Doctor Bell Anthology: Tinnitus Terror Tales by Jan L Mayes

Summary:

Horror. Humour. Educational. Dr. Bell is determined to find the cure for tinnitus (ear noise). No matter what it takes. No matter how high his dry cleaning bill is. It’s hard to get blood out of a white lab coat. Warning: violence and coarse language. Not for the faint of ear.

Overall

This is an outlandish horror with a level of bizarre that as each story is told, more strange than the last, it is hard not to question how Dr. Bell continues to get away with such ‘experiments.’ Thankfully just as the most tragic story is told, the author switches to Dr. Bell’s ‘punishment.’ I will be honest in saying the ending was disappointing. Without giving anything away I expected Dr. Bell to get his comeuppance…

A vivid horror of incompetence with a Machiavellian lead. If you are looking for a creepy set of horror stories about medical disasters, this is for sure worth your time. Leaves one shuddering. Also a bit of a lesson on blindly following authority. (As a side note: I could see how this could be offensive to those with Tinnitus, so be warned.)

Rating

3 Stars

Creepy and bizarre this set of short stories about medical disasters to cure a terrible disease will leave you squeamish.

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Ugly Things We Hide by M. Ocampo McIvor

Summary

“We all bend the truth from time to time.” 

Enigmatic Hawaiian surfer, Daniel, seems just within reach of a better life, but he is locked in a pattern of self-sabotage — why? 

Restless with his life in Oahu, he moves to the mainland and delves into the shadowy world of the filthy rich, catering to their whims for money. But his cool, smart, and practical exterior starts to crumble under the weight of his clients’ ugly secrets, though he is most wounded by his own secret shame.

Characters

Daniel is a bit of a mess but does so with flare and ease. He is easy to relate to on some regards and draws the reader in with this deep thoughts and restlessness. Although I would say he is pulled along through life it doesn’t feel contrived – in fact it feels quite natural that he should wander. From his sweet Auntie to his brother Noah to Frank his friend and Jackie his “friend” this host of supporting characters is varied and colorful. All I can say is, awe Phoebe.

Plot

I was surprised by this book. The concept seemed interesting but I didn’t know where the author was going. Even though you knew from chapter one where Dan ends up and what happens to him, the journey mattered more. Although I suspected some aspects of the book I was surprised by how it was presented. The beautiful prose scarred by ugly truths. Absolutely stunning and shocking.

Overall

Just wow! I was absolutely floored by this book. After a slow start I was just sucked in. Phoebe was such a star in his life but she burned out because of his choices. I don’t want to give anything away but I just couldn’t put this book down – I had to know the ending. Which left me both unsatisfied and wanting more in many regards. It does seem like there is going to be a second book – so there’s that.

The writing was flowing although a little lengthy (almost unnecessarily in some regards) but didn’t distract from the power behind the book. This hit me square in the chest because of the complexity of humanity striped bare and shown in its beauty and horror. I’ll be honest that I didn’t really like the cover but after reading the book even the cover made sense and should be changed. Overall – a resounding yes!

Rating

5 stars

This book will not go the way you expect – even getting a glimpse of the beginning. The authors subtlety and painful realism will leave you reeling. Well worth the time!

Pets and Masters in Space: Part 1: The First Voyage by Elfa Todari

Summary:

A young adult female, her cat and a technologically advanced telepathic adolescent alien male struggle to understand each other, themselves and their ever-changing world on a journey into outer space.
One million years in the future, Antaska accepts employment with an alien who will take her and her cat on an exploratory trip into space. Unknown to her, the aliens (Verdantes) hire human companions because they want them as pets. M. Hoyvil, her 650-year-old adolescent alien supervisor (in actuality her new owner), does not realize that although humans are assumed to be non-telepathic, she has some telepathic abilities and understands some of his conversations.
Antaska is soon distracted from the confusing sounds she hears by the inappropriate attentions of an un-Earthly attractive human male fitness instructor. Both he and his human female partner are irresistibly beautiful and incredibly powerful due to genetic manipulation in the aliens’ birth labs. The female becomes jealous and takes violent action against Antaska, always staying within the bounds of what is allowed by the Verdantes in her role as Antaska’s martial arts trainer.
In order to resolve a situation spiraling toward increasing violence and betrayal, Antaska must confront her own human but destructive desires. In his own desire to protect her, M. Hoyvil fights against the adult authority that has set strict limits on interference with humans. His martial arts master, a psychic Verdente adult, predicts that the conflicts he and Antaska are experiencing will prepare them for even greater dangers they will face in deep space. Part 1 ends with an emotional bond beginning to form between the three main characters as they land at the first stop on their journey, the home planet of the Verdante.

Overall

This was not a romance. It was a cute short story that could easily be a sci-fi adventure, but not a romance. I really struggled with the character of Antaska, but by the end she had redeemed herself. M. Hoyvil and her cat, Potat, made up for it though! (Gosh I loved that kitty.) The book does a far amount of head hopping which was confusing on more than one occasion as there are no clear transitions. The setting was vivid and interesting. The plot was a slow and uninteresting for most of the first half but after a key chapter happens about half way through, the book gets more interesting and quite enjoyable.

Rating

3 stars

Although this wasn’t a romance (as it was originally categorized) it was a cute enjoyable little book. Just get over the first little hump and know that Antaska will be less annoying in the second half, and you’ll be sure to fly right through it!

This is a voluntary review.

Game Hunter (Game Hunter, #1) by Mark Kloss

Summary:

“ZOMBIES OF THE CITY FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS”

Explosions from experimental chemicals spawn zombie mutations and turn the once famous City of London into a dark dystopia. With it comes a live TV show of grim survival between zombie and man, called Game Hunter.

Teenage male and female half-zombies, Tremayne and Red, have no choice but to be part of the dangerous zombie team in three such shows playing against seven of the deadliest game hunters money can buy. As the first show approaches death and betrayal rule, so who will you be rooting for?

Characters:

Tremayne is adorable. He is so painfully awkward but also awesome. He is sort of stuck in his younger self. He is a complex character that was fun to follow. Red is spunky and tough as nails. They make a great team and are sickeningly adorable together—cute budding romance. There is a whole host of supporting characters. Although some of the bad guys are a little over the top they were still interesting and played their part well.

Plot:

This is almost non-stop action. There are a few down time moments but it almost goes forward at a breakneck speed. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by most of what happened. Although some of the action did get a little repetitive most of it moves it forward. At times I’d forget this was a zombie book. I liked the aspect of being different doesn’t mean you aren’t still a person who deserves rights.

Overall:

This book was a lot of fun! It was funny and didn’t take itself too seriously. It starts off really strong but sort of languishes in the middle before circling back around and getting right back to being awesome. The characters are very well written and I liked nearly all of them!

Rating:

4 Stars

A fun zombie romp! If you love zombie books with a coming of age plot and lots of action this is perfect for you.

 

 

Fourth Quarter Goals & Setting Next Year’s Goals

Happy new year! Welcome to 2018 and I plan to make it a good year!

It is that time again! Let’s recap last year and look at setting next year’s goals.

Goals for my writing for 2017:

  1. Building Mailing List – I’d like to get a mailing list so when I have giveaways and such, I can let everyone who is interested know.
    1. Mailing lists can be found HERE.
  2. Finish Writing The Gate Trilogy (I expect this to happen within the next month). (I’m done writing, now on to the editing)
    1. Get all 3 covers done for The Gate Trilogy, reveal the first one.
      1. Book cover 1 is done (Reveal completed!).
      2. Book 2 is done.
      3. Prequel was done – pushed off completion of book 3.
      4. Book 3 is done.
    2. Publish The Sixth Gate on July 7, 2017
      1. Published on July 7th! On Amazon.
    3. Finish editing all 3 books – get ready for Beta readers.
      1. Book 2 is with beta readers.
      2. Consider publishing in 2018.
  3. Choose which book to have done for Audio Book
    1. Find a ‘voice’ for the audio book and pick a date for release next spring (2018).
      1. April/May 2018 – found voice for Diana
    2. Send a poll in the fall for which book through Mailing List.
    3. Consider putting off another year.
  4. Start writing next book. Decide between 1001 Islands #2, Unfathomable Chance #2, or the new YA Fantasy novel – Temporum: The Four Seasons.
    1. I’ve started writing Temporum: The Four Seasons
      1. Found a major plot hole. Working to resolve it and get writing again.
    2. I’m planning to write Unfathomable Chance #2 for NaNoWriMo and am working on the Outline
      1. Came up with a tentative name: Unfathomable Plan
      2. I’ve tentatively started writing. Over 20,000 words in as of today! Thanks for NaNoWriMo.
    3. I’m also working on the Outline for 1001 Islands #2 which will be a backup for NaNoWriMo if I haven’t completed the outline for Unfathomable Chance #2
      1. Finished outline for Book 2 just today!
  5. Work on Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel
    1. I’ve written three more chapters and hit 10,000 words!
  6. Edit and Get to Beta Readers An Honest Misunderstanding and consider publishing (maybe just on Wattpad).
    1. One Beta Reader is editing
  7. Breathe new life into my Historical Mystery Novella. Finish writing ‘The Red Door’ – SO MUCH REWRITING/EDITING!
    1. Edited and started jotting down notes to finish writing.
  8. Editing/rewrite Truthseer 
    1. I finally re-read this. It is going to take some work but I sure love this story!
  9. Participate in NaNoWriMo
    1. I’ll be working on Unfathomable Plan for NaNoWriMo!
  10. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
    1. Attended YukiCon.
    2. Attended Steamposium and TaikaiCon
    3. Scheduled/booked SenshiCon and Colony Christmas.
    4. Attend SensiCon
    5. Attend Colony Christmas
  11. Read 45 30 0 books before December 31st. Done! Now I’m just gaining books!

