Category Archives: Uncategorized
By Marguerite Ashton
A stripper/escort is murdered and Lily Blanchette is on the case. With a new partner, a new pregnancy, still dealing with the death of her husband, and an exasperating mother, Lily has her hands full. Add to that an involvement with the local mob, well, Lily will have to use all her skills to survive.
But there’s more to the story. Who has secrets that would be devastating or deadly if revealed? Well, pretty much everybody.
What a complex plot. The more I read, the more complex it seemed to become. Put a mystery in the middle of a soap opera.
Lily Blanchette: police detective, widow, pregnant, black (light skinned), black hair, brown eyes, father dead
Jeremiah Mills: police detective, black, 5’2”, trying to quit smoking
Ibee Walters: Assist D.A., bleached blonde
Evan York: police detective, blue eyes, dark hair
Diamond Reese: 27, strip club manager, long wavy brown hair
Several more including Lily’s mother and the mob guys-father and son.
All pretty well developed although I thought Walters would play a bit more of a role than she did. Each had distinctive character. Jeremiah comes across as a smart aleck at the beginning, which surprised me. Because of his history, I thought he might have been a bit more reserved. He comes around, though.
Not too bad. Good give and take, back and forth. Conversations flowed well. A little heat shown. I could have used a bit more emotion in some of the dialogue at times but everybody had his/her own voice.
One mistake that I caught in passing. Spelling error but otherwise clean.
Chapters headed by date and/or time.
I thought it was a well-developed story that didn’t end quite the way I thought. I won’t play spoiler, but not all ends well and tied up in a bow.
Complexities abound but the author handled them well. A cop and mobster story and the profanity was kept in check and not overused.
I don’t know what else to say. A strong story with good action and character development. A tidy mystery with other background info to keep it interesting and moving.
So, to rank. I thought about previous stories and the enjoyment factor and decided this one rated:
By Colin Campbell
Jim Grant is not having a good day. First, he rescues a kidnapped child and irritates on of Boston elite when investigating a shooting. But he is blamed for being on the scenes in the first place and proceeding in all the wrong manners. However, the shooting turns out to be more involved than Grant imagined. Bucking authority, he steps deeper into danger and discovers a scheme with international implications.
Interesting plot. I enjoyed Grant getting in deeper and in more trouble as the story goes along and him defending himself. The plot opens up more and more and the revelation is pretty astounding.
Jim Grant: British, cop
Daniel Hunt: drives a white Mercedes, wealthy
Terri Avellone: Grant’s girlfriend, pharmaceutical representative
Bill Hoyt: 35, police captain
There are a few more characters but almost none are given any physical description. Maybe one or two here and there. This made it difficult to have a mental picture of them. For the most part, I thought the characters were pretty good, each playing to his/her role.
Grant has a decent voice as does his girlfriend. Hunt is distinguishable and Hoyt does the angry captain bit pretty well. Conversations stay on track
Book is in Parts.
There is a bit of POV switching here and there and the omnipresent POV sort of works. Maybe it’s my preference to have a scene stay with a particular character. Switch on the following if desired.
Other than that, I have no problems with the story. I didn’t see any grammar/punctuation/misspelling errors. The story rolled along pretty well with no drag time. Some good actions scenes.
Some of the writing could have been tighter, but it was nothing to get too distressed over.
Basically, a decent story and the climax was worthy of some of the cool hero-defeats-villain movies.
I thought about the rank and though it’s not quite Purple, I thought it’s a very strong
By Cherry Gunzenhauser
Vampire Demice Chevalier is still having difficulties with her aunt’s recent death. Her mother enrolls her in a convent that instructs teen vamps. In this convent, though, strange things happen. Rumors and secrets abound. Plus, there’s a story that nobody is supposed to tell-but do anyway-about a previous student long ago whose passion was dolls. It is said that death surrounded her and she is said to still be around…
Not long after Demice-call me Demi- arrives, there is a suicide…but was it really suicide. Or an accident…or something more?
So, a convent for vampires. With a tale of a previous student said to maybe still haunting the convent. Interesting.
Mariya Chevalier: married with daughter, sister dead.
Demice Chevalier: Mariya’s daughter, dark hair, plays piano
Angelica: dark hair
Alek: Demice’s cousin, mother dead, dark hair
There are several other students and the Mother Superior type nun. With this type of book, information is scant and background information comes when it’s spoken about.
One concern I had was that at the beginning, there was a short story of the origin of vampires. Then we jump to the convent of vampire students…but after that there’s hardly any mention of their being vampires. A few rules (don’t drink any other student’s blood), but hardly any discussion or characterization of their vampiness. I thought the vampire aspect might be played up more.
Demi’s voice and the head nun’s voice come through. The other female students sound similar but that may be because they’re all teen females (Okay, okay, no emails chiding me on my stereotyping. Work with me here). But many of them are snarky and cynical.
Because of the type of book this is, there is a LOT of dialogue. A lot of explanation, repetition of concerns and issues.
Since this is a graphic novel, I’ll add in art, since that is part of what makes a cool comic book/graphic novel. The story and the artist go hand in hand. I’ve seen great art and crappy story and the other way around. The art in this book was a bit manga-ish with everybody having pointy chins and similar hair. This made it a bit difficult to distinguish some characters. When Dollaretta is featured or between chapters, the art is color, otherwise it’s black/white.
Going back a bit to the repetition of questions/issues, this made me wonder if the story was going to conclude or develop past a certain point. For instance, there a scene where some of the students go to the cemetery to find closure after one of the students dies. I thought there might be more action or some supernatural woo-woo going to happen. But during the long walk, there were questions and partial explanations, but I don’t know that it advanced the story any.
Not much action. A little eerie stuff with Demi during the nights and a brief introduction to Dollaretta.
The book ended on a minor cliffhanger and when it did I wasn’t for it. Not the cliffhanger, the ending. It was like I walked into a sudden brick wall after enjoying the stroll in the park. Whoa! That’s it?
Well, yeah, that’s it…until you pick up the next volume which will continue the story.
That was my main concern. A good intro, a bit of development and a sudden ending that left me wanting more explained/concluded before it ended.
By Martin Freznell
So, what is this book about? Usually, I will give my take on the plot, but in this case the author does it for me…within the book.
The shortest book you’ll ever be forced to pretend to have read is a work of fiction that engages its reader with a series of seemingly unrelated chapters on a number of subjects.
That’s pretty much it. It’s 29 pages in my epub version and the author consistently tells the reader that he/she should not read it at all.
I found the ‘plot’ all over the map, dealing with politics, kitchen utensils, censorship, sex and others. The author bashes teachers and Trump.
Chapter 1 discusses censorship of words.
Chapter 2 discusses kitchen utensils and the author’s lack of them.
Chapter 3 (although no real number is given) is three sentences of author admitted filler.
Chapter 4 discusses how everything is a lie.
Chapter 4 (yes, the next chapter 4) discusses sex, drugs and touches on book reports.
Chapter 4 (yes, a third chapter 4) gets into how easy it would be to make this book into a book report.
None…except, well the author does include himself in the book so I’ll include him here.
Martin Freznell: the name is an alias, pale, 35, former teacher
Not knowing anything else about the character/author, I can’t comment except he does ramble on about stuff.
None because it’s all narrative.
Loads of profanity.
No grammar/punctuation/misspelling errors I can see.
Okay, so what do I do with a book where the reader advises me in the book to skip parts or just not read it at all? Is this serious? Is this a gimmick to get people to read the book? I don’t know.
I tried to find some humor, which there’s an attempt every so often, but, for me, I couldn’t get past the profanity. Not that I’m against profanity in books, but when it’s used so much, I tend to tune out it and almost anything else, like I do when I hear people use profanity in attempt to make what they’re saying more important.
So, I’m not sure how to judge this book because, for me, it was a bunch of rambling on topics about which he tended to exhibit his anger or frustration.
There was a lack of substance. I don’t mind a debate or cartoons about politicians. But simple Trump bashing turns me off just as it would had the author insulted Obama…without substance or something worthwhile to back up the dislike.
Lack of substance…but, maybe that’s some of the gist of the book.
How do I rank this? I guess in this case it will weigh heavy on the ‘enjoyability’ factor.
By David Kennedy
Freelance journalist Alex Scott plays house-sitter in Costa Brava for a family friend. Recently, one of the elderly housekeepers suffers a fatal accident. But was it an accident. Scott’s investigation turns up strange things. What is with a Russian buying up property in the area? What is going on in the lighthouse? What does a pretty blonde Ukranian have to do with the entire affair? Scott steps into danger and ends up fighting for his life.
For a premise, I thought it was pretty good. A murder mystery with the standard attractive woman to divert attention, some sneaky Russians, and mystery that could turn out to be one thing, but maybe again, it’s another.
Alex Scott: 30s, tall, parents dead, freelance journalist, blue eyes
Ferran Camps: small frame, works for Camps International
Dolors Ruiz: widow, housekeeper
Juan Finat: married w/children, dark wavy hair, drives a BMW
Maria: dark hair, architect
Natalya: Blonde, green eyes
A nice cast with a few others that play important roles either for the white hats or the dark hats. Most were well represented with Maria showing up near the beginning and then not until the end.
Since we’re in Costa Brava, the main language is Spanish and there’s a fair amount of it, but not overwhelming and nothing that isn’t understood. Capitalization errors on tag lines.
One issue with dialogue was that there were a lot of conversations where statements/questions/information was repeated. I didn’t mind it so much when it happened during interrogations because that’s cop-speak. But it happened a lot and it became overly repetitive. Get on with it, you’ve already given this information or answered the question before.
Punctuation errors and a misspelled word or two. The profanity in this was not heavy and, for me, almost not needed.
The main concern here is the amount of time not spent on the case. This is a murder mystery and much of the book details swimming and scuba diving and the town and the cliffs and the boats and the town and the dinner and the town. I kept wanting to get more of the mystery. In time, near the end of each section of gallivanting and sightseeing, a piece of the mystery came into the picture. This book took awhile to get going and near the middle there was a huge chunk of information dump. This might have been spread throughout or put near the end somewhere near the twist.
Once things started moving and Scott and another journalist started making and executing plans, then the tension heightened and the action was better.
By E. C. Fisher
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. When he created humans, the angel Lucifer despised what God had done. He rebelled and was tossed out of Heaven. Lucifer revolted, a war ensued, and the devil won. Lucifer wrote the Bible in order to sucker humans into worshiping him. Revelation is upon the Earth and Lucifer is planning on HIS heaven on earth.
God wasn’t completely vanquished. He was reborn into Michael and returns to Earth to put a stop to Lucifer’s plans. With a team of children and young adults, Michael sets out to regain God’s former glory.
Okay, I promise not to delve into theology or Christianity. This is a fictional story, so just go with it on that basis.
I don’t have any major problems with the plot other than how it played out but I’ll get into more problems starting with the next section.
Amendial: angel. In human form he is black, 35, bald, light brown eyes
Michael: angel. In human form he is 23, dark brown hair, dark eyes
Ariel: angel. In human form she has olive skin, dirty blonde hair, blue eyes.
Judith Summersill: fit, dyed blonde, amber eyes, freckles, 21
There are other characters: Drew, Thomas, Bart, Mary…get the general idea? Many of the people Michael finds on his travels are named after the apostles…from a Bible that was filled with a lot of lies according to this story.
My biggest concern here is Michael. I couldn’t get a solid grasp on him. He is reborn with God’s spirit, but is still Michael, but has Jesus tendencies (which is strange because Jesus was a lie created by Lucifer). Plus, he went through character swings acting majestically in one scene and motherly in another and almost juvenile in others. His character didn’t stay consistent.
The kids all sounded alike. Michael and Lucifer had the best voices but Michael ends up speaking like the kids at times.
The dialogue tended to take away from the seriousness of the situation. After a big battle, the kids are joking around.
A LOT of run-on sentences. A lot of run on tag lines: …” Michael said and then he does a whole bunch of action before the period. This became tiresome to read.
Speaking of action there were too many instances of something causing something else. Example: She met Drew’s eyes, causing her own cheeks to turn crimson. Causing was over used and the sentences could have been written stronger.
The biggest problem is weak, overwriting. Extraneous material and detail where it’s not necessary.
Example: He hit her right cheek with his left hand.
Example: …he saw that a young boy was trying to escape from two grown men who were giving chase after him.
Example: …gesturing with his fork in one hand.
