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Category Archives: Fantasy

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 Radio by Michael Langlois

Bad Radio (The Emergent Earth)Bad Radio by Michael Langlois
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

-IF you like heroes…

-IF you like heroines…

-IF you like Urban Fantasy with a bit of Horror and Mystery thrown in…

You have GOT to read Bad Radio by Michael Langlois, I mean it! Go now to your favorite book site and get it. Trust me.

OK, I’m calm. I’m gonna insert the book summary here so I can get an iced drink because this book is hot. 5 STARS hot!

Sixty years ago Abe Griffin saved the world and gained eternal youth.

Or so he thought.

Now, a man who Abe believed to be long dead is killing the surviving members of Abe’s old squad in order to reclaim the relics that they have kept hidden for decades.

The relics form an ancient beacon that must never be used, in a ritual that must never be completed. But the end of the world requires more than just activating the beacon.

It requires Abe.

With help from the granddaughter of his oldest friend, Abe must learn the truth about his immortal body, while at the same time trying to stop a horrifying series of supernatural opponents from sweeping away everything that he cares about.

The opening scene in this story begins on a farm. Abe Griffen is bucking bales of hay up into the loft and remembering his wife. He had lost her five years earlier and had been living a very secluded life in the country. Most of his friends are gone, or will soon be. After all, Abe and his friends are closing in on their eighties. They feel old, look old. They have married and had children, retired and rested. Well, except for Abe. He may have lived almost eighty years but he has the body of a thirty year old. He watched his wife age and die. Used tricks to hide his lack of aging until forced to retire to his farm. He is done.

Having been the leader of a special unit during WWII, Abe has seen and experienced things most people will never ever see.

So after neatly stacking his hay, closing up the house and taking care of the logistics, Abe sits down in a comfortable chair, content and at peace, and puts a gun under his chin.

Someone forgot to tell Abe that heroes don’t get the easy way out. Especially if their mission isn’t over. Michael Langlois knows this and proceeds to tell us all about it and Abe’s journey in Bad Radio.

What a fantastic and thrilling ride. From the knock on Abe’s door by a compelling young woman to running for their lives and racing to save the world. Abe and the granddaughter of a fellow squad member and friend are faced with the inevitable decision to sacrifice their lives to save the world from a psychotically mis-guided man in search of revenge.

I so loved this book I have recommended it to friends all over. I can not wait until Michael Langlois writes more for me to devour! I wonder if he takes bribes?

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy

 

Perception by Heather Cashman

Perception (The Tigers' Eye Trilogy, Book 1)Perception by Heather Cashman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heather Cashman has created a series that will satisfy the Fantasy and Dystopian lover in you! It did in me without doubt.

Here is the book summary: Your perception will sharpen once you see through a tiger’s eyes.
More than five hundred years after the apocalypse, the survivors of off-grid genetic experimentation have refined their mixed DNA to the point that humans and their animal counterparts share physical and mental links. Varying species have divided into districts, living in a tenuous peace under the President of Calem.
Ardana and her tiger ingenium Rijan leave their life of exile and abuse in the Outskirts, setting out with their twin brothers to redeem themselves and become citizens of the Center. But shedding their past isn’t as easy as they had hoped. When the system that shunned them becomes embroiled in political conflict and treachery, their unique abilities and experiences from the Outskirts make them invaluable to every faction. The runaways become pawns to friends as well as enemies, and with every step it becomes more difficult to tell which is which.