Goals for my writing for 2018:

  1. Finish getting The Gate Trilogy Ready
    1. Book 2 – Publish Summer of 2018 (The Nowhere Gate)
      1. Beta readers
      2. Scheduled Cover Reveal
      3. Create Landing Page
      4. Professional editor
    2. Book 3 – Publish Summer of 2019
      1. Edit
      2. Transcribe edits
      3. Beta readers
      4. Cover reveal
      5. Create Landing page
      6. Professional edtior
  2. Publish Audiobook
    1. Unfathomable Chance
      1. Release in 2018
    2. Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand
      1. Find voice
      2. Consider publishing 2019
  3. Focus on Unfathomable Plan
    1. Finish writing in 2018
    2. Start editing 2018
  4. Work on other writing projects after Unfathomable Plan is done.
    1. Temporum: The Four Seasons – Book 1
    2. 1001 Islands 2
    3. Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel
    4. Demon’s Due – Paranormal Erotica/Romance
    5. Noble Chronicles Series (5 Books Planned)
  5. Consider Publishing Love’s Metamorphosis in eBook
  6. An Honest Misunderstanding
    1. Publishing on Wattpad in 2018
    2. One Beta Reader is editing
  7. Editing Projects
    1. Red Door
    2. Truthseer
  8. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018
  9. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
    1. Attended Steamposium
    2. Attend SenshiCon
    3. Book Read Alaska
    4. Attend Read Alaska
  10. Read 50 books before December 31st.

Writing updates:

Thanks to NaNoWriMo I’m over 20,000 words into Unfathomable Plan. I’m getting distracted, however, by the audiobook and editing of the last book in The Gate Trilogy. That being said my goal is to write a minimum of 2,000 words a week so I finish writing in April when my audiobook comes out. I’m hoping to publish Unfathomable Plan in early 2020.

Audiobook:

I’ve found a voice for Diana and have booked her to start reading in January. Just making a few adjustments to the book and then I’ll be sending it out! I hope she’ll finish by end of February and I’ll publish it early 2018 (no later than May 31).

Reading Goal:

It is my goal to read 50 books. So far I’m one book down and already almost through my second. Being only a week in and I think that’s a great start!

Happy reading!

Dust and Ashes (Prosperine Trilogy 0.5) by P.J. McDermott

Summary:

In 2095 AD, near Hierapolis in Turkey, an elderly priest is exploring an archaeological dig looking for ancient artefacts. Inside a nearby cave, he discovers a chamber containing a limestone burial box.

What does the box contain? The answer will take the world to the brink of an apocalyptic war and change the future of the human race.

This 10,000 word short story is the prequel to the scifi—fantasy adventure, the Prosperine Trilogy, featuring the space heroine Hickory Lace. It takes place eighty-four years before the first book in the series, Avanaux, and deals with the cataclysmic events on the planet Earth leading to the formation of the Alien Corps.

