Tag Archives: suspense

Book Review: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone – by Darlene Foster

Amanda in Alberta, The Writing on the StoneBook: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone
Author: Darlene Foster
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Date: July 6, 2014
Genre: middle grade fiction
Pages: 98
Price: paper $9.35; Kindle $3.88
My Rating: an adventure young readers will love
 

I received a copy of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone from the author in exchange for my honest review.

If you haven’t met Amanda before, you’ll need to know she is a twelve-year-old, adventurous, travel-loving girl who seems to find mysteries wherever she goes. This time, in Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, not even the one leaving home she still gets involved in a situation.

Amanda invited Leah, her friend from England, to vacation in Alberta, Canada. For Leah – as it was for Amanda when she visited Leah in England – so much seemed strange to what she was accustomed to at home.

Amanda’s parents are busy people but make time to take the girls to various interesting places, such as dinosaur museums, a cattle drive, and unique stores for shopping for “cowboy” attire. While they were at a rodeo, Amanda noticed a little stone drop out of a clown’s pocket, but she couldn’t get the man’s attention to tell him. When she picked up the stone she noticed unusual markings on it, so she slipped it into her own pocket. Things happen from then on to make Leah’s vacation one to remember! Cowboys argue over something, a surly bothersome man keeps following her, she is suspicious of ‘questionable’ people – and Amanda and Leah are involved in another sometimes dangerous adventure.

Darlene Foster‘s writing is suited to young readers. The Amanda series is fast-paced, action-filled, and written so that the young main characters are the real problem solvers but with adult involvement.

You can read my reviews of two books in Darlene Foster‘s Amanda series: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, and Amanda in England: The Missing Novel.

You can find Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Book Review: Double Exposure – by Michael Lister

Double Exposure by Michael ListerBook: Double Exposure
Author: Michael Lister
Publisher: Tyrus Books
Date: September 1, 2009
Genre: thriller
Pages: 240
Price: Kindle under $5.00; paperback $14.95
My rating: mild thriller filled with action and drama
 

I had not read any of Michael Lister‘s books until Double Exposure, so I didn’t know what to expect. After reading the blurb on the cover: “… absolutely riveting! … squeezed every ounce of terror and thrills out of a dark night in the woods” I thought this book is one I would not want to read late at night. I can be easily spooked, especially if I am really drawn into the story. Not to worry.

There was one section near the end where I did feel the tension, but the rest of the story was mild as a thriller. I’m sure it could easily affect other readers quite differently. Although intended to add suspense, what broke the tension for this reader was how, in many places, the author wrote in clipped one word thoughts. It left much for one to imagine, which can be a good thing, but it also seemed to yank the reader through the story, the choppiness tending to keep one from fully engaging in the drama.

Remington James moves back to Florida after his father’s death and takes on the care of his ailing mother. He also picks up his camera again, something he had drifted away from in favour of the big income. While trekking through his father’s woodland (left to him) to check out his camera traps (hidden cameras set up to capture wildlife images when he is not there to do it) he discovers something unthinkable. Soon after, he finds himself in a dire situation. The rest of the story is the main character’s struggle to survive and all the dangers set against him.

Despite what I said in the second paragraph, Double Exposure does have its high points. Michael Lister has written a story that is gripping and action-filled. His main character becomes an accidental victim and is mercilessly pursued through hazardous circumstances. Never mind some questionable moments, this is a story that pulls the reader along just to find out what is going to happen next. If you enjoy thrillers, chances are you will like Double Exposure.

You can find Double Exposure listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Untraceable – by S. R. Johannes

Untraceable by S.R.JohannesBook: Untraceable
Author: S. R. Johannes
Publisher: Coleman and Stott
Date: January 10, 2014
Genre: teen thriller
Pages: 314
Price: $11.50 on Kindle
My rating: Action-packed, suspenseful adventure
 

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Author S.R. Johannes has created an action-packed thriller for young adults that will certainly keep them reading. In Untraceable she introduces us to Grace, the teen daughter of a forest ranger who went missing three months before and whom everyone has given up as dead. Everyone, that is, except Grace, who gets into trouble more than once in her quest to find her father. Not only does she get into trouble with the local police and her mother (with whom she is always fighting), she becomes caught up in a very dangerous situation when discovering something she is not supposed to know.

Grace does have an ally – an ex-boyfriend who, although not as nature savvy as she, has stuck by her through her risky schemes while trying his best to help at great risk to himself. Then there is the mystery guy Grace comes across while fishing. She can’t help falling for him, even though she is nervous about getting involved with anyone. Unfortunately, what she learns about him turns her world, and her heart, upside down.

S. R. Johannes builds suspense as Grace keeps seeking clues, getting deeper into a mess she may not be able to remedy. What she finds is shocking. The visuals in this story make the reader wince but simultaneously want to keep reading because it’s hard to put the book down.

