This site is basically targeting all of you book lovers out there who may be in the process of looking for a great book to read! I have a lot of things to say, so sit back and enjoy a quick peek inside some amazing works of art. This site is also for authors. if you would like to have your book considered for review, please email me at ashley.denis@maine.edu <3 Ashley

Sunday, March 29, 2009

THE GRACE NOTE-BRIAN L. DOE

I try really hard to not judge a book by its cover because more often than not I find that it doesn't give me the correct opinion of the book, but for some reason I did not care for the cover of this book, so I couldn't help but think that I may not like this story. Boyyyyy was I wrong. I loved it, couldn't put it down, and read it virtually straight through til' the end.
Brian L. Doe did an amazing job with this one and I was proud to read it. visit www.frontstreetreviews for a copy of the review below as well as more great reviews!


Captivated from the very first page, Brian L. Doe has created a story of tragedy, redemption, and love. This book came full circle; starting with my tears upon the pages at the beginning, then spilling again at the last pages.
Alexander Brogan is a violinist and a Julliard instructor. His life appears to be going perfect; his job is going extremely well and he is with a woman whose passion is stronger than anything he has ever known. Simply put, he is captivated by her. When a terrible tragedy takes her away from him, Alex finds himself spiraling down into a black abyss. He no longer knows who he is or what he wants. He feels his life is basically over and passionless.
Moving to a small town to get out of the city and away from the memories, Alex finds himself spending a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing. One day he hears a girl playing the violin; his neighbor of all people. Thinking that fate is playing a cruel trick on him he tries to ignore it. As much as he tries, Alex can’t stop thinking of the violin and the beautiful music it creates. These memories are bitter sweet because with the good feelings comes the sad memories of what he once had before it was ripped away from him.
Giving in, Alex decides to instruct the girl, finding out that she is a prodigy. Alex soon finds himself caught up in his new life, feeling as though he is being given a second chance, but at the same time feeling as though he is betraying his beloved.
This beautifully crafted story takes its readers on a journey. This journey teaches us that when unexpected tragedy strikes, you can still continue living your life. It teaches you about fate and human emotions; allowing us to experience Alex’s most vulnerable side as we fight with him to get out of his grief and continue his life with new vigor, but never forgetting those he loved and lost. We are right beside Alex every step of the way as he learns how to love again and re-create himself into a man so filled with love and passion that you can’t help but fall in love with him.
Brian L. Doe is very talented with his words and painting his readers a very clear and vivid picture. I would recommend this book to anyone who has experienced a loss in their life. This uplifting and heartfelt story will give you hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

THE HERMIT- RAY HOLLAND

I honestly did not think I would like this story very much, but it was unlike any other I have read and really was quite entertaining. I think this is a good read for anyone, and can lighten any mood. check out www.frontstreetreviews.com for more reviews like the one below.



Ray Holland breaks his story up into two parts; The Mayor’s Daughter and The Hermit. Part one focuses mostly on the Mayor’s daughter. The reader soon learns that she is a nice enough girl, with a nice enough life. Her focus in this hilariously light story is finding men to play ‘bouncy-bouncy’ with, (and no, I did not make up that word. It came from the book, I swear!). When she sets her sight on a man, she goes home with him. As they are doing their thing, the earth shakes, strange animals make appearances, and vortexes appear. This is Ray Holland’s way of telling the reader that amazing things happened in the bedroom.
Part two of the story focuses more on the hermit. This hermit went to hermit school, did an apprenticeship with another hermit and now for the past fifty years has made his career out of being a hermit. His spiritual life goal is to reach the High Plane of Astral Everythingness. There are approximately 143 steps that need to be taken to get there. Well on his way to reaching this goal, he starts to get distracted by visions and dreams of the Mayor, his daughter, and a few others, all of whom he has never met before.
The story continues on its light and hilarious path and the two characters end up meeting. The best way to describe this story is to first say that all seriousness goes out the window as soon as you open the front cover. This oddly fascinating and refreshingly original story is unlike any other! I wouldn’t even know what category to put it in. It isn’t a children’s book because it has adult humor in it, but at the same time it is non offensive. This story can be enjoyed by all. It’s like thinking of some of the silliest things and words you can possibly think up in your head and mixing it in with a simple story line. It is really quite genius!
Ray Holland has an amazing talent for writing, but also an uncanny knack for breaking the unspoken rules of traditional storytelling and creating something truly inspirational- an amazing read that will keep you grinning ear to ear until the very end!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AUTHORS

