Elisabeth Zguta's Book Reviews

Independent Author and  Publisher

Obsession about a mysterious past event turns into an unexpected horror.

Mountain of the Dead - Jeremy Bates

I enjoy and appreciate the writing style of Jeremy Bates, like his descriptive narrative, his casual voice, and I have read most of his novels, but this story leaps ahead of the others in the Scariest Places series due to the intense historical background that was cleverly added as a thread against the current day's story plot.

 

The true historical event that happened in the Russian mountains back in 1959 that was named the Dyatlov Pass Incident, was well researched and smoothly intertwined that tale (which Bates totally expanded creatively) with the main story of the protagonist's search for answers. It was more than a search though, the protagonist was obsessed with the original mystery, compelled to do the trip.

 

More important, the old mystery was intriguing by itself, then add the current story of an obsessive man trying to come to grips with demons by throwing his all into a crazy expedition, dragging his BFF along, meeting up with unlikely climbing mates, who of course all have a reason for being there as well, and it makes for a stew of explosive scenes. There were moments I felt sorry for his dearest friend who faithfully followed Whitey and hoped things hadn't turned out the way they did for him, but .... it is a horror story.

I could not have predicted the action scenes with the racing for your life kind of momentum, literally the story took me by surprise. As original and unseemly the characters who banded together were, the last few scenes were even more unexpected.

 

There were extra horrors added to the story when the main character and friends stumbled across additional mysterious and deadly places, while on their way to the final peak/pass.

 

I enjoyed reading this story very much and highly recommend this novel.

Paranormal Series Based ~ Ghost Rescuers Lacey & Sam

Soul Walk  - Melissa Bowersock

Helping Trapped Souls never gets old for this paranormal team.

 

Another great story based on the likable paranormal team, Sam Firecloud and Lacey Fitzpatrick. The characters are following a long arc and in this book have come together, determined to make things work out for them personally as well as professionally.

 

I enjoyed this creative duo and that they are open to new things, willing to sacrifice in order to help others. The construction worker medium and the ex-cop researcher both work toward the same goal---to help trapped souls. No matter how things evolve, they keep their ground and listen to their hearts.

 

These characters are very identifiable. Even on their bad day, you can't help but admire them. The story is a quick read, great for those moments in the day when you want to chillax. Melissa Bowersock writes well, the pace flows smoothly and the scenes put the reader right there on a comfy sofa or in the middle of the action.

 

This is definitely a great series for those readers who like paranormal ghost stories without gore, quick easy, enjoyable storytelling.

Told From the Dark Side

Mr. Midnight - Allan Leverone

Great thriller story revealing the dark side's perspective, Mr Midnight is a winner for horror readers. The paranormal ability between twins is an interesting twist that is the making of a monster. 

 

This story isn't for anyone squeamish, there's blood and guts involved as one would expect when describing the acts of a serial killer. But the gore isn't the main event.

 

~ The psychological suspense is what will keep you on the edge of your seat. Winner of horror awards, this is definitely a horror fan's great read. A page turner for sure.

 

Wonderful Story, Great Characters, Honest Writing

My Temporary Life cover  As a reader, I was easily drawn into the world of a young Scottish boy named Malcolm and stayed with him during his journey to manhood.

 

This is an excellent story that's written in the first person. It's a story about finding a sense of home, overcoming obstacles in which there is no control and still coming out a good person. We watch young Mal develop relationships, his struggle against bullies, his confusion as he tries to connect with his father, and the lack of having a real relationship with his mother.

 

We never know what life will deal us, the only thing we can do is our best with a situation and make choices that are true to our own nature. As an adult, Malcolm goes to the extreme for those he loves, proves to himself who he is and where his loyalties rest, his true home.

 

This novel is a great journey written by Crosbie and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy reading honest characters, and if you are not afraid to face horrible realities

 

I recommend an open heart and a few tissues. I read this in March and have the next in my tbr pile. On to the next book about Malcolm's friend, Hardly.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Life-Book-One-Life-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006O2P13O

A Great Detective: The Amos Decker Character

Memory Man - David Baldacci

Excellent story!

 

Wonderfully unique protagonist with a deep dark history. I really felt for this man who lost everything, except his memories. The support characters (his old partner and his new sidekick) are also well fleshed out.and the plot keeps moving and twisting until there's no way to turn.

 

When Amos finally connects the memories of his past and relates them to the current murders, the wall tumbles.

 

I noticed this is book one - I will definitely read the following books about Amos Decker. Baldacci has written us a great character.

Trendy - but not my favorite

The Likeness  - Tana French

OK Story, but not as good as the first book in the series. I read this awhile back and posted my review on Amazon, but just got around to listing it here.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, 'In The Woods'. The Irish murder squad worked a compelling plot, actually it was more like two plots that intertwine - it was excellent! Anticipating the same type of plot movement in book two, I started 'The Likeness' and was quickly disappointed.

