Book Review: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Note: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:



When I first saw the monster hidden in the dark, teeth sharp and face covered in blood, the first thing I did was jump over Boston’s Wall of Protection to warn the people inside it. Turns out the people already knew, and all I did was turn myself into a delicious little snack for the most terrifying creature to have ever existed.

I was sure he’d kill me. He didn’t. Instead, he turned me into one of them.

Being saved against your own will is no fun, especially when the knight in shining armor is a vampire who calls himself Hammer. He’s arrogant, flirty, and even more stubborn than me. Left with no other choice but to make a deal with him, I soon find out that I’m not just your usual bloodsucker. I’m something far worse. But at least I’m no longer all alone.

Promises are not to be broken in my newfound world, and when my part of the deal is done, Hammer has seven days to complete his.

If he does, I will no longer be alive.

My First Thoughts:

The premise for this story sounded very interesting and I’m always looking for a good vampire story to read. Seriously, it’s hard to find good vampire fiction anymore which is a real shame. If you find the right vampire fiction it can be a whole bucket of angst and drama or a blood bath, anything else jut gets too boring or cliché.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

Warning: Mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape.

For the life of me I could not finish this story and it really upsets me. I really wanted to like this book and I really wanted to read it to the end because it reminded me of a bad movie that people still found enjoyable because of its flaws. Unfortunately, I lost all interest and will to read this book and could only read a few pages a sitting before I got bored or frustrated. So, for the sake of all the other books I need and/or want to read I’ve decided to put this one down and I don’t think I’m ever going to pick it up again. At nearly 20% of the way though the book I had to shelve it.

In the beginning of the story I was a bit intrigued. Dystopians can be hard for me to get into, so most of the time I stay away from them unless they have an interesting story. So far I had never run into a dystopian novel that also had vampires, so that acted as the initial hook for me. However, it kind of dropped from there.

The one thing that really made this story hard to read were all the plot holes that were just so glaringly obvious that it became frustrating. Morta made decisions that made absolutely no sense just so that the author could have her in the right place to progress the story. The author describes how vampires were created, which at first I thought it was clever until I really started thinking about it. The author used a virus to create vampires. When infected, the body’s organs all fail and stop working except for the brain, which needs blood to survive. At first, I thought it was an interesting idea but then I really started thinking about it. If the stomach is no longer functioning, then how does the blood get to the brain? When the blood is consumed it goes down the throat and to the stomach. First thought is that the new blood just gets absorbed into the blood stream and is taken to the brain. However, that’s not how things work. For something to get into the blood stream it must either be immediately be absorbed into muscles, directly supplied by injecting into a vain, or it must be digested by the stomach. If swallowed, blood to my knowledge can’t be absorbed into the muscles so it would have to be digested, if that’s possible, which it can’t be because the stomach is no longer functioning. Also, if the heart stops beating then how would the blood, if it could, get to the brain? The pumping of the heart is the main mechanism for blood circulation, so how does the new blood get to the brain if the heart isn’t beating? There were several other issues I had with the virus approach, but I’ll stop there and spare you from my rant.

The mistakes I found in this book made it obvious that this was a self-published piece. At first they were quite humorous. Occasionally the author would use the wrong verb, ex: “I heard the smell of blood…” Other times there were issues with continuity, one minute a character would be one thing and the next they were doing an action that completely contradicted what they had just done with no real mention of it. After a while the mistakes just kept piling up and it made the story a little hard to follow, all of which could have been avoid if there was an experienced editor involved with this story.

I think I could have gotten past all of the errors in this story, because they really were funny most of the time, if I even liked the characters I was following. I hated Morta and I liked Hammer only a smidgen more than her. Morta is a pessimistic, childish, and frustrating character. It was like the author didn’t want to make her a Mary Sue, or the perfect heroine, but in doing so made an unrealistic character that just became too annoying to even care for. She doesn’t want to be a monster so she tries to commit suicide. At least four times she tries to kill herself within the first few chapters after she becomes a vampire. She is so determined to die that she keeps doing things that may get her killed and honestly I can’t stand those characters. As someone who had to talk a friend out of suicide I was extremely uncomfortable with this and many times pissed with how the author handled it. I can’t imagine what someone who actually has attempted suicide would feel when reading this.

