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Book Review: Hope’s Shadow December 8, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 3 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Hope’s Shadow on Kindle!

Synopsis:

Esme takes it upon herself to put an end to the Purge and stop the Evening Star. But when fate puts her in the path of the Evening Star, she is forced to question the truth about the supposedly evil nature of the stars. This act may lead to her death at the hands of the Purge – or at the hands of the ones she loves.

Hope’s Shadow is set in a fascinatingly dark world, where an endless Inquisition rules with a bloody fist. The shadows that permeate this world suffocates hope in darkness, as heroes of yore return as villains of today and the weak struggle to find a way back to the light.

My Review:

Hope’s Shadow by Amberlynn O’Shea describes a dark world where people are clinging to any shreds of hope. When Esme woke up in a cemetery ten years ago without the slightest memory of her past, she is left wondering who she really is. As she travels to discover who she is, she must tread lightly as the Purge is raging everywhere. Anyone who shows a different belief or that stands out from the crowd are charged with sorcery – often being tortured and burned at the stake.

I will admit that the first part of the book was hard for me to get into. There are so many details that are being brought to light and it left me slightly confused as to where the storyline was headed. But I did feel like I was there with the main character, Esme, as she was often left confused and wondering what is going on and where things were headed. Once the plot began to unfold, I did find myself emerged in the story and the characters.

I did enjoy the setting and world that Ms. O’Shea has created. Even though the murder, betrayal and bloodshed cast an eerie feeling to the world, there is that light at the end of the road. The light that everyone clings to with dear life, hoping that they will be saved from the darkness. The reader is reminded that no matter how small, there is always hope and that you must stand up for your beliefs and doing what is right, even if it means sacrificing what means the most.

If you enjoy reading stories that tell about Love, Hope, Sun, Moon and Stars and that have beautiful book covers..then pick up a copy of Hope’s Shadows.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

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Book Review: Cankered Roots November 24, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Book Tours, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews, Nurture Your Books.
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Get your copy of Cankered Roots on Kindle!

Synopsis:

Alexandra Campbell, a spunky young widow, partnered with Brighamina Poulson, an even spunkier, rifle-toting grandmother thinks that as they have begun a genealogy business (RootSearch, Inc.), it is high time she finds out her family secret. Something went wrong in her family during her adolescence, changing her mother from a Chicago North Shore matron into an alcoholic and a doting father into a workaholic. The moment she graduated from High School, she was sent to the Sorbonne in Paris with a generous bank account and instructions not to return.

It is now fifteen years since she has seen her parents, and she intends to lay the ghost that has separated her family for good. However, as usual in Alex’s unpredictable life, things do not go as planned. After an acrimonious fight with her once beloved father, she leaves with only a wallet-sized photograph of a woman she knows nothing about.

That night, Alex’s father is killed. Bewildered and grieved that her family can never be whole again, she soon finds out that she is the chief suspect in the murder. With the unflappable Briggie at her side, she uses all her new genealogical skills, and (with the help of Briggie’s deer rifle) discovers a secret so bizarre that she finally understands why her parents wanted her far away and safe.

Join Alex and Briggie in the first of their hair-raising adventures!

My Review:

Cankered Roots by GG Vandagriff is an emotional tale of love, loss and finding out who you are. Alex, a genealogist, takes a break from helping others learn about their family trees and concentrates on her own. Desperately wanting to have a family after her husband’s death, she sets out to uncover the grandfather she barely knew and whom her parents are determined to forget ever existed. What she begins to uncover reminds Alex that sometimes it is better to leave things buried in the past.

Originally written in 1993, this new edition of Cankered Roots was a pleasure to read. Taking a step back from modern technology, Alex and her friends have to uncover her family history by traditional means – searching libraries, microfilms, court documents, etc. It was so nice to read a story that isn’t built around technology and how easy it is to find information online. Throw in nice doses of mystery, blackmail, unknown identities…even a dash of romance…and Cankered Roots is a great book to get lost in. I am eagerly looking forward to reading more adventures from Alex and her friends.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Of Good and Evil November 18, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews, Nurture Your Books.
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Get your copy of Gerald G. Griffin’s Of Good and Evil on Kindle!

Synopsis:

Ron Sheffield, a gifted but tormented Green Beret, plagued by suicidal guilt because of his “special” abilities, is discharged from the army for going “crazy.” Immediately, he is brutally beaten and shot by the Mafia, and is hospitalized near death. His life is dramatically saved by Amber Ash, who also possesses “special” abilities; and from there the two are propelled against mobsters, terrorists, and a government cell out to kill them over Iraqi documents Ron possesses from his army service. Ron becomes a Mafia hit man, targeting fallen mobsters. This brings Ron and Amber into contact with the powerful and humane gifted secret society, Eros; this contact eventually actualizing Ron’s mental gifts to a point beyond his imagination. Ron is confronted with the imminent nuclear obliteration of a major American city by a suicidal terrorist cell that only he can stop. But will he be able to do it in time? Of Good and Evil is a spiritual fight against tyranny.

My Review:

Of Good and Evil by Gerald G. Griffin is an action-packed ride from start to finish! We are introduced to the main character, Ron Sheffield, in the heat of battle and quickly realize there is more to Ron than meets the eye. After returning home from war, Ron is discharged for having a nervous breakdown but he knows that other forces are working against him. Taking matters into his own hands, Ron makes it his new mission to search for clues and honor his fallen comrades, while trying to preserve his sanity by focusing on the present.

Amber Ash has always felt alone. Knowing that her special abilities make her different, she is focused on keeping her distance from everyone and using her body as a means of escape. That is until the night she met Ron Sheffield on his way to a poker game. Instantly feeling the pull of his gifts, she knows that she must learn more about the stranger that is similar in abilities.

Of Good and Evil has a little bit of everything which I believe makes for a good read for just about everyone. Action, romance, paranormal aspects, honor, politics, hit men, terrorists, secret societies, organized crime, treason…the list continues. It has so much going on that at times it was a little overwhelming for me. The main reason for me was the political aspects because I personally do not have an avid interest in such matters. But even with the politics and everything rushing by, I kept turning the pages wanting to know what happened next. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I do hope to see more of the paranormal aspect explained in the sequel, A Time of Reckoning.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Entrapped by Barbara Kyle November 15, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Entrapped on Kindle!

Description:

Set in Alberta, Canada, Entrapped is the story of Liv Gardner, an ambitious young oil executive intent on stopping farmer Tom Wainwright who is sabotaging her rigs after a spill of lethal “sour” gas poisoned his wife. Desperate to save the company she built, Liv plants evidence to frame Tom. But when the evidence is used to indict him for a murder he didn’t commit, only Liv can save him.

My Review:

Entrapped by Barbara Kyle is the thrilling tale about the lengths people will go to in order to preserve the most important things in their lives. What things are considered important enough to risk everything? Family and friends? Business and financial success? Maybe even love? Either way, when you have two groups waging war against each other, sacrifices have to be made.

Olivia had everything she dreamed of. After having a not so happy childhood, Liv is given the opportunity of a life time when she goes into a business partnership with brothers Mickey and Paul. She is currently CEO of the successful Falcon oil company and things can only go up. So when someone starts sabotaging their company, she makes it her mission to find out who is responsible. Going undercover was easy but what she learned in the process may change her outlook on life.

Tom Wainwright is just a man who wants to be left alone to tend his farm and raise his daughter. So when sour gas threatens his livestock causing numerous problems, he sets out to protect his land and everything his family has worked to achieve. After being rejected by all formal means, Tom takes matters into his own hands, using his hate as a driving force. Will his hate consume him before it is too late or will his enemy be a beacon of hope?

Barbara Kyle has written a story that will keep you reading until the end. Since true events were used for inspiration, it is hard not to feel for the characters in this story and it is sure to make you think about both sides involved. As mentioned in the book, everyone has a price, and reading Entrapped is sure to make you stop and think about what your price might be.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story November 15, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews, Nurture Your Books.
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Get your copy of Under The Neon Sky on Kindle!

Description:

Under The Neon Sky is a gripping, true story about a Las Vegas doorman who works the graveyard shift at one of the major hotels on the Strip. The sights, smells, and page popping characters are unforgettable as we take a journey that will transform how we used to envision the city that never sleeps. We watch as this doorman begins to emotionally break and wonder if he will become broken seeing his friends, his wife, hotel guests, and himself cross too many boundaries in this riveting, page turning story.

My Review:

Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story by Jay Rankin gives us a candid look into working in one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas – the MGM. What goes on behind the scenes? People work very hard to make Las Vegas a tourist attraction, focusing on the fun that one can have in Vegas. The bright and shining neon lights. The shows and performances. Not to mention that fun to be had at Casinos. But in today’s society so many people are focused on their own paths, not paying attention to their surroundings, that it is easy to miss the things that are happening right in front of you.

Mr. Rankin shares his experiences with the reader and allows us to feel what being that environment is like. So many events and emotions are told, not all positive, and it really opened my eyes to Las Vegas. It amazes me about the behavior some people exhibit in public places. Getting a job that tons of  people strive to get isn’t always the best way to go. The pay received per night may be worth it, but Jay’s story reminds us that sometimes your personal life and emotional state may suffer the consequences.

If you are interested in visiting Las Vegas, I would suggest you read Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story as a way to prepare yourself for the adventure you will be embarking on.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Relic Defender: Key of Solomon October 27, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Relic Defender: Key of Solomon on Kindle!

Synopsis:

Anthropology PhD candidate Lexi Harrison never bares it all when she belly dances for a strip club crowd. She doesn’t have to—she’s that good. Every performance earns money toward her degree, and restores the sense of power that her painful childhood ripped away.

Something is different about tonight. A man whose silver gaze seems to touch her skin beneath her veils. When a rowdy customer crosses the line, he comes to her rescue with the speed of a falcon—complete with wings.

Mikos Tyomni has never seen anyone dance the raqs sharqi like Lexi. Trust his tormentor, Archangel Michael, to put him in close contact with the cause of his downfall: a mortal woman. Particularly this mortal woman. The Defender. He has only thirty days to win her trust before Hell’s deadliest demons attempt the mother of all prison breaks.

No matter how sexy the messenger is, Lexi’s career plans don’t include some crazy idea that she’s the last line of defense against the forces of evil. Until her university mentor’s murder leaves her holding the key to Hell. And fighting a losing battle against a passion with the unholy power to bring down Heaven…

My Review:

Lexi has everything all planned out. Working hard to obtain her college degree by day and belly dancing by night, Lexi is determined to stay on the path she wants. With her heart locked up tight, nothing will make her feel again. Through a series of unfortunate events during her childhood, including the loss of her parents, Lexi has lost all faith in herself and humanity as a whole.

Mikos is an angel with a past. After falling from grace, he has worked non-stop to get back in the good graces of the powers that be. Just one task remains for him to complete and then his desire to return to heaven will be granted. What should be an easy task, makes a turn for the worst when he must convince Lexi that she is the Defender; a heritage that has been bestowed upon her by her deceased parents. Not only is Lexi head strong, stubborn and unwilling to bend, but she has an irresistible pull that Mikos can not ignore. Allowing himself to be with Lexi is not only forbidden but will ruin everything he has worked so hard to obtain.

In the majority of books that I have read that focus on the battle between good and evil…there are only angels against demons. God versus Satan. Ms. Knight takes the path least traveled and adds various aspects from Pagan spiritual paths and Mythology into the pages of Relic Defender: Key of Solomon. It was so refreshing to read about various aspects of other spiritual paths rather than focusing solely on main-stream religions.

If you like books that contain steamy angels and sexual tension that radiates off of the pages…I highly recommend Relic Defender: Key of Solomon by Cassiel Knight!

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: The Niteclif Evolutions: Legacy October 20, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1 on Kindle!

Synopsis:

Looking back on the wish she made on Midsummer’s Eve, Maddy Niteclif should have been more specific. She only wanted to escape the shadowy nightmares that plagued her nights, not to be thrust into a completely altered reality.

If a strangely familiar, sexy dragon-shifter named Bahlin, who causes a never-to-be-mentioned-again fainting spell, isn’t enough to make her question her sanity, his insistence she’s the Niteclif ought to do the job. Prophesied super-sleuth of the supernatural world—a world that desperately needs her help—isn’t a job she’s remotely qualified for no matter what her family tree says.

Catapulted into a very different London ruled by dark mythology, mystery and murder, Maddy makes a few startling discoveries. Paranormal creatures exist. Getting shot really sucks. And her body responds remarkably well to dragon magic—in more ways than simple wound healing.

But in this kill-or-be-killed world, reality bites. And Maddy must choose to go back to what she knows…or stay and fight for the man she knows she can’t live without.

Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting dragon with a Scottish accent, modern and archaic weapons, global inter-species politics that make democracy seem mild, some very steamy sex underground, a severed head, murder, and…oh yeah…a woman caught in the middle of it all.

My Review:

The Niteclif Evolutions: Legacy by Denise Tompkins is an action-packed book that kept me turning the pages. After the loss of her parents, Maddy needs to make a new start. She decides to head off to London with no real plan in place other than to see the stone circles that she keeps visiting in her dreams. After her arrival and an innocent wish, Maddy is thrust into a strange new world that leaves her little choice as to her future. Not only is she unsure about how she will follow in her family’s footsteps as the Niteclif, but she is the first female Niteclif and that in itself raises some questions as there has never been a female Niteclif before.

Bahlin is a dragon shape shifter who has waited for a very long time to meet the Niteclif. Left with a prophecy and a promise to watch over the Niteclif, Bahlin must decide if it is worth risking everything just to receive the one thing that he has ever longed for.

Maddy must learn that not everything that glitters is gold. With a power struggle surging, Maddy must master her new skills before her time, and life, are extinguished. Will she be able to walk away from the one thing her heart yearns for or follow the path that has been placed in front of her?

I am excited to see the path that Maddy, Bahlin and the other characters take in book two of this promising series.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen October 12, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Book Tours, Books, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen today!

Synopsis:

Shopping trips to discover trends, cabinet styles, counter top materials, appliances and plumbing fixtures are only the opening skirmishes when planning a kitchen renovation battle plan. Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen is the ultimate step-by-step, behind-the-scenes manual to remodel a kitchen. This must-have manifesto is loaded with “before” and “after” photos, drawings, questionnaires, lists, and “Tales from the Trenches” from the author’s own jobsites. Packed with practical, no-nonsense advice, checklists and proven recommendations, the book will help the novice and seasoned renovator alike plot a logical course of action before jumping into the fray. Learn how to: • determine how long it should take • de-code the design process • establish a budget • hire a contractor • ask the right questions when shopping for cabinetry, appliances and materials and so much more. Armed with this renovation road map, homeowners can plan their strategy so they won’t just survive, they’ll save time, money, sanity and win the renovation war! Robin Siegerman is a Registered Interior Designer and international, award-winning, Certified Kitchen Designer. With almost 20 years experience designing and managing home renovations, she sets a new standard for the kitchen renovation guide with Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen. Her columns, articles and projects have been featured in newspapers, magazines and coffee table books, she is a regularly featured designer on various HGTV shows and is a popular speaker at trade and home shows.

My Review:

Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen – Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind and Your Spouse by Robin Siegerman is a breath of fresh air for anyone wanting to remodel their kitchen! As someone who hopes to remodel her kitchen someday, I have a better understanding of what all goes into a remodel and what to prepare for. There are so many things that Robin talks about in her book that I never would have considered and now that I know about them, I can better prepare and plan. If I jumped into a kitchen remodel, I would have been stuck with extra costs and time added to my project because I simply did not know what all a remodel takes.

For instance, Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen pointed out that apparently I have been living in the dark ages. Did you know that they make microwave drawers?

(Dacor Millennia Microwave In-A-Drawer)

I didn’t! As someone with a very small kitchen, I am always being annoyed by the space that my microwave takes up on the counter. Robin suggests that for kitchens with little counter space, to consider using a microwave drawer. They are built underneath the counter as a drawer and are a much better way to manage the space in the kitchen!

Robin also talks about topics that we wouldn’t normally think of such as clean-up. She points out that once the remodel is complete that you are most likely to be excited to move into your new kitchen and start putting things away. She advises against this and also suggests that you hire a professional cleaning crew to come in and make sure everything has been cleaned properly. I never would have thought to have a crew come in and do the clean-up, just taking it upon myself to clean up afterwards. During the remodel, dust settles on everything and can cause health hazards later on if not properly cleaned. Be sure to clean your new kitchen twice, remembering to clean the vents and air ducts as well to prevent future problems!

If you are thinking about a kitchen remodel, I highly recommend you read Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen – Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind and Your Spouse by Robin Siegerman before you begin any kitchen remodel projects to avoid extra cost, problems and frustration.

My Rating:

Be sure to check out my interview HERE with Award-Winning Interior Designer Robin Siegerman and enter to win your own copy of Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchen – Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse.

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: This Bird Flew Away September 26, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of This Bird Flew Away on Kindle!!

Description:

What is real love? The whole world wants to know. They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that’s Jack. And it doesn’t matter to her that she’s nine and he’s twenty-three-not one bit. When, at the age of twelve, Bria disappears, he and his Aunt Mary search for her, and when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, Jack fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge.

My Review:

This Bird Flew Away by Lynda M. Martin is a book that describes the cold, harsh realities that takes place in the world today. Of course we would all like the world to be bright and sunny, ignoring the darkness that looms right around the corner, but there is always bad mingled with the good. Nine-Year-Old Bria Jean has not had the easiest life, nor the childhood that she deserved. Bria’s childhood is slowly stripped away each time that she endures abuse from her step-father. After the stepfather’s passing, Bria is shipped off to various relatives house where she once again finds herself under the hands of abuse.

At the age of twelve, Bria has to make the painful decision of how she can get away from an abusive aunt. Deciding to run away and find Jack for help, Bria flees into the unknown world ahead of her. The dark realities appear and Bria finds herself being sold to two strange men who do the unthinkable to her. Broken and confused, Bria escapes and is found by police. The road ahead of Bria is long and confusing and Bria has a darker outlook about life than normal teenagers should have.

After Bria’s terrible experience, Jack comes to her rescue and takes Bria under his wing and fights to become her guardian. Stuck between being a teenager and a young woman, Bria faces a mixed bag of emotions as she has always had a special connection with Jack. Jack has always been the man in her life, to protect her and

Ms. Martin has done a well job in creating a story that explains the harsh realities of life yet allows the hope of the future shine through. Bria is strong and courageous and serves to help other young girls who read her story know that bad things happen but that they can be overcome.

Some may find some of the descriptions a little hard to read, especially if you are a parent such as myself to a young daughter or if you have a personal reason to read such a story. Personally though I think this story is just a reminder that in the darkest of times, there is a lighted path that will lead you to a brighter future.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: inSyte by Greg Kiser September 22, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of inSyte on Kindle!!

Description:

inSyte is a paranormal thriller that will appeal to readers of Michael Crichton and Stephen King.

It’s Tampa Bay and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics. More than mere information – Mitch can see into men’s hearts and be all places at all times (easy in an ‘always on’ surveillance society with fourth generation tweets). Sort of like God.

But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.

At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL.

And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.

My Review:

inSyte is a futuristic tale that you do not want to miss. The reader starts out in July 2014 by being introduced to Mitch and Woody, two Navy Seals who have found themselves in the middle of heavy gun fire. After taking a hit, Mitch learns that fate, destiny and/or the higher powers that be have a plan for him..and it doesn’t involve him dying in Iran. The book then shifts to its first part, jumping to Florida in the year 2020.

Cheslov Kirill is dark, mysterious and the antagonist of the story. Even though he is ultimately the bad guy, he is written in such a way that I found myself drawn to him. Each of his mannerisms and  nervous ticks make him more believable and ultimately, a really good bad guy that I enjoyed getting to know. Especially as certain chapters clue us into why he is the way he is.

Add in all of the futuristic technology and inSyte becomes a great thriller. Mr. Kiser describes technology in a way that is believable and may even be possible in the future instead of describing something off-the-wall. With a world that is already filled with social media and high-tech gadgets…it is only a slight transition to the technology that is described in inSyte.

But all of the facts and tidbits that are spread through cyberspace can have a negative effect. Especially when Mitch discovers a plot with his new ‘inSyte’ that would not only harm millions of people but would cost him his girlfriend, Kate, because the man behind the plot happens to be Mayor Delaney and Kate’s father.

One of the things I liked most about Mr. Kiser’s writing is that he added tidbits of random thoughts during the story. That is something that I often think about while reading books. Someone is going on and on about some topic that the other person may find boring. Are they listening to the dialogue as suggested by the writing? Realistically…probably not. Mr. Kiser knows this and so he made his characters believable by sharing their thoughts at different moments. Is the quirky guy really listening to his professor rant about the effects of technology? Of course not! He is thinking about his date last night. I loved that about this novel and it made inSyte appeal to me that much more.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis