Rise of the Hearts

I picked up Rise Of The Hearts by Antoine Bonner when I got an email from Netgalley promoting it. It seemed to be a book that was up my alley since it sounded like it fit into the paranormal genre. It’s centered on a character named Nathanial who has no luck with women and his only friend is his sister. Then something odd happens and he is given the gift to attract any girl he wants but he soon finds out it can also be a curse. This sounded like a good story idea to me but sadly I couldn’t get through this book.

For starters I have to say I love books and anyone who is a writer. I have respect for anyone who publishes a book especially for people who self-publish. That being said this is a book that doesn’t feel like it was ready to be published. It felt like the author wrote this book in a hurry and just wanted to get it out there. It has bad characters, bad dialogue and the story felt weak.  I got the feeling that this is a brand new writer who had no help from an editor or beta-readers.

At first from the writing I thought it was meant to be a y.a. novel. Though as I came to a part where the lead character ejaculated in his pants I realized that this wasn’t the case. I hope Antoine keeps writing because he at least had a good idea here but you should never rush to put out a novel that needs so much work.



Mind Wreck: Shadow Games

Matthew Reed was living a below average life. He went from home to home in the foster care system and now he just broke up with his girlfriend, he works a minimum wage job and barely gets by. Life is about to change for him but not in a way that he would like. He’s been having bad headaches and is getting visitations from a woman who he’s not sure is real.

One night he lets a stray cat into his apartment and to his shock discovers that the cat is dead and is being controlled by the spirit of his dead father. Matthew has psionic powers and he’s growing more powerful every day in a process called the mind wreck. He’s becoming what’s referred to as a shadow, he has the power to do anything with his mind but on the downside he’s entering a game where everyone is trying to become more powerful and some are trying to kill him. He’s entered the shadow games and life will never be the same.

Mind Wreck: Shadow Games by J.Z. Foster is a paranormal suspense novel where anything goes and when I say anything I mean anything, this is an unapologetic horror novel with moments of dark humor thrown in. I think there were 10 times during the reading of this book where I thought to myself: “What the…” This is an idea that I’ve seen done in several novels yet this story comes across as fresh and original.

The best part of this book is how the story is told, there is no slow build up into the action, the book starts with a bang and throws you into the deep end of the pool without a life-preserver so to speak. I got the feeling that J.Z. Foster realized that there are several novels out there dealing with people who have psychic powers and he wondered how he can make his story different. The answer was by letting the audience come to their own conclusions on what’s happening as he runs a character who I instantly loved into terrifying situations. In the very beginning you see the character of  Matthew as a normal human with a hard life but then he finds out he’s something different. He’s a shadow and shadows are nothing like humans. They live in a different world and this book is about a crazy world that’s exists within our own.

If you read that paragraph and thought to yourself that this book sound confusing, you would be right, but if you love the macabre I would urge you to read it. Even though the first part is confusing the author hooks you by giving you a character in Matthew that you immediately relate to and feel sympathy for and he has some truly horrible experiences such as almost being lobotomized by a doctor and  attacked by a demon. It’s not just a story about a down on his luck guy who finds he has powers. There’s also a love story and a story about a father and son all wrapped up in a bloody nightmare. This is a book that you have to be a real hard-core horror fan to enjoy, it’s not for the squeamish. If you can get past the violence though you’ll find a great story with great characters from an author who knows what horror fans want.

A Night On Hell Hill Part 2

So there it was coming right towards me, my first ghost. It looked solid from a distance but as it glided towards me, I noticed that I could see through it. My two so called friends both let out a scream and ran off, but I stayed where I was, rooted to the spot. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified but fascinated at the same time. Right before my eyes was proof that there was life after death.

As it got closer I felt myself start to shake,I opened my mouth to scream out but nothing came out. things got really weird then. The ghost stopped about 10 feet away from me and started to violently shake.I’m pretty sure ghosts don’t breath but this one was making a gasping noise and acted like it was struggling for breath. Its arms started waving frantically and it fell to its knees. Then it slowly faded away to nothing.

I just stood in the parking lot for awhile, I wasn’t sure what to do and I wasn’t so sure what I just saw really happened. It was so quiet out there, I looked up at the stars and the moon, it was beautiful out, I wondered how I would describe what I witnessed to other people. I walked home and found out that my friends had packed their stuff and went home.

