Book Review: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls by Katie Mettner

Title: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls
Author: Katie Mettner
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christmas
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Actress Carrie Murray’s films are a Christmas lover’s delight. Filled with twinkling lights, festive carols, and happy endings, they’re the perfect escape from reality. For her and the audience. Then Tinseltown calls.

Braxton Timothy is Hollywood’s biggest action star. Handsome and talented but decidedly on the naughty list, no one can fathom his sudden desire to produce a feel-good Christmas movie—least of all, his no-name co-star.

Alternating between scenes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite made-for-TV movies and unexpected, off-screen chemistry, Gingerbread Falls has surprises in store this holiday season. The question is, will there be enough Christmas magic to convince two imperfect people that they’re perfect for each other?

I’ve been feeling festive all week, and I think part of that can be attributed to A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls. This book instantly put me in the Christmas-spirit, and I’ve already replaced my Halloween decorations; my house now boasts two Christmas trees and cozy lights, and I’ve already blasted holiday music for three days in a row. That’s rare for me, because I usually only start feeling the holiday spirit around December.

But A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls is the kind of heartwarming romance that puts you right in the mood for holiday cheers. The main characters, Carrie and Braxton, are two people who desperately need love, except they don’t really know that they need it. They’ve both gone through hardships in the past that shaped them into the people they are today, and for the reader, it’s obvious from the start that if these two can embrace the chemistry that lingers between them and take a chance on each other, that they might find what they have been looking for all along, without knowing it themselves.

The one thing I sometimes dislike about these types of books is that they can be quite predictable, but that wasn’t the case for A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the twists and turns.

If you’re looking for a book that’ll put you in the mood for the holidays, look no further.

Book Review: The Haunting of Edward House

Title: The Haunting of Edward House
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Twenty-five years ago, Edward House and his sister Meg ran screaming from their family home. They claimed that a ghost had attacked their parents, that some kind of evil spirit had been trying to possess Edward and take control of his body. Their father lay dead on the floor, and their mother had lost her mind. Now Edward and Meg only had each other.

Today, Edward is a married man with a daughter of his own. When he and his family move into a new home, they have no idea that a dark force from the past is once again beginning to stir. Edward is certain that the events of his childhood are over, but his sister’s not so sure.

And when Edward’s daughter Molly starts seeing the same ghost that tormented Edward and Meg a quarter of a century earlier, history looks set to repeat itself.

The Haunting of Edward House is a ghost story about a man who refuses to face his past, a woman can’t let go of one moment of horror, and a deadly evil that will stop at nothing to get what it wants.

The Haunting of Edward House is the story of Edward House, a rather bland married man with a daughter of his own. He and his family move into a new home, and strangely enough, his daughter Molly starts seeing the same ghost that tormented Edward and his sister Meg back when they were children–although back then they lived in a completely different house!

As usual, Amy Cross manages to put an interesting, unexpected spin on your typical run-down-the-mill ghost story, making her books stand out from others in the genre. This is not one of my favorites by Amy Cross, but it’s still a decent story. What annoyed me the most was how long it took for Edward and his wife to finally admit they were being haunted. They did wrong by Meg by not believing her sooner. It also didn’t make much sense, given what had happened in Edward’s past, that he was so reluctant to believe.

Fans of ghost stories will find an interesting story here about trauma, family ties and also a lesson that not everything is always what it seems at first glance.

Book Review: How to Make A Ghost by Amy Cross

Title: How to Make A Ghost
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Twenty-five years ago, Eve Marsh’s little sister Rebecca vanished. No-one in the family is willing to talk about what happened, and Eve has come to accept that she might never learn the truth.

When a huge storm erupts, however, Eve is forced to return to her childhood home. Her father lives alone, and the house is in danger of collapsing as it’s battered by wind and rain. Eve hasn’t talked to her father since she ran away from home many years earlier, and she soon finds that the old man’s mind is deteriorating. Meanwhile, something seems to be in the house with him, lurking in the shadows and tormenting what’s left of his sanity.

