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Vultures in the Playground
Vultures in the Playground
Price: $0.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a playground for kids, May 20, 2012
Though "Vultures in the Playground" by A. Sparrow is a work of fiction, the subject of the continuing violence and upheaval for Africans is very real and in the present day. I applaud Sparrow for addressing this topic and for bringing into question the corruption that allows this turmoil to continue. It's corruption that isn't just done by African governments or people, but corruption that is manipulated and used by other governments who wish to use the ensuing chaos to further their own ends.

I know it may seem as if this would be impossible. We just don't wish to believe that "evolved" societies would do such a thing, but I assure it happens. You don't have to take my word for it though. If you're interested, I welcome you to take a few minutes and research it for yourselves. I think you'll be astounded at what horrible things are still being done in this day and age.

Again, I nod to Sparrow for broaching a topic that many would prefer to ignore. I only wish I could I say I loved the story as much as the topic of the story. Unfortunately, Sparrow's main character was too weak of a personality to hold up. This is sad because I have always wanted a story where an average person could be the hero. Why do they all have to be some super soldier, or a former spy, or a special forces person, or any number of person who isn't what we all are?

I now believe that the problem may lie in the fact that when we try to place an average person in the story we try to make them so average that they actually end up being below average.

Archie is a traveler of the world, he visits many foreign locale working with a charity trying to provide humanitarian aid to the people. He's described as a flabby, middle-aged man with an ex-wife, who could no longer handle his traveling for work, and no one else whom he's close too. Archie's failure to learn from his past travels, his inability to see the present truth for what it is, and his lack of willingness to understand the path he must now follow is too much to expect the reader to accept.

Overall, "Vultures in the Playground" deserves high praise for a difficult topic tackled and brought out to be viewed by all, but fails to match that standard with the main character who is showing us this beautiful and dangerous world.

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


Zero Sum (Wall Street Conspiracy Thriller) (Dr. Archer/Cross Book 1)
Zero Sum (Wall Street Conspiracy Thriller) (Dr. Archer/Cross Book 1)
Price: $4.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't want to set it down, May 5, 2012
Book 1: Kotov Syndrome
Do you remember Stephen Cross from The Voynich Cypher, which was reviewed on March 14th? Well, he's back. Sort of. He's not Cross yet, and Kotov Syndrome is actually part of a series that came before The Voynich Cypher, but the Zero Sum trilogy gives you Stephen's background. Though you don't need this trilogy to read the newer Stephen Cross book, it's nice to have the full details of how he got to where he is.

Zero Sum, Book 1: Kotov Syndrome is typical of Blake's style. It's a fast-paced, edgy, thrilling, action-packed, suspenseful read. Stephen takes on a Wall Street mogul, not understanding the bigger picture, and thrusts his life and those of whom he loves into a world of corruption, deceit, and violence. Stephen soon finds out just how much money can buy and that corruption knows no bounds.

Another great Blake story to keep you on the edge of your seat, that also examines our society and multiple systems in it, as he asks the questions that need asking. Blake will always entertain you while he creates a world that requires you to open your mind to the very possibility of "Could it be true?"

Book 2: Focal Point
Enter Antonia. Sigh, reading a series out of order definitely takes a little something away. You meet a character that you already know what the outcome will be for them. But Shhhh, I'm not telling and neither should you. Let those who haven't read out of order have their story in its entirety.

Typical of the mid-section of a trilogy, Zero Sum, Book 2: Focal Point takes a slight step back from the high-paced action of the first book and puts its energy into building the story.

At the end of book 1 Stephen has vowed to continue with his battle against Griffen, in part to exact revenge for the losses that Stephen has suffered at Griffen's command. However, in order to do that Stephen has to find out more about Griffen and just how he has the power to inflict so much harm in Stephen's world.

Let the globe trotting begin, as Stephen sets out on his journey to discover the truth behind Griffen and his illegal activities.

Book 3: Checkmate
The action is back! As I've already said, Blake never disappoints in his stories. Even during book 2, the reader is highly entertain while the story builds around Stephen's investigation. However, we all want the story to end on a high note, enter the action!

Luckily for readers looking into the Zero Sum trilogy now, the books are sold as a bundle or as one book in its entirety. So you'll get the benefit of buying one and getting to read all the way through the 3 all at once. Trust me, you'll be thankful it is so.

A third book (Checkmate) in a trilogy is difficult to review, because you really sum up the story as this is by definition the story's conclusion. However, I can say Blake will not disappoint you. You will be enthralled and will enjoy the twists that are still to come. He will keep you on the edge of your seat with action and suspense as Stephen looks for a way to use what he now knows to take down Griffen.

Stephen's membership in The Group will come into play a bit more. Which is fantastic as they are such an intriguing collection of people and personalities. It was fascinating to learn a bit more about them as well.

So, find some free time, sit down with Zero Sum and plan to have your day swept away as you plunge into the world of Stephen, Wall Street, the government, the crime lords, and an action-packed adventure.

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


Some Degree of Murder
Some Degree of Murder
by Frank Zafiro
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
20 used & new from $9.31

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To what degree and how relative is it?, May 3, 2012
This review is from: Some Degree of Murder (Paperback)
Some Degree of Murder by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway couldn't have a better title. There are so many implications just in the name. Everything is a matter of degrees. All things are relative to where you are at any given point in your life.

There is always some good within bad and some bad within good. Sometimes good intentions cause people to do bad things, sometimes bad people do things that are actually good, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and sometimes bad things that are done are actually for the good of everyone.

The characters alone personify the degrees of good and bad that makes us human. A mother seeking vengeance for a daughter brutally raped and killed. A absentee father trying to do right by his child because of his career choice. A cop who toes the line of right and wrong so often that's only a minute step to crossing over the threshold permanently. Prostitutes and strippers trying to survive on the streets, but wanted to do the right thing for one of their own. The streets themselves teeming with people stereotyping all the "bad" people: biker gang, pimps, drug dealers, etc.

Some Degree of Murder entertainingly examines people, what human nature is, and just what people will do when they're pushed right to the edge of a cliff, whether it's anger, grief, greed, or simple survival. Once someone takes that final step over the edge, there's no telling how far they'll fall, and all their decisions are relative (a degree) of where they're currently at.


The Key of Kilenya
The Key of Kilenya
by Andrea Pearson
Edition: Paperback
11 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastical YA read, May 1, 2012
This review is from: The Key of Kilenya (Paperback)
Yes, I did use the word "fantastical" correctly. I know, because I looked it up. Not only am I referring to the fact that The Key of Kilenya is a fantastic read, but I'm also referring to the fantasy element. This applies to the "as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination" portion of the definition. (quoted from Dictionary.com)

As is always the case when I read a YA book, I started off not really thinking I was going to like it. The reason I always start this way is because the book is written for someone younger than me, so I have a harder time getting connected with the characters. However, if the author is good at what they do (writing) then they will draw me in regardless of the character's age. Andrea Pearson does just that.

I was so engrossed in Jacob's travel through a gateway to another world that I actually read this story in one sitting. As with all worlds there's a history here that ultimately leads to Jacob's arrival. The Key of Kilenya is a story that will have you asking questions all the way through it. What happened to the people from before? Where did they go? What powers does Jacob hold? How exactly does this key work? Who are "the humans" that come and stay in the tree from time to time? Is there a connection between the people from before and Jacob's family?

I grew frustrated towards the end of the story as I was made to remember that, while I would have a conclusion of sorts, this is the first book in a series. Therefore some of Jacob's story is still left to be told, not all of my questions got answered. Argh! However, I was very happy to note that book two is already available. Oh yeah, it was that good that I immediately searched for the next one in the series. And yes, I am buying it!

My recommendation is to go get yourself both books, The Key of Kilenya and The Ember Gods, and keep reading!

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


The Key of Kilenya: A Book for Children Ages 9-12 (Kilenya Series)
The Key of Kilenya: A Book for Children Ages 9-12 (Kilenya Series)
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastical YA read, May 1, 2012
Yes, I did use the word "fantastical" correctly. I know, because I looked it up. Not only am I referring to the fact that The Key of Kilenya is a fantastic read, but I'm also referring to the fantasy element. This applies to the "as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination" portion of the definition. (quoted from Dictionary.com)

As is always the case when I read a YA book, I started off not really thinking I was going to like it. The reason I always start this way is because the book is written for someone younger than me, so I have a harder time getting connected with the characters. However, if the author is good at what they do (writing) then they will draw me in regardless of the character's age. Andrea Pearson does just that.

I was so engrossed in Jacob's travel through a gateway to another world that I actually read this story in one sitting. As with all worlds there's a history here that ultimately leads to Jacob's arrival. The Key of Kilenya is a story that will have you asking questions all the way through it. What happened to the people from before? Where did they go? What powers does Jacob hold? How exactly does this key work? Who are "the humans" that come and stay in the tree from time to time? Is there a connection between the people from before and Jacob's family?

I grew frustrated towards the end of the story as I was made to remember that, while I would have a conclusion of sorts, this is the first book in a series. Therefore some of Jacob's story is still left to be told, not all of my questions got answered. Argh! However, I was very happy to note that book two is already available. Oh yeah, it was that good that I immediately searched for the next one in the series. And yes, I am buying it!

My recommendation is to go get yourself both books, The Key of Kilenya and The Ember Gods, and keep reading!

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies
The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, humorous, and different: perfect combo, April 26, 2012
Bear with me for a minute while I explain this one. "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies" by Lynn Messina is a book about Hattie Cross, the main character, who wrote "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies". So it's a guide within a guide. Maybe that sounds confusing, but it's really not. Lynn is the author (and real), Hattie is the character (and fictional). Still with me? Great!

Lynn's book starts off with a section from Hattie's guide, and then it jumps over to Hattie's life in the present. The book continues to give snippets of The Guide in between portions of Hattie's life since writing The Guide.

Imagine if you will a world where all the men, well almost all the men, have contracted a virus that's turned them into zombies. Women run the world! Doesn't that sound like utopia, ladies? Most standards would say this is a dystopian look at the future, however I'm not sure women would agree.

Are you thinking you'd miss the men? You might. Hattie discusses that in The Guide as well, but she also points out that with a few minor (okay, major) differences zombies aren't far off from men. I don't think I could do Lynn's humor justice by reiterating it here, so I just leave you to read it all for yourself. That's a recommendation, by the way.

Lynn's look at a future where women run the world and the men are zombies is funny, witty, and unique from any book I've put my hands on. There's been lots of looks into the future, whether utopian looks or dystopian looks, and none have made me smile and laugh as this one did. It's fun to see the ways that dating in the future still hold some customs that we have today, and yet things could be so much simpler if we could just putrefy all men's brains to that of a zombie's.

Are you concerned about the bad side of zombies? Don't Lynn, err..Hattie, covers that as well. It's all there. So, if you're worried about what the rumored disaster of 2012 will bring, I recommend you pick up Lynn Messina's "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies" and prepare yourself.

If you're just looking for a fun book that will entertain with some laughter along the way, then I still recommend you get yourself a copy of "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies" by Lynn Messina (and Hattie Cross).

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


Love is a Wounded Soldier
Love is a Wounded Soldier
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You know from the first page, April 25, 2012
From the very first page of "Love is a Wounded Soldier" by Blaine Reimer you know this book is something special. It's a book that deserves a review full of all those lofty literary words that trained critics, professors, and true literary aficionados use. Unfortunately for this review, and you, I write my reviews for the everyday reader who just wants to know in everyday terms how the story was.

It was great. Reimer is a true story teller. He has the gift. From the first page you can tell this isn't just a book, Reimer is illustrating the story so that you can see it's progression in your mind like a reel of film. The personalities jump off the page and into your mind. The scenes come to life. You ache for Robert as a little boy, you cringe for the young couple separated by war, and you hold onto hope for the happy.

"Love is a Wounded Soldier" deserves such words as eloquent, prose, poignant, triumphant, heart warming, gut wrenching, recognition deserved, sweet, time stealing, illustrative, should be a national best seller!

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


Puppet Parade
Puppet Parade
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt a little like Alice, April 24, 2012
This review is from: Puppet Parade (Kindle Edition)
I felt a little like Alice while reading Puppet Parade by Zeinab Alayan, or maybe that should be Pinocchio as it deals with puppets. No, Alice is definitely the right fit. Reading Puppet Parade is like entering the world of Wonderland. The characters (puppets and other people) are quirky and amusing. There are worlds within the world, all of which make up a whole that is quite fascinating. It's a bizarre but incredibly fun world.

The two main characters (Oliver and Sophie) have both been trapped in their lives, one by choice and one by force. Once their paths have crossed, they decide to set out on the journey to find Oliver's puppets who have come to life and fled their own captivity. This journey takes them into a world where things aren't quite what they seem and where finding out the truth could be dangerous.

Just like Wonderland there are some bad and dark things at work, and there are characters you just don't want to cross. Oliver and Sophie are determined though and follow the path right into the heart of evil.

So if you're interested in an Alice-like story that's a geared for a more adult you, then you should read Puppet Parade. Come meet Oliver, Sophie, and Oliver's puppets (the Lewd Lion, the Annoying Ass, the Meak Monster, just to name a few) and get for the train ride (no, not down the rabbit hole) you'll likely never forget.

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


California Girl Chronicles Brea & the City of Plastic
California Girl Chronicles Brea & the City of Plastic
by Michelle Gamble-Risley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
20 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A fun bit of fluff, April 21, 2012
California Girl Chronicles: Brea and the City of Plastic is a fun bit of fluff. That's not a criticism, it's just stated as fact. There's no deep thought-provoking moments, it's just a fun story for pure entertainment purposes. We all need that from time to time. Fun and laughter are important elements to have in a life.

Brea is a 22-year-old wanna-be screenwriter who also happens to be completely inept at relationships. From Lance, to Kale, to Drew Brea's bed-jumping and bad decisions do start to wear a bit thin after bit. However, we've all been young and stupid once, so it's also a touch understanding. While Brea is a smart girl, she is definitely stupid when it comes to men and relationships. Who hasn't been at one point in time or another?

The book is touted as being "Sex in the City meets Entourage". While I wouldn't go that far with it, it's definitely an entertaining read. Brea doesn't have the years of experience that Carrie and her friends had, which tends to make her character have a little less depth than the City girls did. Not that they had a ton of it (depth), but they had a bit more life experience to round them out. Brea comes across as a shallow bit of fluff, but there's definite potential for her. The best part is the reader gets to go along for the ride. And what a ride it is. There's humor, hot and steamy sex scenes, and even some cringe-worthy moments. You know the ones. The "oh honey, I've been there" kind of moments.

So if you're looking for some fun, pick up a copy of California Girl Chronicles: Brea and the City of Plastic. Huh, that sort of sounds like "for a good time call". Which thinking of it, that might be apropos.

*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*


Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1): The Morganville Vampires, Book I
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1): The Morganville Vampires, Book I
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Glass Houses, April 19, 2012
TC (Daughter of Books N Beans reviewed this book)
Best book shane would always make my heart pound! Really great and full of nonstop action. Not for young kids but it could make any teenge girl swoon. I still reread the book even though I've read it 25 times!


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