This is constant and it made for a difficult read.
Action scenes weren’t dramatic. In fact, after the first couple of battles with demons, the encounters became redundant and not exciting.
– Michael discovers an underground bunker that is one of many around the country where people are living after the world went chaotic after the rapture. People don’t go outside for fear of being attacked by demons. They’ve been living this way for years…yet there doesn’t seem to be a food shortage for so many people. The stockpiles must be enormous and there doesn’t seem to be any rationing. They have eggs and muffins and bacon and stew. Doesn’t seem quite plausible.
– There are rules and the military handles problems…yet when Michael heads out for his quest to find the Antichrist he takes a bunch of kids with him? Including the mayor’s daughter?(okay she’s 21, but still). With something that important I would think some capable adults would be willing and volunteering to go and fight.
– It became a bit juvenile that to defeat a demon they used water. So what better weapon than a Supersoaker?
– One of the premises is that when one dies, the soul goes to the River to be either reborn as something or someone else on Earth or the person can decide to enter Heaven. That’s fine. However, God, the creator of everything is able to…die? And then be reborn? Again, the concept doesn’t seem quite plausible.
– The ending was a bit different than I thought. Very lofty and poetic and glorious but the final battle with Lucifer was not tense enough.
No profanity. No spelling/punctuation/misspelled words. Because of that, I can’t drop it down to White. However, because of the weak writing and some of the issues I have with this I felt this deserved:
By Mark O’Neill
A dangerous assassin named the Scorpion has been contracted to kill the Chancellor of Germany. Sophie Decker of German Intelligence is on the case.
Well, what more description do you want. It’s a relatively short book and that’s the plot. Simple, right? Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Vladimir Rostov: crime boss
Claudia Meyer: German Chancellor
Sophie Decker: German Intelligence
Wolfgang Schmitz: Security chief, dark hair
Hans Unterwald: Chief of Staff, large man, smokes cigars, deep voice, balding
Not much description of the main character, Sophie. Not much background on Scorpion. Sophie is a renegade who pushes the envelope.
My biggest issue here was the assassin himself. He comes across at the beginning as very professional, but then tends to falter and lose that professionalism. If that’s how the author wanted to develop him, fine, it didn’t quite work for me. I thought there would be more play between Decker and Schmitz, that they would be closer.
Again, Scorpion says too much that doesn’t seem in character for him. Sophie is straight forward in her conversations, and that’s fine, that’s the way she is and it seems to work for her.
The major problem with dialogue was all the punctuation errors. Missing commas before tag lines and if the dialogue ended with a quote, the period was outside the quote marks.
Long sentences during action scenes which draws out time and slows things. Shorter sentences would have moved the story along and the action scenes would have been more dramatic and tension filled.
A lot of she and he usage, especially within sentences. Not a real example but this is the type of writing I mean: She looked back where she could see she was far from the street.
Some POV problems within scenes. Capitalization errors.
The biggest problem, however was overwriting. “Later that evening, just before midnight…” Too wordy. Just before midnight is all that’s needed. We know it’s evening or night. The assassin shot someone and “…his head was jerked back.” No, his head jerked back.
Wordy sentences that could have been tightened.
The shot could be heard. This type of sentence was used a couple times at the beginning and the problem was that the POV was from Scorpion…who was doing the shooting. Of course he could hear the shot. Could be heard indicates that there might be something that would possibly interfere with him hearing. Yes, he was using a suppressor but still…
Problem: When Decker knows Scorpion is close, she has a few moments before he’s seen and she has to save Claudia. I would think the first instinct at the instant she knows Scorpion is near would be for her to draw her weapon and be ready. She doesn’t do it until after she hides with Claudia.
More overwriting. Decker and Claudia are hiding behind a couch. The reader knows this. No need to say that they might be seen if they run from behind the couch.
Overwriting and some weak writing took this down to:
There is a serial killer in London who leaves mutilated bodies around the city. Woman are disappearing and being cut up. Detective Inspector David Maguire and his partner are on the trail but so is a pesky reporter. Plus, the local politicians are up in arms about the continuing body count.
Ooh, a grisly serial killer story. I thought premise was fine. There are problems but the actual story, per se isn’t too bad.
