Category Archives: Three Stars

The Red Eyes & The Curse

The Red Eyes by Lee Ching Kai follows Will and his siblings as they encounter paranormal experiences that begin to threaten the lives of their family. Will receives a new dog named Chester and he starts to notice odd occurrences around his home that lead him to explore an abandoned house he believes to be the cause of the paranormal activity. After meeting the ghost of a woman in the haunted house, Will and his sibling’s lives are forever changed, not by the hauntings, but by the secrets that are revealed. Will must find a way to save his family before the consequences of those secrets cost them all their lives.

At the very core of this paranormal mystery is an enjoyable horror story. The story is straightforward, so it will be easy to follow. Readers looking for a clear-cut supernatural story will enjoy the clear narration. The characters were all likable. Will was a character that felt very realistic in both his actions and his thoughts. This is a short but entertaining read that will leave you with some questions in the end that readers will surely be thinking about for a while.

In The Curse, Amelia and her family move to a new home in hopes of finding a better environment for her, but Amelia and her brothers notice that something is off about some of the townspeople. While exploring what she believes to be a haunted house, Amelia meets a group of individuals who are not as they seem and is forever changed as she becomes involved in their story. Amelia must decide whom to trust as the fate of her family and the world depends on her decision.

This is an intriguing story that follows a teenager, Amelia, and her family as they relocate to a new home. This was meant to be a positive change, but Amelia finds violence and death. After becoming involved with a group of individuals she meets at a haunted house, Amelia must make impossible decisions to keep her family and the world safe.

The Curse is an easy and quick read. There are some similarities between this story and The Red Eyes, but there is an element to this story that is creative and unique, and some of the plot points are pretty wild. The author does a great job creating decent characters as Amelia the protagonist is likable. The author breaks the fourth wall several times, which readers may find interesting.

This is a fascinating collection of short stories that middle-grade readers looking for intriguing supernatural mysteries will surely enjoy.

Pages: 236 | ISBN: 9670730511

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The Music We Make

The Music We Make tells the story of Santiago DeAngelo, who discovers he is the sole survivor of a car crash where his mother died at the scene of the accident. When Santiago wakes in a hospital to this devasting news, he soon learns that his emotionally distant father blames him for the incident. Santiago struggles with grief and shame, which complicates his relationship with family and friends.

The author does a great job of portraying the complexities of grief and how loss can profoundly impact the people involved and those closest to them. As Santiago tries to cope with his grief, he instead unravels and goes down a path of self-destruction, looking for an escape. Only when the unexpected inspiration comes to him does he realize his new journey is to pursue a life creating music. As Santiago embraces his new life, he must first face his past, battling his fears and inner demons, before he can find success. This emotionally-resonant story is well written and touches on many aspects of how loss can impact a person’s life and decisions. Santiago feels inspired when he believes his mother sends him to write a song in her honor.

Author Michelle Rene DeBellis delivers a heartfelt story that is conversational and straightforward and dives into Santiago’s psyche so that the reader has a clear idea of his emotions and reasoning from one scene to the next. It’s a tale that carefully captures the dynamics of grief and how inspiration can prevail over the darkest moments in one’s life. I enjoyed this compelling story, but I would have it enjoyed it more if the author described Santiago’s challenges in greater detail. The overall story was narrated well and touched on many aspects of the character’s experience, including how he was able to make a significant turnaround in his life. I recommend The Music We Make as I feel this book is a great read and an excellent inspiration for anyone struggling with grief and loss.

Pages: 393 | ASIN: B0B6XJJXP1

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The Rantings of an Uneducated Reactionary

The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary is a non-fiction political and social critique of America’s juridical and social systems. This is a thought-provoking conservative manifesto that approaches an array of topics including socialism, liberalism, racial issues, and several others from a conservative point of view. This book offers readers a compendium of controversial topics described in a conversational yet stimulating manner. Oscar Phillips was born and raised in a liberal state and his parents were Democrats. As a child he never demonstrated any interest in politics but stumbled upon the matter during his high school years when he realized the unfairness of the nuclear arms treaty. Around the same time, he watched the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and had an epiphany that he was a conservative. After publishing many columns in his local newspaper, the author decided to take it a step further and put them together in a book.

This provocative book explores nearly every controversial topic in America. The author talks about everything from economic matters such as capitalism vs socialism, to more social situations such as the standing of LGBTQ+ community. He talks about how the American left has adopted the terms “progressive” and “non-conformist” as they’re own, glorifying them and making anything that stands against them unacceptable.

