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Review: Secrets Room, by Kim Faulks

Secrets RoomAmazon US

Amazon UK

Another razor-sharp, super-intuitive read from this amazing author. Secrets Room is every person’s worst nightmare, horror like you’ve never read before. Whatever unresolved issues you may have in your life, fix them, before it’s too late. Because, once in the room, it’ll be almost impossible to face your fears whilst fighting the demons.

If you want dark, you’ll get dark. If you want shocking, you’ll get that, too. If you want incredible insight into human nature, you can do no better than read Kim Faulks’ books. I consider myself an avid reader, averaging several titles a week, and I can honestly say I haven’t read a more untamed, free writing style in many a year.

I read this book as an ARC, and after all this time, it’s still vivid and fresh in my mind. I still have chills when I think of Morgan observing the strangers she’s locked in with, all of which have touched hers or each other’s lives in subtle but very real ways.

The characters are something else! Who would have thought there was so much sadness behind rich-girl Rachel, so much disturbed, unprincipled and misplaced loyalty behind Coulton. Carmen, Dee, Glib – all these characters are so real, so troubled and so afraid, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you are not them.

The ending is a surprise, and it fits the horror theme of the story perfectly. Nail-biting and impossible to tear your eyes away from the page (and for those of us who are born softies, there is an alternative ending, too). I kept wishing for Slade and Morgan’s love to be given another chance. In a way, they get that. In many others, everyone gets what they deserve.

award ellaA dark, gritty, strikingly visual read with no sugar coating, Secrets Room is a book that deserves more than the five stars I can give it.

For the second time, the only time this has happened so far, Kim Faulks receives the Life Changing Read Award from me.

Congratulations, Kim!

Please visit the Awesome Authors Gallery on my Awards page, to meet Kim Faulks and other very talented authors you would do well to read.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Review: End of Dreams, by Kim Faulks

End of DreamsAmazon US

Amazon UK

You have to read this! You absolutely have to read this book! I wish and pray that one day I’ll be able to write like Kim Faulks. Her ability to engage, build suspense and heighten drama is amazing.

Right from the beginning we are introduced to a brilliantly-written, most unhinged character: Edric. I won’t tell you what he does…you’re best to get the full ‘punch’ as you read it.

And then there’s Rashda, and Adley, and Eve, Kali, Harmony, Jinx – so many others – and each and every character is individual, with their own voices and mannerisms, their own desires and history, deep and multi-faceted, as complex as any human being would be. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that not all of them are human, but boy, are they amazing!

The storyline twists and turns and twists again, and the suspense was killing me! I had this incredible urge to skip through so I could see what happens, but at the same time I couldn’t because too much was going on, and all of it was important. I was sucked in good and proper. And beware the extra layers to this fictional society – there may be parallels you can distinguish, just as dark and dangerous as the real thing!

The descriptions are very good, the pacing perfect. The ending opens up some incredible avenues. I cannot wait to read the sequel. There was absolutely nothing about this book that I didn’t like.

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I’ve enjoyed this book far more than should be allowed. It doesn’t seem fair that five stars are all I get to award. So I’m going to go one better. I’m going to award Kim Faulks the Life Changing Read Award and add her to my Awesome Authors Gallery. A very well deserved spot, Kim! Congratulations!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Awards, Book Reviews

 

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Review: Unforgiven, by Sarah Ballance

unforgivenUS: http://www.amazon.com/Unforgiven-ebook/dp/B005NGKBN2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365594469&sr=1-1&keywords=unforgiven+sarah+ballance

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unforgiven-ebook/dp/B005NGKBN2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365594576&sr=8-1&keywords=unforgiven+sarah+ballance

You must read this book. No. I mean it. Read it!

The sensual romance category does not do it justice. That’s why I don’t like specifying genres – there are so many people who would enjoy this book but would probably keep away because of the ‘label’.

The plot is complex, but clear. Riley Beckett hasn’t had the best of times since the accident, a year ago, that has destroyed her life. But even on her worst day she doesn’t expect to step into her home and be confronted by a gun. The gun is not the problem; the person holding it is.

