Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Songs of the Deliverer III: Glory Born

Songs of the Deliverer III: Glory Born Songs of the Deliverer III: Glory Born by Elvo Bucci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Glory Born tells the story of a grieving old man and an orphan girl who are called to witness the birth of a miracle child. As they strive to fulfill their mission they are confronted by evil and tyranny. Success means salvation but if they fail, the world may be lost forever." -Elvo Bucci

Elvo Bucci's Songs of the Deliverer III: Glory Born is labelled children's and religious. The author states that this book is "written to help our children and teens experience faith and understand what love is". Based on my experience as an elementary school librarian, most kids below the fourth grade aren't going to grasp the meaning of this book. Bucci goes about his quest to show the true meaning of love through a work of fiction in Glory Born, the third in the Songs of the Deliverer series.

As an agnostic reader I tried to focus on the moral lessons rather than religious ones here. Christmas is upon us and whatever you believe in terms of the origins of the holiday, I think most of us can agree that this world could use more love and compassion. If we as a society could find it within ourselves to put more emphasis on people and not things, December 25 would become a celebration of love and life rather than gift count and excess.

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Review: The Golden Scepter

The Golden Scepter The Golden Scepter by Alex Zabala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Golden Scepter is the second in the Chauncy Rollock series by Alex Zabala and Deyego Alehandro. Treasure of the Mayan King came before this and I have not read that. I tried to get the jist via summaries and reviews and I'll admit that Mayan King sounded as if it was better but overall the reviews were worse. For me, The Golden Scepter was okay, bordering on good. Perhaps I wasn't invested enough in Chauncy having not read the first book, but he felt like a cliche to me. Keep in mind I rolled my eyes through every Indiana Jones movie I ever watched, which wasn't even all of them, so it could be simply that this action/adventure/mythology genre is never going to land on my Best Reads list.

My lack of interest in no way is the fault of these authors. In fact the writing was very good. The proofreader in me appreciated the lack of grammatical and typographical errors. I enjoyed the flow of dialogue between characters, that can be harder to accomplish than you might think. I wouldn't deliberately steer anyone away from this book. I know many people who would love it so I think that speaks positively about The Golden Scepter.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Escape From Injustice: Wrongly accused of murder in 1850s England, a young man escapes and meets his love on a ship under sail for Australia at the time of the great gold rush.

Escape From Injustice: Wrongly accused of murder in 1850s England, a young man escapes and meets his love on a ship under sail for Australia at the time of the great gold rush. Escape From Injustice: Wrongly accused of murder in 1850s England, a young man escapes and meets his love on a ship under sail for Australia at the time of the great gold rush. by Warne Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warne Wilson's Escape From Injustice weighs in at a hefty 455 pages and it's not only the page count that packs the punch. This tale of woe and wonder isn't a lighthearted summer read.

"Wrongly accused of murder in 1850s England, a young man escapes and meets his love on a ship under sail for Australia at the time of the great gold rush."

John Lille is a character who becomes essentially a whipping boy of life. From a privileged upbringing comes a boy approaching manhood with next to no idea what that actually entails. Well, life said, "Let me show you, John", and proceeds to deal him blow after blow after devastating blow until his life scarcely resembles what he once knew. As the blurb indicates, John Lille is wrongly accused and convicted of murder and faces the death penalty. He wisely decides to abscond and sets forth on a journey filled with unimaginable heartache, bouts of sickness and health, and financial affluence and pauperism. Will John experience a finale celebrated by tears of joy or pain?

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Intro to Sorcerers' Dynasty: "The new age of darkness was about to fall. It was the epoch of nightmares, demons, and hateful spirits, hatched out from the foul womb of mankind's subconscious."

Dark, right? Alternate histories tend to go that route and author Stephen Perkins provides no break from the norm. I want to say very little about the plot because discovering every little thing in this flipped inside out fantasy gave me the optimum reading experience.

To every positive there is a negative, or so they say. The negatives in Sorcerers' Dynasty, for me, came with wildly changing personality traits and actions of numerous characters. Some of the inconsistencies came within one scene and my beta reading spidey senses were trembling. I said earlier that learning everything about this world and the story was enjoyable, and it was. However, it was a LOT. By a lot, I mean perhaps too much for one book. There is so much more that could be expounded upon to the extend of enough content for several books.

