Monday, August 30, 2010

Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

Article first published as Book Review: Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa on Blogcritics.

Never make a contract with a Faery. Meghan Chase knows this but it could not be helped. You do what you have to do to survive or in this case to save her brother Ethan, kidnapped by the Iron fey. Since Meghan has discovered her identity she has also learned to never swim in quiet ponds and to never trust talking cats.These are some hard truths and Meghan knows that the contract can not be broken and the fey always collect.

Its payback time and Meghan finds her heart beating faster, not sure if it is because Prince Ash has come to take her to his mother, Queen Mab, or because of her feeling for this tall and dark fey, so beautiful and so dangerous. She knows they have a bond but that he will follow through with his duty and deliver her to the Unseelie Winter Court. Having found, during her rescue of her brother, that she is half fey the problem is she is the daughter of King Oberon of the Seelie Court, so she is a sworn enemy of the Winter or Unseelie Court.

Knowing that Prince Ash has no option but to deliver her, she has but one request. She wants to see her best friend Puck. He saved her from the iron fey putting himself in deadly peril. She had not seen him since he had been injured.

Meghan had known Puck her entire life, they were great friends, it was not until just recently that she found out that Puck, who she knew as Rob Goodfell, actually worked for her father and had been assigned to protect her since birth.
Prince Ash has agreed to this request , wanting to do something for Meghan, knowing in the end he would be her betrayer. Moving from the real world to the fey world is not so difficult if you know where to go and where the trods are. These trods are the portals into the Nevernever, and can be just about anything, an old barn door, cemetery gates, and even old bathroom stalls. They are usually guarded by vicious creatures left by the fey to keep their borders safe. Once they find Puck, and she is assured that he is healing, Ash will then deliver her to Tir Na Nog the home of Queen Mab and the center of the Winter Court.

It is during this journey that she again runs into Grimalkin the talking faery cat. He agrees to journey with them but also warns them of danger. There are other creatures in the wood and in this part of the winter area, they do not like the summer folk. While they know she is being delivered to the queen the hatred for her kind runs deep. As the three companions enter the forrest they find themselves pursued by the unimaginable. There is danger and peril at every turn. Will Ash be able to save her, just to deliver her to her justice in the end, or will either of them survive in this savage but cold and beautiful place.

Julie Kagawa has portrayed a beautiful and dangerous place with all kind of creatures that go bump in the night. She has also developed some wonderful characters, with great depth. The story is ingenious and makes for a great series. Will being sworn enemies stand between the feelings of Meghan and Prince Ash. I can't wait for the next book to come out to see what happens.
 Rating 4/5

Get your ebook here

This book was received free from the publisher at Net Galley. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

Article first published as Book Review: A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion on Blogcritics.

In real life truth is often stranger than fiction, and so it is in the case where Skyla Medley first meets Thomas Plinka in Karen McQuestion's novel A Scattered Life. Two different people and opposing personalities brought together by fate, Thomas was raised in a close-knit family with an interfering Mom, and Skyla was basically an orphan as well as a rolling stone who was constantly on the move.

Skyla settles into life with Thomas. He has the stability she has always dreamed of, but along with that comes a very intrusive mother-in-law. Both Thomas and Skyla feel they can work at keeping the interference at a low level through their interactions, and Nora, their beautiful and precocious daughter, is the glue that binds as well as the light of their lives. Skyla has settled into this life with ease; Thomas is very controlled, thinking before he speaks, and while he is very predictable Skyla has a life she has only dreamed of. So why does it feel like something is missing?

After church one day Skyla decides she wants to walk by the the house down the street. Their old neighbors have just moved away, and she is curious to meet the new people moving in. Thomas isn't interested but Skyla is hoping the new neighbors will have a little girl, someone that could be a friend for Nora. Skyla missed having friends and as she grew up had at least one in every town she moved to. She cried everytime they left because she would miss them. She did not have any friends in her new home as the women in her neighborhood were busy with careers or just more sophisticated. This made her very uncomfortable to be around them. She wants more for Nora and just knows that if the neighbors have a little girl they will be the best of friends.

As they approach the driveway amidst the mess of moving, in Thomas's view more than the normal disaray, Nora spots a very young boy in some blankets sucking his thumb. No one is around and he is on his own. He looks to be two or three, and Thomas is very bothered that no one seems to know he is missing. As meeting the new neighbors goes, once Skyla alerts them to finding their absent son, which they had not noticed missing, this is not a great beginning as Thomas has already formed his opinion. Skyla, however, is fascinated and likes the hustle and the earthiness of her new neighbors. Without even knowing it, Roxanne Bear is just the friend she herself was looking for.

