Category Archives: Book Reviews

From The Painted Tomb

FROM THE PAINTED TOMB: Something Ancient is on its Way by [Brenda Hill]

From The Painted Tomb by Brenda Hill follows newspaper reporter, Krista Hawthorne, that lives in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains. While on a date at the Lune river Krista and her date get attacked by a mythical creature. Her date gets murdered right in front of Krista’s eyes but her life is spared. Krista knows nothing of her lineage but she notices that the creature has the same ankh that Krista got from her mother. Knowing the creature is still out there Krista and the local sheriff venture out to find out why this creature let her live.

Brenda Hill entices readers with her thrilling fantasy novel from the very start of the book. Such a gripping story I wanted to continue reading through the night but couldn’t because it was too eerie. The author’s writing is so refined that I was not able to predict how the story would end. Hill’s writing flows effortlessly between Krista’s ominous adventures while seamlessly blending Egyptian history throughout the alluring narrative. But a good mythical fantasy is only as good as its cast of characters and Brenda Hill has created some compelling if not relatable characters that I didn’t even realize I was so invested in until I found myself biting my nails.

Krista’s love interest brings a welcome complexity to the story. While her relationship unfolds throughout the story, the focus of the book never moves away from the enigmatic mystery that drives this spellbinding story forward. With relatable characters, an engaging paranormal plot, and a dash of romance, From The Painted Tomb will appeal to readers across genres.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B08GJXC7LB

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Beyond The Goodnight Trail

Roy V. Gaston brings us a Classic Western novel based on true historical events. This compelling story follows Pete, a former Texas Ranger, in an action-filled adventure. Pete rides with his friend, Charlie, with the goal of travelling across the state bringing cargo and other riders. All the while there is a dangerous threat looming over them. That is, they need to traverse through land owned by the Comanche; a Native American tribe who are tired of seeing other Natives being used, abused, and taken from their land.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is based on historical figures and events, and author Roy V. Gaston effectively delivers an engrossing read that feels authentic. Not only did he choose a very intriguing time to write a novel about, but he was able to capture that time cleverly. The dialogue between characters captures the dialect and slang of that period especially well, this can get tiring depending on the reader, but it shows Gaston’s skill in depicting a certain time and place. The author puts even small facts in this novel, like calling Native Americans ‘Indians’ and describing fine details of riding in the West, which helped immersion immensely. Overall, this created a fully realized atmospheric setting that was easy to fall into, though this became easier after the first quarter.

I enjoyed this novel and felt that the pace was quick overall, but I did feel that the start was a bit slow as it was filled with long descriptions of characters. But characters in a novel are arguably the most important, especially for historical-based ones, so this time is beneficial in creating engrossing characters. Beyond the Goodnight Trail performs smoothly in this section as well with an antagonist you love to hate and charming protagonists and side characters. The small biography-like sections at the end of the book were a cherry-on-top as the reader gets to see what became of these historical figures afterward.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is an exciting adventure novel filled with interesting characters and striking settings. Readers who enjoy a good western will truly appreciate this story, but anyone looking for an entertaining read will find plenty to enjoy.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B08KSKYZ2P

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Before The Origin

Before the Origin by [F.S Bala]

Before the Origin by F.S Bala is an account of events in several people’s lives all connected by the change in pattern in the world’s occurrences. Amy Taff, an outstanding character in the book, is thrown into a world of magic, science, and mystery. Her life changes drastically after she gets a job at Scythe. Immediately she realizes that a thread holds the balance between life and death. Ash, a talented young man, partakes in scientific government projects but his friend Abel, has several conspiracy theories surrounding this project. The lives of all these people are connected in one way or another by the environment, science and technology.

F.S Bala has outlined every event in a systematic manner that creates a balance between different generations and lifelines. The writer has embraced vivid imagery creating in depth visual representation that brings depth and color to the magical realism genre. The story is not a far-fetched work of fiction but based on normal day to day life occurrences and the prediction of the future. Although the book leans more towards science and technology, Bala uses poetic language that is filled with humor to bring levity to what could have been a drab experience. I am impressed with Bala’s writing style and the author’s ability to incorporate African folklore into this story, which made this book educational as well as entertaining.

Before the Origin is a engaging action adventure novel that excels at creating alluring characters in an intriguing world.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B08KJ3MTF1

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Victim 2 Victor

Victim 2 Victor: An inspirational true story about a woman's struggle with abuse and overcoming trauma through a journey of empowerment. by [Anu Verma, Melissa Caudle]

Victim 2 Victor, by Anu Verma, is an inspirational book based on a true story depicting how the effects of childhood sexual assault brought fear, frustration and hopelessness to Anu Verma. Through her self-discovery mechanisms she is able to break the cycle and let go of the pent up emotions, childhood trauma, guilt and fear of her dark past and change her life for the better.

In this book Anu Verma integrates her skills with life experiences to help those who have gone through similar traumatic experiences.  As a reader who genuinely relates to the character’s feelings, I am particularly amazed with how the author maintains the first character narration. It draws the audience closer to her experiences. The way she builds her childhood memories tries to defend her pure conscience, but the same is suppressed by the very familiar people who should help her guard the norms of chastity. Anu Verma is eager to kill the “demon” of fear, and strives to achieve this through her travelling around the world, practicing of yoga, new friends, learning from the new crazy adventures and cultures all which culminate to her curiosity to discover a ray of hope for her already darkened past.

I applaud the author for having the ability to find her strength and value her self worth. Her teaching methodologies on trauma and help readers come out the other side with a clearer perspective on life. One thing I truly appreciated was her comprehensive counselling therapies at the end of the book. There is no doubt that she devotedly yearns to help the next broken heart. Victim 2 Victor is well equipped to empower and counsel all the readers who are going through a similar experience.

Pages: 239 | ASIN: B08H19PCHP

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Rise of a Warrior

Rise of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors Book 5) by [Denna Holm]

Carla Trystan has spent her life running from monsters. She never understood why she was different, or why she didn’t age. She just followed her instincts and ran whenever she encountered someone that wasn’t human. Vampires, shapeshifters, Djinn and Fae are all involved in this mystery. Azrael is tracking down rogue shifters, and in this hunt, he runs into Carla, he knows instantly she is his one true mate. Carla only knows she is surrounded by monsters and needs to get away but stays to save the young coworker of hers that the rogue has taken hostage. From this point Carla is now part of hunting party. Azrael introduces her to the many supernatural beings that become involved in this much deeper plot than he or the council of Laizahlia ever expected.

This is the second book by Denna Holm I have read, Rise of a Warrior did not disappoint me at all. The novel starts out with Carla telling readers that she has to run again. You can feel the fear she has, but at the same time, her deep desire to protect her friends in the diner. The desire to protect humans is a Laizahlia trait that she is unaware of in her genetic makeup. Over the first few chapters we learn just how strong Carla is. Her need to run isn’t just fear, it is survival. Azrael finds her and she starts handing everything he throws at her in stride. Going from knowing there are monsters out there, to learning you are one is intense, and Holm lets the reader experience all of it with her detailed and precise writing style.

You can find hundreds of books out there on shapeshifters, vampires, fae, and other creatures, but Holm’s version of these beings feels fresh and different. She isn’t taking the same old character sheets and giving them new names, she instead has taken traditional “knowns” about these beings and enhanced them. They come to life more and are relatable in their thoughts and actions. This book is hard to put down because the characters are so engaging, and you get attached and want to know how things turn out. The plot line is complex and layered. It isn’t just a simple story; it builds as it goes and you uncover more and more players all twisted together. There is the building romance of Carla and Azrael, but I wouldn’t classify this as a romance novel, the relationship is just part of the story and mystery, not the end all destination.

While Rise of a Warrior is book five in this series, it stands on it’s own but leaves you wanting more. With so many plot lines twisted you know there will be more to explore, more questions to answer, and even some more romance to build.

Pages: 398 | ASIN: B08KLB36FX

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The Children of Red Peak

The Children of Red Peak, by Craig DiLouie, follows the lives of four childhood friends who spent their formative years being raised in The Family of the Living Spirit, a religious cult led by Reverend Jeremiah Peale. David, the first of the cult’s victims readers meet, works helping people like him, his sister, and his friends exit cults and make their way back into society as seamlessly as possible. David knows whereof he speaks–The Family robbed him of everything he loved and left him and his sister and three other children alone in the world and grieving for the parents they loved and thought they knew.

I have never read anything quite like DiLouie’s story. Sadly, the stories related by David, Deacon, and Beth make their experience in Red Peak all the more tragic. Their memories serve as the core of the story and give readers a clear idea of the events that occurred that tragic night on the mountain. The stories they present about their lives in the cult and the horror surrounding the decisions made by their parents give readers a very raw idea of the mania that ensues when vulnerable people are targeted by cults.

DiLouie’s work appeals to readers of various genres as he manages to include an element of the supernatural in David’s story. I must say I was surprised to see this woven into the plot. Expecting to see trauma and tragedy, I was not prepared for the supernatural to make an appearance. That being said, the author does a wonderful job weaving two worlds together.

I highly recommend DiLouie’s work to any fan of psychological thrillers. DiLouie’s writing is flawless and, at times, almost poetic. This is one of the few books I can honestly say that I have read without putting down. The characters are captivating and relatable on many levels. DiLouie has a hit on his hands.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B085C788FB

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Manufacturing Civility

Manufacturing Civility: People Treatment as a Continuous Improvement Strategy by [Christian Masotti, Lewena Bayer]

Christian Masotti and Lewena Bayer are here to make your workplace better and to make Human Resources understand that being civilized at the workplace is the way to go. The authors have done extensive research and have come up with a list of reasons why people loathe their workplaces. Manufacturing Civility will open your eyes to how toxic some workplaces can be. The authors have highlighted and discussed in depth what makes the workplace toxic and how to improve on that. Another topic that is discussed is different workplace cultures and workplace incivility. They describe workplace incivility as low-intensity deviant workplace behavior with an ambiguous intent to harm. Are you allowed to have light moments in the workplace? Are titles and job descriptions so important? Are you happy as an employee? The authors will help you answer these and related questions as they help you understand the importance of being productive and engaging at work. In the book, the authors list down character, courage, change readiness, critical communications, competency, and consistency as the 6Cs. Each of these Cs is discussed in detail, with the authors giving real life scenarios and relatable examples for better comprehension of the context.

The topics in the book may seem basic until one reads, reflects, and gets to compare notes. When reading this book, you realize that people can be more productive if the human resource or management make working spaces a little friendlier than they are. The tone and language used in the book is friendly and encourages one to read more. The authors are also honest in their discussions. They talk of the good things that happen at the workplace and also expose the bad that some managers and human resource practitioners engage in.

Manufacturing Civility: People Treatment as a Continuous Improvement Strategy is an informative book that will open your eyes to some of the things that people endure in the workplace. You will realize that the toxicity at some workplaces is at an all-time high, and gets to be overlooked in workplace culture. The authors also had advice for employees who do not know what to do when put in this difficult position. I recommend this book to every reader who wants to learn about different workplaces and how to improve the workforce. This book is both for the subordinates and those in managerial positions.

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B08711N71J

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The Witching Vault

The Witching Vault (Accessory to Magic Book 1) by [Kathrin Hutson]

Jessica Northwood is an ex convict looking for a job. With a rough past and in a rough financial state at the moment, she just wants to forget her tainted past, find a legal job and get paid at the end of the day. With little known to her, she takes a job as an apprentice to Tabitha, the owner of Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking. Although her employer seems crazy at first, Jessica remains open minded and stays focused on keeping her job and getting paid. When tragedy strikes a twist of fate leaves Jessica as the new owner of the bank. This is not your usual bank, and it doesn’t serve the usual customers. Jessica is tasked with the responsibility of protecting this magical facility which has a mind of its own. Jessica has no idea where to begin, but as an apprentice and the new owner she must step up and run this place.

The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson is a thrilling fantasy adventure novel set in the dark world of magic and witches. Every chapter is short engaging and deftly crafts a unique and magical world that rises above the chaos that Jessica finds herself in. Each chapter takes you deeper into a magical world that is well thought out and detailed.

Contrary to the belief that magic and witches come with dark undertones, this book has a sharp wit and comic sense to it. Kathrin Hutson colors each chapter with a bit of charm, some effortless humor, and imbues each character with a unique air of coolness. While the characters are many and varied I appreciated how the story stayed linear, never losing focus on the main story arc, making this story much more accessible and easy to consume.

The Witching Vault has created an intricate fantasy world that has set the stage for readers to uncover a much wider world throughout this series. Kathrin Hutson thrusts readers into a magical world filled with dark secrets that Jessica Northwood tackles in entertaining fashion.

Pages: 260 | ASIN: B08HVT4CNR

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