reviews

A Review of The Prodigal Hour by Will Entrekin

A couple of months ago I read Meets Girl by Will Entrekin and became an instant fan of his work. I jokingly said in my review that if he needed someone to review The Prodigal Hour, his forthcoming novel, to holler. Well, he took me seriously. (YAY!)

A few weeks ago Will sent me an email with his new baby attached. I was very eager to begin reading it. I had grandiose plans to read it all in one sitting but life has a way of catching up with you, as we all know. Things have been extremely hectic for me with work, kids and the family, so there were times that I could only read for 10-15 minutes before duty called. But during each of those sessions, I was pulled into the world that Will created — a world where time travel exists.

Last night I sat down and finished the last third of The Prodigal Hour. After I was done I sat back and stared off into space for a few minutes with my mouth hanging open a little bit as I absorbed what I’d just read. (I’m sure I was quite the sight.) In my mind I kept saying “WOW” because it was that great of a story. By the end, I had completely fallen in love with the characters and was rooting for all of them to have a happy ending.

Yes, The Prodigal Hour is COMPLETELY different than Meets Girl, but that difference is not a bad thing. I can honestly say this is Will’s best work. One cannot read it and not see the amount of time and effort that was put into it. It’s obvious how important this story was to him. I, for one, know that I could never write something like this. That’s not me searching for compliments. Anyone that says I can is just kissing my butt. I know what I’m capable of, and I cannot hold a candle to the talent that Will Entrekin possesses.

So, in conclusion, I gave Will a solid five stars. (And would give him more if I could.)

If you would like to The Prodigal Hour, it’s now available at Amazon for $2.99. So head on over and purchase a copy. You won’t be disappointed. It’s worth every penny. (I think Will could charge even more, and it would still be worth it.)

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Amazon Description:

“Chance Sowin hoped only for a new beginning.”

On October 31st, 2001, six weeks after escaping the World Trade Center attacks, Chance Sowin moves back home, hoping for familiarity and security. Instead, he interrupts a burglary during which his father, Dennis, is shot and killed.

What begins as a homicide investigation escalates when the Joint Terrorism Task Force arrives. Where he hoped for solutions, Chance finds only more questions: who killed his father, and why? Was his father–a physicist at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study–working on dangerous research? Why did Dennis build a secret laboratory in his basement?

Chance might not know the answers, but Cassie Lackesis, Dennis’ research assistant, thinks she does. She isn’t certain Dennis discovered a way to time travel, but she knows who told her: Chance.

Together with Cassie, Chance will go on a journey across time and space that will challenge his every notion of ideas like “right” and “good.” One young man’s desire to make a difference will become, instead, a race against time as he tries to prevent forces he could never understand from not just destroying the universe but rendering it nonexistent.

When every action has a reaction, every force its counter, Chance will find that the truest measure of his character is not what he wants but what he will do when the prodigal hour returns.

A Review of For Nothing by Nicholas Denmon

It’s review time again. I know it’s been a little while since I posted one, but I only have so much time to read these days. I wish had more, but since I still haven’t figured out how to clone myself, I have to settle with what little time I have. Oh well! Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.

On with the review.

I’ve read more than a few Mafia crime novels over the past ten years. Some of have been real duds that have fallen short of capturing the right tone for that sort of book. However, that’s not the case with Nicholas Denmon‘s For Nothing. It’s one of the best I’ve read in that genre, hands down! This story is gritty and definitely captures the tone of the Mafia world, as seen in shows like The Sopranos.

From the very first page of this novel, I was hooked! The opening scene made my jaw drop because of how descriptive it was. If future authors are looking for a shining example of how to hook a reader from the very beginning, For Nothing is a novel to look at. I’m beyond impressed with the skill this author possesses.

I must admit that while I wanted to hate the character of Rafael Rontego for being who he was, I couldn’t bring myself to. I was completely intrigued by him, and found Mr. Denmon’s depiction of him authentic and vivid. I was easily able to visualize him in my mind. In fact, I was able to visualize the entire story without much effort because of the detail included within the pages. It’s obvious Mr. Denmon did his research.

So I give For Nothing a solid five stars. I honestly cannot wait to read the next installment.

If you have not taken the time to stop by Nicholas Denmon‘s blog, I suggest you do. He’s hilarious and always has something interesting and entertaining to share.

For Nothing is currently available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, what are you waiting for?

A Second Chance: One Month Later

A Second Chance coverCan you believe it’s been just over a month since I released A Second Chance? I know I can’t!