Skyla finds too much time on her hands when school starts, and Nora is no longer at home all day so she takes to walking through town. At the end of her walk each day is a dilapidated book store, Mystic Books. While she has never been inside, she has been curious about it, so she decides to step in and check it out. The tiny elderly woman inside appears to be expecting her. She lets Skyla know that Madame, the woman that did the "readings" in the back of the book store, informed her that Skyla would be coming and would be working at the store. Skyla loves the book store and feels she can help to bring it back to its former glory as she agrees to start working there. As Skyla leaves the book store, she reflects on how she would let Thomas know about her new job, knowing he would not approve.

As Skyla's life changes and brightens even further, we move into a story of love, anger, tragedy, loss, heartache, and death. And, as happens in true life, this book also brings a feeling of renewal and laughter.

This is a wonderful book and hard to put down. Be prepared and bring the tissue. Karen McQuestion has written a profound and engaging book on issues that we all face in our lives, and she has found a way to bring this full circle and to add closure where it is due.

Rated 5/5
For your own copy click here:
A scattered Life

Author's note: I received this book as a free copy from the author. All opinions are my own and based on my independent reading of the material.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Black & White and Dead All Over by John Darnton

As with all newspapers these days readership, advertising and circulation are becoming a thing of the past. However you really know trouble is in the works when the body of a top Editor for the New York Globe is found murdered in the very newsroom where he works. And not just any murder, he is killed with a spike to the chest, in fact the very same spike he has used from the beginning to kill the hopes and dreams of other journalists by killing their story. The paper assigns one of their own, Jude Hurley a very cynical reporter who is not sure what he has gotten himself into. He has to form a bond with the NYPD detective assigned to the case, a very young and ambitious Priscilla Bollingsworth.
The problem is that there are an abundance of suspects. As Jude follows his instincts he finds there is much dirt under the respectability of the paper and its Old guard. While he has built a loose rapport with Detective Bollingsworth, Jude finds himself in some very serious and deep problems. Jude finds himself as one of the suspects and  he has to come up with an plan to force the killer from hiding.  Is it the secretary, the gossip columnist or even one of the journalists that he deals with every day? As bodies start piling up all killed in strange and unusual ways, Jude finds that his questions have put him in the sites of the killer.
Will Jude win the day and turn in one of the best stories ever told or will he be the next death, tune in to find out who is responsible for this ever growing list of dead, the Who's Who of the New York Globe.

I had trouble following the story, the characters did not have the depth that you sometimes see. I thought we would see more interplay between Jude and Priscilla which did not occur. There were some pretty good scenes with Jude and some of his friends and when he is in danger the descriptions were all too real. The killer used interesting ways to do away with his victims, I would guess Karma would come into play. Not one of my favorites but still a good read.

Rated 3/5

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Incredible Origins of the ONYX SUN by Christopher Mahoney

Zack Godspeed is a pretty normal  ten year old kid, he has a mom and dad who love him and he lives in a normal neighborhood. He loves baseball and he hopes to make friends. What sets him apart from the other kids is that he is very smart and he has a a very abnormal Grandfather. His grandfather is  not just odd but even looks odd. He is extremely tall and thin, bald except for a tuft of white hair that sticks out from the front of his head and he wears nothing but white. No other color whatsoever. Due to the oddity of Zack's grandfather whom he loves very much he is constantly picked on at school. Today was no different, when Tom Riley the school bully shoves him down and takes his beloved baseball. This time however he is rescued by the strange new student Angelina Maximillion. She is known as Max, well respected by the other students although she only has a few friends, mostly just the boys. She lives with a foster family and has been moved around frequently.
 When Zack turns to thank her, she has disappeared.
Zack's grandfather frequently disappears for days and sometimes months and no one knows were he goes. He often shares secrets with Zack and shows him things he is working on. During his most recent visit he shares a huge secret with Zack. he has discovered a large power source he calls the Onyx sun and has made a Onyx powered aircraft. "Kalamazoo" and off they go. When his grandfather drops him off he makes him promise to keep this a secret.
Zack is grounded for being gone so long with no good explanation and as he sits in his room he notices lights in the woods behind his grandfathers house. In the light he can see his grandfather disappearing into the woods. Just as Zack is ready to sneak out he gets a surprise visit from Max, the girl from his school. she too has been watching his grandfather and they decide to follow him.
Little do they know that in making this simple decision, they will be thrust into the depths of the earth, ride a rocket to the moon, face numerous life threatening situations and finally save the earth and the future of all mankind from destruction. What Zack finds are very good friends and that being abnormal like his grandfather is a very good place to be.
This is a wonderful read. It is zany and absurd and incredibly fun. The characters are engaging and the story is just short of amazing. This is a great read for the YA and will keep them entertained for hours. The action is fast paced and incredibly well thought out. Christopher Mahoney has hit this one out of the Ballpark.

Rated 4/5

I received this book as a free copy from Goodreads First Reads. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based off my independent reading of this material.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Wave (In Pursuit of The Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean) by Susan Casey

  In the middle of the ocean off the coast of Scotland, the RRS Discovery has just found that what was myth, is more of a reality then we have ever known. The stories of oceans devouring ships and one hundred foot waves based off eye witness accounts is now being proven as real with the advance of technology and the actual measuring devices on ships and platforms across the world. In pockets throughout the oceans of the world , ships, freighters and tankers are disappearing at alarming rates.  As technology advances continue to improve, scientists throughout the world are coming together to discuss the alarming facts of what possibilities exist with global warming and how this process has and is affecting the ocean currents. While there have been eyewitness accounts for hundreds of years, there is a disturbing trend that is believed to have made what was an anomaly, into something that is far more frequent, terrifying and destructive then previously thought. There is some talk that in order to become this giant wave where there are certainly treacherous seas, that some anomaly seems to happen where the energy is sucked from other waves giving itself a huge peak that stands high in the air for seemingly moments before crashing down and destroying everything in its course. It seems that often times the wave or similar group of waves seem to come out of thin air actually after the sea has calmed down from a storm. Some of these Rogue waves as they are referred to, are caused by disruption under the sea as well as storms. Witnesses often speak of a smell in the air created by the energy coming off the air surrounding this monster.
  And as happens with many of the challenges that mother nature throws at us, there are the usual challengers.This particular challenge is picked up by hundreds of surfers world wide. This books also follows the exploits of this amazing group of individuals as they challenge the mightiest of waves,willing to risk life and limb for the ultimate challenge of surfing the hundred foot wave. Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction which is proved out over and over between the pages of The Waves.

I found this book to be very thought provoking and even hauntingly beautiful. It is also a brutal and terrorizing
look at what global warming is doing to our oceans. Susan writes a very comprehensive account of both the scientific studies as well as the surfing from her view from the inside. She knows the people involved in both sides of the issue through both research as well as being one of them. While this is not a book of fiction, it reads very much like one, leaving you breathless at times and horrified and fearful at others. A very real look at a possible future.

Rated 4/5

I received this book as a free copy from Goodreads First Reads. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based off my independent reading of this material.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Future Imperfect (Book Two) Miraculous Deception by PI Barrington