Like I said, Hammer was a little more likeable than Morta but not enough to make me care what happens to him. When you first meet him he’s a cocky show off who just tries to convince Morta to sleep with him. Ignoring the impossibility of vampire sex, it made him come off poorly because he kept insisting until Morta gave him a firm, hard refusal. After Morta told him no though, he dropped the subject completely and then it felt like he was a teacher mentoring a young bratty child which doesn’t scream romance to me. Also, outside those two main characters nine out of ten people were complete scum and completely unredeemable. For instance, for some reason the doctors Morta ran into in the beginning tried doing nonconsensual experiments for no immediate reason. Slightly later, when Morta leaves the city she is immediately set upon by a group of men that try to coerce her into having sex with them. Not even a chapter later another guy tries forcing her to have sex with him and no one tries to stop him. And of course, because it’s a dystopian all government officials and law enforcement are sadistic, murdering scum.


I got about 19% of the way through this book and decided to quit. This book needs some serious editing work because it read like the first draft of a manuscript, before an editor takes their red pen to the pages and make them bleed. The characters are unlikable. There are plot holes everywhere that distract from the story. The word building is lazy and reads like the author just took our reality and slapped a bunch of cheap stickers on it. I feel like I could have finished this book if I found that I had even a grain of compassion towards Morta and Hammer. Instead I doubt that I will ever pick this story up again. It’s possible that the story gets better from where I left off, but I have no motivation to find out.

I would recommend this story to anyone who likes dystopian or vampire stories, I feel like people should still give this book a try if they really want to. However, I must warn you that there are mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape. If you are someone who has any experience with suicide I seriously suggest staying away from this book because the main character only wants to die and attempts to kill herself several times. If these things don’t bother you, then by all means give this story a try if you really want to.


Title: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Author: D.N. Hoxa

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: October 16, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia, Romance

Pages: 326


Book Review: The Golden Spider



Title: The Golden Spider (The Elemental Web Chronicles)

Author: Ann Renwick

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: August 8th 2016

Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Mystery

Pages: 482


London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.

Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.

After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?

Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.

Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.

Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.

Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.

My First Thoughts:

I always love to find good steampunk books and there are never enough of them! So when I was presented with story I immediately said yes.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

This story was absolutely fantastic! While this book is a romance, that single element doesn’t drive the story like other books. The Golden Spider is very much a mystery novel with a side of romance and a touch and steampunk.

The mystery of this story was quite interesting to follow, and it had me guessing for most of the book. The murders weren’t too gruesome to read about, the author didn’t go into a lot of detail describing the look of the body and such. When she did go into detail, she used very scientific words, which made sense because both of the main characters are in the medical field, to describe what had happened to the body and thus allowing the reader to be slightly removed and less repulsed by the image in their mind. By the end of the novel none of the big twists shocked me. This isn’t a slight against the story telling, most books fail to shock me with their big twists because I’ve guessed them early on. The mystery did stump me for most of this book and there were some minor twists that I didn’t see coming.

The characters were likeable enough. I really enjoyed Thorton more than Amanda. Lady Amanda was fine, however she seemed rather basic. It’s not uncommon for the heroine of a romance novel to be extraordinary in some way, normally there super smart compared to their peers. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that her character was cliché, because the author took great strides in proving how intelligent her female lead was by showing her thought process and even including the right terminology when necessary. However, Lady Amanda fails to stand out in my mind, which isn’t a point against the author, unlike her male counterpart. Thorton was different. I’ve never read a story before, especially a romance, where the male lead is handicapped in some way and is a bit self-conscious about it, afraid of receiving help from others but needing it in the end. Normally, a male character with his kind of personality would turn me off, but his injury and all the related baggage helped round out his character, making him rather likeable.

