The Game / Perfectly Flawed (books 30 and 31)

The Game / A.J. Carella

Synopsis – A high-class prostitute falls in lust with the hired hand of her high-class pimp. The pimp doesn’t like this, and so he punishes the prostitute. But the prostitute doesn’t learn her lesson, falls in love with the now-fired hand, and leaves her boss to live happily-ever-after with her beau. The pimp really doesn’t like this, and makes plans to punish her like none of his girls have ever been punished. Will her knight in shining armor have the wherewithal to come to her rescue?

Reaction – This was an easy, breezy beach read with shallow characters and clichéd motivations. A lot of “telling” of characters’ emotions. The storyline was implausible, but the further I read, the more intrigued I was. Several subplots added interest to a damsel-in-distress story. By the end of the book I was invested in the characters and the conclusion.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

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Perfectly Flawed / Nessa Morgan

Synopsis – A teen struggles with the highs and lows of high school, friendships, bullies, and first love. A typical coming of age story in a typical American town. Only this teen isn’t so typical. She’s the only survivor of her dad’s murderous rampage on his family when she was eight. Mercifully, the memories of the years of abuse she endured are locked away in her mind. But as she moves on with her life, her mind slowly picks the lock on the secrets of her past. Will she ultimately find strength and happiness, or terror and despair?

Reaction – This story is told in the perspective of a typical self-absorbed, put-upon teen… except this teen just happens to be a knife attack survivor. The attack is revealed right away in the book, but then the storyline only briefly touches on the violence and the aftermath until the end of the book. The middle is a lot of often annoying – yet accurate – teenage stream-of-consciousness filler, with a fair number of dramatic scenes played out with stereotypical teen characters. The conclusion, however, is a surprise.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book which renewed my will to live.

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Famous / Hostile Witness (books 28 and 29)

Famous / Kate Langdon

Synopsis – A trio of single, successful, city girls spend their days climbing the corporate ladder and their nights downing bottles of champers and shagging foxy blokes. And downing champers. Did I mention downing champers? Until one of the girls happens to accidentally shag a famous bloke. Now the girl is famous too. And everybody in Britain is chuffed, one way or the other. Time to trade those stilettos for trainers and trade one identity for another, for a while. At least until the media frenzy fizzles out.

Reaction – This book was a breezy read of stereotypical city girl characters living stereotypical city girl life. Shopping sprees, spa treatments, and girl talk galore. A few hilarious scenes made this book worth my time. But the ending was unrealistic and moralistic, in my opinion. Read this if you’re into beach reads and chick lit lite.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

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Hostile Witness / Rebecca Forster

Synopsis – Hannah loves her mother, Linda. She’ll do anything for her. And Linda loves her daughter, Hannah, even though she’s a psychologically unstable burden. Linda will do anything to keep them in a pampered, moneyed lifestyle. But now Linda says it looks like Hannah’s gone and done something really bad, the naughty demon seed. Something which could threaten the blended family name and the hefty inheritance. So Linda calls on her best friend from college to defend her daughter in court. How far will a mother go to protect the thing she loves most? How far will a defense attorney go to save a child?

Reaction – This book started slowly and plodded along until just before the half-way point. Then it picked up the pace – somewhat. At just after the half-way point, the characters showed their full personalities, and the action increased. But the story still could’ve used an all-over tightening. I had to wade through the filler to find the substance. Read this if you’re into legal thrillers with double plot twists.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book which renewed my will to live.

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Check out my interview of author David Beers – the first person to leave a comment on that post will WIN A FREE E-BOOK!


Author Spotlight- David Beers

David Beers

David Beers is a former pizza delivery guy, a yacht coveter, and a recently debuted author.

He tweetsposts, and updates from Florida.


CMStewart: First, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed your novels “The Devil’s Dream”  and “Dead Religion.” I recommend these novels to horror fans and thriller fans. I’m also a horror writer, and your books inspired me in my own writing. Thank you, David.

David Beers: That just made my entire week! I’m kind of speechless about to say about that, besides thank you for reading! That’s one of best compliments I’ve ever received and I’m smiling so hard right now.

CMS: What genre(s) do you like to read?

DB: I’m a pretty voracious reader. To give you a bit of an idea of what I read, right now I’m reading: The Brain and Buddhism (nonfiction), A Brief History of Nearly Everything (nonfiction comedy), Cholesterol Clarity (nonfiction nutrition), Good Calories, Bad Calories (nonfiction nutrition), and Carrion Comfort (horror).

