Book Review – Mind Games by Stevie Turner

Book Review – Mind Games by Stevie Turner

Book Review – Mind Games 

by Stevie Turner

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2 Bloggers’ Reviews

 

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
 Cherie McKay Horst 
Book Blogger

 


 

Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman User Sign Up

An Emotionally-Charged Addiction Tale

Frances and Martin Andrews have a serious problem: he’s addicted to pornography, and she’s addicted to spying on him to secure evidence of his transgressions. The lack of trust between them has shattered their marriage, and even counseling doesn’t offer much hope. Martin’s repeated lies render impotent his protestations that he’s changed. He desperately wants her back, but she desperately wants to be free of him.

That’s the set-up. What follows in this fast-paced and relatively short novel spans a few emotionally-charged years in which husband and wife must face their own flaws as well as each other’s. It’s a compelling read about a life-destroying indulgence that has ensnared all too many people, particularly in the Internet age. Turner does a creditable job of portraying the addiction and its effects, although I suspect she’s captured the wife’s trauma better than the husband’s. Frances grows considerably through the story, while Martin’s journey through hell ultimately seems fruitless. I’ll grant that’s one plausible outcome, but I found it disheartening. Maybe that’s the point? I at least would have liked a bit deeper glimpse into Martin’s psyche at the end to understand better how he ends up where he does.

The writing is good enough, although I thought phrases containing the word “porn” occurred a bit too often, and some of the dialogue, particularly with the counselor, seemed a bit stilted. (However, I’ve never been in a counseling session, so maybe that’s how it really is.) I also think the author missed some opportunities to delve deeper into the characters through the action. This is a complex situation that could easily support another 50 pages of development without feeling stretched.

A word of caution: Although this work is neither romance nor erotica, there are a few explicit passages, not excessively graphic but very direct.

The strengths and weaknesses of “Mind Games” had me hemming and hawing over a rating. I’ve settled on 4.5 stars for story and a bit better than 3.5 for the writing, yielding 4 stars overall.


The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” ,”True Death” and “Ice on the Bay

This review will feature in his blog www.DaleELehman.com

 

Reviewed by Cherie McKay Horst User Sign Up

The Author Did a Very Good Job

“Mind Games” is the story of the life of Frances and Martin Andrews.  Their story is one of a marriage that has been destroyed by Martin’s addiction to porn and the loss of trust that comes from addiction.

The story is told from both Frances and Martin’s perspectives. Throughout the story you begin to see life through the eyes of Frances, with occasional views through Martin’s eyes.  The character of Frances really grows throughout the tale, and I found myself really rooting for her.

It is a fast moving story, and I found myself making my way through the book in a short time.  Although the story is about porn addiction, it is not an erotic or sensual book in anyway.  At times the book is hard to read simply because porn addiction is a tough subject to read about. But the story line is interesting, and I wanted to know the outcome of their marriage and where life takes them.

I think the author did a very good job telling an interesting, fast moving story about a very complex, yet believable situation.

 


The Reviewer runs “From Michigan to Germany” blog


 


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Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

by Dale E. Lehman 1 Comment

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown 

by K. A. Hitchens

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3 Blogger Review

 

 
Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
  Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic 
 Rose Elliot
Findling Land, Book Blogger

 


 

Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman User Sign Up

This Novel is Among the Best I’ve Read in Recent Times

Dr. Matilda Moss is moving toward a bright future. A top British stem cell researcher, she’s on the verge of a breakthrough that promises cures for a variety of ailments. But then a fall from a balcony leaves her brilliant mind trapped in a useless body slipping inexorably toward death. Unable to move or speak or even blink her eyes, she is powerless to explain what happened to her. Was it a failed suicide? Attempted murder? She can only listen to the speculations swirling about her, collect hints from those who visit her hospital room, and sift through her own memories in an effort to find the meaning behind her life and impending death.