For the most part, the minor characters were interesting as well. There were a few that were quite forgettable, but the others had unique characteristics or actions that helped them stick in the mind, the gypsies were my favorite.

With any steampunk, I’m curious about how the author weaves the normal elements of the genre into their story. For many stories, the steampunk elements are mostly in the detailing of the environment, the fashion, etc. Not many stories that I have read actually do much with steampunk ideas beyond ‘oh look I added gears and steam to everything’. The Golden Spider actually weaves the elements into the plot, especially with Amanda’s device and the work that it does. I was absolutely fascinated with the world that the author created with steampunk, and I enjoyed the detailing and the functionality of her creations.

For the most part, this book is fantastic. My only complaints are the ending and some of the random sections with our killer. A few times the author chose to write from the killer’s perspective, as a way of giving the readers some clues as to who they might be. However, they were random and very far from each other. I would have preferred if we saw more from the villain’s side, not much, but a few more times to make those sections appear less disjointed with the rest of the story. As for the end, it was a fine ending but with how the rest of the story read I was expecting more. Everything seemed to wrap up so nicely with most of the loose ends getting tied in the last couple of pages. I wanted to know more about the killer’s motives and some answers to some of the backstory that was presented earlier in the story. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next installment, which I will definitely be looking for.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves steampunk, romance, or mystery, or all of the above. No one genre dominates the story, which I appreciated because sometimes romance driven mysteries are rather dry and cliché. This mystery is well balanced, not very gory, and fun to follow. There are some pretty heavy scientific and medical terms in this book, they are scientists so it makes sense, however, there’s enough context to make it easier to get a general idea of what’s being said without relying on Google. Also, there is sex in this book, just to warn you in case it turns you off like some of the other reviewers I’ve read.



Overall this book is fantastic. The world the author creates is detailed and well imagined while leaving the reader with enough questions to want to keep exploring in later books. The romance, while a little cliché, is realistic and enjoyable without stealing the spotlight. Some people might not enjoy the technical jargon or medical terminology, but they’re easy enough to understand. What keeps this story from getting 5/5 for me is the ending and the few sections told about our killer. There were 2-3 times in which the story followed the villain, which is fine, but they seemed so random and jarring that it took me out of the story a little. Just a few more sections with the killer, and it would have been fine. As for the ending, it was too short and clean for me. Most of the loose ends were taken care of, but they were all told to us and not shown. The rest of the book goes through great lengths to show and not tell, and I feel like the ending falls short of the standard the rest of the book set up. I understand if the author didn’t want to  go into too much detail, however, I think the readers deserved more than two or three pages. All in all, I’mm looking forward to the next book!

Related Reviews/Books:

A Curse of Ash and Iron

Book Review: Kyle Evans and the Key to the Universe

kyle-evans-is-shitNOTICE: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:


Title: Kyle Evans and the Key to the Universe

Author: Rob H Hunt

Illustrator: James Chapman

Publisher: self-published

Release Date:  March 2nd 2016 

Genre: Action/Adventure,  Science fiction, Middle Reader

Pages: 166


Some kids love adventure, and dream of being a hero. Ten-year-old Kyle Evans is not one of those kids, but when a giant hole appears in his bedroom and swallows his mom, a hero is what Kyle must become. Kyle sets out on the journey of a lifetime, and discovers along the way that Battle Droids are scarier than Search Droids, Kranken are more terrifying than either of these, and you should never stand still near a Burgly Bug. But more important than any of this, Kyle learns that sometimes a cat is not just a cat. Kyle Evans and The Key to The Universe is the first book in an exciting adventure trilogy that takes a boy, his cat and his friend Sofia across the universe, gradually revealing their amazing destiny

My First Thoughts:

I’m always looking for a good science fiction book, especially one that is geared toward children, so I was rather excited to read and review another children’s book.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. The story held promise, and I really did want to see how everything panned out. However, it took me more time than I want to admit to finish this book. After almost every chapter I put the book down to briefly do something else, and the chapters weren’t very long. The writing couldn’t hold my interest long, I wanted to read more of the story, but I felt like the writing was constantly pulling me out.

The dialogue was stiff. I felt no chemistry between the characters, and even less so when they were speaking to each other. None of the conversations flowed naturally and it was a bit painful to read sometimes. Now, I understand that most children in upper elementary school or lower middle school won’t care about the dialogue, but that shouldn’t stop an author from writing good, or even decent, conversations between characters.

I found the main character Kyle to be rather annoying by the end of the story. At first he was interesting because he was a young kid how didn’t like adventures, like a less proper and very young Bilbo Baggins. However, you don’t really see a clear transition out of that phase for his character. Instead, he is constantly being thrown into these actin roles with very little thought except for helping his cat. Cool, that’s great. I love cats and characters who protect their cats are awesome in my book, but the author missed some great opportunities for good character development for Kyle. Again, how many kids are looking very closely at character development? Not very many, but kids do pick up on the subtle messages in what they hear and read, so things like good character development that makes sense is always needed, no matter what the age group is. He annoyed me because no matter how many times he encountered something strange or out-of-this-world he always had a major freak out about it or had a hard time grasping the issue at hand.

Sophia was a little better. She is his supposed best friend that shows up early in the book but doesn’t actually have a real role until about three quarter of the way through. But she’s on the cover, right? Yes, she’s the girl on the cover but most of the story is over with by the time she’s really apart of the action. She  handled the weirdness a lot better than Kyle, unfortunately, she handled it a little too well for a 10 year old. My one big complaint was that you don’t find out a lot about Sophia, you just pick up that she speaks Spanish and are told that she’s Kyle’s best friend, but I don’t really see it.

The one character that I enjoyed the most was Bootles. To me, he read like the cat version of David Tennant’s Doctor Who. He was highly intelligent, spoke a lot and went of on odd tangents that somehow made it back to the main idea. However, he still bothered me because he spoke of things that no average 10 year old would have a real concept of and constantly confused Kyle, which got real old real fast. One example is that he spoke of endothermic and exothermic reactions and how metals react to acetic acid. Not very many children would know about acetic acid, let alone it’s reactions to metal. He is an interesting character, but I feel like this isn’t the book for this character. In fact, I believe that Bootles would be better suited for a Young Adult novel instead of a Middle Reader.

My main problems were the about the dialogue and the chemistry between the characters. I enjoyed the concept of the story and the action was entertaining and flowed rather smoothly for the most part.  Honestly, I believe that this story is fine for young readers but it isn’t the best. The greatest kids books are able to capture and hold the attention of adults, and this book had a hard time holding my attention.



Overall I believe that this book would be an interesting read for young readers. There’s a lot of action and fun illustrations to go along with the story that would entertain them for a while. This may prove to be a good gift to any child, though probably those ten or younger. It would be especially good for any young reader that may be interested in Sci-fi literature, because I believe that it serves as a great gateway book to other science fiction novels. There’s no overall message with this story, not even a minor lesson. This is just basically a way to keep kids quiet for a few hours or more.

For anyone older than ten, this may prove to be a difficult read. The dialogue is unnatural and the characters don’t really fit together as well as they should. There are other story elements that are a bit subpar that older readers would pick up on rather quickly. For people with experience with page layout and design, don’t pick this book up because it will drive you insane just looking at it.

Book Review: Testament of Faith

Notice: I was given a free copy of this book by the author to read in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:


Title: Testament of Faith (Pacific Cove #2)

Author: JE Grace

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: September 7th 2016

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Christian

Pages: 93 (eBook)


Jason and Naomi’s son, Peter, returns home from college and back to the ranch he loves. A series of devastating events will test their strength, faith, and their hope for the future. Can they endure the hardships?

Through their own personal loss and that of their friends, they learn to lean on one another when all hope seems lost. Out of sorrow will come healing and out of healing great joy.

This is a story of struggle, grief, and loss, but also one of victory.

My First Thoughts:

J.E. Grace gave me both Haunted Visions and Testament of Faith at the same time to read and review. While I had many issues with Haunted Visions I thought that I would give the second one a try, especially since I really did like the idea of the first one. Who knows, maybe the author improved with this sequel.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Oh, wow. Where do I begin?

First, I have to say that while my reviews are honest, if I know that the authors will read them I try to make their reviews as helpful as possible. I find completely negative reviews, or reviews that do nothing but spit in the author’s face, to be a waste of time and energy. Authors gain nothing is you point out every flaw or just tell them that they suck. They have a better chance at improving if you give them opportunities or ways to improve, by giving them constructive criticism rather than blunt criticism.

I’m not going to lie; this book has some major flaws. Most of them are the same that I found with the previous story. There’s too much scene set up and not enough substance, not enough interactions between the characters, not enough character action. Grace spends a lot of the book telling me what the characters do, how they feel, what they think. She doesn’t show me their happiness, anger, or grief by describing their body language, how their faces change, or even the tone of their voices. She doesn’t show me their personalities through their actions and reactions; instead she has to tell me what kind of people they are, but then I forget soon after. I’ve been told that her characters have grown and changed through the progression of the story, but I don’t see it. I see no evidence that her characters have changed, that they’ve become stronger, better, or closer. Instead I have to be told about their development without evidence to support the claims.

This book is marketed as a sequel to Pacific Cove: Haunted Visions, but honestly you don’t have to read the first book to read Testament of Faith. The former contained ghostly encounters and unsolved mysteries. Testament of Faith, even though it’s supposed to be a sequel, really doesn’t mention anything from the first book. It’s a completely different story than the first, which is fine, but also a bit jarring. There’s no mention of ghosts and only a sentence or two about Naomi’s struggles with her mental health (which magically got better, but I won’t dive into that one). Sure, some passing comments might not make sense to the reader, but the reader honestly doesn’t have to spend the time reading the first book to understand this one. And honestly, that may be a benefit to some readers.

I think my biggest complaint about this book is the reality that it’s in. At time I wondered if Testament of Faith was set in an oddly normal episode of The Twilight Zone, because the events that happened in this story are just too unrealistic. Every character you’re introduced to is perfect, beautiful, well built, and stylish. It’s off putting to imagine these perfect individuals going through crisis and come out still being perfect. And the plot was extremely predictable; I was not shocked by a single tragedy or happy outcome. Characters are super happy and toast to good health, a few pages later tragedy occurs, followed by an unrealistic turn of event that would not happen in the real world, followed by another tragedy at the same time as another happy reveal occurs, and then the book ends on a happy note. I felt nothing with each event except extreme disbelief in how things occurred. I didn’t feel happiness when good things happened to the characters; instead I was angry because the timing felt wrong. I also didn’t feel sadness or sympathy for the characters when tragedy occurred; instead I was stuck thinking about how incompetent everyone was, especially the doctors and I won’t even waste your time explaining how much they angered me. And just like the previous book, time is treated like a plaything, manipulated by the author to make the story progress in unnatural ways.

Despite all the criticism I gave the book, there were some positive notes. In the previous book, I felt that each scene change was too choppy and threw me out of the story, but in Testament of Faith I felt like scene were a bit more fluid and less jarring. There was a bit more loving interactions between the couples to really show that they loved each, but I still believe that needs some more work. And the scene descriptions were a bit more spread out in the scene. Overall, the story read more like a novella than a screenplay.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading Christian fiction. This book has some elements of faith that readers may enjoy reading. And even though I find the sequence of events a bit unrealistic, I believe some people may enjoy reading a story of overcoming tragedy, especially in times like now.