There are so many twists and turns in this story, you won’t know what to expect. The action starts on page one and never lets up. Riley and Gage step from disaster to even bigger disaster, and from being hunted by one madman to… oh, I almost said too much. Since we’re talking about characters, let me tell you these two are perfect. Their relationship is that of two hedgehogs who’ve got their spines stuck on ‘up’ and it takes a lot of delving into the past and raking at old wounds to set things right again. And when they’re right, they’re hot!

Secondary characters are also good, have their own voices, stories and personalities. The dialogues – oh, the dialogues! – are so fun to read, so clever and lively and brimming with sexual tension. The descriptions are faultless, the pace is just right, the story flows, and the writing style is no-nonsense. A joy to read.

There’s not much else to say. This book is perfect for anyone who has lost the joy of reading – the perfect ray of sunshine to lead you back. Everyone else will love it anyway. If I could award it more than five stars, I would. Beautiful book, enjoyable to the last page. Highly recommended.

 

award ellaThis is the second book by Sarah Ballance that I’ve had the pleasure to read and review. The five-star review for Last Call is part of Sarah Ballance’s Author Spotlight – read the blurb, excerpt and review here. And if that was a very well-written book, Unforgiven is even better. In fact, I can’t see any way to improve it. Sarah Ballance simply has a flair for writing action-packed books that cannot be put down. Reading her novels has been such a pleasure, I am certainly going to make sure I get to read every scrap of writing she’s got to offer.

For her talent, Sarah Ballance deserves recognition and a place in my Awesome Authors Gallery. Congratulations, Sarah! The Life Changing Read Award is yours.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Awards, Book Reviews

 

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Review: Seven Point Eight, by Marie Harbon

seven point eight

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Point-Eight-Chronicle-ebook/dp/B005IBYKC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364395781&sr=8-1

US: http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Point-Eight-Chronicle-ebook/dp/B005IBYKC0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1364395838&sr=8-4&keywords=seven+point+eight

Seven Point Eight surprised me, confused me, and then opened my mind. I am so glad it found its way onto my kindle. A word of warning: this is not a quick read and if you’re after Hollywood style action, gore and car chases, you’ll have to look somewhere else. If you need a fast-paced book to take your mind off your train journey or simply don’t want to think, this book is not for you.

I’m finding it hard to categorise this novel, mostly because it wouldn’t easily fit anywhere. It has a strong sci-fi undercurrent, but the characters live and interact in a normal way, in what we would perceive as the real world. Having said that, there are paranormal, fantastical threads combined with a highly imaginative take on scientific experimentation. Honestly, at the beginning I thought the author must have come from a scientific background, because of the terms used, the concepts explained and the ease of twisting all these yarns into the story.

The beginning is slow, but persevere and you will find a huge amount of satisfaction. The main plot centres around the age-old wish for acquiring some proof about the existence of the human soul, but that soon transgresses into the realm of non-physical exploration. Yes, they are big words, but even bigger ideas.

Have you ever read a story and thought ‘that’s exactly what’s going through my mind, only I’ve never managed to put it into words before’? No, me neither. Until now. Seven Point Eight is the sort of book that will poke you into thinking, and not just ‘what’s for dinner’, but the sort of deep thought modern humans have forgotten how to do. Let me give you an example. On the subject of time, a human being is told ‘You require it to function in your world, because you require a limited view of reality to survive.’ Think about it. As human beings, we are limited — not because we cannot think wider, but because we won’t. We’ve created our own limitations. The concept of time, the concept of space… we’re even trying to define infinity.

I have taken so much out of this book, I won’t ever forget it. Marie Harbon has an intelligent voice and Seven Point Eight is a cleverly written book. Ok, so it could have done with a little editing, and the secondary plot never did meet the main, but this is just book one of a series. I certainly want to see where the story goes. I need this sort of enlightening read, because it reminds me to slow down and gives me the chance to grow.

An intellectual read, but one that is accessible to anyone willing to open their minds, Seven Point Eight is well-deserving of a five star rating. Now on to the sequel…

award ella~~~

Seven Point Eight took me by surprise. I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. It touched me in the most profound way, and broadened my horizons.