“The Key of All Unknown” floored me. Told in first person through Matilda’s eyes and mind, it is full of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the tale rounds a new bend and everything changes, not just once, not just twice, but time after time. Beneath it all runs a current of philosophical and moral questing touching on the deepest questions of life and death, and critiquing society’s mad rush to devalue its own humanity.

Emotional, topical, and beautifully told, this novel is among the best I’ve read in recent times. I can’t find a thing to complain about, except a very occasional quibble over an excessively ornate description, and that may just be a matter of taste. The ending so unequivocal that you’ll either be deeply moved by it or you’ll hate it, but either way it’s worth the reading. Five stars for story, five stars for the writing, five stars hands down. Brava, Ms. Hitchens!

The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

This review will feature in his blog www.DaleELehman.com

 


Reviewed by Julia Wilson User Sign Up

Unbelievably Beautiful

The Key Of All Unknown by K.A. Hitchins is a beautiful contemporary novel that I read in just one sitting. I was unable to put it down.

Trapped in her body, Tilda hears everything that is going on. Bit by bit as her memories play out she longs for her body to respond. The words “If you look at me again, you’ll see I’m here” just break the reader’s heart. How many of us are locked inside our bodies, just longing for the world to see the real us?

The book is written in the first person so the reader ‘experiences’ all that Tilda does. We ‘feel’ her frustrations and her pain as she is manhandled by those supposed to care. “I’m a medical condition to be analysed, not a person to be comforted.” Conflicting opinions reign as Tilda fights for her life. Whose side are you on?

The reader senses the raw emotion of her father. “My love isn’t enough. It can’t reach her.” Sometimes our love is not enough to nurse our loved ones back to health. The hopelessness and helplessness are painful to witness.

There are crimes to be solved. The reader tries to piece together what has happened. Even in the darkness, there can be hope for new life if we just hold on and do not give up.

The Key Of All Unknown was beautiful. I hung on to every word that K.A. Hitchins wrote. There were moments when my jaw literally dropped and radiance and love filled my soul.
Why don’t you read The Key Of All Unknown and experience the peace that passes all understanding, as you read this work of great beauty.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

Reviewed by Rose Elliot User Sign Up

An Incredibly Well-written, Highly Unexpected Story

Like I mentioned in the introductory post for this month’s book club pick, The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchens, I was excited to pick up a thriller for the first time in a while. And thrilling this book was! The entire book takes place from the perspective of Tilda Moss, a brilliant scientific researcher who appears to be in a vegetative state, but is actually suffering from locked-in syndrome, as she fights to remember why she landed in the hospital in the first place and figure out how to signal someone that she is, in fact, sentient.

The book takes place almost entirely in Tilda’s head, save the moments when she is able to listen in on the conversations that take place in her hospital. Between those conversations and her fleeting memories, Tilda realizes there is much, much more at stake than just her own life. With incredible and surprising twists and turns, Hitchens manages to weave a story that is suspenseful, enticing, and moving. The reader gets a front row seat to Tilda’s struggles as she fights to survive, fights to be recognized as awake and aware, and fights to remember. As she lays in her hospital bed, piecing together memories and listening to doctors, nurses, and family members discuss her fate, Tilda is left to contend with her life up to that point, faith, and what happens next.

Hitchens does an excellent job of drawing her readers in and keeping them reading. Just when you think the story is slowing down or dragging, another twist or shocking piece of information appears and you have to keep reading. I was deeply moved by this book as a whole, but especially the last third or so. I will often feel emotional at the end of a book, but rarely do I cry real tears, much less sob as I read an ending. The Key of All Unknown brought me tears. I was sobbing by the end, and had to take a second before I could finish reading.

The Key of All Unknown is an incredibly well-written, highly unexpected story. As I read the story, I imagined all sorts of possible outcomes. But the outcome that happened was both completely unexpected and absolutely perfect. I look forward to reading more books by Hitchins in the future.

The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchins gets 5/5 stars.


