them all with a distrustful eye, familial bonds or no, and can think of a place or two she’d like to shove the crown she supposedly inherited. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s attitude changes. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when her own ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But can she trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.

That sounds pretty cool, amirite? Let me tell you all right here, I am reading this book, second week of October, so be sure to watch for my review.

Now, then, but who is Mara Valderran?  Fair question.  Let me tell you a bit about her, okay?

About the Author:

Mara Valderran has been coming up with stories pretty almost since she could talk, often commandeering her brother's G.I. Joes to play out her fictional tales alongside her Barbies. Once she hit adolescence and realized playing with dolls wasn't cool anymore, she started putting her ideas to paper. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Mara is more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She lives in the south with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or spending time at her favorite local coffee shop.

So, I put all the stalking links above for you. But just because I want you to be sure to go stalk this great new author, I'll put them all down here, too.
Her blog
Her Website

Don't forget to go to her website and take part in the big giveaway! Link is toward the top.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

@ElizaTilton and @Curiosity Quills #GuestPost #Books Featuring "Broken Forest" by Eliza Tilton

Hopeless he'll never be more than the boy who didn't save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

His shape-shifting brethren feed off the auras of humans, and Jeslyn's golden hue is exactly what Lucino needs to increase his power. The longer it takes Avikar to reach her, the more entranced she becomes with Lucino's world, and     the harder it will be for Avikar to set her free.

He failed his family once. He won't fail again.

Broken Forest is told from three alternating perspectives: the hero, the kidnapped girl and the enchanting lord who may or may not be human. Writing in the three different POV’s allowed me to delve into each character. Most high fantasy tends to be written in 3rd person, but I love the closeness of first. Through each character’s chapters you get a different view on what their feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Most readers don’t get to see the villain’s side, well, in Broken Forest you do.

This fantasy is a blend of adventure and romance. A fast paced read with tons of action that will keep you flipping to the next page.

Eliza Tilton is the author of the YA Fantasy, Broken Forest, published by Curiosity Quills Press. You can find her blogging about video games and writing on her blog and doing bi-weekly posts on author media over at YAStands.

She graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Stained

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre:
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Those who need to learn to be their own hero
Book Available: October 1, 2013 in Hardcover, Kindle, and Audiobook formats
Trigger Warnings: bullying, kidnapping, sexual assault, rape, attempted murder, reported murder

My Thoughts: “Sometimes you have to be your own hero.” That is the lesson Cheryl Rainfield has said she tries to show in all her books. I'll admit to being a Cheryl Rainfield fan—I have liked all of her books I've read to date, and was very excited to find this one among my Vine offerings this month. I was also incredibly happy to note that my ARC has the original cover, the one deemed “too harsh” by some retailers, leading to a new cover being designed. That's fine, but I liked this original one, which really brings home the situation in which Sarah finds herself.

This is an incredibly difficult book to read, on multiple levels. First of all, the content is difficult, especially for anyone who has experienced any of the traumatic events reported in the book. Also, most of this book is thinking about things, talking about things, discussing things, and the internal dialogues of Sarah and Nick. There is not a lot of action, because the book is about the drastic changes that Sarah goes through as a result of her experiences. So people who prefer a more plot-driven book may have difficulties going through this. There also tends to be some repetition, but that's to be expected in this sort of book.

Most of Cheryl Rainfield's books have at least one or two characters who are part of the QUILTBAG, which is also true in this book. None of them are main characters, but they are there, living their lives, and loving whom they please. I love this about her books. This one is also about learning to live for yourself, accept yourself for who you are, and not to spend so much time worrying about the opinions of people that have no control over your life, and I think that is a lesson well learned by younger readers.

Sensitive readers should take note of my trigger warnings, and be braced. While not necessarily explicit as other books I've read, the events are nonetheless raw and difficult to read. However, it's a very moving book, and one I think a lot of people should take the time to read and think about. And definitely check out Cheryl Rainfield's other books as well, as she has some really great stories to tell. Recommended.

Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that—or succumb to a killer.

View all my reviews

#Book #Review: "Yonni Hale and the Cosmic Wind" by Rajah Hill

Yonni Hale and the Cosmic WindYonni Hale and the Cosmic Wind by Rajah Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Middle Grade, or Young Adult, or Adult—see comments
Recommended for: those who are missing Harry Potter or other magical fantasies and are able to look past the errors to the story underneath
Book Available: Please note: this book is only available at Smashwords to my knowledge, linked here where formatting allowed. To view links and other formatting, please visit my blog, Now is Gone.
Trigger Warnings: bullying, murder, attempted assault, hints of sexual slavery and rape, attempts to destroy a neighborhood for profit, maybe kidnapping

My Thoughts: I've had this book sitting waiting for a review for about a year and a half. To my intense amazement, when I went looking, I saw that no one else had it on their shelves on Goodreads, it didn't even exist on Shelfari or Amazon, no one had reviewed it on Smashwords (which is the only site on which it is available to buy as far as I can tell) and there are only four short reviews on LibraryThing, which is where I originally won a copy! This astonishes me, as I've never seen something like this before. It's really a pity, because it's a quite decent story featuring an almost-eleven-year-old girl with a vivid imagination.

There are a few formatting problems early on, in the several pages of quotes from other books about the wind that begin the book, where the font changes size and is almost too small to read at times, but once I was into the actual book that ended, and it's easy enough to change the font size on my Nook to see the smaller areas, so all it did was slow me down a little.

I will say that while this is a decent story, a good content and line editing would really make it shine. There aren't a lot of spelling or grammar errors (a few, like “heal” for “heel” are fairly endemic, though), but it could still use some cleaning up. For instance, at one point Yonni talks to one of her friends, and walks away. Rather than remaining in Yonni's head, like we have all the way so far, suddenly we're in her friend's head for a paragraph. There are also a lot of tense shifts from present to past to a couple future tenses that will probably drive some readers nuts. Also, it is repeatedly said throughout the book that Yonni is 10, but also that she is in 6th grade, which is not possible unless she was skipped ahead a year. Otherwise the law requires that a child be at least 11 before they are in the 6th grade, or have their 11th birthday within a certain period of time after starting 6th grade.

Horses appear throughout the book in Yonni's dreams.

While it seems I have a lot of criticisms, I really did love this story and this book. There is mention of a sequel, called Yonnie Hale and the South Wind, but I do not know if this sequel actually exists. If it does, I would love to read it. However, I would strongly encourage the author to have this book further edited. What is a very enjoyable and fun read could be something truly amazing with just a little more polishing. There was a chapter toward the back where I literally cheered aloud, and then two of my favorite series were mentioned: Harry Potter and the Dark is Rising, which also feature (at least initially) 10-year-old going on 11 characters.

The reading level on this one is a little hard to assign. The main bulk of the story is about Yonnie Hale, who is 10 through most of the book, which would be middle grade (MG). However, a lot of the issues deal with reaching maturity and taking control of your own destiny, so that leads me to think that it might be better for Young Adult (YA) readers. But then there are the chapters with the mayor, in which we receive an in depth look at a truly despicable character doing truly despicable things, some of which are very adult in nature. So that leaves me thinking this is a very adult book in many ways. I would recommend that any consideration for younger readers be filtered through their maturity level. While I might have had trouble with this one when I was 10 myself, I think by 12 I would have been fine with it, while other people I know might not have been able to really understand some of the themes until they were much older.

