Book Review: Lockdown by Samie Sands

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Book Review: The Lost Eye of the Serpent by Jeremy Phillips

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Title: The Lost Eye of the Serpent
Series: The Rose Delacroix Files: Book One

Author: Jeremy Phillips
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Publication Date: August 6, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Young Adult

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the-lost-eye-of-the-serpentThe Lost Eye of the Serpent
The Rose Delacroix Files Book One
Jeremy Phillips
Limitless Publishing, August 2016
ISBN 978-1-68058-747-0
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…

Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.

Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…

Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.

A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…

Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…

…the lost eye of the serpent.

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Book Review: Salvation by Skyla Madi

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Title: Salvation

Series: The Guardian Angel

Author: Skyla Madi

Release date: April 29, 2013

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Dark Fantasy

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SalvationSalvation
The Guardian Angel Series: Book Three
Skyla Madi
Limitless Publishing, April 2013
ISBN 978-1484068434
Trade Paperback

From the author—

In the aftermath of a battle that forced Ruby to flee the safety of the guardian angels, she settles into a small town, hoping to blend in and forget about the ones she loved. It isn’t until Hunter stumbles across her working in a bar and a well-timed email from Ivan Aleksandrov that she realised she could go back to Sage Sanctum—for a few days, at least.

Out for revenge, Lucian will stop at nothing until he has Ruby for himself, but he isn’t the only one that needs her. The council, a group of gods/goddesses have a mysterious hand in Ruby’s return to Sage Sanctum and Mr Aleksandrov is eager to find out what it is.

Destroying Lucian is the least of her worries when Ruby comes face to face with Eli De Luca, the love of her life. It seems her departure has affected him more than she thought it would, but his frustration with her isn’t strong enough to hide the electricity that crackles relentlessly between them.

Determined to end her very real nightmare once and for all, Ruby fights the biggest battle of her life, one that affects not only her, but everyone involved.

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Not sure what your favorite supernatural beings are? Check out Salvation by Skyla Madi for a taste of goddesses, vampires and wizards, not to mention guardian angels. Looking for breakneck action and some pretty intense attraction? This is definitely the book for you.

Ruby and Eli have tried to put aside their feelings—and their bond—for each other and they were somewhat successful but Ruby has been called back to Sage Sanctum. Being around Eli again is only a piece of everything going on and survival of any of my favorite characters is not a given from one chapter to the next. Speaking of favorite characters, how could I not like a girl who’s  both a goddess and a vampire? Eli definitely does not disappoint my “thing” for guardian angels and Lucian is a vampire you can love to hate but Hunter is the one that surprised me. He’s sort of the bad boy you know you should stay away from but you just can’t help yourself.

It all comes to a head in a confrontation that is exciting and resolves at least one issue and, if I have any quibbles with this particular scene, it’s that it happens too quickly and felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic. Even so, the author left me wanting more and that’s always a good way to end a book, isn’t it?

Salvation is one of those books that most readers will enjoy best if they read the series in order. I did not and, while I can’t say that was a mistake, I know I would have had a better handle on the characters and the core story if I had already read Your Guardian Angel and Sunkissed. I fully intend to rectify my error before the next book, Oblivion, comes out because Ms. Madi is one heck of a storyteller.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2013.

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About the Author

Skyla MadiSkyla Madi was born in the small town of Port Maquarie, New South Wales in 1993. She spent half her life growing up in Wauchope, a thriving rural town at the heart of the Hastings River Valley before making the leap to the busy city of Brisbane.

Whenever this young Australian writer isn’t changing diapers, watching cartoons, cooking for her husband or doing other motherly-wife things she is actively working on her writing and improving her writing skills.

Skyla loves to read just as much as she loves to write and since discovering that YA/NA/paranormal romance/urban fantasy/ are her favourite genres, she has embarked on her own writing journey and is currently contracted with Limitless Publishing.

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Book Review: The Game by Shane Scollins

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The Game
by Shane Scollins
Release Date: 03/13/13

THE GAME is a mystery/thriller with an unpredictable paranormal twist. It has action and

adventure and plays up the everyday exploitation of reality television obsession gone wrong.

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The GameThe Game
Shane Scollins
Limitless Publishing, March 2013
ISBN 978-0615783475
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

No matter where you are, they’ll find you, and put you in “The GAME”.

Candice Laguna’s life is being systematically dismantled, by an unknown force, for a reason she can’t imagine. But she is about to become the unwilling star of a reality game competition the likes of which has never been broadcast to the world.

Just when things get darkest, a mysterious man snatches her from the grips of doom. He is a man who is not what he appears, and not who he says. He has no name and his motivation to help Candice is not what it seems to be.

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Sigh. Where do I begin?

Well, first of all, I have no idea why this is labeled young adult. There is nothing young adult about it unless you count the dreaded insta-love aspect. All of the characters involved are old enough to be out in the working world, living on their own, with car loans, healthy bank accounts and adult jobs. No young adults here.

The Game starts out beautifully as a psychological thriller. This part is really good with the realistic tale of what can happen when a sociopath has the technological ability to manipulate a person’s life and it all seems very possible.  I was completely engaged…but then it just sort of fizzles with the game only lasting one round before all the captive participants are rescued.

The introduction of the paranormal element could have been really interesting but, instead, it struck me as overly convoluted—I still have no clear idea of why this demented form of time travel is happening and, in the end, I felt as though I had read incomplete portions of two different books. Either plot on its own could be really strong if fleshed out more but they just don’t work together.  I also feel the romance seems forced, almost as if the author thought he had to add it because the readers would expect it, but it just isn’t very believable.

In a departure from so many other books, the protagonists and secondary “good” characters are kind of thinly drawn while the villains are clear and consistent and I believed in their menace. Rena, in particular, sticks out in my mind because she’s so amoral and, in a way, more evil than either Angus or Caleb. I have a pretty good understanding of Candice and Vince and, to a lesser extent, Zee, but I do wish the author had given us much more time with Alexis.

On a positive (to me) note, the construction of this novel is very well done with only a handful of incorrect words which I believe occurred only because Spellcheck won’t catch the inappropriate spelling of a word that has multiple correct spellings. I notice these because I’m just geared that way but many readers won’t and the author is technically good at what he does (and perhaps has a strong editor).

In the final analysis, Shane Scollins is a talented writer with some good ideas but the combination of mystery thriller and paranormal falls short this time. The Game ends with a clear opening for a sequel and I’ll be interested to see where the story goes next—and I hope to see this author’s work on other platforms rather than just Amazon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2013.

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About the Author

Shane ScollinsShane Scollins is a freelance writer and author. Originally from New Jersey, he now resides in Upstate New York with his wife, Heather. He has worked as an automotive service manager, a website developer and a computer network engineer. Primarily a science fiction and paranormal novelist, Shane enjoys taking readers on surprising and unexpected journeys that twist reality. He is currently working on his next book.

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