Tag Archives: Self-Published

The Dragon Blood Collection – Lindsay Buroker

hatWell. Here I am. It’s been awhile! 8 months have passed since I last wrote and so much has happened! I now have an MA in publishing and seem to be getting a book published next year. I’ve had three jobs and am looking for the next as my temporary position winds down at the end of the year. A lot has happened. Have I stopped reading hence why no posts? Nope, but having 2 jobs and trying to complete an MA at the same time can leave one with very little downtime to not only read a book but to then review it!

Ah well. I am back. Just in time for Christmas. And this new book series I am about to review I would recommend to get someone for Christmas.

Plot21797289

We start of this series with Balanced on the Blade’s Edge. Here we meet Colonel Ridge Zirkander and he is in trouble. So much so that he is shipped off from his flight crew and sent to manage a prison in the middle of the snowy mountains.

Below this prison, Sardelle Terushan awakens after 300 years in a magic coma. She awakens to world where Dragons no longer exist and their dragon blood has weakened in humans, meaning no more sorcerers.  In fact, anyone with magic (or accused of magic) is so greatly feared that they are often sentenced to horrific deaths. No longer physically attached to her soulblade, Jaxi, Sardelle has to face this new world alone without magic.

Ridge and Sardelle must battle their own issues to trust one another and leave this hell-hole.

22307971The next in the series is Deathmaker and here we meet two new characters. Cas is the youngest in Zirkander’s flight crew. She has an uncanny ability to always shoot her target and loves to be part of the wolf flight crew.

Deathmaker is a scientist/warrior who was kicked out by his army and now lives as a notorious pirate with a grudge against Zirkander. When captured and placed within a cell, his luck changes as he finds himself with Cas, his enemy’s lieutenant. They need each other to escape but can they trust each other.

Opinion

These are just the first two of the six book collection. So far I am hooked. Ironically, I had bought the first three as a set and had never gotten round to them, then BookBub offered me the first one for free and having read it, tried to get the 2nd one on Amazon to then be told I already had it. Whilst this suggests the blurb was good enough for me to download the books, it clearly didn’t entice me enough to want to read it. However, I am glad I did.

Fast paced, witty and enjoyable are what I would use to describe this collection thus far. The characters have depth and by making the 5 main characters known through the first two books separately means we have a deeper understanding and knowledge of them and can now move on to the rest of the series with this greater understanding instead of having just 2 dimensional characters but having them in all of the books all of the time.

The setting seems a mix between modern day and medieval. There are flying machines similar to our fighter planes and airships yet magic is tolerated as much as it was during the Pendle Witches or Salem trials and is believed to have died out. Guns are used but so are swords. Buroker has used the best of all fantasy worlds and merged them together to enable primitive mindsets to live alongside mechanical evolution with magic.

If you are not a fan of independent authors due to the utter rubbish that can be out there then I suggest you have a go at these books to alter your mindset. Buroker has managed to create a very complete and accurate book that flows and feels like traditionally published book without actually being one. For fans of the Inheritance Cycle or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy this should be on your “to read list”.

All in all a great read so far and I am excited to have a complete book series to get my teeth into once more. My verdict a solid 7.5/10. 

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Lindsay Buroker

The Geneva Decision – Seeley James

Screenshot_2015-03-23-11-38-34For those of you in the publishing world, in a few weeks we have the Bologna Book Fair! With my MA course, I am able to go to Bologna for free (well free as long as you don’t count the course fee!). So hopefully I will have something fun to report when I get back. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!

This book today was found, once again, via BookBub. For those not subscribed to BookBub, go for it! It’s a great way to discover new titles and genres!

Plot

We meet our protagonist, Pia Sabel, right from the get go. An ex Olympic soccer player (or football if your English!), she becomes the boss of her adoptive father’s security company. Apparently Pia had a rather traumatic first few years, where she saw her mother and father murdered and threatened to be killed herself. Luckily, her adopted dad had a bit of money to be able to employ body guards and decided to start up his own security company to help Pia.