A lot of the magical ideas in this are particularly interesting. I love how the author has worked in so many different cultures. If only it were better edited I would be willing to recommend this wholesale to almost anyone, but as it is, too many people I know would not be able to see past some of the issues and just enjoy this wonderful, excellent story. It's been a year and a half since I received this book and in this time not a single person has reviewed it on Goodreads or Smashwords, and only four on LibraryThing. I had to physically add it to Shelfari myself. In some ways this is very good, as that means there has not been any negative attention put on it yet. I would recommend that the author take the time to have this gone over professionally and then re-release it on a wider market. I truly think that with just a little more work this could be a major hit among the crowd that has been missing Harry Potter. I hope the author will see this review and take this advice to heart, and also take the same steps to polish the next book in this series. This has already been an extraordinarily long review, but it's an extraordinary book, and I can only hope that my passion for it will help in some small way to reach a larger audience. Meanwhile, if you're interested, go to Smashwords, grab your own copy, look past the few problems and see the bigger picture, because I think this one is a real winner. I can't give it the full 5 stars, no matter how much I want to, because of the flaws, but I am willing to give it 4 just on its overall merits. Check it out. It's truly magical.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Members' Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: She was warned. She tried to avoid it. But Yonni Hale had to learn that life is not safe, not even in her small Kansas hometown of Pratt. After having a vision, strange horse-women begin haunting her dreams, calling her to obey the will of the Cosmic Wind. Balancing good and evil, the Cosmic Wind recruits Yonni to stand against greedy men who desire nothing but power and money, no matter who they harm in the process. When her friends' homes are in danger because of the greedy mayor's real estate scam, Yonni must use her abilities to control the wind to help her friends save their homes. In the process, though, she exposes her family to danger, and must decide what is more important: justice or her family.

View all my reviews

Review: Masquerade

Masquerade by Cambria Hebert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I read this book in December 2011 from a copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. I just wanted to add that disclosure and update my formatting.

My Synopsis: Heven used to be popular, a cheerleader, beautiful … all that was Before. Then she was attacked and left with scars on her face – now she hides herself behind her hair, inside hoodies, under baggy clothes. She tries not to be noticed. Then he comes to school – Sam. Tall, muscular, gorgeous – and he wants to be with her. But he holds mysteries – has he told her the truth about who he is? Can she live with that truth when it comes out?

My Thoughts: “Masquerade” is Cambria Hebert’s first published novel, although she’s had a couple short stories released recently as well: “Whiteout” and “Before,” which is the prequel to “Masquerade.” This may be her first published novel, but it is obvious she has been honing her skills for a good while – the plot flows smoothly, the characters are well developed, the twists and turns come without warning. All in all it is a great story and one that fans of paranormal books should all love. If you haven’t yet experienced the “Masquerade,” you need to do so … now.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: XBestia

XBestia by Melissa Conway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: People who like to think about incendiary topics, people who like a fast-paced YA sci-fi thriller
Trigger Warnings: kidnapping, forced mutilation
Animal Abuse: Killing animals to use their skin and such as grafts

My Thoughts: This book really engaged me right from the start. It raises some interesting questions about genetically altered animals and their uses. I'm really bothered by the idea of animals being killed only to be used in this way. I know it probably seems a bit hypocritical, since I am a carnivore and eat meat, and I like leather, but to me... it's like trophy hunting. I just can't stand for that sort of thing. If you are going to eat the animal, fine. Tan the hide, use the leather, use everything you can. But don't just raise and kill animals so you can transplant a bit of their hide onto yourself. At the same time, I was torn, because, really... horns? A tail? Wings? That would be really cool... So, I was always thinking about all this stuff in the back of my mind while I was reading. In fact, I came here after only reading a quarter of the book to write out this paragraph so I didn't forget, and also so I could add the next book to my wishlist.

And then things became really interesting... but I can't really go into that without spoilers. Suffice it to say this whole book is highly engaging, very entertaining and thought-provoking, and I definitely want to read the next book in this series just as soon as I can. This was an excellent and exciting story, and I very much enjoyed it. While the editing wasn't perfect, there weren't too many problems and they were easily ignored. I really do think a lot of people will enjoy this book, so if you've been thinking about it, don't delay any longer. Check it out.

