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Smashwords book reviews by Stephanie

  • Tantric Zoo: A Bud Warhol Mystery on Oct. 18, 2011

    Tantric Zoo begins in 1987 at Tantricity Hill with four very different couples in different stages of their lives. Altair and his wife Apple run Tantricity Hill. The other three couples are Arnold and Missy, Debra and Devon, and Helena and Blake. Each couple has their own reason for visiting Tantricity Hill. Tantricity Hill is a retreat, focusing on sex therapy and allowing campers to reconnect with themselves as well as their significant others. During their time, they each explore their minds, bodies, and sexuality. They are able to try new things without distractions. The first half of the book, we get to know each character. We find out who they are, why they are there and what they hope to find and explore. During a drug filled orgy in the dark, one camper takes advantage and kills another. Later in the book, it will be revealed as to why this person killed. As a group, they decide to bury the body. They dig the grave together, wrap the body, and bury it. As you can imagine, they are left in shock and full of guilt. About halfway through the book, we meet the main character, Bud Warhol. It is now 2008, 21 years after they buried the body. The body is discovered. Bud is an anthropologist who works with the police to determine if it’s a murder or historical burial site. We follow Bud on his quest to find the campers from that weekend. This book was an interesting read from start to finish, it was unlike any book I have ever read. I was surprised Bud was able to find everyone involved with the murder so quickly. Bud was smart and resourceful for getting the information he needed to solve the case. I was also surprised at how open and honest the campers were when Bud came to question them. I think the guilt from all those years ago just ate them up. Someone had to tell the truth about what happened. While they were all involved with the cover up, they were honest after the truth was told. After all these years, they came to terms about what they did and they were ready to face the consequences. Tantric Zoo was a great read. Very different and very unique.
  • The Gift of Joy on Nov. 24, 2011

    The Gift of Joy centers area Joy and Gabe. Two people who are neighbors and met when they were young. They may have been neighbors, but they barely knew each other because of one person. One very mean and violet person. We first meet Joy when she is just 6 years old and Gabe comes to her rescue. From that day on, she finds a friend and childhood crush in Gabe. Joy is raised in an abusive home, her father beats her mother. He has strict rules that Joy is not allowed to play with other kids, let alone play outside. One day, Joy’s mother lets her play outside while her father is sleeping. When a fight breaks out between two boys because of Joy, her father comes outside to threaten the kids. He tells them they are not allowed to play with Joy or even wave to her. Fast forward 20 years and Joy is a grown woman living in her childhood home. She still thinks of Gabe. Through the years, they always thought of one another. While he is visiting his mother and sisters, Gabe and Joy reconnect. They discover each other’s feelings and become closer. Gabe and Joy were two innocent kids when they met and realize their true feelings as adults. What kept them apart is in the past and now they are able to focus on the present. The Gift of Joy is a sweet and loving romance novel. This is the perfect book to read during the holidays or even when you are feeling down. This book will lift your spirits and warm your heart.
  • Second Chances on Nov. 27, 2011

    Second Chances had a common theme throughout and centered around two families. The lives of two families were forever changed overnight. We first meet Hanna while she is babysitting 7 year old Kadi. As Kadi sleeps, Hanna calls her hot tempered ex-boyfriend who broke up with her because he had already moved on. Hanna tells him she’s pregnant and they agree to meet later that night. The next morning, Hanna is found dead. Kadi’s father Ryan Crowe, is accused of and eventually convicted of murdering Hanna. Ryan is sentenced to 20 years in prison. Hanna’s younger brother, Dain, vows to kill Ryan in 20 years when he is released from prison. The ripple effect of one incident caused many more families to suffer because one person chose to remain silent by not telling the truth. Second Chances is told from each character's view, but mainly Dain and Kadi. As a reader, we were able to read how each character is feeling and thinking at the time. We were able to understand the purpose of their actions as they happen. As adults, Dain and Kadi end up in the same bar not knowing each other’s past. It is now 20 years later and Kadi is on her way to reconnect with her dad. Dain is waiting to make his move to make his vow a reality. He’s set to kill Ryan Crowe. Until he runs into Kadi. Dain is struck by Kadi’s beauty and Kadi is intrigued by Dain. I really didn’t care for Dain’s rage and abusive nature. If he didn’t possess such anger and violent thoughts, he could be a really great guy. I personally don’t associate with anyone with that type of personality, especially as a parent and wife. I wouldn’t want that around my family. When Dain and Kadi were together, they both seemed to spark each other’s rage and feed off of each other. At times, their relationship was tumultuous roller coaster. Kadi plays detective to prove her father’s innocence. Meanwhile, Dain is doing his own investigating. With the same passion and determination over finding out the truth, their friendship eventually turns into more. They are both investigating the same case but fail to share what they learn. Kadi and Dain’s love for one another is a strong bond. Through the maze of finding out the truth to who killed his sister Hanna, he is unable to fully give himself to Kadi. At least not until he knows the truth. He needs to know if Ryan Crowe is innocent. Second Chances is about two families finding a second chance at life, love, family, and the future. Overall, this book was an exciting, romantic, and suspenseful read.
  • A Christmas Miracle on Dec. 11, 2011

    I really do believe that things happen for a reason. As in the past, my family and I are not celebrating Christmas this year. There are things that we want and need but all we can do is dream. If I could wish for anything, it would be for a steady income that would support us comfortably. All I can hope for is that our circumstance changes for the better, just like Mercy’s. While I am not religious, I do believe in miracles and I enjoyed reading this book. After reading A Christmas Miracle, I feel a little more hope! This story definitely makes a great read for the holidays. If you are in need of cheering up, cuddle up and read A Christmas Miracle.
  • Breathless (Blue Fire Saga #1) on Jan. 13, 2012

    As soon as I saw this ebook available for free by the author, I had to snatch it up! This is one of the books I wanted to read. While I have seen a few of the Twilight movies and only read about half of the book, I am really enjoying the paranormal genre. I originally thought that Breathless would be yet another carbon copy of Twilight. However, I am mistaken. Breathless is a completely different story, while it does have vampires, this story is very unique! Breathless certainly left me breathless and wanting more. There is something about this book that made me want to savor ever page. I wasn't in a hurry to finish this book, but at the same time, I wanted to know the whole story. First, I admire that the characters are so diverse in appearance and personality. Each character is unique, which I found that I could relate to my own life. Leesa is a college freshman who attends the same college as her older brother. She has another reason for wanting to attend the same college as her brother, she is there to investigate his disappearance. On her first day of college, she meets Cali and they quickly become friends. She and Cali also befriend Stacie and Caitlin. The four girls become fast friends and they each depend on each other with college and boys. Leesa is quickly curious about Stefan and finds him mysterious. Then she meets Rave whom warns her about Stefan. Leesa quickly develops feelings for Rave. While developing friendships and a relationship, Leesa works to solve her brother's disappearance. She also wants to help her mother who was bitten by a one fanged vampire. Leesa is willing to do anything for her family, friends, and Rave. Rave is willing to do anything he can to keep Leesa safe and help save her family.
  • 77 Days in September on Jan. 31, 2012

    Have you ever read a book and the story just sticks with you when you aren’t reading it and even after you finished it? I found 77 Days in September to be just that. My eyes have been opened. I wasn’t sure what to expect with 77 Days in September as I have never heard of EMPs. About one third of the way into the book, I told my husband about it. I told him that I am reading a book about a terrorist attack, the terrorists use a nuclear bomb 300 feet in the air. My husband knew exactly what I was referring to. While 77 Days in September is fiction, I believe it is very much a possibility. I want my family to be prepared, especially after reading this book. How far would you go to be reunited with your family? What are you willing to endure just to see your family again? Follow Kyle Tait on the journey of his life to reunite with his family. Jennifer Tait is caring their three children while trying to protect them and herself. They are forced to tackle their own obstacles on their own. Kyle finds the occasional help while on trek and Jennifer has their neighbors to confide in. This book is about family, love, life, and tears. Not only will you get lost in this book, it will definitely make you appreciate your family.