Sunday, November 29, 2015

Heart Land Love and Loss in the Heart of America by by DB Allen

"She is home to Great Plains and even greater rivers, shining towns and people of soul. Her winters are ice-chest bitter, her summers alive with thunder and twisters. Deserts and dust-devils, cottonwoods and corn fields all sing the harmonies of gospel, the melodies of country and the rhythm of the blues, in this church of love and loss. Hers is a bright light slowly fading. She is America's Heartland. These are her stories. Heart Land is a novel of inter-connected stories spanning generations, all set in the American Midwest."

This is an anthology of short stories, some incredibly short and over before they barely start. They are all set in the Midwest. As one leads to the next you will notice mention of characters from the stories that came before. Most notably in "The Swing" which was my favorite story  about Sue Ellen, the little girl from the first story "Last Storm First" now as a grown woman who finds and reads a journal written by her husband long after he is gone. It is a sad tale of loss and regret, as is "Dan 4 Danica" a story about Dan Rensburg, a boy in junior high labeled as "dummy Dan" ever since elementary school and obsessed with Danica Patrick the race car driver. Dan wishes he were smarter like his sister or brother (The brother who is in the next story "A Single Word") "Kaitlin's On The Corner" at first seemed to be entirely about a pubescent boy's masturbatory habits and fantasies up until the end which was a heck of a twist. This was an enjoyable read. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Clemenceau's Daughters by Rocky Porch Moore

"The Ballards live in the shadow of July Mountain. They are one step shy of overcoming the taint of poverty dogging the family since the Great Depression. During the excess of the modern 1980s, the Tennessee Valley still harbors a passing respect for the unexplainable and superstition. Roots cling to family trees like tendrils that tangle and tear to claim, not just birthrights, but bloodrights. Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where the unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy's word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. Debbie must face the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family, one by one. How does a family escape a past that refuses to die?"

This was a short read or maybe I just zipped through it in one long night because there was no putting it down. The story begins on a summer day when "Little Debbie" is 5 years old, and leaves us when she is only 13. I wish there had been more, I would love to know what kind of woman she turned out to be. Anyway Debbie at the start of the story is 5 years old and looking forward to starting the first grade when summer ends. She loves books, and imagines herself in the bible stories she reads. She hates being left with "Fat Sarah" the glutinous babysitter who spends more time stuffing her face than caring for Debbie and her baby brother while her parents are working. They live in a small rented house too close to a dangerous road where people tend to drive like maniacs and throw beer bottles out the windows. Debbie is wise beyond her years and later in flashbacks we learn of the heartbreaking story of her ancestors. I don't want to give away too much so I will stop here. This was a well written story full of heartache and hope.

I received an advance copy for review

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9) by Darynda Jones

expected publication January 12, 2016
"In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way."

This book is a bit difficult for me to review. Not because I didn't enjoy it, but because I am coming into it totally blind. This book is 9th in a series and I have never read book 1 through 8.  Naturally it took me a little while to figure out that "Janey Doerr" was not a stranger to these other characters and the reason ''Cook" would call her Charley when she got upset.
Anyway, "Janey" has lost her memory, and has been taken under the wing of a variety of characters, some who are not among the living. Oh yes, Janey can see dead people! This was a really fun read for me. It is humorous, sexy, and spooky, and I loved the setting in "Sleepy Hollow" complete with headless horseman. I am sure fans of the series will enjoy this newest installment and I would recommend those who have not started at the beginning would grab book one, as I intend to do.

I received an advance copy for review

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Dream Beings by Aaron J. French


"Born with a mysterious gift he never wanted... a gift that could mean his death."

When Jack Evens's name appears in blood at the scene of a grotesque ritualistic murder, the private investigator is drawn into a conflict that extends beyond reality, into the realm of dreams...and nightmares.

A serial killer is after him, but this is no ordinary psychopath. This killer is controlled by mysterious creatures from another realm. If he hopes to survive, Jack must finally come to terms with his psychic ability, a gift that has haunted him since he was a child.

At stake are the women the killer has targeted, Jack's own life, and something much more...something of cosmic proportions."

This was a quick read, and while the premise was good and the description was promising, I just really couldn't get into much. While I did think the idea of a psychic private eye was a good one, the "dream beings" themselves made the story a little hard for me to follow and the too frequent mention of the serial killer's pimples seemed an unnecessary distraction. I would give it 2 and a half out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sage's Eyes by V.C. Andrews

Expected publication: January 26th 2016 by Pocket Books
"From V.C. Andrews, bestselling author of Flowers in the Attic (the first in a series of Lifetime movie events about the Dollanganger family), comes the tale of a young girl kept under the watchful eye of her adoptive parents, as if they fear who—or what—she’ll become…

Sixteen-year-old Sage is a lonely child. Her adoptive parents watch her obsessively, as if studying her for warning signs of…something. And maybe they’re right to—even she can’t make sense of the strange things she sees and hears. She possesses knowledge that other teenagers don’t, that her parents and teachers—no adult—could possibly have. So when Sage finally makes a friend who understands her alarming gift, he becomes her confidant, a precarious link to the truth about who she really is. For Sage and the alluring new boy at school share many things in common. Perhaps, they’ll learn, far too many things."

This was a quick read. It is the engrossing story of an adopted child who feels different to everyone else. Poor Sage wants so badly to fit in and have friends and be like other teens. Though not so badly that she can stop talking about things she should have no knowledge of. Sage has vivid memories of things that could not possibly have happened to her, at least not in this lifetime. She knows things about other people that she has no way of knowing. Every time she opens her mouth she seems to be a constant source of embarrassment to her parents who warn her repeatedly not to speak of these visions she has. She is barely allowed out of the house and always under interrogation by her parents over every little detail. They seem to be studying her and treat her  more like an exhibit or a lab rat than a daughter. She is never allowed to question her parents or know her relatives other than an uncle. They refuse to answer any questions about her birth mother. Sage begins to suspect that all is not what it seems with her adoptive parents and she is determined to discover the truth about them and about herself. The relationship between the parents seemed somewhat underdeveloped to me but I enjoyed this story and wonder what the future has in store for Sage. She is a very strong character and I doubt this will be the last we hear of her.
available for preorder at amazon

I received an advance copy for review

Thursday, November 12, 2015

All Is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella by Colleen Coble

"A romantic, Christmas wedding at her seaside hotel gives Delilah a chance to shine with her unique gifts. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say I do ?

As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friends at the grand hotel overlooking the ocean. While picking up still more twinkly lights and some last-minute groceries for the reception dinner, a huge truck runs her off the freezing, wet roads into the dark night. Her car stops just short of an enormous tree and the truck speeds off into the night. Delilah escapes with her life and has almost convinced herself the whole thing was an accident, but then she begins to receive threatening phone calls. With the wedding just hours away, she s distracted and anxious. Then Sheriff Tom Bourne stops by the inn and volunteers to help.

Tom has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he s determined to protect her. But he is pulled away by a bizarre Christmas stunt that has the neighborhood reeling, and Delilah is attacked again.

Will Delilah have to cancel the Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn? And will Tom s protection be enough to save Delilah from the shadowy figure looming in the background?"

Poor Delilah! A sweet lady with a tragic past, Delilah loves to take care of others and couldn't possibly have any enemies. Or could she? Someone seems to be out to get her.
This was a quick, fun, read. If you are looking for a bit of mystery and romance with your Christmas cheer this is the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy for review

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dark Shadows by Toni Vallan

"My name’s Ella Raimi.
Until last week, my life was pretty normal for a sixteen-year-old. Until I spent that awful night trapped in the janitor's closet in utter darkness. Until the dreams began — suffocating, panic-filled dreams. My best friend Kyla stays with me, but the dreams still continue. And I wake each morning with cuts & burns on my skin. I don’t recall inflicting them.

And then there is the blood on my hands and my sheets when I wake up.

I’m afraid of myself and what I've done.

And I'm beginning to be more afraid of Kyla. And what she will do."

