Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: One Flesh by Obed Ladiny

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“Your problem was you thought it was wrong to high-five yourself. You thought you’d go to hell for giving yourself a hug…”

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Book Review: A Bundle of Deceit

Title: A Bundle of Deceit

Author: Stacey Watts

Author Site: http://www.staceywatts.com

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00SAAAZJ8

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19355005-a-bundle-of-deceit

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Synopsis:

It was a string of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances that led Lucy Jennings to show interest in the two grandmothers that sat across from her desk. Six months ago Lucy discovered her boyfriend in bed with her best friend, and promptly decided that a major lifestyle change was in order. She dumped her steady job as a Police Officer, and opened up her own Private Investigation Agency.

The only thing the ladies could offer her was $250 and a letter from The Wishful Hearts Adoption Agency. The elderly ladies seemed to think the Agency had something to do with their grandson and his family’s sudden disappearance, and Lucy knew a couple of phone calls would clear up the matter quite nicely.

A simple visit to Wishful Hearts, however, turns this minor blurb in the newspaper to front page headlines and the office manager, Duncan Michels, turns her world upside down with his stunning good looks and flirty behavior.

Thrust into a scandal that sees the death of a key witness and blackmail in the highest parts of city government, Lucy must protect a young family and a man she would prefer not to fall head over heels in love with A Bundle of Deceit.

My Review:

Our actions come from somewhere. They are not the first step but the last. Beneath our actions is an underlying ground of reasoning. We only act when our minds have come to a decision. Now whether or not our decisions hold any weight depends entirely on the nature of our thoughts. We can even go another step backwards and say that our thoughts are impacted by our emotions. Take this concept into consideration, mix it with desire, deceit, and murder, and you have Watt’s character driven story, A Bundle of Deceit. I had the pleasure of reading this story and I’m excited to share my review, minus any spoilers of course.

Let’s start with the beginning. The opening prologue piqued my interest as I found it to be cleverly written. It gave away some interesting clues about Lucy’s personality. From this point, I fell in love with her character. Lucy’s quick and witty determination makes her a thought-provoking character that I’m sure most readers will love too. I mean what woman hasn’t experienced the struggle to find balance between pride, independence, and dependence? Not to mention, I’m sure men and women alike can relate to Lucy’s job predicament when it comes to leaving a job to start your own business. From the financial woes to second guessing, the struggles she experiences are real. Combine this with a unique male companion (Duncan) connected to her case, a few deaths, and several unanswered questions, what you have is a suspenseful mystery that Lucy and Duncan need to solve for both of their sakes.

In the beginning we know what’s wrong but we don’t know why. However, readers don’t have to worry about the story being boring or typical. The story has an even pace that will keep readers interested in seeing how everything comes to an end. When I reached the middle of the story the crisis had escalated (as a story should by this point) as Lucy and Duncan worked together to solve their mutual predicament. Thanks to a few incidents, both characters were well aware of the seriousness of their dilemma. Lives were at stake. By this point, I was more than committed to the storyline. I was dedicated to seeing the main characters resolve their situation. I was rooting for them and this is a dangerous position for a reader to be in. I had no control over their decisions and let’s face it. Like any character driven story, their emotions impacted their decisions, which further impacted their actions. This in turn pushed the development of the plot. Keep in mind that the tension wasn’t suffocating or complicated. At no point in the story was I lost or confused. The author did a great job of laying out the initial framework for the plot and climax.

I do want to mention that I was surprised by Duncan’s character. Taking into consideration the nature of his job and his response to the conditions he worked in, I expected him to turn out differently. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy his character. I just wanted to point out that I had his personality measured differently. This notwithstanding, I liked that Duncan went in a direction that I didn’t predict. This ultimately meant he engaged in actions I didn’t see coming. I love it when I can’t guess where the author is going to take me.

I don’t want to give away the secrets of this story but I will say there is a definite shift in Lucy’s attitude towards the end of the book. I am a huge fan of Lucy’s character and people like her who have the courage to step out and follow their own dreams despite their heavy past and the difficulties they currently face.

However, let’s jump over to the antagonist. I appreciate the way the antagonist’s character unfolded, especially when it came to understanding his/her reasons for their actions. This isn’t to say that I agree with his/her activities but from a reader’s position, it helps knowing that there aren’t any plot holes in the story. We know who’s evil and why. We don’t have to play the guessing game and when it’s all said and done, we don’t feel cheated.

In the beginning of the story the author is making a promise to the readers and posing questions. It’s like an agreement between the author and the readers. In the beginning we get teased a bit as it’s not until we get to the middle that we get to the real mass of the situation at hand. Then we’re left with possibilities as to how it may or may not be resolved. We keep reading to find out which path the characters will take. Will our assumptions be confirmed? Were my assumptions about this story confirmed? More importantly, was my contract with the author fulfilled?

I don’t want to discuss the ending because I want people to read the story for themselves. However, I will say that I am quite satisfied with how the story ended. In my opinion, the promise was met and the questions were answered. The contract between the author and reader was fulfilled.

