Saturday, November 30, 2013

Warrior's Oath by Jennifer Hines and Mindy Bigham, A Book Review

Warrior's Oath is a love story fantasy that takes you to the moon and brightens your heart.  This sequel is nothing short of what I hoped and pretty much expected to follow Sacred Promises.  I loved it.

Jennifer and Mindy didn't disappoint.  The storyline was superb and the characters true to their origins.  They kept you entertained, and glued to the pages hoping that what you wanted to happen, did.  It's not that the suspense was so deep you didn't have a clue to what would happen, but things came up that twisted the course a little keeping you swerving to stay with it.

Queen Abigail had a lot to live up to, and a whole lot of herself to provide to her people.  You had to admire and respect her, yet the author made sure you knew her well enough to feel close like a friend to her.  It got you into the story as not just a reader but a comrade, a solid supporter.  You felt her missteps as well as her triumphs and cheered for more.  You felt her stumbles and almost wanted to help her up, but you rooted for Kaleb to do just that.

The same was true for Kaleb, her love and soul mate.  You felt the intensity of their love and not only admired it but needed it to quench the thirst for unity that would lead them both back to their rightful places.  Without their connection, it just wouldn't have been the same.  They kept the story alive and precious and intense.

This book being a sequel means the story needs to continue and be just as good if not better than the first book.  Well fear not, it definitely was, and the storyline did not deflate of falter in any way.  So even though I couldn't wait to see what happened after I read the first book, I was still only hoping it would keep me happy and content to the same degree because so many don't have the same ongoing magic the second time.  I had no reason to fear, it was really, really great.  Moving, exciting, and more, and now I can't wait for the next one.

This story has a timeline that must be told just as it is.  It could not be shortened or condensed without losing the most precious moments between the two leads, Abbey and Kaleb.  The scenes build their relationship and let you ride the waves with them.  It's sweet, endearing and exciting throughout the book.  If you like romances and fantasy, you will love this series.  I have no doubt the next book in the series will be just as good as the first two if not even better.  Get both books, you will absolutely love the story as well as Abbey and Kaleb.

Scapemaker by Steve V. Cypert, A Book Review

Reality is nothing but our perception.  Steve Cypert takes our perception through a new door, and we are only dreaming.
Well that's what the story tells you anyway.  Dreaming is, for some, an ability to be in another dimension and as alive and active as what we believe is our normal reality.  Actually more alive and more able to do things which are believed to not be possible otherwise.  Confusing?  I was confused at first even though I thought I knew what was going on, but then I had to question things and get all the lines blurred again.
Follow the path and you won't get lost.  Really?  No.  This story is not that easy or it would be boring.  This creation takes you on a journey that is anything but boring.  The characters bring it to life and as you learn about them your emotions join theirs and you even want to shake them up a bit when they do or say something you know they shouldn't.  That's what you'd do in real life so if the author can bring that through on the page, then he has done his job.
The great thing about fiction is you can create anything you want.  The hard part for the author is to make it believable.  If you can convince your reader that this could actually happen, get them to feel like they are really there in the moment, and make them want to read more, then your creation becomes real.  The reader loves it, and imagines it as a possible real tangible event.  This book brings the story and its characters to life.  Yes there is some explanation of the new never before known elements replication, but the story as told is pretty darn good.
I have to say there are a few places where it seemed the characters would not get out unscathed or even alive for that matter.  But the author, using his great creative mind manages to move them forward and leave you nothing but surprised and entertained.
It is a mystery fantasy journey that students and a few teachers take into another realm of reality.  It's a story that happens mostly in the dream world with a little of the "normal" reality mixed in.
I have to say I was surprised and happy with the story.  It wasn't what I expected, and the author's ability to weave a tale that has to have a sequel or two yet still has an ending was wonderful.  It's entertaining, and I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Buy it here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Beneath the Willow by Gemma Farrow, A Book Review

A short horror story written to keep you reading and wondering how it ends.  It's a story of love, horror and the ultimate test of faith in that love.

Writing a short story can be more difficult than you think because you have to tell a compelling story, limit any excursions or deep details, and yet propel the characters forward to a speedy ending that the reader will remember and enjoy.

Some authors have an ability to do just that, and do it well.  Gemma is one of them.  I am not much of a reader for horror stories, but the reviews I read before purchasing this book lead me unable to resist reading it.  The other reviewers were right, it was a very well done short story that I will remember for some time, and even find myself still thinking about it from time to time days after I finished it.

In the story, Thomas and Keziah were the epitome of soul mates.  They were deeply in love, had a wonderful future at their feet and lived their lives to make each other happy.  Nothing was beyond acceptable to do for each other.  You know the couples who finish each other's sentences?  They have each other so ingrained in their thoughts that even when they are not present, they hear them, feel them, know their very soul.

