Book Review: Mind Waves

review-cover-Mind WavesTitle: Mind Waves [Mind Hackers 1]

Author: Amanda Uhl

Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

If he can control her mind…

Government operative David Jenkins is skilled at controlling his emotions. Feelings are lethal when your job is to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and guard the nation’s intellectual capital. But even he can’t fight his strange attraction to Grace Woznisky. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect her from a madman intent on possessing both their minds. Neither suspect their dangerous enemy has a larger motive, and David may be Grace’s only chance for survival.

Can he control her heart?

All freelance artist Grace wants is steady-paying work and to see her flighty sister to the altar. But after David offers her a job, she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war—one that has her reeling from nightmares and fighting for her life. She must decide: Are her growing feelings for her new boss authentic, or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, Mind Waves by Amanda Uhl isn’t my typical pick for a romance. Sure, it has all the elements I love in fiction: Suspense, Romance, Paranormal… but I don’t often look to combine all three. However, I find that I enjoyed this book regardless. There was a lot of tension in this book and a sense of imminent danger. The romance was equal parts dangerous, sweet, and sexy.

The only thing that didn’t quite sit right with me was the mind-reading bits (and I’ll admit that’s a pretty significant part of the book). I couldn’t get over the weird in-mind visuals of the guys fighting with long whip-like arms, the constant referral to “portals” and “happy place”. It came across as a bit cheesy. Although I can’t quite put my finger on it, it felt almost… dated… reminding me of similar books I read in the late 90’s. I’m sure it’s probably just a personal hang up… but I just couldn’t get over it.

I also wish the sweet and sometimes sexy romance between the two main characters had been a little more sexually charged. The couple spent so much time doubting and arguing with each other that I sometimes forgot they were in love. It would have been nice to see a little more sexual tension thrown in, and a few more endearing moments to round it out.

That being said–it wasn’t all bad. I found the plot compelling. I liked the characters (even the evil ones). The writing was impeccable; the pace moved along steadily and I never ran into any jarring grammatical issues or structure hang-ups. Despite my rather tepid feelings towards how the mind-reading was handled, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. Which why I gave it four stars. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of readers out there that enjoy certain aspects of the books more than I did, and I encourage you to give this book a try if it sounds like something you might be interested in. I’d say it leans a little more heavily towards the suspenseful side of the plot than the romance, but there’s still a good measure of romance to it. Give it a try.

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Book Review: The Longest Con

review-cover-the longest conTitle: The Longest Con

Author: Michaelbrent Collings

Genre: Mystery, Humor, Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.

See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.

Of course, you probably already knew that.

But did you ALSO know that…

every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.

Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.

Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.

I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.

It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.

Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.

JUST READ THIS BOOK.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would—but oh how I’d hoped I would! The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings was a quirky mix of Comedy, Urban Fantasy, and Detective Mystery. It’s full of hilarious, often snarky comments from the main character, and strange colorful characters that range from ex-succubi, mafia-like nerds that seem to rule conventions, and Kevin Bacon look-alike brownies.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were a few minor typos, but nothing book-breaking. In fact, the only real complaint I have about the writing throughout the entirety of the book is that sometimes the comedy of the narrative style and the main character tended to overshadow the plot of the book. There were lots of asides and quirky comments that made me laugh out loud, but it did tend to distract from the mystery.

That aside, I loved the book. The author has a definite talent for humor, and the strange and unique characters I encountered kept me interested in the story. If you want something fun to read, and you enjoy conventions and general geekdom, I would highly recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. It was a spectacularly fun adventure, and I am most definitely a fan.

Book Review: Descended From Dragons

review-cover-descended from dragonsTitle: Descended From Dragons [Moonlight Dragon 1]

Author: Tricia Owens

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars (4.7)

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Description / Synopsis:

Beneath the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas lies another city. A secret city in plain sight, full of warlocks and demons, shapeshifters and golems. A city that feeds off the chance magick that is generated by gamblers and which is ruled by mysterious beings called the Oddsmakers.

It is in this strange underbelly of the occult that Anne Moody runs a cursed pawn shop for the desperate, the curious, and the magickally inclined. Though the job is boring, it keeps her under the radar. None of her customers have any inkling that she is a dragon sorceress with a power that’s been feared throughout history. One day, a visitor to her shop pawns a stone statue that is more than it appears. The statue is a gargoyle named Vale, who is shrouded in mystery and secrets. When she learns that Vale is possessed, and that the person responsible for cursing him plans to take over Las Vegas with a horde of demons from Hell, Anne realizes it is up to her to defy the Oddsmakers and save the city, and possibly the world.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Descended From Dragons by Tricia Owens was so much more than I expected. I’ll be honest; I get a dozen or more review requests a day from hopeful authors, so as you can imagine, I’m fairly picky about what I accept. This was one of those books that I saw and thought “meh… it’s going to be hokey probably, but what the hell. I haven’t read anything like it in awhile.” and I picked it up on a whim. Thank goodness I did.

I loved it. The characters were colorful and unique, the writing was fluid and easy to follow. I ran into no typos or mistakes in the narrative…. it was a joy to read—and it was funny. I so rarely get humorous romance books, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The idea of the magical pawn shop that Anne oversees was genius. I found it incredibly interesting, and what I wouldn’t give to be able to peruse the shelves!

If I had one (okay two) nitpicks, they’d be 1. I wish there was more romance… because it was adorable. and 2. I wish the book had been longer because I honestly didn’t want to put it down. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy / paranormal / romance with a hint of humor, I would highly recommend you pick this up and give it a try. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading further into the series.