Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wicked Women of The Bible by Ann Spangler


Wicked Women of The Bible by Ann Spangler has a deceiving title.  Those included in this book are both notoriously good and notoriously bad.  As much as it is about the women Bible, it is also about men of the Bible.  For example the story of Miriam is also about Moses and Aaron, Ruth and Naomi's story also includes Boaz.  The book begins with Eve and concludes with Mary Magdalene.

Each section starts with a narrative about the woman which includes elements from the Bible as well as filer that one can only speculate.  Such as in the story of the woman who washes Jesus' feet:  "Simon passes by her without allowing himself the luxury of a sideways glance."  The book is powerful enough without speculation on what the characters of the story could be thinking or feeling.  After the narrative, is a brief section titled "The Times" which talks about the time and culture of the story that was just told.  This section also gives some additional information on things like harems, and family lineage. Last in the chapter are the "Takeaways," this section has 4 -5 questions that ask things like :"What evidence is there in Ester's story that she waited for the Lord?  What do you think would have happened had she not?"  These questions make for great discussion and study either individually or in a group.  After the end of the book there is a list of the scripture used, so readers can look back and study farther.  There is also  6 - 7 pages about Eve and talks about different legacy's that she left behind.

As I stated earlier, the title is a little deceiving.  Immediately one's mind jumps to the definition of wicked as evil, morally bad.  But the author gives two definitions of the word, the one that states evil, morally bad.  But then she also refers to the online slang definition as "very very good, excellent, extremely in a grand way; "cool"; "awesome" as is, that concert was wicked!"  With that definition, the title is very fitting.  Spangler weaves her stories together wonderfully to reflect the lives of women not only in Biblical times, but also in modern times.  Each and every one of the sections has a lesson everyone can learn from, not just women but men as well.

This book is not only informative, but it is also entertaining.  There were moments I found myself giggling, most in Sarah's story with the line "who wouldn't find that funny?  Two old sticks kindling a fire."  Ann's choice of words and deep understanding of the Biblical accounts makes this book a wonderful addition to a life study.  I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for something that gives a different perspective on the stories we all know so well.  I also recommend this for anyone who thinks the Bible is filled with stories of strong powerful characters.  This books shows even the most faithful had faults.  I give this book a 5 out of 5.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program.  **

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Journey Stuff by Diane Lee

Love and Other Stuff: The Journey is a memoir/diary styled book.  It is the 6th part in her series, each picking up from the last. 
 
In the sixth installment of her Love and Other Stuff series Diane Lee discusses her realization that the personal discovery is what matters in one's journey through life rather than the final destination.   She shows through trials and tribulations we develop as individuals and come to terms with the fact that life is both beautiful and ugly, lucky and unfair.  She provides insight and knowledge through her own experiences and determination.
 
Diane's book is brutally honest, raw, and sincere.  She is witty and bears her soul within not only this book, but all the books in the series.  She bears her soul, and lays everything out in the open.  She holds nothing back and that makes her writing amazing.  The book is set up like a diary of sorts and that gives the reader a feel of intimacy, a close, personal look into Diane's life.  One of the portions I loved most about the book was her letter to her 16 year old self.  It was a great thought to look back on time and remember things and realize things about yourself since that time.  Diane includes a lot of interesting insights and thoughts about a variety of "stuff." 

Diane does a wonderful job with this book, she expresses things we sometimes are a little too afraid to express.  She takes issues some may feel is mundane and turns it around and makes it entertaining.  She uses humor and a smile to tackle the things in her own life that she has stumbled upon, allowing the reader to feel not so alone in the things they deal with.  She doesn't turn things into sappy and "woe-is-me" but keeps it upbeat and happy.  It is refreshing to read an author who does that and who approaches life with a sense of hiding nothing.  Through her words, we feel we are life-long friends with Diane, getting together to catch up on life's cruel but fun journey.  I found myself whipping through this novel, early turning the page to see what wisdom Diane Lee has next.  Now that I have read part 6, I need to go back and read parts 1-5.  I couldn't get enough of this book, and I don't think you would either. 

I would recommend this book to everyone. I think from time to time we all need to read something like this series to get a better perspective on things.  I give her a 5 out of 5 for a rating and look forward to reading other books in the series.
 
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Getting Old

Getting Old is an anthology of poems, essays and short stories about a fact of life we all dread: getting old.

Getting old is something inevitable, unavoidable.  How you approach the thought of getting old is what makes it worth while or a horrible experience.  This collection houses various voices pondering the effects of getting old from mammograms to familial duties.  It includes everything from love and happiness to grief and death of loved ones.  The tone ranges from comedic and happy to sad and reminiscent. 

Each writer has their own unique voice, and they all blend perfectly in this anthology.  They each face this topic in their own way and the result is this fantastic book of thought.  While each entry is different and focuses on a different aspect of the process, everything flows together well.  It doesn't seem mis-mashed or put together randomly.  When reading through this book, readers can tell a lot of thought and time went into it's creation.  Every one of the 60 entries in this anthology is fantastically written that one cannot pick a favorite, it would be unfair to do so. 

This is one of those books that you will want to read multiple times, and share with your friends.  While we may get old, this book will not.  No matter the era, or person reading it, there is something for everyone.  This is a topic everyone deals with and comes to terms with.  This anthology takes a look at how others have dealt with it and turned it into an event of reflection and introspect.  This book provides a lot of insight and does make one think about the facts of life.  I would honestly recommend Getting Old to everyone.  I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5,  I may need to go back and read it a second time.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

HIS by Glenna Sinclair

 

HIS  by Glenna Sinclair is the first part of a three part An Alpha Billionaire series.  It is an adult romance novel that follows Ana.  She agreed to be a surrogate to Hollywood's hottest couple.  But soon realizes things aren't what she expected them to be. 

Ana is a typical kindergarten teacher willing to do ANYTHING to help her mom.  When her mom is diagnosed with cancer, Ana signs up as a candidate to be a surrogate for Hollywood's hottest couple: Nicolas and Aurora Costa.  Much to her surprise, she is chosen.  Soon after the insemination, Aurora is found dead from a suspected drug overdose.  Ana gets scared for herself as well as the baby and runs away, only to have Nicolas find her.  He provides her with a story about Aurora and convinces Ana to return with him.  Ana has no idea what is in store for her.  How does one react to the things she discovers?

The first novel in a series is supposed to set the stage, build up suspense and interest for the novels that follow.  Glenna Sinclair's His does just that.  She creates a fantastic story that takes her readers on an interesting journey in Ana's life.  Readers watch as Ana struggles with her decisions and their consequences.  We worry with her when it seems there may be something wrong with the baby.  Glenna creates a wonderful character in her, as for Nicolas, he remains as much of a mystery to the readers as he does Ana.  That is one of the elements that drives the novel forward; readers wanting to know more about this mysterious character and what his motives are.

The story is well written and progresses at a good pace.  Not once did it feel like the story was too slow or fast, in fact I was the one reading it so fast in order to find out what happens next!  I finished it within a few hours.  I thought having Ana as the surrogate to Nicholas and his wife was an interesting touch.  Rather than two people meeting by chance, there was a purpose for her in his life.  This adds a little more..hmm...scandal to the story.  The story ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, I thought to myself "no there needs to be more!" when I finished the book.  Sinclair knows how to make her readers want, need the next installment.

I would recommend this novel to those who love a steamy romance with a little mystery involved.  I give this novel a 5 out of 5 rating.  It is a very good read.  Can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Luminosity by Stacey McWilliams

Luminosity is the second book in Stacey McWilliams' "The Escaping Demons" Saga.  It is a dark fantasy novel incorporating elements of demon mythos and other creatures that are hidden from mortal eyes.  Luminosity follows Jasmine rather than Nathan like the previous novel did.

Jasmine was happy with her foster family.  They were nice and treated her well, she felt like she was one of their own children.  But then her happy life changed drastically when she is moved from their home into one where she is treated like an outcast.  From the moment she stepped foot into the house, she has been met with discontent and hatred.  But why?  Why does this family hate her so much without knowing her?  There is one shining light in the darkness; Nathan.  At times he seems friendly enough, but other times he can be just as cruel as the others.  What does Jasmine's life have in store for her within this family?  Will she be able to win over their affections?

This novel picks up where Candlelight left off, but not through the eyes of Nathan, but the eyes of Jasmine.  We see her fear, confusion and heartache through the novel as she is mistreated and given mixed signals from Nate.  While I enjoyed the perspective of Jasmine and getting inside her head, I preferred Nathan's viewpoint.  We get more of the true story through Nathan as he is the one who needs to perform the sacrifice, it is his cultural ritual that the story is based on.  We have none of that within this novel.  It felt like we missed out on a lot of different elements with the story being through Jasmine's eyes.

The story itself is very well written, I enjoyed the addition of handwritten notes from Nathan and Mrs. Stevenson.  They added a different quality to the story, broke it up a little bit with written dialogue rather than verbal.  Nice touch.  Again, because Luminosity is a novella, it seems we miss out on a little more, although it seemed there was more story to this one.  There was more of a climax as readers get to the end, and when it does end with a cliffhanger of sorts I felt like trying to find the next installment.

McWilliams does a wonderful job drawing her readers in and capturing their attention throughout her whole story.  There are characters you grow to love in order to hate such as Mr. Stevenson and Jenny.  Jasmine developed most throughout this story since it focused primarily on her.  Even though there are other characters in the story, it didn't seem they played as major a role in this installment as they did previous, probably because they did not have direct correlation to Jasmine. There are I still want to know about like the Luminosity of a sacrifice as well as the reason why they need the Luminosity and why it needs to be a certain member of the clan.  I guess more will be answered later.

Luminosity as well as Candlelight are two books that stay with the reader once they set the books aside.  Readers are eager to get back to reading and finding out where the story will progress next and what will happen to their favorite characters.  Stacey McWilliams does a fantastic job with both her books and I am honored to have read them.

I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy dark fantasy,  young adult,  the paranormal and a great story.   I give this novel a 4 out of 5 rating.   Good job Stacey,  can't wait to see what you have planned next. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Music

Aside from literature,  music is another passion of mine.   There is something about a good song with lyrics that move you and bring out emotions.  I have found I need music for most of my daily activities including reading.   I think sometimes the two go hand in hand.  This past weekend I got to go to an outdoor all day concert in Baltimore: The Baltimore Shindig.   Every band was fantastic and I had a great time, even if I didn't get to read much over the weekend.

How has music inspired you?   Do you find comfort in the melody or wisdom within the lyrics?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Call of The Herald by Brian Rathbone


"If you wish to find yourself, you must first admit you are lost."

"Men are fickle creatures, capable of kindness and compassion yet fascinated by the basest of atrocities."

Call of the Hearld is a young adult epic fantasy that follows the life of a young farmgirl named Catrin who discovers she has magical powers.  Catrin must now learn to use her powers while trying to save the world.  It is the first book in Rathbone's Godsland series.

There is a prophecy of the coming of a herald, one who would save the world.  To some this is only legend while others take it to heart.  One day while coming home from school something mysterious happens to Catrin.  Soon she finds out she the prophesied herald and begins a quest to eliminate the evil and save the world.

Generally a good idea, and interesting story but unfortunately is not executed well.  There is so much potential in this novel, but it is clouded by excessive dialogue, cliché events, and generic characters.  Something refreshing about this novel is the female lead.  Too often the lead heroic character is male, not often do we see female assuming that role in many novels (I understand more often females are becoming stronger heroines.)  Having that in this novel was a great idea as she relies on her friends for support.  The other characters seemed to be lacking substance.

I liked the underlying plot of magic returning to the world and people being unsure of how to react to it, but as I stated it was not executed well.  The story was slow moving with a lot of background and descriptions that took away from the true beauty of the story.  Even after Catrin experiences slight magic in the beginning, it still takes awhile before she realizes she is the herald.  I understand some of the reasoning behind it, showing her torment from classmates and peers to struggling to work hard and learn new things, but it is excessive and not needed.

I would recommend this novel to those beginning the fantasy genre.  It gives all the elements that make a fantasy novel well fantasy.  It is a great book for young readers getting their feet wet in different genres and different novels. would I read another book by Mr. Rathbone? Probably, but maybe not a young adult novel.

I struggled with what kind of rating to give the story.  As I mentioned this is a great novel for those beginning in the genre and young readers, I read this as someone who has been reading fantasy for years, and probably has been spoiled with many different authors in the genre.  That being said I give this novel a 2.5 out of 5 because the story was slow to develop and felt too generic for the genre.  When I read a fantasy novel I want something that blows me away, I have been spoiled by the classics I have read in the past.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Lost Heir by Andi O'Connor

"There is good and evil everywhere in this world...Just as there is good and evil in each of us.  They are always in a constant battle for supremacy.  Each decision we make can sway the balance in either direction...The decisions we make affect many, and it is easy to allow our greed to take control."  ~ Andrillrian

The Lost Heir is a fantasy novel the follows the journey of Darrak Hunter as he struggles for his survival and finding a way to save Earth and the realm of Dragonath.  It also follows those who desire to bring destruction to both worlds.  It is a whirlwind of a story taking readers of a journey across realms with magic.

Darrak Hunter is a studious college student, spending much of his time studying hard to accomplish his goals.  Suddenly his dreams become plagued with visions of a distant realm, one with purple clouds and purple sun.  Upon waking he discovers Earth has taken on these eerie characteristics.  Then a mysterious violet-eyed man appears in his room proclaiming he is needed in the world of Dragonath and whisks him away.  Darrak is faced with magic being a reality and himself having these powerful abilities.  Darrak is teamed with a prince, sword-smith, and a beautiful sorceress to overcome plots of betrayal, destruction, and stand against an enemy wielding powerful dark magic.

I don't have the words to begin describing how amazing this book was.  Andi O'Connor does a stupendous job with her work.  From the very beginning until the book ends the reader is a citizen of Dragonath traveling with Darrak and the others.  She takes fantasy elements and makes them her own.  She magic within her world but general sorcerers need to use a kraylock, a gem which houses their meno (magic) and something they are bound to, in order to cast a spell.  But there are legends within the story of those who don't need the kraylock nor do they need to speak the spell out loud, those are Chosens.  On top of that there is the dark magic of Halla, Dreamseeing and Dreamweaving along with healing, a type of necromancy called Vantelaith, where the caster calls upon the souls of the dead in order to help the caster to perform various acts such as healing or defensive tactics.  I am sure there are more within this realm that we have yet to see.

As the companions struggle to overcome the plots of betrayal, they all learn that things cannot be accomplished on ones own but through teamwork and cooperation.  As they group in their own strength, they also grow in strength together.  The group learn of each others strengths and weakness and how to utilize both in the mist of battle.  This novel hinges greatly on teamwork and realizing we cannot do everything on our own, sometimes we all need some help.  All the characters are phenomenal and complex. Each one deals with a hardship in one form or another, including Mionee, who is the antagonist of the story.  This story show true companionship, friendship, and what it really means to support one another.

Andi's descriptions are vivid and life like, even the purple non-moving clouds and sky.  The garden Darrak decided to go to when he first Travels to Dragonath seems beautiful like a place I would sit and read in.  The story flows beautifully together, not once did I think it was taking forever to get to the climax or think there wasn't enough descriptions.  Everything was simply perfect.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre.  Andi goes above and beyond what fantasy is.  She takes all the elements and creates something new with them.  Something that is her own.  Because of the unique aspect of her novel and the beauty in which she weaves her words, I give The Lost Heir a 5 out of 5.  This novel is exactly what it means to create a tale that drags readers in.  I anticipate reading her next novel: The Awakening.

If you haven't read the author interview with Andi O'Connor check it out.  We get a glimpse at what makes her novels so compelling.
** I had the honor of receiving this novel from the author for an honest review **

Monday, September 14, 2015

Candlelight

Title: Candlelight by Stacy McWilliams
Media source: ebook
Rating 4 out of 5

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoy the vampire fandom, fantasy novels, maybe a little romance.  If you are one who enjoys a quick read that captivates your senses, this is the book for you.

Candlelight is the debut paranormal fantasy novella by Stacy McWilliams that focuses on a young man named Nathan as he struggles with role in the family hierarchy.  Everything becomes more complicated and changes once Jasmine enters his life.

Nathan is a type of demon, and there are expectations and requirements that he needs to live up to.  He has been chosen to be the next candidate for the Council within his society, his role is to take power from mortal human sacrifices on Halloween.  Nathan struggles with demons of his own, living up to expectations, and dreams of an unknown girl who has his world upside down.  Quickly he finds out the woman he dreams about is his first sacrifice.

McWilliams' novella creates a fantastic new world and characters that are not only compelling but also original.  She creates characters that draw readers into the story and keeps us under their spell.  Nate was interesting to follow and be inside his mind as he struggles with his emotions and responsibilities.  Being that this is a novella, there isn't a lot of time to build and develop the characters deeper than they are.  Part of me wishes this was longer to develop all the characters equally even the antagonist (forgive me I forget his name right now).

The story is developed nicely, I cannot wait to being reading Luminosity, and that is the mark of a great author.  Because the novella is short (about 100 pages or so), readers miss out on the depth of the story.  Occasionally, it felt like there could have been more to the story, more development to a plot such as when one of their own is murdered and a friend of Nathan's is accused and punished.  That scene could have used more depth, more detail drawing it out more.  It seemed to an important element to the story as it progresses further to the appearance of Jasmine.  But despite the feeling of lack of depth, this novella was fantastic, it set the stage for the next book in the series.  It enables the readers to get a feel for the characters' personalities and their backgrounds.

I couldn't have been happier when I won Candlelight in a giveaway from the author.  I was even more excited when I began to read it.  If you are looking for something new and different, then this is the novel for you.  I am sure you will want the next book in the series as much as I do.

Happy reading my friends!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Miist

Title: Miist by Kamilla Reid
Media source: Ebook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel to young adult readers and adult readers alike.  It is a fantasy novel with adventure and suspense.

Miist comes to us from the mind of author Kamilla Reid.  It is a young adult fantasy novel that follows the escapades of Root and her companions: Lian and Dwyn as they quest for something Lost.  But are they ready for what they find?

Root is a young girl trying to survive in Shade Howl working for women known as the Aunts.  She hunts down items that could be of value.  One night she stumbles into the Aunts' home and overhears a conversation between the Aunts and someone known as The Badge.  The conversation is about youth who have been "called" by the Marrow Blind and needs to report for duty.  The only way to determine who has been called is the moonlight shining on your hand.  Root escapes into the night and thrusts her hand into the moonlight to discover she has been called.    Root and two others who received "the calling," Lian and Dwyn, are being charged with finding an item that is Lost.  They never suspect the adversity that are in store for them.

This was an enjoyable book to read.  I found the plot and characters interesting.  Reid creates a world of her own throughout this story and readers see that sometimes things may not be as they seem. The descriptions are well done and paint a lovely picture of each setting, or rather not so lovely when Root is in the slum area of Shade Howl.  Readers get a clear and concise idea of what the world Reid created looks like, and may even feel like.  When she describe the sentinels in one of the rooms of the citadel, of being in Ice Rock with no bodies but breathing, standing guard, there is this eerie feel about them. 

Some of the language used in the novel is hard to understand because there is no explanation on what things are such as Bone Grit, Greyshank, and Heat.  It took me a while to understand Heat, but there are other terminology that I didn't fully understand what they were.  It would have been helpful if the first chapter or when something is mentioned for the like Greyshank, that there was a small short couple word explanation.  As a writer, you don't want your readers to get caught up in wondering what something is, with Mist it is hard not to get mixed up with the wording.

The characters are very well-developed and complex.  As you read through the story you can see each character developing and becoming stronger.  I have to say Lian is one of my favorite characters in this book from the moment he is introduced.  He is the mild-mannered timid character that reflect my own personality.  I also enjoyed that his talent/pyre/magic was in the field of nature.  One of my favorite elements.  I have found some of our favorite characters are the one we see ourselves in, and readers will come to find out that Kamilla's characters are no different.  There is a character that reflects personality traits everyone holds. 

This was an excellent book to read and I look forward to any works from Kamilla in the future.  She does a great job creating a unique universe and people to inhabit it.  As you read through this book you want to know more about the characters and where their future will lead.  Great job.

I read this book as an ARC and that gives the book and characters a different feel.  It is as if being among the first to read the novel, I am helping to give life to Kamilla's world.  While I had the honor of reading it early,  the book is not scheduled to be released until October 3rd.  Not too far away!

** I have had the honor of receiving this novel as an advanced reader copy for an honest review **

Thursday, September 10, 2015

13th Demon

Title: The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan
Media: Paperback
Rating 3.5 out of 5

Recommendation:  This book is perfect for those who enjoy chilling thrillers.  It is good for those who enjoy delving into stories of the supernatural and unknown.

The 13th Demon by Bruce Henningan is the first book in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel series.  It follows the story of Jonathan Steel as he strives to aid those in need while he hunts for the truth to his past.

Something is happening at Thomas Parker's church.  Wave of blood pours through the sanctuary, the baptism pool becomes a swirling energy field, there is an spiral eye on the ceiling.  When Jonathan Steel comes into help spiders begin to attack the pastor and Steel.  Steel in turn takes pictures of strange writing on the wall as well as the energy field and the eye on the ceiling.  He calls in some help, a linguist and a physicist,  to get to the truth of the matter.  Meanwhile, he learns there is a businessman who is trying to buy the church for some reason.  What is the connection between the businessman and what is happening within the church?  When the physicist's son becomes a part of the mystery everyone treads lightly and strives to find the truth before it becomes too late.

I was slightly disappointed in this novel, for some reason I had high expectations on the alter of the spiral eye, and the 13th demon.  There wasn't much backstory to the 13th demon other than a small snippet on it not being among the 12 "chosen" demons much like the 12 apostles.  The story could have gone into more detail about what makes this particular demon scarier than others.  I did however enjoy the archeological and linguistic aspects to the story.  It added  depth to the setting and images on the walls that Steel had seen.

I understand the reason for no backstory on Jonathan Steele because, well he doesn't even know who he is, so the scenes were he remembers or is given reminders of his past are well done and provide that needed backstory.  His amnesia adds a complexity to his character as he simply doesn't remember anything before a specific time.  So as a reader we don't know who or even what Jonathan Steel is because he doesn't know.  That makes the reader want to try and figure this character out.  The other characters are well rounded and play their roles perfectly in the story, personally I wanted more from Liz, the linguist but that is probably because that is where my own interest and passion lies.  I enjoyed the idea of death being like a butterfly in a cocoon.  It was an interesting metaphor.

13th Demon is a well written novel that leave readers wanting more, and from I've seen there is more (I bought 12th Demon just waiting to get a chance to read it).  I look forward to what Bruce has for us in the future.  With some of the other books I have read, I would like to see this one made into a movie, it definitely has the suspense factor.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Curse of Crow Hollow


Title: Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey
Media Source: Nook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a mystery, thriller or supernatural stories.

"People think they are free in life.  Maybe they are for a while.  But sooner or later all the choices you make narrow down to a single end, and that's the only end you can meet."

 A group of teenagers decide to have a small party in the mines that are closed off, considering how dangerous they are as well as the stories about a witch living among the woods.  The teens discover a set of footprints seared into the ground.  They decide to follow these tracks which lead to Alvaretta Grave's cabin, the fabled witch.  The witch curses the girls that occurs the very next day.  It slowly begins to effect not only Cordelia, Scarlett and Naomi, but takes hold of every teenage girl in the town.  The town becomes a frenzy as fear strikes the hearts of every resident.  Neighbors turn on neighbor, family on family.  Every small town has a secret and Crow Holler is no different, but could that secret be what is causing the ailments of the town's daughters?

This novel was one of those books that really told a story.  It was as if I was sitting beside the narrator listening to the story of someone who witnessed all the events.  I loved the theory Hays came up about the curse being the girls' worst fears, that added a new level to the story.  I would have liked to see other theories from people in the town.  The story revolved around the town trying to figure out how to stop the curse and who's fault it was and how to erase the sins that caused the curse.  There is little back story to Alvaretta, which I would have liked a little more.  To know why she was considered a witch other than the fact that she lives alone up in the woods.

The other characters were well developed.  I especially enjoyed John David and Bucky.  Bucky starts out as a weak, fearful character, but by the end he becomes probably the strongest character.  John David contains an air of mystery about him, something unknown and eerie, almost making you think he is working with the witch.  Out of the three girls originally cursed, I say I enjoyed Scarlett the most.  While she felt invisible and not worthy, she was the strongest of the three.  She acted when others didn't, she began to stand up for herself to others even to the point of pushing past her curse. She made herself be seen, therefore in my eyes started to break through her curse.  Angela was probably my least favorite.  Even through the curses and trials of the town, all she cared about was herself.  I almost wasnted a curse to hit her. I could sit here forever talking about what I liked or disliked about a character, but I won't do that.  I'll let you find characters you enjoyed the most, and tell me about it.

Overall, the novel was well written and interesting.  It held my attention throughout the story.  There were elements that I wish were used more such as The Circle and even Alvaretta herself.  Again, it was a well rounded book with a lot of information building up the suspense until you find out what Alvaretta is hiding and who has been aiding her.  When I read the part of who helped her I honestly uttered "no way," the same with what was hidden within her cabin.  Check it out, it is worth the read.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program.  **

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sweet Sleep

Title:  Sweet Sleep (Children of Ankh series book 1) by Kim Cormack.
Media source: Kindle
Rating 4.5 out of 5
 
Recommendation:  I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy novels.
 
Sweet Sleep is a young adult fantasy novel about a young girl who losses her entire family in one night.  When she recovers she finds out there is something special about her and her childhood best friend.  She struggles through accepting who she is and what her life will become.
Kayn and her twin sister couldn't be more different.  
 
Chloe has a way with boys almost magnetism,  whereas Kayn is virtually invisible except to her best friend Kevin.  Kayn and Kevin spend a large amount of time together and on one particular night Kayn begins feeling strange.   After having dinner with Kevin's family  she arrives home to something horrific.   She manages to run from the house only to pursued by the same man who slaughtered her family.   She is found severely injured. After months in a coma she awakens, and learns she is special.  Her and her sister are connected in more ways than one and supernatural clans will be looking for her. 
 
The clan Ankh has claimed Kayn as well as Kevin, who discovered he is a  powerful psychic. Members of the clan try to train Kevin and Kayn quickly for an oncoming battle for Kayn's life.  Along the way the groups discover many secrets; many increase the value of Kayn and Kevin's existences.  What will the future hold for these two young people?   Will they make it to Enlightenment and remain true to who they are?
 
This is an outstanding novel,  I didn't want to put it down.  Correction:  I couldn't put it down.  This is a longer novel, roughly 500 pages, but every one of those pages are needed.  Kim builds the story up in a way I haven't seen in  a long time.  She builds the back story  of Kayn and Kevin thus building the bond the have together as well as with Chloe.   I would have like a little more story on Chloe.   She was a big part of Kayn, but we don't know much about her personality and what else made her the darker one.  Readers get a small glimpse into not only Ankh but the other clans, I am sure the other novels will continue with the story of Ankh.
 
Kayn is an incredible character,   I wanted to see more of her fighting and using skills she has, but I am sure that will come in more novels.  I enjoyed the companionship built through the group of Ankh members as they train with Kayn and Kevin.  Readers see them bonding and becoming Kayn's family.    We see Kayn becoming stronger as well as the clan relying on each other for strength.   Where one was weak another was strong, portraying the importance of teamwork and working together.  I also enjoyed the idea of using crystals for healing and protection.   I hope to see more of that in other novels.  
 
I have a lot of high hopes for upcoming novels,  I cannot wait to begin reading Enlightenment, the second book in the series.  This is definitely a series that needs to be read.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hangman's Curse


Title: Hangman's Curse by Frank Peretti
Media Source: Hardback
Rating 4 out of 5

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to fans of Ted Dekker, as well as those who enjoy a good thriller, mystery with a slight hint of paranormal aspects to it.

Hangman's Curse is a young adult novel that touches on the realm of ghost stories and the supernatural.  It is the first volume in the Veritas Project series. 

The Springfield family work together as investigators for the Veritas Project, a secret project that searches for the truth.  When some teens shows signs of a strange illness, the family is called in to find out the truth behind the situation.  Three students are in the hospital with rumors of a ghost attacking them, a ghost controlled by another student.  On eat of their lockers is a mysterious carving of a hangman.  What is happening to these teenagers?  Is there an explanation to all of this or is there something more supernatural happening?

Frank Peretti has been one of my favorite authors for a while now, and this novel continues in true Peretti fashion and solidifies my admiration for his work.  I found myself completely captivated by this novel waiting for what would happen next, waiting to see who or what is behind the mysterious illness of the bullies of this school.  The overlying theme of the novel seems to be anti-bulling and students coming to the realization that their taunts and words are more harmful than they originally thought.  As well as the dangers of when those in authority turn a blind eye.

Peretti always has a way with presenting his story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, anticipating what will happen next, longing to find out what is the cause of things as well as who is behind it all.  He is able to put everything right in front of your eyes, but then still surprise you with the revelation.  His characters are complex and relatable. Elisha and Elijah are representations of someone you could be friends with.  Every school has an outcast like Ian Snyder just wanting to fit in as well as bullies like Jay Boltz.  The characters he creates elicit emotion and a sense of kinship with.

When all was revealed, I admit, I shuddered because it preyed on my own fears.  That in itself adds an effect to the story that other novels don't have because as I am squirming and twitching as I continue to read this novel to the end.  But I highly enjoyed the novel and suggest it to others.  I cannot wait to find the second novel in this series.  I want to see the wild ride Peretti plans to take us on.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Darkest Whisper


Title: Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter
Media source: Paperback

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Recommendation: Add this to your collection if you enjoy paranormal romance, mythology and sexy male characters.

Darkest Whisper is the fourth book in the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter.  It is not necessary to read them in order, but highly recommended as the later novels mentions things from previous novels.

Sabin is the Keeper of Doubt, a demon who thrives off of pulling a person's doubts and insecurities to the surface and making them suffer.  When Sabin meets Gwen; a harpy who was imprisoned by the Hunters; he wishes Doubt would remain silent even for a moment.  He wishes he could keep this woman he slowly falls in love with.  Gwen is a harpy who fears and dislikes her Harpy aspects, she needs to learn how to accept and control her harpy before she loses control and does something she regrets later.  The Lords are still hunting for Pandora's box and fighting the war with the Hunters; having a harpy on their side could be a huge advantage, soon they find out the origins of Gwen's father, one that shocks everyone even Gwen.

I have mixed feelings about this novel.  It was as compelling as the other Lord's stories, but something seemed to be missing in this one.  Gwen was depicted as being so timid and meek, and yet she stands up to Sabin's demon.  There seemed to be a conflict within that portion of the story.  I wasn't thrilled with Sabin becoming weaker because of Gwen, he became a different warrior while the others became stronger.  It wasn't until the end that readers see him becoming stronger, could that have been from  his demon, I don't know.  If it was, it wasn't brought out well enough.  In other books the demon would become possessive over the female as much as the warrior did, this novel the demon wanted to attack her more and then eventually became afraid of her.  I enjoyed seeing the demon itself reacting differently and opposite of itself, but it almost seemed weak that the demon would instantly give up and go hide rather than fight against Gwen's Harpy side.

The pace is a bit slower than some of the other novels, I found myself wanting it to go faster and wanting to get to different parts faster.  Some elements began to feel all too convenient such as the truth to who Gwen's father is (I don't want to give things away).  I have to wonder do all the women who belong to the Lord need to have some relevance to their quest? There are some characters who get mentioned briefly, whom I want more of such as Amun, I want his story and this novel just increased that desire.   I also enjoyed the addition of a new creature, the Harpy and the mythos behind them becoming something different within this novel.  Gena does a great job at making things her own.  Would I continue to read the series?  You betcha!  Would I continue to recommend it to others?  Of course!!  While I found somethings lacking in this novel, it was still fantastic and had some sexy moments.  it was a great novel and I look forward to reading more from Showalter.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Daily Thyroid Routine

Title:  Daily Thyroid Routine by Jay Authore
Media Source: kindle

Rating 5 out of 5

Recommendation:  I would suggest anyone who wants a better lifestyle to check out this book; even if ypu don't have thyroid issues.

Jay Author provides a great deal of useful information in this book.  He presents it all in a way that is easy to read and understand.   He doesn't include a ton of medical jargon, he just puts it out there.  Because of this it is a very helpful book for those with or without thyroid issues.   At one point he quotes another book saying "Your body is the servant of your mind and has no choice but to obey your thoughts."  When I read that it hit me; my body often feels like crap because I put crap in it or do crap for it.  Some of the foods he talked about adding into your diet seemed a lot like foods for a gluten free diet, could there be a connection?  

Jay includes numerous helpful additions such as a diet plan, recipes, even a chapter on sleep.  I think it was great that Jay included a chapter on sleeping which included position you sleep in as well as pillows used.  Too often we don't realize how we position ourselves during rest affects our bodies as well.  The recipes are a wonderful addition. There are some I want to try tonight with my family.   They are helpful in explaining the diet and showing ways of substituting one thing for something else. 

Jay Author does a fantastic job with this book.  While I don't have thyroid problems right now, this book gives me ideas on things I can do to help have better thyroid health.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Alice in The Country Heart


Title: Alice in The Country of Hearts by QuinRose, Soumei
Media: Paperback: 3 volumes
 
Rating 4 out of 5
 
Recommendation:  I would recommend this manga to anyone who enjoys not only manga, but those who enjoy Alice in Wonderland.  Those who like a good storyline and a different look at a classic tale.
 
We all know the story of Alice's adventures in wonderland, this manga series is a different take on that tale.  In this rendition, Alice is dragged into Wonderland by the White Rabbit, who turns into a handsome man once the enter the rabbit hole.  Alice enters a world where men fawn all over her, and eventually fall in love with her.  Wonderland is split into different kingdoms; all of which are at war with each other.  Blood Dupre (Mad Hatter) basically runs the mafia and owns a third of the kingdom.  another third is controlled by Vivaldi (the red queen), and the last third is controlled by Mary Gowland's amusement park.  Right in the middle is a neutral zone which houses a watchtower where Julius; the clockmaker resides.   The characters are divided into two categories: those with duties and those without.  Those with duties have names and faces.  While the latter does not and when they perish, they turn into clocks.  This rendition of the classic tale has several darker undertones along with the high spirited fun of White Rabbit trying to pursue Alice.
 
 I have always loved Alice in Wonderland and all the renditions of the tale.  Alice In the Country of Hearts has become one of my favorite renditions.  It took the tale and made it into something new.  The only elements that are the same is Alice going down a rabbit hole and the characters.  After that, it becomes a whole new story.  Not much is revealed in the first volume, but after reading the whole series everything falls together.  The characters are more violent than the traditional characters, I mean Mad Hatter is a mafia boss.  Throughout the series we see the classic characters as well as some new ones like Nightmare, Ace, and the Julius the clockmaker.  Each character becomes their own personality and readers become to loving every one of them.

One interesting element is that Peter White (White Rabbit) speaks in rhymes through the series.  I wonder if it gives him a more Wonderland feel even though none of the other characters have a quirk like that.  The Tweedles consistently refer to Alice as "Lady,"  it seems a little odd and  I would assume they would refer to her as something other than "lady."  I believe it reflects the Japanese word of "one san,"  but it does not come across as intended if that is the case. 

The series is based off of a dating simulation game which is an interesting concept in itself.  Some say the series is confusing if you don't already know the background from the game, but I didn't find that to be the case.  I highly enjoyed this series and cannot wait to continue with Alice in the Country of Clover.  Lets see where this story takes us!