Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Eulalie and Washerwoman by Malcolm R. Campbell


Genre: Magical Realism/Fantasy/Folk Tales

Description:

Torreya, a small 1950s Florida Panhandle town, is losing its men. They disappear on nights with no moon and no witnesses. Foreclosure signs appear in their yards the following day while thugs associated with the Klan take everything of value from inside treasured homes that will soon be torn down. The police won't investigate, and the church keeps its distance from all social and political discord.

Conjure woman Eulalie Jenkins, her shamanistic cat, Lena, and neighbor Willie Tate discover that the new 'whites only' policy at the once friendly mercantile and the creation of a plantation-style subdivision are linked to corrupt city fathers, the disappearing men, rigged numbers gambling, and a powerful hoodoo man named Washerwoman. After he refuses to carry Eulalie's herbs and eggs and Willie's corn, mercantile owner Lane Walker is drawn into the web of lies before he, too, disappears.

Washerwoman knows how to cover his tracks with the magic he learned from Florida's most famous root doctor, Uncle Monday, so he is more elusive than hen's teeth, more dangerous that the Klan, and threatens to brutally remove any obstacle in the way of his profits. In this follow up to Conjure Woman's Cat, Eulalie and Lena face their greatest challenge with scarce support from townspeople who are scared of their own shadows. Even though Eulalie is older than dirt, her faith in the good Lord and her endless supply of spells guarantee she will give Washerwoman a run for his ill-gotten money in this swamps and piney woods story.

Author:

Malcolm R. Campbell lives in north Georgia and has worked as a corporate communications director, technical writer, and college journalism instructor. He now works as a grant writer for museums and other nonprofit organizations.

Campbell's fantasy novels were inspired by his work in Glacier National Park, an aircraft carrier cruise, and time spent in Florida's swamps. His paranormal ghost stories were inspired (of course) by his experiences with things that go bump in the night.”

To learn more check out Mr. Campbell’s website, blog, or follow him on Facebook.

Appraisal:

I love Lena’s irreverent narration throughout this story. She is able to give us a unique perspective of an era from the past most of us haven’t experienced. Since Lena is a cat she can’t be bothered by human emotions, unless you are scratching her behind her ears. This tale, while being fiction, rings true on many facts. The addition of magical realism brings us an eccentric, enthralling, and entertaining history of days gone by.

It wasn’t all white mistreatment and abuse on the black population, there was black on black abuse as well. Greed is the common agent that knows no color. Thank goodness Eulalie is around to try to set some misdeeds right. Pitted against a powerful hoodoo man, who practices black magic, it’s questionable whether Eulalie can outwit and best Washerwoman to return a more even balance of powers in her corner of the world. The struggles are realistic of the time.

I love that Eulalie’s and Willie Tate’s relationship is more fully explained and I am glad Adelaide, Eulalie’s daughter, is back in town. Old family secrets are exposed and this made my heart smile. Please be aware that the language in this story is not always politically correct, however it is true to the era. I found this a thoroughly enjoyable tale and while the main story arc was brought to a satisfactory end for the time being, things are still open. Also, Eulalie takes off on a whole new adventure that is sure to be entertaining on an emotional level. 
I can’t wait!

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Eulalie and Washerwoman is book two in Malcolm R. Campbell’s, Florida Folk Magic Stories. I believe this can be read as a standalone, however the characters are unique and some depth could be lost. Also, please be aware that the language is not always politically correct, however it is true to the era.

Format/Typo Issues:

I came across a small number of proofing issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: The Numbers Game by Allison Janda


Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Description:

"When the body of a young woman is discovered by Detective Jack Crawford, he knows the notorious Roman Numeral Killer is back. What's worse, the appetite of the killer has changed from prostitutes and drug addicts to just about everyone else. As the case explodes putting all of Seattle in an uproar, Jack works tirelessly to stay ahead of the noise. Catching up with the most dangerous killer seen in decades won't be easy. A single misstep could make it deadly."