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Review: Invasion

Invasion Invasion by Roxanne Bland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you find a book that can combine the vampire, werewolf, and alien genres in a way in which the reader's eyes don't become exhausted from near constant rolling towards the back of the head, bravo! Roxanne Bland seems to have cracked that elusive code with Invasion. If you - like me - read the summary and thought, "oh good lord, this can't go right", think again.

Suspend your sense of reality and feasibility for 300+ pages and fall into the world of the angst ridden Kurt (Vampire Master of Seattle), the tortured love story of Parker (Alpha werewolf) and Melera (intergalactic assassin), and the resourceful Garrett Larkin (super witch of the Balthus Coven) as they band together against the evil scheming of Mag Beloc and impending alien invasion of Earth. The story is dark and gritty, full of astonishingly well developed characters on a quest you probably never imagine. A for originality in Invasion, Bland!

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Review: Health And Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life: Create a healthy lifestyle from beginner to winner with mind-set, diet and exercise habits

Health And Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life: Create a healthy lifestyle from beginner to winner with mind-set, diet and exercise habits Health And Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life: Create a healthy lifestyle from beginner to winner with mind-set, diet and exercise habits by James Atkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gym rats and couch potatoes alike can learn something from James Atkinson's yearlong help guide, Health and Fitness Tips. Because this a routine that is spread over a significant amount of time, having this in paper format might be helpful. The author is a certified fitness coach, long distance runner, and bodybuilder. I find that adequate experience to offer advice for adopting a healthy lifestyle.

This self-help book stands out to me for not being gimmicky. There are no restrictive food plans pushed, no supplements for purchase, and no more material needed than this one book and a desire to change your life. The style the information is given in is one of real life. Simple, quick adjustments to current eating habits, customizable exercise additions, and common sense nixing of negative influences in the way you approach your health in general. Health and Fitness Tips is a no-nonsense manual for living the healthiest life you possibly can, regardless of your current position on the health spectrum.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: Three Days in September

Three Days in September Three Days in September by Luna Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Luna Miller is the author of the novella, Three Days in September. Gabriel is a painter who seems to have lost his will to paint. To get back on track he loads up his car and drives to an isolated cabin to hunker down until he gets his groove back. Enter several locals that Gabriel interacts with and the stage is set for a long weekend with an uncertain outcome.

There are seven 'main characters' and so many in a novella is a bit much to keep up with easily. That restrictive length also denies the time to fully develop these characters. Instead, the author is forced to tell the reader their personalities rather than the more fulfilling option of letting each character reveal themselves. This story could be so much better with some more length, character development, a more streamlined plot structure, and a good editor/proofreader.

It is worth noting that there are several incredibly vivid sex scenes in this story, including rape. I think triggers like that should be announced so that people who cannot handle it don't get blindsided.

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Review: 7DS:Rip

7DS:Rip 7DS:Rip by Vichey Pueblo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

7DS:Rip is the first of the Seven Deadly Sins series authored by Vichey Pueblo. The premise is that demons have ravaged Earth and seven warriors, led by Rip, have joined forces to save the world. Each warrior must overcome his sins to earn a place in Heaven. Rip's sin is Pride. Sprinkle in some beautiful women and Rip has his work cut out for him.

This take on the seven deadly sins personifies each one, book by book. We've all seen movies and read books about them but this author went a completely unique direction with it. If action gets you into a book, this has that. If romance floats your boat, this has that. If you like a little raunchiness in your love scenes, this has that. Fully developed characters throughout? Well written dialogue? A Kindle book that has been through the hands of a decent proofreader? Check, check, check.

My only issue was that some of the book seemed very adult themed and some was juvenile, as though perhaps it had been first written for one audience and then changed to suit another. Still, a good story with more to come.

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Review: Inherit The Whirlwind: The Final Showdown Between Science And Religion

Inherit The Whirlwind: The Final Showdown Between Science And Religion Inherit The Whirlwind: The Final Showdown Between Science And Religion by D. R. Pope
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Religion versus science. Talk about a subject I refuse to debate with anyone save a very select few... D.R. Pope brings us Inherit the Whirlwind, a novel containing subject matter sure to turn even the most congenial dinner guests into UFC contenders. At least no one would say the dinner party was boring, right?

