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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tales Told Under the Covers: Zombie Girl Invasion & Other Stories by DeAnna Knippling

Review for "Tales Told Under the Covers: Zombie Girl Invasion & Other
Stories" by DeAnna Knippling

I'll be honest and say I'm not a huge fan of zombie stories. They've never appealed to me, but I gave this book a read because I was curious all the same. I'm glad I did, because while I don't enjoy zombies, I enjoyed the writing of this book. It was well done, with interesting characters, interesting plot lines, and I especially loved the sarcasm embedded in each tale. It was a nice light read so I recommend it for anyone who's looking for something fun and simple. At the same time, there were some tender sweet moments, and heartbreaking ones as well. I didn't think it too scary, and I didn't think it was too gruesome either, so if you're a lightweight with either of those two things, you shouldn't get squicked out.

Overall, it's a 5 points, or 4 of 5 stars. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Farsighted - Emily Chand

I've been gone for a bit, but not because I've had nothing to do. I've had the pleasure of reading a number of books for review, and here is one of them. "Farsighted" by Emily Chand, and I should add it was a real pleasure to read indeed.

Score: 30
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can
still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin
to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on
destiny and demand it reconsider.

What worked:

At first I was a little apprehensive about reading the book. There I said it. It sounded cool, interesting, unique in a few ways, but I usually end up having a bone to pick with these kinds of books (I'll get into this later though). I found myself pleasantly surprised though. And here's why:

First and foremost, this was a well written book. Given the number of independent books and especially self-published books I've read, this is a real treat. The language flows nicely, the characters are realistic, have personality, and Chand truly has a gift with word usage. And knows how to edit! These things made the story even more enjoyable because I was able to read and just get lost in the story for a change. And the story is easy to get lost in. The first day I picked it up I had every intent of just reading for a little bit and instead got about 90-pages in. Given that I'm a slow reader, this is pretty cool.

The second thing I loved about this book is the sensory details. The main character is blind, so naturally the story is going to be told through things that are not sight related. The author does a great job of this. It's great to "see" the world in a new way.

Generally my bone to pick with stories like this one is the concept of can you really alter your future? But the book does a good job of dealing with this issue. Plot-wise the story is definitely more coming of age than I thought. I was expecting more paranormal elements, and there were a lot, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the focus of the story. Same could be said about the romance. Which I should add, I don't ship the cannon pairing, in case the Author was curious.

Finally, the characters were all diverse and easy to connect with. Having a main character you care about is always important in a story, and Alex is definitely a real teenage boy - angst and all. He has social quirks, unique ticks, mannerisms, and flaws. There were times where I didn't like him because he had real flaws. In fact, any time I didn't like a character, it was because of a flaw (sans one, but I'll get to that later).

Overall, it's a great read.

What doesn't work:

Most of the things I didn't like about the book are purely personal. One of them was pacing. There were a few spots where it felt a little off. Descriptions about activities that I wasn't particularly interested in. The other one was that I just didn't like Simmi much, but I'm not going fault the author for that. She's a gentle person, but came across as kind of flat. There's a lot I would like to see expanded about her life. The other thing I had an issue with was the how the mother came to term with everything.  All of them are minor things though. There wasn't anything that really made me not enjoy the book, but I can't sit and say it's a perfect one either.

I would recommend this book to both male and female readers though for sure! Great story, and a fun, easy read.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Psyched Out - M.A. MacAfee review

Can a human pacemaker implanted in a dog cause the animal to take on human traits? Absolutely! Ollie Kline would answer, and he ought to know. An aspiring psychic detective with a cardiac pacemaker, Ollie is killed in a drive-by shooting outside the Pastime where he tends bar. He awakes inside Mugsy, a pug dog, who also has a heart problem and who receives Ollie’s recycled pacemaker. Aware his cardiac device was stolen from his corpse, Ollie wonders what other body parts were taken. Ollie uses his telepathic powers to enlist the help of Nora Cole, the sister of Mugsy’s owner. On receiving Ollie’s thoughts from the dog, Nora fears she’s lost her mind. To verify her sanity, she agrees to help Ollie find his killers. Ollie, Nora, and Mugsy, the pug dog, conduct an investigation which leads them on a merry romp into the illegal side of the human body-parts trade, as well as the dark underbelly of the funeral business. They encounter creepy mortuary workers, graveyard ghosts, and a few brushes with the law—antics which underscore a common truism: adversity is the wellspring of humor. It’s all in the delivery.

Psyched Out – M.A. MacAfee

Score: 40
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

What Worked: For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It was cleverly written, and the premise is definitely something I wouldn't normally pick up on my own. It's unique, witty, and clever. It takes on a new kind of underground world. Through the help of Nora, dear Ollie is able to accomplish quite a bit, and there are some nice twists and turns. The novel is well written, quirky, and the characters are diverse and each have a personality of their own. I especially like how the author combines the canine world with the human one. There are animal instincts mixed with the human ones, and how to find that balance. Oh, and crazy pet outfits are a wonderful humorous touch.

