Bite of a Vampire

Bite of a Vampire, Book 1, KT Publishing, a paranormal romance by Anna Belsky.

Emily Johnson, a PI employed by Jonesville Extramarital Affairs Investigative Services is tracking a woman whose husband believes she is cheating. After several weeks she finds the woman meeting a handsome stranger. They leave a posh restaurant and move into a deserted garage where they exchange passionate kisses. She begins taking pictures and suddenly discovers the man is biting the woman’s neck. Voices indicate the approach of some men, the attacker sees Emily and disappears. She falls, the men appear but can discover no one other than her and the other woman. The next day, she discovers that the man she photographed did not register in the picture and she realizes he was a vampire. She has frightening dreams, the vampire appears in her apartment even though it is on the 4th floor and all doors are locked, she meets him, is strangely attracted to him and discovers he is a ‘good’ vampire who does not kill his victims. However, another vampire who does is after her and he says he can offer protection. Mark, a handsome neighbor greatly attracted to Emily also enters her life as a potential lover and as a protector from a position that is only revealed to the reader later in the book. The story progresses as the ‘bad’ vampire stalks Emily and she, Mark and the ‘good’ vampire attempt to thwart the bad guy.

Discussion: A story that should satisfy those who enjoy vampire and similar paranormal romance tales but the book would greatly benefit from a more thorough proofing.

3* Interesting paranormal romance that requires proofing.

The Bulls of War

The Bulls of War is Book I of The Chronicles of the Andervold Thrones, a historical novel in e-book format by E. M. Thomas.
Plot: In a time of almost constant tribal/clan/territorial warfare, Kyrus, a young warrior on patrol with his father’s division survives an attack by Valogarians who kill his father and brother. As time passes he becomes the leader of the distinguished unit. His closest friend Tyghus rises through the ranks with him, and when Kyrus, unexpectedly and unwantedly is appointed Khorokh (Emperor) of the Unified Rokharians and Ten Provinces, he appoints Tyghus to take his place as the commanding general. Kyrus had been appointed by Rensyus, the dying Emperor, and accepted by the reigning council of Peers of the Realm. Rensyus had kept peace in the realm in spite of the exact split in voting by the Council with respect to war/peace. Tyghus’ sister, Tigra was to become the bride of the leader of the Valogars to further the peace that Rensyus was maintaining and he had believed Kyros could be persuaded to follow in his footsteps. Instead Kyros, separated from his close friend and convinced by rumors and innuendo by and from the war-inclined group that Tyghus no longer was a friend, becomes paranoid in the extreme. He sides with the hawks, declares war on the Valogarians, alienates other powerful members of the Peers and proceeds to become a devious tyrant. Tyghus and incidentally his sister are caught up in the viciously burgeoning set of inter-territorial circumstances. A host of other characters play parts at varying levels of importance in this tale as it gradually advances to provide a provoking base for the next episode in The Chronicles.
Discussion: The author has made an intriguing interpretation from existing records of a long-ago era to present a fascinating story of court intrigue, a paranoid ruler, and honorable individuals who become unfortunate pawns in a vicious game that leads to horrendous destruction and devastating loss of human life. Most regrettably, this magnificently researched presentation provides at least for this reader, a degree of disappointment. A map is provided, but a magnifying glass is required when attempting to find/revisit the territories and other features involved, and portions of the rhetoric although of historic importance, often slow, rather than advance the storyline. Also for some readers the plentiful supply of characters with historically correct but unusual names, possibly are enough to provide a pause in assimilation, thus further interfering with the story’s pace.
Conclusion: A minutely detailed fictional story recounting political maneuvering resulting in massive land/human destruction based upon research of a seldom examined pre-Christian era. Historically and fictionally engrossing presentations where, regrettably at least for this reader, either or both could be greatly enhanced with judicious editing.
A parenthetical and perhaps totally irrelevant but depressing comment is the notable reoccurrence today of the political maneuvering that existed then and no doubt even in earlier times. It is hoped that the destructive resultant activity so graphically and well described by this author remains only historical and/or fictional.

5* Engrossing history/fictional tale; 3* judicious editing would greatly enhance for this reader.

Unbarred Innovation

Unbarred Innovation
A pathway to Greatest Discoveries ISBN: 9781523863983 is a motivational e-book by Mayur Ramgir.

The author believes in “Changing the world with powerful words.” He envisions a world with no incurable diseases, people without disabilities and a planet without disasters, all achieved through effective use and development of technology; e.g. “advanced nanotechnology, sonic speed and smarter genetic engineering,” He once read “everything a human mind can imagine is what the human can achieve.” Thus, the only thing standing in the way are self-imposed barriers to these accomplishments and: “With this book and Zonopact Innovation Lab, I want to bring down all such barriers.” He quotes Theodore Levitt’s statement “Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is doing new things.” and states that his intent is to “diffuse the idea that only a few can be innovative.” To become a creative/innovative individual he stresses the need for intensive introspection to develop self-esteem, self-reliance, focus, discipline, ability to overcome adversity, and to gain an ability to think ‘outside-the-box’, to overcome any knowledge gap, avoid provinciality in thinking and action and to interexchange conversations, beliefs and knowledge with persons in different disciplines. All of these activities will lead to acquisition of new perspectives so as to become one of those innovators similar to the large number of exemplary individuals he references and quotes.

Discussion: The thrust of this presentation appears to have a dual purpose; 1) to offer, and describe how to attain, the basic levels of thought/activity required to become an innovative individual and 2) to present “Zonepact Innovation Lab – A social networking tool allowing individuals to connect whether within or outside their fields of interest” and CLINTRA – “A one step platform to faster innovation within your organization” (software). This book is another in the seemingly increasing number of ‘how-to’ books but for a different, somewhat more highly educated level of individuals. For this reason a subtle sense of underlying naivety seems strange. The presentation is a little repetitive, seemingly as provided by lecturers who often use this technique for emphasis. Elimination would in this reviewer’s opinion strengthen the presentation.

Conclusion: Viable suggestions for those desirous of higher achievement.

4* Viable suggestions for those desirous of higher achievement.

 

A Second, Less Capable, Head

A Second, Less Capable, Head, And Other Rogue Stories
ISBN 9781937818395, Sand Hill Review Press, an e-book by James Hanna,

This book has been termed a fictional, satirical anthology and several of the 19 individual stories are just that. Others often are quite short vignettes that along with one or two others contain pathos and perhaps even character insights. In this reviewer’s opinion, the book’s title story presents an amusing statement; The Guest (2), also an amusingly well done parody on today’s government; Exposed (3) pathos; Fruits (5) a scathingly good similar depiction to number two, as well as adding the all-too-apparent present day ‘human’ attitude; similarly, The Sicilian (7), Breaking Vials (8), Honey Bunny (9) present interesting issues. Hunting Bear (12) introduces the sociopath featured later in an advanced condition of psychosis in Hunter’s Moon (17); Another Will Take Your Place (18), the story of a serial rapist and one of his victims again, as with numbers 12 and 17, scathingly depicts the fallacies of today’s criminal system, but this latter, also provides an interesting comment/conjecture on one victim; The Break (14) presents a realistic picture of a chase of escaped prisoners.

The author has provided a well written/paced anthology of unusual stories that range from being too simplistic for this reviewer to others that quite scathingly capture government/establishment mismanagement as well as human frailties. Thus, a somewhat dichotomous conclusion.

3* Dichotomous for this reviewer; 5* excellent satire and pathos; 3* several too simplistic.

