Soul Windows by Jaleta Clegg

Soul Windows by Jaleta Clegg

51GC317spYLAmazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

What I love most about short stories is that they are usually so short that I get to fill in some of the information myself.  I feel like I’m contributing.  I like that feeling.

This story hints that it takes place in Victorian era India.  Of course it could just as easily take place in Victorian era Africa or the middle east.  Anywhere there were British citizens , a bazaar, Turkish coffee and no alcohol.  As I understand it, Turkish coffee is found in several parts of the world so that clue didn’t help.  The story starts out with a few men sitting around a table having a conversation about eyes being the windows to the soul.  When Blake and Jim are left alone at the table Blake tells Jim he bought a charm from a wizard at the bazaar.  The story is about what Jim finds when he goes looking into a soul.

This story discussed some interesting questions.  What do people carry around with them that no one knows about?  How dark are peoples souls?  Do we ever know people?  What would we find if we could see into each others souls?

I’m happy that I can’t see into someones soul.  Thinking of these hypothetical questions makes me realize that people are puzzles and the world is complex.  It would be terribly sad if we knew everything about everyone even if it would make things safer.

This story is a sad one but something to ponder.

PicsArt_1375992687897

PG-13  Jim looks into another’s soul.

Advertisements

Something Wicked by Angela Campbell

Something_Wicked_finalSomething Wicked

by Angela Campbell

Kindle

Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Something wicked this way comes…

All homicide detective Dylan Collins wants is a few hours of pleasure to take his mind off of the case haunting him. A serial killer is stalking the streets of Charleston, SC – a killer who calls himself The Grim Reaper. When the woman he’d just spent the night with turns up and offers her services as a psychic consultant on the case, his ardor quickly cools. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a con artist.

It doesn’t take long for Dylan to realize Alexandra King is the real deal – and the killer’s next target. Dylan’s protective instincts battle his reluctance to get too involved with a woman he isn’t sure he can trust. As they get closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer to one another, but will Alexandra’s secret agenda destroy their chance at happiness – if the killer doesn’t strike first?

My Review: 

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Something Wicked is the second book in this series by Angela Campbell, On the Scent being the first one.  However, you don’t need to have read it to read Something Wicked, and to love it.

This was one of the best books I have read this year.  It is set in Charleston, SC one of the best places for ghosts. So in comes Alexandra a true physic medium, there to help bring Dylan and her boss Zach back together at there mother’s request.  By the way there mother is a ghost. Unbeknownst to Alexandra the dream guy she meets her first night there is Dylan. When she shows up at the police station the next day to offer her services they are both shocked.  Dylan is of course a skeptic until there is no more denying it. There is tension between the two that makes for an interesting read. Alexandra is a strong female character and Dylan is a nice counterpart to her.

This book has everything from a Voodoo priestess to the Bellator de Lux, to an exorcism. The story is very well written and I would recommend getting it as soon as possible.

 

PicsArt_1375992730999PG-13 There is death and sex.

The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Michael Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, and Stan Berenstain

image

The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks

By: Michael Berenstain,  Jan Berenstain,  Stan Berenstain

Kindle

Summary:

The Berenstain cubs act out the first Thanksgiving — complete with costumes, props and a full Thanksgiving feast. But will Sister Bear’s pet turkey play the part of dinner? The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks teaches how God provided for the pilgrims and reminds children of God’s many blessings.

My Review:

How do you not love the Berenstain Bears. This is a classic children’s book. The Berenstain Bears teach there children what Thanksgiving is about and as always bring their family together.

Viola’s Review:

I love the bears. They had a big turkey as a pet and everyone came over and had dinner. It’s nice to have your family.

image

PG

Close to You by Stacia Kane

Close to youClose to You

Stacia Kane

Kindle

Barnes and Noble

 Summary:

Churchwitch Chess Putnam has seen, and banished, her share of ghosts, but not of the Christmas Past variety–the holiday has been illegal since the Church of Real Truth defeated the undead and took control of the world in 1997. Yet when she and her boyfriend, Terrible, make a trip to an abandoned auto junkyard, they find more than the rusted auto parts and spare tires they’d bargained for. They also run across a creepy Miss Havisham-type hell-bent on reuniting with her long-dead husband just in time for Christmas–even if it means taking Chess and Terrible down with her into the City of Eternity…

If Chess and Terrible don’t manage to keep these ghosts in the past, they won’t have a future…

My Review:

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest and fair review.

As most of you know we do Novella Thursday every week and it’s has become increasingly harder to find ones that aren’t purely sex.  So when I found this one on Net Galley I was excited.  I did not however realize that it was part of a series.  I have never read any of Stacia Kane’s book before, and it was a little hard for me to follow.  I had to read up on some of the earlier books to understand some of what I was reading.

As far as the story itself it was well written.  Nothing like trying to bring your dead husband back to life on Chirstmas. The old lady is a strong woman for her age and plays havoc with Chess and Terrible.  I can just image her using a dolly to move Terrible into the bedroom.   Chess is a strong  character and seems stronger with Terrible in her life. This is a very short story and for someone who is hoping for a thrilling adventure for this couple you may be disappointed.  It’s a quick glimpse into one aspect of the life of Chess and Terrible.

PicsArt_1375992631838PG-13  The content is not geared towards a younger crowd.

Hidden (A Bone Secrets Novel) by Kendra Elliot

Hidden (A Bone Secrets Novel) by Kendra Elliot

15096138Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Indiebound (Audio)

Dr. Lacy Campbell is a forensic odontologist.  She helps identify remains when a body has been to badly damaged to be identified visually.  One cold and snowy day Lacy is called to a recovery scene to try to help the ME’s office identify bones that were found under a building.  She begins to examine the teeth and it isn’t long before she realizes that the bones belong to a friend that was abducted while they were in college.  The man responsible for the abduction was found, convicted, and sent to prison where he later died.  He never told anyone what happened to Suzanne.

Like everyone else I’ve read my share of predictable romantic thrillers.  I wouldn’t even classify this as romantic.  This is a thriller.  It is an edge of your seat thrill fest.  I couldn’t look away from the pages.

For the most part Lacy is pretty smart.  We know she’s intellectually smart, she’s a forensic odontologist, and they don’t hand those out in cereal boxes.  What I mean that she doesn’t go around doing dumb things that reinforce preconceived notions of what women would do without a big strong man around.  I detest when authors take the easy way out and make women dumb.  Kendra Elliot doesn’t do that.  She equips Lacy with a sensible spine and drive.

There are portions of the book that focus on the serial killer that is killing people who are associated with the case from eleven years ago.  The passages from the killers point of view are really creepy.  Stomach churning at some points but I had to know so I kept reading.

The ending was satisfying.  Yes, Lacy and Jack end up together but after the explosive ending you can see why.   Jack pulled his weight and wasn’t over the top.  And let me tell you, that character could easily have been over the top.  The final chapter of the book ties up the loose ends nicely and all of my questions were answered.  Hidden is just one book in the Bone Secrets series.  The other books are about supporting characters in Hidden.

PicsArt_1375992687897R  Serial. Killer.  Okay, there are other reasons too.  Language, violence, intimate acts.

Shadow Lantern by Gareth Lewis and The Viscount and the Witch by Michael J. Sullivan

Shadow Lantern by Gareth Lewis

11465400Amazon  Author’s Amazon Page

Barnes and Noble

This story was found in Bestseller Bound Anthology Volume 1.

Shadow Lantern is a very short story about two people in a darkened room.  We never know the names of the two people.  We only get to know that they are both on the shady side and one is trying to sell something to the other.  This story also has another one of those twist endings that I am partial to.  The rug was slipped out from beneath my feet and I didn’t see it coming.

You can feel the magic in the air along with the dust.  For some reason my brain filled in that the room was dusty.  I think that was because the two characters obviously work in black market  magical artifacts.  Where do characters who obviously work in black market magical artifacts conduct business?  In grimy, badly lit rooms.  Everyone knows that right?

This story will take you all of ten minutes to read and it will be the best ten minutes you spend today.  The story is entirely dialogue but you always know who is speaking.  The only description is in what the characters say to one another.  This story is one of my favorites that I’ve read this year because it was entirely unique.  I wish I could give it a 10.

PicsArt_1375992730999PG  Very mild language.  There is a story within a story here and the guy in question becomes liquid.  That’s not even the gross part.  Trust me when I say you need to read this.