Even though there was some improvement between the two stories, I have to give this sequel a lower rating than the other novella. The idea for this story was less compelling to me and it was really hard to read this book. This book was boring for me to read. I couldn’t relate, empathize, or sympathize with the characters. There were times in which I wanted to quit, but I finished this book because I was asked to and I felt like this review would be more beneficial to the author if I finished their book. Obviously this book could entertain some readers, but I couldn’t get past the mistakes or the unrealistic feel of the story to enjoy it.


Book Review: Haunted Visions

NOTICE! I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review which reads as follows:


Title: Pacific Cover: Haunted Visions

Author: J.E. Grace

Publisher: Self-Published

Published: August 13, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal

Pages: 90 (eBook)


Naomi and Jason Sanders move to Pacific Cove Ranch shortly after their wedding. Prior to her graduation from college, Naomi’s younger sister is killed in a hit and run accident. Naomi is having a hard time accepting her loss, and the isolation of her new surroundings bring a new type of terror: haunted visions that keep her on edge, terrifying her.

Is Naomi being tormented by her own inner demons or some new type of ghostly visions that haunt the Pacific Cove Ranch? Can she survive or will they drive her mad?

Can she convince her family that she isn’t just grieving for her sister, but that these ghosts are trying to tell her about a secret she is supposed to discover? Will she figure it out and prove to her family she isn’t imagining things?

What I First Thought:

J.E Grace emailed me asking to review two of her short stories. I accepted her request because I don’t have many short stories and I want to review more of them. And this book Haunted Visions, seemed like it would fit perfectly with the mood and atmosphere October usually brings.

My Overall Opinion:

Overall, I didn’t really care for this story. I really wanted to enjoy it, because the synopsis described a really good idea for a story. However, the flow was so choppy that I felt like I was constantly shoved out of the book between scenes.

The author’s biggest problem was falling victim to the imbalance of show and tell. I understand that it can be a hard concept to grasp, and it really depends on the author and the reader. However, I felt like the author spent 90% of the book telling me what happened, telling me what her characters were like, and telling me how every one and thing felt about every event. I was told about the characteristics of all the characters, but wasn’t given the opportunity to see them for myself in the story. I was told how Naomi felt about everything, but wasn’t given the chance to visualize her reactions. I was told that she was angry and not shown how her faced changed with the emotion, how her voice sounded as she was screaming.

Bottom line, this story read like a play script. There was normally more description at the start of each scene, spending a few paragraphs describing the scenery and set up. Then the author would rely on dialogue to tell her story with a few brief lines of actions between each conversation. For some readers this may be enough for them, but I didn’t really care for it because I couldn’t grasp the concept of time for this story. I was told how long each action took, how long it took to get from point A to B, or how much time passed between two scenes, but it didn’t read like it in the story. I would stop several times in one page to sit and think about how the author was treating time, and it just felt so flimsy to me. I want to read about the path a character takes to get from one place to another, I want to be able to see if I can glean anything of their personalities from that simple action.

Sure the idea, events, and the dialogue are like the bones of the story, but I always felt like descriptions served to be the meat, the muscle. To me, this story was very anorexic. In fact, I believe this story would have been much better as a normal length novel and not a short story. If there was more description, which could help with the flow between the scenes, and not a bunch of random events than this story could have been easily 180 pages or more and much stronger than it was. I’m not saying that short stories aren’t strong, but this book didn’t read like a short story.

Another problem that I had with this story was the dialogue itself. Most of the time it felt rather unnatural or robotic. I wasn’t alive during the setting in the book, 60s-70s I believe, but the dialogue felt out of place and not of the time period. And the characters didn’t seem to have natural conversations, they were too quick but often felt like they were supposed to be longer and more drawn out. Sometimes the characters’ reactions felt out of place as well. For instance, when Naomi’s husband tells her happy birthday her response was “I guess it is”, no thank you or affection, just state up acknowledgement of the statement. Another it he got her an early gift for her birthday, and she had a similar response and showed no love or gratitude for the gift. Little things like this really bug me, especially since I know of several authors who pride themselves in understanding human behavior and making realistic characters.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this novella to anyone who wants a short read between longer stories. This story is pretty straight forward, nothing to really confuse the readers, making it a quick read for those who may enjoy it.