So what could possibly ever happen that would change the direction of their lives so completely?  If one thing happened to one of them that drastically changed that person physically, emotionally or intellectually, how would the other one react?  How would they live, how would they deal with the change?  How would each of them deal with a mind rendering change to the dynamics of their relationship and the gut wrenching twist to their souls?

Before anything changed, Thomas and Keziah believed in each other.  They carried the umbrellas that harbored their souls, clinging to the truth that neither would do less than everything for each other to love, honor and protect them.  So when one did change, the need to continue carrying the torch of stalwart devotion became not only more intense, but more absolute than ever before.  There was only one question on each of their minds.  Did this change everything; did the other one's devotion suffer a tear that would soon unravel the whole union into pieces as incohesive as grains of sand?
You will be wondering that question as you turn the pages, looking for the grade on the test of their souls.  Your thoughts will go from one to the other feeling their pain, and while you ponder what should happen, you'll be greatly thankful that this could never happen to you.  Or could it?  Get the book, and then you can decide.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Scepter by Scott L. Collins, A Book Review

An adventure sprinkled with fantasy and fun every child, teen and young adult will love.  What am I saying, I am an older adult and I really liked it.

Getting near the end I wondered how Scott was going to end it so quickly, unless of course it had a sequel.  Yup, that is what's going to happen because the next adventure must commence especially since this one wasn't really a finale.  It certainly reached a summit, but there is a realization when reading the story that a whole lot of things can happen in the end, and of course while getting there.

Creating a story of characters that are already friends is one thing, but bringing in strangers to become friends and weaving their lives together can be a task.  Scott does that with a charm and detail that brings them to life.  You enjoy meeting them, and really enjoy joining them on their journey.  You wonder, revel and sympathize with their situations, thoughts and emotions.  Turning the pages to find out what happens next is the only thing you can do.  Unless of course it becomes a movie, then you can watch that too, which is really what you see in your mind as you read this book.  Honestly traveling with these characters was fun and exciting.

This book is one of the reasons I really love to read fantasy.  You can create anything you want and the readers will gobble it up asking for more.  The story can weave, dodge or jump with something new, and well written stories keep you seated easily adapting to the change.  The story marches forward and you are steadily beating the drum stomping forth for more.

One of the things I hate with some books is beginnings that drone on trying to set the stage for the storyline or characters.  This book's beginning set the stage if you will, but you really didn't realize it until further into the story.  Then you had your ah ha moment that tied it up with a bow.  And then realizing what was going to have to happen still didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the story.  That's due to not only the story, but how it was written.  The moving forward never stopped or slowed down; it just flowed like a river over an obstacle course as you thought about what pool it would settle in.

Scott created a story of two brothers and then two sisters and then two more brothers who become not just friends but comrades, allies and fighters for not only themselves and their families, but strangers and creatures alike.  Their special gifts allow them the abilities needed to help and succeed whether others felt no hope.  Their greatest gift to others was not the fighting they did, but the hope and love they offered.

Get this book for your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and strangers.  They will love the characters and truly enjoy the tale.

Author - Blogger Giveaway Event ------ Win a Kindle Fire HD or Cash!!

Kindle HDX NOvember This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sacred Promises by Jennifer Hines and Mindy Bigham, A Book Review

A story combining fantasy, love and mystery with a wand of magic.  It really is magic that weaves the characters together into a nice storyline.  You want to see what happens, and actually aren't sure at times which character to root for.

Ah, the love of youth.  Who said that?  I don't think the delight, the depth, or the need of love change at any age.  It stays just as exuberant, and enveloping whether you're 16 or 86, and the emotions these characters make you feel, explodes that theory.

Some and maybe many of the thoughts and statements made by Abbey, the lead character, will remind you of yourself at some point in your life.  Her raw honesty and vulnerability, yet solid determination and integrity make you really feel and know her as a real person you would have had as your best friend.  You just like her.  She doesn't do the stupid, 'I saw that coming' things that many authors create.  What she does do, and surmising you think 'oh here it is', doesn't turn out to be what you expected, at least not for me.  As I said, I thought the character was solid.  She made me really like her.

The supporting characters each had their defined personalities and made it easy for you to cling, support, or dislike them.  Although even the ones you didn't like too well, were integrated and developed so you still liked and maybe even admired some part of them.  The two guys (men) or whatever, kept you thinking and wondering, and were amazingly well done.  Their emotions brought you straight to their core wanting to not only know more, but meet someone just like them in the real world.  Their reveal was slow and steady until it built to the point of where you had to know what was happening next.  You wanted to know them, you wanted to protect them, fight with them, and make them happy.  It was exacerbating and exhilarating at the same time.