Series Information: Xenofreak Nation
Book 1: XBestia
Book 2: Mad Eye

Disclosure: I purchased this book for myself on Amazon. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Twenty years into the future, bioengineered animals provide organs for human transplantation. Grafts of animal skin have replaced tattoos in popularity, which gives rise to a unique new demographic: xenofreaks. Bryn Vega’s father is head of the Pure Human Society and when she’s kidnapped by the Bestia Butcher, the most notorious of the criminal xenosurgeons, she assumes it's payback for her father’s anti-xeno activities. Scott Harding is her taciturn jailer—called Cougar because of the claws replacing his fingers—but Scott is not who he seems. Deep undercover for the Xenofreak Intelligence Agency, he’s been given unprecedented immunity to find the Bestia Butcher’s lair and do whatever it takes to bring him to justice. When Bryn is forced to undergo a radical xenoalteration, she discovers a terrible secret: her father is using The Pure Human Society as a front for his own purposes. His willingness to sacrifice his daughter to accomplish them sends her running to Scott for protection, and into the hard-core underground subculture of the very xenofreak society she once despised.

View all my reviews

@JTaylorPub @DEShipley #Cover Reveal "Inspired" by Danielle E. Shipley


Release Date: March 17, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fiction

Back of the Book

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

@Junying 007 #Giveaway & #Blurb "Trials of Life" by Junying Kirk blog tour

Welcome to my second stop on the Trials of Life blog tour! Today we have a blurb and a giveaway, so let's go right to it.  Be sure to check on my post from this past Saturday to find links to the previous stops!

Book Blurb

On her continued “Journey to the West”, Pearl Zhang meets Andrew Church and they fall in love. Her determined, professional pursuits land her a plum international development job at a leading UK university. Life is on an upward curve, or so it seems.
Dick Appleton, a troublesome academic from a privileged background, wants a junior assistant other than Pearl, in his quest to discover China and what it has to offer him.
What happens when two powerful personalities and two different cultures meet and clash? Will life teach Pearl another sharp lesson in her adopted country, or will the ancient Chinese belief hold true that everything happens for a reason? Will she bow to her fate or fights for her beliefs?
“This wonderful book dissects and lays bare the entire course of an harassment claim, from the events leading to the claim through the hearing and its aftermath” - Tabitha Ormiston-Smith, Australia
“The Joker in the "Dark Knight". Dr Hannibal Lecter in "Red Dragon”, The Judge from Blood Meridian. Ms. Kirk’s creation, description and actions of Dr. Richard Appleton will tremor your spine. - Vince Considine, USA

 Buy Links for Junying’s Journey to the West Trilogy: Amazon UK, USABrazilCanadaSpainFranceGermanyJapan and Italy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Quiet River

Quiet RiverQuiet River by Natasha A. Salnikova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy a dark and suspenseful story and can be forgiving of the multitude of editing errors and misused words
Trigger Warnings: murder, stabbing (view spoiler)[in utero fetus, child goes missing (hide spoiler)], child abuse
Animal Abuse: dog (view spoiler)[is killed (hide spoiler)]

Please be aware: The author has contacted me to let me know that the book has been edited since the copy I received (which was provided to me about a year and a half ago). If I have a chance I will try to read the revised edition and let you know the differences. So please note that the copy I read was the original edition and that an updated and revised edition is available.

My Thoughts: This is quite an engaging story, but the editing is really sadly lacking. There are lots of words dropped in many of the sentences, leading to sounding like... well... like someone speaking pidgin English. You can find an example on almost any given page.
Some examples:
--> “Especially it was true when she needed to empty her bladder.
--> or “He opened Snickers and bit off half of it.
--> or “I said I need bathroom.
--> or “Couldn't he find different time to be happy?
--> or “His head was light, his muscles relaxed. Maybe it was tea? Than it was really helping.
--> or “He was a publisher of two magazines and he got used to take fast decisions.
--> or “...fighting current of air...
--> or “...Matt took him four weeks ago for boy's fifth birthday.
--> or “...looking in the window...” used twice to describe a passenger looking out the window of a car.
Unfortunately, I could go on with these sorts of things for pages.
I have found that these sort of speech errors are most common in those who initially spoke Slavic languages, something to do with the differences in prepositions and prepositional phrases, I think. Even my husband, who has worked hard for 20 years to adapt his language, still slips into these sorts of speech patterns. This book really needs to be edited again to fix this. While there are a lot of people who will willingly overlook these sorts of errors and simply enjoy the book, there are at least an equal number who will fling this book at the nearest wall. I've seen lots of one-star ratings on books that are much better edited than this one complaining about editing. If I hadn't at least enjoyed the story, this would be at most a two-star rating, but the story itself has a lot of potential.