I would not recommend this short story to any teen or young adult trying to read more ‘adult’ fiction, because this is vastly different and may be a turn off. The lack of descriptions and choppy flow may not sit well with those used to reading current, popular YA novels. However, if there are readers who want a story that is straight to the point with little details, this story may be up your alley.

This story is written a lot like a play. In fact, I believe that this story would work wonderfully as a play, if the author wanted. Seeing this story on the stage with props and actors would probably be a more enjoyable experience for me than reading it. And it would serve as an interesting play to see around Halloween, getting viewers in the mood for the occasion.



I feel like this story has a lot of promise, but fell a bit short of the desired mark. From experience, I know that writing short stories can be hard; you have to go through all the stages a longer story has but in a fewer pages. However, you have to have an idea that works best for a short story rather than a novel. Grace’s idea for Haunted Visions is best suited as a novel and not a novella, and I believe that’s where this story suffered the most. If she expanded the story with more details, and not just description, but things to connect all the various and seemingly random events together she would have easy had a longer and stronger narrative. Instead, this short story is a string of random events that kind of fit together in the long run but are too choppy to tell in the moment of reading them. The story is driven by unnatural and robotic sounding dialogue, which may put some readers to sleep or make them angry. The characters don’t seem to progress any as individuals, they’re static by appearance but at the end the author tells us of their growth that isn’t actually supported by the reading. The relationship between the characters aren’t really shown, but we’re told how they feel about each other. And the elements to the story (paranormal, romance, mystery, etc.) are barely tapped into, making the tone of the story rather flat and boring.

With all that said, the story concept is still interesting but suffered by the number of pages it was written in. If the author were to go back and expand the novella and turn it into a novel, then the story would be stronger and the narrative would be more compelling and interesting.

Book Review: Predestined

PredestinedWARNING! This review contains SPOILERS, if you haven’t read Existence then don’t read this review!!!


Title: Predestined (Existence #2)

Author: Abbi Glines

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: March 26th, 2012

Genre: Young Adult (maybe New Adult???), Paranormal, Romance

Pages: 247


You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams… uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.

My First Thoughts:

I honestly forgot I had this book until I looked at the bottom of my TBR stake and found it there. Since the first one was fun to reread, even though the story was slightly flawed and simple, I decided to continue the series!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

What the f*** did I just read? If you read the review that I did for the first book I mentioned that it would have been better with an editor. That’s not the case for this book. Oh no, this book needed to go back to basic grade school English for some grammar lessons! While reading I was tempted to fix all of the mistakes with a red pen, however, I thought better of it when I realized that I would make the pages bleed…And yes, this book sadly had an editor listed, but apparently they didn’t know how to use the most basic commas (or verb tense in some cases). So this editor wanted to eat grandma instead of telling her to eat (You know: ‘Let’s eat, Grandma’ instead of Let’s eat Grandma)!

Aside from the grammar this book was a train wreck that got worse as the pages went on. The story started out fine, until the author explained what Leif was and who the bad guy of this tale was going to be. All I’m saying is that Voodoo is the big baddie in this story…Yea, voodoo. But it’s okay, because Pagan is dating Death himself and no one messes with Death, right? Wrong, they mess with Dank and time and time again he makes the same mistakes that lead Pagan into getting herself into trouble!

For a being that probably existed at the beginning of humanity, Dank is a dense character. He’s cocky, which gets Pagan into trouble, and he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He also has an issue controlling human emotions such as jealousy and rage, especially when Pagan is concerned because even though she won’t leave him he still gets pissy when another guy even looks in her general direction. In this installment, Dank’s character development went downhill fast, which can happen, however, his character lost all sympathy from me. Also, his name is too ironic, Dankmar is an old name meaning famous for his spirit. Glines, do you need to hit it on the nose any harder?

Pagan got really annoying in this book. Her character is very static. She didn’t change any from the last book, her attitude didn’t change, and there was no character development what’s so ever. A piece of cardboard probably has more dimension and character to it than Pagan. By the end of the book her character screamed Mary Sue to me, and honestly, I would not have shed a tear if her soul ended up trapped in Hell forever.

Leif wasn’t any better. Like Dank, his character development took a turn for the worst. In a nut shell, he is a weak, ball less, and stalker-ish Voodoo spirit or something. Yea, big softy that felt bad for causing Pagan to almost die is weak and psychotic. Again, Glines really doesn’t like noses because Leif’s name is like Dank’s. Leif has Scandinavian origin, coming from Old Norse meaning heir. Though why a voodoo spirit would give their child a name from a different race (with a totally different belief system) is beyond me!

And don’t get me started with Voodoo being completely evil and blah, blah, blah! Again, this author seems to have no research capabilities to save her life and relies solely on stereotypes (By the way, I did a search on Ghede and found serval important voodoo figures with that name). She uses tiny details here and there, stringing them together like the stereotypical whack-job conspiracy theorists on TV, you know with all the random pictures on a tac-board connected together with red string. Anything about voodoo in this book made my eyes bleed. All the scenes that pertained to voodoo made me want to stab this book with sharp pins like a voodoo doll. Glines also doesn’t have a concept about biology, specifically about genetics and skin color…

The minor characters were so much more interesting than the main characters. Honestly, if she wrote a story about Miranda and Wyatt I would probably read it because I loved those two more than Pagan and Dank! However, Pagan’s mother I could have done without. The mother did something big and awful and Glines barely touched on it. The mother should have been beside herself, possibly becoming suicidal for what her actions did to Pagan. Instead, the subject was blown up and then left on a back burner, like the author didn’t know how to write the mother’s reactions and decided not to bother with it.

Finally, the main fight scene was a total let down. The author built it up and up for a good chunk of the book, only to have a show of muscle be what saved Pagan. Yea, this scene put the final knife in this book. It was disappointing, infuriating, underwhelming, and actually a bit sexist. All around, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Final Thoughts:

This book tried too hard to break out of its Young Adult shell to be a part of the New Adult genre. With that said, this book is not for the faint of heart. There are some crude things that the author briefly describes, but gives enough information for a detailed mental image.

The main characters of this story were unredeemable in every way, and Pagan is as flat as a piece of paper between two marble slabs. The minor characters (for the most part) were the shining light of the book. Glines can’t write from the male perspective or do intensive research on her subjects. The author also can’t seem to write realistic reactions from her characters. The dialogue was horrendous and half-done, like the research. The main battle was underwhelming and the story ended with a prom scene and graduation (oooooo, exciting!).

Also, the title of this story makes no sense. Predestined literally means determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance by divine will or fate. The only ‘divine will’ in this book with that kind of power, as the author has set up, would be this faceless Creator mentioned a few times. However, this Creator is as useless as an oxygen tank for a fish underwater. There’s nothing about this character that screams divine, or powerful. Instead, they’re a wishy-washy character that is empathetic, even when it’s their curtains getting pissed on by the voodoo spirits. Instead, this book should have been called Restitution.



Predestined had a few shining aspects that were completely muddied by the rest of the book. I enjoyed the minor characters and the concept of souls and soulmates. However, the rest of the book drove me insane. The grammar was horrendous, even though it had an editor listed. If I gave this to one of my English teachers the book would’ve come back bleeding with a pen stabbed through the back. The research for this book was half-assed, the dialogue for the New Orleans characters was hard to read, and the book had enough plot holes to give Dr. Who a run for its money. Overall, this book has ruined any chance of me finishing the series. I just can’t do it. Abbi Glines, I wish you luck in the future, however, I doubt I will ever chance reading one of your books again to see if you’ve gotten better.

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