Posted in Book Reviews

Review of The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel

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Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards

 

Genre:  humorous young adult fantasy / science fiction (and adults)

 

Blurb:

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. Yet he’s determined to do everything in his power to save the civilization on this damaged world. Even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…

 

Length:  350 pages (99k words)

ISBN-13 (ebook edition):  978-0-9908831-3-5

ASIN  B06XWJZTPB

ISBN-13 (print edition):  978-0-9908831-5-9 and 978-0-9908831-4-2

Publisher:  Argon Press

Publication Date:  June 15, 2017 (print and ebook)

Amazon:  pre-order 

Goodreads:  book listing

 

My Review:

*I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a continuation of Bernie’s journey of being a young god; however, all of the stories can be read independently without confusion. I found the book engrossing from the start, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to the characters. The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a fun combination of Medieval-type fantasy and more modern fantasy. The world of the Radolins is a place with only ancient technology, while Bernie’s world is a world of gods who create universes but are not all-powerful. Bernie has been trained to view the worlds the gods create as businesses. When something goes wrong on a world, the gods will frequently wipe out the existing races and start over. Bernie, however, is much too compassionate to do that. Instead, he interacts with the worlds and their people in order to fix the problems, which sets him apart as a world builder. I loved Bernie from the beginning because of his compassion for the people the gods create, and because he takes the time to enter their world and become a part of it in order to fix the problem. Bernie’s dad is an incredibly selfish person, and he was a character that I loved to hate. The romance between Bernie and Suzie is sweet and added to my enjoyment of the book. It’s a light-hearted fantasy novel with characters I easily fell in love with. LeBel has created a world that’s fun to get lost in. I highly recommend reading The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Curveball by Mariah Dietz

 

 

Title: Curveball
Author: Mariah Dietz
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Blurb
Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and
tragedy in humor.
My life proved his theory as fact.
At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town
to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in
return.
Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of
blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.
Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most
situations.
My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind
dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.
My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my
son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man
who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and
the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in
both our lives.
But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only
friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh
round of heartbreak.
Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.
Would history repeat itself?

 

Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?

My Review:

*I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Curveball by Mariah Dietz drew me in immediately, and I read it in one sitting. I simply couldn’t put it down. Dietz’s writing is hypnotic and her characters are full of emotion. The complicated relationships of the characters made Curveball an engrossing story. I instantly adored Ella because she’s a single mom who loves those around her with all of her heart. Coen stole my heart quickly because he’s a genuine and caring guy who saves people’s lives for a living. The situation that Ella finds herself in when her son is born requires a strength born of a deep love for her son in order to survive, and Ella’s emotional strength held me spellbound until the end. The romance is tender with just enough heat to make this a sizzling read. Curveball by Mariah Dietz is a captivating love story that I highly recommend reading.

Purchase Links
99c for a VERY limited time
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
“I don’t watch TV at night…” Her voice drifts off, and I know it’s because she realizes I’m going to ask why.And I do.

“You’re going to laugh.”

“Probably.”

“It’s because I can’t hear things.”

“What kinds of things are you trying to hear?”

“I don’t know. Strange noises and things…”

“Strange noises?”

“Do I need to spell it out for you?” She’s trying to sound annoyed, but I can hear the smile in her voice.

“Apparently, because I have no idea what you’re talking about. What kinds of strange noises are you going to hear? I usually turn my TV up to block out all the strange sounds like the neighbor’s kids and the lady behind me that sounds like Fran fucking Drescher.”

“You know who Fran Drescher is?”

“My mother was a big fan of that stupid show she was in. Stop changing the subject. What are you listening for? Hayden won’t sneak out.”

“What if someone breaks in?”

“You’re not serious.”

“Of course I’m serious!”

“What do you do all night?” I ask.

“Work,” she admits. “Well, usually I clean, and then I work.”

“I’m coming over.”

“You can’t.”

The panic in her voice doesn’t make her sound upset about the idea, but afraid.

Is it because she likes me?

“Why not?” I ask.

“It’s like nine o’clock.”

“Are you about to turn orange and sprout a stem?”

“That and I’m not wearing a bra, if you must know.”

“So put it back on.”

“You don’t understand. That’s like saying put your jeans back on.”

“I am in jeans,” I lie just to get a reaction out of her.

“What is wrong with you?” she cries.

“What’s wrong with jeans?”

