Sunday, July 29, 2012

The 5 Moons of Tiiana by Paul T. Harry

Article first published as Book Review:The 5 Moons of Tiiana by Paul T. Harry on Blogcritics.

Escape from worry, work or just wanting an adventure are the things that make reading such a joy. To find a book that takes you in and makes you part of the fantasy is one of the wonders of what a good writer can do.  The adventures become more real and the life outside fades a bit to the surreal.
In the 5 Moons of Tiiana by Paul T Harry, you will find an adventure that takes you into the unknown.  While Harry lists Edgar Rice Burroughs as one of his inspirations I found the experience somewhere between 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and the Star Wars epic.
We begin with a world in turmoil and a Royal Family soon to be annihilated. The work revolves around Rez Cantor, a captain in the Corin military who is slated to save the princess.  With the Relcor invading their homes and destroying their peoples and way of life, Rez is chosen to save the princess because she knows him well and trusts him. He is a part of her royal guard.

Planning and preparing a rescue and escape is only part of the battle. Once the plan is put into place and escape is eminent, an explosion leaves Rez in a strange new world, one full of a hostile land itself, but the people are dangerous and untrusting as well. He finds himself captured and genetically altered in order to become a slave and work their underwater mines.  After years of abuse he escapes and is rescued by another group of people, and it is in their home he finds that the worlds are actually moons.
He is challenged as being the only one who can save this strange group of people and their homes before he can return to his own world. His destiny has moved him into a different part of the galaxy. As he moves to build an army he finds a few old friends who have also survived the explosion of their escape craft, and with the help of both his old and new friends he is on the precipice of discovery of what is expected of him.  Captured by the King of one of the important areas, Rez also finds his princess, his charge from his own home. How can he rescue her too as his fate is now linked to hers as well?
While I was confused a bit at the beginning, you find the story will fill in the pieces as you are moved through the chambers of this adventure filled mystery.  Full of science fiction and fantasy, and filled with romance and action, Harry sets the pace for a romp of towering proportions.  As you wonder the streets and waterways with Rez, you experience the beauty and danger, the strange and bizarre, and the emotions that emanate from the characters. The descriptions of the land and people take you there, and the experience is as I mentioned above, surreal and exciting, much like the first visions from the mind of Jules Verne.
The dangers take you in, and the people alternately charm you or horrify you, but either way you harbor feelings about them. If you enjoy a great science fiction and fantasy with just the right edge of vision, you will find this one of the books you need in your library. I enjoyed this work and if you are looking for an epic adventure, The 5 Moons of Tiiana will seize your imagination. Take a chance and experience the adventure.  
Rating 4/5
This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Aspen 2-Million Winner-Take-All by John Morris

Living the life of ease is not always what it seems to be. Often seen from afar, life is not always as easy or casual as it appears.

In The Aspen 2- Million Winner- Take –All,  by John Morris, we follow the strange and surreal life of Morgan Summerville. Having moved to Aspen and finding himself ensconced in a house with an old hermit, he finds himself the new owner after the elder gentleman’s death.  A crazy place, built oddly and strangely out of place in the snow scene, he sells a part of his place to reduce expenses. His new house mate is not at all what he expects, Risa is gorgeous and turns heads most everywhere, but Morgan is quite used to that having had numerous beautiful girlfriends. Now however he is currently single, although he still maintains strong ties with the women in his life. The thing he finds most annoying about his new neighbor is the dog, but he figures he can live with that. So it is with surprise when he returns from a trip that he finds that he is being accused of killing her dog. Now he is being sued,  his own best friend is his attorney, and at every turn Morgan digs himself in ever deeper.
To make problems worse, even though he had nothing to do with the death, because of how it happened, he feels guilty. The town feels he is guilty, and Risa’s attorneys are out for blood. Not only do they want a million dollars, they want him run out of town.
In a wild scheme to find a way to stay in his beloved city, he is lured into a golf tournament, a winner take all chance to dig himself out of the hole he is in. But there is something going on that seems out of place, he is beginning to fall for his neighbor, and it seems like it might be reciprocated. Yet the lawsuit continues on. And as he meets the others that have been dealt into this crazy get rich stake, he begins to believe he may have a chance. He is stymied at every turn, and the wealthy investor behind the scheme is playing his own games.  Is there more going on than meets the eye? In an ever maddening game of chance, danger, and mayhem  he keeps stirring the pot? Will Morgan win his love, and the-- now-- 2-million as well? As danger begins to mount, and crazy begins to show it face, the wrong kinds of people are attracted to the challenge. Can Morgan take all, or will he be doomed to lose everything he loves.
Morris has given us a bizarre cast of characters and riddled his story with unique and crazy adventure. Through it all there is a kind of ‘tongue in cheek’ humor that keeps you wondering where you are headed. As you feel you are beginning to understand, the story takes a zig and then a zag, leaving you scratching your head at the antics.
If you enjoy humor and a bit of the bizarre you will find this story entertaining. It has romance and mystery, danger and sports, as well as skiing in Aspen. There is something for everyone in this kind of story but be prepared for a romp of odd happenings.

The book's blog tour site is:
        John Morris' Facebook:

The Aspen 2-Million Winner-Take-All Blog Tour Site:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
The Aspen 2-Million Winner-Take-All Summary

Morgan thought he had it made. He owned a cozy if dilapidated house in Aspen’s otherwise-fashionable West End, had lots of friends, a great business, threw the best parties in town.

Then his beautiful-but-aloof neighbor Risa sued him for a million bucks-- for killing her dog. (Seriously. And he hadn’t even been there.) She was asking the judge to throw him out of town, too. (It’s a local tradition.)

For Morgan, the money didn’t matter. He didn’t have a nickel to his name. But he couldn’t imagine not living in Aspen.

His only hope: to win a 2-million dollar golf tournament (held on the sly at the local links) and pay Risa off.

Either that or discover her deep, dark secret and blackmail her.

Until his best friend/lawyer suggested Option #3: “Why don’t you just get her to fall in love with you?”

John Morris' Bio:
John Morris lives in Aspen, Colorado, with his loving wife and two wonderful children. Having worked many of the same cowboy / construction / bartender / ski-patrol jobs as his fictional counterpart Morgan, he can vouch for how easy it is for a good-looking guy to get in trouble there.

Price: $6.99
Pages: 281
Release: May 10, 2012

Kindle buy link:

Nook buy link:

iBookstore buy link:

Also available through Kobo, Sony, and

Friday, July 20, 2012

Going to the Dogs by Elle Druskin

This work was first posted on the Romance Reviews

I was drawn into this story from the very beginning which was both intriguing and raised my curiosity. Romance built around a dog show with mystery, murder, and mayhem is only the tip of the ice burg. The tension is hot and the characters are fun. A whodunit in the cozy fashion, the animals are as amusing as the characters and at times even more so. When I say characters, that is an understatement, eclectic and just a tad unbalanced about their pets many of the owners and breeders fit the fascinating and oft reclusive people we sometimes wonder about.

When Sam Kendall our cop on a mission meets the suspect in this smuggling operation, he is immediately smitten. Jodie McBride is everything he has never looked for in a woman. To help his cover story he is teamed up with a suave canine. Not a dog lover at all, his companion is not only annoying, but a poodle. What self- respecting officer would have a poodle for a partner? The hijinks turn dangerous and deadly as Sam tries to find the connection between his suspect and the death of his prior partner. He is on a mission to avenge her death, but Jodie is not at all what he expected. When danger comes knocking on her door as well, can Sam put all the pieces together in time? Who amongst the strange and crazy crew of dog people is at the bottom of the smuggling operation? Can Sam work with his dog to find the answers, or will his refusal to budge ruin his chances at catching a killer? Can he overcome his feelings for Jodie and hold her responsible for the death of his partner as well as the jewel heist? His heart is telling him something is wrong, will he be able to find the truth?

This is a funny and intriguing tale with a group of eccentric characters which include the suspect. They are fun and slightly bizarre and are fanatics about their pets. We are given backstage passes to the dog show and the preparation to make it successful. We follow the strange ritual of breeding, and the theories and goals to breed champions. Throughout it all we follow the trail of a brutal killer, but shrouded in smoke and mirrors we are truly unsure of who is responsible.

The passion between our characters is hot and sexy, filled with both tension and longing. The interplay with the animals is fascinating and both charming and hilarious. While the police procedural may not be exact, the story is fun and well told.

Druskin has given us a story with teeth, both suspenseful and funny. The interaction is wonderful and engaging. I was unable to put the book down once I began. This is a wonderful find for the romance and animal lover with enough suspense to keep you interested.

