Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Blue into the Rip by Kev Heritage

Blue Into The RipBlue Into The Rip by Kev Heritage

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blue is an English boy living in a near future Earth where Global Warming has become the beast everyone must learn to survive with. He is very intelligent and awkward and nicknamed for his distinctive blue eyes that stand out against his dark complexion. His adventure begins when he rescues a family from a near tragic car crash using strength superhuman strength he didn't realize he had. This sets off a chain of events in which he loses his beloved little sister Annie, and is separated from his family by falling through an actual RIP IN TIME!

Welcome to a tidy young adult sci-fi tale loaded with likable characters, high flying adventure, plot twists, intrigue, and the bumpy road young folk go through as they meet each other and learn to build teams and friendships despite class, and personality differences.

The rip in time Blue falls through is actually an intentional portal opened by the military hundreds of years in the future as a way of handpicking brilliant young people from the past and enrolling them in their space academy to be future space heroes. Blue plays along with this situation in hopes of finding a way to make it back home to his beloved little sister and his parents.

In the meantime, he is awed by a strange new Earth where the Amazon rain-forest is a desert and classmates can come from space outposts as far away as the furthest planets in the solar system. Boys and girls are on equal footing, and he has a fine time trying to manage fitting in, walking through folds in space, and dealing with budding hormones.

This novel is very well written and never sags at any point. I read it in one sitting eager to see how every twist and turn would manifest between Blue and his classmates, (some of them treacherous), and with his harsh teachers at the academy. The dangers Blue has to witness are very real and sometimes fatal, with sometimes harsh lessons for the reader about trust and honesty.

All of the action one would want from a space tale is included here: death defying piloting stunts, the dangers of losing one's space suit, mutated vicious creatures, skulking assassins, and hand to hand combat, and of course a fair dose of time travel.

I heartily recommend this book for a fun one-sitting read, or for any young boy or girl who loves sci-fi tales!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Product Review: Meaningful Beauty Creme de Serum

I received the Creme de Serum tube from this product line for testing purposes from Influenster.com. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see some good results after just a week's use, and that's just from the creme de serum! It makes me wonder how awesome the entire product line would be.

I use the creme in the morning after washing my face and it absorbs quickly and leaves my skin smooth and soft, just as promised. There is no greasy or oily after effects and it even seems to me that there's less oil produced throughout the day. I don't even feel the need to use any other product during the day, I like smoothing on the creme and going foundation/makeup free and feel quite confident that my skin has a nice glow to it. Woohoo!

This is a product I would definitely go out and buy!

For more information about the creme, go here: http://www.meaningfulbeauty.com/products/products,default,pg.html

For purchasing information, go here: http://www.meaningfulbeauty.com/select-a-system/order,default,pg.html

Many thanks again to Influenster for providing me with the sample.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

The Tenderness of WolvesThe Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mrs. Ross, a stifled housewife living in the wild of 1867 Canada, stumbles upon the murder of a Quebecois fur trapper and it sets a chain of events that leads to her only son being named a suspect and a manhunt organized for him. Not one to sit back and let this happen in front of her, she picks up and follows another trapper and his dogs, hoping to find her son before the hunters do.

Mrs. Ross is not the only character in this novel, there are so many story-lines and points of view that it becomes like a kaleidoscope around the main event. I found the spinning and swooping into the worlds of so many different characters quite dizzying to the point where I would lose track of who was who initially until I finally settled into the novel. The historical details of the novel were so well researched and applied that it added a rich realism to the worlds of each character. It made for a work of fiction that was indeed quite a spectacle to behold.

I'm a bit torn on this novel. I found the characters fascinating, and being a history geek I loved all the details about life on the frontier, fur trapping, living in a fort, and who can resist a good murder mystery with a dose of family angst? And yet, I did not find myself swept off my feet by the story the way I was hoping to be. I felt this tense sort of edge of my seat eagerness as I read the book in two sittings, but in the end it just didn't happen for me.

At the end of everything, however, I was real pleased with the character of Mrs. Ross and found the glimpses in her backstory so interesting that I was hoping there would be more of it. I also enjoyed the characters William Parker and Donald Moody. They were well written but their stories ultimately feel so unsatisfying in their resolution that one almost wonders why so much care was taken to introduce us to them at all.

There is so much spectacle, in the historical detail and the meticulous description of the landscape, that there are parts in the novel where the murder mystery itself really doesn't seem to matter. The ultimate conclusion of the mystery does not fall with the stunning stroke the author was hoping for but more like just another revelation along the trail.

