February 17, 2016

Greylady by Peter Moorwood

T I T L E: Greylady
A U T H O R: Peter Moorwood
P U B L I S H E R: Endeavour Press
P U B L I S H--D A T E: January 15, 2016
I S B N: 9780099261612
Fantasy

When going to war, hire allies stronger than your enemy. Not stronger than you.
Otherwise getting rid of them can be a problem.
That was how the Horse Lords came to Alba, and how they came to rule it. That was how Bayrd ar’Talvlyn rose from a mere captain's rank to become lord of his own clan. And that was how the Art Magic became a part of life and death for the Horse Lords, sowing the seeds of conflict for years to come.
Bayrd ar’Talvlyn is known for thinking too much. In a heavily militaristic society, thinking too much can lead to problems. But Bayrd is smart and is not afraid to share his ideas to help his people.
As a deeply honourable man and a well-trained soldier, Bayrd has the desire to lead his people and gain status among them. However, when Bayrd shows signs of having a talent for sorcery, he learns how dangerous a gift that is to have among the Albans.
Bayrd soon finds the success he has been looking for. But all is not well in Alba. The land has been stolen from its native population at the point of a sword – and any resistance is crushed in the invaders’ iron fist.
But now, they’re learning how to fight back: with sorcery…
Bayrd’s curse of magic has now become his greatest asset to his people.
His quest to find a native sorcerer and enlist him in the Horse Lords’ plight will take him to the far reaches of this land. But as he searches for the sorcerer, he will discover things about himself that he never thought possible…



It can sometimes be hard to find good fantasy these days and I admit that I can be pretty picky when it comes this genre. However, I really enjoyed this book. It had all of the things that I really love in fantasy.
The characters were well developed and had good dimension. I found some of them very likeable, while some were despicable, but in a good way. Besides great characters, it had lots of action as well. Those are the scenes that I really like in a fantasy and this one did not disappoint. They were well done and vividly written which enabled me to see them play out in my head.
The writing overall was fantastic and the world building superb. I do recommend this one for fantasy fans everywhere. I would certainly like to read more.



4 STAR


A M A Z O N                      G O O D R E A D S

February 16, 2016

An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

T I T L E: An Unattractive Vampire
A U T H O R: Jim McDoniel
P U B L I S H E R: Inkshares
P U B L I S H--D A T E: March 16, 2016
I S B N: 9781941758649
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Jim McDoniel’s debut novel, An Unattractive Vampire, is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile—also known as the Curséd One, the Devil's Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors—awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he’s just too ugly—modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. With the help of pert vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?



     While I may not have laughed out loud when reading this book, I did smile or chuckle frequently.
     It was a great concept and executed very well. I found I even liked Yulric Bile...a lot, which is more than likely a lot more than he would have wanted. Simon was a terrific character and his antics reminded me of the Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys, which is a good thing since I loved that movie. I could see that eight-year-old pulling off his stunts very clearly in my head as I read. Amanda was also lots of fun.
     There may have been just a slight touch of cheese from time to time, but it wasn’t really all that much and very tolerable. That is not always the case in stories of this type. The satire of this book was, however, refreshing and fun to read. I would recommend this book to those who like different versions of vampires other than or in addition to the pictures painted of them in romance novels. I enjoyed this book enough to give it four stars.


4 STAR

A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


February 15, 2016

Green Eye by Vena Cork

T I T L E: Green Eye
S E R I E S:  Rosa Thorn(Nº 3)
A U T H O R: Vena Cork
P U B L I S H E R: Endeavour Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 6, 2016
I S B N: 9780755324084
Mysteries


Danny Thorn has enrolled in Billings College, Cambridge.
After the tragic events of his unsettling past, including the death of his father, Danny was happy to blend in at university.
But, his involvement in a production of Othello opposite the beguiling Stella, sees Danny drawn into the hedonistic lifestyle of university.
On the surface it may seem enviable but right now, Danny can see little to be jealous of.
While Stella doesn't seem to be interested in him, his ex, Julie, won't leave him alone.
But as the term progresses, getting a date for the May ball will be the least of his worries.
A rapist, who's been preying on female students for months, is still at large, and the Othello cast are not beyond his reach.
A potentially deadly case of the green-eyed monster, jealousy, is about to rear its ugly head, and Danny may just find himself unwittingly caught in the middle.
All too soon Danny finds the May week, the height of the Cambridge social calendar, spirals into terror, chaos and murder.