Rating 4/5
This book was received as a free copy, all opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Suzy's Case by Andy Siegel

Article first published as Book Review: Suzy's Case by Andy Siegel on Blogcritics.

So many illnesses these days target the young. Many live a life that has no resemblance to that of most children, hospitals are their playgrounds and doctors and nurses their friends. But what happens when something goes wrong in these playgrounds, the results are generally more catastrophic.
In Suzy’s Case by Andy Siegel, you are taken into the life of a child that has suffered the worst and yet maintains a carefree and happy attitude. Suzy is an amazing and wondrous child, a joy to be around.
 We follow Tug Wyler, a personal injury and malpractice attorney, as he finds himself in a case that is six years old, with an expert that is not convinced of any wrong doing. Thinking he will easily be able to be recused from this case, he does not factor in the resilience of a strong and protective mother. Where she believes, he can only follow. Soon he is caught up in a case that is way beyond his understanding, and as he moves forward his own life is in jeopardy.
On the surface, everything is what it appears to be, but a bubbling cauldron of trouble is heating up. What really happened in that hospital six years before?  Was Suzy really just another unfortunate statistic, or is it as her mom believes. There is certainly something foul that is beginning to surface, but can Tug grab and hold before it slips away?
Always a difficult feeling when dealing with children and stories that involve them to this extent, yet Siegel has handled it with great care and sensitivity. You grow to love Suzy in a way that is beyond the imagination. She becomes so real and a pulse that glows though the pages of the book. Her mother is a woman on a mission and will not allow even the smallest of stumbles. Sharp with a few unsavory connections, she is the catalyst that continues to guide the case forward. With so little proof of her claims, she nonetheless holds the cards to make this lawsuit break apart. Her love and fierceness remind you of that of a jungle cat, and she will not stop.
Tug is known for his ability to close cases, but he is also a maverick, often putting his own career in jeopardy to do the right thing. While his life often seems to spin out of control, he really has a handle on the true meaning of integrity. There is a veil of trust that circles him, and he does not always think before acting.
This is an unforgettable journey, a story of hope and horror. The characters are so real you come to believe in them. This is like reading the story behind the headlines, but with a personal stake in the outcome.
You are alternately charmed and horrified, but it is difficult to understand the truth. If you enjoy mystery and medical suspense, you will enjoy this work. Suzy’s Case would be a wonderful addition to your library. This would be a great book for a reading club creating dialogue and disbelief, a solid work worth mention. This has been one of my favorite books of the year.
Rating 5/5
This book was received free from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Charlie, A Love Story by Barbara Lampert

Article first published as Book Review: Charlie, A Love Story by Barbara Lampert on Blogcritics.

To many, a family pet is just that-a companion and friend. To others the family pet is a member of the family, treasured as such and treated as any other members within the family. To those who know what I am talking about, that noble creature whether large or small encompasses us with their warmth and intelligence.
In Charlie: A love story, by Barbara Lampert, we are introduced to her best friend and child. Charlie is a beautiful golden retriever and becomes Barbara’s constant companion. Vacations and work often revolve around him and his place in her family’s life.
Lampert has shared with us a very personal journey, the time in Charlie’s life when she realizes that he is growing old and ill. Her tender and harrowing relationship as she and her husband do everything in their power for their great hearted friend is both poignant and beautiful.  The love is amazing, and the lengths that this family goes through to make Charlie’s last years as dignified and pain free as possible, borders on the depths of hell we will try for any of our beloved family.
Part of what they share together is their home and garden, and as we follow the life and travails, we are also introduced into the beauty of new growth and flowers on the property as that sheen of an old friend begins to fade away. The tendrils are twined in such a fashion that you take strength from the beauty of the flowers, and Charlie’s effervescent presence manifests a sort of peace through it all.
It is brave to put your heart in the open, and yet this is such a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful soul, the work is difficult to put down. Charlie is now in my heart as well, and as you too are caught up in the images of his life, you will find this a difficult story to forget.
This is a wonderful book for those who love their animals, as well as those who find beauty in most things. It would be a wonderful book for a book club or discussion group, with merits that would fit into any conversation.
Be prepared to laugh and cry as you are swept away on a journey from the heart, because that is exactly what this is. Such a bond is sacred and yet as always we must move on. Knowing that you have done everything in your power to give this great friend dignity is such a lesson of love. Take a chance and see if you don’t agree, we are much sadder for never having known such a wonderful creature. 

Charlie: A Love Story Book Summary

Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie.

Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well.

Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. As Barbara says in her book:

“Charlie’s a big dog, not just physically but in every way. He has a big heart, a big smile, lots of courage, a big appetite, and a great, big, generous spirit. Charlie’s the emotional core of our family, the most solid being I have ever known, and wise beyond his years. Charlie and me. It’s a great love affair, a once-in-a-lifetime connection.”

Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.
Barbara Lampert's Bio:
Barbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology.

Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She considers them the magic on the planet. Barbara has had dogs most of her life and hopes to have at least one by her side always. She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured.

Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty.

Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry.

Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere.

Paperback & ebookPrice: $14.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
Publisher: Langdon St. Press
ISBN: 9781936782253
Pages: 204
Release: January 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grail Mysterium, An Adventure On The Heights by Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield

Article first published as Book Review: Grail Mysterium: An Adventure on the Heights by Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield on Blogcritics.
Magic and Science, can these two subjects actually be related and interchangeable, or is there any relationship at all between them.
In Grail Mysterium, An Adventure on the Heights by Thomas Kaplan-Mansfield, he brings us a book touted to be somewhere between Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code. I enjoyed both of these works to a degree and was interested to see how this work would represent the connection.
In Boston College a group of friends are beginning to notice strange happenings, students with high marks are dropping out, illness is running rampant, and Jack Knecht a senior psych major thinks he has seen a ghost. Not that he is sure, but he saw a hooded figure pass into a locked area of fencing and enter a building which is locked up for remodeling. Checking the locks to make sure, he is just a bit uncomfortable. Known as somewhat of a dreamer, he is a huge Hogwarts buff and believes in the idea of magic. He knows his friends will not believe him, and his girlfriend Fran will question his sanity.
Unable to put his vision aside, he talks Fran into checking out Gasson, which had been undergoing a major remodeling for over the past year. In order to get into the building, they would have to climb over the fence and break in. Fran finds this part of Jack to be a part of what draws her, she is not the believer or dreamer he is, but she is game to check out the old empty and out of bounds building.
Little does either of them know that they have set a chain of events in action that cannot be stopped. It will take them and seven of their closest friends to find the mystery surrounding Gasson, and the ghosts that seem to be ensconced. Looking for information, each of the friends herald information from their own studies. Is it possible that the ghosts have tracked the Templar knights and the Holy Grail to Boston College and this place in history? That seems to be the message, yet only Jack and Fran are at the center, when magic begins to evolve, they are both excited and yet dismayed.  Finding themselves in the middle of a centuries old mystery, fighting against evil ghosts, a bull and a dragon, their quest for the grail is solidified when they come upon an old map? Will they succeed in this strange quest and save the college? Can they and their friends survive against the odds and with the secret knowledge they now carry?
This is a true marriage of the two distinct worlds of Harry Potter and The Davinci code. Where the one is all about magic and the other is about the religious aspects and science, Maxfield has given us a mix that is thoroughly satisfying. The characters in the forms of seniors at the college are written with an eye to excellence in knowledge, and without their individual components there would be a difficulty in the belief of the facts as written. Each character carries a piece of the puzzle with Jack and Fran as the center piece. Throw in evil ghosts, modern day Templars, professors that may be just a bit untrustworthy, and mix that with the whimsy of a dragon and a giant bull, any you have the makings of a magical, mystical suspense that at times keeps you on the edge of your seat.
What I found missing in the Potter series and The Davinci Code, has been superseded and twisted into a triumph in Grail Mysterium. The characters are well written and you care about them. You worry when they are hurt and wonder what they are up to. There is something satisfying about this work, and I would love to see it made into a movie; there is a depth that is intriguing.
This would be an excellent book for your teenager or young teen, but it is also a wonderful read for anyone who enjoys the paranormal, a bit of romance and a great deal of adventure. The book is full of twists and turns, and I found myself reading a bit slower than usual, I did not want to miss something important.  
Maxfield’s works seems to gain momentum with each work he churns out, this is a engrossing work and a must have for your library. A great read for most age groups, you will lose yourself in the pages.
Rating 5/5
This book was received free from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.