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Who Is Orpah?

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a review in some time. Life can throw some unexpected curve balls at you, you can pull your mitt out and catch the damn thing or try ducking. Ducking doesn’t work by the way. So, I have decided to dust off my underused mitt and catch.
My greatest pleasure in NovelOpinion is meeting authors who have worked hard on their stories without the benefit of well established publishing houses or representation of the like best-selling authors have. That is not to say that the big name authors started with these advantages, I do understand most authors of any kind have had to struggle in the beginning to get published.
With the advent of Social Media, affordable Desktop Publishing software and blogging sites geared toward readers; Independent and Self-Published authors now have a way to bypass tons of red tape and the never-ending “Sorry we can not accept your manuscript at this time.” letters. This is where I benefit.
As a reviewer, I have had the privilege of being sent hundreds of books by New, Self-Published and Independently-Published authors requesting me to review for them. I am not only honored by the trust these people put in me to give them a fair and unbiased ‘opinion’ on their hard work but I have also been extremely gratified by the level of talent. Most of my favorite books and authors have come from the books I have reviewed and the Indie community.
One of the first things I am doing now that I have ended my unscheduled hiatus, is working with The Kindle Book Review on our second annual Best Indie Books Contest. This will take up a lions share of my time but it is an honor to judge again this year and The Kindle Book Review run by Jeff Bennington is an amazing resource for Indie and Self-Pubbed authors. Please check it out if you haven’t already.

Now. Who is Orpah?
It has taken me a long time catching up with my Social Media contacts. I spend time each day confirming friends requests and loving it. Today I had a friendship request from Orpah Winfrey.
Omg I freaked! First I couldn’t breathe. Then I felt like NovelOpinion had hit the big time. LMAO! As if I ever really cared about ‘Big Time’ anything. Then I got teary eyed and thought,”OMG, I’ve got to contact my author contacts! They have to start promoting on my page! Then I cried, thank God it wasn’t about me. It’s about people who write. The very people that gave me a love for reading. The people who opened my world to a plethora of brilliant stories. You, the Indie or Self-Published author and you, the readers who have also discovered these talented people!

Then I looked at my growing friends list and noticed Oprah was spelled Orpah. I laughed my ass off and came in to write this post!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Plain Jane: Brunettes Beware by Cristyn West

Plain JanePlain Jane by Cristyn West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Nicole Usher is desperate. A serial killer is stalking women and has killed over a dozen. These women are special to the killer but Nicole and the rest of her department cannot determine why and have no way of stopping the killings. The killer likes brunettes. Plain, shy and unassuming brunettes are stalked then mutilated for a trophy the killer covets.
No one can know the mind of a killer, unless you are a genius profiler with a talent for doing just that.
Nicole knows that Kent Harbinger can help catch the killer and despite a tragic history she shares with him, she calls him to help.
Kent Harbinger seems as twisted as the killers he catches and although he is ranked as one of the top FBI profilers, his unconventional techniques have rewarded him a long-term stay at an asylum.
His presence in the investigation creates pain for Nicole and resentment in Nicole’s partner and lover but despite this she knows there is no other way.
Kent is the key character in this story despite the fact that Nicole is written in as the protagonist. His method of hunting the same victims as the killer helps him to guess the next target but he seems as mad as the killer. Stealing whatever he needs, breaking into buildings and stalking women are only some of the acts Kent commits during the investigation and Nicole is left to answer for him to her captain and partner. Kent seems to have no conscience and treats Nicole with apathy to the point that the reader cannot fathom a previous romantic relationship between the two.
I hated him and wavered on whether to give this story a three of four star rating. The author pushes the envelope on what the reader will accept in a main character who is supposedly on the side of good and I struggled with this.
Then I remembered something important. The best thing an author has ever done for me as a reader was to make me feel. To create emotion, good or bad, as I immerse myself in their creation. I was immersed in Plain Jane. I wanted the characters to do MY will and when they didn’t the author forced me to understand why. What does it take to get into the mind of a killer? What must you become if you want to catch what most don’t understand?
Ms. West caught me off-guard and that doesn’t happen to me often.

If you enjoyed Silence of the Lambs or the work of Jeffrey Deaver, you will enjoy Plain Jane.

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Grace Doll by Jennifer Laurens

Grace DollGrace Doll by Jennifer Laurens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved that Grace Doll opened in a 1949 Hollywood setting. The glamour of celebrities at the time seems haunting as you look back and was a perfect background for this haunting story.
Grace Doll is at the height of her star power and overwhelmingly unhappy. The opening hints at something more than a jaded starlet and gives the reader a palpable sense of darkness in Grace’s thoughts as she and her Producer/Husband enter Grauman’s Chinese Theater for her new movie.
Grace is performing from the beginning; smile, wave, shine, sizzle. Inside she is in obvious torment and I was anxious to learn why.
Rufus B. Solomon is propelling Grace through the hysterical crowd of fans and paparazzi, while looking like her protector, he pulls and pushes at her, controlling her physical movement with a dashing smile and an order not heard by anyone but Grace. “Sizzle, darling. Sizzle.” The scene is decidedly creepy. A glimpse of wrongness in the glitz of a Hollywood movie premier and you feel it in your gut.
Having discovered the young, 13yr old Grace on a boardwalk with her family, Rufus easily convinces her parents to make a deal with the devil. Promising riches and fame if they allow Grace to accompany him to Hollywood. Faking a birth certificate to make Grace appear older, Rufus begins to take complete control of her life in everyday possible eventually making her into the hottest actress of 1949 and his puppet. Abuse, kidnapping, obsession, and murder mark the beginning chapters of Grace Doll and when his obsession with her is at it’s peak, Rufus subjects Grace to an experimental treatment that guarantees her immortal beauty and a way he can control her forever.
As a rescue attempt to free her from Rufus goes horribly wrong Grace is forced to remain in hiding, forever young, for several decades until her secret is discovered and with the help of an old friends grandson resolves to end the nightmare Rufus began 60 years ago.

What an amazing premise. Jennifer Laurens captivates her audience with her brilliant manipulation of emotion and atmosphere. I enjoyed this story and wish I could see it on the big screen.

Book Summary:Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty.

Everything except, of course, her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace–one that’s purported to make beauty immortal–she stages her own death to escape him.

With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She’s forever flawless, forever young and forever pursued by her past.

But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she’d left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she’s known… and embracing the role she was born to play.

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

 

Bad Luck Cadet by Suzie Ivy

Bad Luck CadetBad Luck Cadet by Suzie Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun read! As a forty-something in the process of reinventing my life, it was an inspiration to read about Suzie Ivy’s leap into law enforcement at a time in a woman’s life when things should be set and stable. Kids grown, career stability, confidence and a peace in your life. At least that’s what I thought.

After reading a recruitment ad for the police academy, Suzie decides she won’t take empty-nest syndrome lying down. It doesn’t matter that she has just recovered from hip surgery or is forty pounds overweight and in her forties. She is determined and her enthusiasm is refreshing.

Enlisting the help of a friend, Suzie begins to train for the enrollment deadline. With a family mostly less than supportive and the local police sergeant obviously unconvinced Suzie is a good candidate, she aces through the initial tests required for recommendation to the academy.

Eighteen weeks away from her family and a training instructor that would give Viggo Mortenson in G.I. Jane a run for his money, Suzie uses humor and heart to tell her story.
We are introduced to fellow trainees and become immersed in everyone’s journey to graduation or wash out.

As Suzie struggles to keep up with her team she discovers a closeness and camaraderie unlike any other.

Bad Luck Cadet is heartwarming and humorous and highly recommended by this forty-something reviewer.

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No Good Deed by Bill Blais BOOK PROMO!

 

No Good Deed

Author: Bill Blais

Published: March 9, 2012

Synopsis: Kelly McGinnis has spent her adult life trying to do the right thing, but as a newly down-sized mother of twins and the wife of a man living with Muscular Sclerosis, she also knows that trying isn’t always enough.

While interrupting a scene of police brutality, Kelly unwittingly releases a real, live demon. After she manages to kill the creature through gut instinct and blind luck, she is approached to join a secret group of demon hunters who reveal an underworld of monsters and magic. Kelly’s mill town upbringing proves an unexpected asset and the pay more than covers her husband’s treatments, but the work begins to undermine her sense of right and wrong as she struggles to maintain her ‘normal’ life.

When she encounters Umber, a compelling incubus with an unexpectedly human story, Kelly learns that the truth is far stranger and more terrifying than she imagined.

Sneak Peek Into No Good Deed

“Last time,” I say, riding the bravado and pointedly not thinking about what might come next. “Where’s my friend?”

“I don’t know.” His voice is still warm, with a slight timbre to it. The kind of voice you could get lost in.

“Get him back here.”

“Who are you?”

“Look!” I shake the gun. “I’m the lady with the big gun pointed at your face, remember? Get him back!”

“Will you shoot me again?” He spreads his arms wide. “Defenseless and chained as I am?”

I aim at his legs.

“Typical.” He raises his arms beside him as his wings unfold, the torn one only half-extended, with the wounded end hanging almost to the floor.

I keep the gun on him, but this definitely doesn’t feel right. He’s defenseless, and I already shot him once like that. Another mind game? I bite my lip hard, bringing blood, but nothing else changes.

He stands crucified in front me, proud and angry, but strangely calm, as if I’m barely worth bothering with.

Now what? I look around, then point my elbow at Marianne and Rachel. “Fix my friends.”

“To what end? You’ll kill me, either way.”

“No, I won’t.”

He sighs. “Don’t patronize me.”

“No, really! I don’t want to kill you! I just . . . I just . . . .” I exhale loudly in frustration. I’ve shot him three times, already. “Look, just get my people back, okay?”

He looks at me for a moment, the anger replaced by a vague confusion. “Who are you?”

I look down the barrel of the shotgun at him, pinned to the floor, more handsome than is possible, with a hole in his wing that I made. He has wings.

I shake my head. “I’m nobody. I’m confused. I don’t know. I’m obviously the wrong person doing the wrong job.” I shake my head again. “You’re probably messing with my mind just like you did the others, so nothing makes sense and I’m gonna end up sitting on the floor with a stupid grin on my face waiting to be turned into lunch. Dammit.”

His wings slowly fold back and he lowers his arms.

I point the gun again. “Don’t!”

“My name is Umber.” His husky voice is calm between us, and his eyes never leave mine. “I am an incubus, and I am made for enjoyment. My touch is ceaseless pleasure and my kiss is blind ecstasy. I can be whatever you desire. I am fantasy made flesh.”

Umber. I can feel the blood pounding in my ears and my lungs are working overtime. His dark eyes compel me and I can actually feel something between us, almost physical, a deep, slow pull, at the center of my very being, warm and real and just a little demanding.

“But there is always a price.” He turns his gaze to the women on the floor.

I blink hard as a pleasant fog sweeps from my mind again. I hitch the shotgun back up from where it’s sagged. “Like their souls?”

“In the end, yes.” He spreads his hands. “It is what I am.”

Purchase on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Kelly-Umber-Novel-ebook/dp/B007IXY6UC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340728224&sr=1-2&keywords=No+Good+Deed) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/169916)

Author Bio: Bill Blais is a writer, web developer and perennial part-time college instructor. His novels include Witness (winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Fantasy) and the Kelly & Umber urban fantasy series. Bill graduated from Skidmore College before earning an MA in Medieval Studies from University College London. He lives in Maine with his wife and daughter.

Where to Find the Author:

Website (http://www.billblais.com/)

Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1372793.Bill_Blais)

Twitter (http://twitter.com/onemoredraft)

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBillBlais)

Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Blais/e/B002BLNB7K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1)

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Urban Fantasy

 

Bill The Vampire by Rick Gaultieri

Bill The Vampire (The Tome of Bill, #1)Bill The Vampire by Rick Gualtieri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would love to say something extremely witty in my opening line for my review of Bill The Vampire. After all, it’s been since June since I have posted a review and Rick Gualtieri has waited an unforgivable amount of time for it. I read Bill The Vampire months ago and i’m still freaking giggling about it. I don’t giggle much. Laugh, well yah. A good deep giggle? Not too often, hence, I treasure anyone or thing that causes them.

