Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review: THE TYLER FILES #1: SMARTY PANTS by Brian Rock

This book is dedicated to everyone who ever thought their day couldn’t get any worse – and was wrong!

This is the story of a boy and his talking pants. Can you imagine the fly of your jeans moving like a mouth and talking? Freaky! Oy, the escapades that these smarty pants bring! It was like watching an episode of Hey Arnold! or reading the comics of a Sunday newspaper.

For Tyler and his pants, this was one crazy day at school.

So totally funny and outlandish! And loved the illustrations with its wild gestures and Garfield expressions!

A fun story for everyone! I look more to more zany adventures with Tyler the twerp.


My rating: 5 stars

Review: THE WEST WOODS by Suzy Vadori

This is the second installment of The Fountain series. The first book, The Fountain, was an exceptional YA novel about making your wishes come true.

The second book takes place at the same old St. Augustus and follows a young girl named Courtney and her friends. On a dare, Courtney ventures into the West Woods, where she finds a key leading to hidden secrets about magic and the school. And then she stumbles upon that same fountain that was so captivating in the first book, and she makes a wish. Story started off pretty slow with its vapid array of characters and develops into a slow and complex plot. I mean, I felt like it took forever to get to the fountain, and the main character didn’t make it any easier. At times, I just couldn’t stand her with her constant talk about the in-crowd and boys and all. I couldn’t really hold any interest for any of it. I’m sorry to say that this book could not hold a candle to the first. It wasn’t even in the same league, much less my expectations.


My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: CONNEXIONS by T. Mariano

“The dating site had made it easy to find these women. Their profiles revealed more than they knew; he could always spot the vulnerable ones. He was amazed at how quickly they agreed to meet him alone. Only three dates and they were his. He silently thanked ConneXions.” (4)

Stephanie is a mother of two and trapped in a loveless marriage. Good thing that there was ConneXions to seek out hungry men to help her fill the void. Without that odd drink and occasional affair to keep her sanity, who knows what she’d do?  

Jenny just needed to feel different from her old persona—to touch and be touched. She was tired of the liars and cheaters.

Both women were perfect prey for Kyle, who can never seem to quench his thirst of seeing that last bit of life drain away.

Dana is a PhD student in clinical psychology seeking an understanding behind these internet dating sites and why women stray in her thesis, “The Relationship between Infidelity and Low Self-Esteem.” Of course, she was no better with her sensual fantasies of her professor.

Told in the POV of all these characters, story provides a brief snapshot behind loneliness and dangers of intimate encounters. Mariano does a great job with words, describing the sinking feeling and utter despair along with the adrenalin of fear and evil passion. You can definitely empathize. There was a certain lag at times, making me wish it would pick up the pace a little, especially when it came to Dana’s interviews; however, the core of the story keeps the reader going. It deals more with the psychological issues of the characters rather than a hunt for a killer, so it wasn’t the suspenseful thriller I would’ve liked.

Quick and intriguing, ConneXions is a pretty good read.


My rating: 3.5 stars

Review: A TIME FOR PENANCE by Robin Storey

The prologue begins with a wife celebrating an anniversary by poisoning her cheating husband. At first, she doesn’t think she can go through with it, but then he takes a bite and there’s no turning back. Suddenly en route to the hospital, she’s sweating bullets, hoping and praying that he doesn’t survive. I thought this scene was an excellent start!

Now widowed, Eva heeds to the “love em’ & leave ‘em” mantra with her endless strings of one-night stands. Still plagued by the haunting visions of Charlie, twenty years later, she wonders if there might be something more to them than just guilt.

Story had a compelling start, but then soon began to contain lagging intervals, especially where the religion was concerned. I guess, as the title suggest, this was Eva’s “time for penance”—a confession of sins and self-punishment. And, with that, she begins by confessing her sin of murder to a priest, which introduces a monologue of how it all began, starting with Eva’s first meeting with Charlie, outlining their rocky marriage, and concluding with her decision to kill him. It was basically a confession.

But rather than go straight to penance, what if you’d have the option to undo your sin—to “enact your penance by travelling back to the past?” If Eva were to go back twenty years, would she still murder Charlie?

The book definitely had an interesting premise (I just love time travel stories,) but I couldn’t get past the constant lag. It just felt like the story took forever to pick up. Okay, is she going to kill him again or not?

Plot was slow and full of uninteresting characters. I really just wanted to get to the best part; however, it was fascinating how Eva managed to miss Charlie’s loving ways from the past and also hate him for what he was about to do in the future.

Still, overall, the writing was pretty good, the pace was kind of slow, and the plot was rather mediocre.


My rating: 3 stars

Review: WICKED REMNANTS by Manuel Meléndez

Alright, first, the cover: it’s like right out of a Marvel comic. I mean, the dude on the bottom reminds me of the Hulk. Awesome work!

Next thing: I open the book and I find that there are more illustrations inside. Dreadful, gory, very well done! Love it!

In a nutshell, this is a collection of short stories filled with dark reverence and alluring mystery. Each one was like watching an episode of Tales from the Crypt with its engaging wit and bloody horror.

“Lunch Hour” is a delectable recipe for revenge and murder.

“The Old Man” reveals a terrible truth in a man’s reflection.

A man contemplates ending the misery of his poor, sick wife, perhaps following in the footsteps of the acclaimed writer in “Poe’s Cottage.”

A murderer stalks the streets of a peaceful barrio neighborhood in “A Killer Among Us.” Upon realizing the true killer’s identity, a young boy takes vigilance and embarks on the adage, “Like Father, Like Son.”

A man relays his encounter with a savage beast and how it sealed his fate. An artist goes mad with insanity, wondering if the demons he paints are coming to life.

Enriching and poetic, these tales take the reader on a wild trip to the dark side. Meléndez did a splendid job of blending gothic horror with Latino culture. A great read!


My rating: 4 stars

Review: THE PECULIAR LIVES OF CIRCUS FREAKS (Multi-Author Anthology)

This is a collection of short stories centered on the circus and the lives of circus freaks. You have lion tamers, gypsies, fortune tellers, shape shifters, and even the bearded lady.

For the most part, they are well-written odd-ball stories with supernatural twists, but I couldn’t really get into some of them as they were so confusing and long-winded. I mean, for short stories, they sure were long.

While I couldn’t get into some of them, others were quite good. The best ones were “The Two Ringmasters” by Liz Long and BJ Sheldon’s “An Apple a Day.”


My rating: 3 stars

Review: TOUGH JUSTICE: COUNTDOWN (Episodes 1-8)

Agent Lara Grant refuses to let her past get in the way of her duties as an FBI agent. Yes, she’s still haunted by the memories of discovering her mother’s murdered body and having to give up an illegitimate child, but the citizens of NY need her services, and the time is now. A string of bombs is terrorizing the city, and she must find the bomber, known as “The Whisperer,” before he strikes again.

This is a collection of episodes that each read like short novellas, but, combined, they comprise into one full-length novel. Each part is a continuation of the series, picking up where the last one left off. Although each part could be read as a stand-alone, episodes 1-7 really don’t have endings; they finish off with a “To Be Continued.” In other words, you have to get the whole series to find out how this ends. You can’t get one part as you won’t get the whole story. However, once you get a taste of it, you’ll want to devour it all.

The hunt was compelling all the way and hooks the reader until the end. Gripping and Enticing!


My rating: 4 stars