on Feb. 22, 2012
I give Stephen Hise's Upgrade a 4.5 Star Review!
This e-book came to me as a freebie, and along with many others I received around the same time, I filed it under "read and review soon," then forgot about it. I tend to do that; forget everything all the time. Lucky for me, I made that list for just that reason, so I can check it occasionally and read a couple of them while I'm at it. I am soooo glad I finally did!
Upgrade begins with a man who has it all; social status, money, brains … oh, but wait! He's not good-looking by any measure. As he does every day, Brent Schoenfeld gazes out his second-floor office window to watch all the people milling around at lunchtime on the sidewalks. And, as he does every day, he notices the most beautiful woman he's ever seen; a stunning blond with sexy legs wearing a tasteful, yet enticing red dress. If only... He'll never be so lucky.
Out of desperation to be noticed and maybe even turn a few heads, Brent goes to a doctor who promises a procedure that will be life-changing. No scalpel, sutures, recovery; sounds like the perfect way to become attractive. The doctor explains how everything will work, and how beauty such as the kind he is seeking is merely a state of mind, so to speak. He goes on the describe how a tweaking of asymmetries in the face can trick one's mind into seeing a person in a wholly different way.
Of course, Brent begins to rethink his decision; he is paying this overly confidant doctor a million dollars, after all. The entire thing just doesn't sound like it'll actually 'change' anything, therefore, how will it make a difference? How will he ever be one of the desired people he's always longed to be? Brent decides to give himself over to the slightest chance. It couldn't make things worse, could it?
After women obviously begin to notice and even flirt with Brent, he figures his cool million was a wise investment. He had left the doctor's office extremely skeptical when he awoke from the procedure, only to see himself in the mirror exactly the same as he had been beforehand. The good doctor assured him there would be significant changes in his life, and that people would see him as attractive now. He was right.
The whole dating scene is new to him, since he'd never been a good looking man, so he does what every other red-blooded man would; he goes out. A lot. He even does a few one-night stands enjoying this new lifestyle, and how women are falling all over themselves just to spend a little time with him. As for that hot-blond? He even end up spending time with her, and couldn't have been more happy.
You know how they say power can ruin people? Well, it can, and does. I'm not giving away any more of Stephen Hise's fabulous story, because you need to get yourself a copy and read it. I was shocked at the ending! I've read many books that end in a great cliffhanger, or just a well thought out ending, but this one will blow your mind!
Upgrade isn't a terribly long read, but the impact it's had on me is immense! Stephen Hise is one of the most articulate writers I've ever had to opportunity of reading, so pay attention or you might not understand some of the doctor speak. I found myself thinking he could be right, and wow! The brain truly does work in bizarre ways!
While you're online buying a copy of Upgrade, you should also swing by http://www.indiesunlimited.com/ a very informative website where Stephen is a full-time contributor. All the people there do a wonderful job keeping the site going with posts that I've found to be insightful and helpful.
Normally, I would say, "I give Energy, by M.J. Schutte a 5-Star Rating!!" In this case, however, I must amend that to, "M.J. Schutte's - Energy - commands a 5-Star Rating!!" Because it was effortless to score his work.
I won this amazing e-book by simply 'liking' M.J.'s Facebook Page, apparently I was one of the right numbers. You can't beat a free read, moreover, you can't beat one that was as intriguing, unique and original as Energy.
It's rather lengthy, but worth every moment spent reading this suspenseful story. M.J. Schutte's imagination not only blows me away, but also tells me he will only grow better with time.
If you're an avid reader, you know that today's average novel is rather long, or at least longer than your traditional trade paperback novel. You'll find M.J. Schutte's novel is somewhere between three and four full-length novels. Additionally, if you're a 'speed-reader' - as am I - you will be pleasantly surprised that Energy's suspense and ease of flow will only take two to four days to get through, as long as you're not interrupted often.
M.J. has cleverly created an amazing world where many people known as the Dark Ones, have a type of magical powers. I'll not go into details or post spoilers, as that is not my style. I'd rather save that for you, the reader, so every fascinating tidbit is a surprise for you as it was for me. But, I will do my best to explain what I can...
Brighton, an extraordinarily large and strong young man, and his beautiful, petite childhood friend, Lillian, fell in love without realizing it while growing up as playmates. When tragedy strikes and young Lillian disappears, and after losing other loved ones, Brighton sets out to find his 'Lily.' When he's told that she's dead, he settles with an older, motherly-like woman to make a new life for himself in a new, remote place.
Little does he know, his Lily lives, and their journey to reunite will bring you tears of joy. He discovers there are some at work who only want to see to his well-being and happiness, and aid he and Lily as they only wish to be together and live out their lives in peace and quiet. But, it never is that easy, is it?
After realizing his own powers, Brighton embarks on a mission to end the heavy-handed rule of the Dark Ones, who have controlled everyone and everything for thousands of years. Many people support him hoping they also can finally live in peace, but it's not that easy as there are many bad guys (and gals) who want him dead once they find out he could be more powerful than anyone to ever exist.
Not all the good guys (and gals) survive, and neither do all the bad ones, but the journey to dissolve the old and unwanted ways becomes ugly and tiring. Only Brighton can make that happen, though, and along the way he also finds that - just like the Dark Ones - power can consume and destroy even one with the best of intentions.
I highly recommend you follow this captivating journey where you will find love, hate, happiness, heartbreak, old lives ending, new lives beginning, and much, much more in Energy. As it is such a lengthy novel, I'm finding it difficult to give it due justice in a mere few words. The only way to really understand and fall in love with it, as I did, is to buy a copy of M.J. Schutte's Energy for yourself. You'll be happy you did!