Monthly Archives: July 2012

Impulse Control (Talented Chronicles 0.5)

Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) by Susan Bischoff

In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a dangerous experiment has killed two young inmates and threatens others. Ethan, a shape-shifter, is reluctantly recruited by his best friend Karen, a telepath, and Elle, the unique Talent he has a crush on, to thwart the faculty’s plans. If they’re caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning.

“Impulse Control” is a SHORT STORY of approximately 12,000 words and contains some strong language.

Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) this is an interesting starting to a series that has really piqued my interest. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the future adventures of Karen, Elle, Ethan and the other inmates of the State Schools.

Novels about superheroes are a new market to me. I haven’t found many books on the subject that aren’t graphic novels. Everything about this novel has the perfect ingredients to be an amazing novel.

Ethan’s power is the most interesting. It’s affected by his emotion something I never thought of when thinking about shape shifters. The darker component to his shifting ability makes him the most interesting.

The government policing people with abilities reminds me of the Ultimate Comics X-Men. Don’t start. I know the Ultimate Comics is a reinterpretation of an older storyline from the main Marvel universe. The Ultimate Universe has been accessible to me without all the previous history that comes with reading the main universe.

Even in this prequel I can’t wait for what Susan Bischoff has in store. Because for all the good the government says they are doing it’s always about control, power, and fear.

I give Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) 4 out 5.


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Filed under 2012, 4, Book Review, Modern Mythology, Novel, SciFi

Alternate Ending: A Novel

Alternate Ending: A Novel by Aaron Niz

Seventeen-year-old Josh Miller lives in a world of almosts. He’s just friends with Hannah Taylor, the girl he’s secretly in love with. He sits at the cool table but mostly gets made fun of, and he’s number fifteen on a list of fourteen guys who are going to make varsity tennis.

He’s pretty much about to throw in the towel on his pathetic life.

That is, until the day a tree-hugging physics professor tells Josh’s class about string theory – the belief that with every decision we make, another version of us breaks free and starts its own reality.

Everyone else thinks the teacher’s just a nut, but Josh treats the professor’s half-baked ideas as gospel. He acquires a special tool needed to bounce from one world into the next.

Suddenly, Josh is thrust into an alternate universe in which he’s the best junior tennis player in the United States and poised on the brink of superstardom. Hannah Taylor finally starts to notice him and he wins the adoration of the same kids in school who used to ridicule him. Josh’s world of almosts turns into a world of everything and anything he’s dreamed of.

It all seems perfect until Josh’s old problems start to creep in and infect his new universe. Blowing tennis matches, losing friends, a little brother getting into trouble with drugs. Pretty soon his dreamworld has started to look more like a nightmare and even things with Hannah are falling apart along with his budding tennis career.

Will Josh end up trapped in a world that’s even worse than the one he just escaped from, or can he finally write the alternate ending that fixes things before it’s too late?

Alternate Ending is a kindle paranormal in the tradition of Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four and James Patterson, The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1).

Alternate Ending: A Novel is an amazing novel. Josh Miller is an archetype slacker that finds his confidence and hollow success in an alternate reality. Its science fiction concepts aren’t solid. It left me with questions that were left unanswered.

From the moment Josh “crosses” over you know how the story the lessons that he has to learn. But the writing made me want to take this journey. I didn’t want to put it down. The changes between the reality were interesting, especially the physics teacher.

The backdrop for this alternate world is tennis. Aaron Niz incorporates fictional versions of real tennis professionals, with me having various levels of recognition. I googled the ones I didn’t know making the novel all the more interesting.

Even with the weird science it’s still a pretty good science fiction fix. I finished it in one sitting. Anyone with a passing interest in science fiction and tennis will love this novel.

I give Alternate Ending: A Novel 4 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Alternative Dimensions, Fantasy, Novel, SciFi

Secret Lives

Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain



Actress Eden Riley’s decision to make a film about her mother plunges her into a shattering confrontation with her own past, irrevocably altering her life and the lives of those she loves. Her mother, Katherine Swift, was a renowned children’s author who died when Eden was very young. Now Eden, recovering from a divorce and disillusioned with her glamorous life, returns to the childhood home of the mother she barely knew. She moves in with her uncle, archaeologist Kyle Swift and his wife, Louise.

Eden gets more than she bargained for when Kyle gives her the journal her mother had kept from the age of thirteen until her death. Eden is spellbound by the powerfully written, intimate diary that chronicles a life of hardship, madness and tragedy. But her fascination turns to horror when she discovers the shocking truth about her mother’s life.

