Monthly Archives: March 2013

Book Review – Getting a Flat Belly Sucks

Getting a Flat Belly Sucks – Quick Tips and Reminders for those Battling the Bulge

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Maurice D Chuka
Format: Kindle

At the beginning of each new year, more gym memberships and exercise equipment are sold than at any other time.  Why? Well, clearly most of us would like to be in better shape.  But a few months into the year (sometimes weeks!) the motivation is gone – the treadmills become clothing holders and gym memberships go unused.

In “Getting a Flat Belly Sucks”, Maurice Chuka shares with readers those all too familiar excuses that will guarantee failure in the battle to loose weight and various tips to stay motivated.  This is a brief book which serves best as a quick set of reminders of those keys to success many of us already know but need to be prodded to follow.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Hollow Eyes

Hollow Eyes – A Great Chapter in the Salt Lake After Dark Series

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: J.K. Walker
Format: Kindle, Paperback

After learning of her “heritage” and the existence of other were-people similar to herself, Jasmine Bedeau frequently finds herself in the position of the local supernatural council’s all around troubleshooter.   Not a position she cherishes, but what choice does a snow were-leopard have?  And just when Jasmine thinks she has seen it all, the bodies start to pile up, half-eaten dead bodies.  Unlike zombies who like the nice living bodies to eat, dead bodies are apparently a delicacy of ghouls.  So Jasmine investigates the ghoul community and goes on the hunt to find those responsible.  Unfortunately the truth behind these gruesome murders is much more frightening and powerful than anyone, even those in the council could ever imagine.  Can the evil responsible even be stopped?

J.K. Walker’s – Hollow Eyes – is another installment in the Salt Lake After Dark Series.  What makes this series so fun to read is the continued emersion into to the shadow world of the supernatural that the reader experiences while riding along inside Jasmine’s head.  She is a great character, struggling with what she is and the “instincts” that drive her actions just beneath her conscious mind, yet she has all the same dreams and desires of a “normal” person her age.  The addition of new “were-creatures” and other supernatural beings all existing in everyday Salt Lake society is wonderfully executed once again.

Walker has set up a great series and characters providing fertile ground for future additions to this rich world.  For me, these books are really great guilty pleasure reads and once you start reading them be ready to settle in because you won’t want to put them down until the last page!

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – The Hunted

The Hunted (Fracture, The Secret Enemy Saga):  Fantasy and Witchcraft combine in New Orleans

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Virginia McKevitt
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Her people exiled by the Patwain king, High Priestess Alexasia of the Couton race escapes with her council of sisters across the Fracture to Earth.  Having enchanted the once high council to the king with her seductive prowess, Alexasia takes over Sauldron’s plans and his riches once both he and his brother Boulfor have been “managed” out of the picture.  Upon discovering that Earth holds a great deal of untapped magic, specifically that found in the voodoo that permeates New Orleans, Alexasia combines with this dark force making her virtually unstoppable.  But there are those who stand against her.  The question is whether they will they be powerful enough to stop the evil that grows in strength each day within their adversary.

In book 2 of The Secret Enemy Saga,  Virginia McKevitt, takes the story into its next chapter.  The plot is interesting, but similar to the first book, what I enjoyed most was the depth of characterization and backstories of the protagonists as well as their developing relationship.  While the first book focused on Kristina and Tegrin, book 2 explores Sissy and Jimmy.  Both have violent pasts that they have kept from one another and both want desperately to move on from these darker days.   Unfortunately, instead of moving on from them, they have to embrace their past using their skills and relationships from these days to battle the Couton.  Without tapping into these, they will not survive, but in surviving will they sacrifice their future?

I do wish that the next book will further develop Kristina’s gifts – there is more there to be offered I am sure of it.  Perhaps a third chapter will have her back in Patwain where her full potential may be realized.

For those who enjoyed book 1, pick up a copy of this second offering.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – The Miracle Inspector

The Miracle Inspector – A Sobering tale of Dystopian London

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Helen Smith
Format: Kindle, Paperback

On his way to the office, Lucas reflects on the silliness of some of positions employed by the ministry – The Inspector of Cats and The Inspector of Hedgerows and Grass Verges for example, and other such nonsense.  Clearly there were those who wrote the constitution who had a vested interest in these areas.  Of course with the restriction on women being able to travel outside of the home, there had to be some oversight hence the Office of Women’s Travel.  Lucas himself, The Inspector of Miracles, had quite a busy schedule compared to most what with all the attention seekers claiming to have a bona fide miracle.  Still, his life was unsettled even unfulfilled and his wife was clearly unhappy.  There were rumors – rumors about places beyond London and certainly England where there was hope and opportunity for a better future and society.  But thoughts like these were dangerous; those who had them would suddenly disappear or worse.

Helen Smith’s – The Miracle Inspector – is a disturbing peak into a dystopian world where the underbelly of society are those who create poetry and art that lament the lost past while stirring the insatiable hunger for change.  Smith conveys in her characters a wonderful sense of realism in a world which from a distance might seem impossible, but as read feels all so believable.  There are a number of small story arcs that felt left open to me which at first left me frustrated, but upon reflection I think now they add to the overall feel the novel is meant to convey.  It is a world where many things are clear – the rules, the expectations, while at the same time it just does not make sense at a base almost unspoken level which drives the characters behavior.  In many ways, I felt the same as a reader where not all the loose ends were neatly tied up – they aren’t supposed to be – just like the characters, there is something more there you just don’t exactly know what it is at a conscious level.

As I closed the final pages, I had mixed emotions.  I wanted more and at the same time didn’t know what I expected if there was.  I was definitely left with an emotional reaction that went well beyond the moments after closing the book.  In this regard, I think the novel did exactly what it set out to do.

For fans of this genre, I suggest you pick up The Miracle Inspector.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.