THE LAND OF THE LIVING

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Read and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect. Today I’m reviewing Land of the Living, by James Pinard.

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LandofLiving

 

TITLE:  LAND OF THE LIVING

AUTHOR:  JAMES PINARD

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

“LAND OF THE LIVING” is a fantastic combination of Science Fiction and Time Travel with some Thriller, Mystery and Romance thrown in for good measure. It is an introduction to time travel using your mind.

WHEN JAMES CREED WAKES UP IN HIS PARENTS’ HOUSE IN THE YEAR 1985, HE’S GREETED BY FAMILIAR PEOPLE AND SETTINGS. THE PROBLEM IS HE REMEMBERS BEING A 50 YEAR OLD MAN IN THE YEAR 2015.

Memory told him both of his parents and the woman he loved were gone, but he slowly realizes that he’s traveled back in time to an alternate version of the eighties. President Kennedy is still alive, and the head of a secret time travel program, and perhaps the strangest thing of all – his loved ones are still alive.

He faces a challenge for which he’s not prepared, but he doesn’t have to fight his battle alone. To his amazement, his son, Michael, travels back from the year 2035 to help him discover the true reason he was sent back.
But another mysterious time traveler hunts him from the shadows, and James’ journey becomes a race to save his future existence in the Land Of The Living…

MY REVIEW:

As most of you are aware, the 1980s was my decade and when I read the blurb for this book, I had to read it.

James Creed is a 50-year-old man in who is supposed to be in 2015. The book starts off with him waking up in his 20-year-old body in 1985, sleeping in his old bed, in his old house. He’s freaking out because he can’t remember how he got here; you see, James can time travel via his mind to his past and future self. This is the first time something like this has happened to him, or at least he thinks so.

Things are different in this 1985. President John F. Kennedy is still alive, he has an opportunity to save a love that died on this particular day, and some things are just different. He’s confused and thinks it’s a bad dream, but it’s not. Others can mind travel through time also. If they’re alive during the time period, they could travel back into their old body. If not, they merge themselves into fresh corpses.

Imagine the shock when James realizes that his son travels from 2035 to help him on his mission. It takes some convincing, but he realizes it’s true. He also learns that there is another mind traveler hunting him, trying to stop him from completing whatever he was meant to do. Then there is the red-headed lady. Is she friend or foe? Every so often she pops up in the story with cryptic messages.

I enjoyed the premise and plot of the story. There were good action sequences and I’m impressed with the author’s vivid imagination and the directions he took the story. The characters were fairly well drawn out. I felt there was more telling than showing and some of the scenes seemed repetitive. He answered some questions towards the end, but many were still left unanswered and will need to be answered in the followup.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and it took me back to my favorite decade in time.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JPinardJames Pinard is a writer of books, screenplays, graphic novels and poetry. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he currently resides in Orlando, FL where he works as a Computer Programmer for an insurance company. He has two beautiful, awesome children Michael and Ariel who inspired characters in his latest creation, “LAND OF THE LIVING.”

His past works include the short story “CREED” which was published in the PULP EMPIRE Collection Vol 1 and “DEARBORNE” in PULP EMPIRE Vol 2 by METAHUMAN PRESS available on Amazon. He is also a Writer and Creator of the Comic series “LUCID WORLD” Issues 1 and 2 published by TRAGIC ENTERTAINMENT.

 

 

 

HOT FLASHES AND COLD LEMONADE

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Read and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect.ReadRev

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Today I’m reviewing Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, by Susan Flett Swiderski .

 

HotFlashCldLemon

TITLE:  HOT FLASHES & COLD LEMONADE

AUTHOR:  SUSAN FLETT SWIDERSKI

GENRE: WOMEN’S FICTION

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Living the perfect life has always been easy peasy for Pearl Bryzinski, because she’s practically a pro at ignoring the negative and putting a positive spin on the facts, but it’s impossible for her to find anything positive about Daddy skipping town with that blue-haired floozy in a flashy brown Pinto. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t ignore the fact that he’s gone… or the fact that she’s becoming a drama queen who can sweat like a sumo wrestler doing push-ups in a sauna. It’s almost enough to suck the blush out of her rose-colored glasses. Whether she likes it or not, she’s gonna have to turn some of her wishbone into backbone.

Layer by layer, assumptions and misconceptions peel away, as Pearl learns to buck up in the face of reality, and to laugh at her imperfect… but not so bad… life. Supported by a down-to-earth husband who loves her with every blue-collar bone in his body, a mother who isn’t the self-centered witch Pearl imagined her to be, three terrific grown kids… okay, make that two terrific kids, and a Golden Boy who’s a far cry from 24-carat… and a bunch of wonderful wacky gal pals, Pearl comes to realize that her mixed bag of family and friends makes her life damned near perfect. Pearl being Pearl, she’ll never give up her rosy specs entirely, but learning to handle reality also means learning to deal with death.

MY REVIEW:

The blurb gives the reader a good general idea of what the book is about. Pearl Bryzinski has spent most of her life living with rose-colored glasses on. If a positive spin can be put on anything, Pearl is the one to do it – even when she sees her dad leave her mom with another woman. Her mom Ida, doesn’t shed a tear; just sells their house and moves to an apartment in an unsavory part of town.

Pearl’s been married to her husband George forever, and has three great kids, Matt, MaryBeth, and her golden boy, Luke. After weeks of not feeling right, she finally decides to see a doctor, and finds that she’s in the midst of her ‘change of life’ – menopause. Lucky for her she has a few great friends to count on, especially her best friend Candy to help her through.

From the situation with dad to her golden boy Luke and everything in between, Pearl realizes everything is not what it seems when she takes off the colored glasses. It’s a story about how a woman in mid-life comes out of her shell and deals with the realities of life, love, and loss.

Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade is a great read that I could relate to. It is well written and the story flows well. There scenes where I laughed and scenes I wanted to cry. The main characters are well fleshed out, with distinct personalities, quirks, and mannerisms. My only issue was the occasional change in POV mid-chapters. It could just be me and the brain thing.

Otherwise, I definitely recommend this book; I read it in two sittings.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SwiderskiSusan Flett Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, a suburb of Balmore, (That’s Baltimore, for the uninitiated.) where everybody calls everybody “hon,” fishing and crabbing is a way of life, and eating steamed crabs is practically a sacrament. Although she loves her home in Georgia, a part of her heart is still hanging out near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The rest of it enjoys life near Atlanta with her husband and their two spoiled cats Dot and dash. Strange names, perhaps, but not for a couple of amateur radio operators. Susan and her husband, that is. Not the cats.

Find Susan at her blog: I Think, Therefore, I Yam.

 

 

KINGSTON COURT

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Read and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect.ReadRev

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Today I’m reviewing KINGSTON COURT, by Holly Kammier.

KingsCt

 

TITLE:  KINGSTON COURT

AUTHOR:  HOLLY KAMMIER

GENRE: CHICK LIT/CONTEMPORARY

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

What happens when you take middle-aged, stay-home-moms, and throw them back into the workforce and dating? A modern twist between Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, Kingston Court follows the love, lies, and friendships of two wealthy Southern California women.
Samantha and Natalie are at a crossroads. Gorgeous, over-the-top Samantha, hangs her status and her happiness on her “perfect” husband. That is until she learns his secret.
But she’s not the only mother on the block struggling. Natalie, nurturing and careful, is thrust back into the workforce after her husband barely survives a horrifying car crash. However, it isn’t just her new job co-hosting a national morning news show that keeps her busy. Alik, the hot young production assistant, does everything in his power to seduce the woman he loves.
Death and misfortune in the span of a single year force these two women to rediscover their inner strength and make life-changing choices. Kingston Court is full of scandal, temptation, and all of life’s juicy little secrets.

MY REVIEW:

Samantha and Natalie are two wives who live in Kingston Court, an upscale neighborhood where scandal, gossip, and innuendo are the norm. They are acquainted with each other, but aren’t exactly ‘friends’. They each have personal strife and drama that they are dealing with, and each tell their stories through their own viewpoint.

After finding her world turned upside down when her husband barely survives a car accident they’re involved in, Natalie finds that to survive financially, she has to go back to work. Her husband Mark’s injuries will keep him in rehab for an extended time and Natalie hasn’t worked in years, and it was after college at a news station. Her close friend Jamie finally convinces her to interview for a job as a co-anchor for a news show, and she gets the job. She also gets a lot of attention from the hot production assistant, Alik, who falls for her. Does she return the attention? What happens between Natalie, Mark and their family?

And Samantha. I wanted to love hating her, but I could only do it for so long. She comes across as a typical uppity snob, always into everyone’s business and putting people down. It doesn’t take long to figure out that it’s all a façade because her own life is falling apart. Her husband is keeping a secret and she needs to find out what it is. She refuses to be another one of the wives with children of Kingston Court whose husband leaves for another twenty-something, or worse. How does she deal when she finds out the truth? Can she and her husband Cameron move forward?

