Kristi (Books N Beans)


I read for fun, for entertainment, and because I love books.

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Smashwords book reviews by Kristi (Books N Beans)

  • Sanctuary on May 12, 2011

    For those of you who didn't read yesterday's blog post about how I came to read Sanctuary (tsk, tsk), I'll briefly update you with the chronological turn of events. I went to the library and picked up a new book (to my library) by Donna Ball, I entered it onto my Goodreads to-read shelf. Donna Ball invited me to join her month-long Q&A on Goodreads, and to download (for free) her new eBook Sanctuary via Smashwords. Like all that the offer was made to, I had to agree to read and review the book. Okay, onto the book itself! Next time keep up-to-date on these things could ya? Kidding!! (Smiles) So we start off right away with Laura who's moving from Philadelphia with her 5 yo daughter to the new housing area in Calumit, NC, that she's helping to design. She being Laura, not the 5yo daughter. Though sad to leave hehing her 2 architectural firm partners, Laura needs a fresh start after surviving a violent attack. What Laura doesn't know is that she's not the only one seeking sanctuary in the Smoky Mountains where Calumit is located. Yes, the multiple desires of sanctuary will be a recurring theme, hence the book's title. Within the 1st few chapters Ball drops you right in the middle of the terror and she doesn't let up on the pace until you screech to a halt at the end. In the manner of Koontz, she makes you question humanity at its worst and its best. What has more potential for evil, humans or the supernatural? Are we truly superior or even more compassionate than others species? If we're so evolved, why do we ostracize and reject that which we don't know and therefore fear? What behaviors are labeled as survival and what's just a penchance for violence, why decides this anyways? Ball eloquently points the direction, but she leave the reader to come to their own conclusions. She does all this with a writing style that comes in through your eyeballs, grabs a hold of your brain, and just sucks you right into the story. Eating will be a chore, sleeping will be an ignorable recommendation not a requirement, and breathing will be optional as you'll keep holding it while you slam through the pages. Want something a little "less dark"? That's okay. Donna has lots of other titles that are in completely different genres for you to choose from, and the writing is just as great!
  • Vampire General: Intern with the Vampire on Nov. 27, 2011

    I received this book for free from the author in exchange for a review. Intern with the Vampire is a really good little book. (Little meaning it's size, not in a derogatory way). As far as the time it took to read it, this would be equivalent to a Harlequin series book. You know the ones. They're around $3 or $4 at the store. Basically, it's in between a novel and a novella. Intern starts with Aline (she's our main gal) in a tryst, well almost, in the ER supply closet of in a hospital. (Duh, of course an ER is in a hospital. How redundant.) Why almost? They're doctors on duty, so naturally they get paged. Really, I'm not sure I can get anymore obvious. Let's move on before I irritate myself. The pace is set from here. The entire story takes place in the course of one night and in two different ERs. You'll have to find out for yourself why it's in two ERs, because that would be a bit of a spoiler. But the fact that it's all in an ER, means it's a quick-paced story. Doing it again, aren't I? Sheesh. So where does the vampire come in? That would be in the second ER. Yep, it's a paranormal hospital. Iwasaki (the author) doesn't just rest on the normal creatures (vampires, werewolves, etc) that you can read oh so frequently these days. Nope she adds in a whole slew more. She gives you mer-people, zombies who haven't died and risen yet, immortals in general, and a black widow. You read that right. A black widow who's a doctor. Kind of a scary idea, huh? The story itself isn't scary though. It's medical stuff sounds the same as it does on the TV shows, but maybe a more medically inclined reader would disagree. There's plenty of humor, though it is a little more on the sarcastic, dry, and twisted side. Just the way I like it! And though it was described by the author as a paranormal romance, there really wasn't any. Oh don't get me wrong there was some lusting, but no actual romance scenes. So rest easy boys, you might just enjoy this one too! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge-picking). So, you're cruising along and liking the story. The night shift has come to an end, and therefore so has this portion of the series. How does Iwasaki end the book? With a scream. Talk about making you want to come back for more. But wait! There's more! It's really the lack of a scream that gets you, because now everyone...ugh...another spoiler. You just have to read the book. It's great! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see what's next for Aline & her days, er nights, as a paranormal doctor, er intern. Or was it resident? Sorry, you'll have to go find out for yourself. ***On a personal note, I only slept 4 1/2 hours last night, so I've been up since 3 am (it's now 5pm) and I'm feeling it. I read back through what I wrote and I tried to make it better, but I only ended up making it worse. Caffeine can only work so much of a miracle I'm afraid.*** Oooh, book 2 is listed on Goodreads. Yaaaay! It's called Slash and Burn. And don't forget to check out Kit Iwasaki's bio. It's either going to post above or below this one. Ok, I'm going to stop talking now!
  • The Blonde Heiress, a Carter A. Johnson Thriller on Nov. 29, 2011