Final Assessment:

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

I give A Bundle of Deceit 5 stars because every aspect of the story is enjoyable. I can look back at the overall story and guarantee that readers will appreciate the even pace in which this story unfolds. Also, when it comes to editing the story is perfect. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel with light romance. Life has its twists and turns. Lucy’s life took a sharp turn. Nevertheless, her journey’s end was filled with love and a new outlook on life. Readers who decide to take the journey and read this book will receive their reward at the end and a few surprises along the way.

Alice Saunders, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: @LyricalTempest

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Book Review: The Dome by Nova Sparks

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Title: The Dome

Author: Nova Sparks

Publication date: April 29, 2011

Genre: Science Fiction / Suspense / Romance

Format: Kindle

Price: Kindle- $0.99 | Paperback – $9.74

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Alice Saunders

Synopsis (No Spoilers):

“What if you knew the exact date and time the world will end, what would you do? Sam Tucker was faced with that dilemma when he began getting visions of the Earth’s demise. Luckily for him, he was able to save his family and as many people as he could before the tragic event occurred, and he did so with the help of unknown visitors. With Earth now destroyed, Sam, his family, and thousands of other lucky survivors must live the rest of their lives on a faraway planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. But Sam’s mind can’t seem to rest as a few questions arise. Why did the aliens save them? How did they know about Earth’s sure fate? And exactly what are they hiding? Emma Tucker begged for an escape from her boring life but never in a million years did she think it would come at the destruction of Earth. Living on a new planet and finding it difficult to get rid of her rebellious habits, Emma finds herself making friends with a member of the alien race and it soon develops into an unexplainable love; a love that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine. While her father is searching for his own truths, she has no idea that she is stumbling on a truth of her own.”

My Review:

I don’t normally read science fiction books as much as I watch science fiction movies but when Nova Sparks sent me a request to read and review her book, The Dome, I was definitely intrigued by the synopsis.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but The Dome is an amazing story that is very well written. Although there are some places where editing is needed, it doesn’t take away from the elements of the story that make this such a great read. From the beginning to the end, the character development is strong and smooth as is the consistency in building up the tension so the story doesn’t feel rushed. It’s well paced, giving readers enough resolution to satisfy their literary appetite so they don’t feel cheated once they reach the end. At the same time however, Sparks leaves enough of the bigger plot open to make room for the second book in this trilogy. I finished this book excited, as I eagerly wanted to know what would happen next. With this, I also want to mention that the story is neither boring nor predictable. Simultaneously, the author, Sparks, doesn’t spend a lot time weaving in complicated subplots that are hard to keep up with. The story has balance. Even with the use of the multiple points of view, I as a reader never felt lost or left behind in the story.

Another point that I really love about this story is how it reminds me of something Peggy Blair blogged about one day when she stated how “character drives plot but plot shapes character.” This perfectly sums up the flow of Sparks’ novel, The Dome. Her characters are well written with Sam and Emma being two of my favorite people in the story. The situations, feelings, and conflicts that the characters face are made perfectly clear and as the plot evolves so do the characters. These developments add a beautiful realism effect to the overall story. I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to continue turning the pages just to see how they would resolve the present situation. I was intrigued and I wanted to learn more about why they acted and responded to their situations the way they did. Throughout the story, my view of the characters changed as more was revealed because it’s well-known that our responses show the true nature of our character. I also loved toying around with the question, what would I do if I were in Sam’s position or Emma’s for that matter?

In addition, did I mention that this story has a bit of romance? I’m a sucker for great romance stories, even if it isn’t the main theme. Love will create the suspense, regardless of whether the characters are trying to obtain it or keep it, or in some situations get rid of it. With The Dome, it’s obvious that love is the motivation. It may not be the only motivation for the characters’ actions, but it is part of their motivation nevertheless. Without giving away too much I will say that this story involves several types of love’s complexities. This is something else that I enjoy about this story. It reveals what people will do for love, and how too often, people fail to realize how their actions can threaten what they have. This story likewise exposes how lackluster our lives can become when void of simple love and affection. Also, please note that this story does have some sexual graphic content.

Moreover, I really enjoyed Spark’s writing style. The dialogue of the characters is witty and intriguing, not to mention, I didn’t run across any overused clichés and I often found myself laughing during the conversations that took place between the characters.

Furthermore, if I had to pick a favorite part of the story, it would be the beginning of the middle when they arrive at the Dome, that point in the transition where we get the first glimpse at a new setting that will bring us closer to the development of the theme. I must also point out that the theme itself is entertaining and unique. It’s not overdone or overused. The same thing goes for the plot as well. I was curious as to how Sparks would execute the plot but as I mentioned earlier, she did so very smoothly. The introduction, suspense, climax, and conclusion were well written in my opinion.

Final Assessment:

Looking back on everything, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because even though some slight edits are needed, it doesn’t affect the overall story. This book is definitely a page-turner that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good story that perfectly combines science fiction, romance, and suspense that also delivers on its emotional promise to provide readers with an entertaining story.

I leave you with the humble confession that I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in what is sure to be another brilliant installment of this trilogy. Be sure to purchase your copy of The Dome today on Amazon. If you have already read the book, please feel to share your comments below. I would love to know what you thought about the story.

Also, check back soon for a special interview with the author, Nova Sparks!

Be sure to like her page on Facebook and follow her blog to receive breaking news and important updates:

http://www.facebook.com/novasparksauthor

http://novasparks.blogspot.com

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