Pia is out on a ‘job’ and spots a shady guy. Following him, she sees him shoot her potential employer. After she tackles him and hands him over to the police, we see that he has an accomplice. The police blunder and the assassin escapes, plunging Pia and Sabel security into the shady world of bankers and assassins. A journey that takes her from Switzerland to Colombia and back to continental Europe, rookie Pia makes mistakes, friends, loyalty and respect in her new playing field.

Opinion

Enjoyment wise, this was a great book. Pia was a relatable character. She had been moddle-coddled by her over-protective father all her life. Even when she was on a soccer tour, she had her own security. The two agents with her show how inexperienced Pia in the spy game and the derision showed by some of the team is one that is very believable in a male orientated world.

The problem for me with this book was the level of disbelief. How does an olympic soccer player know what an assassin looks like from his demeanor on her first case out? I’d expect James Bond, a secret service spy and ex-officer in the Navy to be able to but not Pia. Her ability to incapacitate the assassin is slightly ridiculous, when again, she has no ‘spy’ experience. The fact that Pia is the leader of her group is just asking for her to die. Yes she is the owner of the company but relying on the experience of other people is more believable, and when she is seen to have promoted someone for this specific role, she still ignores them. Why would someone who wasn’t the best shot, is a rookie and no ability to decide if a situation is too dangerous lead a team to potential slavers?

If it wasn’t for these problems, this book would easily be an 8 or 9. However, due to my inability to believe some of the situations, my verdict is 6/10. Worth a read but just lacking a decent editor.suicide-tourism

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Reclaiming the Sand – A. Meredith Walters

It’s been a while since I last posted. Many posts have been started and then life seemed to get in the way.  I currently have a second blog that if you are interested in being in publishing might be of some interest to you but it has taken my time away from this one. I found this book through bookbub and was a little apprehensive. It includes a boy who has Aspergers. I find these, if done badly, can be offensive. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was excellently done and I feel many people just jumped on the Autism bandwagon. However, if done well then you bring the readers into this world and it can be beautiful.

Plot

Reclaiming the Sand starts off based on Ellie’s point of view. We see that she is in a dead end job, with dead end friends and on the road to living a life probably in prison, already having spent a stint in jail for arson. Ellie is on the brink of joining the local community college to study English Literature but is in fear of not being good enough, something her life in foster care has taught her.

Having committed to a study course, she runs into Flynn. He is the reason she was in jail, he is the reason she thinks she isn’t good enough, he is the reason she thinks she is a bad person. We learn about their teenage relationship through Flynn’s eyes and it shows how adult Ellie is still as confused as teenage Ellie. She wants to be friends with Flynn but doesn’t know how he could fit into her life of abuse, lies and status.

Flynn likes Ellie. He always has. In his head he can’t understand why she is sometimes nice to him and sometimes mean but he likes nice Ellie so much that he can forgive mean Ellie. Even when she pushed it too far, Flynn has already forgiven her for everything she did. The only question is can she forgive herself?

Opinion

This book is just breath taking in its elegance and structure. It was a stroke of genius to tell the story originally from Ellie’s point of view and to see her struggle to better herself and break free of her ‘friends’. It means that when you see how she acted in high school, you don’t hate her. You feel sorry for her, disappointed in her weaknesses but you admire her even more for the changes in her life that she managed to accomplish.

Flynn is exquisitely written. I have a slight understanding of Autism through a mother working within social services and Flynn is how someone with Autism acts. It never feels forced or contrite and you never cringe at the storyline and what he says. Walters either knows someone with Autism or did extensive research but Flynn is perfect. His attitude towards life is refreshing and his ability to forgive is one we should all hope to aspire to. He knows all the bad things about Ellie and while he might not be able to understand it or vocalise his feelings about it, he does forgive her because he loves her. It is that simple for him.

All in all an excellent read full of emotion. My verdict: 9/10. Don’t be put off by the seemingly heavy subject matter, give it a go! It wont disappoint!