 

French did a good job with setting and character development, however, the plot wasn't very suspenseful. It was all based on the nervousness of being undercover and trying to fool (trick) four close friends of the murder victim. Like the technique other current authors are doing lately, French was in the head of the protagonist most of the time. . . not my favorite type of writing.

 

Once in awhile being inside their thoughts in a tense situation is good, but when it's done too often, it takes away from everything else and it makes a poor substitute for a good plot. I was disappointed but will read Tana French again because her first book was excellent. I think this one was just a bit flat, it happens.

My Newest Book Is On Sale

IN THE WOODS: Murder In The North East Kingdom - Elisabeth Zguta

Hello Friends,

I wanted you to know that my newest book

 

 

IN THE WOODS Murder In The North East Kingdom

 

It's now available in paperback!

 

Better News - the eBook is still on sale this week for only .99

So grab a copy now before it goes back to 3.99

 

 

 

Reviewer's comments:

 

"It is easy to feel drawn to each character in the book and you begin to want to follow along with Sam and her self discovery. . . "

 

"This was a fun and suspenseful read! Being familiar with the northeast, I found the descriptions of the woodlands and environment spot on, in fact, it made me want to go for a hike in mid read; too bad it was -10 degrees. This is the 3rd book from this skilled writer that I have read, I definitely recommend it, be prepared to hear the calling loons. Looking forward to Elisabeth Zguta's next book!"

 

I hope you take advantage of the lower price and enjoy reading the story.

 

Book description:

A role-playing game staged in the remote woods of the North East Kingdom, turns into a deadly pastime when a killer uses the game as a means to seize his victims.

 

A dead body is discovered in the woods by Samantha Tremblay, a Forest Ranger who works at Maidstone Lake. The locals call her Sam. She swears to bring the killer to justice for the victim but soon finds herself in over her head, as she works alongside New Hampshire Trooper Zachary Gerard assigned to the case. More bodies turn up and motivation to solve the crimes mount.

 

Old secrets get in Sam’s way, and she isolates herself from others. Haunted by unanswered questions about the past, she lives with cracked relationships—between herself and her father—her friends. Mourning her mother, Samantha feels a pull toward her heritage, the Abenaki tribe, but is afraid to open that doorway. Could the tribe help discover the answers to her quest for the truth?

 

Pulled emotionally from all directions, Samantha Tremblay searches for answers to find a killer, and to discover herself.

 

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/WOODS-Murder-North-East-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B076Z2QZ8X/

 

 

 

Source: http://www.amazon.com/WOODS-Murder-North-East-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B076Z2QZ8X

Review of The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

A Review of the Audio book version:

 

This is an intelligent protagonist evolves into a better person while facing death daily. An excellent story, written with a great pace and the narration was spot on.

 

The female protagonist, Alex, evolves into a better survivor than she thought possible. The character is an original (ex-government operative who worked to retract information via a lab) and she (many aliases at first) kept on developing as the plot evolved. Alex, her true identity, has unique skills but meets someone who can actually challenge her in ways she never thought possible. After a difficult past, Alex now faces a difficult romance which evolves after some unfortunate events. The characters accept the situation and move past issues, but that's only one side of the novel.

The danger piles on and the characters struggle to survive, both killers and nature. They move from place to place while on the run and meet unusual accomplices. The four-legged assistance is a nice addition to the character list. This book is packed with twists, unexpected solutions showing off the character's strengths, and has a great ending. I may listen to it again, or perhaps read it this time. I'll be watching for more Alex stories.

Erika Foster-A Flawed Detective With Empathy

The Girl in the Ice: A gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Erika Foster crime thriller novel) (Volume 1) - Robert Bryndza

A Review of the Audio Version:

 

I enjoyed listening to this book, the writing, and the dialogue was realistic and the voice was perfect for the story. Erika Foster isn't another pretty faced, tough, woman detective. She's a real person with many flaws some of which in fact makes her very empathetic to the victim and the witnesses she must interview. The hard-headed detective follows her gut, not always making easy work of things, but seems it's the only way she can work. The shadows that haunt her personally do get in the way at times just like it does for real people. The plot was good, the twists and challenges many, and the final scenes dramatic. This is a good hard-boiled detective story, good procedural story, and best a suspense thriller that will keep the reader listening for more. I think reading the book would be just as satisfying.

The River Is Dark by Joe Hart - A Must Read

The River Is Dark - Joe Hart

Heartbreaking Thriller You Should Read

The best book I've read in awhile, this is an excellent thriller. The writing is crisp and authentic. The prologue begins with the scene of a murder where and we are instantly thrown into the story. A confused young boy is traumatized by his witness to the murder of his parents. Then in chapter one, we meet the protagonist, the haunted Liam Dempsey, who travels to Tallston to find out about his brother's murder only to discover there have been other murders in the small city. The mystic of the story mounts as we are introduced to an array of interesting characters, all with difficult situations, and some sad circumstances. This well-paced story will keep you turning pages. The more we learn about Liam, his problems and shortcomings, the more we appreciate his strengths. The most revered is his ability to love even after being rejected, perhaps that's why he is able to accept others around him who are far from perfect. This is not only a conspiracy thriller, it also is a heartbreaker. You'll jump in your seat and grab the tissues. After reading this story you may reconsider the definitions of normal and beauty. You may discover the meaning of true unconditional love. I highly recommend this book.

Nest: A Thriller by Terry Goodkind - A Review

Nest - Terry Goodkind

Special Talents Make For Deadly Consequences

 

This review is for an audio book version.

 

Unique story plot gives this book it's strength. The protagonist has special talents, and the listener (reader) is drawn in with slow tugs revealing her true nature, and the imminent danger her talents presents. I enjoyed the various twists and the unusual characters, most good but jaded with a haunted past. Much of the story was "in her head" and perhaps a little too much, but there was also a good balance of action. Some scenes of dialogue between two characters seemed like a teaching episode, but I admit it was interesting material, so I remained fixed to the story. Perhaps reading the book may be a different experience than listening, though the narrator's performance was excellent. The ending was very good and leading to the next book.

Cruising For Death Kate Jones Thriller #5 Review

There's No Stopping Kate

Kate Jones Thriller #5

This Kate Jones book is action packed and danger-filled with every turn of the page. Kate goes from one situation to the next reacting with a creativity that only this strong heroine can pull off. The protagonist is a strong willed, determined, and brave women -- loyal to boot. All the characters are well developed, the scenery and situation unique, quirky even, and the plot well developed. I especially enjoyed the scene with a voodoo ceremony, it adds flavor to the story. Traipsing through the islands with the protagonist is like riding a tornado, fast, zig-zagging, and impulsive. The story is a fun read and has a good ending. I recommend this book for those who like their thrillers with payback.

 

I read this book back in July, but only found time to post the review now. It's a great story to read any time of year :)

The Bottle Stopper (The Paper Duchess #1)

The Bottle Stopper (The Paper Duchess Book 1) - Angeline Trevena

 

 

An excellent story and a creative world dreamed up by author Trevena. The reader can't help but empathize with the main character, Maeve, and her dire circumstances dealing with her evil Uncle Lou. Her tribulations are many, but so is her quick thinking. Maeve takes the cruelest acts against her and tries in her way to make them right. Revenge, but in a unique and twisted way. The descriptions of the people she meets, her friend, and the places she visits are deeply cultivated within the rich world that the author ables us to see and feel. The stairs leading up to a better place may not be the stairway to heaven after all. The winding plot gets thicker, as more revelations push Maeve into drastic situations requiring extreme measures. There is a lot of bad happening in this dystopian world, not only for Maeve. Still, there is hope, and the twist, in the end, will give hope. It also leads well into the next story. You'll want to pick up the next in the series. Well written and provoking book, I recommend you read the series.

 

Dark, Compelling Story

Reblogged from Elisabeth Zguta's Book Reviews:
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

Dark things can happen in people's lives, becoming something worse when buried deep. This story has a strong voice, and the protagonist has serious problems to confront. The topic of cutting is handled in a way the reader can empathize. As the story progresses, the protagonist exposes old wounds, not just physical but emotional as well. The reader discovers the layers of guilt alongside the main character, as she becomes horrified by the evil truth. The pace moves easily through the dysfunctional town and the sad shadows of her past. The psychological torture she endured soon is revealed. Issues and feelings, dredged up from the past, lead to a tense ending. Faded memories become clear and the danger is eminent. If you like the bizarre psychodrama and don't mind reading about sex and promiscuity, but love the danger of dealing with evil, then this is for you.

Criminal

Reblogged from Elisabeth Zguta's Book Reviews:
Criminal - Karin Slaughter This is a suspenseful story, with an authentic viewpoint of life as a woman officer in the 1970’s, and much more. We have come a long way baby, but the sad truth is revealed in this tale, of the ordeals women faced, and how they were treated not too long ago, right here in the good ole’ USA. Even though this is a fictional work, it hits hard on the head, of this tragic reality. Slaughter’s research was well worth the time, and enabled her to tell a tale reflecting clear images of the era. The characters were alive, and took on the life of the day. The reader is taken from the present, back to the 70’s, and to present again, in a flowing seamless manner.

It was great to experience some familiar characters, like Sara Linton and her new love interest Will Trent. The character Amanda was done well, showing her growth as a person through the years, and the struggles she overcame in time. She was a true heroine. There were many victims in this tale, those of society, of drugs and crime, and of discrimination. This is truly a great detective story, with a lot of historical flavor.

Karin Slaughter has surpassed herself, and reached into the individual character’s mindset, with honesty. I have been a fan of her work for years, but this to date is the best I have read so far. Looking forward to the next book – UNSEEN due to come out this summer of 2013.
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley

An old fashioned creepy tale that will immerse you into the world of an old village and pumps your imagination. The author brings character and detail, making the story authentic. At times a little redundant, but a great read overall. If you enjoy pondering what lies in the mist, this story is for you.