Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: The Last Dragon Slayer

Deathsworn Arc: The Last Dragon SlayerDeathsworn Arc: The Last Dragon Slayer by Martyn Stanley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Saul has recruited (somewhat by accident) a formidable little band. Charged by Empress Jade to track and eliminate a Noble Dragon, he finds himself with two elves, a dwarf, and 3 men - one of whom was the only survivor of the last dragon slain. Can they make the dangerous journey to the dragon, much less kill such a magnificent beast?

I really enjoyed this story, both because I love fantasy and because this fantasy is somewhat different. For one thing, it throws you into the journey without loads of back story; you are just suddenly with Saul seeking out the man who was the last dragon slayer. In some ways it reminds me of an RPG, where you start on the quest and get bits of pertinent information as you go along. Unlike an RPG, the side quests are to a minimum; rather the character development deepens on the journey. In any case, it is a solid start to the series, as I am both intrigued by the plot and the characters, and was quite satisfied with the level of action and character introduction. I look forward to the next book!


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: I Once Knew Vincent

I Once Knew VincentI Once Knew Vincent by Michelle Rene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all know Vincent the artist, but to Maria he was Vincent the father figure. Maria grew up desperately poor in the Hague, Netherlands, daughter to prostitute Sien and fiercely protective of her younger brother, Willem. Vincent is willing to give them a chance to become family, but will Sien be able to break the cycle of poverty and prostitution to claim the family Maria so desperately desires?

I’m not sure how much of the history in this is accurate, but the story was compelling. The idea of Vincent van Gogh attempting to live a “normal” life but that proving impossible fits with the persona of him as a tortured soul. I also think it is fascinating how Rene weaves together some of van Gogh’s earlier drawings together into a tale of motivation and sorrow that would haunt the rest of his life, as well as Maria’s - the narrator of this tale. This is an example of excellent historical fiction, as it leaves you wondering if maybe, this is really how life unfolded. Rene immerses you into the Dutch society of the late 1800s, and the story unfolds at a lilting but engrossing pace that just draws you in. If you aren’t into historical fiction this might make you a believer.




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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: Heartbreak

Heartbreak: New Approaches to Healing - Recovering from Lost Love and MourningHeartbreak: New Approaches to Healing - Recovering from Lost Love and Mourning by Ginette Paris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreak is common occurrence, a shared experience as part of the human condition. The thing is, when we experience it, we are sure that we are the only one, or at least we are the worst example of it. We are not of course, and the way your brain processes this type of loss can greatly affect future relationships. How do we move past our greatest traumas, and not only survive but thrive?

I am a social worker, and deal with clients who experience grief, loss, heartbreak and trauma. I LOVED this text, and at certain points - particularly when talking about “Big Mommy” and staying in an infantile state rather than moving past your grief - made me quite literally applaud. I think that while academic, this is written in an easily accessible, conversational style that anyone can understand. Indeed, I think it is quite critical for those of us in the helping professions read this because I have noticed that we are increasingly dealing with an anxious, coddled, and overwrot society who cannot seem to move past a victimized state. While acknowledging the importance of neuroscience and medicine, Paris rightly points out that we must bring in metaphor and and your personal GPS from a more humanities angle in order to place ourselves and therefore move from the state we are wallowing in. I think that we can all benefit from this clear and concise information and implement it for a variety of heartbreaking events, both as counselors and as run of the mill, heartbroke humans. Nice work.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: Jamyria: The Entering

Jamyria: The Entering (The Jamyria Series Book 1)Jamyria: The Entering by Madeline Meekins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Margo is tired of the stares, the silence, the awkwardness. She can’t change the past and she can’t change how teenagers act. But she never thought that stomping away from an awkward teenage encounter would land her falling through a globe into another world that she might be called to save.

Jamyria: The Entering is a riveting fantasy tale of a teenage girl who begins down the path of destiny. It is very well written, interspersing Margo’s life in the fantasy world Jamyria with flashbacks of her history that colors her actions in Jamyria. I really enjoyed this first installment of the story, and can’t wait to see how Margo’s story plays out. She is a realistic yet fascinating character, and I love the intertwining of the “real” world and fantasy - kind of a Narnia nod. I’m looking forward to the next book!


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review: Cycles of Intuition

Cycles of Intuition: A journey of insights--An inspiring story about business and lifeCycles of Intuition: A journey of insights--An inspiring story about business and life by I. Kostika
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steve has just learned that his Dad is retiring and leaving him the family business. However, the business has some debt, and he has to figure out how to bring it back around to profitable before the bank pulls financing.

While a fictional story, Cycles of Intuition is a business book that helps you think through issues and problems in your business. Written in an accessible format, without too many textbook dull examples, it helps you to think through your own business model and format your strengths and weaknesses accordingly. It is really a very easy read, and quite revealing. I found myself trying to apply it to my own job, and hopefully it will pay off down the road!


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: Mars at Midnight

Mars at Midnight: A Detective Ace Sloan MysteryMars at Midnight: A Detective Ace Sloan Mystery by William Graham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Detective “Ace” Sloan is investigating a strange murder on Mars. Who would leave a beautiful young woman to die in frigid red sand? Along with new partner, Kate Hammer, Sloan will uncover a strange Martian serial killer, and tangle with politics, education and class warfare along the way.

While an interesting premise, I found the writing a bit shallow. A populated, colonized Mars beginning to deal with problems like housing, immigration issues and crime is a really catchy story, but the characters were stereotypical and the plot left little to no suspense. Still if you want an interesting, fast read it’s a good one to download.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: Fairy Godmothers of the Four Directions

Fairy Godmothers of The Four DirectionsFairy Godmothers of The Four Directions by Jennifer Morse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what happened to Cinderella after happily ever after? Surely she had some serious PTSD after the trauma of her past, right? Well, yeah. So how do you heal from a history of child abuse so that you can be an effective Queen? You ask the Fairy Godmothers of the Four Directions to help you heal.

As a social worker I loved the use of the Cinderella story to illustrate healing from trauma as serious as death and child abuse. The writing was filled with healing imagery and illustrated the journey to wholeness that Cinderella had to take in order to step into her role as princess. I think that everyone can take pieces of this story and apply it to your own journey - we all have parts of our past that we have to work through, even if they aren’t as serious as those Cinderella had to overcome. I found myself contemplating different aspects of my personality and how I related to those around me as I read, and I endorse any book that encourages self introspection through immersion in a story. I think women in particular should read this and take the bits and pieces that can serve them well to incorporate into their own journey to wholeness.

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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.