    Absolutely gripping story! How could it not be? The Blonde Heiress starts in a courtroom with Carter A. Johnson (interesting tidbit how he got his name) receiving an innocent verdict for murder and other charges, he resigns from the police force due to corruption amongst his peers, and he's offered a job with a secretive and elite group (with no name) who want him to carry out vigilante justice for those who have escaped through normal legal channels. Why did they choose him? Well, let's just say the idea of being a vigilante isn't offensive to him. Now we jump into the current investigation, which creates a bit of a lull in the otherwise fast-paced story. Don't dispare though, just as things get a little quiet up pops an action scene. Oh yeah, this one fits all the criteria for any stereotypical action-loving guy. There are bullets flying, hot girls, car chasing, and a touch of murder just to keep it interesting. Then the ending! Fantastic! On a side note, for the more technical of you, there is quite a bit of punctuation issues, a few grammar mishaps, and a word here and there that don't fit as they should in the sentence. But honestly, who cares? It was a great read! Sadly, to the best of my knowledge, this title is only available on Smashwords. Not that Smashwords is bad, it just limits accessbility for readers to one site. However, it's highly recommended for anyone that loves a good action packed book to head on over and get it!
  • Dark Blonde: A Mike Angel Private Eye Mystery on Jan. 04, 2012

    This book was given to me for free by the author in exchange for a review. Here's a pun for you in the form of a question. What gives private eyes the license to be a d**k? That's meant with all puns intended and in all meanings of the word. It seems (at least to this reader) that private eye stories are the romance novels for men. Here's why. You're guaranteed a happy ending, in one the guy and girl get together and in the other the PI gets his crook. You get the life of a character that you know you have no chance of getting in real life, in one all the thoughtfulness and romance and in the other all the drinking, womanizing, and rudeness. Lastly, you almost always get a really well told story, even though in both cases the characters themselves may drive you insane. Dark Blonde: A Mike Angel Private Eye Mystery by David H. Fears is a stereotypical PI story with a stereotypical lead character but a fantastic plot. The stereotypes are a lead character who is a heavy-drinking, womanizing, rude, unsophisticated, disrespectful cad, who manages to bungle his way through the mystery solving it by the skin of his teeth and through lots of unorthodox ways. There is a bit of a fantasy aspect to this novel as well. No, not fantasy as in magic or science fiction, but fantasy as in women's romance novel fantasy. The story that will never happen in real life, but damn it's nice to wish. Isn't it? Mike Angel not only flirts and sleeps with anything in a skirt, but he has a girlfriend who is okay with the fact that he does. Most women would definitely qualify that as a fantasy, but to be fair ladies our romance novels set just as unrealistic standards. However, if you can get over your aversion to Mike Angel and look past his distasteful ways, then you are in for a treat. Dark Blonde takes place in Chicago in the late-40's and Fears does a fantastic job of accurately documenting the events of that time: the organized crime, the corruption in the public services, the crackdown and clean-ups going on, and the political state of Chicago. It was thrilling to see such small details as the fact that Chicago is not called the windy city because of how windy it actually is, or in this case isn't. A lot of people don't know this, but Fears got it right, Chicago got it's title because of the "windy" & corrupt politicians. You're probably familiar with the saying, "Just blowing hot air." Fears definitely keeps the plot hopping with a missing person turned murder victim, that before mentioned corruption and the clean-ups, the romantic liaisons that go way past triangles into other bizarre shapes, the characters' sordid pasts, the numerous skeletons in the closets, the beauty queen turned rotten, and the amazingly dysfunctional relationships and family dynamics.
  • The Dogtrot Murder A Carter A. Johnson & Kate Menke Thriller on March 24, 2012

    "The Dogtrot Murder" by R.E. Schobernd is the second book in the Carter A. Johnson series. Carter works for this secret and exclusive group that seeks to provide vigilante justice for those who have been wronged by the legal system. In the first book Carter investigated a murder that produced an innocent verdict in court, but in this book Carter is asked to investigate a guilty verdict that is believed to be wrong. Kate Menke is convicted of murdering her husband, but a friend and member of the group isn't sure that Kate did it. Carter is asked to investigate Kate's case to see if there's any possibility that her conviction should be overturned. Carter soon finds enough reasons to believe that Kate is as innocent as she claims, but vigilante style justice won't get Kate out of jail. Carter's style of investigating is one of the best parts of the books. His bad ass, take no prisoners attitude is the greatest. He does the sort of nasty work on the bad guys that most of us only wish we could do. He breaks bones, drugs, tortures, and kills his way to the truth. But Carter isn't the only kick ass character this time. Kate has toughened up in preparation for jail, and because she's decided she'll never let anyone take advantage of her again. Her naivety and trust have landed her in jail, and her experiences in court and in jail have changed her. She's tougher, more determined, and unwavering in her resolve now. She is a perfect kick ass compliment to Carter. There is a hint (in the book and from the author) that Kate may make a future reappearance in the series. Personally I would welcome her, but I'm just one. Get The Dogtrot Murder for yourself, see what you think of Kate, and let R.E. Schobernd know if you'd like to hear from Kate again in another book. *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*
  • The Assassin Evolves Book Two of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy on April 10, 2012

    Clayton's world took a decided turn when he lost his best friend and issued his ultimatum to Adriana. He entered a world full of darkness, deceit, and a whole lot of bloodshed. The Assassin Evolves, book 2 in the Irrevocable Change Trilogy, by R.E. Schobernd shows us just how far down the path of evil Clayton is traveling. Killing scene after killing scene show a life full of bloodshed and gore. At times it almost feels as if it's just too much, but this is the world that Clayton resides in now. He isn't just a professional hit man, he's a killer who needs the fulfillment that each kill brings him. We do however get another piece of the puzzle and it just might indicate that maybe Clayton's nature contributed more to his development than we originally believed. The path that Clayton is on is one of pain and destruction, which will be brought right to his door on more than one occasion. Until ultimately one last tragedy in his life pushes Clayton over the edge and his mind snaps. Clayton comes full circle in the realm of killing when he once again kills out of anger and impulsively as the demons of his mind torment him. But you'll have to check back tomorrow to see if Clayton's demons released their hold on them, because that's where this book in the trilogy ended. Can't wait! *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*
  • The Devil’s Homecoming The Irrevocable Change Trilogy on April 10, 2012

