Review

Sector C: The Chosen by Nina Soden

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★★★
Cover: ★★★ 1/2

Overall: ★★★★★ (4.5)

 This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Nina Soden starts off on a brand new series and I think, out of the gate, it’s brilliant. I was asked to help look over her final rough draft and offer a review. In spirited fashion, I will hit all the usual points I make when rating an ARC, minus the grammar Nazi in me pointing anything critical out.

Sector C is a futuristic, supernatural take on what the world might be like if there were societies where you were brought up, trained and tested to fall into the category of vampire, lycanthrope, breeder, donor or castaway. The story follows the lead Heroine, A (because they are assigned alpha-numerics as names until they are worthy to choose their own name). She is resourceful, smart and strong, while somehow at the same time being slightly awkward and unsure of herself. Throughout the novel, you get a better sense of her as a character with each page and before long, Nina has you in the compound feeling like another student and wondering what will come next.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

I’ve reviewed all of Nina’s books and since I helped with the final edits, I can’t really judge it on final product, but I can say that it flowed as good if not better than her previous works. It provided detail and ease of reading and made it fun to move along with her characters.

Story:

It seems to pull from a lot of unique but also comforting angles. The society idea is reminiscent of Divergent with the different groups, emotionless feel and the coming of age choice, and the combative / competitive nature, being teenagers and isolated from society feels a little Hunger Games. Putting supernatural elements into the mix puts it in a different class altogether and makes it it’s own.

Characters:

Loved getting to know each character with the personalities I could pair with people I’ve known in life. Getting used to the alpha-numeric names took a chapter or so to get used to, but before long it was common nature.

Appearance:

The only really non stellar grade I could give would be on the cover. Part of it draws me in and another part of it doesn’t speak to me the same way the book does. If anything I like the cover to exceed the writing or story and in this case, Nina’s world in Sector C makes the cover not do it justice. I blame Nina’s awesome writing on this one.

Sector C Bk 1 - FRONT

Final Thoughts

I powered through this read for two reasons: 1) Nina needed it back quickly 2) It was a great story and kept me engaged the entire way, wanting to know what was in store for A and the rest of her classmates. Nina is one of those authors I expect to look at and go, I knew her before she got the movie deal.

Links

Find Nina’s books through her links below and I’ll simply direct you to her WordPress site for now and she provides the rest. Sector C: The Chosen will release on or before the 31st of March. Be on the look out and go to Goodreads and put it in your “To-Read” shelf.

Amazon: Nina Soden

Awaken: a Blood Angel novel

BEGINNINGS: A BLOOD ANGEL NOVEL

Revenge: A Blood Angel Novel

Nina’s Page



 

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Review

Revenge by Nina Soden

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★ 1/2
Story: ★★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★★★
Cover: ★★★★ 1/2

Overall: ★★★★★ (4.625)

 This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This third (final?) installment of the Blood Angel series is once again looking at the transformation of Alee (Aleerah), the only living dhampir. It continues after her transition back into high school, learning the ropes of a vampire, the nature of being a witch, the betrayal of the Underground and the love dichotomy she finds herself in.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

Nina’s writing has progressively improved throughout the series and by this point, she has started to master the craft. Weaving in the imagery and emotions of her characters. There were some misspellings here and there, giving the teeny ding on the writing alone.

Story:

This story starts off on the fast track and very rarely slows down. The build up over the series has led to this moment of turmoil, transformation and transcendence. Nina’s work on the first two novels set the stage for this wonderful and fast-paced supernatural showdown. There were a few parts in the end that threw me. *SPOILER* When the Founders battle started happening, I felt there was little build up to making them the antagonist, so it felt a tad closed off and ended abruptly. That took a bit of the story down, but in all, it was a wonderful ride seeing the characters grow aside the writer herself.

Characters:

Each character has grown into their element from the first novel to this last one. Alee has grown into the confident yet hesitant teen, pairing along with her new vampire feelings she tries to maintain. The affections of Jathan to Damian to Kyle keeps the temperature always on high.

Appearance:

I have loved Nina’s book covers on all her books. This last one just didn’t stay par with the others. It’s hard to match perfection three times in a row. I think if there was something more in the eyes portraying revenge as the title, I’d probably have given it a straight five.