“They’re stiff and uncomfortable. Wearing jeans all day is basically equivalent to walking on sandpaper. But at least you guys have pockets that will actually hold something larger than a thimble and don’t ride up your ass.”

“If your bra is riding up your ass, we have bigger fish to fry than being afraid of the boogey man.”

 

Author Bio

Mariah Dietz lives
with her husband, two sons, and two four-legged children who are the axis of
her crazy and wonderful world. 
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent most of her time immersed
in the pages of books that she both read and created. 

She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.

Author Links
Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Jane Grey by Nina Mason

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Title: Jane Grey

Author: Nina Mason

Genre: Historical Romance

Time period: 1850

Heat Level: Moderate

 

Here’s the blurb:

 

Matthew Brontë, a true romantic at heart, believes the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. And yet, he fears he lacks the capacity to love…until he meets Jane Grey. Jane, a humble English governess, seems perfect for Matthew, apart from one significant snag: Jane can only marry a man of means and Matthew must give up his fortune if and when he marries.

When faced with the choice between love and money, which will each of them choose?

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More about Jane Grey:

 

Set in France’s Loire Valley in 1850, Jane Grey tells the story of a frustrated painter and a beleaguered English governess who comes to France to tutor a flirtatious young heiress in the social graces. Jane Grey meets Matthew Brontë when he takes a spill from his horse near where she is walking—the same way Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester in the book our Jane is reading at the time. Jane finds it uncannier still that Matthew is a cousin to the author of Jane Eyre.

After Jane helps Gabriel home to his chateau, he offers her drawing lessons to repay her kindness. Regrettably, the only way she can accept his gift is to pretend the drawing lessons are for Lady Cecile Brousseau, her spoiled and selfish pupil.

As the weeks pass, Jane and Matthew discover they have much in common, including shared interests in art, poetry, literature, and gardening. They seem perfect for each other, apart from one significant snag: Matthew cannot marry without forfeiting his fortune, and Jane can only marry a man with the means to support her as well as her dependent relations back in England.

Will the strength of Jane and Matthew’s devotion be enough to overcome this seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Or will Jane be forced to choose her duty to her family over her own desires?

Jane Grey is an original work with subtle shadings borrowed from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.

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Here’s an excerpt:

 

“If you don’t mind my asking, was your relationship with the countess an affectionate one?”

“Hardly.”

Matthew’s candor pleased Jane on more than one level. “So, you didn’t love her?”

After an extended silence, he said, looking pained, “To be truthful, Miss Grey, I’ve never loved any woman—and often doubt myself capable of experiencing that most-coveted of emotions.”

His words crushed her hopes and brought more tears to her eyes. “Surely, you are wrong. For you strike me as a man of great passion.”

“I used to be.” His countenance grew even more sullen. “But now, my heart is like a tree in winter. Barren, leafless, and encrusted with ice.”

“Perhaps it will thaw when you meet the right woman,” she offered hopefully.

He brought his face very close to hers and, for a breathless moment, she thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he said in a strained voice, “I probably should keep this to myself, but my cold heart has warmed some since making your acquaintance.”

For several hellish-yet-heavenly moments, they sat together in silence. His mouth was so close to hers she could feel his breath warming her lips. As her heart leapt toward him, her body impulsively followed. Their mouths met ever so sweetly. Then, mortified by her forwardness, she jerked back and turned away.

“Forgive me. I shouldn’t have been so presumptuous.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said. “I rather liked the feel of your mouth on mine.”

She liked the feel of his, too—very much indeed—but carrying on like a common hussy would only lead to her ruin. “Perhaps we should return to the house and see if Cécile’s headache is any better.”

“Yes,” he said with audible strain. “Perhaps we should at that.”

He stood and offered her his arm. She took his coat sleeve between her gloved hands and let him lead her farther along the path. After they’d walked several paces, he said, “I don’t believe I’ve yet asked your favorite flower.”

“No, you haven’t.”

He waited a few moments before letting out a small laugh. “Will you not tell me what it is?”

“Very well.” She released a sigh. “I shall tell you. As queer as it may seem, my favorite flower is bleeding heart.”

He laughed, drew to a stop, and freed his arm from her grasp. Turning toward the bed to their right, he bent over the boxwood border and plucked several stems of the flower she’d named. Then, he offered the bouquet to her with a gallant bow. “Please allow me to offer you this humble token of my admiration.”

