The Chemist – Stephenie Meyer

31176886I loved Twilight before it was mainstream, and then quickly began to hate it because I couldn’t get away from it. Now forever, the faces of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will be burned into my brain. Her standalone, The Host was just as excellent, but better because we weren’t drowned in it.

I didn’t realize Meyer was even working on another book, but while reading the paper the other day I saw her name come up. It was a good review of her newest tale and inspired me to pick this book up.

I wish I could glow about this story, but it had one major bump. I couldn’t get into the love story that existed between a couple of the main characters. This story would have appealed to my tastes, if it had revolved more around the action and less on the cuddling in the bed sheets. Meyer is a romance writer. No matter what genre she is writing in, there is always the heavy thread of love, but I feel she missed her mark with this one. The romance didn’t make my heart flutter, so I have a hard time believing it made the characters swoon.

If you take the intense, but deflated romance out of the way, the story is good. Unfortunately, the story revolves around the meh romance storyline. It was still easy and fast paced, and I was able to whip through the book pretty quickly, but I have to say this lacks any reread quality for me. Overall, the main characters had tons of potential and I liked the story concept, just wish things were arranged differently.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $14.99 and in hardcover for $17.13.

Synopsis: She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

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Trick or Death – Short Story – Calvin Demmer

32792389Though it is past Halloween, those who love the horror genre won’t mind if I am a bit delayed in getting this out.

Demmer writes a short tale about an ego driven teen, who takes his pranks one step too far. It was well-written and easy to read. I read it before sleep consumed me the other night. I will admit, I was not sad to see the teenage boy meet his dark destiny. My only criticism is that the main characters reaction to pain/fear could have been more convincing. It was a bit lackluster.

However, like Demmer’s past work I feel that this story shows where Demmer is going as an author. I won’t be surprised when he completes his first full length novel. His various short stories feel like the grease to get his engines going. Demmer is a promising horror author, it will be interesting to watch what else he will create with his dark imagination.

If you are a fan of the gore, and like a bit of fright, then this short snack will hold you over until you grow ravenous again.

You can find the story on Amazon in Kindle for 99 cents.

Synopsis: Halloween was the perfect time for Barry Steiner to put his plan into action. The only problem was not everyone in the neighborhood wanted to play his victim.

 

 

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY:

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

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*I received a free copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.

The Circuit: Earthfall (The Circuit 3#) – Rhett C. Bruno

30279522At last, the final installment of The Circuit is here for all your reading pleasure! It is here that we finally learn the true motivations behind Cassius Vale and his humanoid android, named ADIM.

As usual, when it comes to Bruno, I enjoyed the final installment just as much as the previous two. Characters have evolved, some stories have ended and others have begun.

There is no main protagonist, this is a story about many and their individual paths that have crossed. But if I had to choose a main character, I would say that Cassius and ADIM are the stars of these final chapters. It is their actions that will dictate the rest.

A huge part of the story-line is ADIM and Sage’s evolution (a former Tribunal assassin). They spring from simple characters into much more complicated ones as the books progress. I appreciate that the romance Bruno began to weave in the first book between Sage and Talon (a diseased mercenary and father), was tamed down in the subsequent two, with just the undertone of affection that lingers.

At its core, this whole series is about character maturation, relationship growth and personal missions. The characters expand into their true selves as the story advances, revealing facets of themselves unrealized until the necessary time.

If intelligent, evolving androids are your jam and space battles are your peanut butter than this story will likely rock your space socks.

The book is currently in the pre-order phase with a release date of December 13, 2016. You can find it on Amazon in Kindle format for $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99.

Synopsis: The conclusion to Rhett Bruno’s stunning science fiction epic series The Circuit, which the San Francisco Book Review called “space opera that fans of Firefly and its ilk will appreciate.”

Earth is uninhabitable, but beneath its ruined surface sits massive deposits of Gravitum, a powerful, dangerous element with the ability to generate artificial gravity. Whoever controls the element can control the settled regions of our solar system, now known as the Circuit. For centuries the peoples of the Circuit endured an uneasy, if peaceful alliance designed to share resources. Now the Tribunal, a religious order, is nearly ready to take over all of it. With only the reconvened band of Clans inhabiting the asteroid belt known as the Ceresian Pact standing between the Tribunal and system dominance, one man Cassius Vale intends to end their oppressive rule. Vale s brutal and brilliant plan is nearly complete.

In order to gain more time to complete preparations, Vale builds an army under the control of his robotic creation ADIM in order to attack one of the leaders of the Tribune. ADIM loves his creator, but is growing more independent by the day, and soon may be too powerful for anyone to stop.

Talon Rayne, a mercenary, teams up with Sage Volus, a former Tribunal spy, when Talon discovers that his daughter has been captured by the very Tribunal leader Cassius Vale is after. Together, they have no choice but to ask for Vale s help in saving her. Vale agrees, but are they just another cog in his scheme for bringing down the Tribune, or is there a part of him left that cares about anything other than vengeance?”

THE MAN BEHIND THE BOOK:

rhettRhett Bruno grew up in Hauppauge, New York, and studied at the Syracuse University School of Architecture where he graduated cum laude.

He has been writing since he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic short stories when he was young to show to his parents. When he reached high school he decided to take that a step further and write the “Isinda Trilogy”. After the encouragement of his favorite English teacher he decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to him could enjoy his early work.

While studying architecture Rhett continued to write as much as he could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he decided to finally pursue his passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating himself to reading works of the Science Fiction author’s he always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) he began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, The first part of what he hopes will be a successful Adult Science Fiction Series.

Since then Rhett has been hired by an Architecture firm in Mount Kisco, NY. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to work on “The Circuit” and all of the other stories bouncing around in his head. He is also currently studying at the New School to earn a Certificate in Screenwriting in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

CONNECT WITH RHETT

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*I received a free copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.

Venators: Through the Arch (Venators #1) – Devri Walls

31832252My only question is, when is the next in the series coming out?

I’m not sure what it was specifically about this story that made me crave more, perhaps it was the portals, or the mystical world, or maybe it was the characters. Either-way at the end of the book, I just felt deflated because I wanted more.

This was an excellent read. I truly enjoyed it. The characters were great, with gentle Grey who hides from the world and protective Rune who is trapped by her familial obligations. And of course, my favorite, Beltran!  Oh what a mysterious creature you are. A shifter with unknown motives, but what an intriguing addition to the story.

Walls outdid herself with this story. A true storyteller, with a gift for the magical side.

If you like the fantasy in life then this story is for you! You can find it on Kindle for $4.99 or in paperback for $13.67.

Synopsis: Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy—hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.

Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It’s an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is—her control is slipping.

By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.

Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council’s corrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK:

16fed4_f48e9384981d4b7c9b0064606dee8364Devri Walls lives in Meridian, Idaho with her family and one adorable little mutt. She writes in all things fantasy and would do just about anything for a working magic wand. Mostly because she’s a walking disaster and a wand would be of enormous help…although she’d probably trip and break it. So, there’s that.

She graduated with a degree in theater and has studied vocal performance most of her life. She now teaches voice lessons when she’s not writing novels, cooking dinner, playing taxi, spending time with her amazingly supportive husband or trying to read.

 

CONNECT WITH DEVRI

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*I received a free copy of the stories in exchange for an honest review.

Hungry Ghosts and Labor Day Hunt – Short Stories – Calvin Demmer

31815027 31308950Short stories are a good way to pass a few minutes. Whether out on lunch, or stuck in the waiting room, they help to pass the time and don’t leave you lingering.

I’ve always been a fan of short stories ever since reading my mother’s subscription of Story as a child. And my fan-ish ways continue.

Demmer is a good writer, he certainly has the writing gift and I believe he will do well as a writer as he continues down his chosen path.

