Book Review: Pray for the Innocent

Another book review to add to our library of posts! Chris Connors is back with another of his magnificent reviews for Pray for the Innocent by Alan Orloff.

513YmSzKowL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Synopsis: Can former best-selling novelist Mathias King—now a rumpled, grizzled English professor—save America from a terrorist of his own making? In the shadow of the Pentagon, a secret DoD brain research experiment goes terribly wrong, and an ex-Special Ops soldier escapes, believing he is Viktor Dragunov, the Russian operative from the 80’s thriller novel, Attack on America. To capture him, the Feds turn to the person uniquely qualified to predict his next moves, the man who created the fictional character, best-selling author Mathias King. Now a reclusive English professor, King is reluctant to get involved, having sworn off the culture of violence after a deranged fan murdered his wife. But when innocent people start dying, King is thrust back into that dark world. With help from his enthusiastic graduate assistant Emily Phan, King must outsmart his own creation—while outmaneuvering the cover-up-loving Feds—before Dragunov succeeds in his hell-bent mission. To destroy America.

It is often easy to tell if a book is written by an author working with a publishing house, or if the book is a self-published indie book. Alan Orloff’s book, Pray For The Innocent, is one of those indie novels that feels like it was run through a publishing house. The writing is clean, elegant, not clunky and tortured, and has a polished edge that you often obtain after professional editors have commented on it.

Orloff knows how to write characters that feel real. He uses little details that bring his characters to life. He does it so well I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d taken a class on how to write good characters. I was even concerned about one of his minor characters when the person she loved was killed. He had managed to make her “real” in just a few scant pages even though most of our knowledge of her came from her brother’s thoughts rather than her own scenes.

As I read the book, which had me up way too late, I was also thought, “Why hasn’t a publishing house grabbed this guy? He is better than some established prolific *coughLustbadercough* authors”. The premise was intriguing; some spy stuff, cutting-edge neuroscience research, an old professor with a tortured soul, an experiment that goes wrong. While the Amazon synopsis sounds a bit over-the-top with an ex-Special Ops soldier thinking he is a 1980s fictional Russian spy on a “hell-bent mission” to destroy America the author doesn’t let the novel turn into a jingoistic pile of patriotic propaganda. Instead he makes a rather implausible premise come across as more realistic without devolving to simplistic black-and-white ‘rah-rah USA!’ style writing.

I will nit-pick a few small things, and I mean really small, nothing that affects the book or writing. Nit-pick the first: A character watching birds, among other things, has a copy of the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding to help him identify birds. That is not the book he’d use, it isn’t conducive to quick identification of tricky species—the bird seen is not tricky at all either—as there are pages of information about just one bird, often involving the bird in its drab fall plumage (the book is set in mid-summer so birds would still be in their brighter breeding plumage). One of the quick identification guides like Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, or the ones by Peterson, or Sibley, or Stokes, or National Geographic are better.

Nit-pick 2: A scientist in the book says we shouldn’t try playing God. It is hard to imagine any scientist saying that. We recognize that we’ve been “playing God” for thousands of years when we treat and cure diseases, alter ecosystems on a vast scale, breed plants and animals to produce things that don’t look much like the original species, and now manipulate the genetic code.

Nit-pick 3: There is a serious misconception here. A character thinks his brother-in-law’s suicide is cowardly and selfish. This is a misconception that mental health professionals, among others, have been trying to correct for decades now. While the character might think this I was hoping somewhere in the novel this misconception would be addressed, but it was not.

Prior to this book, I had read two other excellent books—by publishing house authors—in two days so my standards for a good book were now pretty high. I was reluctant to start Pray For The Innocent in case it killed my reader’s high from the previous two books: I needn’t have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. That it was written as an indie book makes it all the more remarkable. Definitely 5 stars out of 5.

Book Rating: 5/5

Click on the image below to see it’s Amazon Page!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in digital format by the author to be read and honestly reviewed.

Charles Tyrwhitt

Book Review & Giveaway: Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take To The Bank

I finished another book guys! I did it. I read a lot 😀

This one was called Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take to the Bank by Leslie Handler. If you read the blog regularly, then you would have seen my post on the book highlight.