For this reason, Marie Harbon receives the Life Changing Read Award and joins my Awesome Authors Gallery. Congratulations, Marie!

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Awards, Book Reviews

 

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New Release – Including Review: Hell’s Gift, by K.S. Haigwood


Hell's Gift cover

US: http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Gift-Save-novel-ebook/dp/B00BF0VBKM/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_7

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hells-Gift-Save-novel-ebook/dp/B00BF0VBKM/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_7

Description: Depression consumes the guardian angel, Rhyan, after his human charge chooses her soulmate over him. Filled with anger and despair, he lashes out. And when his hate-filled words land him neck-deep in Hell, he realizes he’s gone too far. He expects trouble, but not to discover his own soulmate in the fiery depths. Abigail is there with good reason, but she’s done her time, and in order to save them both, Rhyan must strike a deal with the Devil. The stakes are higher than ever before, with his soul, his friends and even the fate of Heaven and Earth in jeopardy. If he fails, Rhyan stands to lose more than he ever feared. Will true love be denied? It will take everything he’s got to break down the traps Lucifer puts in his way. New lines are drawn and old scores are settled, and Rhyan is in for the fight of his life. With Abigail as the prize, and humanity in the balance, he will stop at nothing to claim…Hell’s Gift.

Review:

Hell’s Gift is the second novel in the Save My Soul series, yet a standalone story, just like the first. You can read my review of book one, Save My Soul, here. A completely original idea for a fantasy romance, this book is a huge accomplishment on so many levels.

For a start, there’s a lot of story within those pages, and not one word of that is useless waffle. The action starts on page one and finishes with the last sentence. What made it more interesting for me was the frequent change of environment. Most of the action takes place in Hell, but it’s not the sort of Hell you would have imagined. I won’t tell you how it’s different, just trust that it is. Sometimes it’s better, often it’s worse, and the pain is not necessarily physical.

Rhyan’s trials are imaginative, and the secondary plots developed enough to allow us a glimpse into the psyche of many of the demons and fallen angels that populate the upper classes of this incredibly rich world. There are minions and beasts, love and hate, fear and debauchery – you’ve really got to read it and see for yourself.

Characterisation is one of K.S. Haigwood’s strongest points. Rhyan, a depressed guardian angel, is very well developed, his voice clear and easily identifiable throughout the story. You can understand his predicament – who doesn’t know the feeling of unrequited love? – and you can almost foresee his reactions. But. There’s always a but, with this author, because K.S. Haigwood can deliver enough twists and turns to turn a tornado on its head. Just as you think you’ve figured where the story is going next, she’s duped you again. Rhyan grows through his experiences and, in the background, you can see a few cracks beginning to appear in the personalities of secondary characters, too. Each one gets what they deserve, even if it’s just another chance to prove themselves.

I loved the story and the idea behind it. Love conquers all is the message in many books, but you rarely see it as challenged and as humorised as here. Take this short dialogue, for example:

“Which direction should I go?” I said to both Pogo and Malcolm.
“North,” Pogo replied.
“South,” Malcolm said.
“West it is, then,” I said, and stepped out into the acid blizzard.

The whole novel is littered with good chuckle moments, and even in the darkest hour, the thinnest hint of a silver lining is still visible among the clouds.

I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. Shock therapy for body and soul, delivered at a hundred miles an hour with the humor and charisma of a trendsetter, Hell’s Gift is certain to be hailed the new wonder-drug to cure all ills. No one is perfect, and this books shows you why you don’t have to be. Get ready to laugh, cry and most of all feel your way through this addictive story. Kristie Haigwood is a skilled sorceress of the fantasy world. Five very well-deserved stars for this effort.

award ellaI’ve witnessed Kristie Haigwood’s development through her books, I’ve seen first-hand the effort she puts into making each one a better experience than the last, and I’m pleased to say she’s done it. It’s not often that you find an indie author who can write so consistently, so well, so original and engaging. For me, Hell’s Gift comes pretty close to perfection. For her talent, she deserves recognition: Hell’s Gift has earned her a place in my Awesome Authors Gallery and the Life Changing Read award. Congratulations, Kristie.

