The Returned

The Returned by Jason Mott Review

Have you ever lost a loved one? Whether it was a car accident, a long drawn out illness, or just the years slipped away and so did they, there is always a feeling of loss, of sadness, of wishing for just one more moment so you could say a final I love you.

In 1966 Harold and Lucille’s only child, their son Jacob, slipped away from his birthday party and drowned in the river not far from their home. Harold and all the people at the birthday party spread out to search, which went on for hours. Finally, with dread in his heart, Harold is searching by the river, calling his son’s name, when he spots him floating, dead. Cradled in his arms, Harold carries his cold, dead son home to his wife.

After the heartbreak of losing their only child, and with no hope to have another, Harold and Lucille slowly over the years learn to cope with their loss. Harold turns from religion, and seeks solace in hard work. Lucille turns to god and her large extended family to help her through.

The years pass, as years will, and now Harold and Lucille are many decades older, still together and still feeling the loss of their beloved son Jacob. A knock at the door of their old farmhouse is about to change everything that Harold and Lucille know, feel and think because on the other side of that door is their 8 year old son Jacob, returned.

This is not an isolated event, it is happening world wide. People of all ages, whether they were murdered like the Wilson family, drowned like Jacob or died peacefully, are all coming back. They have been labeled the Returned and no one can figure out what is going on. Is it a miracle from god? Is it a trick of the devil? Are they really even alive? Or for that matter are they even real?

As more and more of the Returned show up world wide, rumors and anxiety start to grow quickly. How many Returned are going to show up and what is their purpose? And now some of the Returned are disappearing just as abruptly as they arrived…

Great characters get woven into this wonderfully worded story. I could not put this book down! I was left guessing right up to the end as to the intent of the Returned and what was going to happen to them.

Very suspenseful, humorous in spots, and it really really made me think.

This is a powerful debut novel from Jason Mott and I will definitely be looking for more of his work. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a good strong story with solid, realistic characters and a mixture of suspense, humor and thought provoking questions.

I received my copy through GoodReads and my review was unsolicited.

May 13, 2013

Get Ready for War (Hollywood High #2)

From the opening scenes to the closing lines, Get Ready for War is a study of cliches and stereotypes the likes of which I don’t believe I have ever seen before in one book! I was so sadly disappointed with the writing and the characters. But by far the worst thing to me was all the negative African American stereotypes this book offered up.

London, Heather (Wu-Wu to her fans), Rich and Spencer are the Pampered Princesses of Hollywood High Academy. The four frenemies have been toppled from their lofty position and are all falling faster and faster with no stop sign in sight.

London is trying to find her girls but instead finds a group of younger girls sitting at the Pampered Princess’ table in the cafeteria. After a wordy confrontation, London is compelled to start a brawl with the young girls, the whole while thinking that is only Heather, Rich and Spencer could handle their own drama, this wouldn’t be happening.

While London is fighting for her and the rest of the Pampered Princess’  money given rights to be the head clique in their school, Heather, Rich and Spencer are off fighting their own battles that include pregnancy, pill addiction, two timing boyfriends as well as parental problems.

Can London, Rich, Spencer and Heather pull themselves and their friendship together enough to pull themselves out of the downward spiral they find themselves in or will they end up at the bottom of the loser pile?

I felt the characters all lacked something, they all seemed very one dimensional. After reading so many negative things about each of the four lead characters (London, Rich, Heather and Spencer) I found it hard to find anything good about any of them or any of the other characters mentioned in the book. None stood out in any way and I just felt indifferent toward them all.

The storyline was one that has been covered many times before and there was nothing here that made it stand out. It was horribly predictable and there were no surprises.

What was much worse than the unsympathetic, one dimensional characters and the very slowwww moving, predictable plot, were all the negative stereotypes that were mentioned over and over again. And yes, I keep mentioning them simply because I was so thoroughly disgusted with them! This is not a novel I would recommend to anyone!

I received my copy through LibraryThing and my review was unsolicited.

 

Vegas Was Her Name
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, STAYS IN VEGAS…unless Vegas was her name!

Michael Harris- Chief Executive Officer- for Bio Algorithms is on fire! Handsome, young, married with 2 kids and realizing his dream of running his own company is fantastic. Being invited to be the keynote speaker at the Las Vegas Technological Expo is the feather in his cap and finally, finally he can show off his ultimate creation Venus!

Venus is absolutely incredible. She can give you an answer to most questions about anything just by utilizing a few seconds of time looking someone over. She thinks faster than 20 computers linked together and to top it all of she’s gorgeous and has a sense of humor.

Even with top notch, layer upon layer security measures in place, Michael still worries about Venus being stolen from him. This 4 day conference in Sin City should bring him some much needed investors and contacts. He doesn’t like being away from his family but as he tells his wife, “this is for our retirement”.

After Michael’s speech, he meets several people, among them are Rachel, a beautiful mysterious woman who heard his speech; the mayor of Vegas and Jack, a financial adviser from Ohio. Michael heads back to his hotel room but can’t seem to settle down.

Lonely after talking to his wife on the phone, and too keyed up with the success of his opening speech, Michael makes a call, one that will change his life and the lives of everyone he holds dear.

I love a good twisty, turny mystery filled with handsome men, gorgeous, seductive women and a good, solid  plot with a few sub plots that all tie in together and make this an extremely entertaining, quick read!

I received my copy through the author and my review was unsolicited.

Black Moon (Paige Tailor, #1)

Black Moon (Paige Tailor #1) by Jessica McQuay Review

Paige Tailor was a smart, hardworking student whose biggest worry was getting through the day unnoticed my her schoolmates. She has no close friends but she has grown up sharing everything important to her with her mom. Her father had died years ago. She’s always felt different then others her age, but has grown used to it, never considering even for a moment that her differences had more to do with her heritage. As far as she knows she is human, just like everyone else on the planet.

When strange things begin to happen to Paige, she is sucked into a whirl of confusion. While she is a straight forward kinda gal, the knowledge that she heard what Matt was thinking and promptly announced it to one and all in the class to hear, makes her a target for reprisal from Matt and Rachel.

Paige doesn’t know yet that she is being watched by four werewolves disguised as people and tasked with reporting any strange occurrences that happen around Paige. One of the werewolves is disguised as Paige’s classmate and feels this assignment is beneath her. She rebels against the order to leave Paige alone and goes after her to put a little scare into her. The situation backfires and Paige is left wondering what is going on.

When she finally comes clean with her mom about the odd things that have happened to her and of the werewolves watching her, she learns a startling truth about herself that she at first doesn’t want to believe but soon comes to accept.

Paige and her mother travel to see her mom’s parents whom Paige has never met. When Paige discovered she was part Fae on her mom’s side, she was shocked then fascinated. when she met her grandparents she found it hard to take in that her grandparents were the King and Queen of Varulean law!

Now Paige must discover a part of herself she didn’t know existed. She is ready to learn the ways of the Fae and her grandfather has entrusted her training to Naialah. Paige, already uneasy and uncomfortable from trying to understand and try to fit into the Fae way of life, feels a strange attraction for Naialah, one she doesn’t understand.

Paige must come to terms with all the changes in her life and has to learn so much to become more accepted in the Fae world.

This was an original take on a standard story. A very detailed description of Fae life, werewolves and other supernatural beings. Also a good look at how an average teenager comes to grips with life changing information about herself.

The characters were very well fleshed out, my favorite being Paige as she showed us how a teenager can chose to react positively to news which could overwhelm someone less strong willed. I know that teenagers roll their eyes a lot but I found that this was used a little to often for my liking. Also I would like to see a bit more insight into some of the other characters and hope to see that in the next book in the series. A truly enjoyable read!

I received my copy of Black Moon from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Finders Keepers Losers Die (humorous romantic mystery)
Cat Sinclair is a former actress (not a very good one) now working as the office manager at her father’s former business Knight Investigations. Cat’s biggest problem right now is she is bored, bored, bored! There is only so much filing, paying bills and answering phones a person can do before you’re ready to scream. Cat has been after Will to allow her to become an investigator, but since she barely does her job, he sees no future in her becoming an investigator.

When Roberta Scarletti walks into the office Cat informs her of the company policy about not doing spousal surveillance. Roberta says it’s not surveillance she needs, she wants them to find out where her soon to be ex husband hid her family’s jewelry. Cat decides to take the case on, even though she isn’t actually an investigator and the company doesn’t do domestic disputes.

When the husband turns up dead and Cat is being followed and threatened, things start to heat up. Someone is out to get her she just can’t figure out who. Trying to keep Will from finding out she is using company time to try and solve her case and using her mom’s computer skills to help her figure out how to bug people’s places are just a few of the humorous spots Cat gets herself into. Throw in a sudden office romance with her boss and things just keep heating up.

When Cat gets kidnapped by one of the very few people she really trusts, she finally realizes how much danger she is in. She needs to think fast and try to talk her way out of this mess before its to late!

A perfect easy, humorous read when you are laying on the beach, or relaxing on the couch. A great mixture of humor, sex, action, good guys and bad guys. A believable mystery with a couple of twists to keep you hooked.

Johnny's Ripple

Johnny Twigum is in many ways your typical 11 year old boy. He has a couple of very good friends and does well at school. He has an older sister Jenny and a younger brother Josh. His parents, Margaret and Jonathon, love all 3 of their children very much. Jonathon’s job takes him out of the country and away from his family a lot, although they have all learned to deal with it. There is one thing that is different about Johnny, he always seems to know what other people feel and think. He doesn’t know if it is instinct or something different but he knows other people don’t share that ability.

When news arrives that Jonathon was killed while working overseas, it devastates the family. Johnny’s uncle Robert shows up at Johnny’s birthday party but says he is leaving and he doesn’t know if he will see them again. Johnny knows something is wrong, but he has never been able to read his uncle Robert, not like he does other people.

After an evil wraith materializes when Johnny is upset and then a friendly gnome arrives shortly afterward, Johnny knows his life is about to get much, much stranger. Forced by circumstances to leave their home, Johnny and his family take off, telling no one where they are going. With the strange little gnome and a new friend named Claude to help them the family is on their way. Where they are going and what will happen to them is all up in the air.

This book was difficult for me to really get into. With so many of the characters having names that start with J (there are 2 Jennifers, Johnny, Johnathan, and Jarvis) and 2 Garys it was hard to keep all the characters straight. And while the story was well written, I couldn’t figure out if it was a book for the YA crowd or if it was an underwritten (not really sure how to say that correctly) adult story. Also I am the least technological person you would possibly ever meet and I had a tough time with the long scientific explanations.

I am giving this novel 2 stars simply because it was well written and I really appreciate the work that went into this book.

I received my copy through LibraryThing and my review was unsolicited.

 

The Keeper of Dawn

The Keeper of the Dawn by J.B. Hickman Review

When Jacob Hawthorne is sent to Wellington Academy it was absolutely not what he wanted. Jacob feels he was sent away so he could not spend as much time with his grandfather whom his parents blame for Jacob’s older brother leaving. Wellington started with the campus at Eastbridge but it is no longer there and instead they are stuck on Raker Island, apart from everyone and everything. The only access for most is by ferry, unless you happen to be Governor Forsythe who travels by helicopter.

On Jacob’s first day, disappointed yet again by his father, he wanders away from the opening day ceremonies. Wandering off to the clock tower, part of the original hotel that is now the academy, he comes across Governor Forsythe’s trouble making son Chris, and his buddy Roland Van Belle the third, disrupting all by ringing the bell 27 times. Although Jacob was only an onlooker to the bell ringing, he was punished as well.

Soon Jacob, Chris, Roland and Derek Mayhew, another young man sent to Wellington Academy by his parents, are known around the school as the Headliners. None of the boys feel they measure up to what their parents want and expect from them and all resent being sent away to boarding school.

As the school year progresses, the boys become involved in doing what they can to disrupt the smooth flow of the school. When a presidential debate involving Chris’ father is scheduled to take place at the school, the other boys know Chris is going to do something to disrupt the proceedings, they are just not sure what.

When Jacob suffers a crisis, his friends are the only ones who can help. They all understand that if they help, they will probably be sent off to other schools but they will not desert Jacob in his time of need.

I found this book at first difficult to get into. It seemed to move slowly and rather predictably. After a few chapters the story picked up and moved along at a much better pace. The characters were well formed and interesting, the setting  had history and style and the story was well written and had a few unexpected surprises. An interesting addition to the coming of age books available.

 

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