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if this is all a dream…another figment of my wild imagination. If it is, please let me sleep. I don’t want to wake up. Right now, I’m following my dream wherever it may take me. And I couldn’t be any happier. This is one area of my life that I’m completely satisfied with, and that’s a wondrous feeling.

To say this past month has been exhilarating, as well as overwhelming, would be an understatement. I can’t even put into words what this month has meant to me, which is funny since I’m a writer. Words aren’t supposed to fail me, and yet they are. Go figure!

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Would I do things differently if given the chance?

There have been times over the past month that I’ve asked myself if there are things I wish I’d done differently with A Second Chance. Yes, there have been moments where I’ve questioned whether or not I should’ve made this story a full-length novel. Or if I should have written one scene or another differently. But each one of those thoughts was fleeting because in my heart of hearts I truly feel I told the story exactly as it was meant to be told. And when I look at the final piece, I’m honestly happy with it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying A Second Chance is perfect because I know it’s not. I don’t believe that any book is. I think there’s always room for improvement, and I know as time goes on I will make adjustments to the story here and there. But none of those future changes are going to alter how A Second Chance turned out. I won’t allow that.

This story was a labor of love. I dug down deep and used many personal experiences and emotions to create a character that was believable and relatable to others. I cried more tears than I could count while writing it. There were even times during the most emotional of scenes I even felt my heart break.

I didn’t just type empty words onto a blank screen, hoping and praying they’d resonate with readers. I actually allowed myself to become Annabelle. I allowed myself to connect with her and feel every single heartbreaking moment that she felt. I allowed myself to feel all of my old fears once again, and that took a lot out of me, but it was all worth it in the end.

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Let’s Talk Sales

I don’t know about you, but every time I see a new sale show up, I let out a squeak, and I get a rolling feeling in the pit of my stomach similar to the one I get when I ride a roller coaster.

I’ll be honest, my expectations for sales for the first month were low since I didn’t know what to expect. I can say, though, that I’m not disappointed with the final total. Sure, I could have done much better; we all could our first month out. However, I didn’t expect huge sales to begin with. I knew going into this that it would take time to build up momentum, and I was okay with that, so I set my goal low. I wanted to sell 10 books for the month. And the good news is that I did. Between free copies and sales, my total for the month from Smashwords and Amazon was 40. I know 40 doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, but to me it is.

Yes, I admit I could have promoted and guest blogged more, but I work THREE jobs, and I’m a mom to two children under the age of 10. I also help out my mom a lot since she is going through some painful back problems right now. My extra time is very limited, so taking all of that into account, I did damn well this month. I honestly cannot complain.

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Reviews: Yes, I Caved

Prior to the release of A Second Chance, I said I wouldn’t read any of my reviews, but I caved, as do many authors. I wanted to know if the words I wove together made an impact on anyone. I wanted to know if people were able to see the emotions I poured into every word in the story. I wanted to see if people got the message I was trying to share, so I started reading my reviews, and I’m glad I did. It seems like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

Almost every review I’ve read up to this point has made me cry. To know that I’ve affected people in the ways they’ve stated in their reviews makes me happy. I am so grateful that people have taken the time, both in public settings, as well as via private messaging, to share with me their thoughts on this story. As an author you want to know when your work connects with others, so I truly cherish every review and message I’ve gotten. There are some people I’m still waiting to hear opinions from because their thoughts matters to me. And hopefully one day I will hear that A Second Chance touched them in some way, too, because that’s what I want. I want everyone to take something away from it, just like I did.

Well, that’s it for now. Here’s hoping my second month ends on as high of a note as the first one did.

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If you have not purchased a copy of A Second Chance and would like to, it’s currently available at Smashwords and Amazon for $.99. It will be available at Barnes & Noble, as well as other various sites in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned.

A Review of Hull’s Landing by James Melzer

I’ve said before in previous reviews that I enjoy stories that make me feel something, whether it be anger, sadness, happiness, etc. James Melzer‘s novella Hull’s Landing is yet another book that’s produced very strong feelings in me, as well as an urge to protect my kids from the monsters in this world that would do them harm if given the opportunity.

To begin with, I was first introduced to Hull’s Landing back when James began podcasting it via his official website. My initial reaction to the opening scene was “This is frakked.” And I didn’t mean it in a “this author can’t write” way because he can. (I truly feel that James is a very talented author.) What I was referring to was the opening of Hull’s, which is definitely one of the disturbing I’ve ever read, to say the least.

The opening scene was one that grabbed my attention and pulled me in, making me want to castrate every single male in the opening scene. (And I’m sure it’s affected other women in the same way.)

Sure, Hull’s Landing is dark, scary and more than a bit depressing and gory at times, but that’s the way a book of this nature is supposed to be. It’s supposed to make you disgusted. It’s supposed to make your stomach roll and your skin crawl. It’s supposed to make you hate someone. The fact that James was able to accomplish all that and so much more speaks volumes about this story.

While Hull’s starts out very dark, the ending is filled with hope and the belief that darkness and evil can be overcome by goodness and light. And I don’t know about you, but I enjoy stories that end that way.

In closing, if author James Melzer can’t understand why he’s doing so well in the sales department, he needs to pack up his wife and come visit me in Maine so I can smack him. I’ve read several of his stories now, and I can clearly see why he’s selling as much as he is. HE CAN WRITE ONE HELL OF A STORY! (Keep up the good work, James. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.)

TOTAL STARS: Five

Amazon Description:

Nestled deep in the heart of Pennsylvania is the small borough of Hull’s Landing. While it may seem like just an ordinary place, The Landing holds a secret so dark, that there are those who will do anything to protect it.

For decades, young girls have been disappearing like clockwork. While some have their suspicions, the entire town lives in fear – and for good reason. When Rita Clemens, a former member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, decides to make her new home in Hull’s, she begins to uncover what the locals have tried to keep hidden for so long.

As the race against time begins, Rita will have to do everything she can to protect herself, and to save a child’s life, before one of the world’s oldest evils can be unleashed.

Amazon Author Bio:

James Melzer is the award-winning author of ESCAPE (Simon & Schuster/Permuted Press – December 2011), the upcoming young adult zombie novel, TEENAGE WASTELAND (Permuted Press – 2012), and his short fiction has appeared in publications from Library of the Living Dead Press. Melzer currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, daughter, and husky.

A Review of Kings of the Dead by Tony Faville

Before I delve into my review of Tony Faville‘s Kings of the Dead, I must admit I haven’t read many zombie stories, so my knowledge of them is fairly limited, but I am an avid reader, so I still know what makes a great read, at least to me.

I like a story that draws me in and holds my attention to the very end. I like characters that I can relate to and who resonate with me. I also love stories that make me feel something — that touch my heart. And if they make me ask questions…even better.

Kings of the Dead accomplished all of that and more.

I started reading the book Saturday night around 7pm, and I read through until 11:30 or so before turning in for the night. By that time I was already 53% done with the book. I finished reading it yesterday afternoon.

Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. The story sucked me in from the very first page, and it didn’t let me go until the end.

What I Loved About Kings of the Dead:

I loved the journal format.

I loved all the details on weaponry used to deal with the zombies and other problems the Kings faced.

I loved the way all the characters interacted with each other.

I also loved reading about all the stockpiling of food and equipment.

For those who don’t know, I’m a huge advocate of stockpiling and preparing for the worst. I also am a huge advocate of learning how to be self-sufficient and live off the land, so Kings of the Dead definitely has a leg up on the competition, at least in my book. (I’d like to think that if faced with the same scenario, I would be a part of a group like the Kings.)

Now, I must ask, who actually cries when reading a zombie novel? Well, this chick, that’s who. Go ahead and laugh if you want, but it’s true. There were parts of the book that made me cry. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll leave it at that.

I highly recommend Kings of the Dead to all zombie fans. It’s a quick, fast-paced, entertaining story that will leave you wishing there was more to read.

Total stars: FIVE!

I, for one, cannot wait to read Tony’s second book Slow Burn. If Kings of the Dead is any indication of what this author is capable of, I think it’s going to be fantastic.

Amazon Description:

When the H1N1 “Swine Flu” virus mutates it begins to not only kill those who have received the vaccination, but also bring on the unthinkable: the dead reanimate. Cole Helman and his friends are not only survival experts, they’ve spent hours discussing and preparing for just this event and quickly head to the hills before the cities become clogged with looting and riots. But the group knows all too well that the living dead are just the beginning of their problems, and they’ll eventually have to deal with the worst qualities of the living-desperation, greed, selfishness, and cruelty-in this new post-apocalyptic world. And a chance encounter at a secret military installation may reveal a conspiracy bigger than any of them had imagined… Straight out of the apocalypse comes the chronicle of one small group and their experiences with life and death, survival and loss. In a world of the living dead, is one man capable of maintaining not only his community, but his own sanity?