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19 Mar 2012

An Eternity Of Shadow : Book 2 Dante's Diary

An Eternity of Shadow : A Collection of Vampire Diaries is written by Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc and is published by Helm Publishing, Florida. A full length novel at 220 pages, this is book two of the Dante’s Dairy Vampire series. This book is split into two collections The Lost Memories of Ivanna Morriander and, The Estate of Barren Hill – Pennings.

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc resides in Florida with her husband and cats. A multi award winner and best seller Andrea has the knack for taking her readers into the dark and twisted areas of our mind sometimes to places we wish we had never gone or could never leave. Andrea is the owner of Twisted Dreams magazine and the store The Celtic Belle. Wherever possible Andrea visits conventions and book signings, she loves to meet with her fans both online and off.

When Percival Parkins is called to an old gothic building due for demolition it becomes apparent that this is not your average meet. Summoned by Salvatore Compregna, Grandson of Dante Compregna , Percival is asked to look at something Sal found in a wall of the house, a journal which belonged to the mysterious Ivanna Morriander and another belonging to his Grandfather Ivanna’s friend. With Ivanna claiming to be a vampire Percival is beside himself to learn all he can from these books no matter how long it takes to fully understand them and the stories and lives they share.

The Lost Memories of Ivanna Morriander
The first diary speaks of the unlife of Ivanna Morriander, vampire, from the moment of her turning through her journeys, her loves and friends and emotional turmoil’s shared through her love of poetry. Ivanna shares her sorrow of the loss of her life of having it torn from her without her wish or say so. Then the long, slow, changes that occur in a being that create acceptance and a need to embrace what is. It is not just about revenge it is about life, death, feeling and acceptance. The journey we have in life makes us who we are, both good and bad. Being a vampire you’ve so much time on your hands that the feelings change with the centuries.

The Estate of Barren Hill – Pennings
The second diary tells the events and the account of Mr Carmichael’s visit to the house and recording the history of the coven of vampires and stories related to the estate. The stories themselves show the torment, suffering and sometimes love that each member of the coven endured in their lifetime with whom Ivanna spoke. These are the most memorable but they each in their own way speak the same tale of how even vampire relations are the same as humans, and no matter how hard you think you have things you can always find someone worse off than you.

An Eternity of Shadow is the second book of the Dante’s Diary Series and straight from page one you are pulled in with the promise of secrets to be shared. Pain, loss, love, anger and suffering are key elements of these diaries and you soon learn that no matter someone’s age no-one is truly innocent and everyone has a story to tell.
At first we meet Percival whose own story reads somewhat like a ghost story opening up. When we enter the world of the journals we meet Ivanna Morriander, vampire.
Ivanna clearly chronologically sculpts her pain from the anger of being turned to the pain of loss, to love and again more pain and misery that follows as time goes by and one becomes accustomed to a life where people come and go.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it hooked me from the very beginning to the very end. I have to commend Andrea for her detail and the amount of work she has clearly put into this book, she really is The Mistress of Macabre. My only one big issue is I want more about Ivanna’s life. I have to admit I did not care too much about the life stories of the other members of the coven but I would love to see a book of Ivanna’s life detailing everything, every thought and journey she made. I would even like to read more about Percival Parkins who seems like a fascinating character himself yet barely had a chance to reveal himself to us.
I could rate this book but I believe a rating of 5 is nowhere near high enough to do credit!

By R.N. Hadley

14 Mar 2012

Hazardous Choices

Hazardous Choices is written by Joseph Rinaldo and published by Smashwords. The novel is approximately 88,000 words and 30 chapters in length.

Joseph Rinaldo has two published novels the third he is currently editing. Joseph has a daughter who has down syndrome and he hopes his voice can be a guide to parents in a similar situation by creating a character within his first two published novels whom have down syndrome.

Coach Rotteli is keen to get his football team, the Western Kentucky state University Bobcats, back on top form after several losses but it is going to take a lot of work for everyone, so he needs his home life to run smoothly and between a son who has down syndrome and a daughter who is little interested in her studies he has his work cut out at least until another teacher steps in to help with the families communication barriers when it comes to son Eric.
When Darnell, a football player and member of the Knights of Neptune wants out of the gang, he hides who he really is. On return home and to the gang Darnell’s life takes a turn for the worst when he kills someone to please the gang and to enable his return to school and football. Ashamed of his life outside of school Darnell keeps it secret. But just how long can he keep living two separate lives and prevent them from crossing paths without casualties on either end? How many decisions is he going to have to make and will they be the right ones? How many lives are going to be effected by his actions? Not wanting to appear siss-e-fied by either side, if he wants to follow his dreams and leave the tower block back home, what is a guy to do?

Life is full of hazardous choices and that appears to be the point in this story however as much as I know football is important to this story, for me there is just too much description about the game because of this I would have to say that this book is aimed more at a male audience rather than a female one.
However, the story of Eric is far more interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of his story open up and perhaps have his character a little more involved especially at the end.
Gang life appears portrayed very well and the story itself is well written but I have this nagging feeling that some of the football descriptions were word fillers to amp up the word count and this has thrown off the balance of the story. I actually like the idea of the story and would have liked to have seen more about the similarities between gangs and teams rather than read about a football game.

Hazardous Choices is very much a story about brotherhood and loyalty to the end, it also depicts slight similarities between gang life and that of a team of footballers. There is also a story of connections between people and the bonds they have which is especially portrayed by Nicole and Eric.
From a males point of view this book would probably have a higher rate however being a female who prefers books to sport I could only recommend this book to males above 18 years of age or football fans.
I give Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo 3.5 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley