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The Immortality Game
The Immortality Game
by Ted Cross
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.33
16 used & new from $8.33

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Future Hope, December 22, 2014
This review is from: The Immortality Game (Paperback)
I’m not normally a quick reader, but I was drawn into the world of The Immortality Game from the opening chapter through the ending. The futuristic setting was immediately and expertly introduced, and the female lead character, Zoya, had a good-girl appeal from the opening dialogue with her roguish brother. The world after The Dark Times is further built through the perspective of Marcus, the young son of a deceased millionaire who invented the program- cure for the “internet virus” that hackers used to topple governments and cripple the business world. The program also made possible a widespread addiction called “meshing”, which nearly destroys humanity to the point of extinction.

This story is action packed, but has a steady pace that drew me completely into the world. Although filled with cyber-speak, it doesn't take a degree or interest in science or engineering to relate to the simple terminology. If you've watch the world news or own your own computer, you’ll be familiar with slots, discs, wireless, clones, air cars, intergalactic space travel, and the concept that “there is always a war somewhere.” Mr. Cross takes exploratory technology of today, sets it in a world little more than a hundred years in the future, and adds an intense twist to world politics and everyday game playing and vice.

I enjoyed how the author took two average people who would likely never meet, and who have no extra-ordinary skills, placed them in a situation to make choices between loyalty, family, and basic morality, and used the available technology and societal rules of the time to force them to rise to the challenges. And who isn't curious about the inner workings of the Russian Mafia, and how normal citizens survive in such a hostile environment?

The Immortality Game gave me a sense of hope for the future, even while it listed the devastation of relying on the virtual pleasures of cyber-space and cyber lovers, the loss of individuality and connection with people, even the loss of life. Marcus’ deceased father integrated his genius mind into the internet and retains his basic personality while seeking the genetic compatibility of a clone body to restore his humanity, and he uses his world wide connection to protect his only son from the oblivion of “meshing.” Zoya has hope of using the found technology to assist her in rescuing her brother, her friends, and her hope of having a child of her own. Marcus is searching for his purpose in life and a reason to remain addiction free without the protective firewalls of his father’s intervention.

I think this story would appeal to readers who enjoy “a little romance and technology” in the story without it overwhelming the concepts of intrigue and the search for immortality. I give The Immortality Game five stars and would definitely read more titles by the author Ted Cross.

Purple Trees
Purple Trees
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Home spun secrets, December 10, 2014
This review is from: Purple Trees (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story concept is simple and complex. Simple for the rural lifestyle depicted; complex for the issues of a child taxed with caring for her dying mother, then her father, and growing up with a brutal, life changing secret. It is a sad, and happy story; an otherwise normal life plagued by an unbelievable secret. I laughed, and cried, and nodded in sympathy with the main character.

The story offers no moral conclusions; it just reports an untenable but common circumstance, and lets the reader decide if moral justice has been served in the end. I loved that the story begins in the present, with the main character, Lily, enticing her granddaughter to disclose a not-so-secret truth by way of telling her own life story. The story plot was obvious to the reader, but the author spun a masterful tale from the unreliable narrator's perspective. I was drawn into the concept of how the two stories - the narrator Lily's past, and the granddaughter's present - were interwoven at strategic moments of the story building.

This story is not filled with action. The tension is expertly built through sympathetic characters trapped in a cycle of uncontrollable events. When it comes to story layers, Ms. Wong knows how to keep the readers interest. I was intrigued from the first sentence to the last. I highly recommend this the novel PURPLE TREES to any reader who is not afraid to dive into a story with complex moral dilemmas, and strong characters that deal with life as it is dealt.

I give this novel 5 stars, and would read more books by the author.

Price: $2.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE EMPRESS AND THE TEXICAN, January 1, 2014
A way cool adventure into historic Egypt of 1895; where western values of the industrial age intrudes upon long standing customs of the Moslem transition into imperialism. Texas Ranger Captain Samuel McCord and his motley crew consisting of the famous authors Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Oscar Wilde, the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla (aka The Wizard), and with the unnatural assistance of the Countess Ada Byron (aka Lady Lovelace), solve an ages old mystery at the site of the lost city of Tanis.

Capt Samuel McCord bribes his way into the political intrigues that topples the aristocracy of the burgeoning middle east during the time of greatest archaeological excavation and changes the face of slavery and indentured servitude in both the US South and Egyptian culture; spreading wealth obtained at King Solomon's Mine and rescuing oppressed women and children used as bait to entrap the sensitive former Texas Ranger. Readers of historical romance will enjoy the quoted historical lessons integrated with the enduring romantic love an Undead lawman for an outworldly Empress of fluid motion that was the inspiration for the creation of the Sphinx.

The novel includes a pictograph augmentation of the fictional setting which allows the reader to see the inventions, setting, and people as described in detail within the context of the novel.

I enjoyed the vivid characterizations, alternate universes, magical realism, and real-world intrigues of the near-ancient Egyptian history of this novel. It was fascinating to see historical figures of the early 19th century era in an interestingly fictional context. Mr Yoemans writes in an epic/poetic style of prose that is easy to read and draws the reader into the characters, alien worlds, and setting of Ancient Egyptian mythology.

Open this novel and be intrigued by lost civilizations known only to investigators of ancient cultures.

I recommend this novel to fans who have enjoyed the movie The Mummy and the novel OUT OF THE BLACK LAND by Kerry Greenwood.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2014 8:12 PM PST

Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WESTERN HORROR, November 25, 2013
An intriguing adventure into the emerging American Western movie industry, complete with descriptions of the major inventions, politics, and social changes of the early 1920's. The hero, technical advisor Samuel Durand, aka former Texas Ranger Samuel McCord, introduces the setting in the Badlands of Sonora, a desolate place that has attracted interest the burgeoning movie industry. Durand/McCord reminisces on how he bankrolled several successful icons of the time; Sammy Clemens little newspaper before he became the famous Mark Twain,,GW Griffith's controversial silent film,and eccentric inventer Nikola Tessla. The main characters depicted are author Yoemans' vision of the young stars Tom Mix, Harry Carey, Josef von Sterberg, and the glamorous Marlene Dietrich.

The author displays his historical knowledge throughout the story, describing events, inventions and personal traits in detail; providing public domain pictures for the reader to immerse into the era and build the atmosphere. As the story progresses, indescribable monsters of myth and imagination are introduced as Captain Sam's true identity and his connection to powerful otherworld entities is exposed. I was intrigued by the storyline with Elu, McCord's blood brother, also the son of The Turquoise Woman (aka Death), the development of the raptors Soyoko, and the use of mystical powers more ancient than The Great Mystery.

Given the movie making theme, I feel a reference to the movie FROM DUSK TIL DAWN is appropriate. In the movie starring Quinten Tarentino and George Clooney, the outlaw brothers kidnap a family to assist their escape to Mexico. The group successfully make it to the predetermined meeting point of the bar Dusk Til Dawn, but find it inhabited by demonic vampires. While BADLANDS has none of extreme gore and obscene language, the monsters are every bit as terrifying, and the movie cast and crew must rely on creative means to defeat the monsters within the motel to give McCord and his chosen sidekicks the chance to shut down the radio station signal - broadcasting a lamenting apology to Sam's estranged wife Meilori- that has awakened the Mother of all Monsters responsible for the ghastly murders.

Using his unique turn of phrase, an expertly drawn Byronic Hero, and a love interest doomed by more than species differences, HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS is a great introduction to the mystical world created by urban fantasy novelist Roland Yoemans. Readers are sure to enjoy the philosophy, history, intrigue, and mystical creativity of this novel


Second Avenue Second Hand: Short Story Fiction Anthology
Second Avenue Second Hand: Short Story Fiction Anthology
Price: $3.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Second Hand Treat, October 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was immediately interested when Wendy Tyler Ryan of Lemon Twist Press announced her idea for a short story anthology project back in 2011. The idea was for authors of multiple genre's to write their own stories to the central theme of an object either purchased from or sold to a second hand store in the town of Bottle Bay, and using the store owner by name of Mr Blank who owns a fluffy white cat called Smithy. The rest of the story was up to the author. I'd participated in a similar on-line writing project a couple years prior, and I enjoyed the variety of stories and characters that were produced in a theme driven environment.

Second Avenue Second Hand accepted ten authors and their short story concepts that ranged from horror, mystery, adventure, humor, and romance. The opening story titled WELCOME TO BOTTLE BAY by Ethan Blake is a well written, insightful introduction to the mysterious Mr Blank, Smithy the cat, and the fascinating merchandise that comprises the Second Avenue Second Hand thrift store. Whatever your need, Mr Blank has exactly what you are looking for at the right price.

