Ten Times Guilty

By Brenda Hill

Ten Times GuiltyTen Times Guilty : Brenda Hill’s passion for the world of writing and her experiences as an editor, proofreader and educator have definitely worked exceptionally well together to develop her book – Ten Times Guilty. This suspense thriller is truly an outstanding novel. I do not mean to sound cliché when I say that I had difficulty setting aside this review project. In fact, for two days I had forgotten about lunch entirely!

Sergeant Reese and his partner, Captain Cooper, are on the case of a serial rapist and stalker. Tracy Micheals, a young single mother from a neglected childhood, is struggling to make a better life when she is brutally assaulted and terrorized by a stalker. Sergeant Reese suspects Tracy’s attacker is the same man he is hunting for – but so far, none of the surviving victims are willing to break through their terror and help the police bring the mad-man in. Tracy knows in her heart that Reese is the only one who can save her life and lovable Suzy Banning is the one person who can save her mind. But does she dare to let them help her?

The author displays her skill right from the first few sentences, which really grabbed hold of me, dragged me into the story and would not let me go. The novel has incredible insight to the daily troubles that rape victims endure. From medical procedures and healing – both physically and mentally – all were well done without being too technical.

Historical and present-day societal views of rape are discussed with clarity and understanding. I loved how she portrayed the support systems and enjoyed following along with the police who chased clues along the trail. The level of suspense was consistent throughout the book and each character’s inner battles were clearly portrayed. Brenda Hill certainly deserves to sit among the ranks of best-selling writers like Nora Roberts (Carolina Moon), William Diehl (Thai Horse) and Trevanian (Shibumi)!

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Silent Lies

By Mary Lee Malcolm

Silent LiesSilent Lies : This is an action romance saga, that takes the reader through decades of a tumultuous time between the end of World War I and the beginnings of World War II. Excellent and intelligent use of actual historical events makes this piece both educational and entertaining.

Leo, a young Hungarian boy who sees too many horrors and deceit, barely survives while family and friends are slaughtered. He finds himself alone, again and again. Subsisting on his uncanny ability to mimic behavior and languages, a gift that keeps him alive – and in serious trouble, he travels from Hungary to Paris. Leo is innocently trapped by very ruthless and influential people and he is forced to run for the sanctuary of Shanghai. There, both his greatest hopes and greatest fears come true.

This is an endearing story of a love that many can only experience in dreams. It is about self-sacrifice – of enduring when all hope is gone and strength is fading. Readers witness the consequences of the political and personal choices that Leo is forced to make. Personally, I had to brush away a little water from my eyes a few times in the story.

Without hesitation, I give Silent Lies high ratings because the author has provided an exceptional piece of work. I look forward to the second book to find out what else will happen in Maggy and Leo’s adventurous lives.

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Looking Glass

By James R Strickland

Looking GlassLooking Glass : This book is set in the not too distant future, in a gritty, unrefined, shattered North America. Hackers and IT security technicians fight a different kind of war in cyberspace. A serial killer has found a way to use the network to reach inside his victims brains, and use these brains as his weapon. Shroud is a security network team leader for a large retail company. In the realm of cyberspace, inside a sensory deprivation tank and jacked in to the network, she is fast, nimble, and ruthless. She is just beginning her shift when the killer strikes for the first time. She survives, but her entire team is dead or missing. She is exiled from her corporate resources, and her search for the killer is fraught with peril and overwhelming odds.

As a fan and reader of the cyberpunk genre, I strongly recommend Looking Glass. I won’t go into a plot synopsis, as others already have. The writing style is tight, and focused through the window of Shroud’s perception and life experiences, and her shift into an increasingly uncomfortable and dangerous situation, both mentally and physically. It is this revelation of her inner life, with its defensive limitations and powerful motivations that keeps the focus on the human, despite the seeming technological focus of the plot.

The dystopic setting of the splintered second world North America is revealed as is needed by the narrative. The technology is speculative, but much more soundly grounded in current technologies that give a sense of competence to the characters actions, and satisfaction to the reader familiar with the topics.

In the end, to me, Science Fiction is a human story. It asks what will we do, what will we become, when technology has changed our society, our horizons, our bodies and challanged the limits of what is possible. Looking Glass does this, with a good touch for personal tension, evolving character awareness, and human weakness.

The plot is well thought-out, and the pacing is fast without being frenetic. There’s little, if any, plot telegraphing or foreshadowing. The setting is future, yet the reference points are tantalizingly close to our present – again, enough to keep me invested (Shame about Reno, though). And while “cyberpunk” applies in general genre terms, the author isn’t trying to be William Gibson or anyone else, which is a refreshing change! But if you like that style, then you’ll definitely want to give this book a try.

One day, one of those hackers turns out to be a serial killer, and uses the fact that people are jacked in to the Internet to use the Internet as a way to kill. Her corporation, Omni-Mart, in standard shortsighted corporate cover-up style, gets in the way of her investigation, while the killer pursues her every move in a world that is so completely connected to the Net that movement without observation is just about impossible.

Dr. Farro, or “Shroud” as she is known, is one of the most dynamic characters in fiction. She wrestles with inner demons as well as the muck that is the Internet of tomorrow. She doesn’t necessarily deal with these demons very well. In a job that requires a certain level of paranoid schizophrenia to perform well, she is good at her work.

However, when the reader gets inside her head, we knew that this perfect employee of the future is far from a perfect human being, a metaphor, I think, for the future shock and information overload that we experience every day. Strickland shows us that all the great technology that makes our civilization work so well may not be good for our mental health. It’s a powerful message, yet there is no moralizing that gets in the way of a truly exciting thriller.

All in all, it was a great read, and I’ll be back for the next installment.

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Don’t Go Alone

By Margaret Lenois

Dont Go AloneDon’t Go Alone : This 284-page mystery thriller has twists and turns that will keep readers guessing right until the end. I was thinking about the book for days after I completed this review project. I knew it had to be read again from the moment I finished the last page.

Handsome, well-built Michael Bannagan is CEO and founder of a successful computer company – he’s also a womanizer. Unaccustomed to hardship or a messy life, Michael is having a difficult time with his cold and beautiful wife. He’s been caught cheating, again (but he’s not the only one), and she wants a divorce. Out of the blue, he finds he is arrested for a murder he did not commit. All the clues point to Michael and he knows he is being set up – but by whom, and by how many? Are they working together? And WHY?! After all, Michael has never done anything evil in his life.

Don’t Go Alone is a story of high-society – of limousines, kept wives and fancy homes. It is a story of passion and shame, of regrets and betrayal, mistakes and love… hate and revenge.

This is the third book by Margaret Lenois that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. She may very well be the next female author that we see on the best selling list!

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I Kissed a Frog and My Prince Forgave Me

By Naomi Jo Rush

I Kissed A Frog And My Prince Forgave MeI Kissed a Frog and My Prince Forgave Me: A Poetic Journey Through Infidelity : Naomi Jo Rush new book of poetry, I Kissed a Frog and My Prince Forgave Me, is a well-crafted poetic journey through infidelity.

Naomi reveals the most vulnerable time in her married life. Her poetry teaches us that married couples tend to forget about each other’s needs and become absorbed in habitual day-to-day behavior. While she strained for the attention that her husband would not or could not provide Naomi put on a performance of a happily content wife, when she was really screaming with frustration inside.

Her confusion ripens with the prospect of temptation. The thrill of spontaneity coupled with feeling of being desired draws Naomi to her lover like a drowning person would desperately clutch at a lifeline.

Craving for her husband to notice the change and discovering she never wanted the marriage to end prompts Naomi to confess her wrong doings. When it is all revealed, Naomi endures the torturous guilt while watching her husband writhe in the pain she inflicted upon him.

In the end, I think Naomi provides hope for us all in showing us the reasons and effects of infidelity by walking us through the steps of recovering a marriage. I felt encouraged that marriages have a chance of thwarting this common mistake if we show one another love and open the channels of communication .We can thrive in a world of strife and temptation.

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Born Evil

By J. P. Ransom

Born EvilBorn Evil : Author of two books and many short stories, J.P. Ransom is busily writing a series of books called Colla’d Greens and two more upcoming books including a sequel to Born Evil.

Born Evil is a compact, 150-page book that is printed on acid-free paper – which may be of interest to the environmentally conscious consumer. I would categorize this book as a chilling horror, which involves an infant that is born evil. Traumatized by early experiences, only compounds Jonathan’s natural inclination – a cruel desire to cause harm. Unprepared for a disturbed child, his adopted parents are continually wallowing in deep pits of overwhelming uncertainty. Rick suspects the truth, but Trish finds it very hard to imagine or even accept that little Jonathon is capable of such hateful acts.

I think the book makes a good point that some people are simply born with a desire to do harm, with no abusive situation to attribute these urges to. Readers are also shown how these urges can easily be encouraged through socially acceptable entertainment and through being witness to violent acts.

While reading Born Evil, I experienced a wide range of emotions from anger to sorrow and shock. The conclusion was exceptional and I look forward to J.P. Ransom’s sequel.

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Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

By C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian The Return to NarniaPrince Caspian: The Return to Narnia : If you recently watched the very popular Disney movie “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, you might be aware that C. S. Lewis wrote a total of seven books about Narnia. These are, in order of the internal chronology of events:

1 – The Magician’s Nephew
2 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
3- The Horse and His Boy
4 – Prince Caspian
5 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6 – The Silver Chair
7 – The Last Battle

The novel “Prince Caspian” begins one year after the events told in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on a railroad platform where Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are waiting for trains that will take them to their boarding schools. Suddenly they feel themselves transported into another world, and after a few hours of wandering about they realize that it is Narnia, where many centuries have passed in the meantime.

The second plot line involves young Prince Caspian, heir to the throne of Narnia, who has to flee from his usurping uncle Miraz. Deep in a forest he discovers some of the “Old Narnians” – talking beasts and dwarfs – and later decides to challenge his uncle for the kingship.

Soon, though, the military situation deteriorates for Caspian and his small army, and they end up besieged on Aslan’s How, a hill built over the site of the stone table that played a crucial role in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. When things look utterly bleak, Caspian uses his most precious object, Queen Susan’s Horn, to summon help.

This review does not try to give away too much more of the plot and spoil the reader’s enjoyment, so let me just say that the two plot lines intertwine, there are thrilling battle scenes (including a duel) and a wonderful celebration at the end.

Lewis does a good job of showing the gradual re-transformation of the four children, who once again turn from being English schoolchildren to becoming Kings and Queens of Narnia.

To me, “Prince Caspian” is one of the three best books in the Narnia series, together with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “The Magician’s Nephew”. In many ways, it repeats themes from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, but adds an interesting perspective by having the events of the earlier book become the stuff of legend.

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