Overall

This short story packs a punch. A lot happens in a very short number of pages and it was expertly written. Absolutely fascinating take on Christianity and the future of religion without being preachy. Easy to read with vivid scenes and enough characters to make me wonder where it was going next. For sure sucked me into the world the author painted.

I did doubt the coincidence at the start of the book, however.  The timing right at the start of an Earthquake happening and they just happen to be there. Once I got over that small hurdle I really enjoyed it.

Rating

4 stars

If I had to pick one saying for this short story, I’d say ‘pleasantly surprised.’

This review is voluntary.

2017 in Review – Best Reads

2017 Reading Stats

Goal for 2017: 45

Number of books read: 59

Number of books reviewed: 55

Best Books of 2017:

1st place goes to:

Where the Waters turn Black.jpg

Patrick, Benedict – Where the Waters turn Black (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

Here is why: For the second year in a row I’ve been blown away by Benedict’s amazing writing style and unique approach. Where the Water Turns Black is completely different from this first book and I would give this book six stars if I could. Where They Mostly Come Out at Night amazed me, this endeared itself to me from the get go – amazing plot, fantastic characters, and vivid world building. Not to mention the ending was just AMAZING! This is a must read!

FYI the third one is out and I am STOCKED to read it!

2nd place goes to:

Burner (5 Stars).jpg

Lenore, J.S. – Burner (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

Here is why: I love The Dresden series and this was like Dresden’s spunky love child. Burner was a unique and addicting read. It was hard to put this book down once I started reading it! Not to mention the main character was so wonderfully stubborn but lovable. Looking forward to more!

3rd place goes to:

Michael's Passion.jpg

Crofoot, Joel – Michael’s Passion (A Series of Angels #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Here is why: When I started reading this book I wasn’t expecting much. Perhaps it was the silly cover but after page two I was sucked in. I couldn’t put it down. It was steamy and romantic, yes, but there was an actual plot! A unique take that just grabs you by the shoulders and pulls you on a romantic journey – don’t worry there are more and they are just as good!

 

 

Best Crime (Mystery/Suspense):

Midnight over Moores (5 stars).jpg

Johnson, A.M.H – Midnight Over Moores (Book #1) (YA Paranormal) (Review)(Amazon)

I really surprised by how cute this novel was. The best part was the mystery!

 

 

Best Fantasy:

Where the Waters turn Black.jpg

Patrick, Benedict – Where the Waters turn Black (Fantasy) (Review) (Amazon)

I cannot get over this book! It was that fantastic.

Best Romance:

Michael's Passion.jpgAsael's Nature (5 stars).jpg

A tie for two of Joel’s books.

Crofoot, Joel – Asael’s Nature (A Series of Angels #3) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Crofoot, Joel – Michael’s Passion (A Series of Angels #1) (Paranormal Romance) (Review)(Amazon)

Once you start reading these just realize you are kissing a weekend goodbye – they are that amazing!

Best Paranormal/Supernatural:

Burner (5 Stars).jpg

Lenore, J.S. – Burner (Supernatural) (Review)(Amazon)

Loved all the twists and turns of the mystery but the supernatural aspects of this novels really made it one of the best!

 

Best Short Story:

Loved in Hell (4 stars).jpg

Cole, Dia – Lover in Hell (Short Story Paranormal Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

The fact that I don’t like zombie anything and I enjoyed this short story tells you it was good!

Best Urban (anything):

In What Remains (4.5 stars).jpg

Rose, K.B. – In What Remains (Romance) (Review) (Amazon)

I was really floored by the gritty realism of this book. It was a nail bitter that was hard to predict!

Best Young Adult:

The Shadow Girl (5 Stars).jpg

Mount, Misty – Shadow Girl (Young Adult) (Review)(Amazon)

Perfect for ages 10-25. If you are socially awkward and love fantasy this is a must read!

Best Wattpad:

Boring is the new Black.jpg

Boring is the new Black by Megan Bryce (Review) (Amazon)

Once more I love Megan Bryce!

 

If you loved these make sure you check the Best Books of 2016

Unsung Hero of 2016:

This is a book that I loved that didn’t win a placement last year.

Burn - Elemental Hearts Book 1 (5 stars).jpg

This book was hot hot hot! I read it late in 2016 and didn’t realize how much I loved it until later into 2017 when I read the 2nd book in the series. For sure a steamy must read!