Saturday, March 26, 2011

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore - Amazon Young Adult Breakthrough Contest-Quarter-finalist

Julie, the protagonist, is a special young woman who has some very special abilities.  As the book opens she has just moved into a new town, is scared, but determined to make a new life for herself.  She had recently managed an escape from the thugs who had kept her captive since she was a small child.

Vowing to be cautious, her plan is to try not to attract attention, live quietly, and not allow herself to be drawn into any relationships. She fears her pursuers will eliminate any friends in their eagerness to recapture her.  Almost immediately, however, her carefully considered plan begins to go awry.  But, you see, Julie is uncommonly beautiful and most people are naturally drawn her.  After exiting the bus, she buys a small meal from a street vendor and is not surprised when a cute young man introduces himself and offers to show her around the town.

From this excerpt, I am immediately drawn to Julie, as well, and already feel protective of her.  I want her to succeed and my interest is further peaked at the end of the excerpt as to her aims regarding volunteering at the local hospital.  I love the description of the newly renovated retro hotel, with its huge black chandelier and black and white tiled floor in the lobby.  The descriptive detail, so far, seems perfect to me – not over-blown or showy but just enough to bring the visual image to life in my imagination.  The whole tone that is carefully being conveyed is refined, sedate, and endearing.  I just know the stage is masterfully being set by the author and that Julie will have to face her share of trouble in the near future. I found this excerpt easy to read. It captured my interest immediately and as I read I found myself becoming even more engaged.  I hope I get an opportunity to re-read Human Blend.  I found it an enjoyable read last year, and Ms. Pescatore is such a talented author, I am sure a second reading will uncover nuances I missed before.

PLEASE "Like" this review on Amazon.com by Voting "YES" it is helpful. Lori has worked so diligently to get this far and I would love to see her continued success.

Amazon Young Adult Breakthrough Fiction

Laurie-J
Amazon Reviewer

Friday, March 25, 2011

Untamable by Sayde Grace

                                         4 Cups
An exciting page-turner, this book grabbed me early on and demanded my attention throughout. I have never met a heroine quite like Sidda before.  Mouthy, irreverent, and hard-headed, she is also passionate, loyal and wields powerful magic effortlessly.  She loves Jasper with her whole heart but has a knack for severely testing the limits of his patience.  I sympathized usually with Jaspers frustration, but I must say I just loved Sidda’s spunk and determination to do what she felt needed to be done, regardless – she is a force to be reckoned with and unstoppable when executing her agendas.  An action-packed adventure, with some hot, spicy love scenes, this book had me staying up late to reach the satisfying conclusion. Read Full Review

Lone Wolf by Karen Whiddon

4 Cups
This book is complete within itself, even though it is a part of a much larger series.  It is a thrilling, easy to read adventure in which I became fully engrossed.  I loved the desert setting around Big Bend Texas.  The chemistry between Marika and Beck was outstanding and I felt myself wanting the little family to triumph.  The ending satisfied and amused me.  I love the Nocturne line from Harlequin and this story did not disappoint. Read Full Review
 

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

3 Cups

Chewing through the pages of this book rapidly, immersed in Jane’s tribulations; I became confounded and bewildered at times, and then was often amused. This book defies any sort of standard classification. The writing is breezy and smart as the author takes the reader, with little warning, from laughter to horrified gasp. This is the first book in a promised series, so I am hoping the disappointing finish may be tempered with a more hopeful future, and an opportunity for Jane to vanquish her nemesis in an upcoming installment. Read Full Review

