Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Angela's Siren Awakening by D.J. Shaw

We've all heard the warnings when we were kids; "be careful what you wish for," "read the fine print," "don't talk to strangers," "do unto others (you know - the golden rule)." This story offers a couple of very good reasons for paying closer attention to those annoying rules drilled into us as we were growing up.

Poor Angela is going through a rough time since breaking up with her boyfriend. Channel surfing while she wonders how her life turned into its current mess, her attention is grabbed by an infomercial. What's for sale? Vengilixer. The price? Your soul. What can be more startling than that? The announcer answers her question directly and begins a conversation with her.

Angela discovers two things, she's not entirely human and the announcer is a demon who wants to help her realize her full potential. And this is where I must stop or I'll give everything away. There is an element of humor in this story that I appreciate. Angela's wide-eyed, near innocent disbelief wars with her desire to get even with her ex. Daryl (the friendly and oh-so-helpful demon) is the epitome of the smooth talking salesman.

In spite of the demon and Angela's growing desire to get even, I found this to be a fairly lighthearted story, though with a couple of definite caveat twists at the end. Regardless whether you want something to shake your head at or you're feeling a bit vengeful, I think you'll enjoy this short story. Both well written and well edited. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Obsession by Georgina Hannan

This book picks up shortly after the four friends return from their vacation. University classes have begun and everyone is knee deep in homework. Now that some time has passed, everyone is writing off their experiences on vacation as delusions and tricks of their minds. Everyone that is, except Daisy. Daisy can't indulge in that bit of wishful thinking because she came home with a permanent souvenir... the ghost of Lady Howard.

Journalism class becomes the source of Daisy's greatest challenge when the year project is assigned. Everyone is to trace their family history as far back as possible and write about what they learn of their ancestors. Genealogy can be a lot of fun, and for a while, Daisy is really enjoying learning about her ancestors and their lives.

Throughout her life, no one has wanted to talk to her about her mother, not her father, not her grandparents. As she begins digging for information, she finds a treasure trove of documents at her maternal grandparents. Her grandfather had begun his own search into genealogy and gave her access to boxes of his results. With each discovery, Lady Howard becomes a more persistent presence in Daisy's life. Daisy doesn't have to dig for long before she makes a startling discovery about her mother.

The book is aptly named. The further Daisy gets into her research, the more obsessed she becomes with finding answers. Lady Howard wants something from her and is making it very clear Daisy won't like the consequences for not helping. Tyler, Alice and Jake become more and more concerned with her welfare. Tyler is especially worried and no one knows what to do to help. Her obsession with finding answers may cost her the one person she loves most of all if she can't pull it together.

The story is fraught with tension and definitely a page turner. I found myself not only pulling for Tyler to stick it out and be supportive of Daisy and what she's going through, but wanting Daisy to have someone to lean on. This is a great sequel making Hannan two for two. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in this series. This book is both well written and well edited. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cursed by Georgina Hannan

Four friends decide to take a holiday together and see a bit of the English countryside. Two weeks on their own and no parents, each one is hoping for an adventure. Ever have someone tell you "be careful what you wish for?" Yeah. Hannan wastes no time letting you know what kind of a story you're in for (as if the title weren't enough of a clue). Two of the friends, Alice and Jake, are already a couple before the story begins. The other two, Daisy and Tyler, are each hoping the other is just as interested. This does play in to how they each react later in the story.

Alice is the planner in the group and has ideas for their holiday so every day they will be doing something that most of them enjoy. On their first evening, they all go to the local pub. As the bartender sets them up with their first round of drinks, he shares a few of the local myths and legends. Like any decent bartender, Frank can spin a good tale, and spin them he does. Local legends of the Beast of Dartmoor, a disappearing cottage no one seems able to find more than once, a woman doomed to travel in a carriage made from the bones of her dead husbands, and more.

As things begin to happen to each of our intrepid adventurers, they are initially reluctant to say anything to the other three. Of course there's the usual suspicions of whether one of them is trying to spook the others. This is the kind of book I prefer to read early in the day. Stories like this have a tendency to grab hold of my imagination and visit my dreams. It can be rather embarrassing to wake up the neighbors screaming from story-induced nightmares. So yeah, I got a few pages into this and quickly decided I needed to wait for daylight before I continued reading.

Hannan can spin a tale and she does it with eloquence. I had no trouble relating to Alice, the one who jumps at every little thing and loves to plan trips. What makes this book so successful is you're given just enough "meat" if you will, for your imagination to pick you up and run away with you. Her storytelling doesn't spell everything out for you. Even better, she saved the best hook for the very end. If you enjoy a story that makes you tense and jumpy, read this at night in the middle of a thunderstorm. You won't regret it. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.