She accepted the flowers with joy in her heart. It was foolish, perhaps, to experience so much elation in response to so simple an offering, but no man had ever given her anything before. He’d also demonstrated tremendous compassion when she told him about her family—and had admitted to liking the brief intimacy they’d shared.

Might he have some feelings for her? Or was he just being kind? Oh—and what about his secret? She must take care not to let him turn her head, lest she end up brokenhearted when the truth came out.

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My Review:

*I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Jane Grey by Nina Mason is a sweet and sexy historical romance. Jane Grey is rich in historical detail and the story is engrossing. The romance is mostly sweet and polite, but Mason captures perfectly the feelings of fear and desire that accompany falling in love. Despite the Victorian Age setting, the story has a couple of steamy love scenes that I thought added just the right touch of heat. Although the setting is wonderful, it’s the characters that make this story one I couldn’t put down. Matthew Bronte (cousin to the Bronte sisters) is a devilishly handsome count who will lose all his wealth if he marries. Jane is a plain governess who is doomed to spinsterhood in order to keep her family afloat. But while Jane’s looks may be plain compared to some of the rich ladies, her emotional depth and intelligence makes her stand out. Matthew, like many of Mason’s other male characters, prefers a woman who has intelligence. One of the things I loved about Matthew was how he went out of his way to make sure that Jane would communicate her needs to him because he could see that she constantly put others’ needs ahead of her own. Jane is a proper woman, but even though she follows the rules of society, she is also open to listening to her own heart. I found Jane easy to like because she struggles with the need to help her family versus doing what will make her happy. I especially enjoyed the excerpts from novels such as Jane Eyre and the bits of poetry that Mason included. Jane Grey is a novel that will take you back in time and make you fall in love.

Here’s the buy-link:

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Grey-Bront%C3%AB-Brothers-Book-ebook/dp/B06XGKX571

 Note: Jane Grey will be 99 cents until May 21 and thereafter will revert to the regular price of $3.99

 

 

Here’s more about the author:

devils who would be king

Nina Mason, the author of eleven published books to date, is an incurable romantic who strives to write love stories that entertain and edify. A research fanatic, she goes to great lengths to ensure the locations and time periods in her books are accurately portrayed (and thanks the Powers That Be for the internet). Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason lived in Oregon briefly before moving to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and college-bound daughter. When she isn’t writing, she makes historic dolls, fairy babies, and putters in her garden.

 

Contact Nina: ninamasonauthor@gmail.com

Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Get Nina’s newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Burning The Devil by Jen Ponce

 

 

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Genre: mystery, suspense, horror

 

Synopsis

Gwen Colburn hasn’t had an easy life, so when she meets Neo Tucker, it seems too good to be true. Gwen’s rough childhood makes it difficult for her to trust, but Neo’s respectful and caring manner make her drop her defenses. Not everyone in Gwen’s life finds Neo so trustworthy, however. Sam has been following Neo’s story for years—and the many lives that are lost in his wake. When the man who murdered Gwen’s sister returns, Gwen wonders if he may be connected to Neo. Is the killer really connected to Neo, or do the rumors of supernatural involvement hold some truth?

 

My Review

Jen Ponce once again had me riveted to my iPad while reading Burning The Devil. I was hooked from the beginning by the intriguing character of Gwen. She’s a mechanic with a horrific past, and she can’t quite disentangle herself from the emotional damage it inflicted upon her. I could feel the burden and the pain that Gwen lived with and could easily imagine how difficult that must make her life. Neo was the swoon-worthy gentleman of a woman’s dreams. He was kind and understanding of Gwen’s issues, and he was a good man that asked Gwen’s permission to kiss her. All of the characters were complex, with both dark and light sides, which made them identifiable and kept me engrossed in their world. Burning The Devil has elements of mystery, suspense, romance, and horror, and the pace of the story was perfect for keeping me captivated. I think Burning The Devil has enough layers to appeal to a broad range of readers, including those who like a little romance and supernatural, in addition to readers who love mysteries and thrillers. I recommend giving Burning The Devil by Jen Ponce a read. And be sure to check out her many other incredible books at her website, www.JenniferPonce.com. You’ll be glad you did!

 

About the Author

Jen Ponce author

This world needs more readers. Readers are open-minded, imaginative, and more empathetic. Picking up a book, whether one of Jen’s fantasy-fueled novels or someone else’s thriller, puts another person’s perspective of the world in your hands. (Unless you’re telepathic, then you’ve already experienced being in another person’s head. Good thing about books? Organized thoughts. Bad thing about people’s heads? Unorganized chaos, judging from my own stream.)
Pick up a book and enter a new world. See Tibet without getting on an airplane. (Good for those of you who are afraid to fly.) Live with cannibals without getting eaten. (Good for those of you who don’t want to be eaten.) Become a lion-tamer, an assassin, or a lover. Ride a dragon, eat a dinosaur (Come on, who hasn’t wondered what they taste like?), or fall in love with a man who looks like Fabio.
Do it from the comfort of your couch, your bed, the hard, plastic seat on the subway next to the man dressed in pink taffeta, singing songs about chickens. Whatever you do, don’t stop reading. And if you haven’t started reading, grab a book!
Jen’s love for reading came from her mom, who valued books above all things (except maybe the Dallas Cowboys and Michael Jordan.) She writes for the same reason some people run marathons, climb mountains, sculpt, paint, or put on suits of Mentos and jump into vats of Coke: because there is a fire burning inside her that doesn’t let her NOT do these things. Writing is necessary, like breathing or double chocolate chip cookies and perfectly salted potato chips.
Reading is not a lost pastime and Jen refuses to believe that something so magical could ever go away. Even during the zombie apocalypse, she will be reading. She will have to learn how to wield an ax in one hand while holding her book in the other.
Jen lives in the Panhandle of Nebraska, with her boys, her cats, her goldfish Reggie and a large supply of books that help insulate the house in the winter and expand her mind.
She loves connecting on Twitter (@JenPonceAuthor) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/JenPonceAuthor) You can also send her email and she’ll write back. Visit www.JenniferPonce.com to figure out how to do all of the above.
Jen. Writer of kick ass women and oogy monsters. One-handed, ax-wielding zombie hunter/reader.

 

Books By Jen Ponce

Devany Miller Series (Dark Fantasy):
The Bazaar: Book 1
Slip Song: Book 2

Demon’s Cradle: Book 3
World Weaver: Book 4

Queen Trilogy (Horror):
Bug Queen: Book 1

Blood Tetralogy (Horror, LGBTQ, Erotica)
Blood Curse: Book 1
Blood Drunk: Book 2

Test Brothers Series (Romance):
Counting On Your Love: Book 1

Hell Wrecker Serial (Dark Fantasy)
Addiction: Part 1

Craving: Part 2

Short Story Collections:
Things That Creep
Touch But A Web

Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Shadows in the Water by Kory Shrum

Genre: Fantasy Crime Thriller

*I received an advanced copy for review; however, I also purchased the book (and I have no regrets!).

Louie Thorne was not granted an easy life. From childhood, Lou has had a special ability that has made being normal a difficult task since she must be alert in water and darkness. When her parents are brutally murdered, Lou learns to master her powers to destroy the crime family that killed her family. While the darkness now makes Lou feel safe, it has also taken away any hope of living a normal life. So Lou’s aunt convinces Lou to help a retired DEA agent on a missing person’s case. Her aunt hopes to reign in Lou’s darkness, but it may just be that Lou’s darkness is the only thing that can bring the truth of her parents’ murderer to light.

 

 

Shadows in the Water sucked me in even faster than Shrum’s Jessie Sullivan novels—and I’m a big fan of the Jessie novels. Shadows in the Water is a completely different kind of story from the Jessie Sullivan novels, and I have to say, I think Shrum has found her niche in thrillers. I loved how there were several points of view, and I was impressed at how well they all came together in the end. Lou was an intriguing character with her special abilities and her cold demeanor. I thought her lack of emotions was well written and made her an interesting character, but it made her difficult for me to connect with. However, I enjoyed Lou and my lack of connection to her, while noticeable, did not affect my enjoyment of the book. On the other hand, I fell in love with King, Mel, and Konstantine. King and Konstantine were full of emotional depth, and Mel’s sassy attitude made me instantly like her. Shadows in the Water was hard to put down; I really wanted to read it all in one sitting. I was glad to see this was the start to a new series because I hated to see this book end! This is a must-read novel, and I highly recommend it.

 

You can purchase Shadows in the Water from Amazon.

 

If you haven’t read the Jessie Sullivan novels, take a look around Kory Shrum’s website and check out her books. Dying for a Living is free on Amazon.