FORBIDDEN – FEATHER STONE

Good morning, everyone. Today I’ll be reviewing Forbidden by Heather Stone as part of her book launch tour. She will also be guest posting right here on the 15th as part of the tour. Don’t miss it!

**Please note that I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.**

forbidden

 

 

TITLE: FORBIDDEN

AUTHOR: FEATHER STONE

GENRE: CRIME THRILLER/MYSTERY/ROMANCE

HEARTS:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

SYNOPSIS:

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islāmic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, Captain Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. The devout Muslim is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

MY REVIEW:

The synopsis went into much of what I would’ve revealed in the review, so I’ll get right to it then. Forbidden is superbly written and the author made sure it was easy to get into the hearts and minds of the characters. When Eliza MacKay witnesses the horror that befalls her colleagues of the Habitat for Humanity group, she finds herself under the care of Captain Sharif, who must now solve the mystery of what happened to the group his officers were responsible for protecting.

Secrets of Eliza’s past eventually surface and she struggles to keep her PTSD under control. A lot of twists and turns in this novel found me reading it in its entirety through the night. Chock full of backstabbing and corruption, Captain Sharif will stop at nothing to make sure that justice is served. He also knows that his attempt could cause harm to his family and the witness he is protecting.

He finds himself drawn to Eliza in a way that is forbidden and this adds confusion to his life. Can justice be served and true love found?

I loved how the author made Islam more understandable to non-followers of the religion. We learn that it is a religion of peace. Kudos to Ms. Stone for shining this light.

The characters were all well-rounded and three-dimensional, with their own unique personalities. I could feel their pain, confusion, suffering, and doubt. Minimal (if any) spelling and grammatical errors were noted.

If I could give this novel six hearts, I would. It is a definite must read.

RATING: FIVE OF FIVE HEARTS  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

ABOUT THE  AUTHOR:

1-b078f2221d6ec0463539f01708b9e727On our cattle ranch, when an animal was in distress or injured, I was put in charge of nursing it back to health. Never mind that I was just a kid and hated the sight of blood, but I had to muster up the courage to apply home remedies. My survival rate was pretty good. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that I would progress to nursing – humans. After one year into nurses training, I bolted. Bed pans and chronic diseases pushed me in different direction; a career of dealing with drug addicts, murder, suicide, fatalities, and biker gangs. In 1983 I graduated with honors as a paramedic and worked in the City of Edmonton’s Emergency Services.The Guardian's Wildchild

For the next twenty years, I came face to face with scenes most people would rather not think about. I loved it. Having experienced life in the most deadly and gut wrenching events, and work alongside the police service, I gained the fodder for creating intense novels.

My first novel, The Guardian’s Wildchild, was published by Omnific Publishing in 2011. The setting is on a naval ship, under the command of a surely man who is under suspicion of treason. When a battered woman is brought to his ship for execution, he has no idea that she is about to turn his disciplined life into chaos – and that she is no ordinary woman. The Guardian’s Wildchild has a rating of 4.1 at Amazon.

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SWEPT AWAY

Trying to get back into Book Review mode! I can’t promise any specific review days so winging it will have to do. There’s so much catching up to do, it’s unreal.

Today I’ll be reviewing Swept Away by Elizabeth Seckman.

 

sweptaway

 

TITLE: SWEPT AWAY

AUTHOR: ELIZABETH SECKMAN

GENRE: ROMANCE/MYSTERY

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

He came looking for a ghost. Instead, he found a girl.

Tucker Boone is a war-hardened Marine on a ghost hunt. Fresh out of the corps, Tucker learns he has a missing half-sister, Maddy. The only clue to her whereabouts is a cryptic note…I’ve gone Mad, Mags. Tucker agrees to search for her and heads to Ocracoke, North Carolina where a ghost named Mad Mags is said to haunt the ancient graveyards dotting the island.

The note doesn’t bring him any closer to finding Maddy, but it does offer him a diversion to the doldrums of civilian life— his new island neighbor, Josie McCoy. Tucker is drawn to her quiet spirit. There’s something special about Josie…a connection he can’t quite explain.