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Filed under A. Meredith Walters, Book Review, Chick Lit, kindle, Romance

Loving Mr. Daniels – Brittainy C Cherry

Ever hear of BookBub? Neither had I until I saw an internet advert. Intrigued I followed the link and found something truly amazing. A website that sends you an email every day with some great book offers. BookBub scours the internet for books relating to your favourite genres (as chosen on their website), they then send you the list and you can follow the link to get it. I have selected that I only read off of Amazon kindle so I get to find out the latest free or cheap books. Loving Mr. Daniels came through a few days ago as there is currently an offer on for it. Try out the website and you might be surprised what you get.

Plot

Loving Mr. Daniels starts off with Daniel, the titular character (yes he is called Daniel Daniels), and his horrific story. He picks up his drug dealer and user brother only to then find he is wanted by a drug gang. This gang then shoot the boys’ mother at their family home. Cut to Ashlynn and our main protagonist. She is at the funeral of her twin sister, Gabby, who died of Leukaemia. Ashlynn’s mother can no longer handle a daughter and sends her to live with her estranged father. An important note here is that Ashlynn was ill as a child so was held back a year at school, meaning she is 19 starting her last year of American high school. Gabby also left her twin letters for every big stage of Ashlynn’s life.

On the train to her father’s house and new life, she meets a young man (Daniel) who invited her to see his band perform in a local bar. After getting to know each other they realise that they are both broken individuals but seem to be able to mend slightly with each other. They share a passionate kiss and arrange to meet up for a ‘proper’ date.

On Monday at high school, Ashlynn enters into her AP English class to find her teacher is non other than Daniel…

Opinion

I don’t feel that my plot section has done this book justice. It truly is one of the best chick flick/romance books I have ever read. It has the taboo of Teacher/Student romance with an unjust feeling as she is technically a year older than high school. It has the typical romance situation of two broken people but with two people who are broken because of a real life occurrence (a girl dying of Leukaemia and a drug killing is more plausible than two people who happen to find each other but were both sexually abused). It doesn’t pander to people who might not be that intellectual reading a romance book for the thrill. Intelligence and reading is seen as sexy and knowing Shakespeare is a turn on for both characters. Daniel and Ashlynn’s love is never seen as sleazy or wrong and their professional relationship is not the reason for their personal one.

Cherry has written a very smart book and it is not the actions of the characters that add the sexual tension but the words. Daniel’s quotes are amazing and are what every girl/woman wants to hear her man say; “I love you because I was born to do so”, “You’re beautiful… I don’t just mean your looks. I mean your smarts, your tears, your brokenness. I think that’s beautiful”. Imagine if your boyfriend said that too you!

twitter quoteI cried throughout the book. Each letter opened by Ashlynn from Gabby made me cry, the joyful events made me cry and the sad events made me cry. Unfortunately I then had to go to work…  A fantastic look with puffy and red eyes for bar work!

The interactions between all the characters are great and I think it is this that adds what has been lacking for me in books of this genre. Usually you have the two main characters and everyone else is a side note. Where as Cherry has actually taken then time to create a wealth of characters, all interesting and all vital to the plot. Daniels and Ashlynn actually have lives outside of each other and this is what adds depth to the story.

All in all a great read. One you should definitely pick up and a welcomed relief after the terror of the last book! My verdict 9/10. Give it a go!

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Filed under Book Review, Brittainy C Cherry, Chick Lit, Loving Mr. Daniels, Romance

The Forever Trilogy – Sandi Lynn

As usual with recent books that I have read, this trilogy was recommended by kindle for me. I have read 50 Shades of Grey and The Crossfire Series so I quite like romance novels that have some sort of story line. However, I couldn’t even get past the 1st book. This is highly unusual for me. Even the worst book on this blog I could finish. Time to review!

Plot
Blah blah, rip off of 50 Shades… Blah blah, badly written sex scene… blah blah, rip off of Crossfire Series, blah…

Opinion
As you might have guessed I really didn’t like this book! For the first time ever this review is about a book I did not finish. As I have reviewed over 50 books on here and also read many more on top of that, this is definitely unusual behaviour!

