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Welcome to The Muse Book Reviews

You can still read our archived reviews located at:

All new reviews will be placed in this blog from now on.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | News & Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Bitten by K.L. Nappier – review


By K.L. Nappier

Published by Double Dragon Publishing

ISBN: 1-55404-475-8

Genre: Supernatural thriller

Pulsating, riveting…a full moon is about to reveal the danger lurking in the shadows.

kl-nappierK.L. Nappier has done it once again. Bitten, her sequel to Full Wolf Moon, continues the emotional connection between those ‘bitten’ and ‘The Beast’. We follow Max and David, hunters, hot on the Beast’s trail. Max’s intuition on the proximity of the werewolf is offered via a pentagram on his hand, one he acquired once the beast was removed from his own body.

Unlike other werewolf books, this Beast has the ability to jump hosts…until he jumps into one that masters the Beast itself to some capacity. This conniving strength makes it a larger and more dangerous entity for Max and David because it can now reason out and target unlike any other creature they’ve encountered.

Ms Nappier pulls you into the storyline, and actually her style reminded me a lot like Stephen King, where you get the essence of each key player in the beginning. This bonds you with the characters, causing you to continue reading to find out who will or will not survive. Max’s personal turmoil and love interest – Doris – is another fascinating subplot Ms Nappier has masterfully woven into the novel. Max discovers a secret someone close to him has been holding back, one that eventually places every single hunter in danger.

With a minimal of blood ‘n core, more relying on a fully fleshed out story, believable and touching characters, and a surprise twist, it’s no wonder Bitten was a Dream Realm Award winner in the horror division in 2007.

Great book to sit by the fireplace, snuggled in a comfy blanket, and one eye around for any creature lurking nearby.

Lea Schizas


December 1, 2008 Posted by | Supernatural/Horror | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dream Chaser Review


Dream Chaser

By Kristen and Kevin Collier

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing

ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-64-1,

Jamaal Hawkins is a typical nineteen year old teen. Dreams and inspirations to become the next basketball superstar are always in his mind. However, his grandmother wants more from him; wants him to think beyond the NBA. So she comes up with an idea, one she hopes will teach Jamaal a lesson in humanity. When the teen complains and mutters about their living conditions, his grandmother begins the lesson with these words: “Jamaal,” she said softly. “It’s not where you live that matters. It’s how you live.”

The Colliers give a poignant and touching story how one determined grandmother is set on showing her grandson that life has more to offer besides basketball. She forces him to accompany her one day as a volunteer at a governor’s campaign office, stuffing envelopes. It’s here where Jamaal meets and interacts with others where his grandmother’s lesson plan begins to sink in.

I highly recommend this book to be read by families together with their children.

Lea Schizas

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Children's/YA | , , , | Leave a comment

Chizzy’s Topsy Tale Review

Chizzy’s Topsy Tale

By Donna J. Shepherd

Illustrated by Kevin Collier

Published by Guardian Angel

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-10-8

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-13-9


Sneakiness is just part of being a small child. They get excited just with a simple notion they’ve put in their heads. Add the mixture of ‘friend’ in there and you’ve got an adventure waiting to happen. Well, adventure is what you get in Chizzy’s Topsy Tale, beautifully illustrated by Kevin Collier. I have to say there isn’t one book I’ve come across illustrated by Collier that hasn’t impressed me.

Ms Shepherd’s book doesn’t involve children but animals…monkeys, and hippos, and elephants, oh my! Chizzy’s best friend Dotty the hippo found some fresh fruit. Her little nudge is enough to entice Chizzy to sneak from his tree house and follow Dotty. However, finding the fresh fruit will prove extremely adventurous.

The strength of this book is the poetic flare throughout on each page along with the illustrations. The storyline brings the animals alive, appealing to this big child, but to families who are seeking a story that will entertain and teach children the mishaps of disobeying.

A great and fun read all around.

Lea Schizas

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Children's/YA | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

If I Could reviewed by Lea Schizas

ificouldcover1If I Could – Si Yo Pudiera

Written by Nancy Sweetland

Illustrated by Robert Sweetland

Published by Raven Tree Press

ISBN: 0-9770906-9-8

Price: $16.95

Meet the husband and wife team and creators of “If I Could/ Si Yo Pudiera”; book available in English and Spanish.

This children’s picture book touches the imagination of one little boy who fantasizes various things he’d love to be. Everything from flying to spinning webs like a spider. As children, we certainly can remember how we imagined ourselves becoming astronauts, singers, teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, etc. In Ms Sweetland’s book, her character is no different, yet he takes it one step further and pictures himself as various animals.

I’ve always loved Raven Tree Press’s books because of the imaginary world they pull their readers into, the educational value behind each story, and the vivid illustrations to go with each page.

The author and illustrator end “If I Could/ Si Yo Pudiera” with a valuable lesson for children: “I’m very glad that I’m just me!” Perfect ending. I highly recommend this poetically versed book for parents to read to their young ones.

Lea Schizas

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Children's/YA | , , , | Leave a comment

In the Blood by Rick Reed

intheblood99ISBN-10: 1-55404-386-7
ISBN-13: document.write(document.isbncnvt.isbn_out.value) 978-1-55404-386-6
Genre: Dark Fantasy – Supernatural/Horror
eBook Length: 230 Pages
Published: September 2006
Imprint: Double Dragon Publishing

Chicago…three artistic dead souls…and one outsider

Terence, Edward, and Maria, three need-to-be friends brought together by fate, all distinct in character: Terence, macho biker with the looks any woman fantasizes a lover to possess; Edward, a lost soul still searching for his place in this trio of destruction; Maria, the woman who controls and sets the rules for the other two.

Their binding tie? The obsessive need to hunt…for human blood.

Unlike other vampire books I have read, Rick Reed’s “In The Blood” offers you a side of these creatures that almost ‘humanizes’ them. Their hunger is not only for blood to sustain their lifespan but also the need to be left alone, to dwell on past memories of artistic appreciation each possessed but now lost and kept alive through the paintings donned in their home. Reed’s talented writing voice gives us glimpses into each of these characters lives; their likes and dislikes, the animosity kept at bay between the two males, the angst to remember what it was like to possess artistic human wants.

Elise Groneman, an artist who shuns her disappointments in broken relationships by brushing her feelings onto a canvas, unknowingly has been chosen as the one human who possibly may have the power to instill the artistic passion the vampires once felt.

What the trio do not realize, however, is that Elise also holds the key to their possible destruction of peaceful unity they shared for so long. When the vampires each begin to experience deep emotional upheaval with Elise’s presence, one of them realizes the danger they have placed themselves in.

Thus, the hunt…the turmoil…the need to escape begins.

In the Blood is a pulsing, vividly pictorial novel of emotions offered in the unique exploration into the lives of vampires. Rick Reed takes away the running theme of past vampire books of mindless creatures whose sole purpose is to suck the living daylights out of humans, and gives us three distinctive characters with demanding and powerful personas.

Digging deep into the realm of vampires, a reader will not only be entertained by the ‘chase’ or the ‘hunt’ but the mind game Reed plays on you by offering you a sympathetic backstory into Edward’s ‘human’ existence, Terence’s fatal mistake, Maria’s stronghold on everyone being questioned, and Elise’s troubled decision.

A great read throughout.

Lea Schizas – Muse Book Reviewer 3/4 Roses

*GREAT RERose, LargeAD

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Supernatural/Horror | , , | Leave a comment

The Magic Violin by Mayra Calvani


The Magic Violin

By Mayra Calvani

Illustrations by K. C. Snider

Print ISBN13: 978-1-933090-49-8

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-62-7

Published by Guardian Angels Publishing, Inc.

Christmas is a time when magic can weave its long hand of possibilities and create a setting where anything is possible. This is what I found in Mayra Calvani’s The Magic Violin.

Little Melina craves to learn how to play Vivaldi’s “Winter”. Yet, along the way she becomes disillusioned in herself and capability to be a good violinist. Her mentor, Andrea, a woman with twinkling green eyes and a mysterious bright green-stoned ring, encourages her to keep practicing.

One day, Melina is out with her parents when she hears Vivaldi’s piece being played. And this is where the magic for this little girl and for all the little girls who will read this story will begin.

Mayra strings the reader with her simple yet precise words, and the illustrations bring the whole book to life. The Magic Violin is a tale of believing in yourself, a ‘feel good’ classical read.

I highly recommend it for families to read together and appreciate the magical qualities an adult can inspire in a young child.

Lea Schizas – Muse Book Reviewer 4/4 Roses


November 5, 2008 Posted by | Children's/YA | , , | Leave a comment

The Case of the Missing Coach by V. Gilbert Zabel

casemissingcoach4Case of the Missing Coach

By V. Gilbert Zabel

Published by: 4RV Publishing LLC

ISBN-13: 978-0-9797513-1-8

ISBN-10: 0-9797513-1-4

Kurtis wants nothing more than to be near the baseball team, helping in any way he can. However, his brother Ryan finds Kurtis a bit on the annoying side, always in his way. But this story isn’t only about brothers. The author, right from the start, has spun a yarn surrounding the mystery as to who vandalized the Chargers team’s baseball equipment.

The boys on the team had formed their own little club called the Base Stealers Club, initiated when they teamed up and solved a previous mystery. Now the boys are at it again, this time to discover the identity of the vandals. Yet, the boys have another dilemma: what to do to raise funds to allow all of their teammates to participate in the National Tournament games hosted outside of their vicinity.

Vivian Zabel gives us a delightful tale of sportsmanship, excitement centering the team’s efforts to win the tournament games amidst dangerous and mysterious going-ons, building confidence, and friendship; everything a young adult or even a family would enjoy reading about.

What I loved the most about this book is the way the mystery played out in snippets, pulling me to continue to read and find out what was going to happen. The boys pulling through as a team and their interaction with the youngest brother brought a realistic side to it.

Excitement is built slowly as to ‘who is this mystery person determined to get the team off the Nationals and back home’. From mysterious threatening notes, phone calls, fire alarms going off in their hotel, to tampered food, Vivian Zabel punches in a hoot full of excitement for the reader.

It’s easy to read and comprehend, the black and white pictures add realism to each chapter, and the question “What’s going to happen” eats away at you until the very end.

A Great Read all around. 4/5 ROSES

Lea Schizas – Muse Book Reviewer

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Children's/YA | , , | Leave a comment