I will start by saying that this book did hold my attention to a certain degree, but unfortunately, not completely. There were times that I actually had to force myself to keep reading and get through it because the story was moving too slowly and bordered on boring. Those instances occurred more frequently than I would have liked. Since I thought that the storyline held so much potential, I muddled through the difficult parts in hopes that it would improve. Unfortunately, it fell short of what it could have been. So much more could have been done with this plot and often felt forced.

I also became confused quite a lot because the point of view switched without warning, literally from one paragraph to the next. Not only did it switch from character to character but from third person to first person as well. I wish the author would have decided on one or the other, then spun the tale from there. There was never any chance to really get to know the characters when written in this manner. They felt flat and uninteresting. I believe some of them had more potential but weren't really given the chance to develop as they could have.

I must also add that in spite of this, I did like the ending because it took a twist that was a bit surprising. I will give this one an "A" for effort since I did like the ending as well as the premise for the book even though it could have been executed better than it was. It also held my interest enough to earn three stars.




3 STAR


A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

February 12, 2016

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

 So wow. Where to begin?
     This novel about children of various ages had me weary to begin. I don't normally read book about kids, and I most definitely stay clear books about sick children. But this novel came highly recommended by a good friend of mine, one whose taste I trust. And while it took me eight to ten chapters to really get into, I'm glad I stuck with it.
     Eventually I forgot I was reading from a young teenage boys pov, because page after page this novel hits you with a ton of emotion, from a lot of great little characters.
     Let me repeat that and say it more clearly; there is a TON of BIG emotions in this novel.
     Also, Toby's vocabulary would rival my own pirate mouth. But it suits him, to the very last page. There were a few places in the book that felt a little sluggish, but the next chapter makes it up, and then about halfway through the book, it's boom time, and it was from that point on that I couldn't put it down. When I reached the end, I was devastated and sad. Sad because it was over, devastated because the ending was perfect.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Death House
A U T H O R: Sarah Pinborough
P U B L I S H E R: Titan Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781473202320
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Literature fiction (adult)

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House: an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They're looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it's time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium.
Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.
Because everybody dies. It's how you choose to live that counts.


AMAZON  * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS

February 7, 2016

The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

This book was a lot of fun to read to Laila, and I'd highly recommend it for middle grade aged children. All throughout this book Laila showed an immense interest in its storyline. She complained at night when I only read one chapter, and still complained when I started reading two. She wanted to take time to talk about what we had just read, and uncovered continuously as we made our way from one chapter to the next. To be honest, out of all the children’s books I’ve read to her since I started reviewing books, on several occasions, she told me this was her favorite- even if the storyline was a little “dark and twisted”. Last night, I let her finish on her own. When that child brought my Kindle into my room, she looked a little bummed with her shoulders slumped and her feet dragging. I asked her if it was bad, and her exact words were, “No, it is over.” 
     I couldn’t help but laugh. It tickled me to death that she experienced her first book affair. Naturally, because I can empathize, we cuddled on my bed and talked for a few minutes about how she felt about the ending itself and if she felt satisfied overall. She went on and on about the book - what she just read and the entire novel. When I looked and saw this was part of a series, I thought the child was going to fall off the bed with delight. I must get my hands on these books for her collection, and so she can follow the series.
     Since she had so much to say, I decided to let her write her very first book review on her own.

L A I L A:
     I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book made me feel like I was part of the story. There was so many twisters that I hardly knew what was going on. (That is a good thing) Even though I’ve finished it, when it comes out, I’m going to buy it, and read it over and over again. I’m so excited for the second one. This book is so awesome, I’d rate it 100 stars. (That’s even better than 5 stars.) I never want it to end. 



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Lost Twin 
S E R I E S: Scarlet and Ivy (Nº 1) 
A U T H O R: Sophie Cleverly
P U B L I S H E R: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 3, 2016
I S B N: 9781492633396
Middle Grade, Children's Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…
When shy Ivy’s troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to “take her place.” But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school’s true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?
Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn’t about to disappear without a fight. She’s left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy’s going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She’s got to.
But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they’ll do anything to keep their secrets buried…

     

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY

*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

February 4, 2016

A Man of Genius by Lynn Rosen

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

     This is no ordinary novel, and is in no way for ordinary readers. Upon reaching the last page, I was stunned wordless as I tried to wrap my head around the entire story, what it all meant (to me) and how the hell I was going to condense the emotion into a review.
     But I can't.
     What I will say is that the strings of this story are woven together extraordinarily well. From the beautifully worded architectural scenes, and the thoughtfully crafted characters, to the unique story telling, this novel is a masterpiece.
     I'm going to read it again, and hopefully, one day, own it for my own collection of well crafted literature. 