Final Thoughts

Nina created a wonderful set of characters living in the town of Atlanta, MI. When I read her first story, I was a bit hesitant from the way it started, but midway through I could see the story developing faster and faster. Through Beginnings and into the fast-paced start of Revenge, you can see the progression of the Supernatural setting that was painted along the way. There were some brief flashes of time where I wish I could have taken a red pen to the plot to maybe guide it more towards the answer I was looking for. But, I’m a reader, not the writer. Nina did a great job and I had a blast getting to know more about her through her writing and some brief conversations we shared. I look forward to all her upcoming works and I hope to get an Interview out of her in the near future!

Links

Find Nina’s books through her links below and I’ll simply direct you to her WordPress site for now and she provides the rest.

Awaken: a Blood Angel novel

BEGINNINGS: A BLOOD ANGEL NOVEL

Revenge: A Blood Angel Novel

Nina’s Page



 

Review

First Contact by Kat Green

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★ 1/2
Story: ★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Cover: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★★ (3.875)

This book was given to me as an R2R in exchange for an honest review from a Goodreads group (LoP or Lovers of the Paranormal).

The synopsis of this novel was enticing, a realtor who only looks for haunted houses goes out to make certain that houses are actually haunted, but safe for the buyers requesting such unique places to live. All along she searches for one ghost in particular, her fiance who died. From there the possibilities tend to create themselves.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

Kat Green’s writing has many good points to it. The text is very easy to power through and never lags in one spot for too long. There were some echoing words throughout various sentences and key words that felt repetitious within the book. There was a critical point where a small slip of a character name gave way to the mystery of who the killer is. It was a small slip, but since it isn’t truly revealed until almost fifteen pages later, the “ahh” moment was spoiled. So, a few grammatical things kinked up the story off an on.

Story:

In all the story reminds me a lot of Nearly Departed in Deadwood but takes on another twist of a person who is actively looking for haunted houses. The premise never really felt too solidified from the beginning. I just kind of went along with it and it developed nicely throughout. I’d have liked to seen a little more movement if the killer was supposed to be a surprise. There were few characters to choose from and became a little obvious. There were some romance undertones throughout the book as well, which works for those who like it and can be overlooked for those who don’t.

Characters:

Sloane, the female heroine of the story, gets more developed as the story progresses. There were parts where I truly wondered what some of these people were thinking and how they got to that point. So, a lot of them were taken at face value without digging too much into the why’s & how’s. I still am trying to figure out how two good looking men (one a scientist and another and FBI cold case worker) are so seemingly handsome. <– totally my own opinion, not needed for the review.

Appearance:

I love covers. I feel like if I see a good cover, they half half my money right now. This cover is one that I would have thrown money at before reading the jacket. It’s mysterious, spooky, a little gory but not sick and leaves me wondering about what lurks inside.

Final Thoughts

The premise of the book was great. It was a quick, short read and hit on lots of supernatural elements. There was just a lot of things that I’ve read before that I think a new set of eyes would appreciate more than mine that are starting to see more cliches in this genre than anything else.

In all, there were areas needing a touch up, a little beefing up and many I look forward to seeing in another follow up. Writing with two people always gets stronger as they find their own rhythm with one another.

Links

Find Kat Green’s links below:

Goodreads

First Contact

Review

Between Worlds by Jacqueline E. Smith

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Cover: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★★ (4.75)

The story is a Supernatural Mystery/Horror novel set revolving around Michael, a spiritual medium (not a psychic) who is able to see and hear ghosts. He has made friends with Luke, the host of a Supernatural Ghost Hunting TV series called Cemetery Tours. The sequel of this book takes Michael, Luke, Kate (Michael’s girlfriend) and crew across from their Texas home to the eastern US to search for the possible proof of a haunted house. With Michael’s affinity for ghosts, he is bound to come across something? What they all find is more than they bargained for as they’ll have to look for the clues to calm an angry spirit refusing to cross between this world and the next.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

There’s really nothing bad I could say here. Jacqueline writes beautifully, there aren’t any errors or confusion in the book. There was a few wonky areas of formatting, but I always like to blame Kindle for that. I found myself highlighting quotes and interesting passages in my literary quest from chapter to chapter.

