Book Review: Stillwell by Michael Phillip Cash

Title: Stillwell
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, New Adult Publisher: Red Feather Publishing Release Date: June 21, 2013
Format: Kindle
Pages: 137
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

I have to say, I enjoyed this book by Michael Phillip Cash much better than the other one I read. I’m a sucker for a good ghost story, and this one is good.

This ghost story has an interesting twist to it. It isn’t often that you see something like this. Sure, you see happy endings to ghost stories, but this one is just too sweet, especially after the plot twist.

Once again, there wasn’t a lot of character development, but honestly, this book really didn’t need it. It didn’t detract from the story, probably because the paranormal portion was so well thought out and so well written.

I would love to see more books like this from Michael Phillip Cash. I think ghost stories are where his greatest talent lies.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash

Title: Witches Protection Program Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Sci Fi, Fantasy Publisher: Create Space
Release Date: May 14, 2015
Format: Kindle
Pages: 239
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law enforcement agent, is given one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232 year old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar Cosmetics company’s diabolical plan of using witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds.

Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in both witches and himself.

It took me a long time to even start this book. I think I added it to my NetGalley queue in 2015, but I didn’t start it until the other day. I’m not sure why it took me so long, but it did.

I have to say, Witches Protection Program isn’t a horrible book. It’s cute, it’s kitschy, and it’s a relatively quick read. That being said, it’s also kind of bad.

There isn’t a lot of character development. You don’t really get to know the characters. And you’re supposed to believe that two of the characters fall in love without either of them actually knowing anything other than the other person’s name.

At least the plot twists made up for the lack of character development. There are a couple of pretty good revelations and twists that are pretty satisfying. That being said, I don’t think I’d really recommend this book to anyone unless they just wanted a quick read.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: Beautiful Surrender by Priscilla West

Title: Beautiful Surrender
Series: Forever
Author: Priscilla West
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 2, 2013
Format: Kindle
Pages: 132
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.

I admit, I was kind of scratching my head because on Goodreads, this book is listed as “erotica” and it really isn’t. It’s pretty much a romance book with some sex thrown in. I’ve read far more erotic and dirty books from authors like Linda Lael Miller, trust me. This was tame compared to her books.

Then I saw on NetGalley that the book’s genre was actually New Adult and Romance, which made a lot more sense to me. The story is interesting and the book is a quick read at 132 pages on a Kindle. This was the 3rd book in a series, but you honestly don’t need to read the first two books to be able to follow along. You’d think you’d need to, but you really don’t.

I like a series where I can screw up and read them out of order and still be able to read the book without reading the previous books first. It makes it a lot easier.

I can’t say I connected with or particularly liked any of the characters in this book. I also can’t say that the writing was great. It was average and so were the characters. There wasn’t anything special about them to be honest. However, I am more than willing to read further books by Priscilla West because the story lines and plots themselves are good and the books are quick reads.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: Stars of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Highway by Victoria Micklish Pasmore

Title: Stars of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Highway
Author: Victoria Micklish Pasmore Genre: Children’s Nonfiction, Entertainment
Publisher: Plum Street Publishers, Inc.
Release Date: February 26, 2016 Format: Kindle
Pages: 56
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Before I give you my thoughts, let me preface it with the fact that I know it was meant for children. That being said, no. Just no.

First, I don’t know any child who would actually care about old Rockabilly artists that were, in most cases, old enough to be their great-grandparents. Second, this book is dry. It’s just a bunch of facts tossed down on paper – or in this case, in an eBook. There’s no character, no life, just a more or less cold recitation of facts.

I could literally hear a boring teacher droning on in my head, reading this book to students who are doing anything they can to not fall asleep. That’s how boring this book is. I didn’t find any of the information particularly compelling to read and I certainly didn’t care about it once I was done.

This is definitely not a book I’d get for any of the kids in my life unless I was trying to get rid of them.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: A Grimm Curse by Janna Jennings

Title: A Grimm Curse
Series: Grimm Tales
Author: Janna Jennings
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller Publisher: Patchwork Press
Release Date: November 20, 2015 Format: Kindle
Pages: 174
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Long before Andi discovers Elorium, an orphan girl befriends an enchanted frog while her cursed stepsister plots revenge in a twist that can only transpire in a fairy tale.

This stand-alone prequel to the Grimm Tales follows Cynthia, Andi’s grandmother, who is dragged in to the palace’s circle of glitter and privilege by her stepmother. Lady Wellington’s obsessive quest for a crown for one of her daughters has ensnared Cynthia and her musical talent in her scheme. Cynthia turns the nightmarish concert into a gesture of true friendship in an attempt to reverse the curse of a frog prince.

Attempting to be invisible to her abusive stepfamily while sidestepping the arrogant prince, Cynthia searches for an understanding princess to change Remi back to his rightful form.

Things do not go as planned when Remi disappears, leaving their friendship in his wake. Meanwhile, the single-minded Prince Wilhelm is determined to make Cynthia his bride. With a cursed stepsister threatening to upend Cynthia’s delicately balanced situation, her time in Elorium is drawing to a close as revelations of who she is and the truth about their world comes to light in this reimagined fairy tale.

Ok, I’m all for reimagined fairy tales. After all, just look at the reviews I’ve done for three of the Disney Twisted Tales books. I love a good reimagined fairy tale. Please note I said a good reimagined fairy tale.

A Grimm Curse is not a good reimagined fairy tale. As a prequel, I honestly feel this book raises far more questions than it actually answers. It is all over the place and makes absolutely no sense.

There are elements of Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Frog Prince, and even Jack and the Beanstalk in this book. Just in case you wondered, as a general rule, fairy tales don’t crossover. Yes, I know… they do in Into the Woods and Shrek, among others. And it works in those places. But it didn’t work here.

There was so little of Jack in the Beanstalk it seemed like that addition was pure afterthought – kind of like the author said “Hmm, I should add yet another fairy tale, but which one?? Oh! I know! I’ll stick Jack in the Beanstalk at the end and hope no one notices.” There wasn’t much of Rapunzel either and you have no idea how Cynthia and Rapunzel became friends in the first place, they just were.

The story was just too disjointed and wonky for me to be able to enjoy it. I made it through because it’s a relatively quick read – about 4 and half hours, but honestly, I won’t read it again, nor would I consider reading the previous books in the series.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: Blueblood by Matthew Iden

Title: Blueblood
Series: Marty Singer Mysteries
Author: Matthew Iden
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Create Space
Release Date: September 21, 2012 Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Four unrelated murders. Nothing special in Washington DC. Not even good enough to make the evening news. But then a concerned police lieutenant approaches retired homicide detective Marty Singer with a simple fact that changes everything.

They were all cops.

In a race to stop the killings, Marty tackles the case from the outside, chasing the killer from deadly Southeast DC to the heart of the Virginia gangland, on a mission to stop the spilling of yet more Blueblood .

The Marty Singer detective series:
A Reason to Live (Marty Singer #1)
Blueblood (Marty Singer #2)
One Right Thing (Marty Singer #3)
The Spike (Marty Singer #4)
The Wicked Flee (Marty Singer #5 – Summer 2014)

This book spent far too long on my Netgalley TBR pile. I’m not even joking. I added it to the TBR pile back in 2015 – almost 4 years ago. I honestly shouldn’t have waited so long to read this book.

Blueblood is the second book in the Marty Singer series. The good thing is while the books might reference previous books, you don’t absolutely need to read the previous books to understand what’s going on. These books can be read in or out of order with no problem. You could even read one as a standalone and be pleasantly surprised when you pick up another one and realize it’s a series.

I really like Marty Singer. He’s a great character. An ex-cop who is willing to get his hands dirty for the right cause. In this particular case it was someone killing cops. He’s thorough and you get a sense of who he is throughout the book. The book isn’t all “business” there is a personal plot that runs through the book as well.

This book was hard to put down. It drew me in immediately and I finished in the same day I started reading it. I just wanted to know what was next. The action scenes weren’t heart-pounding, but they weren’t boring either. They were just right and I liked that, a lot.

I can’t wait to read another of the Marty Singer books – I believe I have more of them in my NetGalley TBR pile and I will have to read them soon!

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Review: Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

Title: Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll Series: Haunted States of America Author: Thomas Kingsley Troupe Genre: Middle Grade, Horror Publisher: Flux, Jolly Fish Press Release Date: September 1, 2019 Format: Kindle
Pages: 136
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Alejandro Padilla isn’t superstitious and he doesn’t believe the stories that an old sailor doll in a Key West, Florida, museum is haunted. Robert the Doll might look creepy, but that doesn’t mean the doll is cursed. So Al ignores the tour guide’s warning to ask Robert’s permission before taking the doll’s photograph. But it isn’t long after Al’s field trip to the museum that strange things start happening. Al is quick to dismiss the odd occurrences as coincidence and bad luck . . . that is until they become more frequent and more sinister. Is the doll tormenting Al? And if so, what will Al have to do to get him to stop?

Every state has its own spine-tingling stories of ghosts and mysterious hauntings grounded in its regional history. The Haunted States of America series uses real-life ghost lore as jumping-off points to new, chilling tales. An author’s note provides historical origins and fascinating facts, but beware: sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

I don’t normally read middle grade fiction, but when a book is marketed as both middle grade and horror, I give it a read. I’m happy to say that Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll is a great example of both genres.

Now you might be thinking “How scary can middle grade horror be?” and from an adult perspective, you’re quite right! To an adult, middle grade horror isn’t going to be scary. But to a child in the middle grade reading level, it could be quite scary.

I actually found the book to be quite creepy. Were the things in it believable? Probably not. At least not if you’re someone who watches a lot of shows like A Haunting, Haunted Hospitals, or Paranormal 911. But not everything needs to be realistic to be scary. If it did, we wouldn’t have horror films, now would we?

I found the story to be well-written for the age group it is intended for. There aren’t big words middle grade readers won’t understand. The book also isn’t scary enough to cause nightmares unless your child is particularly sensitive.

The only issue I had was Al’s dad just isn’t a believable parental figure. He just doesn’t strike me as a real parent. Some of the things he does just don’t add up. You’ll see what I mean if you read the book before letting your child read it.

I think this is a great introduction to the world of horror for middle grade readers. It isn’t so scary as to cause a nightmare but it isn’t bland either. It’s a perfect mix of middle grade and horror.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.