Friday, January 31, 2014

Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer by Demelza Carlton, A Book Review

Intrigue, suspense and a gut wrenching story that you can't put down.  It's a straight forward story written so that you feel it all, every inch of the way, and still left wondering what really happened.

Caitlin escaped from her captors, or did she?  She had help from someone named Chris or so it seemed.   But then Nathan just happened to be there to find her, or wasn't it a coincidence?  Who did this to her?  Why?  How did they pick her, was it random or is there a much bigger picture?  These are questions that flutter your thoughts as you turn page after page hoping to find all the answers.  You analyze all the details deciding to be the super sleuth and figure it all out before you get to the end, but good luck with that.

Demelza Carlton has a gift when she writes; the gift of weaving a story of intrigue while setting a stage that appears to be straightforward, yet is anything but.  She creates characters that you root for, care for, and yet aren't sure of.  You wonder if you should believe what they are saying, or realize they mean different from what you understood.  She keeps you on your toes and rooted to the story, making it impossible to do anything but keep turning the pages.  She invites you into the story and then anchors you with your soul, wrapping the words around every fiber of your being making you not only unable, but unwilling to put it down, even after the last page.

Somewhere during the tale you think you have it all figured out, but when you get to the end, you're lucky if you did.  That's all I can say because I didn't quite hit the mark.  But wait, she ends it with a blast of question marks searing your brain with only a few simple words.  And now you have to know more.  Now you realize there is much, much more to this story, and you just have to know what it is.  Even though you still had questions about some things, the last page actually cranked the engine to warp speed of wanting the answers.

The characters are developed with such depth, that you realize this book has really only scratched the surface, drawing you to start the search for book two.  Actually, Demelza shouldn't be allowed to publish a series without all of them being ready for sale.  Simple as that.  It should be against the law.

I think it's quite obvious I really liked this story, and loved the writing ability even more.  It was wonderful, superb and a must read.  Every one she writes I'm sure is great.  I know I will be finding that out as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering by C.S. Johnson, A Book Review

The story takes you to another place, another time and even another dimension, yet you never leave the same town, people and normal day events.

I have to admit, the story has you wondering at times what exactly the overall summation of the events that are happening really means.  You can follow it easy enough, but you can't quite piece it all together until near the end.  Then, as I am sure the author intended, you get the picture, well at least you think you do.  To a degree, there are purposely placed suggestions that you need, at least I did, answers to which I am sure will be addressed in a sequel.  And those suggestions are revealing in more ways than one which actually keeps you guessing if your conclusions are correct.

The characters are normal teenagers, the lead being extremely self centered and narcissistic, but that truly isn't farfetched in real life.  They have regular activities, social interactions and concerns (maybe dramas would be a better word, considering), but what they seem to ignore mostly because they don't want to deal with an issue that doesn't benefit them, as usual, are little and sometimes even big differences from the norm.  This actually keeps you rooted to the age of these kids though, not expecting them to act like adults, or should I say mature adults.

The settings that change the norm are creative and interesting from the 'unknown invading the quiet small town' view.  What actually happened though was not completely revealed.  Of course it was stated what happened, but it's what occurred afterwards that clued you in to the fact that the simplistic answer was not the complete one.  And then other clues were dropped throughout the story that kept you wondering what was really going on, or better said, what the big picture of the story is.  Hence the need for a sequel, or the fans will riot.

Overall I enjoyed the story, and even liked the self-centered, narcissistic, good looking, lead character Hamilton.  You understood his desire to find his way, discover who he is, and develop who he will be.  You could even see his behavior toward his parents as being typical for many teens, not the ideal, but it made him real as a person; a likeable person even.

This story will be enjoyed by its target audience without a doubt.  It speaks their language, is creative, entertaining, and fun.  The teens are portrayed as real as you were at that age, and the story is not one you've read a million times.  I enjoyed it, and now have to read the sequel so I can satisfy my unanswered questions.  Teens and others will enjoy it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Shadowland: A Tale From The Dark Ages by C.M. Gray, A Book Review

This is a tale that wraps around your mind and keeps you embraced, engaged and entertained.  It's an historical fiction fantasy, written to school, but really completely entertain

I love stories of medieval times and fantasy so it had a lot going for it from the start.  The writing though was what took you into the era hook line and sinker.  You saw, felt and heard what the characters did from page 1 through to the end, and lived in that time.  It truly was wonderfully written.  I read some other reviews, and seriously thought the lower rated ones somehow missed the mark.  I found a few mistakes in this book, but I can find those and more in the biggest named authors out there.  The author's writing ability far outweighs a few mistakes.  Trust me.

If you know anything about King Uther, King Arthur, Merlyn and the Druids, then you will know some of the storyline.  How this author goes into the background of these people though is what keeps you fascinated and wondering throughout the pages.  I always wonder about characters and in this case historical figures and their lives beyond what I have read, such as their childhood, what shaped their personalities and so forth.  This story ventures into that realm of speculation, or maybe truths, you be the judge.

It's a great story to give to a younger audience, from 3rd through adult age as it is written with clean yet interesting verbage.  No sex or profanity, and even though there are wars fought and therefore violence, it is told with a gravity toward a 'compassionate humanity wins out', giving it an ending feel of the right morals are in place.  Morals that when the leaders lived by them, a great nation was born.  History tells us how great it was, and also what the falsehoods and falters were.  If only present leaders would understand history and see that it repeats itself, for the same reasons.

The format of the story is a character that lived it, telling the story of what actually happened.  It was a nice and comfortable rendering that made you feel connected, like years had not passed.  The fantasy elements were what allowed this possibility and for the story to continue, again connecting you with the past as if it happened just yesterday.  I consider it a great way to tell an historical tale that keeps the reader engaged and learning a little history at the same time.

Overall I loved the book.  I have since purchased it for others, and recommend all who are interested in the medieval times to enjoy this venture.  The ebook is extremely easy to buy, very affordabe and one you definitely won't put off reading after reading just the first page.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

3 Days in Paradise by Chameleon, A Book Review

A clever mystery that touches your heart.  A story the shows just how powerful love and life can be.
Danielle, Dani for short, seems like a normal woman trudging through the trials and tribulations of life.  The roller coaster of a ride can cause anyone to question what the reasons are and why things don't go the way you think they should.  Dani certainly does that.  She settles for something akin to what she wants instead of marching with determination and absolute resolve to garner the true essence of what she wants and needs.

Fate, destiny, whatever you wish to call it though, has different meanings and implications for different people.  What one sees as fate, others see as coincidence.  Dani, couldn't decide if what she experienced was fate, or even real.  Maybe it was a complete hallucination of what she wanted her life to be, or hoped it would be like.  After all she had been in an accident, maybe her mind was damaged or something.

The implications of this story are numerous.  What we know as facts cannot always be resolutely measured.  We know love, we feel it in more ways than one, but we can't weigh it or see it in an absolute way.  So it is with our emotions about death, birth, and our innumerous actions that we perform throughout our lives.  We all account for them in some way, with regret, sadness, satisfaction or even joy.  How Dani resolves her emotions about her life and actions she took touches your heart.

Chameleon wrote with passion, letting you feel Dani's pain, her love, her every emotion.  You road the car to her destiny and felt all the bumps, bruises and road blocks along the way.  For a short story, the depth of character and issues was much more than I ever expected.  The journey is touching, mysterious and heart wrenching throughout.

Some have said this is a religious story, I say it is an emotional story with the character deciding for her heart what is real, what is right, and what feels true to her very soul.  It was what Dani believed and felt that made the story what it was.  It was how well it was written that allowed us to not only be on the journey, but in it with our hearts and our soul.  You can read this in less than a day, and truly enjoy it.

Writing short stories that stir your soul, imagination and emotions is not that easy.  You don't have a whole book to develop your characters or expand the story to help with that.  So when an author can create a short story that does it all, you have an author well worth reading.  I can bet her other books are just as good if not better.  Well done Chameleon, it was a great story well written and a pleasure to read.

Dreama's Destiny (Strangers of Darkness) by Jennifer Hines and Mindy Bigham, A Book Review

Dreama's Destiny was a love fantasy fueled by heartfelt fire.  A fire so intense you'll feel it to your soul.
 Jennifer and Mindy scorched the pages of this book, and the story didn't disappoint either.  The storyline was fascinating, and captured your interest from the start.  Literally.  From the very first page.
The story and main character kept you stuck like superglue to each page, unable to put the book down.  I'm actually not sure if it was the storyline or the unabashed way it was told.  The writing draws you into the character's heart and insists you feel exactly as she does.  Is that fantasy at work?  I'm not sure but you want to fantasy to work for you before you finish the book.
I don't think the story was so intense you lost sight of the whole picture, but you certainly did have to take a breath at times.  Great loves stories that are written as this one is do that to you.  And they make you search for more; another story just like this one.  Thankfully Jennifer and Mindy are still writing.
I do have to admit though, and this is a spoiler of sorts.  When Zane turned out to be a vampire, I thought oh dung.  Vampires are not something I like to read about.  That has just never been my cup of comfort.  But how these authors wrote that into the story, not only surprised me, it melded it into a perfect okay for me.  Seriously, I would have dated this character.  That in itself is earth shattering.
Dreama had a huge mountain to climb in several aspects of her life, but she did it with a determination and grace that made you admire her.  She showed those who sought to harm her that she would not be defeated and in fact would be a force to be reckoned with.  You felt her fears, loved her courage, and wanted to help her shore up any intimidations she felt, or cheer on Zane to do just that.
Zane, her love and soul mate.  You felt the fire of their love, written so there would be no doubt; written so you could touch their souls and feel their hearts beating as one.  Zane did have his own demons, or shall we better put it, more than 100 years of being a single noncommittal vampire with an, I don't need anyone attitude, that he fought to deny was stripped by a single kiss from Dreama.  That loss felt like he lost perspective and control, putting him in the I will conquer attitude which just made it all the more fun.
The story is about the life of Dreama, but yet it is so much more.  Dream's destiny is just a breath as the story unfolds into the fantasy world of what that destiny really is; what all her abilities encompass and what they really mean.

Jennifer and Mindy immerse you into their lives letting you feel their emotions, live their pains, sorrows, love and hope.  When a story captures your emotions, it is one you remember.  Even if you don't enjoy it, you will still remember it.
This book is not only one you will enjoy, but I am very certain in will remember.  Some of it you will remember explicitly.  It's that moving, creative and exciting, and one you want more of.  I can't wait for the next one.  The ending leaves you hoping the second book will be out tomorrow.