Story:

Haunted house stories can either be hit or miss. Too much of the same ol’ same ol’ and it feels like a waste of time and money and too many new elements and everything can get wrapped up in the last five pages leaving the reader to wonder what happened.

This story, carefully and poetically guides the reader through scene after scene. There’s never really too much or too little. The areas I found wanting more from leave a window open for other stories to fill in, so I can’t be critical about it. Between Worlds combines humor, mystery, a little horror and a dash of romance. Hitting multiple genres in one book is a goal for every writer.

Characters:

The characters are even more memorable in this book than its predecessor. I feel the apprehension in Michael, the playful spirit of Kate and the humorous adventurer in Luke. Brink adds some comic relief when needed and her other characters filter in lovely. I would say that the crew in Cemetery Tours became a little flat between JT and Peter, I found myself not associating with them just because they didn’t have a large role, which isn’t that big of a thing. I do wish a little more emphasis on Emily since her and Michael revealed to have so much in common. Hopefully she makes a cameo in the next book?

Appearance:

I love the subtly and colors used in the cover of Jacqueline’s book. I always judge a book initially by its cover (we all do) and I would display it proudly. It gives me a sense of creepy, nostalgic and romantically haunting all in one.

Final Thoughts

Haunted house and/or ghost books are saturated in October. Finding Jackie on her WordPress site was a fortuitous one. Seeing her grow as an author a few steps ahead of me gives me hope that I will continue to get better just like she has. It’s been a blast following her and getting to know her outside of fictitious tales on her site. I look forward to more works with her and hope I can call her a friend.

Links

Find Jacqueline’s books through her links below and check out her other links to various outlets below!

Cemetery Tours

Between Worlds (Cemetery Tours Book 2)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryTour…
Blog: http://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/
Pinterest: pinterest.com/windtrailpub/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-S…
Tumblr: http://jacquelinesmithauthor.tumblr.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jacquelin…
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Jacqueli…



Review

Murdered by James Schannep

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★ 1/2
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Cover: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★ (4.0)

This book was given to me in a Giveaway.

The story takes place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil about a tourist who takes the wrong street only to find himself caught up in a murder investigation that winds up involving the local police, US state department and drug dealers. It’s a pick your path book where the next pages are based off of your decisions.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

James writes quite well, editing all matches up and I found there were many quotable areas along the journey. The great part about this book, even though I mistakenly killed myself (I always die in pick your adventure books), there is always a reason to go back and start all over again. The chapters can be short and read in small chunks, perfect for travel or those looking for micro escapes.

Story:

The premise is great, finding out more and more about the lead character (played by you) as the story unfolds. The only thing was trying to get a sense of all the things he was encountering. It’s hard to do in a fast paced ride like this one, but I only got some cursory feel for the area in the beginning. I’ll probably find out more on my next run through.

Characters:

The characters all start to take more shape the further I read, but there wasn’t a great sense of what makes most of them tick beyond putting my own imagination to it. If anything, I’d like to know more about the character we’re set to follow around so I “know who I am” to some degree. Granted, my choices make me decide, but I’d like a little guidance in the acting my brain is doing.

Appearance:

I like the cover, it reminds me of a throwback drawn cover like murder mysteries used to have when I looked through my parents book shelves. It stands out and draws a reader in.

Final Thoughts

James does a great job with this story. I couldn’t devise the different paths and layout like he does. I hate giving out 4’s instead of 5’s to people, especially when I enjoyed myself. I would pick up another of his books for later down the road and encourage anyone with a knack or wonder to do the same. His novel took me back to the last time I picked up one of these types, which was a couple of decades ago.

Links

Find James’ books through his links below!

INFECTED (Click Your Poison Book 1)

MURDERED (Click Your Poison)

SUPERPOWERED – Coming soon! (What if You Had Superpowers?)

James on Facebook

James’ Page



Same review, different spot:

MURDERED (Click Your Poison, #2)MURDERED by James Schannep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating overview
Writing: ★★★★ 1/2
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Appearance: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★ (4.0)

This book was given to me in a Giveaway.