What Didn't Work: Some of the background information was just kind of thrown in there. It would have been nice to see a bit more build up, or more narrative explaining things. All of a sudden I find out our hero is doing something with another character that I hadn't expected. It's hard to describe without giving away spoilers, but just know some of the events come out of the blue. I also didn't like our hero too much, but I didn't take points or penalize the author for that personal preference. I would love to see more sensory development too with his canine body. The world looks and smells different as a dog. For the most part the emotions are touched on well, but I'd have loved to “see” more through his eyes.

Overall: I was entertained. I generally don't pick up books like this on my own, but I'm glad I decided to give this one a review because it was fun. If you're in the mood for something light, funny, quirky, and unique, then I would pick this up. It's a fun mystery with a lot of good wit.

***I got this book for free from the author for the purpose of review***

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Healer's Dance

"The Healer's Dance" by Jeanette Raleigh
Points: 95
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis “The wind-goddess sent me a dream of your death. I came to save you.”

The first time Stefan hears these words, he laughs. After Emily’s warning saves his life, Stefan invites her to travel with him. He draws ever closer to the prairie woman whose lonely life as an outcast leaves her unfit for society while her gifts have forced her to interact with those she must save.

Stefan and Emily are pulled into a passionate and endearing love, but Emily is kidnapped and Stefan must use all of his wits to save her

What Worked: The premise was cool. I like the ideas of the clans, the main characters seemed well fleshed out too. There was a lot of unique magic, political systems, and other story elements. The plot twists were enough to make me feel for the characters, and I especially loved the romance story between the two main characters. I don't want to spoil it, but to have a love so pure and real? Was a nice treat to read about for a change. It did feel real. The chemistry, and how they go about their romance, was just basically perfect.

What Didn't: The writing could use a little tightening, but Raleigh definitely knows how to tell a good story. With some cleaning up, she will further become more amazing at the craft. There were some setting details that weren't detailed. I assumed this was high fantasy given the content though, and imagined a sort of middle earth kind of atmosphere. Another thing that kind of bummed me out was that instead of detailing in the narrative more about the clans and how they function with the "seconds" and all that, it just given in an author's note blurb at the beginning. I would have loved to see even more of the clan in action, and really dive into their culture.

Over all? It was a fun read. I'd recommend this for anyone who wants something clean, full of adventure, and looking for a rather epic quest with relate-able characters. I especially am looking forward to seeing if there is another book coming out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Elemental Reality

Here we go with a character interview with the main character from "Elemental Reality", Callie. Thanks for stopping by!

1) Why 21 again? What's wrong with being 22?
I have no problem being twenty-two. The whole “21 again” thing was Ady’s idea because she found a grey hair last year.

2) You have a unique definition of soul mate, care to explain it?
I guess it’s just from watching what my parents were like before my mom was taken. They never fought. Were always romantic with each other. My dad always brought a bouquet of flowers home for my mom after work. They were so affectionate with each other. I’ve always wanted that. I guess that was one of the many reasons I never settled with a guy I was dating. Something was off when I was with them.

3) What's it like to be an elemental?
It’s just like being a human except you have power, wings, and a glow to your skin. Mine’s purple which is wicked cool. Did I mention we have wings?

4) How did you take the news when you found about being different?
I flipped out! I probably would have done less flipping and more freaking if my dad wouldn’t have waited so long to spill the secret. I know my mom said she didn’t want us to know right away but it would have saved us a lot of trouble and arguing.

5) What's your favorite thing about your powers?
My wings. If I had to give up one thing, I’d give up my powers. The wings must stay. But you said powers so I’d have to say . . . the electricity, for sure.

6) What are the first things you notice about a guy?
His eyes. Then his smile.

7) If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be and why?
Wow, this is a tough one. If I went back in time and told my parents to stay in Tehokas City the Elders would have taken me. Or if I went back twelve years ago and told my mom not to make that deal my parents would have lost Lola and me. I don’t think I’d change anything.

8) What is a t-shirt slogan that defines you?
“Please wait. Witty response is loading . . .”

9) What is your biggest pet peeve?
My hair and makeup being done to my perfection. You know the just-rolled-out-of-bed look.

10) What are you most afraid of?
Losing everyone I love.

This or That:

Sweet or salty?
Sweet like Oli (blushes)

Summer or winter?

Inside or out?
Depends on the weather. If it’s rainy or too cold I’ll stay inside with a book. If it’s warm and sunny I’ll be outside with a book.

Book or movie?
Book, of course.

Tropical or mountains?

Review: Elemental Reality
Score: 75 points (4 stars)


Drastic changes in Callie’s life aren’t unusual, but this time it’s different. Now she’s fighting to save her family while she adjusts to her new, supernatural reality. Life will never be the same. . . .
What Worked:

The world building is unique and interesting. The visuals are stunning, and the characters are diverse in personality and lifestyle. There's also a lot of cool definitions for old concepts (I don't want to go further because that would be spoiling the book). A lot of action and swoony boys, makes this a pretty fun and interesting read. And what a cliffhanger! Wow! I'll be picking up book two, that's for sure.

What Didn't Work:

There are a lot of cultural references I didn't quite understand. I had enough knowledge of the scene to figure it out, but it would be helpful to have them elaborated on slightly for those of us not in the know of the 'punk rock' scene. I also would have loved to see some more build up with Cayden. I can't wait to see him again in book two though because he's especially got me curious! There was one section of the book which was a little slow for me, but other than that it was well paced. Finally, I almost played a drinking game with how often the main character was called "Kitten". A minor pet peeve of mine, but it was there all the same. :3

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rising - Colin Andrews

Rising - Colin Andrews

A reminder again of how the scoring works: Low scores = GOOD. High scores = BAD. Points are earned based on flaws. They're taken away for super awesome moments. Star ratings are done based on number of points in comparison to the number of pages in the book. 0-20% = 1 20-40% = 2 40-60%= 3 60-80% = 4 and 80-100% =5.

REVIEW: RISING - Colin Andrews
SCORE: 55 points.
RATING: 4 stars


That can be found here: http://www.colinandrews.info/Book%20Extracts.htm (along with the pretty cover and other shiny things from the author's webpage. Gorgeous site!)

And here is a book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u39VaPzuvQo

This story begins with action, which I like. It gets right to the point of things and takes the reader on a wild Indiana Jones kind of adventure. The style is easy to read and understand. I liked most of the characters (sans one, but I have a feeling Tom was supposed to be annoying, right? right? If yes, you did a good job with that one). I don't want to give away spoilers, because that's not my style, but I will say that if you enjoy action stories with good details and diverse unique settings? You'll no doubt like this book.  There's a touch of romance, gunfire, and giant crocks! This book is a creative and imaginative work, and it's the kind of story I've been looking for because it fills a void left behind with the influx of vampire/werewolf/witches phenomena that's overloading the market. It's a great sci-fi adventure, and fairly clean. There's a little swearing, but I'd recommend it to anyone who's about fifteen and older.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK (aka earning the points)

There were a few things that threw me off. The first being some of the language didn't quite feel right. The characters spoke a lot like they were from the UK, but the narrative never specified that was where they were from so I got a little confused because I thought they were from America. I could have missed something though, because that is known to happen, but it threw me off all the same. There was a lot of British slang used in the narrative as well (non-character development type stuff), which isn't a complaint necessarily, but as an American reader it wasn't necessarily what I would call universal language use. I know enough about the terms to figure things out, but in a few areas it threw off the narrative for me all the same. Formatting was weird on my Nook, but I didn't give points for that. I'm just making a mention of it so the author knows. Over all though, the writer has a good handle on how to write.

A few spots needed some tightening, but it was refreshing to read a book by an independent author who knows how to write and bring a good story to life.  I'm definitely ready for a sequel.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Other Side of Life - Jess C. Scott

A reminder again of how the scoring works: Low scores = GOOD. High scores = BAD. Points are earned based on flaws. They're taken away for super awesome moments. Star ratings are done based on number of points in comparison to the number of pages in the book. 0-20% = 1 20-40% = 2 40-60%= 3 60-80% = 4 and 80-100% =5.

SCORE: 10 points.
RATING: 5 stars

More often than not when I pick up a self-published novel, I get a little pit in my stomach. Is this going to be good, or am I going to regret my decision. More often than not I lean more towards the latter because while I’m all about the self-publishing industry, a lot of self-published authors need better editors to the point where I’m so distracted by mentally red-penning a book to death, I can’t enjoy the story. Yeah, so a lot of books have the occasional errors in them, but when they’re so plentiful they distract from the work, that’s usually a bad sign.

Hesitations aside, I started this book. The concept seemed too cool to pass up, and boy am I glad I did because this book is probably the best indie/self-published novel I’ve picked up in a long, long time, if not to-date.  I’m happy to say, I was able to enjoy this story and not be distracted, and boy is the story a good one. I’ll copy and paste the synopsis here so you can see for yourself.

