Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Choke by Lisa Towles


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Choke
Author: Lisa Towles
Publisher: Rebel ePublishers
Pages: Kindle; 262
Release Date: June 22, 2017
Source: Author
------------------------------------
Genre: Thriller / Mystery

HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like reading noir and thriller books.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
Your life is a lie.
The past you remember isn't yours.
There is no one to Trust.

Kerry Stine’s plan to rebuild her life goes into freefall when a patient vanishes from San Francisco General Hospital on her watch, thrusting her down a rabbit hole that leads to a past from which she can no longer escape. Fired, frantic, and running from the police, she trusts no one and every step pushes her further away from logic and reality.

Three thousand miles away, scientist Adrian Calhoun has developed a cigarette that cures lung cancer, and he’s hell bent on distributing his miracle cure before the pharmaceutical mafia gets to him first. Kidnapped by his pursuers, he is held prisoner in exchange for the chemical formula to his invention. His redeemer holds the key to not only his life, but Kerry’s as well. And when the threads finally intertwine, Kerry discovers that what she and Adrian Calhoun have in common will return to her pieces of her past that she never knew she’d lost.

This book was a tricky one to rate. See, at its core, Choke has great bones. The premise of this book, the idea of a tobacco that can cure cancer instead of cause it, is pretty amazing. Just think of all the implications that would bring. Consider how readily big pharma would fight it being released to the masses, in an attempt to hold onto their easy cash flow. It's intriguing, right? We all know that there are things buried out there, things that probably exist but will never see the light of day. That's where Lisa Towles' book draws its ideas from and that's pretty cool.

The major problem with this story is the fact that it's very difficult to track. I'll try to explain the best I can without giving anything away. This book opens with a scene that the reader has no context for. That's not too surprising, since many Noir and Mystery books tend to use this as an opening, and then go back and explain it later. The problem here is that the explanation doesn't happen right away. In fact, more and more scenes unfold in front of the reader, introducing multiple characters who are caught up in this madness, without actually setting any context for them. It took until almost halfway through the book for me to realize what part each character played, why they were being targeted, and why they were so important (or evil as the case may be). It was fairly frustrating, to be honest.

In fact, Kerry's story feels disjointed at the best of times. Even after I started to figure out why she was missing portions of her life, or how she was linked to Adrian Calhoun at all, I was still barely hanging on to a thread of understanding. There is a lot of cloak and dagger type action, and a lot of cutaway scenes, which would normally make for great reading! The problem is that there simply isn't enough explanation given, quickly enough, to keep the reader from being frustrated. People died, and I didn't know who they were. Mysterious figures flitted in and out of Kerry's life and, before I could blink, they were gone. I felt for Kerry, I really did, but mainly because I was just as baffled and lost as she was.

I believe that this book has great potential. Choke has, as I mentioned above, the kind of strong premise that really has the potential to draw readers in. With a little finesse, and maybe some small restructuring, I honestly believe that this book will do well. I'd even happily read it through again. For now, my review stands as above. 




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Stonetree Trilogy by Ophelia Bell


Stonetree Trilogy
Ophelia Bell
(Black Mountain Bears #1-3)
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Gaia save the Queen…
Emma Stonetree’s father is missing. Worse yet, her uncle’s gone too, leaving her and her two cousins, Jasper and Jade, floundering for an explanation.
All Emma can think of are their fathers’ stories—tall tales of magic, mystery, and a whole host of shifter races. Stories she might not have believed, if not for her own research into the matter—research that hardly prepares her for the trials of magic she and her cousins will endure as they set off that Midwinter’s night to discover their roots.
Nor does it prepare the three for what they find on the other side of the mystical portal their fathers disappeared into: the ursa, a fertility-focused race of bear shifters, with customs that defy their human sensibilities. Except the trio swiftly learn they aren’t really human either, and once inside the ursa Sanctuary, they are just as bound by ursa laws as the earth is bound by the seasons.
Emma and her cousins must make a choice: accept their legacies as ursa royalty, accept the love they find inside the sanctuary, or reject their passions and retreat to their safe, mundane lives, never to return to the realm they were meant to inherit.
99¢ for a limited time only!


“Where am I now?”
“In the Sanctuary, Princess,” Green-Eyes said.
She sat up, scrubbing her hands over her face, then raked her fingers through her tangled hair. A warm breeze blew through, tickling across her skin, the sensation way too pleasant and intimate. She shivered, glancing down her body and realizing she wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. Her stomach lurched, her entire body growing intensely warm at the realization she was buck naked. She immediately clutched her knees to her chest and looked wildly around.
“Where the fuck are my clothes?”
Brown-Eyes chuckled. “You left quite the trail of breadcrumbs. It was fun watching the striptease you gave us on the way in.” He let out a pleased sigh. “Gorgeous, really.”
Emma stared at him, shocked at the appraising look he gave her and uncertain whether she should be offended or flattered. At least until she gave him a once-over and realized he was just as au naturel as she was. She raised an eyebrow, then turned to look at her other new companion. Yep. Green-Eyes was as bare as a newborn. He was also definitely all hard-bodied man and not the least bit shy about it.
Seeing his naked body made her forget about her own. How in the world could a man so perfect actually exist? So perfectly messy, really. His brown hair was short, but a little shaggy, sticking out in all directions like he’d worried it over and over. He was well-muscled without being bulky, with a long, lean torso, his chest covered in a luxuriant layer of hair. Just enough to make her want to run her fingers down his chest and stomach, but not so thick that she’d think of him as actually furry. The hair tapered past his navel, the natural growth a kind of arrow pointing southward, and her eyes followed.
A throat cleared, but Emma found it difficult to tear her eyes away from the slumbering beast that was nestled between the man’s legs. Jesus, he wasn’t even hard and he was that big?
“See something you like, Princess?”
Um, everything?


Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren't apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don't mind being with a woman who's in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.
Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.
If you'd like to receive regular updates on Ophelia's publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/


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