I have had quite a few authors contact me recently who have seen my blog. They have requested a review of their book. Originally this site was intended just for readers who were looking for a good book, as I already review for frontstreet.com, but I am finding that I do have a little bit of time in my busy schedule to do some reviewing on the side.
That being said, if any authors are interested in having their book considered for review, please email me at ashley.denis@maine.edu. Your review will be posted not only on this site, but on http://www.frontstreetreviews.com/ as well. Two places for your book to be seen! Can't beat that! :-)

Please visit the above site, or sift through some of my reviews here if you would like to get a feel for the way I write.

<3>

ETHICS

Okay, I just responded to an email from an author, a pretty amazing one at that, about the topic of ethics when it comes to reviewing. I have never seen any actually written down, but are there a core set of them in a book somewhere that reviewers are supposed to know about and follow? If so, someone please email me or write on here to share it with everyone.
I always have used common sense when I write my reviews. As you can see on some of them, I write less than favorable reviews, but in my opinion I am always being honest. the big 'BUT' in my book is that there is a difference between being honest and open about a book and being a total jerk-face. Yes, I said jerk-face. :-)
I hope in my not-so-positive reviews I have at least shown authors the respect they deserve. I may not agree with the topic they write about, the message they are sending, or the way they write their books, but for the record, they deserve TONS of credit and respect. They are pouring their heart and souls out to the public and sharing their creation. I look up to each and every author so much and hope to someday be able to say I did more than have a few of my reviews published. Although I did just recently have one published on the front page of a book, ahmm, but that's getting off topic.
So yea, if anyone out there has any knowledge of a set of ethics around reviewing, please let me know! and to those reviewers out there who aren't aware. Our words can cause a lot of damage. There is a difference between disliking a piece of work and saying it needs some more editing, than just writing down hurtful things just because you can. Think about that next time you go and write a nasty review.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

THE COURTIER'S SECRET-DONNA RUSSO MORIN

This book was awesome! It gave great some great history, allowed you to see what life was like back then, and really showed you the courage of one girl and her fight to live a life worth living. I couldn't put this book down! Below is my review, which you can also view at http://www.frontstreetreviews.com/


This story was absolutely enchanting. Set in the 1600’s, with King Louis XIV as ruler, Donna Russo Morin gives her readers an inside look at what life was like inside the walls of Versailles. She allows us to experience just how ridiculous people acted to get in the good graces of the King and Queen and to witness their everyday lives in general.
Jeanne Yvette Mas du Bois is a beautiful young woman stuck in a life she has no desire to live. Unlike all of her acquaintances, who are ecstatic to be fortunate enough to live within the same walls as the king and live a life of privilege, Jeanne is frustrated with it and views it as a mundane life. Jeanne has the spirit and desires of a woman living in our time; she wishes to be allowed to do what men do, to be respected, and to be heard. She feels all women are reduced to are frilly dresses and endless gossip.
Her true passion is wielding a sword. Having been taking secret lessons from her uncle for quite some time, she finds that she is very skilled. Having to hide this part of herself frustrates her to no end. When Jeanne and her uncle find themselves enmeshed in a real battle with men trying to kill the Queen, she meets Henri Boucher D’Aubigne. Henri is a musketeer. Yearning for purpose in life, and wanting to be closer to Henri, Jeanne does the unthinkable; she dresses like a man and becomes one of them, under the alias ‘Jean-Luc’.
As time goes on, Henri meets Jeanne and falls in love with her, not knowing the connection between her and ‘Jean-Luc’. Together they fight for their love in a time when it is not common for men and women to marry for love, but rather money and status. Jeanne must fight not only to keep her secret, but also to decide what to do with the fate her father has chosen for her; which is for her to marry a wimp of a man who she does not even know or love.
I found this story to be refreshing and utterly exciting. Obviously a very talented writer, Donna Russo Morin has created magnificent characters that you cannot help but fall in love with; they are so vibrant and full of life. She creates Jeanne to be this character that is uncomfortable in her own fancy shoes and wishes to be something else, which I think most people find themselves going through at one point or another in their lives. This causes her to be very relate able, which I feel only makes her that much more loveable. She is a strong woman who stands up for what she feels is right, which I think is something we all wish we sometimes had the courage to do.
Donna Russo Morin has added a perfect amount of detail; no more and no less would have made this story any better. This is truly one of those stories that will stay in your heart long past reading the last page. I would recommend this book to everyone. I think men and women alike would get a great deal out of this story. Women would find that their hearts are set aflutter with the romance and the courage of this young woman fighting for what will make her happy, and men would smile with satisfaction at the action scenes and the honorable way some of the men were brought up to be.

