Thursday, July 31, 2014

Talisman of EL by Alecia Stone


My review

Talisman Of El (T.O.E Trilogy by Alecia Stone

I never read blurbs, but based on this title I had some idea of what the book would be about.  Nonetheless I did not approach the book with any expectation.  Maybe that is why it blew me away to such a degree.  I adored this book, literally could not put it down.  

The children in the book, their plight before they went to a world beneath ours.  The legends and myths all interwoven into a new reality.  I absolutely adore this book.  Not sure for what age group it was initially written but I can gaurantee all adults who like fantasy will love this as well. 

This book was most assuredly the high light of my reading week in July 2014.  The writing, formatting, editing etc expertly done. 

WaAr

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hunger For Atlantis by Pandora

 Amazon.Com link
Click on the pick to go to Amazon!

Book Description
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Danicka, the owner of a kindergarten, bans toys and inspires preschool children to work. Is she a dictator or a liberator? Stanzie controls a billion-dollar empire. Does an Ivy League style education assist her or destroy her? Oliver, a feral lost child, is reunited with his civilized mother. Why will he never love her? 

The younger generation is clashing against the older . . . colleges and schools are self-destructing . . . teachers and professors are fighting for survival . . . wireless electricity threatens to change the world in the new Age of Atoms . . 


A review of HUNGER FOR ATLANTIS by Pandora

Let me explain how my review will work.  I need to do it this way since this book left me feeling very conflicted. So I will write you the pros and con's of each facet unless a specific facet is only a positive or only a negative.

So the first thing that needs mentioning here is the authors' inability to contract formal address.  By the time the reader gets introduced to Professor Alexander Van DerMeer you hear the full form of address for the first 30% of this 716 page book.  That includes when the professor thinks of himself.  This is not only true for the Prof; it is true for all her characters.  Although the author slacked off with this extended form of address after a certain percentage into the book she kept it up for some time with every new character she introduced.  As you imagine, this can get a bit tiresome. 

On the pro side of this, the reader meets a host of characters and at no stage do you get confused about who the author is talking about. 

My second con for this book.  The author introduces a philosophy on child rearing.  State controlled vs. a hand off method with the pros and con's of each although it is clear that the hands off method are the preferred choice of the author.  That is fine, what got on my nerves a bit is the fact that the authors repeats the basic principles of her philosophy over and over and over again.  At times I though the author is unsure if she is able to bring her point home so she repeats it to make sure she does.  Later on I felt as if she figured her readers might not be the sharpest knives in the drawers so she needed to repeat it yet again. 
On the pro side of this, the philosophy really does make sense and I agree with most of what the author feels and portrays in the book. 

Unfortunately using two extremes to explain a philosophy has a marginalization effect on most people, People will defend their past, their choices now by saying my state controlled school was not THAT bad etc.  That however is purely a personal remark as is my next.  I found it disconcerting that the reason behind a fatal drug overdose totally ignored personal responsibility.  Even taken with the two schooling methods and I get why the author did this but again, personally it rubbed me the wrong way.  In my experience most grownups get to know what is what and self destructive behavior is a choice!!! 

On the pro side.  The author's passion for the subject is amazing.  If you are looking for a read like none other you have read thus far, then this book is for you.  It is basically a book on philosophy written into fiction to make it more enjoyable and to make the real life experience of the results more accessible.  Some parts are laugh out loud funny, especially some of the dialogue which again did not always flow as normal as it could but it was still hilarious. 

So, if you have the time and are open to new ideas then I will recommend this book for you. 

WaAr

Count the pups to see my star rating although It is closer to a 2 1/2 * rating level.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Audio/Book Review of The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness





Synopsis:

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home in France they reunite with their families - with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Review:


The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review 6******

This is the third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy. I absolutely LOVED it!

I downloaded this as an audio book, as I wanted to read this book, but just didn't have time to. Listening to an audio book allowed me to do household chores or listen to a few chapters before bedtime. The story was again narrated by Jennifer Ikeda, who did another fantastic job. Her narration was clear, concise and pleasant to listen to. She gave each character their own voice and accent, and brought them to life.

Diana Bishop is a fantastic character. She is a very powerful witch, known as a weaver. I loved this character from the start. She is quite headstrong and determined. And is now a formidable witch.

Matthew Clairmont is another fantastic character. He is a geneticist, who also happens to be a vampire. He is an enigmatic person, but I really liked him.

This is a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. The story starts where it finished at the end of book 2. Diana and Matthew have returned back from 1590, and their lives are still in danger from the Congregation in the present.

This story is slightly different in that there are more characters that are given a voice. It was interesting to see the world through their eyes, especially Gallowglas and Isabelle's. The story has several twists and turns which kept me hooked from beginning to end. I was a little disappointed that the origins of the manuscript known as Ashmole 782 was not delved into more thoroughly - as in who created it - by the author, but that was a minor niggle. Nevertheless, this manuscript holds a secret that is as shocking as it is mysterious.
There are a few surprising moments in this book that had me feeling rather emotional. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster more than once, and in tears during quite a few scenes. A face from the past makes a surprising return, and I was shocked by how emotional this made me. I hadn't expected to see this character again, and I had tears streaming down my face in happiness. My heart broke as I realised that this beloved character had become infected with blood rage; his life altered in many different ways. His struggle with the illness was painful to read/listen to, as I could picture these scenes quite clearly. What struck me most about this story was the complex relationships between certain characters. There are shocking family revelations that caught me unawares and left me reeling, especially the ones about Benjamin and his relationship to Matthew and Father Hubbard.
I was seriously disturbed by Benjamin and his experiments. They are rather gruesome and violent. He is one seriously bitter and twisted vampire - hinging on mad - that I wouldn't want to come face to face with. His depravity left me feeling a little ill. However, how much of it was nature and how much was nurture (or lack thereof) that made him that way, I don't know. I will say that he is one scary dude!

I was saddened when I came to the end of the book, because I really enjoyed this series and didn't want it to end. I had conflicting emotions whilst listening to this book/series; I couldn't stop listening to it, but dreaded coming to the end of the story. However, things must come to an end, and this series is no exception. Although the story ends with a relatively happy ending, I couldn't help but wonder if the author would visit this world again, but with Diana and Matthew's children as lead characters. I hope so, because I have grown to love these characters and will miss them greatly. If not, I could always go back to where it all began - with a Discovery of Witches.

Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic trilogyl. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. Deborah Harkness has become one of my favourite authors. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting, and the story flowed beautifully! I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires, or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review of Suicide Song by Wanda Hartzenberg



Synopsis:

A third-year law student struggles to ensure his death is as existential as he can make it but the Womburu won't let him. His parting marked with a song leaves tragedy in its wake. Maybe he knew something none of us do.

Review:


Suicide SongSuicide Song by Wanda Hartzenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very poignant short story, which deals with an unsettling and upsetting topic, and follows a young man who meticulously plans and executes his suicide. It is based on a true event.

This story was very touching and left me feeling a little emotional, as I have known people who have taken their lives in the belief that they are worthless, and the world would be a better place without them. This is not true. Every person on this planet has a worth - self worth. But due to bullying, self loathing, low self esteem and/or depression (either due to emotional or financial issues), many people falsely believe that no one cares whether they live or die.
I was devastated when I found out that the two people I considered friends ended their lives. I wished I had known that they were in a dark place. Unfortunately, I had not, and so was unable to help them. My one question will always remain as "Why?". Taking one's own life is never a solution to a problem. It just creates bigger problems for the family and friends who are left devastated, and wondering if they could have helped in some way.

If you, or someone you know, has been bullied, hates yourself/themselves or suffers from depression and has contemplated ending it all, I would seriously recommend seeking help. There are several organisations and charity groups, not to mention family members or friends, who would be willing to listen, even if they cannot completely understand what you/they are going through.

Although this story is based on a true event, Wanda Hartzenberg has written a deeply philosophical take on the subject of suicide. I found her writing to be very descriptive and almost lyrical in it's presentation. Her story, though short (only 5 pages long), sure packs a rather large emotional punch, and, with the inclusion of lyrics from Neil Diamond's song "Hello Again" made me picture the scenes with chilling clarity. This is her debut story in the writing world, and I am looking forward to following her career with interest.

I highly recommend this story to everyone. - Lynn Worton

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Audio/Book Review of Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson



Synopsis:

Boston, 1765: The British Crown imposes onerous taxes on the thirteen colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. For Ethan Kaille, a conjurer who makes his living tracking down thieves, politics is for others...until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family. A man with a dark past, Ethan can ill afford to turn this case down. But taking the case means facing the most powerful members of Boston’s high society and its seamy underbelly. And behind it all, another conjurer waits, who has already killed in the service of powerful masters. Ethan is in way over his head, hopelessly overmatched by the deadly spellcraft of someone he cannot even see.

Review:


Thieftaker (Thieftaker Chronicles, #1)Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic historical urban fantasy. I loved it!

Ethan Kaille is an interesting character. He is a Thieftaker, a conjurer who uses his magic to track down thieves and the stolen items. I liked this eighteenth century gent. He has a very sharp mind, and is quite talented as a magical detective. He has a dark past, which gives him an air of mystery.

I saw a post on Facebook by someone I follow, who recommended this book, It piqued my interest, so I had a look at the blurb and decided to give it a try. I downloaded it as an audio book, so I could listen to it while doing housework, or just before going to bed.
The tale was narrated by Jonathan Davis, who brought the characters and story alive with his narration. I could listen to his voice for hours! In fact, I did! I became so involved in the story that I didn't realise how much time had gone by!

The story took me on a journey into eighteenth century Boston, where the people are beginning to protest at the British taxation of the colony. I am not a history buff, but I am interested in this period in America's early history. The author has woven a wonderful tale into this backdrop.

Although I haven't read any of the books, Ethan Kaille reminded me of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden (I've watched the TV series based on the books). Nevertheless, Ethan is his own character and has his own quirks. He uses elemental magic - earth, wind, water, air and fire - for his spells. He is hired to find a piece of jewellery stolen from a murdered woman. However, he finds himself being pulled into a deadly cat and mouse game with a formidable opponent. The story has several twists and turns, which kept me hooked from beginning to end. I found it interesting that one of Ethan's fellow thieftaker's was a woman; a rather ruthless one at that. However, she does not use magic to find her client's belongings. I had the picture of her in my mind's eye as a mob boss or a pirate, who intimidates and bullies her way into finding the items. Saphira is not a nice person, but I got the feeling that, although she was jealous of Ethan, she was attracted to him too. But, Ethan loves another.
I was a little disappointed at the way the author didn't make use of mixing different elements for stronger spells for his character/s. This, in my opinion, limited Ethan's ability to create more powerful spells in defense or attack. Simple maybe better, but there is one scene which could have had a bit more oomph to it if a few more elemental spells were mixed. But, this didn't stop me from enjoying the story. I reached the end of the book, and found myself looking forward to continuing the series by reading/listening to Thieves' Quarry as soon as possible.

D.B. Jackson has written a fantastic historical urban fantasy. I loved his writing style, which was fast paced and action packed. The story flowed wonderfully from beginning to end. I have never read any other books by this author, but I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

Although there are no explicit scenes, there is mention of scenes of a sensual nature. Therefore, I do not recommend this book for younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery, thriller or detective genres. - Lynn Worton

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review of Super Fred by Tony Gilbert & Illustrated by Pippa Cornell



Synopsis:

Fred is an unusual monster. After leaving scare school he realises that he doesn't want to scare little boys and girls. How can he show his face in Monster Land now? Everyone will laugh at him! Then he meets a little boy called Dale, who comes up with an unexpected plan.

Review:


Super FredSuper Fred by Tony Gilbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic children's book for boys and girls aged 0 to 11. I loved it!

Fred is a wonderful character. He has just graduated from scare school, but realises that scaring is not for him. I loved this gentle monster. His heart is kind and good.

Dale is a human boy, and Fred's first scare after leaving school. I loved this character's compassion. His plan to help Fred is quite clever!

I loved this little story about a monster who doesn't want to be scary. Not every monster has a wish to frighten others or be bad. Fred is one such monster. The author has written this story with a rhyming pattern that flows beautifully and rolls off the tongue. I would love to read this out loud to a youngster, because the cadence just lends itself to being spoken. Unfortunately, my two oldest nephews are a bit too old for this story, and my two youngest nephews live too far away. However, this doesn't stop me from reading books like these, because I like to read them. I was also impressed with the illustrations. The artist, Pippa Cornell, has complimented the story with some deliciously cute drawings. They describe the story very well for those children who cannot read. These could also allow a child to create their own story, if they so desire.

Tony Gilbert has written a fantastic tale of friendship and caring. I love his writing style, which also flows wonderfully. I have read one other book by this author, and I look forward to reading many more of them.

I highly recommend this book to children aged 0 to 11 years and to adults who, like me, love children's or young adult books. - Lynn Worton

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review of Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn



Synopsis:

When Lillian and Audrey hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home, “borrow” a car, and spend their hastily planned vacation time driving to destinations west, they aren’t fully aware of the challenges they will face. All they know is that the warm days of August call to them, and the need to escape the daily routines and humiliations of nursing home life has become overwhelming. But their trip is almost over before it begins, until they meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young hitchhiker. As Lillian and Audrey try to take back the control that time and dementia has taken from them, Rayne realizes the truth of their situation. But it’s too late – he has fallen under the spell of these two funny, brave women and is willing to be a part of their adventure, wherever it leads them.

Review:


Flee, Fly, FlownFlee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is not my usual genre of book, and when I was first approached about reading this story, I was going to turn it down. However, after reading the synopsis and thinking about it, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did, because I LOVED it!

Lillian is a wonderful lady. I loved this feisty octogenarian. I could imagine her as a younger woman with a backbone of steel and a penchant for taking risks. I began to cheer her on, as she embarked on an amazing adventure with her friend Audrey, and a young man called Rayne.

Audrey is also a wonderful character. She is a woman who has not had an easy life, though her mousy demeanor hides her adventurous spirit. Her trusting nature is one thing I loved about her. She is probably the best friend anyone could have, as her loyalty is given to so few.

I started to read this book, expecting it to be a comedic adventure. How wrong I was! This book took me on an amazing adventure with two strong females struck down by a disease that has stripped them of freedom and dignity. I struggled to put this book down, and even then, it was grudgingly when I had to.

Lillan and Audrey, in their "sane" moments, realise that there is more to life than watching TV and taking pills in a nursing home, and plot an escape to have a holiday from the constant, unwanted attention of the well meaning nurses. Their minds, dulled by the disease at times, are incredibly sharp and curious when lucid. This made for some humorous events, including the scene where Rayne was recruited to drive the two ladies from Ottawa to British Columbia. Their journey is full of anecdotes of the lives they once had, which brought these characters to life in my minds eye. Rayne is a troubled young man, but his empathy and sensitivity towards the two older women was very touching. I liked this young man. He is kind, considerate and, although a bit selfish at times, caring. I found the ending to be a bit bittersweet, but I will find that this story will stay with me for some time to come.

Alzheimer's is a disease that, thankfully, has not affected my family. Yet. However, this story has opened my eyes to how people affected by this disease are basically prisoners to it. They have no idea that they are sick, and when the episode has cleared, there is no recollection of their behaviour or actions. However, when they are "normal", they find themselves confined or too drugged to understand. Putting a person with Alzheimer's into a home is a hard decision for a family. However, some people cannot look after their family member/s the way they need, so a home is the only option. Although I have great sympathy for the families affected, I also feel for the person afflicted by the disease. It can't be easy to find yourself in a place that can restrict your freedom, and make you feel like you have no dignity left.

Janet Hepburn has written a fantastic debut novel. I love her writing style, and the flow was wonderful. She has dealt with the subject of Alzheimer's with sensitivity and care. I would definitely read more of this author's books in the future.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you know someone with Alzheimer's or not. - Lynn Worton

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Apart from Love by Uvi Poznansky on audio.

Click on the pic to pick up your copy from Audible.Com

Here is the details....

Apart from Love

Secrets, passion, betrayal… Written with passionate conviction, this story is being recorded by two of its characters: Ben, a twenty-seven years old student, and Anita, a plain-spoken, spunky, uneducated redhead, freshly married to Lenny, his aging father. Behind his back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him.

Here is my review.

Here is the review I did on the book after I read it.
Literary fiction at it's best. 
This is not an easy read, nor a fast one. The reader is immersed in the life and love of a complicated family. The plot is complicated. The theme is one of perspective and in this lies part of the beauty of this novel. The readers perception is formed from multiple point of views. As soon as one perception is formed another take on the reality that is displayed is introduced. 

The above is nice extra topping on literally poetry in motion. The authors ability to economically use words in a fluid descriptive manner is akin to see a master painter start a work of genius on a blank canvas. By the end of the process the observer is left stunned and awed. 

I know this for this is the effect this book had on me. With almost every known emotion exploited and turned topsy- turvy, I stand in awe. 

Now on to the narrators, David Kudler as Ben and Bens' dad did a masterful job in bringing to the fore, for me, what a pathetic man Ben really is. At 27 he never had a job. He blames his folks for everything. He drifts around like a hobo and assumes it is his right that his father keeps looking after him for he is his son. 

Anita came to life with Heather Jane Hogan. She may not be well educated or even brought up well but she has smarts. The real type, the deep type that gives her insight into the human state of being that is actually kind of chilling. The two narrators added so much to the story, amplified it. Made it sharper, made the contrasts that more deep. I absolutely adored this book after I was a bit hesitant to start on it since I could still recall the book pretty well after reading it not that long ago. Absolutely amazing. A must listen. 

WaAr.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review of To The Cider Mill (Draw along with the story) by Danna York



Come to the cider mill where delightful apples and pumpkins await you. Join in by adding your own pictures to the book and begin your journey on becoming an artist.

Review 5*****

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Autumn or Fall (depending on where you live) is a beautiful season, with trees changing colours and the air becoming colder and crisper. I must admit, on a personal note, that I am not overly fond of winter, and wish that we could keep the autumn season for a lot longer. To The Cider Mill is a wonderful children's story come drawing and colouring book.The cider mill comes alive in the fall, so some of the pictures are based on that season and has apples, pumpkins and scarecrows! This is a very difficult book to review, as there is very little in the way of words to read, since it is more of a pictorial journey to a cider mill. Nevertheless, there is an educational element to the book, and engages the young reader in learning how to draw and use colours to express themselves through art. The story can also help a child with their spelling and pronunciation (depending on reading ability). The beautifully drawn pictures are delightful, and children would be able to spend many happy hours colouring them in. There are pages that the author has purposely left blank, so that children could draw pictures in the book by following the directions on top of the page. I love colouring books such as this, even though I am an adult and supposed to have grown out of such childlike (note: not childish) activities. Give me a colouring book and some crayons, and I would happily while away more than a few hours doing something that gives me pleasure.

Danna York has created a fantastic book for children that is educational and fun. Her drawings are lovely and convey a story very well. If she decides to create another picture story book, or even a straight children's story with words, I would happily read it.

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 to 12 years. This book can be used as a birthday gift or stocking filler at Christmas. Unfortunately, this book is not suitable for Kindle due to the interactivity required by the reader, and is available in print only via the author at this time. - Lynn Worton

Link to the author's Facebook page for those of you who are interested in contacting her.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Say your sorry by Michael Robotham

Click on the pic to get your copy via Amazon.com

Blurb

As per Amazon
 August 14, 2012
My name is Piper Hadley and I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago. 



When Piper and her friend Tash disappeared, there was a huge police search, but they were never found. Now Tash, reaching breaking point at the abuse their captor has inflicted on them, has escaped, promising to come back for Piper. 



Clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and his stalwart companion, ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, force the police to re-open the case after Joe is called in to assess the possible killer of a couple in their own home and finds a connection to the missing girls. But they are racing against time to save Piper from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted mind...

My review

I must admit.  It took me a long time to really get into this book.  Why? Due to the time lapse between the here and now and when the saga begins, illuminated by one of the girls, Pipers' writing. This reminded me so much of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and I hated that book. 
So I read my copy on and off.  Who can blame me? I am a huge Robotham fan so I hoped it would turn out not to run on the same track as The Lovely Bones.

The moment when Robotham made the two time lines merge, I was hooked.  Less graphic than some of his other books.  Less gory and less psychologically potent, this book is more about relationships.  The relationship between Tash and Piper.  Ruiz and our hero.  The town and the girls, the police force and an outsider.  And I loved it.

The book is brilliant and as always well worth the time it takes to read.  So go on.  Get your copy and explore as Joe grows more and more but what and where he ends up is not necessarily part of his plan.  

WaAr.  

Book Review of Dragon Daily News. Stories of Imagination for Children of All Ages by Gene Twaronite



Synopsis:

“… he heard a strange rumbling noise coming from the kitchen. Then a loud crash. He got there just in time to see a small glacier go right through the kitchen wall, into the living room, and out the front door.” (from “The Glacier That Almost Ate Main Street”)

A glacier that starts in a refrigerator is just one of the weird things that can happen in these twenty-one stories by Highlights for Children author Gene Twaronite. What if you showed up for school one day, but the school wasn’t there? What if words suddenly leapt off the page in the book you’re reading and floated away? What if the jet you’re on is afraid to fly? What if your parents gave you a real live rhino for your birthday? What if a little snake stretched and stretched to become the longest snake in the world? What if dragons really exist somewhere? What if …? Discover the answers to these and other questions. But be careful. Imagination can be a dangerous thing … especially if someone closes the book on you while you’re inside.

While some of these stories were first published in magazines including Highlights for Children and Read (Weekly Reader), many are brand new. So what are you waiting for? Jump right in—have fun with your head! Includes nine original, full-color illustrations not found in the print edition.


Review:


Dragon Daily NewsDragon Daily News by Gene Twaronite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is a fantastic children's story book, I LOVED it!

When I was first contacted by the author to read this book, I was quite excited. I love stories that get the imagination juices flowing. I am just sorry that due to my rather large reading list, that it has taken me so long to get to read it.

Every single story in this book takes the reader (or listening child) on an amazing adventure. Although I was a little disappointed that the stories were not as long as I would have liked, they are the perfect length to capture, and keep, even the most fidgety youngster enthralled. The author has taken some very ordinary, everyday objects and has woven magical tales around them. There are some fantastic stories in this book, and it is difficult to pick a favourite one. However, I loved the following stories: How to Stuff a Rhino, Dragon Daily News and The Jet Who Wouldn't Fly. Each story in this book has an obstacle that the characters have to overcome, such as fear or bullies, but they also have a message such as asking for help when needed or believing in yourself. I was sorry to come to the end of the book, as these stories were highly entertaining.

Gene Twaronite has written a fantastic children's book that sparked my imagination, never mind a child's. I loved his writing style, which was fast paced enough to keep even the shortest of attention spans hooked; every story flowed wonderfully. I would definitely read more of this author's books in the future.

I highly recommend this book as a bedtime story for youngsters aged 5-7, a read-along for readers aged 7-9 (depending on reading ability) and as a read-alone for readers aged 9-12. I also recommend this book to adults who love reading Young Adult novels or stories. - Lynn Worton

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Book Review of Painting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie



Synopsis:

** FINALIST, THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE, 2013 ** 

PAINTING BY NUMBERS is a dark, surreal PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER that follows one man’s relentless pursuit of a truth buried deep within. 

Day after day, earth scientist Jacob Boyce returns to a 17th century painting which hangs in a Scottish art gallery. By using a series of measurements and calcul
ations, he attempts to decipher a strange mathematical code locked into its canvas.

But as more of the painting’s hidden SECRETS are revealed, his life spirals into chaos, and his world is turned upside down.

The object of his obsession has begun to move.


Review:


Painting by NumbersPainting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is a fantastic psychological thriller! I loved it! Unfortunately, due to my rather large reading list, it has taken me a while to get to read it. I am really kicking myself for not reading it sooner!

Jacob Boyce is an interesting character. He is an earth scientist, who has become obsessed with a hidden code in a painting hanging in the Glasgow museum. I liked this character a lot. I found his journey quite interesting, but disturbing at the same time.

I love a good psychological thriller, so when I was offered this book I jumped at the chance to read it. This story captured me from the first page and I struggled to put it down. I admit that this story reminded me slightly of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code", and it pays a slight homage to it. However, the only similarity is the supposedly mathematical code that is hidden in the painting. This code may help explain earthly seismological events, and Jacob Boyce is determined to crack the code. There are a few interesting twists and turns in this story that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story is set in Glasgow, but travels to Spain and then back again. The theory that pictures have hidden codes in them is exciting and disturbing at the same time. Granted, paintings are a great visual record of the world around us, or a weird and wonderful journey into the mind of the artist, but they were the first written language (see cave paintings) and, as such, can carry subliminal messages. People, unfortunately, can also see messages in paintings where there are none; sometimes, a painting is just a painting. Nevertheless, watching and travelling with Jacob on his journey, made me wonder if there is something in our subconscious mind that does "see" codes in everything we interact with on a daily basis. However, our conscious mind has learnt to disregard these codes, and it is only when our subconscious mind overrides it, do we spiral into obsession, depression and paranoia. This story is a visual feast of it's own. The author describes the scenes in such a way that I could picture them with ease. I enjoyed the bus ride scene in Madrid. It was quite entertaining in a scary way. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to been on the bus for real, but then again, I think Jacob didn't want to be there either. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but it gave me a deeper understanding of why things happened the way they did. Other readers may or may not agree with me. However, I leave it up to you to make up your own minds.

To say that this is Tom Gillespie's debut novel, he has written a fantastically dark and suspenseful thriller that delves into man's deepest psyche, and it feels like he's been writing for years. I love his writing style, which was fast paced without being rushed, and the flow was wonderful. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery or Horror genres. - Lynn Worton

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Book Review of Galactic Energies: Science fiction and fantasy short stories by Luca Rossi



Synopsis:

The artificial intelligences of DataCom are trying to save the planet... by exterminating the human race. 
Aurelia finds her perfect man: a robot. 
The space explorer Captain Arcot sacrifices his life for an impossible conquest, the heart of Vril the vampire queen. 
A shape-shifting mutant ignites the eroti
c desires of the galactic police officer who's been tracking her down.
Alessio fights against corruption in a universe of his own creation.
An innocent man is forced to submit to the domination of a ruthless prison director.
A king who's forgotten his own past wanders through a magical dimension where he discovers his own history.
Two souls separated after one abandons the other meet again in another life.
In an exciting virtual reality game, the hunter of the fearsome black widow becomes her prey.

This book contains explicit scenes of sexual nature.


Review:


Galactic EnergiesGalactic Energies by Luca Rossi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic anthology of science fiction and fantasy short stories. I really enjoyed it!

First of all, I would like to say that I love the cover! I am usually drawn to the synopsis of a book, rather than the cover, but this one was quite eye catching! Secondly, I am a HUGE science fiction fan, and I have been wanting to read this book for a while now. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the stories were. Some of the stories were a little shorter than I would have liked, but each one contained interesting characters and subjects. What struck me about these stories were the lifelike quality of the characters, and the author's vivid imagination. Some of these stories have scenes of a sexual nature that were a little explicit and had an element of BDSM or fetish in them. However, not every story does. I did find some of the stories a little unsettling, but this does not mean other readers will, and each one has a twist at the end. For instance, I wasn't keen about the story called Life in Prison. This story was about a man who was supposedly innocent, but sent to prison and used as a sex slave by the prison director. I don't believe in slavery of any kind, and I am sure the author doesn't either, but this story made me squirm; I just didn't like it as much as the other stories. However, I will leave it to you to decide for yourselves.

Luca Rossi has written a wonderful anthology of science fiction stories that were entertaining in their own way. I love his writing style, but I did find some of the dialogue a bit stiff and stilted in places. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to reading his next book, The Branches of Time.

Due to the stories containing scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I recommend this book if you love anthologies or Science Fiction, Fantasy, Cyberpunk and Erotica genres. - Lynn Worton

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Want to Win a Kindle Fire? Enter this fantastic Giveaway!



Win a Kindle Fire!

Calling all paranormal erotic romance fans! Subscribe to Charmaine Pauls newsletter to receive notices of new book releases, and enter a draw to win a Kindle Fire Tablet. You can increase your chances of winning by liking her Facebook author page, by connecting with her on Twitter and by naming your all-time favorite paranormal romance in a comment on her blog. The competition runs from 3 July 12h00 to 3 October at midnight, EST.

Refer up to 10 friends and receive another entry for each recommendation.


or enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Between Fire & Ice:

A female. Designed for him. Engineered by his mother. Her only purpose to give him a child. And now, his mother will destroy what she created.

Cy is heir to the powerful empire of his parents, a mining enterprise in Chile, South America. Their future power depends on his ability to produce an heir, a daunting prospect, as the human race is becoming infertile. But Cy's mother - a cold-hearted scientist - left nothing to chance, when, at her son's tenth birthday, headed a project to artificially inseminate a fertile woman. At thirty years of age, Cy is instructed to marry Elena, who his parents surrogated and adopted for one purpose only - to have his baby. Elena was hidden in a secluded cloister where the nuns, renowned for their mysterious magical practices, taught her the art of meditation and healing. A cruel education ensured that Elena submitted to her destiny, namely to give Cy a child. Soon Cy will learn that there is more to his bride than submissiveness. Under her gentle beauty hides a powerful woman who can give Cy peace. She holds the key to his heart and he begins to believe in the destiny that had been preached to him all his life.


                    

The Winemaker:

He speaks Spanish. He lives in Chile. He owns a vineyard. He makes wine for a living. He has a hidden talent. He must be the most infuriating winemaker in the world. She is from England. Her fiancé just dumped her. She is broke. Cursed with visions, she has no idea in how much danger her life is. She must be the most intoxicating woman in the world.

Etán Perez-Cruz, world-renown winemaker, excels in everything he puts his mind to, but self-expression. When an intoxicating woman crashes head first into his life, he finds a way to communicate his feelings through his wine bouquets. As knowing Zenobia becomes a hedonistic pleasure, he fights to keep her safe, and to keep his all-consuming desire from destroying her happiness . . . and his brother. Etán will need more than his exceptional talent of taste and smell to overcome the dangerous obstacles set in their path. Zenobia Rambling considers everything about herself utterly average. Leaving England to marry her boyfriend in South America, she finds herself dumped three short weeks after her arrival. Going home is not an option. Zenna possesses a visionary gift that has become her curse. Out of love, luck and money, Zenna turns to her famous Chilean neighbor for a temporary solution . . . and finds far more in the deal than she has bargained for.


                 


About the Author:



Charmaine Pauls is an author of paranormal erotic romance. The South African born novelist is a gypsy at heart who loves to look at the world through the lens of her camera. She resides in Chile with her husband and children.

Author Links:




Saturday, July 05, 2014

Book Review of Fury of Fate: A Dragonfury Short Story by Coreene Callahan



Synopsis:

She’s determined to try something new… 
Sasha Cooper is a woman on a mission. Determined to let loose and live a little, she takes her best friend’s advice and embarks on a night of passion with a complete stranger. No regrets in the morning. No looking back either. But when the one she chooses turns out to be a Dragonkind
 warrior, Sasha knows she’s in trouble—and that the man she believed was a dream come true could end up being her worst nightmare.

He never intended to get involved…
Ivar, leader of a rogue faction of Dragonkind, isn't a pushover. So when a noisy neighbor jeopardizes the security of his secret lair, he decides to take care of the problem once and for all. Little does he know banging on Sasha’s door will send him on a passionate odyssey unlike any he’s ever experienced. But when the night takes a deadly turn, he’s left little choice—escape from the woman who possesses the power to kill him, or die trying.


Review:


Fury of Fate (Dragonfury 4.5)Fury of Fate by Coreene Callahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a short story in the Dragonfury series. I really loved it!

Ivar is a very driven man. He is a scientist, manipulating dragon DNA to create female dragons, and bent on eradicating the humans off the face of the planet. I actually like Ivar, strange as that may seem to some, because he does have a ruthless streak. He is a man of conviction, but I think he is a little blinded by his hatred on relying on humans to procreate.

Sasha Cooper is a woman I would like to know better. She is a shy person normally, but on an impulse, she indulges in one night of passion that could change her life forever.

I was looking forward to reading this short story, as I have really begun to love this series. I have been wanting a story from Ivar's point of view for a while, so when I heard this book was being written I was very excited. The only disappointment I had was that the story was too short! The story was really fun to read. The passion and attraction that these two characters have for each other just about burned the pages! I think that Ivar has met his match in Sasha. She is a scientist too, so they have something in common. I actually had a smile on my face at Ivar's reaction to Sasha near the end; his panic was a bit comical. I could actually picture the scene quite clearly, and I giggled at the images in my minds eye. I am now looking forward to continuing reading the Dragonfury series, and cannot wait for Venom's story.

Coreene Callahan has written another fantastic paranormal romance. She is fast becoming one of my favourite authors to read. Her books are fast paced, exciting and extremely addictive! I still have an issue with the f-bombs used, but I have come to realise that these characters are what they are, and I wouldn't change them at all.

Due to the use of bad language and the explicit sexual scenes, I do not recommend this book for younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic paranormal romances or books with sexy dragon shifters! - Lynn Worton

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Audio/Book Review of The Atopia Chronicles (Atopia series) by Matthew Mather



Synopsis:

What could be worse than letting billions die?

In the near future, to escape the crush and clutter of a packed and polluted Earth, the world’s elite flock to Atopia, an enormous corporate-owned artificial island in the Pacific Ocean. It is there that Dr. Patricia Killiam rushes to perfect the ultimate in virtual reality: a program to save the ravaged Earth from mankind’s insatiable appetite for natural resources.


Review:


Complete Atopia Chronicles (Atopia Chronicles 1-6)Complete Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was recommended this book/series by Amazon, since I love science fiction. It sounded interesting, so I downloaded this on audio book. I must admit it was an intriguing story!

There are several characters in this book, and because it would take too long to do a character breakdown for every single one, I have decided to just jump right in to my review.

There are several narrators that bring each of the six chronicles to life. They are: Luke Daniels, Angela Dawe, Tanya Eby, Amy McFadden, Mikael Naramore and Nick Podehl. I am not sure who narrated the first chronicle, but I nearly stopped listening to the story within the first 15 minutes. The lady had a thick New York or Brooklyn accent that, I am sorry to say, really put me off; no offence meant to New Yorkers or Brooklynites. The nasal tone of the narrator made me cringe, as her voice sounded whiny and it gave me a headache. However, I persevered and I am glad I did; the rest of the narrators were a pleasure to listen to.

The story was a wonderful mix of science fiction, fantasy and reality. The first chronicle was set in New York, but the rest of the series was set on the island of Atopia, a large man-made floating island in the Pacific. Dr. Patricia Killiam is launching a new virtual reality platform. However, everything is not as it seems.
This story takes the reader on a fast paced roller coaster ride! Every character involved in this story is affected by certain events that culminate in an amazing showdown with a desperate and slightly crazy individual.
The story did feel a bit disjointed at times, but I suppose it's because it was originally written in sections. I really liked Bob (Robert Baxter), who was a bit of a drunkard and drug addict, but he has reason to be. I don't believe that drink and drugs are a solution to a problem or situation, but in his defense, it was understandable. This book actually terrified me, in a way. With the way we are advancing with our computers, and the virtual reality in movies getting better and better, this technology could, in the not too distant future, become more readily available. The line between what is real and what is virtual is growing thinner and blurrier all the time. This could, in the wrong hands, be used as a kind of mind control one day, and this absolutely terrifies me. If the life we now live is an illusion, what would be the point in living it? Are we actually already living in a virtual world? This kind of story makes a person think very deep and philosophical thoughts. That being said, I really enjoyed the story. The ending finished on a slight cliffhanger, and now I am looking forward to continuing the Chronicles by reading/listening to The Dystopia Chronicles, which will be released in August this year.

Matthew Mather has written a intriguing science fiction series. His characters were very lifelike. I loved his fast paced writing style and, even though the flow was a bit disjointed in places, I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

Due to the mention of alcohol and drug abuse, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. I do, however, recommend this book to lovers of science fiction or dystopian fiction genres. - Lynn Worton

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