If Wishes Were Horses by Robert Barclay

                          3 Cups
This book was difficult for me to fully enjoy. Once Trevor stepped foot on the horse ranch it was like he was magically transformed into a thoughtful, exuberant teen in practically the blink of an eye. There is plenty of conflict and excitement but much of it stretched my capacity to suspend disbelief to the limit. There are moments of tenderness and moments of laughter, and honestly, the story-telling flowed smoothly, but, for me, the whole believability factor was just lacking.  Conflicts, anger, and hatred seem often to be resolved with a few choice sentences.  Toward the end, I felt the book was finally coming to a satisfactory conclusion, but then a final twist and tease occurred that, frankly, made me grit my teeth in frustration.  I especially would have liked to have learned more about the beautiful horses. The book maintained my interest while I was reading it, and, for the most part, I enjoyed it, but at the end I was disappointed that I never felt the connection to the characters that I hoped to feel. Read Full Review


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now What? by Charmaine Gordon

                                                                         4.75 Stars
This is a beautifully structured story about mid-life loss and dealing with the depression, sadness, and internal hollowness that often attacks in the wake of such tragedy. It is a novel that is written in a matter-of-fact, no nonsense manner that is immediately appealing.  During the course of Carly’s recovery and her dedicated attempts to find meaning in a life shattered by death, anger and guilt, the reader is swept right along on the journey with her. Read Full Review
Laurie-J                                                                        
Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews
                                                                                                 

Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon

                           4.5 Stars
I was hooked immediately. This fast-paced out of place her entire life. She realizes there is a power inside her, but she has no idea how it can be controlled. Her plight is easy to relate tnovelette kept me guessing all the way to the end. Harper is a likable protagonist who has felt o and to sympathize with. It felt almost as if I had been be-spelled along with Harper as, once I began, I was simply unable to stop reading until the end. This book ends with something of a cliff-hanger, but I am now fully engaged in discovering the secrets being hidden in the unusual town of Peachville, Georgia and Shadowford Home for Girls. I am eager to read the next installment, Inner Demons. This story will appeal to a diverse cross-section of readers regardless of age. Read Full Review

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews 
        



Visit the Aurthor's Website                         

Peachville High Demon Series:
Book 1 Beautiful Demons
Book 2 Inner Demons
Book 3 Bitter Demons

Friday, March 18, 2011

Heartwood by Belva Plain

                        5 CUPS
This book captivated me from the first page.  In its telling, the story unfolded beautifully, piece by small piece, section by section.  The flow and the sentences were structured with such precision it was truly a delight to turn to each new page. The author’s astute understanding of human relationships and of the bonds between family members radiates throughout.  Caught up in the lives of characters I cared for I had little thought for the passage of time and read late, late into the night.  There is no preachiness in the tone, just a deep, discerning, clear delivery that shines with uncanny perceptiveness.  What a terrible loss that this author is no longer among us.  Like the title of this book, Ms. Plain’s stories are like heartwood – strong and enduring – and will, no doubt, be treasured through many future generations. Read Full Review


Vampire Sheikh by Nina Bruhns

                                                           3 Cups
This book started off being a bit difficult for me to really get into.  There were quite a few unknown Egyptian words with which I needed to become familiar. However, after that somewhat rocky start, the story became increasingly mesmerizing and soon I found I was caught up in the drama and suspense of the powerful immortals. This book stands up well on its own, but I wish I had read the other two previous books, as well. The intimate scenes between Josslyn and Seth sizzle.  There is plenty of tension and several unexpectedly tender moments. Those readers well-versed in Egyptian mythology will surely love this entire series. For the rest of us, it is an opportunity to get lost in the excitement of an adventure in a distant, dusty land amid an ornate underground sanctuary. Read Full Review





Immortal Sheikhs series:

Book 1  Lord of the Dessert
Book 2  Shadow of the Sheikh
Book 3  Vampire Sheikh

Unearthed by Jordan Gray

            4.25 Stars
For me, the book started a bit slow, but I think that is probably because I haven’t read the previous books in this series. After a few pages, the pace picked up and soon I was caught up in the telling, and more and more curious about the reputed ill-gotten artifacts and lost treasure. Is the hoard still hidden someplace in the maze of caverns along the craggy shore? 