Originally posted on “Finding Land” Blog

 

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Book Review – The Janus Enigma by William R Dudley

Book Review – The Janus Enigma by William R Dudley

by Dale E. Lehman 0 Comments

Book Review – The Janus Enigma

by William R Dudley

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1 Blogger Review

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
 

 


Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman

Action Packed and Suspenseful

Through nuclear war and environmental degradation, Earth has been all but destroyed. Seeking new homes, humanity has taken to the stars using a marvel of engineering: the Janus Gate. Orbiting the sun where the asteroid belt used to be, the Janus Gate’s space-warping black hole and surrounding containment field catapults pilgrims to worlds far beyond our solar system. But Janus is also a colony in its own right, its concentric levels home to a full cross-section of humanity. Here, powerful ultra-conglomerates double as businesses and government, ruthless criminal syndicates run amok, and ordinary people eke out an existence.

In the lawless outer levels of Janus, former security agent turned freelance bounty hunter Calder is offered a fortune to find the missing son of one of the richest and most powerful women alive. Of course he takes the job. But soon he finds himself neck deep in deception, treachery, gangland war, and unspeakable crimes. Death threatens at every turn, but Calder must see the job through, cost notwithstanding.

“The Janus Enigma” packs suspense and intense action into a gripping tale of survival and intrigue. It’s well written, too. Author William R. Dudley is a former English teacher, journalist, and editor, so he knows his way around words. I did find some of the dialogue near the end a bit wordy, and on occasion I thought a sentence could have been phrased better, but these are minor quibbles. A bit more significantly, I didn’t entirely buy the young computer whiz Umbra’s emotional episode near the end, and I was a bit disturbed that Calder didn’t notice the parallels between certain of his own actions, which he justifies as necessary collateral damage, and the monstrous crimes he uncovers. Some elements of the ending might have been a bit too pat, as well, but to avoid spoilers I won’t go into detail here. Regardless, the story works, and works well.

Fair warning for those who might take issue: this is a violent story liberally sprinkled with hot vengeance and crude language. Personally I would prefer less of all that, but I won’t factor that preference into my rating, since I seem to be in the minority. In terms of both story and writing, “The Janus Enigma” falls on the high side of 4 stars. If I don’t give it 5, it’s only because of those few small issues I mentioned above. Well done, sir!


The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

This review will feature in his blog along with Q&A with this author
www.DaleELehman.com

 

 

 
Book Review – Halfway  by Lokesh Sharma and Anubhav Sharma

Book Review – Halfway by Lokesh Sharma and Anubhav Sharma

by Dale E. Lehman 0 Comments

Book Review – Halfway

by Lokesh Sharma and Anubhav Sharma

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1 Blogger Review

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
 

 


Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman

An Amazing Ride, One of the  Better-written First Novels

An old rule of science fiction writing states that an author is allowed one independent miracle per story. In “Halfway,” Lokesh Sharma and Anubhav Sharma hit us with a real doozy: your memories are being harvested, and after you die you are remade with an engineered body and a little bracelet that connects you to those saved memories. Thus reborn into a world called Enigma, you are judged for your actions during your Earthly life and either admitted into the paradise of Elysium or condemned to the torment of Hell. But these realms are not religious/spiritual realms. Rather, they are technological realms situated in a distant part of the galaxy. Pardon the pun, but how the hell did that come about? We aren’t told, and for now it doesn’t matter. Independent miracle. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