Author:

Allison Janda has written many books. In her own words: "I'm an author because being an author can make people laugh and cry and question their beliefs and turn them on and turn them off and fall in love and all of the other things that humans should do in order to live a full life. And I hope that in reading my books, you feel something - something that reminds you of why you read books in the first place."

For more information, visit the author's website.

Appraisal:

Jack Crawford, is a detective who finds the dead body of a man when he is out running. The Roman Numerals killer has struck again, leaving numbers carved into the man's ankle. Shortly afterwards the body of a woman is found in a house, this murder apparently not the work of the serial killer. The dead woman was the girlfriend of Greg Hahn, brother to Emmet, who is Jack's partner in homicide investigations. The only suspect is Erica Barnes, Greg's ex-girlfriend, who was at the scene but claims she was only there to get her dog back. Jack believes in her innocence but finds it difficult to find another suspect.

The main character, Jack, is nominally the hero but his reaction to various situations is weak and confused and he finds it hard to be objective as he is falling for Erica who is a pretty blonde with pink, pouty lips.

There is a great deal of humour in this book which sets it apart from the usual grim, murder mystery and the premise is exciting and credible but the narrative is let down by the clichéd writing and unrealistic dialogue. There are long sections in the book dealing with the dog, and elsewhere, with Erica's stay in hospital; these sections add nothing to the story and could well be edited to half their length.

The editing is untidy with many errors in syntax, grammar, and some typos.

“'Some of us have to make due with what we've got.'"

" . . . hospitals had certainly been the most depressing thing Jack had ever seen. This place, though. This place was giving the hospital a run for their money,"

"Emmett had sprang to his feet . . . "

The book would definitely benefit from some re-writing and a more organised plot line. It seems as if the author isn't quite sure of what this story is about; it begins with a serial killer murder, but the main part of the book doesn't address this at all; it only reappears and ties in at the very end. Each part is interesting in itself although somewhat lacking in tension.

Still, this book has an undeniable, bouncy charm to it which made it very enjoyable despite its faults.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Some very gory scenes

Format/Typo Issues:

Several typos, spelling and syntax errors

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: Joan Slowey

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Wisdom of Fools: stories of extraordinary lives by Phil Harvey


Genre: Short Story Collection

Description:

This a collection of eight stories by Phil Harvey which its Amazon puff says “will appeal to fans of Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth and Martin Amis, and is right at home with some of the greatest famous short story collections.” Six of them are contemporary, two are science fictionish.

Author:

If you want to find out more about Phil Harvey, or connect with him, then this is a good place to start: http://www.humanmade.net/phil-harvey

Harvey has other important career strands alongside his fiction writing. He is the author of non-fiction books about contraception, government snooping and libertarian values; he has set up a charity which implements family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programs in developing countries; helped fund the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Police project and NORML; he works to raise awareness of freedom-of-speech issues and injustices caused by the war on drugs; and he runs a company which helps adults enjoy their sex lives. His compassion in and deep knowledge of these various areas informs his fiction, to advantage.

Appraisal:

These are meaty stories. The author turns out to be one of those treasured finds in whom, as a reader, one may place absolute trust.

The eight stories are delightfully varied. Nevertheless, they do have aspects in common. I would describe them all as having both a visceral foundation and as many layers as an onion. Harvey sketches in characters at the same time as he develops the story – no hanging around to see the set and meet the cast here. Not a word is wasted, which is essential when constructing short stories. The story is underway from the first sentence: the pace and length are perfectly judged – and at the end is a payoff, which one had not seen coming, which is perfect and thought-provoking. Harvey is a man who really understands the short form in fiction and uses it beautifully. The Amazon puff (above) names several writers of short fiction in whose company these stories can stand. I hereby add Ernest Hemingway – yes, Harvey is THAT good.

My favourite (and it’s a hard choice) is Virgin Birth which looks at particularly difficult moral choices that might surround a surrogate pregnancy – the sort of choices that I’ve never been encouraged to think about before. I found it revelatory.