I generally like anything from fantasy novels to nonfiction science, but I try to stay away from YA.

CMS: So YA is something you avoid. Why is that?

DB: My answer here might seem arrogant, but I promise it’s not meant to. I need a lot of mental stimulation, almost constant. I make sure I meditate early in the morning and that’s because the rest of the day I’m trying to find hard tasks to put my mind against. Young Adult fiction hasn’t been able to supply me with that–to me, they’re kind of like a James Patterson novel, fast but more of a surface skim rather than a deep dive. Again, no knock on people that love YA–my fiancée reads them constantly, and she’s a much better person than I am.

CMS: Religion is a major theme in your novels so far. Was this an intentional decision?

DB: I was brought up in a Christian fundamentalist household, and I think working my way through a lot of things I was taught in order to create my own belief system left a mark on me psychologically. I don’t intentionally ever create themes, but they do recur quite a lot. Religion is one. Loss of a loved one is another. Relationships between siblings is something else that I explore a lot both in my head and I think in my novels. I imagine themes will change as I continue growing as a person, as well.

CMS: Who are your favorite authors?

DB: Stephen King ranks at the top here. In the field of horror, he is the standard bearer.

Robert Pirsig is an absolute genius, and it’s unfortunate that he only published two novels.

George R.R. Martin, as far as I’m concerned, has replaced Tolkien.

I also am excited to see how Joe Hill’s career turns out. So far, I’m wildly impressed.

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Card never reached so high again, but to do it once is more than most people can ask.

CMS: Do you focus on one genre in your writing?

DB: No, not at all. I write stories that I like telling, and they tend to be darker, and can mix elements of horror and science fiction into them. At the same time though, I find myself writing a good bit about love, although not your typical romance novel type love.

However, I never think about genre when I write. I think about characters, and everything else comes from what those characters tell me about themselves.

CMS: When did you first know you wanted to be an author, and what were the circumstances?

DB: I worked in a pizza shop during my undergraduate years, and I remember the exact moment with surprising clarity. My boss was twenty-six, about to graduate college, and I asked him what his plans were once he graduated—because surely no one wanted to get a degree and then manage a pizza parlor.

He looked at me like I was either willfully ignorant or slightly stupid; I imagine he was unsure which. He said, “I’m a writer, man.”

Before that moment, I’d written my entire life and never once thought it could be a profession. That sentence, though, opened my mind to a completely different universe of possibilities.

CMS: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors in general?

DB: I do. Well, for entrepreneurs, but a writer (whether they know it or not), is an entrepreneur.

What you need to be an entrepreneur (in order of importance):

1. Vision. You have to see yourself in the future. This is important because every day is not rainbows and puppies. There are a lot of days where you feel like quitting, even more days where you look at someone with half the talent you possess, and wonder–’just how in the hell is this guy doing it?’ Yeah, that’s jealousy, but so what? Without vision, without seeing where this will end, or at the least, has a possibility to end, YOU’RE GOING TO QUIT. Before you start down the road of opening a business, know exactly where you want to end up. Don’t say, I want to be rich. Don’t say I want to be famous. Your vision needs to be specific and attainable. Some people say put a timeline on it; I don’t subscribe to that, but specific and attainable are necessary.

2. Work. A Lot. A close, close second here. Between this and vision, you’re probably leaving behind 90-95% of the population. Much of the world values their down time as much or more as their productive time. I don’t understand these people, and I’m not going to lie, a part of me thinks they’re wasting their time here. That doesn’t matter for this post though. You have to put in more hours than anyone else. I’m not being facetious; that should be your goal. 70 hours a week, minimum. If you go into this thinking you’re going to work 40 hours and be successful, apply to Enterprise Rent-A- Car, because owning a business isn’t your calling. I wake up at 4 AM weekdays and don’t stop producing until 6 PM. That’s fourteen hours. Plus another thirty minutes to an hour of studying between 8-9:30. So, around a fifteen hour workday. On the weekends, I slack. I probably only work five hours on Saturday and then another five on Sunday.

That’s 85 hours and I feel like I could be doing more.

3. Read Everything. The first two on this list will be absolutely nothing if you don’t follow this. Charlie Munger called Warren Buffett a learning machine. You have to be one too. Each day, the entirety of your day has to be concerned with either producing or learning (both, daily). To learn, you can watch television, but mostly you’re going to get garbage. The real learning comes from reading. I don’t care if it’s blogs, messageboards, books, newspaper articles, fiction, non-fiction, memoir. I don’t care. Just read. Read extensively in your field and extensively out of your field. Right now, a book I picked up on a whim–A Brief History of Nearly Everything has substantially influenced Against the Dark, so much so that the book would have been a completely different novel if I never read that non-fiction novel. Stretch yourself to read until your eyes hurt and you think you can’t find anything else to read. Then read another sentence.

4. Concentrate on Positives. Learn from Negatives. You’re going to have a lot of negative experiences, and the human brain is wired to pay more attention to them. This comes from our hunter-gatherer days, in which a lion looking at you was a lot more important than an apple tree. We put more emphasis on negatives in our lives, and that can change your entire mindset. When something negative occurs, find out the source of that event, and move on. When something positive occurs, spend time–a good bit of time, focusing on that positive event. This will help rewire your brain as well as put you into a better mindset.

5. Customers First. When I’m not crafting a novel, I’m thinking about what I can do for my fans. Have I answered all my fan mail? Have I spent adequate time thinking and coming up with ideas that can delight them besides the novel? When I’m actually writing the novel, I’m constantly thinking of one fan in my mind (I won’t say who), and I’m wondering what he/she will think given this or that. I try to make sure that fan is going to be pleased, because if he/she is, then I’ve done my job well. Your customers are your heart that that keeps blood pumping throughout your body. They’re your core. Treat them well.

6. Build a Network. I ignored this for so long and it has hurt me. I was like, f-it, I’m going to write good stories and the world can find me. That’s a fine attitude to have, I suppose, and it helped me develop into the writer I am, but if that’s the case–don’t be surprised if the world doesn’t find you. When you’re reading, when you’re learning, converse with people about your thoughts. Promote others. Help others. Become their friends and ask them to be your friends. Bill Clinton didn’t become President because he shagged well; he became President because he had the ability to make friends out of anyone he came in contact with. That’s your goal. The more friends you have, the more you can help them, and the more they will help you.

7. Have a Supporting Significant Other. This is number 7, because some people don’t have a significant other. If you do, then this is up there with vision, because if he/ she doesn’t understand your vision, it’s over. All of it. I have probably the best significant other I could ask for. I go to bed at 8 PM, wake up at 4 AM. I spend about an hour to an hour and a half with her on the weekdays, a bit more on weekends. She wakes up at five in the morning to edit my work before she goes to work. She doesn’t complain.

She sees the vision. Could I do this without her? Sure. If she left me for some reason, I could continue doing what I’m doing–however, could I stay with her (which I need) and continue with this if she didn’t see my vision? No. Not at all. Be thankful for your other half, and make sure they know you are.

CMS: Do you have any advice specifically for writerly yacht enthusiasts with a pizza delivery background?

DB: Yeah.

Party hard. Help others. Try to produce something of value every single day. Attend therapy regularly. Meditate. Remember to appreciate those that allow you in their life.

Seek truth. Stay out of needless Facebook debates. Track everything important to you meticulously. Write for the sake of writing, not for the sake of ‘making it’ (I don’t care what Russell Blake says about this).

CMS: What are your long-term goals or ambitions as a career author?

DB: Long term goal? Simple, really, I guess—to be remembered for my work. That’s it.

Short term, as in my life time? To be able to pay back my fiancée—for all of her endless devotion to this start-up I’m building—with massive amounts of shoes and jewelry.

Part of me hates Kanye West with a passion that runs deeper than the Mariana Trench, and the other part of me is like, dude is right. No one wants to say their goals because they sound grandiose, and make you seem arrogant. If I’m being honest though, and indeed that’s what the Good Lord told us to do, I’d have to say my goal is to be known across dark fiction genres as someone who consistently delivers quality prose and compelling stories. People may show that they appreciate this prose and excellent fiction by showering me with money and praise.

CMS: What’s next for David Beers?

DB: Surprisingly, a lot. I actually just hired two people that work exclusively for me, so it’s going to give me a lot more control over what I’m producing.

I have the first part of a 2-3 book series coming out this summer. It’s titled: Against the Dark.

I’m finishing up the sequel to The Devil’s Dream in the next week—should have a summer release date. I’m also working on a serial novel which I’m digging just about as much as anything I’ve ever written. It’s called: A Series of Somewhat, but not Entirely, Sinister Business Proposals. It’ll be at least ten parts, so around 130,000 words.

All in all, I hoping by this time next year I have out an additional 5 books, with five chapters of the serial novel available as well.

CMS: Whoa, that’s a whole lotta writing, and more books for me to read. But I digress . . What’s something your fans don’t know about you?

DB: Oh, man. I’m pretty open and honest about everything—especially to fans that follow me on Facebook.

One thing that they don’t know—my cholesterol numbers are absolutely horrible by traditional medical standards, and I’m not the slightest bit worried about this (see the book Good Calories, Bad Calories above).

CMS: Any final comments?

DB: Just a great big thank you to CM for allowing me to talk a bit about myself as well as reviewing my novels!

Oh yeah, I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly certain that signing up for my mailing list improves your chances of dying from any sort of disease by about 50%.

CMS: Awesome! I’m signed up.


If you wanna read my reviews of Beers’ books, click anywhere on this sentence.


 List o’ Beers’ links:

mailing list AKA free stuff

The Devil's Dream e-book

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The Devil’s Dream / Dead Religion (books 26 and 27)

The Devil’s Dream / David Beers

Synopsis – In an act of racist violence – or accidental over-vigilance, depending on your perspective – the world’s most intellectually gifted person loses what is most important to him. That’s bad enough, but it turns out the former wunderkind is now a mad scientist with one goal in mind. He will bring his slain son back to life, and wreak vengeful destruction and death while doing so. And if the world tries to stop him, he will simply stop the world. He can do that, you know – he’s an evil über genius.

Reaction – The action was fast and brutal, and the characters were 3-dimensional and palpable. At times I wondered just how far a genius intellect could carry the world’s most wanted criminal, even if he was motivated by all-consuming love and vengeance. The actual science of the resurrection was a bit like watching Frankenstein’s monster come to life, but I compartmentalized that into the main character’s deluded state of mind. A couple plot twists nearly had my jumping off the edge of my seat. Read this if you’re into “mad scientist” stories served with blood and guts.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

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Dead Religion / David Beers

Synopsis – An ancient god of destruction and death comes back from hibernation for its final hurrah. But the last true believer isn’t willing to surrender. Even with a past including violently self-destructive parents and institutionalization for clinical insanity, this theist isn’t going down without taking his evil god with him. What happens when an iron will battles a voracious theity?

Reaction – This book read like the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” played… layered, vast, drawn out, and with several BAM-POW scenes which counterbalanced the meditative stretches. The psychological horror was well-executed in a supernatural framework. A fair amount of violence and gory imagery.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

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The Outlaw Among Us / Sworn Secret: A Novel (books 24 and 25)

The Outlaw Among Us / Nathan Dodge

Synopsis – Mr. and Mrs. Average American are living their average working-class lives with their average children in an average working-class neighborhood. That is, until Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy Gorgeous move into the house two doors down. When Mr. WG showers Mr. AA with free limo rides, major league baseball games, strip club outings, and booze, Mr. AA is hooked. But then Mr. WG saves Mr. AA’s life by shooting a street thug. But Mr. WG doesn’t want the police involved. Too complicated. Then of course, things get even more complicated. Soon Mr. AA is in way over his head in a deadly game of espionage, terrorism, and psychopathic manipulation.

Reaction – This story was a fascinating study of the ways and means of psychopaths and their victims. As the psychopathic couple ensnared the unsuspecting man with money and favors, I found myself wondering how obvious – or concealed – their motives may appear to somebody who is going through one major life crisis after another. Indeed, desperate circumstances call for desperate battles. Just how far do players in a web of deceit go to win the war? The story was written in a conversational style, and the main character arc was a surprise. Read this if you’re into psychological horror with a twist.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

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Sworn Secret: A Novel / Amanda Jennings

Synopsis – Picture a close-knit, loving family – a wife, a husband, and two lovely teenage daughters attending a good school with dedicated faculty. Of course, “picture-perfect” isn’t always what is seems. Now picture the unthinkable. A daughter falls from the roof of the school. Was it an accident? A suicide? Or something more sinister? In the aftermath of a tragic death, devastating secrets are revealed. When confronted with damning evidence, can a grieving family accept one of their own was leading a double life? As the layers of secrets and lies are peeled away, the exposed reality tears apart a community and drives the survivors over the edge of sanity.

Reaction – This complex, multi-layered novel was masterfully written. The characters were real and sympathetic. Reading the story was like watching a slow-motion train wreck of raw twisted drama and shattered emotion. One tragedy dominoed another, which dominoed another… I teared up toward the end, and I’m usually quite stoic. How much pain can one strong family endure? Read this book and find out.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

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