  As we left the first instalment of PI Barrington's book Crucifying Angel, Payce Halligan is critically injured during a confrontation with a mad man. She is hurried to the hospital and put in the care of her best friend Dr. Georgene Channing, Medical director as well as Coroner. In this dry and tough environment Georgene's training make her a valuable commodity, albeit a very busy one. All facets of her jobs are understaffed and keep her extremely busy. As Gavin McAllister, Payce's partner watches over her, Georgene hustles around the room checking vital statistics from the Holo Animator attached to Payce. It appears that Georgene has been able to repair Payce's liver which was punctured during her run in. Gavin is exhausted and Georgene finally convinces him that Pace will make it, and to get some rest.
  During a short lull in the hospital no one sees a silent figure slip into Payce's room and slowly cut her life support system. It is fifteen minutes before the alarm starts pinging and a code is called. By the time Georgene is back Payce is almost gone. There is nothing that Georgene can do as it has been too long. She remembers their new machine which has not been tested yet. It is a chance she is willing to take, Payce will be dead without it and it may just restart her systems. As Georgene shouts out her orders she is challenged by a new intern, Dr. McKaye. Georgene overrides him and as soon as the Visceral Disruptor is in place, gets everyone out of the room or behind the lead shield. Releasing the button, the whole hospital shakes as though in a quake.  Payce's body arcs off the bed and immediately slams back down. As Georgene again attempts to use the machine for a second time she is stopped by Dr McKaye. "Look Dr. she is breathing on her own". Georgene is thrilled, she has been vindicated and her machine works, and her best friend Payce has been saved.
  While Payce is hospitalized, Charlie Bowman, Head of LVPD has a decision to make. Crime does not stop and he has a man in need of a partner. He temporarily assigns Gavin to a veteran investigator, Nicholas Kincaid. This is an uncomfortable pairing as Nick also has feeling for Payce and jealousy creates a tenseness which makes for some challenging dialogue. They are called out to a crime scene where they find a small child. Georgene is there as the coroner and they determine that the child has numerous tumors denoting cancer. The mother has possibly killed her own child rather then putting her though needless suffering. A short time later they are called to a scene behind the Amazon Casino where they find the body of the child's mother, and a suicide note. She appears to have killed herself with a shotgun over her guilt at what she has done to her baby. The only thing that really keeps this open is that they are followers of the New Creation, the religious community that spawned the fanatic that nearly killed Payce.
Later as Gavin is in the hospital, tired out and sad at the outcome of his investigation, he hears Payce talking to him. He looks over to respond only to see she is still unconscious. Knowing he is exhausted he is embarrassed. Again he hears her this time telling him to have Nick watch over her while he stays at her house.
  While Gavin does not believe this is real he talks to Nick who agrees to watch over Payce.
As Nick is called away to work with Gavin to finalize their investigation of the suicide, sending them into the heart of the New Creation religious community, Payce is kidnapped from the hospital.
Gavin and Nick are thrust into a dangerous game of search and rescue where all the players are not what they seem. Will they be able to find Payce in time, is the New Creation somehow responsible, and can they learn to work together well enough to piece together a conspiracy. Join Gavin and Nick on their journey into madness and deception at every turn. This is a fast paced and brutal whodunit.

 This book is a great follow up to the first of the series, there are surprises at every turn, and while it is a book on deception and murder, the characters have great interplay and are quite likable, with a great sense of humor as well as petty attempts as jealousy. There is heartbreaking deception as well as the madness sometimes caused by great fanaticism. PI Barrington leads you to a great conclusion and sets you up for the next in her series. She leaves you wanting more.... 

Rating 4/5

This Review is based off a book obtained from the author. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based off my independent reading of this material.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blind Man's Alley by Justin Peacock

Duncan Riley has worked his way to the top of his profession and is at that place in his career as an attorney to be accepted as a partner. He has been groomed for the part by his mentor and brought in on many of the top concerns involving the very top clients of the firm, including Roth properties.  They are working on a libel suit involving a story in the newspaper and Duncan is deposing the witness's, including the journalist as well as members of Roth properties. A section of one of Roth's holdings collapsed during construction, killing three of the workers. The Article suggested possible Mob involvement and kickbacks. The Journalist Candace Snow is a fierce competitor and does not give at all under the questioning. It in fact seems to make her even more determined that some hidden agenda is happening.
At the same time, Blake and Wolcott, the firm he works for has lost some of its shine as a Top firm and has Duncan also working the pro bono case of a family being evicted from one of the tenements that is now being upgraded and owned by Roth Properties. Duncan has some concern that this could create a conflict of interest but is assured both by his mentor Steven  Blake as well as Simon Roth's daughter Leah that there is no conflict. Duncan works the Roth case by rote, researching information, filing information, putting together memos, and all the staid but important work that fills the company coffers through billable hours. He finds his mind occasionally straying to his other case involving a teenage boy Rafael and his grandmother. Rafael has been accused of smoking Pot and agreed to a plea bargain that was going to keep him out of jail and with his grandma. He denied quite vehemently that he ever had anything to do with drugs, but his court appointed attorney did not really care. With accepting the plea deal however he and his grandma are being evicted. Duncan has just won a stay on the eviction when one of the security guards for the building is murdered and a witness places Rafael as the murderer. Duncan is convinced that something is wrong and is planning to fight the case for Rafael. His firm slowly begins backing out and trying to pull the plug on the case, putting Duncan in a bad place, as he has promised to help Rafael and his Grandma. He is able to get the the testimony about gunshot residue being present on Rafael's hands thrown out of court based on expert testimony.  He then  is immediately encouraged to accept a plea bargain because all of a sudden Steven Blake has concerns about a conflict of interest. More people begin ending up dead and Duncan begins to wonder if his enemies are his friends and his friends and colleagues are actually his enemies. His world suddenly turns topsy turvey as he turns to Candace Snow as an ally. His job is no longer secure and the world as he knows it is no longer as absolute as he has always believed. This work brings to light the high stakes played out in the world of money and greed. Duncan and Candace become the hunted in this cat and mouse game of truth and justice. Who will win and who will escape with their life.

I found this book very slow at the beginning. I had to wade through lots of legalese which buried the beginning of the story and kept the book slow. About midway after establishing the ground rules the book really took off and became more interesting. I had a tough time and had to force myself in the beginning to keep on reading. I am glad I did as it was a good book and a great story.

Rated 3/5

I received this book as a free copy from Goodreads First Reads. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based off my independent reading of this material.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Future Imperfect (Book One) Crucifying Angel by PI Barrington

Set in futuristic Vegas, we find that "Sin City" has lost none of its debauchery and in fact has only added to the reputation that anything goes. When Payce Halligan is assigned a new partner she is understandably horrified, working alone has created a bubble where she is not responsible for the life or death of someone close in her work. After being responsible for the death of her prior partner and love she has hardened her heart and does not plan on changing that any time soon.  However, since she does answer to the head of the
Las Vegas Police Department she gets no choice in the matter.
 Her newly assigned partner Gavin McAllister is a good looking trainee with a faint British accent. He is an addition to her work she is not sure she is ready for.
When they are called out to three separate crime scenes, all with the same M.O. they find themselves on the path of a fanatical serial killer. Each of the victims is a young woman, hung upside down and crucified, left to bleed out and with initials carved into their bodies. The ritualistic killing makes Payce think of the Amazon Casino where Costumes are still used so this is where their investigation begins. Little do Payce and Gavin know that they are about to become the hunted in this bizarre fantasy being followed by a madman.

PI Barrington brings to life a very real future. Her characters are very likable and have a great sense of humor even in the dire situations that they find themselves. The story is fast paced and hard to put down, move over J.D Robb, here comes another look at the future. A gritty Las Vegas is an exceptional setting and P.I Barrington has a knack of making you feel like you are there. This is a great book to add to your library, you will love the interplay. I can't wait for the second installment.

Rating 4/5

This Review is based off a book obtained from the author. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based off my independent reading of this material.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Seventh Compass Point of Death by Richard Sanders

The Seventh Compass Point of Death begins with an unlikely coincidence during the course of a bank robbery. During the robbery, Lomax is separated from his partner when he is shot by an off duty cop. He is cut off from their escape vehicle by the arrival of police and escapes into traffic. Knowing he must have a vehicle in order to make his escape he steps into traffic looking for an easy target. He finally sees a car with only one person, a rag head as he calls him and when the driver is not fast enough to respond, blasted out the window with his gun. He pulled the driver out and took off as the driver continued to yell no, no, you don't........As Lomax tries to escape his fate, he finds a full battalion of cop cars in front of him. After pulling him out of the car, during their search they find the body. Lomax has no idea.....
Enter Quinn McShane, current gig, news reporter, prior gig police investigator. There is a story on the body but not much information other then the victim being an Afghan immigrant, Leader of the Islamic Civic organization and The Sunni Community Council of Astoria. So while it was a story there were better stories all over the city. Quinn took a pass.
A few day later Quinn receives a call from Shala Kavay, he had done a story on her several years earlier when her paintings were part of a anti-war exhibit. It turns out that she remembered that Quinn used to be an inspector, she felt that her brother needed his help. He had just been picked up and questioned in the death of Aarif Raheem, the body found in the car. Turns out he now has a Pakistani girlfriend and has immersed himself  in a group called the Flushing Islamic Brotherhood or FIB.
Quinn goes undercover to find the murderer, and uncovers a Terrorist plot that is being watched by a government agency know as the Tog. As Quinn goes deeper undercover he find himself running for his life, hunted by both sides. Will he be able to keep Shala's brother safe, uncover the terrorist plot and keep himself alive.  A fast paced story of greed, terror and murder.
I found this a great story line, the plot is good and the story believable.  I had trouble with the writing style, rapid, staccato type prose, that was difficult in the beginning. Not the smooth, flowing style of many authors. After reading and getting immersed in the story the writing style began to fit the flow of the story which was at times terse and unforgiving. A story that reflects the current events of today.

Rating 3 1/2/5

This Review is based off a book obtained from the author. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based of my independent reading of this material.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Born of Ice (A League Novel) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

 Born of Ice by Sherrilyn Kenyon takes us to the Ichidian Universe where we meet Alix Garran. Born a slave and used by her fathers men as entertainment she is suddenly thrust into center stage when her father dies and she along with her little sister and mother become slaves of the state. To save her family she is forced into service with her goal to infiltrate the life of Devyn Kell, either find or fabricate proof of miss deeds or her family will be sold and even worse her younger sister raped.
 Alix has skills as an engineer and is snapped up quickly for use on Devyn's ship. What she finds is that the people she is now working for are not what she is used to. She has value and is respected. She finds herself extremely attracted to the mysterious Devyn, but is conflicted because it is imperative that she save her family. As she ingratiates herself into his life, she meets his friends and confederates and finds in them all a sense of honor. Really not knowing what else to do, knowing that she will be killed if they find out she is a spy, she continues on her task.
 Devyn comes from a highly respected and feared family. Little does Alix know that while Devyn too is attracted to her he has learned in the hardest way possible that trust is a hard fought condition. When Devyn's father finds out that Alix is a spy all bets are off. Follow along on a journey where all is not what it seems and friendship and love are everything. 
Sherrilyn's characters sizzle on the page, they are in turns handsome and strong but also deadly and dangerous.  The women are as strong and determined as the men and hold their own in a world full of assassins. As with all her League series, the characters are mouthwateringly attractive and extremely dangerous as well. Just the thing to escape into fantasy. Because of the complexities of the interactions of both friend and family this is a great book to read over and over. Each time it is like finding a new friend.

Rated 5/5
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lodestone (Book Two: The World of Ice and Stars) By Mark Whiteway

Lodestone Book II: The World of Ice and Stars In Mark's soon to be released second book on the Lodestone series we again come upon our our unlikely group of heroes. They had added and extra member during the last part of the first book, Patris who becomes part of this team of misfits. Without giving the ending of the first book in the series, we find that  Shann and Boxx (the Chandara that has befriended them) are separated from the others in a different part of Kelanni. Shann is first captured and then befriended by Rael the assistant of a great scientist. Shann is both intrigued and irritated by Rael, which is her wont. She befriends him initially to use his intelligence and to get the use of the avionics that his mentor controls. She then begins in earnest looking for her group of friends as it it imperative that they continue their task in order to save their nation from destruction. Rael becomes enamored of Shann as she gets them out of several dangerous situations while searching.
 What she finds in this new part of her world is that the separation of the worlds has created quite a breach of learning and that she and her friends will have to learn how to better defend themselves in this new and harsh environment.
 Finally reuniting with her friends, we find that Shann has still not lost any of her animosity for Keris and that at every turn there is an over riding angst that colors their relationship. Knowing that they must put this aside they face a brutal test to their integrity in order to be considered by the ancient Kelanni as those chosen to save the world. Danger and surprises greet them every step of the way. Will they win at the end of the day? You will have to follow their endeavors.

I had the opportunity to read this next instalment and was pleased to see that is was as exciting and thought provoking as the beginning. I was thrilled to see the characters grow and mature in their roles. While that play between them is still there, it has moved into a different level and continues to keep you guessing. The addition of  new characters and their roles as well as the bleakness of their adventures keeps this book rolling at a fantastic pace. I believe that Mark's second book in this series will not let you down and you will be begging for more. This is a must have in your library.

Rating 5/5

This book was received as an ARC from the Author and I am receiving no compensation for this review. My opinion is my own based on my reading and understanding of the material.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Book of Obeah by Sandra Carrington-Smith

Have you ever had the feeling that there was more to life then what you were experiencing. That there are more Universal truths then those we are trained from childhood to believe. Melody is soon to find herself on this very journey when her beloved GrandMama dies and leaves her legacy in the hands of her only granddaughter. Following the wishes of the woman who has been there for her for her entire life, Melody soon finds herself in very unfamiliar territory. It is all so familiar and yet so very different then she has ever known. Realizing how very little she really understood of her Grandmother, she finds herself the guardian of a secret that is beyond her imaginings. The problem is that there are powerful forces that both want the secret for the powers they might gain, and others that want to destroy it and any part of what it means. It is a story full of awakenings for Melody and the reader as well. It is also a story about power and its corruption and the destruction of greed. Melody encounters new freindships, danger and love. A story about the beginnings of Vodoo and its connection to spriritualism.  A powerful story of the unrelenting awakening of the soul and the different rational for the systems of personal beliefs.

This book was refreshing and very thought provoking. A different view on spiritual awakenings and set in a truely facinating story of  corruption, greed and family. The Author is very knowledgable in different areas of spiritulism, and has a very smooth fast paced story. This is not my usual type of reading material but I found I could not put it down. This is a book I would recommend to my family and friends. I also believe it would be great fodder for a book club review.

Rating 4/5
This Review is based off a book obtained from the author. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based of my independent reading of this material.

The Last Unicorn By Peter S. Beagle

I did not feel like it would behoove me to talk about books and not at least represent my favorite book of all time, hence The Last Unicorn.

Unicorns are wonderful creatures and their nature is to live alone. Since Unicorns are immortal she did not track time the same as you are I. She  is very old and does not know it. One day two men ride through her forest and she hears them talking about the rumors of a Unicorn that once lived in this forest. One said his grandma had told him about it, and how as a young girl she had once seen it. He said of course she was crying, but then it seemed like she always cried about things that used to be. Because of the stillness in the forest the hunters decide to hunt else where for game but not before the Unicorn hears them say that there are no longer any Unicorns in the world.
Knowing that it can't be, she sets on a quest to find the rest of her race. She runs into danger and trouble along the way but meet up with a magician and tough spinster, who help her to find the last of her kind. None of them realize that this could take the last Unicorn into a trap and that the world could be without the joy and beauty of the last Unicorn. There is danger, sadness and beauty at every turn.

This book has become a classic and is a must for the believers at heart. If you were not a believer, the book will make you wonder, and it does cause you to yearn for that first sight of a Unicorn. Would we be able to recognise one or would we be more like the unbelievers and only see what we expect. This is a fabulous book for both young and old and I have not been without a copy since I first read it when it came out. This book is a fabulous read, and leaves you Yearning.......

Rating 5/5
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lodestone (Book One: The Sea of Storms)

Welcome to the world of the Kelanni. The land is ruled by the "Prophet" an interloper known as Unan-Chinneroth, or without a tail. His rule is carried out by the Keltar, those who can use the lodestone found in the desert of the planet to control the Kelanni. Each turn, a group of Kelanni are chosen by the Prophet to serve. They are housed in the desert where they live and die mining the Lodestone. Families are torn apart during this ritual, mother and fathers lost, children taken, and never seen or heard from again.
Oppression often breeds dissent where we then meet a group of unlikely heroes. Lyall and Aldona are all that is left from an uprising 11 years prior to this story.  As Lyall tries to free as many of the tributes (as the chosen are called) as he can, he runs into problems with the Keltar. He is rescued by an unlikely ally and young girl named Shann who has lost her family to the Prophet's chosen . Because she intervened she is now hunted along with Lyall, also known as the pretender as he is able to use the lodestone as well. They make plans to rescue the tributes and set out with their other compatriot a young musician.
A Keltar, Keris, next in line to replace her master is set on their course. She is incapacitated by a perridon and injured severely sure she will not see another day meant as meal for the perridon. She is rescued at the last minute by the Chandara, creatures thought to be  myth. As they heal her they also share with her a communication from another Kellani, from the distant past. This information was secreted with the Chandra due to their long life spans and was intended to warn the future Kellani of the distinction of their race at the hands of the Unan-Chinneroth. Keris is appalled and chooses to save the Kellani, beginning first with the ragtag group of heroes trying to run their own interference. So begins their journey and their peril fraught with danger, excitement and yes some stubborn annoyance.

This is a fast paced and drag you along for the ride fantasy. I was breathless at points cheering the action and frustrated at times when the characters showed their flaws. A wonderful cast of characters annoying at times and alternately heroic at others. The mix of characters play well off each other, they make you want to cheer or in some cases box their ears. The story is easy to get into and the book hard to put down. I am looking forward to the next installment. I believe that Mark Whiteway has put together a world that is both dangerous and ingenious. The Characters are rich and bold with both flaws and  great courage. A great read.

Rating 5/5

This Review is based off a book obtained from the author. I am not receiving any compensation and all opinions are my own based of my independent reading of this material.