REVIEW: Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! by Nell Dixon

LCP“As the presenter for Ghost UK, the leading TV show investigating paranormal activity, Fae thought she’d seen it all. Until a Valentine’s Eve live show from Scotland’s Fingelly Manor upsets both her preconceptions and her love life.” –Amazon.com

This was a really fun book.  It’s a short, quick read, and the plot and characters are pretty simple, but it’s very entertaining and well-written.  I read it through in one go.  I like ghost stories of any kind, and it’s hard to find them these days!  This is the perfect book to pick up when you just need a little brain candy.

 

Title:  Lights, Camera, Poltergeist

Author:  Nell Dixon

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Ghost Story

Publication:  Astraea Press (January 2, 2013)

Price:  $0.99 (Kindle, Nook)

Author’s Website:  http://www.nelldixon.com/home.aspx

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Filed under Paranormal, Reviews

Buy a copy of No One’s Angel by Kelly Walker and donate to a great cause!

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by Kelly Walker

For the last several months, many of you have heard me mention (often in vague terms) that I’ve been sick and going through diagnostic testing, feeling miserable, etc. But it’s time for me to stop being vague, and speak loudly and clearly about what is going on in my life for one simple reason. It is our urge to remain vague or not talk about our private struggles with “feminine problems” that allows Endometriosis to continue to be a largely silent struggle. It is not at all uncommon for a woman with endometriosis to go through 6-10 years of no answers before finally getting an accurate diagnosis. I am the 5th woman in my family to be diagnosed with endometriosis, and yet I didn’t know about it until a few months ago.

Now, I’m generally not the type of person who really champions a cause, but this statistic makes me angry for myself, and all the other women who have suffered for years all because we shy away from talking openly about what can at times be embarrassing symptoms.

In an effort to support the Endometriosis Research Center and in observance of March as Endometriosis Awareness Month, I am going to donate 100% of the proceeds of No One’s Angel during the month of March (ebook, print and audio editions included) to the Endometriosis Research Center, a non-profit dedicated to spreading accurate awareness about the disease as well as supporting those who suffer with it. http://kellywalker.net/lets-honest-endometriosis-awareness-month/

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Review: Spinward Fringe, Broadcast 0: Origins by Randolph Lalonde

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Review by Scott Arendt
 
Randolph Lalonde has created an enticing space opera in Spinward Fringe that begins in Origins – Broadcast Zero.  The story moves forward at cruising speed that keeps you moving through the universe as you flip the pages, always excited for what comes next.  The action starts early and keeps up throughout, slowing down just enough for the space farers to take half a breath along with the reader before plunging into the next battle.  He doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining his universe, but there is a steady stream of technical jargon to keep the engineers happy.  

Jonas Valent, the main character, is portrayed realistically, though the lifespan of humans has increased to the point where characters tend to be more well-rounded than our traditional world would allow.  Randolph weaves in other characters and plots as the story sails along with barely a tremor, but all in a believable and compelling way.  Best of all, he masterfully leaves plot threads dangling to tease the stories to come in future broadcasts!

If you are a fan of space shooters or space operas I highly recommend checking out Origins. It’s available as a free download from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Title:  Spinward Fringe, Broadcast 0: Origins

Author:  Randolph Lalonde

Genre:  Science Fiction

Publication: Randolph Lalonde (Aug. 02, 2009)

Price: $0.00 (ebook, all formats), $13.49 (paperback)

Author’s Website: http://randolphlalonde.blogspot.com/2011/02/candid-interview-of-yours-truly-at.html

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March 6, 2014 · 2:25 pm

Review: The Boy from the Woods by Jen Minkman

 

boyfromthewoods“Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable.

But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him… and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around?” –Amazon.com

 

The Boy from the Woods starts off seeming as though it might be just an ordinary YA romance, but ultimately becomes something stranger, more interesting and more complex.  In her second full-length English language novel, Minkman combines folklore and fantasy with surprising elements of mystery and suspense.  Every time I thought I knew what kind of book I was reading and how it would turn out, the story took another twist.

 

Minkman’s writing style is evocative; her scene setting is haunting and immersive.  It was easy to slip into Julia’s world and to fall in love with her and the other characters.  Julia has more depth than is sadly typical for YA heroines, and Michael is an interesting puzzle.  The snippets of poetry throughout the book were beautiful, too.

 

The Boy from the Woods is a wonderful addition to Minkman’s English language titles, and highly recommended for readers of YA romance.

 

 

 

Title:  The Boy from the Woods

Author:  Jen Minkman

 

Genre:  YA Romance

 

Publication:  Jen Minkman (December 12, 2013)

 

Price:  $0.99 (Kindle), $2.99 (Nook), $9.94 (paperback)

 

Author’s Website:  http://jenminkman.blogspot.com/

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Filed under Reviews, Romance, Young Adult

Review: Struglend Tales by Jan Jacob Mekes

13453453Struglend Tales is the first book in The Struglend Saga, a series of comedy fantasy books written by Jan Jacob Mekes. The book follows Edward, the ugliest and probably most haphazard king Struglend has ever had, and his herald Fred, as they go on a quest to restore order to the universe. Well, maybe not the universe, but at least the little piece of land they call home – Struglend. In their journey to remove the evil knight who has invaded the kingdom, they meet several hilarious characters and often find themselves in tight situations to manoeuver out of. Will they succeed in driving out the evil that so brutally violated their land? Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.”  —Amazon.com

This book got off to a promising start, with an allegorical kind of style. The characters of Death, Horatio, and the owl, were amusing, and I looked forward to reading about them.

