Book Review-TIGHT LIES

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TIGHT LIES by Ted Denton combines action and betrayal in this plot driven novel about corruption in a sport least expected – golf. Concealed behind the façade of an elitist mentality, ruthless violence and underhanded gambling pull the strings of the rich and powerful. A sports agent stumbles across explosive evidence, and his innocence leads him to an uncertain fate. Hired to retrieve the kid from certain doom, Tom Hunter races against the clock as finding him dead seems inevitable.

From beginning to end, Denton kept the pages turning with violence, mystery, or sex. Tom Hunter is not a hero driven by a moral code. His goal: deliver the Target alive and receive payout. The condition of the delivery is immaterial. For me, Denton’s gift for translating action scenes to words deserves recognition. I cringed with each agonizing blow.

Smartly written, TIGHT LIES is Jack Reacher on steroids returned from the ‘dark side’. No chivalry involved.

Book Reviews


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PARTING THE VEIL by B.K. Bass thrusts the reader on an adventure reminiscent of Indiana Jones meets The Mummy. Richard, an American treasure hunter, and Wilkins, an English professor of archeology, uncover more than a simple antiquity in the jungles of Peru. Their discovery unleashes horror on the nearby village, prompting the two men to leave expeditiously. Unexplainable events follow them as they seek to unravel the meaning of the idol within their possession. The appearance of a lone Frenchman deepens the mystery and a game of wits begins. Who can retrieve the remaining idols first? Can the two men put an end to the death and destruction which their archeological find has released upon their world?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you are seeking an adventure, look no further. It is filled with tension from beginning to end. From the jungles of Peru to the Bayous of Louisiana, Richard and Wilkins find their travels split between two worlds-one that has been hidden for centuries. The author’s descriptions give life to histories, myths, and legends. The imagery is vivid but not overly descriptive, allowing the reader to immerse oneself in the story without being bombarded in a list of adjectives.

Well written and stimulating! Truly original. I look forward to reading the next installment and finding answers. Who closed the veil and why reopen it?

Book Reviews


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Black Knight by Matt Grandis gives new meaning to the phrase ‘little green men’. The banter between Juno and MJ makes for a light summer read. Juno’s spunky attitude conceals abandonment issues, and years of suppressed anger resurface as reality collides with those who dismissed her ‘wild imagination’. But to save her small town from an alien invasion, she will have to embrace her dysfunctional past.

“There’s a dumpster-diving, chicken-loving alien-not-alien who might possibly be dead on your toilet. Just your average Tuesday.”

I needed a light-hearted book after my previous read. Black Knight, filled with humor and wit, provided the emotional lift my soul desired. MJ stole my heart with his ‘alien-not-alien’ naivety and philosophical insight. The hopscotch of past and present sometimes left me dizzy; but, Grandis left my imagination on a cliff, beckoning it to jump into the next adventure.


Book Reviews


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THE VAN HELSING PARADOX by Evelyn Chartres follows the journey of Clara as she emerges from a life of obscurity into ranks occupied by legends. Set in the early 1900s, she is a hunter trained to kill un-godly perversions. Bright and observant as a child, Clara is formidable as an adult. Curiosity brings her face-to-face with the ultimate enemy, a threat seeking to destroy the organization she serves. Despite access to weapons, her sexuality proves to be her most valuable killer. Ultimately, her training culminates in a deadly stand-off, leading to an unexpected conclusion.

This was an entertaining read. I missed depth, however, among the main character’s relationships. Emotionally, it read cold. I do not advocate for a multitude of descriptions in books, but the lack of adequate details left me piecing together sub-par images. I even read the book a second time to ensure I had not missed important information. Written in third-person, the internal thoughts of Clara marked with quotation marks is redundant and off-putting. By the end, I was left with more questions than answers. Maybe the book’s sequel will offer the answers I seek.

Despite the slow start and unnecessary family dynamics, I thoroughly loved the book’s conclusion!  Creatively, it rocked!

Book Reviews


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THE COMYN’S CURSE by M MacKinnon bridges two fates across five centuries.  One fated to a curse, the other fated to break it.  Aubrey, running from heartbreak and disappointment, chases her heritage into the lands and legends of Scotland under the behest of the “elusive and mysterious” Angus Mackintosh, who has more to gain than lose from Aubrey’s adventure.

Under the guidance of Nessie and her new housemates, Aubrey repairs her broken heart among their unusual comradery.  Their humor and banter are surpassed only by Kate and Fitz, Aubrey’s two best friends.  On the heels of an anticipated marriage, the three women sight-see across Scotland, encounter unexpected danger, and evaluate two new men in Aubrey’s life, neither of which seems destined to break the curse but could break her heart once again.

MacKinnon immerses the reader into the enchanting highlands without drowning him/her in an incoherent world that is difficult to understand.  On multiple occasions, Aubrey, along with Fitz and Kate, experiences a true Scottish breakfast; and, their various reactions are priceless.  Angus’ thick Scottish dialect is easier to understand than anticipated.  He is both endearing and lovable.  I half-expected him to produce a wand revealing that his mysterious air was attributable to his magical qualities.  The pacing and tension are perfect.  The humor is believable and the characters are exceptional.  I do wish the men weren’t so dashingly handsome, though.  I wanted to keep one for myself.

THE COMYN’S CURSE is filled with ghosts, legends, loyalty, and friendship.  Can a curse be broken with love as it seems love is what binds it?

Book Reviews




Time Framed by Roger Chiocchi explores the complex concepts of time travel, parallel realities, and a one-world-order.  Since the arrival of the Mayflower into the New World, the Pennfield family has been cursed by a vengeful spirit.  The curse claims its victim approximately every sixty years.  But an unusual event alters the course of the curse, setting in motion a game of chess across time.  Two branches of the Pennfield family, separated by almost 50 years, seek to realign this timeline in favor of their own respective goals.  The fate of a seven-year-old boy hangs in the balance.

Honestly, the multitude of ideas in this one novel could span the length of four books.  Not to say it wasn’t an interesting read, but the magnitude of each concept almost made my brain explode.  The author demonstrates an impressive ability to weave various ideas into a cohesive plot; however, the impact of the story is lost within its seven hundred plus pages.  The scattering of strong ideas throughout a novel doesn’t necessarily translate into a focused read.

Now, that being said, Time Framed is in a league of its own: imaginative, thought-provoking, and conceptually unique.  The idea of psychic phenomena (ESP, clairvoyance, past life regression, out of body experiences, etc.) and psychiatric disorders (multiple personalities, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc.) emerging from superimposed realities is a brilliant notion.  This idea deserves a book if not a series of its own.

Despite the novel revolving around time travel, the one-world-order dynamic intrigued me more.  Chiocchi creates a futuristic society reminiscent of a medieval social hierarchy.   There are no geographic determinants or boundaries but groupings designated by a person’s level of wealth and IQ.  Each grouping is governed by its own tax system and laws, and stringent rules on procreation are implemented on those within this new hierarchy considered to be of a lower class.  A fascinating representation of a very real possibility.  The ability of the author to portray these concepts without hiccups is a testament to his writing strength.  My brain is still trying to recover.


Book Reviews




Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow by Carlos Colón is the second installment to follow Nicky Negron on his path to construct a life between the undead and the living.  Reinventing himself as Jorge Sangria, Nicky stakes the romanticized version of a vampire through the heart, revitalizing Bram Stoker’s Dracula into the modern-era.   He struggles to balance human morality with his one basic need.  Blood.  Nourished by the lesser of two evils, this predatory killer rids the city of unwanted thugs. Instead of thanking him, the FBI targets his possible involvement in a string of drug-related decapitations.  The ability to remain beneath their investigative radar proves difficult as the woman who turned him reemerges with a vengeance.  The singular purpose to destroy her creates an unlikely alliance with a dis-credited epidemiologist whose determination to eliminate society of these ‘anomalies’ causes their alliance to teeter along a fine line of trust.

“I am a menace?  Let us go back a bit, shall we?  Since we’ve met, you’ve doused me in Holy Water, which is like acid to me, you had those young men take batting practice on my head, then you had them throw me down your basement and lock me in a box.  Shall I continue?”

Written in first-person, the reader connects on a deeper level with Nicky, witnessing first-hand the struggle to satisfy his urges while maintaining his humanity.  A surprising revelation at the end, however, shows how much more human than monster Nicky really is.  The narrative flows smoothly, and Colón stays true to vampire lore.  I found certain aspects of the novel difficult to read, not from a failure in style, but content.  Some things are better left unwritten.

Leave romantic notions of vampirism behind.  Lustful.  Cruel.  Murderous.  Everything a vampire should be.  Give him a conscious, and he’s a force to reckon with.

Book Reviews




A QUICK GUIDE TO ARCHETYPES & ALLEGORY by Ken Johnson analyzes the multifaceted characters of myths, legends, and reality in this easy to read guide.  The author anchors them into the established roles our subconscious mind allegorically (symbolically) attributes to each archetype.  For example, the word dragon conjures images and perceptions without the provision of further details.  Just as the word vampire, werewolf, or witch relies on an established bank of knowledge obtained from years of preconceived notions each archetype represents in both film and literature.  This knowledge releases the writer from bogging himself into lengthy descriptions or backstory destined to detract from his current works overall theme.  On the other hand, matching the wrong archetype to the wrong allegory will create a dysfunctional read.  A storyline where a vampire survives on lettuce shifts this preestablished archetype into one of disbelief for the reader, ultimately causing a disconnect with the archetype and failure of the author’s work.

Likewise, the terms hero, villain, or scapegoat creates the foundation of a dimensional character.  The word hero immediately conveys someone who will save the day, not someone who brings about death, destruction, or misery.  To portray a hero in this light contradicts the very definition of a hero making him the villain.

Johnson does a marvelous job using relatable, not archaic, examples in this quick guide.  His explanations help readers understand on a deeper level the vital relationships between various archetypes and their allegories.  Using past and present works, he delves into allegories otherwise unnoticed.  This would be a great addition to any college curriculum or high-school honors class for the study of literature or cinema.

*I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. *

Book Reviews


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THE PETERLOO AFFAIR: A TALE OF THE ST. PETER’S FIELD MASSACRE by Lucinda Elliot portrays this historical event through the eyes of a young girl as she and her family navigate the hardships of the period.  Joan, desperate to escape the tedious life of textile production, dreams of becoming a doctor with her best friend Marcie.  Her herbal skills prove sufficient for healing sick villagers.  However, gender rules of a woman’s role in early 1800 Lancashire hang like a dark cloud upon her dream.  Young love, too, threatens the girls’ future beyond their current lifestyle.  Corn Laws imposed by Parliament have left most scavenging for food, leaving little to feed the multitude.  Starvation is a real possibility.  A protest march with neighboring villages against Parliament leads to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where 18 are killed and more than 400 innocent people are injured according to historical accounts.

Elliot brings to light a piece of history long forgotten.  However, reading through the dialogue proved to be a challenge.  I struggled, often re-reading the conversations between the characters to fully understand their meanings.  The number of egregious grammatical and punctuation errors did not help. The beauty of the story is touching and still comes across despite the strain upon my brain to unravel the dialogue.  The characters are not lacking in depth or purpose.  Joan is thoughtful, compassionate, and head-strong.  Her interactions with fellow villagers and her family ring true.  Absolutely love her.  The villagers’ struggle and hardships are felt throughout the reading, and the author has portrayed their unjust treatment by Parliament with ease.  This story is exceptional!  I believe it would be a best-seller were it not for the laborious wading through difficult dialogue.

With adequate revision, this novel has the potential for a 5-star rating.

Book Reviews