Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Review} SECRET SONG by A. R. Simmons

ASIN #: B00GPROSOG
File Size: 783 KB
Page Count: 333
Copyright: November 15, 2013
Publisher: Acorn Moon Press


Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Twenty-three years ago, two teenage drivers collided. Marie was on her way home, while Harold was fleeing from a robbery he and his cousin had just committed. When his car wouldn’t restart, he and his cousin stole the girl’s. Marie was never seen again. Inevitably, the boys were caught. His cousin, Wayne, was eventually executed. Harold got twenty-five years.

Now Harold has come home. He has been paroled. No one wants him in Hawthorn County, but he knows of nowhere else he can go.

Within days, Marie’s remains are discovered. Confrontations occur. He is released from his job because of public pressure. Then Harold becomes the target of persecution, dangerous persecution as someone tries to run him off.

Richard Carter is stuck with the investigation. He wishes as much as anyone that the ruined little man (for whom his wife feels compassion) would leave the county, but he does the job. His mind, however, turns to more serious crimes: a rash of burglaries (one ending in murder), home invasions (one involving sexual assault), and three disappearances. The vendetta against an ex-con who should have known better than to return to the scene of his crime takes a back seat for Richard—until it becomes attempted murder.


Kathy's Review:

Secret Song suffers from an ailment commonly known as Too-Many-Character-Itis. Symptoms include a multitude of characters, most of whom have no standout traits, a storyline that flip-flops from character to character, sometimes not identifying who we are following, and bouts of characters stuck in their own heads, musing on this and that.

When a book suffers from this ailment, it is tough for me, as a reader, to become invested. I’d like to sit and learn more about each character that the author wants me to care about, and then move on. Not that there’s not a time and place for a meandering plot -- the element of suspense definitely calls for it. However, I tried to tough through as best as I could, and there are some bright spots, for sure:

1. Attention to detail. Simmons paints a vivid picture, using very descriptive words around places. I wish this applied to the people, as well.

2. Mystery. I want to know what happened to the girl whose body is found at the beginning of the story and how it ties in to the current action. Like a good author, Simmons makes me wait. Once Simmons gives me the goods, the actions moves fast and furious.

3. The premise for an interesting story. I’m not saying it’s executed well but the premise is there.

I was disappointed in the way things turned out with this one. It seemed like the theme was going to be one of redemption and it didn’t turn out that way at all. Also, the Secret Song aspect of the story should have been shown in flashbacks or through the character’s own thoughts. It wasn’t fully explained what this was.

Good … not great, I’d say.


*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Page Girls: Birthday Week Celebration! - Day 2


The Page Girls (www.thepagegirls.com) is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

From July 21-25, The Page Girls is celebrating its first official “birthday week,” which means a giveaway every day plus other goodies.

Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


U.S. Only Giveaway


How beautiful are these customer letterpress coasters?! On one side there's The Page Girls' logo. The flip side has a recipe for a cocktail ... an essential for any girls night get-together. There is one set of these coasters up for grabs. Good luck!




Monday, July 21, 2014

The Page Girls: Birthday Week Celebration! - Day 1



About The Page Girls:

The Page Girls (www.thepagegirls.com) is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

From July 21-25, The Page Girls is celebrating its first official “birthday week,” which means a giveaway every day plus other goodies.

Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.




Description:

Amanda Nathan just lost everything – her first real boyfriend to her lifelong best friend, her half of their shared apartment in St. Louis and her first post-grad job as a receptionist. Forced back under her parents’ roof in Merit, Missouri, the gossipy town she’d spent her life trying to escape, Amanda has but one saving grace – being an anonymous moderator on HDU, the Internet’s largest celebrity gossip community. Unemployed and alone, Amanda relishes in the one thing she has control over – Hollywood gossip. Now, her idea of fun is getting lost in the glamorous lives of others and posting nasty rumors about her former bestie’s favorite actor, Liam Brody, a playboy notorious for dumping his model girlfriends on a monthly basis.

So who would’ve thought that Liam Brody would be Amanda’s answer to escaping Merit? When the controversial womanizer needs an image boost to land a new role, he turns to none other than HDU for some good press. As it turns out, Liam is as eager to shed his playboy image as Amanda is desperate to move out of Merit. The solution to both problems? Fake a romance in which Hollywood’s biggest playboy falls for an unknown, sweet and shockingly plain Jane.

With the help of Ian, a fellow HDU moderator and self-developed expert on stardom, Amanda packs her bags for her new life in New York, where the overnight fame and glamour of being a celebrity girlfriend awaits. But Amanda soon discovers that their little ploy is a lot more emotionally complicated than she imagined. And while she finds that life works a thousand times better in her Hollywood circle, so does manipulation.



Friday, July 18, 2014

{Review} SAVAGE GIRL by Jean Zimmerman

ISBN #: 978-0670014859
Page Count: 416
Copyright: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition


Book Description:
(Taken from Amazon)

Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society.

Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton–era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.

Zimmerman’s tale is narrated by the Delegate’s son, a Harvard anatomy student. The tormented, self-dramatizing Hugo Delegate speaks from a prison cell where he is prepared to take the fall for his beloved Savage Girl. This narrative—a love story and a mystery with a powerful sense of fable—is his confession.


Mandy's Review:

This novel was really written around one simple premise: nature versus nurture. Is it a person's genes that determines who they're going to be and how they're going to act or is a person's behavior based on how they're raised? Can you take a wild child, put them in a nurturing environment, and get them to leave their wildness behind to become civilized? There's a passage in the book that states this perfectly:

"The wild child is a blank slate. He (or she) is perfect for investigations of whether our physical inheritance influences us more than do the circumstances of our raising, or whether it might be the other way around. Nature or nurture? Can a proper, caring environment make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, in other words, or must that ear remain what its nature made it, the auricular flap of a swine?"

While this aspect of the novel appealed to me, for I love trying to figure out human nature, I realize it may not appeal to some of you. Have no fear, lovely reader! Yes, nature versus nurture is the premise of the novel, but the story is written in a narrative telling the story of several murders by a crazed killer, the sudden decline of a wealthy family, jealous loves, and ends with a surprise you won't see coming.

This novel made me think while it entertained me. I loved it ... and I think you would, too.


*A hardcopy of the novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

{Book/Author Spotlight} THE FOREVER SAGA: FLASH by Sean C. Sousa

ASIN #: B0099B2UBS
File Size: 3594 KB
Page Count: 334
Copyright: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Epical Media; 2nd Edition


Book Description:
(As provided by the author)

Long ago, the first reign of Grigori Geist nearly destroyed the Earth.

Returned from exile, Geist is secretly rebuilding his kingdom beneath Antarctica, and assembling his robotic Vaucan race to conquer mankind. Only one obstacle remains: the war hero Brian Renney.

Yet Brian is now losing a battle against his fears. Scars of heart and mind linger in the Vietnam veteran and retired coach, fueling nightmares that leave him abrasive as a husband and father. His failures embitter his youngest son, Jason – a star athlete torn between pursuing the woman he loves, and meeting the demands of a father who is far from the storied Army captain he once was.

And all the while, Geist is coming for them.

Against an ancient tyrant and his servants, Brian and Jason must face a threat that plagues the world from deep shadows…and gain an ally who, once meant for evil, will forever be a force for good.


A 5-chapter sample and further info can be found at the official website: www.theforeversaga.com


About the Author:


Sean C. Sousa first envisioned The Forever Saga as a video game design concept, then a screenplay, and finally a written work of fiction. His debut novel, Flash, marks the end of an eight-year writing journey, and the start of another: to bring his relatable, poignant stories to a worldwide audience.

His dream is to use fiction to inspire positive social change in the world, calling attention to issues of social justice and mobilizing his readership to meet the needs of those afflicted.

Mr. Sousa resides in Southern California with his wife, Shelley. When he is not writing, he is up to socially-acceptable mischief with his friends and family.

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