I really hate to be so critical, because I've spent some time talking to this author and she's absolutely delightful and has a lot of experience writing under her belt, but she desperately needs an editor to fix the language in this book, and to fix the multitude of misused words, such as “defiantly” for “definitely” and “philological” for “psychological” and “overage” for “average” and many, many more. If you can look past these problems, you might enjoy the story itself, which was dark, suspenseful and creepy. I could usually at least tell what it was the author meant to say, although I will admit there were a few sentences that completely defeated me. I do have a few more books by this author, and this is her very first English-language novel, so hopefully they will have improved, but be aware: if you are very sensitive to errors, this book might frustrate more than entertain.

Disclosure: I won a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Member's Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Quiet River is a small town and people are friendly. But evil lives in quiet water, don't you know?

Lisa and Matt Collins spend a weekend in the town of Quiet River, Washington, where their son Evan meets a woman who says he looks like her son. She gives him cookies. The hotel clerk, an older woman, also gives him cookies, explaining to his mother that they came from the hotel's kitchen. Lisa ignores the clerk's strange behavior and forgets about her. The family goes back home to Seattle where Matt returns to his job as a magazine editor and Lisa finds out she is pregnant for the second time. Soon Matt's personal assistant dies in a car accident and he hires a new one: Kristine. One day Kristine presents Matt and Lisa with tickets to a ballet performance and that night their quiet lives change forever when they get involved in a violent store robbery and Lisa loses her unborn child.

Lisa and Matt think it is their worst nightmare, but how little did they know. They have to return to Quiet River to learn what the darkest dark is and what face it can wear.

View all my reviews

@JamesWymore Presents: "The Actuator": Fractured Earth book feature

The Actuator: 1: Fractured Earth

On a secret military base tucked in a remote desert mountain, a dangerous machine lies hidden from the American public. Known as “The Actuator”, this machine is capable of transforming entire communities into alternate realities. In theory, these often terrifying realities are reversible.

The scientists in charge of this machine employ operatives called Machine Monks, who attune their minds to manifest single ideas from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. These ideas are then superimposed upon sparsely inhabited areas for testing. For a while, the enigmatic Actuator cooperates with the experiments, using dampeners to limit the affected area. But those in charge of the project eagerly anticipate exploring the full potential of this amazing device.

Experiments progress to where they feed more than twenty different genre ideas simultaneously into the Actuator’s database. Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur dismantles the dampeners. The affect is catastrophic. The entire world is plunged into chaos, and familiar landscapes become a deadly patchwork of genre horrors. Overnight, the Actuator becomes the worst menace the earth has ever seen, claiming lives in staggering numbers.

Can a few surviving Machine Monks band together to set things right again?  It all depends on whether Red McLaren and the Monks can survive their journey through the various realms that separate them from the Actuator, where ever-present orcs, aliens, pirates, and vampires seek to destroy them. They must move quickly, as time is running out to stop the Actuator and the villain who controls it and the earth’s destiny. 

 The Actuator: Fractured Earth is a unique book because it is not just cross-genre but multi-genre, with characters literally passing from one genre area to another.  It is a collaborative work between James Wymore and Aiden James.  If you are interested in reading and reviewing this book, check it out on NetGalley! (Note: must have a NetGalley account to request books, but a NetGalley account is free and easy.)

James Wymore, Author Bio

Tall tales and imagination filled James Wymore’s formative years as he moved around the American West.  Constantly in pursuit of a gateway to another world, he failed to find a literal door to another reality.  However, he learned to travel everywhere fantastic through writing.