32169175_10214604598162633_7577879463422066688_n

Synopsis: Part memoir, part essay collection, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is written with both wit and charm. It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to the mortgage crisis, from a smile to a chuckle and from a few tears to the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket sipping a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day. Handler offers a rich, touching, heartfelt and reflective read that will leave the reader with an indelible uplifting spirit.

I really enjoyed this book. Reading this book was like sitting down with a good friend and chatting about life while having a coffee. It reminded me of the nice warm evenings spent in playing games and spending time with family.

Leslie speaks about her life and all the things she has encountered such as battling cancer, raising a family (more than just children, lots of pets), how she met the love of her life and how to cope with trends and technology among other things. All of her writing is very humorous and I found myself laughing a lot. She has a lot of good advice and it comes at you with a comforting motherly tone.

I would recommend this book to give yourself a boost in your mood. It will have you smiling in no time as you relate to more than one funny instance that we have all dealt with just like Leslie.

And you have the option to win it! She sent me two copies so I am hosting a giveaway! Click on the link below to enter and a winner will be drawn on May 31st!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright well thats it for now. Talk to you later Bookworms and goodluck with the giveaway! I hope you win …..yes you.

Purium - Shop Now!

Book Review: Break by Clare Littlemore

Our reviewer @saramact was really excited when Clare Littlemore read her review and loved it. She even sent @saramact the second book of her series called Break so that she could read it too. So now, here is Sara’s review 🙂 !

41aITWdoqEL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Synopsis: It’s been three months since Quin transferred to Patrol and discovered the terrifying truth about the community she lives in. Citizens of The Beck are disposable and those in charge are capable of terrible cruelty. Vowing to protect those around her, Quin has joined the Resistance. But she knows she is risking everything.

A rebellion of any kind must be secretive and clever. Gathering enough people to fight seems like an impossible task. When those closest to her are directly threatened, Quin knows she has to act. But time is running out. Governance will stop at nothing to protect the world it has worked to build. In the end, Quin must decide how far she is prepared to go to rescue the ones she loves.

Picking up soon after the previous book, Quin, our main character, is still adjusting to her new position in Beck society as a Patrol officer. In this dystopian society run by strict rules, Patrol officers are given more knowledge than the average citizen, which introduces them to some of the hidden horrors “required” to maintain this society and defend against outsiders. Quin and a group of rebels are quietly plotting action against the Beck society in this novel. They must stay under the radar while helping as many as they can and preparing to fight back. In this book, we learn more about the upper levels of the Beck society, while Quin and her group of friends struggle to retain appearances of good citizens while the horrible actions taken by the upper levels only get worse in their desperation to maintain control.

Just like the first novel, this book keeps you on your toes, waiting to see what happens next. This book, though, has even more action throughout than the first one, as we learn more about what it takes to keep such a strict society running – and how the citizens affected react. The characters are well developed, and the plot is entertaining without being predictable. The organization of the society is well thought out, with interesting aspects to be learned throughout the book that keep you searching for more. Overall this is very well written and entertaining and deserves to be one of the top books in the genre. I am eager to read what happens next in the series, as we were left on another cliffhanger at the end of the book!

My only complaints would be about some of the minor dramas between the characters, which are so common in young adult novels – confusion over feelings that would be solved with communication. This does give some depth to some of the characters, but I always prefer when these clichés can be avoided or written in a new way so that it feels less familiar. I also wish there was more of it! I can’t wait for the next book, and I wish this one had been longer.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can click on the book below to check it out on Amazon!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to us by the author in digital format for an honest review.

Rakuten Kobo Canada

Book Review: Flow by Clare Littlemore

Another book review was done by @saramact for Flow by Clare Littlemore. This one is a great book for YA readers who are into dystopian futures.

41swBn-ra8L

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Quin lives in The Beck, a savior society. Her community has risen from the ruins of a land shattered by Mother Nature. But Beck law is tough. Quin knows that the rules must be followed in order to sustain life in a place where floodwaters constantly threaten existence. A single violation could land her in Clearance.