By summer’s end, he’s mixed up in deception, murder, and the love of a lifetime. Logic tells him to head home and forget the truths he found on the island. But can he walk away? Josie offers him more than love; she offers him hope. When the clues pile up and it looks like she can never be the girl for him, he has to make a choice- play it safe and break her heart, or risk everything for a chance at being swept away.

 

MY REVIEW:

Tucker Boone is a Marine just back from war. He has a not so great relationship with his mother, Marlene Adkins, but during one of their ‘talks’, he learns that his biological father, Rob Morgan, was a womanizer who left his mother when he was a child. Tucker decides to find him. He learns from his step-mother, Gloria, that his father suffered a stroke and is in a nearby nursing home. He also finds out he has a step-sister, Maddy, who apparently ran away from home several years earlier, to start a new life with her best friend Ariel. Gloria believes a note sent to Maddy by Ariel is a clue to her whereabouts. All the note says is, ‘I’ve gone Mad, Mags’. At Gloria’s request, Tucker goes in search of his sister.

Tucker finds himself in Ocracoke, North Carolina after doing research on the internet and reading a story about a restless spirit named Mad Mags that haunts family graveyards. It’s a stretch, but Tucker takes a shot. He lands a job as a mechanic’s assistant and it includes a small cottage on the premises.

Then he meets Josie McCoy, the niece of the man he’s working for. She’s beautiful, but standoffish at first. Although she’s eccentric, Tucker can’t help but fall for her, but her past haunts her. Eventually, the truth comes out. Can their love survive?

The ending is sad, bittersweet, and happy at the same time. As you all know, I don’t do spoilers, so I’ll leave the ending to your imagination.

This isn’t the first book of Ms. Seckman’s that I’ve read. She is a fantastic writer who puts her heart and soul into her works. The characters were all unique and had distinct personalities. No cookie cutter characters here. The story flowed well and was full of unexpected twists and turns. I’m a dreamer, so I had hoped one part of the story would turn out differently, but there are sad realities in this world.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in thrillers and mysteries with love mixed in. I’m definitely reading more of her books.

 

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

eseckman

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of romantic women’s fiction. She is a former social worker, constant daydreamer, and mother of four fabulous boys.

She has a house in desperate need of cleaning (so she says!). No set date on completion.

 

 

BLOODWALKER

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the novel Bloodwalker written by fellow blogger Lexa Cain, aka L.X. Cain. It’s scheduled to be released on October 4, 2016 and I was lucky enough to get an ARC in exchange for an honest review. It is 284 pages (84,000 words) and will be available in mobi, epub and PDF formats.

BLOODWALKER is a dark thriller that blurs the border between science and the supernatural, like the novels of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Tess Gerritsen, and Jack Kilborn (JA Konrath). The novel’s setting spans three Eastern European countries and has an international cast, including an original arcane society called the Skomori Bloodwalkers.

 

Bloodwalker LX CainTITLE: BLOODWALKER (Dark Thriller/Mystery)

AUTHOR: L.X. CAIN

PUBLISHER: Freedom Fox Press (Dancing Lemur Press LLC)

 

RELEASE DATE: Oct 4, 2016

RATING:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
 5 OF 5 HEARTS

 

BLURB:

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer is hiding among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he’s determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

MY REVIEW:

Rurik is the Security Chief for the Zorka Circus (Zorka Cyrka). He is observing the area not far from an abandoned railroad when he hears several children singing and heading into the railroad. He follows them, knowing they might be in danger. There has been a problem with missing children from several different countries, and always after the Zorka Cyrka leaves town.

It is the final night of the Circus’s performance in Budapest, and Rurik knows that a child will likely go missing and he suspects that someone from the Circus is responsible for the disappearances. He manages to save a child that night, although he is unable to apprehend the culprit. He vows not to rest until justice is served.

Sylvie is a Bloodwalker from the Skomori clan. They ‘prepare’ the dead and have special abilities (foreseeing the future, etc.). She, along with a few other women from the Skomori clan are sent to Zorka Cyrka’s grounds for their arranged marriages. It is in one of the trailers that Sylvie comes across a horrific sight. It is also the first time she meets Rurik.

Shortly afterwards, Slyvie realizes the tragedy that is her ‘marriage’. She manages to flee, and eventually she meets up with Rurik again. Together they work towards finding the monster responsible for the disappearances of the children. What they find is astonishing.

This book pulled me in from the beginning pages. The characters were all well written and fleshed out. There were a lot of twists and turns where I found myself saying “Oh no, it’s definitely this person”. It wasn’t until near the end that I figured it out, and I didn’t even see it coming. It’s an intense read and I recommend it.

 

LX CainABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author of the novel Bloodwalker (Thriller/Mystery from Freedom Fox Press, Oct. 2016), and upcoming novels, Coldest Night and Paris Under World. She is also the author of Soul Cutter.

Also author of short Horror stories “Biggun,” “The Mission,” and “The Inter-Galactic Gourmet” for sale on Smashwords.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30242428-bloodwalker

CONTACT:
 
Lexa Cain:
BUY:
SOUL CUTTER (Will be re-released soon with new cover!)
The Inter-Galactic Gourmet, The Mission, and Biggun on Smashwords:

SEEDS OF A NEW BIRTH

Good morning all and welcome to Monday Book Reviews. Today I’ll be reviewing Seeds of a New Birth – Book One of the Kindred Series, by Orrin Jason Bradford. I believe the series is a trilogy.

 

SoNB
BOOK: SEEDS OF A NEW BIRTH

AUTHOR: ORRIN JASON BRADFORD

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2.5 HEARTS

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

Unlocking the Potential of the Human Mind
Scientific Breakthrough… Or a Really Bad Idea?

Research geneticist and genetic engineer, Lionel Adams is onto something hot –the key to unlocking the vast reserves of the human mind. Everyone is interested in it. Bio Vita Tech, the genetics research lab he works for, is excited about the possibilities and the potential mega-profits. So are their foreign competitors who are counting on their inside man at Bio Vita to deliver Adam’s secret into their hands.

Everyone seems to want a sample of Adam’s formula, except his college buddy, Flip MacDougal, who makes a surprise visit to Bio Vita to play a practical joke on his old friend. Unfortunately, it’s Flip who ends up with the sample. His world is turned upside down as he struggles and maneuvers his way through the trouble he has gotten himself into as he unwittingly spreads his “gift” to others.

MY REVIEW:

While research scientist Lionel Adams is working one night on a secret genetic engineering project, his old college friend, Flip MacDougal pays him a visit. Flip, a smooth-talking ladies man, convinces Lionel’s secretary Debbie to lend him her keycard so he can enter his secure research lab. He wants to ‘prank’ him. In return, he’ll take her out to dinner.

After Flip startles Lionel in the lab, he accidentally knocks over a beaker of liquid that’s on the counter which contains Lionel’s most recent project ‘alteration’ – It turns out to be bio-genetically active recombinant DNA. He advises Flip to go to the bathroom and wash his hands with soap. When he gets there, he decides that nature’s call comes first. He washes his hands when he’s done.

He subsequently takes Debbie out to dinner and back to his hotel room, and you can guess the rest. Flip finds himself falling madly for her after that first night. When she declines his invitation for a second date because she has plans, he goes back into his player mode, flying out the following afternoon to see one of his lady friends. It’s on this trip that he finds out that he is being used as a ‘boy toy’ by a group of professional women. With his male ego shattered, he makes trips to various cities, visiting each one for a final tryst and confrontation.

Because of his lack of personal hygiene back at the lab, each woman ends up becoming impregnated with girls by him despite the fact that he’s had a vasectomy and each woman is either sterile or on birth control of some kind. The fetuses are growing at an alarming fast rate.

Lionel must now report the leak to the corporate sponsor who funded the grants for his research. The sponsor sends their own researcher to work with him. How many women are there? Has he taken his experiment too far in the name of science and profit?

I liked the premise of this story. The idea of genetically altered DNA that unlocks the possibilities of the mind – telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis, etc. makes for awesome science fiction writing. There was so much potential here and the plot wasn’t bad. There were some parts I didn’t see coming, and I liked that.

I was pulled out of the story more times than I wanted to be. Suspending reality in fiction is expected, especially in science fiction. The problem is, it still has to be believable. The setting is in modern day and the location is an ultra secure research facility. First of all, no one can gain access with a little sweet talk and the promise of a date. Second, even a lay person knows that a leak of any potentially dangerous/hazardous specimens calls for an immediate lockdown and/or quarantine until whatever implemented safety protocols are initiated. It would be like me gaining access to the CDC by batting my eyelashes, entering the labs, checking out all the vials, and asking “What are these?”, and then being told to go wash my hands in the bathroom down the hall with soap after opening a vial containing a deadly virus – thus contaminating everything and everyone I come into contact with. It is not going to happen.

As a reader, it seemed to me that the author wanted to get past the more uninteresting parts of the writing to get to the ‘action’. I mentioned earlier that the premise and plot were good, but the accident scene fell flat with me. The writing wasn’t bad, and the characters were okay.

Overall, this was an okay read. I may read the second book in the series if it is highly discounted or a free download on Amazon (as this one was). I’m rounding it up to three hearts because I really liked the premise, plot, and the story. I feel it has a lot of potential for improvement. Perhaps in a future edition?

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2.5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

OBOrrin Jason Bradford is the pen name for speculative fiction author, W. Bradford Swift, who chose to use a pen name for The Kindred Series to make it clear to his Young Adult fantasy readers that these books are of another breed entirely. Currently the series includes Seeds of a New Birth and book two, Seeds of a New Power.

Dr. Swift is a graduate of Clarion West in Seattle where he honed his skill and passion for writing fantasy and science fiction. These two genres are forms of visionary fiction – fiction that first and foremost entertains while also enlightening and encouraging the reader to embrace greater possibilities in their own lives.  Giving back to future generations of young adults and adults through visionary fiction and non-fiction is an integral part Swift’s legacy of a life on purpose. To learn more about additional books by the author go to: www.wbradfordswift.com  and amazon.com/author/wbradfordswift

 

 

 

 

 

18 THINGS

Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! I have a long list of books I’ve read in the past year that I haven’t been able to review, so I’m mixing them up with books that I’m reading and are on my TBR. Today I’ll be reviewing 18 Things by Jamie Ayres, that I read a while ago and only scanned over it again to remember character names and certain details. I remember the story clearly.

18Things

 

BOOK:  18 THINGS

AUTHOR: JAMIE AYRES

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/PARANORMAL

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

MY REVIEW:

Olga’s been in love with Conner since they were little kids and never told him, so they grew up being best friends. Conner dies tragically while they’re out sailing, and Olga is unable to save him, though injured herself and subsequently rendered unconscious. She can’t help but blame herself, thinking she could have done more to save him. The fact that she wanted the girl he asked to prom – popular, head cheerleader Tammy, to know she could have him with her any time she wanted when they planned that fateful day, made it worse. Unfortunately, when she goes back to school after his funeral, a few anonymous and cold-hearted classmates leave notes in her locker blaming her too.

In an effort to escape her pains, physical and emotional, Olga takes the bottle of pain medication the hospital prescribed her when she was discharged. After the ‘pill incident’, her parents insist on therapy. Her therapist Dr. Jill recommends a bucket list of 18 things to do during the year until she’s 18 to help her move forward with the healing process.

It’s while waiting for one of her sessions that she meets Nate Barca, who was court-ordered to therapy. A friendship begins. Olga finds Nate attractive, which she bothers her, because she still loves Conner. She appeals to God for answers – through prayers and pleas many times. How am I going to get through the year? Why didn’t God take me instead of him? I’m not going to give away much more because of spoilers.

I loved the idea and premise of the story. Reading how Olga, Nate, and her friends helped construct and get her through the bucket list was fun. Most of the characters were well fleshed out, although a couple were kind of cliché. Nate was my favorite and who I felt had the most personality. The book has references to God, scripture, and prayers, but it’s not added in a preachy way; it’s an important part of who Olga is and how she ‘deals’.

The ending shocked me – but didn’t, I guess. I had suspicions about how it was going to end in the beginning, but as I kept reading I said ‘Nah’ and forgot about them. When I finally reached the ending, I thought to myself – ‘Wait, what?’ … and had to go back to look for the clues that had me suspicious in the first place!

Overall, I think this is an interesting and clean read for young adults, and would recommend it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

AyresJJamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her jamieayres.com.