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Snapshot_20120908_2Kristie Haigwood (a.k.a. K.S. Haigwood) is currently writing her 8th novel. She lives in Arkansas, US. She is the mother of 2 awesome kids and 2 great dogs. She is happily married to her soulmate who thinks reading is a solid waste of time. Opposites attract. Kristie’s works include ‘Save My Soul’, ‘Forbidden Touch’, ‘Eternal Island’ and ‘Hell’s Gift’ (available on Amazon in ebook and print). ‘Eternal Immortality’, ‘Eternal Inception’, ‘The Last Assignment’ and ‘Good Side of Sin’ are all releasing soon.

Feel free to stalk Kristie here:

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Awards, Book Reviews

 

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Review: Heart of the King, by Bruce Blake

award ellaIn fact, this post is much more than a simple book review. Heart of the King concludes Khirro’s Journey trilogy, and a very well-written series.

I strongly recommend reading the whole series. It would be a very good use of your time if you simply enjoy reading, are an epic fantasy fan, or even as a writing aid – there are a lot of things a budding author could learn from these three books, and there can be worse ways to learn them than by reading and taking in the finer points of a more-than-enjoyable story.

I would also like to show my appreciation and offer many thanks to Bruce for putting so much energy, talent and imagination in creating Khirro’s Journey. The storyline is so much farther-reaching than first meets the eye. Bruce, perhaps this isn’t much, but it’s all I have to give you. Please accept the Life Changing Read Award for this series.

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And now, let me tell you about Heart of the King, today’s shining star!

Heart of the KingAmazon: http://viewBook.at/B00B5JDZ8O

Kobo: http://bit.ly/UqbiM4

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The third and last book in Khirro’s Journey, Heart of the King is in so many ways THE END. But it’s also a bright new beginning.
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When I first met Khirro I felt a deep rush of emotion towards him – not because he was a hero, or because he was handsome, or even for his smart quips. Khirro felt close to me because he was normal, imperfect, one of us. Any one of  us.
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Through the mission he was given, he grew into a man and began to understand the world around him as he carried the blood of his King close to his heart. His cowardice and inexperience gave reason for soul-searching and his interactions with his fellow companions were a constant source of amusement. Once he became the guardian of the King’s spirit, Khirro started to change. Imperceptible at first, these small changes brought into clearer focus – to him and us, too – the vastness and variety of life, the rich tapestry of human nature and the depth of darkness to some human souls. To survive, timid, trustful Khirro had to grow up.
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On the last leg of his journey, Khirro is a man. His thoughts, actions and words prove it – and yet, a trace of old Khirro is still in there, still making him wonder at the atrocities human beings are capable of, still making him loathe to take a life, still keeping him back from becoming what he would call ‘a hero’.
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Written in the same cursive, easy-reading style, this finale finds itself much higher on the intensity charts. The action is relentless. Don’t even think you’ll be able to put it down – the tension will likely give you a heart attack if you so much as try. Just as in the first two novels, the descriptions are very good, characterization flawless, and we end up with a very satisfying tale of good wins over evil.
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Have I enjoyed it? Does the sun rise in the East? I don’t remember reading a more enjoyable series – ever. I will refrain from any comparisons with authors old and new, because I would not be doing Khirro’s Journey justice. This series is as original as it gets, and the writing is good enough to teach a lot of best-selling authors a thing or two. Well worth reading. I wholeheartedly recommend it. 5 stars – though I’d give it double if only I could.
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For Khirro’s Journey, Bruce Blake received the Life Changing Read Award.
 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Awards, Book Reviews

 

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The Second Life Changing Read Award Goes To… Bruce Blake

BRUCE BLAKE – Congratulations!

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Bruce Blake has received this award for his book, Blood of the King. There were so many elements in this one book that made my first read special (yes, I read it more than once), but most of all, I loved Khirro, the main character. Over and over again, I wondered how could I care so much about a man so flawed. The answer came, eventually: because he was real. As human as any one of us. And if you want to read a perfectly-formed epic fantasy novel, you won’t go wrong with this one. My Review of Blood of the King, by Bruce Blake is here.

Welcome to my Awesome Authors Gallery, Bruce!

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Awards

 

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