This is a short book. One can absorb a story in a sitting. Even if short fiction isn’t your usual fare I urge you to give these a go. If you’re still wrinkling your nose at the idea, Harvey has longer fiction available. This is an author well worth discovering.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No infelicities to report, except for the three typos in one story.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: Judi Moore

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Old Dark by Michael La Ronn


Genre: Fantasy

Description:
Old Dark is a viperous dragon lord who rules the world with an iron fist. For two hundred years he and his dragons have terrorized humans and elves, forcing them to pay tribute or die. There’s a deadly conspiracy brewing. And if he doesn’t contain it, it will destroy him and everything he’s built. But Dark was born to fight. There’s a reason the ancients called him Dark the Wicked…Old Dark is the first book in the dark fantasy series The Last Dragon Lord. Readers who like the Age of Fire series and Smaug from the Lord of the Rings will enjoy this series.”
Author:

Michael La Ronn is the author of many science fiction and fantasy novels including the Android X, Modern Necromancy, and The Last Dragon Lord series. 

In 2012, a life-threatening illness made him realize that life is too short. He’s devoted his life to writing ever since, making up whatever story makes him fall out of his chair laughing the hardest. Every day.

Discover more work by Michael by visiting his website.
www.michaellaronn.com

Appraisal:

This fantasy begins eons ago in a world where magic is power. The society is ruled by dragons through their control of the magic aquifer. Elves are able to use magic, but only have limited access and humans are the lowest caste, unable to leverage any magical powers.

Once the dragon lord, Old Dark, is betrayed, the novel jumps forward 1,000 years and we’re presented with a close-to modern world where dragons no longer rule, but have been accommodated in society through an ingenious mechanism and Elven-human inter-breds are in control.

The story focuses on an upcoming inter-family political race for the post of Governor between Lucan Grimoire and his uncle (the current governor). I found this modern-day fantasy world fun to experience--the huge time jump really worked for me. The writing was clean and easy on the eye. Unusually for a fantasy, the story was very plot driven with little time spent developing the characters (except the main dragon--Old Dark).

So, this was a solid four-star read for me until the author ended on an unforgivable cliffhanger. Man. I hated the “To be continued….” Yeah, I knew that because this is book one in a series, but for heaven’s sakes finish the first book’s story arc before writing “The End.” Jeez!

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to bother me.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Domination by Imogen Rose


Genre: YA/Paranormal

Description:

Years of hard work preceded her entry to the Oval Office. She attended the right prep schools and right colleges. She made sure to make all the right contacts, ingratiating herself into the right circles. But all those rights hadn’t been enough.

In the end, she’d needed her mother.

And now it was time to repay that debt.”

Author:

Globetrotter Imogen Rose is Swedish by birth, went to college in London (where she received a PhD in immunology), and is now a Jersey girl. After her eight-year-old daughter insisted she write down her stories, Rose wrote the first of her Portal Chronicles series and decided to let it out into the world. The response was so positive that she’s continued writing. With the addition of this one she now has eleven books available, plus foreign translations of many.


Appraisal:

It's been almost two years since Imogen Rose's last book. I found myself slipping easily into her world and hearing about the latest adventures of the characters (at least the likable ones) was like catching up with old friends.

In each installment we learn a little more about Rose's paranormal creatures, not just their personalities, but their capabilities or powers. We understand the world they live in a bit better, which is partially our world, but things are going on that we aren't aware of or misinterpret based on our limited knowledge.

In this latest installment two of the main characters are having a baby. This is complicated not only by the child-to-be's genetic makeup (a combination of fairy, demon, and wanderer, the last a paranormal creature that might be unique to Rose's story worlds) which is unique enough as to be hard to predict how it will work out, but also due to some issues with the grandmother-to-be. Then there is the US President and the wrath her mother is trying to unleash on the world. Needless to say, tension is high and how or if it will turn out okay is in question right up until the end.

