Born to Be

Book Review – Oil & Water by Lara Ann Dominick

I wrote this 5 star review for Chic Lit Café

A spellbindingly scrumptious paranormal love story, Oil and Water is slick, sophisticated and gritty.  A real Vampire masterpiece!

Normally, I like to start with the characters but… the plot – wow, I loved it!  The twist wasn’t obvious and when I saw it coming, I sighed with satisfaction.  Ancient vampires move in the shadows, mixing with humans but keeping their identity hidden, well most of the time!  The Vampire Council has set up rules which are broken upon peril of death.  Weaving their way through the council and breaking rules in secret are the deadliest of the ancient ones.  A story as ‘old as time’ that starts in the 1700s, flows through time and erupts in the modern day blurbs of Tampa, Florida.

Elsie, a lovely twenty-eight year old nursery assistant is enjoying her life when she accidentally bumps into a hunk wearing sunglasses at The Watering Hole.  Until this moment, she had been dreaming that her life would be anything but commonplace.  Cyrus – the hunk, is sweetly mysterious and oh so handsome and before you can say Peter Rabbit Elsie is falling in love.  Elsie is a strong woman, who has her flaws but also knows right from wrong.  Straight away the reader is rooting for her as she comes face to face with unprecedented events.

Oil and Water is a true Vampire-fan’s delight.  All the elements to a great paranormal are here, including Vampire hierarchy and new conversions.  But, there is much more to this story than sucking blood.  Stella characters bring the pages to life and make this a book you simply won’t be able to put down! Lara Ann Dominick’s writing is smooth and easy-to-read.  Oil and Water is hands down the best vampire story I’ve come across since ‘Interview with a Vampire’.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews, please contact Chic Lit Cafe

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Reviews

Book Review – Best Foot Forward by Bea Stevens

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café – Check out their site for reviews & book marketing.

Imagine Bridget Jones pretending to be Miss Marple, while working at Fawlty Towers and you have a good idea of what you can expect from this totally fun romantic comedy come cozy mystery by Bea Stevens.   

Liberty Lawrence (Libby to her friends) is on a who-done-it mission.  Hare-brained Libby is a day-dreaming expert, shoe-obsessed gal who is reeling from a cheating ex-boyfriend.  Money has been stolen from the hotel safe, and she’s pretty sure she knows who took it!  But who would listen to her when she points the finger at the woman who stole her man?  She definitely has trouble in convincing the handsome Sergeant James Harper to believe her.  With her bestie and roommate Cassie, she must hide the truth from two snooping reporters; appease her ever-crotchety boss Mr Partington, and somehow manage not to cover the guests in peas or trample on their dogs!

There is a plethora of laugh out loud moments in this jolly romp, my best laugh coming from the scene where Libby is covered in cream, lying on the bed listening to Whale music when Sergeant Harper bursts in on her.  Her response, in an accent somewhere between Spanish and Russian, of ‘no Libbys here’ had me in stitches, but the situation doesn’t seem to put off the Sergeant who thinks she’s beautiful, even if a little accident prone.  Will the thief be caught?  Will Libby ever find true love?  And will she ever own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes?Bea Stevens has crafted a thoroughly charming and easy-to-read cozy mystery/sweet romantic comedy.  Best Foot Forward is a delightful, engaging funny novel that I’m sure you will love.

Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Eating the Forbidden Fruit by Roland Page

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café – Check out their site for reviews & book marketing.

Sold our souls for greed – made mistakes without learning – death clears our vision (reminding us that life has a time limit).  These are some of things we encounter in Eating the Forbidden Fruit.  Although this is a piece of fiction, it reads like an autobiography, and readers of that genre will love it.  Roland Page has put together a gripping family/crime fiction that moved me to tears several times.

As I read this novel I was struck with the thought ‘what makes me qualified to review this?’ I’ve never felt that about a book before, it caused me to sit back and contemplate on what I was reading.  I am a middle-aged, white, suburban housewife from England.  This is a story about a young black man living in the US, in a world I know nothing about.  Then I saw it.  We are the same.  We live.  We bleed.  We die.  Our blood runs through our veins making our hearts beat while supplying oxygen to our brains, so that we can – think, feel, love and hope.  Whoever we are, wherever we live, we are the same.  That is how thought-provoking I found this.

This is a story about hope, and what defines a person.  Is it the choices we make?  Roland starts his life off not always making the right decisions, one day some of those choices come back to haunt him.  This book begins and ends with a court case, what happens in-between those chapters are the steps that lead up to that courtroom.  Like many things in life the pivotal catalyst of this event, is not one but many things.  We all fall from grace now and again, but it’s how we get up and move forward that defines us.  Without these struggles we might never appreciate the things we have.  This theory is highlighted in this marvelously gripping book.  Two worlds collide when Roland joins St Louis Metropolitan Police department, a shady past of drugs that’s entwined with the love and fierce loyalty of his family and friends, and his dedication to justice and doing the right thing in the force.

For me the underlying heartbeat of this novel, isn’t the troubled upbringing and crazy choice making, it is that having the love of a person that’s true and altruistic is stronger than the pull of the world, stronger than drugs, stronger than childhood ties and even stronger than habits.  Without love everything is meaningless.  My favorite line from the book is: Wherever Tracey laid her head was home to me.  A close second is: I wasn’t a complete asshole, just a part-time one! Roland Page bravely reveals his thoughts to us in this touching and tenderly-open story.  If you appreciate honest autobiographies, crime or family stories you are going to drink this up, enjoy the tale but then, if you’re like me, you might get to reflect on your own choices.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – The Line Between by Tosca Lee

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café. Check out their site for book marketing and great reviews!

The Line Between is an exciting, gripping thriller you won’t be able to put down!  Tosca Lee has now been firmly added to my must-read list, and this book sits with pride on my bookshelf. 

What a character Wynter Roth is: young, brave, loyal and determined.  I was mesmerized by the dramatic events that came her way.  Outwardly, submissive and accepting of the cult’s rules, yet inwardly wondering what freedom might be like.  If she could disappear with Jaclyn and her niece Truly, she’d risk crossing that line and would escape ‘New Earth’ taking her chances amongst sinners.  Her sister won’t leave now she’s married, so Wynter keeps her thoughts to herself and determines to stay and be content, so long as she can spend time with Truly.

Things don’t go smoothly, and someone’s plotted against her.  Now her dream of a free life has turned into a nightmare, as she’s thrown out of her home, passed through the security gates and into a world she doesn’t know.  She’s crossed over.  One and a half feet, the distance of a step, that line between Heaven and hell or a single leap of faith.  A face from the past, her mum’s friend Julie, turns up like a guardian angel to whisk Wynter to her home, offering Wynter a life she’s suddenly not sure she wants.  If this wasn’t dramatic enough, something is going on; something that scares Wynter to death as she begins to dread ‘the end’ has come.  People are getting ill and going crazy.  Slowly, a virus is oozing its way across America.  Fear levels rise.  Survival mentality kicks in and all hell breaks out.

The plot thickens when Jaclyn turns up in the middle of the night, carrying an extremely valuable secret.  The race is on.  Wynter ignores danger and sets off on a mission of vital importance, heading into a world she doesn’t know at a time when panic is spreading.  Will she make it in time?  Will she make it at all?  And who is Chase and can she trust him?

Lots of research make this story (frightening) a real possibility.  Life is stranger than fiction, they say, and actual events are the inspiration behind this fabulous piece of fiction.  Enthralling, smart, page-turning and unforgettable!  The Line Between is a thriller that grips you to the pages and keeps you wanting more.  After writing this review I’m going straight to pick up book two, A Single Light, I’m so excited, can’t wait to start reading to find out what happens next!

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Book Review – On Twilight’s Wings by Ariel Paiement

Blurb

She is the key to everything.
Until a few months ago, Cat’s only worries were about her foster parents and whether she’ll be shipped off to another boarding school over the summer. Dealing with a painful past and a friendless existence were at the top of her priority list.
All of that is about to change.
Shortly after she finds out that she’ll be remaining home for the summer, the visions, headaches, and terrible pains start. Then a new guy shows up in her quiet neighborhood, and, suddenly, her visions are showing events surrounding him and other strange beings.
Nothing is as it seems.
In this new world, nothing is the way it was, and everything requires her to become more than a frightened foster kid trying to make it through the day. She’s determined to get answers, but the more she sees in her visions, the less certain she is that she wants those answers.
But answers are coming.
Like it or not.

My Review of On Twilight’s Wings (The Eclesian Chronicles Book 1)

4/5 stars

This is a well written, enjoyable YA fantasy, with strong characters and an interesting storyline.  I love stories about Angels and really enjoyed the love story between Cat and Gabe.

The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is purely because of my past I struggle with stories of abuse and prefer more upbeat books so I can hide away from reality. There is also no ending which was disappointing, but glad to see this is book one and more will follow as I’d like to know what happens next.

Definitely a story young adult females will love.

Find out more about Ariel Paiement and check up on her reviews of other fantasy books on her wonderful blog.

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Book Review – Marriage and Ministry by Amanda Kai

For fans of Jane Austen, Marriage & Ministry by Amanda Kai is a must read. The author excels in making her writing style feel like a natural flow-on from Austen’s beautiful book Pride & Prejudice. Did you ever wonder what married life was like for Charlotte and William? Well wonder no more. Amanda Kai has woven together a beautiful Christian story, not only reflecting on historical attitudes but on Christian values.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the moral behind this story is how do we, as Christians, see other people who may currently test our grace and mercy? This book is so well written and beautifully edited. With wonderful characters, a great story line and values to boot, I can honestly recommend this as a great book. Also, I find a lot of Christian ebook novels really over priced, and I can’t afford to buy them. I am pleased to say that this is very reasonably priced at only $3.99 – a steal for such a beautiful book. Why not encourage this author by buying her book today? I’m sure you’ll love it as I did.

Angels and Demons, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

In research for my next novel I selected 10 books to read, ‘This Present Darkness’ was book no 2 on this list.

Well, wow, what can I say?  I certainly hope my next book ‘Hope in Blackshaw Moor’ turns out to be a page-turner like this book by Frank Peretti!

This is one of those books that, although it starts interesting, it starts slowly.  Then it builds and builds into a tense crescendo that explodes towards the end.  I loved the pace, the steady build had me on the end of my seat, and by the time I was two-thirds of the way through nothing was going to make me put the book down!

The characters are very real, and our main protagonists are thoroughly lovable, whereas the antagonists are easy to ‘boo’ at.

Although first published in 1986 (some 33 years ago) this book hasn’t aged.  In my opinion it is quite a classic thriller.

Taken from Eden.co.uk website:  Ashton is just a typical small town.  But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous New Age plot to subjugate the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. This Present Darkness rivals The Screwtape Letters with its keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer.  It is fast-moving, riveting reading, ranking with the best thrillers on the bookshelf.  Readers have picked up more than 2.5 million copies since its publication in 1986, and, with its companion volume Piercing the Darkness, it has sparked great interest in spiritual warfare over the years.

If we only knew the reality of spiritual warfare I am sure our churches would be full.

I was captivated by the angels and demons that fight over the town and the people.  I really enjoyed the way the people (with a couple of rare exceptions) never saw the spiritual warfare going on all around them.  I was completely emotional at the end when the town’s believers rally together for prayer.  What an image!  This is well written and very biblically correct.  I can’t recommend it enough, this is simply a fantastic read.

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Book Review – In For A Spell by Sharon Clare

Magical, enchanting, romantic, heartwarming… just a few words to describe this lovely book. Ever since I was little I have loved fairy tales. The magic, the mystery, the happy-ever-after. In For A Spell is definitely an adult (quite adult in one particular section!) fairy tale – and I loved it!

Finn, the interfering Elf, reminded me so much of Rumpelstiltskin it just made me smile every time he turned up on a page. This book is, however, much more than a fairy tale. For a start it’s a time-travelling romance, and a really good one at that. Maisie Armstrong is a wonderful character. I loved reading about the virtues that we nowadays would consider ‘old-fashioned.’ And who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to a place where honour was held in high regard? Especially if there was a tall, handsome, complicated laird Thane McKendrick waiting to sweeep you off your feet? This story is told really well, it flows smoothly and held my attention on every page. The theme takes you on a debate as to what really defines love and it’s importance in society in general, rather than just in your own life. Quite thought provoking. If you’re an adult, who like me, still loves a bit of magic, then this is a book you should read.

Sharon Clare has written other books and I really look forward to reading them. She is also an artist and offers book cover designs for authors. Sharon’s web page

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Epic Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews, World Building

Book Review – The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

Do you think the Akakies will visit us soon? I do love a good joke.

Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.

If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? 
I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂

Born to Be

Revival Novels ~ Two Book Reviews

During my research on the Welsh revival of 1904/1905 I came across two novels.

  1. Queen of the Rushes by Allen Raine &
  2. The Withered Root by Rhys Davies

How I enjoyed reading these books and if I wasn’t a Christian I would quite happily have read them and put them down and thought no more of it.  However, as a Christian it was with heavy heart that I read stories about revival that were both written from a non-Christian POV.  Davies openly declared himself an atheist whilst Raine states that although not against the chapel itself she was very suspicious of the revival.

So here are my reviews…

The Withered Root by Rhys Davies

This book caused mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I think it deserves five stars and on the other hand only one star, so I went for three.
The beginning of the book had me chuckling out loud quite a few times, especially over the conversations between Reuben’s parents. I loved how the writing reflected the way the Welsh talk and I loved the detail in which you can practically ‘see’ the old valleys in and around 1904/1905.  It is also superbly written with beautiful flowing, almost poetical language.
The downside for me was twofold. One was the author’s obvious dislike of women made blatantly obvious by his lack of even a single woman having any virtue or a good character, every woman doing nothing but flaunting her femininity in a derogative way. The other was in his portrayal of fanatical and shallow Christians. I found the second half of the book dark and depressing and was quite frankly glad to turn the last page.
For research into the Welsh revival this is worth a read. For the beauty of the writing this is definitely worth a read. For its portrayal of women or Christians if you’re easily offended I would give this a miss.

Queen of the Rushes

I loved this book by this not so well remembered lady Anne Evans, pseudonym Allen Raine.  Her characterisation is vivid and authentic, her settings skilful and poetic and her portrayal of women so much more realistic than Davies.  Writing about a time in which she lived she is able to capture the rift in status between men and women beautifully without labouring it or making it obvious.

She does, however, portray the people caught up in revival as fanatics and one of her main characters is ‘touched’ as in loses her mind because of it.  Not a good light on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Still this book has many hidden lessons in it if you care to look and I really do recommend it.

Anne didn’t start writing until she was 60 and received crushing reviews when first published… by men.  Born in 1836 Anne was a Victorian through-and-through and I love that this emerges in her story.  I wish I could have met Anne and sat down and discussed this book with her, arr well hopefully when I get to heaven!

Faith in Abertillery

In contrast to the two books above I will be writing about the Welsh revival from a Christian POV, I didn’t live in those times so I have done a massive amount of research to ensure my story is as authentic as possible.  I wonder if anyone will read my book in a hundred years and look me up to see who I was and why I wrote the book!