As an adult, James voyaged to other continents, where new philosophies and cultures fed his desire to see life from different perspectives.  He then immersed himself in studying nature, in the hopes of finding a loophole.  Along the way, he continued creating stories about alternate worlds like the ones hiding just out of sight.

James finally settled in the Rocky Mountains with his pet wolf, Kilgore, and started publishing his work.  With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he celebrates the best supernatural portal he’s found so far—the mind.


On a lifelong search for fantastic worlds hiding just out of sight, James Wymore writes to explore.  With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he continues to push the boundaries of imagination.  Journey with him at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Vault

The Vault
The Vault by Huw Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Suspense
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who like an intricate tale
Trigger Warnings: murder, bullying, pedophile
Non-PCness: n-word, gay-bashing, children calling Vietnamese girl “Chinky”

My Thoughts: This book was chosen as my random read in mid-July. I also discovered that a portion of proceeds from this book go to Shelterbox. You can read more about this by following this link.

This is a very strange book. There are at least three stories going on. I can't decided if it's Middle Grade (since one of the stories features MG characters) or adult. To me the MG story seems to be the “main” story, but with so many branches... this one is hard to rate. I've gone with adult, since the overall feel of the story is not necessarily one for younger readers.

Here's the thing: this book throws out a lot of red herrings. It's really difficult to tell which branch of the story is taking place when, and that is part of the suspense. Part of the story is told in present tense, the rest in a more normal past tense. And while all the bits eventually line up, it takes a bit of patience, right up through the very end of the book, to line up all the plot threads. But really, it's all good, because despite a number of editing errors, this is a very well-told story, very engaging, and one I would definitely enjoy reading again, now that I know all the answers. I would like to see if I catch any subtle hints I might have missed the first time around.

As far as the characters, I quite liked most of them. Even the bullies were well-done. I particularly liked Adam's uncle, Stevie, who is a biker. He's a super cool character, and I would love to learn more about him. Adam and his friends seem a bit older than 12 to me, but then again, the UK educational system is much better than the one here in the US, so it might be partly due to that. Oh, I should also mention that this is written in British English, for those I know who are distracted by the differences in spelling and sentence structure. Be aware of that.

All in all, a very enjoyable story, very suspenseful, and very mysterious. If you like solving puzzles, be sure to check this one out. It's a corker!

Disclosure: I picked up this book free on Amazon. As far as I'm aware, I've never interacted with this author. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Adam Strong has two main problems in life: how to keep the gang from the local council estate out of the woods where he has his den and how to get the new girl at school to notice that he exists.

But the ancient woods next to Compton Fosse contain more dangers than just the risk of a beating from the town’s teenage psycho.

Hidden in Hobthrush Wood is the key to a mystery that weaves four disparate stories into a single web.

* The mansion: A gang of professional robbers mount a night raid on the secluded country home of a reclusive billionaire.

* The dead: Three decaying bodies, wrapped in plastic and chains, are found lying at the bottom of an ornamental lake.

* The convict: A sex offender is released from prison but breaks his parole and goes on the run after giving into temptation once again.

* The friends: Two boys stumble across an eerie secret…

View all my reviews

@Junying007 #GuestPost "Trials of Life" by Junying Kirk Blog Tour

Trials of Life has a new cover, and a new look, and has been slightly changed from the previous edition, so we're letting folks know all about it! For those who don't know much about this book yet, here is my review, which has the original cover so you can see the difference.

Today I have a guest post from Junying Kirk, plus links to the other stops on the tour so you can check through them all and see what there is to see, so let's go, shall we? And don't forget to stop by on Monday, when I'll be hosting a giveaway as well!

Guest Post: A Hard Book to Write, Yet a Must-Write
By Junying Kirk

Katy, my kind hostess today, as well as my editor for my previous e-book edition summed it up perfectly when she commented that Trials of Life was a much more difficult book than The Same Moon, the first in the series. In her words, ‘the bulk of the book has to do with a truly despicable person named Dick Appleton, and having to spend so much time in his head made me want to scrub my skin with pumice and then pour lye into my eyes - he was really awful.’