I enjoyed Hungry Ghosts the best. It was more original and engaging. A scary ghost story, but no, much more. Creepy and alarming, I shuddered at the horrific tale as it unfolded. A Chinese legend come to pass, with grizzly results. Definitely worth the read as I hovered over it during lunch one day. It’s a story that would be exciting if it was developed into something larger.

Labor Day Hunt made me happy because it was a tale about the horror genre vampires. These days we are a bit overrun with vampires that are innately good, and this story returns back to the days when vampires are evil. The story was well written and engaging, but was not original enough to make me want more of it.

You can find both stories on Amazon in Kindle format for 99 cents.

Labor Day Hunt

Hungry Ghosts

Synopsis:

Labor Day Hunt: Jared Rodgers needed cash and had to work, while the rest of his hometown got to kick back and enjoy Labor Day. After answering a job ad in the local paper, he is directed to an abandoned warehouse. An ominous feeling grips him as soon as he enters the boarded-up building. By the time he realizes what’s going on, the hunt has already begun.

Hungry Ghosts: A rocky relationship threatens to ruin Lara Adams’ first time abroad. To her surprise, she finds that she and her boyfriend, Ray, have arrived in China during the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. Swept up in the warm mood of the festival and people, Lara feels things may finally improve. This year, however, the ghosts have found a new way to prolong their stay in this realm.

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY:

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including Sanitarium Magazine, Morpheus Tales, and Devolution Z.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

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OWL Rating for Both: owl isolated on white backgroundowl isolated on white backgroundowl isolated on white backgroundowl isolated on white background

*I received a free copy of the stories in exchange for an honest review.

Quirky Book Sirens – Episode 9

Another Sister & Sister edition, where we discuss Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire! Two thumbs up or two thumbs down? Abusive relationships or just beautiful train wrecks?

Death By Diploma – Kelley Kaye

377891515We’ve established that I’m not a chick-lit kind of girl. It took me awhile to figure this out, but it is a definite thing. Perhaps the pink cover should have tipped me off, but I started reading this story thinking it was just a murder mystery. However, it is a chick-lit murder mystery, something I realized rather quickly after cracking the story open.

Now since we have determined chick-lit is not my genre, I will go on to say that this story was still enjoyable regardless of my personality preferences.

The writing was well done, and the mystery was a mystery. I certainly was not swift enough to know the end before it happened. It felt structured and well plotted. I applaud Kaye and her storytelling. It was light and easy to read, and the characters did not annoy me. Granted there was the southern accent that periodically irritated my northern girl sensibilities. And I forgive the antiquated Librarian stereotype.

Overall, it was a good story written for the former Nancy Drew enthusiasts. It reminded me of a younger Rosemary & Thyme, a popular 2003 British TV show. If you like chick-lit, light characters and a bit of mystery then I see no reason why you wouldn’t like this story. Even for a non chick-lit gal it was easy enough to plow through.

You can find the story on Amazon for 11.99 in paperback or for 5.99 in Kindle format.

Synopsis: Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

 

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK:

4171c946b945eb421c1be3eae0808ebdKelley Kaye taught High School English and Drama for twenty years, but her love for storytelling dates back to creating captions for her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created around her Barbie and Ken—whatever the case, the love’s been around for a long time.

Kelley is married to this amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and wonderful sons. She lives in Southern California.

 

 

 

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*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Hunter of the Dead – Stephen Kozeniewski

31306024Return to a time where vampires don’t sparkle, but instead hunger for the life that flows through our veins. In Kozeniewski’s 5th novel, we enter a world that feels like Bram Stroker’s Dracula and Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D. A world where blood and gore are the clothes of the undead.

This story takes you back to the roots of vampirism, where gothic horror is the genre vampirism was meant to be. There is tons of blood, guts, and creepy night crawling things to keep you awake at night.

And…of course, there is the quintessential Kozeniewski character that keeps you smiling with his light and jokey remarks even in the face of battle. However, it was more subdued in this novel compared to his others.

I have nothing bad to say about this story. I found it entertaining, engrossing, disgusting, funny, and completely appropriate for the genre that it is meant to fit into. It was way more engaging than the original Dracula was, since that bored me to tears. And I think it is a perfect addition to the gothic horror genre and a refreshing throwback to the vampires of old.

However, please make note, while I keep referring to Dracula, this story is nothing like Dracula and is a complete and unique body of work. I only reference Dracula because that was one of the first gothic horror vampire novels.

If you’re a horror/vamp fan, then I only see one outcome, and that is you loving this story.

You can find the book on Amazon for 17.59 in paperback and for 3.99 in Kindle format.

Synopsis: Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

 

The Man Behind the Book

StephenStephen Kozeniewski lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

CONNECT WITH STEPHEN

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*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

29056083I can’t say I was excited about this. I haven’t read a play since high school, and it just felt wrong to have a Harry Potter story in play format. However, while standing in line at the grocery store, I saw the book proudly on display and I couldn’t stop myself from adding it to the grocery que.

I’m a Harry Potter fan, but not a crying, pulling my hair out fan. I loved the stories growing up and routinely will have Harry Potter movie marathons.

I’ll admit, I whipped through it that weekend. It was quick and it was simple. To me, it was a mini side story of a father and son relationship that was clearly troubled. Harry isn’t winning any awards for best dad of the year.

It was good, it was okay. I have no desire to read it again. It paled in comparison to the original series. But if you look at it as a mini story I can go with it. A one time read and it’s worth it. Re-read value is zero and I say that only because it was so simple. Another read wouldn’t be worth it. There is nothing left to discover once read.

If you expect this story to be like the other seven, then I am afraid you are setting yourself up for disappointment. However, if you like side stories/quests and play script does not offend you, then you probably will enjoy the ride.

You can find the book on Amazon for 17.98 in hardcover or for 14.99 in Kindle format.

Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

OWL Rating: owl isolated on white backgroundowl isolated on white backgroundowl isolated on white background+ 1/2

The Wizard’s Heir – Devri Walls

The Wizard's Heir (JPEG 900x1350)My magical side was satisfied this past week as I sped through this tale of a land full of magic, blossoming love and rivalries.

Walls has created a unique tale about a very common theme, WIZARDS!

When a writer can spin a new story from an old concept, then an exciting journey is sure to be had.

I enjoyed the tale, the main protagonist reminded me greatly of a personal friend I have, which was tickling to my heart.

It was a simple, original, and enjoyable read. And I mean simple in a good way. I read it quite rapidly and was never bored. The characterization was well done and the magic system was clever.

You can find the story on Amazon for $4.49 in Kindle format or for $14.99 in paperback.

Synopsis: Tybolt’s a Deviant, a hated race immune to direct magic in a world where Wizards ensure survival. But when he loses his entire family to a spell-made storm he joins an elite group of Wizard hunters, organized beneath the new non-magic wielding king. Now eighteen, he spends his days capturing Wizards. But the nights are his, reserved to feed the starving villagers of Eriroc under cover of dark. There’s always more people in need than he can help, and one of these days he’s going to hang for theft from the royal kitchens. Although Tybolt and his fierce partner, Auriela, have imprisoned many Wizards, the one partially responsible for the storm that killed Tybolt’s family is still out there: Alistair. When an old informant claims to have information regarding their elusive prey, everything changes. In a cruel twist, Tybolt realizes he isn’t who he thought he was at all. How can he save himself, the people, and those he loves while keeping his secrets safe? Can he hide his true nature and allow the corrupt king to remain on the throne? Or will he have to unveil himself and risk possible execution to save them all?

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK

16fed4_f48e9384981d4b7c9b0064606dee8364Devri Walls lives in Meridian, Idaho with her family and one adorable little mutt. She writes in all things fantasy and would do just about anything for a working magic wand. Mostly because she’s a walking disaster and a wand would be of enormous help…although she’d probably trip and break it. So, there’s that.

She graduated with a degree in theater and has studied vocal performance most of her life. She now teaches voice lessons when she’s not writing novels, cooking dinner, playing taxi, spending time with her amazingly supportive husband or trying to read.

 

 

 

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