THE CAUSE by Roderick Vincent – Book Review

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Title: THE CAUSE
Author: Roderick Vincent
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Release Date: November 28, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

* I received a free electronic copy of THE CAUSE from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

SYNOPSIS:

Set in the not too distant future, the year 2026, THE CAUSE takes it’s name from a group of freedom fighters formed in the 1700s.

“The year is 2022. America is on the verge of economic and social collapse. The government has made liberty its enemy. African American hacker Isse Corvus enters a black-ops training camp. He discovers the leaders are revolutionaries seeking to return the U.S. back to its Constitutional roots. He learns that if he doesn’t join The Cause and help them hack the NSA’s servers, it could mean his life.”

“A novel of juxtaposition, The Cause also tells the tale of NSA Director General Titus Montgomery. The President has told him that rule of law must be maintained at all costs. But something is wrong with the heartbeat of America. What will he do when Martial law meets revolution?”

REVIEW:

“When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare.” —Woodrow Wilson

This book may be fiction, but large parts of it are based on fact.

In THE CAUSE the author states: “For some years they have had the ability to turn on your phone’s GPS, video and audio devices, tap in to your Google glasses, and use CCTV cams within the vicinity. Now, they can wire into everyone else’s devices too within your vicinity. They don’t even need feet on the ground anymore. They are following you with micro-UAVs. They are as small as a blue jay, and to the unsuspecting eye, can look like them too.” The scary thing is that this technology already exists and the United States government is already using it.

When the planes flew into the World Trade Center the government quickly instituted new privacy laws, or should I say ‘lack -of-privacy’ laws. They have the power to listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages, check your email and monitor your bank accounts. While some of the information these tactics have garnered has undoubtedly been used to identify and nullify suspected terrorists, it is what they are doing with the rest of the information they gather that should worry the American public.

It is that fear of ‘Big Brother’ that resounds throughout THE CAUSE. this book is more than just an interesting story. It is a warning. It can also be viewed as a wake-up call to the general public. The thing that I found so striking about this book is that is horrifyingly realistic and terrifyingly relevant to today’s society. There are real groups operating in the US today that are startlingly similar to the Minutemen in THE CAUSE. At present these groups are seen as fringe groups and are sometimes even labelled as domestic terrorists.  This begs the question; are these people really terrorists or are they actually patriots? The government uses the public’s fear of terrorism to keep the public from complaining about the money spent to combat it. “Terrorism was the boogeyman, a propaganda tool to fund the programs.”

It is because of the issues I have listed and because of the questions this book poses that THE CAUSE is such a compelling read.

“The Cause” would make an excellent book club read. This book contains many discussion topics and offers readers the chance to open their eyes to what just might be happening in the world around them. It would also be interesting to discover which technologies being used in the Cause are fact and which are fiction. There are ready made Book Club discussion questions available on the author’s website.

Now, even though I say that many of the things in this book are happening already, readers must not forget that this book is FICTION.

Roderick Vincent’s writing is exquisite, with wording such as “The virtual world is a blaze that’s difficult to backburn, even if you wish you could.” The author has a gift for description and is able to paint pictures with words.

The author is able to evoke emotion in the reader. For example, when he writes “…my father’s whisper settled in my head, a voice rattling from years ago—Do right by your country and right by your family and life should be okay…” you can’t help but agree with the wisdom of the statement. And you can’t help but feel the love of the father for his son. You can almost picture the scene where he imparts this wisdom to his son, hoping that his child will grow into a good man.

THE CAUSE is the first book in a new series and I cannot wait to see how the story of Corvus and The Minutemen plays out. One thing I am sure of and that is that it will definitely be an interesting and thought-provoking read.

RATING

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason that I did not give it 5 stars was that I felt some of the scenes of the training at The Abbatoir could have been shortened. Also, there is an excessive amount of anti-government propaganda. At times it is just too much. It is like being hit over the head repeatedly with a club. The reader understands what the government is doing and that it is corrupt. This message comes through clearly without being repeated over and over again. However, even with the repetition this is still a great book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Photo and Author Information obtained from http://www.roderickvincent.com

Roderick Vincent is the author of the Minutemen series about a dystopian America. The first novel, titled The Cause, was published by Roundfire books on November, 28th 2014.

