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Zguta

Elisabeth Zguta's Book Reviews

Advocate for Independent Publishing

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.

Psychological Crime Fiction

In the Woods  - Tana French, Steven Crossley

In The Woods is an excellent story. (This is a review for the audible book):


The book has an interesting plot and even better characters. The relationships were fleshed out well. This story has unique psychological twists -- A mystery and a previous mystery-- secrets were kept until the protagonist himself recognized the truth.

 

The pace was well spaced and kept my interest. The narrator did a great job with the voices, was clear and well understood. The writing was smooth, with a strong clear voice.

 

The story is set in Ireland and the descriptions well laid. The plot twists from the present murder investigation then back to a previous crime in which the protagonist is involved, doing so with smoothness and without any disruption to the flow.

 

The main character is flawed but brilliantly written so we can understand his POV. Why do we block out painful memories, why do certain situations tug at the threads until all unravels? This is the key to everything.

 

I recommend reading or listening to this wonderfully written story.

#FreebieFriday with audiobooks & short #Horror stories via YouTube

 

Chilling Tales For Dark Nights presents:

 

 

 

TIMEKEEPER   by John Morressy

 

Published on May 19, 2016

When a mysterious watch and timepiece repairman sets up in town, offering seemingly impossible turnaround times and producing clocks of near-magical construction, he quickly arouses the interest of the townspeople, and ruffles the feathers of the city's inner circle, who label him an interloper and a fraud.

https://youtu.be/9kRamSBCghA

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kRamSBCghA

Review of Voyager (Outlander book 3)

Voyager - Diana Gabaldon

The suspense continues with book three Voyager. The story goes from the 1700's to the 1960's and then back again. The reader experiences the troubles of Jamie and his tribulations after the battle at Culloden. Lots of pain and dark thoughts are touched, so not for the faint of heart. Also, the reader is plunged into the world of Claire and daughter Brianna in the 1960's. We see their relationship with each other and follow their search to find answers in the written history of Scotland.

 

It is a precarious situation, balancing the truth with what the heart yearns. The pace is often fast, yet the author is laborious with words, at time verbose, but I could not skip a sentence. Every character and new place is described in detail and lends to the reason I became so involved with the story of their lives.

 

This is not a quick read, nor a book to skip through parts because each detail quickly propels into a turn of events. Suspenseful, emotional and heart rendering situations throughout. The ending reveals clues to future scenarios and definitely hooks the reader into the next book, which I am currently reading. Well done and captivating characters.

Review of Dragonfly In Amber (Outlander book 2)

Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon

  Dragonfly in Amber - by Diana Gabaldon 

 

After reading the first book we have come to expect a story filled with in-depth characterization and a meandering plot, and this book delivers. The pace is character driven and very creative. Excellent description of the time period and setting, and an imaginative tale of Claire and Jamie's travels. You'll love to see their love grow, despite some painful knots of loss they endure.
I enjoyed the history of Paris, the customs, and dress. The unrest the characters experienced due to the times in Europe with the War of Religions still an afterglow, added to the tension. Taboo topics of the time like rape, sorcery and women rights are touched upon. This author is not afraid of married love scenes, nor does she shy from the horrors many women faced back in that era concerning their treatment.
The story moves from Paris back to Scotland. The war to bring back the old king pulls apart all clan life. The politics and the back stabbing is very complicated and makes for a true political thriller (for the 1700's).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Bravo, looking forward to next story in the series.

Get Swept Across The highlands

This story swept me right along with the characters, across the Highland countryside, while plunging them into the deepest core of degradation, then lifting them to the ecstasy of humanity—all in one book.

 

This novel is a cross between historical fiction, thriller adventure, and romantic tragedy. The reader will discover more about the Scottish clans and truly feel as if sitting beside them. Although this is the first book by Diana Gabaldon in this series, the author managed to deliver a full and hearty plot, wonderfully described characters each with their own unique strong voice, and many swings up and down, pacing an epic adventure.

 

The protagonists, Claire and Jamie, are bigger than life. I am adding the next book in the series to my must read list. I highly recommend this novel—great reading!

 

Some reviews posted of the story on this site have postured that rape violence was used by the author as a gimmick plot device, however I wholeheartedly disagree. Some topics are dramatic by themselves surely, however the author delved into the heart of the matter and brought out a real human experience from the violence. She also portrayed the characters as real sexual beings, which I find most people are, and fleshed out how the characters reacted to the horror. All topics that touch upon humanity should be fair game to use in our writing - if not, what would be left to write about?

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Outlander-Novel-Book-1-ebook/dp/B000FC2L1O/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Review of newly released GREYLOCK by Paula Cappa

Greylock - Paula Cappa

Greylock’s unique horror style, explores the deep currents of human emotion and compulsion. Like in a Grimm tale, basic life lessons are fleshed out using surprising twists. How far should one go to pursue a dream? An individual’s definition of true happiness, acceptable behavior for the good of society, is explored using classic Goth style with an added modern flair.


Paula Cappa merges old tales of Siberian witches and the other side of life’s river’s flow, with nature’s inexplicable wonders—the music of whales. Bleak settings at the fringe of nature—the eerie woods of Mount Greylock, and the frigid White Sea, keep the story’s tone of horror well defined. Bold characters, larger than life with the loftiest of dreams, lead the reader to jagged truths about humanity.


The author draws the reader into the music world of Alexei, a classical modern composer, who was born into a family with generations of musical history. Old family secrets are the tip of the iceberg. Alexei must dive in deep, not only with whales to write his composition, but also deep into the story behind his most successful piece of music to date. Alexei must choose the kind of person he wants to be.


The protagonist loves Raymond Chandler’s character, Marlowe, which serves as a great correlation. The author also sprinkles in literary quotes and music, which keep the musical tone of the story floating throughout, like a refined brush stroke. The romance that develops between Alexei and Lia also sets a heated stage. Other relationships are also developed, and each character faces some sort of pivot and must choose their fate. Alexei, and his family and friends, each grow or change by the end. This is an excellent, moving story. Bravo!

Source: http://www.amazon.com/review/R265XYCGL15789/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Terrifying Short Horror Story - Great Writing

Black Canyon (A Suspense Horror Thriller & Mystery Short Story) - Jeremy Bates

 

The author Jeremy Bates is one of my favorites. My experience with his stories began in 2012, when I read his award winning novel, White Lies. Then he wrote: Taste of Fear, Suicide Forest, Catacombs and more. His style of delving into the mind of characters, in well paced suspense plots, keeps the horrific thrills going. The chilling twisted endings are the best and will keep any horror fan returning to his work.

 

Black Canyon is a short story but delivers a big punch of terror.

 

Great writing! A quick read but not short on suspense and character development. The plot unfolds in a well-paced excursion and the unhealthy psyche of Brian, the protagonist, is revealed as his survival is challenged. Total surprise and twisted ending! Try to read the story without reading spoilers for best effect.

This is a great horror short story that will keep you engrossed and send shivers up your spine, until the end. It may change your camping habits, as well.