Eve soon begins to discover the truth about what happened to Rebecca. A strange, ghostly figure appears in the house, and a voice cries out for revenge. The more Eve learns, the more she comes to understand that something terrible has been happening to her family for many years. She’s always held her father responsible, but is there something even worse that Eve doesn’t know? And is the ghost of her dead sister really lurking in the shadows of the house?

How To Make a Ghost is a horror story about a haunted house, a dark family secret, and a horrific experiment that has been years in the making.

Over the past year, Amy Cross has become one of my favorite authors. She manages to combine a straightforward, no-nonsense, fast-paced writing style with original, imaginative stories that keep readers on the edge of their seat.

How to Make A Ghost is no different. Seemingly starting off as yet another ghost story, the plot soon takes a turn followed by an ever-more-complicated series of twists that make for an unpredictable, innovative story.

Eve Marsh’s little sister Rebecca vanished more than two decades ago. No one in the family is willing to discuss the incident, and it has estranged Eve from her father, whom she blames for what happened to Rebecca. When a storm erupts and her sister begs her to go check up on her father, Eve reluctantly heads to her childhood home. Upon her arrival, she notices immediately that her father’s mind seems to be deteriorating… But perhaps even more worrying, something seems to be inside the house, trying to destroy whatever is left of her father’s sanity.

Is it the ghost of Rebecca? Or is something else at play?

What I enjoyed the most about this book, without giving too much away concerning the plot, is that the true horror doesn’t come from the ghosts, but from another source entirely. And that is far more horrifying and nightmare-inducing than any ghost could ever be.

Book Review: Refraction by Terry Geo

Title: Refraction
Author: Terry Geo
Genre: Science-Fiction / Fantasy
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Most stories start at the beginning; this one begins at the end. At least for Maria. Her sudden death sends shockwaves through her family and pushes her grieving mother to the very brink of insanity. After exhausting every avenue conventional medicine has to offer, Maria’s father, Henry, brings together the world’s greatest minds in the hope of carving out a new path. Months pass, and as Henry watches his beloved Elena slowly drift away, he begins to lose faith. It is only then that a solution presents itself. A discovery so momentous, it saves Elena and reveals the most important scientific and technological breakthrough in modern history.

Silicate is founded; a privately funded facility which delves deeper into the human mind, able to discover answers to questions we are yet to ask. Securing Silicate’s secrets becomes of utmost importance; even after treating hundreds of patients, the public are still unaware of the wonders and terrifying reality Silicate has unearthed . . .

The world you know is only half the story.

Refraction was not at all what I expected. In ways, it went beyond what I had expected, diving into unconventional, unexpected territory, while at the same time dealing with issues that are known to all of us. A family, dealing with the loss of a loved one, for example, is something all of us unfortunately have to deal with at some point in their lives (however, in this story, it’s the worst sorrow of all, that of parents losing a child). Trying to find a way to reach out to those we love, even after death, is something all of us have probably longed for at some point or another as well, and this book deals with exactly that, with grief, with trying to move on, with trying to save the people we love. And it’s by going on this quest, venturing into this unknown territory of the human mind, that miraculous wonders and terrifying truths are uncovered.

The book is quite long (it was 700+ pages in the PDF I read), but it reads lightning-fast, and once you start reading, it’s hard to put down. For a debut novel, it’s especially surprising that the author manages to craft such an original, well-researched story, while keeping up the fast pace and still being able to introduce the reader to myriad characters that each bring their own uniqueness to the table.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the book had quite a few twists in the storyline that I didn’t see coming, and this doesn’t happen very often!
I’m definitely interested to read more works by this author in the future.
 
 
 

Book Review: Edge of Death (Book #2 Admiralty Archives)

Title: Edge of Death: Book Two of the Admiralty Archives
Author: Joni Parker
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

In this second installment of The Admiralty Archives, the warrior Lady Alexin, the Keeper of the Keys for the Elf realm of Eledon, finds herself exiled to the harsh world of near-future London. Rendered little more than a political pawn by the Elfin Council of Elders to avoid a war with the Rock Elves, she has little choice but to struggle to find her way in this strange new land. Taken under the protection of kindly mentors, Vice Admiral Malcolm Teller of the British Royal Navy and his wife, Alex brings all her skills to the fore as she uncovers a series of deadly plots.

Murder is on everyone’s mind as an underground White Supremacist organization takes aim at Admiral Teller while two wizards, resurrected from death, must kill Alex in order to survive. To make matters worse, the Rock Elves dispatch a hundred assassins from Eledon with their sole mission to bring Lady Alexin to the very… Edge of Death.

I read and reviewed some of Joni Parker’s other books before: The Blue Witch, Gossamer and Noble Magic, all part of the Chronicles of Eledon series. In the Admiralty Archives series, I already read and reviewed the first book, Curse of the Sea, so you can say I’m definitely a fan of this author and the magical worlds she creates, with most of my ratings being either 4 or 4,5 stars. I mean, fantasy, elves, wizards, what’s not to like?

Needless to say I had some pretty high expectations when starting the second book in the Admiralty Archives,  Edge of Death, but the sequel certainly didn’t dissapoint. The reader is once again following Lady Alexin, who by now has really become one of my favorite characters in fantasy books throughout. What I really enjoy about this series is how well it mixes fantasy and reality, and how well-crafted the fantasy world is, reminding me of the worlds created by Raymond E. Feist and Robin Hobb, and that I could spend hour hiding away in during my childhood and early teens. It’s a rare gift to be able to create a world that is so different yet so relatable that people can imagine themselves there, and to be able to come up with characters who despite being relatable, can still surprise the reader – especially after so many books.

In this book, Alexin is forced into exile to the London of the near future, a terrible, sullen place. Not only does she have to get used to this new, strange world, but she also becomes a target in a complicated assassination plot, and she’ll need all her skills, wit and some good old-fashioned luck to survive.

I don’t want to give out too many spoilers for readers new to the series, but this book had me on the edge of my seat again. Memorable characters, a vast, extraordinary setting, excellent writing and a mercilessly fast pace, this is one book no fan of the genre should miss out on.

 

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Book Review and Giveaway Taking Wing

Title: Taking Wing

Author: Clemency Crow
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

12-year-old Freya enjoys karate and is the only one in her class who’s trusted with a part-time job. But everything changes when she meets a boy with yellow eyes. She learns about the guardians, and how an age-old fight has stopped them from fulfilling their purpose. Freya finds new friends in the crow tribe but not everything in the castle is blissful. A destructive shadow lies within her and all she needs to do to summon it is close her eyes. But as the guardian’s war rages on, Freya realises that, although the shadow’s power can be useful, it can’t create peace. Freya and her friends must solve the crime that began the war, but can they bring the guardians together before they destroy each other?

Taking Wing is an intriguing middle grade adventure featuring 12-year-old Freya, a girl who is so much more than she seems at first glance.

The book actually begins with a chapter set in 617 AD, where the reader witnesses the funeral of Edweth, and a man named Raedwald who vows to avenge her death, which he believes was due to her being murdered by someone from the Crow tribe. The book then jumps to the present day, where the reader is introduced to Freya. Despite being only twelve, Freya holds a part-time job in a shop after school. The reader is thrown into the action right away, as Freya feels someone is following her while she’s walking to her aunt’s house–the follower turns out to be a boy with yellow eyes and a long, hooked nose, almost like a bird’s nose.

The boy, Enna, turns out to be much more than he seems at first glance but it’s when his friends turn up that the action really picks up, and they take Freya to the home of the Crow tribe. As she meets the others of the Crow tribe, Freya makes new friends but soon realizes that not everything is at she thought it was, and that the war between the tribes can only be solved with Freya’s help. But can Freya accomplish this task, especially when she discovers that there’s something hidden deep within herself, a shadow, that has tremendous power?

I actually really liked Winnie. She seemed like such a genuine person, and her personality worked rather well. Most of the characters in the book feel like genuine people, with fitting personality traits, and with some little quirks and things that set them apart from others. The author did a really good job portraying all these different characters throughout.

The plot was excellent too, with some unexpected twists and turns that I hadn’t seen coming. There was never a dull moment, and the pacing moved along nicely. The book is clearly aimed at middle graders, but even an older audience will enjoy this book. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, as I suspect there will be a sequel.

 

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Book Review Risking Forever

Title: Risking Forever: Vol. 1
Author: Tara Gallina
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

Risking Forever: Vol 1 (The Forever Series) by Tara Gallina

My best friend has been obsessed with Sebastian since our freshman year in college. She wants him to herself, which is fine by me. He’s a paycheck, a means to an end goal. He’s temporary. But he’s also tempting—the way he looks at me, the things he says, the way he touches me… If I’m not careful, I might do something I’ll regret. ~Ainsley Belle

THE FOREVER SERIES
At twenty, Ainsley knows it’s time to follow her own dreams and not the future her that was planned for her—a future she never wanted. Losing her job couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Sebastian Gianni isn’t the ideal boss, but he has a position to fill and Ainsley is desperate. The sexy twenty-two-year-old comes from money, owns a successful business, and graduates from college in three months. He has his life together in a way Ainsley could only dream.
No wonder her best friend is obsessed with dating him. Even his ex-girlfriend is determined to get him back, although threatening him seems like the wrong approach. Ainsley would be a fool to fall for the guy, too.
By no means, should she trust him. He has more secrets than anyone she knows, which makes her wonder if the mafia rumors about him are true. It doesn’t matter that he’s a good listener, and sweet and protective at times. That playful flirty side he shares with her alone means nothing. Right?
When a kiss turns into a secret romance neither can give up, Ainsley learns the truth about Sebastian’s corrupt family and why his ex-girlfriend won’t go away. A future together is near impossible and comes with a risk that could get them both killed—or give them everything they’ve ever wanted.

Risking Forever was everything I expected when reading the synopsis, and much more. Main character Ainsley is at that point in life that most of us, if not all of us, have to cross when we’re growing up from young adults into adulthood: where you have to decide who you really are, and what you want your future to be like.

When she loses her job, she’s desperate enough to start working for Sesbastian Gianni: a man her best friend has been obsessed with ever since freshman year in college, and whose ex-girlfriend just can’t seem to get over. With this kind of track record, Ainsley would be stupid to fall for him too… Yet, that’s exactly what happens. Sebastian is playful, confident, flirty, yet he’s also protective and caring, and the more time Ainsley spends with Sebastian, the more she feels attracted to him, until attraction turns into something much more. But can they have a future together, or will secrets from Sebastian’s past drive them apart?

Ainsley’s personality is very engaging. She truly wants to better herself, she’s ambitious, but she’s also kind and caring, and she’s genuinely just a friendly, inviting person. I also liked Sebastian, but he’s more of a mystery – that’s a good trait for a romantic interest, though, since it allows readers the time to get to know him slowly. The writing was solid too, and overall, this was an entertaing romance story that I really enjoyed reading. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series.

 

Book Review: The Sanctity of Sloth by Greta Boris

Title: The Sanctity of Sloth
Author: Greta Boris
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Series: The Seven Deadly Sins
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

There’s one thing more dangerous than testifying to a crime—staying silent.
Locked in the ruins of a California Mission, Abby Travers watches helplessly as a girl dies outside her window. As she struggles between her moral obligation to come forward as a witness, and her commitment to a Medieval religious practice that requires her to retreat from the world, the situation spins out of control.
Abby’s hesitation starts a series of catastrophes. She finds herself at the center of a deadly cover up where every minute counts and indecision could be fatal. She questions all her beliefs and everyone she knows becomes suspect. To save herself and those she loves, she must break free from her self-imposed prisons of stone and fear.
The Sanctity of Sloth is a taut, psychological thriller that answers the question: What happens when a good woman does nothing? Fans of Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn will enjoy this third book in Greta Boris’s Seven Deadly Sins Series.

 

The Sanctity of Sloth is the first book I’ve read by Greta Boris, but I’m already certain it won’t be my last. This book is the third book in a series, but even without reading book one and two, I could follow the story easily enough.

Abby Travers is forced to watch helplessly when a girl dies outside her window, while she’s locked up in a secret room in the ruins of a California Mission. Abby doubts between coming forward as a witness, and her commitment to the practise of the anchorites (and for those unfamiliar with the word, an anchorite is someone who withdraws from secular society for religious reasons). The practice sounds a little bizarre, but when woven into the story and connected with the personality of someone like Abby, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Abby’s hesitation to come forward has disastrous consequences, and Abby starts to question everything she’s ever believed in.

The pacing is great, the tension is nail-biting, and overall the premise is intriguing. Abby makes for a complex, but well-defined and recognizable character. A suspenseful mystery that certainly leaves the reader guessing.

Book Review The Sacred Artifact

Title: The Sacred Artifacts
Author: Caldric Blackwell
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

In this adventurous middle grade novel, The Sacred Artifact, Craig Pike and his teacher Cornelius are looking to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact. Doing so takes them on a fantastical quest, along with the young but resourceful Audrey Clife, an archer who was actually my favorite character of the entire book!

The quest reminded me a little of Frodo’s journey in Lord of the Rings – while traveling, Craig and his friends encounter enemies at just about every corner, and even though they also meet up with some old friends, there’s an inniment danger lurking at every turn of the page.

I like middle grade books because of the level of imagination that goes into writing them, and this book is no exception. Although I struggled a bit at the start, with the book being the second book in a series, and me not really knowing the characters yet, but after a few chapters, I got the hang of it.

If you enjoy middle grade fantasy books, then I recommend you check out this series.

 
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Book Review: Turn Your Dental Practice Into A Successful Business

Title: Turn Your Dental Practice Into A Successful Business
Author: Gabriel Asulin
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

How to turn your dental practice into a profitable business.

“Turn your Dental Practice into a Successful Business” is a bestselling book that offers practical solutions that can be easily applied in every dental practice in order to increase its sales very quickly. The book (translated into Spanish, Russian and Hebrew) provides detailed answers to all the dental practice related marketing, management and sales questions or issues, which will allow you to increase the sales and profitability of your dental practice in a very short time.

The author, Gabriel Asulin, is a world-renowned expert and became a global “guru” in the field of marketing and promotion of dental practices. Gabriel is a top presenter and popular lecturer worldwide. His seminar “How to Double your Clinic’s Sales in 3 Months!” was a major blockbuster in in China, Colombia, Mexico, Russia, Israel, Bulgaria and Dominican Republic in recent years.

The strategies and methods suggested by Gabriel in his book are based on many years of experience in business consulting and training hundreds of dental practices around the world.

The unique management and marketing methods presented in this book are successfully used by many dental practices and have proven to significantly improve sales and profitability.

I was asked to review this book by the publisher, Turn Your Dental Practice Into a Successful Business, but I was a little worried at first that the contents of the book would not interest me at all: a dental practice? I’m not a dentist, far from it, so what purpose would the book serve me?

The author, Gabriel Asulin, is an expert in the field of marketing and promoting dental practices. The book gives a lot of information regarding how to attract clients, retain existing clients, improve productivity, where to advertise your practice, and so on. I’m sure that for dentists, this book is a goldmine of information.

For me, I found some of the information useful since it was a more general approach, that could be used in all kinds of businesses, and not just dental practices, but the more specific information was not that useful to me.