The opening of this novel is a first person account concluding with a character eaten by a shark. After this the story is told through blog posts where we are introduced to Professor Joe Colliver, a scientist working on delaying death and even resurrecting the dead by the use of clones. This, unsurprisingly, angers and terrifies the religious folks. What follows is a legal battle for the Professor to continue his work closely watched and reported to us via blog posts.

I think this novel has potential. The telling of the story through the blog, the hefty topic at the center of the story, and the talent of this author should have come together making this book fantastic. Somehow the characters felt flat, neither religion nor science was given its due diligence, and many of the legal aspects were simply unbelievable and silly. I don't have adequate words for the ending, it was so much less than it could have been.

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Review: Cathy's World

Cathy's World Cathy's World by M.A.R. Unger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cathy's World is one of the Matti James mystery series written by M.A.R. Unger. This installment is number five in the series but I wasn't confused at all so the sequence doesn't seem to matter greatly for the story to make sense. Matti James is a forensic facial reconstruction expert living in Las Vegas next door to aging actress, Cathy Britton. Cathy has a flair for the dramatic, whether that be a by product of her profession or signs that someone is out to get her remains to be seen. Matti finds herself embroiled in Cathy's drama and the twists and turns in this book will leave you spinning yet grinning.

Unger's writing is obviously bolstered by much research. Getting the nuances right is paramount in crime fiction and Unger is a master. Her dialogue is a treat to read due to the humor among countless other things she wrote just right. There are plenty of viable suspects without the feeling of being slapped in the face by red herrings the whole time. The just thick enough plot flows perfectly to a conclusion you probably didn't see coming.

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Review: Ketogenic Slow Cooker Recipes: Easy & Delicious Cooking for the Keto Diet

Ketogenic Slow Cooker Recipes: Easy & Delicious Cooking for the Keto Diet Ketogenic Slow Cooker Recipes: Easy & Delicious Cooking for the Keto Diet by Charlotte Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ketogenic. That's a word I have grown to loathe nearly as much as I love bread and pasta. Also, I'm not the woman who reads cookbooks for fun. Although perhaps I should because I can cook all of about five things total. So do you understand my dilemma with this cookbook?

All that said, Charlotte Baker had me at slow cooker. If you're going to commit to this type of diet, there's no reason not to make the meal prep as easy as possible and it really doesn't get easier than using a slow cooker. You do, however, have to plan ahead.

This cookbook is full of recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert. The majority of the ingredients are readily available and common which is not always the case with these diet specific recipes. Baker gives the calorie count for each meal as well as carbohydrate and protein amounts. Directions are easy to follow and simple. Overall, this is a must have for those embarking on the keto lifestyle.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Intrinsic

Intrinsic Intrinsic by Jerry Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"In a world where nothing is as it seems comes a woman with the power to possess the souls and wills of men, to do with as she pleases. Jatara thirsts for world domination, moved by an unrelenting drive to capture and control the minds of her subjects."

This intro sets up one heck of a backdrop for the story to be told. Intrinsic, written by Jerry Collins, is the first part of an upcoming fantasy series with a ton of potential. There is a lot going on here. Sorcery, magic, and demons surround these characters who unfortunately feel under inflated despite the sense that so much more is going on with them. Perhaps more characterization and fleshing out will happen in later books but I think the story would benefit from those being explored in this one. It's hard to get behind the desires of these characters when you don't understand their true motivation.The story moves very quickly which is something I tend to enjoy however, I can see where some readers might feel rushed through the story.

Intrinsic is a story on the cusp of being epic and it's worth the read if you accept that you might have to visualize the missing parts.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Matriarch Matrix

The Matriarch Matrix The Matriarch Matrix by Maxime Trencavel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reviews for The Matriarch Matrix are widely varied. So much so that it was difficult to even nail down what the plot of the book was to be. The opening scene didn't do much to clear things up but what it did manage to do was capture my interest. Throughout the book the reader is transported through time in all manner of nonlinear terms.

Trencavel develops many multifaceted characters for her readers to love and hate. One complaint I have concerning characters is that the women are written to be strong and then all but curtsey and cry their way through the book. Also many of the characters possessed grandiose assets such as beauty, sheer body mass, intellect, and inner turmoil beyond the point I could take seriously. One or two characters being written that way would have been fine but even Hollywood movies have average characters balancing out the odds.

Something I think people should realize about this book is that if rape is a trigger subject for you, choose another book. I'm not one of those people and still I found this a bit much.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: Pianos and Penance

Pianos and Penance Pianos and Penance by Dan Groat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dan Groat is back with Gifford Ulrich. Giff is the new Jack Reacher according to many. I, myself, never read the Jack Reacher series so I couldn't say one way or the other. What I can say is that I love me some Giff Ulrich. Just as in Monarchs and Mendicants, someone in Giff's circle is dead, more are being threatened and Giff Ulrich doesn't simply sit around waiting for someone to take care of it. This time he teams up with a computer whiz, a retired police detective, and a buddy from work to reveal the devastating truth that a serial killer is preying on women in the area. Of course he is told by the police working the case to leave the detective work to them but Giff wouldn't dare leave such an important job to the half-wits he sees the police as.

Again, Dan Groat weaves an meticulous tale of murder filled with characters you can't help but love and look forward to seeing in future books.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Blood and Roses

Blood and Roses Blood and Roses by Jordan Petrarca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blood and Roses is like The Godfather meets Game of Thrones and it's fantastic! Petrarca opens with a gritty letter from the narrator giving a brief and crass synopsis of Exodus, the seven "Blessed" families who wield all the power, and the mysterious magic known as Relics that are the key to maintaining that power. In the beginning of the book, the patriarch of the Rose family is targeted by his enemies, the aftermath of which demands that the youngest son, Ric, return home and get his life together for his family. From there it is non-stop action, perfectly placed humor, and a ride you don't want to get off of.

The language, especially regarding sex, is particularly vulgar so for those who don't like the F word might find themselves overwhelmed. I am not one of those people and I thought the language made the whole story more believable. These are gangsters so I would have an issue with gangsters who speak like altar boys.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: THE LOVING DAD'S HANDBOOK: Raise Them Like Your Life Depends On It

THE LOVING DAD'S HANDBOOK: Raise Them Like Your Life Depends On It THE LOVING DAD'S HANDBOOK: Raise Them Like Your Life Depends On It by George Zelina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Loving Dad's Handbook is a book any father, the young dad to be to the seasoned father of a teenager, could benefit from. Zelina's writing style is informal yet still packs a punch with straightforward, sincere advice.

The tagline, so to speak, is Raise them like your life depends on it. That theme is alive throughout the book by emphasizing how being a good father not only benefits the child but also dad. Mastering fatherhood isn't the goal here because the best thing a superb father can do is change and grow with their child. The sense of always learning is imperative to success.

For those of us who need to see something in action to really grasp it, Zalina has included links to videos that highlight the topic is any given part of the book. Linking to a video of Ryan Reynolds attempting to assemble an Ikea crib tells you all you need to know about this book. Simply put, The Loving Dad's Handbook is perfect for those who don't take themselves too seriously to be taught a thing or ten.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As you can probably guess, The Law of Attraction and Gratitude is a self help book based on the idea that if we are grateful for what we have rather than focusing on what we don't have we will be happier. If we are happier, it seems logical to say that we will be more positive and that positivity put out into the world can and will attract more positivity to our lives. With that positivity comes, you guessed it, more to be happy about therefore restarting the cycle.

The author, Avinash Singh, states that the first step in this process is to take stock of one's self by way of a five minute exercise consisting of staring one's self down in the mirror.I suppose it is a logical first step and the rest of the book flows along in rather the same matter of fact manner. There are case studies explored of actual people and their experiences related to the ideas presented in the book. Overall this is a plain language guide to not being a cry baby and taking responsibility for the state of your life now and in the future.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: One Noble Truth

One Noble Truth One Noble Truth by Clay Lomakayu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clay Lomakayu's One Noble Truth brings forth the idea that the key to finding personal peace is to connect with the true center of one's self. The philosophy that anyone can find their true, eternal happiness and freedom within themselves isn't a new concept but this plain language guide to the lifestyle is actually refreshing and inspiring. Descriptions throughout the book are detailed and engrossing, drawing the reader slowly but deeply in. Before you know it, you are actually feeling more calm and somehow the writing style accomplishes this.

I really fell into the book and it's teachings when talk of Circles came about. Whether it be physical or metaphysical, the subject was so simple yet so all encompassing. I particularly enjoyed the stories of native tribes and the idea that man is intrinsically linked to the Earth. The concepts of good, evil, darkness, love, fear, and trust are explored and the multitude of ways they all influence each of us is fascinating. This is a self help book with heart.

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