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Donna Hole RSS Feed (Oroville, CA USA)

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Salem's Daughters
Salem's Daughters
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An adorable read, March 24, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Salem's Daughters (Kindle Edition)
Listening to a book is a bit different than reading it. I was dependent on the narrator to add voice, which cannot be done with the Kindle voice mode. However, I also re-read certain action segments of the story, and still had the same lack-of-voice opinion. The characters all sound alike; very cutsey, snarkish; in a word: adorable. Bob and Debbie are in love, totally committed to each other and their families, ready to step outside their comfort zones and embark on the next stage of their marriage/careers. This novel is rich in research of the setting, magical spells, and cat-etiquette. The reader is taken on a well described adventure of joblessness, perseverance, cliche in-laws, financial decline, and minimal exploration of witche's covens.

Romantic scenes are cute and predictable; Bob and Debbie are a wholesome, upbeat couple with plenty of humor to offset their dire circumstances; the cats are marvelously fun, even when being devious; and even the bloody scenes are narrated in a manner where the few words describing the blood and death are almost missed in the satyrical/slap-stick type descriptions.

Recommended for readers who like feel-good adventure-romance with a bent on the paranormal.


Under the Tuscan Moon: Ciassia
Under the Tuscan Moon: Ciassia
Price: $0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Romantically historical Vampires, March 24, 2016
I was given this book as a gift because I like dark Vampires; Vamps that are monsters and love it. I also enjoy most historical novels. I liked this novella because the lead vampire was truly vicious, and the Italian setting was intriguing. Vitrupin was duped into being turned into a vampire by an ancient temptress at the height of his virility, and just as he was coming into his heritage. Betrayal and vengeance permeate this historical romance, along with much angst, a mysterious plot to unveil, and just the right amount of bloody feedings.

If you're a fan of historical romances, and would like to add a touch of the paranormal, this is definitely novella for you.


The Body Institute
The Body Institute
by Carol Riggs
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99
59 used & new from $3.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholesome, thought provoking, November 25, 2015
This review is from: The Body Institute (Paperback)
I wasn't sure I'd like this YA novel, but I was intrigued by the premise, and the one line on the cover that asks the question "are we our minds . . . or our bodies?" I attended a book signing at a local bookstore, and after hearing author Carol Riggs discuss the book, the plot concept and issues explored, I had a few questions. The author wasn't sure if it was Dystopian, but did assure me it was not the typical angsty YA voice. I liked what she read, and that intriguing question, and decided to take the chance and purchase a paper copy.

To my mind, this is definitely not dystopian, and does not take place in a school. The world is set approx 50 years in the future, but that future is not a set date, as the technology, environmental, and social issues addressed could plausibly happen any time between next year or more than a hundred years. I liked how the author moved today's current issues along to a logical conclusion, complete with all the expected benefits and drawbacks. I could see myself living in this speculative future and completely related to the concerns and stubbornness of the Grandfather.

The age of the protagonist - nearly 18 year old Morgan who is an over achieving science geek with loyal friends and a wholesome, patriotic attitude - works well for the future focus, as even today young people and their industriousness is what the older (not elderly) generation depends on to keep the world moving forward. Each generation of characters was well developed, easily relatable regardless of the age of the reader.

Without giving spoilers, I'll just say the villian in this novel is Big Business and Government, focusing down to one person of course; and includes the question of how much control each should have over our individual choices/rights. I like a book that opens my mind to different opinions, and makes me want to research/learn about technologies and philosophies.

I would recommend THE BODY INSTITUTE to anyone who enjoys a well paced mystery, an exploration of social issues in the near future, excellently developed and believable characters, and a wholesome concept that promotes family values.


Three Links of Chain
Three Links of Chain
by Dennis Maley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.95
25 used & new from $7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Fiction, October 6, 2015
This review is from: Three Links of Chain (Paperback)
This was an intriguing book. I liked the voice and pace; it was written using the languge (idioms) of the 1850's. The story line was interesting, the setting was vivid and sometimes violent (as befits the "Bleeding Kansas" situation), and the main character Blanche was well developed with a large character arch. I liked the arrogance he developed as a skilled laborer, and how that arrogance was chipped away, sometimes in large chunks, as his life deteriorates and he finally determines to run away.

The journey Blanche embarks on to find the underground rail road leads him through much of the political turmoil in pre-civil war Kansas/Missouri, and the author expertly weaves in the corruption, violence, and debates of the times. My only complaint with the novel was the author's prolific use of research, often overly describing the uses and development of items and issues, and personal motives and histories of the famous individuals Blanche encounters.

Overall a well developed, well paced historical fiction, with authentic voice and personalities. The author note at the end of the novel was much appreciated, as it described which of the characters and events were historically accurate, and which were composites of much research. I highly recommend this novel to anybody who enjoys a rich historical content; but mostly for school aged children who don't enjoy a dry history lesson, but enjoys a good, factual story.


Ascension (Sabrina Strong Series Book 1)
Ascension (Sabrina Strong Series Book 1)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simply Hot, July 10, 2015
Sabrina Strong is a 22 year old touch clairvoyant who answers an ad for an employer looking for a clairvoyant. She can tell over the phone the employer is a vampire, but this does not scare her off. Being essentially jobless and penniless, she is desperate enough to suspend disbelief that her skills could actually earn her a living. She is bitten by a werewolf as she arrives at the interview, and her potential vampire employer arrives at her rescue and sucks out most of the werewolf venom. The experience leaves her fainting into the arms of the most handsome male she could ever dream of meeting, and of course he and his minions are smitten by her sweetly tasty blood and alluring aura. She wakes in her vampire rescuer's bedroom, although he has not acted upon his desires as he needs permission from his vampire master to make her his. As the story progresses, Sabrina is consistently the target of lust from each alpha she meets (vampires, shifters, were's, but not the Fae) and each is more gorgeous and powerful than the last.

This is a simple urban fantasy, populated by all manner of paranormal creatures. Sabrina is a poor, young, innocent girl, thrust into the clutches of the billionaire vampire leader Bjorn Tremayne to solve the mystery of who murdered his life-mate by using her previously untested clairvoyant powers. She is offered a sign on bonus too large to refuse, a yearly salary bigger than she could make working part time for her sister in law's thrift store, and perks such as a car and cell phone of her very own. Plus, every hot guy in the Tremayne Towers lusting after her blood, both for eating and sex.

For me, this story was a combination of Fifty Shades and Charlain Harris' Dead And . . series. Lorelei is skilled at crafting a mystery and leaving subtle clues to point the reader to the obvious conclusion, and the development of the world and its rules was well paced and at times unique. Her characters were engaging with interesting back stories and continuing character plots. The novel stands alone, but leaves a number of unanswered questions for sequels to fill in.

While the story concept itself was interesting, and the writing style easy to read; the story was over written, sometimes repeating information (and mystery clues) as much as four times as the main character Sabrina, frequently forgot details and had to be reminded by other characters; and the step-by-step mannerisms and descriptions used a lot of unnecessary word count. There were also an extreme amount of misspelled and misused words, and prolific and inappropriate use of commas that consistently pulled me out of the story; even during the most action and sexual scenes. The ending rushed through a summation of events after the climax, leaving an unfinished vibe to the characters.

This genre is not my normal reading - I won the book in a giveaway - but I would recommend this book, and the series, to anyone who adores HOT, alpha vampires and shifters, a sexy female protagonist, and billionaire play boys.


Mahjong Journey®
Mahjong Journey®
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, July 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mahjong Journey® (App)
Lots of fun to play.


The Dragon Chronicles (The Future Chronicles)
The Dragon Chronicles (The Future Chronicles)
by Daniel Arenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
27 used & new from $11.20

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dragon Heroes, July 4, 2015
I have loved dragon stories since Anne McCaffrey first introduced me to The White Dragon. Dragons are such powerful, magical, intelligent creatures to me, and this anthology captured the essence that has thrilled me for years.

The stories themselves are written to appeal to a variety of tastes: humor, angst, friendship, duty, courage and commitment, and even religion and politics. I liked how the publisher arranged the stories in a theme of adolescent dragons and their riders, as with the Ten Things You should Know About Dragons and Of Sand and Starlight; moved through young adulthood with Transparancy, Sacrifice, and Time To Change; to seasoned adventurers with The Book of Safkhet and Judgement. Tasty Dragon Meat, Dragon Play, and A Diversion in Time seemed slightly out of placement due to the ages of the adventurers, but the maturity of characters (dragons and the heroes) is what defined the stories, not the actual ages. I like that Grey and The Story Master dealt more with elderly characters than with the young and seasoned, and nicely rounded out the story concepts.

Regardless of your reading preference - adolescent, young adult, adult, adventurous, funny or contemplative, science fiction, fantasy, time travel or urban fantasy - you'll find several stories within this collection to satisfy your reading needs. The stories were well written with fully developed characters and story plots, and creative world building. Even the stories that were part of or spinoffs of larger works were engaging and complete. Many of the stories appealed to me enough to want to read more from the authors, and I was glad each story included an author note about the specific story development and author bio and contacts. Many of the author notes were as intriguing and entertaining as the stories themselves.

The only complaint I have with the anthology is with the sometimes poor formatting and errors in spelling and word usage. One story consistently misspelled the dragon's name! While it is an author's job to meticulously edit their works prior to submission, ultimately the presentation of the final product rests with the publisher. That said, the errors did not impede my reading pleasure much, and the quality of stories was well done enough I would read other anthologies compiled/published by Samuel Peralta's Future Chronicles.

I think I won a copy of The Dragon Chronicles in a giveaway at one of the author blog sites, but all the authors earned the five star rating. I highly recommend this anthology to anyone of any age who enjoys dragon stories, adventurous heroes, and brave new worlds.


New Realm Vol. 02 No 04
New Realm Vol. 02 No 04
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting characters and worlds, June 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
An awesome compilation. The stories were well written and engaging, the subject matter of each plot concept unique. An enjoyable read.


Squirrel of Magic: Short stories
Squirrel of Magic: Short stories
Price: $1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Squirrley Magic fun, May 4, 2015
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Author Olga Godim has done something rare in the genre of short stories: she has written a series of stand alone adventures, all involving Vancouver’s city-protector witch Darya and her unique familiar Beatrice the squirrel, yet strung them together with novel like potential. The opening story was well chosen to show off the intrinsic quirkiness of Darya and introduce the story of how Beatrice became her familiar.

The first story also set up the contemporary world of Vancouver, Canada as a living character with a story plot of its own. What I liked most about the setting in all the stories is that Darya and Beatrice interact with the city in such an overt manner. Naturally there are forms of magic and magical creatures that ordinary people cannot detect, but the story plots are careful to blend both worlds in a completely believable reality. The line up of the stories was well thought out, creating increasing tension and drama, exactly as a well plotted novel would achieve; forcing Darla to become more creative with her skills and increasing the stakes to both her rescued victims, and her own moral character.

Darya is obviously a good witch. She is talented, confident, has good moral character, a usually accepting disposition (non-judgmental), a quirky sense of humor, and she loves being a witch. She is neither ordinary (as a witch or human), nor does she stand out. She is comfortable with her solitary life, but is adequately sociable, and sometimes her values as a witch and woman conflict with her sense of moral justice. I loved the author’s use of the cozy mystery writing style, yet Darla herself has a subtle agelessness to her persona. Beatrice is just plain adorable; animated, snarkish, endearlingly loyal to Darya.

I was given this ebook collection for free in exchange for an honest review. It appealed to me as a short story reader, and also as a series book reader. Each stand alone story was thoroughly entertaining, good for a quick read as a break between daily tasks, or as a sit down, lazy afternoon relaxation. I give the collection, and the author, a well deserved 5 star rating.


Rock Bottom
Rock Bottom
Offered by Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrically romantic, April 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rock Bottom (Kindle Edition)
Sweet. Jet, a has-been rock star, is attempting a comeback using a reality dating program to garner publicity for the second time. He has little hope of success in finding his soul mate on the show after the miserable failure of the first season, but this season hold a refreshing surprise in the the last minute assignment of music journalist Billie Prescott. Billie isn't there to win the heart of the man who topped her teenage lust-have list, and one look at the way Jet drools over the six members of the Bimbo Brigade erases all temptations for a rebound fling.

Until she hears him playing some new music, and remembers what a great star he could be with the right encouragement. Distracted from his commitment to finding true love on camera for his waning fans, Jet and Billie develop a heated passion for each other between interviews. Their relationship heats and cools to the beat of lies, misconceptions, and emotional distrust, and it seems a happily ever after will succumb to the discord.

Beautifully written, poetic love scenes, catty arguments, and vivid, descriptive settings on the Malibu beach. If you love the intense drama of reality TV, and the angst of forbidden love, you'll surely enjoy this contemporary romance; and perhaps find a new playlist to enjoy. Author Cate Masters certainly knows how to strum the lovers heart strings.


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