    You don't, they have to stop themselves. As Clayton Albrecht shows in The Devil's Homecoming: Book 3 of the Irrevocable Change Trilogy by R.E. Schobernd. Clayton's mental break at the end of book 2 is just the tip of the iceberg for what's in store for Clayton. His continued mental decline starts to put him at odds with the mob bosses hiring him and further complicates his competency at his jobs. Clayton's moral code is constantly wavering, his mental stability is questionable, and loyalty between everyone involved is debatable at best. Everything culminates into a clash of wills that results in an all out war between Clayton and the very people who have been using his services. It puts Clayton into the position of simultaneously being the hunter and the hunted. However, he's way too intelligent and knows it's time to put a new game plan into action. It's here that Clayton allows his past actions to come to the attention of the authorities. It's fascinating (and gruesome, as always) as the war is carried out with all 3 players (Clayton, mob bosses, and FBI) trying to maneuver each other into positions where they have the upper hand. All sides will have to suffer losses, and they will strike deep for them all. *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*
  • Reverse Metamorphosis The Irrevocable Change Trilogy on April 10, 2012

    Is it nature, nurture, or environment that molds us? This is a topic that's long been debated, and the ultimate conclusion is that it's a tricky mixture of all 3. What is the trigger that allows one of these areas to outweigh the others enough to become the more powerful influence? Clayton Albrecht (why does that name sound familiar) is a perfect example of how these 3 factors can combine into a deadly combination. Clayton's family is traditional if somewhat strict and judgmental, so he didn't get a lot of nurture. He also grew up with a best friend who's family is the mob, so his environment wasn't a great influence either. Was it either of these that lead to his nature being more accepting of committing a crime or was it just in his nature all along and these two factors only added to it? No matter the reason why, Clayton finds his way into the position of being a contracted assassin. Reverse Metamorphosis is the first book in the Irrevocable Change trilogy by R.E. Schobernd. It examines the life events that happen to Clayton, the decisions he makes in lieu of these events, and how all of it creates a path that Clayton takes to becoming an assassin. We watch the small, ever increasing changes as Clayton starts the process of becoming a cold-blooded killer. This book was such a fascination to read, to see Clayton's character impacted by forces within himself and outside of himself. To be in the mind of an assassin as he becomes. His planning, his skills, and his blunders as he learns his way around the art of killing. His conniving, manipulations, and his deceptions as he tries to hide his criminal life from his respectable life. And the irony! He's a criminal with morals, because he'll only take out other criminals. The best part is that this is just the first book. You end it with Clayton issuing an ultimatum and then you get to jump right into the next one, The Assassin Evolves. *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*
  • Vultures in the Playground on May 09, 2012

    Though Vultures in the Playground by A. Sparrow is a work of fiction, the subject of the continuing violence and upheaval for Africans is very real and in the present day. I applaud Sparrow for addressing this topic and for bringing into question the corruption that allows this turmoil to continue. It's corruption that isn't just done by African governments or people, but corruption that is manipulated and used by other governments who wish to use the ensuing chaos to further their own ends. I know it may seem as if this would be impossible. We just don't wish to believe that "evolved" societies would do such a thing, but I assure it happens. You don't have to take my word for it though. If you're interested, I welcome you to take a few minutes and research it for yourselves. I think you'll be astounded at what horrible things are still being done in this day and age. Again, I nod to Sparrow for broaching a topic that many would prefer to ignore. I only wish I could I say I loved the story as much as the topic of the story. Unfortunately, Sparrow's main character was too weak of a personality to hold up. This is sad because I have always wanted a story where an average person could be the hero. Why do they all have to be some super soldier, or a former spy, or a special forces person, or any number of person who isn't what we all are? I now believe that the problem may lie in the fact that when we try to place an average person in the story we try to make them so average that they actually end up being below average. Archie is a traveler of the world, he visits many foreign locale working with a charity trying to provide humanitarian aid to the people. He's described as a flabby, middle-aged man with an ex-wife, who could no longer handle his traveling for work, and no one else whom he's close too. Archie's failure to learn from his past travels, his inability to see the present truth for what it is, and his lack of willingness to understand the path he must now follow is too much to expect the reader to accept. Overall, Vultures in the Playground deserves high praise for a difficult topic tackled and brought out to be viewed by all, but fails to match that standard with the main character who is showing us this beautiful and dangerous world. *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*