THE OLIVE HORSESHOE-BEN F. SMALL

if you like detail, this book is great. if you like blood and gore in detail, the first few pages of this book will shock and awe you. It's a good read. Not one I would read again, but it's definitely worth picking up and indulging yourself in. below is my review. visit www.frontstreetreviews.com for for more great reviews!


I felt as though this book could have been condensed down by about 100 pages and still been able to follow the same general story line. I do not mean this as a criticism but rather a compliment. Ben F. Small has turned this great suspense novel into a very descriptive, fleshed out adventure. I wouldn’t trade in those extra 100 pages for anything!
Denton Wright is a billionaire. When he learns that his father has been brutally tortured and murdered it becomes his mission to find out why. The authorities are chalking it up to be nothing major, but Denton knows there is something big behind all of this. He relies on his good friend and sometimes bed partner Mandy to help him uncover clues. Jenna Rogers’ father was killed alongside Denton’s father. They were on a trip together in Cadiz when the murder took place. Denton flies to California to meet Jenna and her right hand man Carlos to figure out their next move.
Carlos and Mandy hook up. Jenna and Denton hook up. Relationships are formed. The four of them go on a very dangerous mission to uncover the truth. They learn that the two men were killed due to possible knowledge of something called the Olive Horseshoe. Flying to the Spanish Coast, Mandy and Carlos go undercover as tourists and sign up to go on the same tour the two men were on when they were killed. Denton and Jenna are close by, doing a bit of digging on their own with the help of Denton’s FBI friend Fred.
They think the tour buses used on the tour are also used to pick up and drop off large amounts of drugs along the way. Things get heated when more and more people get killed in connection with all of this, some of them being people Denton holds near and dear to his heart.
The only criticism I have is the romance bit of this story. Denton is with Mandy, they decide they don’t love each other and just have something casual. The rest of the story is of Mandy falling head over heels for Carlos and Denton doing the same for Jenna. Then the last few pages of the books it switches again; Mandy and Denton start to feel as though maybe they do love each other. Ben F. Small leaves it at that. I felt as though that part of the story was unnecessary. It took focus away from the important and relevant part of the story.
The rest of the story was filled with fantastic description, suspense, and action. I really enjoyed the beginning where you get to be there witnessing the two men’s death. I was so horrified by it that it is part of what fueled me to read the book; I wanted to find their killers right along with Denton and Jenna.
Ben F. Small has a great story he has created and should be very proud of himself. His writing is clear and his creativity is grand! I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys suspense!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

THE SERPENT AND THE SCORPION-CLARE LANGLEY-HAWTHORNE

I don't have time to really say much, but my review that I did sums it up nicely. It was an interesting book. I really liked it, and think it is definitely worth reading!