Bill has been added to my favorite list and belongs there. Even though life circumstances kept me from writing, I kept Rick’s book in the forefront of my mind as the first review I would write when it was possible.

Bill is a geek, as you can surmise from the book cover and summary to follow. Awkward, self-deprecating, and goofy. I connected. I have a huge crush on geeks of all types. There is no truer and more exciting group of people you will ever encounter. They are heart-felt and honest in their pursuit of all things labeled geeky and i’m one of them.

Rick Gualtieri get’s it and his portrayal of an unlikely vampire is dead on, (pun intended). Smart and goofy, Bill takes us on his journey through a dangerous world of supernatural killers but stands back with the rest of us as we see hilarious stereotypes, vampire posers and a trashy heroine who treats Bill like crap, leaves him for food then uses him for her own purposes. Tramp with a heart of gold?

As characters are so important to me, I focused on all of them and was rewarded with unique and entertaining personalities from the vampire leader, Night Razor to his steriod-raged cronies, I was thoroughly involved and turning pages like the wind.

Bill The Vampire contains the mind of a geeky dude, the heart, mostly, of a street-tough vamp chick and the ego of a wannabe Vampire Master. A hilarious string of events when all are combined and an unexpected conclusion that has you cheering and giggling.

Book Summary: There are reasons we fear the night.
He isn’t one of them.

Meet Bill Ryder: programmer, gamer geek, and hopeless dweeb when it comes to women. All he ever asked for out of life was to collect his paycheck, hang out with his buds, and eventually (someday) ask out the girl of his dreams.

However, then Bill met Sally. She was mysterious, aggressive, and best of all…smoking hot. Bill never stood a chance. Before he knew what was happening Sally had lead him to his death, and that was only the beginning of his troubles.

Now Bill awakes to find himself an undead predator of the night. The only problem is he’s still at the bottom of the food chain.

He’s in way over his head, surrounded by creatures more dangerous, better looking, and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst of all is the dreaded Night Razor, a master vampire who just can’t stand him. He gives Bill a 90 day deadline to either prove himself or meet a more permanent kind of death, and the deck is definitely stacked against him.

But Bill isn’t exactly average. A vampire like him hasn’t been seen in over five centuries. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies to help him out, and an attitude problem that makes him just too damn obnoxious to quit. He may just pull it off… if he doesn’t get his teeth kicked in first.

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Widowmaker by Elena Gray

WidowmakerWidowmaker by Elena Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I read the unique summary for this story, I just had to read the book. I am a horror movie buff which I’m sure does not surprise anyone who reads my reviews. Not only was this story promising the horror I love, it also combined the two mediums I use to get my horror fix; books and movies. What could possibly go wrong?

Well not much did go really wrong, the story read well and was fast paced; it did indeed provide a unique plot that had me wondering what the hell was going on and had copious amounts of gore. Gore!

Before I go further, here is the summary from the book; Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people… literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere…

We start the story in line to see Terror in the Trees. The line is long and the first group of movie-goers are already down in the theater watching. Three friends waiting for their turn are listening to the screams from the audience and bouncing with excitement while exchanging horror movie tidbits and trivia when suddenly hell breaks loose in the theater. People are busting out the windows, bleeding and screaming. Chaos erupts as police and medics arrive and try to help. A great beginning as far as I’m concerned. It speaks to the creepy side of my personality that enjoys unexpected chaos and doom in my entertainment.

Enter our main characters. The FBI agent who chose white collar crime after a horrific experience as an undercover agent. The woman who left him at the alter years ago who is now the chief PR agent with the movie studio that bought the rights to Terror in the Trees and a college student working on his Masters in cinema who has a theory as to why this movie has caused so much bloodshed.

They become unlikely allies as they try to stop the movie from premiering with an audience of celebs and even the President.

As I hinted earlier, I did enjoy much of the read but found I only connected/liked one character, I also found the underlying ’cause’ of the violence to be way over-the-top and a few scenes were just ridiculous. Even for horror.

All in all I will recommend this to horror buffs. It is bloody fun. I also really like Elena Gray and other works from her. This was a bit different from her usual but i appreciated it.

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Horror

 
 
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