The story takes place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil about a tourist who takes the wrong street only to find himself caught up in a murder investigation that winds up involving the local police, US state department and drug dealers. It’s a pick your path book where the next pages are based off of your decisions.

The critical points

Writing: James writes quite well, editing all matches up and I found there were many quotable areas along the journey. The great part about this book, even though I mistakenly killed myself (I always die in pick your adventure books), there is always a reason to go back and start all over again. The chapters can be short and read in small chunks, perfect for travel or those looking for micro escapes.

Story: The premise is great, finding out more and more about the lead character (played by you) as the story unfolds. The only thing was trying to get a sense of all the things he was encountering. It’s hard to do in a fast paced ride like this one, but I only got some cursory feel for the area in the beginning. I’ll probably find out more on my next run through.

Characters: The characters all start to take more shape the further I read, but there wasn’t a great sense of what makes most of them tick beyond putting my own imagination to it. If anything, I’d like to know more about the character we’re set to follow around so I “know who I am” to some degree. Granted, my choices make me decide, but I’d like a little guidance in the acting my brain is doing.

Appearance: I like the cover, it reminds me of a throwback drawn cover like murder mysteries used to have when I looked through my parents book shelves. It stands out and draws a reader in.

View all my reviews

 

Review

Beginnings by Nina Soden

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★★ 1/2
Cover: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★★ (4.5)

 This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The story is a Young Adult/Supernatural novel set in the town of Atlanta. It continues the storyline of Aleerah (Alee), a teenager who is starting to learn more about her true nature of being a dhamphir (half human/half vampire). The second novel takes a look at her new life she has had to create for herself and how it overlaps into her old one.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

Nina writes wonderfully, connecting characters to emotions and effortlessly carrying the story along with her. There were still areas in this novel that were editorial oversights and a couple of areas where word usage made me pause and reread more than it should have. So in all, 4/5 as far as that whole process goes.

Story:

The story-telling process shows vast improvement from the first novel. relying less on the development of the main character, the readers are able to dive right into her life and pick up on her new talents of being both a witch and vampire. Learning about the Underground and its connection with her family is still elusive but with a third book, I hope to gain more background on the Wenham Coven.

Characters:

The characters remaining from the first novel carry on with their same qualities, so I didn’t find myself questioning anyone’s reactions. The only thing that left me wondering throughout the book was Jathan’s character. I couldn’t really confirm, even by the end of the book, whose side he was on or if he was real.

Appearance:

Love the simple, gothic and eye-catching use of colors. It says to the reader to be aware and that’s just what they will find inside.

Final Thoughts

Intertwining the magical/supernatural realms of witches, vampires, lycanthropes and other creatures is somewhat saturated these days. Thankfully, a few glorious writers can pull it off and not make it feel like a chore to read. Nina is one of those writers. She has enhanced the flow of her story in this second installment of the Blood Angel series. Her characters and writing keeps a playful tease between a powerful female character and the fragility of her still being a teenager coming into her own skin. Here’s to the third installment, hoping to see her ability to entertain continue to thrive!

Links

Find Nina’s books through her links below and I’ll simply direct you to her WordPress site for now and she provides the rest.

Awaken: a Blood Angel novel

BEGINNINGS: A BLOOD ANGEL NOVEL

Revenge: A Blood Angel Novel

Nina’s Page



 

Review

3 Futures by Peter T. McQueeny

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★ 1/2
Cover: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★ (4.625)

This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3 Futures is a collection of three stories by author Peter T. McQueeny. I must say that it was an absolute blast getting back into what I find as the epitome of Sci-Fi. Not just hinting at the future or space travel or any other elements therein. Peter takes each story and leaves the reader’s mind to run openly through the possibilities of life in the distant future while playing back to the essential qualities of an actual plot running parallel.

Whether the story involved elements of supernatural, to surreal to downright androids, Peter is a craftsman of words and worlds and I see his works rising up to infinite levels of possibility. Everyone who has a love of stories should read 3 Futures and it’s a must for Sci-Fi enthusiasts.

The Critical Points:

Writing:

Peter masterfully crafts his words together, leaves enough room to not explain the technologies to death and had a remarkable editor as I saw really no errors to my untrained eye.

