Elisabeth Zguta's Book Reviews

Independent Author and  Publisher


Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

The beginning of Shiver pulled me into the story quick, and I wanted to see what would happen. Grace and Sam were memorable characters, with unique baggage in their past that made them very likable and interesting. Then the story developed into a teenage love story. I was disappointed, not wanting it to be another typical YA romance book, but I stayed with it.

Glad I did - the story turned around and became a more complicated weave of personalities and relationships, riddled with regret and forgiveness. The end was nicely done. Overall a decent YA novel about first love, relationships with parents, and friendship bonds.

The Presence

The Presence - Heather Graham This story was a fast read - a cute story, more like a romance than a paranormal. To me this story didn't go into the supernatural enough. Not a bad book, for the light night read. Nothing too demanding to think on here.


Delirium - J.F. Penn

Amazing intrigue! The reader is immediately at the edge of their seat in the opening scene, where we witness Dr. Christian Monro's physical and emotional trauma while being murdered. We are brought into the death scene, each agonizing step of the way. The detail and the pace are excellent. The suspense is high voltage.
The protagonist Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke once again is challenged with high stakes. As in the first book of the series, Jamie is going through hell emotionally after the loss of her child, but she is also engaged in the case and wants to understand the true crime. The heroine strives to remain objective while gathering evidence, hoping to see the truth. Along the way many twists in the case elude her, and attempt to veer her from the true crime. She follows the leads and takes the reader down a road of unexpected horrors. Jamie is not faint of heart, but a woman who makes the tough decisions; she is the protector of her co-workers and friends. There is hope - as she is faced with danger even in her most fragile hours, yet somehow finds the strength to prevail.
The subject matter of this novel immediately jolts interest - the history of mental illness treatment and the reminder of abuse done to the mentally ill. This is a topic I too have strong feelings about, and so this story truly hit my heartstrings. The research was done well, as to be expected by this author who always delivers well developed background. This story is not for those wanting a light read, because the reader will be left with some concepts to think about - maybe even choices on how to view others who may not be as fortunate as most. In this world it is too easy to forget about those who suffer with mental illness. Society has swept them from public view, but we know in our heart that more needs to be addressed. I thank the author for writing this riveting story and bringing this topic to the forefront.
To date this is my favorite of J.F.Penn’s books. I truly enjoy reading about Jamie, and this is a great series. Delirium is for anyone who enjoys detective horror thrillers, and is a definite must read.

Murder in the Bloody Pit

Murder in the Bloody Pit - Elisabeth Zguta Author review - Amazon rating


Innocence - Dean Koontz Great characters with strange difficulties, all made sense in the end. A good read, typical Kootnz with a lot of description of the people and places. A futuristic ending that left me with more hope than doom. I really enjoyed these two new protagonists and hope to read more about them someday.

Breaking Cursed Bonds

Breaking Cursed Bonds - Elisabeth Zguta Author review


Mercenary - David Gaughran

Larger than life, Lee Christmas was a man loved and hated, sometimes both by the same person. This novel went deeper than mere historical facts, and pulled the reader into the life stream of one of the craziest and most daring men of his day. He loved deeply, punished himself when he fell short of his obligations, and dared to dream of reaching greatness. David Gaughran did a wonderful job showing the man while remaining reverent to the history. The battle scenes during the revolts, the carousing and family scenes, all spilled across the page vibrantly - keeping the reader entertained. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a good historical fiction and larger than life characters.


Haven - Kay Hooper An intense beginning, as the story paints a picture of a victim running for her life. We see her wandering aimlessly through the woods... then we are back to the real world. The drama begins. You will keep reading, anxious to discover the story behind the forgotten memory. Hooper ends the tale with a nice twist that was totally unexpected. I love the Paranormal Unit, and the story told through a clairvoyant's eyes. Kay Hooper has set up a great series with the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit and I recommend this book for anyone who likes paranormal.

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas  - Dean Koontz Odd Thomas is one of the most endearing characters to ever step out of a book. He charms us with his underlying wit and sensible concerns. Odd is a hero who brings out the best in most people, and protects them against the worst. A supernatural power like his is a gift, and sometimes a curse. This is a great story that will leave you wanting to read more of the series. I am a Koontz fan, and true to his calling card, the reader is led down a trail of good vs. evil, and our hero saves the world - kind of - read the book if you enjoy in depth weird characters with heart, and will want to read more of his story.