Partly for that reason, this second book of mine was the last of my trilogy to be turned into a paperback which was officially released on Amazon just two weeks ago. Katy wasn’t the only one who has a problem with Dick Appleton either. As his creator, I have found it extremely difficult to go over the previous editions, a challenging task I imposed on myself. Even my husband John Kirk, who agreed to help me with the final edits this time, told me how hard it was for him to be reading about Dick and the kind of problems this antagonist had created for Pearl, the fiery protagonist in my ‘Journey to the West’ trilogy.

Although this is the second in my trilogy, it was the very first full-length novel I completed - following a harrowing experience not unlike Pearl Zhang’s in the book, I spent three months pouring over the first draft, writing day and night. As hard as it was to write, I was propelled to write it, and writing it helped me to deal with the aftermath of a year-long stressful legal battle against a powerful machine behind a rotten personality. The wound was raw and painful, yet deeply felt at the time. Had I left it to later, I am not sure that I would write the same book as I did.

Now a decade has passed since the incidents and the early version of Trials of Life, I ‘forced’ myself to go back to it, with the sole intention of making it better as a book of fiction. My writing has been improving all the time, and I feel that I can somehow detach myself to look at what had happened in a more objective way. I have also taken into account what my e-edition readers had to say and addressed some of the issues raised by them.

The current edition has kept the multiple Points of Views (PoVs), as I personally believe that it is the best way to tell this story. Although a few readers have found the different voices confusing, the majority of my readers liked the way that different narrators were used to explore the events leading to an eventual Employment Tribunal. One reader told me that it was like looking at a vase from a different angle.

I have, nevertheless, made a conscious attempt for a more consistent PoVs. Like Land of Hope, the final book of my trilogy which also employed multiple narrators, as long as you pay attention to the heading of each chapter, you should not be lost as to who is telling the story.

With great anticipation, I hope that the new paperback, as well as the updated e-book edition will engage more readers, and they will find it an interesting and informative read. I have not made massive changes to the original story, although readers will enjoy more dialogues, tighter plot lines, slightly less of that horrible man Dick Appleton and a little more action, even a tiny weeny bit of suspense and mystery to make this book a worthy follow up to The Same Moon.

During my 8-day book tour, there are three e-book give-aways in three different sites, including Sandra’s on the 22nd, Katy’s on the 26th and Eden’s on the 28th of August. Three chances to win a brand-new e-book. Good luck to you all!

Author Bio

Junying Kirk was born a spice girl, hailing from Sichuan Province in southwestern China. In the summer of 1988, a British Council scholarship led her to study English Language Teaching at Warwick University, followed by further post-graduate degrees at Glasgow and Leeds. In her career spanning from the East to the West, she has played various roles as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher and cultural consultant. Currently working as a professional interpreter and translator, she reads vivaciously and writes with passion and dedication. She enjoys drawing from the wealth of life itself  to create stories, which are both engaging and exciting. She travels widely and keeps her mind and heart open for the new, the good, the bad and the ugly. Her ‘Journey to the West’ trilogy, “The Same Moon”, “Trials of Life” and “Land of Hope” have been published in both electronic form and paperbacks. She lives in Birmingham, UK with her English husband.

To follow her world wide travels and other creative pursuits, please visit

Please go to  for a Blurb, Bio & Sample tomorrow.
Buy Links for Junying’s Journey to the West Trilogy: Amazon UK, USABrazilCanadaSpainFranceGermanyJapan and Italy.

Blog Tour Schedule August 2013

22nd August: Author Bio, Excerpt, Blurb & Give-away

23rd August: Interview with Jane Issac:

24th August: Guest Post & Book Spotlight

25th August: Blurb, Bio & Sample:

26th August: Book Blurb & Give-away

27th August: Blurb, Author Bio & Review

28th August, Book Blurb & Excerpt :

29th August: Book Blurb & Review & Give-away: