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Review: Hot As Blazes by Dani Jace

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. – Henri Nouwen

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. – Leonardo da Vinci

Poor Jo. Such dreams, such power, and yet she never saw it coming. Never saw the spoiled little rich boy user who snuck into her life and stole her power and her career. Now, back home in the small town she grew up in, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Jo can still surf, but never as a professional again.

Trying so hard to build a new life for herself, Jo goes back to her life as a lifeguard, back to her beloved home and her brother’s support. Yet all is not yet well, for her past has followed her to her new life – and the danger is not only to herself, but to all those she loves.

There are things to like, and not like, about “Hot As Blazes”. First, the like. There is well written suspense here, and a strong, likeable female lead. Jo has been betrayed by someone she thought loved her. Trusting to the love of her family, she returns, only to find that not only has betrayal followed her from California, it waits at home as she finds hard truths from before she left for collage and surfing as a professional. And the pain keeps coming. All this was done very well. Actually, change the name of the book and downplay the romance (and change the cover) and this could sell well as a suspense novel.

Now for the irritation. The romance. The love of Jo’s life, Ray, apparently loved her as well, for as long as she loved him. Now, they have the opportunity to make things right. But here is where things go all wrong. Ray is an Iraqi war vet, a firefighter. And a spoiled, jealous, manipulative brat of a man. Everything is aallll about Him. Spoiled, selfish, and so jealous of a rival he is convinced is after Jo that he is willing to throw her to the wolves because he got his little penis in a knot. Pftt. And it nearly gets her killed. So, my thought that the author could write a much better suspense novel if she gave up on the romance and stuck to suspense with a bit of romance thrown in – and didn’t shove her heroine into a box labeled “poor little weakling who takes all the blame when the big strong (spoiled, self centred) man has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. . . ” Oy.Crying may be a sign of overload in children

Sigh. Read it for the suspense portion – that part is really worth reading. As long as I skipped over Ray I really enjoyed the book, but Jo’s acceptance of all the guilt in the relationship pushed the book from a four star to a three for once more making a mistreated woman the victim of the story, pushing her to accept the blame for the misdeeds of the “Hero”.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Darker Shadows Lie Below

23401246“Hesse’s Journey to the East (1951) in the fifties anticipated the occult revival of the late sixties. But who will interpret for us the amazing success of Rosemary’s Baby and 2001? I am merely asking the question.” ― Mircea Eliade, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religion

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” ― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

What happened here? I occasionally like a good horror book, and this one sounded right. A doctor takes a new job at Umber Gardens, an extremely prestigious mental hospital which can make his career. Moving from the big city to a small southern town is hard, but soon Ben begins to realize that the possibilities of his new position are becoming a nightmare of monstrous proportions – in more way than one.

I had hopes, but I they just never really focused for me. It isn’t a ‘bad’ book per se. I just had a feeling of “been there, done that, didn’t enjoy it all that much the first time.” For those readers who haven’t read any of the older horror stories, such as Rosemary’s Baby (1968) or Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), you should find this more enjoyable than I did. The bones are there – the body just needed more fleshing out.

I will leave it to your discretion to decide if you like the book or not. For me, three stars for a book that was readable, but took me longer to read than most as it didn’t keep my attention long enough not to be easily distracted.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: The Whispers – A Novella By Lisa Unger

How do you deal with the death of nearly all you hold dear? How do you save yourself, and your one remaining child from falling into a pit of despair? And can you ever truly find life after such loss?
Eloise Montgomery isn’t sure she will survive, after her husband and oldest daughter are killed by a meth head semi driver who falls asleep at the wheel. But then, she has to survive, doesn’t she? For she still has one child left, her youngest daughter Amanda. They must both learn to survive, to put one foot in front of the other and learn to live again.
But things aren’t as they should be, in either of their lives. For now, Eloise is changed. She hears whispers, voices in the wind, leading her to the lost. Will she be able to save those who call to her? And will it destroy the faint, uneasy peace she and Amanda have found?
This is a Hollows Short Story which I received from the publisher in return for an honest review. It is a gripping short, perfect for a quick read. I looked up her work online, as I haven’t read her before, and I was pleased to see that she is quite prolific. I will be checking out her other books as soon as I get time. I do note that at Amazon there are three stories in the series featuring Eloise Montgomery. The covers say “A Hollows Short Story” for this first one, though the other two, The Three Sisters and The Burning Girl say they are “The Whispers Series” – so don’t let yourself be confused. They are all about the exploits of Eloise, so if you wish

to read them in order, it is The Whispers, then Three Sisters and finally Burning Girl.
All comments are my own thoughts though as I say, I did receive the book from the publisher.

About the Author:

Lisa UngerLisa Unger is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author. IN THE BLOOD is her latest psychological thriller. And a brand new series of short stories (THE WHISPERS, THE BURNING GIRL and THE THREE SISTERS) will be released over the next few months, followed by a new hardcover CRAZY LOVE YOU in Feb. 2015.

Lisa’s books have named top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Walmart Book Club, Harper’s Bazaar, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Washington Life, Publishers Weekly, New York Daily News, Indie Next and Amazon (Top Ten Thriller of the Year.) More than 1.8 million copies of her books have been sold in 26 languages. Visit LisaUnger.com.

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