Unfortunately, the initial story was quickly derailed by an aimless, meandering story which didn’t seem to have any underlying organization or purpose.  There were some good characters—in addition to the three mentioned above, Fred and Grandma Mara were stand-outs for me—but also a lot of others who appeared in the story without much point, and served only to add a confusing number of names to the book.

The length of the book is another problem. Because it has very little structure, it’s very hard to follow over two hundred-plus pages.  I might have rated it more highly had it been about half the length.

The writing itself is good, and I feel this author could do really well with a strong outline and a firm critique group.  I’d be willing to give him another chance in the future if he continues to grow as a writer.

 

Title:  Stuglend Tales

Author:  Jan Jacob Mekes

Genre:  Fantasy

Publication:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 7, 2012)

Price:  $2.99 (Kindle, Nook), $8.09 (paperback)

Author’s Website:  http://bouffonbooks.com/

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Filed under Fantasy, Reviews

Available Now: Finding Forever by Michele Shiver!

Finding Forever, a contemporary romance by Michele Shriver, is now available in eBook and paperback!

Finding forever cover

Sometimes life offers a second chance at first love, but only if you have the courage to take it.

Jordan Priestley buried her mother, her alcoholism, and her California dreams to start over in Grande Valley, Texas. Defending the accused in a violent border town is a far cry from the entertainment law practice she abandoned, and that’s the way Jordan likes it. Happiness eludes her until a former client-turned-lover reappears, tempting her with a hopeful future, while dredging up mistakes from her past.

Jake Morrison paid his dues in the acting business. Now, his big break has arrived with a starring role in a major director’s next blockbuster film. The movie shoot takes Jake to Grande Valley, where he seeks to reconnect with the one woman he couldn’t forget. As Jake slowly breaks through Jordan’s defenses, an old girlfriend resurfaces, threatening their future and Jordan’s fragile sobriety.

Will Jake and Jordan take a chance on forever, or will reminders of their past be too much to overcome?

 
Purchase today: E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords
From the author: I am very excited to share Jordan and Jake’s story with the world and I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To help celebrate the release of my new novel, I am offering free copies of my other books now through October 31, 2013. The books are available for download from Smashwords by entering the appropriate coupon code. Thank you very much for your support!

After Ten (coupon code SC34Y): Download

Sixth South (coupon code LH26U): Download

Aggravated Circumstances (coupon code LW28G): Download

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Review: The Waves by Jen Minkman

The WavesJen Minkman’s new novella, The Waves, tells the other side of the story she began in The Island.  Walt is the nephew of the Bookkeeper, the leader of the people of Hope Harbor.  The residents of Walt’s side of the island are waiting for their Goddess, Annabelle, to come on a ship from the Other Side and save them.  This is what they have been taught by their priests to put their faith in.  But when Walt’s cousin, apprentice to the Bookkeeper, discovers some documents that seem to contradict the priests’ teachings, Walt begins to harbor doubts.  When a ship finally does arrive from the other side, will his faith be broken completely, or can the residents of the island find something new to believe in?

This sequel is much stronger than Minkman’s previous novella, The Island.  The view it gives of the other side of the island seems better developed, and there is a solid plot and a good dose of intrigue to move the story along.

Character development takes place largely through Walt’s relationships with his family, which are complex and a strong theme throughout the book.  This is in direct contrast to The Island, in which family connections were, by design, nearly non-existent.  Here they are deeply affecting, and it’s clear how much Walt’s family has influenced and shaped him.

Another theme, present in both books, is the questioning of organized religion as opposed to personal faith.  On both sides of the island, the ideals of the children who founded their societies have become rigid, codified systems of belief.  These systems are fragile, falling apart rapidly when citizens are given reason to question them.  However, the author presents the notion that a stronger society can develop when faith is more adaptable.

I was impressed with the delicacy with which Minkman handled two threads that could easily have been overdone.  First, she addresses the islanders’ unfamiliarity with technology without making them look primitive and unintelligent.  The romantic subplot between Walt and Leia also feels authentic for characters of their age and experience.  This is refreshing to me, as so many books treat young adult romances with a gratuitously heavy hand.

My only criticism is that the book begins to list slightly towards melodrama near the end, but overall I found the ending, and the book as a whole, to be both intriguing and satisfying.

 

Title:  The Waves (The Island, Volume Two)

Author:  Jen Minkman

Genre:  Science Fiction

Publication:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 30, 2013)

Price:  $1.99 (Kindle, Nook), $7.19 (paperback)

Author’s Website:  http://jenminkman.blogspot.com/

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Filed under Novella, Reviews, Science Fiction, Young Adult