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.  The benefit to having your book posted on this website is that it will also feed into my Twitter feed with an image of your book cover until I read and review the next book, which could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

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.

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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On Fractured Ground came to me with a warning for sexual abuse and violence and overall dark sexual themes.  It lives up to that.  It is a variation on the sex trade industry in that it involves The Cellar Institute, which is a school that is specifically designed to groom girls to be sold for sex.  There's no way to sugar coat that.  This book's theme is sex slavery.  It's listed as a psychological thriller, but due to the overall theme and plot, it's also has elements of erotica, so this could also almost be considered an erotic psychological thriller.  Now, if you're looking for something that condemns the sex industry, this is not that book.

This book takes you into the world of The Cellar Institute, specifically Tylar and Chase's world.  Tyler is the 18 year old who is stuck at institute and desperately wants out, so much so that she abuses and manipulates her "trainers".  Chase is the man who agrees to train her for her last year so that she can be successfuly sold to some rich, older man, thus earning the family that owns The Cellar Institute money.  But oh wait, the current owner doesn't like this particular business his family owns.  This is a complication.  Tyler is also instantly attracted to this man and he to her.  So, there is plenty of sexual tension.  There's also the threat of dealth.  Unruley girls who refuse to particpate in their training aren't simply let go from the insitute.  They might talk about what goes on there.  Instead, they're killed.  Finding that an unpalatable solution for Tylar, the owner of the institute and Chase agree to retrain her for her final year so that they don't have to kill her and bury her in the woods.

Is it worth reading?  Absolutely.  In fact, if you don't want to read it in 24 hours, you'll probably have to pace yourself.  It is incredibly interesting.  It does have its slow points, but it doesn't tend to take long for it to pick back up.  This is probably on purpose to not overwhelm the reader.  To me, this is a five star book, but I happen to really like dark themed books where there are no good characters.  This fits the bill.  It's extremely well written and worth reading. I could not find much at fault.  In fact, there was so little that it's not even worth mentioning. The good news about this book is that it's the first in a series, so if you like this one, there will be more.

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I am going to start off by saying this is not something I would normally review.  My standard categories are adult fiction with dark themes, crime fiction, erotica, bad guys as the main characters fiction and dark/alt religion type fiction.  This is a traditional Christian fiction book.  With that being said, the reason I chose to review it was because the writing in the Amazon sample chapters was absolutely stellar.  It would have been a complete injustice to the author for me to refuse it, and my initial perceptions of the book were not wrong.  The technical writing is stellar.  I did not see a typo anywhere.  A lot of effort, editing and polishing went into this book and that is something I can appreciate both as an author and as a book reviewer. 

Now, you may be wondering - Was it any good?

Yes, Alexandria - World Class Life Story by BDL is a good book.  The premise is that an Olympic sprinting champion, Ruthie Sharone, is 106 years old, and she wants to write her biography before she dies. Ruthie believes deeply in God, and she regularly prays and talks to God.  As a result, God has told her that she shall live long enough to see her next great-grandchild born, and she will live long enough to finish her biography, but she needs to make it happen immediately.  Ruth takes those words seriously and immediately begins her quest to find a suitable biographer, who turns out to be a woman who is down on her luck, Bridgette.


The book is written as a biography, not an autobiography, so it's in third person, past tense.  Readers take a trip down memory lane with Ruth. The biography starts in Ruthie's college days before she met her husband and while she was training to be a track star.  During the subsequent pages, you are taken on a blow by blow of Ruth's life as it happened.  You get to see all her trials and tribulations and all the trials and tribulations of those around her, and there's plenty to go around. 

To spite them all being deeply religious, they all make their fair share of mistakes and how they resolve the mistakes, disagreements, all-out fights and even interpersonal and family shockers.  Through Ruth and other's recollections, you get to see her entire family and friends' lives play out on the pages.  

Being that this is a Christian family drama, it's not a fast paced novel.  It's a leisurely walk down memory lane.  This book won't keep you on the edge of your seat with scare tactics, intense fighting or horrific external conflict.  It will keep you turning the pages to see how these guys manage the chaos in their lives with the help of the Lord.

Where does it fall on the ole book rating system?  It's a 4. I would say somewhere between a 3 and a 4, but there are no structural issues with it.  There are no flow problems. It's going to have appeal for Christians trying to figure out how to manage the challenges in their lives, and it's going to appeal to anyone who likes deep family dramas.  It's evenly paced throughout the book.  You'll also get to enjoy this book for longer than a few hours.  It's 760 pages.  So yeah, I'm not particularly fond of this genre, and I think it's worth the read.

 

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