Desecration (Jamie Brooke #1)

Desecration (Jamie Brooke #1) - J.F. Penn This story is action packed, well researched and emotionally charged - as are all of J.F. Penn's novels. I enjoyed the prologue peek into the murderer's mindset. It is a jump start into the tale, a foretelling of the horror just around the corner.

This new story series contains a strong heroin, Jamie Brooke, who has a definitive unique personality. Jamie is a wonderful character, very human, with complex desires. The author did a great job getting into the head of the mother in pain, the dedicated detective, as well as the woman with needs. The other characters also have a great deal of depth to them and are very believable. I especially recognized the intense research the author did in regards to the body art community, handling her writing with respectful observance and acceptance. The novel has many original twists to a detective themed story line.

I totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great adventure, with mysterious people, and anyone who has an open mind to new ideas, and likes a nibble of horror. This is a great read.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression - Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi Helpful for any writer

Ninety-five percent Human

Ninety-five percent Human - Suzanna Williams Ninety-Five Percent Human Is Refreshingly New and Imaginative
Excitement spills from the pages, as teenager Joe and his discovered alien girlfriend Sarah, chase down dangerous aliens to save his family farm, the world and the people they care about. The reader follows along with Joe, not always knowing who to trust or what to expect next. If you want drama, unexpected perils, and heroic characters – this is the story. Suzanna Williams has done a great job at making aliens seem feasible. The characters all have believable depth, as if they were your own relatives. The Sci-fi elements of the plot are refreshingly new and imaginative. The hills and countryside are beautifully described, bringing the reader to a nice place to visit. Well done Suzanna – I recommend this book to anyone who seeks a roaring good story.


Jackpot - Susan Fleet The Stakes Were High – Susan Fleet Won With Jackpot
The newest Detective Renzi novel takes the reader back to his days in Boston, in this riveting story that fleshes out much about the Boston area, the effects of gambling and of course we learn more about Detective Renzi’s marriage, his affairs, and we fall in love with his tough but sensitive demeanor, all over again. This character charms us with his caring actions. The real Jackpot is the plot. The thrills are there – the story paces in a continuous maze of panic, which serial killers often do in novels. I highly recommend all the Detective Renzi novels, and hats off to Susan Fleet – this is the best yet! Highly recommend this book.

Indian Spirit, Revised and Enlarged (Sacred Worlds)

Indian Spirit, Revised and Enlarged (Sacred Worlds) - Thomas Yellowtail, Michael Oren Fitzgerald, Judith Fitzgerald, James Trosper It was a great informative short book with brief statements from various Native American leaders and some rare photographs of them in their cultural dress. The statements all revolved around the Great Spirit and their thoughts about religion. I found it very inspirational, and learned a few things too. It was a good insight to see how the original inhabitants viewed the Europeans and their religion. Easy to read, well laid out, and beautifully illustrated.

The Odd Sea

The Odd Sea - Frederick Reiken I was very interested in this story since I grew up in the area it took place, and in the same time frame that this story talks about. The writer brought forth some good characters, the thoughts and feelings of those touched by the loss and/or the abduction of his brother. No one knows of course how they will react when we lose a loved one, but the most frustrating aspect of the entire cast of characters was their inability to understand and make peace with 'not knowing' what happened. The artists to some may seem bizarre, but truly these types do wander about the hills in Massachusetts, trying to find their muse. I liked the story - and the fresh way it was told.

Floating Staircase

Floating Staircase - Ronald Malfi Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi is a unique story, told through the main character's experiences, and the eyes of a writer. He has past regrets that haunt his thoughts, and influences his choices. The protagonist has moved into a new home, near his brother, with whom he wants to make amends and build a stronger relationship. The house has a history of tragedy. The character becomes consumed in finding the truth. The ending was a surprise, and left me with an Aha moment. I liked the story, it had some good twists, and did make one think about the wise words, 'don't judge a book by its cover' or 'don't jump to conclusions'. The story builds, so I suggest this to anyone who likes to feel the story develop.