Genre :Horror/Thriller

Ella has been bullied ever since she started a new high school. She is there on scholarship and made to feel unwelcome and unwanted and a "charity" case by the more privileged students who run wild and do as they please, knowing there will be no consequences brought against them by the ineffective principal. One day this bullying goes too far and Ella is left locked in a closet over night. After this incident she begins having nightmares and waking with injuries she didn't have when she went to sleep. Her only friend Kyla wants revenge on Ella's behalf but Ella is feeling helpless and hopeless and does not want to name her attackers. As Kyla begins acting more hostile and Ella's problems begin to escalate we learn the truth about this friendship and a tragic past that could not be escaped. I thoroughly enjoyed this taut psychological thriller.

I received an advance copy for review

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Whistling Women By Kelly Romo


"Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey.

Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present.

Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act."

As a fan of historical fiction I really fell in love with this book. This is the story of 2 sets of sisters. We learn through flashbacks to 1918 about the relationship between Wavey and her sister Addie, and the awful circumstances under which they became separated. In the "present day" of the book's setting in the 1930s We have the relationship between the two sisters Rumor and Mary who are Wavey's daughters, growing up under Wavey's roof, without their father. The author paints a vivid and poignant picture of life in the early 1900s and the hardships faced, especially by women and children in those days. The story was beautifully descriptive from the excitement of the World's Fair to the lack of appropriate care for orphaned children.  This is a haunting story of the love between sisters, and the love of a mother for her daughters, and what she is willing to sacrifice to keep them all safe.

I received an advance copy for review

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Journal of James Halldon (Diary of the Displaced #1) by Glynn James

The Journal of James Halldon (Diary of the Displaced, #1)

"There is a place where nightmares are real. It is a dark and terrifying place, hidden from the world we know by borders that only the most unfortunate of souls will ever cross.

James Halldon woke up in the dark, alone, without any food or water, without a clue where he was, and with no memory of where he came from.

It only got stranger.

James has somehow found his way to The Corridor, a midnight place that no human should ever see and the prison of a creature that has destroyed entire worlds. Somehow James has to learn to survive.

But he is not alone. The lost souls of others who have drifted into The Corridor, and died, also haunt this world, and they have been waiting a long time for someone to come along.

The Journal of James Halldon is a dark sci-fi novel that follows Halldon's struggle to survive whilst trying to understand the strange, dark, and terrifying world in which he is trapped.

If it's dark when you wake up, and you can hear growling, then close your eyes and maybe it will go away.
But maybe it won't"

The Journal of James Halldon by Glynn James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 I must say it was quite original I don't believe I have ever read anything quite like it before.
A man awakens in a strange place, isn't even sure if he is indoors or out, or how he came to be there. No food, no water, and strange creatures the likes of which have never been seen anywhere else. Very original and imaginative. I was pleased to learn there will be more to come, since this is the first book in a series.
I was given a complimentary copy of the book for review.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Word Game by Steena Holmes

The Word Game
For overprotective parent Alyson Ward, any time her daughter, Lyla, is out of sight is reason to panic. So it’s a big step for her when she lets Lyla attend a sleepover at her cousin’s house. Comforted by the knowledge that her sister, Tricia, is the chaperone, Alyson does the one thing she never thought possible: she lets go and trusts that her daughter will be safe.

But Alyson’s sense of peace is short lived. When Lyla comes home the next morning, she reveals something that could tear apart not only their family but also the entire community. Now, Alyson and Tricia must confront their painful shared past as they come together to help a little girl who they fear might be harboring terrible secrets similar to their own. Will the sisters be strong enough to face their demons in order to protect the child, even if it means telling their most private truths?

The Word Game by Steena Holmes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hard, sad look at dysfunctional families, guilt, and secrets long buried finally coming to light. The subject is harsh but it is told in a non exploitative manner. I felt a strong connection to the character Alyson, and though she was described as a helicopter parent she certainly had her reasons for being so protective of her daughter. This was a thought provoking story of the courage it takes to come forward even when you think nobody may believe you.

I received an advance copy for review
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Cold White Fear by R.J. Harlick

"Stranded by a blizzard at her isolated cabin, Meg Harris finds herself in a desperate and terrifying situation when two strangers arrive.