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: A Man of Genius
A U T H O R: Lynn Rosen
P U P L I S H E R: Una Publications
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 15, 2016
I S B N: 9780997073812
Literature fiction (adult)

Samuel Grafton-Hall is a man of genius who demands reverence from all. A renowned architect, his point of view is not universally shared by students, critics, and colleagues - but this is of little consequence to Grafton-Hall, for he revels in his misanthropy.
Immune to the barbs of the masses, Grafton-Hall also suffers no qualms about his personal peccadilloes and perversions. An unrepentant womanizer, Grafton-Hall leaves colleagues, friends, and lovers deeply scarred from having known him.
And then there is the murder. The question of guilt is of less consequence than the question of whether the gift of genius makes one irreproachable.


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

February 3, 2016

Secrets in the Stones by Tessa Harris

T I T L E: Secrets in the Stones
S E R I E S:  Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries (Nº 6)
A U T H O R: Tessa Harris
P U B L I S H E R: Kensington Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 23, 2016
I S B N: 9780758293411
Historical Mystery



Within the mysteries of the body, especially those who have been murdered, 18th-century anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone specializes in uncovering the tell-tale clues that lead towards justice…
Newly released from the notorious asylum known as Bedlam, Lady Lydia Farrell finds herself in an equally terrifying position--as a murder suspect--when she stumbles upon the mutilated body of Sir Montagu Malthus in his study at Boughton Hall.
Meanwhile Dr. Thomas Silkstone has been injured in a duel with a man who may or may not have committed the grisly deed of which Lydia is accused. Despite his injury, Thomas hopes to clear his beloved's good name by conducting a postmortem on the victim. With a bit of detective work, he learns that Montagu's throat was slit by no ordinary blade, but a ceremonial Sikh dagger from India--a clue that may be connected to the fabled lost mines of Golconda.
From the mysterious disappearance of a cursed diamond buried with Lydia's dead husband, to the undying legend of a hidden treasure map, Thomas must follow a trail of foreign dignitaries, royal agents--and even more victims--to unveil the sinister and shocking secrets in the stones…

   
     

     This is the 6th installment in this particular series. Even though I haven’t read any of the previous books, I had no problem following along at all. I will be reading the previous books however, as I would like to know more about these characters.
     This historical mystery is filled with lots of murder and mayhem along with twists and turns that you didn’t see coming. Just when you think you have it figured out, something else happens and you find that maybe you don’t have it figured out after all. Those types of mysteries are fun to read. This book doesn’t disappoint.
     I enjoyed all of the characters, but it did take me just a bit to warm up to Thomas. I think that is because as I mentioned earlier I haven’t read the other books. However, once I got into the story, I found how much I really did like him. My favorite though is Lady Lydia. But, I found all of the characters to have depth.
     The writing was done as was the story line. An intriguing mystery and a great read. Four stars on this one. Can’t wait to read more.


4 STAR


A M A Z O N           B A R N E S & N O B L E           G O O D R E A D S

February 1, 2016

The Silence of Stones by Jeri Westerson

T I T L E: The Silence of Stones
S E R I E S: A Crispin Guest Noir (Nº 8)
A U T H O R: Jeri Westerson
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House Publishers
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 1, 2016
I S B N: 978072885623
Historical Mystery

A medieval mystery featuring disgraced knight Crispin Guest
London, 1388. When the mythical Stone of Destiny disappears from the throne of England during mass in Westminster Abbey, the populace takes it as a sign to side with King Richard II’s rebellious barons. The last thing the king needs is for his authority to be put in question, especially after his army suffers a crushing defeat against a Scottish uprising.
Desperate, Richard calls in Crispin Guest to find the missing stone. And to ensure that he will do the deed, the king imprisons Jack Tucker and orders Crispin to find the stone before Parliament convenes in three days' time - or Jack will hang for treason.



     A great mystery and my first introduction to Crispin Guest, a medieval knight turned detective, or tracker as he is referred to in the story. Even though I haven’t read previous books in this series I found it quite easy to follow along and was never confused about who was who or what was going on. This could easily be read as a stand alone novel. After reading this book, I believe I will be reading more Crispin Guest mysteries.
     The premise for this one was unique and though it did contain a wee bit of murder as most mysteries do, that wasn’t what had Crispin running all over London and Westminster. While those murders were connected, the main mystery was the missing Stone of Scone, a real life artifact taken from Scotland by King Edward I and placed beneath the seat of the coronation chair which is housed in Westminster Abbey.
     I found all the characters likable, especially Crispin and Jack, his squire in training. There were real life characters involved as well which I also enjoyed. The author did a great job bringing them to life.
     I recommend this one for those that readers that like medieval and historical mysteries. It was a fun read and as mentioned earlier I will be reading more of Crispin Guest.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S