Untraceable by S.R. Johannes is an action-packed novel teens will enjoy. It is the first book in the Nature of Grace teen thriller series. Book two has been released and the third book is to be released in June 2014.

You can find Untraceable listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

 Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 
 

Book Review: The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge – by Christine Nolfi

The Tree of Everlasting KnowledgeBook: The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge
Author: Christine Nolfi
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing  Platform
Date: March 15, 2012
Genre: fiction, romance/mystery/suspense 
Pages: 382, paperback
Price: $13.95; less in Kindle
My rating: A gripping story that stirs emotions and feelings on many levels.
 

I won a copy of this adult book from the author.

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge begins with a hook (a line that grabs one’s interest), and the reader’s curiosity is stirred immediately.

Our main character, Ourania (whose name I’m never sure I am correctly pronouncing – and I do ‘hear’ the words even as I read along silently) is a strong single woman, who owns and operates her own electrical contracting business. She bids on – and is accepted for – a challenging job that places her directly in the path and life of a man she once knew. Then her life gets really complicated.

Because of her mother’s work in family services, she gets pulled into foster parenting – and not of one child but of two troubled siblings.  As if her job’s stability isn’t precarious enough already, things start heating up between her and the man who hired her, she feels threatened by dominating male presence on the job site, and her private life gets more complicated as she has to deal with the young children’s issues when she knows little about parenting. Besides all that, the children’s safety is at risk and she must somehow protect them although they resent her.

Does this intrigue you so far? Read on.

There is this ancient tree, a tree that – if given the ability – could reveal secrets that would boggle one’s mind. Besides its being a private meeting place for people over the years, some of them romantic interludes, there had been a savage, brutal act committed there decades before. We learn with Ourania what an impact this one site had and will have on her life, along with other shocking information she struggles to handle.

Not wanting to give away any more of the story, I will say that Christine Nolfi wrote an interesting, gripping, yet tragic tale. The way she connected everyone works well. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a painful story to read, while being a hopeful one through which love winds its way.

What doesn’t work for me is the repetitive lusting after one another
… but that’s my personal preference; it seems to be what many people want to read. I also found it unnecessary to repeat the explanation of one person we never meet except in the characters’ telling and thinking. Once or twice is fine, I believe the reader will remember from there.

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a title I wondered about until I got into the story. Although it was difficult to read in places because of the rawness of human nature being exposed, I found it harder to NOT read this book. If you enjoy a little romance interwoven with suspense, mystery, and drama, I believe you will like Christine Nolfi’s The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge from its beginning page to its dramatic end.

Watch for a soon-upcoming interview with Christine Nolfi, the author of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.  She will be offering a copy of this book to one reader-commenter at that time!

You can find The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Book Review: Without a Hitch – by Andrew Price

Without a Hitch - Andrew PriceBook: Without a Hitch
Author: Andrew Price
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date: June 4, 2012
Genre: legal thriller
Pages: 408; paperback
Price: $12.99 paperback, also on Kindle for less
My rating: Riveting, suspenseful, tense, well worth the breathlessness
 

At first I wasn’t sure about reading a thriller, but I decided to take a chance on Without a Hitch. Once I got into this story there was no turning back. The author, Andrew Price, cleverly caught and held my attention from the first page onward.

This debut novel is about two lawyers who concoct a scheme to get rich, not exactly legally. Well, actually – not legally at all. That’s where the trouble starts, and it builds to such a heightened point of stress that I had to walk away a few times to breathe. Really.

Having said that, don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed this book almost completely. I say ‘almost’, because of some of the language. If you have been following my reviews, then you know I hate the “f’ word, and this story is riddled with it in certain scenes. What makes it work is that the characters, one in particular, would use that speech if he were a real person living the life created for him by the author. Because I couldn’t bear to not know what was going to happen, I stuck with it. In fact, because of the suspense and effectively building tension, it was with difficulty that I did not skip ahead to find out some things before reading through. I made myself wait so as not to spoil the read.

There are several necessary characters (even a mystery man) created by Andrew – not all playing leading roles in this story, but important – in different capacities – to its forward motion and edginess. They also add to the drama and suspense, enough to keep the reader wondering and reading. They are so real-to-life I could visualize them, hear them, and identify with them in some of their behaviour. The dialogue is accurate, amusing, annoying – and playful when in the flirtatious scenes. The reader may even think, “I know someone like that.”

Because Andrew Price has inside knowledge of the legal field, having worked in various capacities for nearly two decades, he was able to write a story that is believable and enjoyable to read. His characters stay with the reader, and the ending he came up with made me say, “Huh?” I had to go back and reread the last page a few times, studying it for clues. It’s an ending that leaves you guessing and thinking about quite awhile after you lay down the book as ‘finished.’

I believe there is a series developing. And I want to follow it through, it’s that good.

You can find Without a Hitch listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Watch for an upcoming interview with Andrew Price, author of Without a Hitch. There will be a copy of Without a Hitch for one person who leaves a comment after the interview.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