Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Keeper's Curse by Diana Harrison, A Book Review

A fantasy that proves anything can happen, especially when you least expect it.  It's a story that's entertaining and surprising which you'll certainly enjoy.

Emmy was a typical normal teenager finding her way in life; at least she thought so.  So when things happened to her that wouldn't happen to others, she really couldn't grasp what was going on, nor did she care to.  Being out of the normal in the reality she knew was just her imagination.  Well, that's what she wanted to believe, until she couldn't.

This story supported and belied the belief that parents do what they think is best for their children to protect and help them.  Sometimes it's some of that and sometimes it's more of what the parents want.  Emmy had to find out and deal with exactly where her mother's point of view was.

Every teenager is still developing into an adult mentally, emotionally and physically.  Testing relationships with friends and parents, learning new feelings, and determining who there are is a daunting task.  In Emmy's case she had all that but now it was also in a new reality from what she had known all her life.  Dealing with those emotions was a roller coaster.

Diana's portrayal of Emmy went on a journey from one emotion to another as would be the norm for a teenager's life.  It made her feel real and honest.  Sometimes I felt she should have lingered a little more on her emotions in some scenes because I they weren't strong enough for that scene, but then again that's what teenagers do.  They can go from crying to laughing in seconds, and not bat an eye about it.

The story line was quite interesting, and not what I had expected.  I love stories that do that.  The fantasy became a belief that it could happen.... somewhere.  That's because the characters were believable.  Their words, emotions, and reactions had you believing, supporting and really liking them.  Of course with every story, there is always something that the character does that you think, that was really stupid.  And that's what teenagers do.  That kept it real.

This being Diana's first novel, I now know she will be a best seller turning out great stories for many years.  Her first writing was done quite well, and of course with anyone of such talent, it will only get better and better.

I really enjoyed this book, its story and characters were memorable, and I love the book cover.  I can very well imagine the story going into another book.  Everyone should read it if they want to escape this world and have some fun.  I'll be watching for her next one.

The White Swan: Introducing Johnny Jordan by Paul Morrison, A Book Review

This is a story about a fraud psychic that solves a murder because his way of gathering information to carry out the scams, gives him the ability to discover the unanswered question of motive.

The story was interesting in some parts, but it couldn't hold my attention for very long.  Maybe it was due to the fact that it was a murder mystery again and I have read quite a few of them.  I thought that the fact that he was a fraud psychic would maybe introduce some psychic or paranormal into it, but no.  It was just a normal find the answers to who did the murder.

How he managed to do his psychic scam was not surprising, but at times a little interesting.  Unfortunately you knew early on that the very process he used was also going to be the way to his murder resolution.  What you didn't know was what clues would come to him.  That may be why I was not able to wonder and anticipate the outcome.  So you knew the suspects were very limited, you knew what the process would be, and then you also knew what the outcome would probably be.

Throughout the story, the characters were at times confusing and ran together.  I thought I had missed something, but really, it just jumped a little quicker than I had anticipated.  I mean if Paul had taken a little more time to be more descriptive and show more character emotions, then I could have understood them better, and maybe liked them.  Right now I don't know what to think about them.  When the storyline is running through your head, you want to get it out and written as fast as possible.  That's when you miss some of the most developmental information that really needs to be there.  And that's where an unbiased editor is paramount.

One other impact I felt from this book was the writing style.  Every writer writes differently, and everyone has styles they like.  This style was the short get to the point quick write that you can scan quickly.  I like the much more descriptive reads like you would see a movie as you're reading style that you can't scan quickly or you will miss some key points.  But that's just me.

This is Paul's first book.  I believe he too will grow in this style, we already know he can create and write a story.  I would like to see his second book.  I believe his characters will be more entertaining with more moving emotions.  Overall this was a fun read, and creative story.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan, A Book Review

A fantasy that keeps you reading, wondering and entertained.  So much can be developed with fiction, but without characters you enjoy, the story never blossoms.  Aoife keeps you entertained, and involved.  It's a good read and you'll want to read the sequels to find out what else happens.
Writing a fantasy fiction can be so much fun, but still making it believable is a little bit harder than many think.  You have to work hard on development of the characters to be sure that the reader understands, believes and can emotionally attach to what is happening to them.  Aoife does work on that, but should have gone a little further to make the reader cheer for their success and cry for their loss with more definitive reactions to certain things.
Keeping the reader involved in the story is all about the characters and the movement of their lives.  The theme of this book is not only interesting, it's entertaining, and believable, at least as much as fantasy can be.  The story keeps moving, and it definitely creates pictures in your mind.  I really do want to read the next book and see what happens.  For her first book, I think it was done quite well, and subsequent ones should be even better.
What the main character learns would be shocking to most people, but she doesn't seem to react too much to it, which dampens your reaction.  This leaves you wondering if you missed something that explained her calm reaction. 

The book moves from one world to another, and one character's story to another, so sometimes you really start to feel like you are in the story understanding each person.  But yet still trying to figure out the why of what happens keeps you reading.
Aoife did a good job of tying everything together though, allowing you to see the whole picture and yet from different views of the characters.  Each character definitely had their personalities and you certainly knew what you liked and didn't like.  So when some reactions missed the mark, you create your own idea of why and what happened to make them so.  That's okay unless later in the story or sequel what happens changes everything you created.  Then your whole ideas may leave you less than happy with the character and the story, hence the quest of defining the character and all their reactions in a full spectrum of disposition.

A huge plus is Aoife creates likable, even lovable characters that still have some flaws like a normal person.  On the opposite side she creates some that you dislike, but still have something about them that makes you want them to see them come around to the good side.
All in all this was a great story, good characters, and a writing well done.  I think everyone would enjoy this book and be anxious to read the sequels.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Gods of Asphalt Sawyer by H. E. Ellis, A Book Review

This is a story that touches your heart and captures your soul.  You enjoy sharing the time with Sawyer, his family and friends feeling like you belong.  You understand them, you could be one of the family, and really enjoy their company.
Oh to be sought after by a guy like Sawyer.  You just have to love him.  Yeah, he does some stupid things, but then who doesn't.  And actually, considering the road his life has gone down, it doesn't really surprise you, but it sure gives you an emotional reaction.  H.E. Ellis does a great job of developing her characters and as the story unfolds, so do the personalities that you end up absolutely loving.  So much so that I really can't wait to read Book 2, River, to hear more about him and of course Sawyer and the others.  Sawyer is my hero now.
While you are trying to figure out what makes each of the characters tick, you have to marvel and how the author weaves the story to reveal each person in their own light, but also how the interaction affects them.  Well, at least you think you have it figured out, or what the reasons might be, but then sometimes you didn't get it quite right, and the story brings you to another place and emotion, that you just didn't see coming.

Sometimes in a story, as you become involved with the characters, you want things to end a certain way, or things to happen in a certain way.  H.E. Ellis is really good at creating the emotions that actually force you to become involved.  It brings you to the party, and you just can't leave.  No reader really has any other choice.  You feel the joy, fear, pain, love; you name it, all the way through the book.  And sometimes the clock stops ticking as you relate something to yourself, which gives you an even keener insight to the characters and the story.

I must admit, I didn't think I would be so entertained.  I really enjoyed the story from start to finish, and cheered for the characters with their trials and tribulations as if they had been known personally to me for years.  The best part is, each character had its part, but of course the main character being Sawyer, you felt complete understanding and an almost finish with him.  I say almost because he is interesting and fun, so you want more.  I don't think you could ever get tired or bored with him.  But the other characters she left you wondering and wanting more information to explain their souls.  It makes you wantanxious to read the rest of the series.  H.E. Ellis better write fast, I think the fans will grow restless otherwise.  Very, very well done H.E. Ellis.

The Calling: My Journey with the Angels by Kim O'Neill, A Book Review

This is an autobiography of an extraordinary gift Kim was given.  She had a choice to ignore it, or use it to help others.  To ignore it would be easy, somewhat, to use it would entail life changes and hard work.  Through it all, Kim was thankful.  Even when it all made her mad.

Kim doesn't hold anything back.  She's honest, forthright, funny and maybe a little crazy, in a very good way.  She likes to do things her way, even when time after time she is told different.  It makes you laugh and think, really crazy girl?  And that makes her loveable and one of us.  She is just a wonderfully normal person with an extraordinary gift.

A gift like Kim's is not something most people can understand or imagine.  We all hear voices in our head, ours, but to hear another's and see them too?  I should be so lucky.  I can't think of a more interesting and fun job in the world, besides writing fiction that is.

This book tells about Kim's journey from child to adult with a gift that she didn't understand, relate to, or even realize she had until she was older.  Brought up as we are, that you have to prove science to say that it's real, makes for many skeptics in this field.  Sad for them, putting limits on reality and the unknown.  If you can think outside of our infantile knowledge of the universe and all it contains, then you will enjoy this book, and want to get her others to learn more.  You feel like you have shared a coffee with her many times.

Written from her heart, telling the truth no matter what, Kim tells a compelling story that makes you smile, laugh and think.  You wonder what you could do with the information she lays out at our feet.  She works to help others, and shows us just how much we have yet to learn.  Would we do the same?  Could we?  She talks about her experiences with her angels, and gives you the opportunity to learn how you can do what she does too.  It truly is amazing and exciting and enlightening to say the least.

You learn who Kim is.  Not selfish, but humble, not brazen, but compassionate.  She is just like the rest of us, sometimes shy, sometimes sad, sometimes afraid, and even though she has this unbelievable gift, she never has an ego.  She gives out as much if not more than she gets, and is always grateful for it.  Yes, grateful.  I was quite entertained and charmed by all that she has done, and wondering about all she will do.  When I read what I feel someone has written from their heart, I feel like a kindred spirit. 

 This book is for anyone who loves true stories, and wants to learn a reality that isn't yet taught from little on.  Hopefully, with people like Kim, that will come to pass.  Thanks so much for sharing Kim, we are most grateful.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Thing I See by Vi Keeland, A Book Review

Romance is like a breath of fresh air and this story is no exception.  Vi Keeland found a way to weave the chemistry into the life of both characters with her can't stop reading technique.  It's a very enjoyable read with realistic and heart thumping writing style.

A romance novel that shows you love is always the happiness dose we all continuously seek whether it's in our current situation, or one we hope for in the future.  It's an empowerment, hope, and riding on the crest of the wave story that leaves you feeling good, and determined to now make your own dreams come true.

Hope the main character, aptly named I must say, had decided to reinvent herself.  She moved across the country, changed her wardrobe, and followed a little in her friends footsteps to be who she thought she should be.  After landing a new job, the one she had coveted, she met who she thought was 'the one'.  He was handsome all over, charming, and the chemistry was immediate just upon seeing him, let alone what she felt when he brushed just her hand.

As with any relationship, Hope and Kennedy went through the machinations of learning about one another, trusting each other, and finding out what their inner most thoughts are.  Their process is not only entertaining, but fanciful and enveloping.  You could feel the chemistry and emotions with each word she wrote.  Her descriptive writing drew you into the scenes with such clarity and emotion, that you had to keep reading.  You knew, from an outsider, what mistakes she was making and just had to keep reading to know that she eventually got it right.

Kennedy, even though it was written with Hope as the first person, still gave you enough insight into his world to understand him and root for him and Hope's future.  What makes him become who he is, and what is going to make him be what they both need in the future is a process you watch develop throughout the storyline.  It isn't held in secret with you wondering until the end, which makes you get attached to this character as much as you do Hope.

What Hope discovers is, her past influenced her development; it didn't change the core of who she was.  When she changed her wardrobe and moved across the country, she was really just giving herself permission to be who she always has been.  It took Kennedy to show her the truth, even though her best friend had been telling her that for years.  She realized that if Kennedy could see that, having only known her for a short time, then it must be true.  Sometimes it takes a window instead of a mirror to see what has been right in front of us all along.

It's a fun story and romantic as ever.  Get the book, you will definitely enjoy it and enthusiastically look for Vi's next one.

Pie, An Old Brown Horse by Kandy Kay Scarmuzzo, A Book Review

Writing a story in the first person is not uncommon, but when that first person is a horse, well, I really wasn't expecting it to actually be entertaining to say the least.  Thankfully since I have such a huge admiration and respect for horses, I decided to give it a read.  What a pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable story this is.

The title is a little misleading.  Pie may be an old brown horse now, but he was nothing of the sort during the story.  Kandy brought that personable horse to life like he was almost one of us.  As we all know, animals have feelings, thoughts and ways to communicate just like we do.  Even though some, and maybe a lot of people, don't think about this in a very in depth way, Kandy proves that to be our oversight and sadly our loss.  Because as you read the story, the thoughts, and emotions of how Kandy presented these majestic animals is nothing short of enthralling, entertaining, and enlightening.

Sometimes you just had to laugh out loud, as Pie literally thought like an animal would at our crazy antics, and his simplistic and natural understanding of how life just is.  We make it complicated, and they bring it back to basics and fun.

Reading about Pie and his story made you really wish you could have gotten to know him, even enjoyed some of the same events with him.  To have known and spent time with him would have been a cherished privilege.  Knowing the owners of Pie could teach all of us the meaning of unconditional love.

As you learn from this book, taking care of a horse or more, is not for the faint of heart.  It is work, money, time, and emotion, but the rewards are so much greater than what is given, that the comparison is actually impossible.  For those who do it and have done it, like the owners of Pie, they wouldn't trade it for the world.

Pie calls the owner, keeper.  His love, thankfulness, appreciation and admiration of keeper is obvious, and just as obvious is, it's well deserved.  I am sure the keeper is the author, and I am sure you will see, as I did, that the spirit of the keeper is nothing short of incredible.  It is apparent that unconditional love is as central to her core as the automatic beating of her heart.  People like this should be respected and emulated.  Pie knew this and showed her and his charge, little one just how much love he had to give back. 

This story should be read by everyone, and really should be a required reading in schools everywhere.  It is not only enjoyable and entertaining; it is educational in more ways than you can imagine.  Thanks for the privilege of reading and writing a review of your book Kandy.  It was a great pleasure.