Book Reviews

Book reviews are essential for both readers and authors alike. 

For the reader, book reviews save time, energy, and reduce risks. Book reviews give potential readers the chance to become familiar with what a book is about before investing their time and money into getting a copy for themselves. Through book reviews, readers also have the opportunity to become a part of the author's world by providing their intake and input on their favorite works of literature. 

For authors, book reviews increase awareness, sales, and visibility. Often, books with greater reviews have a higher chance of being read. Through book reviews, an author's work is also shared with a wider audience, giving the author an opportunity to influence a whole new group of people.

My Book Rating System

 

5 Stars – Absolutely flawless and intriguing. I don’t understand why this isn’t on every bookshelf everywhere.

4 Stars – The book has either mass appeal or cult appeal. Very few flaws and the premise of the story, characters and plot are extremely good. I’d recommend you to my family and friends.

3 Stars – Very much worth the read. I found the story intriguing and entertaining, but I also saw issues with structure and flow. I’d still recommend you to my friends and family.

2 Stars – You have a promising story, but it’s also filled with plot holes, dropped plots, cliches and reads like a second draft.

1 Star – Shows promise, needs a developmental editor. Wasn’t ready for publication.

No Mention of Stars – I couldn’t decide where the book belonged on the rating system, but I thought it was still good enough to receive a review. You have an audience somewhere, but it probably wasn’t me, and any star rating I would have given it would not precisely fit it.  My estimated rating may have also been vastly lower than what you've already recieved, and I was unwilling to put a rating in that would ding you.

Where You can Expect Your Book Review

You can expect your book review to be posted in the book reviews on this website.  At that time, a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn post will also go out.  Reviews may also be posted to Goodreads, depending on the rating I gave it.  Amazon reviews are a whole different beast.  In order to post an Amazon review, I'd need a copy of the ebook from Amazon.  This is because Amazon is extremely strict about their reviews.  The best way to get an Amazon review is via one of your organic readers, not necesarily a book reviewer. And trust me, I understand the importance of Amazon book reviews.  I wish I had more of them.  With that being said, I encourage you to send me an epub or a .mobi version of your book to review, not a prepaid Amazon ebook link.  All book review requests can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by contacting me on Twitter.

Affinity’s window is a 294 page horror book that feels more like dark suspense until around page 60. The book starts in the past where we meet Affinity, her strange window, her magical doll, Mr. Moppet, and Bell Manor, which is a sprawling mansion with more hidden secrets that you can count. Readers are taken through a little bit of Affinity's life and her past until Chapter 4. Without giving away any details, we can safely say that Affinity's past was horrific, and the Bell family had its fair share of strife for the short time they lived in the house.

At chapter 4, the book jumps 30 years to 1974. That may be a little jarring. Chapter 3 ends abruptly and Chapter 4 starts after a large time jump. The good news is that the story started in the first three chapters doesn’t end, but it does become conversations, psychic visions and flashbacks once the book time jumps. 

At the time jump, we meet Tanner Dan and psychic Linda. Tanner is working on a book and trying to prove that ghosts exist.  Linda is trying to help him believe in ghosts and finish his book.  She also knows that Tanner is trying to solve the mystery of his brother, who disappeared in a house very similiar to Bell Manner.

Author Douglas L Wilson has a very interesting writing style in the fact that nearly every detail is described. I would classify it at an older writing style versus the modern writing style of only describing extremely important things. This means that if you like books with a lot of description, you’ll love this one. 

Because of the description and the slow pacing (It’s not a thriller horror by any means.), the actual horror doesn’t start until page 60, so it may very well catch you off guard. The entire book is like a cross between The Ring, Poltergeist, The Others and Cujo, if Cujo were a demonic ghost dog, and you can throw a little Chucky in there as well. It’s a mishmash of a lot of different elements, and it’s done well.

Overall, it’s a pretty good book. I’d give it a solid 4 stars. The description is what got me at a few points because it almost gets tedious, but the story itself is fine. It’s interesting, and it will certainly suck you in. Affinity's Window does hit its paranormal horror genre, as in it hits the old definition of horror. I would say that it is certainly worth the read. Whether or not you want to sleep with your nightlight on after you read it is up to you.

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You Wish is a 284 page coming of age fantasy book.  It has a wonderful premise in the fact that a high school freshman boy is able to make three wishes. Of course, we've all heard or read that tale.  The good news is that Mark's retelling is fairly unique.  After all, what's an awkward teenage boy going to wish for?  You can guess, right?

The book starts off with a baseball game, and if you didn’t read or pay much attention to the category, you might have a difficult time placing this book’s age bracket. I would recommend it for anyone over the age of 14. This is due to the curse words and frequent use of the word “dickweed”. So, it’s important to understand that this is not a book for a really young audience. No one wants their 10-year old walking around saying dickweed. (If this were a book for an adult audience, the language wouldn’t even make my radar.) 

I will say that the baseball game is fairly humorous in its content. I laughed more than once. However, it does start off fairly slowly with the baseball game and a visit to an old Victorian house in chapters one and two, then it switches perspectives to the adults in the teenagers’ lives. The meat of the story doesn’t really begin until chapter five when the teenagers finally discover the object of wishing (back at that old Victorian house). I won’t tell you what it is, but you can probably guess. 

All in all, Mark hits his age bracket with this book. It wasn’t quite my cup of tea due to the fact that I felt it read a little choppy, and there seemed to be too many creative insults. If you’ve ever seen Milo and Stitch, the insults are right along the level of “Stupid-head”. I just felt that at some point they really distracted from Mark’s talent in retelling this story. With that being said, I’m an adult reader, and the teenagers who read this book may laugh their asses off at them. After all, Lizard Breath, may become the new favorite high school ribbing. Is it worth reading? Absolutely. It is a unique retelling of the three wishes story and worth the time to read. This book resides somewhere between three and four stars.

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Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller Kindle Edition

by Mallory Kelly

Dead End is a short, 48 page read by Mallory Kelly that can be found in the conspiracy thriller category, and it is book 1 in her Clown Conspiracy series of short, horrifying tales that are certain to keep you up at night. Dead End is set in a small Colorado town that receives more than its fair share of rain, and when detective's Carter and Shirley are all out to a cornfield to investigate reports of a body, they find one - still bleeding. Currently, as of the writing of this review, there are four books in this series and a four-book anthology that includes all four books. 

The first thing to note about Dead End is that it is an easy book to read. It flows smoothly and contains easy to read language, so there's no need for a thesaurus. The book opens quickly, starting off with dialogue between two security guards at an old haunted house that happens to be on the edge of a muddy cornfield While a dialogue opening for a book is not typically recommended, it works for this short story. In fact, did the guards not paying attention and playing cards instead of patrolling the grounds fail to prevent this murder?

The lucky winner of checking out the cornfield for trespassers falls to Jack, a temporary employee that was lucky to land the gig after spending some time working in a pig slaughterhouse. Of course, his current job choice may not be any safer. After slogging through a wet cornfield, falling in the mud and hearing ominous laughing in the darkness, he spots a still bleeding dead body with its throat cut. Yikes! It's too close to Halloween in this book for crazy laughing murderers in cornfields. talk about setting your nerves on fire.

Solving the crime and stopping the perpetrator falls to detectives Carter and Shirley, who must stop the murderous clown before he strikes again! Of course, solving the case is harder than it appears. It is, after all, a haunted house that already dripping with fake blood, and it appears the college students aren't terribly bright either. 

With that being said, Carter and Shirley are determined to find the killer before he/she strikes again, and that may just involve digging into the bowels of an Internet chat room full of...clowns? Did one of them commit the murder? Are they all committing murders? Are Shirley and Carl the next victims of this demented clown? You'll have to read to find out.

Overall, this is a pretty darned good read. It's fast-paced with plenty of action to keep you flipping the pages. The ending is also one you'll remember, and it may even entice you enough to pick up the next book in the series - Lock the Door.

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Two Come Carrie Tonight by Britni Pepper is a 55 page erotica novel that follows Nate and Carrie. Nate is a broke, severely in debt college student, and Carrie is an up and coming photographer. This steamy book follows them as they journey on their own paths across in New Mexico and eventually meet up under a bridge. After a few words and a few pictures, Carrie decides Nate’s Jeep is a better option when it comes to taking photographs of old bridges along Route 66.

In fact, while this may be an erotica book, the research performed on the setting and the highway are extremely good. As it the setup and growth of the characters. This book could have easily gone another 100 pages had the author decided to expand the growing relationship between Nate and Carrie. Of course, as promised, this book has graphic sex scenes that include actual sex as well as masturbation. This book is definitely worth the read if you’re old enough to purchase and read erotic stories. It’s a solid 3.5 stars. It would have ranked higher had it both been longer and included more sex scenes. With that being said, there were no glaring errors, and the book is extremely well written.

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Conquered by Holly Merrigan has been waiting quite a while for a review for several reasons.  The biggest one was that I couldn't find the actual book link anywhere. I couldn't find where it was published. I eventually found the original email with the author's name. My review copy didn't contain the author's name or the book cover.  The latter, I'm used to.  The former, not so much. This book has a lot of things to like in it.  It starts off with vampires being tortured in and escaping from a concetration camp. That's enough to get my attention.  That's a really cool way to start off a story, especially a vampire story.  However, these are not traditional vampires. They have hearts that beat, and I'm not even sure if the word vampire is used in the book.  I don't remember.  The overview simply says they are cursed. The other big thing is that this book is written in third person present tense.  This is not my favorite style for a book, especially one that appears to, at least, take place partially in the past.  However, I understand why it's used.  It's meant to create a sense of urgency, but every time I read he/she says, I cringed, so I probably wasn't the best reviwer for this book. With that being said, someone else may love this.  The opening suquence and overall premise are extremely interesting.  It is officially a dark fantasy with 235 pages.

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Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen is a 286 page thriller that starts off more like  a family life drama than a revenge crime thriller. The clues that this might be a crime thriller filled with revenge occur in the Preface and Prologue, but Chapter 1 takes you back to the hometown of Jameel and Afra, who are integral to this story and the reason for the revenge slaughtering of the prestigious family. During these first several chapters, you learn of Afra and Jameel's home lives during their early years, what drives them and what pulls them apart. Without giving anything away, I can say it was a marriage for Afra and business and extended family for Jameel. However, the book moves fairly slowly until about Chapter 9. It is there where you start to see the negative turn in Afra’s life, and the entire story picks up steam. The crime/revenge thriller starts at Chapter 16. Form this point, it’s told in a mixed perspective. Partially in first person from Ralph Buchanan’s perspective, and then you’re still following Jameel’s journey as the investigative reporter tries to solve the crime of an honor killing.

I feel like this book has a range of stars. The first part is a solid 3 stars. It moves a bit slowly, but it’s information that you have to have in order to thoroughly understand the book and why the final chapters occur as they do. Part two is definitely four stars. Maybe even five stars.  I could read a whole book just based on the premise of part II. There’s really a lot of action, and you are certainly going to feel for the victim, especially if you’ve ever wanted to better yourself and find security and happiness only to find that the path chosen was the worst possible path.

The intermixing of first person in a 90% third person book isn't my thing, and that's how the final chapters flow - aternating between the detective in first person and Jameel in third person. I still liked following Jameel's path though.  Overall though, I'd say it's a very enlightening book. I can imagine that parts of this were difficult to write because they were certainly difficult to read. It shows some real horors that we all know to be true.

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Travis by John Decarteret is a 303-page dark fantasy/horror novel published by Idle Sky Press. It starts with the birth of Travis Blackett, a son to Lord and Lady Blackett, except, Travis was born under unusual circumstances. Lord and Lady Blackett had made love years prior to the birth of Travis, and the seed rooted itself while Lord Blackett was away. In fact, it is the seed that becomes very important in this tale. For Travis is from a long line of descendants destined to produce the reincarnation of a very important member of the family. Of course, Travis does not remember his former life. It takes the smoke image of his former self to tell him all there is to know and set him on a journey that will change his life and the lives of his immediate family and descendants forever.

If you like dark fantasy, wizards, magic and hidden truths, you'll love Travis by John Decarteret. This novel promises to take you on a scary ride of magic and horror as Travis attempts to figure out just who he is and restore his family line (which is incredibly convoluted.) This is easily a 3-star book. It is apparent to me that the author spent an incredible amount of time on story and development in order to create his world.  For a debut novel, the author has chosen a really complex concept to try and articulate.

While this novel is decent for a debut novel, there are some things that may be confusing.  For example, this is a fantastical setting with Lords and Ladies and an obvious Noble class system.  However, the language of the book and the slang used in the dialogue is modern. This may throw some readers for a loop when trying to figure out the time period of this novel, and this may make the novel feel slightly disjointed.

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