Those who have been waiting for this aren't going to be disappointed. Those who haven't, now is as good a time to hop on board, either reading Domination or going back to the start of the series.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Some adult language.

Although part of a series, reading this book as a standalone would work fine as the author gives enough grounding in past events to get new readers up to speed while refreshing the memories of those who have been around since the beginning.

Format/Typo Issues:

Review is based on an advance copy and I can't judge the final version in this area.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Sunchaser by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus


Genre: Urban Fantasy/Adventure/Paranormal/Contemporary

Description:

After too many weeks as a New Mexico farm hand, werecat Roan desperately needs to get out of town or he'll start eating idiots instead of ignoring them.
But he discovers an abused werewolf in the pen of a travelling circus, and even though he can't stand the dogs, he decides to rescue his fellow werecreature. He is unaware that Betsy, the idealistic daughter of the local Sheriff, plans to do exactly the same.

Together, they manage to fuck up a perfectly good rescue operation and Roan catches a chest full of lead. Which isn't enough to kill a werecat, but now Roan is on the run to Mexico with overeager Betsy and their crippled werewolf charge in tow.

They will have to overcome their prejudices and grow into a family if they are to outrun the police, angry parents, jealous fiancées and vengeful circus fey hot on their heels.”

Author:

Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus are a couple currently living their happily-ever-after in the very heart of Germany under the stern but loving surveillance of their cat. Both of them are voracious but picky readers, they love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, they write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of their happiness with their readers.

Beryll: An artist by heart, Beryll wrote stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word and the driving creative force of the duo.

Osiris: An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of the team. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.”

Learn more at their website and now you can follow them on Facebook.

Appraisal:

What a great fantasy adventure story. Sunchaser isn’t at all what I expected after reading Softpaw (the first book of this series). Roan, a saber-toothed werepanther, is a loner and thrives in his solitary existence, drifting wherever he pleases. Most of the characters, with much story time, are strongly developed and diverse. Since this is a road trip sort of adventure the scenery is constantly changing, however, it was easy to imagine a sense of place throughout. The urgency, tension, and danger in certain scenes was also well written and easily experienced.

There is a strong theme of family and personal growth in this journey, which is examined closely. Though most of the adventure is told through Roan, it is easy to see growth in Betsy and Martin as well as Roan. Betsy seems to be a shallow, oblivious blonde at first. She is the sheriff’s daughter and engaged to deputy Pembroke. Martin is the name Betsy gives the poor abused, dim-witted werewolf she frees from the traveling circus that came to town. Of course, Betsy thinks she is rescuing a large abused wolf.

When Roan checks out the circus that afternoon he can feel the magic, but can’t identify its source. He is also enraged when he witnesses the ringmaster’s abuse of the werewolf and is baffled at the wolf’s cowering behavior. Through an act of goodwill towards shifters of all kinds and, against his better judgment, Roan decides to liberate the werewolf from his cage. The fact that Betsy was in the process of trying to talk the wolf out of his jail when he arrived irritated Roan, not that he was trying to be the hero or anything like that you understand, but he readily stepped in to assist. Then things go wrong, Roan is injured and Betsy ends up saving them all with a little help from the werewolf.

I found this story full of heart as Betsy, Martin, and Roan develop a mutual respect as they redefine the standard definition of family. Roan’s self-deprecating humor is highly entertaining, especially since he is a cat who now has a doggie. Poor Martin is slowly healing as he puts on more weight and time passes, however, he may forever be a huge good-natured dog with monster teeth. It was also fun to learn a little bit about Deirdre Moonstealer, Roan’s globe-trotting, supermodel sister. I can’t wait to hear more about her.

If you enjoy easy-going, fun, urban fantasy, shifter stories, I think you will find this one worth your time.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Sunchaser is book two in the Smilodon Pride series, however it can be read as a standalone.

Contains adult language with several F-bombs. No sexual content.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing issues, however, nothing that threw me out of the story.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Blood On The Table by R.C. Dilan


Genre: Dystopian Thriller

Description:

Controlled by the faceless elite, those lucky enough to avoid life in prison, live their days steeped in fear of tomorrow. Jackson Elliot has spent a decade behind the concrete walls of Sidney prison being punished for his parent’s radical views.
When a charismatic con man, Bobby Ford, becomes his cellmate, suddenly Jackson can see a light at the end of his bleak tunnel and starts to hope that maybe he can escape and reinvigorate the revolution that already claimed the lives of his family.”
Author:

R.C. Dilan was born and raised in Bellingham, Washington, a small city north of Seattle. Dilan always enjoyed reading, and as a kid wanted to become a writer, practicing by trying to write stories that mimicked movies he saw or books he had read—they were all pretty terrible.

While teaching English in Japan, he started writing his first book, Blood on the Table. Most of the first draft of his book was written while commuting on the crowded trains navigating through Tokyo. It was a long process, full of long nights and weekends spent editing and rewriting, but one that fulfilled a lifelong dream.”

Appraisal:

The unusual beginning location drew me into this story--most of the first third of the novel takes place inside Sidney prison. I didn’t read the blurb, so it took me some pages to realize this was a dystopian adventure. I enjoy that genre, it just came as something of a surprise because I was quite a ways into the story the first time the “elites” and the revolution were mentioned.

The story is told in first person and the plot is interesting and moves along at a fast pace, which I enjoyed. What I didn’t enjoy, though, was the lack of tension. Each obstacle was overcome without me ever suspecting there might be trouble for the protagonist. Jackson was always one step ahead of everyone. Bobby was an interesting character, but his foibles were over explained and I got a little fed up being repeatedly told about this character’s strengths and weaknesses. A lot of the plot advancement was done through dialogue. Nothing wrong with that per se, but too much of the talking consisted of long explanatory parables

This is the author’s first novel, and I think it would benefit greatly from a tough content edit. Especially as it’s going to be the basis for a series.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to bother me.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: Silent Whispers by Christine Rains


Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Mystery/Adventure

Description:

It’s not only the dead who whisper upon the wind.

An ancient totem pole has gone missing, and its pieces are scattered across Alaska. Restoring the seven totem tokens may be the only way to save every shifter in the world.

Kinley Dorn, a geeky architect with a heart of gold and a polar bear shifter, jumps at the opportunity to help her family find the lost pieces. Their idea of 'helping' involves staying indoors to research online. Work leads Kinley to sexy lynx shifter Ransom Averill. He coaxes her away from the safety behind her computer and into the path of a rampaging giant. Terrifying as the monster might be, she must brave its mountain because the owl totem is calling to her through silent whispers.”

Author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. and Untethered Realms. She has one novel and several novellas and short stories published.”


Appraisal:

Silent Whispers is Kinley’s story. She is the nerdy middle sister of the Dorn clan. Kinley immerses herself in her work and research. She is also the designated caretaker of the family. Because of a failed relationship, five years ago, she is insecure and can’t imagine why any male could possibly be interested in her. Then she meets Ransom Averill, a personal assistant to her newest client, and sparks fly. Ransom is a handsome Lynx shifter who seems like a bit of a playboy: cocky, witty, and fiercely loyal. Kinley is a hot mess whenever he is around and I’m not sure why but Ransom’s cocksure attitude made him more adorable to me. Ms. Rains was able to develop Ransom’s character where his arrogance came across in a humble way. Not sure how she did that with a cat shifter, however, she did it quite well.

The plot moves along at a nice pace, and many of the twists were unexpected. Kenley has heard “whispers” from the ether practically her whole life, however, the whispers seem conflicting at times. Perplexed with the whispers she chooses to go with her gut instincts and/or personal desires. The mystery of the totems and the hunters grows deeper and more complex in this novella.

I’m looking forward to book three of the Totem series, Cloak of Snow, where I hope to learn more about the oldest Dorn sister, Saskia, and her relationship with Sedge. This is turning into an enthralling mystery quest series.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Silent Whispers is book two in the Totem series, of which there are six completed so far. There are a few F-bombs dropped.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant proofing or formatting issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: Sudden Death by Theresa Jacobs


Genre: Horror

Description:

Imagine downloading a game for your phone where it’s played in the real world. A group of college students have relied so much on technology that they have found themselves battling a demon that has been downloaded into their phone.

Author:

Theresa Jacobs is a Canadian author who has written poetry, short stories and a children’s picture book. Jacobs is an avid TV watcher and loves movies. For more, visit Theresa’s website.

Appraisal:

Technology has taken over our lives. It's a fact. You go down the block (or maybe ride a hover board) and people are texting while they walk, listening to music on bluetooth headphones while they jog, talking on the phone while they drive -- and that's just some of the basics we do with technology. 

But what happens if the world we live in now, the one where phones are glued to our hands, becomes possessed with a demon that lives inside of the tech? In short, it's not good. 

Sudden Death follows a group of college students as they learn a game they have downloaded is possessed with a demon whose only goal is to kill. The premise is relevant and interesting, but the execution just wasn't there.

The book could have used another edit before being published as there were several mistakes. While intense, which is an A-plus for a horror book, there was also too much of jumping to people in peril who were not relevant to the storyline. The novella didn't have much character development either, which might have been a factor of the short read, but each character felt as though they each just had one note. There wasn't much depth.

I wanted to like the book because as someone who is immersed in technology (I still rarely read print books), I can definitely relate. But this book needed work before it should have been published. If there is ever an update, I would love to check it out because there is a great story in there. 

Buy now from:      Amazon US      Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

There were several typos or errors.

Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: Sooz

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: Scattered Souls by Erica Lucke Dean


Genre: Time Travel/Romance

Description:

Ava Flynn is cursed. After barely surviving an epic battle between her warring soul mates, Ava is stranded in the past with Laith, while Maddox frantically searches across the decades. Laith will stop at nothing to prove his love to Ava, and a desperate Maddox must race against time to find her before his brother can win her heart.

Torn between the two brothers, and with her eternal soul at stake, Ava comes to the horrifying conclusion that only she can break the curse. But the cost may be more than she is willing to pay.”

Author:

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.

When she’s not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the characters in her books, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.

How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.”

To learn more about Ms. Dean, visit her website or stalk her on herFacebook page.

Appraisal:

Scattered Souls begins with a short jaunt into the past, and we learn how both Maddox and Laith acquired their time-jumping abilities. Ava is also given a small glimpse into Maddox’s, Laith’s, and Elizabeth’s history while falling through time. Timelines are little problem if you know the rules of the game. At least as long as you have possession of a magic stone. Learning those rules were trial and error for both Maddox and Laith. Both are in possession of their own stone.

After Laith rescues Ava from the cliff at the end of book one, Splintered Souls, he settles her in his Chicago home sometime in 1928. From there Laith begins his campaign to win Ava’s heart through a whirlwind series of jumps through time to fulfill her every heart’s desire. These were a thoroughly enjoyable distraction from the vital weightiness of the plot. This plan is working in Laith’s favor until Maddox catches up with them and all hell breaks loose.

Ava has a sharp learning curve and serious decisions to make concerning the curse that has plagued Maddox and Laith since they were born. Although Jane, apprentice witch of the old witch who placed the original curse, insists it was a blessing because her mentor didn’t dabble in the dark forces. Getting to know Jane was an enthralling bonus in this book. She was able to give Ava a lot to consider, and it seems as if Ava will have to be the one to put an end to the blessing/curse. But how can she manage that when she doesn’t wish pain or heartbreak to either brother?

This story is a true rollercoaster ride through history and emotions. The game changing ending will leave the reader reeling. I was totally beside myself. I need the next book NOW! Ms. Dean had better be writing her heart out…

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

FYI:

Scattered Souls is book two in the Flames of Time series. Adult situations and a few F-bombs.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant proofing issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words