Anya and Leticia are partners-in-crime who steal for a living. Their world turns upside down after a chance encounter with fellow rogue, Ithilnin—the enigmatic leader of an Elven band of thieves.
A scuffle to prove who’s “the better thief” transforms into more than Anya and Ithilnin ever bargained for. They retrieve the missing piece of an ancient poem, before getting caught in the secret dealings of a megacorporation. What they uncover threatens to alter the very essence of not just human life, but the other side as well.
Elven intrigue, cyberpunk action, and a deadly dose of danger come together in The Other Side of Life [Book #1 in the (Cyberpunk) Elven Trilogy].

The story starts out quick enough. There’s hardly ever a time where it lags actually. It’s a great pace of information and action. What I especially like is that while you might be able to predict the romance line, it doesn’t follow into cliché story line patterns. The chemistry is real and it develops so fluently that I’m rooting for the characters in all of their adventures.

In fact, all of the characters in this book are diverse and developed enough where you’re interested in their lives. I find in a lot of books, an author only takes the time to hold the readers interest in just the main characters. That wasn’t the case in this book.
If there was something I loved the most about this novel however, it was that Scott was able to create a completely new world for me. With the plethora of cookie cutter fiction out there, this was a breath of fresh air for me. I got to travel to a world of corruption, technological dreams, and magic. She does a wonderful blend of magic and science, keeping it fantasy but believable with lots of good cultural references in the mix. In fact, the world was so believable and well described that when I went to bed that night I had a dream about breaking in to a corporate tower with a group of elves. I’m not lying. You have invaded my dream world Scott, and this is quite a feat to accomplish. ;)

WHAT DIDN’T WORK (aka earning the points)

Points were earned simply for some minor errors. Five points were given for some grammar blips and writing errors, and then another five were for some formatting problems. They weren’t anything distracting necessarily, but they were noticeable, so I can’t sit and give it a completely perfect score of 0. However, 10 points for a 200+ page novel comes out to being 95% perfection and puts it at a 5 of 5 stars.

Now, I charge you, Jess C Scott, with getting the next two books of this trilogy out so I can read them. I’m kind of on the edge of my seat here, and I’m pretty sure anyone else who picks up this book will be too. If you’re a lover of science fiction, fantasy, or just looking for something new and different that’s a fun, fast read? Pick up this book. You won’t regret it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Mind Entangled: Part One - Discovery - Courtney Conant

Courtney Conant has given me the honor of letting her book be the first review I put up on here.

With that said, I present to you a review for “The Mind Entangled”, a short story. Which is a huge thing to keep in mind when reading this, because it was definitely short. There's a lot going on, and a lot left unresolved. I don't think short story is the word I would use to describe it accurately though. I would call it Part One of some kind of novella. The story is about Adrianna, a young former dancer turned housewife and what happens when she finds out some shocking truths about her husband. I can't elaborate too much more on the plot though because it would be a lot of spoilers.

Real quick, let me remind you about how the scoring system works. Every time there's a moment where things were weird, confusing, or otherwise not working, a point is given. For everyone moment there's something good going on, there's a point taken away. The lower the score, the better. Eventually I'm going to figure out average percentages.

Score: 12

I gave it a twelve because while the story is interesting, I think the writing could use some tightening. Conant has a unique style. She's got a way with words and making them flow in a poetic sort of way, I'll give her that. I think it could really shine if she did the tightening thing.

Now, as for the story. I'm intrigued. A lot of ideas were brought up, but few were resolved. I'm guessing this has something to do with it being a two parter. What I wish for is more. I'd love to see more of the back story between Adrianna and her husband for example, or other things happening with the spoilery moments that I can't talk about. I'm guessing this will come in part two though. Right? RIGHT COURTNEY? Please, please, please say yes!

Over all, I think this is a great start to something interesting and unique. I'd check it out. Hook me up with Part Two A.S.A.P. And thanks for the read!

- Sack Boy, peace and marshmallows.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Holy Buckets!

Kind of died off, but having a funeral and a crazy work schedule will ruin anyone's reading time. The goal is to get back to reading and reviewing this weekend. I will do my best to be as fast with the process as possible of course. Sniper is kind of going through her own stuff at the moment, so it'll just be me.

So who wants to be our first review? Send an email, and don't forget to follow! I promise it will be worth your while.  bitter (dot) truth (dot) books (dot) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is Sack Boy, signing in for the first time to say hello and welcome to the blog. We're brand spanking new, and we want to review your book! Those of you interested, feel free to send us an email at bitter.truth.books@gmail.com.

Now comes the part where we scare everyone away by saying: you might not like what you read. We review books here based on a system of points. For every bad 'wtf just happened' moment, plot fail, character fail, or anything else considered book fail, the book receives a point. For every awesome moment, the book loses a point. In the end, the lower the score, the better the book.

Sack Boy's Current Read: "The Unsuspecting Mage" by Brian S Pratt
Sniper's Current Read: "The Awakening" by Kelley Armstrong