Zachary Tighe: 30, reporter, former cop
David Maguire: Detective Inspector
Martin Walden: Maguire’s partner
Joan Maguire: Martin’s wife, attorney, has 4 sisters
There are other characters and, for the most part, everybody is okay. You learn a lot about Tighe and there’s some fascination between him and Joan. The bad guy is different and I wish I knew more about him. Not much background information on him and that’s unfortunate considering there’s a ton of other info about other things, which I’ll address later.
The only problem I had here was that the victims didn’t sound like victims. Too reasonable sounding and talky. “Oh my goodness, what’s that? A straight razor? Are you going to shave me?” Okay, that’s paraphrasing a bit on the actual words but would a kidnap victim wonder if she’s going to be shaved?
Profanity. Tighe’s chapters are 1st person POV. The rest are from Maguire or the killer or the victims’ POV.
So, here are my problems. I mentioned not knowing much about the killer. I didn’t completely understand the ritual he has with a bunch of feathers he keeps around the house. I just didn’t comprehend their significance and no real explanation was given. I was hoping for something at the end.
This was a problem because the author spent a LOT of time building up scenes with a LOT of background information on London areas and laws and myriad other stuff. I don’t mind a bit of background, but get on with it. There was a lot of buildup at the beginning before a significant point was made. All this intro stuff made it difficult for me to get into the story. And, the info dump took me out of the story when the good action parts came up.
I think Maguire’s words were incorrect. The reporter wrote up something Maguire didn’t like and thought that Tighe had ‘broken the case wide open’. He was upset because he thought Tighe had ruined the chances of catching the bad guy. However, the normal use of that phrase, ‘break the case wide open’ usually means the vital clue has been found.
Anyway, a pretty decent story otherwise. Take a chance but be aware of some of the obstacles.
By Aaron Dawbot
Some evil things are happening to the residents of an elderly care facility. Heinous murders that leave mutilated corpses. Thomas Arsen and his team of demon hunters are on the scene. Can they stop the evil from spreading?
Okay, this is another one where the blurb was better than what it portended. This story and book has a plethora of problems and some I don’t think I can adequately explain, but I’ll try.
Thomas Arsen: demon hunter, apparently immortal (he’s been around for a few hundred years), sister dead, black hair, green eyes.
Lonnie Blake: oily hair, tall, mustache and the start of a beard, demon hunter
Fitz: black, hazel eyes, short hair, teenager, demon hunter
Okay. There are some other characters in this book, but scant details about everyone. I know that Thomas has scars.
There’s no history of these characters. Who/what is Thomas? How did he get those scars? How is it that he’s lived for hundreds of years? Where did he come from? How did he, Lonnie and Fitz get together? Thomas and Lonnie tend to argue a lot about the past, but nothing is explained. Apparently, Thomas’ sister was horribly killed but nothing is explained.
Fitz’s nickname is Baby Shark which isn’t explained and doesn’t seem to work for me.
There was a new character brought in at the end who made no sense because she wasn’t mentioned before, but Thomas knows her and then she’s gone.
Too many unanswered questions about these people.
The demon hunters try to joke around while fighting the baddies but it doesn’t work. Capitals for the shouting instead of italics. A lot of tag lines that aren’t real tag lines. Lonnie may have had his own voice, I suppose.
Very weak writing throughout.
Loads of tense problems. Present and past tense thrown in willy-nilly. Punctuation problems.
More unanswered questions:
– We meet Thomas at the very beginning in a scene that started out pretty scary but ended in a strange almost ludicrous manner. We don’t know it’s Thomas until a couple chapters later when he is running around on fire and Lonnie and Fitz save him. They save him by dunking him in ice water. How he is magically saved isn’t explained. How he came to be on fire isn’t explained other than a story of his going to hell but that leaves more unanswered questions. Why did he go there? What did he or didn’t he accomplish?
– Fitz and Lonnie fight this demon possessed dead woman. They lay her out in the back of their van, then a couple paragraphs later, they lay her out on the ground. Then she’s back in the van (or was still there, I don’t know). Then she’s out outside on the ground attacking, but there isn’t any showing of how or when she left the van.
– Thomas’ sister’s ghost visits him (but it’s not really her) and we see her intro as she places a hand on his shoulder while he’s seated. Then, a few paragraphs later, the ghost shuffles toward him from a distance across the room. How did she get over there?