Michael and Molly are a lovely, likeable couple – their interactions together and with others is credible and often compelling. The love and affection between them is palpable, and that each had a few shortcomings added further depth to their characters. As the mystery was unraveled, I marveled at the author’s ability to weave the various diverse elements simultaneously into a complex web that eventually all made sense, leaving this reader replete and satisfied. Read Full Review


Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

Blood Harvest Moon by Kelly Abell

                                               4 Stars
This fast read is fraught with suspense and tension as the reader is swept along with Derek.  The story flows smoothly all the way to its surprising and satisfying conclusion.  As expected, like in most novellas, there is little time to develop most of the secondary characters, however; I feel I really got to know Shaelyn’s sister, Layla, and the greedy, corrupt, guardian, Ronlen. Shaelyn is an intriguing character, and I thought she and Derek were beautifully rendered.  This is an enjoyable paranormal fantasy that will linger in your mind haunting your thoughts long after the last word is read. Read Full Review

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

Monday, March 14, 2011

SPECIAL POST - Please Help Author's Japanese Relief Efforts


Hello,  Everyone has heard about the horrible earthquake, flooding, and nuclear plant leaks in Japan and the devastation there.   These authors are generously donating all proceeds from the sale of these books to the relief efforts from TODAY through SUNDAY, MARCH 19th.   These books are priced right, anyway, and give you a wonderful opportunity to add to your collection while knowing you are also helping much needed relief efforts in Japan.   I hope you will check out the titles and make a purchase today.

Note:  I am using my Amazon Affliliate link to post the book images and links. Any commissions made will also be donated  to help the Japanese people in this time of crisis.


Ungrateful Dead (an Ethan Banning case) (The Ethan Banning Files)
Night and Chaos (The Deva Chronicles #1)Author Naomi Clark is donating all proceeds from the sale of her books. A purchase is, of course appreciated,  but you can also help spread the news with a few free clicks  - please click the "Like" button and click the tags so that others can more easily find the selections.


See more details on Naomi's Blog:


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Darlin' Druid (Texas Druids)Author Lyn Horner is donating all proceeds from the sale of her book. A purchase is, of course appreciated,  but you can also help spread the news with a few free clicks  - please click the "Like" button and click the tags so that others can more easily find the selections.


See details on Author's Blog:

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WolfSong (Tales from the Crescent)Author J.H. Sked is donating all proceeds from the sale of her book. A purchase is, of course appreciated,  but you can also help spread the news with a few free clicks  - please click the "Like" button and click the tags so that others can more easily find the selections.


See details on Ms. Sked's Blog
http://jhsked.blogspot.com/search/label/%23write4japan

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Last Exit In New JerseyAuthor C.E. Grundler is donating all proceeds from the sale of her book. A purchase is, of course appreciated,  but you can also help spread the news with a few free clicks  - please click the "Like" button and click the tags so that others can more easily find the selections.


See details on Ms. Grundler's blog

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Enemy Mine: A Lawson Vampire Short Story (The Lawson Vampire Series)
Author Jon F. Merz is donating all proceeds from the sale of his book. A purchase is, of course appreciated,  but you can also help spread the news with a few free clicks  - please click the "Like" button and click the tags so that others can more easily find the selections.


Enemy Mine: A Lawson Vampire Short Story (The Lawson Vampire Series)



Visit this Author's blog:
http://jonfmerz.net/blog/
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Authors - if you are offering similar incentives please let me know and I will be happy to promote your generousity, as well.