And it is an amazing ride. Like their authors, the key characters hail from India and have backstories bound up with the customs and history of that land. Dev, a young computer wiz who pulled himself out of a suicidal funk by entering into an illegal cell phone scam with his over-the-top pal Sid, faces Hell because he was killed when he ran in front of a truck with an old suicide note in his pocket. An open and shut case, except he didn’t kill himself at all. His death was a tragic accident. Meanwhile, a young woman named Aparna is in similarly deep trouble. After her enraged father killed her boyfriend in front of her for the crime of dating Aparna, she retaliated by murdering him. Worse, she’s now killed two of the locals in Enigma, although in self-defense. But in Enigma, justice can be as elusive as on Earth. In fact, the “afterlife” doesn’t seem all that different from Earth, riddled with politics, corruption, lust, murder, and other lesser crimes and sins. Worse still, lurking in the background is the specter of war as Hell’s self-appointed queen Phoenix prepares to attack Enigma. This is an amazingly good story given that the premise makes absolutely no sense. I found it hard to stop reading. Even better (or flummoxing, depending on how you feel about it), this is book 1 in the “Aspiration for Deliverance” series, and in some ways it’s not a complete story. The lives of Dev and Aparna don’t intersect at all. This is just the set-up for whatever comes next. But it works, so long as you’re willing to wait for book 2, where at least some questions will presumably be answered.

In spite of my raving, this is not a perfect book. It’s a first novel by a pair of indie writers, and as usually happens the writing could stand some editing. Not that it’s terrible. It’s among the better-written first indie novels that I’ve read. But it could do with a fair bit of tightening. Some material needs reorganization for clarity, and many of the information dumps should be cleaned up.  The description is a bit klunky. There are too many sound effects for my taste (I’d get rid of them all, guys, and write some engaging action instead). Oh, and many of those hyphenations and capitalizations shouldn’t be there. Because of these issues, I’d make the writing a 3, but the story easily deserves 4+ if not 5. So overall, let’s give it a 4 stars mark.


The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

 

 

 
Book Review – Pen, Please  by George Mayes

Book Review – Pen, Please by George Mayes

Book Review – Pen, Please

by George Mayes

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1 Blogger Review

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
 

 


Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman

An Intense Coming-of-age Novel With a Solid and Engaging Story

“Pen, Please” is an intense coming-of-age novel set in Oklahoma. We meet protagonist Andre Young at age sixteen when he returns home from a summer leadership program in Texas only to find his father hospitalized with a blood clot in his lung. The first of many trials Andre faces in the novel, it’s far from the first in his life. Through flashbacks and present-day narrative, this young black man’s journey is exposed as a chronicle of heartbreak, tragedy, and headlong rushes down blind alleys, some imposed upon him and some of his own making.

Andre is fundamentally a decent guy struggling to make sense out of a life in which every joy is followed by a dozen sorrows. But he’s also headstrong and easily tempted to take the easy way out. His troubled relationship with his father and his distance from his absent mother haunt him throughout life. He can’t sort out his relationship with women, nor can he hang onto a job in spite of being an excellent worker. He even briefly descends into selling drugs. But through it all, he valiantly struggles towards something for which he has no good role models: how to be a man.

This is a first novel by an indie writer, and as often happens in such cases, I have to give two verdicts. One the one hand, I think the story itself is solid and engaging, while the key characters are drawn well and generally intriguing. On the other, the writing isn’t what you would get in a novel released through a mainstream publisher. Author George Mayes has potential. He can sometimes turn a good phrase, and one or two particular witticisms made me laugh. But the narrative passages read like he’s trying too hard, and the dialogue could use considerable work. Also, somewhere about mid-story the novel seemed to become a rush of scenes separated by time gaps of indeterminate length. This may be me–I admit to being easily confused–but by the end of the novel I really had no idea how old Andre was anymore, and I got lost in the sea of friends and coworkers surrounding him. There are scenes I wish Mayes had shown us instead of just alluding to as past events. I would guess this novel could easily have been twice as long. It’s that rich in content.

However, I can’t fault Mayes for these shortcomings, precisely because this is a first novel by an indie writer. Nearly all writers start out this way, and in today’s world a great many publish their first efforts. Rather, I hope he takes this as encouragement to develop his craft, because I think there is a really good storyteller in there struggling to get out. I think the story itself is at least a 4 if not a 5, but overall I’m going to have to go with a 3.


The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death”