A good part of his childhood and young-adult years were spent living on the island of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

In 1988, he participated in a classical guitar masterclass with Christopher Parkening while majoring in music at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in Writer’s Digest, Ploughshares Blog, The Nervous Breakdown, Straylight, and Offshoots.

Beyond his fiction writing, he blogs about the future, and the changing times of the world we live in.

To learn more about this author visit him online at http://www.Roderick Vincent.com

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DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS by Karla Tipton – Book Review + Release Day is TODAY

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Title: DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS
Author: Karla Tipton
Length: 319 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: January 27,2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

* I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of ‘Dangerous Reflections’ in electronic form free from the author in exchange for an honest review.* I had the privilege of reading and reviewing her previous book ‘Rings of Passage’ previously. I am happy to report that I rated that book as 4 out of 5 stars, so when I was offered the chance to read her newest novel I jumped at the chance.

Link to buy this book: 

SYNOPSIS:

Martie loves her grandmother and her father so, when she finds that the two of them have both fallen into comas at the same time with no explanation she is desperate to try to help them. When a lawyer shows up and hands her an envelope from her grandmother Martie isn’t sure what to make of it. Inside the envelope she finds a witch’s wand, a necklace and a cryptic note from her grandmother. The note tells her that she must save Doctor Uncle.

The only person she can think of that might be able to help is her Professor. They have a history and she is reluctant to approach him for assistance. However, she sees no other option. He tells her that she is a wizard by birth and that he will only help her if she does something for him. She reluctantly agrees and he tells her that using her wand she is able to time travel through mirrors.

Not sure that she believes any of what she has been told, she decides to try. And, to her surprise it works. Martie ends up in 1910 England.

She needs to find the Philosophers Stone for the professor and she needs to save Doctor Uncle. But, first she has to figure out who he is and then determine how to save him and from what.

She is a woman on a mission. She knows she will face dangers and many other obstacles during her quest. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love.

REVIEW:

DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS is a substantial book. At 319 pages readers will receive terrific value for their money. Too many books are being released that are 200 pages or less and I often feel that the cost of those books is too high for what I get back in quantity. But, I do not just want quantity, I want quality and this book offers both. The one drawback of lengthy books is that there are often entire sections that seem to drag. This DOES NOT happen in DANGEROUS REFLECTIONS.

This book has it all. There is intrigue, there is magic, there is a battle between good and evil, there is romance, there is adventure and there is drama. What more could a reader ask for?

The writing is vivid and readers will be entranced with this story. The amount of detail that the author included makes the setting seem to come alive. For instance, I had no idea that the word ‘Okay’ was not yet part of a person’s everyday vocabulary in 1910. The author has also included details regarding the clothing of the time and the modes of transportation, as well as the differences in how people shopped for clothing during that era and how vastly different it is from the way we shop in modern society. These details and descriptions all lend this book an aura of authenticity.

if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading a book by Karla Tipton, you are in for a treat. This book is a gem and should be added to everyone’s MUST READ list.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Karla Tipton cut her literary teeth on gothic romances, Edgar Allan Poe and the vampire soap “Dark Shadows.” Long before there were sparkly vampires roaming through the cultural consciousness, she wrote about ordinary women time traveling through history and falling in love with powerful men of myth and magic. “Genrebending” came naturally. Despite publishing industry advice to find a genre and stick with it, Karla shamelessly mixed it up, blending history, paranormal, time travel, fantasy and mystery into her novels. Karla’s first novel, “Rings of Passage: A Time Travel Novel with Richard III,” is a historical fantasy set in medieval England, starring one of the most notorious villains in history as the romantic hero. “Dangerous Reflections: A Historical Fantasy Through Time” is her second novel. Karla is a member of Romance Writers of America, and her writing has earned top honors in several RWA chapter competitions. When not at her government job or writing novels, Karla plays guitar in a classic rock band.