 

 

 

viscount_and_the_witch_cover_800The Viscount and the Witch by Michael J. Sullivan

It is our understanding that this short story is included in The Crown Tower.  You can also get it from the authors site.

 

Michael J. Sullivan

The Viscount and the Witch is the perfect place to start if you have never read any of the Riyria books.  It’s also great if you have read them.  It really illustrates who Royce and Hadrian are.  Royce is the master thief and schemer.  Hadrian is the former professional soldier and current mercenary.  Together they make quite the team.  This story was interesting because they’ve only known each other for a year.  In Riyria Revelations they have known each other for maybe a decade or more.

This story is really funny.  Royce decides to teach Hadrian a lesson about helping people.  It shows that Royce likes to be one step ahead of everyone else and that Hadrian is the people person.  They grow to know each other so well in Revelations that is was nice to see how they were when they didn’t know each other so well and how they describe each other.

When Hadrian stops to help a witch, Royce knows they’re in for trouble.  He also doesn’t want to stop because a dog bit him during the previous job and his foot hurts.  Hearing them bicker was like visiting old friends.  They do that in the other book.   They recount the story of the dog and how Royce tossed it out of a window.  Hadrian tells him he can’t be all bad if he tossed the creature out a window with water beneath it.  Royce is a little shocked to learn that there was water beneath the window and that the dog swam.  That story kind of says it all about Royce, Hadrian and their partnership.

When they get to the barn that the witch says a vagrant is hiding in Royce decides that Hadrian needs to learn that people are trouble.  He knows the witch is going to walk off with everything they have.  It takes a thief to know a thief.

I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you what happens.  We try hard not to do that.  It’s a free story that you can get from the author’s site or Amazon.  You’ll finish it on your lunch hour and you’ll be glad you read it.  It’s quick and it will make you want to read both Riyria Revelations and Ryria Chronicles.

PicsArt_1375992687897PG  Hadrian pulls out a serious looking sword that is so long he has to carry it on his back.

The Book Thief by Markus Zasuk


The_Book_Thief_by_Markus_Zusak_book_coverThe Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

Kindle

Barnes and Noble

Books A Million

Summary:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Review: 

There are so many things to say about this book I don’t know where to start.

The story is narrated by Death it follows Liesel from the time she is on the train to meet her foster parents to the time when her world is shattered.  It is a story of war, friendship, love, and words.  It is powerful and sad and in the end it is brilliant.  This is a story where words mean everything.

“If you feel like it, come with me.  I will tell you a story. I’ll show you something.”

And oh how it does. We start in 1939 Nazi Germany and travel the span till the end of the war.  Many die and some live. But it is the story in between that counts. The story of Liesel Meminger and her book thieving ways and her love for the people in her life. I can’t describe every aspect of the book it would take too long.  But let me list for you some of my favorite parts. There is Liesel’s Papa teaching her to read in the middle of the night, the arrival of Max on Himmel Street and the powerful connection he forms with Liesel.  There is Rosa hugging her foster daughter in the bomb shelter basement, and then there is Rudy, a little girl’s first love.

And of course there is the book thievery.  In total Liesel stole six books, had two written for her, got three as gifts, and wrote one of her own.  Why does she love the books so much, because they have shown her the words and words are very powerful. Why are the words powerful.  They are powerful to Liesel because thru the words she comes to know knowledge, knowledge about life, her surroundings and people. She learns how she can influence those people with her words, and  most importantly she learns that thru his use of words Hitler came to power.

The Book Thief took me thru a roller coaster of feelings and ultimately to tears.  It showed the good and bad in the world and made me think.  It was wonderfully written and I highly recommend it.

PicsArt_1375992730999PG-13 we are talking Nazi Germany. There is swearing and bombing and lots of death.

Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Finding CinderellaFinding Cinderella

By Colleen Hoover

Kindle

Barnes and Noble

This is not your typical fairy tale.  Boy meets girls in janitor closet at school.  Girl doesn’t have a great reputation and is tired of boys treating her badly, so what does she do.  She has sex with a boy that she can’t even see his face and pretends with him that it is love. He calls her his Cinderella in his attempt to be romantic. She tells him she doesn’t want to know how he is because she is moving away and this is there one special moment.