Delilah’s Vampire

Delilah’s Vampire
ISBN: 9781508042204, an e-book by Alicia Rayn

Plot/Characters: A prologue recounts the story of Delilah’s shoring of Samson’s locks and subsequent devastating results. However the story insinuates that Samson did not die after destroying the temple but eventually freed himself from the ruins only to discover that he had become a vampire. As such, he turns numerous others as he continues through several thousand years looking for the treacherous woman so he can enact revenge. Through the millennia he has succeeded in controlling his blood requirements by inventing a substitute fluid and has become a powerful figure in the human financial world known as Ash Samson, He suddenly discovers Delilah, now a fund manager named Ariana. He hires her to administer his enormous wealth and begins his plan for retribution. All does not proceed as planned because of a number of interacting activities. He discovers he still has almost uncontrollable love for this Delilah/Ariana person and hesitates in proceeding with his vengeful activity. Meanwhile, James, Ariana’s husband, has been bled dry by Toria, Ash’s long-time associate and one-time concubine of the Kurdish warrior Saludin. For some vague reason and not even having heard of Ariana at the time, he saves him by giving him some of his blood but by doing so, converts him to a vampire state. Toria, has loved Ash for at least a millennium, and begins to weave a pattern to destroy Ariana. Others; a monk who has been turned, a former soldier with whom Samson had served under Alexander the Great, a younger convert who is part human, part vampire with a relation to Ariana, a maid devoted to Ash, but in some manner associated with Lilith, Adam’s first wife who had been banished from the Garden; and other characters of lesser importance become entangled in the involved conflicting desires and the tale progresses in a most active manner to its finale. A few proofing/editing errors are slightly annoying.

Conclusion: A tale that should satisfy devotees of both vampire and romance genres.

4* Should satisfy devotees of both vampire and romance genres.

Constant Guests

Constant Guests
ISBN: 9789730209419, an e-book whose genre is difficult to delineate by Patricia Nedelea,

Plot: The story of Isa, a young woman’s quest for answers to questions originally searched for by her real mother, and to discover her real father. Her present mother, Victoria is the proper lady and her father, a crippled athlete but highly successful motivational speaker who ‘is never around’. Isa wants no part of refinement/education. Her fashion statement emphasizes the “rebel without a cause’ generational influence – green hair, ripped jeans, nondescript shoes and a T-shirt saying I am not a bitch, I am THE bitch. She has an abrasive personality, is constantly negative and disparaging those who provide help, has a brutal way of telling the truth, creates friendships which she drops for no reason and finally is left with no one to whom she can turn except Claude, a cyber guy. Then, she discovers that her most proper mother Victoria is NOT her birth mother but she is the daughter of Victoria’s sister, Mara whom she had been told was Aunt Mara, maintained alive but in a coma now for years after an automobile accident. Unexpectedly, after these many years, Mara regained consciousness and she was to be taken to see her. Mara dies while she is there, she is attacked by a masked man, saved through action by a young man, Mark Zweifer. She discovers a tarot card and embarks upon an extensive journey through much of Europe to finish her true mother’s quest and to discover the identity of her true father. It is a most convoluted journey involving many ‘twists’, an interesting thought with respect to the bible, extensive 14th century historical activity mingled with that of the present and an exhaustive history of, and search for the original tarot cards and their significance as related to the existence of an alternate world. The tale is replete with characters providing a wide range of activity.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author has provided a provocative tale of the increasingly popular theme of existence of an alternative/parallel world. Further, she has done so by using the results of some extensively researched material on tarot cards and weaving it into an engaging conjecture. She has made it happen through provision of a sizeable number of not particularly well characterized individuals who exhibit all levels of duplicity, deceit, subterfuge, cruelty and betrayal. Unfortunately, the ‘light’ characterization makes any attempt at empathy difficult to say the least. The genre is multiple – historical, occult, thriller. Thus, at least for this reviewer, better characterization and judicious editing would have greatly increased the level of pleasure in reading this plot-driven, well researched, provocative approach to the increasingly popular alternative/parallel world theme.

3* 5* Provocative alternative world plot; 3* reasons below in discussion/conclusion.