I really wasn't expecting a love story to this degree, but the authors really did a great job of reeling you in and keeping you there.  The fantasy makes the storyline so much fun and unexpected at times but the love interests are what kept me attached page after page.  I had to know how it turned out.
Saying I enjoyed the book would be true, but in reality I totally loved the whole story, how it was written, the characters, the creativity, and I'm exited their story will continue.  It's just one of those books that have to have a sequel, and I can't wait for it.  If you like love stories, and/or fantasies, then you will really enjoy this book.  Buy it, you will be glad you did, and waiting for the sequel like me.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Four's A Crowd by Maria Bradley, A Book Review

Very creative intrigue, twists you don't see coming, characters that become your friends, and a story that's written to keep you turning the pages.
I can't imagine anyone not liking this story and looking for more from Maria Bradley.  It's written with details that give you access to a movie screen.  You can see their faces, places, and even the character's souls.  I was surprised and actually excited for this story.  It's one I can give as gifts and be excited and proud to watch them open it.
The title was curious to me though.  I wondered how Maria came about that phrase, and didn't see how it related after reading the books blurb.  Surprise was on me when I saw the connection.  Then my thought was, clever!

The story seems simple enough, three characters, murder, mystery, you know the usual plot.  Surprise again.  Nothing I imagined it was about, met the author.  She was in a whole other realm of thought and thankfully so.

The storyline keeps moving with new information and twists you hadn't even thought of.  It compels you to turn every page and figure it all out before the author spells it out for you.  After all, this is a young adult book right?  It should be easy.  Luckily it is anything but easy, and that is the best part.

So the plot in theory may be simple, but the execution is artfully creative with cohesive characters and events.  Then Maria takes the simple and sprinkles it with surprise and a few 'oh my' twists which actually obliterates the simple.  Get the picture?  It's a moving story unlike anything you had been expecting.

Another thing is the main character.  I actually had trouble defining one.  All three take center stage, don't override the others, and make you adore them.  You root for them all, you want to keep reading about them all, and in fact when one was missing you had to keep reading to "help" the others find him.  I know crazy right, and sometimes they didn't seem as focused on the issue or doing the things as I would have, but they're kids.  That's just what they do.  It is insane and yet wonderful.  They become your new friends that you love to follow around.  Even their names are interesting to say the least, and quite rightly match their persons which you soon find out.

I could tell you more, but I really want you to read the book and find out for yourselves.  Telling more just ruins the surprises, twists, turns and enjoyment of discovery.  There is certainly going to be a sequel to this book, which was set up nicely.  I am curious about the name though since this one was so clever.
Thanks for the great read Maria, I can't imagine what will be in the sequel and can't wait to read it.  Five stars well deserved for a story well served.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Behind The Closed Door, by Charles Prandy -A Book Review

This book is a detective series with a lead character that gets ingrained into your psyche and keeps you wanting more.  The author knows how to create and develop great characters but also a story that you don't see coming, and can't get enough of.  I loved the book.  He's done it again.  Big intrigue, surprising story, great read.

You know when you open a sequel or even second book of an author, you are expecting as good a read as the first time, and intensely hope for just that scenario.  Let me assure you, Charles Prandy delivers, precisely and convincingly from the beginning to the very end.  He has a different style of writing which I chalk up the portrayal of the lead character.  I may be wrong, but it doesn't matter, it is a great story and one I know others will enjoy.

This book was just as intriguing, moving, thought provoking and surprising as the first book.  The pace was fast, keeping you on the move and not wanting to stop at any chapter until you reached the end.

Charles's main character Jacob Hayden still talked like he did in the first book, but due to what happened in the first book, he seemed just a little more reserved, not quite as brazen which fit perfectly.  You wouldn't expect any less considering his situation, and that made him real like your next door neighbor.  It kept him in your 'character to root for' column, and tied your heart up with emotional strings.

Stories that move at a quick pace need to pack pictures and emotions in your mind to help you move, understand and fully see what is happening.  If it doesn't, you find yourself having to go back and figure something out or you lose interest.  Don't worry you won't wonder about anything except what is going to happen next, as you try and piece together the clues to what is happening, what the connections are and what it all means.  Just what a good story always does.  Oh, and the surprises are a sweet treat for your mind.

Without a doubt I have to say so many stories are pretty easily figured out.  That's one of the reasons I really like Charles's books.  There was only one time during the entire story that I actually was right on my assumptions.  One time out of the many situations in the story, and I have read a whole lot of books so I am usually figuring the storyline out pretty well, is an amazing feat.  That admirable distinction made me really enjoy the whole book and will make me fondly remember it too.

In the last review I did for Charles I had asked him to let me read the sequel when it was done.  He graciously did just that.  Thank goodness he didn't put any less brilliance into this novel than the last.  I would have hated to say less than great things about his sequel.  And as the book before, he set it up for another sequel which I am officially requesting again.  By the way, you will be just as surprised, just as intrigued and just as impatient about waiting for him to finish the next one as you were at the end of the first one.

Great and amazing work again Charles Prandy.  Thanks for letting me read it.  Buy the book.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Daughter Danica

No matter how many years have passed, I remember her birthday as if she is minutes old.  There just are no words to describe the everlasting impact such an event has on you mentally and emotionally.  Before she was even born, I knew something wasn’t right, and I kept asking the doctor to runs tests and figure out what was wrong.  Of course they felt I was a fanatic and promptly ignored my concerns.  So when Danica arrived and the doctor didn’t sound like he knew what he was talking about, I as a mother who had known something was wrong, decided he was an imbecile and wrote him off.  Yes I had a little bit, okay a lot of anger and fear going on here.  Fortunately my sanity was saved by my mother who completely understood and supported me in every way during my life.  Without that I don’t know how things might have turned out.

Learning what made Danica different really wasn’t a relief from not knowing, it just was.  Having a name to put on my fears for her future didn’t suddenly change my perception of her life it just made my answer to questions from others a little easier.  Shorter.  Convenient.  And now, what at first just made me extremely angry and fearful, completely deluged me with an intense sadness.  I now felt I had to either agree with the diagnosis, or deny it and fight for her to be better than what 'they' said she would be.

The first diagnosis for Danica was 'Dandy Walker Syndrome' associated with occipital meningocele.  Simply put, it’s a neurological disorder which doctors believed manifested in the 5th month of fetal life.  The brain has pockets of cerebral fluid called ventricles and one of them is in the back of the brain near the sight or occipital portion.  This particular pocket enlarged with cerebral fluid not allowing it to flow down through the spine as normal.  The consequences are numerous and we were told, shorten the life span.

In Danica’s case it was suggested she would not live past the age of 12.  Of course that statement was always at the back of my mind, but I refused to allow it in front.  The fear was simply more than I could deal with.  My sadness was overwhelming which I believe drove my fierce determination to make things okay.  I was going to make her better than they said she would be, and make her happy through all the pain she had to endure.  At least that was the plan.  I had the same question going through my mind, “Why would this happen to an innocent child?”  I just couldn’t make any sense of it and it made me angry.  I think you can imagine and many of you know what can happen when Mama Bear gets angry and protective of her cubs.

My anger led me to search for answers to why, solutions to get her well so she could be 'normal', and my fear drove me to the brink of sanity.  I had to absolutely cherish each day because I didn’t know if I was going to get another one.  As time went on I discovered that the days I cherished were gifts of how to have unconditional infinite love, patience and compassion for another person.  How to see their soul and not even realize they walk or talk or look different.

Due to the neurological damage, Danica had lost her sight, and only gained some of it back.  This of course had a huge effect on our family learning how to take care of her and teaching her how to grow up with little or no sight.  At one point in the earlier part of those years there was a community program where elderly women volunteered to be grandmothers to handicapped children.  The director of the program asked me if it was okay if an African American (I hate that term by the way, we are all just Americans not matter what color, culture or continent we came from.  I don't call myself an Irish German French English American.) woman became Danica’s grandmother.  My answer was, “Danica can see their soul and knows if they are good.  She feels their contact and doesn’t care what color their hand is, only how soft their touch is.  Of course she can have any grandmother that is good to her, I don’t care what race, culture or continent they are from”.  This was when I realized how much my daughter had already taught me and how deeply she had touched me.  My heart and my soul.

Having a handicapped child is hard.  Programs to really help her achieve as great a quality of life as possible, especially if your child has a rare condition, are few or none.  If their 'condition' doesn’t fall into a nice and neat little category, you will be hard pressed to find a group offering services for anything other than the hard core medical procedures.  And don’t even get me started on getting medical insurance for her.  That is a nightmare all by itself.

The impact of a handicapped child on siblings is a very real and important aspect, yet it is never even addressed and I can’t speak for the fathers, but the mothers live with a guilt forever.  I had not done anything wrong to cause her condition that I knew of, and believe me that is a question I will never stop asking myself, but I still felt guilty like it was my fault that my child would never be able to run and play, have a teenage girls sleep over, go to the prom, have a career or a family of her own.  I felt guilty about robbing the other siblings of a normal childhood.  There just seemed to be no way to win.  No way for things to just be easy.  No way to feel like a normal family, and yet I felt blessed to have the honor of raising this beautiful, radiant, joyful little girl.  I believed and truly felt I had been specially chosen to raise a handicapped child because it was so hard not a lot of people could handle it, and I was just stubborn and selfish enough to forge the path I needed for her, for me and my other children, and not lose myself in the process.  The icing on the cake was the honor I would feel to be able to call her my daughter.

As Danica grew up I first only saw pity from people that she had difficulties, but then I started to realize the tremendous impact she had on other people.  Yes people would still feel sorry for her, that is only natural, but they also felt something that affected them on a deep down to the soul level.  It’s an invisible pure energy of unconditional, unfathomable love that people receive from her.  You don’t even realize what is happening until you feel the profound emotions stirring in your heart.
Danica has and continues to touch so many lives.  From the people she has touched some have written poems about her, one a friend of mine framed for me, others have gotten into music therapy, nursing, and social work, just from having known Danica.  She makes you happy in spite of yourself.  She has a hug, when she will give you one, that soothes your soul, and she has a lyrical laugh that makes you laugh too when you hear it.

In spite of it all, the difficulties, the medical problems, the pain she has suffered and the incomprehensibly painful headaches she still suffers, she is still a child of pure heart and can be as mischievous as the best of them.  Once I had to help the doctors hold her down while they inserted an IV.  I literally laid on top of her and shifted my body in whichever direction she was moving trying to keep her still.  She was kicking her legs so I slid down to put more weight on her legs, and as soon as I did that she raised her head up, and slammed her forehead into my eye, giving me an ugly black eye.  I immediately told her she had just clocked me in the eye, and she thought it was extremely funny.  To this day, when I remind her of when she gave me a black eye, she laughs hysterically.  And then I have to laugh all over again.

She makes me happy.  She makes everyone happy.  Through all her pain, and arduous daily struggles, she finds joy, and infects everyone she comes in contact with.  To know Danica, is to be blessed in life.  I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe we are where we are supposed to be to do what we are supposed to do.  I am so thankful I got to do with Danica all that I have done.

I am deeply grateful to be able to continue to swirl her infinite love and overpowering joy to others who need it.  Danica turned 32 years old in July this year 2013.  That’s a far cry from 12.  I believe she just isn’t done with her mission for others, and I am determined to help her in every way I can.  Of course I am very selfish and can't get enough of her beautiful face, heart and soul.
Her mission for me has ringed through to my soul.  To have such grace from my daughter, beautiful, joyous soul Danica, I am completely blessed.  No matter when Danica leaves us for higher ground, her imprint will live on in others for a very, very long time.  Just ask anyone who knows her, especially her siblings.

Today I am writing children’s and young adult stories.  It is a passion that deeply moves my soul, a soul that was shaped by the many profound events in my life.  People have always told me I need to write my life story because it's something most would have a hard time believing.  I just might do that, but I don’t think I am at that point yet.  So much more has yet to happen that I will have to include.  I am sure that if I ask Danica if I can write about her, she will laugh hysterically.... and then I will too.

To see my books:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Siren's Tale by Anne Carlisle, A Book Review

A woman's way can be blatant, subtle or anything in between.  In this book a siren and her lineage are that and more.  Following them in their trek through the years showed just how manipulative sirens can be, but the author also showed that no matter what, the human side of emotions can actually rule the roost.

In case you don't know what a siren is, it won't take long to figure it out reading this book.  This story changes the Greek mythology principle a bit, but the basic idea remains.  The beguiler beckons, and the sailor (man) responds.  There are love scenes and explicit details that romance readers will love.  The book is well written by a talented author.

I do have to say though, the story goes from past to present several times, with a lot of characters.  That has always posed a challenge for me.  I don't know what it is, but I tend to question who everyone is, how they are connected, and what impact they have on the character or the story.  So reading this was more involved than usual, but that's just my crazy reality.

The many characters in the book all play a part that impacts the lead character or her descendants, but what you think you understand about one or more of them may surprise you when you turn the page.  I thought I had Cassandra all figured out, but of course I didn't.  The same held true for some of the others as well.  That kind of writing keeps the reader engaged while they try again to figure it all out.

Anne was adept at giving the characters human emotions, but also countering that with their siren abilities and keeping you in the dark as to which would win out.  She makes you realize that we are all good at manipulating things to get what we want when we can, unless fortunately in certain settings, our conscience rules and keeps us sane, compassionate, and loving toward more than just our agendas.  Giving her characters depth and breadth kept them real and interesting.  Showing that the character getting what they wanted to happen didn't necessarily make them feel as they expected, brought you a connection to their lives.  You felt their emotions.

Some authors have a good story, but their writing needs a little work.  Anne is already a skilled writer.  I would really like to see another book with a lot more magic in it.  I think her creative mind would take us on a journey we would remember.  If you think you know what you would do if you were a siren, you might be surprised.  There is so much more to life with love and enriching relationships that were born from natural and simplistic beginnings.  This siren finds out what the difference is and hopes her family will too.  The warnings she ignored must not live on.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rising Book 1 Resistance by Laura Josephsen, A Book Review

Resistance is pertinent to freedom, and that word brings the reader to not only identify with the characters but actually live and breathe their steps, and then almost chant for more.  How precious freedom is, and how quickly, quietly and stealthily it can be taken away.
This story starts out with an innocent laid back, lacadazical feeling.  It is quite the understatement really.  I actually thought it was going to be a quaint relaxing, and moderately moving story.  I knew the characters would move you emotionally, but I didn't expect them the story to shake you up. 
Laura has woven her characters with emotions, plot twists, and suspense to drive the page turn with gale force winds.  Even if you think you know what happened or what will happen, you just might be surprised.  I think Laura took the expression 'things aren't always what they seem' to heart.  She wrapped those words around the characters like a shield, creating a puzzle that you have to put together piece by piece, page by page.  Well done.
The story centers around two people but doesn't short change the others involved.  You don't pass them by anxious to get back to what the leads are doing because each one is driving the plot in some way, making the story whole and complete.  You begin to realize that everything has a purpose, an expose, or clue to who a character is, or why or what is going on.  Sometimes you have to wonder who someone really is against what they seem to be.  It keeps you guessing and that makes it fun.
If you like to read artfully crafted stories that move you on a continuously emotional and creative path, then you will really enjoy this tale.  If you like suspense, mystery and innovative tales, then you must read this one.
Alphonse is a kind of literary geek who had no clue to anything about his father other than his academia record, and he had no desire to know more or venture outside of his own academia.  He was content and secure right where he was.  Secure is the operative word here.
When Alphonse was pushed into action out of necessity, or more like a feeling of responsibility, his world turned upside down.  He didn't have street smarts, and secure was a word he could no longer even pronounce let alone feel.  But he soon found out that things could be worse and fortunately, some things happen for a reason.  What that reason is, he would go through a venture to find out, but even when he thinks he has found the answers, reality will slap him back into a new mind twisting quest.
Get the book and live the venture with Alphonse.  I am sure as I did, you will enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Morning I Woke Up Dead by Mindy Larson, A Book Review

This story is the epitome of what if.  I found myself asking that question throughout the book as I tried to picture what happened, and how it would end.

There are two main characters in this story, and they each talk in the first person as it goes from one to the other.  It keeps you from wondering what the person is thinking and feeling and instead wondering what they will do or understand next.

I can't, and maybe you won't either, help but feel their distraught emotions and love for each other.  You want them to reconnect, and you don't really care how they do it.  Dead, alive, it makes no matter as long as they get back together.  Crazy right?  Of course if they were people I actually knew, I might not be so cavalier with their lives.  But then again, maybe I would.  That is if I felt the same emotions with them as the author made me feel with these characters.

The concept the author explored, death, is one we all think about, and probably a lot more than we want to.  It is a fact of life, but what we know of it is completely limited and inadequate to make us feel comfortable and safe to transition to that state even though we know it is our final journey.  The unknown is a haunting thing to say the very least.  So we wonder, and the what if questions saturate our thoughts.  What if it is nicer than here?  What if we would be happier?  What if our knowledge and concepts are not even close?  See what I mean?

The characters did the same thing.  One tried to figure out what was happening, and the other tried to find peace with what was.  Or rather what was believed to be reality.  But then as things happened, questioning the unknown was the only solace they had.  The only peaceful and soothing solution to bathe their minds was questioning what was real and what could be real if only they could grasp the supposed impossible with both hands and hang on.  For some reason, maybe it was how we were taught in school about science; we always seem to need physical validation to believe.  Of course it's okay in religion to have faith, but somehow everything else is off limits.  Funny right?  How shallow and mind limiting we can be.

Overall the story was entertaining, and emotionally charged.  You felt what the characters felt, and sought to find an acceptable conclusion without keeping the two apart.  As they rode the waves of the moving tide with each other, you wanted one of them to grab hold of the other, and not let go.  Either way, they needed to be together.  Read the book, and I think you will agree, one moving on without the other just wasn't acceptable.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jamie and The Angel: meeting her guardian angel by Carol Guy, A Book Review

Jamie and the Angel is a short little story of understanding.  It brings the reader into the real life situation that many children face, but with a real heartfelt answer.

Many times children see, hear, or know things that adults question, and write off as a fluke, or their imagination, or silly because they don't see, hear, or know the same things.  But the real facts are quite different, and not acknowledging the event or experience as real, even if only to the child, is not only doing them a disservice, it is cruel.  Children have real feelings, and real experiences, just like we all do.  The only difference is they usually don't have the life experiences, knowledge, or emotional maturity to handle things that are out of the norm.  So they look to others to help them.  When they don't get the help needed, they turn to other sorts of explanations and comforts to assure them that they are still okay.  They aren't from outer space; they aren't a freak.

Growing up is hard.  Many adults think children should just know things, saying that it's just common sense.  They should know better.  They shouldn't be ridiculous.  But in reality, that is part of the growing up process.  We learn what we live, and live what we learn.  Parents have to teach their children how to behave, what emotions are what, how to learn well and on the list goes.  If they don't get the feedback they need, they are afraid, tend to be more withdrawn, and feel all alone in the world.

This book explores just that; the feelings of being alone, afraid, unsure, feeling different, and sad.  In this case, the child has a gift she doesn't understand, and has no one to help her with it.  She looks for comfort from the obvious sources, but since they don't understand it either, they actually make things worse.

For this child she has a faith that she leans on in what she thinks is the last hope.  The light in the dark tunnel gives her the understanding she needs, and the comfort she yearns for.

The author not only shows how this child felt and how she was able to resolve it despite the lack of family and friends support, she also gives help to the parents that may have a gifted child.  The guidelines at the end of the book give any parent helpful information to guide their child through the rough patches so they don't have to feel insecure, sad, different, or alone.

It's a wonderful book.  Children and parents with special gifts they don't understand, and even those without special gifts should read this.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Aberrant by Ruth Silver, A Book Review

Innocence and hope abound in this story.  You find yourself rooting for the characters as they flounder through a reality they had never conceived of.  It is interesting, entertaining, and touching.

Olivia is a young woman thrust into an adult role without any preparation.  At least not prepared for anything beyond what she was supposed to understand and live as reality.  What she believed and had ingrained in her to be reality; however, was abruptly interrupted, and forever changed.  The new reality was haunting, shocking, and so very disturbing.  It rocked them to the cores of their souls and exposed their raw undeveloped foundations.

Joshua is Olivia's mate.  Soul mate, love, best friend, protector, and everything else she needed.  They became for each other what they not only felt for each other, but also what they needed and had to be to survive.  Neither one had been prepared for the drastic earth-shattering changes thrust upon them.  But they put on a brave face, took a step forward, and braved the storm.

Even though with every relationship there are doubts and missteps, you feel like fidgeting as they dance around their relationship with all the new vulnerable and cautiously rendered feelings.  It warrants memories of first loves, first kiss, first trials and first commitments that left you scared and feeling exposed and wonderful at the same time.  With each breath and beat of their hearts you want them to prevail. 

The journey of their lives is unexpected, and keeps you guessing, wondering, and anxious for their survival, not just physically, but also emotionally.  You want to see a win.  You want them to win.  The characters become adored and the connection strong as you root for them; no one else, just them.  Ruth kept them front and center letting you feel their every emotion, as well as fight their every battle.

This story gives you the full range of color from dark to bright and everything in between.  There are no dull spots, or trivial spots as each step builds to another.  The only thing you are left wondering about is what will happen next.  Even at the end, you want to go the distance and see what the next step is.  You feel like you have just lived a different life, these are your friends, and now you miss them.

Yes, I did enjoy this story, and really want to read the next one.  Ruth told it with flare, but firm direction and description without anything bogging it down.  She kept the pace even so you didn't feel a lag or want to skip ahead, realizing the sequence had to be, for it was a tale of two people and a very different world.
Buy it here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

House of Shadows by Walter Spence, A Book Review

A creative, detailed, and surprising story.  I haven't read vampire stories since I read a few by Anne Rice, but this one was really very interesting, and I'm glad I took a chance.

Vampires are a bloody sort, literally.  I don't like to read about the blood, the killing for it or any of that vampire stuff, at all.  I always feel sorry for the one who is changed, or killed, and never understood why anyone would want to be a vampire.  Silly, I'm sure, but just one of my aversions.  So when a book comes along about vampires, it has to have a story line that is captivating enough for me to skirt over the blood issue.  This story was just that.  I remember one part was so surprising, I reacted out loud.  I love it when the author can create a web so unexpected you have absolutely no choice but to react.  That is a good book.  From a good author.

The ending leaves you wanting more.  Not more vampire blood stuff for me, but more information on the characters, the story line, what's going on and what will happen next.  Don't get me wrong, the story gave you answers for now, but you realize there is more to the big picture.  And even though you wonder about it, you just know that the author will surprise you again.  This is not a book that you feel you know what the outcome will be.  At least it wasn't for me, and that is a good thing.  There has been many a book where I knew very early on what was going to happen and how it was going to end.