Fast forward to the future and it’s a year later.  Six is back in her home town after a year of study in Italy, but things over there were not all they should have been.  She left behind the most important boy in her life, but how does she let anyone know, especially when she meets Daniel.  He is a boy just like her and who she feels an instant connection with. They seem perfect for each other in every way. But her secret could tare them apart (sorry I won’t give that little secret away).

This book was well written and I did enjoy the characters.  Six is not your typical prissy girl.  She has four brothers and isn’t afraid to get dirty. Daniel is quirky and says what he is thinking.  He has been trying to find his Cinderella ever since there encounter in the closet. While I feel the very beginning (Janitors closet, need I say more) is not how you picture meeting the love of your life, the rest of the book makes up for it. It was funny and sad and enjoyable. I for one would definitely read more books about these two characters.

PicsArt_1375992687897Not an R, but certainly not a PG-13, there is sex and adult content, but not graphic

Cursed (Voodoo Nights) by Lizzy Ford

Cursed       Book 1. Voodoo Nights

By Lizzy Ford

Cursed (Voodoo Nights)Amazon

Smashwords

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book was great.  If someone doesn’t make this into a movie it will be a miscarriage of justice.  It blended elements of religion, racism, and class to create a balanced story.

There wasn’t a vampire anywhere and still I read with ravenous delight.  There may not have been any vampires but there was a different take on zombies and I’m all for that.

I wanted this book to last forever and it just may since it’s part of a series.  It has strong characters as well.  There isn’t a cliché among them.  They are all complex and complete from the seventeen year old main characters all the way through to the mambos (healers).

Jayden is a golden boy.  An all American football playing, good grades getting, takes care of his recovering addict mother, good guy.  He wants to spend his senior year thinking about football and college.  He also wants to dodge his ex-girlfriend Kimmie if he can.  She’s a piece of work by the way.  She’s completely crazy and goes to a bokor, a person that sells black magic to anyone who can pay, to put a love spell on Jayden.   This eventually messes things up because Jayden likes Adrienne.

Adrienne is new to New Orleans and only going to the same fancy school Jayden goes to because of a music scholarship.  Adrienne’s family is really poor but she can sing.  The fancy school has a fancy vocal coach and Adrienne is pinning all of her hopes and dreams on being a successful singer one day.  She sings in church every Sunday even gaining an admirer in Rene.  Rene is my favorite character.  He is stuck in the middle of an impossible situation.  Adrienne’s sister was killed five years before Adrienne goes to live with her dad in New Orleans.  From the day she arrives to live with her father, in the same room Therese lived in, she begins receiving notes.  She doesn’t know who they’re coming from or why.  All she knows is that she needs to solve her sister’s murder.  It feels impossible to her until she get a package in the mail that contains Therese’s diary.  She learns that her sister was being targeted by the Red Man.  There is also the small matter of the curse, the very same curse that is on Jayden’s family.  The first born in the family always dies.  Adrienne thought she was safe until the mark appears on her shoulder.  All of that is why she needs Rene’s protection.

To further complicate matters Jax, Rene’s brother, is the leader of a Voodoo street gang (the same one Rene is in).  Jax was in love with Therese and he’s been making a gigantic mess since she died.  Rene finds out what his brother has been up to and has to decide how to handle things.  That’s why he’s my favorite.  He’s stuck between doing the right thing.  The thing that everyone else in the Voodoo community knows is right and loyalty to his brother and his family.  He’s also a bit of curmudgeon and who can resist that?

It all comes to a head when Adrienne finally discovers the truth and has to make a really hard choice that isn’t much of a choice at all.  Does she sacrifice herself and countless others or does she stand and fight the people that lied to her, people that she really cares about?

I was surprised by how much a liked this book.  It isn’t my usual fare.  I can tell that this is going to be one of those series that I mark on my calendar so that I can stare down the days until the next one.

The use of Voodoo wasn’t suffocating.  I never felt lost when things were being explained.  I don’t have any knowledge of real world Voodoo so I don’t know how the Voodoo in the book stacks up.  I can say that I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief to the extreme.  This is a well rounded book with enough nooks and crannies to keep you reading late into the night like I did.  Cursed comes out February 9th 2014.

PicsArt_1375992730999

PG-13  Hello. Zombies. How do you think they got that way?