Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leviathan - L A Maldonado

(A Schwartz Review)

Something was indeed off about this whole situation. The priestess was hiding something. He was sure of it. Did she know what happened here, if indeed something did? And how much could he push her?

This is a race against time book that will leave you on the edge of your seat page after page, rated at FOUR STARS.

Schwartz Synopsis

The world as we know it is in danger and only the great can save us. Hidden among us humans is a far more superior race of legends; magicians, vampires, shifters, shamans, and more. When the shamans have an unusual vision, the race against evil begins and only one man is brave enough to embark on this terrifying mission. Will he stop the Leviathan’s from escaping their God made prison? Or will the evil twists consume us all?

Schwartz Thoughts

This is the second novel that I have read from this author and again, I loved it. The beginning of his novel has a punch that pulls in the reader, and Maldonado has a gift of hooking his readers at the end of each chapter, making you unable to put the book down.

His characters are really well written, believable, and loveable. The main character, Cole, is a magician on a race against time for the good of all. And this book just keeps you guessing until the very last pages. It took my emotions on a few rides. I wouldn’t say I was brought to tears, but my heart beat a little harder at a few parts.

The conflicts were great. Maldonado’s detailing abilities are superb. The development of the characters was spot on. There was even a small romance tucked in all this chaotic plot. And to be honest, if you can successfully tuck in a romance in a horror filled battle against evil, well that is saying something.

All in all, it was a great read.

The Recommendation

Horror readers, action readers, and supernatural/paranormal readers would enjoy this page turner.

About the Author

L.A. MALDONADO was born and raised in Pompano Beach, Florida. At the age of 17, he moved to West Texas for the next 16 years. In 2010 he thought it would be a good idea to head back to his roots in home state.

Maldonado now lives in Lehigh Acres, Florida, with his small family and two dogs, Esme and Sammy. He's a fan of most things geeky (think: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Once Upon A Time, The Walking Dead, all kind of books like Beautiful Creatures, The Vampire Chronicles, Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, Fear Street, Harry Potter...). He has been in love with books since he was given his first novel on his 8th birthday called "I Know What You Did Last Summer" by Lois Duncan, way before Hollywood ever thought of making a Blockbuster movie out of it.

Everyone who knew him in school says that he is caring, giving, and the brave one out of the group of friends. Every time you see Maldonado, he always has a book in his hand reading. While he was in high school he wrote poems and short stories and had a number of them published in the school newspaper.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

The Light of Day - Kristen Kehoe

(A Lyka Review)

This novel deserves 4.5 stars for the author’s commendable writing style and wonderfully-woven plot that will make every reader cry, smile, and want to fall in love.

Schwartz Synopsis

A boy with a shattered dream…
A girl who found herself lost in her desperate search for love…

One wants an escape.
One is done escaping.

Two broken souls destined to find and heal each other.  

Jake and Cora.

Two hearts in one great love story.

“A year ago I was a wreck, a shattered mass of bad choices and even worse outcomes, and when I stopped being that person, when I learned how to make better decisions and actually think about what my choices would do to me and others, I promised myself I would never lose myself to my need for intimacy and connection again.”

“The only thought worse than never having Cora is having half of her.” -Jake

Schwartz  Thoughts

This book murdered me, but it also resurrected me.
Sorry for the drama queen in me, but this was really how I felt upon finishing this book, and don’t get me wrong because it is actually a compliment.

The story is just so good and engaging and gripping that I couldn’t help but be so involved. I sympathized with the heroine (Cora), and there were some points in my reading that I actually wanted to hug her, or shake her, and sometimes do both at the same time. My heart broke for her and Jake countless times and those broken pieces were also restored as soon as the two found their healing. I became whole as Jake became whole again. I found myself as Cora found herself.  My heart flipped and danced as Cora and Jake found their happy ending.

I personally believe that the true measure of good writing is the ability of the author to capture “real” human emotions, put them into words and make the readers feel the “realness”. The fact that the reader feels every pain and every joy the characters in the narrative feel, shows that the author effectively accomplished this. This novel will do that to you. It will take you to an emotional journey…and it won’t disappoint.

The reason why I only gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5?

Here’s why:

I do not “condone” self-destruction when someone is in pain and hurting (yes, even in fictional characters). I don’t get why people ruin themselves out of rebellion. If people see you unworthy of love, the last thing you would want to do is to prove them right. In the story, Cora made a lot of bad decisions in the past and ruined herself as a way to escape pain and emptiness. She was admittedly weak in that point of her life. Anyhow, I like the fact that she helped herself heal and that she gradually grew stronger as a person. That transition from being weak to strong is highlighted in the novel.

Another thing that made me love this story is Jake’s character. He’s just the perfect book boyfriend. He’s sweet, sincere, funny, patient, understanding and kind. And seriously, who wouldn’t love a boy quoting poems, who plays baseball too? A geek and jock rolled in one.

When I first decided to read this book, I thought it would just be another mediocre read. Honestly, I also don’t like reading books with broken heroines/hero in it, because of all the drama and issues. This one is not overly dramatic. I actually love how natural and smooth the storytelling is. It is a wonderful story that explores numerous themes: family, friendship, self-worth, dreams, pain, healing, acceptance and love. With this book, you will cry, you will hurt, you will fall in love, and above all, you will learn life lessons. Lots of lines here left me in awe.

“Sometimes you can see the end before it even starts, and still, what we get in those brief moments together is enough to make the ending worth it.”


This novel is highly recommended not only for New Adult lovers, but for all the readers who love emotional, complex love stories, with sweet happy ever afters. 

About the Author

I am the youngest of three daughters and I think this is the reason I enjoy writing about love so much. 

I come from a family of high school sweethearts, save myself (thank God), and I have watched how finding love, the real kind, can make a person stronger. My parents have inspired me every day because they found each other at eighteen, got married at nineteen, and never looked back. Now, 35 years later they are still going strong and it makes me realize that love really does aide us in all things.

I write young and new adult books because I think it's the time period in our lives that is the most difficult and I enjoy love stories because we all need hope. Reading about love gives me hope, so I hope my writings about love do the same for any reader who happens to glance at the pages.

I have a daughter, a Great Dane, and a beautiful husband. I love books, coffee, and my family...and shoes. Just saying.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Forgotten Things - Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

A vivid novel of an older gentleman’s reflections of his past as a younger boy with a very active imagination. A novel that will completely pull you in and hold your attention as you question the tale that is being told. A FOUR STAR read from the Schwartz Reviews.

Book Synopsis

Written by Stephen Mullaney-Westwood:

 ‘Forgotten Things’ is a novel of nature in contrast; sinister, beautiful, wise and innocent. With an otherworldly twist it explores the importance of influences; of growing up, whilst still looking backwards.

We see through the eyes of one man recounting the bitter sweet memories and adventures of his childhood. His love for the woods… his draw to them… but also his fear.
Similar to a classic ghost story the ‘horror’ is subtle and unnerving, while the ‘fantasy’ is simply a glimpse into another reality.

The little people are our antagonists, spoken of in whispers and presented in their true form; age old beings which transpose boundaries- taken seriously and sitting in mysterious juxtaposition with the secular world.

The Review

It was quite a compelling story that the main character, Adam, spun. The imagination of this twelve year old boy was impressive and will take you back to the days you spent outside playing as a child.  At times I felt that the novel was a bit description heavy. (OK, pretty much the whole novel but on the plus side the world around Adam was easy to envision!)

 “I thought at first that he might grab me if I moved too close, rationally to ruffle my hair like so many old people like to do, or irrationally to gobble me up like some ogre from a fairy tale.  So I crept slowly forward, shuffling step by step, taking in the view of a man so old he could die at any moment, or already was, and was in fact an animated corpse. “

The novel was quite unique, I can’t say that I have ever read a story like it before. Somewhat supernatural, yet not overly so. More ties to folklore than anything. As a twelve year old boy, Adams character was very well developed and became someone that I worried over. He seemed somewhat too perceptive though. (I guess that ties back to the descriptive nature of this story). It took me quite a while to figure out where the story was actually going, and even when I thought that I knew, I was mistaken. It was refreshing however, for a novel to lack the predictability that most novels these day seem to have. It was constantly surprising me and after a while I had to give up my guessing game and wait to see. (A lot like a long drive and your parents finally saying ‘We’ll get there when we get there!’)

  “He looked at me, checking that he had my attention, waiting for the last words to leave the atmosphere before hitting me with more.  His big line:
“You was pixy-led my boy.””

It was a slower paced novel but when Adam meets his friends the story picks up pace. Still not one of those ‘can’t put the novel down due to constant cliff hangers at the end of every chapter’ books but one of those relaxed reads that tells an amazing tale if you only have the patience to read it. I’m unaccustomed to faery folklore but this novel brings it out well, both informing and creating a wonderful story full of trickery and awe.

My only complaint with this novel was that the exciting moments, and there were plenty of them, didn’t seem to last long enough before they were over. At moments where the reader gets pulled completely in and has a ‘can’t put the book down’ moment it was over all too soon. I wish those thrilling moments would have lasted longer. Other than that, I honestly thought it was a great read.

I would recommend this to the patient reader, the reader that doesn’t mind a slow paced novel full of awe and wonder. The reader that can appreciate the descriptive world that the author has painted with words alone. 
(Review written by Kristine Schwartz)

About the Author

Born in Hertfordshire England Stephen had a hard time adjusting and finding his place in the world. His sensitive and artistic nature outcast him somewhat, and his mental health suffered throughout those teenage and young adult years.

But, ultimately, it was a journey and writing has always accompanied him along the way.Now more positive, older, and wiser at the grand age of 40 he writes with a potent message which comes from a deep love of the natural world.

To write, and to breathe the words of nature is the place where Stephen belongs, doing something he truly loves.

The faeries and spirits of the woods have always asked to be heard, and Stephen has offered to be their voice.






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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality - Eme Strife

The first volume of this series deserves 5 STARS for its interesting characters, intriguing plotline, almost flawless storytelling, and promises of steaming hot scenes to come…

Schwartz Synopsis

Ramona “Roni” Gallo is a 24-year-old music student who is in a desperate financial situation. Aside from her grandmother (who lives miles away) and best friend, she basically has no one to depend on—money matters or not. It doesn’t help that she has been worrying for an upcoming group performance or that she has been feeling ill for the past month and that being sick costs a lot. As if all these troubles aren’t worth worrying enough, her past she can’t deal with seems to resurface. Part of this past leaves her with the fear of falling in love. She used to have no difficulty with avoiding commitments and ignoring her attraction to the opposite sex. Then, there was a last minute change of physician…and then there was Doctor Dexter Frost…

My greatest fear isn’t dying broke or starving to death or being alone for the rest of my life. Not even the thought of having maggots crawling out of my nose makes my system shut down like the thought of being deeply in love with someone.

Schwartz Thoughts

I read this knowing that it is the first volume of a series and that it ends in a cliffhanger. I usually avoid reading books ending in cliffhangers unless I have secured the second book. I have made an exception with this one, obviously. Even If I am now dying with excitement to get a hold of that next volume, I can’t help but gush! This book will totally intrigue you and keep you so involved you won’t want it to end!

That prologue is just awesome! Everyone is talking about Epic Epilogues (I include myself here) but what about Panty-melting Prologues??? The prologue is hot and all, but by the way that it was written, the author was clearly aiming to capture our interest and devour every page.

Short reads usually lack a well-paced story progression, which is vital in setting the mood of the narrative, and is linked with character development. I love that this one doesn’t sacrifice character development in order to stick with the intended length. I get to know a lot about Roni’s character by the end of this book. I decided early on in my reading that she’s definitely going to make it to my not-so-long list of favorite heroines. I still have questions about her, sure, but those questions just get me more and more curious, hooked, and intrigued. The characterization is just so powerful that even the secondary characters capture my interest. I crave to learn more about them in the coming books. My “literary instinct” rarely fails me so I believe this series is going to have endearing secondary characters as well. Although Doctor Frost’s character is only introduced by the last chapter, his literary presence is intense. All in all, what makes this a great, short read is the good writing (how I love the word choice!) and characterization. If this first volume is just a taste of what’s yet to come, then I would definitely read the next volume!

I look up to meet his eyes, and my breath catches in my throat as the iciest, coldest pair of eyes settle on mine. They’re beyond intimidating, and they seem to pierce through my very soul with their frosty, pale blue color. They give off this strangely intense vibe that I’ve never experienced before, and I can’t seem to look away from them. They’re alluring and enticing and frightening all at once. It’s almost like looking into the eyes of a beautiful serial killer. You know it will be the end of you, but can’t for the look of you look away.


I highly recommend this book to all the true-blooded New Adult lovers out there! As long as you can put up with a cliffhanger, this one’s for you.

(Review written by Lyka)

About the Author

Eme is an unconventional New Adult Paranormal-slash-Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Romance writer (and a bit of a sarcastic smart-ass) who might be going through a quarter-life crisis even though she is in denial of it.
Lucky for her, she has several sarcastic, upbeat, and severely vulgar imaginary friends to give her some semblance of normalcy.

She loves writing about said imaginary friends--although she does so mostly because they never seem to shut the hell up.
She's also addicted to Family Guy, American Dad, and Pandora (the online radio site, not the evil box), drinks an ungodly amount of Red Bull at any given time, wants to marry Seth MacFarlane at some point, and occasionally eats bacon and popcorn together (^_^).

You can keep up to speed with Eme, her books, future publications, updates, and her unconventional life at www.emendedscribbles.com, chat with her on Facebook, chirp away on Twitter, or just shoot her good old fashioned email at emestrife@gmail.com. She's always eager to hear from you, so don't be shy. Drop a line!




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