Book Review: Nightmare Child by Ian K. Sylus 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5 stars

What a mind trip! Nightmare Child is a tale of self-discovery and healing which takes place almost entirely in the mind’s eye of our main character, Celeste. She wakes after some unknown event to find herself in a realm composed of her own mental constructs. It’s her nightmare (maybe), populated with a menagerie of characters who, for the most part, are bent on seeing her destroyed. 

The author did a good job building the surreal dreamscape through which Celeste must journey. And while the story was fantastical and sometimes hard to track, dreams are like that aren’t they? I loved how fluidly and unexpectedly environments and adversaries could change, it kept Celeste (and me as the reader) on her toes and constantly second-guessing herself. 

At the start of the story I thought I was reading about a grown woman so imagine my surprise when, about a third of the way through the book, I realized Celeste was a mere teenager. I don’t know if I would’ve preferred the author give me a few more indicators as to her age earlier in the story or if the surprise was a good literary decision… Something about her internal dialogue just read as an older, more mature woman to me, so for the rest of the book I was struggling with the juxtaposition of Celeste as I saw her and how the author wrote her. There were also a few editing blips, but they were scattered about infrequently enough so as not to detract from the atmosphere; I found they were somewhat easily ignored. 

All in all, this was an engaging read. The way the author had Celeste confront and deal with her mental demons was truly unique. Bravo. 

Want to read it for yourself? It’s only 99¢ (through the end of 2016) so snag your copy HERE.


Big Book Sale

It’s time! The Big Book Sale has arrived. Don’t miss out on your chance to score some great Indie Author books at a great discount. Yours truly is one of the participating authors.

Jessica Jesinghaus

Happy Holidays, Book Fans! We have HUGE book savings for you beginning BLACK FRIDAY (November 25, 2016) all the way though CYBER MONDAY (November 28, 2016). Books of various genres areOn Sale – f…

Source: Big Book Sale

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So much to be thankful for 

While I did enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving with my family and a huge meal this afternoon, my morning started out in a less-than-conventional manner. 

For those who don’t know, I call the amazingly beautiful Applegate valley in Southern Oregon my home. I was born and raised here, leaving for several years in pursuit of dreams, and moving back before I married and started my family. 

Fall is my favorite time of year around here: it’s breathtakingly beautiful, the sunrises over the mountains are spectacular, and the colors in the forest sublime. Plus it’s deer season. If you’re not a hunter, it’s okay. It’s not for everyone. But for me it’s a peaceful time to commune with nature, enjoy her beauty and gifts, and appreciate the circle of life. And isn’t that what the Thanksgiving holiday is really all about? Appreciating Nature and God’s bounty?

So I spent my morning in the crisp, cold air, listening to the myriad seasonal creeks as they made their way downhill. The morning was so still I could hear the thwump of bird wings as they flew overhead. I can’t tell you how many story ideas and plot points I’ve conceived while sitting quietly beneath a tree in these woods. I spent about an hour camped on a hillside this morn waiting for the sun to rise before setting off to trek through the forest. 

Creeks which had been merely dry rockbed a few days earlier were now dancing brooks. I saw several beautiful animals: an owl, wild hare, and several deer.. just not ‘the right one.’ Maybe tomorrow. It was a fabulous morning and it reminded me of all I have to be thankful for: this beautiful place I call home, a family who loves me (and puts up with my penchant for disappearing before dawn on a family holiday of all times!), and that I’m healthy enough to take these kinds of adventures. 

I hope everyone had a safe and fulfilling holiday!  ~Jess

Book Review: Hart of His (Hart #2) by Annie Arcane

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars

When I finished Hart Broken I was hungry for more of Mickey and Cale’s story, and this little morsel does not disappoint.

As a novella, I think this was a well executed story, but I’m greedy and I wanted more! I would’ve loved for this to be a teensy bit longer with a little more development of some of the plot points: What was the big project / contract that had Cale so work-worn and distracted? Why was it so important? What is the history between Cale and Dixon Rush? And how did Dixon know anything about Mickey’s past? 

PS: I’m looking forward to whatever angst Dixon causes in future installments. He may be a jerk face, but he has my attention piqued. 

Bravo Annie and thank you for another great read!

Pick up your copies of Hart Broken and Hart of His on Amazon (both are free to read with Kindle Unlimited). You’re welcome!

Book Review: Hearts in Exile by Mysti Parker

🐲🐲🐲🐲  4 out of 5 stars

As the third book I’ve read and reviewed in Ms. Parker’s Tallenmere series, I was chomping at the bit to get started with this one. I love, love, loved the first two installments and couldn’t wait to immerse myself once again in her world. Although not my fave in the series, this book was still wonderful.

The story starts off about ten years before events in Serenya’s Song (reading the first two books is not a prerequisite, each stands alone quite well) and introduces us to Loralee, who is being exiled on a mysterious island. Why she’s been banished here is somewhat of a mystery, one that we’ll spend the next 3/4 of the book discovering.

Then we rocket forward to present day, where we meet up with Sir Igrorio “Robert” Everlyn and his paladin comrade / brother Francis. When their ship is besieged by a storm and lost to the waves, Robert washes ashore at the cusp of death… only to be rescued and revived by his long-lost love Loralee, whom he had been led to believe was dead.

I didn’t realize when I started this book that I’d signed up for time travel, but Ms. Parker takes us on a wild journey back in time 65 years to Sir Robert’s tragic childhood and events leading to his meeting the young temple priestess and healer, Loralee. A good 75% or more of the story is spent spanning various time periods of their younger lives which, despite their obvious love for one another, are spent apart. It was agonizing to watch and wait for these two to come together again.

When we finally returned to the present day, I couldn’t figure out how on earth things could be wrapped up and resolved with such a small portion of the book remaining. Yet Ms. Parker pulled it off with aplomb!

If you’re looking for a steamy romance, this one doesn’t pack the same punch as its predecessors. But if stalwart devotion, heartbreak, angst and adventure are what you seek you’ll not be disappointed. And in case you missed it in the book blurb: there’s DRAGONS! You can never go wrong, in my book, if you’ve got dragons.

Pick up your copy of Hearts in Exile HERE, and check out the rest of the Tallenmere stories while you’re at it.

**I received a copy of this book from the author which I then chose to voluntarily review**

Big Book Sale

Happy Holidays, Book Fans!  We have HUGE book savings for you beginning BLACK FRIDAY (November 25, 2016) all the way though CYBER MONDAY (November 28, 2016). Books of various genres are On Sale – f…

Source: Big Book Sale

Book Review: Seeing Evil by Jason Parent

img_3631⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars

“Seeing Evil” had me seeing red! Wowza. What a ride. The evil in this story is made all the more compelling because it’s just all too possible! It made me mad, sad, and I even (almost) cried a couple times.

I went into this knowing not to expect rainbows and puppies, but I wasn’t really prepared for the gut wrenching horror the main characters (two teenagers and a hard-boiled homicide detective) were exposed to: bullying, a school shooting, child abuse, and murder(s) most foul. As a parent, I could actually picture the events (psychic premonitions notwithstanding) happening somewhere in my oldest child’s circle of friends. Talk about nightmares! Yet I couldn’t put this book down.

The story was extremely compelling and even though some of the characters do bad things you’re able to relate and forgive them (not you Mr. Masterson, you’re as evil as they come and I feel completely justified in hating you). The ending was satisfying… not in a happily-ever-after way, but more like a happy-as-you-could-expect-given-everything-that-preceded-it way, and I was okay with that.

To me, the surest sign of a five-star read is my start to finish time, and considering I read it in three sittings (with a full time work schedule and a family to feed and care for) this one surely qualifies! Not for the faint of heart but certainly a roller-coaster ride worthy of daredevils, I will be looking for more books by Mr. Parent.

As of 11/13/16 you can read it free on Kindle Unlimited. Please check it out!

Book Review: Feet of Clay by JB Trepagnier

Read September 28 – October 2, 2016.

img_3630⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

If I had to sum up Feet of Clay in just two words: obsession and addiction.

In it we meet Max, a high school English teacher. The author did an excellent job establishing Max’s obsessive personality in very short order. Simple statements like “On Tuesday he ate fish” or “he made his usual fry for breakfast, but nothing on the plate should touch and his orange juice had to fill the glass to the exact same spot” left zero room for doubt of his ability for obsessive behaviors. Then, enter Taylor, a 17 year old student from his class. He is intrigued with her essays and assignments and can’t stop thinking about her. What starts out as apparent concern for her falling grades, small town rumors about her behavior, and appalling home life (her mother is a drunk and a floozy) quickly turns into something darker that we, as the reader, can feel coming like a storm. I had some major ick-factor getting through a couple of the early chapters. Then, Max does something unforgivable and Taylor disappears from his life without a trace.

Five years later, fate brings Taylor back and this is where the story became hard for me to comprehend; I couldn’t understand Taylor’s motivations at all… but that’s the beauty of a story, letting you experience something you yourself would never personally do. Taylor is now an addict hooked on pills, alcohol and nicotine. Max’s obsession with her is rekindled and he tries everything in his power to help her get sober, but in doing so spirals into alcoholism himself. The story is tragic, their struggles epic, and the ordeals they face as a couple with an almost 40 year age difference were interesting. They’re like the accident scene you drive past and you just have to stare at the twisted metal while thinking ‘so glad that’s not me.’

While Max and Taylor’s story was gripping, where things came apart for me was the dialogue. I felt like the characters were saying the same things over and over. And not in an obsessive or addiction-fueled way, but literally saying the exact same words again and again. Sometimes, I would have to stop reading in the middle of one of their arguments to make sure I hadn’t lost my place and read the same line twice; nope, the same words were just used two lines prior. There were also quite a few grammatical mistakes, but nothing some editing couldn’t clean up.

I’m settling on 3.5 stars here. An interesting story with a compelling look into addiction cycles and the idea of obsession versus love, but I felt the dialogues could use some work.

Interested? Check it out on Amazon.

Book Review: Gifted by H.S. Stone

I read Gifted by H.S. Stone September 21-25, 2016.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars img_3629

What a thoroughly enjoyable read! Set in a land where people fall into two categories, Regulars and Gifteds, the Gifteds find themselves at the mercy of their twisted King. Although a Gifted himself, King Yolus has decreed that all Gifteds are to be imprisoned and forced to fight to the death in gladiator-like combat.

Caught in this web are a brother and sister, twins, one of whom is Gifted and one of whom is not. Despite all their efforts to hide, they find themselves embroiled in events pitting them against the evil King and his equally depraved sister, Pahia, to try and save the kingdom… and with it, the Gifteds.

While the basic events may have been told in stories before, and the “mutant” powers displayed by the various Gifteds seemed familiar, I found their combination here and the author’s narrative to be engrossing. The entire story was well planned, the action points distributed with just the right cadence, and the ending satisfying. I would highly recommend this to young adult readers as well as any who enjoy a good fantasy tale featuring underdog heroes.

If you’d like to read it for yourself, check it out HERE.

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