Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shieldwolf Dawning

From the Publisher: For 13-year-old Samarra, life behind the sheltering walls of the planet Gaia is stifling. But when she convinces her brother, Cassian, to run away to another world, everything they know is turned upside-down. Forced to join the Shieldwolves, an order of shamans, brother and sister find themselves in the middle of an escalating war between two magic factions.

My Review: My first impression of this was “Oh, dear…another sci/fi, fantasy novel for tweens/teens.” While it’s not my taste in genre, as I started reading the book, I started really getting into it. I actually found myself enjoying it! And no, I’m not a tween/teenager anymore. But I like to think of myself as a kid at heart ;)

We are given a story of a girl named Samarra. She is basically a slave to a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Sairfang, who rescued her and her younger brother, Cassian from a car accident in which they were told killed their parents. However, Mr. and Mrs. Sairfang had a hidden agenda. They knew Cassian was special and had a purpose. They wanted to get the secrets he held, so whenever he was home from boarding school, Mr. Sairfang would take Cassian away for a few days to try and extract what information he could. Samarra knew they were up to no good, but there was nothing she could do. She was basically treated as a nobody, while Cassian was the favorite and seen as the son they never had.

Samarra loves her brother and hates to see him in pain when he comes back from those “trips.” The love she has for Cassian exceeds no bounds. She definitely wants to give both of them a better life, and as the story progresses, Samarra finds a green tablet while cleaning out the attic and is curious and turns it on. What happens next changes not only her life, but Cassian’s life forever. After a little convincing, she convinces Cassian that they need to leave Gaia, the safe part of the world in which they lived.

This story reminds me a bit of a cross between Cinderella and Harry Potter. You have a young girl, orphaned, living with a couple that basically despises her, yet keeps her around simply because she’s the sister of Cassian. Shieldwolf Dawning is a novel that will take young readers on an adventure full of cool looking characters, cybot guards, war, talking dragons, and magic. It teaches about loyalty, friendship, and most of all, teaches them that the choices they make, good or bad, are ones they need to live with. And in the end, even if a choice has led them somewhere they never expected, they can be strong in that decision and learn to deal with it while going on with life. Because at some point in time, they will come to a crossroad, and will be given a tough decision. This book is a good gateway into talking about those situations with your child, and letting them know that they are strong and can handle just about anything that comes their way. But they need to take responsibility for those actions and decisions.

As I said earlier, I didn’t think I’d like this book, but it turned out to be very interesting. I do believe young readers (10+) will enjoy it very much due to all the cool things in it and how Nemorin describes what’s going on. It was very well done!

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                                                   ****4 Stars I really liked this book!

Monday, September 22, 2014

One Toke: A Survival Guide For Teens

From the Publisher: Over two million teens smoke pot, some everyday, and ONE TOKE: A Survival Guide for Teens by Marc Aronoff, MA LMHC, is the first book to address this fact in a straight-forward and useful manner. Written by a licensed mental health counselor who has worked with youth at risk for over 20 years, the book is about making smart decisions and harm reduction, offering clear, cogent counsel for teens and parents who are open to guidance about the realities of smoking pot.

Geared for teens who are either considering smoking pot or already smoking, ONE TOKE is a no-nonsense guide, covering all the subject matters associated with teen marijuana use, from peer pressure to addiction, and from pot smoking parents to politics. Written in short vignettes, ONE TOKE guides young people on how to be smart about pot use. If a young person chooses to smoke marijuana, there is a need to be skillful about it and knowing how to smoke smart is essential for maintaining safety and success both at home or school.

For parents, the book offers insight as to what actually happens with their teens and marijuana use and what a "good enough" parent looks like. For the author, who has worked with youth at risk for over 20 years, the book is meant to serve as a catalyst for further thought and discussion among peers and parents. With color illustrations by award winning graphic artist, Earl Cavanah, the book is sure help both young people and parents alike approach and ultimately deepen their understanding about a controversial yet ever-evolving subject. As John Evans, author of Marathon Dad puts it, "Marc Aronoff has started a conversation with ONE TOKE that addresses where marijuana fits, and doesn't fit, in the lives of our teenagers. In the end, this conversation is about so much more than weed."

My Review: I have to admit, this was a bit hard for me to read and review. I normally stay away from these types of books, simply because I don't want to be seen as condoning, disapproving, or making a statement one way or the other. But, I will be honest here and say that I am against drug use, no matter what. So, I really had to make myself not be judgmental when reading this book.

