February 18, 2014

Dream by Kyra Selby

Dream is best described as a magical young-love story.

Dream is about two individuals being drawn together under unique circumstances. They are as close to soul mates as you can get.

Miles has been dreaming of Ava for the last four years. Coincidentally, the dreams started after tragic events in both of their lives.
When Ava moves into town and Miles sees her for the first time, he feels like he is seeing a ghost.
After the initial shock wears off, they become inseparable. They are drawn together and cannot get enough of each other. The funny thing is, both of them have doubts about how the other feels about them.
Once the truth comes out about Miles’s dreams about Ava after a near-death experience for her, everything about their relationship begins to make sense and it becomes stronger than ever.

The first half seems to be a character build up for both Ava and Miles. Pixie and Jesse are the supporting characters here and add to the story with friendly dialogue and party experiences.

There is not much action between Ava and Miles in the first have, but from reading the excerpt it was evident that things change for those two eventually.

It is a cute story from the beginning. It is nice for a young adult novel. Sometimes a cute young love story is a nice break from some denser books you may pick up to read.
It was written really well aside from a few spelling mistakes. One more round of editing and it will be good to go.

The characters were really well rounded. Even Jesse and Pixie who were more of a supporting cast had some nice character depth to them.

4/5 Stars.


Hey guys. 
I have just put up a poll on the right side column of the page here. Since I have so many reviews to get through, I would like to know which genre you would like to see more of on here, and I will get to those reviews quicker. 
If there is one you would like to see that isn't listed on the poll, go ahead and leave a comment. I will look through my requests to see if I have some. 

Thanks! I look forward to seeing the responses


February 13, 2014

Vigilare by Brooklyn James

When the authorities do not handle cases in an acceptable way, who is going to get justice on those who have caused irreversible damage to a victim’s life? Who will step up when no one else will to punish rapists and sex offenders? Vigilare.

Vigilare is watching over everyone in Vanguard. Vigilare punishes sex offenders for their crimes when they get off too easy in the court system.

When Detectives Gina DeLuca and Tony Gronkowski are assigned to a case that appears to be serial murders, the details get weirder and weirder. There is talk of a vigilante, a superhero of Vanguard who is punishing these men for raping women in the city. The name they give this superhero, Vigilare.

They talk about Vigilare having glowing green eyes that captivate its victim. It can look into their soul.

When Detective Gronkowski goes investigating on his own one night in pursuit of a known molester, what he finds turns the case completely upside-down.

This book is completely different from Brooklyn James’s other book that I reviewed recently, The Boots My Mother Gave Me. That one was heavy and memoir-esque.
Vigilare is pure fiction mixed with paranormal and science fiction story lines.

It builds suspense well, and while I guessed the twist, I was never 100% positive that was it until it happened. I always love a good twist.

Also I am a sucker for a good courtroom scene, and this book delivered that.

The writing was great. It pulls you in right from the beginning. I really like how Brooklyn James goes into plenty of detail in her books, but it isn’t so overdone that the chapters drag on. Every detail is important to the story in some way and that really keeps it interesting.

It ended sort of abruptly, but there is a sequel to it so it makes sense to leave off where it does.

The character development was spot on. I liked the characters that you are supposed to root for, and I disliked the ones you are supposed to be skeptical about.

The dialogue flows naturally, it doesn’t feel forced which is one of my biggest turn offs with reading sci-fi/paranormal books. Sometimes the dialogue is really forced and hinders the flow of the novel. The dialogue complements the novel and was written very well.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of sci-fi books or “superheroes” you might want to pick this one up.
It has a very strong female character, so if you like all of those things, I do not think you will be disappointed with this read.

4.5/5 stars

The Broken Bottle by Sally Wiener Grotta

Have you ever had some small even in your life change you forever?

That is what this short story documents.

One small even changes Joanne for the rest of her life.

When she and her husband were dining out at a Chinese restaurant, Joanne witnessed an act of violence against two men.

There were a group of men sitting around a table, and a man she calls Black Jacket. He breaks a bottle on one of the mens’ faces and throws another man out of the restaurant through the door.

Joanne is traumatized by this experience and it starts to enter her relationship. She does not have the same relationship that she had with her husband on that night.

She feels they are two completely different people because he did not witness the events like she did.

It just tells the story of how one small event can change your life forever. It doesn’t have to be a huge event; it can be small like witnessing something that doesn’t even involve you.

Other than the main take away from the story I mentioned above, there wasn’t much to it. It wasn’t very deep. There wasn’t very much character building.

It seemed more like the prelude to a longer story than just a stand-alone short story. I feel that this would be a solid starting point for a novel, but as a stand-alone, it seems a bit lacking.

3/5 Stars

February 10, 2014

The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James

This is a heavy novel.

A few trigger warnings: It deals with abuse and suicide. If you aren’t comfortable with either of those topics, this one isn’t for you.

This book follows the main character Harley as she progresses through her life and finding herself along the way.

It is more than just that, though. As a big picture, it seems to be about the three main women in the book finding themselves; Harley, Kat, and their mother.

Harley and Kat grew up in an abusive household.

Their father was a veteran and when he didn’t have a job to occupy his time, his mind would take over and he drank way too much and became mean and violent when he did so. Her mother couldn’t find it within herself to leave him and take Harley and Kat with her.

All Harley could dream about was getting out of that town after she graduated high school, and that is exactly what she did. She lived a gypsy life; never staying in one place long. It is easy to run when you don’t know what exactly you are running from.

She could never really get away from her town. There was always something . . . or someone calling her back

That person was Jeremiah Johnson, Harley’s childhood sweetheart. The boy she always ran to for comfort when she needed escape from her abusive home. It is easy to root for these two to be together in the end.  Their story reminds me a bit of the movie Sweet Home Alabama.

This was a page-turner. I was hooked from the very beginning. It will take you through so many emotions. Be prepared to laugh, to get angry, to cry.

The writing and character development were both just great. I feel like there was great attention paid to each character in the book whether they are a main or supporting character.

It was a well-rounded story. I didn’t come out of it feeling like anything was left out or that any one part was less significant than the others.

5/5 Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. 

Click to Purchase!

Read Ahead for Spoilers

February 2, 2014

The Day Before 9/11 by Tucker Elliot

There are just some people’s stories that need to be put into print . . . this is one of them.

There are just some books that need to be read . . . this is one of them.

9/11 is a day that none of us will never forget. It impacted each of us in different ways, and it will always be an emotional topic that is hard to read and write about.

The Day Before 9/11 is a memoir about an American teacher overseas teaching military children. He documents his experience with 9/11 and stories of military families he came to spend a lot of time with.

Tucker Elliot tells his own personal story as well as the story of two young girls Sami and Angel.

They both come from military families who are stationed overseas. He first comes into contact with Sami while he is teaching in Korea. After he moves to Germany, he becomes Angel’s teacher and Sami’s family ends up getting stationed there as well.

He expresses the pain that comes to families after tragedies occur. The same tragedy can affect different families in many different ways. War can affect different families in many different ways. It can bring pain and depression in ways that some individuals could never experience or even imagine.

Tucker Elliot’s book is a beautiful documentation about how one tragedy affected three different families in completely different ways.

It is emotional. It is thought provoking.

I thought reading through the main portion of the book was rough and hard on the heart, but the epilogue is truly just heartbreaking. There are no other words.

But, the end can really teach you that through heartbreak, you should always still have hope.

The writing in this book is really great. It never gets boring. There are no unnecessary parts to it. It was well thought out and looked over before being published.

5/5 stars. 

Radiant Shadows: Beginnings by Sarah Baethge

Radiant Shadows is broken down into three parts. They all follow the same story, the only difference is that they are told by different points of view.

Part one is told by Stephen who appears to be the main character. He meets with his vampire-hunter friend Caroline as she sets out to hunt a dangerous vampire, Randy.

They end up meeting up with a witch who decides it would be a good idea to make Stephen into an anti-vampire. Doing so cripples Caroline in her hunt of Randy as it puts her in a state between becoming a vampire and dying. Stephen and Caroline’s minds are linked in this adventure and he is not in his physical body, but in Caroline’s mind.

On her way to hunt Randy, Caroline runs into her boyfriend Marshall and he insists on sticking with her.
This eventually ends in him being transformed into a vampire and Caroline ending up dead at the hands of Marshall.

Part two is written in letter form by Marshall. He is writing to Phyllis. She is a friend of Stephen’s. Marshall is writing to her to explain what happened as she ends up in the house with them, but she cannot see him because she is a human and he will lust for her blood.

Part three is written in the point of view of Phyllis. She decided to take killing Randy into her own hands.
She runs into a bit of trouble with the vampires, but they let it go after hearing about the pain Randy had caused.

It ends with Phyllis coming up with a way to help Stephen take care of Marshall, and that is where it ends.
While the writing was okay, there were some grammar and spelling mistakes. There were times in the book where Stephen turned into Steven, then it corrected itself again.

The beginning of the book puts you right into the action with no real introduction. It makes you try to catch up in your head while you are reading. It is pretty confusing at first. It begins to shape up as the story goes along, but the beginning really throws it off a bit.

I don’t feel that I learned very much about the characters. Maybe that is because this seems to be a series, but in that case, I feel a book one should lay down some background on the characters so that they are more familiar and understood moving forward.