This book is smarter than your average YA and at first is a bit confusing. There is a lot of information to process at first but Heather Cashman rewards us for the effort. Soon into the story you begin to grasp this new world she has created, lush scenery and complex personalities that capture your mind as well as the over-all political climate that has developed in the five-hundred years since the genetic manipulation of their ancestors.
The empathic link a brother and sister share with their tiger counterparts is a joy to experience. The journey these four have to make in order to secure a better future for themselves is made richer for it. Experiencing the environment through the eyes of human and tiger, brother and sister was a great addition to the story.
In the person of Ardana, you learn of her struggle to avoid commitment of any kind outside of her tiger and brother. The abuse and neglect she suffered growing up in the outskirts have caused her to devote herself in the search for true freedom and any type of commitment to another would destroy that dream.
Her brother Kade is all too aware of Ardana’s struggle but has an issue all his own. Ardana believes Kade is destined to become a great leader in Calem but Kade does not believe he can be great.
I think the underlying message of Perception is perception, (lol). How do we see ourselves? How do others see us? Which is real?

I think most readers will enjoy this book and I highly recommend it to lovers of Fantasy!

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

 

The Caldarian Conflict by Mike Kalmbach

The Caldarian ConflictThe Caldarian Conflict by Mike Kalmbach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Summary:The Caldarian Conflict is a novel about a monk caught between a corrupt government and enraged pirates. Brother Mendell, follower of a god named Lord Justice, consoles a pirate prisoner slated for execution. As he listens to the pirate’s story, Mendell begins to wonder whether the execution is just.

This question drives Mendell to uncover the mystery surrounding the military’s methods of capturing pirates. However, Admiral Cain and his ruthless assistant Krell have more in mind than simply ridding the seas of piracy. With a mysterious backer funding their mission, they will stop at nothing short of total control. Will Mendell figure out the mystery in time?

What a FANTASTIC read!

Monk Mendell is asked by Father Ramsey to counsel a prisoner waiting to be hanged. The prisoner, an ex-pirate who uses information he has gained to lead active pirates to vulnerable targets, has not spoken to any of the clergy sent before Mendell. It is a common belief in this society that everyone should be given a chance to repent and/or reconcile their lives before death and as a monk whose chosen god out of several dieties is Lord Justice, he is not happy with this new directive. Afterall, justice has been done and the punishment for all pirates is death.

Although not indifferent to the prisoner, Mendell does not encourage him to repent but listens to him instead. Giving the prisoner a choice of what he wants to speak about in his last hours causes the pirate to open up.

What Mendell witnesses and hears causes him to question whether the pirate deserves death as his sentence and whether the military is using unethical practices in order to solve the crime problem.

What follows is a mixture of adventure, fantasy and mystery.

I loved the mash-up of genres in this story. Elements of a good old fashioned crime mystery mixed with an epic fantasy environment and a touch of magic. The person of Monk Mendell became one of my favorite characters of all time. An honest and strong man, compassionate and just with a likable personality that caused me to hang on his every word.

Becoming caught up in a doomed mission while trying to understand the facts, he still offers hope and healing to those around them. Giving all involved the benefit of the doubt while seeking guidance from Father Ramsey and the gods.

This is a story about a gentle hero and his quest to bring justice where justice is due as well as mercy to those who need it. While discovering himself and his mission, he realizes that all is not what it seems and the lines between good and evil are blurred.

I recommend this book to all lovers of fiction. I truly hope I will get to follow Monk Mendell on the rest of his journey.

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Action/Adventure, Crime Drama, Fantasy

 

Between the Land and Sea by Derrolyn Anderson

Between the Land and the SeaBetween the Land and the Sea by Derrolyn Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mermaids! How cool is that? In a group of genres, (PNR,YA,Fantasy YA),normally inundated with Vamps, Werewolves, Demons, and Witches a Mermaid story was refreshing!

Here is the book Summary: Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. Just a few weeks after moving to the beach town, sixteen year-old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can manage to survive her increasingly dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to unlock the mystery of her past and learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her… and maybe even find true love along the way.
Derrolyn Anderson knows exactly what young women want to read. Between the Land and Sea has a down to earth protagonist in Marina. Lovable secondary characters. A cute surfer, rich ‘aunt’, designer clothes and an exciting mystery.