Now, on with what I thought! :) Having said what I did in the paragraph above, I will say that if you are a parent of a teen/young adult that does smoke marijuana, then I do recommend this book to you. Aronoff gives a practical look at what our teens face today and if they do smoke, he gives advice on not only safe ways to do it, but also makes you aware of if you are an occasional smoker or someone who completely addicted. Aronoff also debunks the myth that marijuana leads to harder drugs and points out that those who use it as a stepping stone to further their drug use, then those are the kind of individuals that have an addictive personality.

There is a lot of information in this book for both parents and teens alike and if your child (or you) smoke pot, then I recommend you get this and read it so you will be more aware of how to handle the situation.

Click here to purchase on Amazon.

**** 4 Stars

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Truth About Us

From the Publisher: Aaron and Eden’s nine-year-old son almost dies from a hit-and-run. Both parents are frantic as they fear the worst, and they attempt to do everything in their power to ensure they don't lose their only child. In the process of doing this, hidden truths are suddenly revealed like an open can of worms, and both Eden and Aaron deeply wish they could get the worms back in the can, as their marriage stands in great jeopardy with these deep revelations. Can their marriage survive this threatening ordeal?

Narrated in two voices, THE TRUTH ABOUT US is a short but gripping read about betrayal, loss, and the true concept of love and forgiveness.

My Review: Aaron has been hit with a blow that almost destroys him, and it's not that his son is lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life.

Eden made a mistake right before their marriage. She never thought it would come to light, although she knew deep down there was always that possibility. She wants to make it right. She wants to explain everything to Aaron, but he's not having any of it. She is devastated. How can she make him understand that she made a huge mistake? He won't listen to her. She has to find a way, but the path won't be an easy one. She'll do anything to put her family back together, but will it be enough?

Now that the truth is out, will Aaron and Eden be able to work it out and save their marriage, or will Aaron's pain be too much and will he walk away for good? He loves his son and will be there for him, but how can he trust his wife again after this massive lie? You'll have to get the book and find out.

Overall I liked the story. It never seemed to drag or lose my interest. It has a good story line that will grip you in the beginning and keep you intrigued until the end. And it has a real-life feel to it, not like some stories where the plot seems a bit far-fetched. As I was reading, I could see this playing out in real life. Maybe that's partly because this is something that does happen more often than most people think, but that's another post for another blog ;) But the dialogue was real, the situation was real, and it was a good book. I recommend it!

Also, I need to point out that there were quite a few grammatical and punctuation errors, so keep that in mind when reading.

Click here to purchase on Amazon!

                                                        ****4 Stars I liked this book! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Color Of Home

From the Publisher: A love story for today, an open and striking look into the private relationship of a musician and chef living in New York City.

Can two people stay connected for a lifetime and each know the complete truth about the other? When New Yorker Nick Satterborn falls in love with Sassa Vikander, he’s convinced the answer is yes.

Nick Satterborn. Songwriter. Dabbler on the spiritual path. Survivor.

Sassa Vikander. Stunning chef. Seeker on the path of most resistance. Survivor.

Contentment percolates for a time, until the two are hurtled into a life of uncertainty, self-evaluation, and growth. Each dreams heroic dreams of overcoming his/her past, rising out of sadness, rediscovering home, finding peace. Their worlds dissolve and reform. People and events threaten to tear them apart.

The Color of Home is a story of love, of loss, of digging deep down to the bottom of things until maybe, just maybe, Nick and Sassa find the strength to become whole. Their journey offers a unique, honest glimpse into the life and love of a palpably rare relationship of our time.

My ReviewThis novel is one that you will not soon forget. The way Marcello tells a story is just beautiful. The opening line grabbed me (which is exactly what you want out of a book) and kept me there until the end.

This is a love story, but one that is more true to how real life is than most novels portray it to be in fantasy. The Color of Home is a wonderful story of two people, Nick and Sassa and their journey to grow, trust, deal with their past, and ultimately, love.

At first, their relationship seems like one that will last. Nick falls for her quickly, and from Sassa's point of view, she seems to feel it too. But there is something about it that keeps her from going all in. Nick, on the other hand, goes back to something his mother told him when he was younger. Basically, she told him, "If after sex, you feel that you are home, then that's the girl for you." He felt that with Sassa. He longed to know if she felt the same about him, but he was too afraid to ask. He didn't want the knowledge of her not feeling the same to ruin what he felt they had, and he didn't want to end it if she didn't.

They date for about a year, and during that time, Nick is in his own world with his feelings, the feeling of her being "home" to him. He knows Sassa loves him, but how much? So, unknowingly, he starts pulling away. He works late, isn't as attentive as he used to be. Sassa notices and thinks he might be cheating on her. She seeks the advice of a friend, and we learn that there is a "one year rule" in place. After one year, Sassa ends a relationship. She feels that by doing this, she is saving herself a lot of heartache since she can't grasp being with someone for fifty years. She doesn't understand how couples can be married, and stay happy for a long period of time.

Sassa and Nick separate. They put a time frame out to reconnect in one year, every year to catch up and find out how the other one's year went. No judging, just come together as friends and see how life has been treating them.

As you can imagine, the first year was hard for Nick. He didn't want to lose Sassa. He loved her and she loved him. But she needed to spread her wings and grow more. He let her go. During that year, and the years to follow are what makes this story one that stay with you for a while. We follow them on their journey and realize that, even though we're rooting for them to be together, there was a lot that they needed to learn.

With the help of a few key people, they do just that. But will it come at a price? Will Nick and Sassa find "home" in someone else or will their paths lead back to each other in the end? You need to get the book to find out! :)

This book was wonderful! It's one of those stories that you can see a bit of yourself in a character and you think "I wonder if I had it to do over again, if I would have done it that way..."

I do want to point out that there were a few typos and punctuation errors, so know that going in. Otherwise, you will not be disappointed at all!

Click here to purchase on Amazon!

                                                  4.5 Stars! I really, really liked this book!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Flames Burn Hotter in Texas: The Trilogy Boxed Set

From the Publisher: Blush has fought tooth and nail to get out of her dusty old hometown and into the city where things move faster and evolve in the blink of an eye, a place that would keep up with her ambitions. When she finally returns home to visit her father, she experiences the benefits of a slower pace. Meanwhile, an old romance is rekindled in a way that stirs both her emotions and her sexuality so powerfully that she is now forced to choose between small town life and the high-tech playground where she now resides.

My review: Blush Kinkade is a woman in her early twenties that has come home to visit before starting her new job in the big city of San Francisco. Her plans are to spend time with her father and enjoy the slow pace of life the small town of Sagebrush, TX. Well, that was her plan until one evening her dad urged her to go to the local soda shoppe in town. That's where her plans changed.

As she was ordering her not-so-expensive coffee (one of the perks of a small town), she noticed an older man sitting at a table. It was Jesse Masters, Cade's father. Being raised right, she went over and spoke. He looked older, fragile, and not in good health. She sat and they talked a while. During their conversation, Jesse spoke of Cade and mentioned that he hadn't seen him in years due to the fact that he left the family farm, and asked if Blush wouldn't mind going to talk to him. Of course, she had reservations of doing this. The last time she saw Cade was at the lake, back when they were in high school, and a rush of feelings came flooding back.

She agreed, after all, curiosity got the better of her. She went to the Double-D BBQ joint in town, only to be greeted with "We're closed!" But as soon as the voice saw who was walking in, it changed it's tune. Cade Masters stood in front of Blush, just as handsome and sexy as the last time she saw him. And he was thinking the same thing about her. Well, needless to say they talked about old times, shared a bite to eat and then, got down to business. And I'm not talking about the business she went there to attend to. I'm talking about sex! Yup. They wasted little time doing what had been pent up in their system for so many years.

When it was over, and they were sitting on the floor sharing a post-sex beer together, Blush brought up the reason she really dropped by. She told him of his father, and how ill he looked. Cade was furious. He accused her of just coming by to have sex and butter him up just so she could talk him into going back home. This really made Blush mad so she stormed off and left.

The next day, Cade apologized and things heated up once again. The feelings they both had for one another in high school came back up to the surface and they just couldn't seem to get enough of each other. But, along with that came the realization that they both wanted more. However, Blush had a new job waiting for her in just a few weeks and her time in Sagebrush was limited. Cade vowed to do everything in his power to get her to stay, and be with him. He couldn't bear to lose her again.