Taking place in the early 1900’s, I found this mystery to be different than the last few that I have read. First of all, it took place in the past; that in itself made it a very unique and refreshing read. Second, not only was there a fantastic mystery that needed to be solved, but the romance between the main characters was very stirring. Usually I am one for a sizzling, red hot romance, but this, due to the time in which the story takes place, was very prim and proper, but at the same time extremely satisfying.
Ursula Marlow is a very talked about woman. She is the center of most gossip in fact. Whether it be because she refuses to marry Lord Wrotham until she is able to stand on her own two feet and successfully manage the business that was left to her when her father died, or because she is a suffragette who believes that women should be treated equally in a relationship, in business, and should be able to vote, there is definitely a lot to gossip about.
Ursula befriends a woman named Katya Vilensky while at a function. They meet up by chance a few weeks later in Egypt and spend some time together. While out doing some shopping, something goes horribly wrong and Katya winds up dead. Chalking it up to almost nothing, the officials appear to be doing nothing to try and find her killer. Ursula vows to find out who is behind this. She starts to uncover little clues along the way that help convince her that there is a bigger picture to this murder.
Word is sent from England that someone is found dead inside Ursula’s Oldham factory. This factory was a special project that she created; a place where single women could work and get back on their feet and learn skills. Fearing the worst, Ursula rushes back to London and finds that one of her young women who worked in the factory is found dead, and the factory burned down. Ursula is now more determined than ever to find the link between these two deceased women and to try and understand how she plays a part in all of this.
While all of this is going on, Ursula is trying to map out her feelings for Lord Wrotham. She knows she loves him and wants to be with him, but in order for his reputation to stay untarnished she needs to agree to marry him sooner rather than later. She has a stubborn streak that tells her she needs to wait it out and learn to be successful and self-sufficient so that people will respect her. Each time she sees Lord Wrotham she struggles with these feelings.
Clare Langley-Hawthorne has created a very well balanced, like able story. It is filled with the mystery her readers are seeking, romance, and an ending that will leave you puzzled and anxious to find out what happens next. Her writing is clear and concise and she paints a beautiful picture of what it was like in the early 1900’s in Egypt and England. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

check out www.frontstreetreviews.com for more reviews!

Monday, March 2, 2009

UNSEEN-NANCY BUSH

okay, words can't describe this story. Okay they can, which is what I did below, but seriously this book is so freaking amazing. I'm going to wait a year, then read it again, and probably do this every year after that. It's one of the good ones peeps! trust me!
www.frontstreetreviews.com for more great reviews!



Knowing that Nancy Bush is going a bit out of her element with this thriller story had me a bit skeptical at first. Within the first chapter, hell, the first page even, I knew this book was going to be a hit. I can say with complete confidence that Nancy Bush has found her niche. She has created such an amazing, thrilling story filled with horror, mystery, intrigue, and romance. My eyes were glued to this book. Not once did this story go dry or even slow down with the excitement.
Lucky, as she likes to call herself, has a knack for sensing when someone is bad. She spends her time following after and killing men who hurt people, or who have intentions on hurting people. Her main targets appear to be rapists, pedophiles and women beaters. Lucky is sly and quick and able to cover her tracks well, always using a different vehicle to follow these bad people.
Gemma LaPorte doesn’t remember what happened. She wakes up in a hospital bed with a nasty injury on the side of her face. Determining she’s been in an accident of some sort, Gemma realizes that the last memory she has if of three days ago. At around the same time of her accident, a man was mowed down with a vehicle in the parking lot of a soccer field where children were playing. After the accident it was discovered that this man was a pedophile that had tried to grab a little girl in his van. Gemma is considered a suspect, but she cannot remember anything that has happened.
At the same time these events are taking place, a man who calls himself Wolf is going around killing women who he considers to be witches. The cops have no idea who is committing these crimes and burning their bodies. While Wolf stalks and kills these women he obsesses over the thought that he is after one particular ‘witch’. All signs point to Gemma LaPorte, but the stories don’t connect until further into the book.
Nancy Bush has proven that she has an extraordinary talent for writing. All of these events are connected and the ending will blow her readers right out of the water! As you read this book you will think you have pegged what is going on, just to be shocked into realization that it is something else entirely. I would recommend and highly suggest readers who enjoy thrillers that are fast paced and unrelenting seek out this book. It will be worth every penny spent! Nancy Bush has found her true calling in writing about dark and scary things!