I had fun losing myself in this story and remembering what my teenage years were like. Derrolyn’s character’s were very likable and her story well thought out.

I HIGHLY recommend this to lovers of YA but I also encourage older women like me to pick this up for a pick-me up!

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Review, Young Adult

 

The Brothers by Alexis Donkin

The BrothersThe Brothers by Alexis Donkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

I am a relative newcomer to YA. When I was considered a young adult I had already been reading heavily since age 9 and had jumped into hard Sci Fi and Bodice Rippers. There just wasn’t many books marketed for girls my age.

As I began to read Alexis Donkin’s YA story, I decided I was going to come at it from who I was at 16 and I had so much fun reading The Brother’s!

Here is the book summary: Khloe Alwell is about to turn sixteen, find her first real friends, fall in love, learn every legend is true, discover her parents are living a lie, and one more thing. She’s not human.

Moving from town to town with her mother who is absent six months out of the year and an mousy academic stepfather, Khloe Alwell never had time to make friends or fit in. Everything changes the September before her sixteenth birthday, when Khloe finds herself in a small New England town starting yet another new school. There she befriends three strange brothers who introduce her to a world where human myth and legend are fictionalized histories of an older more powerful race divided. Drawn to Khloe, the brothers and their childhood friends will help her uncover her parents’ complicated past, come to terms with ugly truths that plague all people, as well as discover Khloe’s true identity, abilities, and her importance in the world under the veil.

Dive into the first installment of Khloe’s adventures in a hidden world where things are more than what they appear, and people are the same, no matter who they are.

Khloe is mature for a 15 year old. She has to be givin the lifestyle of her parents. She is smart and light hearted and attuned to nature. She is also very believable.

When Khloe is warmly welcomed to her new school and new town by the Grech brothers, she is both scared and excited. Moving around so much all of her life has taught her that fostering friendships can be painful. However, the Grechs won’t let her stay a loner.

It’s wonderful to watch Khloe blossom under the attention of the whole Grech family. Her once very small world is expanded and becomes fantasy-like.

This was a pleasure to read. The lore of Seelie and Unseelie was interesting.

I highly recommend this story, it will be a hit in the YA world!

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Fantasy, Uncategorized, Young Adult

 

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Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden

Toonopolis: Gemini (Toonopolis Files, #1)Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So. Much. Fun.

Jeremy Rodden has a gift! He sees eye-to-eye with young people. He doesn’t talk down to them, he doesn’t overwhelm them and yet despite the high entertainment factor, there is valuable life lessons in his story.

Here is the book summary: Toonopolis is a cartoon city that is home to the thoughts and ideas of all sentient beings in the universe. As the center of the Tooniverse, it acts as an other-worldly rest stop for these creations.
Gemini is a teenage human boy who is thrust into Toonopolis through his father’s scientific research program. He loses part of himself in the process and immediately begins a quest to regain his lost memories with the help of his Tooniverse guide named Jimbob the Talking Eggplant.

After an altercation with a mysterious Shadowy Figure, Gemini’s mission is changed, and he begins a new quest to defeat Shadowy Figure and protect Toonopolis from his nefarious destruction. Along the way, he meets new friends, discovers just how diverse and strange Toonopolis is, and learns lessons about compassion, forgiveness, redemption, and being true to oneself.

Think of all the fantasies you had as a kid. Did you have an imaginary friend? A monster under the bed? Did you dream up funny characters to entertain yourself? Well, I know where they are. Toonopolis, of course.

What an awesome and colorful world! What a lovable bunch of characters! Throw in the great adventure and subtle humor even an adult can laugh at and you have all of the necessary makings for an adult and child to enjoy together. As a bonus, Jeremy Rodden adds down to earth wisdom everyone can use!

This isn’t written in a way as to alienate an adult who reads to their children at bedtime. Mr. Rodden cleverly used a writing style that all ages can relate to.
I loved it and I recommend it to everyone!

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