Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Google Policy Makes No Sense

Today, I received the following warning from Google, after trying to post review links from my Blogger account to my Google Plus account:

Dear Ursula K Raphael,
We've determined that your posts may be in violation of our User Content and Conduct Policy.
Spamming, including sending unwanted promotional or commercial content, or engaging in unwanted or mass solicitation, is not permitted.
Continued violation of our policies can lead to the loss of your ability to use some or all features of Google+ and other Google services. Learn more
The Google+ team

I assumed that if Blogger provided a share button to Google Plus, it must be okay to post a link to the content of one Google page to another. All I did was use a feature provided by Google itself.

When I think of all the memes and other useless crap streaming on Google Plus, not to mention the fact that people can CHOOSE whether or not to follow my account, I am at a complete loss to understand how my reviews could be considered "spam" or "mass solicitation."

Until I resolve this with Google, please look for future review links at my Facebook and Twitter accounts under both my real name and AstraDaemon.

As always,
Ursula K Raphael a.k.a. AstraDaemon

Tuesday Twist: Devil Inside

Kenya Moss-Dyme presents a page-turner about a young woman's harrowing journey through cancer treatment at the hands of a beguiling nurse who gives her more than the normal care. The tormented patient morphs into something unrecognizable, as the mystery unravels and she unleashes a surprise of her own for the twisted nurse upon her return.

Devil Inside by Kenya Moss-Dyme is about a woman named May, receiving chemo treatment and experiencing unusual side effects. Dawn, May's neighbor, is desperate to discover the fate of her missing cats. The build-up is really slow and the timeline jumps back and forth without warning, which took away from the suspense, unfortunately. Yareema, the nurse, is the real mystery.

This story frustrated me - it raised more questions than it answered. This is not the author's strongest work. Daymares has much better stories from Moss-Dyme, with her trademark twist on the dark side of relationships.

As always,

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Mystery: Before The Fall

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is a mystery-suspense story centered on a plane crash. Only two people survive, and the investigation reveals numerous dark secrets about the passengers, as well as the flight crew. As the backgrounds of the characters are revealed, there are several theories of why the plane crashed. The POV focuses mainly on Scott, the man who saves a four-year old passenger.

The writing style is brilliant and so unique, I'm not sure how to properly describe it. The backgrounds are presented as flashback biographies that not only summarize the life of each passenger, but the segments also uncover the circumstances that brought the characters onto that particular flight. I found it extremely riveting and read the novel in one sitting.

While there are a lot of characters to keep track of, Hawley does an amazing job of personalizing each life. There is not necessarily a lot of action, but the intrigue and interaction between the characters propels the story at a steady pace. The ending is quite a surprise.

I've never heard of Noah Hawley before, but I would gladly read more of his work.

As always,

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Suspense: Baggage

Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.

A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep…

When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

Baggage by S.G. Redling is better than what I expected. The story flashes back every now and then to different periods of Anna's life, revealing the memories that haunt her, one piece at a time. The pace is a bit frustrating. The POV switches between Anna and her cousin Jeannie, which keeps it interesting, but I think a third POV would have fleshed out he story more. While I loved the mystery and suspense throughout the novel, the ending seemed weak compared to the rest of the writing.

I did enjoy reading this book, but Redling needs to step up her game if she wants to stand out in this genre.

As always,

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Short: Watchers

When a mysterious noise rolls in from a neighboring town along with dense smog from a Chemical Plant explosion people begin to die.

But for Kyle Tanner and his would be friends that is the least of their worries. Trapped inside a small local grocery store they watch in horror as those left outside blister from head to toe with unimaginable sores.

And when it seems like it couldn't get any worse, this small band of survivors are forced outside to face the mutilated madness!

Watchers by P.A. Douglas is more like the beginning of a full-length novel rather than a complete story. I'm not sure if the author intends to turn this into a series, but I think he should. The zombies are unlike anything I've ever encountered in any previous novels. While that aspect is extremely original, the story still reminded me of The Mist by Stephen King.

Douglas wastes no time releasing the horror from above, but his choice of main character is questionable. Kyle is not a very lovable person, and I didn't necessarily care if he lived or died. I was mostly curious if he would somehow become a better man.

Not sure if I will follow up with this author or not because I was originally looking for something with a more clear ending...too many loose ends for my liking.

As always,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Today I Coughed Up A Lung

I'm letting everyone know that I haven't given up on my blog, I've just been very ill. In fact, I haven't been this sick in years. The irony is that I had to cancel a doctor appoinment twice because I didn't feel well enough to leave the house.

I had to shelve my plans for February's review posts. I have managed to get a few stories read for March, but it will probably be a few more days before I start posting reviews again.

Please check back this weekend - I have some great mystery-thriller novels to tell you about.

As always,