Problem: in a scene where Thomas is speaking with a nun, we discover later that he has put a some salt and iron filings around his chair. How did the nun not see him doing this? She’s surprised later by it.
A lot of ‘was’ followed by ‘ing’ words. Was shouting. Was walking. Was beginning to [do something]. This took me right out of the story.
The above is only the beginning of the hard to explain weak writing. Part of it was over writing and part was underwriting. Underwriting in the form of vagueness. “Ancient words” “Magical symbols” “Mysterious heat”. These don’t relay any details and the author skimmed right over them. Underwriting in the form of nonsensical sentences.
– run-on sentences, some with to many ‘ing’ words where it would by physically impossible to to do all those actions at the same time.
– The man from under the shallow depths of stirring murky water found his very last ounce of strength and managed to lift his boiled body out of the murky water.
– One of the caretakers checked on the fainted girl, only to be struck into immobilizing fear as his whole body was compromised with immeasurable terror.
– He found himself looking down a flight of stairs, a faint rancid smell came crawling up into his nostrils. He knew that it came from the basement down below.
– …a hint of subtle irritation.
This entire book is filled with these types of sentences.
Some of the descriptions were over-the-top, overwritten.
This was a short book (74 pages in my epub format), but very exasperating to read. Too many unanswered questions, the action was too complicated and much of didn’t make sense. The characters did strange things that weren’t explained or completed something without enough quality detail that I could understand.
Before I had completed the first chapter, I knew this book was going to receive a:
By David Lui
Morris works a humanitarian hotline in Asia. One day he receives a call from young girl who pleads for rescue from her kidnappers. Thus begins two of the worst days for Morris and a team of assistants doing what they can to keep the girl from a nightmare.
This is a short book, only about 44 pages in my epub format. This deals with the heinous crime of human trafficking. I think, for the most part, the plot is good with a couple minor issues.
Morris: humanitarian hotline attendant, short black hair
Jeremy Moore: hotline supervisor
Margaret Hall: hotline coordinator, 5’6”
Aat: mid 20s
Chariya: 30’s, tall, slim
For the most part, the characters are good. I don’t know about the kidnap victim and maybe this belongs in the dialogue category, but some of her dialogue didn’t sound like a kidnap victim. There were times she talked too much without the scared voice. I understand at times, Morris was trying to draw her out and try to get her mind off of her situation, but there were sentences that didn’t fit.
For the most part, again, the conversations were fine. Some of the voices were okay.
The story is presented with time headers.
This is a short book as mentioned. Now, let me say up front that I am commenting only on the writing part, the story itself as it was presented. This is in no way a commentary on the human trafficking crime. So, let me get that part out of the way first, then I’ll deal with the story presented here.
Actually, the author makes his own commentary and I wholeheartedly agree with it. This is an awful crime and it’s been around since people decided that other people were commodities. It’s a crime that is beyond heinous and anything anyone can do in any little way to minimize the number of victims is good. Although this book takes place in an Asian country, this crime is worldwide including America, including Iowa where I live. It was mentioned that this story was based on an actual event and the ending is not pretty.
Okay, ‘nuff said about the crime itself, let me get back to the story.
With this being a short book I wanted more ‘stuff’ in the story. I understand the circumstances of the people involved with trying to rescue the girl, but most of this was waiting around in an office hoping for the next call from the girl. There wasn’t any action with the police or other people out on the streets looking for the girl. I realize, too, that the clues to her whereabouts came in bits and pieces and it was difficult for anybody to act, but the author’s job is to keep the reader moving through the story and not have the reader waiting for yet another phone call.
The other issue I had was I wanted more action, more ‘we almost had her’ moments, but a good portion of the book is Margaret upset at herself and wondering if she’s good enough to do her job. A little bit is fine, but this kind of thing ran for many more pages than I thought necessary. It’s a short story so things have to keep moving and when time is taken to self analyze it takes the reader away from the intensity of the story.
Otherwise, I thought it was a good read and I hated the ending. Before you start claiming unfair, let me mention that the author hated the ending, too, and he hopes any reader hates the ending as well. Again, this was based on a true event and the ending to that situation was awful, too.