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Category: paranormal (Page 1 of 3)

Miller’s View – The Alley Rat – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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Marlene W. Potts

In Marlene W. Potts’s Miller’s View: The Alley Rat, seventeen-year-old Birdy witnesses a brutal murder in a dark alley. Deacon Ashton Bradley is beat to death, and now, the thug who did it is hunting for Birdy, too. His boss, millionaire Cranston Turner, wants him to get rid of “the rat” at any cost. Detective Miller is searching for the answers, but he’s in a race against the clock to crack the case before Birdy meets her demise. With the help of some mysterious rose-colored glasses, he might just find the clues he needs to finally end Cranston Turner’s brutal rampage.

Developmentally, The Alley Rat is a difficult book to get through. It’s nearly impossible to follow references to events in previous books in the Miller’s View series without having read those previous books; new readers who choose to start with this one are going to be in for a bumpy ride. Also, much of The Alley Rat reads more like a rough outline than a fully developed novel. Sudden shifts in perspective and inconsistent timelines are to blame for much of this, as are seemingly incomplete scenes. The Alley Rat’s potential is certainly there, but expansion of several scenes and some thorough editing would improve its readability tenfold.

Despite this, The Alley Rat proved to be a most interesting novel. At first glance, it seems like an ordinary detective mystery, but it turns out to be more than that. The inclusion of the mystical glasses and its curious abilities give The Alley Rat a faint paranormal flavor. Marlene W. Potts’s story is intriguing and different, as are her characters. It certainly piques readers’ interest about the other books in the series, too. Miller’s View: The Alley Rat could benefit from a bit of work, but is an enjoyable mystery nonetheless.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Elicit My Heart – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Shauna Pendleton

A highly unique book, Elicit My Heart is the second book in the Kiss Me Deadly series. Author, Shauna Pendleton continues Marjolaine’s story of tumultuous experiences as she faces life-threatening choices. The excruciatingly destructive consequences she faces if she gives in and makes the wrong choices nearly rip her demon heart in two. Marjolaine’s lost love is in danger and engaged to another woman. Whether or not she’ll be able to save him from the invisible and unknown danger -let alone save him from the danger she herself is- courses throughout Pendletons’s Elicit My Heart. Marjolaine has believed she is utter evil, but in this second book she faces demonic forces stronger and far worse than her own kind. Pendleton keeps readers wondering page after page as to whom will still be standing in the end.

On some levels, Elicit My Heart could be read as a stand alone novel, but it would be easier for readers to relish in the story sooner if they have read the fist book in the series, Kiss Me Deadly. Pendleton doesn’t appear to give much background when it comes to who or what Marjolaine (Len) is. The tale is gripping early on, but it takes a good bit of reading to piece together Marjolaine’s relationship to Jared and her relationship with Durante. Being better prepared to understand the intricacies of these relationships could help readers get into the story a bit quicker, but that is the only real drawback to Elicit My Heart. Shauna Pendleton has written a fascinating, paranormal tale that will not only keep readers turning pages, but Elicit My Heart will have them craving the next book in the Kiss Me Deadly series.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Everett File – Entered in the 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Steven A. Moore

Steven A. Moore has crafted a fabulously interesting fictional novel in The Everett File: The Gooey Gospel of Truthy Goodness. It is unlike a normal fiction story as it brings to light paranormal spiritual occurrences surrounding catholicism. Told from the perspective of Raymond, the main character, he is shocked to discover, well into his adult life, that two of his closest friends hold deep secrets. The paranormal events that begin to occur blow him away at first until he can no longer deny that they are truly happening. The spiritual and paranormal abilities that he encounters are often mentioned within catholicism, but they are typically rejected in modern times. Raymond and his friends are being called upon to help protect a very powerful individual along with the secrets that they themselves hold. That request from beyond forces them to make life changing decisions.