2.5/5 stars

February 1, 2014

Demonworld Book 1 by Kyle B. Stiff

Reading Demonworld is almost like being thrust into an action packed nightmare full of devilish creatures one would never want to face in real life.

When Wodi wakes up in a place full of darkness, he doesn’t know how he got there or why he is there. As he starts exploring, he runs into other people from Haven just like him who were dropped into the same place for seemingly no reason. They team up to try to get back home, but encountering demons and ghouls puts a damper on their progress.

After finally feeling a little sense of relief, Wodi is separated from his only remaining partner and wakes up amongst a group of slaves. They are led by the Ugly, and Wodi (turned Wodan) has decided the slaves need to fight back against the Ugly so that they can live in freedom. It takes a lot of work and a lot of convincing, but eventually he gets a good number of people on his side, and it is time for action.

The ending of this book offers a lot of action. There is a huge gun fight. Only the strongest will come out alive.

I feel this book may have worked better being broken up into two parts. If not made into two separate books, maybe having a book 1 and book 2 within it. Book 2 should begin after Wodi (then Wodan) gets mixed up with the Ugly and takes leadership over the slaves. I feel these are two separate story lines that should be split up, otherwise it is a little hard to soak it in all at once.

The attention paid to detail in the writing is very good. It is easy to imagine the scenery even though it is far beyond what any of us have seen except for maybe in movies or dreams. The beasts are also well described. This book is very visual, except it has no pictures. If the author had not paid as much attention to detail, it would completely fail as the reader would have no idea what was going on.

That being said, some of the chapters were a bit long and it was a little hard to soak in all at once. In some, there were chapter breaks where it would switch to a different story line involving Haven guardians and scientists. It was a little difficult to see how they meshed together at points, and the idea of the Project was only relevant during those short chapter breaks. I suppose that is because this is a book one and it is setting up for the rest of the series, but I would have liked to have gained a little more knowledge of the Project earlier in the book.

What I take away from this is it was a book about good against evil; A play on heaven and hell – demons and angels. The whole book had religious undertones, and it really becomes apparent at the end.

It was an interesting story. I feel some of the chapters and sections were drawn out when they could have been shorter. Once I reached the end, the whole first have seemed a bit irrelevant except for the fact Wodi draws his strength from what he went through at the beginning.

Wodi is developed well as a character, but I feel like the rest didn’t have much time to develop in this one. But being the first in a series, that can happen.

There were also a lot of horses killed in it. Didn’t like that factor too much.

3.5/5 stars. 

Playtime by Bart Hopkins Jr.

Playtime is an interesting book. It is complex yet pretty simple all at the same time.

Blaine is the main character. He has a near-death experience at the beginning of the book, except well . . . he does die. BUT HE COMES BACK.

Obviously when a character beats death, there must be a reason for his existence, and in typical novel fashion, he is very important to the story.

Blaine’s near- death/actual death experience comes when he is hit by a car while riding his motorcycle. The woman that hit him originally claims that she does not have insurance because her coverage had expired, but Blaine’s brother examines her insurance plan and finds a loophole stating she has a grace period.

After settling that issue, Blaine is met with devastating news. His ex-girlfriend who he was rekindling his relationship with is reported dead. Two investigators visit him at his house to bring him the news. His whole world comes crashing down around him. What I like about this scene, Bart writes it really well. You can feel the emotion coming from Blaine, and it really sucks you in.

He had seen her just the night before at the bar she works at. A man had been harassing her a bit, and Blaine is convinced he is the one who harmed his girl.

He goes on the hunt to find this man who he has no name for. He tried working with the police department, but he feels as though they are not doing their jobs efficiently enough. He goes against their warnings of taking this into his own hands, and he goes after the man anyways.

This book does not fail in the action department, it is sure full of it. All at the right times as well. It does not feel like forced action. Rather, it is fully justifiable due to the emotions that Blaine is feeling.

The characters were all written pretty well. Blaine obviously had the most attention paid to detail as he is the main character. I would expect nothing less. Blaine’s brother did seem to be a pretty irrelevant character other than the one scene at “Sketch’s” house, though. I am not really sure what his role in the story was.  

Blaine coming back from the dead seemed to be a back-burner story line. I thought it was going to have a much bigger role in the plot. I was thinking that maybe he had something to do with his girlfriend’s disappearance and couldn’t remember due to his brain injury, then he would have to try to work through his memories to get her back – I was wrong. It happens from time to time ;)

The story is pretty easy to follow do to the simplicity of it. There is only one really big twist, though I was expecting a few more that never came.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I basically read it all at one time. It was really hard to put down, sort of addicting in a way. It really keeps you guessing as to what is next which makes you not want to put it down until it is finished.

4.5/5 stars