Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Face Transplant by A. Arundel


An epic journey of suspense, murder, and sacrifice.

Dr. Matthew MacAulay is a facial transplant surgeon at a prestigious New York hospital. When his friend and mentor, Tom Grabowski, dies under mysterious circumstances, Matthew uncovers his friend’s secret: a new technique that allows perfect facial transplants. No incisions, no scars. Tom was able to accomplish this monumental feat with the help of Alice, a supercomputer robot with almost human abilities. While trying to find the people responsible for murdering Tom, Matthew realizes he is the prime suspect. He must flee for his life with the help of Dr. Sarah Larsson, a colleague and reluctant helper, who has a secret of her own, and Alice, who helps them make sense of a baffling series of seemingly unrelated events. The clues carry Matthew and Sarah around the world. They stumble onto a sinister plot of monumental proportions that leads Matthew all the way to the White House.

The Face Transplant is a powerful medical suspense thriller of the first order. The novel was written by a surgeon who weaves politics, medicine, and espionage into a tightly paced, intelligent thriller.

About the Author:

The Face Transplant is a novel written by R. Arundel a surgeon. The novel has an authenticity only a surgeon can bring to the story. It is set in the near future. A medical thriller, the story weaves politics, medicine and human drama into a tightly woven plot. The book crescendos page-by-page to a totally unexpected conclusion.

Review by Rochelle:

The Face Transplant is a gripping thriller with compelling characters. That said I had difficulty with the premise, even though it was written by a surgeon. I don’t see how transplanting the skin of one person onto the bone structure of another is going to create a double of the donor. Too much depends on bone structure. For instance, I have a round face, short nose, and rose-bud lips. If you transplanted Cher’s face onto mine it wouldn’t give me her cheekbones or her long nose. I never saw the movie Face Off, but I probably would have had the same problem unless I was convinced the machine sculpted the contours of the person’s face as well as exchanging skin.

Then there were head-hops. This is a new edition that has been “re-edited.” Unfortunately, the new editor must not have been familiar with the standard of staying with one point of view in each scene. The POV hops from one person to another in the same paragraph, which makes me dizzy and gives me headaches.

I really wanted to give The Face Transplant a better rating, but I’m afraid the best I can do is three roses. If you can suspend disbelief and buy the premise that planting one person’s skin onto another person’s face will make him/her look like the donor, and you don’t care how often the POV shifts, you’ll enjoy it.

Author Website:
Heat Rating:  PG-13 (V, L)
Length:  379 Pages
Print:  $13.45
Digital:  $2.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nirvana by J. R. Stewart


When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized - even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real—and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.

About the Author:

J.R. Stewart has worked on many corporate projects throughout a prolific IT academic and consulting career, and is involved with many confidential virtual reality projects. After working on advanced “VR” technologies for over a decade, Stewart grew concerned about the implications of this work and the possible psychological effects that it may have on its users.

[Ed. Note.: J.R. Stewart prefers to remain anonymous and does not publish author photos.]

Review by Rochelle:

Nirvana was a gripping book. Larissa Kenders has major trust issues due to childhood trauma, but when she meets Andrew, he shows her that not all men are the monster her father was. Their relationship on campus is almost idyllic. Then Andrew is offered a job at “The Barracks.” They get married so Kenders can go with him, which is fortunate. When the bees become extinct completely disrupting the food chain and the Earth turns into a dustbowl, most people who survive the famine are crowded into concentration camps where they work corporate farms. The only people not subjected to this labor are the soldiers in the Barracks and a few ultra-wealthy or select minds who live in the luxurious “Bubble.” When Andrew goes missing on a mission, Kenders cannot move on. She spends him in the virtual world, Nirvana, and eventually begins to question whether the man she encounters there is virtual, or if he’s really her Andrew.

I might have given this book five roses, but I absolutely hate cliff-hanger endings, and Nirvana ends on a cliff-hanger. I suppose it goes back to Tolkien, but he wrote The Lord of the Rings as one book and his publisher split it up. If you don’t mind cliff-hangers, then Nirvana is a good book.

Heat Rating:  G
Length:  201 Pages
Digital Price:  $5.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The E-Murderer: A Jenna Scali Mystery by Joan C. Curtis


On this anything but typical Monday morning, Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna's house. The e-murderer's description creepily echoes the death described in the newspapers.

When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she's more than a conduit for the killer. She's his target.

The E-Murderer is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.

About the Author:

Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:

    • Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
    • A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
    • Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
    • The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
    • A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
    • My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include: Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Review by Rochelle:

The e-Murderer is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Curtis, and I am fast becoming a fan. The characters were well-drawn and the pacing kept me burning through the pages even when I should have been doing other things (like sleeping). The perpetrator was high on my list of suspects, but there were enough twists and turns in the plot that I wasn’t positive who it was until the very end. And there were a couple of subplots with some real surprises thrown in as well. I can certainly understand Ms. Curtis winning awards.

I highly recommend reading The e-Murderer.

Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  331 Pages
Digital Price:  $5.99

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle