The Schoharie by Diane M. Johnson

The Schoharie

3 Stars

Publisher: BookBaby, Independent Book Publishers Association, Members’ Titles

Date of publication: October 5th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Horror

Trigger Warning: Talk of Rape, Domestic Abuse

Where you can find The Schoharie: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Thirty years ago a major Thruway bridge was built across a small creek near the town of Fort Hunter, New York. It had its problems with construction delays and local protests, but it was built and it was strong.

Thirty years later the bridge collapses when spring floods transform the meager creek into a raging torrent. The collapse takes several lives and almost includes the life of Aaron Bonner, volunteer firefighter, who swears he saw a vengeful Indian spirit take the bridge down. He just needs to convince Sheriff Ben Harrigan that the same Indian spirit seeks more vengeance. But the sheriff knows that Aaron is just like his father, who tried to sabotage the bridge when it was first built, while in the throes of a mental breakdown. Has Aaron gone crazy? Or does the sheriff have something to hide?

A near death experience triggers Aaron’s sensitivity to supernatural forces at work in the town of Fort Hunter. But his father’s history of mental instability makes Aaron doubt his own sanity. He confides in Sheriff Harrigan, the father of his girlfriend, in a moment of desperation– but memories are long in small towns like Fort Hunter, and the sheriff remembers well Joe Bonner’s attempt to sabotage the original construction of the bridge. He was there. And it was his fault.

Harrigan knows the town isn’t being attacked by an Indian spirit seeking revenge. He knows Aaron is suffering from the same mental illness as his father. But when other things begin to happen– things that can’t be explained by a man experiencing a nervous breakdown– the sheriff must come to terms with his own role in Joe Bonner’s mental collapse in order to save himself, his daughter’s boyfriend and the rest of the town.

My review:

I shouldn’t be allowed to read NetGalley’s Read Now emails after a certain time of night. Because I end up requesting books that I would not read. I wake up the next day with buyer’s remorse and a bad feeling about the book. In a lot of those cases, my bad feelings and/or buyer’s remorse aren’t warranted. But in this case, my feelings were right. I could not get into this book. I wanted to but there was a disconnect. I couldn’t get into the plot or connect with any of the main characters. The only one I connected with was the villain and even then, my connection wasn’t strong.

The Schoharie is loosely based on a real-life event. On April 5th, 1987, The Schoharie Creek Bridge collapsed, killing 10 people. The author nailed it with the description of the bridge collapse and the vehicles that went over. But, my fault with the story wasn’t with that. It was with the story intertwined with the collapse and the events that happened afterward.

Aaron Bonner fell flat in my eyes. I did feel pity for him when his backstory was explained. He had to deal with what his father did. When he started having the same mental issues that his father did, I wasn’t surprised when people started whispering behind his back. The only ones that wanted to help him were Will and Barbara. They knew that more was going on than Aaron having a mental breakdown.

I didn’t like Sheriff Ben Harrigan. His dislike for Aaron was obvious. I was led to believe he didn’t like Aaron because Aaron was dating Ben’s daughter, Sara…who was still married. Instead, it was revealed, later in the book, that Ben felt guilty for Aaron’s father’s death. I wish that it had been stated clearly in the beginning. I also didn’t like him because he refused to see that his daughter was married to an abusive man. Up until the middle of the book, he kept pushing for her to stay with him. WTF? He did redeem himself slightly at the end of the book when he set things in motion to help Aaron but still. Too much harm had been done.

I did think that the author did a great job with the paranormal aspect of the book. I liked that Aaron’s being able to hear dead people (Six Sense anyone???) was used in a way that helped. I liked that Will Cuddy decided to help Aaron prepare for a battle with the Indian sorcerer/warrior.

I figured out who was controlling the Indian sorcerer pretty early in the book. I also wasn’t surprised to see that this person was responsible for what happened to Aaron’s parents. What got me, was that all this started because Aaron’s father was walking across this person’s land. Made me shake my head in disbelief.

The end of The Schoharie was pretty typical for a book like this. The author did do a great job of wrapping up all the storylines. But it was the end of the book that gave me the chills.

What I liked about The Schoharie:

A) loosely based on a real-life event.

B) paranormal aspect of the book was fantastic

C) Native American mysticism was great

What I disliked about The Schoharie:

A) Aaron Bonner’s flat character

B) Ben Harrigan. Just didn’t like him

C) The bad guy. He came across as a petty man

I would give The Schoharie an Adult rating. While there is no sex (just kissing), there is graphic violence and language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in The Schoharie. They are domestic violence and talk of rape. If you are triggered by any of these, then I suggest not to read the book.

I am on the fence about recommending The Schoharie to family and friends. If I did, I would let them know about the triggers. I am also on the fence about rereading this book. I would be willing to read other books by the author, though.

I would like to thank BookBaby, Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Schoharie

All opinions stated in this review of The Schoharie are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Road of the Lost: Book One of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell

3 Stars

Publisher: 13Thirty Books, Independent Book Publishers Association, Members Titles

Date of publication: January 11, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 241

Where you can find Road of the Lost: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ancient evils awaken.

The glades overflow with blood.

If the forest dies, the world will burn.

“Road of the Lost is a thrilling fantasy adventure with action and humor…” – San Francisco Book Review.

“Road of the Lost is a fast-paced fantasy with an RPG feel… I really enjoyed the jocular, brotherly bickering of the two knights… This was a fun fantasy read.” – Manhattan Book Review

Reslo wants nothing more than to be home in time for supper, but ancient evils want to drown his forest homeland in blood. An outsider from birth, he is at last given an opportunity to serve alongside his people and save their mother forest. But if he thought fighting against the cruel Dark Elves and their Ogre allies would test his endurance, Reslo must also keep alive two bungling, novice knights from a foreign kingdom on a quest to find their lost champion.

Fresh from squirehood, Jerah and Gratas are tasked to find the missing knight and the holy sword entrusted to them. If they perish, their kingdom’s armies will march, and war will be unavoidable.

Road of the Lost is an epic-quest fantasy that features wise-cracking characters pitted against world-shattering adversity. The pages are filled with an abundance of intense, vivid, and consuming action. If you like classic fantasy with gritty combat and captivating heroes, then you’ll love this book!

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Road of the Lost: Book One of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell”

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

7th Grade Revolution

Title: 7th Grade Revolution

Author: Liana Gardner

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: October 24th, 2017

Genre: History, Middle Grade

Number of pages: 301

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find 7th Grade Revolution: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):


Inspired by True Events

Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from. 

Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird. 

7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance. 

The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff. 

To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR! 

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner”

Serene (A Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery: Book 1) by Jim Musgrave

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: July 17th, 2016

Part of a series: Yes

Which series: Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery

Serene – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

This is the mystery that establishes Dr. Rachel Edelstein as a sleuth with a super-power. Raised on an ashram in California, she is molested by Guru Bhagwan Sharma, but he pays for her college education after her parents are found dead inside a lab working on a secret experiment called “Serene.”

While working as a psychiatrist in the Israeli Army, she treats two IDF soldiers who had also been members of the Omshanti ashram back home. When they are murdered in a strangely anti-Semitic way, and no DNA evidence can be found, she decides to resign her commission and return to California to try to solve the murders.

After she teams up with another Jewish psychiatrist, Dr. Jacob Stein, who attends the same Kaballah study group, she is recruited by a scientist who worked with her parents on Serene. Dr. Joshua Lawrence implants the beta test device in her brain, but instead of allowing her to control her own libido, she is able to see the sex traumas of others.

This is the first mystery in a series that features illustrations that can be colored by the reader. Watch for more Dr. Rachel Edelstein and Dr. Jacob Stein Techno-Mysteries.

My review:

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. It is part adult coloring book and part mystery. I made the mistake of leaving my Kindle on with one of the pictures up, and my 11-year-old had a look. She had no clue what it was but still.

If I had the paperback (or even hardcover) of the book, I would have been coloring in those pictures. They looked fun to color and did go with the story.

The story, itself was also decent. In the beginning, it was all over the place, which is something I hate in a book. Once I got past Rachel’s backstory, the story progressed. The author did an excellent job keeping who the bad guy a mystery until the end.

Rachel had overcome a lot in this book. Her parents moved her to a commune when she was 10. She was chosen as a “bride of passion” and raped when she was 12. Then her parents died. That’s a lot for a kid, and Rachel has issues. She returns to the commune after two IDF soldiers are murdered in horrific ways. She agrees to become the beta tester for a project that her parents were working on when they died.

I won’t say much about the book after that point. I will say that it is full of androids, bizarre sexual practices, and one woman who is looking for answers.

I did like that the Kabbalah was mentioned here. Rachel was a student of it, and the author did get into some of what it is about, but not enough. I wished that he did because I find it fascinating.

The end of the book was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting the killer to be who it was. I am pretty good at figuring out mysteries, and this one I didn’t and it still chafes at me.

How many stars will I give Serene? 4

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes but with a warning about the coloring book pages.

Age range: Adult

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

The Girl From The Sea: A gripping psychological thriller with a heart-pounding twist by [Boland, Shalini]

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: June 9th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

‘I can’t remember anything. Not even my own name.’

When Mia James is washed up on a beautiful, sun-drenched beach she has no idea who she is or what happened to her. She doesn’t even recognise her own face – until a man comes forward claiming to be her boyfriend and providing her with an identity.

As Mia tries to adjust to the perfect life she was living before her accident, she quickly realises that something is wrong. Why is everyone around her lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember?

My review:

Mia is found half-drowned on the beach by a good Samaritan. When she is at the hospital, she finds out that she has retrograde amnesia. After the police put her face on the news with a “Do you know this woman,” her boyfriend shows up to identify her. She is released into his custody.

This is where the book gets excellent. Mia starts remembering bits and pieces of what happened to her. She is seeing the specter of an angry, blonde woman and thinks that she is hallucinating. As she regains her memories, she realizes that not everything is what it seems.

I don’t like stories about amnesia, but this one had me hooked. The mystery behind the accident was written so skillfully that I had no clue what happened until the end.

Mia didn’t click with me. I don’t know why there was such a disconnect, but there was.

Let’s speak about the end, but I won’t be ruining anything for anyone. It had to have been the best ending in a mystery that I have EVER read. There are two twists that were huge. The final pages of the book, let’s say, stalker.

How many stars will I give The Girl From the Sea? 4

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Through Raging Waters (Snowy Range Chronicles: Book 1) by Renee Blare

Through Raging Waters by [Blare, Renee]

Publisher: Prism Book Group

Date of publication: July 8th, 2016

Series: Snowy Range Chronicles.

To Soar on Eagle’s Wings – Book 1

Through Raging Waters – Book 2

Genre: Romance, Christian

Where can you find this book? Amazon

Book synopsis:

If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same…

A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin.
Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread once again.
She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she’s ever loved.

Can two people find each other through raging waters?

My review:

I was pleasantly surprised by this book, considering that it started slow. I had trouble getting through the first couple of chapters before it picked up steam.

Through Raging Waters is a Christian romance and I was expecting it to be incredibly preachy. It wasn’t. Melissa and Paul’s relationship interweaved skillfully with each other and other people. Unlike some other Christian novels I have read, their relationship and religion wasn’t preachy.

Through Raging Waters is not a standalone book. I wish that I had read To Soar on Eagle’s Wings (which is Rachel and Steve’s story) to understand some of the back stories in this book. It doesn’t take away from the book at all. It raised some questions on my end about what happened in the first book.

I did like Melissa. She was strong in faith and spirit. I couldn’t have gone on living in a town where my attacker resided and not known who he was. It would have driven me crazy. I felt awful during the scenes where she uncovered her deceased mother’s secrets and then met her father. Talk about hitting you in the feels.

Paul was an enigma to me. I couldn’t figure out what he did. I did figure out that the discussion about his job happened in book 1.  His faith was just as strong as Melissa’s. I believe that his prayers and Melissa’s determination to get to him are what saved him.

I liked that the romance between Paul and Melissa was almost not there. There were sparks at the beginning that got squashed by the flood, Paul’s father having a stroke and Paul leaving on the rescue mission. The whole time he was gone, they both thought of each other regularly and with love. It wasn’t until Ajax forced Melissa to come to terms with her feelings and she let Paul know how she felt that the book took on the romance angle.

The ending of the book was great. There was a big plot twist that I saw coming but didn’t expect and another one that took me by surprise. I liked that while everything was wrapped up for Melissa and Paul, the author left the book open for the other children.

How many stars will I give Through Raging Waters? 4/4.5

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age Range: Teen

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Exploits: A Glamorous, Dangerous Romance (Sex &Secrets: Book 1) by Clara Grace Walker

EXPLOITS: A Glamorous, Dangerous Romance (Sex & Secrets Book 1)


Date of publication: July 1st, 2016

Genre: Romance, Mystery

Series: Sex & Secrets

Exploits: A Glamorous, Dangerous RomanceBook 1

Whispers—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

What would you do if someone left a dead body in the backseat of your car?

Publicity-shy author Sunny Drysdale is forced to find out. After bumping into celebrity impersonator Boyd Bradford at a wedding reception the night before, and seeing him leave with rival author Darla Arnold, Sunny knows exactly who to blame for his appearance in her car. She’s suffered countless dirty tricks at Darla’s hands, and Sunny is determined this one will be the last. Her plan to return the body to Darla is thwarted, however, when she is flagged down, corpse still in car, by handsome police Chief Jeremy Jennings.

How can you love someone if you can’t trust them?

Jeremy is torn by his attraction to Sunny. If life has taught him anything, it’s that relationships are a trap. Worse still, he has two main suspects in Boyd Bradford’s disappearance, and Sunny Drysdale is one of them. With counterfeit bills popping up all over town and Boyd rumored to be a mob hit, Sunny is either in way over her head, or a beautiful, but devious criminal. His head says she’s only using their romance to distract him. His heart is determined not to care. Telling himself his interest in Sunny is only about solving his case; Jeremy loses himself to the passion simmering between them.

Will these two ever be honest with one another, and give in to the desire tempting them both? Or is their romance doomed to a catastrophic end?

This book was a hot mess. I didn’t know what to expect from one chapter to the next. Usually, I can’t stand that in a book, but this one worked.

I wasn’t fond of Sunny’s character at first. She was too innocent and too much of a goody two shoes. When the missing man turns up in the back seat of her car, what does she do, she puts the body in a freezer. Seriously??? I put my Kindle down and said: “Why???“. I loved the name she came up for him, the Boydsicle. Every time I saw it, I giggled a little bit.

Sunny has some serious issues going on. Her parents died right after telling her they were disappointed in her and her aunt (who raised her) is pushy. But the main one was that she was hung up on a guy who took her virginity at 17 and told her that she wasn’t good enough for him to have sex with again, 9 years later. I remember thinking, “Girl, you need a therapist.”

Darla was a biatch. She was the one who put the body in Sunny’s car, and she kept leaking “information” about him being missing to a reporter, and she was sleeping with every guy in the book except Leo and Jeremy. Darla hates Sunny. She thinks that Sunny is better than her, and she tries to outdo her in everything. I liked her, and her scenes in the book (especially the ones in the shoe store and the dress shop) were hilarious.

Jeremy was OK. I didn’t have a connection with him as I did with Sunny and Darla. I liked his plan to get Sunny info about Boyd’s whereabouts. He was going to sleep with her. Good police work, Chief (oh yeah, he’s a police chief).

There were sparks between him and Sunny but to begin a relationship on lies is not good. The sex scenes were fantastic!!

There are so many other characters in this book that if I wrote about each of them, this blog would be long and tedious, so I decided to highlight the main three above. This book read exactly like a soap opera. I was expecting to see the words “Yesterday on Exploits” pop up between chapters with a recap.

The ending was somewhat confusing, but the storylines (I think 4??) were brought together and resolved in a way that satisfied me.

I would recommend Exploits to anyone over 21. There is sex, violence, and language. There are also scenes of drug use.