Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jacqueline's review of The Anvil of the Craftsman (Jon's Trilogy Book 1) by Dale Amidei

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- The Anvil of the Craftsman (Jon's Trilogy Book 1) by Dale Amidei

My overall star rating --- 5


About the book:
A doctoral candidate in Theological Studies accepts recruitment by a friend in the U.S. State Department for an initiative to the most troublesome province in 2006 Iraq. The many challenges of nation building expand the mission from diplomacy to a survival situation as local and international interests position themselves to oppose a State Department initiative: one vital to progress in an uncertain theater. 

Terrorism and counter-terror operations threaten to keep the team from leaving the relative safety of Baghdad. Until, that is, a former USAF Special Tactics operative hunting the men who want to kill them draws duty as their protector. The simple questions posed during a tribal council threaten provincial and regional stability; the conclusions reached explode into a clash of faith, loyalty, schism and betrayal that will help shape the future of two nations.  

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
If I could, I would give this book higher ratings, but my rating only go so far. While reading your book, I kept thinking about some of my favorite classic authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells, and the like. When reading and reviewing books, to run across writing of such a fine caliber as this is rare. It's an excellent book, extremely well written and researched, with wonderful characters that draw you in.

While it's not normally a genre that I would read, I thoroughly enjoyed it; and have book 2 on my kindle now.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- political thriller
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- none
Violence rating -- a great deal

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lake's review of Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson

Reviewed by -- Lake        

Book Review of -- Unnatural Acts (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI Book 2) by Kevin J. Anderson        

My overall star rating --- 5


About the book:
To Be Dead Or Not To Be Dead
In the Unnatural Quarter, golems slave away in sweatshops, necromancers sell black-market trinkets to tourists, and the dead rise up--to work the night shift. But zombie detective Dan Shamble is no ordinary working stiff. When a local senator and his goons picket a ghostly production of Shakespeare in the Dark--condemning the troupe's "unnatural" lifestyles--Dan smells something rotten. And if something smells rotten to a zombie, you're in serious trouble. . .

Before his way of life, her, death, is destroyed, Dan wants answers. Along the way he needs to provide security for a mummified madame, defend a mixed-race couple (he's a vampire, she's a werewolf) from housing discrimination, and save his favorite watering hole, the Goblin Tavern, from drying up. Throw in a hairy hitman, a necro-maniac, and a bank robber who walks through walls, and Dan Shamble's plate is full. Maybe this time, the zombie detective has bitten off more than he can chew. . . 
         
Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
A Zombie PI book, how do you beat that? You can't. I love the fact that the cases are cool. The un-dead have lives too. There are good and also scumbags among the non-living as well as living. The humor is THICK and AWESOME! Awesome Voice to do the audible version. This is book 2, don't forget to read book 1 (Death warmed over). Includes 4 novels and a few short stories. Can't wait to read/listen to all of them. DON'T MISS OUT!  
      
Reader Recommendations
Genre -- possibly urban fantasy/paranormal        
Age recommendations -- 18 plus        
Sex content rating -- mild, hardly any.        
Violence rating -- moderate        

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon
kindle
audible

Author's Amazon page

Author's website

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jacqueline's review of Ten Christmas Brides by various authors

How about a little Christmas in July?

Reviewed by -- Jacqueline Driggers

Book Review of -- Ten Christmas Brides by various authors

My overall star rating, from 1-5 -- 5


About the book:
What’s better than a Christmas Wedding? Ten Christmas Weddings!

Join ten New York Times, USA Today and National best-selling authors to celebrate the holiday season with a boxed set of stories brimming with emotion, holiday spirit and happy ever afters. From sweet to sexy, suspense to small town drama, travel from Belarus to Africa to the snowy Highlands of Scotland as Santa delivers our gift to you—love, laughter and happiness this Christmas!

Recipe for Love by Ruth Cardello, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.
All Madison Andrade wants for Christmas is a place to hide and she finds it in the home of a lusty French chef. Richard D’Argenson’s recipes are famous, but they lack one necessary ingredient—love. Spend a steamy holiday with this unlikely couple and fall in love –Andrade style.

Must Love Santa by Nina Bruhns, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.
Detective Nick Palladin just needs to close one last case in Vice—going undercover as Santa—before getting his Christmas transfer to the K-9 Unit. But when a cute little fluffball and the knockout holding her leash stumble into the op and are attacked, Santa and his faithful dog come running to the rescue!

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Donna Fasano, USA Today bestselling author.
Aaron Chase is desperate to give his daughter a perfect Christmas and elicits the help of Pediatric Nurse Christy Cooper to do it. When Aaron’s impish eight-year-old talks them into a make-believe wedding, can the magic of Christmas make the vows stick?

Christmas Captive (The Decorah Security Series) by Rebecca York, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author.
How did hard-driving businessman Jordan Campbell end up in a coma? And can nurse Hannah Andrews use her psychic talent to connect with him and trap his would-be killer? As she and Jordan work together, she knows she’s putting her own life---and her heart---at risk.