One day, Jesse had a heart attack and the doctors said along with this not being his first heart attack, he also had been drinking too much and needed to go to rehab. Once he finished with that, he would be able to go home. But the catch? He couldn't stay by himself any longer. Cade would have to move in with him. During all of this, Blush learns that his family farm is in trouble and is close to being foreclosed on. She makes it her mission to fix that! One day, while waiting on Cade to get off of work, she is sitting at a table eating when a few young cowboys come and sit just a table away. She talks to them and learns that they just came from a job on a dude ranch and that sparks an idea! However, it also sparks something else in her. Will Blush and Cade be able to save his family farm? And will Blush leave her job to stay and start a life in her sleepy hometown with the man she has dreamed about for so many years? You'll have to get the book to find out!

I will say that this is a "cowboy erotica" story and there is plenty of sex! However, there were parts of the story that I, personally, did not like at all, and wish that either the author would have made them come to light with the other characters or resolved it somehow, instead of just leaving it. That's all I'm going to say, and I know it's really vague but I don't want to spoil anything! So forgive me :) And along with this being an honest review, I need to say the "southern" talk was a bit too much. I am from the south and it seemed a little over the top even for me :)

Also, there were quite a few instances where a parenthesis was missing, so I had to go back and re-read a sentence with the knowledge that was somebody talking. And there were a few typos as well. So know that going in.

All in all, I liked this story. And yes, I read all three books. They are only eight chapters a piece and the story was engaging which is always a plus :)

Click here to purchase on Amazon.

****4 Stars I liked it!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wrecking Crew

From the Publisher: Eric Stone is trustworthy, easy-going and friendly – he’s your all-round nice guy. His first rule in life was always “Don’t get involved,” but when he discovers the shocking truth behind his friend’s death, he feels compelled to act. Hidden behind the walls of power, the corrupt and materialistic businesses, and the convenient death of every inconvenient whistle-blower, hides a secret organization. For years The Wrecking Crew have been manipulating businesses and empowering Governments. They don’t care what they do or how they do it, as long as the price is right – but this time they have gone too far. Now one man is on a mission to stop them. Stone is no stranger to risk, but The Wrecking Crew is the most dangerous adversary anyone has ever faced. Soon he and his friends are dragged into a desperate race for survival, where no one can be trusted. Can Eric Stone destroy The Wrecking Crew, or will he become their next victim?

My review: I don't know about you but I love a good mystery. At first I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but as I continued reading and got deeper into the story, the more I realized how much I was loving it. I would push aside other tasks at hand to read, and stay up late to for "just one more chapter." Ha!

Charles Rathbone is a man who is being hunted. In England, he started what was called "True Democracy" which is basically a "None of the above" approach. If someone didn't like the list of candidates, then they didn't have to vote for them and they wrote in who they wanted. It really took off with the public and, unfortunately, that it didn't bode well for Charles. In more ways than one.

Eric Stone learned at a very young age that there are other ways of dealing with conflict than violence. So, his goal in life is to try another approach and if that doesn't work, then the last resort is violence. Once he hears of his dear friend Charles' death, he is shocked and confused. However, knowing what was going to happen, Charles had sent Eric a card that held a small computer chip. On it was a video that Charles recorded explaining everything and it also held files to start Eric on his way and also a list of people he could trust. Once he figured out what Charles was wanting, he gets to work and comes to grips with the fact that there will be violence and there will be no getting around it. He has to do this for his friend. He has to right the wrong that has been done. He goes in search of the people that did this to his friend. They are called "Wrecking Crew" and their name says it all. They wreck people's lives. But the thing about them is, nobody knows who they are and there is no trace of them.

One day, while checking out a lead, Eric meets a woman who, it seems, he falls instantly in love with. Her name is Linda Smart and she is feisty, beautiful and witty! Everything he finds attractive in a woman. He can't resist. They get close very fast, and he brings her in on the investigation.

With the help of Linda, an ex-cop named Ed, and a computer whiz named Megan, the team comes together and finds clues that lead to this mysterious crew. But sniffing them out and bringing them to justice is not going to be easy. Will they come out safe and destroy the crew or will the crew find them first and silence them all for good?

I don't want to go into anymore details but I highly recommend this book! It is the best mystery/thriller/suspense book I have read in a long, long time. It has pretty much everything that makes me jump for joy! A great story, wonderfully written characters, humor, a bit of a love story, and most of all, it keeps you on your toes the whole time! There were a few instances where I found I had to close my mouth because I did NOT see something coming. I absolutely loved this book! Loved it, and highly recommend it!

Click here to purchase on Amazon!

                                             *****5 Stars I LOVED this book!