The writing was appalling. Every few lines I was pulled out of the ‘story’ in utter disbelief at how bad it was. How anyone read it and felt the need to continue for another 2 books is beyond me. I genuinely threw my kindle away from me in disgust at how bad it was.

The storyline is a complete and utter rip off. I know many stories can be linked together (Women’s Murder Club similar to Rizzoli and Isles, Inheritance Cycle is similar to The Lord of the Rings) but this just takes the biscuit! Combine the previously mentioned romance novels together, throw in some bad dialogue and you have yourself a Forever Trilogy.

I always want people to read the books and see if they agree with me but I doubt I could let my own worst enemy read this and not feel guilty so people please, take this review on board and DO NOT READ!!! For the first time ever my verdict is… 0/10Nothing in this book made it salvageable.

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The Girl in the Box Series – Robert J Crane

I have decided after this week that I really like Indie authors. Any of you who follow this blog on twitter will know that I have been doing my usual tweeting and tweeting to the authors of the books I am currently reading. Now, when you do a mainstream author, chances of getting a reply or a re-tweet are very small. Tweet an Indie author and you shall see miracles! Both Lily Zante of A Perfect Match series and now Robert J Crane have tweeted back to this little blog and indeed re-tweeted certain posts. This is obviously beneficial for both parties involved, getting my blog out to new people and the same for them. Obviously being nice does tend to help in one’s review of a book. You might not say it is a good book but you can say the author is nice!

Back to the series in hand. Again, through Kindle, the first three books of this series was offered to me. After reading Caged I was slightly apprehensive of reading another free paranormal book, especially one that gave me three new books. Luckily I was hooked on these from the first chapter!

Plot

We meet Sienna, a girl who seems to have spent her whole life inside her house. Her mother has her rules, Rule #1 being no going outside, as well as no talking about outside, always wear a full set of clothes including gloves and to basically listen to her mother all the time. Two men break into her house with guns and surprisingly, Sienna is able to defend herself extremely well with a great sense of wit to boot. Escaping her house, she runs into another man and he helps her to escape. Reed turns out later to be a great friend (watch for the twist) but for the mean time he ends up being knocked out by a hulk of a man named Wolfe. This guy is out for Sienna (another one?!) and nearly captures her at the local mall. However, a few tranquillisers later and the two previous men intervening, Sienna manages to escape. The men take her unconscious body to an institute called the Directorate and here she learns about herself and that she is part of a species called metas. These are humans who have extra strength, speed, agility, intelligence (sometimes) and their own individual power. Sienna learns she is a Succubus, a person who can dream-walk and steal people’s souls/essence from them. This obviously kills them and causes great distress to Sienna in more ways than one.

Throughout the series we have questions raised, such as where her mother has gone too, can the Directorate be trusted, who is Reed and many more resulting in a hair raising, emotional and sometimes funny quest that we venture on with Sienna.

Opinion

I love this book series. The plot isn’t fully complete as I am currently on book #7 out of 10. I have read the previous 6 in about 2 days. This is how enthralling a storyline it is. I have always been a bit of a geek and these books play on this extremely well. Very large geek references are throughout, from the comic books (Iron Man and Thor) to Star Wars and more. I am sure there are some that go over even my head.

Sienna is a great character. Unlike in Caged where the leading lady was just annoying, Sienna has an Orissa feel about her (from the Contagium Series). Her tongue in cheek wit is great and I wish I had the ability to dish out some of her comebacks. She is so mature in some ways and then in a blink you are reminded she is only 18. For a man writing about a woman, Crane did an excellent job of getting an 18 year old girl insecurities down pat. Her feelings and emotions are some that I can remember from my later teenage years so well played Crane!

Like I said, I haven’t finished the series yet so I do not know what is going to happen and I am finding the directions the books are going in at the moment to be interesting. I hope we get a good ending and I’m trying not to rush them to find out as I am prone to do because I like them so much I don’t want them to end! For me they are as good as Emily Goodwin’s Contagium Series (another Indie author and the next one isn’t out until September this year!!!) and as I loved them this is high praise indeed!

My verdict is 9/10. The same mark as I gave Goodwin’s and an excellent read. I just hope the remaining books stick to the same level of entertainment! Give them a go, especially as the first three are currently free.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Robert J Crane, The Girl in the Box

The Proposal – Lily Zante

As with most of my books recently, this was recommended by kindle and was a free download. I read the blurb and it seemed like a ‘me’ read. This was a bit like Wedding Date and What Happens in Vegas. Both excellent chick flick films and I know people use influences from other sources (Inheritance Cycle a prime example) so nothing to unusual about it. I shall add the 3rd in this series to the mix. It is the sequel to this and the reason I shall add into this review is the fact that it could all be one book. I think it should be one book, it reads well as one book.

Plot

The Proposal starts off at the bachelorette party of Nadine’s sister. Nadine hires male strippers to come to her home to ‘perform’ for her sister and friends. Nadine is a work freak and whilst she should be enjoying the show, she is instead working from home. One of the male strippers,Ethan, catches her eye and whilst watching him, she finds her body reacting to him in a way she hasn’t for a man in a long time.

Cut to later in the story and we see that she has been invited to a work’s weekend away and it is strongly advised she brings her ‘other half’ with her. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to do well at work, she hires Ethan to be her boyfriend for the weekend. People love him, especially her boss and owner of the company. During the weekend, Nadine and Ethan realise they have feelings for one another and decide to make it a case of seeing each other outside on this arrangement. Needless to say, the obvious happens with fallouts and make ups on the way.

Following this book, the 3rd in the series, Heart Sync  continues the story and we see how workaholic Nadine and growing art sculpture Ethan continue their romance. We see the strain of his previous line of work on their relationship and how Nadine needs to learn how to think as a couple. Job prospects can no longer be taken without any thought for what might happen for her relationship. Again, a predictable happy ending occurs after some turbulence and we see a happy and strong couple at the end.

Opinion

This is a very solid chick lit book(s). Nadine and Ethan are both likeable characters and Zante has managed to create a very palpable chemistry between them. Yes the storyline is predictable but I am yet to run across a chick-lit or romance book that isn’t. After all, if they weren’t predictable, the happy ending everyone reads them for wouldn’t exist.

What did annoy me was how little Zante included the characters best friends in the books. Nadine’s was cast aside easily and only brought in twice selfishly by Nadine. I understand that Zante was trying to show that Nadine was very wrapped up in work and then Ethan too but she didn’t even tell her she was going to Europe for a whole year until a month before she was due to go???? Really?! What girl do you know doesn’t tell her best friend this?

Overall the two books combined are pretty decent and I always say that if the 1st one can make me read a 2nd, it must have been ok. My verdict a very solid and reliable 6.75/10. If you like chick lit books, this is one you should definitely put on your ‘to read’ list.

 

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Caged – Amber Lynn Natusch

Have you ever read a book where you had forgotten the blurb? It is a very confusing/interesting experience. On KindleCaged was recommended to me so I checked it out and obviously liked what I saw and then downloaded it. However, I didn’t read it straight away. I left it for a few months. I tend to do that. I buy books in bulk and then it means I have a few to get through. However, I totally forgot what the blurb said about this book. I figured it was probably a crime book as that is what I tend to read and as I had chosen to download it, it must have seemed ok so I began to read it with no clue of its premises. I can tell you now that this is not a crime book!

Plot

We meet out leading lady, Ruby, under some dire straits. She seems to be able to see after a long time of not being able to but is attacked by a gang of men. We see she is saved by an ‘angel’. We have no idea who this man is but we see Ruby again a year later. She is now running her own shop selling jewellery and appears to be quite successful in this venture. However, she is completely cut off from the world. Perhaps due to the fact she was born blind and is now a medical marvel as she has regained full use of her eyes, she feels slightly in awe of human interaction. Fuelled by her desire to be social, Ruby sets forth to a club. Here she is once again caught in the terror of a man and is rescued by Sean who she recognises as the ‘angel’ who rescued her before. Shocked by this turn of events, Ruby runs from Sean.

Later, Sean finds Ruby and they embark into a rough friendship. However, on a night out, Ruby is inexplicably drawn to Eric. A man Sean seems to know and loathe. Ruby goes out with Eric and lands herself into a whole heap of trouble. She is exchanged by Eric for some goods into the hands of a (SPOILER ALERT) pack of werewolves who want to ‘mate’ with her. Here she meets Cooper who helps her escape from the pack and back into Sean’s world.

Opinion

I’d recommend reading a book when you have no idea what is supposed to happen. It makes for an interesting ride! However, I thought this book was mediocre.

I have read quite a few Werewolves, Vampire, Magical books as seen through my reviews so you can see that I do like this genre. Natusch just seems to want to prolong your knowledge of this fact. You don’t discover that Ruby is a werewolf until about 60% of the way through. You don’t find out why she was born blind and now isn’t. Nor why Sean is following her around, even before he knows what kind of ‘special’ werewolf she is. Why does she have such attraction to Eric? This is a first in a series so maybe these will be explained later but I don’t really have an interest in reading them after this one.

Ruby as the main character is awful. She is the most stupid, naive little girl I have ever met and she is meant to be 28… She should have more sense than she does. Especially with the level of intelligence she shows to have through her Uni degree and excellent wit. Perhaps Natusch is trying to go with the anti-heroine type character like Orissa from the Contagium Series but it is never fully successful as Ruby is just annoying.

Natusch also seems to brush over anything sexual. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with there being no sex or nothing overtly sexual happening in books. The Host is a love story yet doesn’t really broach the subject of sex. This book has strong sexual themes running through it but seems to be embarrassed to show them and this creates confusion. Is Ruby raped? Is she gang raped? Is she just ‘pawed’ at? As this is quite a pivotal point in the storyline it needs to be explained fully. Natusch either needs to tell us what happened or just not put it in. Either is fine, what she does do isn’t it.

Overall, a mediocre read. I finished it but aspects of the plot need to be explained better so a 5/10 for me I’m afraid. Very average.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, kindle, Urban fantasy

Three Girls and a Baby – Rachel Schurig

 I originally got this book because of the title. I t reminded me of one of my favourite films “Three men and a Baby”. It is very similar to this film but different enough to not be classed as a copy cat. I had never heard of Rachel Schurig before and this was recommended by Kindle. It’s a first in a series, followed by three other “Three girls and a…” books. I have now read all four and they all follow the same main three characters (which later turns to four). Shows this must have been an ok read to want to follow the girls through their lives.

Plot

We meet Ginny, Annie and Jen. Three house mates who have been friends since high school, finished college and moved in together after. Ginny and her high school boyfriend have been split up for a few months and Ginny can see her friends are getting tired of her constant moping. She has a job as an au-pair for a rich family, a little below her English degree intelligence. One night her ex comes back into her life and a quick night of remembrance occurs. Ginny asks Josh to stay away for a while as she needs to get her head screwed back on after their break up. However, that one night has changed everything for Ginny. She is now pregnant and with the help of her best friends she embarks on a journey of love, life and laughter.

Opinion

This is a great book. It had some real laugh out loud moments and great wit about it. It won’t win any writing awards but that’s not what this book  is about. It is a book written by a woman, about women, for women. The humour, content and friendships are all “girlie” and as such I doubt any male would understand it or find it funny. Each character reminds you of one of your best-friends and the situations that arise can be placed easily into your own. Schurig has created a world that we could all potentially live in and it is this one fact that makes this book one of the best ‘chick flicks’ I have read in a while.

Great storyline, great characters and you will find great heart within the pages. my verdict 8/10. A great bedside read.

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Filed under Book Review, Chick Lit, kindle, Rachel Schurig, Three Girls and a.... series