Eden turns for comfort to Ben Alexander, Kyle’s colleague, not knowing that Ben has a secret of his own that could ruin Eden and her career. Now Eden must make a heartbreaking decision as she struggles to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and come to terms with her own future.

Shifting gracefully between Eden’s world and Katherine’s, Secret Lives seduces with the power of its images and the lyricism of its prose.


Secret Lives is a pleasant change from the previous cluster of books that I have read. I can’t remember where I found this book but it was its description that made me want to read it. As the story unfolds it’s apparent where the story is going to go but that doesn’t detract from it. This book is truly about the journey instead of the destination.

I really enjoyed this novel once I finally found the time to read it. I connected on a personal level to the character of Eden Riley. It made me re-evaluate the secrets of the people around me especially my mother and grandfather. I know my mother loves me but I can’t help the nagging thought that she’s keeping a secret just as paramount as the ones in this story.

I like the present story but I found myself relating with the Katherine story more. I do think this story is better crafted than the description gives it credit. I took this journey with Katherine, a woman struggling in her battle with agoraphobia, I absolutely loved this part. The journal entries are what give this novel its depth. I took my time with the journal entries, which far and few in between, slowed me down considerably. I was constantly getting lost in questions of my own life.

Diane Chamberlain has crafted a must read for familial secrets. I personally believe we are responsible for the information that we keep. I’m always reticent about what I let people tell me about family gossip. This book has me reconsidering that stance. Knowledge can lead to understanding and it’s put a new perspective on old family issues I stay out of.

Just like Eden I didn’t think there were major secrets that my mother kept until I queued into my mother’s affectionate title for me… “her first born.” It’s always been this title for as long as I can remember. I rarely remember her saying… “her first child.” I asked her about it years ago but she’s always evasive, so I let it go. It’s been years since it has even been a major thought in my head. But unlike Eden I hope my mother isn’t waiting until her death to drop her revelation or takes it with her to her grave.

I would be far more angered than Eden if it came out after her death. There are family secrets that my grandmother and grandfather have kept that are only coming out two years after his death. Some have already open cracks in the façade of this family. Even now I think if left to fester might rip this family apart, like Ben Alexander’s did.



I give Secret Lives 4 out 5.

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Safe Haven

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks



When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.


Safe Haven is only the second of Nicholas Sparks books that I have read. I’m more of his movie watcher than his book reader. A lot of them I didn’t even realize that they were his books.

When Hollywood puts out movies based on books I instantly want to read that book before the movie comes out. Hollywood rarely does a book justice and they claim it’s because things that happen in a book don’t translate well on the screen. I think it’s just lazy on Hollywood’s part. If my brain can imagine it then it can be translated into film.

I’m back from my Hollywood rant. I discovered Safe Haven was being made into a movie from the On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel are starring in the movie adaptation. I researched the movie people were critical of the casting.

After reading it, most of the comments on imdb were overly critical if not downright comical. Having only read and watched The Lucky One, Safe Haven reads in the same general tone. I knew something was off with Jo but I never saw that twist coming, which is the role Cobie Smulders is playing which is also the tipping point that made me want to read it.

Nicholas Sparks definitely captured the North Carolina state of mind, in one quote. I read it to my mother, a North Carolina native, and it even made her laugh. It has the same general flow as The Lucky One. It’s an easy uncomplicated if not overly simplified read.

Based on the movies and the two books, I do think Sparks has a formula that works for him. I knew what to expect and got what I expected. You quickly know who’s good and who’s bad. I would just one like to see what would happen if the story didn’t always have a happy ending; the choose your own adventure version (You really don’t see them anymore).



I give Safe Haven 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Novel, Romnce

Past Forward- A Serial Novel: Episode 2

Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 2 by Chautona Havig



Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.

Released weekly (and FREE for a limited time) as a serial novel.



Released on 8 Jul 2012, I thought Past Forward- A serial Novel: Part 1was amazing but Forward – Serial Novel: Episode 2 expounded and created another amazing snippet. It’s a story that continues to question the modern conveniences that inundated our modern lives. Willow is am independently strong woman that is unsuspectingly weave a magically spell of love on two suitors.

This episode introduces the start of a conflict that I think will permeate that rest of the chapter, the growing infatuations of Chad and Bill. Chad Tresdall, the deputy on duty when Willow informed the police of her mother’s death, started visiting because he felt she was all alone. Bill Franklin, is her financial advisor, has continued in her life under the guise of helping her acclimate into modern society. Both men are agitated when they find that Willow has plans with the other man. I think both men are subconsciously falling for her which will be more interesting in the future.

I think what makes this part interesting is that we have more insight into Kari Finley. We also are given more clues as to why Kari Finley essentially withdrew from society. We have a concrete name.

The novel ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger because during his visit Chad read something in Kari’s journal that left him visible and emotional upset. For those waiting for the finish book, I think it’s more interesting to read it in these snippets. A quick thirty minutes and you’re done.

Chautona Havig releasing it as a serial leaves you wanting with anticipation for next week’s installment. This is the first serial novel I have ever read. It’s like reading a television show.



I give Past Forward – Serial Novel: Episode 2 4 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Book Review, Novel, Serial

Pandora’s Box (Immortalis Vampire Series 3)

Pandora’s Box (immortalis Vampire Series 3) by Katie Salidas


Book 3 in the Immortalis Vampire Series.

After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she’d learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package – a Pandora’s Box.

Seemingly innocuous, the box is in reality an ancient prison, generated by a magic more powerful than anyone in her clan has ever known. But what manner of evil could need such force to contain it?

When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander’s old journals hold the key? And what if they don’t?

And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being?



Pandora’s Box (Immortalis Vampire Series 3) is the first time in the series that I felt the drama surrounding the conflict was warranted. From the moment of the first death, I felt that these vampires were in real peril. At the end the losses to Lysander’s coven was a definitely felt.

The introduction of werewolves changes the dynamic of this world. I don’t fully understand how the werewolves fit into this world. From there introduction they seem to take traits more from dogs more than wolves. This is one of the things I hope will be explain in Soulstone (Immortalis 4) and further entries in this series.

I like Katie Salidas’s take on Pandora’s Box. This isn’t PANDORA’s box but it functions in the same matter. Having more than one opens the series in a number of ways; anywhere in the world someone could be drawn to open one and unleash some untold and forgotten evil on the world. It’s an evil that someone feared enough to lock away in a Pandora’s Box, the evil that could be hidden around the world.

This is the best entry in the series. To have the in depth understanding of the characters’ motivations, which are highlighted in the book, the previous titles should be read. I think the change in scenery leaves Alyssa having to adapt to another substantial change in her life including the loss of her mate. These changes will keep the series from prematurely desiccating.


I give Pandora’s Box (Immortalis Vampire Series 3) 4 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Book Review, Fantasy, Novel, Vampires, Werewolves

Sprite (Annabelle’s Story: Part One)

Sprite (Annabelle’s Story: Part One) by Leigh Michael



Annabelle Walsh thought she had it all. She was the star of her swim team, had a loving family, a great boyfriend, and to top it off, she’d be starting at UCLA in the fall. One day, she’d be referred to as Dr. Annabelle Walsh.

She was living every girl’s dream – until her life was turned upside down. All starting with finding out that she’s not just a human, but also a water spirit. Half-human, half-sprite to be exact. Although not just any sprite, Annabelle is prophesied to be the only one who can save both the sprites and mankind.

With a mix of current events, anecdotes from Greek mythology, tidbits of folklore, and Leigh’s own imagination, we join Annabelle in her journey to restore order beneath the sea. Each step of the way her mind, body, and soul are pushed to the limit begging the question, how much can one half-human, half-sprite take?



This is a typical hero’s origin story. This time the hero in Sprite (Annabelle’s Story: Part One) is the afore mentioned Annabelle. I liked this book. The fact that this hero is female, a trend that’s starting to dominate the book market, made it interesting. The mythos created is grounded in a mix of fantasy and Greek mythology.

Anyone that likes mythology will like this book, especially young girls. I think Annabelle is a character that is constantly questioning this amazingly new facet of her life. Annabelle is an unconvinced and consciously reluctant hero. For the majority of this novel her emotion revel between the fascination with her new abilities, resentence of her hero’s quest, and the family she left behind. I like reading how women writers decide to test their heroines.

I found this novel an interesting read, although a lot of elements were patented. One example is Blake. He came under my suspension the moment he left his girlfriend when she just told him about a creepy man near her car. I don’t even like my sister walking to her car by herself.

The sides of good and evil were defined but I still don’t trust the Queen of Tritonis. Maybe I’m just suspicious because of how evasive they’re with Annabelle. Leigh Michael’s story left me with a lot of unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in Kin (Annabelle’s Story: Part Two). It’s scheduled for released August 2012.



I give Sprite (Annabelle’s Story: Part One) 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Fantasy, Mythology, Novel