There obviously will be one or more sequels to this book and fortunately there is no way you can imagine what will happen in book two before it gets here.  Interestingly, the details Walter weaves into the story made me wonder if it was all created, or researched somewhat on what was written about certain things or a mixture of both.  Wondering about things like that mean you are caught up in the story.  When that happens, you know the story was well done.

Walter Spence will not bore you, irritate you, or even placate you, but he will captivate you with a spin and tale you won't see coming, taking you down a path you can't wait to tread, with a book you're glad you picked up.  Here's an author that can grab your attention and keep it well past the end of the book as you wait for the next one to be released.  He says he has a thousand stories running through his head.  I'm glad to hear it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reapers With Issues by H. E. Ellis, A Book Review

Pestilence, famine, war, oh my.  Creativity, shock, and a questioning what, all rolled into one story.
To say this was a surprise read from her other series, would be an understatement.  I have to admit, at first I couldn't wrap my head around it as I first felt shock for the, shall I say audacity, of an author to write some of these things that fly in the face of the religious minded.  But if you let the chains on your mind go, you begin to sense the limitlessness of one's abilities to grasp the different angles your mind can create from a linear line.  In other words, black and white can be any sound or color you want, and this story gives you a taste of just that.  I would even say it elicited a decadent feel at first.  That is until I got free of the chains and started to understand and feel the story with an unadulterated one path mind.

What is great about this story is that there was a morality to it, and characters that still had depth you could feel.  Some, of course, took a while to feel anything for due to the nature of the character in your mind before you even began to get into the story, but that's what makes it intriguing; intimidating even as you wonder as an author if you could have created such a piece.
Many authors like to keep their characters in a positive light by giving them few if any flaws thus hoping to draw the reader into their veneration.  But being in a real world, sometimes the flaws, making them feel on the same level as the reader, give the character just the endearment needed to make them your hero, your best friend.  What H.E. Ellis makes you feel for these characters, I believe, will actually surprise you.  It sure astonished me.  It's a talent that some authors just innately have.  I believe Ellis is one of them.

This story revolved around the four horsemen, God, Jesus and Lucifer.  To say it is unlike anything I have read on these subjects would be a most articulate summation.  But, the interesting, intriguing, and yet moral story that ensued was a journey of pure artistic enthrall that ripped the seam of complacency and tiresome wide open.  It brought the reader to a sense of "win" with the near ending scenes and yet left you wondering what was next.
This book is not for the faint of heart.  It has strong language, vivid scenes of a dark nature, an abnormal view of religious characters and explicit sexual indications.  If you can get past those things and not letting any stalwart view of religion you may have feel disrupted, then you may enjoy the story for what it is... a skewed take on what really happened with the characters noted above.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aire by Lena Goldfinch, A Book Review

A fantasy written so you can see it like you're actually there.  It's a story that's entertaining and surprising which you'll certainly enjoy.

Even fantasies, with their creative, innovative and novel stories can become predictable.  So reading one that has interesting or surprising details makes the read really fun.

This story involved a princess that had a rare gift, but needed life to show her the true value of it.  Being protected and sheltered from the real world, she was ill equipped to handle being outside of the palace walls.  But being a stubborn and fiercely loyal and giving person she drew others loyal to her, which gave her the help she needed to fulfill her steps to destiny.

As is true in real life, destiny cannot be manipulated, it just is.  We may have choices, but what is supposed to happen, will.  For princess Annalisia, her destiny unfolded in a way she had never imagined.  Those things only happened in the fairy tales she was told as a child, maybe somewhere in real life but most certainly not in her life; at least nothing other than her special gift.  So how she handled these events was pretty true to how you would expect her to, which gave her the pinch test of being real.  It created the marker for becoming her friend, feeling her emotions, and enjoying her company.

You know the saying, rules are made to be broken, well in Annalisia's case, rules were not to be made in the first place.  That's only because to bind her with rules would be to smother her flame, and without her bright and beautiful spirit, the life of this story would be gray indeed.  She had an energy and wonderful outlook that kept you entertained, amused, and happy.  She is a fun character to follow.

The supporting characters were also with their own personalities that stood out from Annalisia's but at the same time, enhanced her.  Every one of them.

Even though as a princess she was not allowed certain freedoms with other stations in the social hierarchy, the very existence of it ensured her attention, both good and disruptive.  She just could not be bound, by anything.  That very simple word was an assurance of something happening.  It absolutely had to.  It was her destiny.  That attention included her fate.  Her heart screamed for what she couldn't have, while her mind strove to stay calm and centered as the princess she was taught to be.
If you like romances, and fantasy, then you will certainly enjoy this book.  And trust me, you will look to read Lena's other books too.