Story:

Each story had a different scenario, still sticking to futuristic setting but with different contexts. All three were entertaining to sift through and kept me engaged to come back for more.

Characters:

Father Jim Frankenstein is my favorite, I see a little John Constantine in him and hope he resurfaces in another novel. The second story was all that I really had issues with. There wasn’t much of a connection to the people and it ebbed & flowed rather quickly from one point of reference to the next. The last story, brilliant job in conveying the lead character and his struggles to stay awake.

Appearance:

The cover is the only areas I would take away a full star. It’s not that it’s bad, I see the reference to the priest, but the three images don’t really speak to me in terms of “pick me up and read more” so for that I had to look objectively as when I first received the novel.

Final Thoughts

The Sci-Fi genre has many ups and even more downs some days. Whereas I am a firm lover of Star Wars, I find that the Sci-Fi genre gets inundated with similar space travels and strays away from its roots. Science (plausible, explainable) Fiction (made up) is like having full flavored “diet M&M’s” that actually take off pounds in my book.

Point is, Peter has a way of bring the genre back into the cradle of life that Sci-Fi was intended. He tells a story that just happens to take place in the future. He adds the plausible, thinkable technology or social structure and allows the reader to explore with their own thoughts. Reading his work really made me analyze my own and I hope I can shape my stories with more thought the next time I write.

Links

Find Peter’s book through the links below and his blog post. You can also follow him through Twitter @FrFrankenstein

3 Futures (only $.99 on Kindle!)

Peter’s Page



 

Review

Awaken by Nina Soden

Rating Overview

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★ 1/2
Cover: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★ (4.375)

This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The story is a Young Adult/Supernatural novel set in the town of Atlanta. It follows mainly along the storyline of Alee, a teenager who is starting to learn her illness is actually the side effects stemming from who she truly is, a dhampir (half human/half vampire).

The Critical Points:

Writing:

Nina writes beautifully mixing in scenery and emotions with her characters along the way. The only reason she is not getting a 5-star rating in this area is due to some minor editing errors with spelling and a little structure peppered throughout the midsection of the story. There were a few cases when the he/she areas got flipped and made it confusing. Nothing worth getting all bent over though.

Story:

As far as Supernatural settings go, I like the spin and background that Nina gives all of the characters within her novel. Some of the areas felt a little cliche, but the realm of vampires, witches and shape-shifters tends to be popular right now. So, unless there’s a completely new angle that hasn’t been touched, it will always feel that way. There were some tweaks to the elements of vampires and lycanthropes that I enjoyed. The one thing I always wonder in every witch spell is why must they always cut the palm of their hand? Can’t they give themselves a short-lived bloody nose? I mean, I’ve cut my hand there on accident and it hurts forever. (Obviously not a flaw, just my own personal curiosity)

One thing I was almost lost with is the beginning. It takes a long time to get to the meat of the story as we follow Alee throughout her infancy to teenage years without knowing where it will end. Still, done in such a way that I wanted to keep reading. From midpoint on, flowed like water in a river, great job.

Characters:

There are a lot of characters surrounding Alee throughout her years, thankfully constant, but in the beginning there are a lot of similar names and relationships that puzzled me up until the end. Lots of lineage to account for. I docked a little for that and an area where Alee’s romantic relationship seemed to springboard, losing me for a moment.

Appearance:

The cover is wonderful. Subtle colors, great font and makes you wonder what to expect before you even break the spine. Would love to find a hardcover in the store. Very well done.

Final Thoughts

As genres go, there are a lot of similar elements that go along with the supernatural. Each one brings a slightly different take. The same principles seen in Anne Rice novels won’t always apply to True Blood or Vampire Diaries. I think going into any scenario of supernatural, readers should try as best they can to wipe their slate clean and take in the surroundings the writer is painting. Nina Soden is a great author and I look forward to the remainder of her series and what she has developing.

Links

Find Nina’s books through her links below and I’ll simply direct you to her WordPress site for now and she provides the rest.

Awaken: a Blood Angel novel

BEGINNINGS: A BLOOD ANGEL NOVEL

Revenge: A Blood Angel Novel

Nina’s Page