The Army Doctor’s Honeymoon Baby (The Army Doctor’s Series) by Helen Scott Taylor, Award-winning and National bestselling author.
Army doctor, Blair Mackenzie, secretly loves his childhood friend, Lorna, and protects her in the African refugee camp where they work. Lorna depends on Blair—he’s her best friend, the only man she’s ever loved. She longs to admit her feelings but a family secret from their past prevents her.

Kiss Me Santa by Patrice Wilton, National bestselling author.
Widowed schoolteacher, Cindy Harris meets Brad Williams--posing as Santa--when she takes her young son to the mall. Imagine her surprise when he shows up as the hot-shot realtor selling her family home. Sparks fly between them. Can the magic of Christmas give them the best gift of all -- love?

An Unusual Christmas by Mona Risk, Award-winning and National bestselling author.
Running away from Christmas celebrations and the demons of her past, Dr. Jillian has dedicated her life to saving third-world children. In Belarus, a baby girl, four little boys, and a handsome doctor may teach her the true meaning of Christmas.

A Cowboy for Christmas by Annie Jones, Award-winning and National bestselling author.
A single mom who has pinned all her hopes on reviving a popular tourist dude ranch gets a Christmas surprise that may change everything when her son asks Santa for a new dad. And that very night a Christmas-skipping cowboy shows up at their door.

The Christmas Honeymoon by Alicia Street, Award-winning and National bestselling author.
Quiet librarian Serena always loved Christmas, until she was jilted before her December wedding. A year later, while trying to rekindle her tarnished holiday spirit, she meets Damien, handsome daredevil—and a total Scrooge. Their unlikely mutual attraction brings on a challenge that leads to one very romantic Christmas.

She’s Not You by Mimi Barbour, National bestselling author.
Sick and widowed, running scared from a man who insists she belongs to him, Belle is forced to let the charmer down the hall help out.

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review:
This book is actually a collection of books by several outstanding romance writers. You can't go wrong with this set. Some wonderful novels by some outstanding writers. Not a dud in the whole set. I loved it. Highly recommend it for your holiday reading especially, as it will put you in the mood for christmas; but it makes for great reading any time of the year.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- romance
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- moderate to spicy
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Shannan's review of Scotland's Guardians by Katharina Gerlach

Reviewed by -- Shannan Williams        

Book Review of -- Scotland's Guardians by Katharina Gerlach        

My overall star rating --- 5


About the book:
A face without a nose watches Bryanna from a window in an Edinburgh townhouse, and a hairy hand waves. A Brownie! She blinks and shakes her head. Impossible. They only exist in books. But the Brownie doesn't remain the only legendary creature she meets on her way home. Maybe I'm hallucinating, she thinks, and decides to talk to her dad. However, he gets kidnapped by a woman whose scent seems surprisingly familiar to Bryanna. Without hesitation, she follows them and lands smack dab in the middle of the adventure of her life. The world she faces now is murderously dangerous. And if she survives the journey, she seems doomed to kill her father for his secret.  

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This book pulled me in at the very beginning and held me captive until the very end. I loved it and couldn't stop reading once I started. A perfect fantasy book, full of Scottish mythology. There were so many creatures and monsters that I was introduced to. The best fantasy book I have read in a really long time...definitely a favorite without a doubt. I loved the development of the characters along the way. It was as if I was right there with the two girls, following them along their journey. The ending was perfect and I was so happy to see it end the way it did. You need to read this book if you are a lover of the fantasy genre. You will not be disappointed.        

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Fantasy, Adventure        
Age recommendations -- 17 and up, due to some graphic descriptions of some of the creatures.        
Sex content rating -- none                
Violence rating -- mild

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page

Author's website

Monday, July 13, 2015

Rich's review of This Changes Everything by Sally Ember

Reviewed by -- Rich M.        

Book Review of -- This Changes Everything by Sally Ember        

My overall star rating --- 1        

About the book:
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the Collective, the holos choose Clara as liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective to make the secret visits public and guide Earth's new leaders. While Earthers adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are, rebellions and conflicts arise. The Collective works with Clara to create the Psi-Warriors who fight the leaders of the resistance, the Psi-Defiers. With multiple re-sets needed to revise the past and future to save lives, in which of the timelines in the multiverse does her love, Epifanio Dang, get to be with Clara? Over Clara's thirty-year term as Chief Communicator, Earthers must undergo major transformations.  

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 7 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 1
-- Cover & title -- 1
-- Editing & formatting -- 5
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
Confusing and dense. That’s the big thing about this book. A reader doesn’t know if this should be metafictional, metaphysical, or what? 

The author seems to be aiming for something along the lines of Fringe or some similar concept using alternate worlds, but goes into from the wrong way (at least to me, and I’m someone who can tell you who lived on Earth-2, Earth-X, Earth-616, and easily followed the dimension jumping in Heinlein’s books). This is one of many books that I’ve read recently that attempts to be “multimedia” and fails horribly. 

Many chapters are prefaced or consist of media-style transcripts of conferences and the like, that, had they been formatted a little differently from the main narrative (assuming that can be found here), they would’ve added a bit more to the story. As it is, it’s more of a mess than anything else. 

This is perhaps the first book that I have ever found to be offensive. I have no problem with most things; hell, you can write about fisting nuns and putting kittens into woodchippers while wearing Nazi regalia, and if it’s interesting, I’ll have no problem with it. And I can understand wanting to key the story into major real-life events, but to conclude that Chernobyl, the Challenger disaster, and the Columbia’s destruction were due to “memory lapses” is OFFENSIVE to the brave and talented people who died in those tragedies. That simple passage put me completely off this piece of crap book, and anything this writer WILL EVER write in the future. She is a non-entity from now on.        

I attempted to read another 20% or so into the book, but nothing really improved.  The book isn’t really worth wasting my time on. Let me give you a little background: I've read nearly 800 books over the past two-and-a-half years.  I've finished every single one of them, good or bad. Except this one.                

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- (supposedly) Science fiction        
Age recommendations -- Adult        
Sex content rating -- n/a                
Violence rating -- n/a

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page


Author's website

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Shannan's review of 10 Busy Brownies by Talia Haven

Reviewed by -- Shannan Willaims

Book Review of -- 10 Busy Brownies by Talia Haven

My overall star rating --- 4
 

About the book:
Count the brownies up to 10 as they help out with chores around a old cottage house. 
  
Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This is the story of Brownies cleaning up the house after the children go to bed. This book not only teaches counting from 1-10, but introduces rhyming and doing chores. A great book of rhyming while learning to count from 1-10. Between the pictures and the rhyming I think that young children, and whoever is reading it with them, will fall in love with this book. Very detailed illustrations will be very eye catching to young children. I highly recommend this book for young children.        

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Young Children
Age recommendations -- 1-5
Sex content rating -- none
Violence rating -- none

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's blog

Author's website

http://mythologicalbrowniesforkids.blogspot.com/                                                                                        

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Maegan's review of Enemy Among Us by Kevin Hamilton

Reviewed by -- Maegan Schaefer        
Book Review of -- Enemy Among Us by Kevin Hamilton        
My overall star rating --- 5 
       

About the book:
Marcus Remalliond awakens on a hilltop overlooking a battle with a fuzzy head and an arrow embedded in his shoulder; he dispatches the archer who attacks him and begins to rush down to join the fray when it hits him, he doesn’t know which side he belongs to or even who he is! 

‘Enemy Among Us’ introduces the world of Larcurion, and the nations of Escrania and Traevinia. The war between the rival nations has been going on for nearly three centuries. Amid this backdrop of conflict, Marcus thrust into a world he can no longer remember. 

He encounters Nathan, a name from his past and self-professed best friend, who begins filling in some of the gaps. Nathan and Marcus begin the long return trek ‘home’ to Traevinia with the rest of the soldiers through wilderness, traverse the cursed mountain Nargonlythe, and encounter dangers and monsters of Traevinian myth along the way. Marcus begins to learn about Larcurion, and the two warring nations of Escrania and Traevinia: their histories, their religion, their conflicts. 

All the while, Marcus is struggling to reconnect with who he is; desperate to fit in. Something’s wrong though; some of Marcus’s memories coming to the surface don’t jibe with what he’s learning of who “he is”. He remembers a lost love, friends from his past, and bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit with what Nathan and the Traevinians are telling him. He was trained to be a weapon for the Traevinian king Keiten, to strike out at the heart of the nation of Escrania. He’ll spread chaos and fear along with the rest of his division- the Masks. What’s true, where does he belong, and can he figure all of this out before it’s too late? What makes a hero, is it his past, or is it the choices he makes of his life? These are the questions that Marcus must answer for himself all while trying to stay alive. 

50% of all proceeds from the sale of Enemy Among Us will go toward the Red Cross and Arkansas Tornado Relief Fund

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 27 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing & formatting -- 7
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
Enemy Among Us started out with a hook for me and just kept on reeling me in. I wish I could of read it straight through, but life kept getting in my way. The storyline is one that I have yet to read, which thoroughly kept me guessing at what was to happen next. The way the author has written the story made me care for each of the characters, even the "bad' ones, because it explains their points of view. All of which I could relate to and rationalize with, to an extent. The ending is beautifully written, and has left me hoping that I will get another wonderful story about an incredible adventure with Marcus.   
             
Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Adventure with a bit of Fantasy        
Age recommendations -- 14+, I think that boys would really enjoy reading this.        
Sex content rating -- mild                
Violence rating -- moderate to a lot. There is fights, battles, and death.
        
Links for the book:
Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's facebook page