I recommend this book because it is well written and perhaps my own coolness towards the story won't be mirrored in the heart of another reader. I just wish that I could have LOVED it like I wanted to.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: I Chose to Die by Ksenia Anske

I Chose to Die (Siren Suicides #1)I Chose to Die by Ksenia Anske

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The opening paragraphs of Ksenia Anske's novel jump right into the action. Abused, fragile, waif-like teenager Ailen Bright has decided to commit suicide by drowning herself in the bathtub. Her own nerves, and her father's rage stop her in the act but do not kill the desire.

We learn everything we need to know about Ailen in the beginning chapter of the novel, how she's buckled under years of degrading abuse from her strict and cruel father, how she has only one real friend, and how she has a rich fantasy life in which she talks to the beautiful Siren figurines carved into the bathtub, and ultimately, how she is determined that her life must end by her own hand.

It's pretty heavy stuff for the casual reader to initially take in, but the beauty of this wildly imaginative and earnestly written novel is, that the swift pace of it, the cinematic eye for details, and the well written main character keep you hooked and moving along. There really is no scene that bogs down as character details and memories are tied into the scenes that move forward, so the reader is treated to a fully fleshed story that is a definite "read in one sitting" shoe-in.

I really liked the novelty of having the "Siren" as the mythical creature of choice in this novel, which is a refreshing change from the vampire/werewolf/zombie trend that populates the market right now. Ksenia's sirens are true to their legend, they are beautiful yet cruel creatures who use their exquisite singing voices and feminine charms to lure unsuspecting humans to their death. They suck the soul straight from the mouth of a human, and even admit to loving the taste of babies!

The most controversial aspect of this novel would be Ailen's suicidal determination and the "reward" it initially brings her. What I liked, however, was that the consequences of Ailen's actions, and her ultimate will to live and love become the overwhelming force of her character. Her relationship with her father is fleshed out with painful honesty, and any young girl or woman who has suffered such a domestic situation I think will understand the vicious cycle of fear and hate of, yet ever present desperation to be loved by the very man who is abusing them.

The third act of the novel is a roller coaster of action scenes worthy of any summer blockbuster, with showdowns between humans and sirens and siren hunters in public venues, and motorcycle chases, and entanglements with the police. It definitely is not boring and it does not disappoint!

Some of the twists and turns within the novel I found a tad bit predictable, and the continuous action could possibly be toned down a bit to make way for a more literary type story, but then again that is probably just a personal quirk and in no way takes away from the enjoyable read that this is. At any rate, this is one book I must say I really, really hope someday gets a Hollywood treatment.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: The Data Chase

The Data ChaseThe Data Chase by Louis Bruno

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When most of us hook into a video game to play we're usually chomping at the bit to lose ourselves into some fantasy world, or battlefield, or zombie apocalypse and we never really put much thought into the world of the people who have actually created these games. Naturally, if we actually did stop and think, we'd probably imagine the stereotype of holed up think-tank nerds who have never seen the light of die as they sit in front of computers writing code.

Well, in Louis Bruno's latest novel, "The Data Chase", the world of video game creation is far more than that. In fact, it's a complex world that crosses the line into espionage and terrorism, double agents, human experimentation, and weapon's manufacturing.

At the center of the story is Dean Kane, a man who has rose from the bottom of the video game business to become top in his field. His road to the top has not been an easy one, suffering heartbreak, betrayal, and the loss of his son through his wife's devastatingly disastrous pregnancy. Still, he has survived, and made new friend's and allies to face the villain across the table: Vladimir Maynard.

Maynard is a ruthless, brilliant man who hasn't met a terrorist he doesn't like, or a super weapon he wouldn't want to use. His legion of evil gamers and minions is spreading over the world like a plague, infiltrating Dean's ranks and finally forcing Dean to leave behind his luxury apartment and lonely life to fight him in a chase that runs across the world, to be met with painful ghosts from the past.

As in Bruno's previous novels, his vivid imagination and great eye for a good action sequence takes center stage. The novel rarely slows down as the characters are kept breathless, sweating, running, and fighting to the next chapter in their fates. Double agents and double crosses, last minute plot twists, and sudden violence always threaten to hop on the reader without warning and it certainly kept me on my toes.

Three of the major characters are women, all of them in love with Dean at different stages of his life, and all of them feisty, intelligent and with enough fight in them to take care of themselves in a fight. The romance elements embedded in the story are written with all the lust and passion to match with the action/thriller part. Sex scenes are graphic, hearts are broken, and EVERYONE busts down into tears, especially Dean who really is suffering from a wealth of beautiful women chasing after him.

At times the romance parts did bog me down a bit, as I felt rather eager to go chasing after the villains and was impatient to get to the bottom of all the double crossing and action. To Bruno's credit, though, he did put serious attention to the emotional identities of all the women involved, and did not cast them as brainless sex kittens as might be done in a James Bond film, and the storyline involving the descent of Dean's ex-wife into schizophrenia is particularly sad.

All in all, I heartily recommend this book if you're looking for a great afternoon spent with an action/thriller, the sort you'd see on a summer movie screen.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Day I Snapped and Slaughtered My E-Books....

I have too many .99 cent/free ebooks on my kindle and I've finally snapped. I used to be able to read a book cover to cover no matter how bad it was but I've read so many poor quality stories in a row that I finally put a book down 50% through (it was a horrible novel about the Romanovs, Rasputin-kink and some sort of weird fetish for ambergris) and I DELETED it without finishing it. CAN OPEN. WORMS EVERYWHERE <---is that a "Friends" quote? Whatevs, I digress.

The point is I can't seem to finish a book anymore! I'm stopping and deleting at the 50, 30, and 20% mark, I've GONE MAD! I deleted 38 books in the past day and a half and it feels AMAZING! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I'm still feeling fussy for a seriously good novel or something though. Most of the deleted books were Part 1's in all sorts of promised trilogies and I've had it up to HERE with the idea of any sort of trilogy at this point ~_~.

On a happy note though, I did start a book today and am quite delighted to find it not only well written, but historically accurate, and with interesting characters and dialogue. Go figure it's a WWII spy/French Resistance/Parisian/Nazi novel with a Spanish girl pretending she's French pretending she's a prostitute so she can pretend to seduce a Nazi Colonel to find out the whereabouts of her missing father, only to get into a situation where she actually BECOMES a prostitute for another Nazi who might not be who he seems either.

YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THAT STUFF UP FOLKS.... or maybe you can, seeing as the book IS fiction soooo..... yeah, whatever, THE POINT IS, it's good and you can't really go wrong with Nazi French Resistance Paris plots even if you don't have Nazi kink which I don't have but that's the sort of post for another day (my thoughts on Nazi kink and the people kinked out on it ugh)... or something.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cover Reveal: Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu

Heavens to Betsey check out this darling for a cover reveal!

Mercedes M. Yardley's very first novella, most spectacularly titled "Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu", is due to be released by Ragnarok Publications.

Described as such:

"Her mama always said she was special.

His daddy called him a demon.

But even monsters can fall in love.

Montessa Tovar is walking home alone when she is abducted by Lu, a serial killer with unusual talents and a grudge against the world. But in time, the victim becomes the executioner as Apocalyptic Montessa and her doomed lover Nuclear Lulu crisscross the country in a bloody firestorm of revenge."

Sounds exciting to me! :D

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So She Takes a Deep Breath.... and destroys herself...

Of course I am being melodramatic to the extreme but I am a bit terrified by what I've done. It can't be undone which results in a big That's That.

I am freakishly behind on my book reviews, and I am behind on two raw manuscript reviews that I need to read but I guess the tardiness is good because it means I've been working on projects. The first project that is complete and now for sale on Amazon is my second chapbook of poems, "The Yellow Staircase".

As a project this terrifies me because the poems contained within are vicious, depraved, heartbroken, lustful, foul-mouthed,and straight up pornographic (some of them are at least.) It is a collection I am uncomfortable with releasing, especially imagining the idea of someone I know face to face reading it and thinking they can glean things about me which they'd not known. Some of the poems are reprints from other magazines, one of them even won an award, but the majority of the volume is untested on readers, and never put through an editor.

I really felt I had to put this together and get it done however. It marks my first foray into self publishing, and in a way is a tester for how to work the process. It also marks the purging of a huge weight that has been sitting in my heart for the better part of a year. It was a horrible mix of emotions that had to leave me in some way or other and pulling them out and putting them on paper (no matter how ugly they are) has really helped me along.

I am selling the chapbook for a few dollars less than a chapbook goes for, $6.00 for 33 poems, and 56 pages. There is a fragile storyline threading the poems, the setting is a shattering relationship as seen through the eyes of a disillusioned and angry girl who has entrusted her confidence to a fraud of a fortune teller who has stolen her words and sold them to the world.

If you are feeling adventurous, curious, or just plain voyeuristic, please do go ahead and buy the volume of poems! I will be eternally grateful. If you buy "The Yellow Staircase" and enjoy it, I would very much welcome a review posted to Amazon to help get the word out. I am advertising the chapbook only here and on Twitter, so I can use all the help I can get!

USA Buy Link: The Yellow Staircase
UK Buy Link: The Yellow Staircase
Createspace Buy Link: The Yellow Staircase

Love and Hugs to All of You! xxx

Friday, May 17, 2013

Influenster VoxBox: Sugar and Spice

I received a voxbox from Influenster.com about a month ago, it was called the Sugar and Spice voxbox and as I love all things sugar and spice I was quite pleased. VIDEO PROOF

There were quite a few goodies in it as can be seen in the video and this voxbox I found quite special as I really ENJOYED most of them! The Dickinson's Witch Hazel facial towelettes are a joy and I now make sure I always have a box of them in the house and one or two in my purse. They're all natural and gentle, and as my skin is super sensitive (I really need to live in a porcelain bubble guys !!!!) the fact that I did not once break out in an irritation or rash says A TON. I heartily recommend them. :)

The Belvita Breakfast Biscuits were yummy and I ate them almost immediately out of the box. They have a snappy texture similar to a ginger snap and they actually did satisfy my hunger at that point and stayed me over for a bit. They are definitely a good snack to have on hand to stave off hunger and get some lasting energy. They are not gluten free unfortunately so I hope to see them come out with a gluten free variety soon.

The Nectresse sweetener isn't bad. I'm not entirely sure how "natural" it is but it didn't give me crippling migraines like some artificial sweeteners do so that's a plus. I quite like it sprinkled on my porridge in the morning.

As for the Colgate Optic White program. The toothbrush and mouthwash are my favorites of it. The mouthwash doesn't sting and the toothbrush really does leave me feeling squeaky clean. The toothpaste, however, is a bit abrasive on my sensitive mouth so I ended up switching back to my normal toothpaste brand.

The Vaseline Spray and Go moisturizer was a disaster for me. I'm sure it's quite nice for others, and indeed it did absorb, dry, and moisturize in a flash just as promised, BUT it did give me rashes and irritate my senses. So it's not a product for me.

All in all, I was quite happy with this voxbox and even found some products I would like to continue using! :)

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chaos: The Disintegrating Bloodline by Louis Bruno

This novel is the sequel installment to "The Disintegrating Bloodline" in which we were introduced to young A.J. Cattiano and his crumbling world as he becomes indoctrinated into the world of the Mafia while still in high school. The compelling tale takes us along with A.J. as he is torn between the straight and narrow world of his Catholic father, and the brutal, murderous path of money and blood presented to him by Mafia prince, Chris Mangini.

"Chaos: The Disintegrating Bloodline" picks up weeks after the previous novel, and finds A.J. knee deep in blood, a youth fighting a brutal firefight in a cornfield alongside his mentor, Chris Mangini. The violence is yet again unromantic and rather rabid in its ferocity. The action scenes are nicely written at a heart stopping pace and with no mercy spared for the weak.

We are introduced to a deeper view of Chris Mangini's world as he begins to suspect that someone within his crew of "soldiers" is a traitor, and he wonders at a possible blood connection to the young A.J. I found myself a little impatient to get back to A.J's storyline as I'd become so involved with his story in the previous novel.

When the novel does take us back into A.J.'s world it takes off beautifully. Now that A.J.'s status as heir apparent to Chris's empire is secure, and his loyalties to his mentor set, the story takes us a step further into his initiation to manhood. Nothing is easier for him. Questions about his true bloodline, his future with Chris, and his relationship to his first love, arise. Personal tragedy befalls him from two sides, and he is left shaking and seemingly alone to play the most deadly game of hide-and-seek ever against a would be usurper to Chris Mangini's throne.

This novel for me got better and better as it hurtles to a very disturbing, and shocking finale when a high-school becomes a slaughterhouse rather than a place of learning.

I quite enjoyed this read and find myself increasingly absorbed with these characters and the world presented in these novels. The story feels very cinematic in scope, and I think a very satisfying read for anyone who enjoys a good action tale with elements of operatic tragedy.

I give four of five stars to this entertaining read.

This book is available on kindle for 2.99: Chaos: The Disintegrating Bloodline