Every chapter within this book contains something that one reader or another will find controversial. At times the narration takes on a sardonic or cavalier tone. While the trenchant opinions might be disagreeable, there´s no denying that this book offers a unique perspective on a variety of political topics. I would recommend this book to both side of the political divide; to one side to understand the others point of view, and to the other side to provide a supplement to similar philosophical views. I especially recommend this book for anyone trying to familiarize oneself with political terminology such as liberalism, race, and socialism.

The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary provides readers with a clear view of the authors incendiary views. Expressive and observant, this is a book with a unique perspective that’s expressed in no uncertain terms.

Pages: 415 | ASIN: B0B4BKVN1J

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Field of Sky

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Field of Sky, by Sarah Ferguson and Micelle Worthington, is the second book in the Southport Series. This book picks up with Cecelia “CeCe” Wakefield returning to her London home from Australia. Once home, she is forced into a relationship with Gerald Wentworth. When CeCe feels stifled, she runs back to Australia and her boyfriend with a stolen credit card and meets a new friend along the way.

This emotionally-resonant novel contains a well-narrated story that follows CeCe who is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants while making a series of difficult and sometimes frivolous decisions along the way. I thought the plot was sentimental and focused on the emotional turmoil of the characters, which is used to drive the story forward, rather than using dramatic plot twists. The author does a great job of illustrating CeCe’s inner conflicts and how she handles situations involving jealousy, shame, family relationships, and whether she must decide what’s best for her or follow what her family and friends think is best for her.

While CeCe comes from a privileged upbringing, she may not feel relatable to readers initially, though once you get familiar with her dilemma and crisis of identity, she becomes more human and endearing. CeCe struggles with one of the most common challenges most people encounter in life, which is finding a path that leads to happiness and satisfaction, even if it means living outside of their comfort zone. The character development is fantastic, and I especially found River most relatable and unique.

The story’s overall theme is compelling and grounded, with a clear message: a happy ending for some people may not be the same for others. CeCe must first define who she is and what she wants, so she can find her home and place in society. The character’s drive to find her purpose in life is what kept me engaged throughout the book. I recommend Field of Sky for its layered, relevant and touching story.

The Denial of Reverse Racism in America

The Denial of Reverse Racism in America by Dr. Len Bergantino is an attempt to prove the theory that reverse racism exists and is a serious problem. From the start, the author makes his views clear on the subject, using anecdotal experiences throughout his life as a means to support his argument. He believes his experiences, which include his perspective on programs and organizations attempting to address racial inequality, substantiate his stance, though his argument to support this case comes from deeply held personal beliefs rather than using statistics and research to support the topic.

While this book may be a difficult read for many, it serves as an interesting glimpse into the mind of someone who feels strongly about this topic. Throughout the book, the author references his experiences from childhood, university, and his years working as a school counselor. He frequently uses capitalization to emphasize his points throughout the book, though the overall tone feels intensely emotional and abrupt.

I found the book interesting from a more critical perspective, and how the author eagerly argues the point for reverse racism by mentioning various anecdotal scenarios as proof for this case. While I found it compelling, I would have appreciated more hard evidence to support his views. While the author approaches the topic from a particular viewpoint, he manages to stay with the theme consistently.

The Denial of Reverse Racism in America by Dr. Len Bergantino serves as an intriguing look into the mind and thoughts of someone who strongly believes in the concept of reverse racism. I suggest reading the book, and the author’s explanations, as it’s like a case study into one individual’s views.

Pages: 88 | ASIN: 1648032680

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Calm Before The Storm

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Storm is one of three brothers who are identical twins. After sacrificing himself to save his family from their uncle victor, Storm has lost himself. He hides secrets from his family, and he knows they are hiding secrets from him, but he is determined to bring an end to the lies and secrets once and for all.

Calm Before the Storm, by Steven Paul Germanè, is book seven in the sultry Storm series. The story continues to follow Philip Steven, who is referred to as Storm in the book, as well many other interesting characters from the previous stories. The author has written a steamy erotic novel that is filled with provocative sex scenes with a little bit of mystery woven into the plot to break up all the sex.

While I found the story gripping, I felt that it was a little difficult to keep track of who is who because there are a lot of characters in the story. The main storyline takes a backseat to the plethora of erotic scenes that take place throughout the book that show how Storm uses sex as a way to get what he wants.

There are a few things that some readers might find triggering in this story, like talk of incest. The author’s writing is raw and detailed so some of the scenes can be shocking at times. But because of this the story is also easy to read and gets to the point without any surprise or climatic moments. This book can be read on its own but I would recommend you read the other books in the series to get a better sense of who Storm is as well as the other characters in the book because they are a main part in the series.

Readers who want to read about Storms’ various provocative sexual endeavors will enjoy the vivid detail that the author utilizes to bring these scenes to life. Storm is an intriguing character and I was more invested in the romance and the drama surrounding Storm rather than finding out the family’s truth. Steven Paul Germane writing is vivid and unfiltered, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in Storm’s love life. This is unadulterated and potent erotica that will appeal to hard core fans of the genre.

Pages: 204

Seraphin Stone

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Seraphin Stone is a gripping romance story that follows 17-year-old Mari Seraphin and her unconventional friendship with David Stone. Mari is an ambitious and determined student who has big plans and her whole life ahead of her. As she is preparing for college, she has a catering business with her best friend Alysson. Mari and Alysson cater a dinner party for David Stone who is a 33-year-old corporate executive. Entranced by Mari, David follows her and Alysson while they go on their European vacation in hopes that he can get Mari to fall in love with him.

Author Ginette Mayas has written an unpredictable and alluring story that can be a little provocative at times. The author seamlessly shifts the story from Mari’s perspective to David’s perspective between chapters. The story explores the desires of an older man and his lust for a younger woman, and his nonchalant approach to the situation will leave readers wondering about his state of mind.

I enjoyed the change in points of view because I was able to get a better understanding of both characters. This is important because this thought-provoking story is very much a character driven drama, with a focus on the characters relationships, how they develop and what they develop into.

This book has an engrossing plot, but I felt that I would have enjoyed it more if the story built toward a climax. Instead, readers follow Mari and David and watch their relationship evolve into something like ‘friends with benefits’. Mari at first tells David that she is not attracted to him but befriends him. Their relationship then slowly progresses to kissing and touching, but no intimacy. Mari’s best friend is jealous of David and Mari’s relationship, and I would have enjoyed seeing more interaction between Mari and Allyson and explore the result of this tension further.

Seraphin Stone is a poignant romance novel with intriguing characters. This story ends abruptly and leaves the reader hanging, but if you enjoy character driven provocative drama then this novel is perfect for you.

Pages: 306

The Lethal Elixir

The Lethal Elixir by Dennis Ross is a mystery romance novel that follows the events of a strange outbreak at Deaconess Hospital in Chicago. First, a man is brought in ailing from an unknown disease, prompting the staff to call on Dr. Maggie Hamilton, one of their Infectious Diseases specialists, for a diagnosis. Unfortunately, it is discovered the man has an altered strain of Ebola. Soon more people are found with the strain, sending the hospital into an outbreak scenario. In their search for answers to the origins, Maggie teams up with the FBI, led by Agent Matthew Johnson. As the pair investigate the possible source of Ebola, they uncover a nefarious plot on the nation and possibly find love along the way.

I find Maggie to be everything I’m looking for in a leading lady: a smart, stand on your own kind of woman. She’s the head of her field and quickly takes charge. Matthew Mack, to most people, is a great leading man. He’s described as strong and handsome, but he’s also not afraid to show his creative side in things like dancing. These are unique characters who compliment each other well. I also liked the medical side of the story. It was well researched for that genuine “I could believe I’m in a hospital right now” feel. I also loved that we saw from the villains’ side of the story. It kept me interested in reading and wondering if our pair would stave off the dark plot we saw unfurling.

While the concept of the novel is stellar, I didn’t feel like the mechanics of the story succeeded in conveying that concept in a way that was equally compelling. I felt that the dialogue could have used some of the creativity that went into the plot to breakup the otherwise stiff writing. This is a medical thriller so there is a lot of technical medical jargon that is being used, which provides an authentic feel to the story, but I would have liked a medical term dictionary at the back of the book to help me understand the technical terms.

This fast-paced novel is an instalove romance. The characters fall in love quickly, and given that they are rushing to stop an epidemic, this feels plausible. The high-stress conditions, and working closely with someone you find attractive, set them up for romance while still getting their job done. The relationship adds to the drama of the plot rather than overtaking it.

The Lethal Elixir is a dramatic medical mystery novel that feels realistic. The attention to detail with the medical conditions adds credibility to the story. In addition, readers will get caught up in the whirlwind romance of the characters as they work to stop a worldwide epidemic.

Pages: 280 | ASIN : B09CD4669N

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