ARC Review: Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane

eBook: 280 Pages

Series: Code of Shadows #1

Publisher: Carolyn Crane

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He finds the girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares.

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super-sexy martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is superspy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

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Halloween Review: A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King, Stewart O’Nan

eBook: 32 Pages

Series: Short story standalone

Publisher: Scribner

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Dean Evers, an elderly widower, sits in front of the television with nothing better to do than waste his leftover evenings watching baseball. It’s Rays/Mariners, and David Price is breezing through the line-up. Suddenly, in a seat a few rows up beyond the batter, Evers sees the face of someone from decades past, someone who shouldn’t be at the ballgame, shouldn’t be on the planet. And so begins a parade of people from Evers’s past, all of them occupying that seat behind home plate. Until one day Dean Evers sees someone even eerier..

Yet another Stephen King short story and the last in the Halloween reads. This one was actually recommended to me by Sandra, more or less, and I’m glad I decided to read it.  Continue reading

Halloween Review: Throttle by Joe Hill, Stephen King

eBook: 47 Pages

Series: Short story standalone

Publisher: HarperCollins

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“Inspired by Richard Matheson’s classic “Duel,” “Throttle,” by Joe Hill and Stephen King, is a duel of a different kind, pitting a faceless trucker against a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in the simmering Nevada desert. Their battle is fought out on twenty miles of the most lonely road in the country, a place where the only thing worse than not knowing what you’re up against, is slowing down . . .”

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Halloween Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Hardcover: 310 Pages

Series: Charley Davidson #1

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

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Halloween Review: Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box by Mira Grant

eBook: 21 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Orbit

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“A new short story from Mira Grant, the author of Feed.

Every week five friends get together to play a game– a game they call the Apocalypse Game. It’s a fun time with chips and beer and plotting the end of the world. Except this time, one of them is missing and the stakes are higher than ever before.”

If the name Mira Grant sounds familiar, then you’ve probably read her Newsflesh series and you know she’s an awesome writer, as I am now convinced she is. Continue reading

Book Review: The Sheol by Mia Hoddell

eBook: 120 Pages

Series: The Wanderer Trilogy #1

Publisher: Self-published

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Being a trained killer, Kala can handle most things the world throws at her. However, when she murders her fiance, Kala’s life is thrown into chaos. Forced to leave everything behind, she runs from city to city, in fear of her psychotic boss who is seeking her death. If that wasn’t enough, she also has to cope with the re-appearance of her dead fiance who is struggling to keep a hold on his sanity as he strives for revenge.”

That blurb sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I thought so. I’m sad to say that this book disappointed me, though. Continue reading

Book Review: The Prophet by Amanda Stevens

Paperback: 352 Pages

Series: Graveyard Queen #3

Publisher: Mira

Graveyard Queen #1

Graveyard Queen #2

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My name is Amelia Gray.

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I’ve broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.

In order to protect myself, I’ve vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I’m faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.”

Oh, Stevens, why do you do this to me? Have I not been a huge fan of your writing? Have I not declared you one of my favorite UF writers? What did I do to deserve this? *sigh* Continue reading

Book Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

Paperback: 376

Series: Graveyard Queen #2

Publisher: Mira

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) Review

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Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town….

My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I’ve been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I’m coming to think I have another purpose here.

Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I’ve discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

In need of a change of scenery, and in serious need of a new project, Amelia accepts a job offer to restore a cemetery in Asher Falls. She welcomes the money and thinks it will be an easy job. But that’s not the case, as dark  forces and secrets are revealed to be at the center of the small, secluded town. Continue reading

Book Review: Snow Escape by Roberta Goodman

ebook: 241 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Write Words, Inc.

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Set against the backdrop of a historic snowstorm, Snow Escape is the story of one woman’s innocent foray into the world of online dating turned deadly.

Allegra Maxwell is a 30-year old, single school teacher looking for love. Having chosen to use the Internet to meet the opposite sex, she encounters an articulate, prospective beau on the night the biggest blizzard in history is blanketing the Big Apple. Their pleasant conversation soon turns sinister when she discovers that “Charles” has been stalking her for weeks and claims he lives in her building. With threats of destroying her little by little are made, Allegra must stay one step ahead of the mind games. Turning to neighbors for help, tragic consequences ensue. When her sanity is questioned, because the online evidence her stalker exists disappears, Allegra must prove he does exist and she isn’t losing her mind. When a power outage thrusts her into darkness, will she be able to overcome the helplessness she feels? Placed in a situation that’s spiraling totally out of her control, while trapped in her apartment building with no escape, will she survive until the authorities can reach her?

Snow Escape  is exactly the kind of novel I think would make a great thriller. Something like The Resident, if that movie were half decent.

Allegra, the main character, is a school teacher who lives in Brooklyn, NYC. Even when she was being whiny, I liked her. Because as annoying as her lamentations were, she’s was a very real, fleshed-out character. A lonely woman, innocent and a bit too naive for her own good, with insecurities and problems just like anyone else. And when push came to shove, she stopped complaining and started doing.  She didn’t roll over and die and I liked that. Continue reading

Book Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Paperback: 376 Pages

Series: Graveyard Queen #1

Publisher: Mira

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My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer–and to his other victims–lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.”

I want to say I loved this book, I do. Before picking it up, I read some glowing reviews, the blurb, and I was sure I was going to absolutely and positively love it from page one till the end. If I’m being honest with myself, I did like it very, very much, but the heroine left a lot to be desired, for me. Continue reading