Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “eBook

Killing My Kindle: Alexander Death by J.L. Bryan


For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Alexander Death by J.L. Bryan

Released On: September 23rd, 2011

Summary From GoodreadsAlexander Death

While Seth searches for Jenny, Dr. Heather Reynard of the CDC unravels Seth and Jenny’s secrets.

Alexander opens Jenny’s mind to her deep past, and to the full horrific extent of her powers.

Torn between her feelings for Alexander and Seth, and between her past lives and her present, Jenny must prepare to face her enemies, as well as the darkness within her…


Alexander Death is book three of The Paranormals series. The series is focused on a group of six entities that have a variety of powers, all of which have been residing in humans since the beginning of mankind, and that reincarnate after every death, though it varies as to how much of their past they remember each time.

In the last book Alexander was introduced, showcasing his power of controlling the dead. He swept away the impressionable Jenny, and in this book devises a way for her to remember their shared past. Jenny abandons Seth after catching him in an act of betrayal, and in this story she tries to figure out who she was, is, and wants to be.

I’ve enjoyed The Paranormals series for the most part thus far, and that remains true with Alexander Death. The range of emotions that Bryan can elicit from his characters is very impressive, and a big part of why the books work so well. I can always get a feel for what the various characters are thinking (he changes point of view a lot) even when they aren’t saying so outright. Often it is what they don’t say or do that is the most telling.

My Emotions

The displays of powers is also pretty cool, although they do achieve some pretty mundane things to go along with the miraculous, though I suppose that leads to more believability. While the characters are great, and the powers are always intriguing, it is the peeks back into history that I enjoy the most.

There are stories of different battles, major events, and great leaders, all of which are woven to be seen in a way where some of these entities could have been controlling things behind the scenes, or even right in front. The discussions of architecture, grand kingdoms, and the wide variety of ways that people can rule is fascinating.

There remains the issue, something I mentioned when I reviewed Tommy Nightmare, book two in the series, that Jenny tends to flip flop as to where her loyalties lie. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in any book, when a character has a set path and then they do a 180, so when it happened again I was pretty frustrated. Without any spoilers, let’s just say Jenny doesn’t really know what the heck she wants most of the time, usually following someone else’s lead, and this is the case in Alexander Death. It didn’t kill my enjoyment of the book, but it kept it from being as good as it could have been.

Oh Hell No

There is quite a bit of action in Alexander Death, from gun fights, to zombie attacks, and even involving some naughty scenes. The book has a bit of something for everyone. The romances are just as varied with power plays, love in its seemingly truest form, and pure lust. It doesn’t get too incredibly graphic, which makes sense since it is YA, but there are a few romps to be had.

Overall I thought Alexander Death was a pretty good book. If there had been just a bit more development spent on the transition that Jenny had towards the end that would have made it excellent, but alas it is not to be. I do recommend the series, beginning with Jenny Pox, and I look forward to reading Jenny Plague-Bringer (the fourth and final book) in the future. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background

Killing My Kindle: Elusive Memories


For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Elusive Memories by Amanda Shofner

Released On: June 13th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsElusive Memories

The Northern Alliance Betterment Society, better known as the Hunters, has persecuted the Gifted for years. When Sam Benson is taken and her memory stolen, she certainly isn’t their first victim. But she’s determined to use her family’s influence as memory-bringer elders to make sure she’s one of the last.

As soon as she escapes the Hunters’ compound, anyway.

Two Hunter guards claim to be working to get Sam free, but only one has her best interests at heart—and holds the key to mounting an offense against the Hunters. With her memory fractured and the Hunters set against her, can she choose the right person to trust?


It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Elusive Memories is designed to throw you off track at every possible moment and in ways you never stop to consider before it’s too late. In that it succeeds. One of the types of powers in this series is that of illusionists, able to disguise all sorts of things, and the book seems to work as if the reader is under one powerful illusion, altering their perception so they don’t really see what is in front of them. For that I give Shofner major credit, it is not something easily done.

However, my main issue with the book is that it takes a long time to build up into anything really interesting. Now, I’m a fan of authors like Stephen King, and most of us know how much setup he uses, so I’m used to that, but he does it with purpose. He also manages to enthrall you even while just giving you a layout of the world or slowly working you into knowing certain characters.

With Elusive Memories there is no gripping effect, the main character is so broken, lost, and hollow that there is no connection to be made there, and while we find out about the different abilities pretty early they aren’t made fascinating until around the middle of the book. There’s no big draw to lure the reader in and keep them there.


Why So Hollow?

Despite that, I decided to keep on reading, figuring that the buildup had to lead to something pretty crazy, and it did. New powers, a struggle between regular humans and gifted, experiments on the latter, and some needed action and suspense. There was even a bit of potential romance thrown in. I’d say there is enough there in the second half of the book to warrant being patient through the first.

I still didn’t really connect with Sam, even though I understand her motivations. She seems to much of a shell, someone being forced to go through the motions that the author needs while not having much of a sense of self, and while losing some of her memories explains a bit of that away it doesn’t excuse it. I’m intrigued enough by the concept of the gifts to read further, and I’m hopeful that new characters will make the series more interesting, and that I might find a connection with them. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background

Killing My Kindle: Pieces by Michael Crane


For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Pieces by Michael Crane

Released On: May 13th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsPieces

When a little girl’s body is found in the woods, a once quiet town is shaken to its core as it deals with the aftermath in this short story collection.

A man desperately tries to make a living but finds it difficult when the company van scares potential customers away. A parent fails to see when being protective of her only child transforms into an unhealthy obsession. A man decides he no longer wants children after hearing about the dead little girl, but is there something else factoring into the sudden decision? And in the final story, a child shuts down almost completely and has no idea if she can go on without her best friend.

In these twelve stories connected by a terrible tragedy, grown-ups and children alike try put the pieces back together again without any easy answers.


It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Pieces wasn’t quite what I had expected when I picked it up. I’m very familiar with Crane’s writing and his style, and usually his books (especially the Morbid Drabble series) have a consistent theme or tone to them. Pieces doesn’t quite fit that goofy or twisted vibe that I was used to, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The twelve stories all center around the young girl that was killed and display different ways that humans might grieve after hearing about that kind of news. It doesn’t matter if they were close to her or not, all that had to happen was it being in close proximity for their lives to change in some way. Some coped with drinking, others with isolation, some become obsessed, others just try to go about as if nothing had changed.

Pieces does a solid job at showcasing how the human psyche can be affected by tragedies such as this under a wide variety of circumstances. However, in terms of just enjoying the writing, it missed the mark a bit. A few of the stories didn’t seem to have much point beyond that general scope, and it felt like they were plugged in just to show variety. Other stories were stronger and had a lot of meaning and power to them, such as the best friend at the end or the lady obsessed with the news even though she didn’t know the girl.

For me it was the inconsistency and how some of the stories were rather mundane that put me off a little. Overall I’d say Pieces does what it is supposed to, but knowing Crane’s skill as a writer, it was unfortunate that it didn’t feel like it was as strong as it could have been. Some people wouldn’t be as affected as others, but that doesn’t mean that those stories need to be lacking in purpose.

If you want to read about the many different ways humans react to a singular event then Pieces is probably for you. If you’re a fan of Crane and want his usual brand of twisted humor, then maybe pass on this one. It’s a good piece, just not a great one. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background

Review: Conner by Miranda Stork

Conner Review: Thoughts As I Read

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Conner by Miranda Stork follows Erin, a young psychologist who is very driven and focused on her work. She lives alone and seems to have very little memory of her past or that of her parents. Erin is asked to work with a patient named Conner who believes himself to be a werewolf. Though she initially does not, of course, believe in Conner’s story she finds herself drawn to him as if they have some sort of connection she is unaware of. Erin is quickly swept into Conner’s world as he tries to protect her from an evil that has pursued her for hundreds of years. As Erin finds out more about this new world that she seems to be intricately linked to will she be able to find out who she really is, and if she does will she like what she finds?

WARNING: As I was reading this book I decided that a more play-by-play approach was appropriate for Conner. As such there are SPOILERS throughout. If you haven’t read Conner already and plan to in the future you may not want to continue. Thank you and I hope you enjoy. 🙂

My Thoughts While Reading Conner

  • A werewolf sneaks into the house AND almost kills Rob (a nurse that is overseeing Conner’s treatment in Erin’s home) without anyone noticing and then somehow sneaks back out without anyone seeing or hearing it. The only sound is Rob’s scream.

-This seems to be an easy way out for the author to get Erin to believe in werewolves.

  • Conner had encountered Erin before, when she happened to have been dealing with a vampyre, but chose not to mention it until she spoke about her time with that vampyre (Stefan).

-Wouldn’t this have been a good tie in to his supernatural existence, her foreknowledge?

  • Conner comes in the day after he turns Rob into a werewolf asking if Rob is alright with the decision and Rob nonchalantly says totally, I’m just happy to be alive.

-Has no questions about there even being werewolves in existence and just readily goes along with his new apparent nature as if it were nothing more than a doctor having said they gave him a shot. Either he’s ridiculously thickheaded or…no that has to be it..

  • Conner mentions knowing all about Erin and she barely even seems unnerved.

-Stalkerish anyone? How is this not having more attention drawn to it?

  • Conner almost kills one of the guards and then just stops himself enough to knock him out instead. He convinces Erin not to be afraid by simply saying he wasn’t going to kill the guard, just hurt him. Erin then goes with him on a jaunt in the wilderness…at night.

-Are you freaking kidding me? Werewolf? Check. Uncontrollable rage? Check. Out in the wilderness with no guards when other werewolves had just attacked Rob? Check. Yet she is STILL going with him, with no protection, out into the wilderness? This girl is nuts.

  • Rob is dying after being attacked by werewolves because he didn’t have any information on Conner’s location yet he has no anger towards Conner and is completely accepting of his fate.

-WHAT?! Wait…what?! Again, he must be a dunce, but still, you aren’t even a little upset at the guy who is responsible for you getting killed? I don’t even know…

  • Conner is confronting Matthew (another werewolf) in a rather violent manner and Erin FINALLY gets a bit freaked out wishing she had stayed where she was and not having come with a mad werewolf.

-It took her THAT long to fully grasp Conner is a psychopath? DANG girl you are thick. Maybe she’ll finally leave him…though I doubt it.

  • So now we enter a scene where Erin is drunk and mentions her and Conner’s little kiss way back in the beginning of the story. He sends her to bed and when he returns to his room starts to sob.

-Are we supposed to feel bad for him? Seriously?! The guy is a basket case! I’m sure psychos have feelings but this is just a tad difficult to grasp. Not feeling it.

  • Alright, so immediately after the previous scene we get Erin’s perspective as she is hurt by his dismissal. Remember she’s still drunk here. She gets into the shower and it is made very clear that she is not thinking clearly. In comes Conner opening the shower door and apologizing when he sees Erin inside. They then proceed to have some rated R relations.

-Wait a darn minute! Obviously if the shower was running and their bathroom was only shared by the two of them Conner KNEW Erin was in there. Remember she’s drunk here so he knew she wasn’t thinking with a clear head. So he then proceeds to work his manly magic over her (not in the magical sense just a figure of speech) until they do the deed. He’s essentially raping her and we’re supposed to think this is a nice, sweet moment…right. You wonder why I couldn’t feel sympathy when he was crying… *pukes*

  • So Erin being the curious person she is decides it would be a good idea to check out this underground labyrinth that she discovered earlier. She discovers some prisoners and rather than turn around and leave she pursues them, checking out the corridors and rooms. Eventually she runs into a werewolf that has been appearing to her in recent times and despite the fact that the previous night it was telling her to MURDER a lady she TRUSTS it and follows it down more of the labyrinth of sorts until she is trapped behind bars.

-She’s trusting this werewolf? What in the heck is going on here?! She only followed it because it told her Conner was coming to find her and she was more scared of her new “lover” than someone she has never actually seen who has been torturing her when she is in a dreamlike state. Ya this makes total sense!

  • As Erin is trapped in her cell she has the realization that she has fallen in love with Conner and wonders to herself why she doesn’t trust him.

-Maybe because he is a freaking nut job? Or perhaps because the only time you two did the deed it was when you were drunk and not thinking clearly? Perhaps it is his expressions of pure rage that don’t seem to be able to be stopped by anyone? *sigh*

  • Erin escapes from the cell with help from her cellmate/werewolf Gwyn. She runs out into the street where a couple driving by find her before she collapses.

-Somehow in the three days or so Erin was trapped in her captivity, at least according to her count, Conner and the others never came down to the underground area to search for her and when she ran out to the road she wasn’t noticed. Um, alrighty then…

  • So Erin gets brought to a hospital where she finds out that she has been hallucinating all of the time with Conner as well as Conner himself. She, of course, doesn’t believe this but there is no evidence of the killings of Rob or the doctor Conner knew or her having administered Conner’s care or even of Conner himself. She goes back to the manor she stayed at and nothing was as it seemed. Her room was just an old mattress and a cardboard box with her things in it, the bathroom an old leaky pipe.

-This certainly is quite the twist I’ll admit, though it is slightly frustrating after all that had gone on, my interest is peaked fully for the first time in a while. 🙂

  • Erin searches her place for anything related to Conner and finds the folder with his picture and information in it hidden in part of her couch!

-So now she isn’t hallucinating and is being validated, things are quite intriguing indeed!

  • Erin finds a second piece of paper attached to one of the other notes and it calls her Erin Athol rather than Erin Miller telling her to go wait in the manor. She immediately heads back to Ireland.

-I don’t know if I should be excited at this point or bewildered. She’s heading BACK to where she was held captive and had to escape?! She’s going to wait in a place that seemed almost completely different inside then when she was last there? I guess we shall see…

  • Erin receives a call from Sukema, one of the group that was at the manor, where she is warned not to go because they know, they likely meaning the other werewolves that had trapped her before. She, of course, decides to go anyway.

-Despite the fact that they know she is coming she is heading to the manor anyway! This girl is not the brightest bulb.

  • Erin finds a key and enters the manor. She had the realization that she was in the same position as the young girl in a horror movie who walks into the room where she heard a noise and it becomes obvious she is the victim. She decides to keep exploring anyway, of course.

-I give up. She’s completely nuts. She’s risking her life on the slim chance she finds Conner and friends and that they too don’t end up killing her at some point, oh and don’t forget what charming Conner is really like. What a nut job.

  • We come to find out Erin is actually a werewolf, the girl Conner had been mentioning before, and his and Filtiarn’s (the guy who imprisoned her earlier) Alpha. Her past that she remembers, or did, is a product of false memory syndrome that was the result of being in a coma.

-So here we have a classic twist where the main character’s “real” world is shattered by a realization that their life as they know it is false. It was done relatively well here, but it is a pretty common, and simple way of changing things. I’m ambivalent as a reader at this point. Once you establish that the character’s “real” past is irrelevant the future seems to matter much less, anything can happen, there are no more limits so everything has a lesser impact.

  • Erin is, according to Filtiarn, the first pure werewolf in existence. So that’s some pretty crazy news.

-Again, impact lessened, regardless of who she is the rest of what has happened to her in her “real life” seems irrelevant.

  • In one of the more dramatic twists it appears Conner and Filtiarn are the same person. They are a split personality, Conner was the initial personality and then Filtiarn showed up.

-Now THIS is a twist that peaked my interest. It is, however, another canceler  by that I mean something that makes other significant parts of the story seem less relevant, but at least it captured my attention and it does answer some questions posed earlier on!

  • In the end Filtiarn tricks Erin into picking up her sword and the spell that was cast on her years ago to allow the evil side of her to overpower the good returns, restoring her memory, and her ruthlessness.

-The ending of the book was a tad on the obvious side, though seemingly necessary for the series to continue. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I suppose it was a solid ending as far as it goes.

Thus ends my play-by-play thought process as I read Conner. My clear frustration with Erin definitely hindered me from fully enjoying Conner as much as I had initially hoped I would. The book itself is actually pretty good and does have some solid character development. The shining glory for Conner has to be the plot twists, especially that of Conner and Filtiarn being the same person with a split personality. If it wasn’t for Erin’s thick-headed tendencies I feel like Conner would have been a much smoother read, and I probably could have given it 3 or maybe, because of the excellent use of plot twists, a 4 star review. As it is I would say to check out Conner for yourself as an eBook (currently 3.99$ to buy on amazon, free for Prime members) and see how you like it. It is quite similar to the other werewolf books that have been released lately, and if you enjoy those, and are able to ignore Erin’s lack of good judgement better than I could then you will probably enjoy Conner. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my review!

Two Smiling Frodos w Background