I was lucky to be one of the featured authors with my story ONE MORE TIME, a horror story involving a cursed object, a vengeful spirit, and a ghastly murder that gives the reader good reason to fear the basement.

Roland Yoemans also contributed a horror story with the lead character Adam `rescuing' a damsel in distress on Halloween night. In PICTURE IMPERFECT, Mr Yoemans unfolds a complex story of deception and unrequited love, using his unique style of descriptive phrases and intense dialogue to reveal the unsavory characteristics of the undead patrons. Secrets and lies are unraveled in a battle of wits, and Adam forgives Rose her deathly qualities as the couple is ushered out of the club for their own protection just as the clock strikes midnight.

Murder is also the focus of Kathie Leung's PUT A RING ON IT. Detective Felix Cranston is suspicious of a series of seemingly accidental deaths. An omniscient narrator and well crafted transitions guide the reader through a series of superstitious events that challenge both the reader and Bottle Bay's detectives to question reality. In the course of his routine investigation, Cranston discovers the theft of an ornate ring from the finger a wealthy woman recently deceased. As the town huddles in fear of a serial killer amongst them, Cranston is able to link the `accidental deaths' to a common factor: all had worn the stolen ring at some point prior to their deaths. To solve the case, Cranston and Lt Hoff must first convince themselves of the validity of the incredulous story surrounding the ring's travels.

Julie Smyder contributed a more light hearted investigation in her post WWII romance story BETWEEN THE LINES. Our hero Dan Whitmore has just returned to Bottle Bay and accepted a teaching position. After settling in his apartment, he visits the second hand store in search of a good book to read and discovers a bargain he cannot pass up. As he reads the printed story, he is distracted by the Latin writing between the lines and gets out his Latin dictionary to satisfy his curiosity. He discovers an adventurous romance with an unfinished ending. Curiosity leads him to the library, where he meets Librarian Polly Leopold, who has also read the story and desires to discover both the author and the hopefully happy ending. Ms Smyder effectively weaves the two developing romances together using the language and social culture of 1946 as if the story is unfolding in the present.

BRING ME BACK AN EDELWEISS by Jennifer Harding is a darker romance, set in the last two years before the ending of WWII. Written in flattering first person, our lover Paul lets the reader be their own judge of whether the Edelweiss is lucky or not. With a quick pace and economy of words, Paul describes how the love of Daisy May and a desire to impress her into marriage leads him to enlist as rumors of the ending of the war is near. The Edelweiss is a gift from his father, who states it is a lucky charm as his own father carried it through the Great War and returned with good fortune. So armed against the unveiling horrors of war, Paul describes the events that sent his luck from good to bad as he is gravely injured, imprisoned in POW camp without proper medical care for three months, and finally rescued and returned home, only to be denied back pay. Paul remains sarcastically optimistic throughout his adventures, all the way until he returns home and discovers the fate of his family, and Daisy May. As Paul accepts his changed circumstances, he discovers that luck is a matter of choice, not a whim of fate.

SELMA'S CHOICE by Norah Deay Jansen is a warm-hearted story of young Selma; a runaway earning her meager keep as a singer/guitarist on the chilly streets of Bottle Bay. A mystery unfolds as she is offered a meal by Angela, an old woman with a vibrant but familiar aura. Selma dines at a modest restaurant, where more questions than answers accompany the hot meal. Ms Jansen effectively imbues the ambience with sensuous sights, smells, sounds and a healthy dose of curiosity as Angela produces a velvet bag and request for Selma to return it to Mr Blank "in payment for the key" at the second hand shop around the corner. Suspicious but intrigued, Selma accepts the task, and discovers that compromise is preferable to pride.

Stuart Sharp's A SENSE OF ADVENTURE is a romantic comedy that extensively reaps the rewards of compromise. Acting on impulse in purchasing a unique birthday gift for her grandfather, Susan finds herself face-to-face with a self proclaimed knight in shining armor. Displaying the rakish British humor of a Monty Python misadventure, Sir Trevor at first simply requests Susan hand over the sword she recently purchased in order for him to complete his quest and become a full fledged Knight. Through persistence, Susan settles on a compromise; she will loan him the sword but will accompany him on his adventure. An unlikely romance has begun to blossom between the two when Sir Trevor finally confronts his nemesis, a middling corporate executive with a girlfriend/secretary as opposed to the prospective violence as Susan. The two women collaborate and come up with an acceptable competition, leaving the reader with the assurance that a damsel in distress is a formidable opponent - in the right arena.

Violence is unavoidable for the scantily clad Trish as she rescues her currier husband Malto from evil scientists in the speculative fiction thriller SPECIAL DELIVERY by Tyler Lambie. While her husband is off on a seemingly routine delivery in the neon city of Atraxia, Trish is at home in their woodland cottage, cooking dinner in nothing but her apron. To hurry him along, she sends a vid message to his tablet. Malto accidentally leaves the interrupted call active as he arrives at his destination, and the visual implants that link to his tablet transmit his distress signal back to Trish. Discarding the flimsy apron in favor of an overcoat, Trish rushes to rescue her sharp tongued husband as he is bound and bleeding on a stool that is about to be launched into the past. Spouting dark humor and sexual innuendo, the couple ruthlessly blast, stab and burn their way through the goons that hold Malto captive. As reinforcements arrive, Trish and Malto are left with no escape except through the pre-set time machine, where they meet the curious Mr Blank, and are faced with the uncomfortable need to sell something.

Buying and selling is exactly what scam artist Peyton is up to in CRYSTAL HEALER by Jamie Robertson. Robertson eloquently draws the reader into the desperation of his anti-hero Peyton, an intelligent man of limited means and a sickly family to feed. Peyton soothes his guilty conscious by assuring himself that his elderly victims have no need for the ancient junk he liberates and sells off to supplement his baker's wages. His scheming takes and unexpected turn when he purchases an expensive set of healing crystals from a second hand store that is more than what it seems.

THE EPILOGUE written by editor Wendy Tyler Ryan of Lemon Twist Press, sums up what was started by Ethan Blake by assuring the reader that the curious shop of Second Avenue Second Hand is always open for one more adventure, one more possibility.

I enjoyed reading this anthology as much as I enjoyed writing my own contribution to the project. Overall the stories were well polished, incorporated the proscribed theme, and were intriguing short stories to read. I laughed, cried, and shivered in all the appropriate sections, and even got a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling at times.

If you enjoy short stories in any genre, you should definitely read Second Avenue Second Hand

Lovestruck Succubus
Lovestruck Succubus
by Ellison James
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.99
4 used & new from $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SEXY ADVENTURE, September 19, 2013
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This review is from: Lovestruck Succubus (Paperback)
Love Struck Succubus by Ellison James is an intriguing and sensual read. It is a paranormal erotic written in a category romance style. A kind of Danielle Steele/Charlaine Harris mix.

In true erotic fashion, there are no closed door scenes through any of Azra's sexual encounters. The scenes are provocative, sensual, tastefully written without the use of flowery or crass terms, and are the main focus of the novel. The story plot is simple:

Azra is a Succubus, a demon that feeds on humans through sexual fulfillment. She attracts her victim by mentally tapping into his thoughts and physically becoming the woman of his sexual fantasies.

Despite her demonic nature, Azra desires a love relationship with a human and this, instead of basic sustenance, is how she chooses her victims. Her clan leader, Tarmin, has taken note of her peculiar habit of keeping a victim alive longer than necessary, and has brought her before the council for punishment. The council's unanimous decree for her crime of seeking a love relationship among the humans, and the potential to expose the demon world to mortals: banishment to the Earthly realm for 30 days.

With all her powers and natural inclinations intact - except the need to "walk" around the city to tune into a vibrant male fantasy instead of hone in mentally from her clan home - Azra begins to roam the city in search of a romantic love interest that can sustain both her demonic hunger, and the need for emotional intimacy.

The series of bodies puts her directly in the path of Detective Raif Lundgren. The fear of exposure, and basic sexual attraction, marks Raif as Azra's next victim. But Raif has his own secret to hide, one that Azra discovers as she makes the change to his fantasy lover.

I liked the pace used in adding character and plot development to the sexual encounters. The author used a prolific "telling" style of describing the thoughts, emotions, and erotic sensations, which made the characters of Azra and Raif slightly flat. However, the secondary plots of Raif's secret identity, the inclusion of two mysterious beings that are "stalking" Raif, and Azra's unexpected allies that assist her in defeating Tarmin's eternal plans for Azra, consistently move the story forward, adding tension and intrigue to the erotic scenes. The characters and world building are true to contemporary erotic and paranormal formula.

While the writing style of long paragraphs that span pages, and the basic plot premise is simplistic for my personal tastes, the eroticism was well written and satisfying. This novel could be a quick and naughty foray into the paranormal, or sensuously lingered over for days in the erotic fantasy. Fans of erotica will find Love Struck Succubus well written and satisfying; and I think this would be a good starter for paranormal romance readers wishing to indulge in a taste of erotica.

Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Price: $0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Rigged Game, September 12, 2013
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This review is from: Wheel of Fortune (App)
A decent enough version of Wheel of Fortune, but the winner - the human player - is predetermined. No matter how many letters the player misses, no matter how obvious the phrase, the two computer players will consistently lose a turn, bankrupt, or call the wrong letters. The computer players can win toss up rounds, but will not win any money during the game, except if the puzzle goes so-many rounds without a correct letter being called. The competition is primarily to keep the game within the original TV concept.

The sound effects for the spinning wheel, canned audience, time buzzers, incorrect letter, and the signature tune of a new game and correct letter are true to the TV version. However, Pat Sajeck, and the players are silent; you see word bubbles for their questions and choices. This makes me feel there is something wrong with the sound on my Kindle. Quite annoying.

Knowing that the puzzles are rigged for the human player to always win, I'm impatient to get past the computer players and get back to my turn. Makes the spin of the wheel pointless however, and even the possibility of a million dollar spin isn't exciting.


Jigsaw World
Jigsaw World
Price: $0.00

2.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, September 12, 2013
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This review is from: Jigsaw World (App)
This Jigsaw compilation is ok for beginners who would like to try out electronic versions of puzzles, but definitely not for the avid solver. There are only a few puzzles on each skill level (easy, normal, hard) - possibly only about 36 puzzles in all. The patterns are beautiful, but once you're in a puzzle, there is no way to see what the completed picture is, or how many pieces there are to the puzzle. There are no time limits, no high scores, no changing the puzzle outlines for levels of difficulty.

I also dislike the star trailer that follows a piece as it is moved. It is difficult to see where you are taking the piece (especially in "hard" mode where the pieces are about as small as a finger tip), and there is no point the piece will auto click into place if it is the correct fit. The limited playing space keeps the player from judging the correct size of piece when several look the same in color and shape. Many times I cannot "pick up" a piece that is too near the edge of the screen in the bottom/holding tray. There is also no way to change the background colors (on the board or the tray) so it is often difficult to tell what pieces are edges, or where the latch holes are in the other pieces. Sometimes a puzzle piece is the exact color as the background.

It would be a so-so game, even without the star trail.


Pop it! HD
Pop it! HD
Price: $0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic, September 12, 2013
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This review is from: Pop it! HD (App)
There is very little strategy to this game. Mostly, you tap gremlins within a certain number (1-4) of hits to have the shots scatter and pop all the heads. Mostly trial and error, lucky picks. I wasn't entertained; but I keep it cuz I think it would be fun for my 3-6 year old grandchildren. With lots of colors and popping sounds, its a perfect gadget to allow a fidgety toddler to 'touch' your electronics without changing your settings or pounding it on the table.


Fruit Drops - Match three puzzle
Fruit Drops - Match three puzzle
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Too Addicting, September 12, 2013
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Once you start playing this puzzle game, prepare to put your life on hold. All the levels have timers from 3-6 minutes, so it is a good time filler between activities both at work on a lunch or 10 minute break, or waiting for the kids to get out of school, or sitting at an appointment. But chances are you'll not want to open this game unless you have some time to dedicate to playing level after level (or one level a long time).

The sounds effects are cutsy and catchy. She/he has encouraging phrases like: be cute, eat fruit; give junk food the boot, eat fruit; fruits are nice, be sure to have a slice. You know you've earned bonuses with whittisms like: juicy, fruity, yum yum yum, I see a fruit shaking. These phrases stick in my head and I find myself using them during my day, lol. The theme music is softly catchy, but you can turn off the sounds in the options if you prefer. There is no "undo" option, but a level can be restarted if you run out of moves or just want to try again.

I don't know how many level there are, but I'm up to 57 and it seems there are plenty more. You can also replay a level to get a better score. I'm still figuring out if you can clear all scores and start again from square one. The only complaint I've had is that the game will "freeze" at times. It happens at random, and sometimes it takes a day or two to restore itself, other times it restores with complete Kindle shut down, or going online to view other game aps.

This is a fun game for all ages, as it takes some critical thinking to get the most points in the alloted time, but sometimes, you just get lucky!


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