But some laws are harder to follow than others. And as Quin discovers the horrifying truth, she knows she cannot stay silent forever.

This novel is about a girl named Quin who lives in a dystopian society called The Beck. The story focuses on her struggling to survive in the strict society and discovering more about the ways it works, finally discovering its darkest secret.

The story begins with her working in Agric, a group that is responsible for cultivating the food for the entire society, with her two best friends, Harper and Cass. We are shown the strict requirements for maintaining a role as a productive member of The Beck society in their daily life and in their twice-yearly fitness and mental testing. Soon after this test, the three friends are separated – Quin to be transferred to Patrol (a police-like group within the society), and Harper to Clearance, where those no longer deemed fit enough for Beck society are sent, never to return.

This is where the story gets even more intense, as Quin moves to her new training with Patrol and gains more access to information about how The Beck society works. Quin and her new patrol friends attempt to investigate the Clearance section of the society, and soon discover the dark secret they would wish never to have learned.

The novel is well-written with good flow that keeps the story moving naturally. We become attached to the characters easily, and all the twists and turns are well revealed. The novel kept my interest easily, and I was always eager to sneak in a few more pages whenever I had the chance. I love dystopian novels, and this society was just as intriguing as the big hitters in this genre like Divergent and The Hunger Games, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

My only complaint is that the end of the book felt more like the climax one would expect in the middle of the book, with very little resolution – so I’ll have to read the sequel immediately. It’s definitely a cliff-hanger ending, where we only get a taste of the direction Quin and her new Patrol friends must turn to try to improve the horrific society they have found themselves in.

Book Rating: 5/5

Click on the image below to check out the book’s Amazon page 🙂

Disclaimer: We were sent the book by the author to read and give an honest review.

Rakuten Kobo Canada

 

 

Book Review: Supercharge Your Book Sales with Unbiased Reviews by T. Buburuz

This is a short and sweet review for you guys on a helpful book for authors trying to get attention to their books. Supercharge Your Book Sales with Unbiased Reviews by T. Buburuz is a very quick read (25 pages) and has resources to help authors with approaching book bloggers and reviewing sources to get insight and critical reviews on their books.

51lHpXLDvbL

Synopsis:

Discover the simple secrets to getting free reviews by the truckload so you can skyrocket your book sales!

This results-driven guide includes:

* how to get your books reviewed for FREE by legitimate unbiased reviewers
* mistakes you want to avoid when contacting prospective reviewers
* how to effectively track your submissions
* why you should never pay for reviews

PLUS

* best practices to use when contacting perspective reviewers
* 55+ reputable book bloggers who review self-published books for free
* additional resources for even more legitimate unbiased book reviewers

You will be delighted to discover how easy it is to get unbiased legitimate book reviews for free when you go about it the right way, and you’ll also be inspired to write even more books when your reviews start flooding in!

I will admit that there is not much content to this book but it gets to the point and one thing that I really like about it is that it highlights different verified book bloggers to approach for a review. Anything that will help bring good attention to our little niche of book bloggers is awesome in my books 🙂

The author also invites book bloggers to contact him if they would like their book blog listed in his reviewer list. I believe his contact info is in the book to do this. The best part is that it is FREE. You can access the book below!

Book Rating: 4/5

Rakuten Kobo Canada

Book Review: Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde

A new review of Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde. This is the first poetry book I have read for review. I wouldn’t say I am necessarily into poetry but this book was actually pretty good.

20180326_162249_hdr-877191492.jpg

Synopsis: This collection of poetry is an ensemble of many themes. Every Watering Word encompasses poetic rumination about women’s self-discovery; stories about coming of age; explorations of sex, sensuality and eroticism; epiphanies gleaned from motherhood and marriage; the structure and impact of racial and gender oppression; the trials, tribulations and triumphs experienced by love; the inheritance of jazz music and honoring the Black Christian tradition while exploring tensions underlying what it means to be African-American and Christian.

This collection of poems was very interesting. It explored a lot of different subjects. Some of them were very intense where others had a softer tone. Some would make you feel like you were in a flashback. It’s hard to capture just one feeling about the book because there are so many stories intertwined with so little pages to capture them.

There was one that stuck with me. It is near the beginning of the book and is about a woman that is being punished for some wrongdoing. The family is actually lighting her on fire to teach her a lesson and show her that the man of the house is the one in control. It was brutal and hard to read but at the same time, this is done to some people and I can’t even imagine living in a situation like that where all you would ever look for is an escape.

The beauty of poetry is that I could be seeing one thing in this poem and someone else could see something totally different. It is pretty much up to the reader’s interpretation of what they want to think it means.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author to read and give an honest review.

Kobo Canada_Devices

Book Review: Vignettes by Lola Andrews

Well to start off this review, I am pretty pumped to say that I have surpassed 300 followers on Twitter and have achieved 150 WordPress followers! Thank you so much to everyone that takes the time to read my reviews 🙂 I have loved having book discussions with everyone and will continue to do so. Bringing attention to new author’s books is a passion of mine and I am glad people are interested in hearing what I have to say. I give honest opinions about the books I read and I will stay true to that.

So let us jump into this review, shall we! Vignettes by Lola Andrews is a collection of LGBTQ erotic novellas.

Synopsis: Kamila is fighting loneliness, and her affair with a married woman hardly seems like the solution, Lana and Emma don’t know what they want, other than each other, while Eric, Sam, and Tove are just enjoying each other and their shared life. Meanwhile, Mia is just very horny and missing her wife, Clara and Julia are trapped together in a road trip, Linda is blocked and Jaron and Noah are barely holding on to their sanity.

Meet them and many more in this collection of short stories, which hopes to show the beauty of love had, love lost and love kept. Join these everyday heroes, who take chances in the simplest ways, and who, above all, want nothing but love. These stories of LGBTQ persuasion hope to inspire, warm up and enliven your day.

This was my first time reading erotica and I can honestly say that I am not really a fan. Nothing against the author, I just don’t think this genre is for me. However, it has only been my first experience with it so I am open to trying out others to compare.

The book was OK. There were some short stories that I enjoyed but I found that they lacked in a storyline. I think by focusing more on a storyline and building up to the ultimate climax of the actual sex, it could make these stories more entertaining to read. This may be why Fifty Shades is a big success (never read the book or saw the movie so this could be a shady comparison due to lack of knowledge). For me, I like to learn and grow with the characters, to see their stories blossom into something exciting, intense or dramatic but in these short stories, I felt that most of the characters were thrown together just to fulfill the sexual desire and then nothing else.

There was one I rather enjoyed about two women who were past lovers and then thrown back into each other’s lives due to an investigation on some murders. It had a big Supernatural vibe because they were dealing with werewolves and it was like Sam and Dean hunting down another monster (except in this case they weren’t related and were past lovers). So this one I did enjoy.

But then there was one that got a little incestual about a father and son romance and I couldn’t handle this. This was just too much for me. I could tell what was coming and was cringing when trying to read through it.

My rating reflects my honest opinion. I can see this author doing really well in this genre but my criticism would be to add a little more storyline and build a little more on the characters. Once someone falls into the story and likes/dislikes the characters, then the erotic parts will be that much more meaningful and intense. They will bring a reader to their true climax.

Book Rating: 2.5/5

About the Author: Lola Andrews began writing the moment she developed an imagination. Though her skill has changed with time (for the better!), she has always been hungry for new and better stories, and now hopes to add to the LGBTQ community with her humble offerings. When not writing, Lola can be found pole dancing, drinking wine and watching movies.

You can find Lola on Twitter!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the author to read and give an honest review.

Foreo International

Another Bookstagrammer Shoutout

I have been working on growing my Instagram account and looking for some great bookstagrammers to connect with. There are so many out there that it is hard to choose which ones to feature. In my search, I found some really cool accounts that have to do with bookish items and I figured I would share them!

@booklifesj

She posts a lot of new books she is reading and talks about book events she is going to. I believe she also has a booktube you could check out on her profile.

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 1.34.51 PM

@cookie_bookie_

This bookstagrammer posts a lot of photos of their bookshelves and they make me super jealous :P.