As night approaches, a major blizzard has cut off road access to Meg Harris’s isolated wilderness home, Three Deer Point. She is alone with her young friend Adjidamo, preparing for Christmas, when a knock suddenly echoes through the house. She finds two strange men at her front door, one of them bleeding. Against her better judgment, she lets them in.

At that moment, the power goes out, plunging the group into total darkness and severing all phone links to the outside world. So begin a terrifying twenty-four hours that have Meg summoning up a courage she didn’t know she had to get herself and Adjidamo out alive"

I really expected to like this book a lot more than I did. From the description it sounded very appealing. I do love a good trapped in a blizzard story. I was not able to muster up much interest in these characters. The dialogue felt unnatural to me and one character in particular whose name escapes me already since he was mostly referred to as "The Serbian" truly grated on my nerves with his stereotypical broken English. The main character's repeated thwarted attempts at escape began to bore me and I just couldn't make myself care much one way or the other whether any of them lived or died. I did start out at least rooting for the dog to live but after too many "little brown sausages" on the floor I can't say I cared too much for her either. I would give it 2 and a half stars.

I received an advance copy for review

A Coin For Charon by Dallas Mullican

"Gabriel isn’t murdering anyone―he’s saving them.

The media has dubbed him the Seraphim Killer. He believes the gods have charged him to release the chosen, those for whom life has become an unbearable torment. Gabriel feels their suffering—his hands burn, his skull thunders, his stomach clenches. Once they are free, he places coins on their eyes to pay Charon for passage into paradise.

Detective Marlowe Gentry has spent the past two years on the edge. The last serial killer he hunted murdered his wife before his eyes and left his young daughter a mute shell. Whenever she looks at him, her dead eyes push him farther into a downward spiral of pain and regret. He sees the Seraphim as an opportunity for revenge, a chance to forgive himself―or die trying.

Gabriel performs the gods’ work with increasing confidence, freeing the chosen from their misery. One day, the gods withdraw the blessing―a victim he was certain yearned for release still holds the spark of life. Stunned, he retreats into the night, questioning why the gods have abandoned a loyal servant. Without his calling, Gabriel is insignificant to the world around him.

He will do anything to keep that from happening."

I had some mixed feelings when starting this book and was not really sure what to expect. The cover looks like a horror, the description sounds like a police story and in all honesty I tend to shy away from detective stories and the like. However there is just so much going on in these pages that before I realized it I was so totally immersed in these characters that I could not put it down. There is more to this story than a cop searching for a killer. This is also the story of the killer himself Gabriel who believes he is helping people, Of Max living day to day in fear and pain and of wanting your life to have meant something when you reach the end. Then there is Becca who counsels others on how to get their lives in order though she seems to have given up on fixing her own. The author is able to weave all these stories into one. There is just so much going on here and yet it all fits together. A very enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tales From The Graveyard The Complete Collection By Susan Shultz

Tales from the Graveyard: The Complete Collection
"In a pleasant little New England town, there is a house on a hill. Its garden is decorated with gravestones.
The house has stood for ages now, and occupants have come and gone.
But those who died there never leave.
They just watch…and wait.
Susan Shultz's haunting Tales From the Graveyard series is now available in one complete digital collection.
Read Tales From the Graveyard: The Complete Collection today, and you'll see.
Our ghosts never leave us."

Tales from the Graveyard: The Complete Collection by Susan Shultz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This anthology contains 4 short stories that all center around the same house at different points in time.
The first story "The Blacksmith" Has little to do with the actual Blacksmith and more to do with a serial killer. It was ok but nothing spectacular. If rated separately I would give it 3 and a half stars.

The second "Jessie" about an unloved, neglected, and abused wife who basically lives like a slave and eventually gets her revenge was much more substantial. It was sad and spooky, creepy and dark, and perfect in every way. 5 stars

"Dirt" Is the story of a reporter/journalist who becomes obsessed with the killer from the first story. I would give it 3 stars.

Last but not least is "Sam" the story of a man and his pregnant wife who move into the murderer's house. 5 stars.

All in all this was an enjoyable read.

I received an advance copy for review

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