Bloggers - Please feel free to copy to your own blogs....Let's pass the word along.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J. F. Jenkins

                     4 CUPS
A delightful fantasy, this story is unusual in that it is set in modern times. Characters had their cell phones and other creature gadgets and yet the world seemed much less populous than our world. The lives of the inhabitants seemed less frantic-paced, more spiritually guided – and then, of course, there are the magnificent sentient, telepathic dragons. I could not put the book down once I began reading. This is the first book in a planed series but in many ways, as I read, I felt as though I was in the middle of the series rather than at the beginning. The author left herself plenty of wiggle room for additional novels, fortunately for those of us captivated by this world.  I noticed a few odd turns of phrase and a couple of places I became confused as to what was actually meant, but honestly, those small moments still could not lessen my enjoyment of this tale.  A fantastical world is being created and I believe, without a doubt, this world will become well-loved by fans everywhere. Read Full Review


Desert Heat by Jamie Debree

     4 Cups
There is a spark of sexual interest between Darren and Marie that makes the shy, introverted woman nervous, tongue-tied, and determined to keep her distance. Darren is beguiled by her naivety and bashfulness, while she fights to retain her autonomy. Most of the action takes place while the team is camping out in the remote desert.  I love that setting, and though it was not described to my satisfaction in the narrative, I was able to add the details in my imagination since I have often seen the stark beauty of the high desert for myself. The story kept my interest throughout and I enjoyed watching Darren’s pursuit and Marie’s consternation. The suspense was good with several unexpected twists.  For those who enjoy adventurous romantic suspense, this book is sure to please.  Read Full Review




Visit the Author's Website

Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford

          3 CUPS
This tongue-in-cheek, satiric tale is packed with literary and film references which, after awhile, just seem to exhaust my tolerance of and appreciation for snarky humor. I feel that some of the slapstick comedy is overdone too, especially the ongoing twin mix-ups. Until this book, I never realized that croquet is such a dull game. All-in-all, I found it to be an okay to good read that, at times is quite funny. There are also several unexpected moments of brilliance tucked away that surprised me and revitalized my flagging interest at opportune times. Honestly, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read the first book in the series. I can say with confidence that this novel, a wild fling with sting, will appeal to those fans who relish watching often peculiar characters striving for one-upmanship in a bizarre parody of life and undeath.  Read Full Review


Laurie
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Cure by Susan Phelan

              3.75 STARS
I was entertained reading this story. Some of the action takes place on creepy Blackwell Island where, early in the previous century, poor souls were confined in the isolated environment that included a hospital, penitentiary, and mental asylum, along with some other establishments. Long abandoned now, the descriptions of the derelict buildings are particularly chilling. The attraction that develops between Valian and Chancella is plotted out well with lots of magnetic moments invariably relieved as one or the other figuratively steps back re-examining the unnatural feelings and trying to make sense of unfamiliar responses. Chancella displays a peculiar scientific curiosity about everything that seems singularly in character with her introverted, though inquisitive, personality. This book kept me wholly engaged throughout and constantly guessing as to how it would finally play out. Read Full Review   

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crewkin by Rhobin L Courtright

                                        5 STARS +
This is a highly original story with a likable, if misfit, cast of characters. The story follows the adventures of Renna, a long-haul spacer, who was actually bred and nurtured (if you want to call it that) to be a part of an efficient team of enhanced humans, called Crewkin. Often referred to as Podders, a slang term of disparagement, by others in the space industry, Crewkin are bred and owned by Markham Corporation – an enormous and highly shady operation.

I thought the descriptions of this future society were just brilliant – strange, sweeping in scope, and yet, still, utterly believable. The author deftly, and seemingly without effort, created personalities and situations that were so unique but that still easily captured my imagination and held it in thrall. This is a wonderfully powerful novel that is populated with odd-ball characters I came to care deeply for, as they traveled through space, facing uncertainty and adversity. A journey during which each of them faced some ugly truths that could have easily destroyed them all but which, instead, forged them into a solid, formidable unit.

Science Fiction fans rejoice, for this novel is a solid masterpiece, sure to fire up your imagination and send it hurtling through space on a wondrous ride. Outstanding, Science Fiction as it is meant to be!  Read Full Review

Laurie-J

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews




Visit Rhobin L Courtright's Author Page on Muse It Up Publishing