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 2.19.15 PM

@tumblr.books

I started following her when I saw that we read a bunch of the same books and then just really liked her book photography!

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 8.04.21 PM

@sweptawaybooks

This is a fellow Canadian bookstagrammer! She is all the way over in Vancouver though 😛 A lot of her posts usually have a coffee/latte/tea in them and they always make me want to be in a nice warm place reading a book with a cup of some warm beverage. She seems to know a lot of nice reading nooks!

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 8.08.10 PM

@kenchireads

Another fellow book reviewer that has read many of the books I have and had similar opinions on them. I also love that they state they are a Ravenclaw in their profile. Anyone in their right mind would be so proud to be a Ravenclaw 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 8.13.29 PM

 

Those are my bookstagram highlights for this week! I will be sharing more next week about bookish accounts that host subscription boxes, design creative bookmarks (they are handmade) and sell literary scented candles!

Talk to you soon bookworms and if you want to nominate someone to get a shoutout, tell me who in the comments and I will include them in future posts!

Buy Now

Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a breath of fresh air. I read this book in 2 days and found it very entertaining and a genuine reminder of how much you feel when you are so young and in love.

This book was about a young boy named Simon who is in love with another boy from his school. He has never met this guy, they have just exchanged emails back and forth and have been very secretive about their real identities. Until a boy at school see’s Simon’s email before he logs out on a computer. He then blackmails him to help him out with a girl at school.

This book brought up a lot of thoughts of how people perceive each other. I for one have gay friends and wouldn’t ever think to treat them any differently then I would my straight friends. But the book was from the perspective of a gay teenager that hadn’t come out yet, and it’s not that he was afraid to but that he just didn’t want it to be a big deal because everything he ever did was a big deal. But for a lot of people, it is a big deal and a very scary thing to do. There are so many different reactions that could come from someone coming out and that is kind of sad. No one should be afraid to be who they are. 

I come from a religious background and that made me think a lot about how that could go if I was in Simon’s position. My parents are amazing and I love them with everything I have in me. They have prepared/taught me everything I know and I don’t know what I would do without them. I would hope to never lose them over anything like this but that is a possibility for a lot of people. I am not in this position, but this book made me think about if I was and what would happen.

It would be terrifying because you wouldn’t know how the people that are supposed to love you the most would react. Your parents are your rock. They are your foundation; they build you up and prepare you for life and help you become who you are. To lose this would be world shattering and it gave me an insight into how scary it would be.

Love is love and everyone should be accepted for who they are.

The book was really great. The way his parents and everyone react when they finally find out is so supportive and uplifting. Simon has an amazing family. I would 100% be the dad if I was part of this family because every line he had in the book is something I would probably say. And everything he said made me laugh:P

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to and purchased it myself. This review is for me because I wanted to write it and that is that.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this book if you have read it and if not, what are your thoughts on having to come out. If you are straight, then just try and put yourself in Simon’s shoes like I did to get an idea of what it would be like.

Talk to you later bookworms.

Lazy Sunday

It’s another lazy Sunday and I am starting a new book. It is my first NetGalley book called The Dark Grey Blanket by H. Burns. Thank you to Kathy @ Books and Munches for showing me what NetGalley is and getting me hooked on a new way to read books before they are released.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 1.28.26 PM

 Synopsis: 

The winters of ’76 and ’77 in the greater Detroit and Oakland County area of Michigan were extremely harsh, with record snowfall, brutal temperatures, and incessant howling winds. During these winters, a deranged serial killer preyed upon preteen and early teen victims, both male and female. As snow would begin to fall, the killer would hunt and abduct them, keep them at a secluded location, bathe them, meticulously groom them, feed them their favorite meal, and then wait for the next snowstorm. Under the cover of the next snowfall, the killer would hide their corpses in snowbanks on secondary roads, where they would be found by passing motorists.

This story is a fictional account of an over-the-hill detective, Frank Pellegrini, and his strange obsession in the pursuit of that killer.

I am pretty excited to start reading this one. Stay tuned for the review coming up 😛 If you want to read this too, you can find it on his website https://www.thedarkgrayblanket.com or click below to see it on Amazon: