Books · Reviews

THE TRAVELER by Evan Ronan

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Evan Ronan, for an honest review.

Genre: Paranormal/Mystery/Horror/Adult/Thriller

Plot: This is the fifth book in the paranormal thriller series The Unearthed by Evan Ronan.

Eddie McCloskey is a survivor.

But the scars from his last big case run deep, slowly driving him mad.

Detective Sumiko Christie has her work cut out for her. Before the two victims died, they both reported seeing a ghost. And it gets stranger.

Both victims died from fear.

Christie is no expert in the paranormal. Eddie isn’t ready for a case this dangerous.

But they have no choice. The ghost they’re trying to find is the rarest of the rare.

˃˃˃ It’s a traveler.

And it will kill more people if Eddie and Christie don’t stop it.

Opinion: I am still not understanding why this series does not have a huge following by now, and why there is only about ten reviews on it. This series, is AMAZING. This is obviously the fifth review I have written for this series, so if you are one of those readers that STILL has not purchased The Unearthed (the first book in the series) you are truly missing out…and I think we need to rethink your judgment in what a good book is 😉

After the terrible events from Eddies last case in Oregon, he is still trying to pick up the pieces and get his life back to normal. But a call from a Detective Christie throws Eddie right back into the danger that comes with paranormal investigating. Detective Christie explains that they have two separate deaths that have occurred, and that both victims claimed to have seen a ghost before they died. Not only was that strange, but their autopsy reports conclude that they both suffered from elevated heart rates (heart attacks)…with the cause being fear. As Eddie joins Detective Christie on the case, more deaths start to occur and they soon realize that the ghost they are dealing with is a traveler.

First, let’s talk about the writing style of Evan Ronan. As you all know, I obsess over there being obnoxious amounts of detail in books. The Unearthed series might be my one exception, and this is why: Evan Ronan has a unique style of writing where he gives you just the right amount of detail in such a small amount of words. His writing style appears effortless and easy going, thought out but not overthought, and imaginative but oddly realistic. You know you have found a good author (or in my case, a good author has found you) when their books are completely fictional but the writing makes it eerily too real. Also, I have to again point out how awesome it is when an author ties themselves into their own series. Perfect.

The Traveler has become one of my favorites from this series (The Unearthed is still my favorite) because of a great storyline and new characters. There is a lot of names that the reader has to remember in this series, and I will admit that detectives always referring to characters by their last name gets confusing. Detective Sumiko Christie is the definition of a focused and disciplined cop, but she has no problem wrapping her head around crazy ideas and the paranormal. I grew very fond of this character and was glad to find how open minded she was. Stan, Eddie’s best friend, makes a reappearance in this installment and ends up helping Sumiko and Eddie on the case. I wish I could have gotten a little more from his character in this book though, I still feel like I don’t know Stand and Moira very well…but hopefully that will change as the series continues. Eddie has grown into an AMAZING character over this series, and has really shown that he is dedicated and loyal. Also he FINALLY catches a break with a lady, oh how I have been WONDERING when this would happen to the poor guy!

I was putting off reading this book because now I must wait until the author completes book six, The Dream Machine. Thankfully Evan Ronan has just sent me his new, and first, YA/Fantasy/Adventure story called Otherworld. So I think that will tie me over 🙂 . So if you haven’t tried this series out or are hesitant to…JUST GET IT! It is a truly addicting and suspenseful series, and I am so glad that it has gotten me into reading paranormal books.

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Books · Reviews

THE GARDEN by John M. Nuckel

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, John M. Nuckel, for an honest review.

Genre: Short Story/Romance

Plot: Walt Palmer is ready to pass from the physical world to join his life-long love, Meg in a world of eternal enlightenment. Before he can pass he must forgive his daughter and himself of the pain they brought upon themselves and each other. The Garden is a story of love; family and forgiveness.

Opinion: This is SUCH an adorable short story. I can definitely see this growing into a fantastic novel or even a movie. I am going to keep this very short so that I don’t spoil the treasure that this story is, but I will give a little bit more detail into what it is about.

Walt Palmer is near the end of his life, laying in the hospital physically unresponsive but mentally aware. He takes us through small memories with his daughters and his late wife, who died seven years prior due to a mistake that he had made. In this story we watch as Walt tries to enter the “afterlife” with his wife Meg, but learns that he must make amends with himself and his daughter before he can.

This story was very short and sweet, but I think it could absolutely be turned into something much bigger. For only being about 28 pages long, this is filled with beautiful descriptions and character development. The way the author chooses to describe the garden in which Meg was living when her and Walt first met was amazing, I felt like I was right in the setting. This feels highly genuine and full of emotion, especially when Walt is taking us through a memory of him and his daughter when she was very young. Though they had been estranged for years, there is an unconscious link that kept them together. I hope this author either adds to this story or makes it longer, because I have not had my fill quite yet!

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Books · Reviews

I WISH by Elizabeth Langston

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, FictionETC Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Plot: Lacey Linden is hiding the truth of her life–a depressed mom, a crumbling house, and bills too big to pay. While her high school classmates see a girl with a ready smile and good grades, Lacey spends her evenings seeking ways to save her family. On a get-cash-quick trip to the flea market, Lacey stumbles over a music box that seemingly begs her to take it home. She does, only to find that it’s inhabited by a gorgeous genie. He offers her a month of wishes, one per day, but there’s a catch. Each wish must be humanly possible.

Grant belongs to a league of supernatural beings, dedicated to serving humans in need. After two years of fulfilling the boring wishes of conventional teens, he is one assignment away from promotion to a challenging new role with more daring cases. Yet his month with Lacey is everything that he expects, and nothing like he imagines. Lacey and Grant soon discover that the most difficult task of all might be saying goodbye.

Opinion: This is a very sweet YA story that is sure to grab your attention and keep it. Even if you think this story is predictable and will turn out in the way you suspect, it doesn’t.

Lacey Linden is struggling with the burden of being the sole provider for her family, as well as still being in high school. Due to the death of her step-father, Lacey’s mother has become overly depressed and “checked out”. Due to her mother, Crystal, not being able to work and bring money into their home, Lacey has been left to deal with the responsibilities of taking care of her little brother Henry and paying their various bills and debt. But after Lacey purchases a music box from the flea market, her entire world changes. After Lacey arrives home and begins polishing the music box, to her astonishment, a genie by the name of Grant appears. Grant explains to Lacey that she will receive one wish each day for a month. But instead of Lacey wasting each wish on herself, she focuses on how to make money, spruce up her family’s home, and help her family become whole again.

I wanted to start out by saying that I wasn’t too thrilled about how this book began, purely because it felt rushed. Maybe I am just used to the beginning of a story being slow so that the author can allow time for the reader to get acquainted with the characters and the situations, but this felt much too thrown together. However, once Grant gets introduced into the picture the story keeps a steady past until the end.

The character of Lacey feels highly realistic to me. She has been placed into the role of being the parent of her household, and tries very hard to keep her family together. She over obsesses about their money issues, looks over her younger brother as if he were her child, and tries to manage school and a job all at once. I think that Lacey was extremely hard on her mother, even considering the circumstances that her mother has placed her in. I think she has a right to be angry, but obviously that wasn’t helping anyone’s situation. The idea of bringing a genie into this story and giving it a nice twist by only allowing the wishes to be completed if they were humanely possible was brilliant. I think it helps the reader appreciate the character of Grant more because he has to learn each skill that he possesses, as well as do all of the work on his own. The romance between Lacey and Grant was cute, but not as thrilling and exceptional as I hoped it would be. I think it could have been a little more developed and lead into something more special than how it was portrayed, simply put, this felt rushed as well. But other than those few things, I loved reading this book. I was addicted and stayed awake so that I could finish it and find out what happened.

Overall, this is perfect for young adult readers (maybe a little bit of a younger age group) who love a little romance and some magic. I also received the second book, Wishing For You, which I cannot wait to read…purely because I need to know what happens after the author just left me HANGING at the end of this book. 😉

4 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Books · Reviews

BEHIND BLUE EYES (C.A.S.I. Book 1) by T.L. Schaefer

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, T.L. Schaefer, for an honest review.

Genre: Adult/Fiction/Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Plot: When all eyes are on you, there’s nowhere to run…except TOWARD the truth.

Crime-scene photographer Sara Covington hides behind her camera from the otherworldly ability that’s caused her nothing but grief her whole life. Yet denial doesn’t protect her when she runs across a serial killer with an aural signature she’s never encountered.

Suddenly she’s without a job and with nowhere to turn…except to an enigmatic, sexy-as-hell detective with a disquieting talent for seeing right through her defenses.

Brian Roney’s fascination with Sara compels him to bring her in on the case that ultimately gets her fired. Even though he senses her mutual attraction, something holds her back from stepping into his arms. He’s as determined to find out why she’s pushing him away as he is to keep her safe.

When the killer strikes again, Sara realizes the only way to stop the madman is come clean about her painful past—and embrace the gift she has so long denied. Before the grisly trail of bodies leads right to her doorstep.

Warning: A sexy alpha cop, a heroine with a past (and super spidey sense) and a maniac on the loose…what’s not to love?

Opinion: I really enjoyed this read to the point that I found myself not being able to put my kindle down while I was cooking or getting ready for work. Though some books that fall into this genre can move along at a slow pace, I didn’t get bored and I found that I had a SERIOUS NEED to find out what happened.

Sara Covington has been working as a crime scene photographer for over ten years, which has subjected her to aftermath of gruesome and terrible murders. Not only does Sara do a remarkable job at capturing the feelings of each victim through her photographs, but she can also see the auras of the deceased and of the murderers (which she has kept hidden from others). When Sara is called to a new crime scene for the victim that died at the hands of a new serial killer, she senses an aura she has never felt before, something she describes as being evil and monstrous. Soon Sara is contacted and brought into the case by detective Brian Roney, who is the first to learn of her talent. As detective Roney and Sara start to investigate the murders in more detail, they find that the killings might not be as random as they had first anticipated. The hunt for the killer proves to be risky and complicated, but nothing compares to the secrets that Sara has been hiding about her past.

I know that my summary is a bit vague, but it is VERY difficult to condense this book into a paragraph and not spoil everything for you. This book is packed, and I mean PACKED, with thrills and suspense. From my experience in reading this genre (suspense, thrillers, or anything where a crime is being solved) it seems that authors usually follow a general idea for how the story unfolds itself. It more or less goes like this: the main characters and “issue” or “crime” are introduced, the characters get a “lead” or an idea of who is behind it, something goes wrong, a new plan is formulated, and then it is solved…or in the rare case, everyone dies. Let’s also not forget the romance that is always not so slyly put in between the pages. 😉 Behind Blue Eyes, digs a bit deeper than that. Not only does the reader get invested into the main character, Sara Covington, but her past turns about to be an entirely new story that gets to be discovered. The author uses flashbacks as a way to tell the current story and Sara’s past, which eventually start to intermingle. The author did a fantastic job of making this story feel real by twisting a fiction story idea into something highly believable.

The character of Sara had the right amount of maturity for her age and what she had been through in her life, but also the right amount of issues. This woman is spunky, feisty, and very independent. If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I LOVE a strong female character who can kick some ass if she needs to. Not only can this character take care of herself, and has been doing so for years, but she is a very logical thinker and looks at every angle before entering a situation. I loved that at the beginning of the book Sara was working hard to ignore and push away her ability to see auras, but near the end she has fully embraced it and learned to use it to her advantage. There is a romance that goes on in this story, but it does not draw away from the actual events. As a warning, there are a few “adult” scenes that take place but they do not get OVERLY raunchy and don’t make the book fall into the erotic genre (thankfully 😉 ). I do wish that the Brian and Sara didn’t take their romance so seriously in the sense that they made little things feel very dramatic. I mean come on, there is a serial killer on the loose you two! That is a more pressing issue than your sexual frustrations and your lack of trust…priorities people.

Without giving anything away, I wanted to mention what a creative idea it was for the past that Sara tries so hard to forget. Not only had the events that she experienced molded her into the woman she became, but it was the main platform for what happens later in the book. I can honestly say that if I had been in Sara’s shoes, I don’t know if I would have made it out alive like she did. If you think this could be something you want to read, definitely go for it. It has a great pace and develops beautifully into a fantastic read. There is also a second book called Shoot To Thrill, which I hope to start soon.

4 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Books · Reviews

CADAVER DOG by Doug Goodman

26141570This will be available for purchase on October 13, 2015, you can Pre-order a copy now per the below link:

Amazon.com – Cadaver Dog by Doug Goodman

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Doug Goodman, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Horror/Suspense

Plot: Angie Graves is a Search and Rescue volunteer and a human remains dog handler. She and her Labrador Retriever, Waylon, make a good cadaver dog team that searches for lost remains in Colorado. But ever since the dead began to walk, there has been a need for tracking and capturing them. The city of Jack Calf believes Angie may be the answer. Angie is not so sure. She needs a different dog, for starters, and the only one available is a dog named Murder who she rescued off the highway. He is ornery, defensive, and obsessive, but if they can work together, they may be the best answer to the zombie plague.

Opinion: This is a pretty quick read, only about 130 pages, but don’t let that keep you from reading it. For how short this story is, it is PACKED with detail and suspense. If you are like me, I have never read a book or heard much information about cadaver dogs (dogs that are trained to find dead humans, as well as sniff out bombs or track). The fact that this author, Doug Goodman, is actually a volunteer for search and rescues and is a human remains dog handler…makes this story feel almost too realistic. But in the best way possible.

“Training a dog to track a zombie is like training a cadaver dog or a bomb dog. It takes patience, trust, and the right dog-and-handler team. And to not be afraid of zombies.”

-Angie Graves, The Zombie Dog’s Handbook

This story starts out with the reader meeting our main character, Angie, who is brought to an investigation where a dead body was reported to be seen. Angie and her cadaver dog, Waylon, start their search for the dead body, but instead come across a zombie. The zombies in this story are unlike any other zombies you have read about. These corpses are controlled by the Crimson Wasps, who attach their stingers to the skulls of the dead bodies to control them. Not only are these wasps highly dangerous, but a theory has been made by Dr. Saracen of Animal Control that the wasps are kidnapping children and the elderly to use them as food for the larvae of the wasps. Now Angie must train one of her dogs, a black and blue dog named Murder that she found on the side of the road, to track the zombies and save a young girl that was kidnapped.

It is not very often that you find (or in my case are given) a book that can so effortlessly combine real-life traits and experiences, twist them into something right off of a Hollywood movie set, and then deliver it in a way that makes it almost frightening because it is so believable. I fully enjoyed this read, and wasn’t bored once. The “downtime” in books can sometimes get me uninterested where I either skip ahead or put the book down, but this author knew just how to keep the less exciting events…eventful. I loved that I was learning about the training of cadaver dogs while enjoying a fictional novel, I almost feel like a professional dog trainer now 😉 . Not only does the reader get inside experience into how these dogs train, but we also learn how their sense of smell is used as to work like a brain to problem solve and search. So cool.

The style of writing that Doug Goodman has is, to put it best, simple but eloquent. He has this amazing way of using his fantastic vocabulary where the reader doesn’t get lost and say to themselves, Wait, what?! He has great comparisons, the right amount of detail, and some very enjoyable humor throughout the book:

“Labs were a special kind of stupid. Case in point, Murder was smart enough to recognize the danger and wake her up, but then he started dancing around the fire-out of harm’s distance-with all the attention-hounding of a rump shaker in a rap video.”

 

“Nice dog. What breed is he?”

“Awesomeness.”

Another thing I noticed while reading, was the author doesn’t start out by going into full detail of the age and appearance of Angie. Usually authors love to put their character in front of a mirror at the beginning of their story, make them look at themselves, and then think about their own appearance. This author went a different route entirely, he dropped little clues throughout the book about what Angie looks like, but didn’t start to mention what her age MIGHT be until about the second half of the book. Even then, he doesn’t give you a straight answer, which I thought was pretty refreshing. One last thing, and I swear I’ll shut up 😉 . The fact of naming a dog Murder, that just happened to turn out being a zombie hunter, was genius. The way he got his name Murder was clever and original, I feel in love with this goofy dog that was obsessed with his toy chicken.

If you still aren’t sure about reading this book, JUST DO IT. Live a little. This was a very different book from what I usually stick to reading, but I am SO glad that I read it. If you enjoy zombies, dogs, fictional adventure, or a little horror…read this. You will be so happy that you did, and better yet, there is going to be a sequel! 🙂

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