Review of ‘The Holdout’

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Robin Bricker has a mission. She wanted to win a million bucks on the reality TV show, ‘Holdout.’ Then, she fell for Grant, another contestant, who was merely using her to position himself to win. Humiliated, and facing family issues, Robin returns home to Iowa to await the final reunion episode of ‘Holdout.’ Then, she’s called to jury duty, where she learns the importance of being willing to stand alone when necessary, but more importantly, she learns to trust again.

Holdout by Laurel Osterkamp is a fascinating novella. The dialogue is sparkling, the descriptions are just detailed enough to put you in the picture without boring you, and the characters seem like people you know—some of whom you really don’t like too much. Osterkamp writes with an authoritative hand, packing a lifetime worth of interest in a few words.

Absolutely brilliant. Five stars.

Review of ‘The Witch’s Kiss: Episode 2’

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Ever since Ezemalda and the genie escaped from him, the Dark Prince has plotted revenge. He finally finds an opportunity in the form of a mortal, Sbyil Van Dyk, who comes to them asking their help in terminating a contract with the Dark Prince. Little do they know, though, that in helping her, they expose themselves to the clutches of their nemesis.

I received a free copy of The Witch’s Kiss: Episode 2 by Antara Mann in exchange for my review. While a nice, and mostly entertaining read, this wasn’t as good, or as interesting, as book 1, and there were more grammatical errors than in the first book. I give this one three stars.

Review of ‘Slimmer’

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Sandy’s new boyfriend, Donald, is constantly on her back about how much she eats. She loves him, so when he gives her pills that he tells her will keep her from gaining weight, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately for the both, the pills have some unusual side effects.

If you want to know what they are, you’ll just have to read Regina Puckett’s extremely short book, Slimmer. Puckett writes with a deft touch and a wicked sense of humor, and you’ll enjoy this story despite a few typos that intrude in strategic places.

I liked the story, but because of those typos, I give it three and a half stars.

Review of ‘The Memory Lights’

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Mary – Mad Molly – is afraid of the street lights, but she can’t remember why. Working as part of Colin Raynor’s gang of cut purses and pickpockets, she wanders London’s streets. She walks in a perpetual daze – trying to remember. When Colin is hired to break another felon, Matthew Magnuson, out of jail, events are set in motion that penetrate deeply into Mary’s fogged consciousness, dredging up vague memories that could be dangerous – dangerous to her and those around her.

In The Memory Lights, K.M. Weiland takes us on a scenic tour through a tortured mind. A gripping story that is hard to classify, Lights has elements of mystery, thriller, horror, and psycho-drama all effectively intertwined into a fast-moving narrative that was fun to read. A short book, it really qualifies as a novelette – although some people dislike the use of this diminutive word – or even a bound short story. Whatever, it’s just about the right length for the story being told.

I received a free review copy of this work, but it’s worth the investment of a purchase. Even though I reviewed an electronic copy, it’s the type I believe more effectively read in paper copy, so that the crinkling of pages being turned can add to the overall tingling effect of the story.

I gave it three stars because of some typos very early that, while they don’t take away from the effectiveness of the story necessarily, are distracting because of their obviousness.

Review of “Ryann” by Paul Dorset

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Ryann, by Paul Dorset, is a pithy novella about Ryann, a slave, or sclava, in the castle of Lord Cala, who seeks to earn enough coin to buy her freedom. Taken as a sclava after her parents died, she must labor from dawn to dusk, and suffer the unwelcome attention of the lord’s evil son, Master Bramwell.

One-by-one, Ryann watches her friends die at the hands of Bramwell, a spoiled scion of the lord of the manor, who must struggle with his own demons. Finally, Ryann realizes that there is only way out for her, she must duel with Bramwell.

The action, as she prepares for her fateful encounter, is non-stop and the emotions are raw and nerve-jangling. Although written for a young audience, Ryann will also appeal to older fans of the genre. This is a well written short piece that can be read in one sitting, and at the end will leave you wanting more.