Rosemary’s Baby (book 56)

Rosemary’s Baby / Ira Levine

Synopsis – Rosemary desperately wants to have a baby. The time is right, and everything is in place. She’s married to a loving, successful man. They have enough money, a coveted spacious apartment, and dear, doting neighbors. And now Rosemary’s husband is finally on board with delivering a baby. But something’s not right with the pregnancy. Come to think of it, nothing is quite right, including the fact that the pregnancy is the result of rape. How could Rosemary’s sweet, caring husband rape her while she was passed out? Well, maybe he wasn’t the actual rapist, but he’s not off the hook… And never mind that, she’s several months along and rape is the least of her worries. Seems Rosemary and her rapey hubby aren’t the only ones who desperately want a baby…

Reaction – A great book to read if you like to explore “what if” scenarios. Rosemary seems incredibly a bit daft at times, but I was able to attribute that to the influence of love and pregnancy hormones. And all the drugs her caretakers were giving her. This story is skillfully written and palpable, with a sinister plot and believable characters. Read this for breathless suspense and an ending that leaves you hanging…

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Rosemarys-Baby-Ira-Levin-ebook/dp/B004W8NS5U

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A Murder in Time / Spellbound (books 54 and 55)

A Murder in Time / Jonas Saul

Synopsis – Marcus is a guy who thinks he has little to lose. In his 20s, he knows he will develop early onset Alzheimer’s disease in a few years. His mother is dead, and his father is a broken-down alcoholic. He works for low pay in an adult toy store. So he figures he’s gotta grab that brass ring one way or another before his lucid time runs out. But when Marcus robs the toy store, his plan doesn’t go off without a hitch or three. He doesn’t factor in that actions have consequences. Enter the secret weapon – Marcus discovers he can travel backward in time to “fix” his actions. But each “fix” leads to another consequence, and the consequences quickly become unbearable…

Reaction – Smooth, fluid writing, but the storyline gets more confused as the novel progresses. Granted, it’s a paradoxical time travel book, but at the end I was wondering if Marcus was already displaying Alzheimer’s symptoms. Marcus inexplicably seeks help from a therapist he knows has been drugging and raping him for years. That bothered me. He also keeps making little jumps back in time to prevent little mistakes, instead of jumping back to prevent the big mistake which started the whole mess. That also bothered me. High suspense, and I really rooted for the guy, even though he was an idiot.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Time-Novel-Jonas-Saul-ebook/dp/B00GJ2IHAS

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Spellbound / Tim Kizer

Synopsis – What if you drive to some podunk town, check into a motel, and within a few days, start meeting people who say you’ve been there for months? What if you start to believe them? After all, these people seem friendly and honest. Heck, the whole town is downright likeable. And the motel itself – you wouldn’t mind calling it “home.” Come to think of it, that’s just what you’re gonna do. Be a permanent guest. Just like all the other guests at the motel. Never mind about your spouse and job left back in your former hometown. Mind control or demonic possession – who cares, as long as you and your new friends are happy.

Reaction – The first half of this book was staccato and flat. The characters were dull and the action was monotonous. But still, the writing had a nice dream-like quality, and I gradually found myself getting into the zombie-like rhythm. The second half of the book got more active and exciting. The spouse of the main character concocted all kinds of craziness to try to break the motel’s spell, which made for humorous reading. The repeated “penis” and “erection” references, however, only seemed to add to the odd one-dimensionality. Then the end was a true WTF moment. The storyline “resolved” itself without real explanation, unless you count an oh-so-brief non sequitur thrown into the last paragraph.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Spellbound—Suspense-Novel-Tim-Kizer-ebook/dp/B00KN9FHS8

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Blood Land / River on Fire (books 52 and 53)

Blood Land / R.S. Guthrie

Synopsis – The wife of a small town sheriff is murdered. The confessed killer? The victim’s brother. The motive? No motive, it was an accident. Or so it would seem. Generations of pride and prejudice run deep in this saga of steel-jawed ranchers gone bad(der). A family feud has boiled over and flame is still stuck on high. Personal demons and crippling self-doubt be damned, this sheriff must see the trial of his wife’s killer through to the bitter end. Which weaknesses will he choose to obey? And who is ultimately guilty in a family ruled by greed and guns?

Reaction – A fair amount of grandiosity and cowboy angst, but the seamy and mysterious undercurrent made this modern western highly readable. The characters were well-balanced and kept me on the fence. High plains suspense with a mysteriously likeable antagonist. Read this if you’re in the mood for a for a broken cowboy hero tale with a satisfying double twist at the end.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Land-James-Pruett-Mystery-ebook/dp/B008J4NKA6

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River on Fire / Scott Pratt

Synopsis – A boy, abandoned as a baby, grows up in an orphanage in the 1960s. As an outcast in school, and a victim of circumstance at the home, he learns to endure physical, sexual, and verbal abuse as a rite of passage. Through the tedium of years of abuse and mentoring, he transforms from a sensitive pacifist to a brawling army enlistee. On the cusp of adulthood, underneath his hardened exterior, he might still embrace a sliver of innermost childlike peace…

Reaction – This coming-of-age memoir-style novel lent itself to immediate empathy with this main character. As it was set in the turbulent 1960s, the cast of characters were swept up in intense social struggle and ideological transformation. The ending was wrapped up rather quickly, but upon finishing the book, I found my views on what it means to survive an abusive childhood had changed. Despite the harshness of the hardships, the story, as a whole, was uplifting. I highly recommend this book to those interested in exploring childhood abuse survival in a novel context.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/River-Fire-Scott-Pratt-ebook/dp/B006ZPRRVY

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Haunted House / Floor Four (books 50 and 51)

Haunted House / Jack Kilborn

Synopsis – Torture porn survivors are offered one million dollars each if they survive one more night of torture porn in a supposedly haunted mansion. All in the name of science, of course – a mad scientist wants to make an anti-fear serum from the torture porn survivors’ blood. But a real scientist wouldn’t really torture actual people, right? That would be unethical as well as illegal. Most of them survivors sign up and show up, and the torture begins. Damn. And when the would-be millionaires realize the mad scientist really is a mad scientist, the plucky band of survivors must figure out how to survive… again.

Reaction – The bulk of the first half the book vaguely describes the torture the survivors endured before they arrive at the mansion. The second half of the book describes the torture at the mansion. Gruesome stuff. But it’s unapologetic torture porn, and some people delight in reading it. One-dimensional characters, a predictable plot, and a cartoon ending. For torture porn fans only.

Recommendation – I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-House-Terror-Jack-Kilborn-ebook/dp/B00BOWPZUS

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Floor Four / A. Lopez, Jr.

Synopsis – A serial killer is finally shot and dies in a hospital, leaving his ghost behind to haunt the fourth floor. And the killer isn’t done killing. It seems he’s figured out a way to alternately possess people and take on material form. There’s some mad ghostly skills right there. After the hospital is abandoned, a trio of junior high school boys get caught up in the ghostly aftermath. Why won’t these kids listen to their elders these days? And wouldn’t ya know it, a dang whippersnapper’s done got himself possessed.

Reaction – A juvenile story with juvenile writing which may appeal to pre-teens. Shallow characters, a clunky storyline, and an unclear differentiation between imagination and reality, which I suspect was unintentional. The saving grace was it had the ineffable charm of a campfire story. A scary tale safe for all ages. Read this if you’re in the mood for an endearingly goofy ghost story.

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

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Floor-Four-Lopez-Jr-ebook/dp/B00CTF9OOM

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