When I saw them again at school they denied everything and said I was crazy and there was no such thing as ghosts. I thought maybe I just imagined it. I went to the fairgrounds on other nights and saw nothing. This still didn’t stop me from ghost hunting. I found others who were interested in joining the shadow chasers. members came and went though. People were always excited to join but when we didn’t see a ghost right away, they would quit.

Ghost hunting is not easy work you spend a lot of money on equipment like cameras, evp recorders and emf meters, you go to a lot of locations that are supposedly haunted but most of the time you come away with no evidence. I still had faith in what I was doing though. I knew ghosts existed and there was one other time that I saw one.

Right before I started going to United Township High School we had an orientation where new students could come and tour the school and have the opportunity to find out where all their classes were before they started. I didn’t want to be there and got bored right away. As my group went one way, I went another and gave myself a private tour. I walked down to the basement and thats where I saw her. She was dressed in bell bottom blue jeans and a long shirt with flowers on it. She looked like something out of the seventies. she stared at me for a moment, then she growled and ran towards me.

A Night On Hell Hill Part 1

My name is Tim Robinson and this is the night I become the greatest ghost hunter of all time. This is the night that I prove ghosts exist. One of the most haunted locations in the state of Illinois is going to be demolished and I plan on breaking in tonight before they destroy it and talking to the ghost that haunts it. The place is my old high school and I’ve always felt that there was something evil there and I’m not talking about the teachers or the kids that bullied me, there is something else there, a presence, something I can’t describe but I know it’s there.

Have you ever felt like you’re being watched, maybe something touched your back but when you turned around there was nothing there. I use to get chills sometimes when I was there. It wasn’t all the time but I felt something. I can feel when ghosts are present, I’ve seen ghosts, but I haven’t been able to prove it, no one has, but tonight is the night that I get proof that ghosts are among us.

Before I get more into what I have planned for tonight, maybe I should give a little background information. I was born in East Moline Illinois in 1975. As a kid I was always into ghost stories. I read every book on hauntings I could find and I watched tons of horror movies. You could say the paranormal is my passion. I started my first paranormal investigating team when I was 10 years old. We didn’t have any fancy equipment, but we were determined to find a ghost. Or maybe I should say I was determined. You see, good help is hard to find.

My parent’s home was right near the Rock Island county fairgrounds and legend has it, a shadowy figure walks through the parking lot at night. Eyewitnesses have said it looks like a woman wearing a black dress that covers her whole body. She has no feet and she has a head, but no face.

One person I’ve interviewed said he heard a woman was strangled to death in the parking lot. She was working on the grounds alone and one night was on her way to her car, when someone strangled her and now she is stuck wandering the parking lot for eternity.

I bribed two friends to come to my house to spend the night with pizza and a trip to an indoor amusement park. When they came, I told them my plan. We were now going to be ghost hunters, we will call ourselves the Shadow Chasers and tonight at midnight we will sneak out of my bedroom window and find the fairgrounds ghost.They said awesome and we left the house right on schedule. When we got there, my dream of finding a ghost came true and we saw a figure dressed in black coming right toward us.

Be Careful What You Joust For

The land of Pentavia has been peaceful for some time but it’s a fragile peace that may soon fall apart. A jousting tournament is about to take place in Treland and the greatest knights from all over the world will be there. The stakes are high as the winner will have the power to declare or prevent a war from happening.

House Hornbolt is hosting the tournament and the family is about to go through some major changes. The oldest son will be fighting in the tournament and is favored to win, the second born son will be taking an oath to be a priest in the name of Arwin which he actually wants no part of and the eldest daughter will be married off to one of the eligible suitors competing in the joust. There’s a lot riding on the results of this joust and there are forces at work behind the scenes that’s affecting everyone involved. The only thing we know for sure is that the world will never be the same when the winner of the tournament is crowned.

The description I just gave for Be Careful What You Joust For by Ryan Hauge and Ivy Smoak isn’t a very good one. There is a lot going on in this book and if I wanted to mention everything about the plot this review would be 10,000 words. This book has a complex plot set in a complex fantasy world and no matter what kind of story you like to read you will find something in this tale that you’ll like. A story about love, power, religion, politics, family, tradition and loyalty, it’s all in this book. I love how the beginning of this epic adventure hooks you by stating that each respectable joust should have at least three deaths.

My favorite part of this book is how members of the Hornbolt family seem to be playing roles in society but in reality are something different. Isoloda is the wife to Garrion and unknown to anyone else she is also a crime lord going by the name Lady Marsilia. Her son Terric is being forced into the priesthood while he really wants to be like his brother Marcus and become a knight. We also have Garrion who has a secret and unbeknownst to him his wife suspects him of a murder and a theft that could change the whole kingdom. The Hornbolt family all have secrets they are keeping from each other and they are still trying to stick to their traditions. Beneath the surface they don’t fully embrace those traditions but despite that they still love each other.

If I had any complaint about this book it would be that it’s a little light on action. That being said I was so into everyone’s story and enjoying the fantasy world that Ryan and Ivy built that the lack of action was easily overlooked. I also loved the fact that the story didn’t go where I thought it would go. The characters are not black and white, at times they act like heroes and at other times they act like villains and that’s what makes this book so entertaining. That’s also what makes this fantasy feel like reality, no person is always good and no person is always bad. The ending of this book is left open and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Purrfection: How to Achieve Balance and Happiness Through Your Cat

Do you have trouble with stress? Is it hard to relax at the end of a busy day? There are lots of things you can do to unwind but the best medicine for dealing with the everyday craziness of your life is to buy a cat. Unless of course you already have one…or two…or three. If you have one you’re going to want to learn how to use your little furball to achieve a happier more peaceful life. Purrfection: How to Achieve Balance and Happiness Through Your Cat by Sophie Macheteau is your guide to a better relationship with your cat and a happier you.

I saw this book on Netgalley and noticed it was dealing with subjects that I had a lot of interest in, such as yoga, cats and mindfulness. There were also several cute pictures of cats and a history of cats that got me interested. This is a short book but it contains some great information on our feline friends. You will learn how to understand your cat’s body language, what their purring really means and it dives deep into what a cat’s meow is telling you. Cats are smarter than you think and this book gets into how smart they really are. Even as I write this one of my cats is watching me type and making sure that I don’t make any typos.

Another thing that I thought was interesting about this book was how it looks at places where cats are revered for their greatness. There is a section on an Island in Japan where the cats outnumber the humans and a cat cafe in Paris France. It even gets into yoga poses to do with your cats along with crafts to keep you busy and a quiz to see how well you know your furry friend. This book is a must have for cat lovers and its the type of book that you would want a physical copy of rather than an e-book. That way you would have the purrfect book to start a conversation with when people come to your home.


Wolf Hunt

George and Lou made their living as criminals. Usually they were hired to rough up someone who owes a mobster money or something along those lines. This time the job they were given seems pretty easy, they have to drive across Florida and deliver a man in a cage to a mob boss. There is a catch, the man in the cage is a werewolf, but who would believe in something like that?

It’s a simple job, they just have to follow the instructions: don’t open the cage, don’t reach into the cage and don’t throw anything into the cage. Surprisingly enough things don’t go according to planned, the werewolf escapes and goes on a killing spree. This werewolf named Ivan can change from human to wolf at will and he has an insatiable blood lust. George and Lou never believed in werewolves but they do now and they may be the only ones who can stop the carnage.

Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand is everything you could ask for in a horror novel, it’s a simple story that’s carried by great dialogue, dark humor and  moments of nail-biting horror. What really sets this book apart from other horror novels is how the story is told, it doesn’t rely on bloody action packed scenes (even though it does have that) to keep the reader interested, it holds your attention by how the characters interact with each other.

After reading this book I was looking at reviews for it and one bad review that I saw said that the characters were boring and there wasn’t much information given on them. This person must not have paid attention to the writing and probably didn’t read the whole book. There’s lots of detail given on what makes the characters tick. It’s just revealed through dialogue rather than having a third person description on what the character is like. As I was reading this book I found myself thinking that Quentin Tarantino could make an excellent movie out of this since I always thought the best parts of his work was the dialogue.

Another thing I liked about this book is how the story gets more complex as it moves along. We start with three main characters, we then add more characters including a woman named Michelle who gets into the action by accident but then decides she wants to go along for the ride. My favorite scene in this book was when Lou and George meet Ivan in a bar to work out a deal and things don’t go well. In particular I liked how Ivan gives one of the people in the bar an ultimatum and what happens when the person makes his decision. Ivan may be insane and evil but even he seems to have a moral code.

While I had some issues with this story which I can’t talk about because it would spoil the book, I thought it was a pretty solid read. I love how Jeff Strand’s books combine humor and horror and Wolf Hunt is no exception. I love werewolf stories and I’m happy to see that there is a sequel to this book. I just hope Mr. Strand can recapture everything what made the first book so much fun.