Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review and Givaway: Ghostly Summons by John A Karr

Posted First by Blog Critics as Book Review: Ghostly Summons by John A. Karr

Sometimes in life we choose our own profession. There are numerous reasons for that choice, not always because it is what we love, but because it is what is available. Other times our profession chooses us. These are the professions that those who have them find most interesting.
In Ghostly Summons by John A. Karr, we follow the life and exploits of Lars Kelson. Once a crime reporter, he has put that life behind him.  That was his past, a time in his life when all was crazy. Initially life was good; he had helped the police in their efforts to get the bad guys. All was pretty good with the world.  Then his word had spun out of control after the murder of his son.  Unable to have been there for his own son, he began seeing the ghosts of murder victims. He did not believe in psychic ability so knew that his mind was on a trip to where it might not recover. Choosing to change his career, he took a job that didn’t deal with people. Computers were easy, and the event of ghosts settled into his past.
Or did it? When a beautiful woman shows up in his home, he knows immediately that she is the victim of foul play. Having put his past behind him, it appears that he does not control his destiny, and this ghostly presence will not go away until he helps to reveal the true nature of her death.
Karr has given us and interesting crime reporter sleuth, a person that seems to exude confidence to those around him. The flaw lies in the mind of his protagonist, he is sure he must be on the verge of losing it. This makes mush of the interplay more unique and interesting.  His ghostly partner has her own set of foibles, yet without speech she is hard pressed to really help in any way. Her presence has to be enough to prod him into the search.

As he delves further into the mysterious uncovering of a woman’s body at a bomb site, he finds himself in the cross hairs of a sniper bullet. Knowing from the visitor that shows up when he least expects her, and now with evidence that puts him as risk, he must help to prove that murder really occurred. Can he put her to rest before the rest of his mind takes a hiatus?
If you enjoy paranormal mysteries, you will enjoy this work. The protagonist is interesting and has a interesting take on life. He is tough, and has gone through some very perilous and devastating travails in his own life, which give him a strong character.
This would be a good book for a reading group, and a nice addition to your library.

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Ghostly Summons Book Summary:

Lars Kelsen doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. To him, visions of murder victims are a form of mental illness. Once they begin, options are limited; he can try to ignore them or deal with them by exposing a killer. Only the latter provides any semblance of peace. Temporarily, anyway. Five years into his new life as a programmer, Kelsen—ex-crime beat reporter with a penance he can never fully satisfy—sees a victim.

In person. Upright. Staring.

Typical of such past "Visits" as he calls them, he doesn’t welcome this one. The nude form of a beautiful millionairess in his cubicle means murder has come to the vacation haven known as North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It means he’ll have to go places he'd rather avoid. See things he'll wish he hadn’t. Do things that don't come naturally, like in-your-face confrontation and bending the law. Actually, breaking the law ... but with good intent. It also means dealing with one very attractive county coroner, who pushes his buttons in a not entirely unwelcome way.

So begins Kelsen's return to investigative reporting—complete with attempts on his life, fights, deception, and all the technological tricks, such as GPS and computer hacking, at his disposal. And maybe even finding a new love interest.
John A. Karr's Bio:
John A. Karr believes fiction writing each day helps keep the demons at bay. Ghostly Summons is his first full-length novel for Dark Continents Publishing. DCP has also published his Weird West novella, Ujahwek. He is the author of a handful of other novels: Death Clause, Hippocrates Shattered (scheduled for reprint by World Castle Publications as Shattered), Rhone, and Van Gogh, Encore. His short stories have appeared on webzines Allegory, The Absent Willow Review, and Danse Macabre. More works are in progress and in the marketing queue.

Karr is an ardent believer in the quote by Carl Van Doren (1885-1950), U.S. man of letters: Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to.

Format: ebook and paperback
eBook Price: $3.99
Pages: 312
Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing
Release: March 14, 2013

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Frozen: Heart of Dread, Book I by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review: Frozen: Heart of Dread Book I by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston

Las Vegas has always been a Mecca to draw those who look for the high life, and enjoy the bling and lights of the city. What if Las Vegas became New Vegas, a city covered in crystals of snow and ice instead of the usual glitter.  In Book one of Frozen: Heart of Dread by Melissa De Las Cruz, New Vegas is the new frontier, the major city left after destruction of the world.  A city that plays 24 hours a day, it still draws the crowds looking for a stake.
Stories of sorcery and the rumors of a paradise called the Blue abound, drawing those who are looking for something different. Natasha Kestal, a blackjack dealer, with no evidence of a past is one of those seeking to find this land of sunshine, or ready to die in the process. If anyone one finds her secret she knows she will not survive. She carries a voice of death and destruction in her mind, urging her to pursue the rumors of this magical city.
She must find a way to leave the city, and has unearthed the name of one who may help. As with all mercenaries, there is a chance this Ryan Wesson will take her money and turn her in for the reward. Yet is it a chance she must take. Handsome and bold, he heads a ragtag crew that makes a living through protection as well as thieving. 
Nat and Wes (Ryan) are drawn together by feelings they can’t control, but there are too many lies between them. Can their love survive the deceit of others and the anger of evil men as they try to destroy all that is beautiful in an effort to control a world gone crazy?
De La Cruz has a knack of bringing you heroes and heroines that are strong yet flawed. Their unusual beauty is offset by darkness or past that creates a crossroads to making them more malleable as well as good. Her worlds are uniquely interesting, often vulnerable or dangerous, much like the characters she peoples them with. With an ever escalading volume of books De La Cruz has kept her imagination in check, dredging another fascinating work of fiction and fantasy. Never far from romance, this tome sparkles with the beginnings of a powerful attraction, another hook to draw you into the fold.
If you enjoy mystery, magic, dystopian worlds, fantasy and romance, this is a great find. As usual from the work I have followed she has penned another volume that doesn’t disappoint.
Rating 4/5
This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based on my reading and understanding of the material.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Abomination by Jonathan Holt

Posted first to blog critics as Book Review: 'The abomination' by Jonathan Holt.

Religion often sparks debate as well as deep emotions and has been this way for thousands of years.  Miracles are often attributed to religious icons, yet atrocities also exist. There are very strong opinions in every facet.
In The Abomination by Jonathan Holt, a body is found in Venice, the victim of two gunshots wounds to the back of the head. During the feast day of La Befana, masked figures cloak the city, much like they do during Mardi gras, living on the edge, along with energetic passion and gossip. Initially the murder is thought to be one of the revelers caught in an argument of the moment.
Newly promoted Captain Kat Tapo of the Carabinieri, begins working her first murder case. When it is discovered that the murdered woman is dressed as a priest, dawning begins to grow. When another body is found, a known acquaintance of the first victim, Kat is drawn into a deep and ugly conspiracy of murder.  The tentacles spread in varying direction, entangling a host of people. One of them is himself in the depths of trouble over his Internet company known as What is the secret held by this strangely parallel vision of Venice itself?
Every direction she turns, trails disappear, evidence turns up missing, and the case itself if closed down. She is not ready to give up. Only finding the real answer will stop a corrupt system from abuse.
Holt has given us characters full of passion. Kat is a determined woman, yet has many flaws. She will not allow her digressions to dictate her direction though. She will not allow her mistakes to hold her back.  The system seems so corrupt, and Holt has engendered a bit of belief, yet urgent disbelief as well. Can these things really happen in the real world? And yet, I am sure that some of these very happenings do occur. Corruption is ages old, and often much deeper than known in many cases.
You will revel in the atmosphere of the beauty as well as the degradation of Venice and her canals. The undisputed joys of her people shine through as well as the tightness of some of the belief systems.
If you enjoy murder mysteries, conspiracy theories, and romance, this is a novel for you. Tying the new world through the Internet to the old world of Venice is a grand scheme and weaves a deeper twist of ingenuity into an interesting and evocative story.
This would be a great find for a book club or reading group. The myriad and depth of the conspiracies will create a great deal of discussion.
Rating 3/5
This book was received free from the publishing company. All opinions are my own based on my reading and understanding of the material.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence.

Every now and then a book comes along that takes you in directions that are unexpected. When differing backgrounds collide we are often surprised at the outcome. Such is the experience of reading The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence.
Alex Woods lives in an oddly disjointed world. His mother is a bit different than other mothers, and he doesn’t know his dad. He also has the distinction of having been struck by a meteor when he was 10 years old. This added to his woes growing up, leaving scars that are hard to ignore. Being very intelligent and rather bookish, he draws the ire of bullies at school.

Escaping these bullies is what brings an elderly reclusive widower, Mr. Peterson, into his life. In an effort to hide from those making his life miserable, Alex stumbles upon his garden and hothouse, where he finds safety hiding in a shed. Unwilling to let him go, those who are trying to make his life miserable vandalize the property.

When Mr. Peterson investigates the noise, he finds only Alex in the shambles of his garden. Alex knows from experience he can’t rat on those responsible, as his life will only get worse, yet he tries to convince Mr. Peterson of his innocence.

Even his mother is not a believer, so she overrides the objections from both sides and as punishment makes Alex report every day after school to help Mr. Peterson out. Little to either of them realize, they have a great deal to learn from each other. Due to the nature of Alex’s injury, he is a well-known personality, recognized everywhere he goes. Whether this is a hindrance or a help, he is not sure, but it certainly makes allowances for the strange existence he leads.
Mr. Peterson has his own problems, and since the death of his wife he wants nothing to do with the outside world. As his world collides with that of Alex, neither of them realizes the impact that such a fateful meeting will create.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods could be considered a young adult novel, yet there is a depth of meaning and perception that make it one step more. The morals and events that are threaded throughout are at times funny, yet also tragic. The story draws you in, dragging you along step by step as Alex and Mr. Peterson take on the very fundamentals of human rights, as well as the tragedy of everyday living.

If you enjoy interesting and unique experiences, you will find this to be the must-read of the summer. Not my usual reading material, I was at once charmed and enthralled. Beginning with Alex and how he developed his own personality, and moving toward a tragic and yet uplifting ending you will be hard pressed to put this work down.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods
would be a great book for either a reading group or discussion group. It’s a must-have for your library, and a treat for both the young, as well as the young at heart. There is some very deep subject matter discussed, yet the end result is extraordinary. Gavin Extence is an author to watch for.
Rating 5/5
This book was recieved free from the authors publicist. All opnions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.