To learn more about Karla Tipton visit her online at http://www.karlatipton.com

DISTRACTIONS by Bianca Dean – RELEASE DAY BLOG TOUR

Distractions Blitz BannerDistractions Cover

Distractions
by Bianca Dean
Distractions #1
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Purchase from Amazon

Synopsis:

Red has been trying to move on with her life. She really has. Her first real relationship ended in disaster and she can’t muster the energy to leave the house. Her brother Brenden and their best friend, Gavin, are sick of it. Guilting her into a night out, Red reluctantly agrees only to see her ex having the time of his life with another girl. Small town living would have it no other way. On the verge of a full blown panic attack, Gavin steps in to provide Red the distraction she needs to forget all about her ex. But as things quickly spiral out of control, will Red be able to keep her feelings for her best friend a secret in order to save their friendship?

*This book contains sexual situations and explicit language. This is Book 1 of the Distractions Series.

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About the Author

Bianca Dean

Bianca Dean, author of Quarterback Sneak and Wanna Play? is a native of New Jersey now living in NYC. Working on her PhD, Bianca loves good food, great movies and stimulating conversation. She’s a huge sports fan, and can be found, during the appropriate season, screaming at the television, beer in hand, trying to make people that can’t hear her run faster. In the off-season she can be spotted walking her dog or grabbing dinner with friends.

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BLOOD MONARCH by DRAKO – BLOG TOUR

About the Book:

A king’s duty never ends, even when his kingdom changes. Vladimir Dracula is one of the most famous and misunderstood figures in all of history. One thing is true, he is a king, and he is a vampire. He is the true king and enforcer of the vampire race. Feared by all of his own kind, he is perhaps the most lethal of the Black Dragon God’s mortal born servants. At the same time, he personifies sex. None can resist his charms, save one.

Vax King is the Chosen of Hecate, the Heir of Mjolnir, and has no plans on a mate. When he’s called on to enter Fae lands, he’s surprised to find the legendary vampire there. Looking to aid the beautiful Fae, Anaya, and her soul mate, Galen, Vax must enter a world of sex of violence with only Vlad to accompany him. Here, there can be no denial, no hesitation. Only truth….and dominance.

A war is brewing in the Fae lands, as the fallen angels rise to lay claim to the power of their goddess, Verlaine and topple their higher brethren. Older than most, Vlad must accustom himself to having a soul mate, and use all his legendary power to stop the forces of darkness long believed to be controlled by him. A new kingdom is the prize, and none knows better than the famed Dracula that the secret to power lies in the blood.

Book Links:

Goodreads I Amazon

Meet the Characters:



Vladimir Dracula



AKA: Vlad, Vlad the Impaler, Dracula

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 315 pounds

Hair: shoulder length, brown

Origin: A human follower of Jarel, the Black Dragon god. He was caught in the crossfire of Jarel’s disagreement with a demon god and the result changed him into one of the first vampires. 

More info: Contrary to popular belief, he has never sired another vampire. The entire race descends from the married couple, Vacker and Deidre. He has functioned as the final enforcer of the race since its creation. He is lethal in battle, being one of those fortunate enough to have had Jarel’s favor in mortal life first. He is also extremely sexual, with an appeal that draws others to him. He should not be confused with the prince who became known as Vlad the Impaler. He’s far older and earned the name in a far different manner. 



Vax



Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220 pounds

Hair: long, red

Origin: A mortal born witch, servant to Hecate, the patron goddess of witches. He was chosen by the goddess himself to wield the legendary hammer Mjolnir to expel Lucifer from the mortal world.

More info: Vax originally had a bit of a self-confidence issue. Because he’s mortal born, he is not used to the strength and power gifted to him by the goddess. He’s a quick learner, and in fact, had a bit of conflict with Vlad in his first story. He’s the first person to resist Vlad’s charm when the vampire is really pouring it on. 



Anaya



Height: 5’3”

Hair: long, red

Origin: An orphaned Fae, she comes into contact with Brandon during his mortal life and the two have a son, Theo, who eventually becomes one of the Three Fates. She is actually the daughter of the Fae queen and the very first angel, Apollyon.

More info: Anaya was captured due to her softer and trusting nature in the second book, and the reasons are complicated. Her ties to the father of her child as well as her soul mate, in addition to her parentage, made her a target. But she’s certainly come into her own and is no damsel in distress



Galen



Height: 6’6”

Weight: 258 pounds

Eyes: blue

Hair: long, black

Origin: A warrior angel created by an ancient goddess, he has only known war and duty and has not adjusted to the idea of having a soul mate.

More info: Galen has loyalty that cannot be questioned, even falling from grace to aid in the fall of Lucifer. He’s powerful and ruthless in battle, but unfamiliar with the concept of love. It’s taken him a long time to accept Anaya.

About the Author:

Drako resides in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, which you may notice is part of the setting of this series. When he isn’t writing, he’s busy editing for other authors, reviewing books, working, going to college, and spending time with his friends and two nieces. He blogs often and is very active on Facebook while trying to readjust to activity on twitter. His subject matter varies as he likes to talk about more than just his writing. You can check out his posts at his website, drakosden.weebly.com

Author Links:

Facebook I Twitter

BENTON (Book 2) by Jolie Du Pre – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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Title: BENTON: A Zombie Novel – Volume 2

Author: Jolie Du Pre

Genre: Zombie Fiction, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Release Date: 2014

Type of Book: Audiobook

Narrator: Angie Hickman

Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

Jennifer Benton is only a teenager and she lost her family to zombies. After leaving her home she met up with a group of survivors and they banded together to try to find a safe haven.

This is the second volume in the Benton series. The first novel ended with Jennifer battered and bruised from an attack by another survivor, but justice prevailed and she escaped his clutches and he ended up being bitten by a zombie. It was Jennifer herself who put him out of his misery.

During all this she falls in love with a fellow survivor named Mark and Mark feels the same way about her.

The plan is to head to Texas where Mark’s family has a ranch and Book 2 opens with them on their way.

However, things change during the zombie apocalypse and the group ends up saving another girl from zombies who then joins their group.

Unfortunately the new girl is gorgeous and seems to have her sights set on Mark. Jennifer (like any other teenage girl who sees someone showing interest in her man) is jealous. She knows that she has nothing to worry about, but she can’t help how she feels.

The group meets more people in this book and the group dynamics shift and evolve.

Review:

This book is well written and character driven. In this second installment we learn more about Jennifer and Mark and their relationship.

Even though it is the Zombie Apocalypse, men and women still have relationships and as usual, there are problems that arise.

The difference is that during the Zombie Apocalypse there are added pressures on couples and since every day could be their last, emotions tend to run high. As a result of this, sometimes decisions are made where the consequences are not taken as seriously as they should be.

BENTON ends with a cliffhanger that left me wishing that the third audiobook was already available.

I am a fan of both the author, Jolie Du Pre and the narrator, Angie Hickman.

For more information on Jolie Du Pre visit her website at http://www.joliedupre.com

For more information about Voice Actor Angie Hickman, visit http://angiehickmanvoiceactor.blogspot.com

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars only because I wish it was longer. If the book had been longer, it would have received 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase the audiobook online at http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Benton-Audiobook/B00RZZ14IU/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1422207036&sr=1-1

BEDTIME by Anthony Avina

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*I was given a free electronic copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

The problem I encounter when reviewing books is that I promise that I will be truthful when reviewing anyone’s work. The question sometimes arises (in my mind): how honest is too honest? I highly respect anyone who has put forth the immense effort it takes to write a book. Any book (good or bad) takes work, and often beginning authors are sensitive about their creations. Understandably so. However, I believe that to give a book a higher rating just to spare an author’s feelings is not only dishonest, but also does a disservice to that author.

‘Bedtime’ by Anthony Avila has the potential to be a terrific novella, however in it’s current incarnation it is a bit of a disaster. What ‘Bedtime’ really needs is an attentive proofreader and a diligent editor. The plot is interesting and the characters aren’t bad, but this novella is so full of grammatical and editorial errors that it is difficult to read. For example: ” and never shied away from eating whatever her hearts content.” The author probably meant to say, “… and never shied away from eating whatever she desired.” Or even ‘… she always ate to her heart’s content.” Of the two options I would have chosen to use: “… and never shied away from eating whatever she desired.” There are so many of these types of errors that I could list over fifty examples. A good editor and/or proof-reader would help the author catch these errors before the novella was released. In fact, thanks to the wonders of electronic books, it is not too late to make the changes necessary and to re-release this book.

On the first few pages the author mentions California four times. This is unnecessary, and I have never heard of “California sun drenched skin.” Is this different from sun drenched skin in Oregon? Or New York? Sun drenched skin is descriptive enough without adding the word ‘California’ in front if it.  Other examples of poor proof reading occur when incorrect words are used, such as “detour her” instead of “deter her” and “infuriation” (which I do not think is an actual word) instead of “frustration.” This happens again when Timothy “balls” his eyes out. It should be ‘bawl’ not ‘ball’.

Timothy and Nancy are a young, married couple with a four year old daughter named Felicity. They live in California and both have successful careers. When their previously calm four year old daughter starts waking up screaming in the middle of the night they are unsure what is happening. When Felicity tells her parents that there is a monster in her closet it causes different reactions for each parent. Timothy is inclined to disbelieve her claims while Nancy gives her the benefit of the doubt. Is there really something lurking in the little girl’s closet? Or are her nightmares just a figment of her imagination? You will need to read ‘Bedtime’ to find out.

The storyline sounds promising and the plot isn’t bad. It’s just too bad that I was unable to really enjoy it due to poor editing. This could have been a 3.5 or even 4 star story, but with all the errors I cannot rate it higher than 2 out of 5 stars.

FLORENCE AND ME by Elaine Bertolotti

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* I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This book is a relatively short travel memoir. I am an avid traveller myself and always keep a journal during my trips so I am always interested in reading memoirs of other people’s adventures. I suppose it is a way to learn about new places in a personal way. Travel websites are too dry to hold any appeal for me and it is through memoirs that I have added many places that I would like to visit onto my bucket list.

A good travel memoir is about experiences rather than places. “Florence and Me” is such a memoir. The author’s love of, and passion for Florence comes across on every page.

The cover of this book states “How the city of Florence befriended an American girl from Brooklyn.” The book delivers exactly that story in an interesting and very readable manner. The events in this book took place in the 1970’s and even though this was many years ago, the story still feels fresh.

I enjoyed the conversational style the author uses in this book. I actually laughed out loud when I read the following line: ” If I didn’t know a word, it didn’t daunt me, I invented. Pushare was my version of to push. I generally bought a frama for a painting, a spoona for my coffee, and put lots of cheesa on my spaghetti.”

The only complaint I have about this book is that there are a few minor proof-reading errors. An example of this is: ” Upstairs, lived a young Greek couple who was studying Architecture at the University.” Instead of “was” it should say “were”.

I rate this travel memoir as 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy reading about the adventures of others, you will enjoy “Florence and Me” by Elaine Bertolotti.

To find out more about this author, visit her online at http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Bertolotti/e/B00K8U75WI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at http://amiesbookreviews.WordPress.com

FANTASY OF FROST : The Tainted Accords Book One by Kelly St Clare

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FANTASY OF FROST
Book One of the Tainted Accords
By: Kelly St. Clare

* I received a free eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This is a captivating novel by a brilliant new writer. It both compelling and riveting and is destined for the bestseller list.

The characters are so detailed and so well developed that you can’t help but view them as real.

‘Fantasy of Frost’ is a pulse-pounding, heart-wrenching and emotionally fueled fantasy adventure that will keep you reading long into the night.

Olina is seventeen and is the Tatuma of the world of Osolis. She has worn a veil throughout her entire life and no-one has ever seen her face; and that includes her. There are no mirrors in the palace where she lives and her mother, the Tatum or ruler of Osolis has even gone aso far as to drain the only body of water near their home to prevent Olina from viewing her image. Olina has been threatened with imprisonment if she allows anyone to look at her without her veil.

Even though she is the heir to the throne, and will one day assume the role of Tatum, she has been abused mentally and physically at the orders of her own mother since she was a child.

Despite the beatings and the constant mental abuse, Olina is strong of mind and spirit. She has been secretly training and honing her fighting skills for years. She is planning for the future. “Mother will not destroy me, or her insane brother. I will survive this and when I rule, it will all be worth it.”

When a group of delegates arrive from Glacium, Olina is unaware that their visit will change her life forever.

The Glacium delegates are led by Prince Kedrick, the brother of Glacium’s current King.

Kedrick and Olina are as different as night and day in most ways, however, something draws them together.