The Everett File moves quickly, but the pacing is pretty well maintained throughout. Moore does an excellent job keeping the reader entertained and urged to turn the page. Readers can easily become wrapped up in this story no matter what their spiritual beliefs are. What if the Shroud of Turin really exists? What if one could get their hands on a piece of the cross Jesus was said to be crucified on? Would these items give special powers to the one who holds said item? Moore offers readers an opportunity to be quite entertained while developing fascinating spiritual questions in their minds. The mysteries keep coming from start to finish in The Everett File, but Moore wraps it all up in a very tidy way that still has readers turning pages all the way through the epilogue. Well done.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Chrysalis and Clan – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Jae Mazer

In Jae Mazer’s Chrysalis and Clan, Beth thinks she’s on her way to a normal, albeit distressing, visit with her aging mother. However, one cryptic speech and a murder-suicide later, Beth wakes up in a hospital, full of fear and doubt. Who is she? What is she? She’s not so sure anymore. Meanwhile, her daughter, Etta, is caught in a tragedy of her own. A “boogeyman” has ravaged their family, and now, he’s relentlessly hunting her. Etta and Beth must find each other and band together to survive a devastating whirlwind of death, horrifying creatures, and the dark unknown.

Chrysalis and Clan is certainly not a book for the faint-hearted. It is a unique and seamless blend of traditional and modern horror stories, the paranormal, and science-fiction that, although done well, may be a bit too graphic for certain readers. Fans of the horror genre in general, though, are going to love this one. There are a few small plot holes here and there (such as the finer details of the otherworldly beings represented in this book), but none are so gravely detrimental as to ruin the overall reading experience. Rather, Chrysalis and Clan was immediately captivating, and never slowed down from there.

There are two main aspects about this book that make it such a winner for the horror genre, the first of which is Jae Mazer’s impeccable pacing. Chrysalis and Clan’s plot unravels in a manner that is simultaneously methodically mysterious and on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting. The second winning aspect is the phenomenal use of description. From basic character descriptions to unraveling scenes of carnage and horror, Jae Mazer consistently delivers a vivid, enthralling image with her well-chosen words. Frankly, it is so clearly portrayed that it could make an excellent transition to film, one day. Chrysalis and Clan is a truly thrilling horror novel, one that does justice to its genre while still maintaining its own bone-chilling, expertly concocted individuality.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Anima: Uncharted Souls – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Dudley Ellis

Dudley Ellis’ Anima: Uncharted Souls is a paranormal novel in which Melissa Apeeza finds herself in an awakening in an institution with little recognition of how she got there. However, Melissa is no ordinary 10-year-old girl; she posses the astral gift of telekinesis through sight, earning her the name ‘Melissa, Anima of Sight.’ She learns that she’s now a part of the ‘Knights of the Anima: Guardians who posses’ astral gifts.’ Melissa also learns she is not the only one with astral gifts, but that there is a community of people with outstanding astral gifts such as cloning, controlling and reversing feelings and incidents. After one of the older children in the institution rebels and uses his gift of fire to take down most of the institution, Melissa unites with four others who’ve survived the massacre and are now on the hunt for the devil-child who stirred up all of the trouble.

Anima: Uncharted Souls is a rather unsatisfactory ride through the imaginative mind of Dudley Ellis. While it is an interesting genre, Ellis’ execution fell completely flat with incomplete thoughts and poorly described scenes and characters. The poor writing style does very little to grasp the reader’s attention and draw them into what could have been a thrilling paranormal novel. There are some very wide gaps and far too unbelievable storylines in the novel which can become confusing- such as a fairly incomplete background story of the main characters, the fast forwarding to years ahead within a matter of sentences, and the conveniently solved mysteries in the midst of chaos. While the genre is interesting, especially with the “Stranger Things” sensation at play, this book just doesn’t seem to do the genre justice.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Passer – Entered in 2017 Romance Novel Contest

4 Stars

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Robin Christophersen

In Robin Christophersen’s The Passer, Eleanor has a strange dream on the anniversary of her boyfriend’s death, in which a glowing figure tells her to “help him believe.” Mysterious things start to happen to her after she wakes up; she now has a strange gift that she doesn’t quite understand and faces a whirlwind of details that just don’t seem to add up. Soon, her path crosses with that of an ex-lover, who is also recently widowed. Together, Eleanor, Daniel, and his stepdaughter, Amelia, must band together to unravel the haunting circumstances behind why they were all brought together in the first place. 

Reading The Passer felt a bit like riding a rollercoaster, in some ways. Its narrative felt rather jumpy, going from interesting and well-developed scenes to long bouts of small talk, and back again. Its general plot development could be amended to flow a bit more smoothly. It doesn’t take much away from the overall story, but is still noticeable during the several slower portions. 

Despite this minor drawback, however, The Passer is an incredible novel. It seamlessly blends several different genres, most notably romance and mystery, into a unique and captivating tale. Robin Christophersen’s use of vivid imagery and well-developed, believable characters helped balance out the winding, intriguing mystery surrounding the plot. The Passer was a page-turner from the very first chapter; this captivating story from a promising debut author is a most worthwhile read, enjoyable from beginning to end.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Rose Within – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

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Sana Pirzada

In Sana Pirzada’s The Rose Within, Jonathan Malcolm is a lonely man living in 1920s’ London, aching for love. He’s been having strange dreams about a mysterious woman, but has no explanation for them. A chance encounter with an elderly lady leads him to take up residence at Winter Grange House, which is rumored to be haunted. There, Jonathan meets the love of his life, Selina Selwyn. However, there is more to Selina- and Winter Grange House- than meets the eye, leaving Jonathan to navigate a web of secrecy and paranormal happenings in order to be with the woman he loves.

The Rose Within tends to be somewhat draining. It is written in the style of diary entries (which is a bit cliché), but each passage is so long-winded and rambling that the entire narrative comes across as outlandish. It would have fared better had it not been structured as a diary, and had the exposition not delved so far into unnecessary background details. 

Beyond that, The Rose Within was a decent novel. Sana Pirzada’s use of imagery and detail is fantastic (albeit a bit overdone in some instances). The dynamic between certain characters was very interesting, and the suspense surrounding Winter Grange House and its inhabitants was written wonderfully. The Rose Within could certainly use a bit of cleaning up, but nevertheless, it is a unique and lovely Gothic romance that lends a pleasant (though eerie) reading experience.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Vanquished – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

4 Stars

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Jessica Victoria Fisette

In The Vanquished penned by Jessica Victoria Fisette, we meet Kendra – a privileged young girl from Houston, Texas who is on her way to Braxton Law School despite her wealthy parent’s wishes to go to an Ivy League. Upon Kendra’s arrival to Elkridge, Massachusetts, she finds herself running into a handsome guy, Alaric A’mswirth, and can’t quite put her finger on where she knows him from. After trying to get Alaric off of her mind, Kendra soon finds out that he’s going to be her neighbor in the law school dormitories. As they become more acquainted, Alaric offers to help Kendra with some of her dorm room shopping necessities and invites her to dinner. What seemed to have started off as a romantic dinner ended with Ric desperately trying to get Kendra away from two men who were trying to cause some trouble. Later Kendra finds out that those same two guys were found dead shortly after the interaction. While she has her suspicions about Alaric, she isn’t quite sure what is going on with him and these incidents in Elkridge. She’s in for a surprise when she finds out that Alaric isn’t human, and he’s not the only one on campus who isn’t.

Although The Vanquished has some interesting moments, some of the tone, scenery and situations were a bit too similar to The Twilight Saga. A few moments such as Alaric’s eyes changing colors when he’s “hungry” or in danger, along with scenery of him trying to read Kendra’s mind and finding it very hard to do so and constantly trying to protect this woman who he’s seemingly in love with brought me back to Stephenie Meyer’s ever so popular saga. Fisette’s scene description and more importantly food description were phenomenal though. She mentions a gumbo and Riesling pairing which left my mouth watering in the first chapter and ensures you feel as if you’re walking through the big gates at Braxton. It does take quite a while to find out the truth about Alaric and his past involving Kendra, but it becomes quite the roller coaster ride when you get there. Overall, The Vanquished turned out to be a fairly good read even though it took some time to reel you in.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Vengeance – Entered in Romance Novel Contest

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KK Gould

Vengeance is the first novel in KK Gould’s Immortal Savior series, in which a vampire-werewolf hybrid, Elizabeth Mason, is being held captive by a deadly and sadistic vampire. He abuses her relentlessly until she manages to escape, and soon afterwards, she is rescued by a nearby pack of werewolves. They protect and relocate her, and she assumes the name Eliza North and moves on with her life. However, her peace does not last forever; another vampire named Braxton Slater is seeking his own vengeance against the same monster who abused Eliza, and intends to use her as bait to catch him. All of that changes, though, as Eliza and Brax begin to fall in love with one another, against anyone’s expectations. 

Vengeance is basically drowning in cliches. The feisty, smart-mouthed, and inexplicably irresistible heroine finds herself in the middle of a dangerous conflict between werewolves, vampires, and fiery alpha-male characters, where she just happens to find passionate love- now where has anyone seen that before? It’s like Twilight fan fiction, to be blunt about it. There were also several odd aspects to the plot, such as the strange guardian angel/ghost/god character, for one. The entire storyline seemed overly rushed and underdeveloped; the pieces of the puzzle are all there, I suppose, but the final picture didn’t come out right. 

However, it was a little refreshing to see the heroine not fall head over heels for the first man she met in the novel. A good half-dozen male characters were introduced before the actual love interest showed up; for each one, I thought, “Okay, here he is,” only to be proved wrong. For that alone, Vengeance redeemed itself a bit. Another area of redemption lies in its imagery; KK Gould writes with a good deal of description, and not just for physical appearance, either. It is obvious that KK Gould is a writer with great ideas and a whole lot of promise, but Vengeance didn’t quite live up to that.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com

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Virtue of Death – Entered in Romance Novel Contest


4 Stars

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Randi Perrin

Randi Perrin’s Virtue of Death, is a story about an earthbound angel whose duties are to be the hand that leads the souls of the dead into purgatory. Sera was chosen to be an earthbound angel on her 18th birthday, the same time she decided to go to culinary school, against her parents’ wishes. Twelve years later, Sera owns her own bakery in Southeastern Virginia and when a reporter, Destin, calls her baked goods banal, she finds herself in his office giving him a piece of her mind. Little does she know, they’d end up falling for each other which leaves her in the quandary of whether or not she’ll share her deepest secret of being an immortal earthbound angel of death.

Virtue of Death is a predictable romance with generically beautiful characters such as Destin; the reporter who is constantly in suits, has a six-pack, a 5 o’clock shadow and perfectly tussled hair along with Sera, a blonde baker who does yoga every morning and has a great personality. While the romance was a bit amateur, it is reminiscent of a romance we’ve all had at some point in our lives. A romance filled with pet names, feuding with best friends because you’re deeply and blindly in love, and the feelings of “I’d do anything for you” prior to a proper first date. Perrin’s scene descriptions are very detailed which puts you right in the characters’ shoes, but the story moves quickly from “Call me when you get some time, okay?” to “Sweetheart, if you hadn’t figured this out yet, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for you,” which can be quite off-putting due to its dramatic telenovela feel. Still, it’s very easy to find yourself rooting for some of the story’s characters which makes Perrin’s book a page-turner. Nonetheless, Virtue of Death is a great casual read.

Originally reviewed by the staff of AuthorsTalkAboutIt.com.

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