There’s so much I can say about this book, but won’t because it would give away spoilers. I don’t do that. In a nutshell, I loved this novel. There were some twists I didn’t see coming. The story flowed well and I enjoyed the alternating viewpoints. The characters are well fleshed out, with their own distinct personalities. I didn’t even name them all in my quick rundown. Natalie’s mother-in-law? Makes me glad I’m not married. I noticed minimal spelling errors.

It’s a light, interesting read and I highly recommend it!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Holly Kammier is a former journalist who has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

The UCLA honors graduate is the author of the memoir, Could Have Been Holly Wood. Kingston Court, is her début novel.

A California native and mother of two, Holly currently splits her time between San Diego, California and Henderson, Nevada. Co-creator of Acorn Author Services & Publishing, she is available for speaking engagements and content editing. www.hkammier.com

 

 

 

OPPRESSION

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Read and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect.ReadRev

Click on the image  to find out more.

Today I’m reviewing one of Ms. Therrien’s own novels – Oppression.

Oppression

 

TITLE:  OPPRESSION

AUTHOR:  JESSICA THERRIEN

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/FANTASY

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

MY REVIEW:

Elyse is a young woman who had been kept sheltered by her parents since she was a young child. She ages far slower than a normal person, and can heal. Elyse thinks only her parents and best friend know her secret, and the latter was by accident. That’s not the case. When her parents are killed in a tragic car accident, she begins to find out the truth about who she really is.

There are many more like her – descendants of Greek gods, each having their own ability, depending on which gods they are descended from. (Ms. Therrien does a great job breaking this down.) Unlike the others, Elyse is special. Her reason for being is cause for celebration to the oppressed, but a danger to others (the “Council”). It’s why her parents kept her hidden for so many years. She is the one destined to fulfill a prophecy, but she doesn’t even know who she can trust.

I love books that revolve around mythology – Greek, Roman, Norse, or whatever. I’ll read it. I liked the premise and story. Most of the characters were fleshed out well, with distinct personalities. William turns out to be Elyse’s love interest, though she initially isn’t sure if she can trust him. Their attraction is instantaneous, and it seems as if they’re destined for each other.

Kara is one that I loved to hate, but felt for her as the story unfolded, because I got to understand her predicament. I really love the depth of her character. We don’t get to know much about Ryder except that he has a hatred for Elyse and is a bad guy. The Council, well, they’re just out for Elyse.

It took me the first chapter or so to figure out the aging delay. When Elyse initially stated her age as 50 on page 1 or 2, I was confused. It’s explained soon after, and I finally got with the program. 🙂 I would liked to have read more about the Counsel, why Ryder hated her so much, etc. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I won’t say any more. I was left with some unanswered questions that I hope the next installment will answer.

Overall, this was a read I enjoyed and would recommend it to others.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JTherrienJessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Aside from her trilogy, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round.  After growing up in the tiny town of Chilcoot, CA, population 108, Jessica currently lives in Irvine, CA with her husband and two young sons.

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A WORD ABOUT REVIEWS AND GOOD NEWS!

As you all know, I’ve done a lot of thinking as far as the direction I want to take this blog. I’ve done more book reviews lately, and will continue to do so. I get many requests from authors to read and review their work in exchange for an honest review. I try to do that.

If you notice, I post mostly positive reviews of books I like in an effort not to hurt anyones feelings. I don’t think that’s fair to other authors who’ve approached me, though. If I’ve accepted a book to read for a review, it’s only fair that I give my honest opinion. I’m not disrespectful in my reviews, because I know how hard most authors work on their books. From now on, I’m going to include all-star (1-5) reviews on my blog. It’s only fair. The lower my heart rating though, the more I would explain WHY I decided to give it.

I see a lot of people, particularly on Amazon that love to bash reviewers with comments about having the nerve to offer spelling, grammar, or formatting advice to the authors they reviewed. I scratch my head thinking about that. Isn’t that what an author would WANT from their readers? That way they could make necessary corrections and edits, thereby putting out a better product in an update. **Shrugging my shoulders** I’ve seen reviews thumbed down because of it, mine included.

Anyway, my rating system goes by hearts. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Since most sites don’t have half star ratings, I round either up or down depending on how close the rating is to the star (or heart) the book is. Savvy? 

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Now that I’ve got that covered, I’ve got some great news for both AUTHORS and READERS/REVIEWERS!

ReadRev

If you’re an author and need to get some unbiased reviews, click on the image to get a hold of Jessica Therrien to add one of your books to the Challenge Library. If you’re a reader and want to find some amazing books to review, click on the image above to find out how to participate!