Despite having never seen her face and despite their very different cultures, Kedrick and Olina fall in love, but their relationship must be kept a closely guarded secret. If anyone found out it could mean all-out war between the two worlds.

Olina finally agrees to reveal her face to Kedrick on the night that he is to return to Glacium. What happens that night will change not only the fates of Olina and Kedrick but also the fates of their two opposing worlds.

This is a tale filled with secrets, betrayal, lies and even more secrets. It is also a tale of love and compassion and the desire to make life better for the citizens of both Osolis and Glacium.

Revenge, assassination attempts, brutal murders, intrigues and deceptions abound in this compelling and heart-pounding tale.

The setting is unique and the details of the two worlds being them to life with a detail that is unlikely to be rivaled by any but the very best authors. The juxtaposition of the two world being almost exact opposites while being codependent on each other is an intriguing twist. There are just enough details to make these worlds come to life without being so detailed that the writing becomes mired down in descriptions.

Olina is a strong female lead and she shows a maturity beyond her years, while at the same time still occasionally displaying the immaturity expected of a sheltered eighteen year old. The author has done a magnificent job of maintaining that delicate balance.

There are a couple twists in the novel which surprised me. The reason behind Olina wearing the veil was not what I expected. I thought her eyes were going to yellow or some other shocking color and that there had been a prophecy written about someone being born with that specific eye color changing the world (for better or worse, I wasn’t sure). I was definitely wrong. The reason for the veil was very different from my guess.

I loved the ending to the book. It left me wishing that the second book was already available because I did not want to stop reading. It will be interesting to see what happens next in Olina’s life and we are left tantalized about exactly what negotiations are going on between King Jovan and the Tatum of Osolis.

‘The Tainted Accords’ series promises to be a new favorite. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. It is written with confidence and maturity. I am a fan of Kelly St. Clare and I am counting down the days until I can get my hands on FANTASY OF FLIGHT – the second book in The Tainted Accords series.

Favorite Quotes From This Book:

“When I finally fall into an exhausted sleep, I have wonderful dreams of a life without my mother.”

I heartily give this book 5 out of 5 stars! Lovers of many different genres will enjoy this book. It fits into the following categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Drama, Adventure, Romance, New Adult and even a few more.

About The Author:

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Kelly is originally from New Zealand and now lives in Australia with her soon-to-be husband.
Kelly’s goal is to write books that she would want to read.
To learn more about her, visit her website at http://www.kellystclare.com

WINTERSWIM by Ryan W. Bradley

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Winterswim by Ryan W. Bradley

*I received a free electronic copy of WINTERSWIM from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also agreed to take part in a group discussion about this book on Goodreads.*

Pastor Sheldon Long knows better than anyone that there is evil in the world. He is the sole Pastor for his church which is located in the small town of Wasilla, Alaska. Pastor Long is looked up to by the members of the community, who are especially grateful for his dedication to helping troubled teenagers to choose a better path in life. He is so committed to helping these troubled teens that he even conducts one-on-one counselling sessions with a select few.

Pastor Long was raised in seclusion by an abusive religious fanatic father and a quiet Tlingit Indian mother who spent years being beaten by her husband. His father’s obsession with religion shaped the young Sheldon’s view of the world, and not in a good way.

The Pastor is now a widower with a teenage son, to whom he pays very little attention.

As the son of a Pastor, Steven was expected to act a certain way. He had never been the kind of child who got into trouble. At seventeen he still harbored a secret crush on a local girl named Kate who was a few years older and had once been his babysitter. Kate left Wasilla and became an actress, but Steven still thought about her.

When the bodies of two local girls are found in nearby lakes, no one seems to think anything of it. Of course, the town’s residents mourn their passing and appeal to others to be careful around the water. But, Steven seems to think something else is going on.

By the time a third body is discovered, Steven has decided to take it upon himself to discover exactly what is happening in Wasilla. At the same time Kate returns for a visit to her hometown between movie shoots. When she runs into Steven he decides to let her in on his theory.

After that secrets are revealed, dark and horrific truths come to light and Steven is the middle of everything.

Just what is happening in Wasilla? Is there a serial killer on the loose? And if so, who is it? And can the killer be stopped before the death toll rises even higher?

WARNING – This book contains graphic sexual scenes, scenes with violence and instances of drug use. This book is recommended for mature readers only!

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. It is a horror/noir/psychological thriller that will give you nightmares.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT – Stop reading this review now if you do not want to read any spoilers about WINTERSWIM.

I found that this book was well written with short, concise sentences and in a no-nonsense style. The rape scenes definitely made me cringe, but I think if a reader dies not cringe while reading a rape scene then there is something wrong.

I think the author did a terrific job of illustrating how living through abuse as a child (both mental and physical) can twist and warp an individual’s Psyche. I think he also did a great job including the use of meth and the affects that drug can have on a person’s behavior. Of course, not all abused children become multiple-murderers and not everyone who uses meth will go out and rape and kill women, but using meth will damage your brain and can cause all kinds of behaviors that could be seen as “crazy.”

Until reading this book I had never heard of the Tlingit Indians and I was fascinated by the myth that was used in this book. I would be interested in learning more about this tribe in the future and possibly even reading a book that includes more aspects of their culture, their beliefs and their mythology.

By choosing a Pastor as the killer, I am sure the author will anger some readers. However, my preemptive response to negative comments on that topic is that obviously Pastor Sheldon Long is not real. Even if we are to take his character at face value, he never did have a true calling to religion. He used religion as a way to feed his own dark desires. In fact, even Pastor Long does not really see himself as a true man of God.’ He states “Say anything with enough confidence and people will fall for it hook, line, and sermon.” That shows that he was using the Church as a means to an end. His position as Pastor gave him unprecedented access to vulnerable young women. Unfortunately this tactic has been used by predators for many years. Predators seek out positions that give them authority over their potential victims in real life just like Sheldon Long does in this book. The one part of this plot line that I disliked was how quickly he was able to coerce the girls into having sex and smoking meth with him. Generally predators groom their victims over a long period of time. I had a hard time believing that all these teenage girls were so quick to jump into bed with him. This might have been believable if it was a single girl, but multiple young teenage girls, all living in the same small town, all willing to get high and have sex with an ‘old’ man, it defies belief (and probability). However, I do see that it was a necessary plot point.

I did love the descriptions of Wasilla and the surrounding area. The author’s descriptions of small-town Wasilla, Alaska comes across as so real because the author actually grew up in the town that this book is based on. I loved that Kate was always seen as a ‘city girl’ despite being raised in Wasilla due to the fact that she did not like ATVing, fishing, skiing or hunting. This is typical of attitudes in remote locales. Locals cannot fathom why anyone wouldn’t love doing all those types of activities. This detail adds one more note of authenticity to the story.

In conclusion, this book is worth reading as long as you are not easily offended or easily shocked.

Favorite Quote From The Book: “He wondered if there was an ‘Autopsies For Dummies book.”

In conclusion, this book is worth reading.

To order, or for more information, visit http://winterswim-rwb.com/

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Author: Ryan W. Bradley

To learn more about this author visit http://ryanwbradley.com

THE CANYON by Simone Pond

Canyon by Simone Pond

THE CANYON (Voices From The Apocalypse Series) by Simone Pond

* This short story was provided to me free by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

‘The Canyon’ is a short story and is the first release in the Voices of the Apocalypse Series.

These stories tie in with Simone Pond’s “The New Agenda” dystopian fiction series. I have read all three books in this series and rated each of them as 5 out of 5 stars.

In ‘The Canyon’ Los Angeles is collapsing, the Repatterning has begun. Lilian is 15 years old and has lost her father, her brother and her sister. Her family now consists solely of her mother and herself.

Lillian’s mother is determined to keep her last remaining child alive. She will do anything to ensure Lillian’s survival and that includes eking out a living in the wilderness.

I an not usually a fan of short stories. I find that most authors are not able to engage the reader in such a short amount of time. But, Simone Pond has proven me wrong.

‘The Canyon’ is so well written that the reader is instantly sucked into that world.

Readers of ‘The New Agenda’ series will appreciate this back-story of Lilian’s early life. It explains how she came to keep the journals that are central to the main plot.

I rate THE CANYON as 5 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about the author and to view her other titles, visit www.simonepond.com